farmer maggot’s mushrooms

11th Annual Fish, Farm, & Forest Tour! My little family, and a bunch of much, much older other people!

Slightly Carsick

I do not have a problem with older people. Some of my best friends are senior citizens.* I do slightly resent a publicized “family-friendly” activity designed with about zero consideration for small children. The small children there – our Nels, and the sole-other young family P.’s two little ones – nevertheless had a good time together (in part because we moms missed some of the adult-activities to play outside on tractors etc).


The tour was great and opened my eyes to the almost 500 farms in our county.  We visited an oyster farm, a cranberry bog (this was seriously interesting!), a ranch with a presentation on forest management and their sustainable forage farm paired with pulp industry operations (I had to miss this for abovementioned reasons), and a fish hatchery. My favorite was the oyster farm. Ironically (or probably not, I am not so good at identifying irony) even though I’ve lived here off and on for many years I learned more about oyster farming from an episode of “Dirty Jobs” than living alongside such endeavors. Saturday I learned a tiny bit more while other tour participants gobbled up grilled and smoked bivalves.

Oyster Seeding Demonstrated

Oyster Seeding Demonstrated

Oyster Seeding Demonstrated

The tour was also a bit disturbing because many aspects were completely and unflichingly pro ag-business; independent farms (like the one we support) were not mentioned nor was there much mention of what I’d consider the future of food – local, decentralized ownership and smarter, less chemical- and process-intensive practices (such as the raw milk movement – although it’s always funny to me when we go back to principles quite established in human experience it’s called a “movement” or “trendy”)**.

As a bonus at one point one fellow got up and started talking logging history (gee, living here twenty-five years of my life I’ve never heard any before! P.S. we have entire MUSEUMS dedicated to this and in-county not one Native American museum I know of) and before long he was using strong language to condemn the environmental movement, which he said is completely controlling everything in forest and fishery managment. He got very upset talking about this lovely boss he’d had and the beautiful shiny log trucks that used to be in the now-empty lot. These fellows often speak in terms of decades – the time a logging business existed. I understand the pain that’s been lived in my community and I live and breathe this reality (and I completely loathe the over-simplified charicatures of residents in this area as knuckle-dragging rednecks – as I do worldviews of “progressives” who pretend they do not live off the backs of the US working class and the overseas slave class). Seventy years of a logging operation now gone, very sad, it really is. So is killing off wildlife species, and whatever happened to those Native cultures that lived here for not decades but – guess how long? No, guess. 10,000 years. I don’t second-guess nor criticize the anguish of those suffering our long-standing bottomless economy legacy – I only wish for a little more of that seasoning called Perspective.

So the trip was really awesome but it was also kind of the story of white guys just trampling and eating everything they see.

We saw some lovely mushrooms. This little one was about the size of a quarter.

Tiny Mushroom

We saw her brothers and sisters nearby – larger than dinnerplates, but with this classic toadstool shape. Nels and I were really into these big mushrooms.

The weather was that breathtaking misty shroud which turned into a soft rain.


More mushrooms: today’s lunch, the chanterelle (sautéed in butter and garlic), avocado, and (local raw milk aged) goat cheese sandwich. Awwww yeah.

September 27th, 2010

Today I worked very hard on sewing (I hope to post awesome pictures very soon!), helped the new indie bookstore brick-and-mortar operation move some shelves, cooked for everyone which meant about five or six extra kids running in and out (food included crumpets with whipped cream and preserves and, for dinner, a lentil, sausage, rice, carrot, potato and spinach stew; it was entirely gratifying to see several children devour this with much gusto***), then went for a late-night spooky and dark run (so spooky I had to call Ralph and ask if he’d come escort me – like a total hero he did!).

Lovely fall times.


* This was a bad joke. I’m sorry. Read comment #1 & #5 for clarification. Thanks commenter lizzie for (indirectly) bringing it to my attention.

