Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chubby, Underachieving Runner's Bible

In the summer I started pushing myself towards a goal running.  I track my progress on my phone.  I learned a lot about myself and about myself running.  I am not sure what I learned is universal, but just true for me, which is nearly like the real Bible (up for interpretation) .  My list of lessons is way shorter than the real Bible.

On January 1, 2013 I'll reset my iPhone app to zero miles, and see how far I get next year.

Before I list what I learned, there are some self deprecating caveats.  I am not a real runner, or what you might think of as a runner.  I see folks who are good at stuff and get intimidated.  DO NOT get intimidated by my running.  I ran 350 miles, which is less than a mile a day.  You, most likely, went that far as well.  I happened to have run the miles.  I am not lean.  I don't have long legs.  I don't run fast.  I'm not sporty.  I'm fumbly.

Here is my list:

  • Run up hill as much as you can, then walk until you recover. 
  • Push yourself a bit downhill, but not so much that you fall.
  • Tip your tailbone under and engage your abdominals while you are running.
  • Relax.
  • Lead with your toes and your head.
  • When your feet or knees start to hurt, get a new pair of shoes.
  • Relax.
  • Your shoes will wear out. 
  • Dress for weather that is 15 degrees warmer than it is outside.  This is good in the winter, and bad in the hot summer.
  • Do not run and listen to Verdi's Requiem.  It is not relaxing.
  • Stevie Wonder really is a wonder!
  • If you have to, walk.
  • If you can, go faster or farther, but not necessarily both.
  • Run with someone you love. 
  • When running alone, remember running with the people you love. 
  • When running alone, listen to music, but not when you have a friend along.
  • Not all people I know who run are good running partners.
  • Carry a cell phone and pepper spray.  The cell phone, if you need help, the spray to ward off dogs and make you feel safer in the woods. 
  • If you fall down, get up.  
  • If you are really injured, use your cell phone and don't try to get up.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Run when you go new places.  Get up early and see a place before everyone wakes up!
  • Say hello to everyone you see on your path.
  • Don't push yourself too hard, or you'll get a headache and not be able to run tomorrow.
  • Don't compare yourself to other runners.  Comparison is the thief of joy.
  • Your body is stronger than you think it is.
  • Running hurts a bit, but the more you do it, the easier it is.
  • If you don't feel like running, get ready and go before your mind tells you not too, you have about 5 seconds.
  • If you run at sea level you will feel like a rock star for about a week, then it will feel just like your mountain elevation.
  • Don't get caught up on time and distance and miss the beauty outside (I take photos).
  • Have fun.

If I were you, I'd hold loosely to my observations.  They are probably a moving target, except for the running to the Verdi Requiem.

I'm really proud of myself and running so much this year.  I worked hard at it.  I have nothing but this photo of a number to show for it on the outside.  On the inside, I can't wait to go on my next run.  I can't wait to get all my wiggles out.  I can't wait to see the woods on the trails in my town, or the streets of a new town or park.
Took a spill on the trail below.

My favorite run.

A run this fall in Central Park.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nerd Protege

Our clan is pretty hooked on the written word.  My parents read to me, and started with AA Milne.  We did the same for our two.  While in New York City this fall, we visited our friends from our imagination.  It turns out that Pooh Bear is a real stuffy toy.  He and his friends live in the NYC public library in the children's section.  It was 'as it should be' to meet them in person with my parents and my children.

My son, who was a gifted reader at age five, has now read half of the books in this library (okay, maybe paternal hyperbole).  We did enjoy the smell, architecture and quiet of so many books.  We maybe were too happy to be there.

Grandma, Pooh, and the Kids!

P.S.  I hate this gui google!  But am too lazy to edit the HTML.  Sorry the pictures are all jumbled.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I love mushrooms. I'm not going to eat any of these.... yet. I think one is edible, but not worth the risk.
I live/run in the woods, and these beauties all came out after it rained. They're gone with the frost now.
They are as beautiful as roses to me, which makes me just like Oscar the Grouch, in a small way.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I took these at a street fair in Albany, California.  They caught my eye because I enjoy Art Neuveau.  A selection of roots is different than a selection of seasonal goddesses,  in a more down-to-earth way.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Euchre Bar

I've been hiking with a group of geezers for a few months.  My favorite geezer is my dad, whose real name is Papa, but really they are all wonderful.

These are some photos of a hike we took today, to a footbridge on the North Fork of the American river.  What I love about hiking, with these guys especially, is that there is so much to discover.  There are small stories, big stories, and mysteries all around (which is why I brought my camera).

It was only a 4 mile hike, but it was 1700 feet down to the river and back.  Don't let anyone tell you down is easier than up!

Here is our hike from my perspective:
My dad makes a plan, because that's what he does.

Note the bit of mist in the river basin.

The fancy trial signage.

Down!  Give me a break, literally.

We caught up to the mist.

Forest service foot bridge for....a lady in her 30's and 6 guys in their 60's?
Your  (or your grandparent's) tax dollars at work.

Mystery memorial.  Don't look down

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Basement

This looks like a basement to you.   That's because it is a basement, but it has had wonderful things come to life in the past, besides mold.  It is the basement of my elementary school.  I snuck down there today while the students I was the 'guest teacher' for, were at music.  'Guest teacher' is the new substitute teacher.  I can take latter: 'substitute teacher', because I'm super tough and can play guitar and sing fun songs with students.

