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116 Days

My youngest son graduates from high school in 116 days.  It may sound silly that I’m counting down the days, but even sillier than that is the fact that I’ve actually been counting down for the past 34 months.  Almost 3 years.  I love this child like crazy – but his graduating from high school marks the beginning of the next part of my life and I can hardly wait for that.

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This kiddo had a rough go of his freshman year.  His grades were sucky, and he struggled to find a balance between his personal time and time required for school work.  His last year of middle school had seen him lacking any desire to go to school in the first place; we met with the truancy officer a few times because of it.  And while his grades weren’t great as a Freshman, he was at least showing up.  During his sophomore year something happened and he became an A student.  It was kind of freaky to watch.  Nothing changed outwardly, he just excelled at his classes.  He had such good grades that at the end of 10th grade when he forecasted for 11th grade he picked multiple advanced classes that offered college credit.  He picked, on his own, Pre-calculus and Trig.  “Who does that?”  Says the mom that just barely passed “general math” in high school.  Unfortunately he struggled with the math and lost some self-confidence and fell back into not wanting to even show up.   He did show up, more than he did during that last year of middle school, and he did well in AP Biology, but math plagued him and his junior year was riddled with less than A grades.  But here we are, finally, in his senior year and gosh it’s going well.  He was really sick last week with some flu thing.  He threw up quietly Wednesday morning and when I told him he wasn’t going to school he argued with me about it.  Argued!  I won.  He didn’t go.  In fact, he was so ill he didn’t go for the rest of the week.  But the mere fact that he would argue with me over his need to be at school, because he likes it, was a turning point.

 

So this one is graduating and I am thrilled.  He’s been in the same school district since he started kindergarten.  For some people that’s a normal occurrence.  When I grew up it was not.  In fact I went to so many schools between kindergarten and high school that I cannot name them all.  My parents were educated gypsies and we moved all the time.  Sometimes twice in one school year.  My ex-husband’s family moved a lot too, albeit not as much as my family.  When we moved to the town we currently live in the oldest was in 4th grade and the youngest was getting ready to start kindergarten.  We knew we would not be moving until he graduated from high school because it was that important to both of us.  So here we are.

 

E started kindergarten with his best friend, who he met 5 months before kindergarten started when we moved into this town.  And in 116 days the two of them will graduate together, as best friends.  Have they been best friends throughout the 13 years?  No.  But they’ve stayed friends.  Over the years they went through periods of hanging out with other groups of people, trying to figure out who they were, but in the end they have returned to their best friend status and it is an amazing thing to witness.

 

Their birthdays are two weeks apart.  When they turned 5 they each received a Jeep as a gift.  Here is a picture:

 

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This is a picture of them taken a couple weeks ago.  In an effort to recreate the above:

 

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Anyway.  I love and adore both of my kids and without doubt both are special.  This kid tugs at my heart in a different manner than his brother and I am so very proud and excited for him and his future.  It made me want to write.  That is all.

 

Have a good day people.

 

Peace.

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Happy New Year!!

Since it’s been exactly five months since my last post I just want you all to know I have not abandoned this blog. I’ve just been a little busy.

Since today is the last day of the year I thought I’d make the effort to actually write and reflect on 2014. It was a life changing year for me in a variety of ways.

At the beginning of the year I had the brilliant idea to go back to college and get my BS in nutrition. Yes, I’m 48 years old and have an amazing job working as a corporate paralegal. As a matter of fact I’ve been a paralegal for over 20 years, however it’s not my passion and you only live once so I considered my options and made the decision. I can retire from the company I work for now in 9 short years. That is to say I can retire with full benefits at 57, even though I won’t be able to draw on them until I turn 62. Nonetheless, I thought that would be a perfect moment in my life to stop doing what I have to do to make as much money as I can, and start doing what I want to do regardless of the financial gain. Hence my degree-seeking behavior.

It’s going well, which is surprising. School and I did not get along many years ago and it’s amazing I finished high school, let alone paralegal school. But apparently things have changed, I’m a little more focused and a tad bit more dedicated to the cause. I’m officially a sophomore (based on my credits) and have maintained a 4.0 since the beginning. Please don’t confuse my 4.0 GPA with the assumption that it’s “easy” for me – it’s not; I’ve cried a lot, stayed up all night a lot, and melted down before finals a lot. Yet I’ve managed to do it, while working my full time, no-walk-in-the-park job, and being present for my kids and Blue Eyes. Of course my kids are 21 and 15½ so being present for them is very different from when they were younger. And Blue Eyes? Well, he lives 46 miles away from me and while we see each other often, being present for him is very different than if we lived together 24/7.

