Easy Come, Easy Go

Another week has come and gone, and here we are now in the last week of July, 2014. Has this summer flown by or what? Most schools start in 2-3 weeks. That’s just crazy to me. I remember in my school days we ALWAYS started the day after Labor Day. Watching the Jerry Lewis Telethon was the ritual of the day.  We would stay up until midnight (the beginning of Labor Day) and see who would fall asleep first. Watching Jerry Lewis sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” towards the end of that Labor Day show signaled the finale was at hand. It was also the formal ending of summer. Well the days of school starting then have gone the way of the telethon-sad. Easy come, easy go.

Nothing ever stays the same does it? It has been said that the only permanent thing in life is change (not sure who said it, Google it yourself)! My maternal great grandmother was 104 when she died. It boggles my mind to think of the changes that she saw and went through. She tried to drive one time and as the story goes, “rolled the car and never attempted driving again.” She gardened, canned what she grew, and crocheted. It disheartens me to think that the “art” of canning may soon be a lost one. Easy come, easy go.

Even one such as myself at my young age has seen many changes technologically. I took typing 1,2, & 3 in high school and learned on the old IBM typewriter-what a dinosaur! I have NOT mastered the art of  this thumb typing thing on the smart phones. Speaking of phones-how about that old rotary dial with the six foot long cord that everyone in the house had to share (in harvest gold)? Easy come, easy go. I am also young enough to have experienced the inception of video games via the great game of “Pong.” I saved my quarters for that one! Some of the best teenage memories are of those spent at the arcade playing Pac-Man, Galaga, and Asteroids. We actually interacted socially with real live people then! Now I guess you can play video games with anyone in the world and social media has replaced real life socializing. Easy come, easy go.

The town I live in is named after the many “springs” that were once in operation here. There was even a million dollar “Hall of Waters” built and opened in 1937 that piped in ten of the waters from the springs. People came from all over the world to partake of the healing properties of the waters. There were several clinics & bath houses opened that were devoted to therapeutic treatments internally and externally from the waters. It really is quite fascinating to delve into the history. But like so many other things that are beneficial, bureaucratic BS shut the springs down (people actually professed to be healed for goodness sakes)! I have my own opinion as to why they were shut down but for sake of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist” I will refrain from divulging it. At any rate, the driving force that created and made this town thrive is no more. Easy come, easy go.

Excelsior #6, June 28, 2014
The Hall of Waters

I mentioned last week how I was going to do some lightening up and cleaning out-something I have extreme trouble with. I get emotionally attached to things (crazy I know). I guess I associate certain things to memories. I took a huge step and got rid of a lot of old nursing magazines and textbooks. I hadn’t opened them in years, and it was time. I had to convince myself that giving them up was not going to take away my nursing license, lol! Easy (costly) come, (not so) easy go.

10559221_10204319514694132_66751989_n
The Purge

One of the saddest things ever (according to Stephanie) are the people who come and go in our lives-by death which is inevitable (and some way too soon), and by choice. Those who leave by death have no choice (suicide excluded). Those who leave by choice have their reasons. Friends move away. Some keep in touch, some don’t. Some leave without saying goodbye no matter how good of friends you have been. How many friends have you actually kept in touch with since High School or College? It really is quite rare. Even sadder are the family members who disappear by choice…somehow thinking that there is always tomorrow. That is NEVER easy go for those they leave with no explanation. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross practiced general medicine in Switzerland before coming to this country. She began her work with the dying while teaching psychiatry at the University of Chicago. She said this:

It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth-and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up-that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.

I intend to live each day to the fullest of my ability, God willing. I want to celebrate with others, spread joy, and honor their accomplishments. Last week I celebrated my mom’s 76th birthday, realizing there may not be too many left.

10580375_10204339474993127_1342221128_n
Cheers!

This Friday is my youngest son’s birthday. The years have certainly flown by. Happy 25th birthday Chad!

