Making a splash

I’m exhausted.  Mentally and physically exhausted.

Of all the contributors to this exhaustion, the lack of refreshing and uninterrupted sleep is the main culprit…and it hit a new low point the other night.

For the past two months, I have been waking up at night with intense, shooting pain in the middle of my back.  Some nights the pain is so extreme that it locks up my rib cage and makes it hard to breathe.

I can’t get comfortable.  I can’t stop the pain.  I can’t get a good night’s sleep.

I move positions.  I try heat.  I try stretching.  I try anything.

But the pain continues.

For the last two months, I haven’t had a full, refreshing, and uninterrupted night’s sleep.

One of the outcomes if this lack of sleep is I feel perpetually exhausted.  My body has begun to revolt by shutting down and dozing off at the most inopportune times.

I’m sitting in a parking lot waiting for my kid after practice.  My head bobs forward.

In the stands at my kid’s baseball game.  I drift off between pitches.

And then this…

The other night I laid down in bed to finish watching a show before going to sleep.  I reached over and grabbed a glass of water off my nightstand.  Then,

SPLASH!

In the time it took to turn and lean back on my pillow, I fell asleep and spilled a full glass of water in my lap and on my mattress….of course I did.

Exhausted and soaking wet.

Oh well, it’s not like I was going to sleep well anyway….

 

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Some people’s children

As I try to make my way through each day of my existence, I am reminded, almost daily, at the gall of some people.  I’m sure you’ve seen it.  Grown adults behaving badly.  Committing acts they would put their own children in timeout for, but somehow, they’ve justified in their own minds that their bad behavior is ok, using their own excuses and wrong logic to proclaim their bad behavior as ok.  These are also the same people who, when witnessing other people complete the exact same acts, will immediately cry foul, asking for blood, regardless of that person’s reasoning.

It’s funny how reasoning and excuses are ok when they come from one side of this person’s mouth, but they are offended by the same display when the coin flips.

Sometimes the acts are minor.

How dare that person cut me off in traffic, but when, “I’m late for work, it’s ok.  I mean, really.  No one got hurt, so whats the harm.”

Two Black Friday shoppers going for the same item.  One grabs it out of the other’s hands.  The winner is justified, “They should have fought harder, been quicker.”  The loser is offended, “What terrible manners.  How rude.”

The place where it’s most saddening to me is with words.  Deep, cutting, hurtful words flung from one mouth into the life of another, sometimes with the only purpose of cutting down the receiver.  At first, one would witness a lot of these verbal assaults anonymously, online, where one can cowardly hide, hurt, and not have to face their attackee.

Then it moved to opening assaulting others, sometimes ones that they claim to be hold as friends or loved ones.  Mean posts online, rude comments or tweets.  The really sick ones are held under the guise of TBH.  What a horrible thing our young people have created with this trend.  Opening inviting comments from people only to be the receiver of mean, hurtful, ‘honest’ attacks.  We’ve taught a generation to think it’s ok to be cruel and spiteful, as long as you can justify it with ‘just being honest.’

Now the meanness seems to have infected our culture to the core, so much that people will openly abuse others, face-to-face, justifying and excusing themselves with every breath along the way.  Things being said directly to people you claim to love or care for, that you wouldn’t dare utter to others, but you believe you have the right to say because you are so in the right.  Just because you’re related or have known them forever, makes some people believe they can spew vile comments without ramifications.  “What?  They needed to hear that.”  “I’m just saying.”  “It’s not my problem if they can’t handle the truth.”

I’m just so sick of these self-justified bullies spraying all those in their paths.  What gives you the power to believe that your so-called ‘truth’ is 1) wanted or 2) anywhere close to the truth in someone’s life.  If I’ve learned anything in my years on this planet, it’s that there are at least two sides to every story and sometimes can be as many as four or five.  Plus, your unasked for and unnecessary additive is not only unjustified, but mean and hurtful and damaging.

So damaging.

Isn’t it enough?  Aren’t we all hurt and struggling enough?  Don’t we all say enough damaging things inside our own heads that we don’t need others to pile on the fight?

Can the tearing down of those around us please stop?  Can we all agree to that this wasted energy and, instead, put this energy back on ourselves, fixing our own houses or, better yet, using to benefit society as a whole?

