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Monday, January 26, 2009

The Running (Wo)Man

I feel like I'm on the spin cycle inside my washing machine. Do you ever feel like that? Everything seems just a bit thrown off and I'm trying to catch up, but the world (and my brain) won't stop whirling around.

Remember last week I wrote how I found a place of contentment; secure in where I am, who I am and what I do? After getting to the land of Peace and Calm, delighting in my domestic routine and knocking out my goals for this month I became delightfully inundated with auditions! It was confirmation to me that not getting one of the jobs I had hoped for, or the role I wanted in "Grease" which I had recently auditioned for, was a blessing. I wouldn't be able to audition freely had my schedule been packed with the things I sought to fill my needs and desires. Yet now, amongst callbacks and fittings -and gross weather, I'm all a whirl.

Last June, you may recall I made a goal of conquering 100 Miles a Month. By the 28th I had "run my race," as it were, and allowed myself the reward of getting some new fitness gear to celebrate my triumph. This January I decided to set the same goal, and it's been going great!....Until now. The weather has hit a cold spell -yeah, like I really can complain when my northern friends and family are facing temperatures in the negative degrees- and I'm worried about taking Wilder out in the cold for our long runs. The man refuses to wear a hat. It used to work making sure his mitten were on, but he's figured out how to yank the hat off regardless of the mitten situation. My saving grace is the weather guard that fits over the stroller (thank you, Brian.) It keeps the wind out and makes a relatively toasty bubble for him, but it is difficult to get to Wilder if he needs something or has, yet again, yanked his hat off or kicked his blanket back. I have 23 miles to go by Saturday and at least two of the days this week are so full, I probably won't be able to get out to knock off any more miles. So what should I do?

I can't call it quits! I've come this far -77 miles down this month, 23 to go. Twenty-three. Why does that look so daunting now? In the first week I conquered 30. This should be a piece of cake, compared to that. But today the weather is damp, gross and cold and tomorrow there's a high of 40 -and rain, rain, rain. This is where I begin lamenting my wasted days earlier this month, days I could have gone on a run, but decided I needed a break -and don't get me wrong, breaks are good and necessary! But had I known then what I know now, I'd have at least gone down to the mailbox and back (nearly 2 miles) to save the misery of this week's daunting weather situation and running demands.

Wednesday I have an all day photo shoot (hooray!) for Enspire Learning. I had a callback this morning (from something I auditioned for on Thursday) and a fitting for Wednesday's gig right after. On the road for nearly 1 1/2 hours I got in touch with the wonderous blessing of not having to fight traffic everyday like many folks. This Sunday's sermon was on negative stress and how we can work on limiting and eliminating it. Traffic tension was mentioned and the message ran over and over in my brain as I went an average of 20 mph all the way into Austin. I don't know how people do it. I kept thinking how I had a babysitter just so I could wait in this ridiculous traffic!! I mean, I wasn't DOING anything, was I? I was just sitting there, crawling along. The opening scene from "Office Space" came to mind as Peter waits bumper to bumper in morning traffic and an ancient man with a walker goes faster down the sidewalk. De--pressing. I feel for you, dear folks, I really do. I'm sure if I had to do it all the time I'd figure out a way to make it pleasant, but I, of course, was running late and as each minute ticked away my anxiety grew. Deep breathes, deep breathes, it's fine now. I am no longer behind the wheel in a big city, but leisurely standing in my kitchen in comfy clothes in a quiet house while my little angel sleeps. What a lovely place to be!

Back to the 100 Miles A Month goal. So my point is, I am not sure I can accomplish the goal without compromising my child's health. This is very disappointing to me. Wilder recently got over a sniffly nose. He won't keep his hat on (hm...I think Walmart still has a few that velcro under the chin, but he may still pull it off.) It's cold for the rest of month. AND I'll feel like a big, fat loser if I don't pull off these last miles before Feb.1st. I have thought about getting a sitter so I can go run and get all wet and cold by myself, but is that a little over the top? See, here's where I'm struggling. How important is it for me to finish the goal, and at what cost? Plus, who really wants to run in the rain...honestly.

