Saturday, November 28, 2009

Same time next year?

Following is a Facebook comment I had left to one of my friends who knew I was stressed out about Thanksgiving: "I laughed last night after we were talking about the events of the day. I jokingly said to Nik that it will make for a boring blog. I was not being serious at all but the day went so well. It was almost surreal. Of course a blog will be posted very soon highlighting the special moments. :)"

Thanksgiving 2009 was memorable for more than one reason. To begin with I have a client, friend and fellow runner who always runs in the Windermere Gobble and Go. This run benefits the Harvest Hope Food Bank. The entry fee is two canned goods per person. Being that I have friends who are clients and runners I decided that I would post an Invitation on Facebook about the run. It was close enough to everyone I knew and it was not a race, just friends getting together for a run prior to indulging in calorie-laden foods. Many people responded but those who don't run and were not interested in getting up to run at 8 on Thanksgiving morning I offered the option of dropping off canned goods by HALO salon. The response was great.

When I showed up to the Windermere on Thursday morning, fog was thick and the temperature was 38 degrees. Upon arrival I start to spot those client friends who had shown up. The coordinator of the run, was anxiously waiting to meet me as she and I had never met. The friend who had come had told her that Pam had sent them and her response was who is Pam. She told me upon our meeting that this was the best turn out they had had in six years and the most food collected. Her car was loaded down. Many of my clients had dropped off food, not to mention all the ones who even brought their children out to the run as well. The day started off on a very positive note. The run was awesome, a new course which is always challenging, new friends, donating to a worthy cause and doing what I love, running.

We got home and started getting everything ready for the day. I almost lost it when mother called Brittany to say that she was leaving her house to go to my Aunt Gail's. It was 10:30 in the dang morning, she was not to be here until 2:30. Then my Aunt Gail called, she was in a way warning me about the early arrival. I told her that mother is hard headed and is not supposed to be here until 2:30. The time had to be stressed because my mother is known to show up hours early and follow me around and just literally piss me off for a lack of a better term.

In the mean time, I receive an email from Nik's mom, Irma about how she wanted to wish me a happy Thanksgiving. She also went on tell me how glad she was that my children and I were a part of her and Nik's lives. I believe that her email was the sweetest on I have ever gotten.

After three, yes three trips to the IGA in Elgin we finally had everything we needed, poor Nik he was so frustrated with having to make multiple trips there. Everything was prepared set out and now we just had to wait for the arrival of the families. I knew they would be early, at 2:10 I get the call and Chelsea our rottie/lab mix let us know that they were at the gate. Thank god it was only twenty minutes early. Nik's mom, Irma would be arriving a little later as she had gone to lunch at her friend's house for lunch and was coming to spend the afternoon with us. I was really nervous about mother meeting Irma, not because of anything except that I am really close to Irma and not my mother. I knew that my mother would pick up on that fact. I had decided that I was not going to act any differently toward Irma just because my mother was there. I didn't either.

My Aunt Gail, Uncle Wayne and my mother were who had shown up to our late Thanksgiving lunch. I had a pot of coffee waiting so that we could get everything else ready and reheated. My Aunt Gail joked that she had spent all day slaving over her rolls, they were the store bought kind. It was nice to show them around our house. The commented about how nice it was.

We all sat down to eat and every one loved the food. It was so good, because we are always paranoid of not having enough food, there was also a whole lot of food. It was quite funny that my family had been discussing how they hoped I had made crock pot macaroni which used to be their favorite. I had, they loved it. My Uncle Wayne's favorite is pecan pie. When I found out that he was definitely coming I had made two, one for lunch and one for him to take home. He smiled and took his pie directly to his truck. Age has mellowed him so much, my Uncle Wayne, I used to hate him. He was such a jerk, now not so much. He finally realized like someone else I know that he can let people see his softer side and even smile sometimes. The change in him is a nice one. My Aunt Gail is the same as always, very pleasant.

Irma and Ily came over for a little bit, then Uncle Ray. Their visits were brief but nice.

My family got to meet Nik's mom and sister. Mother behaved, I was surprised. Everyone just sat around the fire in the living room of our house and talked. The most normalcy I had seen from my family in my whole life I believe and how welcome it was.

