Observation Mode

This, by far, has been the longest I’ve ever gone without posting a blog since my first Vox post in 2008.  Blogging is an activity I usually am chomping at the bit to get to but lately I’ve had a hard time making myself sit and do it.  I’ve figured out that I am in observation mode right now.  Here’s what’s been up:

Little Girl Grown Up

In early June I visited my sister and her family in Ohio for a long weekend.  My niece was graduating from high school.  Both my parents showed which was one of the first times they had actually been in the same room together and had a decent conversation.  The trip proved to be bittersweet.  While happy for my niece, it seem sad for the rest of us who had watched her grow up.  She is the first niece/granddaughter in our family and we definitely had a hard time letting go and accepting the fact that she is now a young woman.  So here is this young woman who I used to hold and comfort when she was hurt and now she is holding the hand of her boyfriend.  He seem to be a decent sort.  The first night there she had him painting her nails.  Wonder what his buddies would think of that scene?  The day my family was scheduled to leave and return to their parts of the country, niece’s boyfriend hugged us all.  “Be good to her,” I told him.

Or I will find you, is what I was thinking.

   That evening after dark, we all went out into the front yard.  My niece lit a lantern and we stood by and watched as it lifted into the night sky, where it competed with the light of the full moon.  My brother-in-law’s eyes filled with tears.  There was something so symbolic about watching this beautiful light slowly lift and gently move across the sky.  In all honesty I was a bit concerned about this thing landing on someone’s roof eventually and catching on fire, however, we had no indication that this happened, thank goodness.

 

 

 

 

 

The Abby Chronicles

Abby and I seem to be on better terms lately.  The changes that have come about the past couple of months have been hard on both of us.  I realized that most of my attention was being bestowed upon the weasel because that is how it had always been.  Abby belonged to the ex.  Smokey belongs to me.  The Cesar Milan magazine did arrive.  In fact I have received two issues so far and have only flipped through one.  It’s ok.  Lots of pics of celebrities with their dogs, etc…  a bit of advice but nothing so far that would be fitting to the situation.  I’d like to say Abby and I have called a truce and have become actual friends.  It seems the more I give her the more she gives back.  Her anxiety seems to have lessened and I am grateful.  She really is a good dog.

Observing Singles in Their Natural Habitat

Athletica and I have joined a hiking group that meets every so often.  We either brave the heat here in Phoenix or we head up to the mountains where it is a bit cooler (which is a relative term).  I’ve done so much watching of people lately and observing their actions.  Most in the hiking group are single and in their 40s or early 50s.  What I get from various conversations I’ve had with people is that they are pretty much all divorced.  No one is looking for anything but simplicity right now.  It’s been interesting.  Athletica received an email through the group’s website from one of the guys.  “I think he just wants to be friends,” she says.  “No,” I tell her. “A man usually doesn’t reach out to a woman because he wants to be her friend.  Call me crazy but I don’t think it works that way.”  Its been a while for me though.  Maybe the rules have changed in the past decade?

After a hike in Sedona a few weeks back, a gentleman walking behind me proudly announced that he had taken a picture of my butt and would be posting it on the group website.  Not sure if he was kidding or not but it was one hell of a pick up line.  Needless to say I won’t be contacting him any time soon.  Lucky for him no such picture ended up on said website.  Interesting times.

Saying Goodbye to a Trainer and a Friend

 I joined this gym back in February.  In that timeframe I never sweated, hurt or pushed myself so hard as I ever did in my entire life than at this gym.  The alarm would be set for 3:45am so that I could make it there by 5am.  B. was one of those people who motivated others to push themselves just a bit harder each time.  There were days I would puke and there were days when the work outs were so tough I wanted to  literally cry out.  Friday, July 6th was the last time I worked out with B.  On the following Monday he went missing.  Tuesday night I received a text from Athletica that read, B. is dead.   While I won’t get into it here, I will say it was very tragic.  I watched his dream come to life at their grand opening back in October.  His goals were written on a white board in his office.  Many were checked off but there were so many more to be achieved.  There is a celebration of his life this weekend and then the gym doors will be closed forever.  Rest in peace, B!

