Behind the Blogger Tag Thingamajig

Thank you, P’Arc for the nomination! I know it’s not Thursday, but we’ll just ignore that and move on.

Here are the questions with my answers:

1. Why did you start blogging & why have you kept blogging?
I kind-of, sort-of wrote on Facebook. Like, wrote wrote. My goal was to post quality content with immediate results from my adoring fans in real life.
It turned out to be really hard on my self-esteem, watching ‘friends’ re-post crap and ignore my pearls. A truly wonderful (intelligent, beautiful, amazing, kick-a**) friend of mine suggested I move my act over to blogdom.

2. What is your favorite type of blog post to write?
Hands-down: humor. Even with a serious or non-fiction post, a bit of personality gets me giggling at myself.

3. What are your top 3 favorite blog posts?
From myself: I enjoyed my how-to on writing poetry, “Let’s Stay In Bed Today,” and “The Case of the Kitchen Cacophony.”
From other bloggers; I most enjoy reading short stories, humor, poetry -anything well-written, really.

4. What are some of your favorite things to do to relax?
I love curling up with a good bag of potato chips and French onion dip, with only my current book or video game to judge me.

5. What are 3 of your favorite things?
Running in the rain, cuddling during a movie, and satisfying creation.

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6. What are your proudest blogging moments?
Hmmm… that time I broke out to composing every day instead of pasting what I’d already done; and every. single. time someone leaves me a thoughtful comment.

7. What are your hobbies outside of blogging?
Ha ha ha ha ha…. Oh. Maybe you were serious.

8. Describe your personality in 3 words:
Repressed, tired creationist.

9. What are your top 3 pet peeves?
Intentionally unkind people, Intentionally ignorant people, and children singing pop songs.

10. What’s something your followers don’t know about you?
Welllll… if I answered that, it wouldn’t satisfy the question any more.

I’m not sure who I’ve mentioned before and honestly feel too exhausted to double-check. So, here are some blogs you all ought to check out:

Ruth at Ruth Scribbles.

J of Thru Violet’s Lentz.

Stephen, down by the Fractured Faith Blog.

Masercot, who shouldn’t be given a computer at Potatoes and The Promise of More Potatoes.

Geoff LePard, aspiring member of MP’s Flying Circus who writes from TanGental.

Just ’cause I didn’t list you, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I’m firing on about half a cylinder and can therefore only recall the last two blog posts I read. Anyone can play; I’m not picky.

——

THE RULES:

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Answer all the questions down below

• Pingback to the creator: Ellyn@Allonsythornraxx

• Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag.

THE CREATOR IS:

Ellyn@Allonsythornraxx

 

Photo Credit:
Geetanjal Khanna

Mystery Blogger Awarded

Thanks to Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Masterfulness for nominating me last week; and on my birthday, no less!

Here are my answers to Beckie’s awesome queries:

  1. Do you collect something, if so, what?
    I just might have a problem collecting books. Yes, I can quit when I -okay; no, no I can’t.

    susan-yin-647448-unsplash.jpg

    may have more than this.

  2. Other than writing, do you have any other hobbies or activities that you enjoy?
    I am a mother and housewife (and regular wife, and taxi, and….) “other than writing.” *Sigh* As such, my other hobbies need to fit between the cracks. They include reading, running, camping, and artsing.
  3. What is your most embarrassing moment in public?
    I puked on several kids at our choir concert in fifth grade.
  4. If you had your choice of sleeping on a bed of nails or eating chocolate covered ants, which would you choose, and why?
    I seriously think this question needs more parameters. I mean; if I only had to sleep on the nail bed for ten seconds, that’d be fine. If I only had to try one ant, that would also be fine.
    Mostly I don’t think I would be able to sleep on nails or chew insects.

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    Cute; but, UGH!

  5. What is your worse pet-peeve?
    I’ve been thinking about this one. My worst pet-peeve is people being selfish, especially at the expense of others. Seriously, people, have some manners if you can’t have empathy.

Some of my favorite posts I giggled to myself over include “Encounter in the Alley,” “Silent but Tardy,” “Everlore,” “My Muse,” and “A Spoonful of Limericks.”

Any stragglers-on to my blog know I’m not a huge fan of this chain mail thing, so my nominees are more a list of blogs I follow that I highly recommend you all check out. If they want to answer the questions, more power to them.

Len of Len’s Daily Diary. Brilliant mind, touching observations, and excellent story-teller.

Treeshallow Musings. She’s a gifted poet and word-painter.

Geoff. If you haven’t read Mr. LePard yet, that may be better for your health.

H.R.R. Gorman. Also an excellent writer; delving into a little sci-fi, a little horror, a little fun.

