I Left Something For You




After last week’s rant over the condition of things in my house, where I all but shouted at Todd that I will NOT compromise my home to the conditions of others, I decided to lay down the law explain to the younger set the importance of thoughtfulness and cleaning up after oneself.  Not that we haven’t had this conversation before. This is one of those instances where if I had-a-dime-for-every-, I’d be lying on a yacht in the Caribbean drinking margaritas served on a silver tray by Emile Francois Philippe – our handsome young French butler who also provides deep tissue massages. Or, at the very least, Todd would allow me to hire a robust old German woman to manage the household while I sequestered myself in my office writing my masterpiece.

Unfortunately, for the time being I have been remanded to continued sock and shoe roundup, endless loads of laundry, and a perpetually smelly litter box. I hereby add to this list various miscellaneous items strewn about the common living areas, left by my offspring in the very spot they last used them, and some Special K flakes Owen spilled on the floor. 

This affliction I have also noticed in my wonderful and adoring, though often absent-minded, husband in the form of leaving the [insert name of any tool here] where he was last working with it, or by way of standing-open cabinet doors and dresser drawers, and – just this very morning – leaving the slider to the deck open while he assisted me with an overturned table and umbrella. There. He asked me after the rant post if I had any complaints about him (I do NOT), so I got the feeling he was feeling left out. So there it is.

Anyhoo, yesterday Nephew helped me unload the grocery bags and put food away, noting that oh! there’s tuna? already in the cupboard, to which I (hopefully) gently responded, yes – I think I’ve told you this several times. And he … laughed. He thinks it’s funny when I call him out on stuff and, now that he’s discovered where to find my blog after I warned him not to, he will no doubt be alerted that what he left for me after he ate dinner last night – I am leaving for him. Todd always told me forewarned is forearmed. I guess the value of this is surely in who is being forewarned, but in any case my dear Nephew, I’ve left something for you. See you at dinner. J

Two Years Later

We have been so busy that I only just realized, at a birthday party for a neighbor’s son, that we moved back into this house two years ago to the day. Life continues to roll along like a runaway train, we are busier than a Compton ER, and have taken little more than a night or two by the firepit to count our blessings.

Two years later, my firstborn is a 9th grade high school student, currently earning straight As in all AP courses, and this year decided to take up football. Since it’s his first year, he’s not only in JV but also second string – so it’s hit or miss whether he plays, and with the current track record it seems he only plays when none of us can be there to see it. He’s literally a walking, talking encyclopedia of rap – ask him anything, or don’t ask at all – he’ll tell you everything you never wanted to know about MC Ren and Eazy-E, to name a few. He’s got quite a repertoire of profanity that is less from his musical preferences and more hereditary, I’m sorry to say. We’re working on this, and he is unlikely to color your world, thank GOD. He reserves his bombs for me. He has recently been fitted for Invisalign braces and will soon be sporting some new mouth pieces.

Two years later, Ava has begun 5th grade – and the last year of elementary school – and being more of a social creature her grades are mostly Bs right now with a C or two bringing up the rear. When Fred the insulin pump man from our Poker party asked her favorite subject, the little hell-cat said, “math.” I almost fainted. Perhaps she misunderstood the question, because he didn’t ask how she likes to drive mom to drink.  She has decided to take up cheer again (first time since we moved) and, while she “hates football,” she loves cheering for it. Thankfully her original decision to be a flyer quickly changed to spotter.  She lucked out again this year to share a classroom with her bestie – third year in a row! She’s still playing clarinet, and the new band director is “cute.” Just the other night I heard her rendition of some semi-classical piece that wasn’t too painful to hear, and my heart sang.

Two years later, some otherworldly power (and it was NOT me) lit a fire under Todd’s ass and he finished replacing the drop ceiling in the rec room with sheetrock. He also acquired a projector screen and mounted it to the ceiling, and did some other cool thingys with wiring and even painted a white “screen” on the wall.  Now we have our very own home theatre and we didn’t have to pay three grand for it.  (He’s awesome like that.) Now, if only I could figure out how to turn it on….