Life In Motion

Athletica brought a friend along to a hike we did a few weeks ago who I had met several times before.  Matteo is someone who had been interested in her for a really long time but I’ve known that feeling hadn’t been reciprocated.  After the hike the three of us went out for coffee and chatted for a while.  I had invited the both of them to come a barbecue of a friend on the 4th of July.  Athletica had plans already but Matteo didn’t.  He brought his two grandchildren who I immediately adored.  He had children young and so did his son so he is a very young grandfather.  It was an enjoyable day but the kids were getting bored.  They left before the fireworks started.  Later in the evening I received a text from him thanking me for a nice time and wanting to know if I’d be up for a motorcycle ride over the weekend.  Matteo rides a Harley.  So how do I describe how this felt?  Let’s see: scared, adventurous, wtf?, thrilled, and ‘what the hell am I doing???’.  I wasn’t sure.  First we were supposed to go Friday and I canceled.  (What a chicken, right?)  So Saturday I gave in.  Afterall, I’m usually the first in line for every puke-inducing thrill ride at an amusement part.  How hard could it be to ride on the bike of a motorcycle.  And a Harley no less!

So Saturday evening he arrived at my house.  I could hear that bike coming from two miles away.  Dang, those things are loud!  I had been instructed to wear jeans and boots (yes, perfect for 100+ degree weather).  I threw my hair up in a pony tail and listened to instructions on how to ride on this thing without tipping it over (or falling off), and then we were off.  We drove up Central Ave., which is a street I’ve traveled on millions of times, and everything looked so different from this view.  The buildings seem pasted to the skyline.  Everything seem to sparkle.  We went to a blues club and I laughed so hard at just various things.  It felt like hearing your favorite song from your teenage years or something.  I felt that happy.  Later we took a ride through the desert which was so much cooler than driving through the concrete behemoths of Phoenix.  We drove by Camelback Mountain, which was beautiful at night.  I took a million snapshots in my mind and have relived them during the week while I’m working.

 

Well, the observation of this strange and new life of mine continues. . .

 

The Dog Days of Whatever

In ancient Greece the constellation, Sirius, represented the dog. It was believed that when this dog constellation was closest to the earth (July and August) that milk would spoil, men would be become weak, plants would wilt and women would become aroused. I’d seriously have to question that last one. Incidentally, this is what we refer to as the “dog days of summer”.

While we are still a few months away from the “dog days of summer”, I couldn’t help but wonder over this past weekend if this dog constellation, Sirius, had some strange cosmic effect over a certain canine in my household, not unlike how those that believe in horoscopes are affected by the stars and the alignment of planets.

Friday after work I decided to take my bike out for an evening spin before hitting the hay. I changed into the usual garb; t-shirt, shorts, sneakers. Abby decided that she had to come with me. This was just not going to happen. I am lucky I can chew gum at the same time as walking, let alone ride a bike while holding onto a leash. Uh-uh. Nothing doing.

My usually pleasant pooch was not having any part of this. I was trying to get the bike out of the house where it had been parked in the living room (one of the joys of living alone –you can park your bike wherever you please) and she was bolting for the door like the place was on fire. I caught her with my leg and pinned her against the wall where she struggled to get away from me and into the freedom of the front yard.

Somehow I got the kickstand on the bike down without her sneaking by me. To enhance the mental image of this evening, I have sketched the following cartoon:

After literally wrestling with her, I somehow made it out of the house. I could hear her now in the backyard where she ran out her doggie door and was howling her disapproval. The neighborhood dogs all seem to howl back in agreement which made for the ultimate guilt trip. I made my way down to the canals quite frazzled after that display. Not sure what got into her but she was hell-bent on getting out that front door. After one glorious hour pedaling away in peace, I returned home. The neighbors were in for the night and all was quiet. What the heck, I thought. I’ll let Abby out for a few minutes of freedom. I opened the door and before I could get a word out, she flew by me, all 4 paws disappearing into a blur. I may have seen a few sparks fly out from behind her as well. She bolted down to the greenway. Meanwhile, I parked my bike back in the living room and went out to wait for Abby’s return. She usually runs down to the greenway and returns after a few minutes, having gotten the run out of her system.

