One last item

Do you ever notice when you have a to do list you always save the most dreaded job for last.  Well I suppose in some ways I did the same here.

At the beginning of summer I made a bucketlist of things I wanted to accomplish this summer and for the most part… I did it!  I’m running Marathon number 2 in three weeks, I’ve dated, I’ve been flyfishing, I didn’t camp but did take my first vacation with just Henrik and I, and I have blogged about running.  That leaves one last thing.  Blogging about being a single mom.  For some reason this one seems harder.

Harder because it is so personal.  Harder because I want to be real and honest but hard because I don’t want to be negative.  However something happened this week that made me want to write about this.

It all started with sewing a grill cover.  I hate those black covers and I’m sure I could spend some big bucks for something high end but is still some dull color in the end.  A friend commented how talented I was and I replied, “I got my mad sewing skills from my Mother.”  It’s true I did!  She is the sewing Queen!  I have no idea how old I was when I started but I do remember sewing clothes for my cabbage patch kids, cross-stitching patterns, sewing mini-quilts and more when I was in grade-school.  My mom was always sewing something and showing me how.  It didn’t stop at sewing either.  My mom was a very independent woman… a single mother raising two kids while working two jobs.  We were very self-sufficient and she had that “Can Do” attitude all the time.  I never saw her break.

So mom came over to watch Henrik and I told her about my latest creation and the praise that I gave to her.  She replied, “Well I”m glad I did something right.”  I knew what she had… Single Mom Guilt.  How?  because I get it too.

I often feel bad that when Henrik and I are together I’m not engaged in every moment with him.  I don’t have wonderful things planned everyday.  I’ve always told myself that Henrik is not my life but a part of my life.  We share our life together.  Most of the time yes… when we are together I take him into consideration but there are days that we just have to do life things like mow a lawn, wash some walls, clean the bathroom, hang the laundry or rip carpet out of the basement.

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So it was a few days after the conversation with my mom that Henrik was helping me in the basement.  I was pulling up carpet and he was scrapping the floor.  He was having a good old time, holding up chunks proudly.  I didn’t have to coax him, beg him or herd him to stay down there.  He wanted to help.  It was in that moment that in my heart I felt I was doing this right.  I don’t have to give him every awesome experience.  I don’t have to bring him to the zoo, the museum, the pool, play sports, or the beach everyday.  I just have to show him what life is like.  Some days you play and some days you work and no matter what… it all can be fun.  We worked for another 20 minutes and I set down my scrapper and said, “You know what Bubby?  I think it’s time for a Popsicle… you definitely earned it.”

Henrik and I share our life together… I love saying that.  This is our adventure and as he gets older he gets a say more and more where it goes.  There are so many things I cannot wait to show him like fly casting or bowling but I’m in no rush.  I savor one adventure at a time and right now it’s bike riding.

My Mother thinks that she was a single mom who worked and perhaps isn’t sure if she did things right.   She did (as well as my Father and Step-parents).  They all did.  They all taught me how to be strong, persevere, be relentless and most of all be a confident and fabulous parent regardless of my marital status.

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Dear Toenail,

I run… a lot. To be honest with you I have been very fortunate to have never had any real crazy injuries because of it.  I can say I have been sore, stiff, or perhaps just plain tired but never anything nutty.

So it is with great grief to report that I lost my first toenail.

I am a FReaK when it comes to cutting my toenails.  After typing that I realize I have just confessed and extended an open invitation for everyone to look at my feet and say, “Yup! she wasn’t kidding.”  I can’t stand my toenails long… never have, never could and probably never will.  So for that I can thank that the problem of losing toenails or anything associated with it has never been a running problem.

So just how does it happen?  Well somewhere in my favorite restaurant that serves the greatest Crack Fries, Mac n Cheese, Cheese Ale Soup, and Pretzel Puffs…. sits my toenail.  The boy and I now have a tradition of going to the Public Museum and then hitting up our favorite eatery for Crack Fries.  While entering and opening the great wooden door, my Teva wearing feet wear in the kill zone and with one swipe… there went the nail… clinging to life by a last ditch effort.

toenail

I knew it was over and with a held breath I took it’s life and discarded it on the floor.  What?  Did you think I was going to put it in my scrapbook?  I’m not the crazy.

