Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Dreaded Yoga Fart

I've been on a mission.

My youngest daughter, Claire is an 18-month ball of craziness. 

In an effort to stay sane, I've been taking my brood to the gym every morning to swim, take a class, and in general, to get our ya ya's out.  And I do this, while conditioning Claire to spend at least one hour in the nursery so that we can live in peace.

After a hard early morning run, I thought that taking a relaxing yoga class was exactly what I needed.

Purple yoga mat in hand, I quickly made my way into the studio and prayed that I wouldn't get paged to pick up a screaming toddler.

No teacher in sight, I joined the other 60+ year old women and placed my mat in the circle of trust.

And then he walked in.  Sweet Mary Mother of God.  Are you kidding me right is anybody supposed to focus, the hottie yoga teacher is on the scene?

Is he gay?  Is he metro?  WTF?

Mind reeling, I thought, screw it.  I don't care what I look like, I'm getting my Downward Dog on and taking this one hour for myself.

And then it happened.  Instructed to lay flat on our backs and to lift our asses high in the air while we swing our legs over our heads and push our feet to the back wall....I landed in what I thought was a perfect "Plow" pose. 

Feeling a little queesy and wondering if the cream in my coffee was making my innards turn to mush, I heard foot steps.  Shit, he's correcting us...ass and all.  And that's when he pressed on my lower back and I

farted in his face.

And it was no delicate "paaahhhh."  No, it was a gutteral, truck driver, try to clench your ass only to make it worse FAARRRTTT.

And then, I was fucked.  With 25 minutes still left to go in the class, I never resumed eye contact.  My circle of trust was broken with the other ladies.  I was the stinky black sheep.

The only redeeming detail I learned is that he was a sub for the regular instructor.

Sure as shit, I'll never be returning to that class.  The good news is that Claire did fine in the nursery.  So, at least I've got that going for me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

What I Know About Me...

It's funny. 

The older I get, the more aware and probably honest I am, about what I am and what I am not.

I know a few things.

I'm a high maintenance girl who tries to pretend that she's not.  I like things a certain way and often the only reason that they're not is because I can't afford it or I don't have enough energy in this season of my life to make it so.

I hate researching anything.  I am impulsive and intuitive.  Nine times out of ten, I make the right decision, but sometimes, I'm painfully aware that I could have had better, had I just taken my time and explored the options.

I am deeply infatuated with smart, non-pretentious, capable people.  There is nothing I love more than getting drunk and commiserating with folks who challenge my thinking and freely share their's orgasmic, really.

I love being a girl.  I love long hair. Skirts. Tanned legs. Talks over coffee/champagne with my girlfriends. And making my husband's head turn.

I was called to be a mother.  For all of the shit that comes with parenting and there is more literal and metaphorical feces than I ever thought possible...I would lay down my life and my sanity day in and day out for my three munchkins.

Unkind, self righteous people send me over the edge.  There is nothing more deflating than being privy to the judgmental rantings of a lunatic on his soap box.  It makes me want to commit acts of violence.

All people who cannot merge correctly onto the interstate should immediately implode.

I fear that I will always question my confidence and my ability to perform...which is probably why my writings will remain in the form of a blog and I will ultimately, be that quiet mom encouraging my three to conquer the world.

If I love you or have loved you...I will love you forever.  It's just how I was made.

It's refreshing to assess who you are and to own who you are not...knowing that you're perfect, idiosyncrasies and all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rating Your Sex Life

A few years back, I was at a holiday party and feeling a little tipsy, I decided to share a study I'd read on the frequency that married couples have sex.

After declaring the stats, I took an informal poll to see how the group shook out compared to the literature.

The wine made me brave and the feedback was both hysterical and exactly what I expected (well, except for a close friend who was having some problems with his math, but we forgave him).

The study purports that married people have sex about once a week.  It also claims that "single people in monogamous relationships" have double to triple the amount of sex, especially those living in sin.

Why is that?

What happens when we get married?  Do we take each other for granted?  Do we get bored?  Do we miss the newness?  Are we tired?  Is it tough juggling all of the demands of career, parenthood, and marital intimacy?

Take stock of your own sex life.  How's it treating you?  Do you surpass the once a week quota?  If so, is it just with boring ass mission style or are you getting nasty?  Just a question.

I tend to think that we get comfortable and then get lazy.  It's easy to dismiss the person that we poop in front of (oh, you don't do that?), that we pay bills with and ultimately, that knows us better than we know ourselves.

So, what's your homework?  Make this summer the one where you get a little nutty (literally).  Have fun.  Do something unexpected.  Wouldn't the world be a better place if we were all having more sex?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guilty as Charged

All parents know that traditionally, the summer is a time for fun, relaxation, minimal scheduling, kicking back, and in general, watching the days pass by.

Which is why I purposely did not sign my kiddos up for day camps up the wazoo or schedule play dates to fill our afternoons.

