20 November 2014

Clarity

I can't find a first sentence. There's so much that I can't find right now. 

Rather than having concrete answers, statements, bold facts of confidence...all I have are questions. There has to be a reason why I gravitate towards men that cannot possibly function with me in a normal relationship. I am a dirty little secret. I am a sideshow. I am a hidden object. I am a "when I have time for you" option. Do I do this on purpose? Do I spend time with men who can't possibly make me a priority or want to for that matter because if they did, would I run away? There have been a couple of men who truly cared for me and would put me on a pedestal if I had let them. But I didn't let them. I cast of them out. I shunned them. One of them would actually coin the phrase "you're giving me the Heisman" because out my arm would stretch, keeping him at a distance where he could not get close to me. I will break the tackle every time.

I don't consider myself to be a complicated person. I'm not layered or complex. I'm not dramatic. But I am damaged. I carry with me scars that tell the stories of poor decisions and difficult outcomes. My scars hold the deposit that is the pain my heart has had to endure. The dividends are vast. I am scared. I am the quintessential "I touched a hot stove and I'm not touching it again" person who can't seem to try to love somebody without assuming that THIS person will do the same thing that caused that tremendous pain the last time. 

It's funny because in my mind I can imagine--even long for--such a perfect picture of what love should be. I have next to me a man that is patient and kind; he is independent, adventurous and outdoorsy. He is passionate and he's driven. He is incredibly intense and he takes my breath away with the slightest touch. Just his hand in mine can create enough energy to power a country. He can reach a depth in me that I am certain has never been reached before. He has awakened in me a hunger that is so foreign. It's raw. It's real. His passion is intoxicating and I think sometimes I will never get enough of it. Yet he knows my boundaries. He gives me space. He can measure the room I need and he accommodates seamlessly. He's athletic and a mover and he accepts everything about me--all my flaws, my quirky sense of humor, my irrational fears, my big dreams, my heart. He appreciates and even admires my drive; he endures my annoying habits, isn't afraid to put me in my place, and challenges me. He makes me want to be a better person. He makes me feel alive. He loves the Lord our God. He is my perfect.

But then again, he's not real. Well, he's real--just not in the way I need him to be. He's not mine for the taking. He's not my option. And I don't know how to come to terms with that. I don't want to come to terms with it. I know every single thing that's wrong with this equation.
But he is it. He is what I no longer have to imagine. He has materialized and I can touch him. I know his warmth. I know his smell. I know he's real. He's flesh and blood and he standing right in front of me. He is all those things. But I can't have him. 
It is incredibly painful and it is a pain that I have brought entirely on myself. Have I always known the outcome? I know only one way to solve this equation and let me be quite clear: I absolutely do not want to solve this equation because if I do, he's gone. He's no longer---what? What was he? What is he? Because he was never really mine to begin with. But my heart knows him, my heart has claimed him, and my heart does not soon forget. I will have to bear yet another scar. 
A scar I inflicted. 

I don't know how to fix this. I don't know how to make it right. There are so many things I don't know and yet there is one thing that I know to be absolutely certain: I don't want to live without him. I don't want to let him go.

Is he the time that wasn't mine to borrow?












17 July 2013

RUN RUN RUN

OK....NINE DAYS till the big day. Burning River 100 mile endurance race. Can you guess how many dreams I have had where I am on fire running through a river? And it's not a cool, domination scene from a Hollywood movie. I'm working on it, though.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't terrified. I am terrified. At the same time, I am also EXCITED.

I have poured over numerous blogs of other runners and I have watched a million videos and clips of various ultra races. I find hope in some and I find the need to run to the bathroom in others.

Bottom line is this: NOTHING I watch/read/hear/research will truly give me an idea of what 5:00am on July 27 will bring to me. Only I will know that at that time and not a second sooner. I can feel like I am perfectly trained and prepared and bomb just as easily as I can feel totally unconfident and get a PR.

WHY am I doing this? I wish I had a quarter for every person who has asked me this. I always come back with my standard answer: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first men on record to summit Mt. Everest. When asked WHY he wanted to climb that mountain, Hillary simply answered, "Because it's there."
There is something to be said about just DOING something. I think in Hillary's mind, "because it's there" translated into "because I can", "because I want to", "because there's something to be said about conquering something that only makes true sense to me".

