Thursday, September 27, 2012

I liked that illusion

A bug flew up my nose and then I got soaked by a downpour. I went running for the first time since the 5K. I also tried out my new shoes. They don't feel as good as my old shoes. What was I thinking when I tried them on? I'll break them in a little more, see what happens. They've got that new look right now, like I never exercise. It annoys me.

Got news of another no-go on the job interview front. I don't mind, but I feel useless.

I bought some glucosamine chondritin vitamins, which are supposed to help with knees. My body doesn't like it, and told me by necessitating miserable trips to the bathroom. When it was finally out of my system, I had a miserable run. Dehydration? Usually I feel positive after a run, but not that run. No more glucosamine chondritin for me.
Seems relevant. Note the mustache.
I'm somehow still depressed. I felt happy for a little when I did a couple hours of paid training on Tuesday, followed by a stop at the mall on my way back for some interview clothes. But that's it. I need more outside interaction. I have too many hours to be alone dwelling. It's bad when you spend a day waiting for it to be over. If I lived somewhere remotely urban, I'd go walking. If I go walking here, I still won't see any people. I free-write, convinced that later I'll be able to use all this sadness, this dissatisfaction to imagine characters at a depth which I hadn't before. Because of my tendency to read people primarily by their emotions and not their physical actions (unless they're really hot or really not), I have a hard time imagining what my characters look like. I'm a good observer of interactions between other people. But between myself and another person - I never know.

Outside, gray and clouds with changing falling leaves. I used to like days like this when I was busy. There was nothing so comforting as white car lights, as red or green or yellow traffic lights shining through a day where the overcast light looked the same at 10am and 1pm and 4pm. I liked the illusion of time standing still. Warm jackets and tea and coffee and friends and talk, going places, the dollar cappuccinos at Target. I love running, but it's solitary. I see such beauty in the woods. I see more groundhogs and squirrels and deer than people. I think I need people more than I thought. Or I've always had a touch of seasonal depression. It must be kicking in. Spring and summer are my favorite seasons, that's self-preservation.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On selfishness & chemical processes

Low day on the roller coaster. Just when you think you're done with someone, you dream about them and realize the version of them you have in your head won't leave you. Thanks a lot subconsciousness.

I joke about endorphins making me happy after a workout, but it's true. Googled it. Endo- means coming from within, and -orphin references the god of sleep, Morpheus. I take that to mean that after a run, my negative emotions are put to sleep by chemical processes inside my body. I become this well of positiveness that uses exclamation marks (that actually has to limit my use of exclamation marks). I run in the afternoon, so this emotional high wears off sometime in the night. But I can't run everyday; and the days when I don't are when I can have a low day. Hence today. Somehow the dream + me belatedly realizing the fall equinox passed + job searching = angst and tears.

I have to say, I've learned about myself since July. I put off dating seriously for so long by being selfish and doing only what I wanted, that I suck at it. I know the word "selfish" has a bad connotation, but I can't think of another word that means that in my early 20s I put myself first. That's not something a woman in a relationship can do, especially when that relationship evolves to include kids. No regrets that I did what I wanted and moved where I wanted and avoided being tied down to keep things uncomplicated. So I think this break up is sticking with me because it made me realize that I'm now at the point where I'm ready to be in a serious relationship, but I have no clue how to go about doing it. If I'd realized this while dating Bud, would it have made a difference? I'll never know.

A meadow at the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, near Felton, CA.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

5K (ad)venture into Delaware

The 5K felt good! The trail was really narrow, so I got a slow start because I was stuck behind people, but then 2 impressive hills around the halfway mark made walkers out of the other racers. Not me. I love hills. Much passing ensued. The scenery was beautiful. I wish I'd had a camera for the creek, cornfield, horse pasture, meadows, and woods. My friend A and I got to the running store just in time to check in (#348 here). Then we hopped on the race shuttle, which took us to the start, just across the DE state line. This was the smallest 5K turnout I've ever seen, about 30 people, so by the end I recognized a lot of the faces. Serious runners turned out, but there were quite a few of us doing it for the fun. Smiles all around. Best Sunday morning all year!

