Nothing like a good run

After weeks, months of getting sidetracked from my running schedule, I went for a long one today and it felt great. Granted, it was more of a walk peppered with short running bursts, but the main thing is getting out there. The release of endorphins in my brain always makes me feel more positive and energetic. There are several different routes that I like to take when I get out there to run. They’re based on the time I have for running and my mood. This one is one of the longer ones that I like to take on the weekends if I don’t have other pressing things to do. It takes me out for a good hour and by the time I get home, I’m tired, sore and exhausted but I always feel great mentally. It’s a beautiful route. almost zen-like if you can just lose yourself in the surroundings.

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Quiet, lots of shade and just beautiful.

When I don’t run or do some type of exercise, I usually start feeling frustrated and negative about things. That’s probably why I keep going back to running. It just takes away the negative energy and clears my head. If any of you read my last post, you’ll see that I was really at a point where little things were bothering me. I know so many negative people. All they see around them is the negative aspects of things. In reality everything has negative and positive aspects to them. It’s all in what or how you choose to look at them. When I’m not feeling good about myself, not making time for exercise then I can easily fall into that trap also. Without preaching, I’ve tried to share my feelings about exercising on a regular basis and typically the response I get is that they don’t like to get sweaty and dirty. Okay, that’s their choice and I respect that. For me, an hour of sweating in the heat and pushing through discomfort really pays off in feeling good the rest of the day.

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How can one not enjoy being out in this beauty?

Some people are able to set up a schedule for themselves and adhere to it. I find it impossible with an elderly parent and a teenage daughter. Too many unexpected things come up. That’s why I really need to push through being too tired on some days and take full advantage of every day that I can possibly get running in. The other stuff I can’t help.

I’d join a running club if I could. It would probably give me that extra motivation to be around others who enjoy the same thing. And to have a running partner who is counting on me to show up at a certain time for our run. Maybe someday when life settles down a bit more for me.

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To all you runners out there – see you tomorrow out on the trails…

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One of THOSE Days…

I try to stay positive. Think good thoughts and embrace things as they come….. (blowing raspberry)

Today, I’m just not feeling it at all. I’m not getting the validation from my bosses that I’m doing a good job, I’m not feeling appreciated, my running is falling steadily by the wayside because I keep getting pulled in so many directions. My daughter has decided to become a gourmet cook overnight and I’m eating way too much food and way too late at night because for some reason she always starts her cooking late. I get home and there’s vacuuming. laundry and cleaning to be done. And I’m watching one of those bridal reality shows where the bride is pitching a fit because daddy won’t fork over more money for her wedding. (blowing more raspberries).

I wish I had a daddy to hand over money or a husband who wanted to provide and take care of his wife instead of the man I married who voiced his resentment many times over the years we were married how he thought it was totally unfair that women have a choice whether to work or not. Funny, because the way I remember it, I didn’t have a choice. If I really wanted to nit-pick;  he actually didn’t work for over a year and worked part-time for another 3 years during that time while I worked two jobs. So, who was it that really had a choice??

This bride show – she’s fussing now because her daddy has vetoed some of her expensive choices for the wedding and she’s being a baby about it. My sixteen year old has more sense than that! The girl is in her early twenties and she’s going in for Botox??!? Either I’m really living out of the loop or I wasn’t smart enough to manipulate people around me to my advantage.

I know I’m rambling on here. It’s just been one of those frustrating days that’s been piling up on a series of similar other days.  So, I’m going to vent, get it out of my system then get up tomorrow and take one of my long hike/runs and it’ll clear my head. I’ll be back to my normal positive self in no time. For right now though I think I’m entitled to blow off steam.

Have a great Friday night everyone. Tomorrow is always a new, promising day.

Falling In Love

It’s a really strange feeling when your child starts flirting, having boyfriends (or girlfriends) and dating.

In my mind she will always be a little girl and it was just so odd to see her moving into the romance phase of her life. It seemed to happen overnight too. One minute I was worrying about mundane things like making sure she kept up with school, homework and chores and the next thing I knew, I was having to be vigilante about which guys were coming into her life. It just opens up a whole new ballgame.

I was rolling with it though. I just made sure that the communication lines were always open between us. She confided in me and we’d have talks about life, boys , dating, etc…

I can handle this, I thought. I made sure she knew that the heavy duty relationships and marriage comes after college. After she’s had a chance to figure out who she really was. She agreed and all was good. Until….

