Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Flying Solo



I try not to talk about relationship stuff on this blog—wouldn’t want anyone distracted from the poetry, recipes, running adventures, pop psychology, and occasional funny cat stories.  Ha.  But in the aftermath of my most recent breakup, I’ve noticed something.  I hate being single.  I know I’m a grown woman and we’re supposed to learn to love ourselves and be happy with all the other types of love in our lives.  We are supposed to pamper ourselves, enjoy the chance to do whatever we feel like doing, and be happy and fulfilled alone.  Mostly, I can do that.  I’m an introvert by nature so I’m fine with my own company and I do think I’m pretty awesome most days.  I’m often selfish, so I’m good at pampering myself and prefer to be in charge of my agenda.  I love my friends and my cats and they love me back.  I stay in touch with my family via phone calls and Facebook.  So why do I get all morose just because I don’t have some doofus texting me a couple of times a day to tell me what he had for breakfast or ask me what I want to do with the evening?  Why on earth do I feel such a strong need for attention from some male person?  Argh.  Even when I know what I should be doing and what I should have learned by now, there’s still that little voice that says “I need a sweetheart and I need him RIGHT NOW.”  That little voice must be ignored.  I will use my free time to get some crafty crap completed and text my friends a little more often and maybe plan a couple of girl’s nights to distract me.  And I absolutely will not pay attention to the hot ex-boyfriend who has gotten in touch with me because I try not to make the same mistake twice.

I also try not to talk too much about my cat.  There are plenty of reasons that I’m crazy—there’s no need for one more.  But do you remember how I said I was volunteering at the animal shelter?  Almost every time I volunteered, I’d fall in love with one of the cats.  The next week, that cat would be gone—adopted.  Eventually, that adoption streak had to end.  I noticed one cat who had been there longer than most of the others.  Bailey was sweet and liked to be petted, but always looked miserable and sick.  He crouched in the bottom of his bed as if someone were pressing down on him.  I told him that he’d have to sit up and look friendly in order to find a forever home. 

One day, I introduced my (now former) boyfriend to him and of course, he just had to find out the cat’s story.  (After I heard the story about Titan, who was found with a rope around his neck, I’d stopped asking.)  Turns out this little guy had been taken from a hoarder 2 years previously, when he was a kitten.  He had been there longer than any other cat.  He’d been part of a bonded pair and had been adopted out briefly when he was less than a year old.  The person returned him but refused to return his sister.  He was a staff favorite, but they knew he’d have to find the right household if he was going to have a real forever home.  Well.  I wanted to take him home before I heard the story.  After all that, I was determined.  He came home with me a couple of weeks later.

Had to brush my teeth in the kitchen that morning!


He lived in my teeny-tiny bathroom for a few days.  One morning, he was curled up in the sink so I figured he was ready for more exploring.  I let him into my craft room where he promptly disappeared, was found, disappeared again, got found again, then disappeared once more.  I rearranged the room to limit the hiding places and he got comfy in his bed under a clothes rack.  He explores the room late at night and has started coming out to see me when I stop in to pet him and feed him.  He’s still terribly nervous but finally beginning to show signs of relaxing.  It’s been amazing to watch and it makes me smile just to think about it.  In the last couple of days, he has begun to walk around the room a bit even when I am in there with him.  This gives me hope for his future.  Sure, he may never be gregarious, but he may come close to normal.  Bella hasn’t met him yet, but she knows he’s in there somewhere.  Let’s hope the little diva is as sanguine about him joining the household as Bailey and I have been.
Bailey up and walking around, even with a spectator!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Work It

Perhaps what I really need is a job where I work in Australia during their summer, then come back to the U.S. for our summer...  

It is my sun.  MINE! muahahahahahahahaha!

No more winter, no more S.A.D., lots more playing outside after dinner.  Sounds like a good gig, donchya think?!



Monday, January 27, 2014

Critters



First Bunch of Critters:  Viruses.  There is some sort of cold/flu virus going around our area.  The symptoms aren’t particularly horrible but it leaves you feeling completely exhausted.  I was sick for at least 2 weeks, home from work for one of those weeks, and I’m still feeling pretty wimpy.  It thawed enough on Sunday for me to at least try to do some trail running, but it was more of a hike interspersed with a bit of jogging.  Baby steps.  Yuck.

Second Bunch of Critters:  Brain Chemicals.  Part of being sick and exhausted was an inability to ignore my seasonal depression.  My favorite technique for dealing with SAD is to simply be completely unaware of the depression.  I cruise along like a blindfolded tightrope walker, getting things done in spite of the yawning abyss below.  “Don’t look down” is my motto from January until May.  However, any real drain on my energy (see First Bunch of Critters above) makes it tough to maintain my forward momentum.  I’ve had a few really unpleasant days lately, but at least I got a decent poem out of it:

Just Before the Dawn
Lying awake
With a mouthful of the unsaid.
No tears, just a grey heart
And a vague wish for sleep
In the deep charcoal
Of 0dark:30

Yeesh.  Hey, don’t let that get you down—it’s just the winter blues, okay?  C’mon Spring!!

Third Bunch of Critters:  Adoptable Dogs and Cats.  In December, I started volunteering at a local no-kill shelter.  I had to skip a couple of weekends because of the bleeping virus, but I’m back on track now.  So far, the cats I have most wished to adopt have been adopted by someone else.  Bella is always relieved to hear that bit of news.  Since she is “allergic” to dogs, I won’t even consider adopting any of them.  I managed to talk a couple of friends into walking dogs with me on Sundays, just to get the poor critters out of the kennels (and some of them need real help learning to walk on a leash).  It’s not always fun or convenient, but I love playing/cuddling/giving treats after the work is over.  Doing this distracts me from my own whining.  It’s so comforting to see the cats settling down to happy naps once the cages are clean and fresh or to watch a dog relax into the back seat of the car after a good walk in the woods.