Scan0011
Chad’s First Birthday

All grown up and married and we still have a good time:

View More: http://wwwallisonwonderlandphotographie.pass.us/liz-chad-wedding
Mother/Son dance 5/30/14

I understand that today is Sandra Bullock’s birthday as well. She is probably my favorite actress of the 21st century. She has joined “club 50” with the rest of us 1964 babies! I’m in good company. I like what she said:

I’ve made peace with the fact that the things that I thought were weaknesses or flaws were just me. I like them.

Well said Sandra, well said. As of today, I have put in 153 running miles for the month and 912 for the year. Nineteen days until my goal marathon…chasing Boston gold. I don’t intend to go down with the “societal aging ship.” Probably wasn’t easy for my mother bringing me into this world and I’m not going to go out easy either! Fifty (and beyond) is fabulous! Don’t EVER let anyone tell you any different!

10570606_10204336360995279_1948544753_n

Until we meet again,

Stephanie

 

 

Beasts of Burden or Wild Things , You Make My Heart (exceed the target rate)

What a crazy world we live in. Just this past week there has been more tragedy than I care to hear about. I do not make it a habit to watch the news, but when it is something of a national nature one tends to hear about it whether they want to or not. In an instant, 295 people aboard Malaysia flight 17 lost their lives. So senseless, so surreal, so ghastly. The fighting in the Middle East with so much bloodshed rages on. Closer to home in Leavenworth, Kansas, there was a kidnapping and a police chase that ended in a confrontation in which a five year old little girl lost her life. Does that disturb you? It does me, especially when there are children involved. Are we becoming desensitized to it all or are we becoming “beasts of burden?”

American Heritage Dictionary defines burden as follows: Noun- 1. a. Something that is carried. b. Something that is difficult to bear physically or emotionally. 2. A responsibility or duty. 3. The amount or weight of the cargo carried by a vessel at one time. Verb- 4. a. The carrying of heavy loads. b. To load or overload. c. To weigh down, oppress.  A beast of burden is an animal used for transporting loads. Do you see where I’m going with this?

I know when I find myself dwelling on this stuff I get a little anxious. According to a study done by Harvard dated 10/19/2011, about 11% of Americans aged 12 or older take antidepressants. The report by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics also says that the rate of antidepressant use in the U.S. has increased nearly 400% since 1988. That was a 23 year period at the time of the study. Since the study is three years old, it would be interesting to know what those numbers are now. With adults barely able to handle this stuff, imagine what it is doing to the children. Are we being overloaded by the weight of the evil in the world (that is, if you believe in evil)? I know as a kid, stuff on the news used to freak me out! Think of the technology that today’s kids are exposed to. There is no escaping hearing/seeing what is going on. Not to mention people/peers talking about it all the time. It saddens me that kids can’t really be kids anymore. Are we doing all we can to lighten their load?

That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo…and it’s worth fighting for.”  -Sam (Lord of the Rings)

I just needed to get that off my chest as it has been weighing on my mind. Confession is good for the soul. While I’m at it, I confess that I really like One Republic and Taylor Swift (don’t hate me), but I digress. So let’s lighten things up a bit shall we? Who knows what target/maximum heart rates are? Okay, I’ll tell ya. A recommended target heart rate is the minimum rate you should exercise at for at least 20-30 minutes to get the best results from aerobic activity. This is 55-85% of your maximum heart rate. A maximum heart rate is a rate you should not exceed. There are several formulas for figuring this. It is easier to go online to a site such as Active.com and plug in your age and it does the rest. The only caveat is that it does not take into consideration one’s current physical condition (there’s that age thing again)!

For all intents and purposes, I will just tell you what mine is. Since my maximum heart rate is 170 beats/minute for my youthful age of 50, my target is 93-144 bpm. I confess that I do not routinely wear my heart rate monitor, but I do check my pulse after a run. I am usually in the 140s range, which means I am running about 85% of my max unless…I am chased by a beast-another kind of burdensome beast known as a GOOSE! They annoy me at the lake I run at. They poop all over the trail and they have always just hissed at me on occasion…until last week.

