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59/93: So Tired

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My body is exhausted from the race this morning. I just wanted to get through the swim, I wanted to enjoy the bike and I wanted to fly through the run. My body had a different plan. The swim was okay. Lots of other bodies, but I didn’t panic and I stayed on course. The bike was smooth and I felt pretty fast. But it’s still stinkin’ long. The run was tough. Really tough. I think it was because I forgot to eat something while on the bike. I thought I’d have enough energy, but by the time I was running I was short of breathe and it was too late to eat. I choked down some water and told my lungs to forge ahead. My legs responded and I finished without a slow step. I beat my time from last year by 40 seconds. Considering how crappy I felt during the run that was pretty amazing. Every year I vow to beat my time from the previous year. At my age, at what point will that start going the other way?

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57/93: Friday

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For the past five years, since daughter was born, I have not worked on Fridays. I’ve covered for people, I’ve emailed and had conference calls throughout the day, I’ve even brought a laptop to swimming lessons so I could finish a project. But for the most part Friday means a day with my girl. It also means swimming lessons, impromptu pedicures, lunch with friends and selfies. We can usually be found cleaning the house, strolling the aisles of Target, or waiting in doctor’s offices. Having one day a week to take care of life’s necessities has been, well, necessary these last five years. In three weeks daughter will start Kindergarten. And she’ll go on Fridays. That’s going to be rough on her. Hell, it’s going to be rough on me! But I’m already booked to volunteer at her school. And I plan to get some stuff organized around here. And to walk the dog. And clean the house. And then right after school there will be swimming lessons…. because not everything can change, can it?

So, here’s to another Friday. And to five years of fabulous Friday’s with my girl.

Go have fun, okay?

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56/93: On Racing

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It’s just three days until my race. Three days before I’ll stand shivering on the shore of Lake Nokomis and try to visualize the strokes, the turns and the hills. I will be nervous. I’m always nervous before a race or a game or sometimes even a long run. I’ll have to pee about 10 times. Which means long waits for the port-a-potty with hundreds of other nervous athletes. I’m starting to figure out what time I’ll have to leave now that I live across town from the start. I’m starting to make lists of what to pack. Of what to eat. Of what to NOT forget. Tomorrow I’ll pick up my race packet and place the stickers on my bike, my helmet, my race belt. Saturday I’ll pack my bag, put the bike rack on the truck, put the bike on the rack. I’ll load up on pasta and water and encouraging words from daughter and husband. Sunday I’ll wake up at the crack of dawn, head east and try to relax. It’s my fourth time doing this race, yet nerves win every time. While I try to relax, I’ll remind myself this will be fun. I’ll be surrounded my old friends and new friends. By encouraging spectators and screaming kids. And then, after I cross that finish line, I’ll be thankful for the early morning runs, the long bike rides and the laps in the pool. And I’ll be grateful that my 42-year-old body can do this with relative ease.

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55/93: Ice Cream

On Tuesdays nights the Ice Cream truck visits our neighborhood. Every Tuesday night. At 6pm sharp. Or 6:05 if it’s been a busy night for her. Last night was Tuesday. And last night at 5:55pm we went outside to find nine other kids running around the cul-de-sac. Nine! Their ages ranged from 4 to 9 and Daughter already knew most of them. There were the two kids that live right by us that she’s played with before. There was the 7YO who she’ll be riding the bus with who laughs almost as much as daughter does. There were the two boys, 7 and 6, that live across the street that will also be on their bus. And then there were the 6YO triplet girls who moved away just days before we moved in. The ten of them, split into groups of girls and boys, ran and biked and scootered after they were sticky with ice cream. The mothers sat on the grass and chatted about nothing, really. Just ice cream and cabins and summer and were the bus will be stopping in three weeks. It was a perfect summer night, complete with sticky kids and crazy puppies.

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54/93: Blogging for Books

This is a review through Blogging for Books. I was not paid, but I was given the book at no charge. 

A few months ago I lost two dogs. And not the they-went-wandering-off-into-the-woods kind of Lost. But the oh-shit-they-are-really-sick-and-there’s-nothing-we-can-do kind of lost. And it sucked. Our beautiful, long legged, constantly chewing 15-month old Potcake was coughing one night and four days later we held her in our arms while she struggled to breathe and we said goodbye. Our 11.5 year old Boston Terrier, who had braved months of physical therapy and a slew of medications, stopped walking and eating one day. We knew it was time. He passed just two months and five days after she did. Our hearts broke. Again. 