She met THE guy. They had a lot in common, had same goals of college, education and future plans. They became inseparable. Nothing I did or said deterred them from being in love and making future plans. At first I thought – Okay, they’ll probably get through this and then it’ll fizzle out. But then I remembered something that hadn’t really registered in my brain until now when I see her at sixteen.

Sixteen was when I met the guy I’d eventually marry. We did divorce after 23 years of marriage, but the point is I was only sixteen and I’d already met the guy I was going to spend the next quarter of my life with. Once that realization set into my head, I started looking at her in an entirely different light. Is it possible that this could be the one? Yea, I guess it is. Do I still think it’s too young? Absolutely. In our parents and grandparents day, meeting your future mate at sixteen was not unthinkable. Today, I think there are just too many things to experience and figure out to settle for someone at that early of an age, but I realize that the heart sometimes knows what it wants. It’s entirely possible that this could be the one for her.

I figure that the most important thing is to be there for her to bounce her ideas, thoughts and feelings off of and most of all to love her unconditionally. I’m not going to lecture her or try to keep them apart. I just need to make sure they don’t lose sight of their goals. Know that college and education comes first because it will help make life so much easier if and when they do decide to get together.

Besides, so far, I like the guy that she’s chosen. He seems to be a good fit for her at this point in their lives. I just hope they remain on track with their goals and not divert from them the way I did. I didn’t have anyone around to advise me and make sure I was making the right decisions. So I’m putting myself in that position for them.

I had forgotten how powerful love can be. It’s all encompassing and just changes ones life completely. I remember when I look at them how it had been for me. It’s an amazing feeling and I wouldn’t take it away from them. It’s just that in my mind she’s still my baby and to see her moving into romance and love is, well I wouldn’t say difficult, but it’s been challenging to figure out how much to let go and how much to pull back.

Falling in love… such an amazing experience.

The New Meaning of Driving One Crazy

For all you parents out there who have kids under fifteen, just wait. Just wait till they get their learner’s permit. Then you will truly understand how nerve-wracking it is for the parent.

My daughter could not wait for the day she turned fifteen for that meant she could get her driving permit. I was okay with it. I know she has to learn sometime and after all I got mine when I turned fifteen also. In fact, I had been driving way before that on a property that my dad owned. Anytime he would go out there to work, I’d tag along at age twelve or thirteen and take the car around on the property while he worked. No biggie.

So the magical birthday rolls around and soon after we were at the DMV getting her permit. I was still feeling comfortable about the whole driving idea. That afternoon I took her to a huge parking lot where I knew there would not be anyone around. It was one of those places that had gone out of business. Took her there and explained what she needed to be watching for on the dashboard gauges. We went over the positioning of the seat and mirrors. Finally, she was ready. I settled down on the passenger side and we were ready to go. She took it nice and easy. I had her driving as if she were on the road, staying in the proper lanes, stopping for imaginary lights and signs. All in all it was a good driving experience.

THEN she was ready to drive on the road. My gut clenched, the nerves started firing and I found myself making excuses on why today wasn’t the right day. A few days passed and she kept after me to let her drive on the road. We live in a busy city and there are no light days to take her out for a practice drive. It’s jump in traffic and go. I ran out of excuses and so we finally got ready for her first drive on the road.

I handed her the keys. She had to tug on them a bit because my fingers just didn’t want to unhook from the key ring. Getting in the car, she began adjusting the seat and mirrors while I was still lecturing her from outside the car. I reminded her of the blind spots and how she would have to get familiar with the blind spots of different vehicles. I walked around the car and had her look in the mirrors for when I disappeared from sight so that she would get a good feel of where she could easily miss something. As I lectured on and on about the blind spots and all the different possible scenarios where she could run into trouble while driving, she finally looked at me and said, “Mom, you’re stalling. Let’s go.”

Agh, she was so right. I was stalling. The realization that I was about to hand over the controls to the car to my fifteen year old daughter was finally hitting me full force in the face, FIFTEEN! That age all of a sudden seemed way too young to me. Reluctantly, I got into the car and prepared myself.