Beverly Hughes. One of my favorite people. She writes moving and insightful posts about mental illness and her journeyings.

Official Nominees: you may choose to answer my questions:

  • Is there anything chocolate cannot solve?
  • Are fabric softeners really effective?
  • Who is your favorite Disney princess?
  • Which storybook villain would always win a limerick competition?
  • If you could vote for anyone to be leader of your respective country, who would it be and why wouldn’t it be Girl Scout Tagalong cookies?

If interested, here are the rules and such:

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  4. Answer the 5 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  6. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  7. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  8. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  10. Share a link to your best post(s).

Photo Credits:
Susan Yin
mi_shots

Track Memory

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Anticipation clung to my twitching legs. A girl nearby hopped; I copied. Another stretched, as did I.

We pretended to ignore the waiting barriers. We’d glance to the nearest, flit to the next and next and next, then end at the finish line.

Too soon, I heard, “Runners, take your mark.”

“Se-e-e-e-et!”

*POP!*

Out of the blocks, I ran to the first hurdle.

Fell.

And sat and crumpled and cried.

Then, felt an arm about my shoulders. Heard a repeated lullaby of encouragement from a onetime friend.

“You won,” she reminded, “By not hesitating.

“And, tomorrow, you’ll run again.”

 

Written for Carrot Ranch Literary Society’s #2 Contest: Memoir.

The Wall

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Today, I hit The Wall.

Not only did I hit it, but I carried it with me for the entire time I spent at the gym. I even felt its musty, bricky presence most of the day.

Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about and are duly concerned for the safety of my person or my vehicle. Don’t worry; I’m referring to an exercise term. first learned of The Wall in high school from my track coach. She was good at coming up with power slogans each year, and one of my favorites was Break on Through to the Other Side.

Runners hit this figurative wall when they feel they cannot move any more. Usually, a dedicated athlete can keep going at an easier pace and find his stride again. Some days, however, nothing helps and one has to walk.

Today was one of those days.

I woke up early, put workout clothes on, ate a bit of toast, then drove over to our local gym. I could tell it was going to be a tiring, ho hum, nowhere, very bad run. I could tell because when I climbed the stairs to the track my knees hurt and I felt tired already. And then, when I warmed up, I felt as though I had already run my usual two miles even though I had only done 1/28th of that.

No matter which song I shuffled to or which motivational lie I told myself, I felt exhausted the entire time. My body was not my own; I was dragging it by my (draining) will power alone, at a pace that would shame a sloth.

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During my cool down, I recalled another memory from my high school running days: a race in which I hit The Wall. This was during my brief stint on the cross country team, near the end of our season.

Every race, the coach recommended we have a personal goal. Mine was that I would stop and walk one fewer time each race. At this point, I was up to not stopping at all. I hadn’t really set a personal goal, but I was just going to do my best since it was the last race if I didn’t place. Unfortunately, Coach should have recommended that we share goals with people if those goals were going to affect them.

Case in point: one of the girls who was always behind me kept trying to pass. I’m somewhat competitive and knew that she paced slower than I did. Every time she came up on me, I went faster. My logic was more that my pace must be slowing, not that I should keep her back.

Before the midway point, I was toast. She finally passed me, and I had to walk. Coach took a picture of me on that race that I still have. She didn’t do so to humiliate me; she was always snapping good action shots. I was moving slowly enough to capture the moment without much blurring…

Chelsea Cross Country

I’m the sort to jump to bad conclusions easily. If the husband’s not home from work yet, he must have been in an accident. If a child says he needs to talk to me, he’s committed a felony. If I had to walk a race, then I’m a horrible athlete and should never put my running shoes on again.

Except that running usually feels good.

Except that despite my melancholy, the sun still comes up the next day.

And running in the morning sunlight is one of my favorite things to do. Why would I let a little setback ruin a perfectly good sunrise like that?

Woman Sun

I won’t.

I may have hit the wall today. I may be carrying a few bricks in my pockets that may still be there tomorrow. But I’m going to run anyway.

 

 

unsplash-logoSiyan Ren
unsplash-logoRoger Burkhard

Limited Edition

“The only real limitation on your abilities is the level of your desires. If you
want it badly enough, there are no limits on what you can achieve.” -Brian Tracy

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When I attended junior high school (ages 12-15), I knew my limits. There was no way I could run The Mile in gym class.

Those sadistic teachers didn’t know what they were talking about, and I would show them they wouldn’t control me. I walked the whole thing, out of spite. I considered my intentionally-slow gesture a brilliant defiance to The Man -though, I wouldn’t have known about such a term at the time.