** There was however a lot of discussion of home gardens and the tour leader Don Tapio just about floored us with his knowledge on most every ag-product subject you could imagine.

*** “That’s the best thing you’ve ever made,” my daughter tells me just now as I type.

only in my dreams, as real as it may seem

I love running but I hate getting sized up, which is what any woman is subjected to the moment she goes outside. And if you go outside dressed femme or sexy or working out or pregnant or discernibly Lady with a Body, it happens all the more. Guess what, fellows, I do not exist for your Boner-Scale of Awesome (or Fail)â„¢. After a near-lifetime of getting speculated on and checked over I’m about sick of it. Sure, you do it without thinking much. After all, why not?  That’s what ladies are for, your once-over (and perhaps verbal speculation although that is not necessary every time), the quick way you decide Yes or No without regard to my personhood or my agency or my say in the matter (which is Nope).

The breathtaking scope and variance of the doodz who haven’t trained out of this culturally-assigned legacy is almost impressive in its nuance and the ways I’ve been evaluated and skewered or “approved”. Maybe some of these men see a buxom lady-jogger and it gets them going and they check out the bounce before off to get their shake and fries at the diner. Maybe some of them see a fat little potato-shaped matron trudging along valiantly but somewhat pathetically. Maybe my thighs are just right for their taste; but maybe my waist is too thick. Maybe my ass isn’t quite big enough although in general my proportions, yum. Maybe they like the lipstick and earrings or take offense at the dowdy sweatshirt.

I do not much care except to say you don’t have the right, and if there’s any part of you that thinks you do you are wrong, and I sympathize you were given this socially-prescribed birthright but as long as you employ it you’re seriously part of The Problem which is Vast and Boring at the same time. And I’m sure like me you want our daughters to grow up free to be people with agency who live in safety, not reduced to fantasy for whatever assholes come their way (nor scorned repeatedly and over and over again if she doesn’t make the grade, well wait a minute, none of us really can anyway), and I’m sure like me you want our sons to grow up respecting all people and sticking up for the women and children and otherwise-marginalized in their lives and showing integrity instead of being carbon-copy Apatowvian dickweeds who think men are center stage in their own comedy/dramady (either Alpha Male or Slacker Alpha Male) and ladies’ feelings are mostly just kind of jokes or Craziness or They Really Like Shopping Har Har!

And ladies. Seriously. If you think I’m running to pursue weight loss or fit into size X jeans or make sure to look good for my boyfriend/husband/coworkers? Nope. If you’re feeling shame when you drive by because my bodywork reminds you you’re “lazy” and “bad” (ZOMG you totally ate two slices of cheesecake last night!) that is seriously your call yet I wish you freedom from self-loathing (often disguised as weight-loss “empowerment”); I once bought this rhetoric, more or less, and I’ve left it behind (or continue to work to do so, rather) and Good Riddance. If you’re driving by and look me up and down and assess me as fat or slow and maybe not a threat, well, you’re certainly right about all that. Some day you’ll probably be fat and slow too, and about 80% of people breed so maybe you’ll be a Mama or step-Mama and get to find out what it’s like to carve out some Self-time in a culture that hardly allows for female imperfections or humanity, and maybe after a few years of exposure to that kind of thing when you see me you’ll stick your fist in the air and pump a Yes! because:

For me running is like every bit a visceral love, from the glittering water in the bay that looks so inviting but is cold and hostile, to the building 1324 long abandoned and faded to a pristinely-aged pink-grey of plywood bleached by sun and wind, to the sour-glue smell of the lumbermill and the attendant log trucks that blast by, to the intersection of Adams and Airport Way that today I have all of a sudden and immediate memory of the first time I saw the place, over 25 years ago, a memory called up; past the shiny, large Ford pickup trucks of the Latino workers with their Catholic church programs stuffed in the front windshield, past the glittering pelicans that dive and float in the treatment pond


I raise my hand and wave at every car or on-foot soul I see while I run. I can’t tell if people wave back as usually I have to get my eyes right back on the gravel-laden, treacherous sidewalks. In my ears screech the discordant disasters of Radiohead’s violence followed by their sublime, depressing, self-consciously drink-and-Robitussin-dose yourself on the couch at some party Friday night songs, the sweat is pouring off me and the sun feels better than just about anything.