Buckling in, I kept an eagle eye on everything she touched. Made sure she put it in reverse and not drive. I’m sure my eyes were rolling about wildly as she started moving out of the drive. My foot was already pressing down on the floorboard on my side, wishing madly I had a set of brakes over there. If there had been, we would not have moved one inch.

As she moved out into the road, my poor heart started doing palpitations,  I was trying so hard to be calm and collected so that she would be relaxed and focused on her driving. However, my hands would fly up to hold the dashboard or the handle above the seat. My foot automatically slammed onto the floor looking for the brakes. She’d come up behind a car or to a stop light and I would press back in the seat with both hands clutching the door and console on either side of me.

“You’re coming up too fast. Start braking please.” I’d say.

“Mom, relax. I’m stopping already.”

“You need to give yourself more time to brake.”

“I know, mom. I’m fine. See, I can do this.”

“Don’t get cocky. Cocky drivers always get into trouble.”

“Sheesh, mom. Relax already would you?”

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I knew she was doing fine. She was being responsible and careful. She listened to me and did what I asked of her. It’s just the feeling of being out of control and having a fifteen year old manipulating so many thousand pounds of steel.

This went on for a long while, every time we’d go out and she asked to drive, my mind and body would automatically go into that fight or flight mode. The adrenaline would start pumping and my nerves started jangling. I never realized how much I liked to be in control of a vehicle and just how helpless I could feel sitting over there with a newbie driver.

She’s actually a good driver. It wasn’t that she gave me reason to be so panicky every time we went out. It was simply my own response to teaching or being responsible for a young, new driver. I know now that I could never be a driving instructor. I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress. Today, she does a lot of the driving and I’ve actually gotten to the point where I can check my phone and send text messages without feeling I have to have eyes on the road and her every second. I still press down on the floorboard trying to brake when we come up behind cars or to a light, and she knows it. I think she takes some small delight in the fact that I get so jittery over this. That’s okay… one day, she will be in my shoes and I’ll be in the back seat laughing at her. No, let’s correct that – I’ll be at HOME laughing at her. I don’t think I want to go through this again with a grandchild. I’ll just let her handle it while I’m in a safe, comfortable place.

Life is Beautiful…

I’m around some people who don’t see beauty around them. It makes me sad when I hear them talk about suicide or being depressed. I’m not bipolar but I have had very close experiences with people who are and it’s really tough to see them go through these extreme lows.

Please, if anyone out there is interested. It’s such a precious place we live in. There’s so much beauty surrounding us. It may not be right next door but it’s definitely on our planet. Use your imagination…dream… let your mind go places that you may not be able to go physically at this moment.

I believe in the power of positive thinking. I think that when you feel that things are possible. They really can be. There’s no limitations except what you place on yourself.

I, myself, plan on traveling. I just have to wait a couple of years for my daughter to graduate school. Then I can just pick up and go. Possessions are nothing. Life, love and experiences are everything.

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A perfect rose…

 

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Skiing at midnight…

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Kayaking through the mangroves…

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A beautiful Autumn sky…

I don’t even have money to travel but yet, I can have these experiences. So if I can convince anyone that life is beautiful around the corner….I’ll be happy.

 

 

Oreo, Oreo…

I told my daughter that I would post a post for each of our cats. This one is for the third and final cat that we took into the household. If it were up to my daughter we’d have more and some dogs to boot. My place is just way too tiny for that. If I had a few acres of land then yea, maybe we would.

Anyway, here’s how Oreo came into our lives. With two cats already, Tiger and Bandit, we went to the petmart pretty regularly. This particular time we went there for some cat food and litter on a Saturday. Worst day of the week. This is the day when they bring in the orphaned cats for adoption. The other dumb thing I did was go there with my daughter. I know that two cats is my limit based on finances and the size of my place and I can go to the pet supermarket and zip in and out without looking around. Going with my daughter is a whole different story. She has to stop and visit every cat in the cages. On this particular day, she found this tuxedo cat sitting in a cage by herself. For some reason, my daughter fell in love with this cat. Oreo was a tiny little thing, I thought she was around six months or so old. I told my daughter that we really only had room for two cats in our lives based on the money I had and the space we lived in. I assured her that someone would probably adopt her in no time and she would be living in a good home. My daughter looked at me with those trusting eyes and said are you sure?

“Yes, I’m sure darling.” I said.

She said she wanted to take pictures so that she could always remember her.

