My Socks Don’t Match and I Don’t Know Where I Put Friday

“I can’t wait!”

“It’s gonna be epic.”

“Someday I’m gonna do that!”

“Are we there yet?”

“Is it Friday yet?”

I say these things a lot.   I tend to be always looking forward, dreaming about what is yet to come, plotting what is next in life, scheming about the future, always chasing the next adventure, living for the weekend.  I like to say that this is because I’m very goal oriented, always trying to better myself, perpetually optimistic about the future.   And these are all true.  But this also means I don’t know how to be in the NOW.  I’m living my life ahead of myself so very often that NOW is often just something I have to survive to get to THEN.  I grumble through my week to get to Friday.  I am already daydreaming about my next trip when I’m on this one.  I’m always saying “someday, I am going to do (whatever it is I am going to do)” while I am actually doing something that I once said that someday I was going to do.  I merely tolerate the here and now.

Frankly, sometimes the now is just a disappointment.  The problem with being an optimist is that you build things up in your head.  Sometimes while chasing my epic adventure, I can’t even remember where I was going or what was going to be so great about it.   When you get to where the grass is always greener, you find that it needs to be mowed every weekend.  Friday seems like the gateway to an epic weekend and then I hit Saturday and realize I have to spend it doing laundry and getting groceries.  And for all my plotting and scheming about the future, somehow I am never prepared for the now.  I have my entire bag packed in my head for a trip I am taking to Mexico next winter, but today I can’t find any matching socks.  So I run around and scramble in the moment, grumbling about having to find and wear pants, and wishing it was Friday.   The now always seems so mundane and chaotic at the same time.

I’ve tried to live more in the moment of now.  I really have.  I’ve made conscious effort to sit and breathe, and close my eyes and feel the moment, and open my eyes and see the moment, experience the beauty around me, savor the everything that is now.  And I’ve gotten better at it.  I can now experience a moment and take a picture of it in my head, imprint it on my soul, and just taste it.  But it doesn’t last long.  It really is just one very short moment and I will be on my way again, chasing the next moments.

Maybe it’s not so bad.  Maybe that’s just kinda who I am.  Or maybe I can learn how to be a little of both.  I’ll keep trying to find my Friday, but learn a little more to enjoy the Tuesdays too.   Life is short, and I don’t wanna miss anything, in the now and in the someday.  And maybe I’ll just wear mismatched socks whenever I want.

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Failure and Me, Frenemies for Life

Failure showed back up today. She’s always lurking around anyway, but today she decided to leap out from the shadows and kick my ass on the spot. She does that now and then. Perhaps she feels left out sometimes when I refuse to give her the time of day. Well, today, she won. And I gave up.

I’ve been running for 8 weeks now….sticking with the Couch to 5k program like a fucking stallion, if I say so myself.. And I do say so myself. Anyway, today was the first day that I couldn’t complete the assigned training run. Starting out in pain and full of chest congestion. Got one of these stinkin spring allergy/sinus/colds. Ugh. Hacking, coughing, and wheezing. I could tell even during the warm up walk that today was gonna be tough. But I started running and pushed through those familiar first few minutes of pain until the adrenaline and endorphins blend into that wonderful mixture that allows me to run with little pain. I searched for my rythym. But never found it today. Was wheezing and gasping for air from the beginning. I knew pretty soon that I might not make it today. Then all that mental work kicked in. Ya know, “You can do it, Stace!” “You just did this exact run on Thursday morning at 6am in the rain, you can nail it today.” And then….the negotiating, which usually works quite well for me….”Okay, Stacy, just make it up this hill, then you can take a break”…”okay, well, now you might as coast down the hill.”….”Just cross the next road, THEN you can walk if you need to.”…

And I did. Before I knew it, I apparently had “slowed to a walk.” It wasn’t a conscious decision. My legs just slowed down. WTH?!! I didn’t even realize I was walking until my legs started aching like crazy and then Bam! just seized up. Then I told myself “Ok, start running again before the pain gets too bad and you have to start all over getting into that rythym. Nope. Not gonna happen. Then it hit me. I had failed. Big time. I tried running three more times and my legs simply wouldn’t work. Not only did the shin splints come back with a fucking vengeance, but my 87 year old right hip decided that she’d rather hang out in a rocking chair knitting some booties while sipping tea. I also realized I was nausaus and had the shakes (either from the cold or from the fact that I keep forgetting to eat or just the realization that I had failed) Well, shit.

Not only had a I completely failed, but now I was a mile and a half from home and not sure how I’m gonna get home. I tried hitch-hiking but at this point any of the few neighbors that actually go down this rather deserted road are used to seeing me limping my way towards home. So I limped, slowly, back home, crying like a baby the whole way.

