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Running responsibly

I’m pretty pumped these days because I joined a running group. So you can call me a “runner” even though it’s more like a slow jog. A very slow jog. Sometimes walkers pass me on the street. Oh, and every few minutes I need to stop and walk for a bit to catch my breath. But you can call me a runner please.

When it rains I go to the gym and run on the treadmill. With my favorite 60s tunes streaming through my iPhone, I crank the treadmill to a blazing 4.4.  I’m feeling pretty puffed up. I’m a runner. That’s when some whippersnapper steps on the treadmill next to me. Within a minute they’re at 6.5. Within three minutes their sweat is flying my way.

An exhaustive 15 minutes and my workout is complete. I follow protocol and wipe down my treadmill with antiseptic spray. We runners do that. At least all we “responsible” runners do that. And here’s what irks me…those sweaty gym rats who leave their treadmills all damp and smelly with no regard for the next guy. I don’t want your body fluids all over my hands. I can’t afford to get sick. I’m following a strict training regimen. I’m a runner.

Over pancakes and Power Rangers

When my son was just a little guy, he and I would go out to breakfast on Wednesdays after his sister left for school. The neighborhood diner was known for its spectacular pancakes and its cranky waitress. We called her “Krabby Patty” (the name of a popular hamburger on SpongeBob).  Sometimes, after Krabby Patty scribbled our order and sulked away, we would take a break from our usual conversation about Tonka trucks and Power Rangers, and wonder instead what would cause a person to be so routinely unhappy. At five years old my son already was learning that happiness is a choice. It’s a lesson that too many adults still haven’t figured out.

Tapping my inner resources

I’ve been interested in learning how to meditate. The experts say it will help me find lasting peace of mind. So I picked up a couple of books from the library and yesterday got started. Step one – a simple relaxation technique. I lie on my back, close my eyes, focus on breathing. Then I mentally scan my body for tension.

Twenty seconds in, my elbow itches. I stop to scratch. OK, return to position. Start over. Deep breaths. Now my scalp itches. When was the last time I washed my hair? Simultaneously I need to scratch my foot. I should put lotion on my feet. Or maybe I need a humidifier. Where’s that humidifier I bought last year? I wonder if it still works. The instructions said to clean it periodically and I never did. Why do I buy things and then not care for them properly? I’m wasting my money. I need to earn more money. Where can I find more work?

I knew meditation wouldn’t work for me.

Life Lessons from the T-Ball Field


Here’s a different slant on the game of baseball. I scribbled this in a journal 18 years ago, and happily came across it today. The memory is sweet.

I’m a T-Ball mom. This year our oldest child started playing T-Ball with eleven others who have quickly become her good buddies. Attending practice twice a week, and games on weekends, we T-Ball parents get to observe what has to be some of the greatest treasures life has to offer.

We watch boys cheer for girls who are much better players than they. These boys haven’t yet been tainted with the notion that, at this sport, boys are supposed to be better than girls.

We watch outfielders (actually they’re standing in the dirt of the infield) drawing circles in the dirt instead of positioning themselves for the next batter. When it comes right down to it, they really have no reason to worry. Rarely does a ball reach this far.

We watch kids who know it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. What matters is if the parent in charge of bringing the snack remembered…and secondly, what that snack is.

The other day I watched two five-year-old boys laughing and patting each other on the back. One was playing second base. The other was a base runner for the other team. These two had more important things to discuss than the game being played right in front of them.

We watch coaches say nothing but positive, encouraging words to their players, regardless of how poorly they play. Last week our daughter’s coach told her she did a super job of fielding the ball when, in fact, she hasn’t even figured out that her mitt opens and closes.

To T-Ball coaches everywhere, thank you for your patience, kindness, and the lessons you teach to the kids — and for the memories you provide their parents.


This is real? Really?

If those women on Bravo TV accurately represent “real” housewives in Miami, Atlanta, Beverly Hills etc., then I forbid my daughter to ever move to Miami, Atlanta, Beverly Hills etc.

Looking for la-la land

So I’m watching one of those HGTV shows last night where the young newly-married couple is shopping for their starter mansion.  You’ve seen these people. The poor realtor can’t seem to find a suitable estate for their $650,000 budget. A bathroom with only one sink? Unthinkable. Just one fireplace? You’re joking. And if those countertops aren’t granite, well, just don’t waste their time. The 20′ x 20′ master isn’t big enough. The back forty isn’t green enough. And the bonus room isn’t bonus-y enough for the lavish lifestyle they’ve planned. He wants a man cave. She wants a spa. Let’s hope they don’t want children.


It’s crowded down there

You know that seam on your sock that runs across the top of your toes?  I really don’t like that seam.  It bugs me. My toes get claustrophobic. So I wear my socks inside out. That way I can’t feel the seam; it doesn’t crowd my toes. An easy solution unless the sock has a really cool design on it.  Wearing really-coolly-designed socks inside out distorts the design and the sock’s coolness factor. So every day I must decide:  Claustrophobic toes? Or uncool socks?  I know. It’s a real problem.

OMG Cincinnati

In January it was the bitter, take-your-breath-away cold. In April it was the gloomy sky. Two weeks ago it was the torrential downpours. And this week it’s the stifling heat and humidity. Could someone remind me why I live in Cincinnati?  Oh yeah. It’s my family. My friends. My neighbors. It’s the people, not the weather, that make this city a great place to live.

What’s wrong with this song? Everything.

I love 60s and 70s music. Whenever I go to the library, I grab a CD for the car. Today it was Bobby Goldsboro. I laughed that I still remembered the words to Watching Scotty Grow. But I stopped laughing, and actually pulled over, as I listened to Summer The First Time. Then I played it again to be sure I heard it correctly:

     She was 31 and I was 17,

     I knew nothing about love, she knew everything…

     And when she looked at me, 
I heard her softly say, 

     I know you’re young, 
You don’t know what to do or say,

     But stay with me until the sun has gone away,

     And I will chase the boy in you away….

     We sat on the sand, and the boy took her hand,

     But I saw the sun rise as a man.

This song is about a pedophile!!  Women go to jail for this behavior! What were we thinking America? In 1973 Summer The First Time reached #21 on the Billboard Top 100. Ugh.

Post-Christmas coma

What is it about the Christmas holiday that makes me think it’s OK to eat and drink megadoses of stuff I would never consume in megadoses any other time of the year? Here it is, December 26, and I am comatose from the embarrassing amount of red wine, white wine, Bud Light Limes, apple pie, sugar cookies (with sprinkles) and hot cocoa that I managed to consume in the last three days. As my guests were leaving my house last night, I informed them that my next task, after doing the dishes, was to lose 15 pounds. I meant it. But here it is 14 hours into Day One of my healthy, post-Christmas eating regimen, and I don’t even want to put into words what I just ate for lunch. What will it take for me to actually mean what I say the day after I say it?

But that’s the beauty of weight-loss resolutions. If you fail, you can try again. And again.  And again.