Born to Run

I seem to start every post with my apologies for repeating myself, as I apparently report most of my life on Facebook and Twitter as well. Ah, social networking cross-pollination, what a wonderful thing.

So yeah...uh, running. SORRY. Running and way too much work at, you know, work, are the reasons blog-reading have gone by the wayside. Well, that and all the power blogger ass kissing that is so rampant these days (cross-pollination again, mea culpa), but that's a topic for another day.

I try to run 20-25 kilometres per week, but sometimes life gets in the way. As I've mentioned before, some nights it's a struggle to do more than a few kilometres, which makes me very pissed off at myself for failing so miserably. However, though Thursday was one of those nights (struggled to get 3.5k done), tonight I pushed myself and ran 12.5k. That's the furthest I've ever run by 2.5k, and it surprised the hell out of me that my legs remained attached to my body as I climbed the stairs back to the flat.

I made a personal best time of 58.53 for 10K, and managed the whole thing in 1.16.00, so I am inordinately pleased with myself right now. Not to go all puppies and rainbows on you, but less than a year ago I couldn't run more than five minutes without nearly collapsing in a heap of sweaty, panting rotundness. I have my first 10K "race" next Sunday, which is almost precisely a year since I started this running business. I promised that I would post a photo of myself post-run, but I'm getting a-scurrred of doing that now, so we shall see. Maybe I'll just put a photo up of my rack in the race shirt, because let me just say, though I may look like a total flooze, they do appear rather magnificent in it. Speaking of boobs, they will not.go.away. I could run straight through to next week and subsist on a diet of celery and water, and those things would not go anywhere. Big boobs 4 lyf. Shit.

What is the point of this, shameless bragging aside? Well, I don't want to get all if-I-can-do-this-so-can-you(!!) happy clappy rubbish, BUT really. I might be one of the laziest people on god's green earth, yet I have managed to stick with this for a year now. The Dude admits that he had no faith in me - I've gone on exercise jags before and quit within a month. I've somehow just reached a place that I needed to be in order for this to work. I'm not convinced that you can just start exercising and get on with it if you don't truly want to do it. It just seems like you're punishing yourself, and if it's going to be a long-term change, what's the point of facing years of self-flagellation in the form of physical activity?

I know that sounded Oprahrific, sorry. I'm just powered by endorphins and some really fine vanilla custard that I had post-run. It just makes me happy to see THAT photo of myself from last summer and know that though I still don't love my body, I'm now only moderately repulsed. I can at least not feel physically sick when seeing it reflected back at me. I'm even hopeful that for the first time in her nearly three years, I consent to having my picture taken with P on her birthday. Small steps.


The Crazy Returns

I started a post about some random facet of motherhood, but then my own mother called and interrupted my flow. There was mainly talk of what curtains will grace the bedroom we'll be staying in - the theme is early Victorian (overload) in case you're interested.

In lieu of that waylayed post, I feel I simply must tell you the latest Aunt Florence tale. Oh, how I love to recount the stories. This woman is unparalleled, she really is. I refuse to believe there is another woman this functionally insane in existence.

In a recent visit with my Mom, Aunt Florence was on the prowl for more illicit items to assume. My Mom is strangely proud of her aversion to tidyness, which is why her house must be an inexhaustable treasure trove of possibilities to old Aunt Florence. Florence's keen magpie-like eye found a ring which she had to procure. In fairness, she did tell my Mom that if the ring disappeared, the culprit would be easy to figure out. I love her boldness - she doesn't even ask for shit anymore, she just tells you she's going to take it. She's aware that my Mom treads around her delicately thanks to The Crazy, so she just goes for it. Guess what couldn't be found after she left that weekend?

Young Molly tells me about her family sometimes, and they sound so delightfully normal. I love all of The Crazy in my family, but sometimes a bit of sanity and non-old sock stealing behaviour wouldn't go amiss.



Victims of my incessant running-related tweets and occasional blog post centred around running will know that this activity is a focal point of my life lately. When in optimal health (which is rare thanks to my oft disease-ridden offspring), I try to run 4-5 times a week, averaging 20-25 kilometres. At the moment, I'm also doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, because I want to beat my body into merciless submission for the hell of it.

Almost a year ago I started running because I was weary of feeling like a thin person stuck in a chubby body. I'm aware that I wasn't "fat" in the traditional sense of the word, but I wasn't toned at all and extra weight does not sit right no my frame at all. You know those women who are 190 lbs but you'd swear they are about 140? That's not me - in fact, quite the reverse. Even before I had P and was a UK 12/US 8, people implied that I was larger than I was. My post-pregnancy 150-155lbs (this is all a complete estimation as I shun scales)must have made me look 180.

