Thursday, December 30, 2010

Facebook saves the day

Ok, single ladies out there...there is a lesson to be learned here...mainly that it's good to know people, and you never know when those random Facebook friends might step in and save the day unexpectedly.

Most people have a love or hate relationship with Facebook, you either love it and are a junkie (for a lot of people I know FB has become the standard form of communication with their friends, replacing even emails and phone calls), or you hate it and badmouth the crap out of it. 

I like FB for the networking and communication opportunities it offers.  After all, because of FB I was able to track down my long lost family (through a random search one night for anyone with my brother's name) and begin to reconnect with them...this in itself makes FB one of the greatest gifts on earth for me this year!!!  (Michael, again, thank you-thank you-thank you!!!...I love you!!!  Your a fantastic man and the best brother a girl can hope opening your heart and FB friendship to me, you showed me this year what the true meaning of love, compassion and family is.  Love you Lil Bro!!).  I now have many new "friends" that I am related to who I cherish dearly.  (Yes, it was a very good Christmas indeed for me this year!)

Aside from the goodness of allowing me to reconnect with a long lost family, FB has also given me the opportunity to simply "keep in touch" with acquaintances of all kinds that I have met during my many adventures.  One of those acquaintances is a friend I will call E.  I have only met E in person a few times through a mutual friend, but last night I could not have been happier to walk into my favorite local drinking hole and see E.  (It's always nice to walk into a bar and see a familiar face :)). 

Since I was supposed to be meeting friends there, we simply said hi to each other and went on our separate ways.  Him back to his seat with his own friends near the bar, and me to find a spot to land with a dollar pint in hand to wait for another FB friend to arrive. 

Shortly after finding an open table and getting settled in with my beer, I was immediately swarmed by five young and very aggressive guys who wanted to sit with me and wait with me for my friend(s) to arrive.  These feisty young men would not take no for an answer and eventually there was no line between them and my own personal space.  Suddenly, I was sort of wishing I had stayed home.  Instead, I sat there waiting anxiously for my phone to buzz telling me that either my friend F needed a ride home from a different establishment, or that my other FB friend G (the one I was supposed to be meeting), was on his way to save the day...any excuse would have been welcome at this point.  No such luck.  

Now, I'm a friendly girl and all, and I like to flirt, but telling me how well hung you are, is NOT going to make me want to have a conversation with AT ALL!!!  (Note to all the single men out there...mentioning your manhood in the first 3 minutes of meeting a girl is the WORST possible pick up line!!!...the WORST!!...unless you would like to get kicked in said manhood.) 

The situation quickly became uncomfortable to say the least.  All attempts I made to distance myself from these guys were failing.  I could not shake them and believe me I tried!  I even lied and told them that the friend I was meeting was my boyfriend (sorry G!!!) such luck!!  (These Mofo's were really starting to get on my nerves and one in particular was on the verge of getting punched in his manhood that he would not shut up about, if he did not remove his hands from my shoulders like NOW!)

Finally, I was able to use my empty beer glass as an excuse to escape to the bar for a refill.  Enter E!!!  (My hero!...even if he was wearing a Vikings jacket, haha! :))  After telling E about the crazy ass mother phuckers upstairs who were trying to get all up in my business, E and his friends took me in, offered me a beer and a place to sit and let me chill with them for the rest of the evening (my friend G got tied up at work and couldn't make it after all, boo!...yes, I seem to have an alphabet theme happening here with my friends...E, F, and G. LOL :)). 

I ended up having a great time hanging out with E and his buddies, and actually relaxed enough to enjoy myself (until a bar fight broke out...another guy bragging about his manhood to the wrong person I assume!...guys are so dumb sometimes). 

Because hindsight is always 20-20 it's easy to sit back now and reflect on the mistakes I made while dealing with the aggressive a-holes, and to also wonder about their intentions or what could have happened.  I have now developed new bar rules for just such situations: 1) it's perfectly ok to be rude in a situation like this and tell someone to phuck off if it feels right, 2) MUST invent a good bar name (open to suggestions on this one), and 3) always have a friend "on call" or a back up plan in place when walking into a bar alone (knowing that E was right downstairs, made it much easier to break from this pack of aggressive dudes with confidence).  (Feel free to add your own rules in the comments section.) 

Nothing bad happened to me last night, and I have no idea what Mr. "I'm hung like a horse"'s intentions were, but I can easily see where it could be easy for a girl (or guy for that matter) to get distracted enough to have something questionable slipped into their drink.  These guys were creepy and aggressive in ways I really did not appreciate and every one of my instincts told me to get the hell out of there ASAP...I'm just glad I'm smart enough to listen to my gut, because some days I'm all about taking some risks and embracing my new adventure with open arms and reaching just outside my comfort zone to push my own boundaries and grow, but last night I guess was not one of those days, and thank God/Buddha/whoever you want to pray to for that!!!  Most of all thank you to my new best-est FB friend E!!! 

Note to all the hot single mommas and ladies out there (and yes, aren't we ALL hot?! :)): If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable and your gut tells you to get the hell out of there...for god's sake, listen and RUN!!!!  Run as fast as you can!  I'm learning during this single hood adventure that there are A LOT of creepers out there...a lot more than I remember from my college days.  UFF DA!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Food for Thought

I'm sort of known for being stupidly brutally honest, and the whole reason I started this blogging experience was to put my life (or portions of it) out there as a way possibly help others who may or may not be experiencing some of the same life adventures that I am.  Either as a single parent, a mom, a triathlete, or just a woman...this blog is real, this blog is honest, and because of that I need to share something.  I don't want to be putting this part of my life out there, this is my battle, my demons to fight, and I am fighting them in my own way, but to help others from following in my path or to help anyone who is on the same path, I'm putting it out there. 

Most of the people in my life who know me the best know that I am on some level OCD, or at the least I have OCD tendencies.  I tend to take things to extremes, and have a very addictive personality.  I joke a lot about my unhealthy obsessions  (Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters and Kid Rock) and share adventures from my more healthy addictions (triathlons, biking and running and stuff).  My list of addictions is actually quite long. 

One of my unhealthy obsessions (one I never talk about, but is something that I have battled for most of my life) is with my weight.  First, I want to say that I'm not putting this out there because I want sympathy or pity or even advice.  I don't.  That's actually the last thing I want.  I want to be treated the same as always...before you read this post.  I simply feel like I need to put it out there so that if there is anyone else struggling with this same issue, then they will know that they are not alone, and that even the "healthiest" appearing people can still struggle with this issue too. 

Like most women, my weight is like a roller goes up and down based on the seasons, the time of the month and my emotions.  Over the past year, I lost almost 30 pounds on the divorce diet, or something like that (between the divorce and the knee surgery...take your pick), and over the past few months I have noticed some of the roundness return to my already curvy body...I am not so much a fan of this! 

It started very simply enough...I convinced myself that I was just too busy to eat much (and most of the time I really am), and coming out of knee surgery I knew I was going to have to make some serious adjustments to my life style if I was going to attempt to stay in shape.  Plus, in all honestly, I really don't have much of an appetite most of the time.  I tend to be a very picky eater, and prefer to eat fish, fresh fruits and veggies and pretty much anything considered "healthy" (healthy food = EXPENSIVE!!!...single mom on a budget = no more organic fruits and veggies in my world *sad face*), and will generally pass up anything that I consider unhealthy, or I will limit myself with portion control.  (Enter the world of OCD.) 

Right out of surgery, I became a Vegetarian (I needed a challenge to tackle to keep my OCD self happy and focused) , and my weight started dropping pretty dramatically (this is also around the time when I first discovered my ex husbands affair...appetite gone!).  Once I started training and racing again, I began to introduce meat back into my world and began a more "normal" eating pattern, however I always had a pretty good idea in my head of how many calories I was taking in versus those that I was burning during workouts.  Even the calories in Gu's, Shot Blocs, protien shakes and sports drinks were counted.  I knew that I had to run at least an hour to earn one 100 calorie shot block or Gu packet.  Food became my reward for a good workout. 

It still is.  Only now with the addition of another job, I don't have much time to workout like I would like so I haven't been allowing myself much of a reward.  The less I workout, the less I allow myself to eat.  Over the past few weeks my portions have gotten smaller and smaller, and my search for the right balance of protein and veggies in my life has all but stalled out.  I seem to have become stuck. 