I was pretty focused on paying off debt this year and I’m happy to find here, on the last day of the year, that while it didn’t go as I had imagined (because somehow I thought I could pay off all my debt in a year and still manage to live and not create more debt — ) it did go well. I’m starting 2015 with roughly the same amount of debt, but since my debt load increased during the year due to my oldest son having surgery, I did pretty good. I went on vacation three times, got through all four children’s birthdays, AND got through Christmas without the use of credit. In addition, I paid off the IRS, two credit cards in full and all the medical expenses associated with said child’s surgery (except for the last $40 payment I have to make to the surgeon next week). I’m very pleased. In 2015 I expect to make more of a dent.

It’s a fact that I work to vacation. Seriously.  That’s the reason I go to work every single day. So I can go on vacation. This year I went on three wonderful vacations. Blue Eyes and I hiked 12 miles into the Grand Canyon in March and then 12 miles out a few days later and couched that beautiful trip with some well-deserved recovery (and a little ceremony) in Vegas. It was a spectacular trip.

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In July I went to central Oregon with two of my most favorite girlfriends and learned to fly fish (okay, that’s not true. I learned how to stand in the middle of the river and look like I knew how to fly fish.) That was a fun, fun, fun time.

TravisFlyFishing

And then in October I met my two brothers and sister in Vegas for a weekend of sibling togetherness which was amazing and wonderful in ways none of us expected. We had not all been together in over two years so it was a banner moment in time.  I love my siblings. ❤ ❤

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In addition, Blue Eyes and I went to the Oregon coast and found some new favorite spots we will definitely revisit. All in all my vacation needs were met.

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Running fell by the way, way side. I did run a marathon, but only one. I ran the Vancouver USA marathon and felt like I did a good job. I PR’d by a minute or two in general and PR’d the course by 10 minutes so I was happy. Sadly, though I just didn’t make time for running both before and after that marathon. I miss it and have been getting back into it slowly. My Garmin broke and I’ve decided to go without one for a year and see if it changes my feeling about running. I’ve already fretted over the fact that I won’t know how far I’ve run when I have to run X amount of miles, but that’s silly. I’ve run every distance multiple times and I know which routes meet which demands. I think it will be refreshing to not have a Garmin. At least today I think that. I just want to run, and remember that I love it.

I did run a relay event with some girlfriends in November. That was brutal. Six legs covered by 3 women. Originally we had 6 women, but two of them were injured and one went out of town so it came down to three of us. Each one of us ran our legs back to back, which seemed like a good idea initially. But since I hadn’t run in quite some time (um, like the marathon in June) 11 miles kicked my ass good. Still we finished the relay and had a good time and I managed to smile through most of it.

relay run

Other news? Blue Eyes is great. I love him madly and can’t wait until our “wedding” which is officially set for August of 2017 – after my youngest graduates high school.  It’s a formality for our friends and family and while it won’t actually signify the day we got married, very few people will know that and for us it will signify the beginning of when we actually get to live under the same roof 24/7/365. I very much look forward to that. As he says, the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter as each day passes and it will all be worth it in the end. Here, here. ❤ ❤

MeNBE

I expect 2015 to be wonderful – Blue Eyes and I will go to San Francisco for a few days in March to celebrate the anniversary – San Francisco being one of my favorite places, as well as a place he has not been to (he did drive through one weekend on the way to San Jose, MANY years ago, but that does not count) I am beyond excited to show him this city that I love. Outside of that, I hope to run a couple of marathons, pay off some more debt, create none, continue to do well in school, be happy, stay healthy and stay very grateful for my life.

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I wish you all the best in 2015 !

Peace!

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The 7 minute video is worth watching.

http://www.upworthy.com/in-the-last-33-years-70-of-the-71-mass-murderers-in-the-us-all-had-1-thing-in-common?c=ufb1

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Hello People!

Just popping in to say hi because I have nothing else to tell you.  Ha!

Life is the same, or possibly a little different in sometimes difficult ways.  I don’t have enough of anything that would spin a good blog post so I will just give you some randomness.

Um… Where do I start?

