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2016 – The Wrap-Up

I’m just going to pretend that this year is over. I really can’t take any  more 2016. The next couple of days are interstitial days – they belong to no year and nothing that you do on those days matters. This is a new rule I just made up, but I’m keeping it.

Fuck you, 2016!

This year was tough. My marriage ended. I moved into my own place. I got officially divorced. My job ended. I have been – as yet – unable to find a new job. A lot of celebrities I especially liked died. A celebrity  I don’t particularly like not only lived, but was elected president. Money is tight and anxiety and depression are high. My kidlet is stressed out. I’ve had persistent shoulder issues that have prevented me from doing as much as I’d like.

Lots of shit.

Lots.

(Sometimes, literally.  Motherhood is rewarding AF.)

Seriously. Fuck you.

But you know what? It wasn’t all bad, was it?

I’m in a fantastic relationship. I have a great kidlet (even if he is not only a four-and-a-half-year-old, but also the source of that literal shit I have to deal with from time to time). I really got some quality time with a lot of wonderful friends – and made some new wonderful friends, to boot!

Being four is serious business

There was a lot of good travel this year – I was in Vegas in April for the RT conference where I got to meet IRL my friend Elizabeth Hunter as well as make new writerly friends! In May, I went to Bend for the weekend with the Beer Guy. I was in Seattle a couple of times (July and November). In August, I was able to take the Bean to South Dakota to meet my grandmother (his great) for the first time (and not incidentally got to sing karaoke with my three bestest besties from the good ol’ college days!).

Me & my marshmallow goo proving that being 39 is also very serious business.

AND – I was able to go to Iceland. ALL BY MYSELF. Sometimes I remind myself that if I could do that (which required a lot of overcoming of my anxiety issues), I can do almost anything.

I waited patiently in Bifrost for a divine visit, but unfortunately, the gods overlooked me this year.

I got to meet some other personal goals as well. I’ve really reconnected with my domestic badassery – my garden wasn’t much to talk about this year, but I made jam, and just canned festive simple syrups, and made some pies, and started baking bread again. Also – cheese. I made a cheese. Soon, we will know if that cheese is delicious. CROSS YOUR FINGERS!

Parmesan!!!

I finished writing two books and a novella, completed edits on one book that’s currently in the last look-through by my editor on its path to publication.

I found out that I really, really enjoy being a writer, and if someone would actually pay me, I’d be okay doing this for a living. (What I need is some freelance editing/proofreading work to supplement my as-yet non-existent writing income. Apparently there’s no six-figure advance for self-publishing.)

SAY MY NAME, BITCHES!

I’ve worked through a lot of things this year and I hope that I’m coming out on the other side stronger than I went in. I lived on my own. I single-mommed. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve stopped procrastinating and started achieving my dreams. I’ve traveled internationally alone.

All of the things I thought would be the hardest have been the easiest. The only thing that makes this year still shite is that pesky lack of funding issue. (I am open to paid companion positions, all eligible sugar daddies reading my blog…I’m sure there are a ton of you out there. Call me.)

(Seriously. Call me.)

The emotional stuff has been hard, but I feel like I’ve been tempered this year.

A year ago, I declared that 2016 would be the year of me. When I wrote that, I had two very specific goals in mind. I wanted to end the year not married and not in the job in which I started the year. Both of those things have come to pass, albeit not exactly as I’d planned. (Maybe I should be a little more careful with what I put out in the universe.)

I don’t know everything that 2017 will bring. There are a few things of which I’m certain:

  1. I’ll (again) move houses, but this time into a more permanent situation (less than a month now!)
  2. I’ll start a new job
  3. I will publish two books
  4. I will turn 40 and there will be a unicorn piñata (the party is the day after my birthday – Saturday, 2/25 – you’re totally invited)
  5. I will do some travel, even if only a little bit
  6. My Bean will turn 5 (FIVE YEARS OLD!)
  7. I’ll have a great garden and do more canning (I’m out of salsa and it is a travesty)
  8. I’ll keep writing
  9. That crazy Bean will start kindergarten
  10. I’ll keep moving…yoga and walking are where it’s at right now, but I’d like to – just maybe – start running again
  11. I will drink delightful gin cocktails on the back patio in the summer with the people I love best
  12. I will laugh and love and live just a little bit more

 

40 Before 40 – Update the Seventh

I’m not really sure where I’ll end up with this list in five months. I don’t so much care. I’m not giving up – certainly not! But I am learning to let go of arbitrary goals if they don’t make me happy.

