Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hey There, New Year...

I have misplaced my spark for writing.
2016 was the year my blog kinda faded away.
Even now, as I write this, I feel so...meh.
I'm eager to share my thoughts, but too busy/tired/lazy to do it here...or to sort it out in words relevant or meaningful enough to write.
For a while, I think my meds were numbing my creativity.
I'm okay with losing some of that (if it is just temporary) in the name of fixing myself.
Now I feel like a less sad/worrisome version of myself so I am hoping there will be room for something...else.
Something else to pour my energy into.

I rode my bike with my dad on New Years Day (also happens to be his birthday and it's become tradition to start the day with a ride).
The trails were muddy in some areas, but I was able to stay upright & attack some tricky spots with confidence.
I hadn't touched my bike since OCTOBER.
In fact, I logged way more miles on foot than on two wheels for the year.
And I only rode at Harmony Hill, the most local trails to me, all of 2016.
First year in ages without even one bike race.
First year ever that I didn't venture out to other trails or ride with groups.
I've noticed the less often I ride, the more efficient my effort is; I'm more inclined to ride aggressively and do everything I possibly can to not get off my bike to hike it or carry it over obstacles I know I should/can just ride over.
It's still incredibly fun and I'd love to get out there on my humble little hardtail more often in 2017.
Different trails and hopefully with my husband.
Other than that, I don't feel like reflecting on the past year here beyond:
  • I ran many, many miles with a fantastic group of friends, with my dad, with my son, and by myself . I am a runner, no getting around it anymore.
  • I painted and drew and shared and sold my art; that felt great. I will keep moving forward with that endeavor. It deserves more of my attention.
  • I tried hard to maintain strong ties with my brother, still incarcerated until at least 2018. There have been times I have needed him last year and simply just couldn't connect, which is frustrating and sad. Our family has changed so much since he began serving time in 2013 and it feels lonely to not have each other's backs right now.
  • For now, I am not in therapy...I feel so fortunate to have found a psychologist that I click with. It's been two and a half years since I started treatment; this past year I have really grown to understand the cycle and nuances of depression. I feel better prepared than ever to handle the inevitable lows. Knowing that I can pick right back up with therapy whenever I need to, without shame or embarrassment, is more comforting than I can describe.
  • My kids are growing up so freaking fast. I feel like an absolute farce of an adult/parent sometimes for being responsible for these two awesome is equal parts what the fuck am I doing please don't let me screw them up too much and Damn! I am pretty great at this.
That sums up what I feel most strongly about, looking back and looking ahead.
2017 will mark my TENTH year blogging, or "hardtale-ing", as it were.
I'd love to come back here more often.
Thank you for reading, always.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Taper is Real/Personal Shit

Against my psych's wishes, I'm tapering off one of my meds (Zoloft, if you are nosy like me & have to know).
I can get into the hows & whys in another post (and probably should, for my own sake; writing helps, sharing helps). In short, I'm happy about the decision, but the process is a little rough.
I've been doing that a lot. 
Yesterday, I bundled up & headed out for a local trail 5k with my dad.
Had he not generously pre-reg'd me, I would've bailed. I wasn't feeling great and wasn't into it. Usually I am all about muddy, windy, wet conditions, but yesterday?  Not so much.
With twenty minutes to go until the start, I downed two advil & sulked in the car forgoing my usual warm-up. My head was pounding & I was debating pulling the plug.
After a quick phone call to my husband, I decided to line up & see how I felt. I had no qualms about bagging it if that's how it was going to play out.
(Needless to say, I started and finished)
With .5 mile to go, I finally caught up to my dad & hung on behind him (shielding myself from the brutal wind). As we approached the finish, I pleaded, "dad, please don't sprint me."
To which he replied, "nah, we'll finish together."
(And we did)
The race wasn't awesome...I never quite found my rhythm or shook my headache.
But, I crossed the line with BP & honestly, that was the silver lining/best part of an otherwise very bleak week.
Last night, I got a text from him saying I ended up 3rd in my age group (and beat him by a second).
Just another day of literally & metaphorically putting one foot in front of the other, even when the easy thing to do would be staying in & putting those feet up.

Peace out, homies...happy Sunday!
(My apologies for not editing/revising this post; I'm sure the five people who read this will understand)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

On coincidence, serendipity, running, and reading

Weird chain of events today...follow me, if you will, while I tick through them:
  • Discovered my nook was dead this morning (it belonged to my mom & I have been reading books on it for the past two years)
  • While showering after a four mile run, I thought about books. What book I should read next. Thought about revisiting one of my mom's favorites (one of mine, too, actually), John Irving's The World According to Garp. I read it as a teenager and wondered what my take on it would be now, a seemingly lifetime later.
  • Upon collapsing into bed very early this evening (8:28pm early), gave my nook one more try. Nope. Dead. Decided to finally pick up the copy of Born to Run by Christopher McDougall purchased roughly a year ago (recommended by my brother of all people; not a runner, but an avid incarcerated reader).
  • Eleven pages in, the author references Garp. Motherfucking Garp. How about that??
Serendipity, at its finest (or something, right?)...