The spawn of satan
The spawn of satan

I had set out to run 15-18 miles and I started a lot later than I like. After the rain and it had become extremely humid and my right piriformis and left quad were tight.  When I made this ending loop (above), I guess the geese were having an “invite only” party and one proceeded to chase me up the hill. I had done 13 miles so after said goose incident, I threw in the towel or rather, the GU (runners will get that). My maximum heart rate was exceeded to the tune of 180 (darn wild goose)!

All they do is eat & poop!
All they do is eat & poop!

THEN today I went to the running store about 30 miles away that is located in a strip mall in a busy part of town. When I pulled out of the parking lot…there they were!

I know they are coming for me!
I know they are coming for me!

They hate me. Remember the movie, “The Birds?” Yeah well, that was a fear burden I didn’t need to carry as a child. That scene were the old guy had his eyes ate out…egads! I can see the headlines now-“Runner mauled by a goose.” Is there an app for that?

Another beast (who can be a burden at times) is my rescue dog Annie the orphan. She is part Chihuahua and part Jack Russell-crazy combination. She’s around 3 years old. That’s the trouble with rescues, you never know for sure. She had a terrible start to life with terrible owners. In short, she doesn’t take a liking to people too well. The vet basically said not to bring her back to board her. The upside to that is that I know that she would defend me to death. The downside-well that’s a no brainer. She doesn’t like strange dogs either except one. It was love at first site. His name is Lucky and he lives up the street. He is a lab mix and she squeals with delight when she sees him and practically gives me whiplash dragging me over to the fence so she can flirt. Silly dog.

Love at first sight
Love at first sight

He’s her “wild thing” or vice versa, I’m not sure which. She is certainly a little on the wild side.

Wild thing you make my my heart sing; you make everything groovy…(The Troggs)

I’m hoping to take a walk on the wild side this week and do some major cleaning out of clutter-you know- “superfluous stuff.” I’m certain the little clutter fairies come at night and reproduce it. Mostly I think how burdensome that would be if I croaked and everyone had to sift (wade) through my junk. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. So I will close my eyes and kiss it goodbye.

Side note- everyone should have an advance directive or at the very least, a durable power of attorney for healthcare. I see it in my profession all the time where people think they are going to live forever and don’t want to deal with those details. You know, “if we don’t mention it, it won’t happen.”  That’s why it is so hard to sell life insurance. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone when it comes to those decisions.

Now before this read becomes burdensome to you, I will end it. Just. like. that.

Until We Meet Again,

Stephanie

No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.” -Francois Mauriac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the “Fans” Played On

This weather-oh my goodness!  It feels like fall. I almost had a craving for a caramel apple today. That was, after eating a huge piece of watermelon (good old summertime) earlier after my run. Speaking of which, I thought I was going to freeze when I started.  After all, it was a brisk 66 degrees! Now don’t laugh-it was super hot & humid two days ago when I ran…after the rain…later than when I like to run (my forte is morning runs for sure).

I love when it is cool enough to have the windows open in the house. I can’t stand that closed up/cooped up feeling. I get enough of  that in the winter around here. I think it is because it reminds me of growing up without air conditioning-at least for part of my childhood anyway. Let me tell you, it was a BIG event when we finally got a window unit air conditioner! You know, the kind that freezes part of the house (mainly the room where it is centrally located) and the rest is fairly lukewarm. But in those early years we “suffered” through with box fans. I would come in from playing outside on a hot summer day and just sit in front of the fan. Then I would talk into it to make that robot sound. I would eventually get into trouble for making that noise. I guess it annoyed my parents or something ;). Kids today just don’t know what they’re missing! We never got bored because we were always being creative…but I digress. Then at night the whir of the fans would put me to sleep. That’s why I still have to have one on at night. Yep- I have a big ole box fan beside the bed.

I can also remember falling asleep on the sofa on one of those hot, sultry summer nights, with the fans going and my dad sitting in “his” chair in the living room listening to the Royals game on the radio. I’m sure…wait, I KNOW that is why I still like baseball, but I’m not a fan.  So many things we grow up loving (or hating) is by association.

