Tag Archives: Friends

A Happy Place

Sometimes, I go days and weeks without blogging. Sometimes, I check out for days or weeks or months. That’s just a reality of who I am. That’s the reality of living with a mental illness. Even when you’re managing it, sometimes you’re just not “managing.”

This time, I wasn’t particularly sad. It wasn’t a dark-dark-dark time. No, it was just…nothingness. I couldn’t get a grip on my day-to-day operations, and it made blogging seem like a mountain I just didn’t have the energy or equipment to climb. Insurmountable. So I took it easy on myself, and I worked to forgive myself for this and several other things I sacrificed for a few weeks. I celebrated lots of days without pressuring myself to do more than I was capable of.

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Today, I feel a little better. There’s that little spark of warmth in my gut telling me that brighter and stronger times are coming. Which is good. Because the days are soaring past, and I’m watching the calendar get closer to my two big races (1 & 2) of fall. I have a solid training plan set before me. I will move forward.

This morning’s run was humid, but that’s not atypical for this time of year. Still, it leaves me feeling pretty sweaty and gucky afterward. Even after a shower to cool off, I still sweat. And by the time I quit sweating, it’s time to go outside so I can climb in my stuffy car and start sweating again and go to work. Vicious cycle.

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Sweaty selfie. This iPhone camera was kind to me. I swear, I was drenched. 

This past weekend was spent in Duluth, which I have officially deemed my “happy place.” It’s a city I adore on a big ol’ lake I can’t ever stop staring at. Again this year, I failed to get a shoreline run in, but relaxation and sleeping in trumped it. No regrets. (Not many, at least.)

Other than that, life has been filled with the day-to-day minutia of summer. Two weeks from now, we will be with family on a houseboating trip. And then it’s August already. I know a lot of people ask the question, “Where does the time go?” But srsly.

I don’t have much of substance to leave you with. For my bookclub, though, we did read one of my favorite books in the history of the universe. And although I love it for the big, soul-warming laughs it gives me, I also have many quotes about mental health and mental illness underlined, starred, and dog-eared in my copy. I’ll leave you with one that stands out to me every time I read or listen to it (yes, I own the digital audiobook, too).

“Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise.”

-Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Wishing you light.

SHOP

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Just because.

Well. I’ve been absent again. It has been a long week, and I honestly haven’t even known what to write about. So I didn’t.

Except that I kinda did. Thank you so very much to the Minneapolis Running folks again for publishing another article of mine. I was able to tackle a tough subject that comes up frequently on my blog: mental health. I hope you enjoy it and find some use from it, even if you don’t have issues with your mental health.

ALSO! The next day, they hosted a live video with none other than Sarah Bowen Shea, who is honestly one of my very favorite people ever. I constantly rave over Another Mother Runner, so if you haven’t checked them out by now…honestly, what are you waiting for?

So now: let’s have a conversation and catch up a little. How have you been? How’s the fam?

Fine, thanks. Whatcha been eating lately?

I’ve really been continuing the effort to meal plan and prepare ahead of time. It makes my life sooooo much less stressful. We’ve tried several new recipes these past few weeks, and there have been hits and misses.

Quinoa goes over well with my kiddo and husband. Especially in more Mexican-centric dishes. Or cheesy. Stuffed pepper soup was my favorite. The creamy avocado pesto pasta above? Big fail. And not even good for leftovers, because I am not a fan of  the color/flavor of avocado when it’s more than a few minutes old.

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I also jumped into the world of Shakeology. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it or have at least heard about it/read about it in your Facebook newsfeed. I’d been on the fence for quite sometime, because I try not to get too caught up in anything that is associated with MLM. But after forgetting to make breakfast for myself several days in a row, it seemed like something to at least try.

So far, I’m not disappointed one bit. It’s quick. I have a billion recipes to try, and I’ve loved the ones I’ve tried so far (including birthday cake, Kit Kat, sunshine creamsicle, and peanut butter cup). And it keeps me FULL. Fuller than I thought possible with a shake. I’ll continue to try this month and see how it goes, but it is a luxury that makes my mornings easier so far. Some days, I need all the help I can get.

