in which i have a saturday.

Or, in my case, perhaps a ‘caturday’.

It still feels weird when Miss L is with her dad for the weekend and I have a full Saturday and a Saturday night without anything to do. I have a reflexive feeling of guilt about these times, and an almost subconscious anxiety that makes me want to sit at home and wait for her return. I’m gradually processing those feelings, and I’ve been dating, and I have things to do, and plans. But at heart I am still inclined to back out of social commitments and hide with the boys, which is exactly what I did yesterday.

04.2015 emmett lunch

Yesterday I spent my Saturday doing a few of my favorite things. It was a bit of a grand day for me because it was my first time running since January! I had a tibial stress fracture and spent the last nearly 3 months in recovery mode = no weight bearing exercise. No boot camp, no elliptical, no walking. I got to be very good friends with the spin bike in our workout room.

Last week, I was able to start with the elliptical and walking, and yesterday was my first gradual ramp-up. Run / walk intervals, 5 mins of walking and 1 min of running for 30 mins. It wasn’t much, but everyone has to start somewhere, and I have a 9-week recovery training plan that I am going to follow to the letter. I have new PowerStep Pulse insteps, a fancy shin harness, a new iPhone sport armband, and wireless headphones on the way, my gifts to myself for my return to running.

I picked Kensington for this run, and spent another hour after I was done tromping around looking at birds.

I swear, someday I will be the old lady clomping around the parks clutching binoculars and bird books. I know there’s something tweaked about me, that a day spent doing that is preferable to going out and socializing, but I was completely happy with my choice.

04.2015 swans

Everyone is sitting a nest these days, and the air is filled with the booming noise of the cranes nesting on the island in the middle of the lake, and the noisy chatter of red-winged blackbirds. The swan pair were quite domestic. She stood up to rearrange her nest and tenderly cover her eggs back up with fluff while her hubster looked on. The Sandhill Cranes seemed to be having some sort of dispute, however, as they kept the cold shoulder toward one another.

04.2015 sandhills

I came home, took a nap, which Emmett loved, and ambled over to Whole Foods for dinner… I am addicted to their pizza which is a sad and expensive addiction at $3 a slice, so I save it only for special occasions because 1 slice is never enough.

Sometimes, a Saturday night spent doing laundry and watching historical English programming (Wolf Hall, White Queen) is balm for the soul, and better than any night out on the town.

04.2015 chillin

in which spring break happens.

My mom and Miss L and I spent a week in Chicago for Miss L’s spring break. We took the Amtrak through small towns, fields and woods, and gradually the landscape morphed into industrial parks, cement and asphalt, and the outskirts of the sprawling city.

04.2015 river

04.2015 grafitti

04.2015 fire escape

The train was a good way to travel, but I was glad that we were in business class. The seats were comfortable, there was greater privacy, and ample space for luggage. The Ann Arbor Amtrak station is tiny and easily navigated, but Union Station in Chicago was an entirely different proposition. Luckily, both Miss L and my mom are good travelers, and there were no issues.

We stayed at the Chicago Hilton, which is a grand old hotel across from Grant Park, and within walking distance of the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. Miss L was impressed with the grandeur of the lobby, and mildly interested to hear of its history, but it was the pool that really captured her heart.

04.2015 hilton lobby

04.2015 grant park

04.2015 hotel pool

We spent days at the aquarium and the museum, both of which were unbelievable, capturing Miss L’s wonder and imagination.

04.2015 green fish

04.2015 jellyfish

04.2015 seahorse

04.2015 vikings

04.2015 voudou mirror

04.2015 totems

Even my mom & I got to experience some things that were new to us. We used Uber to ride from the hotel to the American Girl Doll store (aka Miss L’s ‘happy place’) and it was a riot. My mom was mistrustful of the Uber concept, to say the least. When we were picked up by a somewhat crazed gentleman with an accent, purple sunglasses, and fingerless driving gloves, I could feel her giving me side eye as he discussed the ins and outs of Chicago snow and parking spaces and tire slashing. When we were safely offloaded at American Girl she was exhilarated by our daring and although she suspected he might have been part of a sleeper cell, she was comfortable using Uber back to the hotel.

The weather in Chicago was very Chicago-like – windy, chilly, damp, and blustery. But when we returned to Michigan, spring, it seemed, had begun.

04.2015 sunrise

good friday

The last couple of weeks at work have been an exercise in patience and stamina and so I was absolutely thrilled to bust out of there yesterday afternoon. I cleared the decks sufficiently and am now on Spring Break for ten days.

Michigan weather has been damp and chilly, although I did take a break on my lunch hour earlier this week to visit a sunny, warm spot not so far from where I work. The University of Michigan Matthei Botanical Gardens conservatory was a peaceful place to relax and soak up some rare rays for a few minutes.

