Sunday, December 30, 2012


the tree still looks lovely, even on december 29.  but it's not the same, is it?

all of the anticipation is gone.  the gifts are open.  the gatherings are done.  the decorations that took a whole day to lovingly place in just the right spot take less than 30 minutes to pile onto the table, wrap up, and pack away. (this makes me inexplicably sad.)

the very last christmas cookie gets eaten.  peace on earth and goodwill toward men fades into the background of many peoples' minds.  things go "back to normal."

but i'm not a big fan of normal.  and i have a hard time when christmas magic disappears into the ether.  i have to baby-step my way out of the holidays.  the decor gets packed away well before the tree.  and then snowmen and snowflakes take the place of the santas and reindeer.  just to keep things festive a little bit longer.  as if maybe there could be such a thing as winter magic, too.

when i was small, i had a sesame street christmas record.  the record is long gone, but one song stays with me.  it advised listeners to "keep christmas with you, all through the year. when christmas is over, save some christmas cheer."  it's not too difficult right now, while some christmas spirit lingers.  but it can get pretty tough as the year moves on, the seasons change, and christmas becomes both a distant memory and not even a dot on the horizon.

but i try.  i stay on the look-out for the perfect christmas gifts, because you never know when you'll find them (and sometimes they show up in july).  i try to remember the "code of the elves."  i try to remember what's truly important, even though those things might only come to the forefront during the month of december.  and for those times i'll struggle and forget, i keep a few reminders around the house, all year long (even though they're really christmas decorations).

peace on earth.  good will toward men.  today.  and every day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


i don't remember big events.    i remember little details.

i remember what color a sweater was, who ate what cookies, what kind of flowers were in the vases on the tables, what types of sprinkles were a hit with the little ones.

i'm not sure why my mind works this way.  why i remember this way.  but i do.  maybe it's because i once read that god is in the details.  or maybe it's just how i am, how i was made.

i wouldn't change it, though, my attention to details.  i like that about me.  noticing the small pieces gives me more to be thankful for,  more to learn, more to know.

and helps me to realize just how much more i still have to learn and know and be thankful for.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

comfort and joy

i am a firm believer in the spirit of christmas.  i believe it is a time of magic and possibility.  i believe it is the one time of the year where people might really think in terms of peace on earth and goodwill toward men.  i believe it is a time when people are generally, genuinely, happy.

i believe.  will all my heart.

and then something terrible happens.  something unfathomable.  a week before christmas.  and my heart, every one's heart, breaks apart.  and it seems like there might not be a way to feel happy ever again.  let alone at christmas.  next week.

but this is when we need christmas the most.  we need to hold on to the idea of peace on earth.  we need to tell everyone we know that we love them, that they are loved, and give them a hug.  we need to bake cookies with our children, and let them use as many sprinkles as they want.  we need to wish strangers a merry christmas, or a happy holiday, or just smile at them and wish them well.  give tidings of comfort.  and joy.

and we need to remember that, while our hearts are broken, there are some whose hearts are shattered.  and maybe, just maybe, if we can love, if we can find some way to be happy...  maybe, just maybe, some of that love, some of that happiness, will find it's way to where it is needed most.

it won't fix everything.  it might not fix anything.  but it will help. 

i believe that.

there are so many reasons to run away and hide.  to bury our heads in the sand.  to fall into a sobbing heap.  to crawl under the covers and never come out.

but i don't want to do that. 

i want to smile at strangers, and hug my loved ones, and let kids cover cookies with sprinkles, and sing christmas carols while i wrap presents, and think in terms of peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

i want to make god and buddha and george harrison and john lennon and buddy the elf proud.

because i believe in the spirit of christmas.  i believe, in spite of everything, that happiness is possible.  even when it doesn't seem so.  i believe that love is the answer.

i believe.  with all my heart.

i just hope someone else does, too.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

'tis the season

some weekends are busy.  really busy.  really really busy.  like this one was.

up early (even though it's the weekend).  going non-stop all day long, and on into the night because it is impossible to get it all done during the day.  then up the next day for the same thing all over again.

and all of it is for other people.  and none of it is for me.  and no one is helping, even though other people are involved.

then i say "yes" when someone asks a favor, even though i totally don't have time to do any favors for anyone.

but... somehow.... when i put the word "christmas" in front of it...

christmas baking, christmas favors, christmas work... with christmas carols, christmas lights, christmas cocoa....

it all seems kind of nice.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

14 because i like multiples of 7

i had a race this past weekend.  not that me having a race is anything too out of the ordinary, or even anything special.  but this one was in december.  it was my final race for this calendar year.  and it meant that i have had at least one race each month this year.

it's been awhile since that has happened.  it used to happen every year.  but things change and knees change and life changes and plans change with it all.  but this year it all came together again.

i'm happy for that.  i like having goals sitting out there, waiting to be met.  but more than that, i like the record that a year of races provides.  not, like, setting records.  more like historical records.  my history for this year.

i can look back at a year's worth of race shirts and see my whole year laid out before me.  i remember everything that was happening when i ran this race or that race.  not just what was happening as related to running, but what was happening in life.

all the details, big and small.  the highest highs and the lowest lows.  the smiles, tears, happiness, anger, frustration, fear, joy.  they are all there,  the memories and the life, woven into cotton, polyester, cool-max, and dri-weave.

stride on.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

perfectly thankful. and potatoes.

before i got married, i used to go and have thanksgiving dinner with my family.

