Random Wednesday Musings

On Sunday, I went running. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But, I encountered two women running with an off-leash dog. I’m going to pause there because a) it’s not legal and b) dogs can be unpredictable and c) good thing I’m not afraid of dogs… The dog was well-behaved and kept pace with them several feet ahead. The first time I saw them we were going in opposite directions. Second time, they were coming up behind me. The second time is the reason I decided to include this in my musings.

Blurry dog running off-leash

I was running along minding my own business, lost in my own thoughts, when suddenly I felt something bump into my right leg. I kind of jumped to the left a little, looked down and saw the dog. Then I could hear one of the women calling the dog and it slowed down, but then kept encroaching on my space time after time, until they passed me. Again, glad I’m not afraid of dogs. So, appropriate or inappropriate? Not much of a bother to me, per se, but I am pretty sure that would have been a bother to someone afraid of or not fond of dogs.

I went running on Tuesday. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. But, then I saw this on the trail!

A message on the trail

A friend of mine moved to Arizona last year, but comes back now and then to run half marathons in the old neighborhood. She was in town this weekend to run the San Francisco Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon… And, she left a note. I didn’t get to see her on this trip, so I thought it was extra cool that I found this.

This bird.

What are you trying to tell me little bird?

Yesterday, this bird drove me crazy for the better part of 30 minutes. She was at my kitchen window pecking away. It sounded a little like morse code. Whatever she was trying to tell me, it was urgent. But, sadly, I wasn’t getting it. I even went outside to see if something, like a cat, was after her. Nope. Just really, really wanted to be inside. After about 30 minutes, she moved to a nearby tree. Hopefully, she was feeling better… or something.

Speaking of birds… About a month ago, I was working at my desk and heard some kind of noise. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was so I opened the blinds. From my desk, which is on the second floor of my two-story house, I can see the roof over the garage. There was a crow shoving something under one of the shingles. Seriously. So, I can only assume that my roof has become some kind of storage unit for this bird. One of these days, maybe I’ll go out there to see what I can find. I’m guessing multiple hiding spots. Crows are crafty.

Stay healthy!

A Bittersweet Moment on the Trail

Last week, I went for a long training run (11 miles). My preferred trail is along a beautiful reservoir – a little bit of peacefulness in a hustle-bustle kind of place. I noticed an older man standing in front of a bench. He was standing. Maybe that’s why I took notice. He was looking out at the water lost in his thoughts. As I got closer, we made eye contact. I said good morning as I passed by. He seemed noticeably sad. I’m sometimes lost in my own space when I’m running, but it wasn’t hard to pick up on the vibe. On my way back, I noticed that he had left a bouquet of yellow daisies. I wasn’t having the best run, so I noticed but didn’t look too closely.

Yesterday, I went to the same trail – another long training run (12 miles). I came to the bench. He wasn’t there… But, a fresh bouquet of flowers was. I stopped to look. That’s when I realized there was a plaque on the bench. A dedication.

I took a picture because it was truly sweet. I imagine that the daisies will be new next Sunday as well. I looked out from the bench – it’s a serene, peaceful view and I hope it brings him some comfort.

The View from the Bench

Why March is Hard for Me

I wrote about this last year. I’m writing about it again this year because I can be moody, sad, and easily frustrated this month. March 30 will mark the third anniversary of my mom’s death. And, that’s only 19 days away. I’ll get through it, my moodiness will pass, but it still sucks.

It was hard right after she died because 5 days later my son turned 1. Turning 1 is a big deal, so it needed a celebration. On the heals of losing my mom. Party prep, the party – it was fun, but kind of a blur. I had been hoping, hoping, hoping my mom would recover enough to visit again and see him turn 1. That wasn’t to be. Maybe the saddest thing to me right now is that the two things can never be separated.

My mom was very sick with metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her bones – pretty much through her entire body. She struggled with painful bony growths and went through radiation to shrink them down so she could manage the pain. After the radiation treatments, she decided not to keep up the chemo drugs. It was her decision to make and she made it. I had begged my parents to move closer to me, but my mom was hell bent on living and dying in their house on a lovely lake. I did get them to come out and spend a little over 2 months with us in 2013 – November and December.

I’m going to pause right here. Anyone who gets breast cancer and then sees it go into remission needs to make sure their doctor is following up with all tests. ALL tests. My mom diligently went for her checkups and they NEVER found this bone cancer until it had spread all through her body. They only found the bone cancer because she took a fall and was in intense pain after. Grrrrrr.

While my parents were visiting, I watched my mom get on the floor to play with her grandson. I remember fretting over her health and whether it was a good idea for her to be on the floor at all. I was so focused on her physical issues, I wasn’t thinking about the mental part. That trip was her last chance to do things with him. To touch him, to feel him, to shower him with love. I get it now – she knew it was her last chance. I frequently tell my son how much his grandmother loved him, but I know he’ll never FEEL it. He was too young to remember. We only have pictures and stories.