Up until her return I had been standing in the walkway in front of the house. I was happily updating my Facebook status via phone when I heard the unmistakable sounds of dog nails on asphalt. Abby spotted something and was in a dead run towards it. Turns out my neighbors thought this would be the opportune time to also let their dogs out for a leashless run. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the other dog, a good thirty pounds heavier than Abby, is her all time nemesis. Suddenly my sweet little puppy with the seal pup eyes had turned into this snarling, vicious, hound of hell. I dropped my phone (suddenly posting about what a great bike ride I had had seemed severely irrelevant) and headed towards the commotion. My usually mild-mannered neighbor was screaming over the snarling already in progress.

Both dogs had each other down on the ground. I reached for Abby who slipped out of my grasp like a greased pig. all the while my neighbor is yelling, “Get your f’ing dog! Get her!!!” No, not yelling. She was screeching. It was complete pandemonium. Neither dog was backing down. Said neighbor’s husband is now using his foot to try to separate the dogs. Nothing doing. Neighbor and I are encircling the dogs like referees at a boxing match. Finally, neighbor’s dog runs into the house. This is the end of it, I’m thinking. No! Abby follows the dog into the neighbor’s house. Neighbor is now screeching again like a banshee. “Get her out of my house! Get that f*ing dog out!” Finally Abby cowers on the floor. She must’ve come to her senses and realized that hey, this isn’t my house. What am I doing here??? Now her ears were pinned back and she looked truly defeated. I scooped her up and headed out towards home, but not before mumbling an apology to neighbor and her husband. Nothing was said in return. The only sound is that of their door slamming.

As soon as I set Abby down inside the house, she ran towards her bed. I glared at her which resulted in more pitiful looks and the pinning back of one’s ears. Then she grabbed what was left of an old rawhide bone and headed out to the safety of the backyard through the doggie door.

I took a deep breath, still shaking after that incident, and headed back over to neighbor’s house. I rang the doorbell with my heart beating in my throat. Neighbor came out and I asked if her dog was okay. Luckily the dog was. This is how I found out Abby and her dog were arch-rivals. Something the ex never let me in on. She apologized to me for how she acted and then hugged me. It was a relief.

Before heading off to a well-deserved rest that night I texted the ex that he may have a new visitor in that frozen waste-land he now calls home. Either that or she would be shipped off to a country where dog meat is still seen as a delicacy.

On Saturday afternoon, while out and about, the ex texted me that he has something for me (paperwork for a quickie Mexican divorce perhaps? -No, one couldn’t be so fortunate). After reviewing my texts of woe, he had decided to sign me up for a subscription to Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer’s magazine, Cesar’s Way. At first I thought he was joking. No, this was no joke. I got the email to prove it the next day. Why not something I would actually read like, Women’s Running or Real Simple, or Is Your Ex Really That Clueless?

Oh, I am just waiting with bated breath for my first issue! Believe you me!

Abby seem to know she had done wrong. She sulked about the house for the rest of the weekend and didn’t give me a hard time again when leaving. I suppose dogs, like people, have their days. About 1am today I woke to the sounds of her nails on the tile as she entered the bedroom. Usually she doesn’t stray too far from her dog bed at night but last night was different. It actually sounded like she was tiptoeing in as not to wake me or the weasel. She leapt up on the bed, licked my shoulder and nestled down next to me in the crook of my knees.   A rare event in the Monsoon household.

Perhaps even Orion suffered through a few dog days with Sirius.

“Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky

On summer nights, star of stars,

Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest

Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat

And fevers to suffering humanity.”

-Homer in The Illiad

Cruising the Past, Propelling Into the Future

Two posts in two days?  Hey, I am on a roll!  I so miss this!

In yesterday’s post I briefly mentioned my new bike which I picked up on my birthday after months of lay away.