I would not say I am anorexic (but the word has been thrown around in my presence...again, NOT a fan!), because I don't consider myself sick (I'm a distance runner and triathlete, so in my mind I am a healthy athlete...there is irony there because I know that food is fuel for my body, I just don't like fuel at the moment) and my body is still quite curvy (no bones sticking out here!), but I could definitely be on the verge of entering a world dark eating habits.  I know this, I am aware of this, and I am trying to get better with it, only I'm not going to lie, there is a part of me that really has no desire to get better (the thought of food is seriously scary to me sometimes).  I kind of like being 30 pounds lighter and for the first time in my life I'm considered a skinny girl.  Seriously??? knew?!?!  I sure as hell didn't, because I still look in the mirror naked and see all the flaws ( tree trunk runner's legs and I definitely have issues with one another!) and I would like to lose another 10 pounds by summer.  (I said I would like to, not that I will. :))

I do know the risk I am taking, both by putting this information out there so honestly and by playing games with my nutrition.  Both of my parents and my brother are diabetic, and I have struggled with my own blood sugar issues since college (yes, I was probably anorexic at some point during those years...and there were the diet pills I took in HS to get ready for prom, and kept taking because they took away my appetite and I liked not being hungry...more recently, it was the Weight Watchers diet that my ex was on that I piggy backed just for the hell of it).  This is, and probably will be, a never ending battle for me, and at some point I feel like it will begin to affect me negatively, and I do kind of feel like I might finally be standing at that cross roads.  The place where my health and my desires to be a skinny triathlete/runner/35 year old hot momma intersect, and so I guess we'll just have to see where this particular journey takes me, because as with everything I do, I'm going to remain wide open to whatever happens and comes my way along this path.

Tri Inspriation

This swim pic makes me want to jump in a lake so bad!!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE that feeling of standing in the water waiting for the start of the race! 

So, I gotta you tri??? 

Triathlon Withdrawals

Hi, my name is KB and I have a problem...I'm addicted to Triathlons, and right now I'm suffering from some serious withdrawal symptoms.  LOL.  It's absolutely ridiculous (yes, I'm aware), but I can't help it (ADDICTED!!!!).  I'm cranky and fed up with Mother Nature and her winter wonderland we call Iowa.  It's cold and white for as far as the eye can see, and I would give just about anything at this point for a little 80 degree weather and some swim-bike-run fun. 

In lieu of an actual race in the near future, I'm taking matters into my won hands and creating my very own!  (Told ya...withdrawals!  I need a fix and I need it NOW!)  Screw you Mother Nature, you're not going to keep this Triathlete from a much needed adrenaline rush!  Haha!...I win!

The first annual (and officially named...whoot-whoot and a hellz yes!) KB Triathlon will be held on Saturday, January 1st at my local gym...time to be announced, but I'm thinking later in the day for sure (hey I'm a single girl and who knows what kind of tricks I'll have up my sleeve for ringing in the New Year :)).  We will swim a 500 in the pool, bike 15 miles on the stationary bikes, then hit the treadmill for a 5K (or 10K if you're feeling extra spicy!...I think my training plan for that day calls for at least an 8 mile run, so...*shrug*).  

There will be no rules, no registration fees, no prizes, no food, no beer, and no course support...just a whole lot of fun with some other like minded crazy ass mother phuckers, kicking off 2011 in spandex.  (Truly, I absolutely love everyone in Team Vardo and TDR, but there is no way in hell that a single one of us isn't certifiable on some level!  I mean hey, we do this shit for fun and when we can't pay a boat load of cash to participate in a sanctioned event then we start making them up on our NOT sane!!!  I LOVE IT!!!)

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” ~Buddha

Monday, December 27, 2010

Kid Rock All Summer Long

OBSESSED!!!!!! OMG, check out his back tattoo!!! (I have a thing for what!?!?...if someone is that passionate about something that they are permanently willing to ink their body with it, then I say, "HELL YES, that shit is phucking hott!"...told ya all I cuss like a sailor, hehe!) Yummilicious I say!!!

Plus, I live in the frozen tundra of Iowa, and it's the middle of winter with 7+ inches of white fluffy crap on the ground...dreaming about summer and lakes and boats (and hot boys with no shirts) is not a bad thing!!!  Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  (Also makes me want to get a new tattoo...or two! :))

Kid Rock So Hott

And the obsession continues!!!! So HOTT is right!!!! On fire he is (or maybe it's me :))!

WARNING!!!! If you are offended at all by foul language and references to sex, then DO NOT listen click on this link!!!  (Also, you probably shouldn't be reading my blog either cuz I cuss like a sailor and references to sex and or nudity are bound to happen...hey, I'm a 35 year old single girl, the subject of sex is going to come up at some point *shrug*....that's life, sex is a part of it...get over it.)

Kid Rock - Roll On (Full Version) (Video)

Wow...and I thought I was in a real shitty mood today (tri withdrawls...yes, I told you all it was an addiction!), until I heard this song.  Now, not so much!  Me loves me some Kid Rock!!!!  Ok, LOVE is probably an understatement...he's pulling up a very close second to Dave Grohl.  Is it possible to be in love with 2 men?...I think maybe it is.  I'm sorry Dave.  (Unhealthy obsession #2...yes please! :))

It's almost New Year's, and if you're into that kind of thing maybe it's a good time to listen to a little Kid Rock and think about where you are rollin on to in 2011?? 

Me...I'm rollin on to bigger and better challenges (or where ever the road takes me, I've got nothing but freedom and time...ok, maybe a little less time than freedom lately :))!!!  You can roll with me, if you think you can keep up.  I promise it's going to be a good ride...

Roll on friends! 

Quote of the Day

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” ~Unknown

Friday, December 24, 2010

Skipping Christmas...part 2

Ok, I have to be completely honest about something (with myself as well as everyone else)...this whole skipping Christmas thing, while in theory a good idea, has been harder than I expected.  I was doing just fine until's Christmas Eve and for the first time for as long as I can remember, I celebrated Christmas with my parents tonight rather than on Christmas day since I've opted out of the celebrating plan this year.  This hit me harder than the shots of Jamison that I had last night with some long lost friends did.  ("Boys" was so good to see you!!!  You all look wonderful, and are still "the Boys" I remember! are still my boys!  Some things just never change and I still love you all!  Good, good times!!  In all seriousness, Seth, you are amazing...there are no other words to describe my feelings about the sacrifice you are about to make for me, my boy and our country.  Please stay safe and know that there are people here who will be praying daily for your safe return ASAP! :))

Tomorrow promises to be another adventure for 2010 and another first for me and my boy in a year full of firsts...our first Christmas away from each other!  I can't lie about this...there is a hole in my heart at the moment the size of Texas and it kind of sucks a lot.  The tears have started already for both of us, for him because he says he misses his "family" (some things are just impossible to explain to an 8 year old) and for me because my boy's hurting and there is nothing that I can do to change that.  This is something that we must go through.  (We will make it to the other side, I am absolutely sure of this, however my boy is not so much...he is scared and sad and worried and no amount of explaining or reassurance can help him in this moment.) 

Earlier this year I made the decision to I opt out of the Christmas plan.  In part because I really truly wanted to find the true meaning of Christmas in my heart for myself (and I have!...thanks to some great family and friends), and partially in part because I think I knew deep down that I just may not be strong enough to survive tomorrow with my heart in one functioning piece so I created a distraction for myself by skipping Christmas.  Keeping myself busy, I have assumed, will help me forget about the lump growing in my chest (so far, it's not really working, and I really REALLY want some freaking Christmas cookies to compensate for this and help me deal...damn those roads to hell and their good intentions! LOL). 

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring (hopefully Christmas cookies!...or Kringla!...or lefse!...mmmm, mmm good!...who says you can't eat your way through stress???...guaranteed that I can, just watch me! haha! :)).  I can't dwell on it because it won't help and the end result will be that I won't sleep tonight and this party girl needs her sleep (at some point I will realize that I'm not 23 shots of Jamison on an empty stomach, don't metabolize quite like they used to...and 2 am is entirely too late to be out...I hate to say this dad, but you were right, nothing good ever happens that late! BLAH! :)).  Dwelling on tomorrow it isn't going to make it not happen.  It's like being angry, there is no added value to this emotion.  I cannot change the fact that tomorrow is fast approaching and each minute gets closer to 8am.  I cannot stop time so I guess I must dig deep and find a way to survive this "first" with my heart intact. 

It is my sincere hope that by volunteering in a place that helps parents dealing with bigger issues than I can ever imagine (actually, full disclosure is that I can sort of  imagine...I've totally been there, 8 years ago today I lived in that very house, in room number 6, with a child who was fighting with every breath to stay alive...8 years ago today I was not allowed to hold or touch my child, so what a gift that I have this year that I get to hold him and hug him, even if I can't be with him for the entire day) that I will be able to embrace this new adventure for what it is and learn whatever lesson is offered to me in the process. 

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but it is Christmas after all, so I'm sure it will be full of love and good cheer in one form or another (and cookies!...I need to get my hands on some Christmas cookies!).  I will hold my child for as long as possible in the morning (a gift in itself!) and I will do my best to pass on peace, love and well wishes to everyone I encounter tomorrow (starting with an 8am group run...giddy up Vardo's!).

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!! 

PS - I'm still think I'm glad I made the decision to skip Christmas because I get to be much more raw with myself than I normally would, and this is a good thing (another gift in itself).

12 Days of Triathlon Christmas

And one more...because after all I AM at triathlete at heart and nothing in my life isn't related to the wonderful world of Tris. Even Santa's a triathlete in my world. :)

Merry Merry Merry Christmas to all the amazing Triathletes, Ironmen (and women), and endurance athletes out there!!! Here's hoping Santa delivers many PR's in your Christmas stockings this year and wishing you all a safe and successful race season in 2011!