This room is the reason.  In fourth grade, 1985, I had the chance to learn to play an instrument for the band.  It's  the same year of school kids learn a bunch of valuable math, which I was not getting.  The first thing that happened when I learned to read music, was I learned what a fraction was (4/4 time, 6/8 time, trust me).  The second was where that sound I was hearing belonged.  Notes have names and places!  Eureka!

I'm guessing this is the only room at the school the other teachers could tollerate nine year olds learning to play the clarinet, trumpet and flute.  This is the room I learned about music.  

I'm not a rock star or an opera singer.  I sing several times a week to elementary school kids, community choir members, hospice patients, wine and beer drinkers, and church goers.  Because I make music, I met my husband in choir.  Because I sing, I've been all over the world.  Because I sing, I can be a part of something bigger than myself.  Because of music I've worked with some of the best people I know, in a meaningful way.  Certainly, it started with 'Holly Jolly Christmas', counting in four four time, in marching band.

The year I learned flute was the same year California was flooded from stem to stern because of rain.  The basement was flooded during some of the school year.  The boiler room for the school is in the next room (loud).  The basement is always cold.  Looking at it today, I can envision it as it actually was, not as it truly was.  It truly was a place where black lines and dots made sense to me.  It was a place where I could find myself.  This place was my nest.  Actually, it is a basement.

Now it is full of boxes, concret blocks, sidewalk salt, canisters, and teaching supplies.  It still smells the same.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Signs and Wonders

Photo by

Our family visited New York City to see the sites.  It is a huge and amazing city.  I continuously reminded myself to shut my gaping mouth as my jaw dropped, out of wonder, excitement, and confusion.  

We were not the only people who have been confused by such a big and intense city.  There are signs every few yards to instruct people.   It can be confusing, but I'm not sure if the signs helped terribly.  

My son stands under a sign.  What a rebel. 

My most favorite sign EVER!
This should be taught after the Golden Rule
(and I don't mean, "No Standing".   Can you sit during business hours?)

Another sign stated, "No One Under 12 Years Old Allowed".  It was in the entryway to a funeral home.  I didn't snap a photo, but it too was confusing.  My thought is, no one under 96 years old should be allowed in a funeral home.   I'm sure they meant the living, which is also silly.  Living, as well as dying, are activities kids shouldn't be sheltered from!  Kids have access to terrible images and ideas before they are 12, but shouldn't be allowed at their grandmother's funeral?

Death is rather serous, and I'm not in a serious mood, so I'll close with another confusing-sign story:
As a child, the most confusing road sign was, "Do Not Pass".  Why does the road continue beyond the sign if you aren't supposed to pass by it?

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Accordion for Breakfast

I thought I was hilarious waking my children with my accordion playing.

I assumed the funny part would be my children's surprised reaction, yet the funny part was my children's non-reaction.

What does this say about my children's expectations of me?  They rolled over in bed, and the words unspoken were, "Yup, that's my mom, she thinks she's funny.  Harumph."

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Sea Glass Beach

In Fort Bragg, California, I visited a beach covered in polished glass pieces. Instead of sand: glass. It's soft, rounded, alive and colorful.

For decades the residence of Fort Bragg disposed of garbage into the sea at the northern part of town. You can see how they drove their cars to the edge of the sea cliff and pushed.  The ocean is the world's garbage dump, even if it is incomprehensibly big.

In 1968 this antiquated trash disposal ended. In the meantime, all of the glass from their cars, windows, mayonnaise jars and, what seems to be for the most part, beer bottles, has been washed into beauty (people also picked up much of the rubbish).

In a time when we can't breathe without being bombarded with sarcasm disgusted as hope, and fear masquerading as reform, this beautiful sea scape bolstered my spirits. Yes, people are messing up the world, yet it carries on, despite us. Our environment is not beyond repair and repentance. Check the stats on the Bald Eagle since the 1980's. There is hope without an agenda and reform without fear.

This small space of water, land and glass reminded me of that bigger hope. There is so much more mystery here that we can not comprehend.

Things that are toxic and dangerous can be diluted and cleaned: even made beautiful.  Though people are responsible for the problems, we are creative enough to be a part of the answer, the rest is a mystery.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Yours, Mine and Ours: Summer at Home

I took the summer off from blogging. Now summer is un-officially-officially over. I replaced blogging with summer. It was rich with adventure and people, both of which, I love. We did not leave the state: unless you count the east side of Tahoe as Nevada, which I don't because it is too beautiful to be Nevada.
In the woods near my house are three trees: Douglas fir, oak and cedar. They are growing so close that they nearly are braided together. They are thriving and old. As I run by them on my jogs, I'm reminded of my summer at home. Your people, my people and our people all growing up and together.

Pre.S.  These photos are not in chronological order because this Google blog GUI stinks and I'm too lazy to edit the HTML. Yes, my husband is a software engineer and no, I'm not as nerdy as him, but some of it has rubbed off on me.

Here are the three trees with our sweet friends and family.

Fast friends visit from Virginia for a snowy visit to Tahoe in June.
The kids learn to swim on the swim team!
Old friends introduce us to new friends!
The kids learn to sail!
A great kid lives with us!
The boy turns 12 at our family reunion.  His voice is changing!
We spend time with my new nephew.  I'm in love!
We spend time with my busy niece.  I'm in love!
We show our Czech and Ohioan friend the great redwood forests.
Or, just the Ohioan see the trees, everyone else can't see.
We learn about keeping bees and not getting stung.
We hike with my dad!
We cap it off with a visit to the NorCal coast.