Thursday, December 7, 2017

Year in review - 2017

What a beautiful mess of a year it has has been! We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in our own little corner of the world. McLain and I were married on April 8, 2017 in Anderson, South Carolina. It was such an amazing day with our family and friends, and we cherished the love and support from our nearest and dearest. We are so lucky to have so many friends and family who travelled to be with us on our wedding day!

Photo Credit to Josh Wilson Photography
For more mushy goodness, click HERE

Immediately after the wedding we took a mini-moon in Asheville for a few days - which is our favorite local area for a weekend or few weekdays away. Over the summer, we took a ‘proper’ honeymoon trip to Napa. We enjoyed the Wine Train, the Cabernet House, and being able to kayak in the Napa River. It was great to just unplug and be newlyweds for a while. We cannot recommend Napa enough as a vacation destination - and after the fires this year, your travel spending is vital to restoring the area. We can’t wait to go back, but our wine club in Pendleton helps with the longing to return.

Our winter season is a little bittersweet, as both of our families have experienced loss this year. As we remember the legacies they left and celebrate the lives they lived, we are reminded of the importance of impact, community, family, and relationships in this bustling world we inhabit.

McLain’s family welcomed another new family member! We were able to go visit McLain’s sister in Rhode Island for his niece’s christening. It was sweet to have time with McLain’s extended family twice this year, for our wedding and her christening.

Our family grew by four paws this year - we added another rescue Dane to the pack! Rocinante Luna Crouse-Hubbard (Rosci for short) was rescued from a puppy mill in Alabama through Water’s Edge Great Dane Rescue. She has made so many improvements and fits right into our quirky household. She’s an obedience school grad, but still prefers to listen to me instead of McLain. Yankee Doodle Hubbard is happy to have a playmate, although he is beginning to show his age. He loves cuddles, walks, and sleeping in the sunshine while his ‘little’ sister plays.

McLain remains employed as a professional engineer at Duke Energy. For his sixth year work anniversary he chose the shop vac as a reward, which has come in handy with all the DIY projects he undertakes on the weekends. McLain also got a new track car and continues to make mead and cider as a hobby.

I finished my M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of South Carolina. For those keeping track, that brings the degree count to two from U of SC and one from Clemson. I still wear orange on rivalry game day - GO TIGERS!

I also began a new job at a charter school in Salem, SC. This is a very small public charter that has a very ‘all hands on deck’ approach. I’m definitely challenged every day and use all the skills and training I’ve received to this point! It is fun (and exhausting) and absolutely worth every minute to give back to a local community. For more information about NSER click HERE. As for hobbies, my brief attempt as a amateur beekeeper was foiled by a stray bear.

In a season of light, hope, and anticipation we are looking forward with all of you to another year filled with the promise of adventure. We hope your year was full of beautiful and memorable moments. Look us up if you’re in the neighborhood - we’re always up for a guest or two.

With Love,

Liz, McLain, Yankee, and Rosci

P.S. Surprise! Many of you have been asking when we would be adding a little one to our family, and we are pleased to announce we were able to do so this week. We are overjoyed to welcome Mina Olenna Crouse-Hubbard to our family. While she is diminutive in size, she is proving to have some of the acumen and sass of her namesakes. She certainly doesn't take any nonsense from her siblings!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Open Letter - Post Women's March!

Dear friend and social justice maven extraordinaire Mary Rebecca asked me to host her words and thoughts in this space and I wanted to share with you. These lovely words are her own - but we share many of the same thoughts. It is hard to be aware and to continue moving forward, and sometimes we aren't even aware of out actions or their implications. Mary Rebecca unpacks that here much more eloquently than I can begin to.

Open Letter by Mary Rebecca -

To the white women in my personal circle, whom I hold dear in my heart:

I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk directly to my own “in-group” about what’s going on in the United States right now, because I can see, based on my Facebook feed, that so many of us are deeply concerned about it right now, as we should be.

