Always Keep Moving Forward

For a happy life

I saw this exact sign while shopping on a girls’ trip a few weekends ago, and the last part really hit home: something to look forward to. I’ve been a little down since my Illinois Marathon experience; it’s hard not to dwell on what might have happened (a huge PR) but did not due to circumstances I could not control. Today I decided to add a few shorter races to the calendar before the big one in October (the Chicago Marathon — can’t wait!). It makes me happy to have a few interim races to train for, plus I get to finish the 10-miler on the 50-yard line of Soldier Field. How cool is that? Always keep moving forward.

The Lucky One

I just got back from my first run in two weeks after injuring my already messed-up foot. It was only a three-miler, and I certainly didn’t break any records in the speed department. But it was one of the best runs I’ve taken in a long time because it made me think about how lucky I am. Here’s why:

  1. I have two strong legs on which I can run, which always lifts my mood.
  2. My two smart, loving, beautiful children make me proud every day.
  3. My husband is my best friend, my biggest supporter and the love of my life.
  4. I have loyal friends whom I love and trust, and they stand by me in good times and bad.
  5. I was raised by a woman who taught me to be honest and strong and to speak my mind.
  6. I have a sweet little dog who adores me no matter what.
  7. I had the gift of a college education, which broadened my vision of the world and made me want to see all of it.
  8. I see the good in people even when they don’t see it themselves.
  9. I love with my whole heart, even when it hurts.
  10. I survive. Always have, always will.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

It’s been a wild and crazy weekend around here: anniversary dinner, concert, birthday party. But before I begin my usual Sunday scurrying to catch up and get ready for the week, I wanted to take a moment to thank and remember all the veterans who so proudly and bravely serve and have served our country, my dad included.

My father and hero, a U.S. Navy World War II veteran (RIP May 19, 1925- May 20, 2006)

Week 2, Day 1: I’m Still Here

I’m pretty lucky if I manage to blog once a week. Twice? That’s cause for celebration. Seven times? Well, that’s downright insane, unimaginable.

Until today. Somehow I made it to Day 8 of BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), a challenge to bloggers to post daily throughout the month of November. I’m one of 1,833 bloggers who signed up for November’s NaBloPoMo, and I can’t help but wonder how the others are holding up. Are they out of ideas yet? I sure feel as if I am. I mean, the election was great fodder for a few days, but what’s next?

Daily life around here really isn’t all that exciting. Not that I’m complaining; I like my routine. It’s just not always easy to find something interesting to write about during a busy week, when one day runs into the next and the last thing you want to do at the end of the evening is sit down in front of the computer and try to be clever.

So I’m giving up just a little today. There will be no cleverness. No wit. No humor. I don’t even have a photo or a quote to post. It’s Thursday, and I’m spent, so I’m writing about blogging (lame).

But I’m still here, NaBloPoMo. I may not be saying much of anything today, but I’m writing anyway. And for a 20-year veteran copy editor who has trouble posting without multiple edits and rewrites, hitting the “publish” button on the first go-around is quite a feat. It’s downright terrifying.

It’s OK, though, right? I’ve got 22 more days to be interesting, succinct and grammatically correct. I’m sure I’ll think of something.

So how are all my fellow NaBloPoMoers doing? Are you used to blogging daily, or is this as crazy for you as it is for me? I would love to hear your thoughts.

I Don’t Care Who You Vote For Tomorrow

I don’t mean that as rudely as it sounds. I respect your right to vote for whomever you choose, and I hope you exercise it. I am just ready to be done with all the election-related ranting, both online and offline. This eCard pretty much sums up how I feel.

Source: someecards

So get out there and vote tomorrow and stop talking about it on Facebook. If you don’t my zombie friends and I will find you.

My husband and I heading out to his band's annual Halloween bash. You know it's a good party when you have to throw your dress away the next day.