Though the day seemed long I am crossing my fingers that this was the beginning of something new, a fresh start for my family. Hopefully eventually I'll be able to relax and completely enjoy the family time that we will have in the future. As everyone left they told us what a good time they had had. I was elated. It had been a success.

My Aunt Gail asked, "Same time next year?"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Time to be Truly Thankful

As I have mentioned before, I get a lot of messages, cards, emails and phone calls to say that I inspire other people. Well I just do what I do, not to impress anyone, but to complete the goals that I have on the blasted goals list I make for myself. I am touched tremendously when I get those messages and most of the time I bat back tears or grit my teeth so as not to become a heap of sobs on the floor. I am thankful that though I see things that I do just as mere tasks at hand, that someone benefits from my actions. Most importantly the individuals let me know that I helped them and that is an incredible, indescribable feeling and completely unexpected.

Of the many things in my life that I am most thankful, one stands out and that is the outpouring of love and support that I have received from family and friends. My friends have become part of my family or I guess I could better say that they have welcomed me into their families. I am fortunate to have the strong support team in place that back me every step of the way. One of my most favorite memories is the Monday after the Governor's Cup, Mr. Bill who lives up the street from HALO, walked in and sat down in a chair and told me to tell him all about it. He really was interested in listening and hung on every word I said. Another one is of a group of my clients who came in beginning the Wednesday before the Governor's Cup dropping off cards of encouragement and gifts of power gels. Temple even dropped something off by our house for me the night before the half. When I was running the half, I was getting phone calls, there were ten or more on my phone when I finished. They were checking on me and telling me they were proud of me. Many of them are seasoned runners, others because they are so inspired signed up to their own marathons. I have warned them that they are going to hate me when they finish that marathon.

I am so thankful that Nik and my kids support me in whatever I decide to do. I get notes of encouragement and congratulations from them as well. Nik gives up so many of his Saturday mornings to transport me and sometimes Lori too, to our appointed locations. He never complains, and waits patiently. I will never forget the first race I ran, he was at the finish line beaming with pride. I felt I had done really poorly at the race but he reacted as if I had just won first place. I truly thankful that he is a part of my life and my children's lives.

Then there's Irma, Nik's mom. I have had the pleasure of spending time with her on numerous occasions. One of the best times was when I just popped in by her house when I was on my way home from work. She made us a pot of coffee as always. I had the privilege of telling her that she had done a great job bringing up her son. She raised him and his sister alone. She is a very important part of our lives. Irma is always there to listen and never judge. Though I was concerned when I first met her that she would think that I was beneath her son due to my having been divorced and a single mom of three teenagers. She never has and she loves my children too.

Last night while I was working, I had sent her an email saying that I was really glad that she was coming to our house for Thanksgiving. Her response made me choke back those tears that have remained lodged in a lump in my throat for a while. Her reply was that she was honored to be asked to come to Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for second, third and fourth chances. Though I am giving it one last try, tomorrow my family will be coming to Thanksgiving too. Oddly enough they are excited, but my family can tend to be pitbullish, calm but can be set off without a seconds notice. So we shall see what tomorrow brings. The last time we were all together for Thanksgiving was about nine years ago. I would be fine if tomorrow is completely uneventful, however I doubt that will be the case at all.

I am thankful for new beginnings, new opportunities and new friends. Having been hurt by so many people who I thought were friends I am most guarded where relationships are concerned. The longing to be part of a circle of friends was completely stripped from me so I do not go out of my way to make friends. I was hurt in the worst way over the last year. Unrepairable hurt, I cried more than once over the loss and over the betrayal that I have felt. I am finished with that chapter and am trying to get to know people a little better before I consider them friends. Friends are few, acquaintances plenty. I have met a few people in Lake Carolina that have adopted me into their group. They are genuinely sweet to me. I am trying to let the guard down, it's slow going but I guess I'll just wait and see.

For a life that I love and in an ultimate search for happiness, I realized that I have to look within myself to find it. No one can make me happy, I have to love myself then all other things fall into place. Daily I am working on this too, but most days I am doing well. I truly love my life.

Having a job that I also love and on most days it is like playing dolls when I was a little girl. Being a hair stylist was a dream of mine ever since I was five years old. Twenty-three years after the dream began it became a reality. I am thankful to just have a job right now and I consider myself extremely lucky to enjoy what I do.