Firstly, I am very proud of so, so many of you--not only my white female friends, of course--all of you who showed up to protest last weekend. Seeing my FB feed just “blow up” with protest photos from the women’s march and sister marches yesterday was awesome. I think it may have actually topped (at least within a single day) the extent to which my feed blew up with baby photos and ultrasounds about 2-5 years ago, and dogs and wedding photos about 2-3 years before that. :)

Secondly, I think we white chicks (note 1), specifically, need to talk more to each other as fellow white chicks, as cis-gender white chicks, as hetero and appear-to-pass-as-hetero white chicks, and as white chicks who actually give a #$*& about other people and what is going on in the world. The truth is that I probably have more white women in my personal circle--like many of us--than I do people from any other social group. And I think many of us are grappling with our identity as white people, as white women, and (many of us) as white progressive women who want to take responsibility at this particular moment in history. I think I speak for a lot of us in saying, openly and honestly, that a great many of us are currently experiencing a fairly overwhelming combination of anger, despair, shock, surprise, horror, outrage, despondency, guilt, shame, and regret. In an episode of NRP’s “On Being” with Krista Tippet, Ruby Sales stated that sometimes, “it’s almost as if we don’t think that white people are worthy of being saved.”

I think if we’re really honest, some of us probably feel that way about ourselves and each other. We’re not really sure if we are worthy of this historical moment. White women have a history of both oppressing and ignoring the existence of women and people of color, even and especially within the feminist movement(s). And some of us (me, too, partially) are probably in that anger-denial state: how could this have happened? How could so many of us have voted for such a tyrant? Why didn’t I get off my tired ass and knock on more doors or phone bank more calls for Hillary (even though she honestly was not my first choice)? I know that in many ways, I myself even feel betrayed by the hypocrisy of other white women (particularly the Trump voters), while at the same time, I continue to question my own complicity in this larger collective hypocrisy and failure to block a demagogue’s rise to power.

I want to point out a couple of things, but I want to do so in a way that points toward myself as much as toward anyone else. There are a lot of women of color posting right now about the problematics of white women suddenly feeling collective outrage on a new level because all of a sudden, we feel actually, tangibly included in oppression for maybe the first time in our lives (at least on this level, for many of us). I feel it, too, to be honest. And I felt, and feel, pretty damn low about it. However, as one woman of color activist reminded all of us white women: this is how women of color have pretty much always felt. And they don’t have time for our fragility or our overwhelm.

But I think the truth is that even in as deeply privileged of a position as we collectively occupy, feelings of white fragility and overwhelm are really real for a lot of us white chicks right now. We are becoming more aware of our own oppression at the same time that we are being asked to confront, now, immediately--yesterday--how much we have failed to notice the oppression of all the other women around us for literally millenia. It’s a hell of a feeling. And as my good friend Sara Liz Crouse called to my attention, many of us may not have felt self-aware or empowered enough until this point in our lives to stand up to oppression.

But it’s not the job of women of color, or people of color, to help us process that, unless we have really solid friendships with particular individuals who are okay with doing that kind of processing with us (and whose permission we have, hopefully, explicitly asked). What I am saying is, really, that we actually deeply need each other right now. And we need each other’s patience. Hell, we really need our own patience with ourselves.

And it’s complex, tricky. Because for those of us who have been trying to be the best allies we know how for a while now, it’s also hard to listen to those white women who are just now barely beginning the process of unlearning so much of the white supremacy and patriarchy that our society brainwashes us with. It’s hard to listen to those who have been complicit in all our oppression for so long, and I get that. There are those in my circle, too.

And it’s hard to be reminded at the same time, viscerally, emotionally, that I need to continue and continue and continue to check my privileges, to know I’m going to mess this up again and again, that in some ways I’ll probably never, ever un-learn all the racism our society has instilled in me just because I’ve grown up white in the United States of America. It’s hard to work really hard at this and be reminded and reminded that no matter how hard I work, it’s never really going to be ‘enough’--or at least, that’s how it feels. And it’s particularly hard to hear that, because as women generally, we hear more than enough of that message from society at large about just about everything--from our work and career habits, to our intellectual contributions, to our mothering, to our housekeeping, to our body sizes, to our dietary and exercise habits… of course we are all stressed out and exhausted. Being a woman at all is exhausting for so many of us.

And I’m trying really hard to check my own self-righteousness and defensiveness because, while these protect my ego a bit, they ultimately do not serve the larger movement that is so necessary for all our liberation, and deep down I know that.

Thich Nhat Hanh says that in order for love to be present in our lives, we have to grow our hearts large enough to accommodate others. Let’s not kid ourselves, though: that is one of the most difficult challenges any human being can rise to, especially in times of crisis and pain. Can we make space in our hearts to hear our own pain, to acknowledge it as real, while we also grow our hearts to be large enough to comprehend that the pain others have faced, in skins darker than ours, is even so much larger than the very real, jagged-edged pain we have experienced daily from our girlhoods on?