I’m just saying….

Think before you Pink

It’s October, so you know what that means.  Everywhere you go, you will be faced with the opportunity to buy something pink.

Pink T-Shirts, Pink Shoelaces, Pink Hats…

Pink Coffee Mugs, Pink Ribbons, Pink Feather Boas…

Pink Medicine Bottle Caps, Pink Bagels, Pink NFL Players…

And it is because of all the success of this pink marketing, that I want to remind everyone to please think before they pink.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  As a woman who has breasts and a family history of cancer, I am all for the increased awareness of everyone in society to the realities of cancer.  I’m glad it’s finally a subject that is in the forefront of the minds of all people, no longer the word that is whispered at the dinner table.  Cancer fighters and survivors don’t have to hide in the back ground or be afraid to talk about their battles, their struggles, their downfalls, and their triumphs.

And, full disclosure, I’ve bought and still do buy pink items.  I’ve signed up for and completed Susan G. Komen races.

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I’ve been known to rock my killer pink Packers sweatshirt on game days.  Plus, those damn pink ribbon bagels are freakin’ delicious.  Can someone please tell me why Panera does not sell those year round?

What I’m talking about here are all those not so honest and reputable companies that pop up this time of year, slap pink on their products, and then use people’s emotions and sense of charity to line their own pockets.

Case in point.

I’m a Big Brother watcher.  I know, I know.  It’s a terrible show.  I’m aware many of the people who go on this show not only have a lot of attention-seeking, ‘I want to be famous’ issues, but also do so for self promotion.  But being a social worker, I enjoy that whole social experiment aspect of this train wreck.

The current season just ended and the “contestants” from this season have recently been released back into society.  Intent to suck as much from their 15 minutes of fame as possible, a number of them are charging full steam ahead to grab as many green backs as they can before the clock hits zero.  Some are selling T-Shirts, others getting paid to make ‘celebrity’ appearances, but this one just turns my stomach.

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Using a deadly and debilitating disease like breast cancer for your own personal financial benefit is disgusting.  Before you get all in an uproar with me about how he is doing something good, let’s run the numbers.  This person has 394,000 followers.  If every one of these followers buys a bracelet, that means he brings in $1,970,000.  Look back at the post.  He specifically mentions proceeds, which I read as, he will subtract any costs from the gross intake.  Let’s assume he could make these 394,000 bracelets for $50,000.  After he subtracts that from the gross intake, that leaves $1,920,000.  Twenty percent of this is $384,000.  That means after expenses and ‘donating’ to charity, this person takes home $1,536,000.  Makes you wonder who the purchasers are really donating to.

Now I will give his credit for putting the numbers out there for those of us who want to do the math to figure it out for ourselves, but the problem is, people are not crunching numbers this time of year, they are just buying based on emotions.

And that is what many ill-intentioned people are counting on.  When most of us see something pink, we assume that, by purchasing that item, we are going to be funding breast cancer research and fighting the good fight.  And, although legally these companies and individuals are not doing anything wrong, they are donating to cancer, I feel many are being morally evil, knowing many of us will blindly buy their pink products, sending less than we know to actual research and more than we wanted to their personal bank accounts.

And here’s where I will dedicate this post to my friend Carrie and her incredible family who have been fighting Cancer and winning for decades now.  She opened my eyes to this topic years ago and has had me reading the fine print ever since.

I’m not saying don’t make a purchase.

Buy the pink if you want to.

Sign up for that race.

Get that mammogram.

Make that donation.

Just think and research before you spend that money.

Make sure your pink purchase truly matters.

It’s a wonder my hair isn’t gray

As I typed that title, I realized that I probably just jinxed myself.  I better not have.  I have been able to go all my 39 years without having to break out the dye on this do…and I don’t want to have to start just yet.

Yes, you read correctly, I typed 39 years.  In my long (too long for me) absence from my blog, I have managed to get a year older and have hit that magically year when I realize that I actually am going to hit that yet-to-be-unmentioned decade soon and had better get my backside into gear if there is anything I want to do before I turn the big 4-0.