We still have some work left to do down there – like gutting the bathroom and building a bar, and finishing touches on the laundry room and back office – but at least it’s inhabitable and we do spend time down there. Admittedly I don’t clean down there regularly, simply because of its constant “under construction” status, and I refuse to get caught up in an endless cycle of cleaning until it’s all finished.

Two years later, the tenants finally moved out without an invitation from us, and it couldn’t have been better received. (I hope the fireworks celebration didn’t disturb the neighbors too much.) Going into that space for the first time was memorable, as was the stench of dog urine burned into my sinuses. But, alas, Todd nearly gutted it and together we cleaned it up, chose new carpet and flooring, and painted the walls some warmer shades. The kitchen isn’t done, but the space is OURS. And we will not be renting the space out. Ever. Hello guest house!

Two years later, we’ve added a new addition to the household. We are the proud Uncle and Aunt to one nephew who decided it would be more fun to live away from home and go to college. It’s been nearly 4 months and while he may be rethinking his decision, he at least has a room (using this term rather loosely) he can hide in when the natives get too crazy. He recently acquired his driver’s license, which I had the luxury of attending and – while I repeatedly told both him and Todd that my nerves are not designed to be a passenger under any driver and was universally ignored – I allowed him to drive me home from the event, against my better judgment. I only had to remind him twice that I have given birth to two children and thus have a weakened bladder that needs to get home as soon as safely possible. Obviously, the results weren’t too catastrophic. Nevertheless, our new addition has offered me an entirely new window on teenaged boys that is sure to bring me a great deal of inspiring material. Stay tuned.

Two years later, Sabra and Pi are doing well and healthy – though Pi, at 14, alternates daily between leaping deer and catatonically staring into space in the oddest places. Oliver has “maybe” lost a pound or two as the dogs gobble up his unattended food, but he is otherwise fat and happy, and still performing dance routines with Ava for video.

Two years later, – because I just know you’re all dying to know – my ex and I continue our cordiality for the sake of the children. He’s currently with girlfriend #7 and this one, rather than being a registered nurse, actually has type 1 diabetes so I guess he’s finally hit paydirt. (It isa bizarre coincidence, dontcha think?) And he now has his own new addition… what better way to ensure your kids’ longing to be with you than to get a puppy!

Two years later, Todd has been promoted to Full Professor and is working on a personal and potentially very lucrative project. I’m still working the restaurant business – it’s like an incurable disease that might kill you if you don’t take care. I finished my transcription course with honors and applied to several companies, only to be placed on file and hired by one loose screw that made me quit on the first day. I guess you could say I’m disappointed in the lack of available work out there, but then the market just isn’t going to support it as more and more facilities move toward medical scribes and doctors are inputting their own information during patient encounters. I also continue on personal writing projects.

Two years later, I’m still loving where we are and at peace with the decision I fought against for so long. My kids are thriving and that’s what matters most. I love my neighborhood – its beauty, and tranquility – and the people that inhabit it. I got to go to a luncheon that was thrown together to honor a neighbor who’s moving, with lots of great food, laughed my ass off and made some new friends. We’ve had a few nights around the firepit, Todd and I, and we’ve gotten a few day trips in but ultimately – we are still in need of a vacation together. I’m hopeful. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program …

Omg, omg, O.M.G. This bitch has just burst, like a hot blister on the heel inside a new shoe. Days that start out aggravating for me generally progress from the minor annoyance of an unfortunate mosquito bite to full-blown, venom-infused tirades.

The cat has been meowing for food all day, which I’ve given him, and which he then lets the dogs eat instead.

Sabra was startled by Ava and stepped IN the water bowl, splattering water everywhere and leaving a terrified trail to the sliding glass doors.

I found a half-emptied dishwasher by a well-meaning house-dweller, and the suspect’s dirty dishes left on the counter. This same suspect would re-enter the kitchen several hours later to make a PB&J sandwich, the remnants of which could be found smeared on the counter, on the handle of the trash can, and globules on the floor.

