Boots, Malware, Schnitzel, and Monarchs (weird, huh?)

I keep getting this stupid little bug in my browser. It changes my homescreen, my search engine, and randomly opens weird ass tabs with stuff I never looked for, asked for, or searched for. It is irritating.

But everything has a purpose I think. And trying to get to this blog today (and too tired to remove the little bug from the browser), the little bug decided that, while I thought I wanted to actually GO to the blog, what I REALLY wanted was to search Bing for the blog.

Whatever. It’s one more click and I am too tired to give a shit.

And this is the way my little neglected blog showed up on Bing.

Bing results

And I just couldn’t help but be overwhelmed.

Jerry MaguireUnderstand I don’t expect you to follow all of this. I haven’t been on a run in a good many days. I haven’t been to the gym in 5. My brain isn’t the most organized and functional places right now.

But this is also not the 2am, bad pizza, Jerry Maguire epiphany either. Okay, maybe it is – except I have had a full night’s sleep (as relatively as that can be called with 4 children), and a cup of coffee. So, there’s that.

This was not the post I sat down to write. If it was, you would be watching this awesome clip.

Ok, you can watch it anyway – but we will have to come back to it’s point at a later date.

I really wanted to write something this morning – mostly because I haven’t written anything in weeks.

That’s a bullshit reason to do anything, really.

The truth is I really wanted to write what I wanted to write this morning and not some warped version of what I thought I was supposed to write.

It’s why I can’t make money at it. Why my freelancing gigs never work out. Why I have felt the need to reinvent, segment, redesign my online writing space too many times to count anymore.

I just want to write what I want to write.

Sometimes it is about me whether you think it is or isn’t…and some times it

Just. Isn’t. About. Me.

Sometimes it is about you whether you catch that fact or not – and sometimes, it

Just. Isn’t. About. You.

And sometimes there is more to the story and irregardless of schools of thought on internet transparency or openness, my southern upbringing trumps social media guidelines. Tacky is still tacky – virtual or not – and I won’t have it.

And sometimes the story is edited because it just makes for a better damn story. I mean seriously, who wants to read the normal version of how pancakes get made? Or the full conversation between children? No one. Just tell the story as it mostly happened.

And at the end of the day, I just want to write what I want to write. And this search screen, as crazy as it sounds, insisted that I do just that.

The woman in those images works hard, loves life, and has made some pretty positive changes to become a better person.

That woman has a lot of love, a beautiful family full of wonderful children.

That woman has no idea why in the hell a picture of a boot showed up – could it be any more out of place? But, as fate would happen, this woman does have moments of feeling totally and completely wrong for the situation.

And then there is my cute little facebook page. As you are probably aware, when you create a facebook page, you have to choose a page category (i.e. book, music, person). Within that, there are subcategories (i.e. musician, author, politician). And there, at the end of my little search blurb, is my choice – monarch. There is a whole post brewing about that decision. Until then, feel free to speculate.

And then there is the blog link – Tan Toes, Strong Woman. How I thought long and hard over a way to succinctly attempt to describe myself. Have you ever attempted to break yourself down to a bumper sticker? Not part of yourself, not the family, or job, or hobby, or spiritual side of yourself – but your whole self? You should try it…it is very enlightening.

As you can see from the blurb, the tagline I created for my blog is “Life, Love, Faith, Family, Fitness, Fun.” I guess I could have added doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles and wrapped it up with brown paper and a few of my other favorite things.

But don’t you love how in the link, in the big blue letters, the main thing stays the main thing? I haven’t written very often on that blog because, well honestly, I just haven’t felt very healthy. I don’t particularly feel very fit. The whole of it has lost a bit of it fun. And who wants to read about that?

Moreover, doesn’t a detraction from that render the blog “off topic?” Is it a bait and switch for the readers there? I thought so. I didn’t write.

But like the boot, sometimes the out of place is completely appropriate.

And like the monarch, I am the freaking “Queen Bee.” (New readers stick around – that’s a joke more than a bitch statement, I promise. Seriously, I can provide references! While I am feeling a bit bitchy, and there is a tinge of that there, really, you were really just supposed to laugh just then.)

Then, to cap the whole thing off, the rest of the link blurb proves without a doubt that my blog has been infected by some type of malware, which I totally obliterated so that the search would revert back to it’s appropriate Knockaround Guys, 500 self.