It was a long walk. And failure decided to join me. While I was limping pathetically towards a hot shower and some BenGay, she was skipping along next to me, cheerfully mocking me. Reminding me, again, that I set my goals too high and I should just give up now. Might as well stick to things I actually know how to do. She reminded me in her sing-song voice that fat girls shouldn’t run, old ladies shouldn’t try new tricks, klutzy dumb blondes should stick with mall walking where they might be able to also score a new pair of shoes and pretzel. And she told me very seriously, because she is, of course, very worried about me, that there is no way I will be ready for this race, maybe I should just do the 5k walk, or even better, just try again next year. She just chattered on and on, while I cried and cried (and of course, she made fun of me for THAT too). Failure is a heartless little bitch. But I’m too tired to fight her today. Hell, I can’t even run.

So, today, I’m going to listen to her. They say keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer. And frankly, she might have something good to say eventually. I might be able to get some wisdom from her bullshit. I’ve heard bullshit makes excellent fertilizer. So I listened. I listened while I made it all the way home. I listened when I took a hot shower, and then later a hot bath to soak my hot muscles. I listened while I reached out to friends who I knew would support me, tell me it’s okay that we all have failure sometimes, and remind me of my inherent awesomeness. I listened while I made popcorn and opened a beer and settled in to watch some Harry Potter.

And here’s what she said when I wiped away all the steaming bullshit.
1. Dude. Everybody has bad days and bad runs (like the jogging kind, not the diarrhea kind…thought I should clarify due to my references to bull shit). It’s about time I failed on this program. I have managed to somehow do every training run in the program so far, and it was inevitable that I wouldn’t get 100%. Let’s just say I got it out of the way. Shake it off, and get the fuck over it.
2. Don’t assume your overall goals are too lofty when they might just be too much for your circumstances today. I felt like crap before I even went running, why am I surprised that I couldn’t do what I could do when I felt healthier two days ago? Seriously, Stace, catastrohpize much?!?!
3. Specifically to running, if you stop mid-run, you might be screwed. Well, at least it is really hard to get going again. This may take some strategy for how to run the 5k. But that’s to figure that out later. This knowledge might also help you keep going in the future.
4. Just give it all you got. And if you don’t have enough, you’ll probably still get home and get a hot shower eventually. Worst case scenario, if you do just crumple on the side of the road and cry, someone will probably have pity on you and give you a ride home. And perhaps a popsicle.
5. Give yourself some credit for what you’ve already accomplished. Um, Stacy, 8 weeks ago, you couldn’t run to the mailbox and now you are close to 2 miles. Stop focusing so much of how far you still need to go and look at how far you’ve come. Failure caught up today, but she had kick up her speed a little to catch you.

So this is what Failure, my arch Frenemy, taught me today. Sometimes she can actually be kinda cool. But just so bitchy. I will learn what I can from her today.

But Tuesday I plan on telling her to go fuck herself.

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Written April 2013

My Body: My Lifelong Companion

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I’ve been having a lot of reoccurring back pain and spasms again in the past several months. It’s been rather discouraging. Then, last Saturday, mid massage, my massage therapist, who has been working on me for over 8 years now, says, “wow…do you ever think about how different your body is then when we first started?” Huh, no, actually I hadn’t thought about that lately. She said that right after I quickly, and effortlessly, flipped over…a feat that used to require about 4 minutes, some swearing, and a lot of tears. I’ve been focusing so much on how AMAZING I felt about 2 years ago (when I was almost pain free after dumping the pain pills and starting several months of hypnotherapy and exercise) and felt that I was a total failure for having so many problems again lately.. Problems that I know are being caused by a more stressful job and my lack of effective coping skills at dealing with it. I had been so down on myself for my backward slide from those delightful but precarious pain free days, and hadn’t focused at all on how far I’ve come in the long run. In the past 8 years, my body has gained weight, lost weight, gotten stronger, gained weight, gotten even stronger, gotten sick, gotten over being sick (repeat and repeat), been bedridden for days (even weeks one time) due to pain, but has eventually always gotten out of bed, has worked out, and wandered new and strange cities, strolled foreign beaches, has hiked hundreds and hundreds of miles, has crossed rushing rivers and slid down muddy banks, has survived sprained ankles and shin splints and wacked IT bands, has carried backpacks full of what it needs to survive for 3 days, has been squeezed into airplane seats and other tight places for hours and still always pops back into it’s original shape, has danced the night away, has sent me signals when I was in danger and gotten me safely away, has gotten scraps and bruises and scars (and wears them very well), has worn out 3 elliptical trainers, 1 set of snow shoes, and at least 13 pairs of running and hiking shoes (and countless pairs of yoga pants), has ingested delights and toxins and lived to keep ingesting more, has climbed mountains, has groaned in intense pain, and moaned in intense pleasure, and it just keeps going.  And this is just in the past 8 years, let’s not forget the 30 something years before that.  And the several more that are likely to still come.  My body is strong.  Look where it has taken me. Perhaps I need to give it a little slack for crapping out on me on occasion.