Because--can I have a moment of total honesty here? Sometimes I also feel like I really hate other white chicks. Actually, I think a lot of us do. For me, it’s a combination of abhorrence for the ignorance of privilege and a certain insecurity that I’ll never be able live up to the image of a “Virgin Mary” (an image deeply personal to me for obvious reasons) or a “Jennifer Garner” type of white-womanhood perfection that society seems still to demand of us. It’s a certain rage left over from childhood when the deepest psychic wounds that I experienced were the wounds other white girls and women inflicted on me because of my body size, the way I talked, my sense of humor, my intellectual and extracurricular preferences, my social shyness, my lack of natural athleticism. My guy friends and my female friends of color really didn’t do nearly as much of that.

It’s also a certain abhorrence of the way so many of us seem to be trend-followers, and last to arrive at the table of social justice but first to take credit for cooking we never did, or only helped with. It’s also a certain self-hatred, a certain internalized misogyny that has me internally cringing when I hear the dreaded and demonized “up-speak” or “vocal frisson” of other white women, even while I outwardly espouse the legitimacy of other women’s voices (including my own) no matter how they sound. It’s feeling trapped within a white-walled world where giving up the privileges I have feels literally, physically dangerous, but not actively working to dismantle them feels even more dangerous to my soul and self-respect.

Fellow white chicks: we are so very imperfect, but as Brene Brown says, we are enough. We have to affirm and believe that we, as white women, as human beings having human experiences, are enough. It’s fucking hard to believe that in this society, and to be honest, there are a lot of days I don’t believe it myself. There are a whole lot of days I try to front, or ‘fake it till I make it’ because deep down I don’t feel like there is any way I’ll ever, ever be enough. There are days my white skin feels like a snake’s epidermis I wish with all my being I could slough for the sake of my integrity, which is why, I think, so many of us progressive white chicks fall into patterns and traps of cultural appropriation.

There is incredible and toxic self-loathing and fear and fragility inside many of us white chicks. And a lot of it was internalized so early in our girlhoods that we’re never really sure, even in the fullness of adulthood, that we’re ever truly rid of it. It might rear one more hydra-head at any time, especially when everyday sexist microaggressions (or macro-aggressions) slam into us sideways at moments when our guard is down.

The truth is some days it just feels too damn dangerous to ask (for the shrinking middle-class among us): “and wherefore do I deserve cute boots and a $4.50 latte and Burt’s Bees face wash and new skinny jeans and all the good vitamins and supplements and kombucha I could wish for while so many women of color and trans women can’t afford basic medicines at the pharmacy, or food for their kids beyond instant mac and cheese, or a car that’s even halfway decent?” Because I think we fear that the answer might just do us in (note 2).

Our self-esteem is so damn tenuous, even with all these privileges and luxuries--and I think sometimes we feel like: why can’t women of color, trans women, etc. at least just see that much--see us as scared and human, too--even if they’re rightfully and righteously pissed at us collectively?

The truth is, I think they do. They just have had so, so, SO much other shit to deal with that they just don’t have the time or energy left to do our healing for us, and what we often don’t realize is that our fragility often comes with and from a subconscious entitlement to have others do our healing work for us. And I think too often, we don’t believe we can do it for ourselves.

I will admit that my soul, too, has been saved by women of color too many times over. Without the writings of Zora Neale Hurston early in my life, bell hooks later in my 20s, Audre Lorde and Maya Angelou in my late 20s and early 30s, and the examples of women and feminists of color in my personal circles also in my late 20s and early 30s, I think I would have given up at least 20 times over by now.

Last weekend was yet another example of this. The leadership of the women of color who organized and participated in the women’s marches buoyed my flagging spirit yet again.

White chicks, we have a LOT of healing work to do. First and foremost of ourselves, and each other. We owe this to women of color if we want to be worthy of being called sisters--and they’re telling us we haven’t done enough of this work to have collectively earned that title yet--so we owe it to them and to ourselves to calm down for a minute and listen. And think. And love.