I love running and trees. This seems like the right photo for the occasion.
Running lesson learned - I have endurance, but I need to increase my pace. My time was around 34 minutes, so that's a little more than an 11 minute mile. I could've been faster, but the mud and rocks made running downhill treacherous. At the turns, the race coordinators stationed kids/teens to encourage everyone to keep running; it's been a while since I've been told I'm awesome so many times in a half hour. That had me smiling and spouting out cheesy one-liners by the end. I'm relieved - I loved the challenge, the clapping at the finish line, the post-race drinks and snacks (1% chocolate milk!!!, bananas, coffee, bagels, orange juice). A and I had good runs, caught up, commiserated about our summer break ups, and made tentative plans to go to an amusement park next Sunday. It's about time for some screaming, eh?
I'm talking about roller coasters, baby!
I brought a post-race bagel with cream cheese home, sat it on the couch, and walked away to post a pic from my phone. I heard a noise; by and by I realized it was licking. The dog was licking my bagel. And I'd really wanted to taste cream cheese again. Later, I sat fiddling with my phone on the couch, my flip flops on the floor in front of me. People came home and the dog was so excited that she peed - directly on my left flip flop. For revenge, I put an old t-shirt on her and laughed while she tried to bite her way out of it.

To wind down, I watched a South Korean movie called Chilling Romance. The male lead is Lee Min-ki. I'd forgotten how much I love him. He can act, he's quirky, and he's hot too. We're dong-gap, but he's almost a year older, so hello, oppa! Kisses.

This is a still from the movie. It was a horror comedy. Rather well done.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oh oh oh

I watched the hell out of the Haven premiere tonight. I had to pause the show about 5 times just so my brain could process the awesome. So as you can tell, I've been known to compensate for not having anything to do on a Friday night by watching TV. I watch Haven because the female lead is badass and because my favorite male lead can only be described as a tall drink of water. Oh the dark wash jeans that fit him just right, oh the button up shirts, oh he looks so good in pale blue. Oh yeah Lucas Bryant.
Lucas Bryant - I hear he's lolzy in real life, which makes him even cooler, since his character on the show is so serious.
I'm getting birthday presents way early this year. My dad bought me a new car battery (okay, because the other one died). My mom bought me a pair of new running shoes. My sister bought me a cute long sleeved mini-dress from the teenage department at Target. Don't worry, it's classy. Sissy said it was to celebrate me becoming skinty again. Folks, I blimped up during undergrad. After graduation, through a long plateau-filled process, I returned to a reasonable weight. It's fantastic. I'm happier with my body. My thighs don't rub together and give me brushburn when I wear a skirt. Yes, that can happen.

Maybe I'll join a local running club (if they don't run on pavement). I'm thinking I'll take the glucosamine vitamin for a few months and see if my knees improve. I don't want to have to get knee surgery in my early 40s like my dad did.

I read a Reader's Digest article about happiness. I quote, "in our super-positive society, we have an unspoken zero-tolerance policy for negativity."  And "sometimes just giving yourself permission to feel any emotion without judgement or censorship can lessen the intensity of ... negative emotions." This is what I do here! This is what I've been struggling with - allowing myself to feel sad, moody, angry, regretful, along with happy and hopeful - without telling myself that I've gone crazy. So this is why people who make no secret of the fact that they're unhappy get labeled as "emo" - so they can be classified as being over-dramatic, and dismissed. Oh, and this is why Facebook is full of lies; mine included.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We could get lost together

My friend's wedding was a month and 3000 miles ago. I spent the better part of a year anticipating, planning, and purchasing for it. By the end, I'd sworn off ever having my own wedding (elope!), but I miss having something big to look forward to. Big events have such a delicious build up, logistical nightmares and high-strung co-conspirators aside.
Me and a friend in Oakland, one bright August morning before the wedding. I swear this is an extremely steep hill, but you'd never know from the camera angle. So this is how they made hobbits in the LOTR movies; oh camera angles.
I'm on this nostalgia kick because the former bride, now termed "the Missus" to highlight her wifely status, feels guilty that her East Coast friends had to shell out money for plane tickets and hotels. (She knows she has poor friends.) She wants me to tell her it was worth it.

