I Hate Alarm Clocks!

I’ve never been a morning person. This morning the alarm woke me rudely as it always does. As I do every morning, I turn it off and roll out of bed and into the shower. I’ve learned years ago not to snooze for an extra five or ten minutes as it always leaves me feeling frustrated and wanting more sleep.

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Back to this morning – I wake up, reluctantly – shower, in sleep mode – get dressed – when I noticed that my daughter still wasn’t up yet. I knew that she should have already been up by the time I got dressed so I rushed in there where I found her still in deep sleep. Crap!

Rushing over to her side, I shook her shoulder, not that gently either. I needed to get through that deep coma she was in at the moment. After a few moments of shaking and calling her name, she finally rose up to the surface.

Squinting, since I turned the overhead light on, she threw her hands up in the air to try and block it out. “Whaa??” I could see her trying to orient herself.

“Honey, you need to get up. You’re going to be late for school.” I could see she was still struggling to shake off the fog she was in. I kept shaking her and trying to get her to focus.

“We need to be out of here by 7:00. Do you know what time it is?” I took her cell phone and waved it in front of her eyes. “Here take your phone and look at the time.”

With one eye, she peered at her cell and looked at me. She should have been jumping out of bed at this point.

“Do you see the time?? You only have fifteen minutes to get ready before we have  to leave.”

Slowly, she looked at me and at her phone then back to me. “Mom, I’m confused.  Why do we have to get up?”

OMG, she’s seriously out of it! “WAKE UP. It’s 6:45.”

Again she peered at her phone. “But it’s 5:45.”

My mouth, which was opening to tell her again to get her butt out of bed, snapped shut. No. That can’t be right… is it?

I backed out into the hallway to look down the hall into my bedroom and the clock that was glowing on my bedside and sure enough – 5;45.

Seriously??? How the hell did I miss that?

 

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Guns Aren’t Violent, People Are.

It’s true. So many people are against guns and truthfully, I never liked being around them either for the longest time. Then my ex just wouldn’t stop with all his threats and innuendos. I know that he’s had a gun…whether he has one now, I don’t know but I would be foolish not to prepare myself. So, I got past my discomfort and went to the range to learn how to handle one.

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I’ve been handling them for a while now and am getting more comfortable with it. It’s a powerful weapon and definitely not one to fool around or get cocky with, but I understand it and know how to handle it. Had anyone come to me years ago and suggested I get a gun in the house, the answer would have been a flat out NO. I still believe that if one has kids, guns have no business being there unless you’re an extremely responsible individual who knows the extreme importance of keeping guns locked up at all times. Otherwise, don’t even think of bringing one around kids.

Today with my daughter nearing adulthood and proving herself to be a mature person, I have changed my views on owning a gun. My ex stalks me and threatens to “do something” to me. I’d be silly not to at least learn how to protect myself. Take the very thing that so many people are afraid of and so many others use to main and kill with, and understand it. Know how to use it. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.

If anyone comes to me and tells me that their view on owning guns is that no one should have them, I wouldn’t argue with them. It’s a very personal choice and one that’s influenced by life experiences. I just don’t want to be caught with my pants down – so to speak – and not be able to defend myself.

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All moral and ethical issues aside – I’m not a bad shot. I hit my target with just about every shot I take. This surprises me because I never expected to be as accurate as I’ve been with a gun. I’ll keep practicing because I actually do enjoy going to the range and shooting. I do, however hope and pray that I will never, ever have to use it in any situation.

Back to the Trails

After roughly five months without running, I finally ventured back out today. It was too beautiful of a day out not to take advantage of it. I figured today would be a great time to test my shin and see how it held up to running again. It felt so good to be outside this morning, with the temperatures in the high sixties/seventy mark and not a single cloud in the sky. The flowers are beginning to burst out in bloom. It felt amazing to be out walking – running again.

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At first I thought that I’d just go a short route just to test my leg, but once I got out there – well, you can see from the picture above, I just had to go my favorite long path just to be out there. After all, it has been a wet and gloomy (yes, cold too) few weeks for us down here in “sunny” Florida.

