Monday Run Day

The Path by Circespeaks

The Path by Circespeaks

Monday run day. I am moving fast today. Lots to do. I started out on a walk that turned into a run, which is a good metaphor for the way this day is going.
In the course of walking and running, I mostly avoided roads with traffic, and took the routes of humanly constructed nature: the path by the brook to the loop around a big soccer field. Of course asphalt loops and soccer fields, like fields of any kind–are not real nature, but they beat concrete and battling with cars for a corner of pavement. I have discovered my best path out of the house, without using my car, while spending the least amount of time crossing streets or in any way thinking about cars and traffic.
I am not a runner. My idea of why to run is to chase a ball or a kid. But I find myself not exactly out of shape, but not in the best shape for the upcoming ski season, and life in general, so am adding running (yes, jogging, but hasn’t that word been retired?) back into my routine as much as overused soccer knees will allow.
Do you remember wearing a winter coat when you were little? Not a ski jacket, but a coat, for occasions when your parent decided that you should look “cute” or be dressed up a bit? I do. Mine was red, with big red buttons, and my arms didn’t move that well in it. I felt repressed when wearing it. The pictures confirm that I did look cute, but from the inside, it did not feel good. Today’s run was unplanned, so though dressed in yoga pants and running shoes, I was also wearing a wool coat on top. When I arrived at the loop and saw other people running, and not in long, graceful sinuous motion, either, I decided that I didn’t care what I was wearing: today I would start to add running back into my non-runner’s workout routine. Of course, I happened to pick the coldest morning of the year thus far to start my running program. But it is so much easier to just do something spontaneously, even without every detail in place, than to plan so carefully that I set up mental roadblocks. The running program and the renewed commitment to being outside, but away from traffic are separate, and consistent. So, whether the knee with big staples from a 15-year-old ACL reconstruction, or the knee without object too much for me to do this often, I will resignedly keep walking.

Today my path will lead to a place I both do, and do not, want to go. It is not the physical place about which I have mixed emotions. The story is not mine to tell, and no online source is truly anonymous, but in brief: I will be visiting a very close friend today. One of my friend’s two children, not a young child, but a young person, is very ill. Will I provide comfort? Will we be able to meet, enjoy ourselves, reminisce, without making devastating illness the focus of our afternoon, or is that a ridiculous proposition.

Please, any of you who has a child who is ill, or a close friend with a child who is ill, provide me with guidance. Illness is never so devastating as when it strikes the “wrong” generation of a family. The young person may be present, or be off enjoying time with other family members. “How are you doing?”, a most common of English phrases, takes on a weight and unintended meaning in a situation like this one. And there is the discomfort that comes with knowing that I am as susceptible to this, or any other scourge, as the next person. But this is not about me. It is not about illness. It is about meeting a close friend of many years face-to-face and heart-to-heart. May my heart lead me. Only intuition, or guidance from a source greater than myself, and not rehearsed dialogue can help me to be the person I need to be today. I will keep my ears, eyes, and all senses wide open, and I will know what my friend needs from his old friend. Please hold me in the light this afternoon.

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Sleepy Son Sunday!

Yay! He’s back. After a day in a diner and Burlington Public Library, and finally getting on the bus at 4  or 4:30, and then the train, and home after midnight. Yes, he is at a state school, and they are quite serious about kicking everyone out of the dorms, and closing down for the break. But when you are 18, it’s not a big deal.

Having packed no food at all for the journey, he was very happy to have grilled cheese and green smoothie and SleepyTime tea at 1:30 am last night (or this morning.) SleepyTime tea? What was I thinking?! Once I was properly hugged, and the food was downed, he was off with friends. He is not the one we call “Thumper,” and manages to tiptoe upstairs, and into bed without bothering me, so I have no idea what time the reunion celebration ended.

Dad made pancakes for breakfast. He was the one who discovered the best pancakes ever: we add pears (when we have them at home, but I bought some nice ones a few days ago, with return of son in mind) as well as bananas. Banana pear pancakes are a recipe I recommend. Not a sweet eater, even though maple syrup is a flavor I love, and we have Vermont maple syrup from a summer’s farmer’s market, I eat my pancakes out of hand. And I’m not sure I didn’t eat more than my share.