Great. What have you been up to?

Not running. Oops, am I supposed to admit that? I ran a couple times last week. This week? Nada. Hubby is out of town for the whole week on a work trip, and I’ve been hopping. It is our last week of dance before summer, and it includes dance rehearsals and two recitals this weekend. Throw in an out-of-town work conference, two cats & one dog, and a kid with mood swings worse than a Sourpatch Kid? I’m fried. My house is a war-zone. I’m basically throwing kibble on the floor for all the critters to consume. I may have even bathed LJ with a few baby wipes at one point this week. (Don’t worry. She got a bath the next night.)

I literally found a plate of LJ’s dinner turned over on the living room floor last night. It had dried and crusted to the plate by the time it was flipped over, though, so the carpet was completely unscathed. An embarrassing sort of victory.

As for last weekend, Mother’s Day was…good. I am blessed to be a mom. I am blessed to have so many lovely women in my life and my daughter’s life. But it also is a day filled with inner-turmoil for me and for others, I know. For me, I have a fractured relationship with the person I most want to celebrate. I love her so very much, and I miss her. I hope things can be better some day, but that doesn’t make Mother’s Day less painful now.

The other person I want to celebrate with is my grandmother, whom I’ve written about in the past. She meant and still means so much to me, so LJ and I made a trip to visit her and Grandpa’s burial site. We talked with them, and LJ gave them many hugs and kisses. We brought flowers and thanked Grandma for being wonderful. We had conversations about life and death, and I was honest with LJ, even when it was painful for me and confusing for her. I won’t hide my grief, because I want her to know how amazing her great-grandma was.

Because hubby left the day before Mother’s Day, he and LJ both found ways to make me feel loved that weekend. They sent flowers to me at work on Saturday, and LJ slept in until 9:00 Sunday morning. What a darling.

What are you reading?

Oh, boy. I’ve got a gigantic TBR list, and I realized how far behind I am on my reading goal for the year. So I’ve been cruising through the chapters these last few days. I just finished a wonderful/tragic graphic novel called Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss. Highly recommended, but it will pull at your heart. This is a bleak one, but it captures the reality some people face when their loved one is faced with terminal illness.

I’m in the process of tackling Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a short read but I’m taking a little extra time to digest each “chapter.”

Also in line to finish up Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig soon.

Okay, great. Anything else?

I’m running the TC 10 Mile, thanks to the Mother Runner crew! I’m soooooo excited, because this was one of my favorite races ever. So I’m back in training-planning mode with a renewed energy. I’ll reach my goals someday, and this was a big boost.

Also, this is my workplace, and I love it. Especially when the sky is shiny happy:

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This post ended up being much longer than anticipated. Hopefully I learn to break it up a little bit in the future, but you know how I operate…silence and then surprise.

SHOP

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2/21/17: Tasty Tuesday

Greetings! I think I maybe have some nifty new readers, and that is awesome. (Shoutout to #thebloggesstribe!) Even if I have some nifty consistent readers, though, that’s just as awesome. I’m really glad you’re here. Even if my dad is the only person who reads this, that’s totally just as awesome. (Hi, Dad!)

So let’s get it out there. I had a super-lazy-super-bad-eating-DGAF kind of a day yesterday. It took all day for me to get even half way out of my funk and “turn that frown upside down” if you’re looking for the professional terminology.

Once I did, though, I was unstoppable for a good 18 minutes! Even just washing up a few batches of fruits and veggies for the week was enough to give me a little power boost.