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I finally got her out of the store and thought to myself, whew, I made it out of there without taking on another animal.

The story doesn’t end there.

About two months later, when my daughter was spending the weekend with her dad, I needed to go to the pet supermarket for more supplies. So, I went back to the same store she and I went to those months prior. Guess what I saw?? Yes, I saw that same kitty, in the cage still. I thought, Okay, no. I can’t just walk on out and leave this cat. She’s been in this cage for about two months that I know of and who knows how much longer before or after that she would still be in there.

I know.. I’m a sap.

I spoke with the lady and found out that Oreo wasn’t a six month old kitty as I originally thought. She was actually two years old. As tiny as she was, I guessed she hadn’t had an easy life. She wasn’t particularly friendly when placed in my arms, but then who would be if they’d been living in a cage as long as she had been? I agreed to adopt her.

Bringing her home was an interesting experience. She didn’t take too well to Tiger or Bandit at first. They were interested in her and wanted to welcome her into the home. She, on the other hand, wanted absolutely nothing to do with either of them. She hissed, she spit and she did everything she could to avoid them. Not a very trusting cat at that point.

Today she is a sweetheart. A mischievous one for she loves to tease the other two  by sneaking up on them and swiping their hind legs or butt. She’s also established herself as the ruler of the roost. The other two males are very docile and are quite happy to allow her the “queen bee” role in the house.

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Tiger is pretty much his own cat. He picks and chooses who he wants to be with at any given time.

Bandit is my cat. He’ll always come to me and very rarely to anyone else.

Oreo, however gravitates toward my daughter. She’ll snuggle with her as her first choice any time.

So, that’s my introduction to my cat family. Adorable, wonderful and precious. I’d have dogs too if I could, but they require a bit more attention and unfortunately our schedule isn’t very dog-friendly. Maybe if I ever get to the point when I can stop working and spend a little more time at home.

My Shy Bandit

Don’t know if any of you guys have read it but I posted a piece about my cat Tiger recently. This one is about the other cat I got about a year after Tiger.

Tiger seemed to want other feline company judging by the way he would raid my daughter’s room for her stuffed animals. Always the cats, mind you. She had stuffed animals of every imaginable variety and Tiger seemed to always go for the cat kind. So, I felt that perhaps he was trying to tell us in his own way that he needed another cat to keep him company.

Bandit…

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Not only did he turn out to be the perfect companion for Tiger for they got along so well, but he also became my baby. From the time we got him, he attached himself to me and would cuddle whenever possible. At the time he was a tiny little kitten, today he is my biggest cat out of the three. He’s also the biggest baby, always wanting cuddles and snuggling  in my arms. The picture above is actually him curled up in my arms looking up at me.

It’s funny. You would expect him to establish himself as the ruler of the roost with his size, but as it turns out it’s the littlest one that rules our place. I’ll give her her own post later…

Bandit on the other hand, may have been taken from the mother too soon after birth. I noticed after I adopted him that he would snuggle in my arms and suck on the tip of his tail until he fell asleep. If I had any choice in the matter, I would have left him with his mama a little longer, but he’d already been taken away by the time I met him.

He’s a very skittish cat. Jumps at the slightest sound. My little one (the tiny, little, female) takes great amusement in sneaking up behind him and swiping his behind. When she does this, he jumps two feet into the air and takes off for another part of the house. I swear if cats could laugh, she’s definitely laughing.

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He’s the biggest cat and the biggest baby of them all. He’s the one I can always count on for snuggles and loving. Right now, as I’m typing, I can see him circling my chair trying to find a good spot to jump in and snuggle.

It’s funny because he doesn’t cuddle with anyone but me. This drives my daughter crazy. She loves the cats and wants them to love her back, but she knows that Bandit is my cat. The only thing I can think of is that he must have attached himself to me if they did indeed take him away from the mother too soon.

Tiger is a very welcoming cat. You’ll find that a lot of cats are very territorial. It takes some time for cats to allow another to enter what they consider to be their territory. Not Tiger, he’s had two cats brought into his space and both times, he welcomes them and is very curious of who they are rather than being hostile. It’s usually the newcomer who does all the hissing and spitting for the first couple of days.

Anyway, this is my introduction to Bandit. Probably one of the sweetest, gentlest cat I’ve ever met.