Sunday, January 28, 2007


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Early in January, I made public my "New Year's Resolution" to conquer fear: my fear of making mistakes, of being embarrassed, of making people mad at me, etc.

I want to share a couple insights I've had.

Number one:
It's a contol issue. I want to be in control of people's reactions to me. If I can execute some kind of flawless performance, I can keep people from reacting negatively to me or to anything I do. This is a way of protecting myself from disapproval or any kind of retribution.

One of the fear-related things I do is to put myself down. I tell people ahead of time, before I can screw up, that I screw things up. And when I do make some kind of mistake, I call myself names like "stupid," "incompetent," "airhead," "senile," "blonde." And I've discovered that the reason I do this is, if I say it first, it keeps someone else from saying it.

Number two:
It's a result of perfectionism. Being upset at mistakes means, I should be able to do it perfectly. Not knowing something -- I should know everything. Forgetting something -- I should remember everything. Being wrong -- I should be right. Mentally shutting down when I don't know, or don't remember, or messed up --- if I can't do it perfectly, I'm going to cease to function.

Like..... do I think I'm God?????

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Why now, nearly 3 months after Ironman Florida?

Because I've been working on my sidebar and saw I had a marathon packing list but no Ironman list. And when I went and found my ChesapeakeMan packing list, I saw I've changed some things since then. I've also added some stuff I wish the hell I'd had at IMFL when I was so cold on the run I could hardly move, and lost probably 20 minutes hugging the gas generators running the course floodlights.... I wanted to warm up more than I minded breathing a little carbon monoxide :-)

Here it is, folks:

Swim/Start/Finish Bag:
What I'll wear to the race and need before start and after finish (sweats worn over tri-suit or swimsuit, warm wool socks, sock-friendly sandals, hairbrush)
Sunscreen on face only, until after body-marking
Race Swim cap
Goggles (already cleaned with anti-fog stuff)
Extra goggles
Energy food easily accessible (in case start is delayed b/c of weather or surf conditions)
Baby powder (helps my wetsuit slide on)
Protectant for exposed skin if jellyfish are present (Safe Sea is good)

T-1/bike stuff:
Vinegar or Benadryl Spray if stung by jellyfish
2 hand towels (less cumbersome than one big towel)
Race belt and number
Bike shorts (if not worn under wetsuit)
Sport bra (if not worn under wetsuit)
Jersey (if not worn under wetsuit)
Baby powder to dry the last traces of dampness from feet
Bike shoes
Bike gloves
Spare contacts, small bottle of solution
Helmet (if not checked in with bike)
In jersey pockets:
Small sunscreen
Tube of Neosporin (for road rash; also a good skin lube)
Succeed capsules (salt)
Excedrin (pain reliever, mild anti-inflammatory, little hit of caffeine)
Pepto-Bismol or Pepcid Complete
Epi-Pen (bees, fire ants)
Full gel flask
On bike:
2 water bottles
2 CO2 cannisters taped to seat post
Bandana tied to aerobars, long enough to reach nose w/o untying
Bento Box with:
Foods of choice -- these are mine:
PayDay Bars cut in chunks
Fruit gumdrops
Cheese-filled Combos
String cheese already slightly opened
Lip balm
Spare contacts
$10 – you never know…
2 tubes
3 CO2 cannisters & nozzle thingie
2 tire levers
Large Bandaids
Disinfectant wipes
Eyeglass wipes
Kleenex pack in case I have to make an unscheduled pit stop
Extra shoe cleat and screws (in baggie to find easily)
Extra handlebar end piece
Small flat pack of duct tape

BikeSpecial Needs Bag(all “loseable” stuff, since I won't use all of it)
2nd flask of gel
Refill on all Bento Box food, in baggie (just empty it in)
Dill pickle & juice in plastic spice bottle
V-8 juice
Bottle of Boost or can of Slim-Fast (I hate Ensure)
Spare tube
Spare CO2 cannister

T-2/Run stuff
Run top if changing
Run shorts if changing
Underpants & sports bra if changing
HRM to assess whether I'm still alive in later miles
Change of socks (just in case)
Running shoes
Waist pack with:
Reflective tape on back and belt
Little tube of Vaseline
Salt capsules
Excedrin; Imodium; Pepto-Bismol or Pepcid Complete
Anti-nausea pills (Nauzene)
Gum to get the taste out of my mouth in case I throw up
Long-sleeved shirt (yeah, it fits in my waist pack)
Small, lightweight flashlight
Extra batteries for flashlight
Bug repellent wipes
Spare contacts (like I'm going to go through 3 pairs of contacts)
Gels etc. if not counting on what’s at aid stations
Hairbrush – to make myself beautiful in last mile for finish photo