They were loved. As are the rabbits who mow our grass, the birds that hang on our feeders, even the &*&^%$$* chipmunk that lives in our garage/gutters/gardens. So, when I got the opportunity to read a copy of “My Gentle Barn,” in exchange for a review, I jumped at the chance, or rather, clicked. I had seen the Gentle Barn Facebook and while I have never worked on a farm I always greet the cows and horses as we make our way through Western Wisconsin. I love animals. I think they like me.
“My Gentle Barn” was a delight to read. It started a bit slow and I have to admit that although some of Ellie’s childhood stories seemed either unbelievable or exaggerated, it showed Ellie’s personality and character and her deep love and respect for animals. As the book progressed and the barn grew I found myself cheering for Ellie and the animals. As a working mother, I knew the battle she faced trying to do everything, and having a hard time letting go. When her second child is born and she refuses to leave her side, I had mixed feelings of “oh my god, get over it and let her gain some independence” and “I wished I could spend every waking minute with my own child-guilt, but I have to and want to work.” Despite some personality quirks, Ellie comes across as a loving and very patient, educated caregiver.
Read this book. If nothing else, to learn about these animals and more about where our food comes from. Don’t assume that the animals you’re eating were treated well. In fact, there’s a slim chance they were. But if you’re looking for more details on that, there are other books you should read. Read this book to see a dream come true and not just for Ellie, but for the hundreds of animals and people she’s helped, and continue to help.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself at a petting zoo. This wasn’t any petting zoo, as it focused on rehabilitated animals, mostly deer. Some of the animals were in pens (wolves, mountain lions, etc.) but most of the deer were roaming freely, often following us. The goats were behind fences, probably so they didn’t climb on us, as were the miniature horses, llamas and pigs. Have you seen the joy on the face of a five-year-old when I deer walks up and hugs your child? It was this joy that Ellie felt when she hugged her cows.
At the petting zoo I let my daughter ride a pony. Ellie would have disapproved, as she only walks the horses because riding them is degrading. I have to agree, and I haven’t ridden a horse since Girl Scout Camp. But as daughter rode, we asked the pony’s name. Stormy. And we spoke to him. We told him he was very handsome and s
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53/93: In Other News

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The YWCA featured me on their blog today. I’m raising money for them.  Because I believe in what they do. Because I’ve benefited from what they do. Check it out here.

For those of you who have donated, THANK YOU!! I’m so excited to race!!

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52/93: The Goldfinch

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I just started reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I have read very little fiction since daughter was born. And this monster is over 700 pages long. I don’t remember where I heard about it, or what I heard about it, but it became available at the library and I picked it up so I feel committed. I have three weeks. Did I mention it’s long? But I’m already to page 120 and I can’t put it down. And it’s big! it’s Heavy! I brought it with me today running errands in case I had a free minute. And you know what? Between the consignment shop, Gymboree, the library and the pretzel shop I found more than a minute to read.

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51/93: The Moon

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Tomorrow is a full moon, actually a Sunday Moon but I have no idea what that is. But knowing tomorrow will be full, I knew that tonight it would at least be an almost full-moon. We had a few clouds working against us but we decided to let daughter stay up late so she could see it. She can, and hopefully, will sleep in tomorrow, so why not? When wandered outside a few minutes ago and could see the light of the moon behind the clouds. It was disappointing, but as we stood out there, in the middle of the cul-de-sac, the clouds parted and we saw (most) of the full moon. It was amazing. And beautiful. And daughter was more than thrilled to see it glow against the wispy clouds.

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50/93: Writing

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(moss along Lake Superior) 

Fifty, yes, 50!, days in a row I’ve been writing. I’m amazed. The first week wasn’t exactly tough, but it required some planning ahead and thinking! Now I can feel the habit forming. (It takes 90 days to form a habit, someone once said.) So here I am an 50 and more motivated than ever!

I met a dear writing friend for lunch yesterday and she confirmed all these crazy thoughts. You don’t need the perfect studio, or even a laptop. All you need is a few (I like 10) minutes, a piece of paper (can be a napkin, a receipt, etc) and something to write with (pen or pencil is best, crayon if you’re desperate). The point is to just WRITE!

Yesterday, after Husband and Daughter left for the day and before sweet Z went into her kennel, I went on the back deck. I had five minutes before I had to leave for work. I said out loud, or possibly to Z, “Ten Minutes.” And we spent those ten minutes on the deck. Me, scribbling furiously. Her, sniffing lazily. In those ten minutes I opened up a whole well of ideas, memories came pouring back.

The rest of the day those words whirled around my head. So good.