Knockaround Guys Search (Sorry, I gotta post that again…indulge me).

And that’s okay too…malware…as is my blog, so should I be. A constant evolution of righting the ship and taking on water. Bailing and sinking. Healing and hurting. Growing and wilting. It is all part and parcel of the beautifully scandalous journey that we take.

And if Jerry Maguire and I wanna write about it in a totally “holy shit” kinda way, then, it is what it is.

Loves.

No Demons, Just Interesting Spirits

DD mousepad

My new mousepad for my new job 🙂

Dear Readers,

Forgive me for I have failed to write. It has been 2 months since my last blog post. I am sure you will understand or maybe not have noticed at all. I certainly noticed.

So I set out this morning (again) to write something (again) and I found it hard to be really inspired to write about anything (again). However, when The Dude walked in to grab a cup of joe, I must have looked like I could write something.

“You must be writing.”

“No, I would like to be writing.”

“Oh, well you look like you are writing. You have this inspired look on your face.”

“No such luck,” I explain. “I haven’t been inspired in months.”

He considers this thought for a moment and says something very interesting – especially since he has not yet has his first cup of coffee.

“That’s probably not a bad thing. When you write, you are usually exercising some demon of some kind, sorting through something jacked up in your brain. Maybe it’s ok that you have to try a little harder to get it out. Some of my favorite articles have been those you had to power through.”

I thought about that through my next cup of coffee and some Facebook scrolling. The truth is, he is right – but only partly.

Jedi Emily

My Jedi protector…this is most assuredly a post 🙂

I do write for nearly the same reason that I run – it feels good in an amazingly painful way. It is hard. Not everyone can do it. It takes practice and dedication. You have to be somewhat consistent.  All these things wrap up into an activity that feeds my appreciation of my own strength and ability. It keeps my mind right. It makes me feel capable. It helps me to be a better person.

It also tends to be very personal, so I tend to be a bit guarded. I am fairly extroverted (I know, you are shocked). To write about the deepest things requires pulling back the veil. While I may not mind this so much for myself, not everyone in my circle would appreciate that. I am hugely respectful of that.

So, pen does not go to paper, as it were, and I leave those things unpublished.

I am not trying to hide, present a white washed front, or create a superficial image – I am simply trying to be respectful. Besides, if an action meant to exercise demons actually reinforces its power, then what was really the point?

I also am not really good at writing (or running) in pieces. This plays hell with my new schedule. If I can’t lace up shoes and run for an hour, or log in and write for an hour, then I really don’t understand the point. I have a hard time accepting the face that 200 words here, 150 word there will eventually produce the post. I am trying to do better.

The truth is there has been a ton of stuff to write about and sort through.

Delirium confirmation

Yes, I agreed to attempt this…February 2014…83 days

  • I have a new job. And when I say new, I mean NEW. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it has been a real game changer.
  • I have modified my diet and it is not going as well as I would have hoped – I am still searching for balance.
  • I have signed up for a 24 hour race in an attempt to get the ever coveted ultra marathon runner belt buckle. For a multitude of reasons I am scared shitless. I have 83 days to figure it out.
  • My oldest Little is getting a class ring, and college mailers, and ideas about the future.
  • I have modified my training plan and it most assuredly has its pros and its cons. Again, it is about balance. (I am still using the word “plan” very loosely).

So, I will consider different ways to do different things. And maybe I will write about. No, I will write about it because that is what writers do. But maybe it won’t take 2 months.

100 miles...24 hours

100 miles…24 hours

 

 

Labels, Vegan, and Being April

PhotoGrid_1378733512368There is just no way I can bring myself to write a post about how my decision to veer from the vegan journey was born from some  enlightened realization of the oppression of labels and the need to categorize oneself. We all have labels, we all need labels, it’s the way we understand others and ourselves. While the labels may be fluid and have exceptions in the fine print, they are still important to finish the sentence “I am…”

More importantly, a post like that simply wouldn’t be true.

Towards the end, I liked being “vegan.” I wanted to remain being “vegan.” I still want to want to be vegan.

It was an amazing lifestyle. I felt wonderful. There is not another method of consumption that has ever come close to making feel wonderful – for a time.