Run Special Needs Bag ( all “losable” stuff)
Jacket; 2nd long-sleeved shirt
Long pants
V-8 Juice
Dill pickle in plastic spice bottle


Photo of the day:

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This is from awhile back. Daughter Avery wanted some tragic/spooky/bizarre pictures taken in a cemetery and this is one of them. I can't get my computer to accept my photo-reading card today, so I can't download any I take till I get that figured out. I think this whole computer is on its way downhill. It's old. This means, I gotta QUICK get all my photos onto CD's before they're gone forever.

But... talk about CLUTTER.... I have THOUSANDS of photos in my computer. Putting them on CD's will mean weeding out the ones I don't want or need. And that's hard to do, because I take SO MANY in the hopes of snapping that one change-the-world, Ansel-Adams, Pulitzer-Prize shot.

~Sigh~ I guess I'll just buy a lot of CD's... they don't take up that much room.

Off for a run now, 6 miles or an hour, whichever comes first. Wind is WNW 24mph with gusts at 36. Air temp is 32*F, wind chill 22*. Aw, heck, running at 22*F isn't that bad. I'm sucking it up. I'm outa here.

Today's training: 6 miles; not sure of time, forgot to restart my watch after stopping for Journey to poop. I think abou 70 minutes. Slow and slogging and definitely against the wind.

Friday, January 19, 2007

MY DAY (and it's not over yet....)

You'd think, with that title, it would be something amazing.

It wasn't.

I got a bee in my bonnet to take one good (or passable) photo a day and post it. A Photo A Day. Took this, of everyday life in our RV:

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Then we decided to go to an RV show in nearby Leesburg, VA (or thereabouts.) Excited about more photos, I took my camera.

So excited was I that, while we waited in line at the McDonald's drive-thru, I jumped out of the truck to "shoot" a car's rear-view mirror reflecting the face of the pit bull who sat in the driver's seat. When I looked up from my camera, I saw Steve just pulling away from the order-speaker. I jumped back in: "Did you get me anything?" Poor Steve: "No, I didn't know what you'd want, and when you got out, I figured you didn't want anything." Poor me: At the pay window we added a Diet Coke for me. I wasn't hungry anyway. I looked at the pit-bull pic in my camera. Blank screen displaying, "No CF Card." Damn! It was still in my computer from downloading Journey and my husband's feet!! So much for cool photos of an expo full of RV's.

Home, next project: rearrange cupboards to make better use of space in our RV. Put things nearer the point of use, yeah, that's the ticket. Things we microwave, go near the microwave. Things we drink, go near the sink. Glasses are already near the sink because that's where we use them. Plates also are near the sink, because that's where we put them when they come out of the sink.

There is only so much space near the sink in an RV.

But I put the microwavable things nearer the microwave, which is under the glasses and plates and beside the sink. Actually, the cupboard where I put the microwave things, used to house the microwave. But the microwave gave out, and when we pulled it out to replace it, WOW!!!! THAT'S A BIG STORAGE SPACE!! So we bought a smaller microwave and put it on a little wire fake-shelf thingie on the counter, so I still have counter space underneath it, where my mini-food-processor goes.

The counter is now full of stuff we drink, which I took out of the microwave cupboard. (Crystal Light, milk-flavoring powders, Diet Pepsi, Gatorade, sugar for tea...) The sofa is full of cans from the cupboard. I haven't decided which new place to put each category of stuff yet.

But, moving stuff around from one cupboard to another gives me the illusion that I'm organizing stuff and reclaiming some control of my life.

In another attempt at said reclamation of control, I have joined an email group of "De-Clutterers." Maybe I'll learn how to control my stuff.... after I learn to find it. Maybe they work on cluttered-up time, too. Like, just what I need for that is, another email group to keep up with....

Just like the little shelf units and stacking baskets I keep buying to organize my clutter, which wind up just being more clutter....

Training today:
Nope. Rest day. Plus, 20mph wind gusting to 36mph... yuck.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I WISH....

I could start all over.

In a way.

I would like to be as I am now. With the experience, wisdom (such as it is), composure (such as it is) of a 50+ year-old woman, but putting that back there when I was 20- or 30-something, and raising my children.