      • I’m training for a marathon again.  After Timberline last year I wasn’t sure I’d ever say those words again, so that’s good, right?  This is week two and it’s going well.  Of course Mother Nature fucked up the plans for week one by snowing and showering freezing rain on us. Since I don’t run in snow, ice or slushy dirty deceptively solid appearing matter a day and a half after an ice storm I moved my days around and hit all but one of my runs.  Not bad for me.  This week there’s no snow, just rain but this IS Oregon.
      • This past weekend I had an ugly, crying breakdown as I tried to finish a research paper, my first ever in my life mind you, for my College Composition 1 class.  I stress this is College Comp 1 because College Comp 2 starts on March 27th.  I used to have this delusional belief that I could actually write.  Turns out I don’t know jack shit and Professor V is having a field day making sure I realize this. Tears people!  Serious tears.  And the final paper isn’t due for 3 weeks!  This was just the outline and a draft but FUCK if it didn’t do a number on me.  There are four weeks left of this first ten week term and  on Saturday I wondered what possessed me, at 47, to start down this road. But after the tears came a calmness and I’m okay now. As my 14 year old son told me, I got this.
      • Staying with the school thing for one more bullet….. On March 27th, when College Comp 2 starts, it will be paired with Anatomy and Physiology 1.  What was it the boy said?  Oh.  Yeah.  I. Got. This.
      • Work.  Eh.  It’s busy as hell which doesn’t jibe well with all my homework and marathon training and that other responsibility I have.  What was it again?  Oh, yeah, being the mother of a 14 year old who requires dinner on occasion and some parental input once in awhile. But I have a job, I love my boss, I had a good review and will find out in the next ten days the size of my raise and bonus so that’s something
      • My debt, while not moving at lightening speed is going in the right direction. Namely down. I just have to be diligent and keep taking baby steps. Ironically someone used one of my credit cards and the credit card company caught it. I’m grateful for their diligence but you wouldn’t believe the hoops I have to jump through to now prove to them that I’m me. My account is frozen until their satisfied, which might piss me off if I intended to use my card. But I don’t so it can stay frozen as long as they like.
      • Blue Eyes is good.  Actually he’s great.  End of story.
      • Vacation is 32 days away.  Looking forward to getting out of town to go somewhere warm.  But since it’ll be March it won’t be too warm.
      • I have a weather app on my phone that tells me every day what the weather is like in Honolulu.  Not just at that precise moment but hour by hour and the extended forecast too.  Blue Eyes thinks it tortures me to look at that every day.  He’s wrong though.  It keeps me focused. Pay debt down…go visit Jenny.

I think that’s it, people. Disjointed as it is, this is what’s happening. I will leave you with a few pictures. First, my kiddo and his girlfriend went to dinner on Valentines Day and this a picture of them before dinner. I think they like each other.

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Next, the oldest child has been talking about getting a dog for awhile. I’ve been discouraging that because I don’t think he understands the responsibility of a dog, or the expense and he’s an unemployed college student. So HE didn’t get a dog, but his best friend and roommate got a dog, who promptly chewed up my kids power cord to his computer “um, hello Mom? You’re not going to believe why I can’t do my homework….” We visited the college boys and their new roommate on Saturday and can you say cute!?! Meet Luna.

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And finally I asked the Facilities Department at work if I could get a new I.D. Badge because I hated that my original one was me with short hair, from over three years ago. The lady in power said yes and took the best picture of me ever (in recent times anyway). She gave me my new badge and then emailed the picture to me so I could use it on Facebook and Linked In if I chose to do so. Which I did, so I feel obligated to share it here. This is a good picture of me. Despite my gray hair.

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Oh, and one more…. I posted this on Blue Eyes Facebook wall in honor of Valentines Day. I thought it was funny…..

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Peace people! I will write again after Blue Eyes and I get back from the Grand Canyon and before I’m buried in writing and anatomy homework!

Be well!!

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A few weeks ago, in preparation for Blue Eyes birthday, I took a day off work and went to have some professional pictures taken of myself.  These weren’t your average every day pictures however, these were of the boudoir variety.

The first time I saw boudoir photography was probably ten years ago.  I was fascinated by it and stunned by the tastefulness of some and the trashiness of others.  I was married then and many times considered gifting my husband with the surprise of me in photos like that

I can’t begin to explain to you how crazy the idea was at that time.  I was nothing like the me I am now.  I was uncomfortable in my skin and found nothing flattering about myself when I looked in the mirror.  That probably had something to do with why I considered doing it – it seemed like a way to “pretend” to be someone else. 