There were 5 – count that, FIVE – pairs of Ava’s shoes in my kitchen (thankfully none smudged with grape jelly) after having repeatedly been told not to leave them there.

Empty food wrappers on the coffee table. Regular occurrence. But today – akin to plucking all the petals off my last rose.

The dog decided to lie on the freshly vacuumed bedroom carpet, and left bloody spots where her body had been. (Don’t ask.) Because I just love scrubbing stains out of rugs on my hands and knees.

I can’t wear my wedding rings. I’m supremely pissed off by this. I seem to have inherited my beloved Nana’s arthritis of the hands, and fingers are swollen and I had to get the rings off before they had to be cut off.

The Laundry Debacle.  I had left a load of Todd’s wash in the washing machine, and half a load of other clothes in the dryer (the remaining half was folded in a basket on the folding table). I went back to finish what I started and found Todd’s clothes in the dryer, the dryer clothes were thrown into a heap in a basket on the floor, and there were – get this – wet clotheson top of the folded stuff on the table. The washing machine was empty.  Having no idea WTF was going on, I went looking for an answer. Turns out Nephew was going to wash some clothes. But he really had no idea what had happened.

Later, I found ONE shirt in the washer running on heavy soil, very hot water, maximum extract and the time remaining was 2 hours. And, streaks of laundry detergent running down the front of the washer – which I had only wiped down two days before because it looked a lot worse.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the dogs had begun eating their own food and dropping nuggets all over the kitchen floor, which I had just swept.

Then I got a call from Owen that he’s ready to be picked up from practice – for the first time all season RIGHT ON TIME. Every other day it’s been 10, 15, 20, 25 minutes late, forcing me to change the routine and drop Ava off at her practice at 6 first so she’s not late. That’s when I saw the text from Ava’s coach that practice will be at 5:45 now and the rest of the week – at 5:40. So now she’s late. Once she was dropped off, I headed toward the high school, only to be rerouted due to an overturned tractor trailer carrying logs. And then Owen calls me again to find out where I am, as I’m pulling to the lot.

I don’t know how these people run their organizations! I’m so frustrated at the lack of consideration for parent’s schedules, changing practice times on short notice and holding kids in practice while parents wait outside for 25 minutes, as IF we have nothing better to do with our time, AND I was scheduled for concession stand duty this Saturday from 3 to 5, when I’m supposed to be at work and it’s somehow my responsibility to switch with another parent, but since there’s no contact list I have no way to do that, and won’t get my $35 deposit back…. And this guy pulls out in front of me, effectively cutting me off and eliciting the foul-mouthed splendor that is me today. 

Oh gee – what else could go wrong? 

Say My Name, Say My Name

We – well, Todd – had a poker party Saturday night and as the guys arrived I was greeted by 3 of his very good friends with a smile and a hug. The next two to arrive were colleagues I hadn’t met previously, followed by another I hadn’t met either. Three new names and faces for me to remember. The first guy was easy, since he made a point to say hello to Ava and then he said, is that a pump? I have one too. And he whips his insulin pump out of his pocket. We pumpers have to stick together. And he fist-bumped her. How cool is THAT??

I prepared the food like a good little housewife, and fixed myself a cocktail whilst I worked. Three margaritas later – don’t judge, it was Saturday night after all – when someone asked me how I made the 9-layer dip, I said it wasn’t me but was brought by, uh… and found myself stuttering uh, um, it was…uh… as my mind went through the list of names I’d committed to memory. Really – three – that’s all I had to remember. And I did: Fred, Dan, and Jason.  The problem was – which one was the dip man? I covered my mental slip and just said, OMG it’s soooo good! Have some more! And quickly directed my attention to someone else on the other side of the room as if they were speaking to me. What was that?

A couple of hours later, we had two late-entries knocking at the front door. The first guy I’d met once before when he came over to work with Todd on his website, the second was a friend of his. He said hello and his friend stepped inside behind him – we said hello and he quickly introduced himself (and for the love of God I forgot his name the minute he said it) and I said, nice to meet you – I’m Tara. Because I just knew the first guy probably didn’t remember Todd’s wife’s name, and I wanted to spare him the embarrassment. Because I know exactly how that feels.

