Three days of darkness. Okay. Not darkness but gray skies and rain. Not really the forecast you hope for at the beach.
From the looks of things, the rain will have come with us to the beach and leave with us.
This was the view from yesterday.
Now for me a rainy day at the beach is better than a rainy day anywhere else but rain and trapped with crabby kids in a condo.
Let’s just say I was having a slight panic attack on Thursday night before we left on Friday.
Yes, I’m always honest on this blog. If it’s something I don’t want to share, I don’t write it.
I was praying. “Lord. We planned this trip for family bonding and here all the high exacto-weather peeps are saying that nothing but rain and wind in forecast.”
HOW WILL MY PSYCHE survive?
* * *
It’s Sunday and the sun is still hiding.
When I took off on my run today this line from I Am The Walrus on my iPod leapt out at me.
“Sitting in an English garden
Waiting for the sun
If the sun don’t come you get a tan
From standing in the English rain.”
Waiting for the sun.
That’s what I’d been doing for three days. And then it occurred to me.
Why did we plan these three days at the beach?
To get warm, brown and refreshed.
And to bond a bit as a family.
I wasn’t all that warm. Not brown.
But I am relaxed and the family has bonded.
Not enmeshed like Gorilla Glue, but we have talked and laughed and created a major deposit for our this-is-us bank account.
No the sun hasn’t come.
But on this Easter Sunday, the Son did.
Okay. Kind of hokey-pokey message. But guess I’m just a hokey-pokey blogger.
Completely agreeing with the gospel according to Jagger, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find . . .
You get what you need.”
No. I wanted sun.
But I think I got just what we needed.
Hoppy Easter y’all.
Some video shot and posted by my 10 year old. It was Noah big time.
I don’t know if Morgan County, Georgia is the hot bed of canola but every spring in recent memory fields of yellow are popping up everywhere.
I’ve been meaning to take a photo to tweet — cause it’s quite spectacular. At least to me. An adult convert to country life.
Every now and then you see something and know that this isn’t a sight you’d see flying around Atlanta off of I-285.
Then this afternoon, I learned of a video the good Dr. Dan Zant took with his drone and a GoPro.
See. Y’all think we’re not high tech out here in the sticks.
It’s short — so watch. It’s much better than any Instagram I might tweet out.
Thanks Dan. And I think that poor drone crashes at the end.
CanolaDrone from Dan Zant on Vimeo.
Sometimes we dread something and it turns out to be okay. Sometimes we dread something and it turns out great.
Sometimes we dread something and it becomes better and better as the days and nights go by after the event.
On Saturday, my oldest and I headed 30 minutes north to Athens for the inaugural Chick-Fil-A Half Marathon. I had completed a few longer runs as an attempt to train but the runs — and I use the term run loosely — were pretty mediocre. And even though it’s just a ways down the road, the small city of Athens has some big hills. They are everywhere.
So I had avoided the fall half marathon there for a while.
Which I learned on Saturday was so very STUPID.
Can’t remember what I did to my leg but I’m forever bumping into stuff.
This was before the start.
It was a perfect day.
And all the dogwoods were in bloom.
You would think a crackerjack photojournalist like me would have captured some of that springtime beauty. But no.
What I did snap . . .
The start. Notice I positioned myself with the 2:30 crowd. Because I am old and broken down. But I finished 13th of 33 in my age group. Which shows all of our bodies start breaking down.
Sanford Stadium. My son actually saw lots of players in uniform getting off of buses. Must have been Picture Day or sumpthing. He was a bit ahead of me. He said all the runners were high-five’n the players.
Darn the luck of missing that.
No. I didn’t capture the sea of white blooming trees dotting the landscape or those red jerseys heading into the stadium but for some reason I snapped this.
A Strawberry-Banana GU they were handing out at Five Points.
I think I took pic this because it tasted AMAZING. Or at least didn’t make me want to vomit it back up, which GU usually does.