04.2015 shakespeare

I haven’t been taking many lunchtime breaks lately, as I’ve been pretty dedicated to retaining the habit of working out even though I can’t run. I have been off running for 9 weeks now and am starting to cautiously experiment with more weight-bearing workouts. I walked over the weekend, and have been doing more challenging spin sessions, with some standing climbs and intervals. I can definitely feel the weakness in my left leg and know that I will have to be very patient in bringing it back. I don’t plan on running until the end of April but between now and then, I’ll be ramping up my spinning and walking and getting back on the elliptical.

In reading news, I finished ‘Revival’ by Stephen King. He is one of my all time favorite authors – I know how he is regarded in literary circles but there is no one quite like him for taking me by the hand and wholly involving me in a story. I can’t put his books down. Admittedly, I feel his best days are quite behind him – the last book of his that I didn’t feel at least slightly let-down by was ‘Bag of Bones’, and my favorites of his came much earlier than that – ‘The Shining’, ‘The Stand’. ‘Revival’ was okay, but his endings are very patchy for me and always have been. Some endings are wonderful – ‘Salem’s Lot’ and ‘The Shining’ come to mind, ‘Pet Semetary’ and ‘Carrie’ as well – and others are just eye-rolling. The deus ex machina in ‘The Stand’. The kids in ‘It’.

I’m now reading ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton and am not sure I can hang with it. It’s oddly interesting in a stiff sort of way, but it hasn’t caught me yet, and a book of that length will require some spark of passion to push me through. I haven’t given up yet, though.

I just finished listening to ‘The Buried Giant’ by Kazuo Ishiguro (I bought is as an Audible book) and it was wonderful. The end of it made me weepy; the marital relationship depicted is one that I have pretty much given up hope that I will ever have in my life. I generally understand that my path is taking me in different directions, and I am content with the journey I’m on, but that loss is still a little melancholy at times. Anyway, I digress – in keeping with the Arthurian theme, I’ve just acquired ‘The Crystal Cove’ on Audible for my commutes and workouts, and am enjoying that as well.

Apparently April is going to be quite a rollercoaster ride. My dreams have been off the hook nutty this week, filled with unexpected messages from my subconscious. I’ve dreamed in great detail about a mentor that I’m worried about, received a warning about another friend, and identified an area of lingering aggression. Regardless of how some people roll their eyes at dreams, they are a deep way that your mind speaks to itself, and processes events and relationships that your top-level mind can’t or doesn’t want to address, and for that reason alone, they are worth paying attention to.

Even the boys are feeling unsettled.

04.2015 scrapping

Sometimes telling them sternly to ‘love each other!!’ does no good.

So the long weekend is dedicated to relaxing with family – and on Monday, three for the road (more to come, she said mysteriously).

For the last few years, I’ve reserved Good Friday as a day of peace, baking and starting garden seeds, and today will be no different. The little one & I may try our hand at hot cross buns and I am sure there will be pictures. I hope wherever you are and whatever faith you hold, you are with people you love and are loved by. xoxo

In which I am waiting for a file to download at work so I quickly share a couple of photos and happy things.

  My nails look like little Easter eggs. Thanks Sis :) 

(Ignore my ragged cuticles!)

Miss L learned how to ride a two wheeler with no training wheels this weekend! In about five minutes flat – she didn’t fall once. Proud mommy moment watching her take off and fly.

I have turned over a new leaf. My mornings have been far too crazy for my liking- too many snoozes, too much rushing around to get us out the door. It starts the day off on a bad footing. So I am tweaking the AM routine. I put the alarm clock on the other side of the room, set it for a half-hour earlier, and reset the timer on the coffee maker so that by the time I stagger out to shut the alarm off, the tempting aroma of caffeine is wafting up the stairs.

I also turned the alarm volume up. 

It’s a bit shrill…

 

This morning it sent Emmett and Sarge flying out of their cozy morning slumber with wild eyes and bottle-brush tails. 

They haven’t forgiven me yet and stared at me reproachfully while I enjoyed my slightly more leisurely toilette.

god permits u-turns.

Prior to my marriage, I was not the best at managing my own finances. I never understood or cared how to set up a budget, or stick to one. In my twenties, I was miserable at my job at a large conservative chemical company and thought quite wrongly that the karmic compensation for being emotionally miserable was that I should be able to spend my money liberally and ‘treat myself’ since I worked so hard. I bought clothes like crazy, I bought a Jeep that was a miserable wreck and a terrible investment (it paralleled my life at that time), I picked up bar tabs for all of my college friends who went to grad school instead of the work force after college, and I got into debt. So, in typical binge-and-purge behavior, I buckled down for about three years, didn’t go out, didn’t buy anything, and paid it off. It was arduous and I swore at the age of 29 that I would never do that again.