Run-DMC - Christmas In Hollis Charlie Brown

Some classic Christmas fun! Cuz you just can't go wrong with Run DMC or Charlie Brown.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!

New Year

I was playing on Facebook yesterday (cuz that's what all bored single women do when there's time) and noticed that my friend had posted an interesting quote..."If you have one leg in the past and one in the future, you piss all over today".  True. So very true.  It got me to thinking a little bit about the upcoming year.  After all, this is generally the time when our society tends to reflect upon the previous year and look toward the upcoming one with our list of resolutions.  Blah, blah, blah.

So I sat, and I reflected and I meditated on 2010.  I thought about it (I freaking over analyzed the shit out of it actually) and I thought about the new year (not too much there to over analyze yet, so far 2011 seems pretty quiet :)) and where I potentially want my path to take me.  Not the exact route of course, I'm over that, I don't need details to clutter up the journey, but potentially where I want to be at the end of the year.   (OMG, the end of the a whole 365 days away?!?!  Holy shit!  That's A LONG time from now!  Oh, I'm sure it will go fast, it always does...but I'm not sure I'm qualified to make goals for that far in advance.) 

After thinking about it (in the shower because when I can't get out on the trails that's where I meditate...hey, don't judge me, it's my life and I can mediate where ever I want to), I decided that I really don't have any resolutions to make this year.  Not a single one.  No interest in it what so ever.  I want to remain completely open to the journey of 2011.  Whatever happens, happens...good, bad, or indifferent, I want to approach 2011 with an open mind and an open heart, and I think that making resolutions might get in the way of that experience.

Which brings me back to the quote..."If you have one leg in the past and one in the future, you piss all over today"... hmmm... 

OK...I'm done with the past.  It's the past.  Can't change it.  Wouldn't really want to.  It got me to here, so the past and I...yeah, we're good (better than good actually!).  There's closure there.  I'm at peace with 2010.  Surprised aren't you?!?!  So am I quite honestly.  But, for all the weird, odd and unpredicted things that happened in 2010, overall, it was a phucking blast and I wouldn't change any part of it!  I met some amazing people and had a lot of crazy fun adventures (it's actually stupid how much fun I had!...and what I learned about myself along the way, priceless...absolutely phucking priceless!). 

The future on the other hand...???, who knows.  It's a blank slate that I don't want to jumble with my expectations.  So, it's with an openness for the future in mind that I would like to amend the quote my FB friend shared with us all to maybe add that...If you keep one leg too far in the future, and one firmly planted in the present moment, then you just piss all over your maybe don't look so far ahead!  Just enjoy being in the present moment and if you have to piss, then find a toilet or squat.  Just something to consider in the new year...


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

"The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment." -Pema Chodron

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


2.4 Mile Swim...112 Mile Bike...26.2 Mile Run. 140.6 Miles of absolute insanity...uh, I mean greatness!!!

What me?!?! Hellz NO, not in 2011!!! (but someday, the time I'm 40 for sure :))  I just love this video for the motivation factor.

To all my friends who either are Ironman finishers or are competing in guys are my inspiration!!!! You keep me going when I don't want to and encourage me to push a little farther and harder than I ever have before.

To ALL the Ironman finishers out there...ROCK ON!!! You're what dreams are made of!

Another Challenge...1000 miles in 2011

I received a challenge today from a friend and fellow runner via  The challenge is to commit to running 1000 miles in 2011.  That's about 19 miles a week, or 2.75 miles a day.  Interesting idea (thanks Spencer!)...

Well...I can never (did I say never?...I meant NEVER!) turn down a challenge and considering the racing and training schedule that I've set up for myself this year, I don't think that it should be a problem to average 19 miles a week ("think" is the key word in there...remember, I'm a master paver on the road to hell with it's good intentions :)).  1000 miles of running in a year is still 1000 miles of running in a year (that's like 3 extra pair of running shoes just for this new adventure alone!!!, crap, that's A LOT of shoes and those suckers ain't cheap I'm learning...ahhh, I miss my free running shoes *sad face*).  This challenge will however require me to become much more disciplined about actually logging my mileage (gasp!, the horror!!)...either that or figure out the darn Garmin computer interface and let the GPS log the miles for me. 

Yep, that's right...I'm a distance runner, an endurance athlete, and I'm willing to take on extreme challenges of all kind, but I am freaking L-A-Z-Y when it come to logging shit.  I know to some serious athletes out there this puts me in the category of an uncommitted runner/triathlete, but honestly, it's usually the farthest thing from my mind when I get done working out.  My post workout routine is; shower, beer, bed...usually in that order (hey, sometimes I mix it up and drink the beer first, or maybe I'll take a quick nap before hitting the shower), but no where in my current routine do I ever take the time to log my workout stats or my feelings about it. 

My running has always been sort of a therapy for me, a mental mind break from all the over analyzing that I tend to do in my "normal" life, so why the heck would I want to add an OCD component to it?  Anyone who knows me well knows that with something like this, there is a risk that I could very easily go to extreme places with it (sometimes, unhealthy places...I admit it, I'm aware of my limitations and have learned to work within my boundaries where my OCD/ADD/ADHD brain is concerned).  The extremes I go to with racing and the mentality I've developed around that is bad enough!  (My personal race motto: If I'm not puking and in pain at the end, then I didn't go hard enough.  Go big or go home, right Schaben?!?! :)) 

So I'm enthusiastically taking on this challenge of 1000 miles in 2011, realizing that it will be more work for me than just logging miles, but it could be good for me too.  A new sort of self discipline.  Discipline to actually LOG the miles both physically with my feet and on, and discipline to keep myself from letting my OCD take over when I know it's going to want to.  Not sure yet which task will be harder :). 

Stay tuned for the progress...or check it out for yourself on if you're interested in joining the challenge. 

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." ~Confucius

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Run Rudolph Run (Metal Xmas)

Dave Grohl and Motorhead wishing you a Very Merry Christmas (Mother Phuckers :))!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I like big "but"'s...

(...and I cannot lie...)

Ok, I'm a tomboy, I'm not ashamed of this.  I like to play hard and roll with the boys.  Most of my closest friends are guys.  I don't know why this is, but it is.  I guess I'm just more comfortable around guys than girls.  Sorry ladies, but guys have less drama.  (For the record, I do have a lot of female friends too...just that most of them are tomboys like me...great minds think alike! :))  Up until this point in my life I have loved my place in the circle of life as guys-girl, but after months as a single girl I'm beginning to wonder if this is somehow working against me.  

I've heard the same line repeated now again and again and AGAIN, almost word for word, by completely different people (including some of my best guy friends) in completely different circumstances..."you're a really cool chick, BUT...".  But what?!?!  What does this mean exactly?  I've actually always taken this as a compliment.  I know that when the time comes, I would want nothing more out of life than to be able to enjoy the world and it's adventures with someone who I think is really cool to hang out with.  But now I'm sort of beginning to this really a compliment?...and what is so bad about being the chick that's fun to hang out with? 

(And no, for the record, I am not necessarily looking for Mr. Right or even Mr. Right Now.  This is not a post about my desires for finding a special someone, I mean hey if it happens then I would like to think that I would be open to it, because I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason when they are supposed to.  So, I will always keep my mind and my heart open to whatever Karma brings my way, whether it's friendship or something more.  I cherish each person that enters my life because they are all here for a reason.  I'm just trying to figure out why this particular sentence keeps reappearing in my various relationships, and what it means about myself exactly.) 

This leaves me wondering sometimes (not all the time, just sometimes) if there's something about myself that needs altering, in order to get rid of the big "but" that seems to be hanging over my coolness.  Could there really be someone out there who can hang comfortably with a chick who loves to ride the trails, wants to learn to drive a motorcycle, is not afraid to try anything once, has an obsession with tattoos (I only have 3 so far...but I do LOVE the ink), and thrives on challenges and adventures?  After all, my hands are not freshly manicured, I don't really do jewelry, my hair is in a ponytail 80% of the time, my favorite outfit is my old ripped jeans and a hoodie, I can take shots of Templeton Rye straight out of the mason jar (that's right the Templeton that I'm fond of comes out of a mason jar and cannot be purchased in any store) and I want nothing more out of life on a Sunday afternoon than maybe a trip to the gym (or some time on the trails) followed by beer and football on the couch.  This is how I roll. 

Oh sure, I have moments of girlie.  What girl doesn't??  I still cry when something touches my heart deeply (usually my family, my friends, or my chick flicks here though please!).  I have a huge appreciation for clothes (especially denim and hoodies!) and shoes.  My toenails are almost always painted (full disclosure...mainly this is a functionally superstitious thing as I believe that painted toenails cannot turn black and fall off while training for a marathon/half-marathon/triathlon, so like runners who don't wash their favorite socks, I always paint my toenails because if I don't they may just fall off...if you're not a runner, you wouldn't understand :)).  I do ask the question, "does this make me look fat"?  And on occasion, I like to look pretty and smell extra nice.  (Today however, I smell like chlorine from my time spent in the pool and while I believe this is a very sexy smell because it means I'm getting ready to start heavy training again, I do realize that this is not a smell that most others would consider intoxicatingly attractive.)