Sultry Goddesses Be Damned!

One of my friends recently told me a story….he had met up with his sister, who is one of the nation’s leading rocket ship scientists (or something that made it clear she is super smart and successful; details may have been changed to protect the innocent) and a bunch of her just as successful, powerful, and beautiful friends.  They all went to dinner one night after their conference in town and were enjoying catching up…talking fancy schmancy rocket ship science and smart shit, but as they arrived at the restaurant and were waited on by this drop dead gorgeous “can’t-look-away” type sultry goddess.  So the conversation among the women quickly turned into degrading and judgmental things about said goddess.  Comments such as “omg, isn’t that a bit over the top?”, “I wonder how much all THAT work cost her? (insert evil giggle here),” and on and on and on (insert numerous eye rolls).  My friend was stunned.  He asked “is that just something you women do?!?!”  He was floored that a group of these highly intelligent, successful, beautiful women would be that quickly devoured by jealousy and would succumb to its temptation to be petty, cruel, and well, kinda pathetic.  As he told the story, none of us women hearing it were surprised.  We, not batting an eye and being the very wise and self aware women that we were, told him that women default to jealousy and insecurity and then to petty cruelty.  We laughed about it being “our way.”  But, of course, we  all (ok, I did anyway, I’m just gonna assume they did too) internally judged those petty women (while also secretly hating that gorgeous goddess) and hoped that if it would have been us being seated by that sultry goddess, we would have been less petty and more secure.  Heh.  I wonder.

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A Geek Bride’s Guide on How to Geek Your Bride

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Okay, let’s face facts, boys, you’ve all said some variation of “Damn, I wish my wife would go fishing with me” or “I wish my girlfriend understood the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars.” or “Why can’t my wife understand why I simply can’t get rid of my Millenium Falcon toy just because I’m turning 40?” or “I hate it when she starts rolling her eyes whenever I tell her why I would rather have the superpower of invisibility rather than telepathy (trust me, she knows why and knows it involves a girls locker room).” How about “why do her eyes glaze over whenever I start talking about Camaros?” or “why does she have to constantly nag me about playing videos games, I need to do that to decompress after a shitty day at work?”

Here’s the scoop. Whether you are a sci fi fanatic, an outdoorsman, a gear head, a micro-brewer, a gamer, or just really passionate about electronics, time travel, string theory, how cheese is made, or adamant about your theory about how Wolverine would crush the Green Arrow in some alternate verse where DC and Marvel collide (shiver of horror), you probably think she doesn’t care. And guess what? That’s because she doesn’t.

BUT, if it is important to you to snag a wife that actually kinda gets what gets you going, then you, my friend, either keep looking for someone different OR learn how to geek your bride. Let’s face it, you probably love her for all kinds of other things….her eyes, her giggle, the way her boobies fill out her sweater, the fact that she puts up with your shit, and of course, how smushy and soft she feels when you cuddle on the couch. So, if you found someone you like and isn’t repulsed by you, keep her. And then, of course, geek her.

Obvious disclaimer, these are just some observations, including things my manly geek did right that got me heading in the geek direction, things he totally botched that made me wanna run in the opposite direction, and things I noticed I was thinking or doing. And just a few of my ideas because I’m fairly clever and had extra coffee today. Also, I am almost an expert on this topic because I am married to the man who has the MOST HOBBIES AND INTERESTS IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING MILKY WAY. I also know that is a galaxy and not just a candy bar, which only adds to my credibility.

So, here’s some tips. (For the game we all like to play, just the tip…)

1. Learn more about what she likes. Yep. I don’t care if it seems pointless to learn about opera or going to the beach or all the different kinds of shoes. If you show an interest in what she likes and learn more about it, you might find that she will return the favor. Also, you need to learn what she likes because you may find that there are some comparable thing in your geeky world that she might kinda like. Figure out what makes her tick. Because you love her AND because this will be helpful information for your future manipulative methods. Example: I never fished growing up, never cared to, BUT Aaron quickly discovered that I love to be outdoors, camping, hiking, etc. I ALSO love to read books. I ALSO love, fricking love to lay out and get an kickass tan. What do all of those easily translate into? A day on the boat floating down the river…he’s catching fish, I’m catching rays while reading about a murdering butler. Or rowing.