That being said, let’s see where I’m at.

Things that are done!

  1. Attend the ballet – May (I attended a concert…)
  2. Go to the opera – June
  3. Sing a new song at karaoke – May
  4. Take a barre class – September
  5. Take a cooking class – August
  6. TEMPORARY funky hair color- June
  7. Try hot yoga – April
  8. Volunteer – I volunteered at a cider event in June & will volunteer with SOLVE in September
  9. Do a fun thing with Bean every day of his summer vacation- August
  10. Host a wine tasting – July
  11. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday – May
  12. Develop a habit of meditation – September (I’ve meditated almost every day for the last couple of weeks)
  13. Drink a bottle of expensive champagne – March & June
  14. Get a stamp in my passport – August

For being halfway done with the year, that’s not looking so good, is it?

Let’s see what I know I’ll get done…

  1. Go to the local nude beach – TOMORROW!
  2. Whale watching – just working out the dates
  3. [Redacted] – I just need more practice
  4. Get back into my DIY habits –
  5. Take a good photo and pay to have it framed – the photo is picked out; I just need to pull the trigger
  6. Try a new (to me) cheese each month – yeah, not worried about this one
  7. Give a $100 tip on an inexpensive meal – once I’m re-employed!
  8. Meet three ‘in the computer friends’ in real life. – I’m one for three right now. I’m still counting on my PSM and then need one more person to wander through Portland!
  9. Publish my first book – the wheels are in motion!

The things I can get done…if I work at it 

  1. Go ice skating
  2. Go to a book signing
  3. Do a boudoir photo session
  4. Become passable in Swedish
  5. Perfect the homemade pie crust. (Find volunteers to eat and critique all the pies.)
  6. Read one prize-winning (any major prize) book each month
  7. Feel good about my fitness level and appearance
  8. Get better at self care. That means eating regularly; exercising regularly; sleeping regularly.

 

And lastly, the things I don’t care so much about at all…

  1. Climb a tree
  2. Take a dancing class
  3. Throw pottery (on a wheel)- I’m having trouble finding a way to do this that isn’t committing to a few hundred dollars and several classes…I just want to try it one time. 
  4. Try a pole dancing class at the studio down the street.
  5. Take the Bean fishing
  6. Become a proficient knife thrower (i.e. hit the target more often than not)
  7. Learn 100 ASL signs
  8. Run a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon.  – I’ll definitely get the 5K done, but I don’t need longer…
  9. Write 150 blog posts – Unless I start posting multiple posts/day, this will be impossible…

 

This has been such a huge year for me, and even if I don’t finish all the items on my list, I’ve done the ones that meant the most to me. I got that passport stamp and I will publish my first novel. Probably no one will buy it, and it will be a business loss, but that’s really okay. I got to drink my celebratory champagne and I’m not longer being bothered by a job I don’t like. I’m working on my health and fitness. I’ve gotten to spend a lot of good, quality time with my Alvie Bean, the Beer Guy, and with my very good friends. I’ve got five months left to hit a lot of the remaining items on my list, but no matter what, I have already won at being 39.

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Protected: Ripping off the bandage

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Happy Blogiversary to Gazelles on Crack!

Just over ten years ago (ten years and a couple weeks), I published my very first post on this blog.

Gazelles on Crack is turning 10!

Gazelles on Crack is turning 10!

I’d been blogging for a while – first on Xanga (gosh, it’s really too bad that I am unable to locate those posts…too bad indeed) and then later on LiveJournal. That apparently does still exist. I even appear to still have ten friends left on LJ.

I don’t remember why I decided to switch over to my own blogging platform. Probably because so many cool people blogged and I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m certainly not as prolific now as I was ten years ago. I don’t even get the readership that I got ten years ago. But we’re still at it, even now.