So, again I'm wondering things (because after all it's almost 1am, I can't sleep, and my brain always wonders deep cosmic universe self reflective things in the middle of the night)...things like, even though I really do LOVE my place in this world as a girlie tomboy, and I don't want to change that, maybe it is time to consider trying something new.  I said I loved new adventures and challenges right, so maybe if I look at this as a challenge...a challenge to be more girlie and embrace my femininity.  To wear more make up, to paint my nails, color my hair and possibly even embrace wearing heels on a semi-regular basis.  HA!!! (I almost pulled that off with a straight face!)  Who am I kidding?!?!  I sincerely wouldn't know how to apply makeup without the end result looking like Tammy Fay Baker, and wearing heels would most definitely end in a trip to the ER (that's $125 that could be spent on racing or getting new pedals for the green machine!...hey, this cool chick's got priorities :)). 

My grand 1am cosmic reflection conclusion boils down to this...someday I would like to get rid of the "but" hanging out like an umbrella over my coolness, and that may require me to change.  Especially if I want something different than I've already experienced.  Heck, it may very well BE time for me to consider a change now, but NO, I guess I don't really foresee it happening anytime soon.  I'm pretty good with who I am.  In fact, I kind of love my tomboy self and I really don't feel like least not at the moment.  I can be the cool chick with the big "but" for a little longer.  (Cue the Sir Mix A Lot please!!...I like big butts and I cannot lie... :))


I took a BIG (we are talking phucking HUGE!) scary step yesterday.  I attended a family Christmas gathering with my long lost family, and you know what?...they are still my family!!!  My heart is bursting today with gratitude and love for all of them.  Most of my relatives (my own dad included) I hadn't seen in almost 15 years, yet being there with them felt a little like coming home from a long trip. 

Walking up to my aunt and uncle's house (beautiful, gorgeous home!) I thought I was going to toss my cookies right there in in their front yard, and I'm sure the look on my face when I walked said all that needed to be said about the extreme fear and apprehension that I was feeling.  I'm not going to lie, there was a part of me that wanted to chicken out and run as fast as I could the opposite direction, but I vowed that I was going to live life with no fear and no regrets going forward, and this too needed to be a part of that process.  I needed to heal, and to do that I had to swallow my pride and regrets and apprehension and fear and walk through the door.  I didn't know what was going to be on the other side, but I had to suck it up, put my big girl panties on and just walk through it.  I'm so glad I did!!!  (Crap, here come the waterworks...sorry!)

I walked through a door, I crossed a line that I never want to come back from, and I found my family.  I found them to be almost exactly as I remember them, just a little older (like me...funny how that happens).  But, most importantly, I found a world of love I forgot had existed.  My little brother even looked at me and called me "sis" one has ever called me "sis" and I kind of liked the way it sounded.  (Michael, thank you so much!!!! are and amazing man, and I can't wait to get to know you and your beautiful family better....crap, stupid tears!...I hate crying, it's such a girlie thing to do and I'm so NOT girlie.) 

I know I said I was skipping Christmas this year, and I am...but this is pretty much exactly what I meant by the best gifts don't come with gift receipts or batteries.  My Christmas came early this year and Santa delivered in a BIG (again, we are talking phucking HUGE!) way!!!!  Thanks Santa (and Dad, and Pam, and Mike & Jill, and Matt, and Kevin & Chris, and all the Brooks') you rock!!!! 

Merry Christmas to all!!!!  May you all have as much joy and love this Christmas season as I have found!!! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Letting Go of Negative Feelings

Ok, I'll admit it, I'm mad!  I'm frustrated and just down right pissed off.  I thought all my anger was directed at my ex and a situation, or a couple situations that occurred over the past few days, but the reality is that I'm actually more angry at myself than anyone else. 

First, I'm mad for letting harsh words spoken by a person whose opinion doesn't deserve to be an issue in my life get to me...remember the quote by Dr. Seuss in one of my earlier entries, "those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter".  Well, it's kind of like that, only yesterday I forgot for a brief second and let some harsh criticisms affect me personally.  I wish I hadn't, I wish I had taken a moment to put things in perspective mentally before I let my emotions react.  (Hey, divorced or not, when your former "best friend" and person whose opinion you valued and respected the most for almost 15 years says mean things to you and attacks your personality, it stings...each day it stings less, but it still stings just a little.)
Second, and more importantly, I'm furious because in a moment, when I received a call from the boy's principal telling me that he was in her office in tears because it was his classroom memory party and his parent representative didn't show up (are you phucking serious?!...crap!), I realized that my custody week or not, the ex and I are potentially failing miserably at this whole PT parenting thing.  Whatever we are or aren't doing clearly isn't working.  Remember when I said a few posts back that this PT single parent thing blows?  That statement was firmly reinforced in that moment.  BLAH!!!  (Somedays I hate being right! :))

I can't even begin to describe the pain in my chest after receiving that call, or the warmth that filled me upon seeing his little face light up with a genuinely relieved smile when I arrived in his classroom.  The two extremes in emotions within such a short time were almost too much to handle, and as I sat there surrounded by other parents and kids and grandparents, my eyes began to leak just a little.  (Thank god/Buddha/whoever for winter in Iowa and soft fuzzy mittens to help wipe away tears I can blame the watery eyes on the harsh winter wind chill...WIN!)  I vowed to myself that we will figure this thing out, and we will not let our child down again.  Only I realized after another long, harsh and unproductive conversation with my ex, that this is probably an unrealistic wish on my part.  Yet, it's the one thing I would give up everything in my life for. 

So here I am, mad, angry, disappointed, pissed off and furious all over again...and I know now that it's time to let it all go!  All these emotions I am feeling are not helping the situation at hand (and they actually feel pretty selfish because they are distracting me from the real issue), which is really how can I do better as a PT single parent?  How can I ALWAYS be there for my boy 50% of the physical time?  And, how can I work most productively with my ex to effectively coparent from two very (VERY!) different but unconditionally loving home environments? 

Days like this, remind me that this PT single parenting thing doesn't just blow, sometimes it even sucks royal donkey ass!!  Again, not gonna does!  However, getting angry and staying angry about it will do nothing to make it suck even less.  It is what it is, and angry is just a silly feeling, it doesn't offer any solutions (at least none that are fair) and I do think that it distracts us from recognizing and dealing with the real issue(s), therefore I'm beginning to see that there is no added value to getting angry in the first place.  EVER!  It's just not necessary.  So, I'm letting it all go...all this anger and the negative feelings that have built up inside me over the past 48 the lightest of snowflakes that have gathered in my hands only to blow away with the first gentle breeze.  (I love that feeling!...when the snow is so light and airy that it refuses to stay in one place or be crushed into a hard snowball meant to be thrown at someone, instead it simply falls through the fingers and travels with the's maybe the only part of snow that I like, but I do like it, it makes me smile.  Yeah, yeah...there's probably a lesson in there somewhere too, I'm sure of it. :))
"Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned".  ~Buddha

Final Thought:  The moment I made a conscious decision in my head to let go of the anger and negative feelings that have carried me around like a giant green monster living in a garbage can on Sesame Street, something wonderful lungs opened up, my shoulders relaxed and the lump in my chest (the one that I was surely subconsciously inflicting on myself as punishment for feeling like a failure at this PT parenting gig) disappeared.  They all just went away, like the snowflakes that I love so much.  My anger and negative feelings hitched a ride on breeze and disappeared into winter wind.  (Maybe winter around here isn't so bad, but then again, I am sitting in front of a space heater at the moment listening to Jimmy Buffet and daydreaming of warm air on my skin and sandy beaches...yep, winter in Iowa still sucks...and that is NOT a negative feeling, just a fact! :))

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kiss My A**

Got this from a friend and I LOVE it!  If you don't like it or are offended by it, then you can kiss my ass!   Thanks Nike for making me smile today! 

ESPN THE BODY ISSUE - Jolene VanVugt BodyShot - See her solid core muscles

I'm not afraid to admit that I have a girl crush on this chick! She's amazing!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life with Cows

”Life is what happens when you are making other plans.”
~John Lennon

I'm a planner!  It's what I do and a part of who I am.  I always like to know what's going to happen next so that I can be prepared for any situation.  Planning is part of being a mom, especially a mom to an ADHD child (I have to be prepared for anything!...pretty sure the author had ADHD in mind when writing all those Worst Case Scenario books, because as the parent of an ADHD child I can attest that some of those scenarios are not too far fetched...a lot of them are strong possibilities, just give it 5 minutes), it's part of being an adult and it's definitely part of being an endurance athlete.  I set my goals then map out how and when I am going to reach them.  I've always considered good planning the road to success...but then along came the cows.  (This will make more sense soon, I promise, just hang with me here.)

