Tag Archives: swimming

For the birds.


The Christmas season has been going well. They say the first year of grief is the hardest because you go through each “first” with your new big empty space. I say whatever. Maybe it’s true. But that is about as helpful as the grief books I still haven’t read. Grief isn’t an emotion. I didn’t wake up yesterday feeling grieved. Grief is a giant magnifying glass for the normal feelings.

Yesterday I woke up mad. And since Mom isn’t here, I woke up furious. I swam for a mile in the ocean with my friend Carol and that slightly improved matters. But then I hit a too-slow pigeon with my 30 mph Cavalier. I realized when I burst into tears after parking that it probably wasn’t the pigeon death that started the tears. It was probably the fact that every day I decide to be happy about Christmas and that means I have to make a lot of little choices. Turn the radio station to a different channel when Amy Grant starts. Don’t hang that ornament. Buy a new tree topper. Don’t light that cinnamon candle, light the pine candle. Don’t make the spritz cookies, make the gingerbread men. Every day I decide what part of Christmas I can do and what part will turn me into a mascara mess. We pulled out just the right amount of decorations so that we weren’t a Bah Humbug house but not so much that every end-table told a story of a past Christmas. And it has been working. We are enjoying the season. But the wrenching sobs over a pigeon reminded me that it is a bit tenuous.

So, yesterday, I did the only thing to be done when the tear ducts go rebel, I went to the movies with sisters and girlfriends. We went to see New Years Eve featuring just about every star in Hollywood between the ages of 20 and 70. Let me tell you, they got their money’s worth out of me. Every sappy line, every broken heart, every reunited family got me. The sisters vote cheesy. I vote heartwarming. See it for yourself.

As Megan and I drove back up to the house, we spotted a Christmas-presenty looking thing by the door. We may be 24 and 28 but we might have gotten a little excited still. Turns out it was only a cracker box but it was tweeting. Dad had trimmed the palm tree and had trimmed two baby pigeons right out of their nest. Dad’s a tender guy so he left them on the ground for a few hours hoping the mother bird/cat would find them. But finally he made a box nest and gifted them to his daughters. I’ve done the baby bird thing before so I knew what I was in for. But this time I resented it a little less since I had just killed a member of the species a few hours earlier.

Each time I have fed the little helpless things, I’ve thought how completely dependent they are on a caregiver. They eat until their eyes close and they sleep little pigeony sleep. And I remember how fragile I am in God’s hands and how carefully he takes care of me. A bird-lover friend is coming to pick them up this afternoon so the analogy ends there. God’s got me for keeps…from my first Christmas to my last.


 

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I’m only in it for the Participation Ribbons.


Now that I am a registered nurse, I am not busy at all. As several helpful people have pointed out, I have only had my license for two weeks so the jobless state should not be bothering me yet. And for the most part it is not bothering me at all. I focus on classes, some volunteering, job-searching, spending time with the family, and exercise.

A lot of exercise.

I know, I know. As my good friend Audrey would say, “my life is so hard”. My entry today is very Audrey-esque because she writes a runner blog that will inspire you like it has inspired me.

Yesterday I spent some motivation money on running gear since I’ve been building up my mileage. I’m not a competitor so I need to do what I can to keep going. Check out the neat-o arm bands for my iPhone.

I splurged on last season's Asics GT2160. Not sure I've ever known my shoe model before.

Running and I have a spotty history. Twin sister and I started running at 14 because we were bored. We had just returned from Kona after three months in Asia with our family. It was still a new town for us, we had very few friends, and it was a hot summer to spend inside our little two bedroom cottage. I remember Dad telling us we should try to run down to the Kona Pier and he would pick us up there.

We started running those 2 or 3 miles every day and we kept up the tradition through the teenage years. We ran to outrigger paddling practice. We ran to the Old Airport Beach Park for soccer practice. Somehow Sara got skinny and I got, let’s just say “muscular”. By the time I was 19, I decided I hated running and I did it very sporadically through college. And dropped 20 pounds. What the heck. Running, you mock me.

But, when the mid-twenties became the late twenties, I realized that this new found metabolism wasn’t going to last forever so I hit the pavement again. And this time I loved it. Mostly because I have so many friends that run and it became social…which is one of my favorite things! (Have I told you how much I love people?) Audrey especially helped me to learn to love running on Oahu with all of the coastal areas and pretty hills in Manoa. And now that I am back in Kona, I am running the old twin sister routes. Good times.

But now, since I have a ridiculous amount of free time (the calm between the storms, people), I have also picked up another old love. Swimming.

When I was in elementary and middle school in Florida, we were on a summer swim team for three years. Running was Dad’s doing. Swimming was Mom’s. She had great memories of her swim team days and signed us up gleefully for our own memories.  The Oviedo Barracudas. We were awesome. By the second season, the Barley girls were famous. Because Sara was fast and ribbon-winning, Megan was the only one in her age bracket so the whole pool cheered her little one-person races, and Erin was the sister that made lots of friends and got participation ribbons. That team was a cool club of little kids with ill-fitting swim caps, even iller-fitting speedos and college-aged coaches.

And then, since we loved swimming so much, Mom signed us up for the “YEAR ROUND” swim team. The Blue Dolfins. kicked. my. butt. All of the sudden, the cool kids were the ones who trained for Junior Olympics, wore multiple old suits for “drag training” and showered in the locker room. I still remember trying to squeeze two suits on and getting into the pool without bending at the waist. We were expected to swim 1,000 yard warm-ups and then sprints on the clock. I can hear Coach Dale yelling out “On the 30…go!” “Get that bottom up, scissor those legs…what kind of flip turn was that?” My flip turns usually mutated into the kind that took the least amount of energy so that I could continue swimming without being the lame-o that hung on the lane lines part way through practice. And our wonderful parents humored us by letting us shower in the locker rooms even though we lived ten minutes away.

The really great thing is, that swim team not only humbled my bad Barracuda self, it gave me life-long swimming skills that I have never forgotten. I haven’t been on a swim team since (unless you count a semester long Advanced Swimming class in college) but it is a skill set that I have in my exercise arsenal. I even did an ocean swim with some great ladies who have now talked me into trying out the Master’s swim team. I know full well that I won’t keep up but that’s OK. They can kick my butt too.

I may run the occasional 10K but I’m not a competitor. I’m in it for the friends and the participation ribbons. And hopefully to avoid getting too “muscular”. So,thanks Mom. And Dad. And Audrey. And all of my other exercise-y friends. Because of you, when the late-twenties become the early thirties, maybe I’ll be ready.

If you want to come along, I will get you a ribbon too.

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