Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This Girl Ain't Getting Any Younger

Last Sunday, I ran my 6th half marathon with my beloved friend SBW. As with most of the races I've done in the past, I found myself vowing to never run another in the weeks leading up to it, but as soon as it was done, I started wondering which one I should do next. Especially if I can wear rainbow legwarmers and palm tree earrings again. Rock me Amadeus. Thankfully SBW and I weren't the only two in costume—the 80s aerobics instructor look was actually quite popular among other runners.

The great thing about running with SBW is that she's totally chill about training. Which worked well for me this time because I just couldn't seem to find time to train properly. Normally I try to get in 11-12 miles for my final "long run" but SBW and I only got in 8ish. I think if I could push myself to run more regularly when I'm not training for a specific race, my body might stop being such a train wreck during my 13.1s. But not this time...

Last year when Mr. W and I ran in Healdsburg, my knee went south on me around mile 7. Since then, I've had issues with my achilles (sometimes it likes to pop or slip or do some other funky old lady tendon thing), my big toes have gone in and out of being stiff (one even swelled up after a particularly active weekend of DIYing at the new house), and in general, my body just feels a heck of a lot older than it was when I ran my first race in 2008.

I thought I'd be in decent shape on Sunday because we were doing a lot of alternating between walking and running...and then we hit mile 12. Suddenly my IT band decided to launch all out warfare. I wanted to walk. I wanted to crawl. I tried to find a gait that was less painful. I had warned SBW earlier in the race that if I happened to have any issues with my knees, I might need her to not talk to me (like I asked Mr. W to do last year) and she was awesome about it. As soon as I went silent, so did she, and she only gave me a couple reassuring, "You can make it"s when I let out a grunt or a whimper.

I'm sure I'll run another half next year. Maybe even Santa Ynez. And maybe my decrepit body will somehow regenerate into the 10-minute-mile "powerhouse" it once was. Or maybe I'll just add a knee brace to my sweat band/hot pink shirt ensemble...

Monday, October 22, 2012


When I was a single girl, I often felt like I was living a dual life. I had my apartment, social circle, and niche in my cute little town—then I had the life I lived at my boyfriend's house. For the sake of niceness, let's pretend that boyfriend was only ever Mr. W. 

It was like every weekend I packed a bag and drove 25 minutes away to go enter into my altered existence. In my other house. With my other people. For a long time, this double duty way of operating was exciting. I got to escape to fantasy land four times a month! But after awhile, I just wanted the two lives to become one so I could relax and quit packing and unpacking clothes and all my other important lady items.

Then, of course, I moved into Mr. W's place and missed my cute, girlie apartment for about 4 months. Go figure...

Since we received the keys to our new/future house in Santa Ynez, I find myself feeling again like I'm living a split life. One foot is in Hollywood, enjoying familiar comforts, plugging away at the job that has long served me; the other foot is in Santa Ynez, eager to take a step forward into the realm of wine country life coaching retreats and full-blown backyard farming.

And just like when I was dating Mr. W, every time I have to leave the "other" life, I just want to lie on the floor and have a small crying tantrum.

The new place is just so wonderfulllll...

This past weekend, we went up to work on the house and were lucky enough to get a boatload of help from my parents.

Cute, aren't they?

We didn't just get twice as much stuff done as we would have if it'd been just the two of us. We got about fifteen times as much stuff done. My parents are expert DIYers and almost stubbornly productive. My dad insisted that he had a blast power-washing the house.

However, he was so wet when he finished, my mom hung his clothes on our back fence to dry. Tighty-whites included. Yes Santa Ynez, we are the crazy LA people who put our underwear on display for the entire neighborhood to see...

Here are just a few snapshots of the progress we made Saturday and Sunday:

I'm in love with my new rug. It was a steal on RugsUSA.com—75% off, plus free shipping. I think she's so pretty, I'd let Mr. W take her on as a sister wife.

My mom did a bang-up job of recovering the light fixture with a pretty, soft grey, brushed silky fabric. She's like a sharpshooter with a glue gun.

We did some work to the bedrooms, too, but I'll save those for another post. Still lots of items on the to-do list, but at least it feels like we're making a dent. The funny thing is, this is all just interim renovating. Sometime in 2014, we'll be gutting the entire kitchen and both bathrooms. But for now, we'll enjoy our seahorses and retro ash cabinets. And maybe we'll miss them when our dual lives reunite and we're finally living together under our new roof.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Better Together Because We Embrace Being Separate

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, I think occasional time apart can make a marriage stronger.

A friend recently admitted to me that she was hesitant to get into a relationship because she didn't want to give up all the things she loved doing as a single person (we're talking hobbies and working out and stuff—not sleeping around or partying every night). This was such a foreign concept to me. I would have never thought that I'd have to resign my passions or pastimes to be with another person. Yet, in my friend's experience, this was how things went.

Looking back, I can remember wishing various boyfriends would have traded some of their independence and free time to devote more time to me. But now I am eternally grateful that I was not only forced to learn how to be alone back then—but am now in a marriage with someone who understands and respects my need to do my own thing sometimes. He doesn't fall apart if I'm not there to cook him dinner. He doesn't throw a fit if I say I want to go for a run with friends or spend the night at my sister's house. He doesn't need me to be with him every moment, and that's one of the things I love about him most.

I think he might say the same about me.

Just two weeks ago, I left my Mr. W for the weekend to attend a Martha Beck coaching retreat in Arizona. While I was doing this...

He was up at our Santa Ynez house doing this...

He painted and staked this snazzy, new locking mailbox to hold our junk mail in between visits.

 He installed a new toilet in the guest bathroom (which desperately needs to be painted).

He also picked some apples from our new tree, plus an unripe cantaloupe (oops), and some of the most delicious tomatoes we've had all year. Three cheers for backyard bounty!

