Completely Scattered

My husband has pointed out that I haven’t posted in awhile. Goodness, is it that obvious? I suppose so…let’s rectify that right now. Since my mind is still traveling in a thousand directions at once, I think another unordered list is, well, in order.

  • Since today is Memorial Day, I want to take a moment to thank the soldiers who risk their lives to protect my freedom. I’m awed by your bravery and conviction, and I respect the burdens that you carry on your shoulders.
  • As we head into June, I find myself terribly excited for the breadth of warm days ahead. My body feels great, and I want to do everything—every activity that I love but have had to modulate to accommodate various physical shortcomings of the past few years.The back pain that mysteriously disappeared after my surgery did eventually return (must have been on holiday), but it is nothing that I really even notice most of the time; it’s just there. Maybe I’ve finally learned how to compromise with it, and we’re both bending to make it work. I want to focus all this wondrous energy into rebuilding my strength.
  • The 17-mile Syttende Mai walk was exhilarating. The event was my first long-distance walk, but it will not be my last. I thought my concession to stop high-impact activities was a limitation, but it has been a gateway to showing myself everything that I can do. I was very satisfied with the pace I maintained (read: forced on my companions…hee!). My feet were sore as expected, but I came through relatively unscathed. My only boo-boo was a water blister that formed under a callus on the ball of one foot. I was braced for much more extensive damage from so many consecutive hours of impact. The next day, I signed up for a walking half-marathon…the event takes place next Saturday, and I would have signed up for the full walking marathon if I thought that I would have had enough time to build up my mileage.
  • I restarted my P90X cycle last week so Nick could join me from the top. I first restarted (that reads awkwardly, I know) the program several weeks ago, but I did have to skip some of the leg workouts while preparing for the Syttende Mai walk. I had such a severe case of DOMS after the first week’s leg workout that my coworkers could smell the Biofreeze a few minutes before I actually entered the room. Oh, and the guttural noises I made every time I had to transition between standing and sitting were positively barbaric.
  • I read somewhere (years ago) that food cravings could be your body telling you what nutrients it needs. This is within reason, naturally: your body doesn’t actually need anything under the golden arches…that’s your brain muddying the waters. Anyway, just like in times past, I crave—no, yearn for—protein. When P90X collects dust on my shelf, I struggle to get enough of that macro-nutrient…I tend to be powered by complex carbs. After a workout last week, I was almost blind with need as I walked up the stairs to the refrigerator where I knew the protein shakes chilled. My vision didn’t clear until half the shake was gone. Obviously all this muscle-building is taking its toll.
  • The cat is a little fussy with me that I missed the last two weeks of Sophie Sunday, but she gets too much press as it is. Besides, her head was getting too big, and she needs to be able to get it through the kitty door for access to her litter box in the basement.
  • We are finishing up our crazy Memorial Day weekend schedule. We use this weekend as the coronation of Summer. Our three main warm weather activities are hiking, biking, and kayaking…we figure out a way to squeeze in all three during the last weekend of May. I am absolutely exhausted, but it’s the good kind of tired. Most of my fatigue is from yesterday, the first kayak trip of the year. We were on the water for about five hours, and we had highs in the mid-90s. I used nearly an entire can of sunscreen, and stayed protected…mostly. Apparently I missed a patch of skin over my right knee as that splotch is, at this very moment, on fire. A few weeks ago, during one of our long distance training walks, I burned my scalp. Needless to say, since I’m not overly fond of hats (I feel like I cannot cool down as effectively when I wear hats), I made sure to spray my head as well. My hair was SO NASTY at the end of the day with a few coats of sunscreen with a drizzle of insect repellent between. I could have washed and rewashed my hair all night and still not feel clean.
  • For work, I had to come up with a photo and a fun fact about myself to present my newly-structured team to my division. I did clarify with the requester that it had to be a picture of me since he did not specify, and because my cat is very photogenic. Anyway, I struggled for awhile with the fun fact. In the end, it was that my idea of roughing it is a motel…though my cousin thought it would be funny if I proclaimed that I had a double hysterectomy to give people pause. Oh, Michelle. You’ve found some ironic humor in all this to make it easier for me—for which I am grateful—but people just don’t get black humor until they’ve had to use it (fortunately, the majority have not).
  • Since I’ve veered into slightly heavier thoughts, I was taking a bath one night last week when I experienced the sensation that my mother had entered the room—I mean, even her perfume (which I hated) tickled my nose. The moment was so fleeting and intense that I burst into tears immediately. I stayed in the bath until my tears dried, but that handful of seconds was shattering. I used to work with a lady whose mother had also fallen to Cancer. She described moments like this as a lost loved one paying a visit. I’m not really sure if that’s what it was…but just in case, I requested aloud to the empty room, “Next time, could you pop in when I’m not naked!?” The logical part of me says that my mind was just playing tricks.

    I am reminded of a passage from Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The main character asks if his supernatural experience is real or just happening inside his head. The second character in the scene afirms that it is happening in his head, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

  • As a final thought, we saw a momma duck and a bunch of ducklings while kayaking yesterday. I counted eight ducklings…what a handful! (Wingful?) My first thought was “Mom and Drake plus Eight.”

    Go ahead and groan. I did too.

Mélange

So, I’ve started at least a dozen posts, but I seem to lose my focus before I finish. When I try to wrap them up, I can’t get into it again. I suppose this is a sort of manifestation of the unsettled thoughts I’ve been trying to reason through. I am just going to let them float up in my mental stratosphere for awhile until they’re ready to come back down. Let’s just see if I can get through a list of blurbs for the time being.