Some links.

Feminazi Propaganda:
Lesley writes on the all-important boner with “The Suffering Ween: An Important Social Essay” (satire alert).

Do not click on “Sexy and Pregnant: It Is Possible” (from unless you can stomach the good ol’-fashioned lady-hate, which of course is amped up in these particularly specific and nasty little ways the minute a woman takes the step to become a baby incubator. Personally, never in my life has my body been more commented upon and groped by strangers.

Mamapoekie published two pieces having resonance for me today: “Respond With Sensitivity – Why Yelling Is Wrong And How You Can Avoid It” and “Out With The Negative… In With The Positive”.

The I-75 project by Norm Magnusson

Celebrate Bisexuality Day; I’m celebrating the same way I do every day: big a big ol’ bisexual. Did you know bisexuals are much-maligned, even within the LGBT community? Often portrayed as “confused”, unfaithful, or “greedy” (yes, greedy!) or my favorite, the sociopathic freak. Last night I watched an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” where our lead criminal was a comely bisexual lady was also a mass-murdering, ex-prostitute, deeply-damaged-by-horrific-abuse (because all bisexuals are weirdos who had something terrible happen to them as kiddos!), manipulative and high-level identity-chameleon (now that I think about it the first episode of the entire series had a diamond-stealing, you guessed it, cold-blooded killing bisexual; then there was “The Enemy Within” about a murderous nurse who, uh, was a bisexual sociopath. This is that show’s sum-total bisexual treatment in one season plus change.). Or you know, most bisexuals are kind of like everyone else. People.

Incidentally the bisexual I thought of first thing when I learned it was Celebrate Bisexuality Day was Jeremy Brett, probably the best Sherlock Holmes ever, and you know I’m a huge Holmes-geek.

Et Cetera:
At Attack From Planet B we have a recap of Megashark vs. Giant Octopus. This film has serious merits and holds a special place in the Hogaclan esteem. First of all you have Deborah Gibson (yeah, that one) and Lorenzo Lamas (yup, that guy, and by the way, all my pregnancy ultrasounds were done by his brother – no lie); you also have an Asian male love interest for Ms. Gibson’s character (no – really!) and of course some wonderful implausibilities (warning: clicking results in spoilers). By the way please, please tell me Mega Python vs. Gataroid is real, and we will be seeing more B movies pitting 80s pop stars against the monsters.

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s; I want to get this so bad for Phoenix. She is an exemplary artist and loves creepy horror comics. I have not been able to find a lot of good examples. Contemporary ones usually have over-the-top rape and violence narratives, besides, much like me, I think the girl appreciates vintage.

I just ordered this pattern to sew my brother up some underwear (as per his request); today some stellar elastic arrived via eBay. Fabric choices: a lovely bamboo/cotton. I can’t wait to get started!

Finally: I am going to open up a homesewn shop here at the blog. Slow-sewing. What kinds of pieces would you like to see? (note: any feedback is not considered a commitment to purchase!)

hoga-cat count, back up to 4

Meet Josie.

Meet Josie

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their support, well-wishes, advice, and hugs regarding our kitty Laurence. It’s been a month exactly since he went missing. I tell myself it is possible we will see him again (which now means our kitty-count would go up to five, which is something I try not to think about) which would be wonderful… but my hopes are dwindling. Ralph and I have been wondering if he was adopted illicitly by someone else around the way. He disappeared so quickly, without a trace, and the flyers we put up around the neighborhood were immediately and categorically torn down. It really hurts my heart that I don’t know what happened to him.

