Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Elf on the Shelf Is Broken

My Elf on the Shelf is broken
I think I'll send him home,
Turns out he's just as useful (and creepy)
As a garden gnome.

The kids have not stopped fighting
Since he came to play,
I don't think they'd even notice
If the damn thing went away.

I thought he might bring peace
To our chaotic house,
The kids would get along all day
And be quiet as a mouse.

Instead they've just grown louder
And more annoying by the hour,
They push and shove and kick and bite
And keep my mood so sour.

I hoped he would encourage them
To be sweeter to each other,
That's apparently asking far too much
For a big sister and her brother.

I thought they might be polite
And do what they were told,
But I guess the stupid freaky elf
Lost his powers in the cold.

Those nightly trips to the north pole
Must really take their toll,
The kids are boxing with each other
They are really on a roll.

My other beef with that damn elf
Is he can't quite find his place,
He never seems to remember
That he needs to move his face.

I'm pretty sure the kids
are on the naughty list,
That poor little elf
Is probably pretty pissed.

His presence doesn't seem to help
The kids can't get along,
I really need a drink right now
and it better be something strong.

I'm hopeful as the holidays near
That the kids can get a clue,
And learn to get along, be polite
For something different and new.

For if they don't stop freaking out
And being a pain in my rear,
I'm pretty sure that fucking elf
Is going to disappear.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


It seems like I use numbers for post titles a lot, so why break a trend?  If it ain't broke....or something.

I took a moment this morning to reflect on the last 365 days of my life.  Even though my birthday was Friday, today is a day I want to celebrate more.  And by celebrate I don't mean eating cake until I want to vomit celebrate, just a reflective celebration.  Today is my new birthday.

One year ago today I embarked on an incredible journey that likely saved my life.  It wasn't an easy trip let me tell you, but as I've learned in my meager 40 years, the greatest rewards are found at the end of a difficult journey.  Kind of like childbirth.  Jussayin'.

365 days ago I was a 39 year old woman who was horribly out of shape and not even remotely pleasantly plump.  I was fat.  A fatty fat fat girl.  Up until childbirth and the subsequent years of being a human garbage can for all my kids' uneaten food I was a thin girl.  A skinny girl.  But time can do a number on any of us, priorities shift, we take less care of ourselves and worry more about our kids, jobs, husbands, houses, and making sure we've TiVo'd our favorite show: Justified.

Not that prioritizing your children & family is misplaced, quite the opposite, but it's easy to forget to take care of ourselves too.  I lost my Dad when he was 70 years old because he never got the memo to be healthier, eat well and exercise regularly.

Shortly before my 39th birthday, despite myself, I had turned into the one thing I feared the most:  my father.  And when I say I feared it, I mean I feared turning into someone who didn't care about their health, someone who was content to be as they were, and someone who, if they didn't take better care would probably not see the age of 70.

I mean I did fear my dad as a kid, the tinkling of a belt buckle still gives me chills, but please note I deserved every smack on the ass I ever got (and probably more that he never even knew about!).  But that's another blog, and likely a lengthy and expensive stint in therapy.  We won't go there.

My neighbor, Cyndie, and BRF was on a program called Take Shape for Life and was shrinking before my very eyes.  I asked her about it, and got in touch with a healthy coach, and took a giant leap of faith to get started.

And it was a BIG leap of faith....I had grown accustomed to cooking, from scratch, almost every meal.  I avoided processed foods like I avoided the junior high nerd at the after school dance. (sadly, he was the only person who was ever willing to ask me to dance, but I digress, not much you can do when  you're six feet tall in the 8th grade)

But this food, while "processed" was basically medical grade food.  I had grown tired of making excuses like "I'll just be fat I guess but at least I eat healthy" when in all reality I wanted desperately to feel normal again.  I never, ever thought I would be thin.  EV.  ER.  So, I added water to my first soup and gave it a taste test.  It was passable, I thought.

Over the months I actually found many things I enjoyed eating, I was hungry less, had more energy and was able to do something I missed almost as much as I miss my Dad:  RUN.

Years of being overweight gave me constant injuries (and fabulous excuses) as to why I couldn't run.  But once I got started it was like my long lost friend came back.  And on every run I took, I thought about my Dad, and felt his presence, running alongside me, cheering me along, making up for all the mistakes he made that prevented him from being alive.

I need running like I need air to breathe and chocolate to eat.  It is a connection I have with my Dad that can never be broken, and it is how I remind myself of the sacrifice I made all those months to stay healthy and why I'll never go back.

I can't believe what a difference a year makes.  I had no idea a year ago what was in store for me this year.  As I reflect on the last 365 days I can't quite believe that I found myself again through running, lost 50 lbs, ran in a relay race, survived cancer (would NEVER have found the lump so quickly with those extra 50 lbs), started a nonprofit foundation and launched a race series that will go nationwide someday.

Getting healthy gave me my life back and sent me on a journey even more wild than I ever could have imagined.  And I can't wait to see what's next.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

39 + 1

Tomorrow, Nov. 9, is my 40th birthday.  I had planned to run 13.1 before 11am so I could cross "run a half marathon before I turn 40" of my runner's wish list.  But I realized after my bout with the flu (so bad I thought they might admit me to the hospital almost two weeks ago) that it was just that:  a wish.

It was a goal, but a wishful one at that.  I realized that running that 13.1 on a deadline makes as much sense as me entering the Miss America pageant.  None. What. So. Ever. 

I can run 13.1 anytime I want.  Anytime I want that is, when I am healthy.  I'm not.  Despite every effort I've made for almost 4 months to pretend that I am fine and good as new, I'm simply not.  And all that caught up to me in the most frightening way on October 28.

So for my 40th birthday I think I might get up early.  I'll run, make no mistake about that.  But I'll run a quiet 3-4 miles and just enjoy the run.  No pushing it, no worrying about my speed, my splits or average pace.  No, I won't even use my Nike +.  I'll just plug in the tunes and call it good.

After that, I probably won't think anything more about it being my birthday.  I'll be getting ready to celebrate another birthday: the inaugural Cause + Event Portland race on Sunday.  To be honest, I'm more excited about seeing the race than about celebrating my big 4-0.

Not that I'm bummed about turning forty, quite the opposite actually.  I'm healthier, fitter, and more active than I've ever been in my life.  I feel better about myself than I did a year ago.  I feel confident (like I could launch a nonprofit and a national race series confident) and that confidence has proven me to be right.  So far.

I'm ready to put a lid on my thirties.  As I've said they were some of the best and also some of the worst years of my life.  I'm embracing 40 with everything I am.  I look forward to being 40-something.  I'm gonna kick 40's ass.  Just sayin'. 

For the last remaining hours of my 30s I don't have much planned.  Gonna kiss my kids before I go to bed, have a snack and talk to my husband.  And tomorrow, I'll wake up and be 40 and life will go on, like it always does.