never trust that first mile or mondays

After a sluggish beginning, this past week of running was spectacular. Mentally and physically, every day was an investment in well-being, and for that I am so grateful. My total mileage was ever so slightly higher than the previous weeks, which is great; but mostly it all just felt so dang good. I ate better day-to-day, paying more attention to nutritional content and energy than to calories; I stayed hydrated; and we even managed to enjoy life and rest in between. Balance.

Monday: Struggle Bus for four miles here at home. I think most of my problem that day was being consumed with normal Monday catch up work plus frustrating household problems (our new fridge went out so I was waiting on a delivery all day then had several errands to run in Midwest City), so I didn’t lace up until almost 2 p.m. This is a rough time of day for running, especially on the tread mill, so I was glad to have that done. I added some strength exercises then walked away, not feeling particularly accomplished or refreshed. Had I believed that first difficult mile, I would have stopped running. And had I believed that Monday’s funky energy would last all week, I might have thrown in the towel, haha.

Tuesday: Seven miles, again kind of like running through cold mud, but I pressed through and felt completely better afterwards! This was one of those paradoxical runs that made me feel more energetic after spending all my energy. I just love that. By mid-morning on Tuesday I had reclaimed some much needed optimism and enthusiasm. 

Wednesday: Seven miles at the park. This day I saw a good-sized road runner (bird) in the grass. It was standing still, just watching me run on the sidewalk. I could not stop chuckling to myself. Trust me, this is funny. Also on this day I smelled maple syrup all along the north edge of the park, every single lap. It was lovely.

Thursday: Active rest all day, preparing for a longish run the next day and taking advantage of a chance to see my friend Marci. I got lots of housework done and accomplished a little shopping in OKC, too. That afternoon I tried about an hour of deep-stretch yoga, the kind where you hold challenging poses for five minutes or longer, which is not what I am used to. Also the video was pretty bad so I will not bother to share it. Good to stretch, though. I felt nice and bendy that night and my legs were rested.

Marci and Marie, aka Lelma and Thouise! xoxo

Friday: Fourteen miles at the Choctaw Creek Trails. I felt even better than last Friday, when I ran fewer miles. The difference might have been a package of sports beans I ate between miles eight and twelve and a sugar-free electrolyte replacement drink I sipped too. YUM. It also could have been that I had eaten so much better the day before, plus a really great breakfast Friday morning. On these kinds of days I don’t really eat more food; but I do eat more of my calories in good, starchy carbs like oatmeal, rice, or pasta. It seems to make a wonderful difference in my sustained energy.

Friday night was Handsome’s birthday scavenger hunt and dinner in Bricktown with a bunch of our friends, and I enjoyed two really good homemade cookies plus far too many tortilla chips, haha, but it was all so worth it. I am pretty sure I burned off most of those calories, yet again, by laughing hard with our people.

Saturday: Rest day to help my guy catch his breath after a killer week. We hibernated a little and soaked up some romance. xoxo

Sunday: After Hot Tub Summit, we toweled off and went for a very hilly six-mile bike ride, just out here on the road along the front of our farm. Then I headed to the back field for four sweaty miles and called it good. We spent most of the day doing stuff around the farm then got cleaned up and dressed.
We soon went to the City for an early dinner at the newly opened Texas de Brazil near Penn Square Mall. This restaurant in Texas has been one of our favorites for years, and we are so happy they have migrated a bit north. We both were completely happy with the atmosphere, the service, and of course the food! These days I just order the Soup and Salad bar, but if you have ever visited a good churrasco-style restaurant then you know this is just as gluttonous and luxurious as the meat option. That meal capped off an incredible week of exertion and indulgence!

 

 

Total weekly mileage: 36, plus some biking, yoga, and strength stuff. 

If this week had a theme or a lesson, it is that old joke, “Never trust the first mile. The first mile is a liar!” haha I’ll add that Monday can be a liar too. Don’t give up after one difficult workout, and never let Monday dictate how the rest of your week will go.

Always give it ten more minutes
And maybe one more day.
You might be happily surprised!