My leg held up okay…not great but it’s healing. It was mostly walking interspersed with some running and I did fine for the first couple of miles before the leg started sending out some warning signals. It wasn’t pain, but rather just a little zing here and there just to let me know to back down. Normally, I’d ignore the signals and keep pushing through it. Not now, I’ve been humbled by the lowly leg. It cracked the whip on me hard when I wouldn’t stop punishing it with the running before. Yes – I’m aware I’m referring to my body parts as individual entities. Sometimes it feels that way.

My brain and my body are constantly at war with each other. The brain says we can do it! Let’s go and take on the world! My body says, uh uh, no. There’s 52 years of wear and tear on these parts…slow down. The body parts seem to be winning the battle against the brain for now. But that’s ok, brain is learning to listen and eventually they’ll play nice.

In the meantime, I walked – ran a little until the leg sent out little zingers. Then I’d slow down and take some time to look at the beauty around me. Take pictures. Soak in the sunshine.

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Boot Camp

When the doc told me to stop running due to stress fractures in my shin, I pretty much stopped doing anything. I didn’t post any blogs, I just kind of slid into a funk. Originally I was only going to be booted for a month then it was two months then a couple more weeks. When I finally got it off, I was told no running for a while. By that time I felt as if I had gained weight, lost all my muscle tone and just felt generally crappy.

It’s amazing how much of a boost exercise gives your brain, not to mention the benefits your body gets from it. The only problem for me is – it’s so hard to get started. I was doing great for a while there as long as I kept the momentum going. Much like a pregnant woman who gets a free pass to eat and gain weight during the pregnancy, I started eating junk, telling myself that I might as well enjoy something if I couldn’t run. Huge mistake, I know.

Instead of hitting the trails, I decided to try boot camp. I found a great one. It’s small so that it feels as if I had my own personal trainer. The trainer is great, she keeps us moving without sounding like a drill sergeant. The best thing about this is the way it’s giving me a good workout without putting all the stress on my shins, ankles and feet. It’s a slow process but I feel my muscles getting stronger again. My endurance is improving and all without feeling any bone pain in my body.

This is not to say I’m not going to go running again. I will definitely be hitting the trails, especially when those beautiful days. But I’m going to keep mixing it up with an overall training program. Keep taking the calcium supplements and be a little more conscientious of keeping the nutrients that my body needs for bone health.

Perhaps I’ll be able to work my way up to a marathon one day. Yes, I think running a marathon could be one of the things on my bucket list…

STOP STALKING ME!!

Loosely defined – Stalking is the act of following someone around, keeping tabs on their actions. Using intimidation to try and control someone. 

That would be my ex. Even after being divorced roughly 10 years, living apart for about 12…he’s still following me around and watching my every move. Now he’s cyberstalking. A couple of weeks ago he found an old dating profile that I put out there a long while back and copied it onto an email to me, letting me know he’s watching. The other day he’s found this blog. He actually sent me a long email where he lifted quotes from some of my various posts and was trying to debate them with me. 

First of all, a blog as most of us know is simply a forum for us to write and let loose with our thoughts – an online journal. I posted what I was thinking and feeling at the time. My thoughts and feelings are not up for debate. They’re what I was thinking and feeling at the time. It wasn’t like I was trying to explain physics to the world and getting it all wrong. But I know his ulterior motive in sending these emails to me was a form of intimidation. He’s trying to let me know that he’s watching and that he knows (thinks he knows) what I’m up to. 

For years he followed me around, watching…  His excuse every time I accused him of stalking me was that he wasn’t stalking me, no he was simply trying to get close to his daughter. For those of you who are thinking that he has every right to be close to his daughter – absolutely. I agree 100% that he has every right to be involved in his daughter’s life, BUT…and here’s the kicker – whenever we were at a school or dance function, he would be glued to MY side the whole time, not hers. Even our daughter made that observation that he wasn’t there for her. He was there for mom. He also breaks off commitments to her if he’s angry or displeased with me… why?? What do my actions have to do with him seeing his daughter? If it were the other way around and I were in his shoes, I’d make sure I was there for her come hell or high water. 

