Conversations with the Teenager.

My Teenager just returned from a 3.5 week vacation in Northern California with my sister and mom.  After we said our happy hello’s at the airport, she immediately noticed my new ‘do.

Teenager:  “Oh, I like your haircut.  You look like a soccer mom.”

Me:  *pondering*

Was that supposed to be a compliment?  After all, my son does play soccer so technically I have been a “soccer mom” for at least 5 years.  However, I almost would have preferred she associate me with any of these women who have famously rocked the short ‘do rather than what I perceive to be a modern day label for “frumpy housewife”, which is a title I banished many years ago when I went through a divorce and joined a gym.

Last night I actually made an effort to look presentable, knowing that I had to make the long trek through the United Airlines terminal to pick up my Teenager at the gate.  Beforehand I managed to squeeze in a 4 mile run as the sun was setting, after dropping off the younger two kiddos at their dad’s house.  I could have easily thrown on my usual attire when I’m in a hurry:  yoga pants, tank top, baseball cap, and a sweat shirt in case I get cold.  But I decided my new haircut deserved a proper public debut.  I managed a quick shower without fudging my makeup, then threw on a pair of skinny jeans and a cute Anne Taylor top.  I even wore dangly earrings, which to me is a definite must when sporting a new haircut.

I should clarify that there is nothing wrong with being a soccer mom or even resembling one.  It’s just that I hoped to elicit a different response after chopping off my hair for the second time.  “Cute” or even a stare in wonderment would have sufficed.  So an hour later when we were finally home, I had to ask my Teenager if she really thought I looked like a “soccer mom”, hoping that she might shed some light on exactly what she meant by that, assuming it’s a term that is used by her group of friends to describe all of us moms.

Her response:  “Well, no.  Because you have tattoos.”

Okay, I’ll take that answer.


The things I get myself into.

I seriously need a haircut.  Which would not be an issue if I would just make an appointment at my girlfriend’s salon.  But I fell to temptation a few weeks ago and took scissors to hair, carving out a completely new style for myself.  Quite honestly, it turned out fabulous.  A huge improvement from the giant overgrowth that had taken place since my last salon visit.  However, hair grows, and mine grows a little too well.  Add the summer’s humidity and I’ve lost control of it.  I refuse to resort to bobby pins and gobs of pomade to keep it under control.  Something has to be done.

But oh the messes it creates.  I will be forever feeling the pin pricks caused by random bits of cut hair caught in my clothing.  That’s when I wonder if I should just make an appointment and let an expert deal with it.  But then, my hair grows and the process must be repeated, over and over again.  I can’t help but think how many Lululemon racerback tanks I could have purchased if my hair would just behave itself without so much intervention.

When I have a random moment to just sit and do nothing, I plan out this DIY project.  The clippers will do this, the scissors will do that, and the thinning sheers (which are the most ingenious invention ever, for those of us who cut our own hair) will do the finishing touches.  I have to keep my eye on the prize, the final moment of “Voila!” when it’s all done.  And then I must relish that moment for a minute or two before reality sets in and I see the hair all over the place.  Everything must be vacuumed.

Of course, as I have mentioned twice already, I could just as easily make an appointment and let someone else deal with the clean-up process.  But once you commit to cutting your own hair, there is no turning back.  I am sure my handiwork leaves much to be desired, especially the random areas on the back of my head that I can’t exactly see while cutting away.  My girlfriend would never criticize my technique because she is that sweet and wonderful.  So the issue really is that I’m impatient and I really would like my haircut right now at this very moment.

And I just remembered that I bought some hair dye a couple of weeks ago, in a slight shade of red.  As I break out all the tools of the trade to beautify my coif once again, the bathroom may start to resemble a mini beauty salon… or perhaps, more accurately, a murder scene.


In the last seven years of teaching group fitness classes, I’ve amassed a few certifications and licenses:  Bodypump, Bodyflow, Bodyattack, CXWorx, Zumba, Insanity, and PoundFit.  The only three I don’t teach regularly are Bodyattack, Zumba, and Insanity.  I’m not a huge fan of cardio; PoundFit is about as cardio as I get.  So even though I’ve had many opportunities to teach these classes, I often hesitate long enough so that someone else who absolutely loves teaching those formats can have a go at it.  I don’t want to be a class hog, after all.

Obviously marathon training involves a great deal of cardio, however, I’ve come to the realization that the temporary bout of insanity brought on by cabin fever around the frigid months of January to February is the reason why I tend to find myself at the start line of a marathon the following fall.   It sounds like such a great idea at the time:  the warm wind in my hair, the sound of pavement beneath my feet, the chance to be one with nature.  But then there is the training schedule, and so many miles.  So many miles.

Yet, as the first week of marathon training was underway, where was I?  Sitting in this very spot starting a new blog because I couldn’t do much else.  I’ve had injuries before that involved broken toes, sprained ankles, a random ache and pain that is easily foam rolled away.  However, this thing going on with my back was maddening because I could not pinpoint what it was.  I immediately looked up the anatomy of the back to try and find what muscle was affected, perhaps so I could attempt to fix it somehow.  But the following day I was rendered immobile, literally.  The only remedy was to sit and wait.  And wait some more.  As much as I welcome the idea of sitting and doing nothing, being forced to do so was starting to gnaw at me.

Tomorrow I’m back teaching Bodypump, which will be the true test to see how the back holds up.  With my husband there, I won’t be tempted to go over the top, even though I am so incredibly antsy at this point.  If anything, I suppose I should give myself some credit for following doctor’s orders, and also for showing restraint every time a friend mentioned another race.  I could have easily signed us up for half a dozen races between now and December.