I don't want to be 20- or 30-something again.

I just want my children to be where they were when I was there. And raise my children all over again, with the place-in-life where I am now.

I am so good with my grandchildren.

Why couldn't I have been that good with my children?

All I can pass on is the legacy of desire to do the best a person can....

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Of what I need.
What clothes.
What shoes.
How many pairs of various socks.
How many pairs of underwear.
How many sport bras, how many regular ones.
How many jeans. Shorts. T-shirts. Regular shirts.

And a few gizmos like athletic food and drink containers.

For running.
For biking/triathlon.

The lists are made. Now I go look at my closet and drawers.

We'll see if I get past looking.

If I get it down to what's on my list, then we'll see if it goes past the bedroom.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I lifted this from TxSkatemom, who lifted it from Flatman.
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I've contended most of my life that no one was named Ellinor since my mother was born and her mother named her that. And her mother was named that by her mother, who was named that by her mother. (Does that make 4 of us? I've lost count.)

Among all the Lindas and Karens and Carols and Susans and Debbies was this one Ellinor. confirms it. In fact, it claims there are 0, count 'em, zero people in the U.S. with that first name.

This is not correct. I know of one other. My mother.

My daughters, however, did not get the family name. They're Valerie and Avery. Which is not a common name, but I've known another one and run into 3 others. As a matter of fact, I've only known 2 other Valeries, although that's a more familiar name.

No other Ellinor's.... I'll go back and see how many Eleanor Hamiltons there are -- it's that Old English or Welsh or something spelling that throws the count off. Heck, there was an Eleanor Hamilton who finished IMFL just about half an hour ahead of me.


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Well, my busted butt hurt a little, but I ran a 5K. Had to take short little strides because long or even regular ones stress my piriformis muscle, which isn't completely healed yet.

I took Journey! In these Shenandoah Valley Runner's Club Winter Series races, there are always dogs at the start and finish, and although I hadn't seen any of them actually running the race, and since I've seen jogging strollers in these runs, I decided to stick my neck out and try a dog. No one complained, everyone petted Journey, the finish-line guy yelled, "Come on, puppy, come on, puppy!" and she loved it. I started in the back on the left-hand side and stayed there till the crowd (about 160, I think) thinned out, so she wouldn't trip anyone. It was two loops around a field on a gravel path. At the end of the first loop, someone said, "You've got that dog worn out!" Yeah, right. Like halfway through a 5K, Journey's going to be tired, right. I got the same from a few people at the finish. Journey did not look worn out in the least, although she was thirsty. I tried to make her drink before we left home, but you can't make an unthirsty dog drink. She scarfed down a pint in the truck afterwards, though.

She cost me about a minute for a poop stop (which I cleaned up in a baggie and threw into a trash can, yes, I did.) My cautious pace cost me more. A large section between the loops was over grass and through mud, and that cost me more. But I wasn't racing, just getting back out there. Time: 33:40. Place? Don't know. Due to the drawing (below) they didn't do place announcements, just said check the website.

Everyone had to bring some kind of "white elephant" to give away, and along the course were randomly-placed cards with numbers on them. You picked up a number wherever you wanted to, and at the end, when your number was called, you got your pick of the loot on the table. There was nice stuff and dumb stuff. A birdhouse kit. Hickory-Farms-type cheese plates. Boxes of Russell Stovers. One of those "As Seen on TV" plunger things that's supposed to peel hardboiled eggs perfectly (I've heard it doesn't.) A bag of marshmallows. A twin-pack of paper towels. Mug-and-tea sets. Games.

There was a "The Stick" massager I had my eye on. But some teenage kid took it before my number was called. When I did get up there, I asked him if that was for sure what he was taking. He said, "Yeah," and then looked at it and said, "I'm not really sure what it is." I told him it was to roll along sore muscles, and he said, "Sweet!" and started rolling it on his quads. I asked if he was sure he wanted it, and he said he was... darn. But I got a nice LED booklight, the kind that clips onto your book so you can read in bed without your spouse complaining.

There was a book called, "The Mullet," which was, yes, all about the mullet haircut, its history and its heyday, lots of photos, cutting directions. I thought about getting that for Nancy :-) Someone actually chose it.

I contributed my swim paddles and pull buoy. No one took them :-)

Friday, January 12, 2007


Item 1:
Revelation in a novel I've been reading:
"If your heart is in the right place, how can you make a mistake?"