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I also made a late-evening trip to the grocery store, which wasn’t even interrupted until I was in the checkout line and hubby called to tell me that LJ had shoved a pea up her nose and it was stuck and what should he do now. (Sidenote: flat-nosed[NOT POINTY] tweezers work as long as you can get your kid to stop screaming/flailing long enough to let you actually get near them with said flat-nosed tweezers. Probably not the safest method, but c’mon, that pea was RIGHT there. Hubby was looking for ye olde handy Nose Frida, though. Would have resorted to that if she hadn’t calmed down and sat still. Don’t judge me. We’re fine and she and I have discussed the fact that this has happened more than once. I think we’re at a good place.)

First up on the meal train this week: black bean and sweet potato chili! Actually pulled it from a Weight Watchers meal planning guide. Very enjoyable and 7 SP for 1 1/2 cups of chili with a tablespoons of light sour cream, and a couple tablespoons of avocado.

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LJ mostly tolerated it, which really is a solid B+ in preschooler life. I added some extra full-fat plain Greek yogurt to hers to take the chili edge off of it and give her a little nutrient boost.

Both LJ and hubby said they like this better than our usual slow-cooker chili, so I think it’ll be making a comeback.

In unrelated news, our weekend was rather eventful. A party Friday night, dance pictures Saturday morning, and a Stephen Kellogg concert Saturday evening along with our annual post-Valentine’s Valentine’s date. And some effing amazing vegetarian spring rolls at a Vietnamese restaurant we randomly picked. Baby shower Sunday. No-work, crash-and-burn kind of Monday. And here we are!

Most importantly (k, not really MOST), I have new running shoes! Getting a package with running shoes in it is like a little taste of Christmas in February. New ASICS, and I lurrrrrvvveee them. I don’t know why I stray from the Gel-Kayanos ever. My feet feel like they’re in a comfy, cozy, happy home when I put them on.

Well, that’s enough of a photo-dump for the evening. Hope you’re all doing well and enjoying life. If not, go do something fun. Or relaxing. Or sleep (which I find fun and relaxing). Right now! Go!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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1/11/17: Whatever Wednesday

As of 6:30 PM tonight, I am on vacation. Technically, I finished work at 5:00, but Dino-kid had dance class tonight. And going to dance class, although only a half hour long, is a feat in and of itself. It is work. Wonderful work, but work nonetheless.

I don’t know if I feel like I’m on vacation yet, but I think it is sorely needed. I love my job. I love my life. But it’s probably time for a breather. I’m still feeling pretty lousy about my ankle sprain, and I just.want.to.run. But I don’t run, and then I sabotage pretty much everything. It’s a vicious cycle, and I’ve got to change it.

For my Wednesday round-up of whatever, I’m focusing on being kind to myself. So I was pleased to see this article in my inbox from Minneapolis Running. (Lots of hearts for MPLS Running, btw.) How to overcome a setback. I think that verbiage is important. Get control, have a plan, gain perspective. And lots of good stuff in between.

This is a good reminder of why we should take care of ourselves.

Aaaand, I made some awesome purchases recently, and they all arrived in the mail today.

Two of them were apparel. A TeeTurtle shirt with my fave lady. And an amazingly comfortable SparkleSkirt. Can’t wait to get running and represent HRC.

Tough to get a good picture that didn’t include toddler elbows and such, but I tried. I’ll have better ones in the future.

Okay. Like I said. Vacation. Hoping to update the ol’ blog during California time, but if doesn’t, I’m sure you’ll understand. And you probably won’t even notice I’m gone. 😉

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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12/30/16: Friday Favorites

Mojo, oh, mojo!
Where did you go-jo? I don’t
know how to find you.

This lame-sauce haiku came to me in my brief attempt to express my current feelings and motivation level. I’m definitely down in the dumps, and the post-holiday blues are piled right on top.

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I mean, this really sums up post-Christmas feels, doesn’t it?

January will be here next week, though, all fresh and shiny! I definitely have some goals that I’m working out right now, and I look forward to sharing them here.

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One of my intentions for the new year is to have more conscious time with my girl. Today was my day off, so we went for a lunch/games date.

We are getting ready for our mid-January vacation, and I am still in slight denial about not running the Star Wars Half. The passing of Carrie Fisher has made this a particularly crushing blow for me, as I was privy to the information that she will be on the finisher medals. Life is funny, and not always in a good way.