I must have been stunned by its not-making-me-vomit taste into pressing my shutter down and capturing the moment.
Yes we finished.
A great memory.
And I’ve got a great kid.
Who let me pass him for a moment at Mile 3.
Okay. He might have been in line for the bathroom but I was ahead of him for about 30 yards. Till he passed me again and got to high-five those Bulldogs walking into Sanford Stadium.
Dadgummit I missed that.
Linking up with . . .
There is less of me.
About 3 pints less.
Because last week, I cut “the dickens out of my finger.”
I blame it on Cutco because they make such damn sharp knives. I blame it on my son — whose dear friend sold me the knives. I blame it on myself because I’ve never treated myself to knives worth a damn before now.
Washing dishes the other day, I reached into the murky depths of soap, leftover spaghetti sauce slime and SLICE.
I lifted my hand out of see a rip from the tip of my left ringer down to my first knuckle.
Holy Mary Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Other than fire-branding pain and stopping the current of blood, all I could think about was my favorite Dan Aykroyd SNL skit. EVER.
I had forgotten the liver part of this sketch. Too funny because my mother was mad about livers. I actually used to order liver as a child in restaurants –
but any emotional scarring due to excessive liver intake as a young’n shall be saved for another post.
* * *
I am at the seashore writing this. Long after the bleeding has cauterized.
After I arrived and caught the salty scent, I heard the voice of my father and the voice of his father — a surgeon. “Go put your hand in salt water, Jamie.”
For the first time in four days, I unband-aided my left ring finger and lowered it into the waters off the coast of Georgia.
My aging hand shimmering under the clear water transformed into a five-year-old pudgy hand. One whose father’s hand gripped it at the wrist, lowering it into the water.
The Atlantic coast only an hour away, we traveled there most weekends as a child. Just as my father did with his father when they both wore much younger, browner skins.
Any tear in the flesh, burn from the iron, any mar in the body was immediately dipped in the salt water.
I’ve been thinking of my dad lately.
When he first died, it was hard to think on him. Age and illness had stolen the fun man he was.
I loved him so. It was so hard to see him elderly and bitter.
Elderly and jolly is easy. Like a sleeping pill chased by a sip of Chardonnay.
Elderly and bitter is hard. Like slamming your head with a granite stone. Repeatedly.
I should treasure these last years with him but . . . he is so miserable. It’s making me miserable because I can’t fix it.
No. I couldn’t fix him.
Age eroded his youth and he was bitter. I got it. But spending time with him was like drinking chalk before CAT scan. It was good for me, the dutiful daughter but dear God why was it so hard to see a parent crumble away?
I was so weak. A little girl denying that her father had turned feeble and so very vulnerable.
For the first time since his death, I am yearning for my father. For the young, strong, stubborn, love with passion the-best-he-could man he was.
The buzz cut of the 60s and 70s. The pipe. The man who loved to body surf.
His dry wit.
And his pride.
It was his pride that made him bitter. Age and illness stole the strong man.
And time is a thief that never returns its bounty.
I am so much like my father.
This day my soul has been covered by the salty murk and healing begins.
But when wounds mend, a jagged scar remains.
Hi ho –
Sitting here on a cloudy with rain threatening day at the beach.
I should be out exercising but I’m sitting here, looking at the water, pecking away at my loyal laptop.
Thinking about dear Lizzi who had a rough Mother’s Day in the UK. I remember those Mother’s Days. Infertility is a bitch. And those who know me, know that I don’t use that word lightly.
I HATE that word.
But as much as I hate that word in its derogatory, flippant put-down way I hate infertility more.
So much more.
I hate the pain that it cause me. I hate it and the stabby-in-the-flesh pain it internally causes other women.
But even in the midst of great, disconnected pain, there are things to be thankful for. Many things in my life, so there for . . .
Ten Things of Thankful this week.
