Category Archives: My life

democracy and burying one’s head in the sand

We owe 25K in taxes this year.  I don’t mean that we owe 25K in total.  (Obviously, we pay a lot more than that.)  I mean we will be writing a check for 25K in a few days.  Typically, it’s been between 10 and 20, so this is a new high.  No interest, no penalties.  H pays estimated tax three or four times a year (whatever you’re supposed to; he deals with this all on his own.  I’m not sure I appreciate him as much as I should).  Anyway, I’m just curious if my friends write huge checks in April, or if you have your withholdings set such that you break even or get a refund, or at least pay a lot less.  I kind of like the annual reminder that I pay the federal government a hell of a lot in taxes.

I’ve had three days of short, slow runs in a row.  Hopefully I can keep the streak going.  To get in my planned 4 mile run tomorrow, I’ll need to get up at around 5:30.  I am not morning person, but if you want to be a parent and a running person, there aren’t a lot of options.  At least it’s been beautifully light recently.  I love the spring and summer so much in Seattle.

I enjoyed this article from the NYT about a man who’s chosen to bow out of awareness.  The thing is, as a society, participating in our democracy is so critical.  Writing letters, discussing things with your friends, participating in demonstrations, donating to groups that represent your interests; I believe in all these things.  However, as an individual, the impact you can have is negligible and unlikely to impact your life.  The most liked comment said the following:

I’m jealous of Mr Hagerman because he can afford to ignore the news. It seems that he has accumulated enough wealth and does not have an immediate family to care for where any of the current decisions directly affect him. On the other hand I have to continue to work at my right to work (fire you for any reason) workplace, pray my 401k won’t take another 2008 hit because of regulation roll back, and hope I don’t die in an emergency room of a totally treatable disease because of American healthcare or af an AR-15 wound from an at school parent teacher meeting because of the NRA-GOP party policies.

The thing is, this one man’s choice to read the news, write letters, donate money, demonstrate, whatever, probably has zero impact on his 401K, healthcare, and gun rights.  He would probably be happier if he buried his head in the sand.  If EVERYONE did this, it would be catastrophic.  But for an individual, participating in the national “conversation” provides virtually zero benefit and for those of us who care, lots of tooth-gnashing.

I personally made a choice when our esteemed president was elected not to open articles with “Trump” in the title.  I’ve probably read fewer than ten articles since Trump was elected.  I’m not bragging.  I feel vaguely guilty, but not too much.  As someone who’s been struggling with anxiety, I view it as my prerogative to make choices that help me get through the day without panic attacks, and not thinking about what Trump has done today definitely helps.  The guy in the article takes it to an unreasonable extreme, but I think I can safely say that I’m happier not knowing what Mr. T is up to.   I think a lot of other people would probably happier if they spent less time reading the news, but I guess we’d be worse off as a democracy as a result.

I just finished reading (well, listening) to a fascinating book: Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets.  It’s all about the fall of the Soviet Union, with a significant secondary focus also on living under Stalin, or living having lived under Stalin.  I loved the way it made me reflect on the pros and cons of democracy and socialism and of course, communism.  It’s easy for us to be a bit laissez faire about the incredible gift we have to live in a free country, and I like to be reminded of that from time to time.  On the flip side, the chaos that occurred when the USSR fell was horrible for minority groups – Russians living outside Russia, Belarussians living in Russia, Chechens, etc.  When people took on national identities instead of Soviet identities, everything went to hell.  Reading about this made the appeal of Putin obvious.  I would want Putin in charge, too.  Trump or no, I feel we, as US citizens, are incredibly blessed to live where we do with the opportunities we have.

this and that

We have had an almost miraculous stretch of good health in our family this fall.  I think L has missed one day of school, and she probably could have gone if she’d really wanted to.  The kids had one cold, and H and I have been perfectly healthy.  This is unexpected since L started school, and we thought perhaps she might start getting sick more often.  H and I have been reluctant to even mention it lest we jinx ourselves.