The Dating Game

I didn’t date much in my early twenties. Dating was for girls who wanted to settle down, get married and raise children, and none of these things was part of my plans. I would rather dance the night away with my friends at some seedy new wave club in downtown Detroit than spend an evening that most likely would go nowhere with some guy I barely knew.

Dating was not my scene.

Nevertheless, at 22, I found myself in an audience of young, single women on a Detroit morning TV show. The men on the “Kelly & Company” stage had been voted Michigan’s 20 most eligible bachelors out of a pool of 1,000 applicants, and we, the audience, were their potential dates for a group luncheon cruise on the Detroit River.

Unlike the other women in the audience, I hadn’t chosen to be there. I didn’t buy a ticket or win a seat. I was the assistant editor of the magazine cosponsoring the event, and my boss had requested that I go. It was my first job out of college and, even at my most idealistic and militantly feminist, I knew I was lucky to have it.

So there I sat in the studio audience, hoping desperately that none of the bachelors on stage would notice, let alone pick, me. I had abandoned my loud, funky post-punk wardrobe that day for a modest paisley blouse and long skirt, borrowed pearls, and sensible navy blue hose and pumps. I was dressed for a job interview, not a date. My goal was to blend into the walls of the television studio, and I thought I was doing a fine job.

Meanwhile, in the seat next to me was another young woman from my office, a sales assistant in a short red skirt, her shiny black curls and pink lips glistening under the studio lights. She hooted and hollered as the guys chose their dates, while I nonchalantly slumped further into my seat. I was sure all eyes would be drawn to hoot-and-holler girl or any of the other brightly dressed, heavily lip-glossed women surrounding me. I was safe, I thought.

But then something terrifying happened. One of the men on stage made eye contact with me. At first I thought I was mistaken, so I quickly looked away. When I glanced back, he was staring directly at me.

“I am a photographer,” he told the show’s cohost, Marilyn Turner. “And the eyes are the windows to the soul.”

My cheeks reddened and my heart pounded, but it was not out of newfound passion.

“Holy crap,” I mumbled to hoot-and-holler girl, praying he was looking at her and not me. She started to squeal, and I sighed with relief. It was like going to a concert and thinking the lead singer is singing to you. Only this time I was really happy he was singing to my friend.

Hoot-and-holler girl shrieked again suddenly and grabbed my arm. “He picked YOU, Kathleen! He picked YOU!”

And she was right. He was pointing directly at me, the sensible feminist in borrowed pearls and navy blue pumps. If the eyes were the windows to the soul, he really needed a pair of glasses.

I went on the group date with Picture Guy, and it was predictably painful. During the limo ride to the Detroit River, he bragged about his photography and made worrisome comments about his living situation. A man who took himself too seriously and lived with his parents was not on my personal list of most eligible bachelors. Did I mention he liked pop music?

I had an out, though, and thankfully it didn’t involve swimming to shore from the cruise ship. Since I worked for the magazine cosponsoring the contest, I was obligated to talk to the other bachelors, or at least that’s what I politely told Picture Guy.

Too bad Lenny and Squiggy weren't on the boat.

After lunch I wandered around the ship, drank champagne and made awkward small talk. I had no expectations; I just wanted to get away from my boorish date. To my surprise, I met someone remotely interesting as I made my rounds. Lawyer Dude was as apathetic about the contest as I was and mocked it openly. He was sarcastic and had a sense of humor, and he was a music fanatic. When he asked for my number, I didn’t say no. But I was sure not to slip it to him in front of Picture Guy, whose calls I already knew I would never return.

We went out a few times, Lawyer Dude and I, but there was a generation of musical distance, not to mention life experience, separating us. During a heated discussion of the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds,” for example, he championed the album fervently while I, who had never even listened to the whole thing, wrote it off as dinosaur rock.

Sometimes age makes exceptions for youth. In this case, it never called her again.

It was OK, though. Youth was quite happy dancing the night away with her friends.