And we’ve got to stop body-shaming, slut-shaming, and woman-shaming generally. I include myself in this charge. We’ve got to check the impulse to feel jealous of each other and constantly compete with one another for the tiny slice of the patriarchal pie that has been left for us. We NEED to amplify each other’s voices AND the voices of women of color. As hard as it is, we desperately need to help each other check our many privileges and commiserate when the work of checking our privileges feels too heavy to bear alone. We’ve got to stop slamming each other morally, intellectually, and subconsciously without engaging each other from a place of mutual respect. As bell hooks says, ‘respect’ fundamentally means ‘to see.’ We have to see each other, and see the pain and fear behind the privilege. We need one another’s affirmation as we heal, and we need to be able to give one another constructive critique out of love.  We have to see each other as human and as intersectional, too. Some of us are poor. Some of us are trans. Some of us are lesbians, pansexual, bisexual, asexual, closeted or out. Some of us are gender-fluid or agender. Some of us are parents, some are not. Some of us have chronic illnesses or physical or mental disabilities or are not neurotypical.

We have to recognize that our whiteness does not and can never define us as human beings but that we also cannot divest ourselves of the responsibility we bear for perpetuating unearned racial privilege, even if only through passivity or ignorance. We’ve got homework to do--we need to be seeking out, reading, and listening to the voices--both past and present--of women and men of color--including women and men of color from other places in the world. And we need to remind ourselves of the legacies of other anti-racist white women, and create our own healing, writing, and support groups where none exist. These should not be spaces of racial exclusion--people of color should be welcomed if they want to be there--but they need to be spaces where white people feel safe enough to mess up, fail, and pick ourselves back up without having to show the whole world (or make the whole world deal with) our flaws and our desperate neediness and our short-sightedness while we’re still learning. Without that safety, the unfortunate but true reality is that too many of us will feel too threatened and defensive to open ourselves to this kind of healing work. Even though it’s not the same as being racially oppressed, it is hard work, especially when we’re not used to it and weren’t expecting to need to do it.

If we don’t already (and I suspect many of us don’t) have at least one or two other white chick (or other white) friends who are also aspiring anti-racists, we should establish a few friends upon whom we can call if we’re having an #EPICPRIVILEGEFAIL to break down feelings of toxic shame and anger and entitlement--because, let’s be real--we all have those moments--but let’s do women and men of color a solid, and if the work of unlearning privilege starts to make us nauseated (because we are purging toxins), as it more-or-less frequently is bound to do, let’s not burden them with having to see, smell, or otherwise do the work of cleaning up our proverbial privilege puke. They’ve done enough of that throughout history. We white chicks know how to hold each other’s hair for that (;-)); let’s learn to do more compassionate privilege triage with each other--and to have a bit of a sense of humor about it when and where appropriate.

Additionally, I think, we ought to give each other space to talk about the ways that we sometimes feel ashamed of and betrayed by our own mothers’ and grandmothers’ racism and misogyny--and how, sometimes, this may even cause some of us to feel (rightly or wrongly) jealous of the kinds of intergenerational relationships women of color seem to be able to have. Some, though not all, progressive younger white women (and some progressive older white women) too often feel like we have no elders upon whose wisdom and compassion we can lean when we feel weak or confused or lost. We need to find each other. We need to listen to each other’s pain and create wisdom of our own. We need to create spaces for this listening and sharing that don’t burden people of color with doing that work for us.

And, I think it bears repeating: we have some serious healing work to do with ourselves so that we can hear and grow from constructive critique, both from women and people of color and from each other.

Don’t let anyone tell you this doesn’t suck. All of this sucks. It SUCKS! Yeah, I said it.

It may not suck NEARLY as much as enslavement, racial profiling, murder because of our color, having our babies routinely poisoned or killed, or having our legacies routinely erased from mainstream history, but it still does suck.

Because we didn’t ask for racial privilege when we were born. But neither did anyone ask for racial oppression. So we’ve got a responsibility to do our part in dismantling what bell hooks so succinctly calls this “capitalist imperialist white-supremacist patriarchal” society.

And here’s the hope: Yes, we are strong enough, good enough, badass enough, worthy enough to do it. We can stand with women of color and follow their leadership without feeling threatened or entitled, knowing we still have an important, vital place at the table of social justice--just not the only, or always the main one. This is our power as white women. Yes, we can.

Author's Notes:

1. I am attempting to use the term ‘white chicks’ in this article playfully, both to draw attention to our privilege and fragility as white women as well as to make an attempt at reclaiming the term ‘chicks’ which has so often been used by men in patriarchal society as a disempowering term. I may or may not prove successful in this attempt, but I do welcome feedback on this issue.
2. Yes, I acknowledge that this is a stereotype that many of us do not fully, or even partially, live up to. I am hoping to use it as a bit of levity but also to make a larger point. Again, feedback welcome.