I do tell her. I don't think I've ever had a travel experience to a new place that wasn't worth it. Born traveler here. As an infant, my parents strapped me on their back and climbed mountain ranges, crossed deserts, hiked in redwood forests, picked up and moved across the country a dozen times. I've never been carsick in my life and I don't understand how it's possible. If I'm not driving, I spend hours looking out the window. I see what I can see. I adore getting lost with a friend. Okay, not with all friends. The ones who freak out are no fun, but the ones who just sit back and laugh and stop with me at the funky diner on the corner and make fun of my driving, those are the ones to get lost with.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another endorphin influenced post

What is this plant? I saw it everywhere when I was in Oakland.
Me in the redwoods park. I've already forgotten how humongous they are. I love trees.
Today I ran about 2.8miles and walked a little over a half mile. I'm trying not to run too hard before the 5K. I did some biking when I got back, just up hills, because it uses different muscles. The last time I biked, I was sore the next day - love that feeling. And I hope the biking will help me with my speed. I tried to sprint the other day and... Distance running made my muscles forget how to run fast. As a former middle distance runner (400m/800m), I find that disturbing.

I think I'll run only once more before Sunday's 5K. I don't want to risk hurting my knees. I paid for that race, and I want to enjoy every moment.

So far, I'm at peace about not calling Bud. I'm not the kind of girl who can be friends with her exes. Not going to force myself to be someone else.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dreams are a wish your heart makes

Indecision decision: I will leave it alone and not call Bud. At this point, I just want my mood swings to be over. I had some really disturbing dreams (about bugs... ew) that have convinced me not to call, and dreams are my subconscious telling me the truth, so I'll just listen. I wouldn't think adults base real life decisions off of dreams, but then I look at all the people who play the lottery spending their money on numbers that come to them in a multitude of ways, and I think adults have based more important decisions on things far more fragile than dreams.

One week until the 5K.
It keeps getting cold outside. Utter sadness. The fall apples are mostly ready.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I don't want it

Two days in a row of bad sleeping. Last night I was nervous because I had to wake up at 6am and go to Philly. Cities stress me out. I went to bed 11:30ish and woke up 4 times. Usually I sleep straight through, unless I do something stupid like drink a water bottle right before sleeping. Who drinks water?-so last year. Did you know it's black dark at 6am? It is. It is. It really is.
The night before, I killed a spider that's been in my bathroom growing bigger and bigger for the past month. So of course I dreamed that this guy killed a spider and then whenever he stepped on the grass, bugs came out, and if he didn't kill them right away, they merged into bigger bugs and kept merging, until he had to kill the really big bugs to survive. Do not attempt dream interpretation; I don't want it.

I didn't run distance for a week and wow, I was ready for it today. I listened to my iPod for the first mile and a half, then just the sound of my steps on the gravel. Those steps are a lot louder than I thought. I started running to music so I didn't hear the haggard sound of my own breathing. Today my legs were sore from biking, but my breathing was regular. With all the miles I've put on those running shoes this summer, steady breathing shouldn't surprise me, but I still feel like I'm not really in shape. I am in shape - the feeling like I'm not is a body image issue. If anyone mentions that I look good or am fit, I think they're just being nice. I think they said that because they see some weakness in me, so they need to make me feel better about something, and the obvious something is outward appearance. Even strangers notice that. Over-thinking. I need to learn how to take a compliment.

Is half of humanity plagued with body image issues? The other half has more important things to worry about.

Lately, I think I should reach out to Bud and make friends. As things stand now, I feel like he's afraid of me. Afraid of me doing what?. Hating him? Crying in front of him? Afraid of my presence inspiring guilt? I'm a Libra - I don't like it when people are afraid. This makes me want to either leave him alone if I inspire guilt, or reach out and call a truce if I inspire fear. If both, if none, then I don't know. Or do I only want to make myself feel better? I have no illusions - it wouldn't make me feel better. Sometimes I'm all yeah, I'll call him when I get home. And then when I get home, I don't want to call him out of fear. So does this mean I'm wrong to not call? Is acting out of fear always wrong?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Something about moving on