First, I'll be brutally honest about something...up until last year I was so focused and busy planning my life and my son's life based on the expectations that I created in my head that I completely missed some big phucking road signs telling me that there was a detour ahead.   All my planning did absolutely nothing to help me prepare for this new and unexpected road trip of life I'm on.  I thought I had everything planned out perfectly and had taken care of all the details and knew exactly what I wanted out of life and where I wanted to be at 35.  Instead, some days I feel I'm riding down a deserted highway on my crappy little road bike (that I love!...that's right, lotsa lotsa love for my little silver Marin!) into a 20 mph headwind...and that's when I have to remember to look for the cows. 

It happens on almost every ride now, but I still remember the first time I noticed, like REALLY noticed, the world (and cows) around me while on my bike.  I was racing Pigman Sprint Tri, and I was hating every minute of the bike (big phucking surprise, yeah, I know!).  I was frustrated almost to the point of tears, because for as much as I hate the bike, I hate even more the fact that I am aware of exactly how inadequate I am on the dumb thing.  I'm a terrible (cannot emphasis this enough...TERRIBLE) and slow biker, and it frustrates the hell out of me a lot of the time (ALL of the time!).

So there I was, in the middle of Little Pig, heading back towards the park, hating my bike and myself and thinking that I had absolutely no business being on the course or competing in triathlons when I got moo'ed at.  Seriously, now I was being heckled by some dirty stinking livestock!  Phucking great, as if knowing how much I suck myself wasn't enough, the friendly cows were there to remind me.  Gee thanks guys...HOW RUDE!!  (Just for that I'll be eating a cheeseburger at the conclusion of every there!)

Literally though, something in the sound of the cow's laughter broke through all the self doubting voices that were screaming at me in my head, and everything slowed down and went silent for just a moment (it was really only a split second...but at my pace, what did a second or a minute extra even matter at that point :)).  I sat up and looked away from my front wheel for the first time during the entire 15 mile ride and I really took note of my surroundings.  I realized that I was biking by a farm, and  the friendly laughing cows were happily grazing in the pasture next to me in front of one of the most stunning old barns I've ever seen.  When I broke my focus and took my eyes off the wheel and the task at hand (I know Coach Vardo...race time is NOT the time to be looking at the cows!), I noticed for the first time that day how absolutely breathtaking the view was from the road I was biking on. 

Until that moment, I was so busy planning and calculating in my head, what kind of PR to expect and how I was going to handle my hydration and nutrition for the rest of the race that I completely missed the fact that with a thin layer of fog hanging over the "valley" it was a gorgeous Sunday morning!  I was in the middle of some of the most beautiful farmland I'd ever seen, and I was just lucky enough to be able to be a part of an amazing event with other incredible athletes doing something we love.  Life was happening around me that day on a BIG scale, but for most of it I was so busy planning that I would have missed it all together, if not for the darn heckling cows. 

It's not an easy task to go from being a planner and a worrier to being completely carefree and putting myself fully into Karma's hands, but I'm trying.  I'm learning that there truly is a cosmic order to things, and that life, when fully lived and experienced, will often take care of itself.  Even without an agenda or calendar to follow.  GASP!!!  Say it isn't so?!?!  No calendar or agenda to follow?!?!  Yes, it's a big (phucking huge!) risk for me to take (mind your own business Freud!), I know this. 

I'm sure I'll still plan some things out (hey, I'm a work in progress!...Rome wasn't built in a day, so how the hell am I supposed to change overnight?, cut a girl some slack), otherwise I'm not sure I'll get to the starting line of Big Pig or XTERRA without following a carefully laid out training or nutrition plan.  And, parenting an ADHD child requires it in most situations.  But, I also believe there is a difference between planning for the sake safety and necessity and planning for the sake of control and comfort.  It's the making of plans in an attempt to control something that leads to missing out on what life has to offer.  For me, if I continue to worry so much about the details and how we're going to get somewhere, my boy and I will miss the entire road trip of life experience altogether.  I'm starting to believe that here, in this life, the journey IS the reward. 

I notice the cows now on every ride, and the barns, and the rivers and creeks, and varying colors of Iowa's's pretty much second nature for me anymore to be aware of my audience on the road.  Always for just split seconds during my rides the world goes into slow motion, just long enough for me to sit up and appreciate the gift of life happening all around me.  It makes biking the roads just a little more enjoyable.  (What can I say...I'm a big big fan of the trails, but not so much of the roads.  Again, it's a work in process.  I'll get there eventually...maybe. :))

Life is not always easy it's full of detours, and construction, and burnt bridges (and roads to hell paved with good intentions), but I've been told that nothing worthwhile is ever easy and for the most part I have to agree.  All the planning and mapping in the world isn't going to do any of us a darn bit of good if the road we are on suddenly washes out or the need for major construction creates a detour that we weren't anticipating.  So, I'm letting go of the need for having every detail of my life planned and mapped out in front of me...I still have my goals of where I want to end up, but how I'm going to get, I don't really know, and I'm actually not too worried about it anymore.  Maybe I'll just let the darn cows show me the way (much to the Vardo's dismay I'm sure). 

PS - for the record, I thought I knew what I wanted from my life at 35 and that I had the world all figured out, but I'm learning during this long strange trip, that I'm actually really pretty clueless. I actually have no idea what I want or where I'm going, and I'm perfectly ok with that.  Karma (and the cows) will take care of me. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Excellence can be obtained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible." -Unknown

Friday, December 10, 2010

Skipping Christmas

I think perhaps I've decided to just go ahead and skip Christmas this year.  This is in no way me being a Grinch.  It's me being partially lazy and too darn busy with life to get wrapped up in the retail driven hustle and bustle.  Between working 3 jobs, playing taxi for my boy, training for a half marathon and next year's half Ironman and studying my ACE materials, something has to give.  This year that something is Christmas. 

Don't get me wrong, I'll still celebrate the spirit of family and friends, but the decorating and over the top gift's just not for me.  Is that really the true meaning of Christmas?  And, more importantly, is that the message that I want to give to my boy of what Christmas is all about? 

Until this year, my son has thought that Christmas is all about the presents he receives.  I want him to know that it's so much more than that.  That this year some of the best gifts we can give don't come with gift receipts or batteries.  Giving a friend our time, volunteering to help someone less fortunate than us, and opening our hearts to those around us...those are the gifts we should be offering, and they shouldn't be offered on only one day of the year, they should be gifts we give all the time whenever the need arises.

I've mentioned before that I'm not overly spiritual or religious...I'm not.  To me Christmas isn't, and never has been, a religious holiday.  I'm sorry if this offends anyone, that is not my intention, this is just my point of view.  What Christmas really means to me though is that I get to spend a few hours (or a day) completely dedicated to my family and friends.  Something that in this chaotic and hectic life that we all lead is a gift in itself.  It's turning off the computer and the cell phone for that dedicated amount of time and focusing solely on being in the moment with those in my life who I love and respect the most.  I don't need fancy trimmings or gifts to make Christmas "Christmas". 

This year on Christmas day, I've decided to give my time back to the Ronald McDonald organization that is very near and dear to my heart.  As for what I want for Christmas this year, I'm a simple girl with simple needs...a little bit of love, monkey bread for breakfast, some quality time with my boy and my family, and maybe a glass of wine or two with friends...that's all I want for Christmas this year. 

Merry Christmas World!!!  May all your wishes and dreams come true for you this year! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Triathlon Song

This is what I'm talking about!!! I dare you to TRI in 2011!!!! LOVE IT!!!!

Truth or Dare

Ok, what is it about us endurance athletes that makes us mentally incapable of turning down a challenge?!?!  I mean seriously!  If I keep up at this pace, I'm going either going to be racing every single weekend for the next year, or I'm going to end up in jail (hey, a dares a dare, and I just can't say no to a dare or a challenge...knowing some of my friends and our wicked senses of humor, jail may not be that far fetched!). Good thing my running group is heavily loaded with lawyers and's good to know people!

Up until I started this endurance adventure 4+ years ago, I had no idea that I had a single competitive bone in my body.  I was simply very content going through my life taking group aerobics classes at my gym, logging a few miles on the treadmill, beating the hell out of a boxing bag and running the occasional 5k...I was blissfully unaware that another world existed and was waiting for me to come crashing through it's atmosphere.  So how is it exactly that I got here?!?!  To this place where I find myself in this alternate universe full of amazing friends who are Ironman finishers, and marathon runners, and semi professional cyclists?!?! 

Thinking back, it started with simple game of truth or dare (while drinking Black Velvet with marshmallows...can you see where this is going?, yeah me good can come of this).  I don't remember what the "truth" question was posed by my best friend's husband (the one with the REALLY randy sense of humor...something about the BV and marshmallows also tends to cloud the judgement AND memory), but the dare seemed absolutely retarded at the time, run a 20K (12.4 miles) with him in less than 4 weeks.  I was all in for taking my chances with the "truth", until he said these 4 words..."unless you're too chicken"!  Oh no he didn't!!!!  Then, they were strategically followed with..."I don't think you can anyway, you're just a girl who does step class, you can't run."  Hook...line...and sinker!  Son of a bitch...I was phucked!  I got online and signed up that night...$65 later and there was absolutely no way I was backing out.  (Note: anyone who's ever run any significant distance knows that you can't, or shouldn't, go from running 3 miles to 12.4 miles in less than 4 weeks.  This is a very very...did I say very?!?!...very bad idea!!!!) 