Monday, November 9, 2015

... lately the weather has been so bi-polar and consequently so have I ...

As Katie and I have mentioned in our own ways, this calendar year has been a bit of a battle for both of us. My personal story has been riddled with body image issues (including weight gain/loss/over- and under- exercising and binge eating), job difficulty (there is a reason that my profession has the highest rate of burnout), feelings of failure, fear of missing out, doctor's visits, emotional labor, and loss. McHandsome has been undergoing professional certification and I have been enrolled in an intensive grad program. I've held teenager's hands as they've wept over their broken families, hugged parents as they have lost their children (who were my age, both murdered for no reason), hugged people my age as they discover they are losing (or have lost) their parents, and watched my aunt's family lose their business and livelihood in a freak flood. I've watched Alzheimer's take my maternal grandmother, slowly and surely.  McHandsome has buried multiple grandparents. Add in the typical late 20-something feelings of marital and reproductive inadequacy ... Yahtzee.

Things were heavy, my friends. Winter was rolling in and the sun hadn't been seen in weeks - literally or figuratively. Forget choosing joy - or looking for happiness - I was struggling to breathe. I was hiding in my car with my phone at 2am just to be in a spot where I could be alone and there were no expectations on me.

I've had periods where I was able to redirect myself to choose to find the positive - I have previously completed 100 Days of Happiness ... so my cynical little self decided that when Katie issued the challenge to #FindJoyinNovember I was jumping in with two feet and buying stuff for the goshdarned giftbasket.

Because you, my friends, are the real gift.

Moments like early Tuscon mornings, quiet country back-roads, perfect fall-leaf ferns, and fuzzy socks have reminded me that warmth can be found in November, and joy can be found in troubling times. 

Thank you for letting me tag along - and thank you for bearing with me as I start writing something other than legal documents again.

Thank you for reminding me to look for joy, even when I don't feel like it.

 You are slowly, yet surely, re-awakening my inner Penelope Garcia. 

And get tagging with #FindJoyinNovember on your social media outlet of choice!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Find Joy in November - Day 1

Did you see my post yesterday about #FindJoyinNovember, the project I'm doing with Katie from Stress and Stars? Interested in being included or participating?

I think we can handle that!

We're starting today, officially. The rules, from Katie's blog, with slight edits from me:

1. Comment here today or through the next week, letting me know where you'll be posting (Twitter, Instagram, your blog, Facebook - you could even TEXT me photos!). Leave me your username so I can follow along! 

2. Take a photo of a moment of real happiness, whether a big moment or a little one. Think - a moment with your children, a good cup of coffee, the perfect dinner, a pretty sky. I will be posting on my Instagram daily through the whole month (and my personal goal is to write more), but your posts can be as often as you like - daily, twice a week, weekly, three moments a month... whatever, it's all good

3. Write a line, or two, or ten - it's up to you - about the moment and why you found such happiness in it. End with the hashtag #FindJoyinNovember.

4. Post the photo and text into your chosen medium.

5. I will be looking through everything tagged #FindJoyinNovember (and everything linked here in the comments!) If you've blogged on the topic, please leave a comment with a link to the blog post itself. 

6. Once a week on Sunday, I'll post a "weekly recap" of our moments of joy. I'll pick 3 favorite posts or photos per week to share but of course will encourage everyone to look through the hashtag photos.

7. Share that you are participating around! Get friends involved! I like people!

8. Watch next Sunday for a giveaway! Katie and I are going in together to make a great giveaway prize. It'll be open to anyone who participates in the challenge or shares information about it around the internet. Check back next Sunday to see what the giveaway will be!
Formalities aside - time to begin!

My (first) moment of joy today:

The dogs I'm dog-sitting, enjoying the fall colors while I web-surf and nap.  They are such sweeties - and great cuddlers!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Find Joy in November (collaboration with StressandStars)

 Wow, I've been missing for a bit.

And man, have things gotten HEAVY around here lately. I overdid it this summer (four grad classes), work is ... work, and October has been renamed by myself and my little circle of folk as 'Sucktober'.

I feel like you don't need three guesses to figure that nickname out.