I don’t have a particular problem with turning 40, (Of course, I say this having only been 39 for 8 days…) but I’m realizing that putting things off until later is a less and less desirable idea.  That I’m getting closer to the backside of this ride and I can’t keep saying, “I’ll do that someday.”  I’ve also started to realize that I’m getting pretty tired of doing things for other people, things I don’t really want to do, things I have not desire to do.  I’m beginning to understand why people always say, “Don’t mind Grandma.  She has no filter!”  She has no filter because she’s sick and tired of your crap, she doesn’t care less what you think of her anymore, and she’s not going to waste on of the few 1,000 minutes she has left caring what you think.  She doesn’t have to.  Plus, she’s probably a lot happier now than she ever was before.

Which brings me to where I’ve been.  I’ve been here, in my home, doing my kid and mom thing.  I’ve thought about writing, but then I’ve always either lost my motivation or I’ve over thought what I wanted to write about and eventually talked myself out of writing all together.

And that’s where I’ve failed.

I started this blog as a way to just be creative and expressive.  I’ve never had a particular focus on purpose.  I wanted to freedom to write about whatever tripped my fancy, whenever I felt the mood hit me.  And I need to get back to that.

Not writing becomes it’s own worst enemy because you over think, over analyze, worry and stress.  Then days turn to weeks and nothing seems important enough to blog about OR if I told you what I really wanted to tell you about issues, I might offend people, so I said nothing.

Enter Grandma.

I’ve decided to channel her.  I’m going to write what I want, when I want, and screw it if it makes people uncomfortable at Thanksgiving dinner.

In order to kick off this new beginning, I toyed with the idea of deleting this whole blog and starting a new one.  But then I remembered, when you get that ill-conceived tattoo at an early age, you can un-tattoo it.  It still exists.  What you can do is take the ink, add to it, and create the new future for yourself going forward.  Plus, I still like a lot of my old stuff.

So I’m keeping it all as is.

Same blog.  Same title.

I’m still Kerry.

I’m still overly organized.

My life is still chaos at times.

I’m just hitting a reboot.  I hope you’ll stick around with me to see what my 39th year brings.

 

Curve balls

As it has with anyone, life has thrown me some curse balls along the way.  What I’ve learned about myself and others and the curve balls themselves has been really interesting.

You probably know by now that I’m a plan making and a list creating fool.  Sometimes I make lists for my plans and vis versa.  It’s a sickness really.  What I also know is the best way to make God laugh is to make a plan.  God is a master curve ball pitcher.  Plan to do X and he throws a perfect curve right into your strike zone.  Are you going to stand there and go down looking?  Or are you going to swing a way, take control of the curve, and make it your own?

I gave up a long time ago being mad about God’s curve balls.  I know there is something bigger than me in this universe and I believe I my purpose in life is to figure out, well, what that purpose is.  I don’t know everything.  I don’t have all the answers, but each day I set out on my mission to learn and grown and be a positive force in this world.  Set aside money for one thing, then another thing breaks that takes the funds. Plan an outing for the day and the car won’t start when it’s time to leave.  If I was thrown this type of curve ball, God was just letting me know that my plan wasn’t really his plan and I need to change my line up.  I can deal.

Sometimes I’ve, knowingly or unknowingly, thrown myself my own curve balls.  I forgot to have all my cylinders turned on.  I didn’t pay attention to details.  I knew something was wrong, but I did it anyway, ignoring my gut feelings and morals, forging ahead, believing I knew better.  I swung at a pitch above my head.  I put myself behind in the pitch count.  The only way out is hunker down and protect the plate.  I have to acknowledge my mistakes, accept that I was wrong, eat my crow, then apologize, ask for forgiveness, fix my mistakes and move forward.  Personally challenging at bats build character and humility.

It’s the last type of curve balls that I’m struggling with the most.  Those are the ones that others throw at you.  You have a course of action all in place and someone comes in and makes meaningless changes just to show they have some power or control.  Someone spouts off rude, mean, hurtful comments about another individual, then when caught makes up more lies to cover their tracks or tells you, you should turn the other cheek and let it go.  (Sorry I just made you sing that song.)  How come those who frequently stomp all over the morals and values of humanity, self-centeredly focused on getting their way, are the first ones to throw scripture at others about being loving, kind, and forgiving, but never once consider being remorseful, apologetic, or even owning up to their actions?  Yes, yes, I know. This curve ball is just another one like the others, and I have to flow with it just the same.  But this one’s a stinger.  This one’s a dead ball to the backside.  It stings.  The memory of it is vivid.  It leaves a nasty mark.