 It had been at least 20 years since I had ridden a bike.  I was a bit frightened at the thought of trying to ride again after all these years.  Would I forget?  Heck, would I need training wheels?  On that first hot Saturday in April I took a deep breath, clamored onto this pink metal contraption complete with bell and basket and pushed myself into the street away from the safe harbor of the driveway.  I pedaled about and practiced going in circles in the cul-de-sac until the neighbors thought I had gone mad.

I was doing it!  After all these years I was doing it!  In an instant I went from 44 to about 7.  Suddenly all these memories of riding a bike as a child came back to me in a solid rush.  My first bike was a Huffy.  I believe it was purple with a flowered banana seat.  I had a bell and basket then, too.  Some things you never outgrow, nor should you.  I remembered my Dad removing the training wheels one summer night.  “Pedal, pedal,” he shouted to me.   Okay, I did end up losing control and crashing into a wagon full of youngster being pulled by their parents.  I sometimes wonder if those former children in my Boston neighborhood remember that incident (or have spent years in counseling).

Having a bike meant freedom.  Sweet freedom.  I raced around the neighborhood with my best friend (she is still my best friend after all these years) and we searched for the ice cream man.  We didn’t wear helmets.  That was unheard of in that time.  Somehow we survived into adulthood.

Back to that hot birthday night. . .

I road down to the canals and went up and down until the sun was only a faint memory in the sky.  As it got darker I headed back to my neighborhood and road near the local park.  A group played volleyball in the greenway and there was just this certain sense of peace over the whole neighborhood, over the whole evening.  A slight breeze blew my hair back and rinsed over my skin.  My gosh, I had forgotten how that felt!  Who would have thought something so simple as a bike ride would conjure up memories and thoughts.  Even the sound of the chain churning as I pedaled drew out a certain deja vu from the depths of my memory.

Earlier in the week my boss, who is about my age, asked me if life in my 40s is what I thought about in my 20s.  This was a very interesting question. During that bike ride that birthday evening I started compiling a list in my mind of the things I’ve done in my 40s.  I never thought that far ahead in my 20s, truth be told.  Here’s what I came up with.

I never thought I would:

  • live in Arizona
  • ride a bike
  • run races
  • be a blonde!
  • speak Spanish (not as well as I used to  –I’ll never be fluent)
  • lift weights
  • have the same amazing people in my life as I did back in my 20s
  • have a job I absolutely adore
  • do 50 guy push-ups (let alone 1 push up!)
  • own a cute little stucco house with a Spanish tiled roof
  • wear a bikini
  • blog (4 years now)
  • be this happy on my own

So that’s it.  If I sat here long enough I could probably think of more things.  What about you?  What are some of the things in your life that you are doing/have done that you would have never thought you’d do in your younger years?  Do tell!

Respecting Fire by Air

This post has been brewing in my mind for a while now.  The hardest part is finding time these days to actually blog.  I no longer take breaks during the day which has placed a damper on my blog efforts as of late.

The ex left about a month ago to work in a northern mid-western town.  I took the morning off to have a final breakfast with him.   It’s funny how you don’t know how you are going to feel until certain events unfold.  I didn’t cry or get emotional.  My whole body breathed a sigh of relief that he was gone.  Not just down the street, but thousands of miles away in a town with a population of 97 people.

There are days when I am so angry I could punch holes in the wall.  Then there are days when the silence and peace in the house and just in my normal life is so prevalent that I could cry from the sheer joy, however, crying would mess with the peace that now sustains me, so I refrain.

In April, on my birthday, I made the final payment on my beach cruiser bicycle.  I’ve spent countless evenings riding along the canals which has turned into the ultimate secret to an amazing night’s sleep.  During the rides I think so much of the past insanity and again breathe a double sigh of relief that that particular door is closed.  I think a lot about marriage and what my thoughts growing up on marriage were.  I try not to be bitter by my past experiences.  Marriage has always been something I have held in high regard.  Back in my dating years I would never date a married man, although I have girlfriends that did.  I have a girlfriend now that insists that all married men will cheat.  Well, hell, if that is your attitude then what do you think is going to be attracted into your life?