XOXOXOXO

41 in bricktown to kick off birthday week for handsome

Happy happy birthday weekend to my Handsome guy!! Today he turns 41. All this coming week he is away from the Commish, celebrating another year of life and hopefully relaxing and sloughing off some tension. Of course, being at the farm 24/7 can produce its own kind of labor-intensive tension, so wish us luck. 

Friday night we kicked off Birthday Week by gathering about 18 friends in Bricktown for a homemade scavenger hunt and raucous dinner at Chelino’s. The scavenger hunt list was 41 items long, ranging from super easy (selfie with the birthday boy) to awkwardly challenging (strike up a conversation with a stranger then start copying everything they say) plus lots of goofy stuff in between. Two of my favorite dare-type items were: standing in line at the movies to deliver a fake spoiler to ticket buyers (LOL) and also making the smallest purchase possible at a candy store after spending an inordinate amount of time evaluating options. I also got a photo with a guy scalping baseball tickets, which was not the high point of his day (I needed a Dodgers item for the list). And singing Oklahaoma! with a group of friends while people stared at us was a lot of fun. That happened twice. Oh! The human pyramid (see below) was great, and then when Trisha tried to recreate a romantic movie scene and my husband interrupted her husband’s line and the whole scene was stolen. That was hilarious. I tried getting everyone to join me in a water fountain for a classic Friends moment (water shenanigans was on the list), but I guess we are grownups after all. 

 

 

Lower Bricktown is so beautiful these days!
Lower Bricktown is so beautiful these days!
My own BW with our sweet beautiful friend Trisha (they actually went to the same high school) and her husband, also a BW! Crazy about these humans as well as their offspring.
My own BW with our sweet beautiful friend Trisha (they actually went to the same high school) and her really cool husband, also a BW! We are crazy about these humans as well as their offspring.
This street musician not only wished BW a happy birthday; he sang Happy Birthday to him over the microphone!
This talented street musician not only wished BW a happy birthday; he also sang Happy Birthday to him over the microphone!
Human pyramid!!
Human pyramid for the win!!
These two guys. xoxo I am so grateful that my husband has Dennis in his life.

Me with Trisha and Kellie! I love their hats and style. Also, pretty sure the merchant in this cool shop wondered if we were shoplifting. Ha. It was all part of the scavenger hunt.

Me with Trisha and Kellie! I love their hats and style. Also, pretty sure the merchant in this cool shop wondered if we were shoplifting. Ha. We were definitely not. It was all part of the scavenger hunt. PS: 3 cheers for wasabi cashews!

After about an hour and a half of playing around near the theater, eating brownies and cookies, and checking items off of our scavenger hunt lists, our big laughing group walked across Bricktown and up the canal a bit to join a few more friends at Chelino’s, one of the longest standing restaurants in the area. It’s Tex-Mex, always a crowd pleaser, with lots of room for fun with a big group. Our thirty foot table was overflowing with tortilla chips, colorful food, and good conversation.

bricktown walk c
Mickie and Kellie are two super interesting people, and not just because they are on an incredible run streak, but that doesn’t hurt!
Teh scavenger hunt called for a few particular types of photobombs, but it set off a chain reaction of all of us not being able to contain our dumb selves. Me included.
The scavenger hunt called for a few particular types of photobombs,which set off a chain reaction of none us being able to contain our dumb selves. Me included. This is our friend Bruce. His wife Serena was arguably the most competitive player Friday night. She sought those times aggressively!
He is not the world's biggest fan of wearing the communal party sombrero, haha!
He is not the world’s biggest fan of wearing the communal party sombrero, haha!

We had so much fun Friday. After saying goodnight to our friends, the two of us walked back down the canal and across Bricktown to our car, him playing Pokemon along the way. We were both smiling pretty hard. Our friends are really good sports, and we love them completely. Birthday Week was launched in the best way, and we have lots of memories to last till next year.

Happy Birthday to my steady, generous, loving, handsome, genius, talented, fun, strong as an oak tree husband. I love you always now and forever, and I hope the rest of Birthday Week is at least as fun as “41 in Bricktown.” 