In the past ten years, I’ve written 1,676 posts and received 7,123 comments.

I’ve written 480 posts about running and 173 about gin and cheese. That’s even more than the 166 posts I’ve written about my kid. (Gotta have priorities!)

Running and Bubbles!

Running and Bubbles!

I’ve written 100 posts about books, including book reviews and 158 about shoes.

book it

My posts are fairly evenly balanced (according to my tag cloud) among

  • Alvie Bean
  • Book Reviews
  • Exercise
  • Goals
  • Running
  • Shoes
It was my friend Margaret's Prada pumps that really got me hooked on beautiful shoes. Damn you, Margaret!

It was my friend Margaret’s Prada pumps that really got me hooked on beautiful shoes. Damn you, Margaret!

You’ve been here for my move from Los Angeles to Portland, for my wedding, for my adventures in domestic bad-assery and gardening, for the death of my father and the birth of my son, and for my next big adventure of moving out on my own sans architect.

Toasting the new house with an extravagant bottle of bubbly. #40before40

Toasting the new house with an extravagant bottle of bubbly. #40before40

Maybe you’re one of the readers who got here via a random internet search? Although the most popular search term on the day I’m writing this is “toe prosthetic”(?), the top ten overall search terms (that are not my actual blog name) are:

  1. Anthropophobia (still relevant – I’ll catch you up on Day 2 of Vegas: The Hiding soon)
  2. Spiders (legit)
  3. No Sleeping (It’s like you know me, google search engine!)
  4. Early Pr0n (Early in the morning? Pre-modern? Are we hoping for medieval pr0n? I NEED MORE INFORMATION!)
  5. Christina Ricci
  6. Dirty Hippie
  7. Beach Wedding Shoes
  8. Unicorn Bicycle
  9. I Suck
  10. The toaster is very loyal (This is my favorite)

IMG_0314

Most of the rest of the top are variations on pr0ns and shoes (or combinations thereof. Like Salvadorian Shoe Pr0n.)

Must insert own pr0n

Must insert own pr0n

This may be less relevant, but the top three search terms for the last quarter are:

  1. Unicorn cut a bitch
  2. Accidental cleavage
  3. Cat maid outift
I actually thought this image search was going to be mainly cats. HAHAHAHA! No.

I actually thought this image search was going to be mainly cats. HAHAHAHA! No.

I approve of Google sending all of you my way. Welcome. Pull up a chair and pour yourself a gin.

2015-12-11 20.24.12

 

The top five posts ever are pretty much what you’d expect after seeing the popular search terms.

  1. Arach Attack!
  2. Anthropophobia
  3. Faux-lebrity Encounter
  4. (Spring Trends in) PR0N!!!; and oddly
  5. Product Review – Moji Knee Ice Pack

Disappointingly, none of my book reviews are more compelling than fear, fake Jennifer Grey, shoes, or (???) ice packs, although my 2015 wrap-up is pretty far up the list…

The best, really, are the friends I’ve made via blogging. There is no way to name them all, of course, but a few that I’ll mention are Eliza, Claire, Meri, Steph, Kristine, Jessica, Erika, Amy, the PBRs, and certainly not least, my PSM Cat. Through Cat I’ve met a lot of other people, and the network keeps expanding and expanding.

This is my bff, Thor the Thunder thug. And also my psm, Cat. She is not, as far as I know, the thunder anything.

This is my bff, Thor the Thunder thug. And also my psm, Cat. She is not, as far as I know, the thunder anything.

So thanks, readers.  Thanks for ten years of reading, commenting, sending me pictures of shoes, helping me discover new books and authors and websites that will help me waste time, and most of all for sharing my life.

Thanks for a great 10 years!

Thanks for a great 10 years!

 

 

 

 

Triathlon Report – 1st Annual Non-Invitational Self-Supported Post-Baby Tri!

After my horrible, no-good, very bad failed triathlon on 9/23 in which I didn’t finish the swim (arguably my strongest sport at this point), I was determined that I would still do a triathlon this year, as it was in my 2012 goals to finish one. Being the end of September, there weren’t a lot of local organized choices left.