Looking for a nurturing, supportive group of writers who blog and bloggers who write? Come join me over at Yeah Write. You will love these folks.

Guest Posting Over at The Three Under

I am honored to be guest posting today over at The Three Under, a funny, clever, candid blog about life, motherhood and everything else. The blogger (who happens to be my younger and much cooler cousin Farrah) is the mother of three little boys, ages three and under. Two of her boys are twins, and how she does what she does — and finds time to blog and tweet about it — astounds me.

So please pop on over and check out Farrah’s blog and my guest post about my firstborn heading off to band camp.

My Failed Facebook Dry-Out

Our dog, Rosebud, the unsuspecting victim of Facebook identity theft

I gave up social media for Lent this year, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that it didn’t last. Let’s face it: I am a Facebook junkie. I like to “check in.” I like to “like” things. When I go a day without updating my status, people text me to make sure I’m OK. That last part probably sounds like an exaggeration, but sadly it is true.

Inspired by my husband, who gives up alcohol every year for Lent, I decided to try some clean living of my own. For 46 days (actually 40 because Sundays don’t count during Lent), I would give up Bejeweled Blitz (I am embarrassed to admit how much time I spent matching and detonating jewels); checking in (how would anyone know about the fun places I visited?); and updating my status (almost unthinkable for someone who has as much to say as I do).

Since I am not Catholic, I figured I would make my own rules and start Lent early. On Feb. 8, I announced my intentions publicly (via status update, of course). My friends wished me well and offered words of encouragement. One went so far as to send me a sympathy card the first week (no, I’m not making that up).

Somehow this perpetual Facebooker managed to quit cold turkey. For an entire week I did not take a single peek at my page or anyone else’s.

All was well until I realized that an email address I desperately needed was only available to me on Facebook. I knew I’d be cheating if I ventured back to the dark side and, although I may not be Catholic, I am prone to overwhelming guilt. So I signed on, got the email and admitted my lapse in a status update. I also said a quick hello because Lent hadn’t officially started and the temptation to let my 416 friends know how much I missed them was more than I could bear (even if most of them probably had no idea I had left Facebook in the first place).

Hoping it would be an isolated slip-up, I climbed back on the wagon. Again, I lasted about a week. This time I felt the overwhelming need to brag about my options guru husband, who had made an appearance on Fox Business News. It was a really big day for him, and he is not one to boast about his accomplishments. Someone had to do it for him, right?

By the time Fat Tuesday rolled around I knew I was in serious trouble. Giving up Bejeweled Blitz was nothing. It was going without the social interaction that was doing me in. So I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone, and I deactivated my account.

I did pretty well initially. I logged in on two separate Sundays (the Catholic Church says they don’t count, remember?), but I deactivated my account before Monday, when Lent resumes.

Then I was faced with the mother of all tests of my addiction: My daughter, a fifth grader, won an essay contest. As her mom, I would have been proud of this regardless. But as a professional editor and on-again, off-again writer, I was thrilled. I had to let my friends know. I just had to. So I signed on to my dog’s account (yes, my Yorkshire Terrier, Rosebud, has her own Facebook page), and I sang my daughter’s praises. Rosebud only has 38 friends on Facebook, but, hey, it was something.

It was a Friday, not a Sunday, and I was on Facebook posing as my dog. I knew I had reached a true low point, so I gave up and reactivated my own account. Lent, for me, was officially over two weeks early.

Am I embarrassed that I couldn’t last the full 40 days? A little. But I’m proud too. Although I’m a miserable failure at making Lenten sacrifices (again, I’m not even Catholic), I did accomplish what I had set out to do during my Facebook sabbatical: I started this blog.

After months of thinking and talking about it, of agonizing over putting myself out there and writing again, I did it. And I’m pretty proud of myself, broken Lenten promise or not.

I’m not sure where this journey is going to take me, but I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted in my Facebook status updates. Oh, and for the record, my husband is still happily on the wagon.