God Save The Queen

It’s a streak! Two posts in a row! And guess what else…

I walked AND I meditated. If there was a mic in my hand, I’d probably throw it for a strike.

walk map 7.23.JPG

Tonight I decided to take my own advice and just, you know, WALK. Walk fast yes, but no running, not even a jog. Then in a stroke of brilliance (resilience!) I remembered I have an app on my iPhone called Buddhify. It’s designed for urban folks like me who spend considerable parts of their days commuting or walking through a city getting from here to there, often trying to disconnect from the blaring world around them, because honestly, one can only take so much city life with the bustling, busking and barking. (And I don’t mean by the dogs.) Buddhify has a a Gym meditation as well, so even though I don’t do gyms, it was the best fit for my intention tonight: connect my mind back to my body. Adorably, Buddhify is British, so you can select a male or female Brit to guide the meditation which could not have been more fitting on this day of Royal Windsor Baby Press Call. I watched a snippet of coverage right before the walk and found myself welling up over everyone’s authentic joy for these charming human anachronisms. Plus, there is no western culture that does pageantry like the British. I mean, there was a SIXTY-TWO gun salute. That’s pomp!

While coveting my hip British meditation guide’s cool tones and imagining how Princess Di would have been the best grandmother in the empire of the Universe, I thought of another favorite British character, the one and only Bridget Jones. (And not Renee Zellwegger’s version, the one that lives in my head based on The Book.) I read Bridget Jones’s Diary as soon as it came out in hardcover here in the US, which was the summer of 1998. I had already read the excerpts in Vogue and was a fan-girl from moment one. I would read the book in bed with my then boyfriend and start laughing so hard I would wake him from a dead sleep. Ahh happy memories…

Although I am now 10 years older than the eternally-32 Bridget, I can still relate to her struggles as an urban singleton and the desire to be loved just the way you are, even on the days you are up a size and the bigger tits are not feeling like a bonus. (Yes, gentlemen, I know, the tits are ALWAYS fine just the way they are, but especially bigger. Mine are. You’re welcome.) Eyes up here: so I found this fantastic excerpt and I howled with enough laughter in the re-read that I am sure to wake my new boyfriend from where he sleeps now.

Massive, breathless, earnest thanks to the writer of Bridget Jones’s Diary, the AMAZING Helen Fielding and to Brits in general for reminding me to carry on then, walk, meditate, mind the gap. Enjoy this excerpt.

Tuesday 3 January

130 lbs. (terrifying slide into obesity–why? why?), alcohol units 6 (excellent), cigarettes 23 (v.g.), calories 2472.

9 a.m. Ugh. Cannot face thought of going to work. Only thing which makes it tolerable is thought of seeing Daniel again, but even that is inadvisable since am fat, have spot on chin, and desire only to sit on cushion eating chocolate and watching Xmas specials. It seems wrong and unfair that Christmas, with its stressful and unmanageable financial and emotional challenges, should first be forced upon one wholly against one’s will, then rudely snatched away just when one is starting to get into it. Was really beginning to enjoy the feeling that normal service was suspended and it was OK to lie in bed as long as you want, put anything you fancy into your mouth, and drink alcohol whenever it should chance to pass your way, even in the mornings. Now suddenly we are all supposed to snap into self-discipline like lean teenage greyhounds.

10 p.m. Ugh. Perpetua, slightly senior and therefore thinking she is in charge of me, was at her most obnoxious and bossy, going on and on to the point of utter boredom about latest half-million-pound property she is planning to buy with her rich-but-overbred boyfriend, Hugo: “Yars, yars, well it is north-facing but they’ve done something frightfully clever with the light.”

I looked at her wistfully, her vast, bulbous bottom swathed in a tight red skirt with a bizarre three-quarter-length striped waistcoat strapped across it. What a blessing to be born with such Sloaney arrogance. Perpetua could be the size of a Renault Espace and not give it a thought. How many hours, months, years, have I spent worrying about weight while Perpetua has been happily looking for lamps with porcelain cats as bases around the Fulham Road? She is missing out on a source of happiness, anyway. It is proved by surveys that happiness does not come from love, wealth or power but the pursuit of attainable goals: and what is a diet if not that?

