Category Archives: musings

When you want to run forever

Sometimes the hardest part of a run is getting your sneakers on. You know, just finding the time and the motivation to get out and get it done. Often, that first mile just feels endless as tight muscles loosen and lungs gasp to find their rhythm. I’ve learned to endure these sensations, knowing that it’s going to get better, easier, less painful. And it does if I push through and keep going.

There’s a lesson in that which goes far beyond feet and pavement.

Many runs are less traumatic to the body. They’re just an opportunity to exercise your limbs and your muscles and they provide a certain sense of satisfaction and accomplishment upon completion. I have a lot of those runs recorded in my Runmeter app. I consider them standard.

Once in a while, though, you hit a run when everything is perfect. You’re with one of the few people in the world that you enjoy running with.  The weather is ideal, with a light breeze, warm sun and shade just when you need it. The air smells incredible wafting around your head with the earthy smell of the Hudson softened by the fragrance of the last of the lilacs. The path feels flat and smooth under your feet and all you can do is smile as your legs and lungs unite to set a pace as one you feel you could maintain for countless miles.

I had that kind of run yesterday – all the way to Troy

I’m still smiling.

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Filed under Exercise, favorites, friends, musings, running, Spring, Troy, Uncategorized

Daily Challenge


Consistency is not my forte, but there are a couple of little customs that center around my going to sleep and waking up that I find myself doing regularly. For as long as I can remember, I’ve read myself to sleep and my nightstand always has a stack of books lying in wait. When I pick up where I’ve left off in whatever I’m reading, it feels like I’m punctuating the day and I like drifting off to sleep with someone else’s tale in my head. Sometimes it just feels good to escape my own story.

Morning brings a different ritual. I generally wake before my alarm and reach for my iPad to ease into my day with a few rounds of solitaire. I’m probably deluding myself, but I feel like it helps wake my brain up and ease into a new day.

I usually play the 3-card version because it reminds me of a family I babysat for a long time ago. The dad had taught me the game explaining that in Las Vegas a player would pay $52 for the deck of cards and then win $5 for each card removed from the board and placed in Ace through King order. Yep, I’m a real hardcore gambler!

There’s a feature to the app I use called “Daily Challenge.” Sometimes I think this particular hand is easier than a typical random deal, but I won’t complain about that – an easy daily challenge is welcome in a world where there is so much difficulty present every day. Recently, I’ve gotten a little obsessed with the daily challenge. It’s almost as if I need to win the hand to ensure that I have a good day. Not rational at all, I know, but it seems a fairly harmless way to increase the odds mentally of my having a positive day.

There are days, though, like today when I could not get the cards to cooperate no matter how many times I re-dealt that hand. I kept trying other things – moving this 9 instead of that one, choosing another way to shift a pile of cards…all to no avail. I couldn’t win.

So, I’ll make my day a good one in a different way. I’ll consider all the alternative paths I can take to feel that my day was a success, even if it means just letting go of conquering a challenge. Maybe surrendering is just another way of winning.

 

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Mythical beast baby

This kid has flow like a river. Maybe that’s what you get when you give a child a middle name like Hudson. He’s got such a wonderful warmth to him, always generous with the hugs, and people simply like him. It’s charm at its most essential.

In a hundred ways he reminds me of me, but I just keep thinking he has things so much easier, so much better. There’s a security in his life that I never knew at his age. That probably doesn’t matter, though, when you’re a senior in high school and on the verge of what’s next. Cusp is a four-letter word.

Out of all my children, he’s the one I worry about the most, at least these days. They take me on their emotional journeys individually, just like the Mom & Me trips I take with them. There are turns. Fair enough, I suppose.

As a mom, I want my children to live truthful lives. The sooner they learn that being honest and direct works best most of the time, the happier we’ll all be. It’s a milestone just like learning to walk, which Griffin did at 9.5 months. Some things he gets quicker than others, but he’s always loved.

If you see him today, wish him a happy birthday. Then tell him to go home. He’s grounded.

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Filed under aging, Albany, birthdays, Boys, family, love, moms, musings, Observations, Spring

So mothers be good to your daughters too

D0CB0C7D-372C-4FFF-A072-2C34D5F64266-1258-0000011A65462537When I was a child I often heard about my Oma with whom my mother had a strained relationship. The complaint my mother frequently made was that Oma treated her sons and daughters very differently. Sons were useful and contributed to the family’s existence and thus were to be indulged, while daughters were primarily useful only for assistance in taking care of the boys. Even though this was one of my mother’s greatest criticisms of her own childhood, you’re probably not surprised to hear that she herself was guilty of repeating the same behavior. Habits are hard to break.

I met some family members on my trip with whom I had never before crossed paths. It’s an odd thing meeting someone you’re related to after living five decades on this planet without ever encountering them. What’s even odder is when you realize how many remarkably similar experiences you share despite not having ever known each other.

Did you know that the word “cousin” is the same in both English and German? That fact makes me smile.