I, usually at least a sarcastically positive soul, have found myself transforming into the absolute QUEEN of the stick-in-the-muds. Anxiety is at a all time high, frustration is at its peak, and I am literally terrified of doing anything because everything is going wrong. Sitting around in a state if terror, anxiety, and being convinced that I am an absolute failure is getting me nowhere. And it is making me an absolute bummer to be around.

Quite the negative spin cycle. 

My friend, Katie and I were discussing ending that cycle. To achieve that end, a challenge has been issued for ourselves (and anyone who'd like to sign up!) for the next month. Read below to see the rules - taken from her blog Stress and Stars - Find Joy in November

#FindJoyinNovember Rules:
1. Comment on the introductory post on November 1st. Let me know where you'll be posting (Instagram, Twitter, Blog, etc) & your username or a link if it's a blog.

2. Take a photo of a moment of real joy or happiness, no matter how big or small. This can be daily, twice a week, weekly, whatever. Write a line, or two, or ten - it's up to you - about the moment and why you found such happiness in it. End with the hashtag #FindJoyinNovember

3. Post the photo and text into your chosen medium - blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook posts, whatever.

4. I will post a "roundup" once per week. If you've blogged on the topic, comment with your link. I'll pick 3 favorite posts or photos per week to share but of course will encourage everyone to look through the hashtag photos.

5. Share that you are participating around! Get friends involved! I like people!

6. Watch for a giveaway! I will post about it within the first two weeks of November, and it will be open to participants in the challenge.

Katie and I will be getting a box of goodies together for the giveaway - so get posting!

Monday, April 6, 2015

... just that something so good just can't function no more ...

(or - why I broke up with running for a month)

You guys, I love running. I hate it a little bit sometimes, but running really brings a lot of balance to my life.

Pencil on paper drawing. Inspired after a tired run, falling over and getting a bloody knee. :) I love running but....some days it hurts.

Running brings structure. Running is an outlet for all of the anxiety and feelings and worry I carry with me daily. Running helps me feel confident in what my body can do, and in what I can do in other areas in my life. Running squashes anger. Running eases the blues. Running gives me time to process. Running helps with adult ADD. Running makes my stressful teacher/grad student/landlord/mom to chronically ill cat/secret perfectionist life more manageable. Running, frankly, helps me feel proud of myself. Which is a huge thing for someone who almost never feels proud of themselves. It's cheaper than therapy and better for you than wine and doesn't put you at risk of tipsy texting.

But alas, running started letting me down in late February/early March. I got the flu (eased somewhat by having the vaccine) at a critical point in my training cycle. I tried to train (and taper) while sick. The weather was horrible. Work piled up, Grad school got harder. I wasn't making the gains I wanted in pace/strength. I didn't 'look' like a runner in my mind's eye. I ran my marathon - my first ever - on a day when I had been fever-free for about 72 hours and took DayQuil the morning of. I probably should not have run, but I did anyway. My time was crappy. And sometime between crossing the finish line and eating pizza I had a moment when I thought running and I should see other people. After a moderately good 5K time just a week after my marathon, I felt it in my bones - it was time to take a break.


Some of my issue was due to poor coping after a bad race. To be fair, this was my first BAD race experience. Other complicating factors included me being a perfectionist, and what happens to your body in the last leg of training for such a long race. The taper crazies are real, and include weight gain that I find to be mentally derailing. And there is such a thing as PMS - post-marathon syndrome. You think I would have read about this earlier on. Symptoms include the following - 

  • Sudden, unexplained feeling of sadness - CHECK.
  • Feeling of a lack of aim/purpose in the immediate future - CHECK
  • Negative thoughts accompanied by low energy levels and loss of appetite - CHECK
  • Extended sleep hours where you sometimes sleep for hours at a stretch - CHECK
  • Feelings of anxiety, irritability and hopelessness - CHECK
  • Difficulty in concentrating on day-to-day tasks - CHECK
  • Yikes. But when you use running to deal with ADD/anxiety/whatever-the-hell-else time off can be difficult. And when running and I broke up, my post-marathon blues turned into unbalanced craziness and sleeping for what felt like days.

    It was not a good look. And it took a while to recover.

    I think I am finally back in a good place and willing to admit that while I could have done better, I am pretty darn proud of myself. I am proud of my body. And I am glad that I was able to learn more about how my body works and the role exercise plays in my mental health. I learned who helps in my training, when to stop, and when to keep going. I finished a marathon. I didn't poop myself, die, or get picked up by the struggle bus. One more thing I can cross off the list of things I never thought possible for me to accomplish.