This past November, we finally held my mom’s internment service. It took a long time because she was interned in a different state from where my parents had lived. It had been so long and yet it made it final for me. Like somehow it wasn’t before? I can’t exactly explain it. I spoke during my mom’s funeral service, but couldn’t bring myself to speak during the internment. It was freezing cold (literally) and yet I was warmed to see so many family members and friends come to give their final goodbyes.

My cousin gave a speech and it hit me that there are so many stories I don’t remember or never knew. Parts of my mom that are unknown to me. I’ve been thinking about that ever since… And, I just listened to a great podcast about the death of a parent. It’s called “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” and the episode is called “Semper Fi.” Nora McInerny’s dad had been in Vietnam and she talked to some of the men he served with to learn more about her father. What struck me was the angle. I really want to talk to more friends and family about my mom to hear stories – the ones I know and the ones I don’t to see what they saw. So I can preserve more of my mom’s memory. Maybe that will be my 2017 goal.

Thanks for reading. Stay happy and healthy!

Shaking Off January 

I didn’t have the best January. I was sick for half of the month and struggled with various personal issues, which means I had to climb out of a big hole for February. 

So far, so good. I’m back on track with regard to training for the Oakland Half Marathon on April 2. Here are a few random things from February that are better than last month!

Just this past Saturday, I got to see a double rainbow. Good thing I caught this picture when I did because the lighting changed quickly as the sun and clouds negotiated with each other and the rainbows disappeared. 

Also this month, my dog Starbuck stepped up his begging game. He’s 7 1/2 and still has what it takes to get live from us as well as strangers. And, he’s named after Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, just to be clear. 😀

Another great thing about February? Girl Scout cookies! And they have 2 new flavors. I don’t remember the other one, but I got a box of S’mores. Yum! Thanks Girl Scouts!

One last cute moment… I was taking my almost-4-year-old to an event yesterday and he fell asleep. I decided to let him sleep and he stayed asleep in the car while I drove the long, long, LONG way home. 

I hope everyone else is having a good February so far. Stay healthy!

It’s a New Year – Time to Reflect

2016 had some lows. I mean, really, some lows… You know, like on a global scale. Many celebrity deaths, some of which affected me greatly – Prince, Carrie Fisher, Gene Wilder, David Bowie, Alan Rickman. There were many others, but those are the ones that made me sad. I’ll just say that the political arena was a clown show and leaves the US poised to set back advances in science, education, and health care. That really put me in a end-of-year depression, and I’ve had to find a way to deal with my disappointments. I have, and I will be ok.

2016 also had some highs. The highs were overshadowed by the lows, but let’s not forget:

  • California is now powering over 6 million homes with solar power, a record in the US (Go Cali!)
  • 70,000 Muslim clerics declared a fatwa against ISIS
  • Coffee consumption has been proved to help curtail cancer and suicide rates
  • New medicine has been shown to increase melanoma survival rate to 40%

On a personal level, I don’t think I had too many lows. I did some reflecting today so I could focus on the good things of this past year. Here are the highs from my 2016:

  • My son is fully potty trained and that is seriously liberating!
  • Rainbows, a lot of them last year
  • Sea lions… In San Francisco, of course
  • Our first Holi celebration
  • Running and biking
  • My son is still alive and reasonably unscathed by my haphazard approach to parenting 🙂
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Carpool karaoke

2017 will certainly be interesting. I’m doing 2 half marathons, my son will turn 4, we will do more international traveling, and who knows what will happen in between all of those things. I’m really looking forward to the DisneyLand Half Marathon in September (yes, I’ve already registered for a race in September) because that will be my son’s first visit to Disney. What a great excuse! I certainly hope the universe can find a way to balance itself.

To start 2017 off right, I did a 4-mile trail run this morning. I haven’t done a trail run in months. It was beautiful…


Here’s hoping the rest of 2017 is just as lovely. Happy New Year everyone! Be healthy!

A Disturbance in The Force

I grew up with Star Wars and I though Princess Leia was awesome. She was smart, fierce, and could take care of herself. Her one-liners were priceless… “Aren’t you a little short to be a storm trooper?”

Carrie Fisher, though… She was even more badass to me. She was true to herself. She talked honestly and openly about her life and her issues. In 2009, I saw her in her one-woman show called “Wishful Drinking,” after her book of the same name. She was amazing – funny and open. Captivating and endearing.

On December 23, I was saddened to learn that Carrie Fisher had had a massive heart attack. Both my husband and I were upset… Today, she died. I am truly sad. But, I’ve enjoyed reading so many amazing stories and posts about Fisher today. Two in particular stand out:

1. General Organa. Boom.

2. This post from Jenny Lawson’s blog. Lawson admired Carrie Fisher for some very personal reasons and she wrote beautifully about Fisher’s influence.

Even though my 3 1/2 year-old son has never seen Star Wars (not yet, anyway), he and his preschool classmates seem to be obsessed with it. Today in the car, he kept telling me “the car said Star Wars” – and yes, it did. Sort of. The radio, but I’m not nitpicking. And, the newscasters were continually reminding me that Fisher is now gone. 2016 can suck it. We’ve lost so many this year. This feels like the last straw. Keeping my head down and hoping for the best.