Not a Winner

I ran in a 10K this past weekend. It is really my favorite distance. 5Ks are too fast and marathons are too long. A 10K is just right. It is a nice route, different than the majority of races that take place in Honolulu. Generally they start at Kapiolani Park and head up Diamondhead and sometimes, out towards Kahala and Hawaii Kai. This race, starts a Kapiolani Community College on the other side of the park and the route goes up into the crater itself and then out towards Kahala. It is unique and backwards and I like it.

After my friend and I picked up our numbers and were milling about at the race that morning, I noticed that my arch nemesis was there. I have written about her before. About how she is in my age group and always beats me. Like she will come in right before me. If it is a large race, I might come in 34th and you can bet she’s come in 33rd. I tried really hard and beat her once last year. So, I see her at this race and I’d really like to beat her. I have not been doing any intervals and have no business beating her but it is what I want to do.

Out on the course, I never see her. I look for her at the turnaround. I obsess that the woman running in front of me is her even though her hair is short and straight and arch nemesis’ hair is long and wavy. I finally pass this woman in the last half mile and it is not my arch nemesis. I am puzzled. While I wait for my friend to finish (she ends up texting me while on the course about the awfulness of the sun), my arch nemesis comes over to chat. We were both volunteers at one time. We know each other. She does not know she is my arch nemesis. I realize that she had done the 5K instead of the 10K. She tells me that she pulled her hamstring. So it turns out I was only racing against her in my mind.

My friend and I are not going to stick around for medals but it turns out that absent arch nemesis, I have managed to win my age group. As a bit of level setting here, this is a particularly small race. My semi-walking friend and another mostly walking friend both placed third in their age groups. I’m not saying that it is easy to win a medal but I am going to say that it is easier than in other more robustly attended races.

We decide that we will not stay for medals. Who needs a medal? But as we are walking to my car, we run into arch nemesis and she insists that we stay. She thought that there was some free Jamba cards to be had along with medals for age group winners so we actually went back to the calling out of the winners.

My friend took third and we were so surprised, first by the fact that it happened and then by the complete and utter mangling of her last name, that I did not even take a picture of her receiving her medal. I am officially a bad friend. But then I won my age group and I got to stand on the highest plastic step stool labelled first place. I think it may have been my first ever age group win. I should have been happier or prouder but I know that I didn’t really deserve to win. I know that if arch nemesis had been doing the 10K, that she would have beaten me. And I confirmed that by comparing my finish time to her time last year. It was almost two minutes faster. I would not have beaten her. So, really, it was a hollow victory for me. I felt like I couldn’t savor it as much as I would have liked. My friend said that I should just embrace the win. But I just couldn’t. I am hoping that she heals up for the HPH 10K in March. Maybe I will start doing intervals again to give myself a fighting chance. To win for real.

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A word that I did not know existed until introduced to me by my co-worker today. It was described as that moment when you go into the bathroom at work and it is empty and you are happy because you have to poop. Then someone comes in and gets in another stall and just waits you out. Waits you out because they also have to poop. I have been in these battles before. There is the potential to flush and drown out any escaping sound but with the advent of environmentally friendly toilets, the flushing time is short. Too short to get your business done. Said co-worker told me that they usually give. In other words, they leave without doing any business. This, of course, makes for uncomfortable times. I did google this term and it has a completely different meaning according to the urban dictionary and Harold & Kumar but I like my co-workers’ definition better. Brings my mother’s saying of “shit or get off the pot” to an actual real life situation.

But I digress. It is a new year. A new year with high aspirations. There was my registration to try to run 1,000 miles in the year. I’m still in for that one. There was the registration to write 750 words a day. That one only lasted two days after I realized that I was going to have to pay the site in order to keep participating. I’m against paying. There was the workout every day by doing cardio and some sort of weight lifting thingy like P90X or boot camp or something. That is closer to failing. I would have to do something tonight. Tick-tick-tick. That may not happen. I am also supposed to do a triathlon (I can’t swim that well and don’t own a bike) and learn how to play the accordion. I am feeling confident about these two for some reason. I don’t actually own an accordion either. Makes it all so much more exciting. I have managed to stick to the 21 days of no drinking goal which was not easy during school play weekend.  

Our January really got off to a hectic start with my son participating in said school play, Annie Jr. I had been lobbying him hard for the past three years to just give drama a try but he wouldn’t have it. There was usually an excuse that had to do with the ratio of boys to girls (not enough boys) or the play itself (Little Mermaid, no good boy roles. I said he could have been an evil eel). I guess I just wore him down this time and he agreed to sign up. He had to audition which was traumatic. It involved singing and a monologue. He said that he bombed it but then ended up with two roles, one as Drake the butler and as Bert Healy the radio announcer. And he truly rose to the occasion. Drake had an English accent and Burt had that announcer swagger in his tone that was just right. There was singing and dancing and numbers with the entire cast. And he ate it up. At the school performance, his classmates were chanting “Drake” when the show ended. I think that he is hooked. And we kind of are too. It was fun to be part of something. I learned what “spikes” are on the stage for the sets. I learned that it is hard to see anything on stage when the lights go down. And I learned that it is very stressful to be one of the people responsible for moving sets around in between the acts. I was really sweating it out. But it was ultimately rewarding for our entire family. 