Well, I survived!!  It was painful, but I did it.  Then my best friend's husband looked at me, not even 5 minutes after crossing the finish line and said..."great job kid, now let's see you try a triathlon, unless you're too chicken".  Son of a bitch!  And just as I'm about to punch him in the arm, he follows quickly with..."that's ok, forget I said anything, you couldn't handle the swim or the training involved".  Mother f-er!  Here we go again! 

Side note: I think there should be an immediate amendment to the BFF code to states that all best friends get to approve, disapprove, or veto the potential spousal choices of their BFF's...just a suggestion!  (Just kidding J, you know I love you and I wouldn't be half the person I am today without your influence in my life!!!  Thank you for being you, for being my friend, and for being a Schaben! :))

By the end of that summer there was no looking back!  I had crash landed into this parallel universe and I was loving every single minute of it.  The moment I crossed the finish line of my first sprint tri with cowbells ringing in the background, all I could think was...OMG, when can I do that again?!?!  I don't think I was feeling overly competitive that day, I finished 5th from last, but the point is that I finished.  The next year I got a little better, and the challenges got a little bigger.  Then I hooked up with the most amazing running group this side of the Mississippi, Team Vardo, and the whole universe exploded with possibilities...the dares and the challenges haven't stopped!  Who knew there were so many options available for endurance junkies.  (Yes, I said junkie.  I'm an addict, deal with it.  I do!) 

Now, here I am, 4+ years marathon, a half dozen or so half marathons, part of RAGBRAI (will be amended this year to a full RAGBRAI) and a whole lot of tri's under my feet.  The adventures, challenges and dares never seem to end...I'm pretty sure I don't want them too either!  Next year I'm thinking of adding a little Cyclo Cross and XTERRA to the mix, just for the hell of it...anyone want to dare me to?! LOL  ( BIG BIG thank you Team Vardo, and TDR!!...TDR, I think I've decided that you are potentially going to be the death of me, bunch of bad influences, but I'm sure going to have a good time with you guys along the way!! :))

My mom asked me once when I planned to rest, I told her I can rest when I'm dead, until then there is ________  (insert event of the week/month/year) to train for.  You all are welcome to come train with me too...unless you're too chicken :).

An amendment to the 2011 Race Calendar:  (the following events have been added...thanks TDR! :))
  • Omaha 9 Mile Off Road Race (AKA - LHF on crack apparently!...sweet!) - Spring/TBA
  • Relay Iowa (relay run across the state) - June-ish

Quote of the Day

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” - Dr. Suess

Holy shit, this fits me to a T!!!!  As most of my friends can agree.  I'm kind of known for being stupidly brutally honest, saying whatever I feel most of the time and in general wearing my heart on my sleeve 98.75% of the time.  I've spent a good portion of the past year analyzing it and trying to change it, but I think I've finally figured out that maybe I don't want to change it.  This is who I am, it's who I've always been, and it's part of what make me "me".  I'm ok with it.  I like me just the way I am, and those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.  Yep, I'm 35 years old and still loving the lessons of Dr. Suess!  Thanks Doc!

Sign language..."you're #1", or not!

Sitting at my desk yesterday, getting a lot of work accomplished for a Wednesday, and I see the dreaded email appear in my inbox.  The principal at my son's elementary school just wanted to let me know that JP had been using a sort of sign language in the lunchroom that they consider inappropriate.  He was apparently trying to tell his friends that they are #1 in his book, only he was using the wrong finger.  That's right, the kid gave the entire elementary lunch room, including a few of his "favorite" (or not) teachers the bird!!  WTH!!!  (However, when asked what it meant, he could not tell them...he had no idea what he was doing other than waving around a finger for all to see.)

Several different trains of though suddenly enter my brain.  1) Oh shit, how am I going to address this one.  2) Where the phuck did he learn about the middle finger.  3) Mother F-er, I've now got to forward this information on to my ex husband...get ready for WW6.  4) Laughter!...I mean come on, it's a 7+ year old giving the middle finger, at least we've graduated from poop humor.  5) I totally remember the day I discovered the middle finger in elementary school...we thought it was so cool, hard to believe my little boy is growing up so fast.  6) At least he seems to have no idea what it means.  7) see number 1. 

I know, I know...I'm about as potty mouthed as they come, so he must have picked it up at home, right?!  I actually disagree.  The irony here is that for as much as I let my sailor mouth fly on here, I turn my filter on high alert whenever my boy is arround.  And when it comes to the bird, I actually find it pretty generic and unimaginative myself, I prefer to go with the Friends backwards double fist bump...much more creative in my opinion.  (If you don't know what Friends is, then you're too young to be reading this blog.)  Plus, I'm a single girl so meeting people by giving the bird...not the best impression I want to make.  You never really know who is in that car that just cut you off now do you?!?! just never know, it could be a great friend who you just haven't had the opportunity to meet yet (even if they are texting and driving while trying not to spill their morning Starbucks...mmmm, Starbucks!'s a tip for anyone interested, I loves me some Starbucks, just sayin' :)). 

So, how does a PT single mom handle this one?!?!  Crap!  I have no idea...I'm learning this shit on the fly half the time.  Parenting in my experience so far is pretty much a trial by fire adventure.  I mean I'm a PT single mom to a 7+ year old boy.  I've heard everyone say "boys will be boys", but I've never been a boy so I can't fully relate. 

In the end I've decided to not make a big deal out of it.  (You can disagree with me all you want, but this is how I've chosen to handle it.)  One look at his face and the tears that welled up in his eyes when I asked simply "so how was lunch today" and I knew he got it.  In the car on the way home from school we talked about how it is one of the meanest things you can say to someone in sign language and what it means when we hurt other peoples feelings.  Then, by the time we got home six blocks later, the discussion was over and we were moving on to what's for dinner.  I'm hoping that by not making a big deal out of this time around, it will become less of a temptation because it won't be seen as "forbidden", just really really mean, and JP hates when people are mean or unfair (the ADHD in him makes him obsessed with being fair and following the rules). 

I hope I've done the right thing here, but I really don't know.  Only time will tell.  Luckily, the more we stumble along this PT single parent path together the more we learn about each other, and the better equipped I become to handle these situations as they come up.  I may not be the perfect mom all the time, but I'm learning that that's ok.  Perfect moms are boring, and I am anything but. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good Morning ADHD

My incredibly spirited young son has been as extremely ADHD as they come for as long as I can remember.  Living with a child with ADHD is nothing short of a daily chaotic adventure.  It's sometimes (always!) an organizational nightmare.  Oh, I've read all the books and articles about how to keep your ADHD child organized.  I even posted some of the best one's on the fridge like a fine piece of artwork for easy reference.  Guess what?...they look pretty on paper, but try implementing even one organizational routine with a ADHD child.  Go ahead, try it...then get back to me and let me know how that worked out.  I'm betting, not so good.  The ideas make complete sense on paper, but in reality...FAIL! 

What someone needs to say is simply that living with an ADHD child is like living with a giant curious toddler or a new puppy.  This is by no means an insult, it's purely a fact.  They have to be watched at all times, or literally all hell may actually break loose (I've seen it with my own eyes).  There is no impulse control switch in their brains that can be turned off.  Personal boundaries, and privacy...just not an option.  A shut door means nothing to an ADHD child.  Knocking is just a suggestion instead of a rule (as if it would make a difference either way), and no matter what happens it's never their fault (in their eyes), and no amount of reasoning or explaining will change their mind.  "But MOM, it was an accident"...the famous last words spoken most mornings by my ADHD boy, usually as I pick up the second bowl of cereal that has been flung onto the floor like a top because he was using the spoon as a lever to spin the bowl around and around in circles.  Everything takes 3 times as long as normal or necessary when you live with an ADHD child and mornings are usually the worst. 

Just this morning, after being tired of running late (the norm for most ADHD families) again yesterday for the 100th time, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I had the perfect idea.  I would be up and out of the shower before my bundle of energy rubbed his eyes and rolled out of bed at 7.  Remember the road to hell and it's good intentions?  Well, that same road is also an all access express lane on the ADHD turnpike, because children that are so easily distracted are also not good sleepers (AT ALL!!! son is 7 and still does not sleep through the night, he never has and probably never will). 

The moment I turned the bathroom light on at 6:30, he was up and in the bathroom with me twirling circles while looking at the ceiling while simultaneously opening every drawer in the bathroom.  (One benefit of ADHD, the ability to multi task!)  "Hi mom...whatcha doing?...I'm hungry...Do I have to do my homework right now?...Can you come see the cool lego thing I made?...Owww, I hit my funny bone on the door...I need a hug...Can I have breakfast now?...What day is today?...Is it a school day?...I'll do my homework tomorrow...Do you think Sponge Bob is funny?...I do...Did you know that next week is my birthday?...I'm at my dad's on my birthday so can I have my presents now?...Yesterday was supposed to be pajama day at school, but you forgot, can I wear pajamas today?...What about snow pants, can I wear snow pants instead of normal pants?...Hey, what's for breakfast?...Can I watch TV?...Will you come downstairs with me, I don't want to be down there alone because I'm scared...Remember Mom, school starts at 8:25, so you better hurry up and get in the shower and get ready because according to my clock it's now 6:49...Can you make me breakfast now?...I have to pee...I accidentally pee'd on the floor". 