So, I decided to just do my own. There were some logistical issues with the triathlon, but thanks to the awesomeness of The Ambitious One (it was not really a self-supported tri; it was an Ambitious One supported tri).

The morning of my tri, I planned to meet the Ambitious One at 9 am at the pool. A series of mishaps and the fact that it just takes longer to do anything when a baby is involved made me late.

I got to the pool (the architect dropped off my bike and me) and locked up my bike then went inside to start the swim. Immediately upon getting my stuff ready, I realized that I had forgotten to grab my small swim bag. In that small swim bag were my goggles and cap. My hair is short enough now that I could get by without a cap, but 800 yds in the pool without goggles is pretty hard.

Fortunately, I was meeting the Ambitious One, and she is awesome. She lent me her goggles and kicked for my entire swim. I did a 200 yd warm-up before starting my watch and beginning my tri.

I did my 800 yds in 17:19, which is the second fastest paced swim I’ve ever recorded. (The fastest paced swim ever recorded still stands as the mile swim I did at 39.5 weeks pregnant in March.)

I didn’t time my transitions, because they were ridiculous…after I got out of the pool, the Ambitious One gave me my swag bag full of powerbar products and body marked me for the rest of the race.

I got to choose my age – and went with my real one, because I like being 35. When asked for my race number, I chose 666 because it was funny, and my standard motivation for almost everything is whether or not it will be funny. (I tried my hardest to convince the architect to marry me on June 6 in 2006 – he declined because apparently he is less dedicated to funny than I am.) This is important later.

After running down to the locker room and having a devil of a time (see what I did there?) getting my sports bra on (damp skin & tight clothes do not work together). I unlocked my bike, put my whole bag + lock at the Ambitious One’s locker, and started the timer for the ride.

My goal was to do the 16 miles that was the distance in the Portland Triathlon. The Ambitious One was meeting me at my place at 11:30 to run the 5K with me, so I wanted to be there by then.

The bike ride was insane. Seriously completely insane.

After getting downtown, I rode through an untented revival. There were hymns and and a great mass of people. And a few of them saw my race number. One of them took it upon herself to call me the Daughter of Satan. Already, the funny was paying off!

I rode along the waterfront and was intending to cross the Steel Bridge. Just as I got there, I noticed another large mass of people on the Bridge. Turns out it was a suicide victim awareness walk. For a memorial walk, they were not very solemn and friendly. I got off my bike to walk across, there being too many people to safely walk through, and nearly got into a fist fight with a large woman who thought I was not being properly respectful. Eventually, I got through the mass without throwing any punches, and made my way up to Interstate, where a car whose driver was reading a map nearly hit me after he ran a red light.

I continued my ride without much further incident, but was very much behind schedule, and then hit every red light possible. When I neared my home, I had done about 10 miles, and didn’t have enough time to finish the full six by 11:30. I did 4 more miles (and was barked at by a woman on the trail) and finished my 14 miles by 11:30.

I finished in 1:17:09 (11 mph average). Every time I looked down when I was actually riding, I was going 14 + mph, so I think if I had a closed course, I could’ve done this a lot faster.

As I approached the house, there was my welcoming committee!

I changed my shoes & shorts & hit the rest stop, then kissed my supporters good bye for luck & headed out for the run.

The 5K was wicked hard, but fortunately the Ambitious One kept me on track! I could not have done it without her, for sure!

The 5K was one of my slowest ever – 41:28 (and certainly the slowest at the end of a triathlon), but it was my fasted post-baby 5K!

When we came in sight of the house, the Ambitious One ran ahead to get finish line photos, and I did a sprint to the finish.

 

And there it is! Done with my triathlon! Since I didn’t time the transitions, I’ve no idea what my total time was. But it is a PR for the course, for the post-baby life, and for the distance, as every other sprint tri had a 12-mile bike instead of 14. So yay me!

 

I have decided that my total transition times were likely about 15-20 minutes (we’ll go with the most conservative estimate), which makes my total triathlon time 2:35:56 – which is 45 minutes slower than my next slowest triathlon. BUT, as I said, it was course PR and a post-baby PR, and not having a closed course makes it very difficult.

 

And now – that can be crossed off my list as a 2012 goal!