In looking for a poem that I’ve always used as inspiration for getting out of my own head, I found this blog post.  Go read it—it’s pretty short so I’m sure you have time.  It includes the poem as well as a couple of very good ideas:


  • PTSD and depression can be tackled without medication, but not without reaching out to others...
  • Happiness always follows a good deed, if only for a moment, but that's how we live anyway--moment to moment one day at a time.


“Do something for somebody, quick!”



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wimp for Dinner



Last night, I had one of my nasty PMS headaches.  Since I’m an absolute wimp where medication is concerned, there is very little I can take for pain and still remain conscious.  You should have seen me battling the “low drowsiness” Dramamine this weekend.  Most likely I looked like a little kid trying to stay awake during naptime—dorky but determined.  To wander back to the point, I needed to make food but my head hurt too badly to do much cooking.  Luckily my mom had just sent a link to a blog post full of slow cooker recipe links.  Since I have recently discovered the awesomeness that is Cuban food and I had a chunk of beef in my fridge, I picked this recipe.  I didn’t have a bell pepper, so I rooted around in my canned goods until I found an acceptable substitute.  Here is my version of the recipe:

(Now Even Easier) Easy Slow Cooker Cuban Ropa Vieja

Beef chunk (approx 3 lbs, cut into 3-4 hunks, sprinkled all over with salt and black pepper)
1 yellow onion, chopped
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
10 oz can Rotel™ diced tomatoes with green chilies (mild)
2 tsp minced garlic from a jar
3 small bay leaves
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Add all ingredients except the beef to the slow cooker and stir to combine.  Place beef hunks on top and cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove beef to plate, allow to cool a bit then shred with forks.  Remove bay leaves and return beef to slow cooker.  Stir to combine beef with sauce.  Dig in and enjoy!  (Could be served with cauliflower rice or sweet potatoes.)


My apartment smelled completely amazing this morning, and I know that I will have a tasty dinner no matter what happens with this stupid headache.  I love recipes that are this easy to put together and turn out so yummy.  If you know of any others, put a link in the comments please!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Decided

No Magic 8 ball required, but Facebook did play a key role in the decision making process.  On Monday, I was still waffling about signing up for the series of trail races.  The group that puts these races together posted on their Facebook page that there were only a few spots left, even though the event isn't until January.  A little further down my news feed, I discovered that one of my original running buddies had signed up for a very cool program called IRUN4 that matches runners with disabled adults and children.  The runner dedicates workouts and races to their buddy/coach, and most of the communication happens through Facebook.  The pressure was on to make a decision, and a whole new reason to get back into races had presented itself.  When the universe lines things up that neatly, what else can one say but "why not?!"  I sent in my request to IR4 and my entry form for the race that very day.  I still haven't decided if I'll say anything to my running buddies, but there's always the Magic 8 ball for that.


(By the way, the first race in the series is a 10k, NOT a 5k.  I'll have to start training a little harder during the holiday season than I had previously planned.  Good thing I'm tough--ha!)



Friday, November 29, 2013

Holiday Haiku

On Thanksgiving, I went for a solo run.  And it was surprisingly solo--there were all of 3 other people on the walk/run/bike trail by the river that afternoon.  Plus one very fluffy cat, who inspired this little poem:

Particular cat
Carefully sits on a rock.
Sun warms but breeze chills.

I hope everyone had just exactly the sort of holiday they were hoping for!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Decisions, decisions



Wow, it’s been an awfully long time since I wrote anything.  If anyone is still out there, I’m in the midst of a quandary and could use some other perspectives.

A couple of months ago, I announced that I was through with races.  I ran a half marathon with someone and some comments were made that caused me to realize that I don’t want my running buddies to feel like they are being held back if they run with me, and I don’t really want people to have to stand around and wait for me to finish.  I decided that Slowpoke Sarah would rather be support crew at the races than feel like that again. 

However…

Most of my running buddies are not trail runners.  We have a wide range of asphalt trails in town and their training groups use those much of the time.  I’m perfectly happy to run in the woods by myself and they prefer to run with others.  There is a group in the area that puts together a series of trail races, starting with a 5k in January and ending with a marathon in June.  I have run a couple of their races in the past, and they have been fairly informal and fun but really tough.  I’m considering signing up for the whole series because there is a crazy part of me that wants to know if I can run a marathon.

Pros:
I can train on the marathon course every weekend if I want to.  I won’t have to worry about holding anyone back because I’ll usually be alone.  If I complete the series, I suspect I will feel like a badass tough girl, even if I don’t actually win anything.  I might make new friends whose running style is more like my own.

Cons:
I’ll usually be alone and by the end, there will be a lot of hours of training by myself.  I told all of my running buddies that I didn’t want to do races anymore.  I’m not sure I could actually run a whole marathon, especially one on a course that tough.  It will cost me at least $30 a month or more, plus the equipment costs (camelbak, heart rate monitor, shoes, bug spray).

What do you think I should do?  Run the distances on my own instead of doing the races and save the money?  Just go for it—spend the cash, get the cool race t-shirts and official timing, and not say too much about it to my running buddies (or go ahead and tell them because they’ve probably forgotten the “no races” thing)?  Skip it and be happy just knowing that I’ve already run a couple of half marathons?  Go for the beer, balloons, and cake (in other words, listen to the Blerch) because one race is in the woods in cold-as-hell-January and another one involves running up and down the side of a mountain repeatedly?  Run those races, hope to have an awesome time, enjoy the bragging rights of being that hardcore?

Advise me!  I’m starting to consider asking the Magic 8 Ball!