Monday, July 21, 2014

you can go your own way

I always remember my mother running.  Before I was born, she ran in road races almost every Sunday, and on days where she was grumpy or impatient she'd tell us it was because she hadn't gotten her miles in that morning.  She always had a stack of Saucony boxes in her closet because she needed a new pair every six months, so she stocked up when they were on sale at Big 5.

I tried to run track in middle school, but I was painfully slow and preferred my horseback time to my track time.  Then, the winter after Joony was born, I started legging up for a February 10K in Phoenix. I ran that thing so dang slow, but I finished, and then promptly stopped running again.  It's disappointing how fast I lose my lung and leg strength--even a week off kills my mojo. So I didn't run for almost 18 months after that race, and whenever someone asked me about it I was all, "Oh, running sucks. It's just not for me. Blaaaaah running I hate it." Then one day I just hopped on the treadmill and I ran a little bit (actually, a lot a bit--4.5 miles!).  I've kept at it, and some days I even enjoy it!  I set a goal for myself since signing up for a race is such a motivator. Plus, in Phoenix, running past cheering crowds and being around a supportive community of runners was such a blast. I loved it.
Sidebar about the running community--it is so cool how supportive everyone is. I'm sure there are snooty people who want to know your mile times and stuff, but for the most part everyone's just excited to have other runners out on the road with them.  I think that's really neat.  Sometimes I high five other runners when we're on a steep hill, and like 85% of the time, I get a smile every time.
This is from when we drove up to Ashton and checked out the course for the race! So pretty, right?

I'm planning on running the Mesa Falls Half Marathon at the end of August.  My mile times are so slow that maybe you would think I'm walking, not huffing and puffing my asthmatic way through it?  But I'm covering my distances, I'm getting stronger, loving it.  Everyone that I've mentioned the Mesa Falls Half to says it's got a nasty uphill climb, and sure enough, the website says miles 4-6 are killer. I've been training on our town's steepest hill (W 7th up to the temple if you're local!) and nothing feels better than getting to the top of that beast and looking back down at the climb I just did.  I texted my mom the other day for a shameless pat on the back request and she said, "Doesn't if feel so good to do something you thought only tough people could do?"  That's exactly how it feels.
I blogged about running stuff I use and love, although these days I'm mostly just all about my Wal Mart shorty shorts and this app that tracks me via GPS and tells me how far and how fast I ran (plus, it gives me little medals when I PR and I like that). Also my fanny pack and that is not a joke, I run with an orange fanny pack.  Wednesday is my 7 mile run this week! Wish me luck.  And then get out and join me on the road!  Also tell me what songs you're working out to, my playlist right now is maybe 45 minutes long and I'm starting to get tired of those songs.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

if you can dig it

Here's some crap I'm totally digging right now.

Three favorite social medias:
++ Eliza and I became pen pals on a blog pen pal match up a year or two ago, and now we send Christmas packages and text message and snap chat and, well, she's just the coolest (also, her and her husband are probably the cutest couple alive. Well, tied. They're tied with Jim and Pam).
++ Meredith's outfit/thrifting/book club Instagram.  Probably the only blogger who wears clothes I can afford? Then also she looks classy and colorful and amazingly bleach blondy and she's so funny. #girlcrush
++ Aidy Bryant's Twitter. She's one of my SNL favorites. My favorite recent tweet: "My boyfriend farts so loud and sweats so much but he my angel." I laugh every time I read it.

Three favorite beauty products:
++ It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In. Full disclosure: I only pay like $10 for this because I have a membership at CosmoProf, which you can only shop at if you're a cosmetologist, and we used to own a hair salon. So I get crazy cheap product.  But I love this and it smells amazing.
++ After Party by Bed Head. They have this at Target, and when I let my hair air dry, it smooths the frizz so I don't look as rumpled terrifying.
++ Twinkle Eyebrow Razors. I barely use these for my eyebrows. I use them for the rest of my face, and if you think that's gross then you're in denial because we all have facial hair and even though mine is blonde I still want it gone.

Three favorite songs I run to:
++Edge of Glory, Lady Gaga. I turn it on when I'm feeling like puking, visualize the final stretch of my half marathon (David drove me to Ashton on Sunday so I could actually see where I'll finish!), and get some adrenaline going.
++Really Don't Care, Demi Lovato. I'm very Top 40 with workout tunes. It has to be peppy or I just can't.
++Pumping Blood, NONONO. "It's your heart, it's alive, it's pumping blood." Gets me all jazzed.
**Suggestions more than welcome here. I always need good music, especially now that my runs are getting longer**
Workout selfie! Burns more calories!