So much for a few moments of peace and quiet to shower and get the laundry switched and the dishes done before the kid wakes up.  Did I mention that ADHD kids are also often high anxiety, and need to have almost constant interaction?  Yeah, well they are.  At least mine is!  He is my constant shadow, where I go he goes.  If I am trying to dry my hair in the bathroom, he is climbing on the counter and sink blocking the mirror so that I have to pay complete attention to him and the lego inspired story he is trying to tell me.  If I'm trying to get dressed in my bedroom, he's in there with me pulling all the comforters and sheets off my bed (for no reason other than they are there) or digging through my closest for some buried treasure (either a shoe that fascinates him or a dust bunny...because there is nothing too darn exciting for him to find in my closet, but he tries anyway).  If I'm trying to make breakfast, he's turning the knobs on the oven on and off and on and off, and playing with the buttons on the microwave and sticking a spoon or a finger or a nose in whatever I'm making....while turning circles and looking at the ceiling (I'm envious of his multi tasking skills).    

By the time I got him settled in with a bowl of scrambled eggs and his homework, I was officially late getting into the shower, AGAIN!  And even then, the questions do not stop.  Washing my hair, I hear his feet on the stairway.  "Mom, where are you?...Oww, I stubbed my toe...Can I have a hug?...Mom, where is lego Squidy?...Hey, I have an idea lets listen to the Chipmunks Christmas?...Mom, can I wear my baseball pants and socks to school today?...When can we open my birthday presents, since you won't see me on my birthday?...I need you to help me with my homework...Do we have a pencil sharpener?...Never mind I found one in my backpack."   Oh crap, not the backpack!!  Please don't touch the backpack...too late! 

I've been packing the kids backpack at night before school for as long as I can remember so that he has everything he needs ready to go to get off to a successful start in the morning (and in an attempt to make the morning routine run more smoothly and less hectic).  Only, do you know usually happens with said gets unpacked in the less than 10 minutes it takes me to shower in the morning or the less than 5 minutes it takes to make breakfast.  Most mornings the backpack is packed and repacked a minimum of 3 times, the contents being scattered all over our 1000 sq ft home in less than a minute.  Homework and library books end up at opposite ends of the house, and notes from the teacher seem to fall into a mysterious black hole.  Often, as I'm repacking the important items, he's taking them out to show me something amazing at the exact same time (usually a rock or silly band that he found on the playground).  It's a never ending cycle of packing and unpacking and repacking again some days.  Then the most amazing thing happens, for as excited as he is to continue to unpack it and dig through the darn thing at home, for some reason it never seems to get unpacked at school  So the homework that should have been turned in yesterday, or today, or even last week, sits there in one of his many Friday folders waiting patiently to be turned in.  

Twenty minutes later (the approximate time it took me to shower, get dressed, and brush my teeth) I emerge from the bathroom and it looks like an F5 tornado has hit my living room.  There are pajama's in the middle of the floor, legos scattered over every table surface, homework has been turned into a paper airplane and an origami Yoda, and the basket of clean laundry waiting patiently for me to fold it has been tipped over and the contents (like the backpack) scattered all over the house.  The kid is at least dressed (in his baseball uniform...I decide to say nothing, I'm too tired already to battle it today), and his homework is done (just very creatively folded...good thing the teacher has a sense of humor).  Now we just need to find the shoes, pack my lunch, switch loads of laundry, dry my hair and get out the door.  OMG, we may actually make it on time today...maybe...

The shoes, oh shit...where the hell are the shoes?!?!  The shoes that were laid right by the door last night for easy access when it's time to go in the morning...yep, no where to be found.  Sometime between breakfast and my shower, the kids shoes have become flying spaceships for his Star Wars characters and are now somewhere between the door, the bathroom, his room, my room, the living room or the kitchen.  Neither one of us really knows where they went for sure, and unlike the remote for the TV they don't have a handy dandy "locate" button, so the hunt is on, like always at the very last minute of the morning to find a matching pair of shoes.  Ten minutes later, I hear JP yell "found them"...GREAT, now hurry up put them on your feet (instead of your hands!) and get in the car, because school starts in 5 minutes and we're officially late, AGAIN!  UGH!

I read somewhere once that having a child with ADHD makes the parent ADHD by proxy.  It must be true because I'm halfway to work before I realize that in the chaos of the morning, I've left my lunch and phone at home.  Good grief!!  And so, it's back to the drawing board I go.  I'm determined to figure out a way to master these mornings, however, for as chaotic as they are, I wouldn't trade them for the world. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Possible New Addiction...OH SHIT!

What do you get when you cross breed a love of off road biking and running with a severe addiction to racing triathlons?  Check it out...

It's called XTERRA, and after reading this story, I have to say I'm intrigued...ok, honestly, I'm a little more than intrigued.  I'm whatever would be more than intrigued but just slightly less than officially committed and obsessed (yet!).  I'm not going to lie, I did look up the possibility of an XTERRA type race happening in my area (state)...assuming that there would not be one and this new found possible obsession would pass quickly.  Not so much!!!  Turns out there IS an XTERRA race in my state...SWEET (oh shit!)!!! 

Hello Sugar Bottom, you spicy little tri!  Ok, maybe little is a bit of an understatement.  It is a full Olympic Distance off road triathlon...pretty sure it's harder than Whaletown (the hardest damn Olympic tri I ever did) ever hoped to be!  I'm generally a big fan of the Olympic distance, it's enough of a push to require some serious training, but not so time consuming as when I attempted my last Half IM (something that I've vowed to myself to repeat this year...oh shit!). 

So, the question is now, do I do it?!?!  Do I take the plunge on probably one of the hardest races I'll ever do?!?!  A race that will most likely fall a day after finishing my first full week of RAGBRAI and a mere two weeks before my A race of the 2011 season, the Pigman Long Tri (half IM distance)?!?!  And why the hell did this article appear out of thin air on the day when I've been required by my coach to plan out my entire 2011 season???  Oh the indecision, the pressure, the excitement?!?! 

I kinda say "why not"...I want to continue to live the no fear life and so "why the hell not"???  What do I have to lose really?...besides maybe a few limbs, my dignity, and a lot of time spent training??  Heck when I put it like that, it's not so it?!?! LOL 

Oh shit, and the addiction continues...

For now, my new friend Sugar Bottom, you are penciled in, in italics, onto my 2011 Race Calender.  Here's what the rest of the year looks like:
  • Cowtown Half Marathon - February 26
  • Dam 2 Dam 12.4 - June 4
  • Hope Run 10K - TBA
  • Midnight Madness 10K - July 9
  • Cornman Tri - July 10
  • Okoboji Tri - July 16
  • RAGBRAI - July 24-30
  • Sugar Bottom - TBA
  • Big Pig Tri - August 21
  • Hickory Grove Tri - August 28
(Holy Shit, it's a good thing I picked up a couple extra jobs...this is going to be one expensive year, but like us crazy runner's/triathletes are know for saying "it's cheaper than therapy" :))
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." ~ Albert Einstein

Love this quote...LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  How many times in my life have I (or the world in general) continued to repeat history in an attempt to find something new or hope to discover a different outcome?!?!  Too many to count.  It's time to either accept things as they are, or make a change to inspire different results. 

More thoughts on PT parenting

Ok, I'm not going to lie, this totally blows!  This whole PT single parent royal donkey ass.  I'm sorry, but sometimes I just have to be real here, and this is as real as it gets. 

Now, I realize that most courts consider a 50-50 shared custody arrangement the most fair thing for the adults involved in this situation, but I have to wonder if it's really fair for the children involved.  Being shuffled every single week between two houses, two parents, two sets of rules, two of everything...has to be overwhelming.  Hell, I'm overwhelmed most weeks by the entire situation and I'm an adult, I can't imagine being a 7+ year old trying to make all the pieces fit together like a 5000 piece 3D puzzle.  You know, the ones with a hidden picture inside a picture...yeah, I'm thinking it's kind of like that.

Last night the turmoil that flashed across my son's face as he came running into the house demanding nothing but to be held spoke volumes.  One look was all it took, my heart instantly broke into a million little shards of glass, the wind was knocked out of me and I couldn't breathe.  I had effectively been sucker punched.  No amount of boxing  or Tae Kwan Do training could have prepared me for this little uppercut that my boy just delivered.  It's like day one of this PT parenting nightmare all over again.  Crap!!! 

Then, when reading one of my favorite blogs last night in a hunt for answers and peace, I stumbled upon this quote...“Don’t let today’s disappointment cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dream.” -Unknown.  Perfect, this sounds good, this could totally work, now how does one do this?  Why do these fantastic quotes never come with directions?  They would be much more effective in my opinion, if they came with directions on how to apply them.  For example, Step 1) identify the disappointment(s), Step 2) claim tomorrow's dream...just a suggestion.  Sounds simple enough...