But, feeling wonderful isn’t enough. I want to BE wonderful. I want to BE April.

And now, before we get off on the topic of “see this is why extreme/fad/trendy diets don’t work” and “haha I told you no one could really live without bacon,” let me go ahead and weigh in on those two things…

  1. It did “work.” I learned new things about how to fuel my body. I learned what types of food make me feel great and which others are going to require some planning for how I am going to feel the next day. I dropped all that weight. I changed some really serious eating habits. I knocked down some food addictions. I connected with some really cool people. I learned great new recipes. I introduced my kids to some new ideas. I learned a lot about how to eat out in a healthier way. I am starting to think I should just do a whole post on this. If that doesn’t fit a definition of “work,” I am not sure what would have.
  2. Bacon was not my turning point.

The truth is, I just want to be April.

I realize that at some point I will have to put together a cohesive thought on this Happiness Project business. Unfortunately I don’t have one yet. But I do understand why Gretchen’s first commandment for herself (Be Gretchen) will be mine as well (Be April).

I read a ton of posts on a regular basis that often have great ideas, uplifting thoughts, insight, and inspiration. However, so often I find myself thinking, “Why do they feel the need to over justify?”

That is what I do not want to do here. I don’t think I did it with the original post that started this whole thing. That was a real moment with real feelings and resulted in some pretty real action.

www.happiness-project.com

www.happiness-project.com

But I don’t live in a vacuum. And the truth is things change; they evolve. And Gretchen (who I am seriously crushing on right now if you haven’t noticed) hit a cord with me…

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
~Voltaire (via Gretchen Rubin)

I am not going to be a perfect vegan. I would love to be one. But that won’t make me happy.

While it is a good and noble way, makes me feel fabulous, and keeps my waist amazingly slim, it does some not so great things too.

I blame MasterChef.

This post happens to have been written on our 14th wedding anniversary :)

This post happens to have been written on our 14th wedding anniversary 🙂

I love to cook. No, actually, I love to watch my husband thoroughly enjoy himself eating what I cook. And, if I do say so myself, I am pretty damn good at it. The family in general enjoys great cooking shows and they are pretty convinced I can recreate anything we happen to see there. That makes me happy.

In turn, my husband has a few amazing tricks in his own grilling hat that he pulls out from time to time. He gives him great joy to be able to take over the cooking duties for the evening, give me a break, and fulfill my love for great food. That makes him very happy. That makes me happy.

Perfect is a great enemy of that good.

So losing vegan makes me happy. Retaining some of the great stuff I learned also makes me happy. Finding a great balance between the two sounds like a great happiness project resolution.

Because I will still eat the hell outta these!!

Ultra Balance

bikeI don’t really do “race recap” posts. I guess looking at the last time I actually hit the “publish” button, a case could be made that I don’t really do posts at all! I’ll address that point first (and I feel a bit meandering today, so I will try to stay concise!)

I have always been a writer. It is commonly thought that writers should write something – anything – everyday. I started blogging in 2006. The one constant in blogging is the idea of regular postings. In many cases I saw the “write something everyday” and the “regular postings” ideas collide…and by “collide,” think “train wreck.”

So early on I just got comfortable with gaps in my blog. I don’t love it because it usually means there is something happening on this side of the keyboard that has the balance in my life thrown off. But I don’t hate it either. It just is what it is. The goal is always to make adjustments and keep it out of the ditch.

Brandy

Brandy!!

Since my last post roughly 2 months(!) ago, I have run in three ultra events, wrestled with my supplementation, jacked up my food choices, and wrecked my schedule. I had a million blog post ideas go through my brain. But my center was in the stratosphere somewhere and that just doesn’t work.

Even now I struggle to stay on point and offer you a coherent discourse. (In fact, I just deleted FOUR whole paragraphs. You’re welcome.)

I bagged out of Bad Marsh. It was really unfortunate. I had a great crew in the beautiful Brandy Mai. The group of runners there were amazing and inspiring. There was cold beer in the cooler. The race hat swag was awesome. It should have been perfect. It sucked.

Parking, I thought seeing my ultra family would help my melancholy mood. It didn’t. Not even the duck.

Lap 1, “just run for a minute, you’ll feel better,” I thought. Wrong again.