I’ve never really been good with names. I will never forget a face, but names – why are they so important anyway? After working in the restaurant business for over 30 years, I’ve known literally hundreds of regulars and semi-regulars. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to remember names of people who come in maybe three times a year? But they almost always remember my name. Customers. Probably because their access to alcohol depends on it. I do, after all, hold the shaker glass. But it is oh-so-embarrassing when those familiar faces come in and you can’t remember their name. Recently, I asked my mom what this woman’s name was and even she drew a blank! Come on woman – get with it – you see her more than I do.

I think it’s a symptom of aging. Even though I’ve never been good with names, it seems I’ve gotten ten times worse, if that’s even possible. A couple of weeks ago someone I’ve known for nearly 25 years both from my business AND hers, came in and I found myself staring at the floor dry-mouthed because I couldn’t remember her name. HTF does that happen?

So, as karma has its way with us all, I’ve noticed people not remembering my name either. You can see it in their eyes, the rolodex of names flipping rapidly with no evidence of a hit. I know Todd spent a great deal of time talking about me and us when we first got back together with the many people in his universe, but damned if any of them remember my name each time we meet. I don’t blame them. But you knowit’s bad when one of his best friends – from high schoolwhen we were together the first time – goes to introduce me to his in-laws and he stammers because he can’t remember my name! I actually stared at him and said, you are kidding, right? And he so wasn’t. And I quickly felt ashamed, since this was at his dad’s funeral and of course he’s got to be out of his head.

Anyway, all of this got me to thinking…When are you no longer significant enough, young enough, or hot enough, for others to remember your name? I guess the experience of being an only child for all of my childhood predisposed me to a sort of self-importance – and that how could someone not remember my name?

Not that this never happened in my youth. Hell, my dad’s neighbor not only forgot my name when I was ten, but apparently also forgot I was a girl. 25 years ago we had a longtime customer who decided to call me Amber because he liked that name better. When he’d call it a night, he’d say goodnight Amber! Forever Amber! Which someone once said was a reference to a porn – but I never confirmed that. Anyway, it was so bad that other customers started calling me Amber too. Imagine the confusion that followed that.

I once read that the trick to remembering names is to make eye contact at introduction and repeat their name back to them. Supposed to commit the name to memory. I won’t say this never worked for me, but now that I’m technically over the hill – and, in the case of Saturday night, three sheets to the wind – aint nothing committing to memory but the location of the nearest bathroom. I’m banking on remembering Todd’s name, since I never forgot it to begin with. Hopefully, it’s the same for him. And if not – we can be new lovers. Every day.

Chicken and Burgers and Brats, Oh My!

We planned this shindig at the beginning of summer, imagining lots of great food, a large beer selection, and of course – no party is complete without margaritas. Realizing that we’d never get an in-ground pool installed before the cookout, we planned volleyball and horseshoes. Todd was, like, overly anxious and wanted to pin down a date – but, like a reluctant bride, I kept putting it off. 

I love a good party like anyone, but throwing my own is a daunting task. You’d think I’d be good at it since I’m “in the business,” but I am hopelessly insecure about my ability to do this in my home. The preparations began at least a week ahead – we made several grocery runs and stops at the liquor stores to stock up, and I began feverishly weeding the front “gardens” – I use that term loosely because this year we only just began cleaning it up and planting a couple of things and …ran out of mulch. I hoped no one noticed.

Todd was busting tail to finish up the apartment (details will be posted on the sister blog at some point) so that it could be used during the party as well. I cleaned the bathroom, hung a shower curtain to hide the tub (which I didn’t have time to blitz), and placed a hotel soap and a hand towel on the sink. There were a couple of extra patio chairs that needed painting and Todd enlisted Nephew for this task, and they moved my old grill (which, btw, desperately needs to be taken apart and put back together as it looks like it’s teetering on the edge of collapse) up next to Todd’s grill (the joy of second marriages – sometimes you end up with 2 of everything).