However, all good things must come to an end.  H was out of town, but the kids and I suffered through a cold last week.  Then, before she’d even really gotten better, L got a second bug of some sort.  She’s on day 4 of high fever, congestion and coughing.  She’s been sleeping with H and I.  This morning, I woke up feeling lousy, and I can’t decide if it’s because I was up half the night with L or because I’m going down with the creeping crud as well.

I’ve been working a lot, definitely 40 hours a week plus, which is a lot considering I’m only the office four days.  I feel like I have something to prove and doing well over the next few months will (a) be good for the group and (b) good for me.   However, the extra hours are making it hard to find time to run and nearly impossible to find time for anything else.

on running and life and anxiety

Happy St. Paddy’s Day, friends.

H is out of town for the second week in a row.  The good news is that I felt zero stress last week and very little stress this week.  He normally goes out of town during the week, for work, but in March he gets together with his college friends for March madness, so he’s out of town for the weekend.  I was a bit worried about how to entertain the kids all day long on a weekend day.  Last week, his trip didn’t affect me in any way in terms of anxiety.  This week, I was feeling some stress from my new job, which in combination with his departure, was making me a bit anxious, but I never felt that panic attack sensation, or anything close to it.  Which is good, obviously.

This morning, I found out my sister is likely getting married on Harbour Island, the Bahamas.  I feel like I’ve mostly kicked the H is traveling so I’m going to freak out thing, but plane travel still makes me nervous.  The two things that triggered horrible, death-wish inducing panic attacks were H’s trips and plane travel.  I’ve had plenty of time to more or less get over the former, but I just haven’t had much need to travel by plane.  And going to foreign countries always stresses me out a bit.  Anyway, I was pretty upset because obviously I want to be at her wedding, but my preliminary servey of travel options indicated it would be AT LEAST a 14 hours journey with a red eye included.

Then, I headed out for a run.  Within half a mile, I was already feeling infinitely better and capable of handling what life throws at me.  It was incredible.  I haven’t been running all week as I wanted to give myself a break after the half marathon, but I didn’t feel like biking today (cold) and just felt like I needed to get out and do something.  It was like the best drug ever.  I was running along thinking of how we’d get to the Bahamas and just feeling fine and I realized how much better I felt and was kind of blown away.  And so I kept running.  4.5 miles at 9:30 or so pace, which in my neighborhood is a moderately hard run (due to hills).  I’m pretty sure it’s more effective than Xanax, for me, anyway.

I have never thrown my hands up at the end of a race before, but the woman who finished in front of me did, and I impulsively did the same.  (It seems the woman behind me also felt inspired by the two of us.)  This picture definitely reflects the way I was feeling – exhausted but victorious.  You can see the spare tire around my waist through my shirt, but that doesn’t actually bother me.  When I’m looking back on this day years in the future, I’d like to remember that I accomplished this time without being perfectly svelte.  I was so happy to finish in 1:43, and now I just want to run faster.

We may travel to NY in April.  Depending on schedule, I may compete in a duathlon that month as well as a 5K.  (The 5K also has a 12K option, so we’ll see.)  Then, in May, comes my next major goal race, the Snohomish Women’s Run.  It has a 10K and half marathon, and I’m planning to run the 10K.  My goal is sub-45.  I’ve never raced a 10K before, but I’m pretty sure it’s a tough race.  The 5K is brutally painful, but it’s over quick.  The half is long and agonizing, but the intensity isn’t the same.  It’s only the last couple miles that really kill you.  The 10K seems like the worst of all worlds, but it’s good to have goals, right?  I’ll start running easy next week, and I’ll start training in earnest the following week.

high heels

Fun with shoes.  I think the ones B is wearing look the most dramatic, but I can’t walk in them, so I’m leaning towards the ones L is wearing.  I’m not a huge fan of the slingbacks, though they, too, are a lot easier to walk in than the sky high heels.  I don’t understand how some women (lawyers) can walk in shoes like that day in and day out.  (Becca?)  I guess practice makes perfect.