Lap 2, I was looking for a reason to quit.

Lap 3, I committed the ultimate fail – I bagged on my best runner buddy ever.

548917_10151824897227125_2047025532_n

Lucky she still loves me…

Lap 4, I tried one more time. I questioned my entire existence as a runner, as a person even. Sounds a bit melodramatic, I know. But it is what it is.

I quit. Sure there was this facade of ankle pain (it really did hurt) and “living to fight another day” and all that. Truth is, I have hurt worse and have ran through pain. But that day, that race, that moment, running sucked, I sucked, life sucked, and I just plain didn’t want to be there or do that.

Worse than the DNF, I couldn’t find it in me to stay and support my ultra family. I was wiped and my soul was somewhere else. To this day I am not really sure where that is. To be honest, I have still only caught fleeting moments of it in the past 2 months. If I am being completely transparent, it has been as elusive as Peter Pan’s shadow.

But there are some solid truths…

I am a runner…
I am a warrior…
I did write this
I still mean this

And when all else fails, listen to folks smarter than you…

“For me, the larger ‘hurt’ factor during an Ultra is when my body is physically ready for a race but my mind is mentally not in it. In that case there is almost nothing you can do other than take a break, rub some dirt on your soul and hope that your mind can come around,” ~ Tim Waz, Owner/RD, Lowcountry Ultras.

Photo credit **Simple Reminders**

“I’m Bored…let’s find something hard to do!”

My dear husband swears this is the mantra of my life…

I’m bored…let’s find something hard to do!

The first time he said it, I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or him making a bit of sport at my expense. The third time, I realized it was a loving little bit of both.

I thought about it for while as this perception is not necessarily one I wanted to communicate. However, I first had to figure out if it was true.

And, at its root, it is.

He didn’t say relaxed, comfortable, having a bit of downtime. He said bored.

And if I am bored, then there is no challenge. If there is no challenge, I get lazy. I get lazy, I become a lesser version of myself.

And, no, I do not care to be a lesser version of myself. 

So while it may look like I just enjoy the hard, the more true thing is that I would rather discover all the God given potential I have been blessed with. I would rather see exactly what I am a capable of – then try to do more.

I didn’t realize I had gotten bored. But I did. Just a little.

I blamed it on the weather…when it is cold, I have a hard time getting out of bed and outside for my early morning runs.

I blamed my schedule. I am still adjusting to working a 9-5. The gym time that I used to switch up my routine and add in some cross training has become nonexistent.

I blamed my sudden change in diet. While it wasn’t really that big of a change or that sudden, it was pretty profound and for reasons I had never had to deal with before.

I blamed it on a lot of stuff…and with blame nearly always comes complacency. Complacency cannot run 50 miles in Beaufort in July. Complacency cannot care for her family. Complacency is not healthy.

And I have come to far to go back to being unhealthy.

Combating complacency will be different for everybody. It just depends on what areas of your life have been affected the most. Mine are schedule and diet.

Because my time is under some pretty hard constraints, I find myself wasting a lot of it. My brain says, “there is no time to do anything productive, so let’s not do anything at all.” Yeah that works.

Because my eating habits can be seen as faddish, extreme, difficult, unhealthy, unnatural, and temporary, I have forgotten that my food is my business – not a result of an online poll. True, I share (and I will more in the immediate future) and I ask the masses. But not for permission or validation, rather a constant evaluation of being my best self. I have allowed myself to make exceptions without structure. This leads to irresponsibility, guilt, and a useless 5 pounds.

So, I’m bored…let’s find something hard to do. 

Life ChallengesBlock schedules kill me. Tracking drives me nuts. It just triggers a part of my brain that rebels against the structure.

Goal writing scares the shit outta me. Especially the little, timed ones. The big, long distance ones are less scary. There is room for error, procrastination, catch up. But the other, especially the weekly…those require pretty intense focus and allows for very little sway.

So, without further fear or hesitation, my first set of weekly goals made a bit more serious by the sheer act of publicly publishing them…

Week of April 22, 2013

  1. Log my first +40 run week
  2. 3 Nike Training Club Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day
  4. Track all food and drink

Now, let’s see what happens 🙂

 

**Photo credits
Believe to Achieve
…and Spiritually Speaking