Category Archives: Inspiration

Just Write: On Writing

collage by daughter, 2013

collage by daughter, 2013

I’ve recently recommitted myself to writing. To writing here, to writing for my writing group, to writing for me. I don’t think I’m ready to take the NaNoWrMo challenge, but it sure is exciting to think about!

Last night I hit the send button on my first submission. It’s the first time I’ve sent my work out into the world in that way. I’ve sent it to my Mom, to my Writing Buddy, to my Writing Group and I’ve even started to let Husband read some work.

This is different writing than you see here. The essay I sent was hard to write. It was hard to share. But it felt really good to click on that button and see it go. Who knows what will happen now. I’m already working on submission number 2. That will go out next week.

I’ll keep you posted!

This Tuesday “Just Write” Post was inspired by Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary. I’ll be linking up to her as many Tuesdays as I can muster. Another writing commitment. 

The Marathon

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I watched part of the Twin Cities Marathon this morning, mostly because the course goes past my house, but also because it’s such an inspiring event to see in person. From the first wheelchair racers that have faced life-changing challenges, to the leaders who sail past gracefully, to the run/walkers that told themselves they could run a marathon and they’re doing it. It’s amazing.

Daughter and I ran outside just in time to see the leaders run by. She brought her drum, and I brought a mug of steaming tea to keep warm. She banged and I cheered, for the men, the moms, the veterans and the rookies. We looked for my coworker, missing him just as he went past. We looked for other friends, but applauded new ones instead. I cheered louder for the 40-44 year old women, and I told them their hair looked great, that they haven’t even broken a sweat.

This year I helped my neighbors hand out bananas, 600 lbs of them (I might have handed out 1 full lb). I watched the runners reach towards my outstretched arm, their hands and fingers moving unpredictably with the fatigue. Some said thank you, some cheered, some just nodded, completely spent.

Running 26.2 miles is amazing. The farthest I’ve run is 10.  And I barely made it. (Yes, I’ve done a sprint triathlon, but that’s just 5k!) I can’t imagine doing 26.2. But for those that can and those that want to some day, go for it. You can do it. And when you run past, We’ll cheer for you loudly and then hand you a banana.

I Need to Clear Something Up

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(photo taken last week on Lake Superior)

I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful posts, emails and comments about selling our house. But I think I might have created some confusion. We have not sold our house yet, we have not moved yet. The point of that post was to just let go of the house. To release it. Believing that now it will sell.

Is that crazy? Probably. But it felt good to write it and it felt good to let it go.

We still have no idea where we’ll end up or when we’ll make a move. It will happen when the stars align.

In the meantime, here’s a little reading for your weekend. My husband found this in a pdf form online, printed it out and brought it home. It sits on the desk we both share and there’s lots of good stuff here.

My goal for this weekend is to Be Kind.

What’s yours?

On Hold…

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For the past few weeks  I’ve felt that my life is on hold. Time keeps moving, days are getting shorter, school is starting, the State Fair is happening, but I feel stuck. We hoped to be in a new house by this time. Or at least be packing up the last of the wine glasses and shampoo bottles and have an idea where we’ll unpack them. Instead, we’re still vacuuming and dusting and hauling dogs to various sitters so we can open our house, yet again, to curious eyes.

I’m looking forward to getting settled somewhere else. I’m looking forward to unpacking and tossing everything we didn’t miss while it was in storage. I’m looking forward to telling daughter, “Yes, I know where that is.” Rather than, “Sorry honey, it’s in storage.”

We will sell. Or we’ll take a break and sell in the spring. I’m getting impatient, but I have to remember that I love where we are. I love where daughter goes every day. I love waking up to the sun rising over the river. I love greeting neighbors that we’ve known for years. We thought we’d be gone by now, on to something new and different, and hopefully better. Until then we’ll just wait and enjoy what we have.

Last week I went out on a friends boat and thanks to wildfires out west (Thank you, Idaho!) we were treated to an amazing sunset. I don’t get many moments to just sit and stare at the sky. But there I sat, gently bobbing in the bay with a (plastic) glass of wine in my hand.

Things aren’t so bad. Even if we are in a holding pattern.