10. I’m sitting here on a cloudy, rain-threatening day at the beach. My favorite place in the world.
I asked hubby last night, if looking out at a perfect view of the mountains would be the same as training your eyes on a nothing but a horizon filled with water and sky. We both agreed, for us, water trumps mountains.
9. Sun is in forecast for tomorrow.
:), :), :).
8. Children. And parents.
Children who hear the siren’s call of a pool even in cool, damp weather. Florescent goggles, florescent noodles and florescent laughter. And the moms, dads and significant others (baby sisters, jolly aunts and grandparents) who will sit bundled in a towel watching over them like a mother osprey.
Though that is quite the silly simile because a dang osprey would notice nothing wrong with sitting in the damp, cold with scratchy twigs under her beautiful feathered bum while watching her kiddies.
I just love ospreys, and eagles in general. So that forced metaphor will stay.
7. Peas as snacks. Have you tried these things????
I am a carboholic as in crackers and pretzels and rolls lathered with a winter’s coat worth of butter. So I’m trying to break my cracker habit and I found these peas.
These peas are soooo good,
6. Our new drapes in our bedroom. I love them when they are open.
5. I love them when they are closed. Thanks to the talented hand and eye of Jessica Anderson.
I know, I know. They make our bed linens look like a crumpled bag on the side of the road but that’s a good problem to have. Or an easy fix anyway.
4. My students.
3. Yes, I said my students.
2. I been leading a class on poetry at the local alternative school.
1. It’s been wonderful. At a time I’ve needed wonderful. I’ll report later.
But being with these young minds and encouraging them to express emotions through the written word has awakened a poet on the inside of this body. Here’s something I came up with on a night I crept to my computer when sleep wouldn’t come.
Daffodils on the window sill.
So yellow. So hopeful.
Calling. Look at me. I’m here again. Another spring has sprung.
Another chance at life.
But has it?
The wind brings in a raging cold. Slaps your face like a tired mother whose children keep her up all night. Well the night that she has between her three jobs. Dare she slap at them? Her children? Her life?
I don’t have three jobs.
I have a war raging.
It is exhausting to beat yourself up – day and night. Day and night.
You would think with all this fighting, and I’d be tired.
Then I sleep not. I drag myself from the bed each morning to see daffodils fade away.
Her post If you could sleep with anyone in the world?
got me to thinking.
It was part of Silly on Sundays link up — so I’ll play along.
My answer to her question was I would like to sleep with my maternal grandmother, mother and sister — all of us at age 25.
Of course this sleepover would be held in 1930s Georgia. When it was cool enough to sleep comfortable — cause there would be NO air conditioning or central heat.
We’d all be piled together in our respective time-period jammies. All in a great big feather bed as John Denver sang about long before I was 25.
Here’s the tricky part. I’d be 25 — but have my 50 year old brain. I know, I know. Not really fair, but this is my show and that’s the way it would have to be for maximum fantasy enjoyment.
If I was just my 25-year-old self, I’d never appreciate the fullness of seeing my mom at 25. A year after she lost her first husband. Four years before he met my dad.
Come to think of it, that would be really odd for my mom. My sister and I would be daughters from a man she wouldn’t even know at the time?
This is exactly why I could never write SciFi.
But of course that is not the point. The adrift soul in me would just like to laugh and giggle with the ladies in my crew. And why not throw my 13 year old daughter Hannah Kate in the mix.
She’d be there at 25. Now that would be enlightening.
I’d love to see that we all were equally clueless, picking our way through life. How we felt we had already lived so much of life, but in reality we were just starting out.
For this to be a truly silly post, I’d photo shop a pic of all of us in bed in our 25-year-old prime. Can’t do that but maybe this is what we’d be wearing?
Figured my grandmother would have been 25 in the 1920s. We’ll have her as Carol Lombard.
Me mum would have been 25 in the 1940s.
My sister and I would have been 25 in the late 80s/1990.
I’d laze around all night holding my top cinched up on my hip like the gal in the slippers.