Friday, August 5, 2016


This is what I'm reduced to when given the blessing to enjoy a child-free weekend at the beach with two very dear, very fun girlfriends.
 Ginger beer (no, it is not alcoholic). Mini Animal Crackers. A generous dollop of Nutella. And the December 2015 issue of Vogue. Because that is how far behind I am.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I need to be careful when I get in these...modes? Bouts? Grooves?
I am in creative wonderland.
It doesn't happen often, but when it does...
I. Just. Can't. Stop.
All I want to do is draw & paint.
I can't ignore life's responsibilies; kids, husband, basic hygiene, eating, sleeping.
I sure would like to sometimes.
It's hard to just stop.
So, I find my time late at night, early in the morning, and I even outsource childcare, selfishly. 
(Not often, but it has happened & I have a hard time justifying it)
All in the name of feeding my habit.

Monday, June 27, 2016


Took a break from making/painting/creating...
Suddenly, the urge has moved me to get back to it.
Like now.
So, in between home projects, kid stuff, summertime adventures, and getting sweaty, I am going to create some cool shit.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Late June

Approaching June 27th, I feel anxious & sad.
That day will mark two years since my mom died.
And while I think of that day plenty of other times during the year, it seems to kinda punch me in the gut right about now.
Sometimes I get stuck on one piece of that day.
What her breath sounded like after the machines were shut off.
What her skin felt like when I laid my head next to her arm on the hospital bed.
What color shoes (cute cobalt flats) one of the residents was wearing during rounds.
Sometimes I get stuck on what happened in the days that followed her death.
People showing up & taking over. 
Me going through my mom's stuff & feeling like a thief (ridiculous).
"Isn't it too soon?" I'd ask my dad as he lovingly encouraged me to take whatever I wanted.
Dresses & shoes that I had borrowed from her.
Because she had cool style (without even trying).
A pair of teeny tiny diamond studs that I had given to her years before.
That part of the aftermath was almost exciting (sounds weird, but it's true); holding tangible pieces of Mare, smelling her...having her, essentially.
Sharing beloved pieces with family & friends, holding things aside for my brother, for our kids.
I really do try to wear something that belonged to my mom everyday.
Lately,  it's a particular ring; sterling silver thin band with tiny carved zig zags on either side of a delicate opal chip (smaller than a pin head). I wear it on my right hand, middle finger & barely know it's there. It's that perfect.

But, I didn't mean to go on & on about my mom's "stuff."
I was actually going to write about choosing her funeral garb; that was a weird process & my dad left it pretty much up to my discretion.
I found it odd & sort of funny that the funeral director, Ron, told me to include undergarments.
The dress was easy...I chose a long silk shift she wore to my first wedding. I was with her when she found it and it was perfect for her. That was a fun shopping day & I really miss shopping with my mom (probably the only person I really truly enjoyed shopping with).
Pale green, ankle length with delicate embroidered & beaded flowers randomly scattered.
For shoes, I chose champagne flats that she had worn the previous weekend to a neighbor's daughter's wedding. I remember stopping by that day as she was getting ready. It was the first time I'd seen her dressed up in a long time & she wanted me to help her decide which shoes. My mom always wore flats, lest she'd almost surpass my dad's height in heels. Her hair looked awesome that afternoon & I made a mental note to borrow that dress (ironically, I wore it just a few weeks later to her funeral). Is that irony? I always feel like I get that wrong.
Stockings, pretty underpinnings...a loose shrug/wrap (the dress was sleeveless) to hide all the IV marks. Her wedding band. And a locket (within the locket, tiny photos of her three grand babies).
Hair was done naturally, with that casual swoop & tucked behind an ear (no earrings; my mom had a thing about other people touching her ears). A Clinique berry lipstick that was in her purse. Just mascara.
My mom wore very sparse makeup. She didn't need any.
Although the funeral was closed-casket, our immediate family had the option to view her before visitation commenced.

First, I went in alone & placed some items in her casket. 
She looked...dead.
But, serene. Beautiful. And like my mom.
She still looked like my mom (which was quite jarring, yet such a relief).
Next, I brought Max in (he wanted to). I'm sure he grew up a little faster in a way I wasn't ready for in that moment. 
(But, we don't get to choose such moments)
And that was that.
Ron closed the casket & that was the last time I saw her in the flesh.

So, the date is looming...just two days away.
And I'll mark the day much like I did last year
I'll go to the Oaklands, I'll enjoy some of her favorite things, listen to some of her favorite songs...(but, I do these things often...and some of her favorites have become my favorites, too).

Bit o Honey
Ashes to Ashes
Gray Aerie sweatpants
The Sound of Music
Pulling weeds (SIKE! I HATE pulling weeds)
...just to name a few

I don't know a better way to wrap up this meandering post than that little list.
   Screenshots, yep