I wanted leisure time that would include going where the wind took us...the library, the park, the pool, a friend's house, the ice cream store...our plan was to not have one.

And so yesterday, when the baby was shrieking like it was her job and I was tired from not having anywhere to be, I figured that it was a perfectly good opportunity to let the kids do exactly what they wanted.  Respite comes at a price and I was willing to pay it.

So, they picked slice and bake cookies and juice boxes for lunch.  iPad time until their brains came out their ears and fruit pop after fruit pop while we interchanged between the pool and the sprinkler.

By the time their father came home, they were in a sugar coma and so we decided to draw tattoos all over each other and eat breakfast for dinner.

Dessert brought more chocolate and by the time that the clock said 9:00pm, Sam (7) and Kate(5) said that it was the best day ever.  Claire (18 months) grunted and passed out.

Guilty as charged.  Somedays, its whatever it takes.  No shame in that.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hell on Wheels...Parenting a Toddler

Today and for the last several days, I've been challenged beyond my limitations in parenting my toddler.

Claire is 18-months of feisty, "I do it my own way," sass that breaks the heart of every person she sees because she is both adorable and complete hell on wheels.

I will be the first to admit that there are bigger (much bigger) problems in the world.  But right now, this 26 pound, blonde haired, blue eyed daughter of mine has me dreaming about liquor cabinets on a regular basis.

Most everywhere we go, she shrieks, occasionally bites and frequently pinches those she doesn't see eye to eye with.  We've been kicked out of the nursery at church, paged to come back to the nursery at the gym, given the stink eye countless times at the grocery store and endured sad stares in the park.

To say she's a handful is an understatement.  She is by far and away the most independent, fearless, determined little person that I've ever met which is probably why God gave her to us as the last of the brood.

So what do I do to maintain my sanity?  The trick seems to be to exercise daily, indulge in some form of chocolate, commiserate with like minded mommies, and wait for the magical day when she starts speaking in paragraphs (which is what my pediatrician assures me happens with the littliest siblings).

Until then, if you happen to see me with my brood and my patience looks worn, the bags under my eyes look thick, tell me that I'm beautiful and that my children are dolls...I'll give you $50.  Lying is sometimes a good thing.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bridges of Madison County

My grandfather passed away right before Christmas.

Like most in his generation, he saved everything. Beyond being a saver, he was a writer and a vigilant photographer. 

My mother and uncle have been scouring over his belongings in an effort to put his home on the market and to share his treasures with all of us.

Yesterday afternoon, my mom brought over a box and since that time, I've felt like the daughter in the movie, "The Bridges of Madison County" discovering so much history about a man that I only knew for the last 36 of his 90 years of life.

Combing through this magical box, I've discovered countless letters that he wrote to my grandmother during WWII and the daily ones that she wrote to him...over the course of four years of their lives.  At the time, she was 15 and he was a scandalous 19.

He took photos of my grandmother when she was a model in New York at the boardwalk in New on the beach in Martha's of their of their of their family....their homes...their children...their gardens...their life.

And then he saved my grandmother's report cards from the 1920's and the 1930's.  He saved his tests and memo notebooks from Catholic grade school in New York.  He saved stamps, money, cards, year books, baptismal certificates, diplomas.

And all of this reading and re-reading has me fascinated by the fact that most of the time, we only know people for a portion of their lives.  We jump in at a window and see a slice of them.  Sometimes, we think we'll know someone forever, and then circumstances take their course and we don't...and someone we knew like the back of our hand, we can barely remember. 

My grandparents had lived the vast majority of their lives before I ever knew them.  Reading their letters to each other as teens...she writing from Springfield, Massachusetts and he writing from Pearl Harbor...leaves me with the feeling that love is universal, timeless, limitless and that 60 years ago, one boy on a ship just desperately wanted to get back to one girl waiting patiently for her love...beautiful.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Mundane Beauty of Running

It's funny.

I have a friend who grew up playing high school sports.  She's a sprinter.  Competitive as hell.  She gets in, gets out, and gets the job done.

So, when I threw down the gauntlet and challenged her to run a half marathon with me, she laughed out loud in my face.  "Shit, what's the point?  All you're doing is just running and running and running and running.  I don't want to do something I love for 13.1 miles.  Nope, it's all you, Gering."

And the truth is, she's right.  After you've been doing it for a while, running gets mundane, rote, boring, same running shoes, same course, same breathing, same sweat.

So, the challenge do you maintain the discipline to keep doing it and to keep stepping up the ante without having to run barefoot with a loin cloth in the outskirts of an African country to feel like you're pushing your body?

I know why I run.  I run because the endorphin rush afterwards is incomparable.  I run because it is the only waking hour of the day that I truly have to myself.  I run because it keeps my mind sharp and my heart beating.  I run because I can knowing that others can not. 