On way home in end-of-Christmas denial I bought a packet of cut-price chocolate tree decorations and a £3.69 bottle of sparkling wine from Norway, Pakistan or similar. I guzzled them by the light of the Christmas tree, together with a couple of mince pies, the last of the Christmas cake and some Stilton, while watching Eastenders, imagining it was a Christmas special.

Now, though, I feel ashamed and repulsive. I can actually feel the fat splurging out from my body. Never mind. Sometimes you have to sink to a nadir of toxic fat envelopment in order to emerge, phoenix-like, from the chemical wasteland as a purged and beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer figure. Tomorrow new Spartan health and beauty regime will begin.

Mmmm. Daniel Cleaver, though. Love his wicked dissolute air, while being v. successful and clever. He was being v. funny today, telling everyone about his aunt thinking the onyx kitchen-roll holder his mother had given her for Christmas was a model of a penis. Was really v. amusing about it. Also asked me if I got anything nice for Christmas in rather flirty way. Think might wear short black skirt tomorrow.

Wednesday 4 January

131 lbs. (state of emergency now as if fat has been stored in capsule form over Christmas and is being slowly released under skin), alcohol units 5 (better), cigarettes 20, calories 700 (v.g.).

4 p.m. Office. State of emergency. Jude just rang up from her portable phone in flood of tears, and eventually managed to explain, in a sheep’s voice, that she had just had to excuse herself from a board meeting (Jude is Head of Futures at Brightlings) as she was about to burst into tears and was now trapped in the ladies’ with Alice Cooper eyes and no makeup bag. Her boyfriend, Vile Richard (self-indulgent commitment phobic), whom she has been seeing on and off for eighteen months, had chucked her for asking him if he wanted to come on holiday with her. Typical, but Jude naturally was blaming it all on herself.

Hot Links: So Random

Hello friends. I am happy to report that the peeping-prowler situation seems to be nearly resolved, so now I am just trying to run more, eat less crap (yet another toxic binge happened, oops), do good work and win the lottery. This week has been cuckoo at work and it’s raining, so I am not running today. Only squeaking out some links that I liked from moments of click-arounds this week.

Here you go!

This week was the 40th anniversary of the cellular phone. (For the record I got my first mobile phone in 1994. It was one of those beige Motorola “flip” phones and the numbers on the sliver of a screen were orange. A few more Motorolas, then I became a Nokia person, then a couple Blackberries, and presently a devoted iPhone person.) Now of course, we are ALL douchebags.

So, don’t stretch before exercise. Got it. Really? Okay Well Blog, I believe you.

This is totally a thing. I wish this guy was my boyfriend. He makes smoothies and says “fuck” a lot.

Speaking of saying “fuck” a lot, have I shared this one before? Oh man, does this make me happy. Usage of hashtag/fates worse than death might be the most deft employment of sarcasm in the history of the hashtag.

Hat tip to Girls of a Certain Age for this link. 15 Mid-Century Modern Homes that Will Kill Your Children. Darkly hilarious and I want those floating stairs.

I don’t know what a series of photographs like this is called, but I will be a clod and call it stream of consciousness. It is SO much better than that.

Someday, I want to write a book too.

Crying On The Returns

Staring at the blank screen when my head is so filled with a tangle of thoughts and my gut is churning with so much emotion and my physical exhaustion is nearing its tipping point is a special kind of torture.  Normally, I’d bust out the Moleskine and blast out a diatribe or so, but I forced myself to open the blog machine to impose some structure on the internal rough drafts.  I have no idea how that’s going to go.

I have just returned from a quick weekend trip home both with and to see family, and mostly, it was a fine trip.  Family is complex and mine looks like a Manhattan Project equation.   What I can always count on, and especially when returning from home, are some intense emotions that usually well up right after I get out of the car at curbside.  I keep my sunglasses on and my head down as I make my way through security, then pit stop at the bathroom for a muffled stall cry in an attempt to get it together before getting on the plane.  It’s not without precedent that I cry once settled and the plane is suddenly speeding me off the ground and back to reality.  I have always done this; my expectation is that I will always do this, and I am fine with it, but today’s episode reminded me how sensitive I am.