Sometime just before ninth grade, however, I changed my mind. I learned about an achievement called The Presidential Fitness Award.

Mostly, I thought I had a chance because I was freakishly good at an exercise we called the dead-arm hang. Basically, one hung from a raised bar (like a monkey bar) with his arms locked in a bent position. It was like holding a chin-up at the part where the chin is up.

This woman’s got it!

Another requirement was the sit-and-reach, wherein one had to sit and touch past his toes without bending his knees.

A third was a set number of sit-ups in one minute.

A fourth was some number of push-ups in that time.

Problem was, the final requirement was running a mile in under 8 minutes. Like, obviously, I’d have to actually run. Like, I’d have to run fast.

I hadn’t recalled the Presidential Fitness Award in many years. Then, right in the middle of my participating in a social media challenge involving planking, a woman at my book group brought it up.

Planking, if you are unaware, is an abominable abdominal exercise. The way I’ve always done it is to go into a sort of push-up position, but upon my bent forearms.

active-aerobics-beautiful-917653Kind-of like this, though the woman with obvious cleavage in the background is doing the more-accurate position.

The current world record for planking is 8 hours 1 minute. We were simply encouraged to get up to 1 minute if just starting out, or 5 minutes if we already had some planking under our belt. The friendly contest ran for one month.

Even when not actively exercising, I work on my abs. I’m a bit vain about it, though I don’t show them to anyone besides my husband and the mirror. Point is, I decided to go for the 5 minutes.

At the time that my friend in book group mentioned how she knew she’d never earn the Presidential Fitness Award as a teen, I had just passed the 2-minute mark for planking.

Her comment brought me back to junior high. I could see the gym clothing-clad teenagers slumping around the grass field we used for measuring a mile run. (Yep, we were poor as dirt -and grass- at my school.) I could see myself, quite literally suddenly running each one-day-a-week we ran the mile.

I saw myself stretching forward at night to will my arms and hands to reach beyond my toes; to elasticize my body to pass the reaching test.

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I remembered being tested for the arm hang, sit-ups, and push-ups.

Most importantly, I remembered my elation as I finally WON the coveted honor and received my printed certificate.

I was also a bit disappointed that Bill Clinton’s name was on the signature line, as my parents were Republicans.

Anyway…

Each night in the more present time, I continued pushing toward my plank limit. I wanted it badly. I believed in myself. I believed in the cute little chart posted online of adding more time each night until I would finally reach 5 minutes.

On the evening that I made it to 3 minutes, however, I dropped to the ground with rubbery arms. It was suddenly so hard!

That wasn’t supposed to happen. I was going to keep going; I was going to add and add and make it to the ultimate goal.

Maybe I need to work on my arms, I thought, and tried to do push-ups. Yes, they were woman push-ups. I wanted to be able to get up once I was down, you know.

Next night, I got all set to plank for longer than 3 minutes. I played motivational music, stared at a poster of Chuck Norris, told myself pumped-up aphorisms, and drank nature’s protein straight from the guts of the fabled mangu-mangu tree root.

Chuck Norris Meme 1

Or, I simply got down to it with my timer.

The seconds counted down from 3:30. I strained. I motivated. I clenched my abs. I told myself I was mighty and could do it.

And… I collapsed after the first minute. My arms knew better than my motivation.

Sometimes our abilities are limited by more than the level of our desires. No matter how badly we want something, even something somewhat-achievable like exercise goals, we may not get there.

I’m not going to tell anyone to give up on dreams, except myself. But that’s my negative self-talk talking and I’m not supposed to listen to her.

Instead, I’ve learned that there are some limiting factors I have little control over. I didn’t fail. Heck, three minutes out of five is 60% on a grading sheet. That, and it was two full minutes longer than I’d ever done before: a 300% improvement.

And when it all came down to it, I won the online contest. All that the participants had to do was comment on their stupid post.

Flights of Antsy

I used to be able to fly. I would run fast; faster -scissoring my legs and gaining altitude till I could coast in the wind.

My airstrip was the front lawn of my childhood home, the one with the steep hill. Or, it was the field with trees by my junior high school so I could fly into them and hide from my pursuers. Once, I was over a desert landscape and flew out of my kidnappers’ helicopter, landing amidst skittering sands.

Yes, usually my dreams involved exciting adrenaline escapes from hopeless prisons. I was contained for how special I was with all my powers. Sometimes I knew I must get out or my parents and siblings would get hurt as threats to me.

I passed a few years dreaming in solitude, but problems began to creep in. One time, I had to escape and ensure I also freed my helpless child. In a later dream, I tried to run but was literally dragged down by three dependents. I searched around in panic, mentally calculating the odds and knowing that it was impossible with so many.