So now comes an even bigger dilemma… something I have never faced.  Running without a toenail.  I’ve cut them short before but this is like a totally whole new soft tissue realm I’ve never explored.  The idea of friction kills me… more than chaffing… more than chaffing then showering.  Suddenly my toenail has become the “Best” side of one of those Best Friend necklaces.  It just doesn’t work without the other.

So here is to uncharted territories.  To becoming a more keratin loving person.  I just might paint you little toenail… when your grow in… if I let you.

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Running a Race

Second time running this race and I can definitely say it is still not the same.  I don’t think any race is for that matter of fact.  You can sign up for the same race year after year and never have the same run… it could be weather, physical ailments, wardrobe problems or just plain drive.  Every run is different.  So naturally why would volunteering to work the second annual Meijer LPGA 5k be any different.

In 2014 I volunteered  to find out what it took to actually RUN a race… as in put it together.  This was my second year being part of this crew and just like the first year it was still as crazy, exciting, and on-your-toes as the last run.

However, I want to share a five things I have learned from being on the other side of running a race.

  1. Thank the Race Director.  This guy/gal works their ass off.  You know that ribbon at the middle of a tug of war rope… that’s the race director. They tie all things together between the public and the sponsors.  They make it all come together.  If you see them… THANK THEM.  HUG THEM.  GIVE THEM A HAND SHAKE.  But never ever… complain… because most of the time… it was not their decision.
  2. Register early.  You have no one to blame but yourself on this one.  I cannot tell you how many people came at the last-minute to register, or tried to get in on a freebie, or just simply wanted to register the day off.  If you want to do a race… REGISTER EARLY!  it’s usually cheaper and you are guaranteed your spot and shirt.
  3. Packet Pick-up.  Basically don’t wait until 30 minutes until before the race to pick up your packet.  Enough said.
  4. Packet Pick-up 2.0.  Okay… not enough said.  There are many reasons to pick up your packet prior to the day of the race.  First, you don’t have to deal with going back and forth to your car a million times to drop off your stuff.  Second, There might have been issues… computer issues or server issues… you might have not clicked yes and therefore didn’t complete your registration.  Third, you don’t have to wait in a line and can dance and sing and wait in line to use the bathroom because you have the “nervous pre-race poops”.
  5. Volunteer.  Runner or not… volunteer to help out at one of these.  It’s the best!  My favorite part is standing 400 meters from the finish line and cheering every (YES EVERY!) runner.  The Asian and I don’t even stand together… so that we can concentrate on the runners and not on our conversation.  We clap and cheer and tell every runner and walker, “Nice Job!”, “Keep pushing!”, “Go Green!”, “Finish Strong!” and all the things we want to hear when we have giving our all, are at the end, and want that cheerleader there to remind us… We just ran a 5k.

LPGA

I’m grateful for having this opportunity and all of those to give back to running…. it is something that has definitely giving me a happy heart and life.

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My knees Have Heard Enough

So I created this bucket list and ironically I’ve done most of it this year except a few things…. one of which I have really neglected was blogging.  The thought crosses my mind and I’ve got a million things to say but in the end I’ve kept them to me.   I won’t say I will be better because I think in the end this is for me and what I want to share but I will try to be more braver.

So… with that being said… I’ve got a bone to pick.  In particular some in my legs.

I am so tired of people say shit about knees and running.  I actually had a conversation about it in my therapist office once (yes I go/went… everyone should… it’s amazing!).  This intern sat in on a session and I talked about all things going on and how nice it has been to run to help just be me.  I don’t know how else to explain it but running does that.  So here is this 25-something year old, future therapist, FORMER runner who says to me… “Yeah, I don’t run anymore because I don’t want to damage my knees.”

What?  Your on your way to getting your PhD and you were a runner and your educated and you should know that this is good for you.  IT’S A MYTH!  So I casually mention how there are studies about runners in the 70’s/80’s boom who despite all the fancy footwear (stability, neutral, barefoot, cushion boost) there is no significant increase in knee replacement surgeries or problems.  In fact they find them very healthy and still running.  However in today’s day and age, we are starting to see increases in this types of maladies… possibly obesity? or orthotic inserts? or perhaps iPad time?  Who knows but it is not because of running.