But I am reminded of the Apostle Paul and his words of encouragement to run the race as if to win it, not just to finish. That verse helped me run 1/2 mile longer (uphill) the other day and I truly felt like "more than a conqueror." Now, I realize this scripture was meant as a metaphor for the spiritual life, but physical discipline fosters spiritual discipline. By pushing my limits (a-hem, running in the rain, Kelly) physically and sticking it out to be victorious in my goal, I will be strengthened all around -mentally, physically and spiritually. Embracing the "I Can Do It!" attitude is beneficial in all areas of life. But, as many of my loved ones know, I can push it. But that's mainly, "I can do it -all by myself, thank you very much!" Here I believe there is a bit of a difference from my running dilemma.

As I hash out the roadblocks to running, or at least finishing my goal for this month, I realize that the only real concern is keeping Wilder warm. I think I can do that. If not, we'll just turn around and run back. Yes, it's a bit inconvenient with the big, plastic bubble between he and I, but the gross weather will help me run faster and more often (instead of walking) and when we get home and take a shower, that warm water will feel even more heavenly than usual. So will my couch!

Thank you, Dear Readers, for helping my resolve. Also, if something beyond my control occurs and I am unable to reach my 100 miles by the end of Saturday, I won't feel like a failure. Sometimes we have to lose in order for a helpful truth to be revealed -like winning isn't everything. I may not make this goal, but I'm not a failure. And it will teach me a valuable lesson -take advantage of each day, for you don't know what lies ahead.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Drunken Strawpplesauce

I know, I know, it sounds like a gourmet beverage at a frat party, but it's not what you think. It's really a delicious recipe for homemade strawberry-applesauce!

10 crisp apples -cut into 8ths, peeled
1 lb. bag frozen strawberries -whole
1/4 c brandy
1/4 c dark rum (optional)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger -or thinly sliced fresh ginger
3/4 c packed brown sugar

Place apples in a 5 quart pot, add water until 1 1/2- 2 inches fill bottom. Cover and boil on med-low for 1 hour.

Add spices, rum(optional) and brandy. Cover and boil on med-low. Stir and mash occasionally.

When apples are soft and begin to break up, add strawberries. Cover and cook some more.

When strawberries are soft and begin to lose color, add brown sugar. Stir, cook and mash until you remove the majority of the big lumps.

Place in glass jars (I love the empty spaghetti jars, but jam jars make good gifts), refrigerate and eat within 3 weeks. Delicious on top of oatmeal, with vanilla yogurt and topped with granola or GoLean Cruch, topped on ice cream, or add less water and spread the sauce on toast (we love it on Cinnamon Raisin or Banana Bread!)

Yields approx. 3 spaghetti size jars and 1 smaller jar.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Continual Process of The Art of Contentment

I have come to the conclusion that the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" is highly incorrect to pose to a person of any age. Perhaps a more appropriate question would be, "What do you want to look back on in your life when you are old and wrinkly?" It is understandable that we need direction, a focus for our lives, but nowadays when it seems anything is possible and folks change professions several times in their lives, it should be more a question of who do you want to be when you grow up, rather than what.

This philosophical ponderance (my own word, I believe, since spell check keeps underlining it) stems from my ever-changing perception of what I am becoming as I "grow up." My ideas of being a mother and what that role means are mainly the issue. In the last several months I have battled with the feeling that I am forever stuck as a housewife, cleaning up perpetual messes, changing diapers, fixing meals and buying groceries. I kept thinking about that question teachers, parents, relatives and friends always asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" "Well, not THIS," I thought to myself. So I began looking into options outside the home where I could exercise my talents and receive validation from someone other than my border collie and toddler.

Writing up my resume, I surprised myself with my past accomplishments. I had felt that there was nothing exciting about what I'd done with my life and that I had simply fallen into the unextrodinary role of housewife and mother with no future. Reading through my resume, I was satisfied and even proud of myself. Now I was off to reenter the workforce and, quite honestly, who wouldn't want to hire me? Talk about a healthy self-esteem...

I looked through the classifieds for several weeks and applied to a few positions, but as I compared cost (monitarily and relationally) of paying a babysitter to care for Wilder and how much I would net in the end, the idea of working outside the home looked less attractive and I began to take greater note of the enjoyment I received from spending time with my son. I love having lunch together and playing around the house. I enjoy being able to take the best possible care of him and making memories together. I have learned that naps are more important than errands, and playtime is more valuable than, well, many things. The more I paid attention to what I do as a mother and housewife, and the higher quality I strive for in this role, the most satisfied I am.

