This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to novel-length writing.

I’ve been absent. I just haven’t been able to crank anything out lately, save for a poem about a drowning peacock. It’s better than it sounds, I think, but I can’t post it here because it’s currently out wandering the world searching for a home in various literary publications. Instead of writing, I have been: focusing on the June salad challenge…spending time with my family…stressing about not writing…trying to follow a training plan for the half-marathon in September…and finalizing my plans for school. I’ll touch on each of these points individually.

I decided to participate in the June salad challenge, an informal challenge that has been circling around the Veg blogosphere. Basically, you commit to eat (at least) one salad every day for the entire month of June. It doesn’t have to be a different salad each day- there have definitely been some repeat offenders on my end. The idea is to kick off the summer with healthy, happy food, and I have to say it’s been a LOT of fun. So far my favorite has been this strawberry, avocado and tofu salad from Daily Garnish– it’s addicting. The high-point of this challenge has been trying new salads and feeling their overall effect. We’ve been keeping it light, lots of greens and not so much dressing- very limited oil, so it really is on a healthier level, and I feel great. My energy is up, and my body feels so nourished and fresh. I’ve noticed that I’ve been more relaxed, and my clothes feel a little looser. My tentative plan is to try to eat a salad a day, every day (well, most days, to be realistic). I’m pretty good about getting my greens- between green monsters in the morning and fresh juice throughout the day, I don’t worry too much about not getting enough good stuff, but there’s something about a giant leafy salad all dressed up in its finest that does a body so much good. We’re definitely riding the salad wagon, at least for the rest of the summer.

But enough about green stuff! Let’s talk family- more specifically, Austin-mania over here at the 426. R.S. and James were both visiting this week, which was a dream. I have a habit of forgetting just how great it is to be together, our epic threesome, until one night when we’re sitting around the table clinking beers and telling old stories, and it crashes over me: just how much they mean to me. I am a fortunate girl, to have two of my best friends for siblings. R.S. left on Friday morning, and I’ve already texted him asking when he’ll visit next. James is here for the summer, save for a few trips out to see Emily and one 10-day stay in L.A. I’m thinking that I might postpone Jack’s big birthday party until both of the boys are home, and have a small party on July 1st. Neither of them will be here for his actual birthday, and I don’t think it would be the same having the party without them. TBD!

I have also been spending almost every free minute with Jack and Carolyn. As they get older and interact more with the world around them, I find that we tend to be drawn to activities outside of the house more and more. We have been walking into town several times a week, hitting the various parks (and, of course, Starbucks). It’s beginning to become something of a semi-daily ritual, and it’s been great for all of us- I haven’t been able to find the time to run as much as I should be, and so the extra walking has been a godsend. Add in the weight of the stroller and the two kids, and it’s pretty much a full workout! I am aching for a double jogging stroller, but I think that falls into the “wishful thinking” column.

I feel so connected to Jack and Carolyn- not just because they are my children, but because I am making an effort to be present in every moment with them. I don’t want to look back when they’re older and think, “Where did the time go? What happened?” I think back to Jack’s infancy, and I don’t completely feel that it went by too quickly, because I tried to enjoy every single moment. These days, my perspective is pretty clear and balanced, and I am trying to maintain that present mindset- to appreciate every second because it is wonderful- and it is fleeting. That being said, with each stage that passes I am so sure that it is my favorite. When Jack started walking, I loved watching him discover and develop his mobility. I thought that there could be nothing better. Now he is talking, really talking (I’ve been trying to write down each new word that he learns, but his development is beginning to outstrip me), and I’m pretty sure that this is the best. I am also certain that Carolyn’s current stage of early crawling is the most wonderful stage of her development, but I’m sure that will change as it has with Jack. I suppose that’s a good indication of my staying present with them and appreciating what is now 🙂

I haven’t been able to write lately (she types, as she writes the longest journal entry ever…). Seriously, not writing my thoughts down and talking to myself via pen and paper write, but produce something that I can submit for peer edits and public ridicule. I don’t know why it has been such a challenge for me, but it has got to stop. I’m getting agitated, frustrated with myself- the Liz in my head that sits at the keyboard all day banging out material. She’s slacking and I’ve had enough. My plan is simple: force myself to write every single day, even if it’s just this- a lengthy and ho-hum recap of my day and thoughts. Something’s got to take shape eventually.

Not running has just been a time/childcare issue. I don’t have a jogging stroller, and I don’t have a babysitter, so my only option is to run at night after my mother gets home. This involves me getting out there around 8 or later, which means I don’t get home until after 9. I can’t eat before I run, but I can’tnot eat afterward, so I’m shoveling down dinner at close to 10 pm…which kind-of negates the running altogether. I have yet to successfully pass by Jack’s room early in the morning without waking him- I suspect he has some manner of hyper-sensitive Mommy radar, which kills the whole morning run plan. I have been able to squeeze some miles in here and there, but not nearly as many as I would like, and not enough to keep me on track to properly run the alternative half marathon in September. I’m just going to give it my best effort no matter what, be proud of the outcome, and hope that a jogging stroller rolls my way.

School has been a topic of debate lately. It took a little bit of planning to work out what exactly I was going to do after Bucks, but I finally shook it all out. I’m hanging at BCCC through the Spring, which will allow me to spread my Summer II and Fall workloads into the Intersession and Spring ’13 semesters, which is a HUGE relief. I am a little frustrated that I won’t get through undergrad as quickly as I had planned, but I think that it’s worth it in the end. My final destination is yet to be determined, but if things go my way I’m going to have some BIG news to share come next spring. Ultimately my goal is to get through Temple’s dual MA/PhD program for Creative Writing and English Lit, respectively. Big dreams, but it’s okay, because I’ve got all I need to make it happen.

I need to address one more thing that happened today- something truly magical. For the first time in my life, I did a cartwheel. Don’t laugh! Before today, I had been restricted by both my body and my inhibitions. I was sure that any attempt would send me sprawling onto my enormous butt…so you can imagine my surprise when, after some light yoga while Jack played at the toddler park and Carolyn napped in the stroller, I catapulted my entire body into a sideways lean, flung my feet skyward, and threw myself over and around. It was exhilarating! I did it once more for good measure, and then Carolyn woke up. It sounds ridiculous, I know. I’m sure most people learn to do cartwheels in their early childhood years, but I was always so limited by my weight, so uncomfortable in my own skin, the last thing I wanted to do was make an even bigger fool of myself by attempting something I knew I couldn’t do. Now, at 24, I can finally do a cartwheel, and I am so proud of that. I guess there’s just a right time for everything.

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