I'm trying to publish a version of my thesis as a journal article. My collaborators are my (former) professors, and so yesterday I went to campus. I was on campus a lot this summer, but summer term is hot, still, and lazy compared to fall and spring. Somehow, I got used to summer. It's only been since May, but I'd already forgotten how hard it is just to park on campus. Parking is so bad that while in grad school, I called it trolling for a parking space. By my second (of 4) semester there, I gave up on all parking lots except the farthest, largest one. Even this lot is split into 3 sections, which I dubbed far parking lot, far far parking lot, and far far far parking lot. Some mornings yes, I wound up in far far far parking lot. I like to walk, so I gave up minding the distance. And hey, walking to the far far parking lot with Bud after our shift ended is how I came to know and like him.

Anyway, going back to places I've moved on from has never been fun for me. I always look for the people I used to know. Even if I meet up with someone still there, it's bittersweet. I'm a Navy brat, so I know something about moving on. It's why I forget things so easily. If I didn't live so close to town, I would never go back. This approach results in a lot of broken/casual friendships and few consistent/strong ones. I don't want life to be this way, but it is. Adopt said philosophy at your own risk.

But most of yesterday's bitter-sweetness came from this summer with Bud. Somehow, our relationship tainted the whole town for me. I'm fine when I'm not there, but when I go, I pay more attention to my physical appearance than when I was dating Bud. This is because if I run into him (1% chance), I want him to regret. It's best if I never see him again. After I leave, I'm a little down for the rest of the day, for the next couple days. I think this particular breakup has taught me many important lessons, but the most important is understanding another person's sadness. My other breakups were so gradual that the pain was prolonged, not as intense, but more durable. Others asked me why I was sad before I realized that I was. This latest breakup, it had been a while since I dated and so I wasn't prepared, so it was sharper, stronger, and I'm a different person anyway.  Maybe I can't handle partings as well, the older I get.

But finally, finally I'm at the point where I think I'm ready to be with someone else. Before, it would have only been to take my mind off Bud. It's sad that it took me this long, because there was another guy, but it's too late now. So right now there is no other guy, and I'm left with the memories of Bud and a bunch of job applications. And running. As long as I have running.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Car trouble

I was all set to run in the park today. I got in the car, turned the key in the ignition, and nothing happened. The radio worked for less than a second, then everything shutdown. Yes, the car was in park. No, I didn't leave my lights on. I wasn't surprised, only bemused. My car is not reliable transportation. It's been 2 months since it was last out of commission, so it was due to throw a hissy fit anyway.

In the past, I've been that person stranded on the side of the highway (45 minutes and not one cop came along to help, and yet if I should decide to speed...). In the future, I will probably be that person stranded on the side of the highway. I long ago accepted the fact that when I get a job, one of the first things I'll have to do will be to buy a reliable car.

Instead of the planned easy day workout in the park, I played soccer with the dog for a half hour. This means I kick the ball, she runs and bites it but doesn't bring it to me, then I run to her. We repeat. I've been doing so much long distance running that I suck at sprinting. God forbid I have to run away from a crazed chainsaw-bearing park ranger for whom an unfortunate piece of litter was the last straw, because if he can sprint, I'll get caught. But if there's enough distance, I do have more stamina than a guy lugging around a chainsaw. Just like this girl:
After soccer, I biked in up and down a hill in a loop 7 times. Circuit training? My knees still hurt. Going to go into hardcore knee-preservation mode so I can run the 5K in a couple weeks.

I fell in love with chocolate ice cream again. I thought we were over years ago; I thought we agreed I'd try other flavors and he'd see other people. But after dancing around each other for the past couple weeks, here we are again, going steady. I don't think we'll ever see the last of each other. Oh it's not an unhealthy relationship, we don't see each other everyday, but we haven't been close like this for years. Breaking up is hard to do.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Still, I ...

Oh laziness. I know some adults are this lazy, but I really didn't think I'd be this lazy this soon. I thought maybe after years of work on the front lines of some cause or another, I'd become so traumatized/jaded that I didn't see the point, then after I wallowed for a few days weeks months some small singular and profound event would shake me free and give me reason to go back to the front. Sounds like a reversal in a television show. All I know is, the more I dig in and try to hold to something, the more the sun rising, the air heating, then cooling, and the sun setting, and the apples ripening, the more they all tell me there's no use holding on. They all tell me I'll be left grasping at the strains of something long gone from my fingers. This regularity I see every year is good for that, for making sure you don't stop, for making you scared of staying behind.

