Friday, December 8, 2017

It's been a minute

As they say around here. I can't believe 2017 is almost over and my last post was back in May! So, a quick catch-up post, before my annual end of the year round up. A bulleted list, I think:

  • Job: I am still enjoying my job at the Faulkner County library. It has been great to have a transition time to learn the position and all the details while the person I will be taking over for is still around. She retires next week, and I will be full-time starting in January. Not entirely looking forward to full 8 hour days all the time, but at least I like my co-workers and the actual work itself. 
  • Running: still getting up at zero dark thirty to get in training runs. Now, not only is it very dark, it is finally starting to get cold - it was 26 this morning, after being almost 60 last week. It isn't too hard to get the runs in, unless it is six or seven miles like the other day. It tends to be hard to get up early enough to get it in before I have to be home getting Malcolm ready for school. I can do it, but it is a big rush. Thankfully, I only have to do that long of runs once a week or so. 
  • Malcolm: he is in kindergarten this year at the local elementary school and seems to be enjoying it. He is learning to read and count and do addition. He's started taking tennis lessons and is getting better at hitting the ball.
  • Books: I have read some really good books this year, but I will save those for the end of the year wrap up. I do a lot more listening to audio books these days, during my drives to and from work, even though I can't listen while running as much (for safety reasons in the dark).
  • Baking: I'll be honest, I haven't done much baking at all since I started working. It is just hard to find the time these days. I still make cookies or brownies once in a while, but I haven't experimented much. 
  • Tennis: Sort of a tough year for me - haven't won a lot - due to a lot of different factors, but I am still playing regularly, and look forward to the next year.
OK, enough catch-up for now. I'll be back shortly, I promise!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nostalgic moment

After a busy couple of months, I am (finally) starting to think about summer vacation. Malcolm has been out of school since the beginning of May, but it isn't really summer yet. Not really. Since a trip overseas isn't in the cards this year, there is really only one place I want to go, one of the rituals of my childhood that I want to share with him - backpacking on the Olympic Peninsula.

This is the place I think of as part of home, even though I usually only went there once a summer for three or four days at a time. It is my happy place that I go to in my mind when I need to be somewhere else. And it is the one thing I miss most, living way out here in Arkansas. Yes, I miss my parents and childhood home and all that, but I can keep in touch with them, I visit them regularly. The beach is much harder to get to - a ferry ride, a several hour drive (long stretches of which used to be on gravel roads), a hike through the woods. It isn't somewhere you can just drop in on a whim in the afternoon, like a city park. The journey is part of the experience, part of the shedding and then regaining of normal life that makes it so special.

So this summer, I am hopeful that I can take Malcolm there, to see the endless stretch of the ocean at the edge of the continent, to play in the cold ocean, to get sand in his hair, toes, teeth, ears. To eat simple camping food around a fire after a day of running and hiking and digging. To see the stars without the lights of the city dimming them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bunnies in the dawn twilight

Almost two months after my half marathon (yes, I realize I never gave a recap - maybe another day), I am still managing to run regularly several days a week. My plans get derailed more often these days by late nights, weather, and a child who hates sleep - without a plan and a firm goal to keep me in line it is easier to turn over and go back to sleep, or at least run a shorter route. However, now that I am truly addicted, if I don't go running every other day or so my mood suffers, and I feel off until I get in another run. So, I persist. At least I do not have to do the entire run in the dark anymore, since the sky is starting to lighten earlier. I still wear my reflective vest, blinking safety LEDs, and small flashlight, but the latter is completely unnecessary for most of the run.

And the best part of running in twilight is the bunnies. This is the time of year when they are more likely to stay out later and are more noticeable, munching on lawns and hopping alongside the trail. I miss them during the winter, when they must be hunkering down and feeling cautious about venturing out in daylight. Last summer, Malcolm and I would count bunnies and pick up recyclables as we went - it was always a good day when we had more bunnies than cans and bottles. Alas, I no longer run with Malcolm, so I only count bunnies. That is still a good reward for getting up early though. As I see them, I count in my head like a cross between the Count from Sesame Street, and Mr. McGregor from Peter Rabbit. "One leetle bunny, ha ha ha." This morning, I counted ten bunnies, and almost wished for an even dozen, but that felt greedy, since I had already seen so many.

The other lovely thing about running so early right now is the scent of spring. The honeysuckle is blooming, and so are all the privet bushes. Both are, rather unfortunately, invasive species that take over far too easily here, but even knowing that, I think they smell divine in the damp morning air, before it is dirtied by cars and heat and dust.