I am thankful that I have a determination that won't quit, the health to pursue my dreams and the ability.

In this season of giving thanks, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to spend many years with my granny. She molded me into the person that I am. She was the constant that remained in my life for years until she passed away. During the holidays I miss her even more than I do other times because many Christmases were spent with her due to my parents separating. She always made many things, the one I remember most was her gumdrop tree. She and I would make that every year. She would also have that ribbon candy on her table every year.

As we sit down to dinner tomorrow, I hope that everything goes well. The food will be good I have no doubt. I am running in the morning to benefit Harvest Hope Food Bank. We'll see how it goes, I am keeping my fingers crossed and trying not to stress too much.

Happy Thanksgiving in a time to truly be thankful.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ah Hell, Here Goes Nothing or Everything!

I did it, I'm probably going to kick myself in the ass for it or maybe even in the face but I did it.

I'll back up and explain, minute details are necessary. The whole running adventure that I am on while trying to transform myself into Forrest Gainey (just kidding) my family that lives outside the gates of the cabin had no clue until the magic of Facebook.

My aunt is a Facebook-aholic and so are my cousins. Well I posted about the races that I have been doing and my cousin told her mom, my aunt Wanda who then told her husband, my uncle Ray, the whole domino effect.

I was unaware until I received a call from him saying he was PROUD OF ME! Not normal, I should say and completely unexpected, but most welcome.

Ok, well call me a little overzealous but I immediately had the uncontrollable urge to invite my entire family over for a Thanksgiving Day drop by. What the hell had possessed me but the invitation flew out of my mouth as if I were projectile vomiting, not a good analogy but it is what it is.

To my surprise and I will update later, it might be much to my chagrin in the near future, my family was elated. I called and many of the calls were directed to voice mails but the response was incredible. Come to find out my family that lives outside the "100 acre wood" had been planning to eat out at Shoney's for Thanksgiving for whatever ungodly and unknown reason other than their desire to not cook.

I will tell you what movie and scene entered my mind when I found out about their plans, "The Santa Clause" when Scott and his son were eating Christmas Dinner at Denny's. An utter disgrace I thought personally so what do I do, put on my superhero cape and voila, Pam to the rescue. When am I ever going to learn, probably never but at least I have my own personal bouncer at my side, Nik.

So fully dressed in my cape, Superhero Pam opens her damn mouth and decides to not only invite them to come down to the house for a visit but ah hell why not come for the full-fledged dinner. GOD! Seriously, I think I may need a mental evaluation. I came home and explained what I had done to Nik and he assured me that it would be okay, and he'd be there.

So this morning I get up, put on my big girl panties and called the mother. I talked to her like I would have talked to a five year old, reiterating that I would like to invite them all to come to dinner at 3 and that no one was allowed to come until 2:30. I told her that she had to call everybody since she wasn't working today, and I stressed that she had better not leave anybody out. I repeated that many times and stressed don't come until 2:30. I must clarify that my family is known to show up hours early and hang out for hours before which would be to my demise. They enjoy plundering which is totally off limits and invading my territory.

I am allowing them into my world which hasn't been permitted in years. Truthfully, it is frightening to me as I am skiddish about letting them in, literally and figuratively, but here goes nothing.

My family has in their minds not that moving away or changing careers or anything of the sort is not bettering yourself but instead it is abandonment of them. I have been moved away for about nine years or so. I should have been a statistic, but I was hell bent on not being what anybody expected. Honestly I think that they don't understand how to be proud of anybody as they seem bitter. So I guess we will see what next Thanksgiving brings. Hopefully the day ends by my saying that I am thankful for their visiting with us and not just being thankful when they leave.

Another occurrence happened today involving another family member, the daughter of my uncle, Mary. She had messaged me on Facebook. The message began by asking if I had remembered picking her up from daycare when she was little. I did but I was uncertain what the purpose of that question was but she continued on. She said that at the time I was a cheerleader and she had wanted to be just like me when she was little. She said that was almost 20 years ago she said that we don't get to see each other much any more, busy with everyday life. Here's the clincher, she said that I still inspired her. I had to choke back tears.