Three favorite books:
++The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman.  I'm about halfway in and it's pretty good so far!
++MOTHERs by Rachel Zucker.  Just the review of this in the New Yorker was so good I ripped it out to save. Being  mom is a complex and beautiful and frustrating thing and I love when women write about it well.
++Family Life by Akhil Sharma. This is actually on my to-read list.  David Sedaris recommended it and read us an excerpt and it was really good.

Three favorite summer snacks:
++ Cupbop, which Shpitty and I call Yobagoya, which is so good.
++ Protein milkshake: a sliced/frozen banana, a cup of vanilla almond milk, a pinch of cocoa powder, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a shake of PB2 (or just peanut/almond butter), and a couple cashews. Maybe ice if you're feeling it. Chocolate peanut butter protein milkshake, BOOM, it hits the spot after a run.
++This sugar cookie recipe. I made them right before we had company one night and each person ate like 6, and then they left and I still had maybe a dozen? So I ate those, too. So good your head will fall off.

Three favorite tops online:
++ I actually did buy this feminist tee shirt, because it's true and it's cute, and now I'm obsessively tracking the shipping because I can't wait to wear it.
++ $8 baseball tees at F21. Are baseball tees still cool? I want one in every color.  Mostly the green/grey.
++This gorgeous rash guard at Albion Fit. We're going to Florida next month and I sunburn in mere minutes, so having this at the beach would be a fantastic peace of mind. But $70 is like, ha, only in my dreams.

**No affiliate links were harmed in the making of this post (I mean used, I just linked straight to Amazon. No kickbacks fo me).

Saturday, July 5, 2014

bits & bobs

Just a few things:
+ I started running again.  I haven't run a step since my 10K in February 2013, and then a few weeks ago, I just...hopped on the treadmill.  I've spent the last 16 months being like, "I just don't enjoy running. I hate it.  I liked running my race and it was good that I did it, but I'm not a runner."  And then I started running, and what the eff, Brandilyn?  Am I loving running?  Well, ok, yes. I am.  Maybe I'm gearing up for a half marathon at the end of the summer, I JUST DON'T KNOW ANYMORE.  Anyways, this plan has been a game changer.  I've adapted it to speeds and running/walking ratios that feel good to me, but it was a most helpful jumping off point.

+ My mom has an uncanny ability to remember phone numbers--our childhood orthodontist, a neighbor from 10 years ago, she knows their numbers. I never though I had a brain for that kind of thing until the other day when I made cupcakes, Meg asked what was in them, and I rattled off the ingredients no problem!  I have a brain for memorizing recipes, and thank the baking heavens for that.
+ Speaking of uncanny abilities, Clark got David's incredible sense of direction.  When we drive around town, he knows exactly where we are--he points out every train track ("Nain!"), the Cocoa Bean ("gop-cayyke"), both parks in town ("Pock!"), the store that has a rack of Hot Wheels ("Cars! Mom!"), and of course, our house ("Marmen!" that's Carmen, because he knows she'll be waiting for us). Little backseat GPS.

+ We're cracking down on the budget over here. Big time. It's simultaneously no fun at all and a really great challenge.  The GoodBudget app has been so helpful--we make envelopes for each type of budget (groceries, gas, diapers, fun money, etc) and log each purchase. Kaboom responsible adulthood.

+ I took this picture of Carm and can't stop looking at it.  It's a framer.  I probably made Hailey admire it 4 or 5 times last weekend, she's just the prettiest pooch that ever lived.
Also, she's all dewey because we got these expensive tennis balls.  They're like $5 apiece. We used to get the cheap ones, but she'd chew through them and lose them and I was replacing them every 2 or 3 days.  So I found these bright tennis balls that she can't chew through, and they're fantastic...except for when she loses them in the grass.  Since they're so expensive, I make her dig around with me until we find them.  This beautifully lit morning was after a big rain, so she we got all wet while searching. Wow, great tennis ball story, Brandilyn.

+ Does anyone reading here live in Rexburg? This place called the Soda Vine just opened and I'm all over that place. They make fancy sodas, like my Dr. Pepper with coconut and fresh limes, plus they have these ridiculous sugar cookies (I guess they're the same as some place called Swig in UT?) that I have eaten a shameful number of. Shameful.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

minute by minute, that's how you win it

Tuesday can maybe go on the records as one of my toughest mental days ever.  I felt foggy and detached all day, sad and hopeless for no reason at all.  Sometimes I would think an hour had passed, and then realize it had only been a few minutes, and sometimes it was vice versa.  The only thing that stands out from that day is seeing how happy Joon was all day and feeling profoundly guilty that I wasn't appreciating every second of it.  Just an odd day all around.  I did get to grab a quick lunch with Shpitty and banter on a group text with some smarty pants funny ladies I know, so that felt really lucky.