And this whole school play thing, it has really gotten to me. I had this kind of feeling once before at the end of the last school year, watching my son dance with his classmates. This sense that he was getting old enough so that he had things going on in his life, that I was not privy to. That he was in the process of starting to live his own life, even if in just some small ways. I know that this will just grow and that it is the expectation and the desire but for me, seeing it so blatantly, so in my face, it takes my breath away. It squeezes my heart like nothing ever has. It causes the most intense feelings. And I was in no way prepared for it. For this depth and breadth of emotion. Fool that I am. I’ve come to an age where you lift your head out the daily morass of living life to realize that a lot of it has gone by. Maybe even the majority of it. A very sobering thought. So to see this person who was always part of me becoming separate, it just feels right. Like it was meant to be. Like I won the battle. And a really good one at that.


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Social Me-dia

I like social media. I like Facebook. I like Twitter. I even am sort of on Instagram now. But lately I find myself randomly scrolling through my FB newsfeed. Really quickly. Really, really quickly. I am finding that there is less and less information about people that I am friends with and more and more, well, newsfeed spam.

For example, just this week, I have scrolled past photos of disfigured & maimed children without liking or saying amen. I have ignored the Jesus shaped clouds. I have sped by the memes about strong & beautiful women. I have not watched the video of Patti LaBelle pie love or random large man playing some video dance game. I have not read the vitriol against refugees. Unfortunately, my newsfeed is seemingly cluttered with this stuff. Things that are randomly liked and shared. Things that say the same thing over and over. Every day. With new pictures and slightly different words. It has become like static. Kind of like how people at work feel about the ridiculously long and complex emails that I end up sending out. It gets so that it is just meaningless.

On the other side of the coin, the things that I love seeing, the things that I go there for, seem to be appearing less and less. The photos of my baby cousin’s son who is now a proud Marine really made my week. And seeing the New Yorks at a Doctor Who gathering, all decked out as characters, was fabulous. And my laugh out loud moment today over my friend’s comment about his colon not working (on his keyboard). Pictures of my boot camp buddy’s newborn whose cheeks are so ready for pinching. And these are the things, the things that make it worthwhile. The things that are human and touch you and make you feel like, even if you are really far away, you can be there a little in your heart.

So I am torn these days. Torn about FB. Maybe the shine is wearing off for me. Because now it is too easy to post but say nothing. To be there but not there. And to me, that is not the point. I want to know. I want to know how you are doing. I want to see your kitty pictures and your son’s drawings. I want to see a picture of you flying a helicopter and see what great food you are eating and with who and where. I want to be a part. Maybe I am expecting too much. We all have busy lives so the simple share or like or amen, that is easy and quick. But then I see you but I don’t really get to see you. And really, I want to see you. That is why we are friends on FB.

Despite all of this, I am still in. I haven’t decided to check out yet. Because the good things are good. And they make me happy. I suppose when that is gone, I may check out. For now, the happy is worth wading through the rest. But I remain hopeful for more happy and less wading.


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Ain’t Nobody Fresher than my MotherF*ing Click

There was unrest at the University of Missouri this week. There were protests about the administration’s failure to address race issues. It had apparently been going on for years. And then there was this weird incident where a woman employed by the Journalism department at the school, threatened to use “muscle” against a student photographer documenting the goings on. It was kind of an unfortunate incident which detracted from the real message of the students and the outcome of their protest. The thing that got me, the thing that keeps me looking at the news stories of this and the photos is the name of the woman who caused the hubbub. Her name is Melissa Click. Click. Click, just like me. It is an unusual last name for sure.

I have never met another. Unless they were related to me. And that was a very small circle of my dad and grandparents. Apparently when the Polish side of the family came over, there was that crazy misspelling that took place where people’s names were spelled out phonetically. I think that the family name was supposed to be Klik or something of the like but instead we got Click. Just like it sounds. Made sense.

When I saw this Melissa Click, I wondered if she was related to me. Then I was thinking, is that me? Is this random woman, part of me too? I keep looking at the pictures. Too much timey-wimey stuff? Perhaps. The talk of madness. Maybe.

Long lost relative?

Long lost relative?