I swear I think I'm going to need a box of kleenex, I'm getting soft, too many damn emotions!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We Didn't Even Have A Clue!

Only six days after the Governor's Cup half-marathon, call us crazy but Lori and I decided to run the Camden Colonial Cup Road Race 10K. It is a pretty fast paced race that winds through the beautiful historic part of Camden. The benefiting charity is the Board of Disabilities.

It was cold that morning and my attitude was better as I actually enjoyed the scenery this time and was not looking to a shrub to puke in. Nik and Greg came along to support us. It is funny that at every race I have completed the participants are the same, familiar faces almost predictable.

We started the race that was 6.2 miles and probably started a little too fast but we planed out and just went for it. This time I did remember to talk as for some reason I seem to run better if I am distracted and carry on a conversation with Lori. There was also a 5k going on at the same time so there was no way to judge progress as the numbers on the shirts were identical. We were in the mile 3 range when there was no one anywhere around us and until we finished the race that remained the same. We just ran, even running on wet sand didn't slow us down, Lori said it was like running on the beach. I wouldn't know, I've never run on sand.

We saw the finish line in view and opened up. We crossed the finish line at 53 minutes. Our best time yet. Still there was no one anywhere around so, she and I just had some water and then we headed out. Awards take a while so we just headed home, we stunk and were hungry by this point.

All day I waited on the for the results to post and my patience were wearing thin. I decided that I would email the lady who had headed up the run and see if there was a different site to go to in order to view the results. In a few minutes she sent me the link. At this point Nik and I are heading out to the Lake to visit with my aunts, uncles and cousins. I clicked on the link, opened the results and started scrolling down. I couldn't find our names, so I scrolled up. Then I screamed and I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. Lori and I had taken 3rd place in both our age groups, mine 34-39 and hers 40-44! We had placed. I called Lori she screamed. Though we knew our times were good we didn't realize that they were really good. I think that was the best feeling ever, the funny thing is we didn't even have a clue. The best part, Nik had videoed the finish and he was so proud of me.

On the the next race, the Half-Marathon in Charlotte, December 12!

We Didn't Even Have A Clue!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And she wins the Oscar for the biggest liar ever...

We were all sitting on the couch Sunday at around 7:30 when my phone rang, it was my mother.

She told me to hold on that there was somebody she wanted me to talk to. My mother is also overly dramatic so the person to whom she was giving the phone could have been any number off a list of people. Pleasantly is was my cousin, Dwayne who I had not seen in a very long time until this past March. He is currently on a deployment to Afghanistan and was here for his two week break before returning to finish serving his time there.

Immediately when she handed him the phone, I could tell she had it on speaker so that she could hear what I was going to be saying to him. I asked what he was doing back because I was unaware of his leave time as usual. I am never kept in the know about anything that involves the family that lives outside the fence of the farm. There was a lot of commotion going on in the back as I could barely understand what he was saying. I soon learned what all the noise was in the background, the family had gotten together to see Dwayne but to also send his daughter, Deanna off, she had joined the Army and was heading to boot camp. For any one who has a smidgen of brain between his or her ears, we all know that neither of the events occur in a few days notice.

As I talked to him, I apologized for not being there but informed him that no one had let me know that anything was going on. I expressed that we would have made a point to be there had we known. He said he understood, but my mother is in the background saying she didn't know anything about it until the last minute. As I explained earlier, neither of these events happen quickly.

I am taken aback on a regular basis by her behavior and lack there of any concern for my feelings. I am coming to realize in a very direct way that I think she does not even like me much less love me. And yeah, yeah, yeah I know that everybody loves everyone differently but come on, I love all of my children and am proud of their achievements and I'm there help them up when they fall. I would like one explanation of how you dislike your child to the point that the progress of the child whether good or bad is never relayed to anyone especially relatives.

I'll elaborate. Nik, the kids and I went to the family get together back in March of this year, my cousin Donna invited us. In eight years since I left Winnsboro, got divorced and had been on my on with the children, this was the first invitation that my family had received. Against my better judgement we went. For two weeks and I am not being facetious, I had worried myself sick literally. It went better that I had expected. My family, not my mother, looked like they had seen a ghost as we came in. See my cousin Donna didn't tell anybody that we were coming in the event that I changed my mind. An awkward hush and thirty people froze when we came in. for my aunts that is a major feat, they also have something to say. In all honesty I just wanted to run, but I dug deep and found strength and stayed and it helped a great deal that Nik was there otherwise I wouldn't have gone.