I love to run. I love the feeling of disconnect I get when I get into a run and forget about everything else going on in my life. It's intensely therapeutic.

But I didn't drop a couple hundred bucks and sign up to purposefully run 100 miles without stopping for some intensive therapy. I didn't daydream about losing toenails and slicing blisters open because it will help to clear my mind. The thought of pushing my body to the absolute limit and once there, pushing farther comes from a deeper, darker place in my psyche. There's a conquer to be had...and a million reasons to have it. I can go into the hokey reasons that I want to do this because it's mine and mine alone to be had, but I am not feeling the want to ponder that deeply right now. Especially since my boys are making farting noises with their armpits and straws:
video

I am trying not to do my weird OCD ritualistic antics--like if I get through this next stoplight before it turns green, I will make it to the finish line...or if the lady in front of me pays with cash, I will not lose any toenails. I am trying not to wheel and deal with myself over every little detail. I have been told time and time again that my MENTAL endurance will be more vital than my physical endurance.

And THAT, my friends, is what is terrifying. Sure, I am worried about immense pain, losing my toenails, developing blisters, being tired, unlunching my guts on the side of a trail, hallucinating, dehydrating, hyponatremia, crying in front of other runners, etc...

But those are temporary issues. My mind will be with me the entire time. And my mind will not always be on my side. The pain and fatigue will throw me into the dungeons of my mind and it's my heart that will have to pull me back out. And I have one heck of a heart. I know this.

I am FAR more terrified of my mental capacity at this point than I am the physical. I think it's normal to question myself and to doubt myself in the final days leading up to what will be one of the hardest and most glorious accomplishments of my life. How do I prepare for this mentally?

Well, at this moment, I am going to prepare for this by NOT TALKING ABOUT IT ANYMORE! But I leave you with this:
I am a huge fan of the Oatmeal. Matthew Inman must be a long lost relative of mine...his sense of humor is fantastic and perfectly sarcastic. And he's a runner. Enjoy:


http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running

17 March 2013

Unanimous decision!!! ( those of you who know me will understand!)

16 March 2013

ASCD Conference

I am currently in Chicago at the ASCD national conference. There are approximately 10,400 educators in attendance here. Awesome!
There are not enough hours in these two days to hear all the speakers I want to hear. But I have a feeling I am going to leave here VERY inspired.
I just finished a session on bullying. I sat next to an assistant principal from Long Island, New York. It was amazing and at the same time frightening to discuss with him the common denominators facing our kids. He's in a school hundreds of miles away facing the same obstacles and having the same hopes and dreams for the kids in our nation. Very cool. I will definitely post on this later.
And hey! They are currently dying the river green!!!! Woo-hoo! Love this city! Being here gives me that itch to be back in "the city".

12 March 2013

What is LOVE????

There is no singular definition of love. Thank GOODNESS. Because I would hate to narrow it down to a linear concept. 
I love the idea that love can come in the form of many things. Do you remember the Wonder Twins? (Whoa! May be totally showing my age here...) Zan could take the form of anything made of water and Jayna could take the form of any kind of animal. I LOVED that show. I loved that they were brother and sister and could work together the way the did. And true to twin theory, the two couldn't morph into their chosen forms unless they were physically touching each other. And they kicked ass. Which was the icing on the cake!
I am finding a lot of joy in discovering love in things that aren't quite so obvious. Far from the traditional societal perceptions are blossoms of love flourishing like delicate buds thriving in the cracks of the sidewalk.
These examples aren't necessarily beautiful, colorful, fragrant, or the stuff of which dreams are made. They are the second glance you wouldn't have otherwise taken. They are the extra few seconds it takes to pause and really listen to what someone says. It's the hug a child gives that needed it more than you did. 
An example of these "noticings" in my life recently:

A student who is learning about self-control gets herself in trouble and has to be removed from her classroom for some "cool down" time. This means not getting her sticker chart completely filled for the day. And this means not being able to earn a small little reward she would have come down to my office for at the end of the day. She shows up in the doorway of my office as she's heading out to get on her bus. I look up from whatever I was doing and see her face--she's wishing today had a better outcome. She knows she can't get her reward, but she says, "Can I just have a hug?" (love!) Absolutely. I give her a hug and tell her that I know today was a rough day but....and before I can finish my sentence, she says with a hopeful smile, "Oh, I know! Tomorrow's a new day!" Ah....she DOES listen to me. (love!)