While my own marriage hasn’t worked out it has not changed my view on marriage.  It is something precious.  When you are partnered with another person you are entrusting that person with a piece of yourself.  A big piece of yourself.   And vice versa.  It’s so important to choose wisely.  In my own marriage I would have been far better off trusting my dog, Abby, to guard my steak.  But I digress.   I still see it as holy.

More than a decade ago I dated a Parsi man of the Zoroastrian faith.  He told me about the fire temples in India and how they housed the holy fires that were started many years ago by a single lightning strike.  One such temple existed in Yemen.  I had to look this up online today because I couldn’t remember the whole details of what he told me.  According to the website, Yemen became a communist country.  It was decided that the holy fire needed to be brought to India as there was too much pressure to close the temple.  To make a long story short, many arrangements were needed to transport this fire.  Despite the dangerous risks, Air India flew the fire from Yemen to India after many negotiations between the two countries, mainly by Mrs. Indira Gandhi herself.  When the holy fire arrived in India, many Parsi families greeted the jet at the airport.  Only those of this faith are allowed to gaze upon the fire.

I only bring this up because when I think of the faith the Parsi’s have, it is in much the same way I view marriage; sacred, serious, holy.  I doubt I’ll ever marry again, however, my respect for the union remains.

Life has changed so much just within the past month.  I joined a group that gets together and plays board games every so often.  I have made a few friends as well.  It’s now been three months since I joined the boot camp gym and I see myself changing.  I feel so strong!

Races are done now until the Fall.  The last one was in Sabino Canyon in Tucson which was 7.4 miles.  By the last mile I could feel the curve of the street through my feet.  We returned to the canyon the next day to do some sightseeing.  Although this was my third year attending the race, it’s amazing how much you miss when you are running.  It’s such a beautiful place.  All the cactus were in bloom, too.

I’m trying to plan a trip to Florida this Fall with some Boston girlfriends.  There is a 10k going on right near my aunt’s beach house.  I sent a note out to the girlfriends in question and so far haven’t heard back yet.  Hopefully it will be something they will all want to do as we have talked about meeting somewhere to do a race for a while now.

 

So much going on and so little time to write!

March, In A Nutshell

 

  Okay, I admit it.  I’ve been a blogging lame-o, but here is a run down of some things that have been going on.  The first two weeks of March I participated in two 5ks; the first one I did my second worst on.  For some reason when I crossed the start line my body was telling me it just did not want to run.  Plus the cute little running skort I purchased only a week before chafed my thighs until they were raw.  Note to self: do a test run after purchasing any new work-out gear.  The second race was the following weekend and I did a bit better.  My timing was 30 seconds quicker than the weekend before and this run included a few hills. 

After that last run I drove down to meet our blogging buddy Maureen in Tucson.  We did a photo shoot which was so much fun.  As you might know, Maureen is a wonderful photographer and I got to meet a few of her favorite subjects; the horses.  Maureen’s home is a desert dream with a spectacular view of the nearby mountains.  There is a southwest print in my kitchen by the artist Downe Burns.  Everytime I look at it I think of Maureen’s home in the desert. 

Ana came out for two weeks.  We had a wonderful time which included many dinners out and some great chats over a glass of wine sipped in the evening on the back patio.  We hiked in Sedona and also here in Phoenix.  It was a pretty full two weeks.  Ana must have really enjoyed herself because she came back with her son this past Monday night.  What can I say?  She is the ultimate house guest.  I’d arrive home after work and the dishes would be done, along with a bouquet of fresh flowers on the kitchen counter. 

Athletica and I went to Carlsbad, CA for the race at the very end of March.  Carlsbad is this small seaside town that was a really fun place to visit.  We flew into San Diego, rented a car, and then drove up to Ocean Beach.  We walked the boardwalk on a very chilly day.  There were surfing lessons going on and people out getting some exercise.  At one point a tough looking bunch of guys road by on low-rider bikes that looked custom.  They wore shades despite the cloudy weather, however the tough guy image was soon diminished as soon as one of them rang their bell to get our attention.  Only in California.  We had breakfast overlooking the ocean and then headed up to the hotel in Carlsbad.