Since little Hamilton was robbed of her brother and playmate, Ralph and I have been entertaining the idea of adopting a companion kitty for her. Today I received notice of kitties about Hamilton’s age and therefore a potential perfect match.

Josie was a free kitten, as it turns out residing at the fellow’s home we sold our van to over a year ago (a carpet cleaner; he’d tenderheartedly brought a litter and mama home from a woman who was moving and planning to dump them at our in-town [kill] shelter). She came already named*, as it happens a name I completely love (in fact it was on my very short list for my firstborn’s name). She’s been pretty mellow since she got here. Mostly just sniffing and stropping herself against my legs for comfort. As I type she has one pristine paw resting on my shoe while she looks at me quizzically.

Right. A Bunch Of Sniffing.

Today was sunny; lovely. Early in my day I went for a run, a bit longer than usual. It put me in a great mood as did the hot shower and hot coffee afterward. I delivered the limón bunting to the intended recipient (who wasn’t at her workplace to receive it, so no feedback yet), which made me feel good. Oh and by the way, guess how easy it was to motivate kids to get dressed & teeth brushed to head out the door for kittenz-adoptin? Yeah.

Getting Ready, Pt 1

As I type this two of Phoenix’s fan club have arrived. The children immediately squeal upon seeing the new kitty. One of them, J., misapprehends when he hears squeals of kitty-delight. “You found him?” he asks, delightedly (meaning Laurence). What joy, what care these neighborhood children evidence. Now that I’ve learned how to be around children I wouldn’t trade their company for just about anything else.

* One of her littermates was originally called “Patches” but since the little girl living in the house couldn’t say it, the name became “Blatches”, which makes me laugh until doubled over.

trains and sewing machines

One thing I haven’t really talked about is I’ve taken a new commitment (unpaid, for/with awesome people/projects who totally deserve support!) and it’s taking up a bit of my time. There’s a milestone just passing now and I might get a small reprieve for more personal projects. I’ll tell you, I’m looking forward to it. Because today’s work also included designing the programs for the 7th Street Theatre‘s upcoming movie, a job I’ve been doing for the 3+ years since I moved back. My various work is resulting in pain through my right arm.

Anyway, summation: Ralph and I have both, for various and mostly unrelated reasons, been working harder than usual. We’re barely catching up on our sleep, let alone getting time to ourselves to decompress. Patience: I know times of busyness and stress pass.

Running helps. It’s lovely. I swear I enjoy this time most when I’m listening to depressing and/or violently loud music. Highlights from today: Beck’s “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime” (by the way I have been told by more than one person I remind them of Kate Winslet’s character Clementine from the associated film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Flattering!) and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” (vocoder not autotune, fools), which is goddamned poetry by the way*:

Oily marks appear on walls where pleasure moments hung before the takeover/
The sweeping insensitivity/
Of this still life.

I totally love listening to songs about divorce while happily married. It’s like walking up to a cliff and looking over.

* And since I don’t have a TV, it hasn’t been ruined for me by the cheesy use in Pretty White Kids With Problems shows and their parodies, w00t.

pwnage, linkage, oh my!

This was an awesome spider. My camera is lacking. You will have to settle for this mediocre photo.
Hard At Work

Today went better than yesterday, energy and emotional-health wise. I cooked most of the day and I went running even though I wasn’t sure if I had time – I made the time anyway. I ran against the wind and I ran in gravel. I am the least ankle-twisting person I know. Because I ran in the gravel while fucking around with my iPod a lot. I have much music I need to cull so I had to continually skip to goodness. Today I ran to an assortment including “Great Gig in the Sky” by Pink Floyd and “Armchairs” by Andrew Bird. Not exactly the running music for everyone but because I find the whole thing wonderful and emotional and like to sing while I run (if no one’s around to witness) songs like that work for me (also: Jazmine Sullivan’s “Fearless” – favorite running album right now).