How do I know he drives past my place regularly? I have a boyfriend who comes over from time to time. There’s no rhyme or pattern to his showing up, we’ve gone weeks without seeing each other, but yet as soon as he shows up at my place, I’ll get a flurry of texts from the X indicating that he knows what I’m up to. These texts are usually not very pleasant in nature. This happens every single time, so yes, he’s watching my place a lot closer that I’d like. 

I left him. I stayed with him for 23 years and finally decided that I had enough. He’s bipolar and agoraphobic. 23 years and he still wasn’t changing. He was emotionally abusive toward me. He was controlling and insecure. His thinking was that if he could make me feel like I wasn’t worthy then I wouldn’t, couldn’t, leave him. I wasn’t free to do anything without him being with me or having to know exactly where I was going or doing. We didn’t have any friends because he didn’t want anyone else coming around or me going out with anyone but him. I stayed with him for as long as I did because I felt so responsible for him. He would always tell me that he couldn’t possibly survive on his own. When our daughter was born I saw how I must have seemed through her eyes. He called me names, belittled me and undermined me every time I tried to do what I needed to do in raising our daughter and she was starting to talk and treat me the way that he did. 

I lost any respect that I ever had for him a long time ago. Like I said, I felt responsible for taking care of him. 

Most of us, or at least myself, would say hey, so and so doesn’t want me anymore? Okay, fine…moving on. Sure it’ll hurt for a while. There may be anger, resentment and even hatred, but I would definitely stay away from said person that didn’t want to be with me anymore. Why on earth would I continue to force myself on someone that has clearly stated that they were done with me? He said we could be friends for our daughter’s sake. I was all for that after all I don’t hate the guy. I just didn’t have any respect or love for him anymore, and I couldn’t allow him to drag me deeper into the hole he was in. I would hope that if anyone ever got to the point where they didn’t respect or love me anymore that they would break it off with me. 

Know those people who make the news? The jilted ones who kill their spouses and their lovers or sometimes themselves?? He’s actually told me several times that he empathizes with those individuals. He can actually understand where they’re coming from. Intimidation?? absolutely. All he can focus on is that I cheated on him. Even though I was married to him for 23 years with no cheating during that time. Yea I wasn’t divorced when I met someone else, but mentally I had already left him. He was such a controlling asshole that I had absolutely no feeling left for him. I felt as if I were suffocating in a dark abyss. The only bright spot was my daughter and I knew that if I stayed, even that bright spot would dim and eventually extinguish. I did meet someone else and guess what, that person is still in my life and I consider him my best friend even after all these years later.

 

X is so focused on what he considers my infidelity, never mind that 10 years after the divorce I still haven’t crawled back begging his forgiveness, that he has made threats. They’re subtle ones because he knows if he comes right out and says anything point blank the cops will have him dead to the rights. But no, these threats are more like telling me that our daughter should go ahead and get her license because she may need to be able to drive herself around and also take care of my mother in case something happens to me.  Telling me that it would be a good idea for me to have my will made out and up to date in case something happens to me. Texting my daughter and telling her that she should get her license and be prepared to help grandma in case something happens to your mom. He’s even followed my boyfriend whenever he leaves my place in an attempt, I’m sure, to find out where he lives. He’s made threatening gestures toward him through the car windows…imitating a gun with his fingers. He’s sent me emails indicating that he would love to hurt the both of us. He’s even gone as far as to tell my daughter when she was around 11 or so years old that the only reason mom was still here was because of her. Well, she’s 17 getting very close to adulthood and it seems that he’s escalating his stalking and threatening messages. I get the feeling that he’s just waiting for the right time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booted!!!

I’ve been booted! The doctor put a boot on my leg!

Not something any runner likes to hear. I’d been experiencing a lot of pain in my shin for going on a month now and it was interfering with my running. I figured that I’d probably worn out all the cushioning from my running shoes and needed new ones, but I kept putting off getting shoes because there was so much going on in my life. School started and as any parent knows, there’s a lot of expenses associated with the start of the school year. So, I put it off.