A wise person once told me, “Sensitivity is a superpower.”  I know she is right and it is time for me harness it once and for all.

However, I am terrified.  Not of Success – I am ready for some more of that to get here – but of  rejection and humiliation and abandonment and all the painful things that I  have already experienced showing up for a repeat performance.  I am not looking for pep talks by sharing this, because my previous rejections and humiliations and abandonments were mostly the result of abuse, the extent of which I have only just recently begun to understand.  At least now I feel confident I know how to spot that well ahead of time.  (With the exception of some recent fumbles of my own making and then endless fixation on them.)  What I don’t know how to do is actually open up enough to let the light in.

My most effective defense strategy and stalwart enabler is procrastination.  I am the Four Star Generalissimo of Procrastination, a lot of it now achieved by too much “screen time” and while I do have an iPhone, I have a cumbersome, work-brick laptop and a TV that was state-of-the-art… in 1997.  I dilly-dally and dawdle and putter and preen and run late and feel harried and then, like dysfunctional magic, I am failing just like Procrastination promised.  (Yes, I am aware of the Mean Voice in my head that is telling me I am doing it wrong.)

Here is where the Return Travel comes in to play: I am in a vulnerable state, not here nor there, yet totally present in the limbo of airports and time zone jumps.  And that’s when I realize I want so much more…

I want that light.  And that love.  And that success.  And that serenity.  And that fun.  And that magic.  And that energy.  And that security.  And that passion.  And that confidence.  And that warmth.  I want that light to get in.  To nurture me.  I want that.

This was a start.

Vernally Equinoxious

Apparently, spring arrived on March 20th.  I had it in my winter-numb skull that it was getting here on March 22nd this year, for no other reason than it has been on March 22nds of the past and that seemed like the day it should be on.  I can shamelessly admit to a high consumption of Irish alcoholic beverages on the 17th, so perhaps that is what threw my brain off.  Also, all the non-running.  (On the recovery front, have been introduced to THE sportie acupuncturist to cure me, booking a round of treatments is on the agenda for this week.)

I did do the two-mile walk loop tonight though, and brought along my iPhone which is rare.  (It only comes with me on trail runs and stays on mute the whole time.)  And so, I snapped some pictures.  Am involved in a little project that I am enjoying so I needed to do my homework.  Here’s a few shots.  Yes, I picked totally forgiving subjects and bow down to my Instagram filters. What can I say:  I’m just a girl going through a photography phase.  In springtime.



Day 18: Surrounded by Luddites. And Addict Hummingbirds.

New crack, I mean nectar. Filled on 8/3/11, evening. Stay tuned for rapid abuse, I mean feeding.

There is an oily colander in my sink.  My favorite sports bras are buried under an Everest of dirty laundry.  Foxtails litter the entryway, just waiting to poke into the paws of my dogs.  Why you ask, would one nearly OCD neat-freak be living in such squalor?

I have been without an internet connection at home since Monday.  Life has ceased to be normal.

Have you ever had your internet connection interrupted without warning?  Yeah, it’s a NIGHTMARE.  I love my iPhone more than most sentient beings and it can do alotta lot of webbie stuff, but really, NO INTERNET CONNECTION?!?!!  I am SO behind on SO much stuff, and have turned so morose I am just leaving a path of messy destruction in my wake.

I am simultaneously stamping my feet and shaking my fist in frustration, mostly because the person on whom I have to rely to get the connection back is, shall we say, ill-equipped to just fix it!  My dear sweet landlord, OG Hippie Extraordinaire, really seriously does not use a computer, let alone know how to trouble shoot a wireless connection install.  And the dude who lived in another unit who did run the matrix for the rest of us unceremoniously moved out on Monday (!) and took the wi-fi with him.  I hate him almost more than that time he smashed my front door in with his fist in a blind rage.  (Yeah, he was all kinds of awesome.)