I’d introduce my homies to all the wonderful sleepover food that has been invented since 1930. That means a microwave and refrigerator would have to make the trip with us.
And so ends my first and last attempt to write anytime remotely to do with time travel.
Tell me something silly this Sunday.
Silly on Sunday link up with Susan.
Last summer I stepped into my sixth decade.
Now just to clarify. That means I turned 50 — not 60. If you are 60, please don’t read anything into that clarification.
I’ve lived in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and the 2000s.
Finish the Sentence Friday prompt: My favorite decade was . . .
Let’s do this analytically.
The Sixties. Born in 1963.
Highlights: Learned my ABCs. Learned to read with Dick and Jane in Mrs. Anabelle’s class at Audubon Elementary. Mom made me get up in middle of night to see Neil Armstrong make “one small step for man — one giant leap for Mankind.” Mom packed a lunch in a cooler and we stopped for picnics at rest areas on trips.
Fast food drive thrus.
Lowlights: Remember nightly body counts from Vietnam on Walter Cronkite. In first grade, Tracy B. throwing up on his coat beside me during nap time. His vomit was yellow — as in daffodil yellow. I was terrified that something was dreadfully wrong with him.
Highlights: Friday nights, The Brady Bunch, Partridge Family. Kool & the Gang. The Jackson 5. Saturday morning cartoons. Sunday afternoons listening to Casey Kasem Top 40 Countdown on AM station WAPE from Jacksonville lying on a towel, gritty sand underneath — on the beach at New Smyrna. David Cassidy (see Partridge Family.) Disco. The Saturday Night Fever album. Mom wouldn’t let me see the movie. SNL. Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner. The Eagles — Life in the Fast Lane. Hotel California.
Riding in Dad’s Estate Wagon to get ice cream at Dairy Bell on a summer night. Remember eating at McDonald’s for first time after Brownies meeting.
Lowlights: Seventh grade. Dorothy Hamill haircut. Crushes on boys that didn’t know I was alive — or if they knew I existed, my brand was freakishly tall, quiet one.
Highlights: Blondie. The Wall. Graduation from high school in 1981. SMU 1981 – 1985. Emory Law School. Met my Johnny. Got hitched in 1988. Perms. Dude Looks Like a Lady. Emmitt Smith: the only highlight of the entire decade for UF football. Until December 31, 1989, when the University of Florida announced that Steve Spurrier had accepted the offer to be the head football coach. Big hair, even bigger earrings.
Lowlights: Lawrence Taylor-esque shoulder pads. Blue eye shadow.
Highlights: Our Jake was born in 1993. After that — the next five years are a blur. Move from in-town Atlanta, Georgia to Madison on May 14, 1999. Forrest Gump. “Life is like a box of chocolates.”
Lowlights: Infertility. After our son was born, the 90s were all about trying to get pregnant again.
The New Millennium.
Highlights: Adoption of Hannie in 2001. Adoption of Joe in 2003. Midlife Crisis, triathlon phase. Writing my column. Discovering I could put words out in the universe and people read them. And responded.
Lowlights: ???. I was too busy I guess. Can’t think of anything.
Highlights: It’s complicated.
Lowlights: It’s complicated.
Starting my sixth decade I’m trying to figure things out again. Never at a point in my life — well, since adolescence — have I felt so adrift. But hopeful I will moor somewhere. Sometime. Sooner than later.
After paging through the annals of my mind, I have to say my favorite decade was . . . the SEVENTIES.
But honestly, I hope the best is yet to come. I just haven’t figured out how or what yet.
Stay tuned . . .
What about you? Your favorite decade?
Here’s my view.
I’m sitting outside waiting on my child.
He’s at an appointment and I wasn’t about to spend the time in a dark waiting room looking out the window like a cat staring at the birds pecking at sparkles in the asphalt.
No. It occurred to me that I’m not a cat trapped inside only to experience fresh air and sunshine at someone’s whim.