My Third Triathlon

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I did my third triathlon this weekend. Now that it’s behind me, I can say it was a blast. But up until that moment where my toes hit the water, I felt totally unprepared. The first time I did this triathlon, two years ago, I followed the training schedule faithfully. I packed my bag carefully, made notes and asked advice. And I was nervous as hell. Last year I was much more relaxed, but again trained aggressively and I beat my time by about two minutes. This year I started the summer with a strong training program, but by Mid-July my training fell apart. We listed our house, Daughter’s day care fell apart and my Dad passed away. I continued to train just to maintain my sanity. I went into the race very relaxed, probably too much. And maybe even too confident. I had no jitters and no concerns. I really just wanted to have fun. I didn’t expect to get a PR. Here’s what happened.

The Swim

I didn’t realize that the first wave had even started until I saw people running out of the water. What? Yeah, Jenn, they’re on the third wave already, my training partner told me. What? We were in the ninth wave, so we had a few minutes, but still, pay attention, Jenn! It’s a good thing she was there or I’d probably still be standing on the beach waiting to start. Anyway, I started the swim fast, too fast. I ran out ahead, dove in and swam with everything I had. And then I couldn’t breathe. I got kicked and then I kicked someone. Then I had to flip over and just breathe kick breathe. By the first turn I was starting to calm down but was still offered a noodle. All the crazy thoughts I expected came racing through my mind. “What are you thinking doing a triathlon? Just grab that kayak over there and you can be done. You still need to bike and run after this, are you crazy?” But just like in writing, I told my mind to shut up. I closed my eyes and started to swim. Every few strokes I looked up to make sure I was going in the right direction. I was. By the second turn I was encouraging another swimmer who seemed to be struggling. By the time I reached the shore I was grateful for strong legs and sand to run on.

T1

I dried my feet, struggled with socks, velcroed my bike shoes, clipped on my race belt and helmet and ran outta there in just over two minutes.

The Bike

I have a love/hate relationship with the bike. I love the bike because I have water and food with me and I can get my head settled after the swim, but I hate it because it’s long and I have a slow bike and I inevitably get bored by mile 12 of so. This year I really worked on concentrating, mostly because I figured out my bike computer and now know how fast I’m going. Even then, by mile 14 I was slowing down and a friendly biker passed me and encouraged me to finish strong. It was exactly what I needed, so I kicked my speed back up and sped in.

T2

I really only had to rack my bike and switch shoes, but as I leaned down to tie them (darn laces) I got a bad cramp in my upper abs (old yoga injury) and had to sit down. Sit Down? Just to put on shoes? Even sitting I could barely reach my feet without the cramp flaring up but I told myself as soon as I had them tied I could run away and stretch it as much as I wanted.

 The Swim

So, off I went to the trail and nobody else was there. Seriously. There were dozens of fans and I new I went the right way, but there were no other runners! I actually had to ask some spectators  if I was going the right away. I was, and moments later I caught some slower runners. (I might have a slow bike, but I pass all those racing-bike-types on the run). The first mile was hard. Really hard. My legs were tired and I felt like I was barely moving. But it’s so mental at that point and I really really didn’t want to walk. so I just kept moving my legs over and over and over. A half-mile into the run I caught my breathe and started to have fun. I encouraged walkers to run with me. I complimented a woman on her cute top (Athleta, of course!). I shouted out my calories burned when it hit 950. And I yelled just one mile to go when we had just one mile to go. Then with 800 yards left, I thought I was going to puke. That darn Gatorade I tried at the last water stop. I new it was a bad choice, but I just put the thought out of my head and new that at that finish line were my Husband, My In-laws and the sweetest little girl i knew. And I knew she wanted to finish with me. When I could finally see the finish line (I love that you can’t see the finish line until there’s only about 150 feet to go) I knew I was nearly there. I looked in the crowd for Husband and saw his head peeking over the crowd. I waved and out popped Daughter. Dressed in her favorite party dress and her new running shoes. She grabbed my hand and ran with me all the way to the end. We crossed and stopped and as I leaned down to hug her she looked up and asked, “Did we win?” “Yeah, Baby, we won all right.”

I didn’t look at the clock when I finished, but I knew from my watch that I had probably gotten a PR. I think the big difference is that I pushed it on the bike. I totally messed up the swim, but with the stronger bike and a consistent run (my best and favorite portion) I reached the PR. And after everything that happened this summer, everything that tried to derail my training and didn’t, I couldn’t be happier. Now, I just can’t wait until next year. Seriously. It can’t come soon enough!!

What I’ve Learned This Week

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The friends can be funny and thoughtful and loyal and so truly amazing.