So, on the days when it's freaking 90 degrees and 60% humidity and I want to stab myself in the eye...I say, it may be boring, it may be mundane...but it's habitual for a reason because it's satisfying, it's enduring, it's a slice of me in the world (in a cute Lululemon skirt, of course) saying perseverance matters, even if just for this moment.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Art of the Playlist

Do you remember mixed tapes?

That's know what I'm talking made them in the 80's/early 90's to enjoy a road trip, to tell a girl that you loved her (in only the way that U2 or Sting can) and to jam in your car while you were joy riding.

Now that we're iTunes/Spotify/Pandora addicts and can create playlists within moments, it makes creating and recreating the perfect set of tunes instantaneously possible.

Which is why I pour over creating and revamping my running tunes.  I'm not going to lie to you, much like laying on your bed next to a tape recorder and stopping and starting the songs...creating the perfect playlist in the right order is indeed an art.

When I first start running, I have an inclination to jump out of the gate and get tired by the end of the first mile.  Knowing that I usually have four more to go, the challenge is to create a blend of songs that gets my heart pumping, motivates my mind, inspires my soul and doesn't deplete my energy reserves. Tall order, I know.

Oh, and I like to listen to my music really sometimes others that grab a treadmill/elliptical near me have to suffer through my song choice.

Either way, if you run/walk/do errands/chores with a playlist...take your time.  Enjoy assessing the flow of songs and regularly mix them up.  Research has shown (I'm not kidding) that the perfect playlist can catapult your fitness level to a new and shinier horizon.

Hooray for the mixed music list!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The 'Hotness' of Shorts

Let me preface this post by admitting that it's shallow in nature, but hopefully, semi-relatable at least to my fellow women readers/runners.

I have always loved shorts, much like I've loved bikinis, but have never felt comfortable in them.

I'm 5'8" and have a short torso and long legs, so you'd think that shorts would be a God send, especially in the summer.

But no, they conjure up images of inner thigh rubbing, cellulite bobbing, white creamy legs that really should just stay under skirts and inside pants.

But when you run, especially outside in 90 degree plus temperatures, it's fucking hot and you don't care about your inner thigh jiggle, you just want to be naked because it's toasty and your sweating your God damn ass off.

So, I invested in some (yes, those that know me are laughing) Lululemon (www.lululemon,com) shorts.  And they are short shorts.  But they're cute.  No, they're not cute....they're hot in a cool, sort of sexy way.  They make my legs feel longer, my cellulite invisible and for a few brief moments, I'm a full fledged member of the athletic girls short shorts wearing club without feeling like a hoochie.

My advice girls...wear the cute shorts.  You're sexy and you know it.  Set your legs free.  They'll get sun.  You'll stay cool. And the world will be right again.

Aw, the hotness of shorts.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chicago Half Marathon

In 11 short weeks, I'll be leaving on a jet plane for the windy city by myself to run and run and run.

I registered to run my second half marathon race in Chicago because the view of the race course is breath taking.  Who wouldn't want to run up and down Lake Shore Drive in the fall? 

I signed up because post my initial half marathon last month, I needed a new goal.  I yearned to keep pushing myself and maybe to actually shoot for a personal record.

But picking Chicago was a no brainer on many levels.  I went to undergrad in a tiny town north of the city and have fond memories of discovering me in a private, liberal arts school surrounded by people who literally changed my life.

So, the fact that I'll be doing the trip solo is a good thing.  I'm looking forward to connecting with friends of old and seeing what it feels like to be a 37-year old woman traversing this part of her life...reaching, searching, seeking, owning her identity.

So, on my not-so-hot run this morning (I'm still learning to cope with those), I cranked up my iPod and dreamed of running for life, running for change, running for hope, and running for me.  Here's to all that the Windy City will bring.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Colorado-You Fill My Soul

It was exactly what I needed...on all kinds of levels.

It's not easy piling your life into a car (along with three needy little ones) and the hope that eight days and seven nights will make for a relaxing vacation.

But after eleven hours of straight driving, we rounded the bend, headed into the mountains, and immediately, I knew that this is what my soul needed.

I've been having a hard time lately.  I can't quite find the words to write.  I can't find the time to focus on what's next.  And, over all, I've been feeling lackadaisical. 

So to say that my heart had been pining for the remoteness and beauty of Colorado would be an understatement.

I was hopeful for so much.  First and foremost, I was over-the-moon excited to spend time with family that we hadn't seen in years.  I was eager to run on trails and explore areas I'd never seen before.  I wanted to detach from rituals, routines, the same old, same old and become reacquainted with my spirit and with the dynamic of my family.  High expectations, I know.

But there's something about being this high close to the blue sky, the majestic mountains, the green earth, the rolling streams, the enormous boulders, the logs, the wild life, and the serene....that makes you feel as though you're in another world, somewhere far away from the noise, the chaos, the parts that don't matter.

One night on our trip, my four-year old daughter, Kate looked at me and said, "Mama, I'm happy."  And I thought, I am too.  I am too.  Thank you, Colorado for the restoration and joy of my heart.