Sunday, December 21, 2008

holiday truths, according to me

1. When a parent is helping you with a task, especially in preparation for the holidays, regardless of how many times you've done it before, they will automatically assume this is the first time you're doing it and therefor must give you constant instruction and direction.

2. The times when you need to be the most productive you will be the most exhausted, and the times when you need the most rest, you will be unable to fall asleep.

3. Our mothers will always fret about what to wear and what to bring to each other's homes, even though they could easily call each other to confirm that the dress is casual and no gifts are necessary.

4. "Holiday Cheer" will not extend to the woman in line at the check-out behaving as though her holiday deadline is more important and imminent than anyone else's and could you PLEASE hurry up and get that price check NOW before she asks to speak to a manager.

5. You're all the more better off if you can keep patient and then crack a joke to make the clerk smile when it's your turn to check out.

6. Each year we will swear up and down to be done with Christmas shopping by November and have cards mailed out by December 15th, but will always fail to do so.

7. No matter where you live or how unlikely the chance, part of you will always wish for a snowflake or two on Christmas Day.

8. The tree may be greener in someone else's living room, but what matters the most is the company with which you get to admire your own.

9. And as much as we may wish that tree were real, we secretly smile to know we won't be pricking our toes on hidden pine needles months after the tree's gone.

10. In the end, after all the fuss, stress, and lack of sleep, we leave the holiday season with a renewed sense of what's important; family, friends, and enjoying some damn good Christmas cookies your mom insisted on helping you bake even though you've made them on your own for the past 3 years.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

no say in the matter

Ever have that experience when you see, hear, or feel something so far outside your expectations that it takes several moments for it to register as being real? I had a moment like that today as I ran by a house, elegantly decorated for Christmas with brightly lit lawn ornaments shining over a lawn that looked to be a very imported shade of green, myself decked out in running shorts and a t-shirt on a 68 degree day in December. It just didn't fit.

I often have these moments with my pregnancy as well, especially while running. The same hill I could power through on a 93 degree day in July, now takes the wind out of me less than halfway up, at what feels like less than half my old pace. These are my legs, right? The same calves, the same hamstrings, the same quads. The same hills too. After all, in Greenville it's just not possible to do a flat, easy run, unless you're on a treadmill. The runner is trapped inside a pregnant lady, with this little thing inside stealing her oxygen and blood.

I'm certainly not complaining, far from it. It's just... strange. We're still a month away from hearing the little thief's heartbeat for the first time and until then, it's silently redirecting me towards a different purpose, whether the runner likes it or not. Maybe it's not helping that I'm caught up reading John L. Parker books (Once a Runner and Again to Carthage), but part of me is hoping I can live vicariously through Quentin Cassidy's often poetic journey as a runner, just to hold on to the memory of what it feels like to conquer those demons along with the miles.

For now, I have to be content to be a spectator, to Quenton, to myself, and to the rest of the running world. Nothing is quite like setting an ambitious goal and achieving it, but nothing else is quite like growing a baby inside of you, either. Just as one can tire of watching others pass by in a race, I know I've been tired of seeing other women's blossoming bellies and not being able to know what that feels like.

As I transition from one world to the other, I have to be careful not to get caught up in the in between, where I don't quite fit as a runner, but don't yet feel like a mom. Like Christmas decorations on a too-warm December day, I look in the mirror and think, "Is this right? It just... doesn't... fit." Well, not yet anyway. It will soon, I'm sure.

"And at last he saw: there was no refuge in cowardice, because he was not afraid. There was no alternative, it just had to be done."

Sunday, December 14, 2008


It's been a strange week, and while the reality of the little bean sprouting inside of me continues to sink in, the world continues on in its own weird way without thought or hesitation.

Tuesday I arrived at work and was told just as the rest of the staff was to wait upstairs in the lounge. The big kahuna and management were meeting downstairs in the dining room and I was simply told: It's not good. First thought was, "great, who fucked up and got themselves fired now," second thought was, "oh shit, are they closing the restaurant?" Come to find out, our chef would no longer be working for the company and - long story short - it was her own doing.

What makes this entire thing very weird for me is the fact that I have had a fearful respect of this chef since day one. She makes me afraid to mis-ring anything. She makes me afraid to forget where seat one is. She makes me afraid to forget what the 12th out of 15 ingredients is in our top-selling appetizer. But all of those things I fear are exactly what make me able to do my job.

I'm not a server by nature, you see. I'm not great with the small talk, it's likely that I won't remember a customer's face if I ever cross paths with them outside of work, and truthfully, I just don't care when a couple is going to their umpteenth show at the theater for the month, let alone what that show is. All I can do is tell you what's in what, what you should try, and how you need to order your steak. When it comes to serving I only care about doing two things: earning a decent tip by making sure you get the food you want and making sure that the food I bring you isn't absolute crap. So when I find out that the creator of our menu and person responsible for keeping a kitchen full of rowdy misfits in line is gone, I immediately question my ability to continue to perform those two tasks.

When asked to step up to the task of helping run the kitchen, at least for now, the sous chef seemed reluctant. For the sake of my own confidence in the restaurant and the kitchen, I practically begged her to consider that she could be capable, even if she doesn't feel it right now. I pretty much told her that while it was for selfish reasons only that I wanted her there, I summed up the reasons why I'm not a server, but working in this particular restaurant reassures me that when I completely drop the ball, the people will at least still be thrilled with what they're eating and I might not lose my entire tip. Bringing the focus back to her, I simply said, "you rock, and we need you."

The restaurant continues on for now and I'll continue serving there until either I accumulate too many hours with school and my - eventual - job at the gym, or my belly gets too big and it starts knocking drinks on my customers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

just give me Bravo and a pan of brownies

Prior to this week, if you had asked me about my running or workout plans throughout this pregnancy, I would have enthusiastically told you about how I planned to sticking to a solid routine, maintaining my good cardiovascular fitness, and that in all ways I wouldn't let being pregnant interfere with my active lifestyle.

Fast forward to today, me reclining in the living room after having gorged on chick-fil-a, watching Bravo with a cloud of shame and guilt hanging dreadfully close to my head.

What I had heard and read about, but could not have been prepared for, was this overwhelming feeling of exhaustion that no amount of sleep or time wasted on facebook can erase. Tuesday I went to work with eyes watering and swelling from tiredness, and left bawling because I worked through it for a whopping $45. I just wanted to scream at every table, "Don't you know how TIRED I am?! Don't you know I have to get up at six-thirty?!? Don't you know that I can't feed a BABY on $45 fucking dollars a night?!?!"

It was at this point that I figured I must be experiencing some of those "real" symptoms that I had eluded so far. Because suddenly the only remedy to my emotional state seemed to be to eat brownies in a bed full of the biggest, fluffiest pillows that release a poof of lavender-scented ambien dust to lull me into the longest slumber imaginable (brownies still in hand).

I also realized that for right now, this would mean that running and workout out aren't going to play a major roll in my pregnancy until I can stand being on my feet again for more than 20 minutes. Yesterday was awful. Lifting weights made me want to cry (again). Today was a bit better as I was able to get through a lower body workout without much stress or strain. I know I need to run today, which I'll manage one way or another, but it'll be slow.

Already I can't wait for what I now refer to as, "the golden period," that magical 2nd trimester when I won't be tired all the time, the thought of hummus won't make me gag, and I may even start showing enough to generate some better tips.