2. Be passionate, but never pushy, about what you love.. When you talk about what you love to do, don’t just talk about it as “something to do.” Talk about it with passion, let your eyes light up with glee, get all animated, let the goofy grin beam. For one, a passionate man is fucking sexy. I am most likely to want to jump Aaron’s bones when he is all passionate about the life cycle of a mayfly AND that he is so passionate about me that he wants to share it with me. I first “fell in love” (if you believe a such a ridiculous concept) with him when he was excitedly telling me some long drawn out but hilarious story about mishaps fishing with his Gramps. I sat there watching him talk and gesture and I suddenly thought, “oh shit, I’m gonna marry this man.” So, keep sharing the excitement, it’s contagious, BUT don’t always be pushing her to be as excited about it as you are. Give her time..she might get more interested, might wanna try it, but if you push, she will back away (or perhaps run away in horror and disgust). Pushing equals pressure and we all hate pressure.

3. Start slow and be tricksy about it. Once you have some data about what she likes, what gets her all excited, and how she responds to the things you are passionate about, start slow, but apply your tricksy manipulation skills (don’t even pretend that only girls have these skills…chicks tend to have better intuition but it’s really just collecting data and analyzing it at a superhero level of speed and effectiveness because YOU men have the superpower of being able to open that fucking jar of pickles….seriously, HOW do you guys do that?!?!). If she likes sitcoms or dramas on TV/movies, start her out on some scifi shows that are more relational based, that develop the characters early on. This is why I LOVE shows like Buffy and Firefly. Also consider what kind of qualities she admires in people….it will help you figure out what characters she might identify with. I promise you, if she can’t identify with at least one character in a show or game or comic, she won’t give a shit. As far as hobbies go, the same applies, what is a good match for her interests? If she hates getting dirty, your hobby of mud bogging might take some serious creativity to spin correctly. You are going have to try a few different things, different ways of making whatever you are doing enticing to her. But be patient and be creative. Also analyze her responses to your attempts….this is more data. Don’t get discouraged, but go…Slow. Stay out of warp speed here. That’s a good way to burn out your hyperdrive.

4. Never make her have to compete for your attention. Ok, so be passionate about it and try to get her involved (slowly), but never make her feel like your interest or hobby or passion is her competition. This should be clear to her simply from the fact that you are trying to include her, but well, us girls pretty much hate ourselves and assume that you don’t really want to be around us that much. When you come home from a long day at work, and go straight to your mancave to play video games to unwind, she thinks you are avoiding her. Frankly, you might be, simply because we all need time alone, BUT make her feel noticed, appreciated and all purty before you disappear into your holodeck. Also, make sure that you help out with shit before disappearing. Help with dinner (hell, cook dinner), ask her about her day, tell her she looks fucking delicious in her ripped yoga pants, blah, blah, blah. You know, all that Oprah kinda shit. ALSO, if you take time to be with her for a bit, you might find that she would be up for doing something cool and geeky with you, but might need to wait until the kids are in bed or she properly bitches about her boss or gets a glass or 5 of wine in her system.

5. Never EVER, not in a million fucking years nor in any fucking galaxy, EVER make her feel stupid about her attempts. So, hopefully, eventually, she will try some geek activities with you. BUT if/when she does, she isn’t going to “get it” like you do. She might not be awesome at fishing at first, she might not grasp the concept of carburetion versus fuel injection, and the idea of time travel might really piss her off. WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T roll your eyes, DON’T tell her she’s doing it wrong (even if she is, and she will), DON’T make big sighs of frustration, DON’Tlaugh at her, and DON’T say “Oh well, not everyone gets it” and then look sad. I don’t give a flying piece of fuck how bad she is at this, how much she doesn’t understand the Force, or how much she asks dumb questions about alternate dimensions (FYI; there is no dumb question about alternate dimensions….there’s just so much we don’t know), do NOT make her feel stupid. If you do, she will never try it again, she will probably work harder to get YOU to stop doing it yourself, and IT WILL ALL BE YOUR FAULT! Because you are a dumb ass.