When I lived in California, and would come back East to visit, my dad would (so helpfully, he thought?) wake me up in the morning so I could “get on a good schedule.” I never did, and never really have been, so that always annoyed me. Never able to fall asleep before 4am after sitting in a plane all day, and then coping with a three-hour time difference, I didn’t appreciate the effort. Now I can consider that maybe he just wanted to see me. But I think he was just acting on misguided principle. I kind of think so. It bothered him that I should be sleeping at the “wrong” time. So no matter how much I may want to see the young man upstairs, I am going to “let it ride.” Nor am I going to tell him “You can’t go out at 2am!” To the contrary: he did, and probably had a very good time.

We had an amusing exchange before he left: Somehow the name of an old friend, who turned out to have briefly been a girlfriend during middle school years, came up. One of the people he went out with last night was “Ian,” his best friend since seventh grade. K then mentioned that ‘Jane” had dated “Ian” longer than he had. (What he meant to say was that Ian had dated Jane longer than  he had.) I retorted that this was not true. You, I said, have been going out with Ian longer than anyone! He laughed and agreed.

Lest anyone misread the tiniest hint of gay bashing into our conversation, there was none. We have a family rich with family members all over the sexuality spectrum. It reflects the human species pretty well that way. K’s college room mate is gay. When moving out of a miserable dorm room situation a straight, but preppie and annoying room mate, K, who happens to be straight, chose his room mate because they are friends, old camp friends. So LGBTQA friends: You are very welcome to my blog. LGBT objectors: This will probably not be a comfortable space for you. In this family, we celebrate the recent decision out of Illinois to allow gay marriage. If all the guys in the Bible had multiple wives–or were (supposedly) celibate, and we believe that, of course?–what is all the fuss about? The Bible most emphatically does not present marriage as between one man and one woman. People should neither be exclusively defined by, nor in any way punished for their sexual orientation. There is so much more to all of us.

I confess, I did not read the presumably pathetic email from some organization that pumps out pablum for parents of college students returning home for the first time. (Very pathetically middle class mush.) I’m sure I will make mistakes, but my plan is simple: provide food, be flexible, hope he has fun, and hope we are included in some of the fun.

There is creaking in the staircase 🙂

So I thought. Instead there is young man adjusting and enjoying himself in his own way, in his own time: first drumming and now keys serenade. I am content. But isn’t he hungry? If he hadn’t gone fourteen hours straight without food yesterday, I would think so, but I am going to trust that hunger will bring him down eventually. And that if he was in the mood for talking, he would. It must be glorious to be alone after so much forced togetherness!

Super Soccer Saturday: Everton v Liverpool, No Spoiler

What a match, for those who follow football & the English Premier League. I don’t follow closely enough to offer hugely insightful commentary, but it was a wild ride.

The keepers and strikers were all in nearly top form, with brilliant defensive plays, and some defenisive lapses. Everton gave up more chances with bad decisions to shoot and not pass, and with telegraphed shots to the nimble and quick Liverpool keeper, Mignolet, back-up to their starting keeper.

Everton also gave up a goal in the fifth minute of play. And nearly a red card in the 35′ as well. It took the ref a long time to decide whether to dole out red or yellow. This could easily have been a red card. Would it have been had it happened to a nicer guy? No issues with his play, Luis Suarez was brilliant today, sliding behind the Everton defense, putting a ball through a poorly constructed wall, and generally making life miserable for Tim Howard, who was not all that pleased with his defense, but has to accept some of the blame himself. Below is a photo of Suarez not diving. He was taken down.

Yes, that is Luis Suarez, by Circespeaks.

Yes, that is Luis Suarez, by Circespeaks.

To be continued, so I this is not a spoiler for those of you who recorded the early morning match and have not yet watched it.

Waking Bad

You can’t expect me to like Mondays, rain, snow, and mornings, right?! So I confess: I do like Mondays, rainy days, snowy days, but I do not like mornings.

It’s not the mornings themselves, but the fact that I am a night person, and have a hard time forcing myself to go to bed, and an equally hard time falling asleep, and then always–without exception–wake up in the middle of the night for an extended period of time at least once. Are you with me? This condition has persisted since I was a small child. Some lucky people sleep soundly and steadily. Such nights are few for me. Sleeping late was never a problem in my teens or twenties, but it is now, and our neighborhood is very noisy, especially in the mornings. Yes, kids, it is all downhill from here!

Too bad I get that extra burst of energy right when I should be going to bed. And despite all this staying up late, I have never seen the highly acclaimed, or at least highly entertaining series, Breaking Bad.