It changes you.  It changes your outlook.  It changes your feelings.  It changes your future decisions.

But afterwards, you get up, take your base and play ball.

Guess who’s back…

Hello ya’ll!

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been absent for about six weeks around these parts.  (What!  You didn’t notice!?!?!  In the word so Stephanie Tanner…How Rude!)

Well my absence wasn’t particularly planned, and I don’t really have a sellable excuse for it expect, I wasn’t feeling it.

I started this blog a few years ago, because, inside of me, lies this incessant need to write and express myself.  I needed an outlet for that and my personal journal was no longer cutting it.  I’m about to reveal something personal about myself that I don’t tell many people, but I have this dream to one day be a writer.  Because my degree has nothing to do with writing or English, I’ve always felt like a phony saying I wanted to write and be expressive.  So, I started this blog as a way to release those inner feelings.  I’ve purposely never given my blog a particular direction.  I didn’t want to pigeon-hole myself.  If I wanted to tell a funny story about my kids, then a self-deprecating tale about myself, followed by the raw emotions of my mom beating cancer, I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t.  And because of that, my blog because a miss-mash of ramblings from my life.

Then about six weeks ago, the ramblings stopped.  Like I said, I can’t pin point one particular thing that was blocking me.  If I could have, I probably could have broken through sooner.  There were the usually end-of-the-year blahs, holiday build up and let down blahs, cold winter day blahs, work stress blahs, identity theft blahs, adults acting like juveniles blahs, family health stress blahs, realizing I’ve entered the sandwich generation blahs, etc.  Over this time, I’ve had a number of ideas or issues pop up that tempted me to run for the keyboard, but, before I could motivate myself to open the Mac, the feeling dissipated and the blahs won out.

Maybe if I had a definite direction for my blog, I might have blown the dust off sooner.  Who knows.

I know that one thing that kept me away was ‘the pressure.’  The pressure of phrasing what I was thinking in a witty or thoughtful enough way.  The pressure of writing a post that others would enjoy.  The pressure of racking up likes and views.  The pressure of not saying something the wrong way and offending others.  Slowly, bit-by-bit, I let this imagined pressure limit me from saying anything at all….and I stopped writing completely.

Well no more.

From now on, for the new year, I’m going back to my roots.  I’m just going to write.  Whatever I feel, whenever the mood catches me.

We all have different opinions, beliefs, feelings, and ideas.  I can love you, care for you, respect you, accept you, tolerate you and value your opinion, but still not agree with you.  And that’s all ok.

Some might like it, some might not, and that’s ok as well.  I’m no longer concerned with how many likes I get or how many views I generate.  I just need to write again.  For my own personal sanity, I need to let all these emotions, feelings, and words out.

I won

Yesterday was a day I had been preparing for, for a number of months.

For fun, on random Saturdays and Sundays during the year, I get up out of my nice, warm, comfy bed before the crack of dawn to run 13.1 miles with a bunch of other weirdos.  Why do we do this you ask?  Do we all think we are going to win?  Hell no!  We do this to prove to ourselves we can push our bodies to the brink and our minds just a bit further….oh, and of coarse the added benefit of the hardware, bananas, and chocolate milk at the finish line!

I originally had all these grand plans for my 9th half marathon.  I have had a stressful spring and summer, haven’t felt much like running or training for anything.  When I committed to running this race, I felt like I was re-committing to myself and my health.  I set up a training plan with the best of intentions.  Then life continued to happen.

The stress from the spring and summer carried over into the beginning of the school year, never slowing down.  I think it actually started doubling its efforts to crush me in September.  My drive fizzled and my training runs tanked.  Oh, I still completed them, if you can really call it that, they were just terrible runs.

As the date on the calendar kept getting closer and closer, my expectations for success got lower and lower.

Then Friday hit.