Let’s consider that “other” type of fan. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a fanatic (noun- from whence we get “fan”), as a person possessed by an excessive zeal for and uncritical attachment to a cause or position. Synonyms are extremist, zealot, enthusiast. An extremist goes on to advocate the advancement of a cause or course of action to limits far beyond those considered wise or proper by the majority, usually by means that are equally excessive. A zealot refers to one who is wholeheartedly devoted to a cause or goal and who typically seeks to advance it in a partisan manner. Enthusiast now principally implies strong interest in something such as a sport or hobby, and lacks the unfavorable connotations of the other terms. In that light, I would say I am a baseball enthusiast, but not a fan (although I may be somewhat fanatical over Sluggerrr). Take it for what it’s worth. Humans misuse words (according to their definitions) all the time.

I wuv Sluggerrr
I wuv Sluggerrr

What one is or is not is mostly a matter of opinion. To me, spending hours in a parking lot most Sundays tailgating before a game and sitting in frigid conditions to watch an entire football game is “fanatical.” Those who do it all painted up and scarcely clothed in frigid conditions, I would consider “extremist.” Those who spend thousands on season tickets, I may even consider a “zealot.” I’m just not that into football and that’s my point. Most of the things people do are for their own enjoyment or amusement. I will definitely NOT get into all of the other so called implications (e.g. taking time away from family/work/whatever)to do those things. I certainly don’t advocate causing harm to others. I speak in a generic sense to draw attention to how we humans judge each other so unfairly.

I would have to say that my love of running according to the above definitions would fall into the category of fanatical, extremist, and maybe a tad bit zealot (or zealous). Here are some of the comments I get, “What- you are running THAT far in the heat? You’re going to get hot! You run for 4 hours straight? That’s just CRAZY! You’re going to have a heart attack! Your knees are going to give out! You are how old? Should you be doing that at your age? When are you going to quit? You’re going to get ran over, raped, pillaged, plundered, puke, pee & poop yourself!” And my all time favorite, “YOU’RE TOO SKINNY!” Followed by, “How much DO you weigh?” Isn’t it amazing how others know so much? I’m especially fond of how others think they know what I need. Please do yourselves a favor and google “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” m.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html   And for the love of all things sacred, please take me out to eat!!! I like to eat, and I eat A LOT!

10346738_10203811403591672_1779847894_n

We’re all different and unique, isn’t that cool? Too bad we don’t celebrate each other’s uniqueness enough. A friend of mine (girl) has some tattoos and because of some artwork on her skin, her character has come into question. What-are we living in the 1950s? And why can’t GUYS wear pink? Who defined that as a girl color. I remember a guy years ago freaking out because his son wanted an Easy Bake oven for Christmas…guys don’t cook?  Remember, Ted Bundy looked (and acted) “normal.” So did the BTK killer, AND he was an elder in his church.

Remember the first time you were cut loose to drive by yourself out of town after you got your license? Well I do and I remember that incredible sense of freedom I felt. I was in the big time driving my mom’s big old Pontiac to the orthodontist. It was kind of scary and exhilarating all at the same time. I may have (if I remember right) had a bit of a lead foot on the way home just to see how fast that car would go…or maybe not :/ (tee, hee, hee).

Feelin' like big stuff in the big old Pontiac
Feelin’ like big stuff in the big old Pontiac

Needless to say, that gave me enough taste of freedom to become fiercely independent. I wanted a job, my own car, buy my own stuff, etc. I wanted to be free to be myself. Isn’t that what we all want deep down? The sad fact is, too many folks remain “sheeple” and just follow the crowd, looking/acting like the status quo and judging everyone else. I’d rather think for myself, thank you very much. I suppose to many, that makes me fanatical, extremist, zealous and just plain CRAZY!

379120_2909972354527_623105297_n

The other thing or things (thing 1, thing 2, & thing 3) that I am fanatical about are my kids. Baby boy #1 will be 29 tomorrow. Where did all of those years go? Happy Birthday Ryan!