Step 1)...Identify the disappointments.  Well, for starters, I'm disappointed that I don't have the answers to erase the pain and turmoil that I saw on young and conflicted face.  I'm disappointed that with that one look, a years worth of hard work disappeared.  And, I'm disappointed because suddenly, all the pain and confusion of this past year has returned and knocked us both on our asses.  Once again I feel like I'm left standing on one leg hopping down a poison ivy infested path in the darkest forest I've ever seen. 

Ok, phuck disappointed...I'm pissed off!!  I want to blame someone, I want to scream, and I really want to punch something.  (Time to call my good friend Kathy for a boxing session me thinks :)).  Only, in this instance, there is no one to blame or scream at or is what it is and I can be disappointed and pissed off all I want, but it's not going to help or change things.  The only thing that will help is by focusing my energies on Step 2 (and maybe one really good session with the bag...I'll call Kathy this week!). 

Step 2)...Claim tomorrow's dream.  Ok, that's easy, I'm determined to return peace and stability to my son's see the calm happy genuine smile return to my boys face, and to hear him sing the Chipmunks Christmas at the top of his lungs or dance around to Pink's Funhouse without a care in the world.  I dream of secretly watching him from the doorway of his room, playing contently with his Lego's while Sponge Bob sings "Don't be a Jerk" in the background.  This is the dream I am claiming for tomorrow (and today...and forever!).  

Yep, this PT parenting gig totally blows some days (pretty much all the time!)'s a big giant pile of horse shit that it feels like we are living in and trying to dig ourselves out of every other week.  And just about the time we get all the poo cleared, a semi load of new shit is delivered and dumped on our heads.  But, I'm not going to let this stupid forest of poo and dung cast a shadow on my dream.  We'll be ok...we have to be, I'm not giving us another option.  My son will smile again, preferably without the worry lines creasing his forehead, and I will move heaven and earth (and a million tons of shit) to make it happen if I have to.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Unhealthy Obsession Continues...Foo Fighters - Free Me

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! That's all I can really say!!!  Is Dave Grohl married?!?!...I kind of think so, that's pretty unfortunate!  Soooo obsessed I am!  Unhealthy?...yes, for sure!  Do I care?...not so much!

No Fear

"The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed. "

I saw this quote today (phuck, it's hailing out!!!...sorry, side tracked by the sound of winter suddenly appearing in my neighborhood)...anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, this quote.  I saw this and it instantly spoke to me.  It's a Buddhist quote about letting go of fear to allow you to be freed.  (I'm not an overly spiritual or religious person, but I do identify with the Buddhist philosophy more so than any other that I've stumbled upon in my 35 years here.)  In Buddhism, in general, there is a lot of talk of letting go of what is or what we think we know, in order to embrace a more freeing existence. Whether it's holding onto material things, anger, thoughts, regrets, control, or fear, the point is to try to release it all to allow ourselves to fully feel the joy and freedom that our world has to offer. 

Thinking about this quote, I realize that this may as well be my life motto.  No fear!...that's how I'm living my life right now, and it's amazingly freeing (and FUN!).  What can I say?  I'm pretty darn proud of myself for coming to this conclusion and embracing the no fear way of life.  Up until this moment, I didn't really realize that I had.  I mean I know I was taking more risks and saying "what the hell...why not" more often than ever before, but to say that I was fully embracing the no fear way of life, it didn't really occur to me until I saw this on my google homepage this morning. 

I didn't consciously make the effort to focus on my fears I don't think, but I do think that when you experience things in your life that explode everything around you, and your entire foundation has to be rebuilt, you start to reflect on things more and try to figure out how you can build a better foundation the next time around.  So that the next time, when that nuclear bomb goes off in your head, at least the house of cards you've built for yourself will still be standing.  I probably could have started with letting go of my attachment to material things (shoes, or clothes, or the Foo Fighters), or some of my control issues (shut up Freud!), but instead I took it back to the most basic emotion and I went with fear.  Not really on purpose, but after watching my son play on the playground, I was inspired.  Have you ever just sat and watched kids play on a playground (in a non creepy sort of way of course!)?  They are incredible beings...jumping off the top of things without any thought that a broken bone or bloody nose may be lurking in the wood chips below.  Nope, kids just jump with no fear at all. 

I actually remember one day when my son was about 11 months old...ironically, it was the day that my folks were coming over to help me install a baby gate at the top of the stairs to my house.  My little adventurer crawled too close to the edge of the stairs and went rolling down them like a Rocky Mountain avalanche.  I thought for sure that I was going to get to the bottom of the stairs and find a dead baby, instead what I found was one very giggly happy child.  WTH????  Are you kidding me?!...I think I had my first of many parental mini heart attacks.  Another time when he was about 2, he reached for something outside of the cart at Lowe's and the world suddenly went into slow motion as I watched the balance of his little belly tip him in the wrong direction.  Although I did my very best to try to catch him, I just could not get there in time.  We both ended up on the concrete ground, me diving toward the cart like a pro baseball player sliding into home, and him with a head first bounce off the ground.  Just the memory of the sound of his skull hitting the concrete still makes me sick to my stomach today!  (I just gave myself the chills thinking about it, and I remember how lucky I was that day!).  He didn't laugh or giggle that time, in fact there were some big crocodile tears, but he went for what he wanted 110%.  I can look back now and give him credit for that! 

So, no fear...what does it mean?  To me it's deciding on something and going for it with your entire mind, heart, body and soul...regardless of the outcome.  And, when I really think about it, in the process of letting go of my fear, it's opened the door for me to begin to let go of some of the control and regrets as well.  After all, you can't fully face something with no fear, if you're worried about the outcome or circumstances can you?  Nope, I didn't think so either.  It's like standing on the edge of the creek at LHF last weekend, where you know the waters going to be cold and deep and instead of carefully sliding down into the creek bed to tip toe gingerly across the rocks, you leap into the water without any thought other than "this is so insane, but I've never been happier in my entire life"...yeah, my life right now is kind of like that, and I'm pretty darn ok with it!!!  So the next time Famous or The Big Easy look at me and says "are we doing this"...I already know my answer, HELL YES!!!!  (Thanks again boys for a fantastic weekend!  It was by far my best LHF experience ever and I learned more about myself on that course than I have on any other race course.  You pushed me, you helped me up, you got me wet and muddy, you stayed by my side, and I did the whole thing with a gigantic goofy smile on my face.  I've never been happier racing, or trying to stay warm while eating beef stew.  Thanks!)

PS - This whole entry reminds me of another Foo Fighter song...Free Me  (the link will appear in the next blog post :))  See, unhealthy obession!!! 

LHF 2010 Recap

WOW!!!  What an amazing race!  Once again, the folks at Living History Farms deserve props for a successful event.  Even with the registration fluke that had us running the 7 mile off road event with 8000 of our closest friends, the run could not have been more fun and challenging.  All I can really say is thank you to my good friend (and fellow Vardo runner) Eric and his RAGBRAI team Team Death Race for letting me run along with you.  You guys were amazing, and wonderful and fun!  (Special thanks to Eric "The Big Easy", and "Famous" Dave for not letting the Runaway Bride out of your sight the entire guys didn't have to run with me the entire way, but I'm sure glad you did!!! :))

Here's some pics of us "tailgating" before the race.  You would think that playing ladder ball at 6 am in 23 degree weather in spandex, tailgating would most definitely include alcohol (for the warmth factor of course :)), but keep in mind we're a bunch of runners and triathletes so tailgating for this event was basically Glen's life saving supply of Starbucks coffee, cold cider (stupid flame on our camp grill kept going out...too cold and windy), bagels, a petrified pop tart or two (yep, ask either TJ or Glen...pop tarts can go bad when left in a car for several years), and ladder ball with new friends!  (We decided to save the real tailgating for the ISU game later in the day...froze our collective asses off then too! :)). 

Team Death Race, plus 1
(Justin, Lyndsy, Eric, Me (yes, I am wrapped in a beach towel for warmth), Glen, and TJ)

Lyndsy and I playing ladder ball

Eric, bless his heart, that man was determined to provide us with warm cider...FAIL!!!  But, mad props for the effort Big Easy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's a Thinker...Dave Matthews Band - Funny the Way It Is

Ok, so I don't quite have the same unhealthy obsession with DMB that I do with Dave Grohl or the Foo Fighters, but when listening to my extensive collection of the DMB today it occurred to me that there is not a single song of theirs that I don't like.  And if there is any band where care and attention should be paid to the lyrics, then I think possibly DMB is it.  In my very humble and honest opinion. 

As for my overall taste in really depends on the day and the mood I'm in but, I kind of like it all, so I'm sure more and more of it will begin to appear here.  The only thing I don't do is country (I know I have a few good friends who would like me to try on a little country, and the folks at my office would certainly rather me play that some days than Metallica or Kid Rock or Em or DMB, but unfortunately I just can't do it...It's not for lack of trying.  I'm so sorry to all my friends and colleagues who try tirelessly to expand my appreciation of music to include country.  I promise to keep trying and maybe just never know.  I'll never say never at least :))