XOXOXOXO

 

 

 

how to remember the why of all this work

The moon is waning now, reduced to a perfect gleaming quarter this morning. During Hot Tub Summit just before daybreak it reflected on the hot wiggling surface of the water as thick and brilliant as one of my Grandma’s diamond stud earrings. Bird chorus grew insistent, as it always does, the geese marched uphill from the pond toward the watermelon graveyard, and we started filling the day with laughter and good intentions. 

Mornings here are dewy, lush, and colorful. They are an entrancing time, just like evenings. With a small effort I can forget all the work that needs doing. The pinks and purples of these transition hours seduce me into that old belief that farm life is idyllic and easy. 

volunteer sunflowers between the barn and the front field
volunteer sunflowers between the barn and the front field

But soon the dawn surrenders to early morning which burns off the dew. The animals are hungry and each one believes he or she is the only needful thing here. Our late August sun grows suddenly harsh, pointing less to the velvety lawn and more to the sticker patches out front. My fiesta-confetti zinnias are growing weary, mildewed and crisp, but still begging for one more week in the garden. I think towards the abundant heaps of spicy basil and smile inwardly, pressing hope hard against the spider mites that have ravaged my tomatoes.

Don’t forget to collect those ripe eggplants today. And work on the compost heap before things get out of control. The horses really need their hooves done. Check on the bees. Fill the chicken waters. Add mulch to the shade garden.

I keep to-do lists like a crazy person, intermingled with my calendar and loosely scribbled diary. Sometimes it all helps; other times the lists only remind me how terribly short I fall. 

So I also keep pleasure lists. Sensory Inventories to soak up all the spiritual profit of this unusual and beautiful life. Whether I am doing it right or not, who knows. I often wish I had a full-spectrum mentor here to lead me. But at least along the way I am taking stock of the why of all this work.

The chickens eat the kitchen scraps and return to us fresh, heavy, pastel eggs. The horses and geese love watermelon as much as I do, and that greedy crunch-slurp gives me the same feeling I once enjoyed just watching my children play. Here, we get to exercise old lessons from our grandparents, trying things they tried, understanding suddenly the craving for clean floors and unbothered cows. Siestas in the hot months are both luxurious and absolutely necessary. The sun and the moon rise and fall in the most beautiful arcs, dragging along clouds and stars in quiet patterns that I had never noticed before. The music of rain on the metal barn roof. Bonfire perfume. The hum of bees and the exciting flight patterns of bats and dragonflies. Turtles sunning themselves at the pond and fat toads hiding in the dusty shadows of the garden shed. Venomous snakes beneath the pine needles, plus the stunning effectiveness of a baby llama to ward off wild boars. Deer who visit from the forest, lifting themselves effortlessly over the fence, white tails upturned and liquid black eyes surveying it all. That deep burst of optimism when seeds sprout easily or chicks hatch without our help. Loved ones who visit us and say they can breathe deeply here, peacefully, strangers who become friends on these nine acres. Romance that is sparked over and over again in ever-changing ways. Brokenness and healing, depleting labor and unexpected satisfaction, mentally and physically. 

If I ever lose my memories or if someone ever stumbles on these coffee-stained pleasure lists, the reason for all of our work should be clear: Even when we fail, it is all so amazing.

XOXOXOXO

marathon monday: week 5 mileage, coconut water, & new adventures

Hello! Monday again. I am five weeks into this marathon training cycle, which so far can be characterized as happy and grateful. Deeply happy in life and truly grateful to feel good physically, grateful to have time to go running, grateful for everything this habit teaches and gives me. Okay, a recap:

Monday: I woke up with tons of energy and grabbed four miles around the back field. The slightly cooler weather was exhilarating! My energy was strong and I was tempted to extend my run, but I cut it off in order to dive into some exciting projects up at the house. Weather changes always make me crave to fluff our nest.

Tuesday: After a deep, restorative sleep with Handsome, we luxuriated in a crisper and more foggy than usual Hot Tub Summit. I threw on some running clothes, did a handful of early chores, and met local running friend Sheila at a nearby park for six miles. It was awesome.
Afterwards we shared a late breakfast at a local cafe and talked about pretty much everything under the sun. How wonderful to discover such a beautiful human being, all because we share a love for running! And living close to each other doesn’t hurt, ha. I hope to tell you more and more about her over time. She is truly fascinating. As for the run that morning, it felt great. I was energized and happy for the rest of my day, which was full of baking and beehive inspections, garden weeding and ironing shirts.