543940_10200930540611898_1856425379_n
circa 1986
DJ @ brother Chad's wedding
DJ @ brother Chad’s wedding

And so my friends, I leave you with this: 10524991_10204278536229696_603692409_n

And this: Kid Rock – Born Free [OFFICIAL VIDEO]: http://youtu.be/bu3rsha1Ztl

Now excuse me while I go open the bedroom window and turn on the fan…whir, whir, whir.

Until we meet again,

Stephanie

P.S. I do so appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings when there is so much other stuff out there to read. I am truly honored!

 

 

 

 

 

Blogger Award

I was informed a week ago that I was nominated for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” by fellow “tweep” and blogger Shaun Byrne. You ALL should do yourselves a favor and follow his blog runnerscommunity.blogspot.com. It is very inspirational and motivational. He’s just a very interesting guy period. So THANK YOU Shaun for nominating me. I am humbled. (Rule #1)

Adding this logo to post (Rule #2)

very-inspiring-award

Share 7 things about yourself (Rule #3) Now this could get hysterical, ugly, or down right boring! Alas, I will make an attempt, so here goes:

1. I have 3 grown kids-2 boys & a girl ages 29, 25, & 19…in that order. One was born on the West Coast, one on the East Coast, and one in the Midwest (in that order). Both boys had birth injuries. The oldest had a fractured collar bone and the younger son had torticollis. I had to perform physical therapy on him for 6 months to help correct it. I would lay him on the kitchen counter and stretch his neck two times a day. It was brutal- he screamed and I cried, but he is perfect. My daughter had a two vessel umbilical cord which usually indicates birth defects. She was also breech (all the time I thought I was patting her little butt in utero, I was actually smacking her head)!  I had to have a C-section. That cord thing…she’s perfect too.

2. I wanted to be a nurse since I was 5 years old.I was a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Certified Med Tech in the 80s.  I became an LPN at the age of 40 (after all the kids, etc). I graduated Summa cum laude from that program. I became an RN (Associate’s degree) at the age of 42 and graduated Magna cum laude. I finished my Bachelor’s degree in nursing last May at the age of 49 with honors. I hope to never have to write a paper in APA format ever again!

3. I can play the flute & read music. I love music. It is the universal language. One of the greatest pleasures of life.

4. I love to read and will read several books simultaneously (you know, just like in school). The Library and Barnes & Noble are like Disney World to me. I also taught my youngest son to read.

5. I love dogs and despise…wait LOATHE, irresponsible pet owners. Pets should be treated like family members. If you aren’t willing to take care of them for life, don’t get one. If you do want to make the commitment, PLEASE get a rescue. The shelters are full.

6. James Madison is in my family lineage on my paternal side. I started researching the genealogy a few years back but quit. I need to get back at it.

7. (Whew, last one)! I became a runner at the age of 43-but you already knew that if you read my last blog. I am in the best shape of my life. It truly is the fountain of youth. It has become as much a part of my life as brushing my teeth. I don’t really even think about it too much, I just do it.

So that sums that up. Rule #4 is to nominate a list of bloggers that inspire me. Somewhere I read online that it was suppose to be 15. Well, that’s just not going to happen. I did come up with 5 though, in no particular order:

runninglonely.com

thehalffastrunner.blogspot.com

ericsrunningthoughts.wordpress.com

RunGingerRunBlog.com

readeatwriterun.com

Yes, they all have a lot to do with running  but that is what I like to read about most. We’re all on this journey together!

There you go. Be sure to check them out would ya?

 

Just “Keepin’ It Real”

I’ll start out by saying that my “weekly” blog has turned into every 7-10 day blogs! I have been in somewhat of a writer’s slump lately and don’t really know why. I’ll blame the weather (just keepin’ it real). The high humidity on certain days (like yesterday 7/7/14) can nearly take your breath away. It was 92 degrees with the heat index well over 100 here in Midwestern Missouri. I was working and when I walked out of the doors of the hospital, it felt like I was walking into a raging inferno. It actually felt kind of good as I had been freezing all day. Not so good for runners though, or those folks who have to work out in it, or the elderly, or the homeless.