As I talked to my Aunts and Uncles I realized that mother had not even told anyone how we were. None of them had any contact information for me, none of them knew where we lived, where I worked. It was as if I had fallen off the face of the earth and had reappeared.
Unintentionally, I stole my mother's spotlight that day. It is evident in every picture that my daughter took that my mother was visibly upset that we came to the get together. My mother had had back surgery a few days prior so she was supposed to be in the spotlight, she was sporting her walker, that the doctor said she didn't need.

I didn't go to steal her thunder, but because I wanted to see my cousins, their children, my aunts and uncles.

As with any get together everybody is asked to bring something to either eat or drink or paper goods. I volunteered to bring all the ingredients for homemade ice cream. I asked my Uncle Ray if he still had his hand cranked churn. He didn't, much to my disappointment. When my Uncle Ray found out that I was brining the ingredients, he called me to ask if I could afford to purchase all the items. I thought he was so sweet in doing that, he told me he'd help me buy it if I needed him to. I thanked him and declined with much pride.

Growing up every Sunday was spent at my granny's houses, complete with dinner, baseball outside and homemade ice cream in hand cranked churns. There were three of those churns, one with strawberry, one with banana and the other with peach flavored ice cream. Churning the ice cream had become a game. Daddy was on one, Uncle Ray and the Uncle Wayne on the last. That was the afternoon entertainment, seeing who could churn the fastest. Week after week they churned away as we children watching in amazement while we drooled on ourselves waiting on the best ice cream. Brewster's and Marble slab had nothing on that ice cream.

My family knows that we are all doing well now and hopefully I will have a direct line to the family functions but I don't know.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Governor's Cup - A Play by Play

Yesterday, I ran my first half-marathon. Today I feel like I have been hit by a truck, not a little one but an eighteen wheeler.

Through the weeks of training prior to the half, I had run almost daily, dealt with minimal pains the worst being a swollen foot but all in all nothing too bad. Of course nothing bad enough to want to make me not pursue my goal and truthfully I am unsure what those conditions would be.

Following is a play by play of the events that began yesterday morning, one of my proudest moments, the day that I do not think I'd trade for the world and the icing on the cake, my children were there.

I had set the alarm for five a.m. We had to leave by 6:45 so had all my rituals to do before we left. They include an Epsom salt bath, coffee, drinking a lot of water, eating rice and two protein bars and just getting my body moving. I made one error that morning I forgot to eat the second protein bar, a 300 calorie deficit was against me already and would reflect in miles six and the rest of the race. I remembered after the race what I had forgotten.

Lori met us at the house at 6:30ish so that we could leave, I was really surprised that my children were in tow.

The temperature was about 35 but there was frost in some areas. It was cold but once the race begins, the body warms up drastically and even in that cold temperature, sweating begins. I was dressed in shorts and a short sleeve shirt with just a thin zippered jacket on, which came off after mile one.

First off let me clarify that mile markers make me crazy. I like the timers that register what the pace was thus far but the mile markers. (Make a growly face because that is what I was doing at them.) Don't get me wrong I enjoy knowing how much longer I have as far as distance but when I thought I was going to just sit down and wait on someone, anyone to come and get me at around mile seven I was hating those things. My perspective of mile markers changed though once I saw the 10th one. However when the motivational people who were all perky at mile 6.5 or so kept saying that the race was half done, I wanted to take them out.

