Wednesday, October 31, 2007


My sister Becky gave me this box when I was a little girl.
Inside of it was a caterpiller, a white cylinder-looking thing (cocoon) and a book that explained metamorphosis and lifecycle changes. It had a picture of a Monarch butterfly at the very back.
The cocoon intrigued me.
I looked at it with wonder every time I held it.
Would it break open if I touched it too much?
Does the light affect it?
Why are there these two things and a book with pictures of butterflies?
Once I knew what it meant, it intrigued me even more.
How is it that something can exist, stop, change and appear to be reborn?
Stages, science tells us. Lifecycle stages.
When the caterpiller begins to change, it is taken over by a silk that becomes a cocoon. The way I understand it is that the cocoon's purpose is to protect the Monarch until she is ready to emerge and fly.
I've walked into silk lately. Lots of friends have worked together to weave that layer of protection for me. I've needed it, and I thank you.
Wouldn't it be nice if when we went through lifecycle stages of change that we could emerge as beautiful as the Monarch?
It's not about the beauty, it's about the journey. Again.
It's a good thing I am buying new running shoes. This journey seems to have no end.

QoD: Who weaves your cocoon? And are you ready to fly?

Photo credits: University of South Dakota Web site on phenomena.

P.S. Ten miles last Saturday. Both IT bands are sore. Nine this Saturday. Soon, we head to White Rock for a few dress rehearsals before the big day, Dec. 9.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Andy's comment on my blog posting about loss has me thinking about snowflakes now.
He is so right, none are the same, they are all different.
It reminded me of the first time I saw a snowflake.
I was about nine years old. It never snowed much in San Antonio when I was growing up. They actually sent us home early from school so we could play in the snow -- before it melted.
I remember it was a Friday afternoon, likely in January or February. I remember telling my Mom that the yard looked like someone had spilled a bunch of raspas, or snowcone shavings, in the grass.
She laughed and said if I caught snowflakes in my hands, I'd notice that they are all different. Of course, I paid attention for a second, agreed, but never really noticed it. I just wanted to play before it became slush.
Years later, Mom crocheted snowflakes for our Christmas tree. She made four of them, for each kid. We each had one to hang, whichever one we grabbed first.
"Mom, they aren't the same," I told her.
With that mom look, she said, "Mija, they aren't supposed to be!"
It was Christmas 1991, seven months after Mom died, Daddy sat the four of us down at the house so we could divide up the Christmas decorations. This was Mom's favorite holiday.
Boxes and boxes of glass balls that my parents had collected through their 45 years of marriage.
Lights. Angels. Cheesy paper cutouts with glitter that each of us made through the years during school. The four snowflakes that my mother crocheted
years earlier.
I don't remember which of us said it, but it was noticed.
"None of these are the same." They are unique.
It's kind of like the four of us, I thought, as I sat next to my siblings, reminiscing with some tears about Mom and the decorations we sifted through.
You're right, Andy. There's no right answer for how to deal with loss. It's the memories that get us through, help us endure. Never forget.
So, it's really not about snowflakes, I guess. It's about people.
Thanks, Andy, for reminding me of the things my Mom would have said to me.
I am listening.

QoD: How many times have you thrown away cards or letters written to you by your parents?
(Well, stop it. I wished I would have saved one thing, anything, my mother wrote me.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Find True North, runners!

There's a monastery of cloistered nuns on my running route, not far from my house. It's just southwest from where I live.
The Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Arlington Carmel, don't know me, and I don't know them. But, in a sense, they are my True North, the place that I run to and past everyday for strength. That's where I get my energy from.
They are followers of St. Therese of Lisieux.
I ran Saturday morning, past Mt. Carmel, in anticipation of MotownRunnerGirl and her peeps, who will be running the half at the Detroit Marathon today.
Hopefully the sisters' influence on me, from 1,000 miles away from my northern friends, will help them out this morning.
I only did five (not my full nine because I've worked the past three nights and I've been waking up too late and without enough time to do the complete run and still chill before work). But when the Michiganders are running their race this morning, I'll finish my 'Saturday' run while I do a sympathy -- or envious, rather -- four right here in my hood, and toward my True North.
I'm going to have to visit the monastery someday. Maybe the sisters sing vespers at Christmas? They should. For the real True North.

P.S.: Northerners, good luck. And MRG, don't forget to post your times. Or eat that juicy burger with a big, cold beer. :-D

QoD: At what point did you realize True North was calling you? And did you listen?

(Pictures from above from St. Francis, at bottom, is mine.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

One year later

I’ve come full circle.
A year ago this month, I started running. Actually, I started walking. Then, it turned into running.
I ran in fog Tuesday morning. It was thick enough to slice. I wore black, so I felt I was among the clouds.
It was a bittersweet anniversary. Lots of loss right now, so I’m distracted. It makes it difficult to celebrate sometimes.
I had a meltdown Tuesday morning when I ran. Full-blown tears. I bet I looked pretty.
It’s the loss – personal and otherwise.
Coach Neil told me Saturday that I shouldn’t run the full White Rock Marathon in December because since I didn’t run for two weeks (vacation and board meeting), I’m behind in training.
He doesn’t think I can catch up without getting hurt.
I thought of that Tuesday morning when my shins started hurting about a mile into the run. My fault, I didn’t stretch or drink enough water last night. He’s probably right, I don’t want to listen, but I will.
Maybe there’s a reason I have to do the WR half again.
Improve my time?
Keep tabs on my team?
Erase last year’s bad memory since it was the day Michael died?
I think a lot when I run. Tuesday was different. Way more intense.
Sometimes I don’t feel anything. It’s like floating. It’s just me and the music.
And too much time to think.

I get too flooded with things in my head.
I miss my best friend.
No WR full this year.
C lost the baby. She was more than half way along.
I miss Michael.
I miss my family.
What the hell am I doing with my life.
See? No rhyme or reason, it just rolled in, like the fog. Right into my head.
Sorry I’ve been away. I think now you probably know why.
I’m a little distracted.

New to the blog: I want to pose a question of the day. It could morph into a thought, but right now I’m into questioning.

QoD: How do you learn to live with loss?

Think about it, and answer, please.
And thanks for reading.