Now, I rarely sleep well enough for my mind’s movie projector to work. When I am treated to an exclusive showing, the picture is blurry or I can’t save the world because the chores weren’t done.

Even my imagination has become hampered by the sludge of the everyday.

Pumping Poseurs

Super Man

I have nicknames for people at the gym.

There’s The Nymph, Gangnam Style, Bookie, The Amazon, and My Doppelgänger (she’s the in-shape version).

Mostly I name the regulars, the ones who are there any time I go -even though I don’t go the same time, day, or often month.

I could ask their real names, of course. All I’d have to do is get right up in their face, break their exercise focus, wait for them to pull out an earbud, then smile and say, “Oh, hi! What’s your name?”

…Assuming, of course, that I get over my habitual shyness to get as far as eye contact.

Besides fond titles of my own devising, I can’t help but participate in everyone’s favorite gym tradition: measuring myself up to others, physically. Like, to the few people who look less fit than I do.

For example, I like running when older people are walking the track. I see them and think, “Oh, good. Someone I can actually pass.” …Except when a buff old man wearing an X City Marathon shirt walks in. Then, I’m more like, “Oh, crap.”

What is especially funny to me are the attendees who are clearly, boldfacedly, attemptingly-ignorancely showing off.

One time, I plopped down on the mat in a sweaty fit to start my abdominal routine. A man and his girlfriend/wife/significant other walked in. He was dressed like most of us: t-shirt, basketball shorts, running shoes, and socks. She, on the other hand, was wearing strappy sandal HEELS with tight jeans and some sort of loosely-fitting top. Flipping her styled, sprayed hair behind her, she sat at a stationary bicycle and actually tried to pedal for a few minutes while he pumped iron.

They have couches downstairs. She could have waited there. I mean, what if she got sweat stains on those jeans? What if she popped a seam?

I was reminded of her when I finally revisited the gym yesterday. Whilst running -okay, okay- shuffling my two miles, a tattooed, stringy-muscled guy walked in wearing loose gym clothes and flip-flops. Flip. Flops. His long hair was tied back in a curly ponytail and his expression was just like that of JP Sears when he imitates yoga fanatics.

You know: serious, thinks-he’s-all-that STARE. In flip-flops.

I don’t know if there are groups of people who look at the gym as a great hookup place, because I don’t. I intentionally go looking grungy, so my makeup doesn’t sweat into my pores and give me teenage acne. My hair’s a mess because I’m going to exercise and get sweaty and don’t want hair spray sweat pouring into my pores and giving me even-worse acne.

I see people showing off, and think something more like, “I’ll run that mile, too, Pretty Boy. And, I’ll do it with my shirt on.” Er, with my gym shoes on.

Yao

I go to the gym to exercise. Period. And show off. And, probably, to people watch. Hey -it’s boring to run for two miles with only your music for distraction. I gotta pass the time somehow.

Diet and Ex-orcism

Track

Within the past half-year, I have been participating in a cruel and unusual recreational activity known as exercise.

Don’t get me wrong; I love some exercise, like sprinting. I especially love the challenge of racing out of the blocks, elbow-to elbow with contenders, barreling toward a long row of impenetrable hurdles.

Those last few sentences should have been past tense. I haven’t had the physical ability to hurdle since creating human beings. Baby production takes your nutrients, smooth skin, ability to sit on a metal chair, and sprinting capabilities.

To be honest, I still have enough youth left in me to be able to sprint. That’s one reason why I’ve been participating in YouTube aerobic sessions and occasional gym visits: to be able to move.

Whenever I get impatient about being fit, I feel like I’m trying to drag a fat body (mine) with me around the track.

Not one to settle for one form of masochism, either, I’ve recently added dieting.

If bottom-shaping exercises online are led by twisted, pain-driven persons; and my adherence to such a thing is a form of crazy cultism; then voluntary sugar-starvation only cinches my questionable sanity.

Why? Why, universe? Why did I ever give up the wonderful delicacy that was sugar; most especially, chocolate?

I hate to say it, but it seems to be working. I’ve noticed a difference.

Cutting refined sugar and white bread out of my diet has been the most-effective weight loss I’ve ever done. Like, 2 lbs lost a week.

It definitely works better than my past plan: eat really healthy until around 3:00 p.m., then consume whatever’s edible until bedtime. (Coincidentally, 3:00 is the time my grown offspring return from free, educational, public babysitting.)

I may want to kill someone for a chocolate chip at the end of the first day or two, but it’s worth it to push through past that hurdle. I’m really only competing with myself.

And the end result? A winning figure.