Meanwhile I’d go running and have to ice my shin for a day or so after. I figured maybe giving myself a few days off from running would help. I took a few days off, then ran again. The pain would come back, but I’d keep running through the pain until I didn’t feel it anymore. Of course, once I stopped running it would come flooding back.

I decided to take a week off from running. I actually started feeling much better and stopped walking with a limp, so I tried again. This time I made sure to go out and buy some new running shoes. Saturday morning came and it was a gorgeous day outside. Excitedly I put on my brand new running shoes, hot pink shoelaces and all, and ventured out.

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I noticed that I was still feeling discomfort in my shin while walking.  Annoyed, I thought, okay stop being such a wuss and get through this.  I ran. I pushed myself halfway through my five mile route when I finally had to admit that there was something to this and that I really should go see someone about it.  The other problem I was encountering was the fact that my mother had been having a rough time in the past few months requiring several trips to doctors and even a hospital stay. I was already taking a lot of time away from work for her and also for my daughter with her school needs. I really couldn’t afford to take any more time off so I tend to put myself way down on the bottom of the list. Which is what most mothers do.

It was time to put myself way up on the top of the list, even if it was just for a short while. After all if I’m not healthy, how will I take care of them, right?? So, I made an appointment.

The doctor looked at my leg, poked around, watched me walk, sent me for X-rays then an MRI.

“Stress fractures,” he pronounced.  “I’m going to put a boot on you to relieved some of the pressure on your shin while you walk.”

“I guess that means no walking or running for a while, huh?” I asked.

He looked at me with a raised eyebrow and a lopsided smile and said, “Nope.”

It feels like my leg has been put in a prison. The boot is so cumbersome and annoying. I’m getting irritable because I don’t like being told I can’t run. Actually I’m annoyed because every time I do try to run, the pain is so bad that I have to stop. I’m pissed off because the weather is cooling down and we are having some of the most beautiful fall days that are perfect for long runs and I can’t go. I’m just incredibly frustrated right now.

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I know that I should have gone to the doctor as soon as I noticed that kind of sharp pain. Muscle aches, we all know those can be worked through with rest and icing, but this one felt like it was in the bone. I know it was partly my fault for pushing it to the limit and for not taking care of it immediately. It’s just so much easier to take care of the people around me than it is to concentrate on myself.

The lesson learned here is – if you neglect yourself long enough, you will reach a point where you cannot take care of those around you.

So, bottom line is I need to keep the boot on until all the pain is gone from my shin. Then hopefully I’ll be able to get back out there to run. The disappointing thing is, I’m going to have to start all over again with my running progress. Hopefully it’ll be very, very soon so I can enjoy the beautiful fall weather before it gets too chilly. The good thing is I’m in a warm climate so even if it gets chilly, we still have beautiful fall like days all throughout the winter months. So, I’ll just focus on that.

Fifty Two Life Lessons

My fifty second birthday is peeking over the horizon at me. Just a few more days and it’ll be on top of me. It’s truly amazing how quickly the years fly by. Especially once you have kids. There was a time when I thought being fifty was ancient. It was so far down the road and quite frankly I just never really envisioned myself being in my fifties. That was where my parents resided. Then one day I wake up and realize with a shock that I’m there. I’m officially middle-aged.

The interesting thing is – I don’t feel like a middle-aged person. I still feel and think like I did when I was younger. I still enjoy running and being active. I still find amusement in the stupidest, little things and delight in beauty around me. Somehow I always associated middle age with boring, dour looking folks who have long outgrown fanciful things like dreams and playing. At least that was how I always saw my parents and their friends, or maybe that was just how the younger generation sees things. But, being in my fifties really isn’t bad at all.  I’ve learned a lot of things along the way and actually look forward to learning more as I get older. Every stage in life has its own level of learning and it’s not about getting old, it’s about learning and growing mentally and emotionally.

Since I’ve been doing some reflecting on life, I thought I’d try to come up with 52 life lessons that have worked for me. In no particular order… I’m just typing them up as they come to mind.