Somewhere in the middle of the day, I had this idea that I was going to pull myself out of my haze and then write an inspirational blog post about how I lit a fancy candle, and played cars with my little boy, and tidied my kitchen, and then...none of that stuff worked.  I felt like I was going through the motions and nothing was penetrating the surface (Fat Amy: "Not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate!").  I'm writing this post to say that even though I can say that I'm learning how to manage depression, and I can write inspirational posts about 10 things that make me happy, some days also still knock me on my butt.  I'm sorry if you're reading this and having a day (or week, month, year) that's knocking you on yours.

Anyways, here are some of the pictures I took on Tuesday!  Now that I'm looking back at them, they do make me happy.  There is always good around me and I'm grateful for my little tribe of people, loving me even when I'm a gloomy sad sack.
 favorite candle
 favorite kid
 favorite jeans
favorite pup

Monday, June 30, 2014

Shpedaris: David Sedaris Weekend!

I have to do a post obsessing about meeting David Sedaris.  I just have to.  It's mostly for memory's sake, because the whole experience was so sweet that forgetting it would be a crime.  I remember looking up his tour schedule when I was 15 and trying to go but my mom wouldn't let me drive into the city (San Francisco)  by myself and no one else knew who David Sedaris was and I was so upset about it.  Then he came to Salt Lake a few years ago, but tickets were in the $250 range and I just couldn't get away from the store or spare that kind of money, so I missed it again. Him coming to Butte, and on a weekend when David and Meg could be home with Joony, and it all being free?  It felt serendipitous.  I'd waited 10 years for this!
Did we make t-shirts? Yes we did.

Hailey and I drove up to Butte, Montana on Saturday with sushi, cookies, fancy sodas, and good conversation for the 3.5 hour road trip.  Butte was...scary.  85% of the town is dilapidated and vacant and we speculated that it would be the perfect place for a coven of witches or gypsies to dwell...or maybe just a meth lab, actually.  Sketchy, spooky, scary (Spooky, scary! Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves!).  We spent Saturday night eating pizza and watching Netflix in bed, on sheets and a comforter that we brought ourselves since the motel we stayed at was maybe a little bit scary and very cold, too. That's what you get for $70/night, right?  I think we went to bed before 10:00. Party animals.

The book store where the signing was held also felt run down and so, so random for a literary superstar like David Sedaris to be visiting.  I'd never been to a Hastings before and it was basically a Barnes & Noble meets Spencer's. The signing was scheduled for 2:00, and we got there at 11:30 after a Starbucks run.  The area for the reading was empty, so we snagged two seats in the front row directly in front of the podium. One other couple showed up right after us, and a few more people around 12:30, and it was a ton of fun to chat about our favorite author and laugh about how excited we all were.  For the most part, the crowds didn't start coming until right at 2 or even after (WHO shows up late for David Sedaris? Come on!).  When they started crowing the front of the area we were kind of like, ", we've been here for 2.5 hours, no way are you pushing in front of us."  David's plane into Helena was late, so he didn't get there until 2:30 or so, and by that time the whole store was packed...with us in the very front row!

He read us a new story he's working on, which joked about how Americans overuse the word "awesome," and then one of the Forensics monologues from the new book.  He also read a couple very short diary entries with some great jokes and little snippets from his life in England and on book and lecture tours.  He opened the floor for a couple questions, and it was so neat to hear his answers.  One person asked about hurting people's feelings by writing about them.  Another asked about how funny he is, which he attributes to coming from a large family and competing for his mother's laughter, which was so poignant and sweet.

When it was time for the signing, I was the first one at the table!  I had my copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day, my hardback of Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls as well as a paperback copy, since that's what he was on tour promoting.  I also brought this week's issue of the New Yorker, which I got in the mail the day before I left for Butte and had his essay Stepping Out in it!  He was so gracious and signed all of them and we got to chat for a few minutes.  My hands and voice were shaking, I was so nervous!  A Hastings employee had passed out post-its to write our names on so he could spell them correctly when signing, and he commented that I had nice handwriting and that he liked the name Brandilyn (!). I had bought the paperback copy of Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, and in that one, he wrote:
...So I mean, we're best friends now, right?