I may be exaggerating slightly, though it is true that my excess weight never distributes evenly. It instead chooses to linger around my upper thighs, stomach, face and boobs in a most obtrusive, obvious way. Even now I'm trying and failing to get rid of the flab on my inner thighs and it is stubbornly refusing to shift. Whenever I hear reference to "kissing thighs" I think of the amount of dreadful rubbing the tops of my thighs have done for years now, thus preferring to call them "fucking thighs" for more than one reason.

So yes, the primary impetus behind me running was to lose weight. I would give lip service to the notion that I wanted to be healthier, which is of course a beneficial byproduct of exercise, but I would be lying if I said this was the main reason. I want to have and pass on a healthy body image to P, and losing weight is the only way I would be able to do this with any level of sincerity. I know this makes my good friend Molly very sad indeed, as she's completely on board with the body acceptance movement championed by Kate Harding. It does make me a bit sad and sorry for myself too, as I know that there is no feasible way I would ever be happy with myself not being thin. Admittedly, when I was under 120 lbs (which was until my early 20s), I hated myself then too, but for other reasons. How delightfully femme moderne of me.

Weight fixation is far too much of a presence in my life, which is why I'm bringing this up. I stare at my face in the mirror constantly, curious as to how someone getting this much exercise can have a visage which still resembles the moon. I push my work chair in as close to my desk as I can possibly sit in order to not have to view my thighs and stomach. I nearly had a panic attack at the hair salon the other day viewing my appearance in the full length mirror because I could only see my boobs as massive pillows of fat steadfastly obscuring the weight I have lost. I occasionally find myself lurking dangerously close to exercise-like-hell-and-eat-nothing-but-one-matzo-cracker-per-day territory, and I hate that feeling. I know it would negate all of this positive body image stuff that I'm hoping P will glean from me subconciously, but the voice tells me that at least I would be thin and again be told regularly, "...but there's not an ounce of fat on you!"

That's my mental state of being, which I acknowledge is less than stable. However, despite these conservative, hardline views on my on weight, I never feel that way regarding the weight of others. Just this week a Twitter/blogging friend who shall remain nameless mentioned a weight loss goal of hers - x lost kilos in a certain amount of time. When I first read of it, I felt the sadness that Molly must feel when I'm being all Debbie Downer. This woman is gorgeous, and I would never call her anything but slender and fit looking. However, she obviously feels the need to change, and of course, who am I to question this given my own issues with the same subject? It's a shame that so many of us feel this way, and even more tragic that a lot of women are like me and will probably never be properly happy with what they look like regardless of the effort put forth.

It's always easier to make suggestions or provide encouragement to others and not be able to heed your own advice. I've never been able to work out why that is. Intellectually, I am aware of my hypocrisy, but somehow that's not enough to see things from that perspective as it pertains to me.

So, for as long as I continue to inter on this net, I will shake my head at my screen when you talk about needing to lose weight, because no doubt, you are beautiful as you are and all that trite rubbish people spout. I will believe that to be true about you, genuinely and without pause. Just don't ask me to love my fucking thighs.


Show and Tell: Literati

On a weekly basis for many months now I've been intending to participate in Mel's Show and Tell threads. I think it's a brilliant idea, I love seeing what other people have to show off, but I'm just so painfully lazy and complacent. The only reason I'm doing it now is that I'm fueled by jellybean excess and SVU immersion, and this is the next logical thing to do. Obviously.

As some of you may know, I (very) casually collect antiquarian books and ephemera like old letters, purchased off eBay. I hesitate to call it a collection as it's composed of two books, two letters, and one WWII-era scrapbook, but I'm quite proud of what I do have.

My first acquisition was an Edward Burne-Jones book which seems to be inscribed to Burne-Jones' widow, Georgiana Burne-Jones, from their son Philip in 1909. It is then noted that it was passed on to someone else by EBJ's granddaughter in 1952.

I bought this book off eBay for something ridiculous like $20 at the height of my Burne-Jones and Pre-Raphaelite mania, something which has lessened significantly as I've aged and become more cynical, but this book remains one of my favourite possessions.

The inscription reads as follows: "Mother (Georgiana Burne-Jones, widow of Edward B-J) from Phil (Philip Burne-Jones, son of E B-J and G B-J), Nov 1909". A later writer, presumably the same person who presented the book as a gift in 1952, wrote the explanations. In the final dedication he/she wrote, "and now to EMC, from CM, granddaughter of EBJ, in everlasting gratitude, Christmas 1952." CM is Clare Mackail, whose signature and writing pop up in various auctions thanks to her connections with people like JM Barrie.