1. Smile. Smiling does wonders to change a mood. People respond positively to a genuine smile, and that positive response goes a long way in boosting your own mental state. I don’t mean walk around grinning like an idiot every second of the day. It’s just that we all have a choice… we can choose to look at the good or bad aspect of situations. Those who choose to dwell on the good things tend to be much more approachable and easy to be around.

2. Don’t marry just for the sake of getting married. There are literally billions of people on this planet. Life is too special to be wasted being with someone that isn’t quite right for you. When you meet that perfect match, you’ll know it. If you haven’t, at least have fun meeting people along the way. There’s nothing wrong with being alone when you’re comfortable and at peace with yourself. Being married to the wrong person and trying to make it work, only adds stress and unhappiness along the way. Too many times I’ve seen (I was one…) where people meet and say that they can work around the differences and change the person. Trust me, it’s not easy to change the core of who someone is.

3. Exercise. Okay, I can hear the groans already. A lot of people think exercise is overrated. It’s not. It truly does create a more positive state of mind as well as better health. I’ve gone through periods of exercising and not. Whenever I went for a while without a regular workout regime, I started feeling bad both physically and mentally. My physical feeling would be aches, pains and a feeling of being too heavy. The discomfort that I felt with myself only brought my mental state down. Then I would get back into running and always, without fail, I’d feel that boost of confidence. That positive energy would start flowing through me again. Our bodies are just like any mechanical thing we may have such as cars. If you don’t take your car in for regular tune-ups and make sure the tires, oil and other things are changed or maintained on a regular basis – it’s going to break down on you and quit. Our bodies are basically the same way. They need to be maintained and treated well to carry us through our lifetime.

4. Play. Always make time for playing. We work and spend much of our time trying to save a little money, pay bills, maintain our homes, cars and take care of our families. It’s incredibly important to make time for fun. Otherwise your mind is going to get so bogged down with responsibilities. Make time to let loose, go somewhere new, experience something fun. Just get out and clear your head of problems and really enjoy yourself.

5. Choose your battles wisely. If you’re going to get into an argument with someone, at least make sure it’s a worthwhile battle. Otherwise it’s wasted energy. If it really isn’t important and about something that isn’t going to affect your life and surroundings, then just let it go.

6. Learn something new whenever possible. Take a class, read, explore…you’ll be a much more interesting person for it.

7. Make time for animals in your life. They can teach a lot about unconditional love.

8. Try new experiences. I went snow skiing for the first time in my life last winter and had a fantastic time. I don’t want to find myself sitting in a wheelchair at eighty wondering what it would have been like if….

9. If you have kids, give them the absolute best you can. Prepare them for life and give them the tools needed to succeed. And love them unconditionally.

10. Think before you speak. Who among us hasn’t been quick with our mouths only to regret the words coming out. Maybe this is something that has to be learned over time, but it’s very true that our words can sometimes cut deep.

11. Be sensible about your finances. Money isn’t everything, but it’s nothing to brush aside either. Find a good balance where you have enough money so you don’t have to worry about your next meal or how you’ll pay your bills, but at the same time don’t let money run your life.

12. Leave a place better than when you arrived. Pick up after yourself, get rid of trash, etc. None of us want to live in a dumpster so why would we just leave trash laying around?

13. Make time for books and movies. They’re great for relaxation and entertainment, but don’t make them a focal point of your life.

14. Enjoy good food. Be open to trying different dishes and flavors.

15. When in love, love with all your heart. If the love fades then let it go and move on. Know that nothing is forever and sometimes the universe knows what we need at certain points in our lives.

16. Laugh often and laugh loud.

17. See the ocean at least once in your life.

18. Go to the mountains at least once in your life.

19. Possessions are there to enhance your life, not to encumber it. Be willing to give things away when they’ve outlived their purpose. Life is not about things, but about experiences.

20. Always treat others the way you would want to be treated.

21. Never underestimate the power of sleep. A good night sleep will do wonders to boost morale and lift spirits.

22. If you see something beautiful, stop and take it in. Don’t be in such a rush that you miss a great sunset or the glitter from the sun dancing across a lake. We’re not going to be here forever so don’t take beauty for granted.