    Did @fabletics #positivitypinsweeps

    One of these days I want to run another marathon, I actually have one kinda picked out. And I also have another I dream of finishing. But those are goals I am putting on the back burner as I ease myself into a more mindful training cycle for summer races - and I'm setting goals that will help me stay on track and away from PMS - for good! Right now I am training up for a half marathon in Asheville, another in Greenville, and possible races in Savannah and a possible birthday half. I want to train well and give my body what it needs to recover and bounce back from training. I also want to keep up with my 2015 in 2015 challenge.

    So true....this is how I felt with my first half-marathon in 2013. Hoping for a full marathon in 2014.

    Running is an essential part of my self-care, and a big part of my life right now. Taking some time off and seeing the (drastically) sucky effects on my day to day lead me to believe it is a habit I will continue to indulge in. 

    Excuse me - gotta put out my tights for tomorrow morning!

    QotD - What makes you better/stronger? What happens when you don't 'indulge' in that for a while?

    Monday, March 30, 2015

    ... the door is locked, I turned off the coffee pot, running late as I back out of the drive - I feel like I'm forgettin' somethin' ...

    This month, really, this whole  new year, has been hectic and full and packed to the brim with things to do and people to see. I have been working on pausing to think, and sometimes thinking a little too much.

    But trust me, I haven't forgotten to blog - I just haven't!

    I actually had a few draft posts up and ready to go - but hadn't approved them to post because something just felt wrong, so I let stuff slip and focused on other things.

    What was I focusing on? The parts of my life I actually can put my hands on and work with right now. I felt overwhelmed, and when I feel that way I typically I may pretend like I'm pretty carefree and willing to go with the flow, but really I want to get stuff DONE so it stops piling up when I am overwhelmed. So, lately I have -

    1. Gotten new furniture (I got the white sofa, and I still love it) for the living room, I own a TV again, and I'm working on framing some art I picked up in Asheville to go with the new paint (and by stars, it's a neutral wall color!). I still need to assemble a shelf from IKEA and mount it, as well as getting some new curtains/window treatments and toss pillows. But hey, it's progress.

    2. This week I am putting down new wood floor in my third floor bedroom so that I can add a new renter in May. At this point only 'old floor' in the condo is in the kitchen, bathrooms, and my bedroom - BECAUSE I GOT NEW CARPET. That ordeal took about a month, ya'll. But I am SO happy with it.

    3. I am in my second class of my second M.Ed. and trying not to be a terrible student - I got a little hung up at work last week and turned in an assignment just barely on time ... I forgot how stressful that can be to other group members, Ooops. I spent many a day in undergrad bewailing the slackness of fellow groupies and need to shape up. In better news, I made a 4.0 in my finance class - which I didn't expect!

    4. I'm teaching a class where I get to design the curriculum more - and I am trying to be as engaged a teacher as I know I should be.

    5. McEngineer and I built a doghouse! Although, really, it is large enough to be a child's playhouse (due to the size of the dog). The dog is very proud of it. And we both fit it it!

    6. I finished a marathon. It was a thing. Blog entry to follow - no worries.

    7. I stopped running for a bit. Partially due to how much Daylight Savings time messes me up in the springtime (loads!) and partially because I got slammed at work just as my training cycle was over. So this week will be getting-back-into-running-week, if all goes according to plan. I have to be a morning runner, and mornings are starting to get easier. Hopefully I can start getting the miles back in.

    8. I did some traveling and some racing (and have planned some travels and some races). Prepare to get your ears yapped off about them.

    9. Quit coffee/caffeine temporarily, partially to fight Daylight Savings nonsense and partially because I felt like it.

    10. Tracking and minimizing my cellphone use! It has helped with SO many parts of my life. It began as a part of NPR's Bored and Brilliant challenge, but I kept the Break Free app on my phone and have been loving how it helps me unplug a little more every day!

    There's a long list of things I *need* to do, and another list of things that I *want* to do, and then another list of things that I *need to want to do* ... but at the moment I am happy that I have completed what I have, and I and gaining momentum to do more things.

    And now that the frost has killed my first round of plants ... I think I may plant some more -

    QotD: What have you been doing lately? What are you planning to do next?