The purchase of a new mattress–now starting to do the research–would probably be somewhat helpful, since the mattress is old, lumpy, and the box springs jiggly. This is not an exciting purchase, and I keep putting it off. I imagine that I would prefer a good old-fashioned cotton bed that is soft and doesn’t jiggle. (No metal box springs.) Does such a thing exist? Possibly hand made from an artisan in Vermont?

Yes, I have ear plugs. With planes constantly zipping overhead (from a small local airport) they are a must. I will not further embarrass myself by describing the ridiculous lengths to which I go in hopes of sleep. Just a little more, another half an hour? If I didn’t need the sleep to function and feel well, I wouldn’t care. Today I don’t have what a fellow WordPress blogger and fiction writer refers to as “brain fog.” She has much helpful advice and describes extraordinary coping mechanisms that may be helpful, whether of not you suffer from CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), so here is a link to her blog: http://liebjabberings.wordpress.com/category/cfs-living-and-writing-with-mecfscfids/ Instead, I have a burning sensation behind my eyes that won’t get better until it is once again dark outside, and I start to feel great!

One of my friends suggested that I work on a farm, and make a routine of getting up early and working outside all day long. What I especially love about that idea is being outside all day. I’m not convinced that I wouldn’t rather be skiing, or an explorer, or anthropologist, or pilgrim, or doing something a bit less monotonous than farming, but maybe my anxious and active mind would thrive on the monotony. The gardening of spring and summer really elevated my mood and kept me outdoors no matter what the weather. But gardening and farming though related, are not the same. One solid day of picking apples might suffice.

I do not have a TV in the bedroom. Never have. Never will. But…I do answer email far too late at night, and sometimes even do productive work at my laptop until quite late. I definitely spend more time at a screen than really suits my mind and body. Working late–when I tend to be productive, since there are fewer interruptions at night–would be great if I were able to sleep just a couple more hours in the morning. So when I see that “bossy old sun” begin to rise, I tend to greet it with misgiving and bleary eyes.

Any and all suggestions welcome, but I would especially like to hear from people who have always been night people, but have managed to change their habits.

Waking Bad by Circespeaks

Waking Bad by Circespeaks

To Your Health!

Green Smoothie Ingredients by Circespeaks

Green Smoothie Ingredients by Circespeaks

With about half or a third of the total ingredients you see in front of you, and a bit of water, I made a green smoothie. The mango wasn’t quite ripe, so it will go into tomorrow’s smoothie. Nevertheless, the smoothie was absolutely delicious. I had about two cups of smoothie. However, it is now lunchtime, and I am famished, even before my daily workout. For me, green smoothies can be a supplement to my normal diet, and maybe a substitute for some less nutritious options. But on raw greens and vegetables alone, I would starve, and not very slowly, either.

Another WordPress blogger suggested I try adding green smoothies to my diet. She is a vegan, which I am not, but like me, also eats cooked food as well as raw. I agree with her that eating a vegan vegetarian diet is the best dietary course for the planet earth. Not only does she have an important message, but she conveys it with humor. Check out Violet’s Veg*n e-Comics! http://violetsvegnecomics.com/about/

I am on a middle path, attempting only to consume animal products from pasture-raised, organically and naturally fed animals. This includes butter. It is fairly easy to find milk from pasture-raised cows, but it is not easy to find local, pasture-raised butter, or any organic butter that is pasture-raised and not astronomically expensive. My imperfect compromise–though Ireland is not local–is to purchase Kerrygold and other European, pasture-raised, butter. I will pay more to buy local, but at some point that becomes unaffordable. For most of us, who do not have heated greenhouses in which we grow our own produce year-round, our lettuce will come from California during the winter months. What a sad waste of energy. Obviously the pineapple in my smoothie did not grow in New Jersey, either. Ideally, that would have been a locally grown,organic pear, but pineapples are a fruit I love, and I have now succumbed to purchasing now and then, and composting the top and hard outer scaly stuff. The pear wins on that score, too. There is almost no part of a pear that is inedible, nothing much to compost or toss. A pear is another one of those perfectly self-contained foods. Due to our unseasonably warm and dry fall, there are home gardeners in New Jersey still harvesting their own lettuce, kale, and beets without a greenhouse. I am still on the steep upward learning curve as a gardener. Next year!

Yes, I am yet another one of those folks who would like to cure herself with food rather than medicine. But I also really do love food and spices, and have no plans to turn eating into a job or duty. My basic approach is simple: it is to eat tasty, nutritious food whenever I am hungry. And yes, sweet potato fries are on the menu at times, not to mention my weakness for dark beer. So, I am not a purist. Just someone doing her best.