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Beauty in and out. She was my princess growing up, and she is my daughter’s princess. And badass General as well.

Holidays were good. We are so blessed with love and family and friends. I can’t remind myself of that enough.

I’m looking forward to 2017 being THE year. I don’t know why it feels different. Maybe I think that every year. But 2016 kind of felt like a gear-up, get-shit-in-line, lets-get-ready-to-go kind of year (if you forget about that pesky train-went-off-the-tracks injury a couple weeks ago). I achieved things I didn’t think I could. I feel happier, even when my brain is trying to make me not happy. I feel more at peace than I have in a long time.

Are you making goals? Resolutions? I would love to hear them.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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12/21/16: Whatever Wednesday

Since my Monday post, I’ve had so much kindness and positivity sent my way. Thank you all for your words of encouragement and for letting me just be kinda sad for a few days. I can’t promise I won’t still have some sad moments, but I also am trying to channel my energy into planning for a badass 2017. Assuming my recovery goes well, I’ll be training for a half marathon in May. I’ll start off slow and easy, though, with a plan meant for beginners and shorter distance runners who want to run long. Bless the AMR crew, because these plans come with so much support and fun. I can’t imagine having a better virtual tribe to “run with.”

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Chewbarka photo. Because this post didn’t have enough cute.

So without further ado, here’s some “whatever” for your Wednesday.

  • You know I love me some mental health talk. And running talk. So when you combine both into one article, of course I’ve gotta include it. Running as therapy. I firmly believe in it.
  • Weekly oasis” is the nicest term I’ve ever heard to describe “me time.” I like it, and I think it’s important we remember to do this weekly (or more often as needed).
  • Anyone else stuck on the treadmill this time of year? I certainly think it has its good points. I mean, I love not having to bundle up, put on my Yak-Trax, apply Vaseline to exposed skin, pack up tissues, etc. before heading out the door at 5:30 AM. And I’ve seen several articles that give tips for enjoying the treadmill more. This one from Runner’s World seemed like a refreshing new spin on it, though.

Okay, kittens. I’m out for the evening. Got some more Christmas shopping to do, and Mother Hubbard’s cupboard isn’t exactly full.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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11/30/16: Whatever Wednesday

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was a whirlwind of a weekend spent with family and friends, and that’s just a preview of the next month. I adore this time of year, but I’m already tired and overbooking myself.

This time of year is also painful for many, and I will add myself in there. Thanksgiving is the last day I heard my grandmother, someone I considered my “partner in crime” from a young age, say “I love you” to me. She was in hospice, and as I prepared to leave, I told her I loved her. She whispered slowly and strained, “Love you, too.” And her voice will stick with me forever. She passed peacefully on December 6th.

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I know others are in their own kinds of pain, and I hope you are able to find some joy in each day. Sometimes, it’s just about survival. And I know part of my survival comes through running. I have been seeing lots of posts on staying accountable through the holidays, and paying close attention to that helps me. I particularly like this post from No Meat Athlete. Good tips for athletes and non-athletes alike.

I also find solace in books. It’s a good way for me to escape for a bit and focus on something not-in-my-head. What am I digging lately? In the past few weeks: Faithful by Alice Hoffman, You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein, and It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny. Also a shout-out to the new podcast Nora is hosting, Terrible, Thanks for Asking. And her new child, Stormtrooper Luckycharm. Because that is epic. I’m a quiet admirer of all she has done.

And obviously, check your local library or bookstore for these items. (I’m totally guilty of Amazon-ing a lot, though, so I totally get it if you do, too.)