Well, I'd revise that a little...... If your heart is in the right place, you'll be forgiven your mistakes. No one says we can't make them.

I'm still coming to terms with still being an OK person even if I screw up. But my heart is almost without exception in the right place.

Item 2:
My computer is preventing me from accessing my Blog account, my Yahoogroups, and any other link I try to access from any webpage I've gotten to. I can get to the main page but can't sign in, comment, or otherwise get to another part of the website. This is only on my own laptop. I'm on my husband's laptop now and I'm able to go anywhere I want. Anyone have any clues on that? On my computer when I click a sign-in or submit button I get "Page cannot be displayed." I'm getting my mail OK.

Item 3:
I ran a mile today, first run in a week since the last time I buggered up my piriformis muscle and surrounding support structures. It felt OK, a little something but not much. Guess I'll go to the 5K tomorrow and take it easy.

Item 4:
I GOT ON MY BIKE for the first time sine IMFL. Didn't ride far.... about 1/10 of a mile down to the neighbor's (who happens to be my employer) to see their new puppy. It's a Labradoodle, or would be had they gotten it from a breeder for mucho bucks (I've seen those Lab-poodle mixes in the classifieds for $1500.) But they got it from the SPCA for only whatever the adoption fee is. From a breeder it would be a Labradoodle, but we've decided that since it's from the SPCA (an abbreviation) it's a Loodle. Looks like a yellow Lab with odd little "furlets" here and there. 8 weeks old. Sooooo adorable... I want one......

Anyway, the new puppy was excitement enough to get me on my bike. I figured, to their house and back was not a big commitment to biking. I could hardly remember how to shift. My chain has rust spots. The bike was covered with dust.

However, with a bike-shop gift card my mother conspired with Steve to get me for Christmas, I put a new saddle in layaway last week; while there, I signed up for a series of 3 bike-maintenance classes, and put in requests to be off work those 3 evenings.

So I must be planning on doing more biking sometime.

Who knows, I might even do another triathlon.

Wish my own computer would let me into my own accounts.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


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I got a plant from the campground we stayed at in FL. It was a sprig that had fallen off the mother plant, and the groundskeeper had put it in a styrofoam cup with some potting soil; it was sitting on the counter at the camp office desk. I asked about it and the desk guy said, "Take it. The groundsworker can't stand to see anything die, he's always potting up pieces that fall."

So I got this plant. All my houseplants (in my case, RV-plants) have sentimental value.... the Christmas cactus I planted the day I found out grandson Collin (now nearly 11) was on the way; the spider plant I planted the day Gracie (now 8-1/2)was born; a new sprig of the Christmas cactus when Abbie (almost 4) was born. The Christmas cactus sprigs were from a plant given to me by Steve's grandmother as a "congratulations" gift when she learned I was pregnant with first-child Valerie. Val's 33 now and still has the mother plant, which is huge, in addition to the cutting I started for her when Collin was born.

I had a piece of a schefflera from my father's funeral, but that got frozen, ironically, when we were in AZ. Valerie has the mother plant and I need to get a new piece from her.

So I have this plant from IMFL. It's setcreasea pallida, AKA "Purple Wandering Jew," but more commonly, "Purple Heart Plant." I thought that was supremely appropriate as a memoir of IMFL, which is why I begged for it. I saw the plants growing around the campground and went into the office to ask if I could take a cutting, but there sat this sprig already potted (but not rooted.) It's rooted now and I just repotted it into a real flower pot.

Purple heart.... I can't say I was wounded at IMFL, but I can't say I wasn't. I can't say that the piriformis-muscle issue I'm having now didn't come from trying to do speedwork too soon after the Ironman. I can't say my aversion to being cold isn't a lingering result of being so cold during the run. I still don't ever, ever want to be cold again. I don't mind my hot flashes anymore. I know they pass and I can put up with them for a couple minutes at a time a couple times an hour. Just don't ask me to be cold. I don't even want to eat ice cream. It makes me cold from the inside out. I never, ever want to feel cold inside again. I was colder in the last 6 or so miles of that event, than I have ever been before or ever expect to be again. I needed to run to generate some body heat, but couldn't run because I was losing too much energy to the environment. I have never been so cold in my life. Bless whoever put those gas-generator floodlights on the course. They wrecked the full-moon ambiance, but they put out HEAT. I hugged every single one trying to get warm.