Love doesn't always have to involve risk and reckless abandon...I am convinced that kind of love is overrated and only belongs on the Lifetime Channel. If you can't discover the love woven throughout the minutes of every day, you're missing out. It's the kind of love that deposits just a little into your bucket....the more you notice, the faster it accumulates. In reference to the "bucket", this book completely illustrates exactly what I am so poorly portraying: 



If you don't own this book, make it happen. It's a great one to share with your children...look for the ways they fill your bucket when you don't even realize it and teach them to fill other's.

I asked my older son tonight what he thought love was. He looked at me with such a funny face and said, "How should I know? I'm just a kid. I do love killing zombies." (love!) I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. But I do know I need to move quickly to help him start finding the love in things every day (aside from killing zombies). 

So I gave him a non-zombie example:
A little background for you: waking my boys up for school truly requires a priest and a decent quantity of holy water. Of course come Saturday, they will be awake at 4:30 asking why we haven't "started our day" yet. Anyway, a priest and a gallon of holy water are not easy to come by most weekday mornings, so I go at it alone. Apparently my oldest (age 7) literally slept with two of his army guys in his hands last night. As he stumbled downstairs and into the bathroom while grunting and speaking incoherently, the kung-fu grip on those guys was obvious. Then somewhere in between peeing in the toilet and actually flushing it, I hear this: "MOM!!!! I NEED YOUR HELP!!!! THIS IS BAD!" I run in there and he's looking at me with that look of despair; that look that says, "only YOU can fix this." And indeed, that look was right. There in the bottom of the toilet, through the thick yellow haze of the water, lay the colonel. 
Without EVEN THINKING!!!!!!, I reached right in, rescued the colonel with my bare hands, and restored him to sanitary cleanliness. My son looks at me with the one eye he has open now, and says in a voice that doesn't sound so much like Patty & Selma Bouvier anymore (Marge Simpson's older twin, chain-smoking sisters that if you watch the show you will know that they work at the...????? come on! You're about to make a connection to one of my previous posts!)

"MOM!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for saving him! That was really great! Next time, you could probably use a spoon or something and how soon till my pancakes are ready???"

THAT, my dear son, is love. Your pancakes will be ready right after I may or may not wash my hands.
(love!)



11 March 2013

MASOCHIST update!

I took my Mountain Masochist trail running shoes out for a spin on Saturday. FINALLY!

In a rare turn of events, the weather forecast last week that called for a winter storm was ACTUALLY CORRECT. I am not sure what the exact snowfall total was, but according to my lower back after three hours of shoveling my driveway, I would have to guess it was four feet.

(According to local meteorologists, it was more like 8 inches. But remember, they aren't always accurate.)
And this is why I love them so:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvdWSsSqgLc

(DO NOT VIEW if you are easily offended by meteorologists filled with angst.) ;-)


Hey! Here's a funny....Where did the meteorologist stop for a drink after a long day in the studio?
Answer: The Isobar!!!
Yep, I am here all week!

So on Saturday, my plan was to go to the park in Winona Lake and hit the trails. When I pulled into Winona Lake, I was on the phone with my momma. If you know me and my mom, you also know that she and I can do some talking. By the time we said good bye, my bladder was screaming. The bathrooms at the park were locked so I drove over to the YMCA. At that point, I decided that I would just start my run from the Y. There's nothing quite like setting a brisk pace along the side of Winona Avenue, sucking in the fresh air pouring out of Dalton Foundry, and dodging potholes to start a good run. There was still quite a bit of snow covering the trails, which made it hard to really enjoy, but I wove through the Village, past the park, through the trails, through Southtown, and looped back around and back to the Y. All told, it was a little over 9 miles.

And it felt GRRREAT! For being primarily a trail shoe, they performed quite well on the pavement!

I feel the need to plug Montrail!
If you are in need of a good trail shoe (or two), visit:

http://www.montrail.com/




09 March 2013

America's Most Wanted Sought After Face!