The rec room still looked a wreck – since we hadn’t done much with it while the apartment took center stage. The day before the party I was racing around cleaning up the main floor of the house and the rec room was nagging at me like an annoying little flea. It needed dusting, an overall cleanup, and I implored Nephew (who lives in one of the bedrooms downstairs) to please keep the bathroom door closed. The bathroom downstairs requires a complete gutting and I wanted no one to see it. On the morning of the party I still hadn’t even touched the rec room, and I figured eh, no one is going to go down there anyway. I was wrong. My sincerest apologies to those guests who saw it, and yes – we are a mess.

The food was in a constant state of preparation… Todd was grilling chicken, burgers, and brats and I was cutting fruit as the guests were arriving. We had made pulled pork and Todd’s cousin brought buffalo chicken meatballs which were awesome and I am stillwaiting for the recipe she promised. The chafers from the restaurant arrived an hour after the party started with Andy, who had made the most killer mac and cheese known to man. My mom brought her award-winning potato salad – served in a gorgeous antique bowl that belonged to “uncle” Richard and told me it was mine!  – and a plate of heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella. I made white chocolate cheesecake and chocolate cake, Aunt Marilyn brought Todd’s favorite apple pie, and several people brought chocolate chip cookies and other homemade goodies.

The house was soon bustling with people and my brother took over grilling for Todd because he “loves to grill and he’s really good at it,” according to dad, who also failed to mention that those grilling skills become largely compromised after a few cocktails. My apologies to anyone who ordered a medium rare and got charred brick. Where Todd was at this point I have no idea… it was very much like our wedding, where we saw each other when it began but several hours later I wondered what he was wearing. I love to float around and chat with everyone but – also like our wedding – I know I didn’t get to talk to everyone I wanted to.

I finally sat down with my family outside about 3 hours in to have a bite to eat, and good thing too, since I hadn’t eaten at all that day and was on margarita #2. I was careful not to drink too early, as we had invited our neighbors and they haven’t seen me drunk yet and I’m still trying to maintain a clean image (dirty rec room notwithstanding). Anyway, I sat down with my family and noticed some black crusty things on my aunt’s plate and wondered briefly what it was before my thoughts were interrupted by my other aunt asking me if I was done eating yet. It seems they had decided that the next house tour began at 3:15 and apparently the elected tour guide wasn’t eating fast enough.

And so, I lifted up my Solo cup full of margarita and announced it’s time to go! And that’s how the Red Cup Tour was born. It was going well until the final leg of the tour, when I lost half the group in the rec room and apparently they finished the tour themselves. I stopped to chat with my neighbors who were down there (oh God) and felt compelled to explain that the other side of the double doors is currently our dirty little secret. (Other side of the double doors:  a hall leading to our unfinished laundry room and under-construction office – littered with shit we don’t know what to do with yet). I’m convinced everyone has a place like this in their house, but it’s probably no larger than a drawer in the kitchen – not the monstrosity we have.

Meanwhile, on the main floor, the second party was just getting started.

That Which Doesn’t Kill Us…

It’s that time of year again, and we’re off to a roaring start. My first-born started high school and an all-honors curriculum, and football 5 days a week. He does all his own work without help from us – a blessing and a curse since I have no idea what he’s learning unless I ask. Now a high school freshman, he is still a mathematical wizard. And thank God he is, because if 5thgrade math doesn’t kill me, then Honors Geometry would.

In math I am the furthest from genius that one human being can be.  Math is the reason I missed the honor roll in high school 3 years running.  My freshman year in college, I took the core math course and was relieved to earn a “D.”  That is, until I decided to transfer and learned that “Ds” do not.  At NYU, I was placed in a course called Mathematical Thinking, the prerequisite to the actual requirement.  Clearly the administrators didn’t know that thinkingwas the real problem from day one. And then… I passed this class with an “A.”  And still don’t know how I did it.