Cooking proceeded while kids (my own and others) ran in and out of my house and sampled cake batter and played with chickens. We had dinner guests and another friend besides whom I got to pack some food for. Seriously, there is too much awesomeness to list; click on the picture if you’d like the run-down.

September 14th, 2010

In other news – oh internetz. Why are you so rad? Don’t you realize I have OTHER things to do with my time?

Still, how about I spread the love with all this awesomeness? ‘Cause this young woman Rose? She’s pretty heartfelt and fabulous. I found her words kind of fiercely awesome. I wish she lived in my neighborhood!

Pop culture: Michelle at bitch writes pretty much exactly how I feel about the television show “True Blood”. Thanks, Michelle, and well-done.

Pop culture part 2: I didn’t follow the VMAs, and Lady Gaga’s much-talked about meat dress is snore-inducing (like most stunts are for me), but I had a little “go Cher!” moment: “If I Could Turn Back Time: Ageism Is Alive Today” at WomanistMusings.

And please – how could I not post the classic (Jen G., you reading this)?

“Your breast is obscene” – I’m so glad I re-found Hathor.

In other news, a fat lady eats more than half a pizza. ZOMG! Tangentially, guess what, diet talk is really fucking boring (despite the hostile-sounding intro, a very compassionate and awesome post at Spilt Milk).

This was a lovely, heartfelt, and fabulous essay from an online friend: “Treasures in Heaven”.

Finally – Bitches Ain’t Shit:

And if I said, Oh it’s in your head

Today I sewed for several hours as my husband managed the house and took care of me besides. He put his computer in my sewing room and put music on he thought I’d like: the Dodos, then later Men at Work’s “Cargo” and then “Jesus Christ Superstar”. The heavy dose of this music and the music I listened to when I went running (more later) were deeply restorative. Singing along and alone with my hands and my work. Laughing and singing to JCS, a rock opera (NO, not a musical) I love incredibly dearly, a mixture of pathos and deep sadness and the most hilarious costumes and overblown performers (Pilate in his little velveteen boatnecked shirt and the way his voice cracks, “You misguided martyr” – ahahahAHAHA!) and the awesomeness of Yvonne Elliman, who was just about the most beautiful thing I’d seen, and I envied her long greasy hair (everyone in that film looked incredibly fit but like they reeked of body odor) and her beautiful plaintive voice. I don’t think I’ve listened to the album that I wasn’t immensely cheered. Funny as I can’t stand anything else of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s.

The kids were quite active and quite independent. Phoenix’s (many) male admirers stopped by and she spent the day outside at a fort in the rain, and then later around town with the older set, and kept her own counsel. “But she grew up tall and she grew up right,” my daughter is reed-like and wildly beautiful and fierce; she cooked her own soup recipe at midnight and wrote the recipe down and charged a dollar to any who’d want a bowl.

Nels asked Ralph and I in for a performance and did one of his sort of poetry-slam/song pieces. It was beautiful and profound (and also overly-long) but he would not allow us to record it. I watched numb with fatigue, but a good kind of fatigue, being sought out by my children, who gave me many hugs today, going about their business and painting watercolors (beautiful work I am pressing now). And Nels is so tall too and strange to me, now with one tooth missing, and his erstwhile baby softness is gone, all the way gone, and he is so slender, his face thin enough his eyes are huge and he’s healthy but seems something wild and slightly beyond me although first thing this morning when he woke up he asked me to bed and held me and said, “I love you so much, Mama… you are such a lovely little creature” and fortunately I had the presence of mind to breathe deep of this experience.

I started the day with a run, which felt amazing as the lovely rain-lashed fall weather is upon us, perhaps we have no more hot days of summer left. No one was on the track although a few girls sat way up in the stands and we waved to one another. I wear sunglasses out because I have light-sensitive eyes, eyes that tear up easily and are stung by even a bit of sunlight. This wasn’t always the case. I mention my eyes often because I am still laughing I have this problem. It makes me feel silly and weak but it’s true at any rate and I’m still getting used to the fact. At the end of my run, the girls long gone, the track lonesome and lovely, I took off the sunglasses and quite suddenly experienced the real color as a physical shock. I thought I have never seen greens this deep or blue sky like this or the brick red of the track like something I could reach my hand into.