Still, I'm cold (got a big scoop of chocolate ice cream and danced around licking it until it was gone and now I feel sick from the bouncing). Still, I wish the 80 degree weather and the green leaves and the clear skies that I welcome in summer and dread in winter and the bees and the warm touch of air, I wish they'd slow their leaving and comfort me a while longer. Still, I can't help wishing all of it wasn't so regular, hoping for one of those moments when your brain sets time running differently for you (and maybe the person you're with, but you can't ever be sure of that). Still, I'm grateful.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

We'll all be crazy by then

I need time to sit around and do nothing constructive. It gives me ideas. This is the only reason I've remained self-motivated to run on a regular basis for 4+ months this time. When I started, I just ran into the woods and looked around. A couple years ago, I took a class in grad school where one of the labs was identifying trees. This appealed to the part of me that likes to categorize. Nature is much easier than people. 

So when I go for a run, I like to pick out the trees I know and speculate about the ones I don't know. I like to look at coppices and split trunks and try to figure out why the tree didn't grow normally. "Tree doctor" I am not, so I always conclude that deer tried to eat it when it was a sapling, but it bravely lived on. I call the split trunk trees tuning fork trees or wishbone trees. I think of the leaves of sassafras trees as dinosaur footprints (too much Land Before Time as a kid). I look at dead, barkless trees and conclude that they were the victim of lightening strikes and they are striking so pale and stiff among the vines and the other trees that haven't given up on the struggle for sunlight. Sometimes I look at yellow sunset light illuminating the bark of a tree twenty feet up through dark leaves, and I swear to the tree that I'll come back in 10 years and pat its trunk, see how it's got on. I look around to make sure no one sees. It's just between me and the trees.

I took to introspection this weekend. The result: I will no longer try to care about things I don't have to. Trying to care should end at some point. Example: professional football. The new season has started and it's always on TV and I realized that I dislike it. This probably extends to professional basketball too - I'll know when the season starts.

I don't know if the reversal of this holds true - I will no longer try not to care about things I don't have to.

Also, why do I know so many people who have so little trouble dating large numbers of people? I think I've dated less than the average person my age, but I can't imagine going through with all the casual flings my friends start and escape before they get invested. As my friends pair off, my single friends will shrink and shrink until...who's left? Oh, we'll all be crazy by then.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The woman is sassy

I'm astonished - I'm actually okay with not working. It took a while, but I'm finally fine with the fact that at this point in life, for a couple more weeks or a couple more months, I'm not working. Oh, I have no illusions about the fragility of this period of non-angst, but today's phone interview went well (fingers crossed), and I've got a 5K to look forward to, so life is good enough.

I actually did something social today. Yes to opportunities to use my new makeup skills. I've been practicing real hard. Had to find that balance between "natural" and painted walker of the night. I stuck to black eyeliner and navy blue eye shadow, which I kind of smudged around with my finger. About eyeliner, you'd think it would be easy to draw a line along the bottom of each eyelid. It's taken me months to get the left eye without taking an unplanned deviation towards my eyebrow. How do people do this? Why is it so hard to color on your face?

During my social thing, we wound up talking about men. The last time we met up, I was dating and she wasn't. Reversal! She's also job applying right now, so it was good to commiserate. Ate an excellent turkey burger with goat cheese and dried tomatoes. Drank part of a lager. I haven't been able to force myself to like beer yet, but I keep trying.
Fight the good fight (to like beer). I think I'm taking this phrase out of context.
Reading If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. The woman is sassy. I like her. She died before I was born, but aside from talk about typewriters, the content is still relevant and revelatory. I bought this book at the coolest bookstore I've ever been to - a renovated historic barn built in the 1800s, when people were short. Tall people, beware. Bought it on my first date with Bud, who must've had a serious case of infatuation to indulge me in exploring all 5 floors. But how can you not try to find every random owl statue and all 11 real live cats?
Basically what the place looked like, only dustier.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Evening running

On an endorphin high again. Summer turned me into an evening runner (or, I was too lazy to wake up before it got hot). There's nothing like a sunset. Purple clouds, the orange light you can see through the trees. It's one of the few times you can see light as physical, as really being made up of whatever particles science says it's made up of. Since it's not as hot outside, I ran the northern part of the park, which I avoided during the rest of the summer because there's no shade. Yes to exploring new paths and hoping they add up to 4 miles.
I think this is the beginning of the hill trail I run up. I swear it gets steeper just after that curve.