The family matters and even though you didn’t get to chose them they can be just right.

That loyal coworkers that send you home when you really need to go home are worth every long day that comes along.

And that a supportive husband, a sweet as sugar daughter, and two crazy, but protective, dogs are worth every rolled eye, every late night and every loud bark.

It’s Monday

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It’s Monday night. Daughter just went to sleep after many, many disruptions. Husband is working on the crossword. Little Dog is napping by the front window. Big Dog is napping next to me. I’m pounding away on the keyboard. Determined to get something written for this blog. Determined to kick start my writing the only way I know how, to just sit my but down and do it. This Monday was pretty easy. Maybe because it’s a short week. Maybe because the weekend was just so, so, so perfect.

Friday morning I woke up with the sun and went for a run. It was amazingly beautiful outside, crisp and cool, and I was so grateful I did it. Not just for my body, but for my mind, and for the long day I would have with Daughter. We went to swim lessons, we met friends at a playground, we went to lunch with those friends and then the kids swam in the frigid lake. In the afternoon I brought Daughter for her first pedicure. Then we stopped for a treat and then home for dinner with Husband. It was a perfect day. She was on her best behavior. I was on my best behavior. And when I think about it, I’m sure that little run I snuck in at the crack of dawn had something to do with it.

Saturday morning I woke up early. Not as early as the run, but still early. I went for  a long bike ride. The training schedule said to go 100 minutes. I made it 80 before boredom and the call back to life hit me. Then we went to get Daughter’s haircut before we had family photos. She spent 45 straight minutes looking into the camera, flattening her dress and trying not to be shy. She did a really good job not being shy. I was very proud of her. Then we tore across town, facing closed roads and backed-up traffic to join my team for a boat ride on the river. What a beautiful day. With beautiful people. There was seven-layer dip and a dip in the (again, frigid) river, there were burgers and brats and one little beer. We stayed on the river much  longer than we should have. Back on dry land, we searched for a parking spot for over 20 minutes just so we could run into the candy store and get a gigantic sucker. I drove home and when I pulled up in front of the house I had a sleeping girl, with a rainbow of sugar across her face and a sucker stuck to her sleeve.

Sunday morning I didn’t go running. I didn’t pull out the bike. Instead I grabbed a book and a mug of tea and sat on our new deck. I listened to the birds and read Kelly’s beautiful words. Eventually, Daughter came outside and curled into my lap with the iPad and Winnie-the-Pooh. Big Dog curled up at my feet and chewed on sticks and leaves that were still falling from the storm the previous week. I read. Daughter watched. Big Dog chewed. I wanted to stay there forever, but right as my watch told me we had to get moving, I turned the last page of that moving book and Winnie-the-Pooh got the honey pot and walked into the sun with Christopher Robin.

Time to Move…

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You’ve probably figured it out, or maybe you haven’t, but we are planning and hoping to sell our house. We’ve been here for nearly 11 years (wow, eleven years??) and with daughter starting school next year we’ve decided to make a move to the suburbs (I know, eegads). It was no easy decision, but with lower property taxes, larger yards, larger houses and better schools, it’s really a no-brainer.

Our wish list isn’t huge, but includes an attached garage, at least two bedrooms on the same floor, ideally four bedrooms total and an open concept. A decent size yard would be great (with two dogs we sort of need it). We would like space for an office and a space to work out. Is all that too much to ask?
We are starting to get serious about this move. We’ve put most of our junk stuff in storage. We’ve talked to daughter and the dogs about storing toys. Sadly, that also means my sewing goods and fabric will also be stored. As will cookbooks and the ice cream maker and my hockey equipment. Oh well. Hopefully the house will move fast. Hopefully we’ll find our next dream house fast.
When we found this house we weren’t even looking. We just happened to see it online and went that same day to an Open House. Three days later our offer was excepted. One month later we signed the papers and moved in. It was meant to be at the time. This house has seen us grow up from two single young adults to parents of a little girl and two pups. I will miss this house and the amazing views from those big front windows, but it’s time. Time to move.

Goodbye, 1952

Say goodbye to the mint green tile, the peach and yellow accents and the crumbling walls.

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I won’t miss the 80s lights or the cracked grout.

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And I won’t miss the broken shelves in the medicine cabinet or the too-large-for-the-space sink.

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Or that nightmare of a glass shower door. Really, eleven years we’ve been together. See ya!