For runners, the saying goes that, “fall marathon PRs are birthed from hot summer training.” For those who don’t know what a PR is, it stands for “personal record” or some call it a PB- “personal best.”  I used to do all of my training in the afternoon (what was I thinking)? This was in the days when I literally only ran from about April to Octoberish. No wonder I fell prey to all sorts of running injuries and mishaps. I was self taught/trained and learned by trial and error.

This running journey for me began August 12, 2007. My place of employment was putting together teams to walk the Susan Komen “Race for the Cure” 5k at their expense. I assure you, the ONLY reason I signed up is because they were footing the bill (just keepin’ it real). Not because I didn’t believe in fighting breast cancer, I just didn’t give a hoot about walking 3.1 whole miles! This mind you, was my first experience with the “race” atmosphere. I was 43 years old. There was such an air of excitement, I found I could not just walk. So I ran, albeit slowly, but I ran. The clock said 48:something. I progressed from there to a 10k, 1/2 marathon (my fave) and a  full marathon. Hence, a runner was born. I will tell you, I did not train correctly in those early days. I would have a race coming up and maybe run 3 days a week to prepare…in the heat & humidity…drinking WAY too much water and becoming sodium depleted. On more than one occasion I thought I was Alice in Wonderland and had grown ten feet tall traipsing through the wooded trail in search of the white rabbit (just keepin’ it real)!

Watkins trail

I’ve learned a few things since then about training, hydration, fueling, proper shoes, and the importance of scheduled rest days. I am mostly a solo runner, although I recently found out that there is a local running club that meets on Mon/Wed/Sat, so I may participate in some of those. Since I am one of those runners who run naked (e.g.- no music or things that weigh me down like holding onto water bottles), I have a lot of time to think. A lot of ideas for this blog pop into my head when I’m running. I think about people and random things. Mostly I think about how running is a lot like life. I think about how hard it is to reach my goal, how I want to quit. Sometimes it really hurts, but it hurts worse to stop. Life is like that you know. There are so many distractions that sometimes I just want to quit-drop out of life completely. Life hurts sometimes. People who aren’t living the “Golden Rule” hurt you sometimes. But as with running, I press on. It hurts, but it hurts much worse to quit, to give up. Also, being a solo runner allows me to spit when necessary, and I spit A LOT (just keepin’ it real).

Needless to say, running has opened up a whole new world for me. I have met people I would have never met otherwise. I have discovered that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. In some aspects, running has saved my life. I did that inaugural 5k two months after losing my dad. A year and a half later on March 17, 2009 (St. Patrick’s Day) I literally almost had a nervous breakdown. Running was the one thing I could do to keep my sanity. It was the one thing that allowed me to be free in my thoughts, allowing me to feel every pulsating beat of my heart and to know that I was still alive and that it was going to be alright (just keepin’ it real).

I was a chubby kid in the awkward “ugly duck” stage in 5th and 6th grade. My parents signed me up for softball in hopes that I would lost weight or “unchubby up” even though they kept junk food around the house. My mother even gave me a calorie counter book. I say all of that to say this, I was never the “athletic type” when I was younger. Prior to that, I was made to take dance lessons because I was so clumsy (at least I was TOLD I was clumsy). Did the softball help? Nah-it just humiliated me because I was always put in the outfield because I couldn’t catch or throw or much else. Did the dance lessons help? Nah-I’m still as clumsy as ever -I broke 2 glass bowls the other day. What are the odds of that happening in the same day?

1930722_1098778195805_1615364_n
Chubby me-last one on the right, front row

10514942_10204158997081292_1969447182_n

So many people are superficial these days. Superficial ( Wiki dictionary): (adjective) 1. existing or occurring at or on the surface. Synonyms (surface, exterior, outer, outside, slight). 2. Appearing to be true or real only until examined more closely. Let’s look at the synonym “slight.” Slight (verb): To insult (someone) by treating or speaking of them without proper respect or attention; an insult (noun). Superficial men & women look only on the outward appearance thinking that the perfect man/woman has what society (and Hollywood) has deemed worthy (thank you photoshop)! Superficial people pretend to be someone they’re not, whether hiding behind a computer screen or in 3D, afraid to reveal the “real person” for fear of rejection. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could recapture that childlike ignorance when we didn’t know what we didn’t know? That chubby girl above wasn’t looking for acceptance, she was just doing what her parents wanted her to do. In the process, she (me) discovered that life/people could be cruel and suddenly there was a need to be accepted or to hide. It has taken years to chip away at the others’ imposed image of what I should be. I used to “hide” a lot behind sunglasses, day or night (just keepin’ it real).