But lesson learned:  Let the body heal itself.  Rest.  Recover.  Because being sidelined, even for a few days, really stinks.

The Period of Unthinking.

In 2013 my return to college after a 19-year hiatus was full of wide-eyed curiosity and motivation.  I had no idea what to expect, but unlike the 17-year-old freshman of years past, I was excited to be back in the classroom and ready to take on the prerequisites for the doctor of physical therapy program.  With a bachelor’s degree in art, this meant a very long list of math and science courses, some of which were prerequisites for the prerequisites.  Needless to say, in Fall 2013 I felt like I would never get to the end of that list.

Yet nearly two years later, unbeknownst to me, I earned an associates degree in science, and with honors to boot.  The only class that gave me trouble was Physics, which is why I dread registering for my final prerequisite:  Physics II.  To be perfectly frank, I would rather gouge my left eye out with a safety pin than prolong the torture.  Physics was far more interesting than Chemistry, but it was a tremendous amount of work, eating up all my time and energy in the form of online homework for the previous chapter, online reading homework for the upcoming chapter, lab homework, weekly quizzes, and daily “clicker” questions.  I felt like I sucked so badly that I needed to take the class over again, but the professor thinks I should just move onto the next class and simply review Chapter 3.  Hurray, that sounds completely doable, not to mention I feel a little bit of redemption knowing the professor doesn’t think I’m a complete Physics imbecile.

But the problem is, I really don’t feel like doing it.

Alas, the burning desire to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy came and went, much like the equations for 2D kinematics going in one ear and out the other.

After finals, I felt as though I was suffering from some sort of post traumatic stress disorder related to academia.  I couldn’t relax and enjoy my much needed time off because I had this constant nagging feeling that I had something due at midnight.  Now that the break is half way over, I’ve eased into summer laziness, though most of this was imposed upon me in the form of metaxalone and tramadol, the lovely cocktail prescribed by the urgent care doc after my back injury.  Throw in a whole lot of boredom from the absence of children and a weeklong teaching hiatus, and I am now in a state of Unthinking.

Unthinking might just as well be the opposite of overthinking, in which I overwhelm myself with what I’m supposed to do next, clouded by all the what if’s, what not’s, and whatever’s.  Maybe I should complete the application for the DPT program, which is due in the fall.  Maybe I should register for Physics II, and unregister if I change my mind.  But when I really think about it, right now I really don’t have to do anything.

So maybe I should just vow to forget about school for a month.  Start taking photos again.  Go on a long walk.  Cook an elaborate meal or two.  Just unthink.  All this stuff will still be here when I return, and maybe in a month’s time, everything will be perceived with much more clarity, hopefully without metaxalone and tramadol.

Note to self:  The next time I find myself in urgent care with an injury, I need to ask the doc for something that doesn’t cause so much mental dullness.  Maybe he will just tell me to forget the drugs and drink more vodka.

The trial run.

This morning will be my first time back in the gym teaching a class.  My mental schedule is so out of whack, when I wake up each morning I have to really think about what day it is.  It’s Sunday.  That means it’s the 5th day of being down for the count.  I’ll blame my lack of routine and the pain meds.

Since June I’ve taken on 9 classes a week.  It’s likely the reason why I injured my back, though I will gladly blame anything else but that.  The night before I didn’t sleep very well, therefore, I didn’t allow myself to recover.  That morning I cleaned all three bathrooms in the house, like really got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed every corner.  Cleaning has not been my top priority since starting school, so I’m fairly certain that contributed.  And ultimately, the first day of marathon training with the inaugural 3 mile run could have done it also.  But I refuse to blame my teaching schedule.  Bodypump six days a week?  Nah, that can’t possibly be it.  Right.

Today the test run will be Bodyflow, a fusion of tai chi, yoga, and pilates.  It can be more difficult that lifting weights.  Or it can be relaxing and restorative.  I have a feeling today will be difficult, but more mental than physical.  A lot of talking, which I don’t like to do normally.  This will be an interesting challenge.

We’ll have the usual.

When we have a free evening, we always go to our favorite bar.  The same place where we met more than three years ago.

  • Two Jameson Black, neat.
  • Spicy Bloody Mary.
  • Black and tan.
  • Irish chips with a side of bleu cheese sauce.

Sometimes when we’re training for a race and feel adventurous, we order a bag o’ donuts with creamy dipping sauce.

What can I say, we’re creatures of habit.

The Introduction.

While I’m not new to blogging, this is my first attempt at a blog in many years.  I created my first blog a decade ago shortly after my son was born, starting off with an entry about a hopelessly tangled garden hose I had purchased from Costco.  From that grew two years’ worth of adventures about life as a mom of three children.  I eventually closed up shop because my life started to resemble that hopelessly tangled garden hose:  complicated, and, quite frankly, a mess.  My feeble attempts at blog entries were sporadic at best.  Life was more easily captured through photos and Facebook blurbs, though admittedly it was much easier to convey a semblance of fun and happiness in short daily summaries.

The past two years I’ve been paving a new career path, so I’ve buried my nose in textbooks.  The trauma of Physics prompted me to take the summer off so that I could relax, spend time with my family, and teach more classes at the gym.  But while my kids have been away with relatives, I was sidelined with a minor injury, forcing me to take it easy and, literally, sit around and do nothing.  I’ve been memorizing choreography, reading books on meditation, chitchatting with my mom and sister.  And basically being bored out of my mind, all the while floating in a haze of muscle relaxers and pain meds.

Then I suddenly remembered that once upon a time I wanted to start blogging again, create some sort of “All About Me” website for my ramblings and photography, and search for that tiny morsel of creativity left in my brain that has gone dormant from too many science classes and the everyday comic strip of Facebook.

So here it is.  A fresh start.