Another possible injury... I'm not enamored of doing another Ironman, or even more triathlons. Apparently, however, I do intend to get on my bike again, because my mother gave me a gift card to my favorite sports store here in Winchester, and I put it towards a new bike saddle. Even though I haven't looked at my bike since Nov. 4. Well, I've looked at it, in passing, but I haven't even washed the Gatorade off the aerobars from the race. There were lots of things at the store I could have gotten instead of a bike saddle. Socks. Books. $40 worth of GU. Goggles. Swimsuits.

Except I haven't been in the pool, either. It feels cold when you first get in. I know "it's fine when you get used to it" but I do not want to get into water and feel cold and have to get used to it.

Here is the question:
I made it through the swim with nothing worse than a little seasickness, a little puking, a little "Thank God that's over," a little "I would never have believed I could swim in that." But I do not want to swim now.

I got through the bike with nothing worse than a sore bottom which resolved as soon as I got off the bike. But I don't want to bike now.

The run, though.... it was on the run that I was freezing, and exhausted, and lonely, and worried about Nancy, who hadn't looked good at the half and said she might not make it, and in fact (wisely) called it a day. It was on the run that I sought medical aid in case I was dying or something. It was on the run that I considered bailing at every single aid station. It was on the run that I hugged every single heat-projecting floodlight, losing probably half an hour in time overall. It was on the run that I walked (if you can even call it walking) the last 9 miles not sure I could keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Why, then, am I now averse to swimming and biking, have no triathlon plans, and won't even eat ice cream, but am gung-ho for running, planning on speedwork to get me to Boston, am injured because of same, and chafing at the bit because I can't run?

I love my purple heart plant. It grows. It gives me hope. It gives me inspiration. It's alive. I am, too.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting the upper 60's F, sunny, windy but incredibly warm for January. And it's not a "January thaw"..... it just hasn't gotten cold, at all, except for a cold snap right around Thanksgiving.

It's freaky. Cherry trees are blossoming 90 miles away in Washington, D.C. -- not due until April.

I have seen maple buds around here in northern Virginia. If the apple trees start blossoming here.....

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...and then freeze, as predicted will happen in the next few days.... it will be a disaster for this area's apple harvest.

We're just on a gig here, working at this campground for the winter, but I have made a couple friends, joined a running club, and I must be feeling some ties to the place, if I'm worried about the area's apple business. At our RV park here, two of the biggest weekends of the year are the Apple Blossom Festival and the Apple Harvest Festival. I guess the festivals will go on regardless of the apple status, but it just shows how important apple-growing is in this region.

So, in the beautiful weather ..... Did I go running, or biking?
No.... I went to the massage therapist.
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That sore butt muscle I complained of right before Christmas was nearly healed up, I was running again, but yesterday setting out on an hour's run I tripped, causing me to take a flying leap and land hard on the foot on the gimpy side, jamming my hip into itself..... egad, I saw stars. Hopped around a little on the other foot deciding whether I'd need to call some wheels to get home. Ended up limping it.... I was only half a mile out.

So today I went for my second visit to the massage therapist. Wow.... big difference right away. I'm not going to run for a few days but boy is it ever loosened up. Wow. My husband would like me to go to a PT because our insurance covers it, but gee, if this girl is doing me so much good per treatment.... shucks, I'll keep on paying her. She said today I'm a lot looser than I was 3 days ago, despite being re-injured in the meantime.

In the mail during the past week, as my injury waxes and wanes, have been coming books.

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Daniels' Running Formula.... whew, heavy going. Great method but I'm not sure I'm up to the math. Hey, Sheila.... tell me I can figure this out, OK?

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Joe Henderson's "Marathon Training: A 100-Day Program to Your Best Race" hmmm, easy going. Basically a training log with helpful hints and a skeleton program that you fill in yourself. Less than I wanted. (Not sure when to start the 100 days, either, with a bum bum.)

Ooh, ooh, my husband just brought in the mail.... OOOH!
Jeff Galloway's "Running Until You're 100!!"

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Now, THAT may be just what I need.... maybe I can't run today, or tomorrow, but at 55 I'd sure like to think I'll be running another 45 years.....

Friday, January 05, 2007

Rules for 2007

My friend Carlene in Canada sent me this. It's quite possibly making the rounds on the Internet, but I wanted to do my part to make sure everyone gets a chance to read it :-P

New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days -- mowing my lawn.

New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Lobster?

New Rule: If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're a dope. If you're a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.

New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: Do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.

New Rule: There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.

