Bible Verse of the Day

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Runner

Courtesy of intographics on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.
Not me in real life.
I began running a little over seven years ago as a way to lose the last ten pounds or so after I'd already lost perhaps 45 pounds. I was walking a lot and eating properly, but no weight was disappearing, so I decided to jog a little. At first I lasted only 30 seconds. But I persisted.

I never, ever counted on falling in love with it.

How wrong I've been in life, repeatedly. (See previous post, "But What If We're Wrong?") These days, although I don't run every step of the way, I can put in four miles and am running much of it at about a 10 minute pace. It is an enormous achievement that I am proud of. Not everyone starts running at 60.

I was never an athlete, you understand. I was the high school brain and ended up salutatorian without trying very hard. (Not a brag--I loved schoolwork and it simply happened. I didn't know my class position until the beginning of my second semester senior year.) I've traditionally enjoyed intellectual pursuits and artistic endeavors, not getting all sweaty. I thought sweaty was gross. While I've always liked to walk and used to run a lot just for fun as a kid, I was definitely not an athlete in HS, except for part of one season spent as a second-string basketball guard. (Got kicked off the team for smoking cigarettes. Poets often smoke, you know.)

I found that exercise in general, but especially running, was exceedingly beneficial in the dark years after September 15, 2008. It helped me feel better about myself at a time when I had a shitty self-image and too many feelings to contain inside me, including some extremely toxic ones. Running helped me expel frustration and fear and anger--no, make that rage, not merely anger. I often worked out listening to Green Day's "Twenty-First Century Breakdown" and "American Idiot." (And still do...)

Yesterday, I did four miles. Today, I went to the gym and ran on the indoor track, then exhausted myself on the rower and weight machines because of the sadness I felt. The music director of our church, probably 40 years younger than me with his whole life ahead of him, is leaving for a Big City Up North. I'm certain this man will go far and make a name for himself in the music world. I am completely happy and excited for him and his new opportunities. But I am, quite selfishly, sad for us at my church, and for me. It's going to suck without him and his snarky wit around. Hands down, he's the best choir director I've ever known, and I've known a few. He's also a damn fine human being.

Thankfully, running is my friend. It helps me unwind the spooky energy that builds in me when I am overfull of feelings. It quite literally has saved my sanity at times. I've occasionally cried while running. Today was one of those times.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Friday, August 10, 2018

Grrrrr

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I am angry today. Too many things need fixing that aren't getting fixed and I am simply livid over the state of the union.

I will breathe. I will act where and how I can. I will not take out my bad mood on anyone else. And I will remember that the day holds work, wine, bridge, exercise, and other things I enjoy. I have love and a home and plenty of food, clean water, and air conditioning/heating.

It's Buddha time.

I hope you have a tranquil Friday.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

But What If We're Wrong?

If someone had told me 40 years ago that I would truly love Japanese food at some point in the future, I would have laughed and asked what they'd been smoking. When I was just short of 24, I had gone to a Japanese restaurant for someone's birthday and did not understand what all the fuss was about. Didn't like the flavors at all. I didn't eat Japanese food again until 1988, when I was in NYC on business and decided to see what all the fuss was about re: sushi. (Sushi was big in the Eighties.) I tried a vegetarian variety, and liked it a great deal, along with sake. Still, it was a few more years before I began seeking out sushi on a regular basis. Then I tried other Japanese food, such as udon noodle soup (yasai udon, at a lovely hole in the wall north of Watertown Square, near Boston, long gone I suspect). Then it was Vietnamese food and pho. Now it's just about anything Japanese (and Vietnamese) I can find, IF it's good quality--not a lot of that when it comes to Japanese and Vietnamese food in east central Kentucky. (I admit I have not tried raw fish--but if I could go to a reputable sushi place in a big coastal city, I'd ready for it.)

Photo courtesy of langll on Pixabay.
Creative Commons licensed.
The point of all this is not to give you an exhaustive tour of my food obsessions, but rather to segue into a book I began reading: "But What If We're Wrong?" by Chuck Klosterman. Like my first foray into Japanese food, in the beginning I couldn't see what all the fuss was about re: this book. It meanders all around and makes me impatient. CK spends a lot of time talking about what makes something "great" (for lack of a better adjective). First it's literature, then it's 20th century rock music and its evolution into hip-hop. He's got me now, I admit, with the last topic.

The book takes a skewed look at how none of us can predict what will be popular or considered "great" in the future. I recently read something (God knows where or when or by whom) about how humans are notoriously poor at predicting the future, even the near future. The book nails this statement to the wall and insists you study it and accept it.

When I look back at my life, I see now that I could not have predicted most of it--practically all of it, honestly.

So what makes me think I can predict the future? Why do I keep trying?

That's hard for me to swallow, because I am a planner. Boy, am I a planner. Plans often change, but in the planning, I've found, I've come up with ways to deal with the unexpected. That's the real value of it. ("Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, general and US president)

One thing I could have never predicted was that I would end up retired in Kentucky. Or that I would live for 13 years in NJ between Massachusetts and here. Or that Japanese food would end up being my favorite Asian cuisine, more than Thai, far more than any type of Chinese. (And if I could have predicted the 2008 crash, well, let's just say my life would be way different.)