I wear my sunglasses at night so I can, so I can, watch you weave then breathe your story lines. And I wear my sunglasses at night so I can, so I can, keep track of the visions in my eyes.” (Corey Hart, “Sunglasses At Night”).

Jamaican Gangsta wannabe
Jamaican Gangsta wannabe

If I wore them, no one could see into the windows of my soul and see the insecurity that was there. I still wear sunglasses but strictly to keep the sun out when driving or running.

Yes, running has set me free. At 50 years young, I am in the best shape of my life, and I KNOW there is nothing I can’t do if I want it bad enough. Life can throw a lot of bad crap (as opposed to good crap-ha) at ya. My hope is that everyone finds their peace & buries the corpse of unrealistic societal expectations. You are uniquely you with all of your quirks, so-called flaws and “hang ups.” If people can’t accept the “real” you (or me) , you (we) don’t need ’em anyway.

And that my friends, is how I’m keepin’ it real!

Until we meet again,

Stephanie

Selfie 2

 

 

 

 

“Labels” Are For Cans

I. Love. Summer.  For me, it has been the season of most of the great times in my life. When I was a kid, it meant bike rides with your friends (and tying the bikes up with our jump ropes ’cause they were really “horses” & we were riding in the wild, wild west).  Summer meant popping popcorn and filling up the big paper grocery sacks, loading all the neighborhood kids up in the car and going to the drive-in (thanks mom).  Summer was sleep-overs, late nights, playing hide & seek in the dark and treks through the woods to find ring neck snakes (and not being afraid to pick them up-I wouldn’t do that now)! We weren’t scared of “stranger danger” back then because everyone knew who all the “weirdos” were and we all looked out for each other. Let’s not forget swimming. Who can forget that first bad sunburn because we thought cocoa butter was the best thing ever and was to be applied liberally to stay in the sun for eight hours (ah, the 70s)! Summer was bare feet, skinned knees, chasing down the ice cream truck and living life with “reckless abandon.”

summer 70s

There weren’t a lot of girls in my neighborhood-none that were my age anyway. Families moved in and out and the ones that stayed were the ones with boys. Several of them were my age mates and we graduated high school together. As a result of this lack of female presence, I usually hung out with my brother and the “boys.” I liked to play in the mud and dirt and collect jars of toads, etc.  As a result, I was often labeled a “tomboy.” Tomboy: 1)  A girl who dresses & acts like a boy, especially in playing physical games that boys usually play (Cambridge Dictionary). 2) A girl who behaves in a manner usually considered boyish (Merriam-Webster). 3) A girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities traditionally associated with boys (Oxford Dictionary). 4) A girl who takes part in activities & games that people think are more appropriate for boys (Macmillan).

Who comes up with this stuff? What or who gives people the right to make those ignorant claims?  It is not my intent to go off on a discourse of the physical differences between the sexes. We all know differences exist. What irritates me is that our society tries to fit everyone into a nice little mold of “how it should be.” You know, boys shouldn’t wear pink & such, or play with baby dolls. I wore pants and loved playing with hot wheels (who didn’t like racing those down the track), so I guess I did “dress & act like a boy”-ha!  Such insidious behavior! Have we come a long way in changing it? I would say somewhat, but we have a long way to go. Am I scarred for life for being called a “tomboy?” No, I am not-in my childhood innocence, I really didn’t understand what it meant anyhow (I didn’t read the dictionary).  I was simply being a kid-nothing more, nothing less. You can’t quit something you don’t know you’re doing-when you’re just being you. The trick is to not to let those labels define you.