But one more thing helped me gain a more contented attitude. I realized, thanks to a dear friend, that life does not end with babies (as I had so mistakenly thought.) I will have much more life to live after our children outgrow my constant assistance and attention. In many ways it feels unfair that the men (typically) get to continue their professions and we mothers are professionally handicapped if we choose to take a hiatus from work in order to raise a family, but what great fulfillment we get out of this choice to be with our children! I may not know much about computers, but I know how to make homemade bread. I may not be an engineer or a political consultant, but I can fix a fine dinner and run the little government in our home. And I may not have my name in lights -now or ever- but to see the huge grin on Wilder's face whenI sing and dance for him is worth millions. Drawing from a previous revelation I blogged about over a year ago, it's not what you do that matters, but how well you do it.

I've decided to thoroughly enjoy and exercise my current role. It is a gift to be home with my son and not have to leave home for a cubicle, like many other mothers are forced to. And I realize that not all mothers want to stay home, which is also perfectly fine. I'm reconciled to not being a lawyer or docotor -at least not in the next 5 years. I'm still okay just being me and have much to be proud of. I can still dream about future professions and know that I am capable of making them a reality, when I want to. For not, I'm going to treasure my family and enjoy the fabulous domestic arts! Besides, it's fun being your own boss.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

At Home -And A New Addition

Wilder hijacked the tape roll as we boxed up some goodies to send to Daddy.

"Mom, you've GOT to try this! It's SO FUN!"
And Wilder wielded the tennis racket, trying to hit the ball for Savannah like Mommy does.
Yeah, it's about the size of his entire body. Amazing what you can do once you set your mind to it! And how quickly this little man is picking up new tricks, mimicking and copying what he sees.
Wilder's continued attitude of adventure put me in touch with the amazing feeling of discovery and accomplishment I felt -we all felt- when we were young. Remember taking things apart or putting them together and thinking, "Wow! This is incredible! Look what I can do!"? That childlike wonder of nature, mechanics, art, creativity -even food- is something I'm trying to get back to as I see my son enjoying each new exploration of life.
And our new addition. He has yet to be named, though currently he's called "Male Beta" since it was on the lid of the cup he came in. I told Brian he could have a vote, though I reserve veto power since I also have Wilder's vote. Of course, the fish matches my kitchen where he lives. Those of you may remember we owned a lovely, sturdy goldfish named Howie Doon who managed to live nearly 2 years. We'll see how long "Male Beta" holds up, hopefully just as long.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Haircut

Mommy, WOW, I'm a big kid now!
While running errands yesterday we stopped in at a walk-in stylist and Wilder received his first haircut. He did a very good job for his first time and being as wiggly as he is and now he looks most definitely like a little man.
I'm sure when Brian comes home Wilder will want to have hair just like Daddy, and Brian will be very capable of cutting it, but I'm not sure I'll go for the "high and tight" look on my son... We'll see :) (Actually, Brian's been sporting the cleanly shaved look for quite awhile and I know for certain Wilder is going to keep at least SOME hair on his head.)
Yep, our little man is getting all grown up.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Somebody's Getting Married!

Mitsi Pair and Josh Willard were joined in holy matrimony last night, New Years Eve. It was a beautiful ceremony full of special messages, music and poetry selections by close friends and family that truly captured the essence of this wonderful couple.
Presentation of the bride and groom as Mr. & Mrs. Joshua Willard.
The beautiful cake that was even more delicious than it looked, tastefully paired with cheesecakes and a "toppings" bar. Who knew so many wonderful goodies could go on cheesecake?

Annie and Anissa enjoying the reception.
Cutting of the cake.
Isn't she radiant?!
Anissa, Mitsi and I. What a wonderful time with friends new and old and what a great way to start the new year!
The handsome couple.
Annie, Anissa, me, Maryanne and Sarah. Birds of a feather -we shook our tail feathers on the dance floor and toasted in the new year!

Wilder had his first overnight at Mima and Boppa's and was a complete angel -to my extreme joy. I thought at first I would be terribly lonesome, but when I woke up this morning (the latest I could sleep in was 8:45, though I tried to make it until 9) I couldn't wait to clean the bathroom, start organizing my closet, go for a run for the first time without a stroller and a dog (man, did it feel wierd!) do the dishes without worrying about Wilder trying to help, and watch a movie in the middle of the day. Anissa joined me for a late brunch and we watched "When Harry Met Sally" -the best new years movie. It was a wonderful experience -the wedding, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Wiley's first -and very successful- night/day away. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, as well and the best day yet of 2009! Best wishes to you all in the new year!


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