He even took himself out to dinner at the local brewery one night. All alone. I may enjoy the freedom to do my own thing, but going out to eat solo still ranks low on that list. I love that Mr. W is so open and self-sufficient. 

All this separate togetherness will serve us well in the coming months when he leaves to go work on a movie in Canada. I'm sure I'll be back online complaining about how terrible it is to be in Hollywood without him, but at least I know I can geek out and work on crafts or writing or house decorating stuff in his absence. And the fact that his last few weeks on the shoot are in Hawaii doesn't hurt... Aloha, strategically planned husband reunion

I feel very lucky that we didn't lose our individual selves when we pledged eternal fidelity. I think it'll keep things interesting in the years to come. 

P.S. If you want to read a little insight piece from my Martha Beck trip, check out this week's post on The Path to Wonderful.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Admirable Resilience

Five years ago today, my youngest niece came into the world with a tornado of shock and worry swirling around her. She was five weeks early and had to spend her first days on Earth in the neonatal intensive care unit. The sweet nurses at the hospital used heart-shaped patches on her cheeks to hold her little breathing tube in her nose.

Fighter that she was, she never seemed to show any signs of her prematurity.

She's sharp as a tack and has a sense of humor that constantly surprises us. When she was about a year and a half old, my brother (her dad) was lying on the couch watching TV and she came up behind him, tugged at the waistband of his shorts and threw three raisins into his underwear. That story alone earned her a place in my heart for all eternity.

The whole family was gathered to celebrate her big fifth birthday last night, when again she gave us a scare comparable to her unexpected birth. She had been chowing down on one of her pink princess cupcakes when my dad and I saw her leaning over a plate on the coffee table.

She was choking and I jumped up to whack her on the back, thinking something was just a little stuck. Not the case. As I began yelling for my brother—the fireman—to come help, my dad flew off the couch and grabbed her around the middle. He gave her a sharp squeeze and a ball of cake came flying out of her mouth.

My brother and sister-in-law rushed to her side, hugging her and giving her water. She cried for a second, then brushed her hair out of her eyes and asked, "Can I have another cupcake?"

I almost fell on the floor. My legs were Jell-O, my hands were shaking. My dad's eyes had been saucer-sized since the minute we saw her lean over the table. The laughter was a welcome release.

If anyone else in that room had choked on something, it would have taken us weeks to recover. The elder nieces would have wanted to stay home from school all week. The rest of us probably would have put ourselves on liquid diets.

But not the little peanut. She came into the world with a bang and now it seems nothing can rattle her.

Happy Birthday Panda Pie!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sometimes the Lives We're Giving Birth to Are Our Own

I don't know about you guys, but the older I get, the more I feel like I'm laboring over new parts of my life—trying to push a new phase into existence—and it is HARD WORK. (The women who have actually given birth to babies are laughing at me right now, I know.)

I'm talking about the pains and the magic of it all over at The Path to Wonderful today.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stark Contrasts: Santa Ynez vs. Hollywood

Santa Ynez: When you see your neighbors, they say things like, "We're going down to see the big turtle that came up in the crick last night." (No joke, one of our neighbors seriously said this to us. Even the "crick" instead of "creek" part. It was rad.)
Hollywood: When you see your neighbors, they say things like, "Can you believe they found a severed head on the Canyon Park hiking trail?"

Santa Ynez: The swath of unlandscaped dirt and weediness in front of the house by the street is 1500 square feet.
Hollywood: The entire house is 1250 square feet. 

Santa Ynez: You go for a morning run and a man who is in his front yard gardening not only says "good morning" but asks you how you are and tells you to have a good day.
Hollywood: You go for a morning run and the girl walking her dog talking on her cell phone gives you an irritated look when you try to pass her on the sidewalk.  

Santa Ynez: Sometimes you have to sit through a little traffic to get to your favorite winery.
Hollywood: You have to drink wine every night to deal with the daily traffic.  

Santa Ynez: You see so many stars at night, you feel a bit like a tourist in your own state.
Hollywood: So many out-of-state tourists are looking at the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, sometimes it's difficult to get down the street.

Santa Ynez: The houses on either side of you are barely visible from different angles of the yard.
Hollywood: The houses on either side of you are so close, you're fairly certain the whole cul de sac has seen you walking around in your bra and underwear.  

Santa Ynez: You hear the song "Magic" from Xanadu while you're shopping in Home Depot. You quickly decide they should have named the CA Central Coast "Shangri-La."
Hollywood: You see an amazing small stage production of Xanadu on a Friday night. You're pretty sure they built the set with stuff they bought at Home Depot.

Santa Ynez: Your sweet neighbors notice one of your sprinklers was going all day, so they go turn it off and call you, offering to reprogram the timer for you because they know how busy you are.
Hollywood: Your neighbors come to the door to tell you one of your sprinklers has been shooting water straight up and while they're at it, they add in a, "Honey, you need to get out here and weed!" even though it's 2 months before your wedding. 

Santa Ynez: You wish you had more free time to work on your house because you love it so much.
Hollywood: You wish you had more money so you could pay off the difference between your house's value and its purchase price so you could sell it.   

Santa Ynez: You pay $13 to eat something called a "BBQ Sundae" that looks like this:

Hollywood: You pay $13 to eat 3 pieces of cheese and some bread because the wine bar is close to where you're seeing Book of Mormon (which ruled, by the way).

Santa Ynez: You remember when you longed to live there and can't believe the wish finally came true.
Hollywood: You remember how much you wished you'd live there, and now that you do, you feel like you're long over it and want to live somewhere more peaceful.

Santa Ynez: You see your future there and feel sad every time you leave.
Hollywood: You wish the leaves would hurry up and change so you could be one season closer to starting your future.