For my daughter math has been pretty straightforward.  Until last year.  It seems math has taken a reckless turn down Common Core Boulevard and – if you didn’t already know this – it’s a dark but bustling road filled with potholes and littered with pictures and coins and decimal points, where one wrong turn will make you feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.  And the best part?  We, the parents, are enlisted to help guide our children through this abandoned mine field.  Why not just drop us in the middle of Afghanistan without a map and wish us luck getting to a safe border?

Homework with Ava always begins something like this:  “Mom, I neeeeedhelp.” 

Me: (Sigh) Okay.  Why don’t you try it on your own first and then we’ll look at it together?

A:  But, I don’t get it.

The teachers sent home a math packet called Partners for Student Success, so that us “partners” will know the basic concepts being taught this year.  I flipped through the pages.  Things look familiar in a way that doesn’t twist my panties too much.  Some of the stuff makes my mouth go dry, but I’m sure it’s just PTSD. But see – that’s where common sense ends. The packet does not review what they were taught today, in step-by-step format. No, we have to find this on the school website under “Mathematics” and then under “Grade 5” and then click on “Podcasts” and THEN try to figure out which one will help us through today’s impending hailstorm.

So, I have been reduced to relearning the very subject that I am now 84.7% sure is the root cause of my “anxiety disorder – unspecified,” just so I can teach it to my daughter who obviously is either sleeping through these classroom lessons or suffers from boyfriend deficit disorder. It’s positively maddening helping her with homework. I don’t know why I bother, but every day I have to ask, did you learn this today in class? Which is always answered the same way…. Yes, but I don’t remember!  

And so yesterday I watched the podcast on problems like this: 2.567 x 10⁴. Ava got all pissy with me because I had to watch it all the way through and said – are you ready for this? – she said, we already learned this! Let’s just say by this time it was 5 o’clock somewhere and she’s lucky she was the one holding the pencil. Again feeling my pulse quicken and my nerve endings tingle, I took a slow and deliberate deep breath and calmly reminded her that I don’t have the luxury of sitting in on her lessons and that if she wants my help, I’m going to have to watch this so Iunderstand. Otherwise, she’ll have to figure it out on her own. I handled it exactly the way Todd would have, were he actually home to pass the buck to and not out until after bedtime subbing for a fellow bowler, without emotion or a raised voice. And it worked!

But who really cares how I handled it. The burning question is, after asking if I’m the only parent who actually watches these podcasts, was I able to solve the equation? At the risk of disappointing my brothers and sisters united against the Common Core, I must admit that I DID. And, don’t tell anyone, but it wasn’t all that hard. Now, explaining to her why the decimal point is there instead of here… nope. Not a chance.

I’m finishing this post now after having spent 34 minutes trying to explain to her how to solve 2.9 x 10 to the 4th power, my hands are still trembling and I’m wondering whether anyone at cheer practice would smell tequila if I started drinking now. There’s this lovely little chart that looks like this:   (ignore the scribble)

Skip the following paragraph if you suffer from math anxiety and low tolerance for bullshit.

She didn’t know how to use the chart. I suggested she pencil in 2.9 on the chart in the correct places. Then I told her to count 4 spaces to the left (denoting the power of 4) because the number will be bigger, not smaller, if you’re multiplying. Now, I asked her to write the number 2 on the fourth space. What number does it become now? 20,000, she said. Good. Now, what’s the next number after 2? Zero?  No, what is the number next to the 2? Four? Wait, ten? Where DOES one proceed with this? 

We finally got to the correct answer, and she wanted to do more for practice. If you can’t already tell, this didn’t go well either. Sometimes I wonder if she does this just for the attention. Either way, I’m starting to have very unpleasant flashbacks to home schooling. That was hell in a nutshell, and I still have the scars of failed science projects and artwork gone terribly wrong.

If you’re looking for me tonight, I’ll be drowning my exponents in margaritas. My expressions will be in expanded form with no variables until I can’t function.
Good night ya’ll.