i'd ignore the turkey (and the comments..."but you'll eat turkey today, right?"  "no.  i'm vegetarian today, too.") and eat the side dishes and it was all fine and lovely.

hubby and i did that for a few years after we were married, too.

but then one year we decided we'd like a whole thanksgiving meal.

so we skipped the family meal and made our own vegetarian-friendly thanksgiving meal.

almost like an experiment.

and it was a success.

vegan roast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, steamed veggies, cranberries...

a whole meal.

then we went for dessert with the family.

it worked out really well.  nearly perfect.

so now that's what we do.

this year we made a big, veggie thanksgiving lunch.

both of us together, in our kitchen that is too small for two people, let alone two people and all that food.

it was tight, but perfectly lovely.

and we learned that 5 pounds of potatoes and 2 people is the perfect ratio....

and that cashew/almond whipped cream is just plain perfect.

and we recalled all that we have to be so very, very thankful for.

then we went to be with the whole family.

and it was perfect.

plain and simple.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

it's tradition

i am a big believer in tradition.
because i believe it provides a sense of security; something on which to be counted.
it give a reason to pause, and breathe, and take stock.
like maybe life is woven together, just a little bit, by tradition.
of course they're different for everyone. which is kind of the beauty of it.

it's been interesting to me, over the past few years, to see that traditions are pliable.

they can bend and stretch to include new family members: spouses, partners, children.

they can grow and become more than anyone knew was possible.

it's been interesting to me, over the past several years, to be part of the emergence of new traditions.

traditions created by the small family unit of hubby and me.

we went into the city, as we always do, the saturday before thanksgiving.

boarded the train early in the morning, peppermint mochas in hand, off to see the storefront windows all done up for the holidays.

we go, spend the day, eat wonderful food (lots of it...), drink warm beverages...

we start the holiday season.  officially.  offically for us, at least.

inevitably, something will make me cry  {because when you walk in to a store, all decorated and ready for the holidays, with trees and lights and holly, and the first thing you hear is the who's down in whoville singing "fa who for ay, da who dor ay, welcome christmas bring your cheer...." how can you not start to cry?} and hubby will smile and shake his head, possibly wondering how he got mixed up with the crazy lady crying in the middle of the store.

we will, hopefully, find something small to add to our home-for-the-holidays.

but mostly we pause, and breathe, and take stock.

we let the magic and beauty of tradition remind us of what's important, and who is important, and why it's so important to pause and remember the importance.

because that's part of the tradition, too.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

distress and de-stress

i spent two weeks being a mess. a great big honking mess.

i had a headache that started at my eyebrows, went back, up, down, and spread out into my shoulders.  it lasted for three days.

i had a digestive system that was in knots.  and knots.  and knots.

i blame the election.  i get nervous about things, and i was beyond nervous about that. 
i blame conferences.  i get nervous about things.  and i was a normal amount of nervous about that.

in the middle of the mess, i took half a day off work for hubby's birthday.  that was nice.  we had starbucks and ate cupcakes.  he opened presents.  i made tacos, because that's what he loves the most.

then the election happened.  and i felt like i could breathe again.  and my headache went away.  so that was good.

then conferences happened.  (they started the day after the election.  who planned that?)  and they went well.  and that was good.

my digestive system started to unknot itself.  (that usually takes awhile, but still.  it's happening.)

and then one of hubby's dreams came true (okay, he made it come true, but still...) and everyone came together on a saturday afternoon to play flag football.  we called it footballpalooza 2012.  and that was really good.

and now?

haul out the holly.

the holidays are on their way.

and that is wonderful.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

this and that

 i love that time when i'm training for something.  i love testing my limits, having a goal, working hard, following a carefully laid out plan, structuring around that plan.  that time takes up about half of the year, so i must love it.  and i do.  i really do.


but this?  i love this, too.

not having a plan.  not having a goal.  not working quite so hard.

leaving for a run without knowing just how far i'll actually go, and paying attention to my watch only to be sure i'm back home in enough time to slice some apples and bake some scones before the football game starts...

and put soup fixings in the crock pot...

and settle in for the afternoon with a book and some cocoa.

this is the other half of the year. 

the half that still involves the running that i love, but without all the rules of that half of the year.

this is the half that is more concerned with sweaters and scarves, tea and cocoa and coffee,  cookies and fudge (i am dreaming about the fudge...) , curling up under blankets with a book or a movie.

this is the half that is more about resting and relaxing.


that is really great.

but this?

this rocks.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

and the adventure continues

it was the kind of weekend you spend four months praying for.

cool temperatures, (mostly) clear skies, beautiful colors.

i called it an adventure.  staying someplace out of the ordinary, seeing lovely sights, eating amazing food, hanging out with hubby, and going for a run.  the best kind of adventure.  i hoped it would be wonderful.

i was worried.  worried that the creaky knees just didn't have this in them. 
i was (slightly) upset.  upset that i would not be meeting the goal i had originally set for myself.
i was nervous.  because i always am.

i was excited.  i love staying in hotels.
i was excited.  i love races.
i was excited.  i was ready for some time away.

i might have cried a little bit at packet pick up.
i kind of expected that.

but the tears didn't last long.

i had some running to do.

it was, as the saying goes, half the distance and twice the fun.
despite the creakiness.  and the swelling.  and more than a little pain.
and inspiring. ( as always. )
and wonderful.  of course.

how could it not be?

this was the first thing i saw when we arrived.

                                             (standing on the bridge, looking into the river.  love.)

stride on.

ps - the title is how the race director closes every email he sends before the race.  i think that's awesome.

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