Wednesday: After quick housework and morning chores around the farm I headed downhill for seven miles around the back field. That energized me and cleared my mind for a good, busy afternoon. That was the night that Handsome brought home a fun overnight guest for Klaus, so we all had our hands (and paws) full!

Klaus & Lincoln, brothers and friends...xoxo
Klaus & Lincoln, brothers and friends…xoxo

Thursday: Our little canine slumber party kept me pretty busy all day Thursday, and since I was planning a long-ish run for Friday, I took Thursday off, just kept moving with miscellaneous jobs and playing with the pup brothers. So much fun! Lincoln stayed a second night, and we all crashed early Thursday evening. 

Friday: Twelve miles around the Choctaw Creek Trails, the same park where Sheila and I ran on Tuesday. I love this place now! One lap around is maybe a mile and a half, and the terrain and views are varied, which is really helpful for getting lost mentally on long-ish runs. And it’s close to home, making it easy knock out errands afterwards and then get back to the farm early. Something I really like about this path is that the hills sneak up on you and are plenty fun. Also, yes to the super wide paved paths. Love it. I ran about half and half, clockwise then counter-clockwise.
Our weather on Friday was amazing. Warm but breezy, scattered clouds, just gorgeous. After running I drank a bunch of coconut water and twice as much plain water and felt amazing. This run was proof that my stamina is slowly returning and my whole body is cooperating, with the dismal exception of one toenail. I am very very thankful. This was a great start to the weekend!

coconut water can
This tall, skinny can is actually two servings, but I was so thirsty and spent after running that I drank the whole thing. It’s delicious for 160 calories, but beware the pulp! haha

Saturday: No workout today, and that’s fine. We slept late, relaxed at the farm for a while, then joined my family in Oklahoma City for a going-away brunch for my adorable nephew. He is starting an exciting new chapter living with my baby sister, his Aunt Gen, going to college and shadowing professionals in her field. Such a happy time!

My husband snapped this of all of us outside Classen Grill in north Oklahoma City. I love my people!
My husband snapped this of all of us outside Classen Grill in north Oklahoma City. I love my people!

The rest of Saturday was spent in Moore with friends at a traditional summertime car show, complete with frozen custard and late night half-price pizza. Excellent day. So much love and belly laughter.

Sunday: My guy surprised me by spending some gift card money on a new bike for himself! This is great news for me, because I have had a bike for about three years but hardly ever ride it. The Lazy W is not terribly well suited for bicycle action, and it just has not been worth the trouble to venture out somewhere alone. I mean, if that opportunity arises, I’m going running, right? haha
Anyway. We loaded our new toys into the truck bed, drove downtown, and rode six miles together along the Oklahoma River. Just an easy out-and-back to get the feel for it. My husband can speak for himself, but this girl is excited for lots more biking in the near future!! Total fun. Once we got back home, I stayed laced up to grab three miles out back. It turns out bicycling is an excellent warm up for running. 

bike ride

Total Weekly Mileage: 31 (plus biking and some yoga here and there) More importantly, along the way we accomplished so much life stuff, swam in so much happiness, and enjoyed lots of great meals day after day. I feel so very thankful. Without a doubt, in ways I don’t really share here, our life is stressful. But these habits keep it manageable for me.

How was your week? What are your coping habits and how do you know you are building up your personal strength?

Run while you can.
XOXOXOXO

 

 

slow rainy saturday reading & a bee wish

We were promised a dark and stormy start to the weekend, moody perhaps and perfect for cocooning a little longer than usual. While we did wake up a little late and to a grey sky and well soaked farm, the rain seems to be past us already. Handsome and I enjoyed Hot Tub Summit with roosters and baby peeps providing the soundtrack. Klaus romped with his llama friend. We resisted most reflexes to plan work and projects and more work. (Sometimes it’s really hard to resist.) And now we are inside, continuing the slow easy Saturday pace. How luxurious after a concrete-heavy week. My guy is dealing with a sub-par drone purchase while watching reruns of Rifleman. I am draining another mug of perfect coffee while reading and writing to you. 