There are other addicts living at the casita besides me and with their help I realized my own demons.  Who are these drug addled beasts having loud fights outside my window, screeching and squawking trying to hoard their stash?  My hummingbirds of course.  Those brilliant, whimsical, magic, beautiful little feather helicopters are feeding through 12 ounces of nectar in less than a week, and only increasing their consumption!  I have become the nectar pusher of Christmas Tree Hill.

I got a very funny phone call from my landlord at lunch, telling me with great excitement that he got a “booster!”  (huh?) and that all will be fine, so please pop by this evening with my laptop and all will be connected.  I don’t even want to get my hopes up.  I really need that fix and I don’t think he’s as good a dealer as I am to the hummingbirds.  We shall see.  I may even start cleaning the mess.


AFC Half Day 63: Higher Gear

I love a good string of cuss words, especially used for self-motivation.  When I confidently declare, “I’m not here to f*cking f*ck around,”  you best not mess with me.  With the race date fast approaching, and my training woefully behind schedule, and understanding that is was ME instigating eight other friends to do the race together, it was painfully obvious that I needed to get my crap together and stop being so flummoxed by the bad weather, my dogs’ aging, general angst/distraction about what is next for me, or just good old fashioned procrastination.  I knew it was time to get my ass up the hill on a hike, since I knew I was not ready for any run over five miles but needed a good strong workout.  Plus, I had to get on with my day with the family, and make it to my bikini wax appointment on time.  Priorities!

Above is the RunKeeper synopsis of my workout.  RunKeeper is a free iPhone (and now, Android) app which uses GPS tracking to compile your mileage and, bonus, your elevation if hiking.  You create a profile with all your stats and what activities you do and can then share it all on Facebook or within the RunKeeper network.  I do not use any app that posts my GPS whereabouts publicly, so I just use it for my own stats analysis in the private profile format.  I am also wary of bringing my iPhone which is made of GLASS on a run with me, so hiking is the perfect place to use this.  My water belt has a  pouch that holds the phone nicely, so I feel more comfortable that I am not jostling the glass all over the place on a long run.

Today’s workout was exactly what I wanted to get done in less than an hour.  The climb is steep and strenuous and the ridge line allows for steep ups and downs to challenge a whole body workout.  Now I know exactly what the three mile course looks like and when I go up the hill again and longer, I will mark that too.  And killing 500 calories in 50 minutes is always a bonus, hooray hiking!  Because, as I say, I’m not here to f*cking f*ck around.

A Warm-Up Walk

I have been hearing myself lament the slow start to my 2011, in conversations with friends and colleagues, and not necessarily liking what sounds suspiciously like a whine, but, magically in the same moment learning that critical skill: self-forgiveness.  It is true, I have not been as organized or healthy as I intended; temperance is sorely lacking, as is sleep; my jeans felt a little snug today; my skin just a bit too inflamed/flaky/dull, and yet, I am telling myself it’s all gonna be okay.  And I believe it!  The indulgences are partly due to my 2010 ending with a massive accomplishment (of which I am still considering writing about here) and I think I have needed the time to process and prepare for the coming changes.  So while I know how precious each day is, I also know, it will be easier to run when it is light out and to just keep easing in.

Last night however, it was oppressively dark, so I settled for a walk with the dogs.  I brought my phone along which I never do because run time is the only time during my day I am not within arm’s reach of an electronic communication device and I can just be alone with my dogs, my thoughts and often, my music.  I have that app called Star Walk (yay walks) on my iPhone and have been wanting to aim it at other horizon lines.  With the moon on the wane it was the perfect dark night to get my constellation on.

We hustled along the 2.2 mile route I use for supa-fast pace runs, or yeah, starry dog walks, through the idyll that is my wee country mouse town.  Once we got onto the much darker bike path, I stopped and activated the app, which if I could just say, IS SO F’ING COOL!!!  I mean I can find Orion and the Big and Little Dippers with the best of ’em, but to have this little GPS astronomy professor in my pocket makes looking at the stars infinitely funner than it already is and is in my top 10 list of favorite things to do.  And, here’s why I know this gadget is the best: when I put it away in between constellation tracking, gazing up at the sky without it was still better.  It does its job warming up the crowd, and then gracefully exits when the real stars take the stage.

I think I just doing my own warm-up now…