Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Death of a Chicken

I don't even know where to start.  My beloved Butterscotch passed away yesterday and I am moved to sadness whenever I think about it.  Of our three "chicas' Butterscotch was by far the friendliest. She loved to be petted and she was always the first to run up and cluck, "hi" when we stepped into the backyard.  Lone Chicken and Flicka are at a loss today without their fearless and humble leader.  They are walking slowly around the yard clucking and chirping while cocking their heads waiting for her reply.  It is such a pitiful and tear inducing sight.

Her passing has also shown me what an amazing family and group of friends I have.  Silly, I know since really she was "just" a chicken.  But if you had been in my kitchen when Josh came in after finding her permanently roosted in her nest box you would have seen what I saw on his face and known that he was the man for me.  My son at nearly 14 years of age openly cried when I told him and spent the better part of the evening in his room saddened.  When I asked him what it would take to keep him out in the living room with the rest of us he simply replied, "An alive Butterscotch."

As for the friends involved, just moments after Josh found her our dear neighbor arrived with beer in hand for a leisurely post work drink.  When he entered and found us in our state of shock, he stayed and helped to make the removal of her body and the cleaning of her box more tenable for Josh while I left to go get our son from practice.  He even stayed as we finished prepping dinner (ironically BBQ chicken caesar salad...of which I couldn't bring myself to eat) and kept the tone in the house light as Josh and I prepped ourselves to tell our daughter.  His wife, one of my dearest friends, even messaged me from her vacation on the East Coast to check in on us and that says a lot because she is not an animal person at all--yet she accepts it of us and knew that it would be an emotional loss in our world.

The friend I called immediately shared her own remembrance of her first lost chicken and talked me through the stages of "I should've could've" that came washing over me in guilt as I wracked my brain for what could've taken our sweet 1.5 year old Butterscotch from us.

Then there is our dear chicken/dog/cat sitter and family like neighbor whom cried with me on the phone when I told her about it.  I dreaded telling her the most because if there is anyone that feels as close to our animals as us, it is her family. 

Ah, sweet Butterscotch, I hope it was quick, painless and peaceful.  You died in your cozy bed atop your last eggs.  There will never be another you--our first, boldest, most social lady! We miss you terribly.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I want to be loved like that...

So many beautiful love stories out there and none of them are the mainstream melodramatic novels of modern lore.... true love stories can't be written out of some fantasy or author's imagination.  If we want to see what "true love" is we need to look for what REAL true love does:

check out this man fighting to keep his wife close by:

or this guy who created a work of love that took years for fruition:

I want to be loved like that. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Defeat does as Defeat is allowed to do

I was so excited this past Saturday when I ran an 11:30 mile with my amazing husband. My goal had been to get to a 12 minute mile by our anniversary trip on the 16th of August so that we could lightly jog on the beach....cue romantic music.  BUT!  when I blew that goal out of the water with my practice run this past weekend I was sooooooooo excited (too many o's, I know, but I couldn't delete them as I was truly that excited).
Then Sunday we strolled all over downtown Portland for our actual anniversary,  Josh thinks about 4 miles.  All that to say I took Monday off knowing I'd be back at my pace on Tuesday.
Cue ominous music...Tuesday.  Sigh, sigh. sigh.  I stretched, I rolled out my muscles with my "stick," I laced up my running shoes, I stepped out the door and made it precisely 3 sidewalk square lengths when the shin splints shot straight up both legs and I writhed in agonizing pain.  But stoically (also read stupidly, but hey this is my post...) I limped and cried and writhed in agonizing pain for 1.66 miles cringing with every step, tears streaming down my clenched jaw.  I didn't even get a 17 minute mile out of it.
So I did what any good runner does when they have 1 bad run.  I quit running for good in my head.  I beat the heck out of myself, told myself that Saturday's amazing run had been a fluke (regardless of all the good runs leading up to that one...) I looked in the mirror and I saw a failure.  Told myself I would never run with my best friend and life partner on our fabulous trip.  Got ready to post some asinine comment on google+ and then I saw a picture of an adorable baby gorilla--I kid you not! that actually happened:
( Mitch Wagner) 

And then this happened.  I totally felt better.  I kinda forgot why I was so upset.  And I washed my running clothes instead of throwing them away.  I was going to keep the shoes, cause I got a new pair and they are adorable (yes, and practical cause that is way more important then looking good while you run, but frankly they are rather spunky shoes).
Then today I stretched, I rolled out my muscles with my "stick", I selected a 14 minute mile coaching on my runkeeper app (Shameless plug cause I love that app.  The lady coach is both the most encouraging and the most condescending and either way I pick up my pace when she speaks).  AND Then I blew that goal out of the water with a 12 minute mile.  Followed by buoyed spirits and a 13 minute mile walk with my dog (she had been rather dejected when I took off without her for my run).  
I felt great, I looked in the mirror and I felt I could do it.  I remembered my goal of a 5k on Labor Day.  I felt like running another mile.  Then I laughed (somewhat maniacally until I realized my kids were in the house) at that thought and chowed down a fried egg atop roasted sweet potatoes--man running tastes good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Running to the beat of a different drummer

I took up in I am officially doing things to make running easier on my shins/calves and am tracking my every nanosecond shaved off my time.  I noticed three things this week about my run.

1) having a running coach is very helpful and motivating--even if it's an electronic one.  I get a burst of energy when she tells me I am ahead of my goal pace.  I also get a burst of energy when she says I am behind my goal pace. So either way, I am improving.
2) the music playing on the headset is crucial.  I have a playlist but some songs are just so much more invigorating.  For instance, today my run began with the Teddy Bears remix of Stayin' Alive.  Frankly a perfect beginning because I am running to be healthier and to in fact "stay alive."  This song gets me through the first few minutes with gusto.  A few songs later Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" comes on, this song depresses me, I slow down, I am tired, I feel every step, I must remove this song from my playlist.  Luckily another couple songs in and Aretha Franklin is there to tell me that, "I will Survive."  I love running to this song, I also loved dancing and singing to this song in my preteen angst years but that's another blog post.  I realized today the playlist goes in the same shuffle order, I must fix this...or at the very least figure out just what I need at each .25 mile. The end of my run is always, "YMCA" and it gets me running in bursts of joy...kind of a fun round out of a mile run.

So the short and the long of it.  I set a running goal of 15:30 for my first "official run" this past week with hopes of being at a 12 minute mile in a couple weeks.  Zoe and I have been walking 1.66 miles every day all summer so I knew we could easily "walk" at a 17 minute mile. 
Day one: I took Zoe, she is both a huge help-- when she sees a squirrel we go much faster then I ever thought possible until said squirrel is safely up a tree. Then she is a huge hindrance because I am dragging her forlorn 65lbs along behind me and the drag effect is damaging to my endurance.  BUT we came in at 13:30! I was so excited.  So excited that I left her home on day two for the first mile and managed an 11:30 minute mile on my own.  A striking 4 minutes ahead of my original goal and 30 seconds ahead of my two week goal.  Don't worry about Zoe though, I picked her up for mile two and we walked it in 15:30.  She was a bit confused (heartbroken?) when I left the first time, but happy to see me when I swung around to pick her up.

 1) Coaching is a must. 2) Music is a must.  3) Squirrels are a huge help. I may put some squirrel feeders along my route at strategic mile markers.