That name, the father’s name, always so important to some. Less to me. At one point I considered changing it. After my grandparents passed, there has always been less contact. A relationship more fraught. It is hard to say how it will turn out. Tomorrow is my dad’s birthday. Always easy to remember since it is Veteran’s Day. Like the name. Click. Distinctive.

I wonder if these other Clicks have lives that are similar to mine in any way. Is there a thread? Is there a connection? Just through the name. Thinking about my own family, I suppose that can’t be the case. The name solely creating a connection. If that were the case. It would all be different. So Melissa Click’s connection to me, even if related, is likely tenuous and easily breakable. Amorphous and transparent, if there at all. Because there has to be more than just the name. There has to be substance. But sometimes there is only the name. And the name is not enough.

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Writing Gaol

Well, every week, on Monday, at our work out group, our coach asks us to set a goal for the week. I don’t like this and I believe I may have written about it before. I feel like I can say anything and there is no one really checking up. I may do it or not. This week, my weekly goal was to write every day. It sounds so easy. Write every day. And not necessarily a blog post. Just write. I started out strong but pretty much petered out by Thursday. My excuse is that this is a night full of beer and Taco Bell with no room for writing. That sounds so lame. But it is true. 

Anyway, I think that I can count today as part of the workout week goal since, you know, we meet on Monday. I had a question-your-sanity moment today. One of those moments that leaves you laughing out loud. By yourself. I had been cooking and the trash really had to go out. I grabbed it and the extra house key because sometimes, you get locked out. Only sometimes. I was home alone so I did not want to take any chances. I took the key attached to the cute knit squid keychain and headed out the door.  

The dumpster is outside in this big doored in area. The people not on the ground floor use a trash chute from their floor. We have to go outside and toss our trash right in the dumpster. So there I was tossing. And, of course, cute knit squid keychain caught on the bag. And in it went. There was some definite cursing. I climbed to the top of the dumpster to see what I was dealing with and it was actually not too bad. The dumpster was pretty empty. I could see that poor squid in the bottom of the dumpster sticking out from under the bag. At that moment, I almost just jumped in. I could just grab it. It was right there. In retrospect, I’m really glad that I did not do that. I am relatively certain that if I had, I may not have been able to get out or if I had been able to get out, I would have been covered in the grimy badness coating the walls of the dumpster. I had mad visions later of being trapped in the dumpster, for who knows how long since my family was out at my son’s first scrimmage football game. I envisioned more garbage coming down the chute and me stuck in the dumpster. It could have been a total horror.

But shockingly enough, better heads prevailed and instead of jumping in. I went back inside (luckily not locked out) and got some tools (like a chimp using a stick to eat ants). I went for an

mmmm, ants.
mmmm, ants.

umbrella and the broom. At first I thought that I could get the end of the umbrella into the loop of the keychain (a good carnival game perhaps, if the theme was Halloween). That was not happening. I ended up using the broom as a kind of scoop and managed to get the key out. The entire thing was so ridiculous that after I got inside and washed my hands, I just stood in the kitchen and laughed out loud. By myself.

 Maybe it was all a sign. Telling me to stop just doing. To think it through a bit. To not just join the Peace Corps. Or not just move to Hawaii. Or not just quit your job. Or maybe the universe was just trying to make sure that I remember to be more like the chimps. Use more tools. Or maybe it is what it is, just a ridiculous story.

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My son is now in middle school. We discovered tonight that he actually might have BO. He actually may need me to pick him up some deodorant. He has expressed an interest in Old Spice. How did this happen? But I digress. Middle school. It involves a lot more effort for my child to stay on top of things. And well, he started out seemingly OK but dropped the ball about a quarter of the way through this trimester and we are still having issues picking that ball up. He forgets to do assignments. Or at least he tells me that he forgot. Or, he actually does them and then forgets to hand them in. That seems worse to me in some way, except for the lying. I really don’t like the lying. To me, that is just unacceptable. I threaten that when he is a teenager and wants to do stuff, I won’t be able to let him because I won’t be able to trust him.

Anyway, middle school, today was not good. The school online grading system told me, and sent me an alert via email, that my son had failed his spelling and vocabulary test. He had told me that he had it. He had told me that he thought he had done well. I was out of my head. I started writing him an email. Taking away all screen time. Telling him that we were going to study vocabulary all week for this week’s test. And then, just like that, it was the F that never happened. It seems that the teacher may have inputted the grade for the review for the test and it somehow turned it into an F for the test. But then he did not get an F on the test. He got a B on the test. So, so, so much better than an F.

Of course shortly after that I received an email saying that he had received a D on some online work that was due. And maybe after the short lived F shock, the D seemed tame by comparison. I had checked the system and that work was not listed anywhere as being due. It was like secret work. I had no idea. I’m sure that it was written down somewhere. Someplace. And he had just forgotten. I can’t hold it against him that much if I also did not even know that it was due. Because of the not knowing, my great idea for the day was to pick him up a planner. A good old fashioned paper calendar type planner. We would go through all of his due work and write it all out. Those standing assignments that are forgotten? They will be in the planner. So we will always know. I was going to get a largeish one so that we could write big. We write big.