The race was pretty good and the course stretched along Pacific Coast Highway.  There were five 5ks altogether and they started us ‘old folks’ (40 and over) first.  The men went and then the ladies.  That is the first race I’ve done where they’ve arranged things that way.  There were lots of hills so there was a bit of challenge there.  What I really liked about this race was that at each mile marker they had the time listed.  I did 11 minute miles for the first two miles and then by the third my legs felt like they were locking up.  I was having pain in my left knee and hip.  I walked a good portion of it but decided towards the end that I would run despite the pain.  I passed a woman walking who said to no one in particular, “I don’t know why I do this.  I sign up and I get to it, and then I hate it.”  While I don’t hate running by any stretch, my sentiments at the very moment were quite the same.  However, I laughed and kept going.  I arrived only a few seconds later than my last race so I wasn’t too disappointed with my time, especially given the size of the inclines on this course. 

I limped over the finish line, met Athletica, and then headed back to the hotel to shower and change.  We hit up the beer garden afterwards and chatted with some of the other racers.  After two beers we were really feeling it.  I admit I probably should have stopped at one but hey, too late to take that back now.  As Ana says, you don’t buy beer, you rent it.  That being the case we needed to find a bathroom and the only thing available were the typical race port-o-potties.  Unfortunately there were no hand sanitizers available.  We headed over to the expo which was still in full swing.  We happened across an unmanned booth that contained a table with some a container with a pump on the top which I naturally assumed was hand sanitizer.  I was just about to squirt some of the liquid into my hand when a 30-something woman came over and said she’d be happy to help me, miss.  I’ll admit I gave her brownie points for calling me miss and not ma’am.  She then went on to explain that her product was not hand sanitizer at all.  It was the equivalent of what marathon runners refer to as ‘Gu’.  It comes in a small packet and contains sugar and caffeine to help stimulate energy.  Runners will take this when they need a boost (and not when they need their hands sanitized).  I felt so dumb, but as Jamie Foxx sings, “blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-al-cohol.”

Later in the day we could hear drumming.  We followed the sound to a drumming circle where a very pregnant lady with dreadlocks and a peasant skirt invited us in to dance.  The group had gathered on a small patch of grass above the beach.  She took our hands and lead us in where one couldn’t help but move to the beat.  It was one of the neatest and most randomest things I’ve ever stumbled upon. 

We stayed one more night and then visited an old mission that was built in the late 1700s called San Luis Rey de Francia.  I love places like that.  We drove down to San Diego and had lunch on the water before visiting the USS Midway which was decommissioned some time ago. 

Like I mentioned earlier, Ana is back.  She, her son, Athletica and I will be heading to Tucson this weekend.  Myself and Athletica have a race and then we will meet up with Ana later to hang out by the hotel pool. 

So, that’s really been whats going on here.  Work has been completely crazy.  My breaks have been at a minimum as of late so I haven’t been able to get on here to post or read other posts.  I’m hoping to soon though!

The Tenacity of Life

While coming out from work one evening I spotted this little plant growing in a moving stream.  I stopped and observed this from several different angles. 

  Water is moving quickly over it yet somehow it grew up through the rock it is rooted to and managed to sprout despite the water moving turbulently around it.  Now I’m no scientist when it comes to aquatic plant species but this little plant continues to baffle me every time I walk by.  Despite the seeming odds, it continues to grow and does not waver considering all that is going on around it.

Surely, I thought, the landscapers will catch sight of this little plant and pluck it out of the stream.  Afterall, it is a man-made stream and is maintained frequently.  Yet, every day I spot this little plant and sure enough, it is still there.

It sort of reminds me of life.  No matter how harsh the conditions or what comes our way, with the right amount of tenacity we can stand up straight.  We can grow. 

I actually took this picture last week.  I wanted to include this in a blog post but wanted it to make sense and not come off as too sappy.  Sometimes in nature there are signs of perseverance.  For me, when I see this little plant growing with all that rushing water around it, I breathe a sigh of relief. 

 

It gives me hope.

 

More Thoughts on Thursday

On my way to the gym this morning I thought of just driving past and heading up to Sedona to catch the sunrise.  I’d call in sick for work, have breakfast somewhere, take in a hike and then be home in the afternoon, just in time to take a nap.  I abandoned that thought quickly and exited at the proper location. 