And at this moment through my little earbuds the Decemberists came on, “California One”, and I was completely overcome with despair and sadness, it’s a song I was listening to when my dad was dying, it reminded me of him and the trips he and my mother would take in their bus together, knowing soon they could take no more, their ways would part. And I started crying, just a little at first, overcome with the bodily joy of being out in the rain and the lovely music, but then the Sadness overcame me and it was too much.

Take a long drive with me
on California one, on California one

And the road a-winding goes
from golden gate to roaring cliff-side
and the light is softly low as our hearts become sweetly untied
beneath the sun of California one

My run was over and I sat on the stone bench and just cried and cried, my face in my mustard-yellow hoodie, I don’t like to cry in front of anyone except the kids maybe. No one was around for which I was grateful. I miss my father so painfully and when this pain wells up it hasn’t changed one ounce from the day he died. I will never Get Over It. I don’t care if no one understands. I know no one can understand all the way no matter what, no one else is Me, but there are those who understand more than others, and those people are quite precious to me. But in any case I don’t have to justify the crying, I write about it here to be honest and real. I was glad to be alone for it though.

Later after a hot hot shower Ralph and I went out to eat together and shared conversation. I did the best I could to eat, moving slower than normal, drinking some really horrible tea at the pub. He made me laugh as per usual and we discussed our shared Plans, our unfolding week, our children, the malicious little cat-creatures we live with, his work, my work. Our life. And I was tired but still able to Be and find peace in the day.

And it was a good day.

i ran so far away. no, only a few blocks really.

When can I call myself a runner?  Yesterday when for the first time I really felt my body open up and ease into a stride that – well, I wouldn’t use the term “swift” but it at least looked like running?  Or the last few runs I’ve gone on when other runners wave at me and I wave back – and I don’t feel like an impostor?  Or is it that after the first mile or so I know I’m not going to stop or give up?  Or the wonderful, exhilarating feeling of a “runner’s high” – no seriously, it’s real – as all of my current worries and troubles melt away (“worries and troubles” – this afternoon: looking at a wonderful, affordable rental with an awesome yard, then finding out they don’t accept pets, then finding out maybe they do, and as of this moment having no idea if I should get my hopes up and just feeling like this whole house-hunting is a big silly mess)?

Today I began my eighth week of running – or rather, jogging.  I haven’t missed a single training day nor even wanted to shirk one (although there have been glum moments – mostly involving wind and horizontal rain).  I’m up to running 2.75 miles at an even pace, breathing naturally and feeling great.  At the end of my itinerary tonight I joyfully sprinted to the end of The Cars’ “Just What I Needed” – the burst of energy felt totally joyful but probably looked less than impressive if anyone had been looking on.  I don’t care.  It feels amazing.

It isn’t lost on me that my father, an avid long-distance runner who won many a race, died a year and change ago.  Now here I am living in his house (temporarily) and using his bright yellow Columbia shell (which I bought him, years and years ago) and one of his fugly ski caps and his very, very old stopwatch (I don’t usually time myself; I just carry it).  I think a part of me scorns the fad, the ritual of buying a bunch of shit for a new hobby and then not using said shit when interest in the hobby fades.  So in true Kelly form I’ve spent $3 on my running career – a (brand new, honest) Danskin sports bra I found at a thrift shop (I wear a 36DD and feel most comfortable when relatively secure) and although some day I plan to get some different shoes for now I run in a pair of hiking boots I bought nearly three years ago and my husband’s thickest socks and an iPod and a lip balm tucked into my bra strap.