I include the link to a business designed around green smoothies. I have only looked at one brief video, and am not sure whether the author of a book on green smoothies–a lifestyle food, apparently–and her son subsist solely on green smoothies, or whether they eat other food as well. For those who wish to delve further into the green smoothie world, here is the link and short video. I neither know these people, nor have any business connection with them, nor do I stand to profit from any purchase or sales of books, etc. resulting from my post. I just found it interesting, good-tasting, and possibly a source of increased health and energy, so worth trying more than once.

http://greensmoothiesblog.com/abundance-of-proteins-in-greens/

http://www.rawfamily.com/how-to-make-a-green-smoothie

Slurp by Circespeaks

Slurp by Circespeaks

I can’t wait for my next green smoothie because the mango will be ripe tomorrow. In theory, you are supposed to use a different leafy green every day, and I do have raw spinach at home, but I love the taste of kale so much that I may just have to use kale again tomorrow.

If anyone is motivated to try, please let me know how you like it! Does anyone have a green smoothie recipe to share?

Ibrahimovic: ‘A world cup without me is not worth watching’ as Sweden succumb to Ronaldo’s heroics

I, for one, will miss seeing Ibrahimovic and Sweden in the World Cup! Furthermore, I’d rather watch a man than a pretty boy, but that’s just reverse sexism. I’m just jealous because Ronaldo’s eyebrows and hair get far more attention by stylists than mine do 😉 Okay, women do watch men’s soccer, in part, to see some amazingly fit and good-looking guys. It’s all a matter of taste, and there will be many women who will be thrilled to watch the pretty Christiano. Based on looks alone–not skill set–I’d rather watch Zlatan. Zlatan even understands soccer hair. Men’s soccer hair should look interesting, even unusual, and definitely unstudied. But then a lot of men would rather watch Maria Sharapova, whose tennis bores me to tears, than a less lovely, but more exciting player. No one can fault Ronaldo on his skill set. Yes, I will settle in to watch, as much as time permits, even with a little hole in my heart. And when the Women’s World Cup comes around, I will watch that, too. (Former recreational player on the left wing, mother of two GKs, and with divided national loyalties, how could I not?!)

Hej! Ville bara hälsa att det går bra med svar på svenska här i min blog på vilken sida dom helst, vare dig det gäller Sverige, eller ej. Då svarar jag också på svenska, och om jag orkar, på engelska med. Det får vara jag som gör bort mig med grammatiska o stavfel 🙂

ProSoccerTalk

At the final whistle of Sweden’s 3-2 World Cup playoff defeat at home to Portugal on Tuesday night, Swedish captain and global superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic cut a forlorn figure as Portgual’s players celebrated qualification to the 2014 World Cup.

Zlatan, 32, knows his last chance to shine on the world stage had just been snatched away from him. And, perhaps sadly, the world may never get another chance to see Ibrahimovic light up the globe’s biggest tournament again.

This summers World Cup won’t be the same without him. In true Ibra fashion, he even said it himself.

“It was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me,” Ibrahimovic said. “One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worthwhile to wait for the World Cup.”

(MORE: Ronaldo topples Zlatan – Real Madrid star’s…

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Hunter’s Moon

She stepped from the gloom,
Into the light of the Hunter’s Moon.
Why a Hunter’s Moon she pondered,
As along the path she wandered.
The moonlit path littered with leaves,
And sounds of exhalations as she breathes.
The scraping of squeaking limb,
She begins to hum a hymn.
Crack! A small branch falls down.
She walks more rapidly towards town.
And instead of hymn starts to chant,
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
The moon shine is not yet obscured
By the eclipse penumbral so rare.
She wanders on without a care,
As one to nature’s ways inured.
The eclipse, penumbral, was it not?
Yet at that moment darkness fell complete.
Hands cruel; breath hot.
Wrestled to her knees, then feet.
But are these human hands, she thought.
Or did she fail the gods of yore,
Who rose up from the earth’s hot core?
As she gasped, an eerie laugh,
And voice, not spoken, telepath,
Rang in her ears, as every year.
It’s time to come, Persephone.
Three months you’ll stay below with me.

Martha Wainwright, sister of Rufus Wainwright, sings a poignant mother’s lament about a lost daughter. This song was written by Martha’s late mother, Kate McGarrigle.