  • I am working on my Master’s Certificate in Project Management. In a risk management class last week, the professor emphasized to look ahead and envision what success looks like so that a PM can route a safe path to the end goal. I’m sure this works well enough in business, but the single-most beneficial risk management tool in my personal life is looking back to learn from the past. Bring the risk on! I know how to handle it!—but if I don’t, I will next time.
  • Yesterday was Syttende Mai. I find myself getting more in touch with my heritage as I grow older. I am 75% Scandinavian (50% Norwegian, 25% Danish). I do not have to go very far back in the history books before they share a common history…heck, Denmark even owned Norway for a bit there. Besides, they’re best buds! I include both in my celebration of Syttende Mai, especially since they share somewhat ambivalent stereotypes of the Swedes (Syttende Mai celebrates Norway’s independence from Sweden). It makes sense in my head…it doesn’t need to be logical.
  • On the subject of Syttende Mai, Nick and Michelle are walking 17 miles with me on Saturday for Stoughton’s annual celebration weekend. (Stoughton is a Norwegian stronghold here in Wisconsin.) I am so excited…I even bought myself a shirt with an abstract Norwegian flag to wear (I am making Nick wear a festive shirt as well).
    Syttende Mai Walk
  • Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. You would think that they would get easier in time, but they don’t…not when I allow myself to think about who isn’t here. I had such a lovely mother. I am very blessed to have had her for the time that I did. There are just certain days every year when I find it really hard to feel blessed through the ache in my heart.
  • I attended a seminar on anti-inflammatory foods this week, and I am considering an elimination diet to see if I can figure out my food sensitivities. My C-Reactive Protein, though lower since my hysterectomy, is still elevated. Inflammation seems to be at the heart of every major disease…I really don’t know enough about it (ignorance is bliss). The diet would be strict for a few weeks while I would try introducing new foods, and Nick is nervous that I might actually do it. Jury is still out…
  • I’ve had an attack of comment spam this week, so I have made all comments subject to moderation for the time being. Sorry about that…comment spam is the most annoying kind of spam if you ask me.

Sophie Sunday

Those EyesSophie got a new collar this weekend. The breakaway catch on her existing collar and been broken away too many times. She was regularly stripping it off to traipse around naked…hussy. We (or at least “I”) need her to wear a collar, or anything that will make noise, so that I know she’s in the vicinity and to watch where I step. Otherwise she’s a naked ghost that tries to make me fall flat on my face.

Since she seems to be against me braiding bells into her tail, a collar it is.

In retrospect, the amount of time I spent considering various collar patterns was really quite silly…but it was a big decision! The choice I made may last for years. We decided that the cat needed new jewelry to go with her new wardrobe, so we updated her tag as well…a cute gold fish to replace the pink heart.

I forgot how trying it is to get the fit right on a new collar. I could not use her old collar as a guide because it had lost all integrity in becoming Sophie’s latest chew toy. I took a guess and snapped it in place. A few minutes later, I came across Sophie on the stairs with her head down and struggling against something. Alarmed, I picked her up to discover that the little idiot was trying to strip off the new clothes as she did her old, except the clasp was brand new and sturdy instead of sad and broken down. As it was, she had her lower jaw caught beneath the collar and could not free herself.

I reached for the clasp and freed her. I tightened the collar and snapped it back in place. A few minutes later, I heard her panting behind the chair in the living room. Same thing—pretty, not smart. I started berating her as I freed her once more, tightened the collar once more. “You’re going to break your jaw if you don’t knock it off!” She looked at me like I was the subject of an inside joke before flouncing away, her plume-like tail whispering through the air.

It wasn’t until later that I considered the possibility that she was just trying to go fishing.


One final Sophie moment: I’ll apologize for the photo quality, but this was too cute not to share.

Pass it On

I spend a lot of time getting caught up on the people who cloud my days. How many times have I vented about this person who irritated me, or that person who has no respect for others? How many times have I fumed over that harshly worded email or the guy who decided not to compromise? Why is it only the hard parts of people that I hug close?

Such a sad subconscious summation, isn’t it?—And I’m actually a positive person!

I was unaware of this pattern until one day last week when I was leaving work and noticed an ordinary but wonderful thing. To leave the building, employees have to go through a set of secure doors to enter the skywalk that leads to the parking garage, through another set of secure doors that lead to an enclosure, and finally one last set of doors to actually get to the place where we park the cars (there must have been a good deal on doors when they built the place). I was approaching the second set of doors when I noticed the sound of footsteps behind me. I looked back to judge the nearness of this other person.

It’s a little game we all play. Is she far enough back that I can make my merry way without holding the door? If I walk really fast, can I get to the door far enough ahead of him so I don’t have to wait while he shuffles along? The binds of polite society can be so bothersome.

The gentleman was far enough back that I could have sped along without holding the door, but only just. On a split-second decision, I decided to be a nice guy and hold the door. He looked up, surprised that I waited for him when I had enough clearance to leave without being outcast. He tilted his head and smiled. “Thanks,” he said as he reached the door.

I smiled and nodded before continuing on…I felt good. From the corner of my eye, I saw him begin to follow my path but stopped with a jerk and caught the door behind him before it closed. Looking back, I noticed someone else in the skywalk. He was far enough back from the door, yet the man waited for him. The man in the skywalk smiled, surprised that someone so far ahead of him held the door.

I don’t know why the simple observation reverberated so much…but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about whatever it is that causes a person to make a split-second decision, or the driving force to take a tiny piece of kindness and share it with someone else.

I guess people aren’t really so bad after all.