So I felt it was my calling when this article popped up in my FB feed to call BULLL SHITT to the world of nay sayers when they say, “your knees will go bad.”

Five Things Runners Should Know About Knees

So my knee history… I had achy knees when running and went to my doctor.  He told me that perhaps I needed to find a new sport.  Truth was I needed to find the right shoes and do some strength training and you know what?  No.  More.  Knee.  Problems.

Strength training doesn’t mean gyms and weights.   There are so many amazing Yoga Poses that do just the ticket. Many of these poses can get rid of many aches and pains you feel when running because they work those particular muscle groups.

I mean think about it… got a bad back…. work your core.   Got bad knees…. work your legs. This is where knowing and learning a few key moves to target those areas are crucial… so here are my go to moves lately (all Yoga of course).

  • Bridge (great for hip strength)
  • Warrior Poses (great for Quads)
  • Downward Dog (great for stretching calves)
  • Plank (core. core. core…. we all need it strong)
  • Happy Baby (great for stretching hips)
  • Chair and Power Chair (FULL leg workout… your legs will shake!)

Anyways…. stop saying knees will go bad to runners.  They won’t and in the end something is going to get us right?  I’d rather it be my knees than heart disease or obesity.

and…

There is nothing cooler than running with my son.  Something I want to do until I die.

~Love one Another… Live Life and Make your Story Awesome.

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2015 Bucketlist

I just finished my first four miles of 2015.  Trotting along on the treadmill I wavered in between my thoughts and the Barclay Premier game I had streaming in front of me.  I started thinking about resolutions.  I really don’t like that word… it sounds so negative to me… Like “I resolve to be…”  So I decided that instead of making resolutions I would make goals for myself.  Things that I hope to accomplish this year.

  1. Marathon #2… Now that the first summer of independence is under my belt, I feel that I have a better idea of the feasibility of the training for another marathon and it is definitely doable!  I’m excited and nervous and scared and ready to take on this distance again.  I have no idea where or when… but I do know that I will.
  2. Be more open to the idea of a date… So before you YaYAs start scrolling through your contact lists… hear me out.  The idea of even going on a date makes me feel like the ending of the movie Poltergeist when the house implodes on itself or like my entire heart is a giant black hole sucking in every living molecule of my body.  Most of my YaYas witnessed this when I met a nice gentlemen at a fishing function.  I don’t know how many times I said to myself, “Calm the fuck down Melissa… It’s just fishing.”  Needless to say we never went fishing.  I’m still grateful for the experience because it lit enough fire under my ass to get back into the river… without a man.
  3. Flyfish more… I upgraded my waders right after I joined the Fly Girls of Michigan.  Guys never make good fishing partners.  It’s only a matter of time they start dating someone and somehow have to explain the fishing friendship you have.  Or their hoping that you will play with their fly and I’m not talking about a Caddis Fly Nymph.  This is a group of all woman who LOVE to fish with a ton of knowledge.  I’m very excited for the summer to come so I can join them on many of their meetups.
  4. Camp with Henrik… I have no idea how this will go but there is only one way to find out.  He is finally to the age where we can go out and explore the world around us.  I realized this a few days ago when just walking in the field behind our house he begged me not to take us back home.
  5. Blog more and not just about running… I know that I wanted this to be about running but there is a part of me that realizes that I’m not the only single mom trying to make her way through this world.  Perhaps sharing some of my fun stories, candidness and dind-dongness will make someone out there realize there is someone else just like them.

Happy New Year!

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Three miler thoughts

Man Henrik is getting heavier… he’s gotta be at least 35-38 pounds

How old are kids when they start to ride bikes?

Note to self… never let myself hit 180 again without being preggos… running with this much weight is too much work.

Okay so who was I kidding, Matt didn’t really support my running… quite evident when he said, “What sane person goes out and runs a marathon 8 months after they have a baby.”  I think even my friends would know the answer to that one.

Henrik is so chatty… we talked about the motorcycles that zoomed by, the colors of the leaves, the doggy at the dog park, Daniel Tiger…. so this is what it’s like to run with me… I like it.