Then I got married, and my now ex-husband managed the finances quite efficiently. I never really had a very clear idea of what I was bringing in or what we were doing with it but I knew everything was going well, we were frugal and never argued about money, and never once disagreed about where or how to invest or distribute our assets.

Now that I am divorced, I have to face the ogre of finances. I was falling asleep the other night watching Suze Orman on cable TV and her advice to the folks who were calling in was sobering. She asked basic questions – what is your monthly income? what are your expenses? what is in your liquid savings? what is in your retirement? I realized that while I could answer some of those questions, I was avoiding others. While being divorced forced me (among other things) to figure out my own bank accounts, my mortgage, my budget, I hadn’t quite taken full ownership of my future, my retirement, and set goals.

Today I took a huge step on my road and went to see a financial planner. I thought about cancelling the appointment several times, but I didn’t – I printed out all of my documents, girded my loins, and went in.

It wasn’t easy to see where I have fallen short, and commit to action plans to address the inevitability of the future that is coming, but I have to say that the words I heard on that cable TV show that night really resonated with me – “money is such an amazing teacher: what you choose to do with your money shows whether you are truly powerful, or powerless.”

Taking control of these aspects of my life feels very important, somehow, and very tied into decisions that I will make about how I want to live the rest of my life. I have always felt that for women, working is so important. It’s so important – vital – to know that you can support yourself financially and whatever children you choose to bring into the world. I’m not talking about whether women eventually make the life choice to stay home with their children, because I think that is a noble pursuit, and a separate topic. But in your early life, your formative years, you have to know that you can always support yourself and make it on your own if you want to or if you have to. Not relying on anyone to pay your way is a crucial element in the life choices that a woman can or will make, but it’s a tough thing to take control of. It took me into my ’40’s to fully invest in that concept and feel the impact of that philosophy, and only just now have I stepped reluctantly into the driver’s seat. As much as I may want to find someone, and perhaps be married again, no one is going to drive that bus if I don’t, so it’s time to learn.

After my appointment, I walked over to Miss L’s school and picked her up and we walked home together in the spring afternoon. It was a good day.

spring is coming.

spring is coming.

bullet point blogging and a couple of pictures.

  • My vacuum cleaner died so I have purchased a new one and it has yet to arrive. (I could have gone to a big store and just bought a new one but now that I have Amazon Prime I am thrilled at the variety of things that my lazy ass can have delivered right to my door with free shipping.) It is amazing how gross the floors of a house can get when one’s vacuum is not in working order. Every day that I come home to find no large familiar brown box on my front porch is another day that my house gets closer to complete anarchy.
  • I continue to fight the fitness battle on a strict regimen of no running. This is driving me simply insane. I have long known about myself that limiting my eating is just never going to happen and I just don’t burn the same calories laboring away on a stationary bike or doing Tony Horton 10-Minute Trainer segments. I know that I am staying in shape doing different kinds of things but the lack of cardio is killing me. I will hopefully be back to the elliptical in early April and by the end of April I can start run / walking again.
  • In the meantime, three or four lunch hours a week, I ride the stationary bike in my office workout room. I subscribed to Audible and am listening to “The Buried Giant” by Kazuo Ishiguro during my exercise time, which makes that break in my workday strangely magical.
  • It’s funny how things work. I have also been meditating much more regularly and it struck me that if I hadn’t taken a long break from running, I probably wouldn’t have picked up meditating with such a fervor, or started listening to the book to make a horribly dull and extra long workout interesting. One thing leads to another. I am missing that endorphin rush and have had to make substitutions, which have turned out to be healthy in other ways.
  • I have promised myself a set of wireless headphones, a fitness holder for my iPhone, and a new pair of PowerStep insoles if I can wait until the end of April to start running again. This is no joke. Whenever I get off that stupid bike I look at the treadmill and think, I could just run a mile and I’m sure everything would be okay. So far I have resisted but it is painful seeing the weather warm up and the streets and roads become more populated with runners.
  • Took a trip to Indiana earlier this week to give a presentation about compliance to a room full of people who looked like they would rather be doing anything other than hearing me speak. There was nothing I could do to elicit even mild interest from their stony faces so I gave up trying on the second slide and just pushed through.
03.2015 suitcase cats

They get very passive aggressive when the suitcase comes out.

  • Anyway, it was a great 8+ hour round trip with our Assistant General Counsel who is a fun travel companion. We get up in the mornings to work out together and I made her eat at a Cracker Barrel across the highway from a water tower emblazoned with the words GAS CITY. I should have taken a picture of her to memorialize the event since I doubt she will ever go back.
  • I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday. xo
Yesterday was #caturday on Instagram and Sarge was our go-to guy.

Yesterday was #caturday on Instagram and Sarge was our go-to guy.