So here I am seated on the curb typing on my phone. What I’d really like to do is spread out my sweat shirt and lay on down and take a nap.
I’m not that brave. If I was 20 I’d do it before you could say “Happy Hour” or “Spring Break” or both.
If I pull my cap down over my face, do you think anyone would notice?
Maybe it’s a generational thing.
Maybe those of us born before the Beatles landed or Woodstock or Vietnam still have our mother’s voice whirring in our head. Just to set the record straight, I was only seven months old when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan.
Those of us at the tippy end of the Boomer Generation hear . . .”Don’t make waves.”
“For heavens sake Jamie, have coffees for your friends not fundraisers for Free Crimea.”
No. There’s not much screaming about passions around here. At least that I’d let on.
So this Finish the Sentence Friday prompt: “What I really want to scream out loud is…”
Presents a bit of a poser for me.
For most things I want to SCREAM out loud, I squish down deep in a itty, bitty ball.
And then go slog through 5 miles.
But appearances aside, I’m a gaming sort, so here goes.
What I really want to scream out loud is . . . .
My safe “Have coffees and not fundraisers for Greenpeace” answers:
“Is it too much to ask for ya’ll to put down the toilet seat?!”
“Could somebody PLEASE walk the dog, he’s standing crossed legged by the door.”
“Why on earth do ya’ll keep putting food incrusted dishes on the non-disposal side of the sink?”
Yes. It’s better to play it safe. By being diplomatic, you never run with risk of being misunderstood. Being thought a b*tch. Or heaven forbid in the South, The Scarlett Letter embroidered on the bib of a Southern Lady who spoke without thought of repercussion
~ being thought unChristian.
What I want to shout is . . .
I WANT TO SCREAM and not worry about the wreckage it might cause.
But I’ll leave that for another day.
Or as Emily Litella most eloquently used to say,
What say you?
What do you want to scream?
It’s so easy to commit to things. Follow-through is another thing entirely.
For me anyway.
In one of my “I’m old and this hurts” outbursts to my lovely, amazing trainer, she told me to google the World’s Oldest Competitive Bodybuilder. Her name is Ernestine Shepherd.
She is 75.
No peoples. This is for real.
She is awesome personified. So after watching several YouTube stories on her — and how she gets up at 3 a.m. gets her spiritual food, then runs 10 miles a day, teaches fitness classes. Works out with her trainer, a former Mr. Universe.
Well, I decided to go for it.
Tanning creams and oils and string bikinis here I come. I signed up for the Gold’s Gym Invitational for Those Who Have Lost Their Body and Mind.
I hopped over to the Chick-Fil-A run site and signed up for their inaugural half marathon in Athens, Georgia the first Saturday in April. I’ve stayed away from running half marathons in Athens because like Rome, this Athens was built on seven times seventy hills.
But after reading about the amazing Mrs. Shepherd, I thought why not?
Yes, it’s so easy to sign up for these things and then you’ve got to squeeze in some training time. Today I got out and ran seven miles.
I used to do that no problem but now I get kind of bored out there by myself.
I do try to put the time to good use. To think about book ideas, plan the rest of my day. Plan the rest of my life.
This is when I usually tune out and think how the heck am I going to keep running for four more miles.
There is no doubt mastering the mind is key to mastering anything you wish to accomplish.
~ ~ ~
I started this post the other day.
I’m due to go out and run another seven in a few minutes. As I look outside — it’s gray, windy and cold.
My mind is thinking cold, tight muscles and sore joints.
One of my favorite scriptures is Ecclesiastes 11:4:
He who observes the wind will not sow,
and he who regards the clouds will not reap,
Or run 7 miles.
If we wait for everything to be perfect — there will be a lot of waiting.
A lot of doing nothing.
Enough contemplation for me.
I got to go put on some layers.
God has a sense of humor.
It is now raining.
I saw the rain and did not run.
I did not sow today. Will I reap on April 5, the date of race?
Heck no, if it’s cold and raining.