Good news...my new friend at the BMV has totally come through on his excellent customer service promise! My new car title arrived today. YAY! And any day now, my new driver's license should show up. And after that, my new license plate will show up that no longer says Purdue University, but Indiana University!!! (Long story...good change!)

By the way, I am SUPER excited about my new driver's license. Since I was changing my address and that would require a new license to be printed, it was necessary that I update my picture. It seems that my new BMV friend can not only juggle a title transfer, address change, and a license plate change, he can also capture my resplendent and delicate beauty with that nifty camera at the desk.

And by that, I mean I look like I am going to commit murder. The BMV is no longer a cash-and-carry type of establishment. You get paper copies of everything and the "real deal" will show up in your mailbox in 7-10 days. So my driver's license picture on the paper copy resembles Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Not the awesome scene where he cuts through the door with the ax yelling, "Heeeeere's Johnny!"


Now that I am thinking about it, this would be a PERFECT frame for a driver's license photo. We could call it "custom shots" and charge an extra fee for some cool set up like that.
OK, that's for another post.

So no, I don't look quite this happy. Jack Torrance looks downright pleasant here. "Wendy? Darling? Light of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, 'I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just gonna bash your brains in.'"


My driver's license picture is going to look more like Jack Nicholson while the crazy was percolating:

Except I forgot to wear a black turtleneck. That would have really captured this moment. Stanley Kubrick is going to read my blog and be like, "DANG IT! I knew I should have cast her..."

And I am pretty sure my awesome photo was taken right after I had given the silent but deadly stare to Cyclone 1 who had Cyclone 2 in a full Nelson and scaring the hell out of an elderly couple directly behind them.

BMV man captured it.

I am going to start a social experiment. I am going to make transactions at stores, banks, etc that require me to show my driver's license and see if anyone comments on how choleric I appear.

Maybe I could do a separate post where YOU WONDERFUL SLICERS come up with one-liners I could say when the clerk asks for my ID, such as:
"You had better sell me this boxed wine or I may cut ya."

And the next time I have to get my driver's license updated and my picture retaken, I am going for this:






Wanna see why she's REALLY screaming???






Good night (or shall I say GOOD MORNING), slicers!

08 March 2013

I have nine minutes to blog before I am officially TARDY

OMG...........ONE MINUTE!!!


See you guys on the dark side of the moon.........be there in a few.......

06 March 2013

Sign, Sign Everywhere A Sign

Maybe that's ringing a bell for you
...in the 70s with Five Man Electrical Band
...in the early 90s with Tesla

OK, either way...it has nothing to do with this post.

I just like that song. I prefer the 1991 version by Tesla. That was the year I graduated from high school. There was lots of Aqua Net, people making out in the Winn Dixie parking lot, the Chicago Bulls were still champs, and Pee Wee Herman got caught doing bad things in a theater two blocks away from where I worked. It was a great song.

However, I wasn't actually listening to that song nor was I reminiscing about high school (though I guess I just did)...

I am an obvious person. And by that, I mean I often times need things to be presented to me in the form of OBVIOUS. I am definitely scientific. I tend to function well in environments I can control, measure, and predict. If it can be proven, I'm in. As a single mother of two boys (age 6 & 7) and a student services coordinator in an elementary school (hybrid counselor/administrator), that means that I get to be in such an environment about 2% of the time. So, 98% of the time, I am almost a hot mess.

I ENVY (which I know is a sin) people who are strong in their faith. I watch people who appear unshaken and strong in the face of tragedy and in hindsight reflect upon how their faith in our Lord got them through. And I watch LONGINGLY.

I would totally be the person yelling from the back of the space shuttle, "Houston! Houston! We have a problem!!!!" before we even left the ground. I am the person who comes up with ten different scenarios  and possible outcomes for situations that have one obvious answer. Many times, my life feels like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story with lots of pages missing.