Some people are on power trips and others’ determination rub them the wrong way.  Kathrine Switzer certainly rubbed Jock Semple the wrong way. On April 19, 1967 she “officially” (in violation of policy) entered the all male Boston Marathon as “K. Switzer.” Jock was the race co-director and it infuriated him that a woman was in “his” race! When she was discovered, he ran up behind her, grabbed her shoulder, and flung her back screaming, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” He was thwarted by her friend Tom, and she kept running. This is what she said in her memoir Marathon Woman:

…and for just a tiny moment, I wondered if I should step off the course. I did not want to mess up this prestigious race. But the thought was only a flicker. I knew if I quit, nobody would ever believe that women had the capability to run the marathon distance. If I quit, everybody would say it was a publicity stunt. If I quit, it would set women’s sports back, way back, instead of forward. If I quit, I’d never run Boston. If I quit, Jock Semple and all those like him would win…

Ironically, Jock Semple ended up overseeing the implementation of the formal admission of female runners in 1972 and became a staunch supporter. He also later publicly reconciled with Switzer (Wikipedia).

K. Switzer

Thank you Kathrine Switzer. Because of you (and those like you),  women are kicking butt and taking names in the running world. According to the website Running USA, the percentage of women finishing running events has surpassed that of men. There was a 5% jump from 2005 to 2010 with women making up 53% of total finishers. There has been a gradual increase each year since then. In 2013 the ratio was 57% female to 43% male. And I don’t think anyone’s uterus has fallen out.

Labels-there are so many aren’t there? We label people based on what they look like and/or what we think we know about them.  There are good labels as well as bad ones, but human beings tend to focus on the negative. Take body image for example. And sorry guys, but most of it is directed toward women. The female body has been the subject of much controversy over the years.  When did this become okay? Who is the so-called expert who decided what the “perfect” woman should look like? Makes me completely sick to my stomach. Did it start with the Barbie doll? Who came up with this “thigh gap” crap?! I don’t know about any of you, but I am SICK TO DEATH of the exploitation of women for the almighty dollar.

Females are confused and can’t be comfortable in their own skin. We’re too fat, too skinny, too, tall, too short, we have the wrong color hair, not enough hair, too much hair, we are too wrinkly, too pale, too tan, have too much cellulite, too many freckles and oh my good golly what about those boobs? The breast fetish rages.  It’s okay to bare those bad boys in public (from the male perspective), but don’t you DARE breastfeed a child! Irony of ironies.

It’s bad enough that we let men dictate how we should look, let alone turn on each other. Women can be very vindictive toward one another, tearing each other apart. Lest I be labeled a femi-nazi, I wanted to make that clear. I am simply stating observances of a lifetime of biased advertising. We are all uniquely different in body composition. Health and wellness should be the goal.  Concerning weight loss- there is no magic pill. Genetics have a lot to with it. My people are mostly Scottish/Irish descent, and immediate family members are/were not big people. I’m tired of people telling me I’m too skinny (another freakin’ label). Well, with my genetics and being a runner…duh! I am who I am and I don’t apologize for it. Neither should you. Ladies, let’s start supporting each other and build each other up. The world and it’s expectations do a good enough number on us without us baring our fangs on one another.

Am I living in a fantasy world? Maybe- but if I can at least make one person stop and think about it, that’s all that matters. Are people still going to be cruel and cut each other down? Well of course they are, this isn’t utopia and I’m not the Wizard of Oz. It would be a wonderful thing if folks started valuing each other a little more for who they are wouldn’t it? Not for what they look like or for what we (people) think they should be or what is appropriate.

Summer-cookouts, campouts, vacations, long days, sultry nights, baseball, ice cream, water balloon fights. The indefatigable American spirit prevails in my memory and in my now.  After all, I am a former “tomboy” just living life with reckless abandon.

ecards

Beauty is not caused. It is.

–Emily Dickinson

Until We Meet Again,

Stephanie

P.S. Have a safe and memorable Independence Day!

Waterfest fireworks