In October alone, I ran 3 half marathons… 13 miles is becoming the new norm… YEAH ME!

They should really sell joggers with little motors… just for uphill purposes.

I finally got dressing for running right!  Shorts were perfect but my white legs are blinding.

Please don’t let my chaffing hurt.  Please don’t let my chaffing hurt.

Full Marathon… here I come!  I’m ready for this.  It’s been 2 years and I feel that the time is right.  Running the marathon is definitely tough, but training is just as tough.  You have to stay committed for months and days.  I have found my sweet escape in the miles spent on the road with or without partners.  It’s this happiness that makes running a pleasure and not something I loathe.  It is this reason that I feel I’m ready.

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A Pinch of This and That

Just to prove that I’m not all consumed with all things running and soccer and healthy… I thought I would share some of the things that are going on lately.  As my friend Maggie says, “Share your journey.”  I think she has a great point because when we do… we find ourselves less alone, less weird, and more well… entertained because we learn to laugh at ourselves and with each other.

So first I’ll start out with my latest Pinterest Put-to-Rest:  Magnetic Letter Redo.  I found this post a long time ago and my donated letters were in a vast need of a redo… the carni colors were overstaying their welcome.

Pinterest Link

Using my favorite spray paint, this project only took a few

hours to complete.  I opted to go with gray only because I’m cheap meaning that was what I had in my collection and what I decided to use.

It took about two coats, a bit of upside down can holding, a day to dry and the project is complete.  I love it… way better than carni colors.

Finished Letters

Finished Letters

 

So the next item to share is my loathing of cooking.  As I continue to embrace my culinary responsibilities I realize that it’s the attention that I struggle with.  I’ve learned to love the timer…. a lot!  I’m forced into this cooking realm because I’m not a fan of processed food.  I have yet to every buy fruit snacks for my son.  In fact my students questioned me on this and I told them fruit snacks in my house are blueberries and pineapple…. appropriately named fruit snacks.  I got a few smirks from this.  I like eating healthy therefore this little lady has had to learn a new trade.  I’ve recently mastered the black bean burger and Portabella mushroom burger but both of these were pretty familiar and simple.  So it’s my newest recipe conquest that I’m most proud of… Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup.

I’ve never made homemade soup and the first thing the recipe calls for is cauliflower puree’.  I felt like this was something I should know about but thanks to Google… I figured it out.  However this is where things get “Melissa” style.  I had to steam the cauliflower.  I have no steamer so I improvised.  You’ll need a little background knowledge on this… I don’t own a dishwasher… I am the dishwasher and actually I prefer it that way… I don’t want one.  So because of this I own a bottle sterilized that goes in the microwave.  This puppy holds the bottles, add a little water, pop it in and it heats up to steam clean your bottles, binkies and pump parts.  So after much thought how could I steam these florets… I thought of my Munchkin Bottle Steamer.  Worked like a charm!  Cauliflower steamed, puree made, soup was finished and it was delicious!

So all you moms out there with one… don’t toss it… use it as a veggie steamer.  Heck it has a tray so why not!  I may not be a conventional cook, but I’m a cook and I’m making my way on my own new path… one step, one breath, and one day at a time… and most importantly I’m learning to stay happy, stay human and stay me.

Yesterday at Yoga my instructor said something that I think resonates so much in life…. don’t be afraid to fall.  We were doing a pose called Half-Moon and she suggested to look up to challenge ourselves.  She then said, “Don’t be afraid to fall… when we fall it means we are trying to grow and that’s not a bad thing”.  It was then that I noticed that I do the same poses afraid to challenge myself and fall.  So next we did crow and she suggest popping out to plank.  The first time I tried I second guessed myself and didn’t even make it.  The second time… it was better but I fell and you know what I did?  I giggled.  Reminded me of being a kid.  When we were young and fell, we giggled and we weren’t so afraid.  After falling so many times we become afraid… so afraid we stop trying as many new things as we did.

So don’t be afraid to use a binky sanitizer to steam your veggies or your shampoo to wash your dog (not every time) or lace up your tennies and try running or to dance in your kitchen alone (yes I do this… a lot!).  Fall and then laugh and get up and enjoy life… it’s to short.

~Stay Human

 

 

 

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