While we were hanging out waiting for the reading to begin, a man walked up and started chatting with Hailey about David Sedaris (I was off picking out a book about trains for Joon).  He said, "Yeah, I'm really interested in David Sedaris.  He's got that weird voice.  I'm not gay, but I'm so interested in people with disabilities like that getting all educated and stuff!" All jaws in the room dropped at that.  Just ridiculous.  When Hailey had her books signed, she told David that story, and he laughed and then pulled out his little notebook and made a note about it! He signed her book, "From your handicapped friend, David Sedaris," and then "I'm a sofa king we taught it," on another. Perfect.

When we got into the car after it all happened, Hailey and I just kind of stared at each other for a second, and then I burst into tears.  It was all just too much!  It had been so much better than I ever even imagined it would be, and yes, I'd spent time imagining what it would be like to meet David Sedaris.  He was so funny and so gracious, even though his tour schedule must be exhausting.

So I'm back home now, with a couple signed copies of my favorite books and a signed New Yorker to frame, and I think I'm done freaking out about the whole least online.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

two hands, one beating heart

loafers: c/o Wanted Shoes, pants: Target; blouse: H&M stolen from Meg's closet

In an effort to move some negativity down the page...
1. Rain on a day when my allergies have been, like...whoa bad.
2. My dog rolling around the living room with her tongue hanging out, and then chasing a laser pointer, and then tracking a pesky fly. Goofdog.
3. Joony pointing at an old (skinnier, longer haired) photo of me and saying, "Mama! Hi!"
4. Baking. I love baking so, so much. On my current to-bake list: Blackberry Chocolate Cupcakes.
5. I turned 25 last week! David got me a laptop for my online teaching/MFA endeavors and his confidence in me made me cry.  Megs and Martha and Liz got me the swimsuit of my dreams and my sister took me for a massage and my parents sent me a package filled with Moleskine notebooks, a new book, and a salt and pepper shaker for my collection.  Shpitty bought this print for my house. Dave's parents sent patio furniture so I can sit outside and read and watch my dog play.  I don't want to make my birthday about materialistic things, but I was just so touched by how much thought went into gifts I appreciate so much.
6. Improv.
7. Being under budget on my week of groceries and able to splurge on a little sushi for lunch.
8. Digging through Megan's closet...see: that shirt above, worn to my birthday dinner, stolen from her closet.
9. Also seen above! Hot pink lips.
10. Less than two weeks until I am Montana-bound to meet David Sedaris. I've been dreaming about this for over 10 years now, I can't believe it's almost real.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

i stretched my hands out to the sky

Last week really knocked me on my butt.  I've been counting down to my sister and niece visiting for a few months, had planned all these really fun activities and imagined the cousins giggling and playing while us sisters chatted and cooked, you know...the sister visit dream.  The second day they were here, though, Joony came down with a nasty fever that just never broke.  Three visits to the doctor (and three co-pays, oh my gosh, make it stop) unveiled, one at a time, double ear infections and early stage pneumonia and nasty infected tonsils.  It will be no surprise to you when I say my kid was miserable.  Couldn't sleep, nothing made him happy, wanted to be cuddled by mom and only mom for a week solid.  The week my sister and nieceypoo were here.  I felt so guilty trying to juggle a distraught baby and company, despite Danielle being 100% gracious and understanding about the whole situation.  I will note, selfishly, that my birthday was right in the middle of the week.  Joony had the flu over Mother's Day and this conglomeration of maladies over my birthday so okay, yeah, I pouted a little...although an afternoon massage with Danielle and a late night dinner out with David helped considerably. I'm not saying the whole visit sucked, of course it didn't--it was wonderful, in fact!--it just left me feeling like what just happened? once it was over and Joon started feeling like himself again.

A whole separate issue this week was the one I addressed in my last post.  Maybe I'm too tired to even write tactfully or gracefully about this, but it's feeling like leaving the LDS church is becoming the trendy thing to do.  I get it, it's not for everyone.  A majority of the people I love most in this world aren't LDS, so it's not like I'm freaking out because omg-we-can't-friends-anymore.  I just don't get the immediate need to start bashing a religion you were just immersed in--actually, doctrinal discussion I get. Big time.  I enjoy it!  But the bashing of people, that's what gets me.  I've been feeling bogged down and sad by it all, I guess that's what I'm saying.

Today is Sunday and I'm making goals and hitting the reset button for the next week.  Clark has perked up big time, it rained today, I scaled my Twitter time waaaay down, I'm planning and budgeting a week of great meals, all will be well in my universe.  See?  I'm not a Negative Nancy.  Not all the time, anyways.

I guess I'll end this post of complaints with this picture of the massive birthday feast my sister and I spent two days preparing--homemade bagel dogs and pretzels, deviled eggs, party punch, a cat cake, spinach dip, it was everything.  Oh, and one of those cute cousins at the splash pad in the few minutes they played happily!