All shoes are Sam Edelman and courtesy of Amazon’s Prime shipping and free returns.

a night on the town

There are two weeks until my half marathon.  I’m not really nervous yet.  Part of me thinks the idea of running 13 miles at 8 minute pace is ridiculous, and another, hopefully bigger, part of me realizes that it doesn’t really matter.  I can go out, and it’ll either go well, or it won’t.

H and I have a chance to really get dressed up this Friday to go to L’s school “gala.”  The theme is Night at the Oscars, and it seems a bit like prom for grownups.  I dug the one full-length formal dress I own out of the back of my closet.  I’ve been hanging onto it for years and years and thought of getting rid of it many times.  The last time I wore it was in undergrad!  However, I’m glad I didn’t, because it was a beautiful dress 18 years ago when I bought it, and it’s still beautiful.  The wearer has, ahem, faded a bit and is a little worse for the wear, but it still fits.  I even noticed that all the push-ups I did built a little muscle in my back, which you can kind of see.

However, since I never get out, I literally own one pair of earrings, no formal shoes of any kind whatsoever, and only one purse, which I wear to work every day.  I’m planning to wear the earrings, and hopefully I can find some ultra-cheap clutch on Amazon prime tomorrow, and I decided to splurge on a pair of black pumps, since I figure they’d probably come in handy.  Pictures to come!

 

my first spin class

I went to my first ever spin class this morning.  I was a little nervous, as I am pretty much at the outset of pretty much any kind of group activity in which I don’t know the other people.  I was also a little worried about the technical details – how do you set up the bike?  Do I need to bring bike shoes?  Do I need a ticket?  And so on.  I was also a little worried about being able to complete the workout.  However, I imagined it would be low-key, and it was.  I went to a 9:30 class while B was at preschool, and as a result the class featured a disproportionate number of old people and also about half women.  (I have noticed that the Y is dominantly filled with men before 7:30 am, and dominantly filled with old people and women after 8:30 am.  I haven’t had to time to fully flesh out conclusions based on this.)

Anyway, we did 4 by 8 “Tabatas.”  That is 20 seconds hard, 10 seconds easy a total of 32 times.  The instructor generally told us how to set the resistance, saying either seated hill climb, or standing high hill, or whatever.  People were definitely working hard.  I don’t really take a lot of gym classes, so maybe that’s true in all classes, but there wasn’t much chatter and there was a lot of sweat.  I began to feel like I was in a torture chamber with the music blaring and people immersed in sweat and discomfort around me.

After the Tabatas, she had us do three sets of 6 minutes.  She advised starting at resistance 13 or so, and we were to maintain 90 rpm.  Then, we should increase resistance by one at 3 minutes, and then again by one at 5 minutes.  I decided to start at resistance 11 rather than 13, and otherwise followed instructions and maintained 90+ throughout the exercise.  Then, she had us do it again.

I had forgotten to check the duration of the class and kept thinking it would be over and then having to do another exercise.

The class was called spin / core, so after 45 minutes of spinning, she led us in about 10 minutes of core exercises and then some stretching.  I’m not sure if it’s because I was exhausted from spinning or because I just have a weak core, but the core stuff was so hard.  She started out with a basic plank and then you sort of rocked from side to side.  I basically couldn’t really do it.  I was toast.  But maybe if I persist, I’ll get better at it.  I’m not sure once a week is a high enough frequency for 10 minutes of core exercises to make any difference whatsoever, though.  I’d hoped my pushups were working my core, and there’s no doubt they are, but perhaps I should add some type of plank exercise to my thrice weekly strength exercises.  I think core strength is not only good for cycling and running but also for preventing back pain.  Ever since having the kids, I’ve dealt with on and off minor back issues, no big deal, but something that could potentially become worse with age.