It has been a particular bad stretch of days at the Ye Ol’ behavior school.  At the end of each day, we look at our imaginary score card for the day to see who won.  The students have been being extra behaviorally disordered this week, pushing us to our brink and challenging our last nerves.

Well, my one last nerve broke on Friday.  They won….Big Time.  While trying to talk to a student about one of his behaviors, he unleashed on me, a whole different set of aggressive behaviors leading to me filing an assault charge, leaving work early, going to the doctor, and being an emotional wreck.

Their win defeated me.  It broke me.  Not only was I physically hurt, but I was emotionally devastated.  And now I was supposed to take my already sore body and push it 13 miles?  At one point on Friday night, I nearly called my bestie who was driving me to the race to cancel.  But I just couldn’t.

Mind over matter.  You hear that expression all the time, but it wasn’t until I started running long distances, that I truly experienced it in action.  A distance race is so much more mental that physical.  My physical body might be damaged, but my spirit wasn’t broken, yet, and I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.

The race we registered for was a trail run on the Wabash Trace in Iowa.  Many races are of the out and back variety, but this race was not.  For our race, we were shuttled out the start line and left, literally, in the corn fields of Iowa with nothing to get ourselves back to our vehicle with but our over-priced running shoes and our hearts.  It was truly an ingenious plan.  Once you start, there’s no quitting!

Despite his best efforts to injury or maim us with his poor driving skills on gravel roads, our shuttle driver delivered us safely to the start line.

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Hey, at least it wasn’t a short bus……

It was nice to see they support crew gearing up for the event.

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I do believe it’s extremely rude for them to be eating donuts, smoking, and drinking coffee in front of all of us.  F*#$ers!

And could someone please fix the bathrooms?

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This one wouldn’t flush!

At least they were kind enough to leave me something to play with before the race started.

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Corn!  Yippee!

All jokes aside, when you get down to it.  It’s just you, mind and body, pushing yourself to the finish line.

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Let’s do this.

The race started out pretty decent.  The weather was perfect; in the 60s, overcast.

I cruised through miles 1, 2, 3, and 4.

There weren’t that many runners signed up for the race, so by this point, the trail had really thinned out.  It felt like you were all on your own.

This can be good and bad.

Although the scenery was beautiful, a wandering mind is not always your friend.

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With my legs burning in mile 5, my mind replayed my week.  Have you ever seen someone cry and run at the same time?  It’s not pretty and doesn’t do wonders to help you keep up your pace.  I was starting to feel crushed and wondering how I was going to make it to the end.  My physical body was teetering on the edge as it was, now the last of my mentality looked like it was throwing in the towel.

Down, but not out.  Not yet.

Mile 6 called for a change and a mental refocus.  Yes, I had shed tears, but they were out and it was time to keep pushing forward.  My first step was to change up the music.  See you later Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.  Hello Snoop and Dre.

Nothing kicks your pace back into gear like a sippin’ on Gin and Juice followed by Salt N Pepe’s Expression.  It was just the pick me up I needed.

I was cruising into mile 8 when I got leid.

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Hey, freak-o.  Get you mind out of the gutter.

I hit my wall around mile 10 1/2.  To put it mildly, it sucked.  Luckily, about this time, we emerged from the trail into the town where the race would end.  Now, if you’ve ever participated in or been a spectator at a race, you know how uplifting a crowd can be.  The cheers…. the encouraging words…. the signs.

Oh, the signs.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of my two favorites, (I feared, if I stopped to snap pics this late in the race, I might not start again) but here’s what they said.

“Go Total Stranger Go!”

and

“Worst Parade EVER!”

Ha!

As I trudged up and down the hills of the town towards the finish, (Seriously, who puts hills at the END of a half marathon???) I got my Tootsie Roll groove on, had OPP thoroughly explained to me frame-by-frame, and learned who the Real Slim Shady is.

I rounded the last corner, saw the finish line, took a deep breath, and finished hard.

What do you do after you cross the finish line?

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This Is How We Do It…..  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist one last one!)

The ups and downs of the week.  The physical pains and the emotional drains.  The falls, the walls, the failures…  Followed by getting back up, trying again, pushing through, and finding success.

My final score card from the week???

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I won!