It’s Saturday, so how about a list of articles worth exploring?

Bon Appetit magazine always offers great, worthwhile stuff, and this post about fragrance is no exception. In this house we are careful about candles and have recently outlawed melty wax gadgets, so employing natural scents is often the name of the game. Love it. How to Make Your Kitchen Smell Amazing Before Dinner Guests Arrive. Side note? I recently tried simmering warm season herbs and citrus, and it was lovely. Try filling your stock pot with mint, lemon wedges, and basil. Really nice. Clean and cool. 

I love just about everything Ashley Hackshaw does. Her interests are a lot like mine, sure, but it’s more than that. She is indomitable and magnetic. She lives the “Choose Joy” mantra her dad left her, and it’s contagious. She sucks all the marrow out of everything she attempts, big and small, and I think it’s really beautiful. Here is a simple craft that I will be doing here at the farm pronto. Hugs to this big-hearted woman. DIY Embroidery Hoop Loom.

My good friend Rose shared an article that feels like the author is in my head. 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know When Things Get Real is so much of what I am always thinking about for Jocelyn. Joc will be 21 in a few weeks, a strong and tender age. Terrifying and exciting. She is off on her own in another state, far removed yet so close. She is experiencing life in ways I doubt she expected to when she first left Oklahoma for that little temporary job adventure. I am so proud of her, and I pray for her heart and soul as hard as I do for her physical safety and financial security. Read this, folks. In a culture where we worry so much about structure and convention and what kids should be doing when, this is a balm that lets us pay attention to their deep emotional well-being. Thank you for posting this Rose!

My friend Marci has just sent her oldest to a wonderful residential high school, and she is fairly heartbroken. This is a difficult enough transition for any parent, but she is experiencing it a few years early. That makes it harder, I think. This post about why moms cry when they drop their kids off at college is so perfect. Marci read it and affirmed every word. Grown and Flown.

Okay, switching gears!

Maybe it’s all the mileage I’m racking up, but my body is craving dense, chewy carbs like it hasn’t craved in months. I am okay with that. So what perfect timing for another round of the King Arthur Flour bake-along. First up in this series is a gorgeous braided yeast bread called pane bianco. It has basil, okay, and cheese and roasted tomatoes. Watch my Instagram soon for some carb-heavy loveliness. I will aim for a day preceding another long run, ha. Bake it with me! Then run with me? We will be so happy.

Gardening is so good for us; this should be zero surprise. I loved this article a lot. It’s not even a new article, but I ran across it recently and it’s definitely worth reading. Friends, as summer slows down, get your hands in the dirt. Breath in the fresh air. Let nature heal and inspire you in all kinds of ways. Nature loves you. The Curious Case of the Antidepressant, Anti-Anxiety Backyard Garden.

Constant learners live better lives, and some form of meditation and routine is really smart. Also no surprise, but the breakdown to a five-hour rule is pretty cool. Additionally a string of Ted talks I listened to this week supported the idea that adding an hour of daily study of a particular topic can grow you into an expert in that field within a year. Or something like that, ha. Anyway I am a devoted morning person, and my days always go best when I spend some time getting mentally geared up, ruminating on creative projects and organizing my goals. Coffee and sweat help, too. Fun read by Inc.com.

Okay sweet smart friends, what have you read lately?

Oh- Just for the sake of record keeping, I will share that the photo above is of our swarm hive. It appears to be thriving, the bee population truly exploded and the uppermost frames dripping with honey. But a couple of days ago I discovered a few Small Hive Beetles scurrying around the grass at the base of the hive. This could be nothing if the bees are strong and plentiful enough to ward them off, but a thorough inspection is probably in order. Please wish me luck. Send all of your healthy bee thoughts this way, okay, because I really want this colony to thrive. Thank you!

Happiest of lazy, fun, restorative Saturdays to you!
XOXOXOXO