I never did it, however, because I was married to a man who would have punished me for the action.  While he may have liked the final outcome he would have stewed on exactly how the photos came to be.  The time it took to “sneak” away and get the pictures taken.  He would have imagined another man took the pictures (even if I told him it was a woman); he would have imagined that I enjoyed it and that I likely also had sex with the man.  He would have punished me (verbally/emotionally) for these things he imagined.  And he would have ruined the gift, for me and for him.  Seriously.  That’s why I never did it.  Seems extreme, probably, but I know this to be true from other events that occurred throughout our 23 year marriage.

I’m a different woman now and Blue Eyes is an extremely different man.  I knew his mind would not wander in the same direction and he would view it in a very different light.  And truthfully he was only benefiting from something I wanted and was ultimately doing for MYSELF.

So I took a day off work went to Peekaboo Portland.

I arrived at the studio at noon and was met by the coolest make-up artist ever (okay, so yeah, I don’t know many).  After I told her I was a little nervous she popped a bottle of champagne, poured me a glass, told me to relax and began to apply my makeup. 

I’m in this weird place with my hair – weird in that I use to have long, past my shoulders hair, that I had relaxed every 6 weeks.  About 4 years ago I got tired of the maintenance of long hair and I chopped it all off.  Here’s a picture of me after I chopped off my hair.

short hair

About 18 months ago I got tired of the short hair and wanted my long hair back immediately.  HA ha ha, yeah.  Doesn’t work like that.  In addition to wanting my hair long again, I also wanted to stop chemically treating it with relaxers – something I’d been having done since I was 3 years old (42 years).  So I stopped.  Then I bought a wig I could throw on every now and then to appease my desire for long hair.  When my hair grew out long enough I got a sew-in weave so I could instantly have long hair.  Here is what that looks like.

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I wore the weave for 9 months.  It was a great experience; one I’d always wanted to have – but DAMN if it wasn’t expensive.  In 9 months I spent $1,000 keeping the weave up.  So in January I stopped, had the weave taken out and had my hair braided.  I’ve been wearing braids for four months and I really like it, especially the ease of it (because I run).  

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All this explanation to say — I thought I would get the photos taken in my braids, but after Kirsten did my make-up, the wig felt more appropriate.  The make-up took an hour, and three glasses of champagne. 

When Kirsten was done Jessica, the photographer, arrived and we discussed what I would be wearing.  The package I had paid for allowed me to change my clothes four times.  I actually brought five “outfits” because I couldn’t decide between two tops and she said I could do them both.  Yay!!  

Kirsten left the studio, Jessica turned on the music, I changed my clothes and the photo shoot began.  What was supposed to be an hour-long photo shoot turned into two hours — dancing, laughing, chatting about Blue Eyes and photos.  Lots and lots of photos.  I’ve never had so much fun in hardly any clothes with a woman I’ve only just met.  Oh.My.God.Was.It.Fun! 

I’ve done some cropping, because I hardly think it’s appropriate for me to share pictures of me in my underwear, but here are some of my favorite pictures.

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My package included a 2”x3” “Little Black Book” for Blue Eyes.  The little black book held 20 photos of my choosing.  There were over a hundred to choose from, but I picked them out.  I got the book before his birthday and met him for dinner.  After we had ordered I pushed the little box over in front of him and watched him open the box, pull out the little black velvet bag and then the book.  He opened the book and his expression was priceless.  Shock, surprise, enjoyment, happiness.  I saw it all as he perused the book.  Since I generally only see him once or twice a week and every other weekend he told me he would no doubt benefit from his gift.  That made me laugh.

With my approval, some of my pictures are on Peekaboo’s Blog.  If you’d like to see them you can follow this link.  I’m not naked but please be warned these likely rise above a PG rating.

Peekaboo Portland Blog Link

It’s an experience I won’t soon forget – I’m thinking Blue Eyes won’t soon forget it either. . .

Have a good weekend everyone!

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Things I Did Not Know

My friend Jenny ran her first marathon!! She’s awesome and amazing (truthfully, she was awesome and amazing BEFORE she ran the marathon) — I’m so happy for her!! Please enjoy her wonderful post! Love you Jennifer! See you soon!! 🙂

This is My Wild

I didn’t know that 62,000 feet on pavement in the quiet black before dawn would sound like the thunderous march of an oncoming army

That paper cups hitting the ground hundreds at a time could be so loud and leave a river of Gatorade for everyone behind to splash through

That King Street businesses would open at 5:00 AM to hand out extra water to anyone who wanted it

That there would be so many spectators lined up on Kalakaua Avenue at such a crazy hour

I didn’t know how beautiful Diamond Head would look at dawn with a sliver of crescent moon hovering above it

That I would get more than 20 high fives from volunteers on my way up Diamond Head Road and pass a wheelchair racer whizzing down it toward the finish line with an escort of three bikes and a motorcycle

That watching Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich

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For the past 3 years, since I’ve lived in my house, on Thanksgiving, I’ve stood on the front porch and watched about 200 people participating in the annual Give & Gobble 5 & 10k run by.  Every year, for the past 3 years, I’ve questioned why I wasn’t running it.  Every year.  It likely would have happened again this year, were it not for Maureen asking me to run it with her.  For that small action, I owe her great thanks!