I ran to Office Depot after my boot camp class tonight. I have to admit that I can’t remember the last time that I was in there. I like Fisher Hawaii way better but I thought that it might be too late for them. I got to Office Depot and went inside and the first thing that struck me was that it was huge and empty. It was so bizarre. I know that eventually, soon maybe, they will be clearing out to make way for a new Whole Foods (woo hoo!) so maybe that is why the place seemed cavernous. Like they could have used about a quarter of the floor space for the amount of things that they were selling. So odd. I walked around till I found the planner section. And they had a bunch and it was great. Unfortunately, they were all for 2016. I know, it’s October. I know, it’s almost next year. But, know what? It’s not 2016 yet. And I don’t want to wait till next year to be organized. I want to be organized now. Apparently, that is not an option. Apparently, per Office Depot, at this time of the year, looking ahead to the new year, is the only option. I actually could not even believe it. I went and asked a guy in a red shirt who was opening packages of water. He confirmed. They had cleared out 2015. It’s sort of like stores putting out the Christmas stuff now but in reverse. Although the concept is the same. It is the rushing through. It is the failure to live in the moment. It is the need to get to the next thing. I am tired of that. It seems very rat race-ish. I want to take a breath and have it be today not 2016. But today is not possible at Office Depot. Only next year is possible.

Since 2015 is a no buy zone when it comes to planners, we have decided that we are going to make our own planner for the next three months. We don’t need to buy one. Maybe we will get a fancy 2016 one after that. Or maybe not. Maybe we will just do it ourselves, in that moment, an arts and crafts-like project to just be this year. And not next. We are going to stay in October till after Halloween. And then we are going to do Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, in November. And then, we can think about the other stuff. It is all going by too quickly. I’m not ready to buy Old Spice. I know that I have no choice about that. So we are going to slow it down. Be in the moment. Because soon, I fear, I will be forking over my car keys. Taking a breath. It’s only deodorant today. And it’s still today.

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I haven’t written about my hormonal condition in some time and it may be time to do so again. I am officially pre-menopausal and have been for a few years now (yikes, a few years?! And a bit of sidebar here, I just checked and this could go on for as many as four years. Good lord!) The thing about moving from pre-menopausal to graduating to menopause for real, you have to not have your period for one whole year. And well, what has been happening is that the countdown starts. No period. No nothing. One month. Two months. I think, it’s time, it’s finally time. And then, all of a sudden, it’s back. Like Jason. Like Freddy Kreuger. I am left scrambling for the correct tools for the job. And then the worst part is the lingering. Like a bad cold. It won’t go away. It is more than irritating. And I know that I could have the opposite. I could have heavy bleeding requiring iron infusions because I know more than one person who had that scenario. So, technically I should be happy that it’s not that bad. It’s just so easy to slip into the woe is me mindset. 

And it seems that with the coming of this again, it is making my brain fuzzy. It is difficult to describe. The best explanation I have is the scene in the David Tennant Doctor Who days when the master is becoming everyone in the world. Everyone, right before they turn into the Master, their heads move so quickly that you can’t see their faces any more. That is what it is like. Blurry. But frenetic.  

You can watch this too long clip if you’d like for demonstration purposes:

And then last night, watching PBS there was a show about this wildlife park in Africa. They were with a woman who studies elephants. She was saying how these particular herds have a much higher prevalence of animals without tusks. Apparently this is a genetic anomaly but now that so many of the tusked animals have been poached, this is what is occurring. It is dreadful sad. It is the kind of thing where you think that the entirety of the human race kind of sucks. And as I was watching this show, it made me feel as if I had never really seen an elephant before. Is that possible? I felt like I had this heightened awareness. Like how people describe hallucinogenic drug experiences. It was all too much. The elephants were too real. Too threatened. I felt like it was my fault. Like I should be doing something about it.  

And today, it was a difficult day to concentrate come the afternoon. My brain felt slow and stuck. But like it was still going a million miles a minute. I think that this has to do with a serious hormonal imbalance what with taking low dose hormone pills and having my period. It seems to be a cumulative effect that is frying my brain. It is good that it is Thursday. I am ready for some pumpkin porter and some Taco Bell. I’m pretty sure that will help dull the static and slow down the movement. I hope so since I can tell that I’m on that hormonal edge where crying could occur at just about any moment. For just about any reason. I’m hoping for no Folger’s re-united in the kitchen or other Hallmark moment commercials. Check in again with me in a couple of months, maybe the count will have started yet again. Till then, I say cheers with my hormonal cocktail and a pumpkin porter.

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