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November 2012
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January 2013

Notes to self - Christmas edition

Pinterest is a lie. For others it is a source of great ideas and lovely crafts. For you it is a sinkhole of disappointment and a showcase for your lack of talent. No, you do not have a good idea to make that craft easier. No. No you don't. Shhhhhh. No.

If you have been sucked in by Pinterest (lieeeeeeees), and you need a picture resized, do not bother with Walgreens. They would have an easier time turning lead into gold. If you're lucky, you'll get an enthusiastic young woman who is determined to help you, printing out copy after copy of your picture. In the same size. Every time. Ever decreasing photo QUALITY, but the size does not change. And she will not stop trying, or talking about the next thing she is going to try. At this point you realize that you are not, in fact, lucky.

Dad. Talk to Dad. He can totaly handle it. Srsly.

Hey, do yourself a favor. Don't even bother to look up the last date to mail packages. Because you're going to never get it done until probably too late, and then make yourself crazy, and cry. It's December 1 next year. Yes. Yes it is. Shhhh. Yes.

Sometimes? It snows. In December. Remember this when you're leaving EVERYTHING until the very LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT.

Christmas makes your children insane. I think it's a common issue. Becuase it seems to have made your husband insane too. And your dog. And remember that lady at Walgreens? Geez. Everyone seems to be insane. You should be careful.

Go to bed now. It will all be okay, because Christmas is actually a beautiful celebration of God's love, manifested to a broken world. It's not, in fact, a test. Everything will be fine. Yes. Yes it will. Shhhhhh. Yes.

Doing my best

People online are kind. Oh, not strangers, I suppose. But when you make contact - even the barest brush of common reality - they are kind. So I write here, and someone I've never met recognizes something about their life in what I have to say, and then they are kind. I disappear, and they gently prod. I'm stalking you now, where did you go? Wait longer, and they ask. Are you okay?

I am okay, and thank you for your kindness. But I find myself quiet lately. For the longest time, actually. The other day I was outside, in the morning, walking up the driveway to collect the newspaper. The driveway winds up to the road and when I turned, paper in hand, to wander back down to the house, I stood for a moment and looked. I love this new home of ours, love the space, the light, the chickens in the back, our ungainly and lovely large family all gathered here on this property that rolled out below me. 

I am lonely, the thought whispered, unbidden in my head. I miss myself.

It's this year, I suppose. This long, strange journey of a year. It was just this time, last year when I was telling you all about the new changes in our lives. I can't stand to link to it, sorry. It was about us converting to the Catholic church, the new house we found, and our surprise baby. Life looked so very shiny and new.

When Eva died, I was stunned. I still don't have the right words for that, but let's step over the initial storm, to the primary thought that I grasped in the midst of it. I failed her. My task was her life, and I failed her.

As soon as I was cleared to return to the gym (which was really quickly, in my memory - like two weeks), I attacked it. My stated goal was to not look pregnant anymore, because people kept asking me how I was, and then I had to tell them, and then everyone felt awful. So I would fix it.

Except I couldn't do that either. When I worked out, instead of the calm energy I expected, I just felt more exhausted. Sometimes I would leave and sit in my car and cry at how hard it was and how incapable I was. So I decided obviously what I needed was to work harder. Uphill sprints. THAT would help.

Yes, in case you're wondering, I hear how crazy that is now.

The upshot of all that was that I injured both achilles tendons. If you're shopping around for an injury, and you're considering the achilles, may I suggest you NOT? It's a bitch of an injury. At the beginning it just hurts when you start exercising, and you can easily push through until the pain subsides. When this happens, you have not won anything. You now owe the achilles, and it will exact its due. 

Eventually I was hobbling around like a 90 year old. And I couldn't exercise. If I didn't lay off and let it heal, I was flirting with the chance of rupturing the tendons in both my heels, and that's...not good.

Since there is very little blood flow to tendons, injuries there take ages to heal. After an ocean of ice packs (can I tell you how much I hate being cold? CAN I?), an entire pharmacy worth of anti-inflammatories, so many stretches that Cirque du Soleil thinks I should give it a rest, and months of no gym, no really not at all, I'm starting to feel better. But this whole time between has not felt like healing. It's felt like being trapped in a body I don't recognize, a tired and old body that doesn't function the way I expect it. It felt like failing. I'm fat, I said, but what I meant was I'm failing. Everything. And I'm fat.

Saturday was the first time I went back to the gym since...probably March. It wasn't my old gym (we've moved, see?), but the rec center in our new town. It's a typical rec center weight room, not fancy, but well equipped. I walked in, and nearly walked right out again, not sure I could spend an hour with that many mirrors. I'd forgotten my water bottle. I was afraid.

I stepped on a elliptical machine, input my information, and...stepped. Instantly I fell into a rhythm, one my body knows. My heart accelerated, and I peeled off my jacket. I stepped and stepped and "listened" for any word of protest from my achilles. But it felt good. I was stiff and slow and my breath grew short really quickly. But it felt good.

Twenty minutes of cardio, and then fifteen minutes with the free weights. No lunges, no squats, until my ankles are 100%, so I stood in front of the mirror and worked on my arms. By the second set, I managed to meet my own eyes in the mirror. For the first time in a very very long time, I almost recognized myself. I saw more than the extra weight and the undeniable age. 

I'm doing the best I can. I suppose we all are.