Lori is the best running partner I could ask for. She tried her best to distract me throughout the whole race. We had done really well at mile 1 we were at a flat nine minute pace which we maintained for the first seven miles believe it or not, then I had to pee. Believe you me I though seriously about peeing in my shorts just because it was cold and I knew that my legs were going to hurt to start back running, they feel like lead and I started asking myself what the hell was I thinking. We started back though and let me just make a point known I hate Lake Cathryn. Lori tried to get me to look at all the pretty houses, but I was looking at the EMS motorcycle passing by to see if I could fit on the back which was a big old negative. We kept running around Lake Cathryn and now I am in search of a shrub, I needed to puke, I was green Lori said. Once we entered Five Points down the hill by Bank of America we met up with another time register, we were 12 miles and 2 hours and 1 minute. Just then this old man who had to have been running since Jesus was a little boy passed us and kindly said we should enjoy this downhill because it is the last one. The last mile of the race is UPHILL back the Horseshoe at USC. It took me 12 minutes to get to the finish line. During those twelve minutes, Lori starts quoting Lance Armstrong's motivational sayings to me which now is comical but when I was trying to get up that damn hill. Had I seen Lance Armstrong I probably would have punched him in the face. She also kept telling me you can do anything for this last mile, she said she knew I could do it. Lori tried enticing me with bananas at the finish line, saying in five minutes we will be done and eating bananas, I just looked at her blankly. Then this was the kicker, she played on my pride which was all it took. She said that Nik and the children were at the Finish Line and she knew that I didn't want them to see me walking. That did it because after we topped the hill I spotted them, my family, yelling my name and cheering for me and something came from within and I finished in 2 hours and 13 minutes. Lori and I finished as they called our names when we were crossing the finish line she grabbed my hand. Then the race officials took our chips and replaced them with our medals for completing the half-marathon.

Writing this I am filled with pride and a huge sense of accomplishment as I am reliving every little thing that happened even the most horrible calf cramps I had on the way home which required a stop so I could stand up. Overall the pain was minimal, I expected much more but nothing that ibuprofen, rest (yes, I said it) and a massage will not help. I am also the proud recipient of two black toes nails.

And just in case you were wondering I will be doing it again next year, I have to beat my own time you know. My family is going to meet me at the last mile next year to get me up that blasted hill.

I remember distinctly smiling when I saw them on Saturday. I was happy that they were there to see me finish, I want them to know they can do whatever they want in life despite what they may have been told. It was worth it all of it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ISO of a Christmas Gift

Yesterday, just out of the blue, I receive a text from my mother. Random I thought but then I remembered that it is almost time for the holidays. The realization that the only that I am contacted is her search for a Christmas gift which is truly sad and pisses me off to no end.

Since I have been an adult who was not struggling and doing okay for myself, she has expected some grandiose Christmas gift or gift for any occasion. Don't get me wrong I am probably the most giving person, I will give until there is nothing left to give but in her case I have stopped. I do not appreciate that being the only contact with me is to acquire a gift then the rest of the 363 days a year I am again invisible, non-existent, and unimportant to her. I say 363 days because, that includes her birthday, Christmas and Mothers Day which is the biggest joke of all.

Repetitively, I have tried to reconcile my relationship with her to no avail. Any time I have tried anything that I ever had done to not please her is and has been thrown into my face like pies. I cannot do it, she is toxic. Many times whether with her hand or her words that are like double edged swords she has hurt me. I must add that on numerous other occasions I have tried talking things out with her but again I received the response that she didn't know what I thought she had done to me but she had done nothing. I guess it is sad that I have to write it off as her loss. Though many times in my life the Blame Game as reared it's ugly headed and I take all the blame for our failed relationship as it must be all my fault.

I have been blamed for so much by her. It was my fault that my dad left her. It was my fault because he couldn't handle that I had my daughter when I was 17. It was my fault that my marriage failed. My fault that she took my ex-husband's side over mine. My fault that I suffered from an eating disorder so mush so that I had to be hospitalized more than one which stemmed back to her telling me I was fat at age 10. By that spring I was in the hospital for the first time with pneumonia due to not eating, I weighed 68 pounds. It has always been my fault that she was non-supportive at any aspect of my life. Instead of saying that I could do anything that I wanted in my life I have been told on more than one occasion that I am an embarrassment and that I would in fact never amount to anything. Never once, not once in my life has she said that she was proud of me. NEVER. Not even when I made straight A's, succeeded in anything I attempted, and made it on my own without help from anyone. NEVER.

It makes things bitter sweet as I am so happy that she cannot take credit for a damn thing I have done, succeeded at or am currently working toward. Nothing - she cannot say she supported me in any way and if she does say it, she is lying.

I have to move on as I get really agitated at the situation and the lack of change within it. I guess I have to accept it and move on.