The photos in the book, though yellowed from age, are gorgeous reproductions, many of which have comments written beneath them as to their origin:

This one reads, "painted from Margaret Burne-Jones, his daughter, aferwards Mrs Mackail". Margaret, as well as Philip, can be seen as children here, in this photo from the National Portrait Gallery in London. Margaret is the youngest, and the other two girls are daughters of William Morris.

My second book of note is an early edition of Vasari's Lives of the Artists. Here I was thinking it was one of the first editions of the book in English, but as it turns out, the first one was in 1685, and mine ain't that. Mine is from 1885, so it's a mere 200 years later.

The inscription on this one is very hard to read, not because of faded ink, but poor penmanship. C'mon Victorians, I expected more of you!

I can get "For dear Mary from Jack and ...." as well as 1885, which, like one of the letters, has been written over and changed to 1887. Again, Victorians - you so crazy!

Some of the illustrations:

And finally, to drag the classy down to a notch or ten, here is my Toilet Sedaris. In actuality I have a signed copy of Naked, but as I lent it to someone it is not here to photograph. Instead, you must view my copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day, referred to above as Toilet Sedaris.

This next picture isn't great, but I hope you can see the warpedness of the pages from, you know, dropping it in the toilet. Confession time - I have lent this to someone in the past and not told them of its sordid Toilet Past. Gross, I know.

Thus ends the tour of a part of my moderately unusual library. Perhaps someday I'll do a Show and Tell on my emphemera, and I hope there are some nerds out there like me who might actually give a shit.


Music Monday: Life and Death

I just can't help myself. I'm going back to the Guardian's 1000 Songs to Hear Before You Get Hit By a Bus, or whatever. Sorry. Blah, just blah. This week's theme - Life and death. Appropriately. Summaries are linked to below, courtesy of the Guardian.

1000 songs everyone must hear

Life and death: 1000 songs everyone must hear

My selection of 21 from the Guardian.co.uk list of 131

Louis Armstrong: St James Infirmary Blues

Blur: This is a Low

The Carter Family: Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Nick Cave: The Mercy Seat

King Creosote: My Favourite Girl

Depeche Mode: Personal Jesus

Nick Drake: Black Eyed Dog

Ella Fitzgerald: Summertime

Madness: Baggy Trousers

Massive Attack: Safe from Harm

Nirvana: Lithium

Oasis: Live Forever

Portishead: Glory Box

Radiohead: Paranoid Android

Rolling Stones: Paint It Black

Nina Simone: Feeling Good

Ralph Stanley: Oh Death

Richard and Linda Thompsons: The End of the Rainbow

Loudon Wainwright: Rufus is a Tit Man

Bill Withers: Grandma's Hands

Hank Williams: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry


Music Monday: New Music

So here it is again, for what it's worth. I don't even know how many weeks Music Monday has been in absentia - it's such a labour of love (believe it or not) and I just haven't been feeling it lately. I'm not feeling it much today either, but The Dude is watching cage fighting and I am very down on life at the moment, so perhaps this will cheer me up a bit.

Pennsylvanians who listen to XPN and people fond of public radio will probably recognise my complete plagiarism (that word never looks right to me) of their playlists. Oops. Apologies as well that I'm so "Stuff White People Like" that it hurts.

K'naan: Wavin' Flag

I'm really digging this song and it's the newest addition to my running playlist (which needs all the revitalising it can get).

Ben Harper: Shimmer and Shine

There Brother of mine - Ben Harper. Again. A good summertime song and a bit different to his usual stuff, at least the things of his I know. I also think it will take my entire lifetime to figure out how such a hot piece of ass married and spawned with Laura Dern. Srsly.

The Felice Brothers: Penn Station

This song is catchy as hell, and I wish I could find a studio version on YouTube, but alas, it's not obliging.

Matisyahu: One Day

You know those "odd crush" blog posts and tweets that float about sometimes? Erm...

Dave Matthews: Funny the Way It Is

It's a running joke between Brother and me how deep my hatred for DMB runs. I never thought I'd include one of their songs on MM, but here we are. Turn around, the Horsemen might be behind you.

Grizzly Bear: Two Weeks

Puuurdy. Creepy video though. Blurgh.

Matt Duke: Sex & Reruns

This song makes me almost happy. Sweet litle thing.

Nicole Atkins: The Way It Is

I think I've had Nicole Atkins featured before, but hopefully not this song.

Animal Collective: Summertime Clothes

Yay, fun. This makes me miss Letterman though. Bloody UK television.

Sara Watkins: All This Time

Gorgeous song, if you like Americana/bluegrass/folk as I do. Sigh.

There's more, because there's always more. However, cage fighting is over and I've got a date in bed watching The Office with my husband. Requisite empty promise number 49403 - I will catch up on my blog reading. Someday.