Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Folsom to Sacramento Playlist

So I just ran a marathon. Aside from the fact it represented a goal for me (being the 20th and I wanted to run 20), running a marathon isn't a huge deal if you're healthy and you're prepared to spend more time training than sleeping, drinking, or a host of other activities you probably enjoy.

It was a lot of work to get to 20 and not just because of the physical effort. If you're someone who is internally critical of yourself, it's difficult to spend time on a course surrounded by a bevy of individuals who are younger, faster, stronger, more fit, thinner than you or with better war stories. By the way, if by chance the runner is older, heavier, weaker, or less physically able than you, you often feel even worse about your performance. (I'm particularly looking at you, amazing runners who are geriatric, blind, missing limbs, pregnant, or recovering from major surgery.)

This weekend was hugely important to me for a lot of reasons, but among them because this was the first marathon where I tried hard (to a point) and then just let it be. I've spent four years running as a tool to control and process through the challenges of my personal life: my father's illness and death, my volunteer roles, my career, my mother's loneliness, my marriage, and being a mother myself. There's a lot of mental energy that goes into that, not to mention the physical energy required to run 26.2 miles before a sweeper gets you (in addition to processing constant other "runner-to-me" comparison).

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Silly Selfie Battle

"Mommy, let's take a picture!" my youngest child yells.
"That's fine, baby, but make sure I'm not in it."
"Come on," he whines, drawing out the last word in a huff of exhalation.
"Okay, fine," as I acquiesce, knowing full well that once we've taken the picture of ourselves, I'll go into the camera app and delete it.
[whrrp] is the sound the app makes as it deletes the photo. And, like that, the picture is gone. With it, a memory.

In this picture I'm the slightly
more girly version of SNL's Pat.
I don't know when I started to hate pictures but it's been decades. I posed for my fair amount of photographs as a kid for my father who counted "photographer" as one of many of his careers in life. In every picture after age 12 months or so, what I see is a kid with dimpled knees, dimpled thighs, dimpled cheeks, and a round belly and bad hair painstakingly curled and ratted by my mother with a hot iron, hair spray, and ribboned plastic barrettes.

When I think of myself as a child, this is who I see.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Driving Fast and Turning Back

The Moth is a locally-held story-telling event. A story-teller has 5 minutes to tell his or her story which must be true and told well from memory (no prompts or notes), Ten are randomly selected each night to share. I have always put my name in, no matter how unprepared I've been, but my name has never been pulled from the hat yet.

I'm not complaining. This could be a blessing. If nothing else, it's forced me to think through a few memories and put them into story form. "On Hugging" was sketched out on the theme of Feelings for The Moth but it never got on stage. This one below was sketched out for the theme of Fast Lane (which only loosely applies since the only thing fast about either story is that it involved driving above the speed limit on the highway) but I won't be able to attend to try and pitch it.


When I was five or six, the teenaged daughter of a family friend gave me a stuffed bear. It wasn’t particularly cute and it was funny looking. I didn’t love it at first but it looked sad and like it needed a friend so I became attached to it over time and it became my favorite stuffed toy throughout childhood.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On Hugging

I don’t like hugs.

It’s nothing about the hugger, nothing that anyone should take personally. I just don’t like hugging.

I don’t think most people appreciate how much interpersonal skill goes into giving and receiving hugs. What if one of you is sweaty? What if one of you is stinky? How long is a hug supposed to last? What if the hug is misunderstood as a gesture of sexual interest? What if I’m hugging a man and he gets an erection? Am I allowed to notice? Where do the arms go? Do I put them around the neck if someone is taller? Do I wrap them around the back and do a full frontal? Most importantly, consider what I look like. I’m a short woman with larger-than-most boobs. This is really the crux of the situation.