Also, books are awesome, and these quotes remind me of that. Save ’em for a day you’re feeling a little lost.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for today. Later, friends!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/24/16: Manic Monday

I’m coming off a weekend of late nights and lots of getting-stuff-done and little time to take a breath. We celebrated Dino-Kid’s (it feels weird to say that, but I think she has graduated beyond toddlerhood? I’m not sure this nickname will stick.) birthday with a shindig at our home. I believe that saying, “It takes a village,” and our village is pretty damn spectacular. I  know she is so loved, but it was an overwhelming reminder of how lucky she (and we are, too) to have so many wonderful, caring people helping her grow.

It was also the first year where I really figured she’d enjoy the decorations I put together, and I wanted to make it extra special for her. I do go a little over-the-top in making stuff for her parties sometimes, but I love crafting and DIY-ing. Daniel Tiger was the theme, of course, and I had fun creating things that would make her feel like some of the Neighborhood of Make Believe was actually in her home.

When she woke up and came down the stairs in the morning, I was rewarded beyond what I could have dreamed. She ran around the dining room looking at the decor. Then, she turned around, looked at me, and said, “Mama, did you make this for me?! Thank you so very much!”

My heart melted, and the late nights and rushing around were totally worth it.

This whole week has hit me right in the feels as I remember my itty bitty baby and how she is so not itty bitty anymore. There have also been various running-related stories that have hit me hard emotionally and reminded me that the vast majority of runners are really awesome people.

Grab your tissues and head to these links if you’d like to read something that’ll hopefully make you think a little. Or maybe make people think you have allergies or just a piece of dust in your eye or something.

  • I’m pretty much in love with most everything Jenny Lawson does and says, and this blog post is no exception.
  • Another Mother Runner featured this beautifully written piece about running across generations. I got both chills and warm fuzzies while reading it.
  • I try not to get vocally political too often. But you should vote. I’ll tie it in with this piece by Run Selfie Repeat on Runner’s World. You go, girl. You have a runner’s body, and I have a runner’s body, too.
  • On a similar note, Reebok is facing some pushback on a recent photo they posted in relation to their #PerfectNever campaign, featuring renowned international supermodel Gigi Hadid. I like that social media gives people a chance to vocalize to organizations what is right/wrong and have their voices be heard. Run Far Girl writes eloquently on the issue. Just for good measure, I’ll include a counterpoint.
  • A heartwarming and heartbreaking story all at the same time. These twins are both amazing in their own unique ways.

Okay. That’s what I’ve got for today! Hope your Monday isn’t too manic. If it is, there’s a nice glass of wine or mug of hot tea calling your name right now. You better listen.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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7/28/16: Thankful Thursday

Today, I am feeling so very, very thankful. I have received messages, texts, visits, gifts, songs, and reminders that people care for me.

Today is my birthday.

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I wish I looked this cute in a party hat.

I like to be rather understated about these things (going unnoticed is one of my hobbies), but word gets out. Facebook is really good at telling everyone it’s your birthday, and it was up on the work calendar.

 

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My clever husband had a birthday mirror mural (mirral?) waiting for me. Excuse the jammies/bedhead.

Without further ado, here are my thankful thought-points for the week:

  1. I’m alive: I am thankful to be celebrating another year alive today. There are times in the past where my brain convinced me otherwise, but I am mentally much healthier today than I have been in a very long time. I’m working on being physically healthier as well, and I feel like it’s going to be a good year where I do lots of things I dared not to dream of before.
  2. My job: Along with my birthday comes the anniversary of me starting work at the library. In a couple days, I’ll be celebrating one year here. I started out as a circulation assistant part time, and in March I began my current position as a librarian. A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be a librarian already in the library where I grew up. Life has a funny way of surprising you like that, even when you think you know what’s coming.
  3. People in my life who just “get” me: The hubby and dino-toddler gave me a couple running/foot support-related goodies (I’ll be sharing those at a later date!), a Star Wars book for DT and me to read, a cute coffee mug, and other goodies that had “Cassie” written all over them. I’ve also received several generous gifts from others that make it pretty clear people care. It’s flattering and humbling, and I hope they all know how much I care about them, too.

All I can say is I am one LUCKY mama.

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Birthday cake pops. Duh.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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