This is NOT my family photo, but I feel like it should be:


So when it comes to FAITH...oh my. My theory on faith is this: It's easy to have it when you don't need it. When push comes to shove and life leaves us asking "why???", faith becomes tricky. It is absolutely the biggest thing that puts me out of my comfort zone. I can't prove it, measure it, weigh it, or predict it. But HEY!!! GUESS WHAT? Our gracious Lord TOTALLY GETS ME. And lots of times, He gives me very obvious signs that He's here and He's with me. God has written an IEP for me. He knows what I need and he knows what my accommodations are.
When my day goes like this--which is often--not just at work, but in my personal life:


Our perfect God will often times throw me a bone that I totally understand, such as:


So as I stumble through each day, I will continue to THANK Him for KNOWING what I need and to the degree of absurdity that it is needed. He knows just who to put in front of me and He knows just what slap-up-side-the-head I need. That's MY kind of Lord.

Thanks, big guy, for having my back. I felt you today when I needed you most. Can you believe it? THAT is a miracle! :-)

I'm totally kidding with this picture. I can't stand Justin Bieber and I have absolutely no faith in what he says.






05 March 2013

hda;wdh;wefw

Today's post has been brought to you by someone who has had a really really really really long, trying, frustrating, sad, and exhausting day.

04 March 2013

Masochist

You are probably wondering, "Why on earth would Ruth let someone participate in SOLC who would title a blog entry like that???"
Well, truthfully speaking, you probably SHOULD wonder that about me. Or just wonder about me in general.
As far as I know, I am not a masochist. I do not experience gratification due to another person's physical pain or humiliation. (And that was the CLEANEST definition I found! Whew! Glad I didn't search for that definition at work. That would surely get flagged in one of our "Suspicious Search Queries Reports".) Unless it's the Florida Gators. I do like it when they experience intense humiliation in sporting events.
OK...so back to the point I haven't gotten to....
On my doorstep this evening was a box containing my new trail running shoes! It so happens that they are aptly called "Mountain Masochist". I am psyched. I have been wearing them all evening around the house.
Of course, there's a winter storm warning for tomorrow. It's like showing up to the public pool right after it is discovered someone has opted NOT to put their child in a swimmer diaper. So I don't get to go try them out tomorrow.
I am currently preparing for what will be a mentally, physically, and spiritually challenging (to say the least) accomplishment. I am running my first ultra marathon at the end of July. 100 miles. Most of it is trails. My dear friend and colleague, Nancy, and I are running it together, and this will be her second time. She ran this very race last year and is STOKED to do it again. In order to be "counted" and more importantly, to receive a shiny cool belt buckle, we must finish in under 30 hours.
I think about this every single day. Every. Single. Day. I have doubted myself a million times. I have second-guessed my ability to do it. I have competed in races since I was in my early 20s. I have been a runner for quite a while and it is definitely a passion of mine. Nothing gets me more excited and, at the same time horrified, than the thought of conquering a 100 miler. But I am dedicated. It's an accomplishment of epic proportion. I. CAN. DO. IT.
If any of you would like to join us, here is more info:

 http://www.burningriver100.org/

Which leads me back to the beginning of this post: Masochist.
I think my dear friend Nancy may be one. Why else would she have talked me into this? Oh wait...I agreed to it. (JUST KIDDING, NANCY!)
(Disclaimer: Nancy is the kindest and sweetest person on the planet.) :-)

In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first people on record to summit Mount Everest. When Hillary was asked WHY he wanted to climb that mountain, his answer was perfectly simple: Because it's there.


03 March 2013

I made the guy at the BMV cry.