I listen to music when I run.  I don’t mind listening to my breath I suppose but…  the thing is, I like listening to music turned up to 11, and I don’t often get to do so because I live in a house with other people who don’t necessarily feel the same way.  Today The Cult’s “She Sell Sanctuary” gets me through on L Street.  I like a lot of kinds of music but for running I tend to guitar-driven rock.  And some of these songs with their urgent beat give me so much pleasure because I always think of the lead singer hammering the cowbell-beat on his crotch encsconced in tight jeans and I laugh while I run (especially a fun imagining to George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”, a song that my husband and I have a running argument about because he thinks it’s creepy and predatory, and I don’t find it so objectionable, perhaps remembering the video where Michael wrote, “Explore Monogamy” on his partner’s back – by the way I’m not sure how well Mr. Michael succeeded in remaining monogamous but I thought it was a pretty cool video anyway and hey, it’s part of my 80’s pop lexicon and I could probably never hate it).  On Adams Street Donna Summers sings “Hot Stuff” – really belts it out, have you listened to her voice?  Awesome! – and I do phantom (yet subtle) pelvic thrusts as I glide through the wet night.

Tonight I’m grateful for my body and mind, which is allowing me to comfortably run and feel wonderful during and after.  It’s funny because I’ve not always been so amazed by my body and happy with it but lately actually using it, trusting it to get me through under the blue moonlight tonight, and I am stunned by the gift I have in my health and physicality.  I’m grateful to friend and housemate Jasmime who gave me the pair of Adidas workout pants I run in (seriously, I hate polyester but wicking fabric has its benefits when out and sweating in winter weather!), and I’m grateful to my friend Cynthia who read this book and was obsessed about it and would talk to anyone about how we don’t really need fancy running shoes – thus allowing me to stop obsessing about buying shoes and therefore put off my running – and I’m grateful to Abi, who is also off trying to make time to run but, maybe more to the point, taught me how to make frijoles refritos, a giant pot of which I set out with all the trimmings to feed my mother, husband, children and housemate this evening at seven.

Because let’s face it, the hardest thing about running is making the time for myself.

like the wind… except the actual wind was trying to kill me.

Today I ran 2 miles without stopping.  But like a lot of earned accomplishments, things don’t always end up happening like you think.  The weather was worse than any of the previous five weeks I’ve been running; it was bitterly, cruelly cold. And windy.  And toward the end, rainy.  And for some reason my body hurt, and for the first time since restarting my running career I wanted to give up.  I didn’t feel great until the last half mile.  I was robbed.

The sight of my son in my car, each time I passed him, helped encourage me.  When I run at the track the kids are expected to entertain themselves for the thirty-five minutes I’m walking, stretching, and running (today it was just Nels: Sophie had taken two buses, there and back, to have a lunch date with her dad).  Maybe the biggest awesomeness of my running is to make this time for myself and let the kids see me doing it.  I’ve spent the last seven-plus years rediscovering prioritizing my interests.  And it’s hard; because in taking an hour or less out of the day for just me it can feel so arbitrary, selfish.  Gee if I didn’t do this I could make sure the laundry gets done, or by the time I’m back home it’ll be noon already.  But in doing this I’m telling the kids I’m willing and able to care for myself, not just them and their father.  And I expect them to sort it out while I’m doing it.* And when I get back in the car – sweaty, elated, brilliant – I thank them for their help and patience.

And while I’m at it, is what I do really “running”?   Not so much, as another runner who lapped me no fewer than three times today proved.  More “jogging”.  Or perhaps “lumbering”.

Today my heart and lungs felt great; my shins and pelvis, not so much.  I finished it though.  My last quarter mile was accomplished to Pulp’s “This is Hardcore”, and I was fought by sideways rain and gusts of wind so violent as to literally take my breath away.

While we drove home Nels and I spied a beautiful rainbow.

11/17/2009 Edited to add: I’ve had a few comments here and in actual, honest-to-God real life from other people who want to run but think they “can’t”.  Sallie at is one of my many inspirations for running, and I want to give her a shout-out – and a Thank You, for helping me do something I’d been wanting to do for some time.  It’s hard to read her site and continue to come up with reasons or excuses why you can’t get out there and get moving.