Its been quite impressive to see how many folks are now going to the 5am class.  It makes it more fun, too.  One of the exercise we did this morning was using the TRX Bands.  You basically stick your feet in these loops and hold yourself in plank position.  It was really hard at first but by the end I was able to at least stay up on my forearms.  This has been an off week for exercise.  Actually, its been an off week all around.

Here is the picture of what that particular exercise looks like:

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what it feels like:

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I feel like I’ve reverted back to that 4th grade girl in Miss Jean’s School of Dance when I’m being shown how to do something correctly.  I am not the most coordinated of people.  While that middle-aged red-haired witch from childhood was very much into berating one for their shortcomings, Brian, my trainer, never berates.  He is very encouraging.  I’m not sure why I keep thinking of Miss Jean or her sharp British accent while at the gym.  It’s interesting how certain things will trigger memories, and not always good ones. 

Brian pretty much had the whole gym sign up for a 5K this weekend.  In addition to being a great trainer, he is really great at getting people motivated.  There are a few people in some of the classes that have never done one. Even though they said they would probably just walk, the cool thing is that they are willing to go out there and do it.  I like the feeling of being part of that kind of a team.

Here is Smokes with her new ferret stairs.  I’ve very often gotten tired of being the human escalator at 3am so decided to get her this little fake wool lined set of steps so she can easily get up onto the bed.  She has mastered getting up but so far has had some issues in figuring out how to get back down.  Nothing like waking in the middle of the night with a ferret standing on your head.    The stairs will be short-lived though.  I was just about to climb into bed last night when I noticed she had left a present on my pillow.  Thank goodness I noticed before climbing into bed and resting my head on said pillow.  Ugh!

Abby seems to be a bit like her old self.  I haven’t noticed too much evidence as of late that she has been sleeping on the couch rather than her own bed.  One Saturday morning not too long ago, as I lay in bed sipping my coffee, Abby appeared in the doorway wagging her tail warily, as if to say, may I come in?  I glanced at her with her seal pup eyes and her pinned back ears, and then patted the bed next to me.  In two strides and a jump she had settled in next to me with her head on my tummy.  I told her I was sorry for being mad at her.  She peered up at me with those soft brown eyes as if to say, it’s okay Mom, I understand.  Indeed, she did.

Ana is coming up for two weeks this month.  I’m not sure of the dates yet but I will be happy to have the company.  The ex was over cleaning out some of his things from the guest bedroom last week.  My dirty laundry is also kept in a hamper in that room.  He yelled out that I really needed to wash my gym clothes.  I yelled back that what he was smelling was the sweet smell of determination.  The hamper will also be relocated to the laundry  room before Ana arrives.  Something tells me she won’t exactly be in agreement with that statement. 

Last Saturday was the supposed day of beauty.  I didn’t feel quite as satisfied as I usually do when leaving the salon.  While I know this is silly, my hair had been waist length.  It is still long (half way down my back) but having that much cut off (although it needed it) left me feeling naked or something.  I don’t know.  There’s been enough changes as of late and I just wasn’t ready to part with that much hair as strange as it may sound. 

I had dinner with a girlfriend last night.  I almost canceled because I was not in a good mood.  Lately I’ve made a lot of mistakes at work and although I tried to think of everything that has gone right, I still beat myself up over it.  My friend asked me how I was doing with everything going on and I lost it.  She, in turn, started to cry, too.   And I think, damn, I just want to be happy!  I’m so tired of feeling this way.  I want to be laughing with my friends –not crying.  She suggested I go to counseling but the gym has really been my counselor.  I can take out all my anger and frustrations there.  We hit a punching bag this morning and when I took my gloves off my hands were bleeding.  I managed to split the skin on both hands between my pinkies, ring fingers and middle fingers.  Surprisingly enough they don’t hurt right now.  They’re just a bit red.  What a way to take out frustrations. 

Anyway, the week is just about over.  I’m always grateful for that.  Its like reaching Friday is another accomplishment.  One more work week down.