23. Take care of the older generation. They’ve been around a long time, they deserve to be respected and cared for. These were people that were our age at one time. Always remember that we will all get to that point at one time or another and treat them how we would expect or wish to be treated ourselves.

24. When doing a job for someone, do it well. You wouldn’t appreciate paying someone to do something for you only to see that they’re putting in a half-assed attempt. Do your job well and to the best of your ability.

25. Get crazy once in a while. Let your hair down and don’t be afraid to look foolish. As long as no one gets hurt by your actions, it’s good to let loose.

26. Create something. A picture, poem, story, garden… anything. Just put something together and watch it grow.

27. Nothing’s perfect. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people. Accept these imperfections and learn to see beauty in them.

28. Cry. Don’t be afraid to cry and show your emotions.

29. Show appreciation whenever you can. People usually respond amazingly to a simple but genuine “thank you”.

30. Take vacations. Even if you don’t have the money to travel someplace exotic, a simple drive to the beach or countryside can rejuvenate ones soul.

31. Take time for inner reflection. The world we live in is so fast-paced and hectic that it’s easy to lose touch with yourself.  Step back once in a while to take a breather and meditate. Gather your thoughts and center yourself.

32. Nothing is permanent. Sometimes someone or something that was so good for us at one time can become a source of anxiety or frustration after time. If this happens, it may be time to step back and away from that source. We don’t all go down the same paths in life. Paths intersect for periods of times and then they may divide and you find yourselves going down different paths. It’s okay to move on. Don’t hold on so tightly and refuse to let things flow.

33. Enjoy a good glass of wine.

34. Accept change. It’s inevitable in this changing world we live in. Why fight it?

35. Dress up and wear something incredibly sexy once in a while.

36. Take lots of pictures. Going back and looking at them usually puts a smile on my face.

37. Don’t procrastinate. Easier said than done, I know. But taking care of things right then and there reduces stress in your life. You’re not constantly thinking of the things that need to be taken care of when they’re done on the spot.

38. Accept people for who they are. Too many times, especially in relationships, people will find something that they’re not 100% happy with and place their focus on “fixing” that imperfection. It doesn’t work. Determine if it’s an imperfection that you can live with and leave it alone. If not, move on.

39. Eat sensibly. What we put into our bodies does have an impact on how we feel. Maybe not immediately but over time…  You wouldn’t put dirt into your gas tank, would you? It would muck it all up. Our bodies are the same way.

40. Give what you would like to receive. I’m not talking about things. I’m talking about love, gratitude, respect…

41. Don’t follow the crowd. Too often the crowd is doing things only to be accepted or to be popular and often that entails things that we may not be in agreement with. Step back and be true to yourself.

42. If you see someone being bullied or pushed around, stick up for them. Let them know they’re not alone and let the aggressors know that what they’re doing isn’t cool.

43. Spend time with a baby who is discovering the world for the first time. Seeing things through their eyes really puts things in perspective.

44. Dream. The day you stop dreaming is the day you stop living and start just existing.

45. Enjoy getting older. It may not be so much fun to see the wrinkles on the face, but really, they’re an indicator of what a person has been through. The wisdom and knowledge gained from all those years should be embraced and revered.

46. Think about the choices you make. Your kid wants to go out and play with you but the house needs cleaning….  choose the playtime with the kid over cleaning. Cleaning can be done anytime, but the playing with the kid will be gone over time.

47. Treasure the people in your life. You never know how long they will be there so enjoy every moment you can with them.

48. Bullying, stalking, threatening actions are not cool.

49. Splurge once in a while on yourself. I have a hard time with this one. I tend to want to save my money and time for my mother and daughter that I tend to forget about myself. But when I do something for myself, it’s a great morale boost.

50. Don’t be self-centered. People who are able to forget about themselves to focus on other people or tasks tend to reap more than those who spend all their time thinking of their own desires.

51. What?? We’re not done yet????

52. Live, love, laugh and just enjoy the hell out of this life. Be kind, have fun, get crazy. We only get one shot at this, why not have fun while we’re here.

Happy birthday to me!!!!  Cheers!