* By the way, Nels took a leak on the field during my first half mile. And I was across the campus when it happened. So today I discovered that “boy peeing” is a rather particular posture.  Because he was so stealthy I couldn’t see any bare flesh or anything, I could just tell what he was doing by the way his feet were collected, his shoulders slightly gathered.  I kind of blame the HS school track (although I did discuss with Nels, no thanks, one does not piss in a public place) since the facilities are public yet, oddly, the bathrooms are usually close.

don’t look up running quotes online for a post title, it’ll just make you feel really mediocre and half-assed

This morning it wasn’t entirely nerves that made me feel I had to go for a run, even though I’d done the same yesterday and according to the training program I’m following I’m supposed to take the day off. Sophie was finishing her sleep on the couch: I woke her, told her I’d made up oatmeal for breakfast and set the table, and to mind her brother if he woke before I got home.  She nodded and settled back into the blankets, first requesting that I engage her playlist on my computer’s iTunes and – I could tell – enjoying some time to herself.  Both of my kids are thinkers, and totally content with their own company.  The house smelled warm and homey like fresh oatmeal and hot coffee. It was sunny and only a tiny bit cold; a crisp fall day, giving us a prelude to winter.

Running has helped me feel more energetic, more present, more alive.  It’s given me just a little bit more “space” to exist, and I’ve felt wonderful about my body and breath (I also, it must be confessed, enjoy listening to Justin Timberlake, The Gossip, and Santogold at volume 11).  Despite feeling wonderfully stretched during the day I am having a harder time falling asleep just lately – no matter how much I run, then swim, then busy about the house cooking and cleaning, when it comes time to sleep my mind won’t settle easily.  Tonight, though, I hope for an easier time, because tomorrow we rise early and drive down to the Portland airport to put my little girl on a plane and it will feel like a punch to the gut.  My brother is taking the day off and will be squiring us about the City of Roses; I’m hoping our time eating good food and running about town (and later that night staying at the Hawthorne hostel) can distract me from the discomfort I know I’ll feel.

In Sophie’s departure, though, I’m looking forward to having more time with my son.  He’s been bringing the real ball-busting material lately.  I’m thinking of today where in the space of a morning he doused the cat in Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap, made his sister cry a half dozen times, and yelled “Fuck!” in Denny’s (sadly, it wasn’t one of those “at least no one else heard” scenarios, either).  Nels is a wonderful child in that no shaming and yelling at him really works; it only makes him more frantic to be forgiven, or angry at being treated this way.  My son’s existence is an exercise in patience and compassion for me – also, in Not Getting My Way (kind of funny, because in my FOO I had the reputation of Always Getting My Way – hogwash!).  Yet I know that my two weeks with my son are going to be wonderfully peaceful together.  As much as my children love one another, they also love space of their own.

Today when we got home from lunch (and walking around Crackton, Aberdeen) Sophie spent quite a bit of time in her “studio” drawing picture after picture.  When she was ready to be with me, and for a little lighthearted entertainment (I snark), we watched The Orphanage* as I attempted to cast on stitches for a pair of gloves (I abandoned the effort when I realized the movie was in Spanish and my eyes would be needed to read subtitles, rather than count stitches).  My kids are enjoyable movie companions; they usually out-think the film and make some pretty hilarious assessments.  In tonight’s installment ( ::spoilers:: ) when the tortured heroine is trying to unravel a mystery of her missing child, she finds as a clue this horrific little doll wearing a terrible mask; my daughter says casually, “That’s a little creepy for a doll, don’t you think?” Yeah, like why in the fuck would someone create something like that, ever?

Good point, little girl.

* Talk about a great film for any mother with children! No, scratch that – it was a horrible idea. To be fair, I’d advocated for Let The Right One In but she wants to wait until her dad can watch it with us.