My cousin and I sat across the table from one another and told the stories of our lives, our relationships, our health and our mothers. At times the thread of our conversation was so personal and intimate that it was impossible to believe we hadn’t before met. There’s never been a time when I felt so firmly that someone understood exactly what I was talking about when I shared some moments from my own mother-daughter highlight reel. Why? Because she had experienced the same sort of unhealthy situations.

Our mothers, sisters that they are, had not really grown up together since my mother is more than a decade older and had left home when she was in her early teens. Despite the lack of time the two of them shared, what they did share was their own mother and that left a mark on each of them which they in turn, left upon their own daughters.

Neither my cousin nor I ever knew our fathers. When we were sick or injured as children, often we had to seek care on our own because our mothers were unavailable to us. We each have witnessed the astonishing deception of our parent in the way they conduct themselves with other adults and children while neglecting the very children they delivered. It is uncanny.

My cousin and I responded to our mothers’ disregard for us by growing into strong and capable women. We became educated and learned to understand that our mothers are frustrated, narcissists who will never perceive our own success as anything but an affront to their own unsatisfying lives. We severed our ties to these women not to hurt them, but to protect ourselves, and we’ve struggled with allowing others into our hearts and souls after suffering the disappointment and pain of what should have been a primary relationship in our lives.

I learned that my cousin has a physical condition very much like my own – we both have extremely low heart rates and a genuine need for vigorous exercise. She runs, too. Maybe that’s how we have learned to keep our blood flowing and our hearts alive. I don’t know for sure, but I do know that meeting her has changed me. Something good has come from something less than positive. I think my ability to recognize that is what makes me fundamentally different from my mother – and like my cousin.

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Filed under Europe, family, Germany, girlhood, moms, musings, relationships, secrets, Uncategorized

This one very moment

Note: for suggested soundtrack for reading the following post click here.

Despite my best attempts (hello, hefeweizen!), during quiet moments on this trip my mind has been busy. I suppose it’s to be expected considering all of the things going on – in the world, during this trip and in my life. I had a motivating thought, though, the other day and it keeps rising to the surface: this one very moment may be the only chance. The only chance for what? Everything.

When I was in the Black Forest and the sky was spitting at me, I ran up a damn big hill because I recognized that I might not have that opportunity again. What if I never made it back to that special place? What if I was fortunate enough to visit again but my body wasn’t capable of making that climb again on my own two feet? The moment was now and I needed to live it. I ran.

I had a similar thought in Nuremberg – when was I ever again going to have the opportunity to run around the medieval walled center of this beautiful city? Recognizing that all had aligned to provide me with that experience inspired me to make the effort to put my sneakers on and get out there. I was rewarded by the universe with sun on my face and lightness in my heart.

But, it’s not all about running, even for me. It’s about realizing that we each only get one chance at now, that these exact circumstances will never again be replicated. How do you honor that? Are you guilty of postponing life waiting for the “perfect” moment while this one very moment right now goes unrealized? When are you going to wise up?

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Filed under aging, musings, Observations, Random, travel

Easter – a new covenant

IMG_1312When I was a child, Easter meant a new dress and shoes, chocolate for breakfast and ham for dinner and maybe an egg hunt. Those were good days, but there was never a better Easter than the one I had this year.

The day started with mass in the magnificent cathedral in Neustadt. This was the second time I’ve been fortunate enough to attend services in the Munster which dominates the skyline of this town of 10,000. Now that I think about it, the last time I went to church may have been here on Easter Sunday, 2013.

I’m not really all that religious, but I do love a good ceremony and that’s exactly what I got yesterday. From the rich tones of the ringing bells calling all to worship, to the full choir and orchestra, it was a service that fed my soul. I think I was even more taken by the familiar rituals because they reflected tradition while incorporating contemporary aesthetic – there were more girls than boys serving mass, including one with hair in a vivid shade of blue, and the priest sported an earring. There was a pragmatism present that somehow in no way diminished the miracle being celebrated and I walked out feeling as if I had just attended an opera. Wonderful.

IMG_1319I’ve been known to claim that I practice religion when I’m outdoors and I followed my organized religious observance with a run that took me on grass covered trails and paths in a mist that made me appreciate that I had subbed contact lenses in for my usual glasses. I reached the highest part of town where a tall metal crucifix honors those lost in WWI and couldn’t resist pausing to take photos and catch my breath. The run down felt like flying and had we not had dinner plans, I could have happily gone farther, maybe even to TitiseeIMG_1438Dinner was an amazing treat – better than any amount of jellybeans ever. My family took over 4 tables in a local Italian place and it was simply the best time. Quinn and I bounced from table to table catching up, sharing history and just laughing with the simple joy of being together. We had three generations – 2 sisters and 3 brothers, 6 cousins and 5 second cousins, all together on the evening of a holiday that signifies rebirth. Spirit refreshed, body exercised and heart filled beats a bunny in a basket anytime.

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Filed under aging, Europe, Events, family, favorites, Germany, holidays, musings, Observations, relationships, running, Spring, travel, vacation

I travel to

Eat and drink
Get away
Gain perspective
Be alone
Find myself
See new things
Spend time with family
Experience a different way of life

How about you?

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Filed under Europe, family, Food, musings, Observations, road trips, travel, vacation