The Give & Gobble is a local event that benefits the Oregon Food Bank.  The 5 & 10k runs start at the high school and wind through the lovely parts of Sherwood, Oregon, which includes right by my house, before ending back at the high school.

It starts at 9 and is over by 10:30 so even if I were cooking some gigantic turkey for an early dinner (which I wasn’t) I could have put the turkey into the oven, gone and ran and come back in time to finish the food.  As it was, however, I wasn’t cooking a huge turkey (I don’t even eat turkey) and dinner in my house wasn’t until 5 p.m., so I had plenty of time to run.

I met 3 of my favorite ladies at the high school and we jumped around (well, Maureen and Patti danced around) and giggled trying to stay warm before the start.  It was kinda chilly – but everyone was in a really great happy and thankful mood. 

Here is a group picture of us pre-race.

At 9:00 a.m. the crowd of 5k runners, 10k runners and 5k walkers headed out.  It was kind of a jumblef*ck of a start because there were so many people and no organization, but it’s a small, local event and it was Thanksgiving, so no one really cared that much.  The people who did care were at the front of the pack anyway and were not held back by the mass exodus.  Once out on the street the crowd dispersed a little and we were able to run comfortably.

It was strange, but so incredibly comfortable to run on the streets that I run on a normal basis.  Maureen, Patti and I ran, talked, laughed and enjoyed being out there.  We passed my house with no one on the front porch this year, since I was actually running and I’m the mother of teenagers who do not rise before noon if it’s not necessary.

Shortly after passing my house the 5k runners turn left to continue through the neighborhood and the 10k runners go straight.  It got really peaceful at that point because the majority of runners were running the 5k.  The 10k’ers ran down the old highway to Brookman Road. 

Here is a picture Maureen took right after passing my house, heading down the old highway.

Brookman Road is the ultimate training road for runners in Sherwood.  It’s farm country; people have acreage, goats, cows, llamas and horses on Brookman Road.  It’s almost 2 miles in length, completely paved, no sidewalks, little traffic and nonstop rolling hills.  I’ve run it before, but not in a long while because, well . . .  it’s hard.  I always feel as though I walk more than I should and that frustrates me. 

When we turned onto Brookman I was running a nice, steady, easy pace with Maureen by my side and Patti not too far behind us.  I heard Patti say she was going to turn on her music so she could get into her zone and I remember thinking, “that’s what I’m in, a zone.” 

The morning was crisp and there was a low fog atop the mountains.  We ran by llamas, open fields, and goats.  Maureen stopped to take pictures and I just kept running.  Here are a couple of pictures Maureen took on Brookman.

As time passed I got further away from Maureen.  Initially I thought about stopping to wait for her to catch up (she wasn’t THAT far behind me) but I was so amazed at the ease at which I was running the rolling hills that I didn’t want to risk stopping and losing the zone.  So I continued on.  I ran the entire length of Brookman, for the very first time, at the Give & Gobble and I was pretty overjoyed with that progress.  (Especially since my running has sucked so much lately).

Coming off Brookman I fell into my comfort zone because once again I found myself running on a street I knew like the back of my hand.  A street I run on with regularity.  I turned on my own music and just enjoyed the familiarity of Sherwood.  When I approached the last water station I got some water and then started up the last pathway and to my great joy Maureen showed up at my side.  She has a way about her that I love.

Together we finished the 10k and a couple minutes later Patti came across the finish line as well.  It was a lovely start to Thanksgiving and I’m forever grateful that I ran it.

Here are some pictures from the finish.

 

 

I was so pleased with my performance on Brookman Road; I told myself I would incorporate Brookman into my running routine at least once a week.  Sunday I went out for a run started with Brookman.  Again I ran its length and it felt so good.  Hard, but good.  I went on to run a total of 9 miles and ended the run on Brookman as well – not the entire length, but as I was headed home I made the conscious decision to go left and hit Brookman in the middle.  It was a spectacular finish to my Sunday morning run. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have recovered from any food hangovers you may have suffered!!

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