I am NOT kidding. I got myself all worked up to go in there. Low and behold, I made the BMV man cry.
It went like this:
I entered the BMV with my two boys in tow. Secretly, I was hoping that the sugar they just ate would kick in and they would cause such a racket, the BMV would WANT ME OUT OF THERE. When we walked in, we were greeted by a machine that instructed us to touch the screen so it will print us out a number. This was our position in line. They were even courteous enough to let us know what number was currently being served so we could estimate how much time would elapse before we had to sit down face to face with someone. We got number 92. Number 88 was currently next to be called.
Crap! I thought, "If this goes well, my plan of dosing my kids up with sugar in the hopes of expediting this experience is going to backfire on me."
Whoa, they were efficient. We didn't wait 10 minutes. 92 was called and we took our place in front of a friendly looking, older gentleman. I handed him the current title to my car along with all of the other documents I feared I would need and explained to him the purpose of our visit.
He stared at the title transfer information for what seemed like a really long time. I waited. He continued to stare at it.
He finally looks up at me with watery eyes and says, "How long have you lived at this address?" I replied, "Only about a month. Is everything OK??"
Turns out, I just moved into this man's childhood home. He lived there from the time he was in first grade until he moved to California for a job in the mid 1970s. His parents sold the house in 2001. His parents have both since passed away and from what I could infer, he has some grief with which he hasn't dealt. His eyes welled up as he shared that he hasn't been able to drive by the house in quite a while. He shared a few memories of the structural layout of the house and pointed out where a couple of family pets have been buried in the yard. (eeek!)
I was floored. Of all the BMV associates I could have randomly by chance sat down in front of, I get the man who grew up in our home. It was bizarre, but in a good way. I was totally taken aback by his emotional response to seeing our address and truly enjoyed this strange connection to the man who was going to handle my title transfer, change my address on my license, and replate my car for the next 12 months.
Of course at this point, my sons have transformed into cyclone 1 and cyclone 2. Brilliant, Christie. Brilliant.
So, my fear that the visit was going to be disastrous, psychologically damaging, and may end in my arrest was totally unfounded. This man took care of everything I needed and congratulated me on my latest Dance Dance Revolution high score.

02 March 2013

enCOURAGEment

You know how we are supposed to ENCOURAGE people in our lives? I feel like I do a pretty good job at it. I am generally a happy person with an upbeat personality. Seriously. I realize there are moments, but on average, yes--I am an encourager.
So at this moment, I am trying to encourage myself. I am getting ready to go to the BMV. To some, it is the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. To me, it is the Bureau of things that are Most Vile. Most times, I have left feeling like the person sitting on the other side of the counter had the sole purpose that morning to psychologically damage me. And it smells funny in there.
Luckily, there are many things you can do today online instead of having to actually enter the gates and wander the nine circles of the BMV. 
But for me today, I am heading in. I am encouraging myself that I CAN DO THIS! They don't scare me! It's a title transfer! It can't be THAT hard!
But just to be safe, I am bringing with me copies of all the birth certificates of anyone in my family dating back to the late 1800s, my social security card that has been sprayed with calming lavender aromatherapy stuff, cheek swabs from everyone in my house and the people who live immediately behind me, a few letters of recommendation, a printout of my latest high score on Dance Dance Revolution, and my first born son (just in case). 

(Disclaimer: anyone reading this who may or may not be employed by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles must understand that I am simply not getting over a few bad experiences at the local BMV and in no way should consider my ramblings to be a valid indication of mental capacity or moral quality of the folks at the BMV in general. In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea to focus your worry more towards the subject of MY mental capacity.)

Wish me luck!!! And anyone available to post bail know this: I am good for it. Message me your number. :-)

01 March 2013

March 1, 2013

#slice 2013OK...As much as I would like to NOT have one more thing to do, such as blogging, one of the best people in my world, Ruth Ayres, TWISTED my arm. So maybe she didn't twist my arm. She just looked at me with that face that says without words, "This is really important to me and you can totally do it and you should because if you don't I will stand here and stare at you with my big brown eyes till you do." (Yes, I believe Ruth's facial expressions communicate with me in a run-on format.)
So, here's my slice.
There are some people you would do anything for...and Ruth is one of them. Added to this reasoning is the fact that I love her family. Which leads me to the main idea of this first post: One of Ruth's ridiculously awesome children, J, gave me the best shout-out ever. At our recent school POW WOW, where the entire student body assembles in the gym for a celebration of our school's awesomeness, I was making some general announcements and getting ready to introduce the next guest speaker. The kids all get to a level zero--that's almost silent aside from the noise created by 530 K-5 graders' squirminess. As I am looking out at the sea of faces, I see this totally cute face pop up, HUGE smile across his face, and he shouts out, "HEY THERE, MISS CHRISTIE!" (That's what he calls me--not Mrs. Holst--and I love that!)
Not a care in the world that he just gave me a shout-out in front of 530 kids.
Not a care in the world that no one else was talking.
That's some excitement to see me! Why can't everyone be that excited to see me????