Thunderstorms in the morning and afternoon left the evening air the most humid it's been on my run so far this year. The back of my shirt was literally soaked - I scared myself when I looked in the mirror. I should have known the humidity was bad when I had to pee in the middle of the run and my underwear did that twist-cling thing that makes you really not want to pull it back up, but you have to because you just peed in a park bathroom, meaning into a hole, and there are spiderwebs everywhere and the stall door didn't shut because someone broke it, so you're left hoping no one else has to pee and also that spiders don't fall into your hair. I am much bigger than any spider, but I am also physically disgusted by spiders, a disgust which manifests as fear. I peed successfully today. As I left the bathroom (okay, outhouse), I heard a mysterious electronic beep from the stall next to me, which I imagined was the text message alert from the phone in the pocket of the body of the woman who was murdered and left in the stall next to me for a jogger to find. A jogger like me. I was too scared by the beep to make sure there wasn't actually a body, so I ran away under the pretense of continuing my run. It was just my imagination (once again), running away with me...

When I got back to the car, the girl who'd finished her run as soon as I parked was still stretching. This was over 1 hour later. How long does it take? Am I doing something wrong? I know it was her because I saw maybe 8 people the entire time and she was the only other young one.

I love this park. When I was in the beginning pain of post-breakup angst, places where I'd been with Bud were painful: campus, one particular block of a street on my way to an internship, heck, a whole 3mile section of highway. But even though I did take him to the park a couple times, even though I showed him my favorite spot and tried to teach him tree names and sat with him on the railing of a bridge over Brandywine Creek even though I was scared of falling, the park has never been painful. It was there before and after and during. I have my best thoughts there, my clearest mind. Running in that park saves me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Yellow leaves

Was reading (as usual these days. Some nights). Came across this description: life at the time when you look like an adult, but you don't feel like one. Describes me! Almost. When I'm dressed casually, most people assume I'm a sophomore in college. I get to tell salespeople my parents aren't home. Unless I'm with a group of people who look like they're 20-something, I get carded in the movie theater. I'm the oldest, but whenever I'm with my siblings, even not-so-distant family members assume I'm the youngest. This does a number on my youngest sister's self-esteem because she's 7 years younger (not even 20-something yet).

It's Labor Day. The high was 73 and it's raining. Can't go running. In June, the end of spring felt like summer already. I wanted it.  Now, the end of summer feels like fall already. Two weeks ago on a run the wind blew through a tall stand of wild cherry trees and hundreds of yellow leaves fell seventy feet sideways across a curve in the road. I stopped and stared. It was cloudy. It was a sunset I couldn't see for the woods looming in the west. Warm sweat started to pool on my forehead, and I may have wiped it away with the bottom of my shirt. The wind made the leaves sound like a stream, and I remembered the time I almost lost myself in different woods following phantom water. The fallen leaves were so yellow against the dark green undergrowth and the brown mud trail I knew lead towards the real stream. Yellow meant summer was leaving, even though all the other trees were still green, still holding their leaves tight to brown branches. Those falling leaves were beautiful. I started running again, down towards them.
Birches.  Not the same as wild cherry, but still beautiful.
Gave into peer pressure and watched a teen movie (not a vampire one). It was Roman Colosseum meets reality television meets American Civil War meets 1984's big brother. Instead of this movie, I should have watched a Joseph Gordon-Levitt indie flick. 2005's 'Brick' for the win.

I found something I want. I want to read Junot Diaz's This Is How You Lose Her. It comes out 9/11.

Still think of Bud, but not so sad lately. New season?