Run Like You Mean It

Water. Be well-hydrated. Without sufficient hydration you will tire out quicker, be completely preoccupied like an alcoholic craving his next drink, and your tongue will adhere itself to the roof of your mouth (true story). Fruit juices and sodas – baaad idea – can lead to bloating and abdominal cramping, and there is nothing worse than running with the sensation of carrying a giant, fragile, bouncing balloon in your shorts. So – water!!! Water, water, WATER!!!

Attire. Speaking of bouncing, it is essential to wear attire designed to contain your parts. All of them. There is nothing worse than being hit in the face by your own breasts, or constantly pulling your shorts out of your ass crack. Sports bras, ladies!! They’re inexpensive, do their job, and are so comfortable you may find yourself wearing them even when you’re not running. Try the attire on before purchase! Don’t buy the size you wantto be, buy the size that fits, and if you think your neighbors won’t notice – then you deserve to get stuck in that spandex. Also – running shoes! Don’t run in Vans – if you don’t have the proper support your feet will suffer, and so will the rest of you. There’s also a little “law” out there about replacing your sneakers after 300 to 500 miles – because shock absorption tends to wane as sneakers get older.

Music. It makes the run. Although I do like the sounds that nature offers in the right environment, I will push myself harder with tunes in my ear. Radio stations are great if you’re a gambler; however, a run can start out great with BonJovi’s Runaway, but your pace will quickly nosedive if the next selection features a lonely, whiney Sam Smith. Angry white boy music (Linkin Park) will keep me running for hours. Today I gambled and got the tired top 40 songs like Uma Thurman,  and all I could think of was John Travolta in Pulp Fiction looking all greasy and gross – that stupid song, Can’t Feel My Face, which actually was quite apropos under today’s humid conditions – and Ed Sheeran’s Photograph, which I love but not for running. It was bad. (Note to self: Must download running tunes to my borrowed iPod – which is really my iPod, but that’s a whole other story.)

Dogs.  Know where your furry terrorists are. I’ve been told that dogs will give chase to runners because they inspire the dog’s natural predatory impulses but, while I understand that, I have the right to have my run without bruises and a broken iPod. Still, forewarned is forearmed. Knowing where the dogs live and staying alert is the difference between a friendly reminder to the owner and an unplanned trip to the ER. My mom asked, aren’t most trips to the ER unplanned? Not unless you’re my grandmother, who is in great health but likes the attention.

Imagine. If all else fails, imagine you’re being chased. I stole this idea from my neighbor, who stopped her SUV on her way out last week to ask me what was chasing me, and told me that’s the only thing that would make her run. Imagine being chased by a dog – except not when there’s actually a dog chasing you because I think the right thing to do in that case is to STOP running. Imagining zombies chasing you would definitely get the blood pumping, but seeing as zombies don’t run anyway, I guess you wouldn’t have to run that fast. Unless you were being chased by Vincent Vega – who, with the pallid complexion of a heroin addict, looks like a zombie, but is clearly well-armed and dangerously dancy. Running from Jason would definitely be inspiring, but we all know that no one has ever outrun his measured pace and we don’t want you giving up before you’ve finished. Alternatively, if you’re aiming to impress, imagine your neighbors are watching you from their windows…then you will at the very least rev your pace while passing their house.
Bonus…Stretch! A no-brainer but don’t be lazy and think you’ve done your part by running so now it’s time for Real Housewives and a cocktail. Stretching warm muscles after a run will minimize soreness and you won’t wake up tomorrow morning feeling like you’ve been wrestling a Rottweiler.  

** None of the above should be taken as medical advice. These tidbits are gleaned from personal experience. I am not a professional anything. Well, unless being arm candy for my husband is considered professional, but then again that sounds like some other kind of professional – which I am NOT – because I give my love for free. Um, well, free to him. Because I love him.Wait – did any of that come out right? I mean – oh damn. Nevermind. I’m not an expert and I don’t play one on TV. That’s Dr. Oz’s job. Oh no – I’ve said too much.

There will be a day I can no longer run. Today is not that day.

When someone tells you, “you can’t,” turn around and say, “watch me.”

Just do it! ~ Nike