New Rule: Stop screwing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis .

New Rule: The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole.If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande, half-soy, half-lowfat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low, and one NutraSweet," ooh, you're a huge asshole.
(Editor's note: I don't think you can even GET just a "medium black coffee" in Starbucks, can you?)

New Rule: I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card,entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

New Rule: Just because a woman's tattoo has Chinese characters in itdoesn't make her spiritual. It's right above the crack of her ass. And it translates to "beef with broccoli." The last time she did anything spiritual, she was praying to God she wasn't pregnant. She's not spiritual. She's just high.

New Rule: Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadlysins. ESPN recently televised the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They're already doing that. It's called "The Howard Stern Show."

New Rule: I don't need bigger mega M&Ms. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'lljust splurge and eat two.

New Rule: If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to hear "27 months." "He's two" will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't really care in the first place.
(Editor's note: One of my very favorites was when I asked a lady how old her little girl was, and she answered, "She'll be three the first day of deer season.")

New Rule: If you ever hope to be a credible adult and want a job that pays better than minimum wage, then for God's sake don't pierce or tattoo everyavailable piece of flesh. If so, then plan your future around saying, "Do you want fries with that?"

Monday, January 01, 2007


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It's not to lose weight, or to train a certain amount, or to get my shit organized, or to practice my music or photography more, or even to qualify for Boston.

My project for the New Year is..... letting go of fear.

I am so often mentally, emotionally, and intellectually (can't think, brain shuts down) paralyzed by fear of other people's reactions, especially to any mistakes I make, that I'm surprised my shrink hasn't added "social anxiety" to my list of anxiety disorders. I asked him once how come something or other wasn't listed as a diagnosis on my insurance papers and he said, "Ellie, there are only so many diagnoses I can list and still justify treating you as an outpatient." Sheesh!!

I don't take jobs because I'm afraid of messing up. (Yes, we're "retired," but we need to work part-time to supplement our retirement income.)

I stay out of games because I don't know how to play and am afraid of looking stupid.

I turn down invitations because I'm afraid I'll be at a loss for what to say or do.

I let my husband make all the decisions because I'm afraid he won't like mine.

I don't contact people because I'm afraid they're mad at me for not contacting them.

If I do commit some faux pas, or social gaffe, or hit the wrong key on a cash register, or don't know the answer to a question I'm asked.... my mind shuts down like a power switch shutting off. I can't think. I can't move. I blank out. I pass out emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and sometimes feel like I might physically.

I hate this paralysis and don't want it to control me anymore.

I do have a plan. Some of you will appreciate it, some won't. I'm going through Scripture with a fine-tooth comb. In French. I have a French Bible, a French-English dictionary, and a Frech thesaurus ("dictionairre de synonymes.") I can manage to speak some, understand some, converse some, read some, write some, in French, but I am not fluent. I know the Bible fairly well in English, but in French I have to look up a lot of words even though I already know essentially what it says. I have to think hard about what I'm reading. I have to ponder the nuance of difference between the French word and the English word (maybe I should capitalize "Word.") I have to slow down. I have to pay attention.

I'm going to start a file box with cards of verses that deal, or can be interpreted to deal, with putting away fear.

I'm starting not with Genesis or even with the Gospels but with the Epistles, because they were written intending to instruct further in what the reader has already begun to learn. It took me about 4 hours to go through the short book of Philippians. About an hour to do Philemon (which is less than two pages.) Now I'm doing Colossians. Studying it in another language is opening up a whole new way of thinking about it.

Plus, I'm learning more French. :-)

I am amazed at the number of references, in these few chapters I've read over the last 3 or 4 days, to how and why we need not be afraid.

Colossians 3:23 says: "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, not unto man.... it is the Lord God you are serving."

With that in mind.... what's a cash register mistake, or a decision someone else doesn't agree with, or a foot-in-the-mouth?

I'll know I'm getting it the first time a mistake is just a mistake, a decision is just a choice, a misunderstanding is just that, and I don't fall apart from fear and self-beating when one of those things happens. I don't expect it to be good every time at first. Like everything else, it will take study, and practice.

I'm not aiming for the "I'm not afraid to say what I think" that can be blunt and hurtful. I know people who say exactly that, and it's not "honest," it's often downright unkind.

I say mean things to myself every time I don't do something exactly "right." Things I would never say to another person... it would be unkind, it would hurt them. I am kind to other people. Or I intend to be. The person I need to learn to be kind to is myself.