6. Please remember that she is not “one of the guys” (yet) and compliment the shit out of that girl. This is the flipside of don’t make her feel stupid. This is hard at first to remember, but she really isn’t one of the guys (yet), so don’t treat her like one (yet). Guys like to give each other shit, girls hate this. Seriously. It makes us cry and want to eat more chocolate. Instead, tell what she is doing right, if you need to give her instruction, do it in a way that makes her feel comfortable (like “oh, I see what you are doing wrong…I kept doing that all that time at first too.”), give her crazy amounts of kudos for doing it in the first place, etc. Once she gets more comfortable, then you might be able to tease her a bit more, but again, monitor her responses and apply the data.

7. Watch for signs of boredom. Seriously, if you got your hot wife to go do your thing with you and have, please,as soon as she gets bored, STOP! I cannot emphasize this enough. I cannot tell you how many times Aaron has gotten so excited about me fishing with him or watching Farscape him that he forgets that my threshold for boredom is much much sooner than his. TAKE HER HOME before it gets too late! (you might wanna feed her too, it helps with the irritability.) Boredom quickly turns into misery. And misery turns into never fucking doing that again. I’m not kidding about this. I despise ice fishing because of this. I actually enjoy it for about 2 hours and then we always stay until fucking spring so now I just simply hate it.

8. Provide snacks. Aaron and I always joke that I’ll do anything or go anywhere if there are nachos. This comes from years of Aaron saying, “hey, do you wanna go to a baseball game (which I hate)?” and me responding, “Will there be nachos?” I really like nachos. Find out what your hot goddess likes and use it. This is bribery at its best.

9. Don’t give her crap about how she wants to spend her own time and her money. Guess what? You spend money on hobbies too. You spend time killing zombies when you should be mowing the lawn. Get over it. Let her go get her nails done, or shop all day, plant flowers in the garden, go to the opera even though everyone knows Juliet dies in the end (spoiler alert..so does Romeo.), or sit in the hammock reading Agatha Christie novels even though she has read each of them like 13 times. Ever heard of Pinterest? Apparently, it’s a thing. Let her do it and don’t make fun of the fact that none of us really know what it does or how to say it.

10. If she doesn’t geekify to the extreme you would love her to geekify, love her anyway. C’mon, really, being able to share some interests and hobbies and have some fun together is really awesome. It’s all kinds of lovely fertilizer for gooey feelings of love. BUT, they don’t have to be all the same things and all the time. Each individual in a couple is just that, an individual. Love her for that sexy individuality. Compliment the heck out of what you love, and deal with what you don’t love quite as much. Trust me, she’s doing the same thing for you.

I know there’s probably more, but I need to race home and finish up Season 6 of Buffy.

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In My Nightmares I’m Always Running.

I’m downright restless.  I can even feel it in my body.  I wake up in the night with a start and a yell because my legs are literally kicking and thrashing.  I’m constantly running, either to or from something, in my nightmares, and then I wake up to discover, my body is literally running.  But I can’t figure out what I am running from.  I mean, in the dreams, I am running from zombies, strange men dressed in black and chainmail on horses, unknown unseen assailants that I can just sense are closing on me, and the weirdest one yet, was running from poplar trees (or maybe aspen…couldn’t tell for sure) who would bend and twist in these contorted ways to try to grab me and hold me back.  In the dreams, I am not only running away from there, but I am also trying to get somewhere.  Somewhere important, where someone is urgently waiting for me.  And I don’t know what I am supposed to take with me!  I often dream that I forgot something important at the beginning of my journey or that I lost it somewhere along the way.  Oh!  And this dream I hate even more…..that I have a whole pile of stuff that I am supposed to take with me, but I can’t find a way to carry it.  Sometimes then I actually find something….a bag, a basket, etc. but then it keeps breaking.  Like, are you fucking kidding me!?   Another re-occuring theme is that I encounter a group of orphans in the woods, or trapped in a warehouse and it becomes obvious that it is my responsibility to rescue them, get them somewhere safe, BUT those assailants behind us are now trying to get them too.  And I still can’t figure out where the hell I am supposed to be going.

I’ve had these types of dreams most of my life, but lately, there are vivid and disturbing again.  When I wake up, the unknown chasers are gone, but the sense of urgency remains.  The restlessness lingers.  The inner need to be prepared for whatever might be next.  But I still don’t know where I am supposed to be going. I guess I’ll just keep running.

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Confidence is like a muscle.

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Confidence is like a muscle. You have to build it up slowly. Do things daily to strengthen and practice.  Watch how others do it, but know that you might do it a little differently than them, keep training, and don’t get too discouraged when progress is slow.  Stretch yourself slowly, but don’t push it too hard.  Understand that it might even hurt a little at first.  But keep at it.  And give yourself credit when you make even the tiniest bit of progress.   It will get easier, but it is still just really really hard.  But don’t quit.  Ever.  You owe it to you.