Keep planning. But watch out for life along the way. And always have a backup plan, even if it's crap.

P.S. Korean is the one cuisine I'm still trying to love, at least dishes like bibimbap, which leaves me cold. Those who have eaten bibimbap will get the wordplay.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

TCB Finally

No, not the old yogurt chain TCB(Y). We're taking care of business today.

I can't believe we grew this old without making any will or the usual proxies, etc., especially considering we are very much in the assisted suicide/DNR camp.

Today is the first step.

Why am I scared?

I think it must be facing my own mortality. And my husband's as well. That medical appointment is looming large.

Memento mori, all.
Courtesy of rottonara on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Second Post

Sometimes a news item is so evocative I must share it. I want to write a story about lonely people who sleep in 24 hour places.

Please read this article. It's worth it.

Why so many people sleep in McDonald's in Hong Kong


Antsy

“Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.” -- Lily Tomlin
Courtesy of johnhain on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed
I'm not feeling down or depressed today. Nor was I yesterday. I simply feel... restless. Antsy. And I don't know why.

Perhaps I haven't exercised enough (although I have been walking pretty hard in the heat). Maybe it's because I desperately need to travel somewhere (it would help, I imagine, to get out of town). Maybe I'm tired of working (too bad on that one--I gotta suck it up). I'm sleeping ok. I'm eating pretty well. I'm not abusing any substances (5 oz of wine daily is not abuse). And I'm disengaging from crazy-making news and paying no attention to those who would diss me online. (I use Twitter under an assumed name to blow off steam when I can't take the madness anymore.) I miss my grandson--that affects me, too. So... why?

I did recently stop taking my antidepressants, but for a good reason: historically I don't need them this time of year. I have winter SAD, not summer SAD. And I should have stopped taking them a month ago. I just didn't think about it. But, somehow, I don't think that's it.

I believe what's happening is simply anxiety. Kitty is going downhill, and I love that little spitfire. She's noticeably less fiery these days. I'm not traveling because she is so attached to me that she visibly suffers when I'm gone--stops eating, hides, clearly grieves. So, no. My heart won't let me leave for days on end.

I'm concerned about a doctor's appointment that will happen in two weeks, although we probably won't learn anything at the initial visit. It causes all manner of thoughts. I try not to obsess. It isn't easy because Obsession is my middle name. And here you thought it was something beginning with L.

It's hard to sit in the chair and write. And I have a stack of work to do, unfortunately.

Right now, I'm saying, enough is enough. I'll go exercise and do some much-needed food shopping. It will help, I think, if I simply get my butt out of the chair and move.

Stepping away from the computer now in an effort to achieve some serenity. May today be a tranquil one for you.

(Just noticed the Bible verse of the day--Isaiah 41:13, in case you read this post later than August 7. What a kick in the pants. It's automated, so I don't control which verse appears. It's been claimed that "fear not" occurs 365 times in the Bible. I have no idea if that's true. Still a kick in the pants, regardless. Today I shall be fearless whenever possible.)
Courtesy of Pexels on Pixabay. Creative Commons Licensed

Monday, August 06, 2018

The Water of Connection

Berea City Park
I recently celebrated my birthday and found it interesting as to who remembered or wished me well. It came hard on the heels of reconnecting with a college roommate whom I first met... a lot of years ago. We had a drink and a snack in Lexington and have decided to renew the friendship.

A friendship from that long ago and since resumed is a little like a blurred photo--it's not in focus because some parts shifted, but it's still the same person. We're both going through a lot of changes at the moment and not sure where our futures will lead us--or even if one or both of us will stay in Kentucky. We first met at a college in northern NJ, and she's a New Englander, so to have both ended up in KY about 40 miles apart is rather astonishing.

I am very much looking forward to resuming our friendshipus interruptus.

One of my very oldest friends called me to wish me well a couple of days later. Our paths have diverged rather sharply when compared to who we both were in December, 1975, when we first encountered each other, and yet that connection remains. At one time we were close enough that he became my daughter's godfather.

Last week was also filled with (relatively) new friends. One dear person took me out to lunch--what a lovely time we had! Another friend shared wine and conversation with me twice last week. I also went walking with new acquaintances and it's developing into a weekly habit. It's all good.

So why do I feel so conflicted about a lot of things? Perhaps it's normal aging angst. Perhaps it's that my heart will always live in Massachusetts. Perhaps it's because I dearly miss my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. Perhaps it's the health uncertainties facing my husband.

Connections are like water to me. They ebb and flow. They reflect the tears we sometimes shed. They can wash us clean or their steam can burn us. They can dry up as we enter the desert of one of life's seasons. But they are the reason we are human beings. We need community and connection to thrive.

As an extreme introvert, I do my best to remember this fact on days when I don't want to do anything but pull covers over my head.