Chutzpa! (It’s a Fun Word, and I Used It In a Sentence)

Q:  Oh, my dear, neglected blog, will you ever forgive me for temporarily abandoning you?

A: YES ’cause I don’t really give a shit that you’ve been away, but now that you’re back . . . Hey, girl!  Whatcha been up to?


I have the tendency, as a human being, to be what is best described as . . . overzealous.  I have very little free time as it is, and I choose to fill what free time I do have with . . . what is best described as . . . a lot.  In the past few months, I have gained traction at becoming even further behind with responding to pen pal letters.  In fact, I have not written a response letter since April.  I have zero traveling postcards via Postcrossing.  I have not picked up my knitting needles, flute, or guitar.  I have read less books in 2018 than in past years, and I have been writing only half-hearted (Goodreads) reviews, if I write one at all.  My gym time has dwindled, and I have not written, what I would consider a decent blog entry, in months.  Recently (recently as in just a handful of hours ago), I gave myself permission to give up some control.  Let me explain . . .

I love swap-bot; I run several groups, and I host a lot of swaps within said groups.  In addition to those swaps, I also host public swaps.  Without getting too in depth and too involved in the swap-bot jargon, being a founder and a host takes A LOT of work.  Frankly, if it doesn’t take a lot of your time and energy, then you’re probably not doing it right.  There are exceptions, I’m sure, which is why I have written “‘probably’ not doing it right” (or at the very least, not to the best of your ability).  Swap-bot, because I manage many groups and many swaps, and because I take deadlines very seriously, has been taking up the majority of my limited time.  I love devoting time to putting together quality swaps and creating happy mail, sending RAKs, etc., but the constant hosting and management responsibilities is a prime example of my overzealousness.  Note to self: just enjoy swap-bot, Amy, without taking on additional tasks.

I have missed so much all of the other things that provide me with a well-rounded and happy life.  So, I’ve reached out for assistance with hosting and founding my groups.  That is a big step in beginning to enjoy my multitude of hobbies again, albeit not the first one.  I have also decided that I will maintain X number of pen pal relationships.  I do not need 50+ pen pals to deem this a worthwhile hobby.  In fact, much like my IRL relationships, I much prefer to maintain a few very close and meaningful connections over double-digit acquaintances.  I will continue to send postcards via Postcrossing, but it is OKay to have a handful traveling at a time; I do not need to sit and send 25+ in one sitting.  I will continue to organize my favorite postcards into category specific albums, but I no longer feel the need to scan them into Flikr as well.  Overall, I am working on reigning in my overeagerness and proneness to do ev-er-y-thing full boar; moderation is key, even in regards to the undertakings I love and enjoy.

The first step I took to ensure a newfound commitment to creativity and creating . . . I cleaned my “home office” and my craft room.  My, what I also refer to as workspaces, were beyond cluttered.  I found it nearly impossible to focus on anything, let alone follow through with a hobby task (writing, knitting, reading, painting, whatever it may be), with supplies scattered on the floors, piles of stuff scattered about, half started projects stacked upon one another and set aside, etc.  So, during my much needed staycation last week, I got my spaces squared away.  Gone is the anxiety I previously felt when I would tackle these particular cleaning and organizational tasks, attempting to get the job(s) done, all at once.  Now, when I open the door to either of the me time rooms, I feel exhilarated to be in there, ready to sit at my desk to write a letter or a postcard, able to find the extras I want to include in an outgoing swap, and capable of focusing on whatever venture my heart desires.  Speaking of (errr, writing about) other ventures and my heart’s desire . . .

With the (work) gym closed, my training and efforts to workout have taken a downturn.  I am fortunate in that I have a well equipped gym in my attached garage / basement, but I certainly need to work on the discipline aspect of using it.  I have grown so accustomed to busting out an amazing workout before noon, which is ideal for me because the workout is done for the day, and I can devote my post work hours to the other adulting that must be done.  However, there was once a time when I only used my home gym; I was once willing to put myself first, before all else, and I need to tap into that energy again, guilt free.  Although I have not been logging the gym hours that I normally do as of late, snow shoveling and construction on my rental unit have at least kept my stamina on point.

As of yesterday, I am officially registered for 2019’s Maine (half) marathon.  I have also decided that when the application becomes available, I will be applying to be a 2019 race ambassador.  (Here we go with the overzealousness again!).  However, I made my decision to (definitely) apply for the ambassadorship in October, exactly a month from today, actually.  On October 28th, I ran in the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5-Miler in New York City!  Since I was sporting my 2018 Maine Marathon shirt, multiple people approached me and asked about the Maine Marathon.  I was considering applying for an ambassadorship before this date, mainly because I envision myself as a valuable resource in that I can put others at ease.  In anticipation of my first half marathon, I was terrified and nervous and jittery on top of excited and proud.  I’m a classic, “If I can do it, you can too!” example, and I sense that I have the ability to motivate, encourage, and calm others who may be skeptical or hard on themselves.

BUT . . . more about New York City!  For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@idiosyncratic_unicorn), you have likely already seen my gushing post, brimming with pride in myself, as well as excitement at meeting Peter Ciaccia.  Briefly, I was so so so SO very proud of myself for doing this run.  Much like my IG post reads, my delight was mainly because I ran in an out-of-state event.   When I first started entering 5Ks, I never anticipated that I would have the chutzpa to do one alone, let alone in another state.  I also never imagined that I would increase my distance from the 5K, but oh, how I have evolved as a runner!  Running has been so positive for me, not only in regards to my health and physical appearance, but in my overall confidence (not related to body image but related to my shyness).

I have gone from whether or not a friend is running with me as a determining factor for race entry, to participating in whatever the heck race I want to.  When you are as shy, introverted, and introspective as I am, it is daunting to go it alone.  I was also pleased beyond measure because I ran this particular 5-miler in under an hour, walking only to drink water (I’m not coordinated enough to run and drink without choking), and I stopped briefly for a photo with Peter Ciaccia.  Approaching (and taking a picture with) someone I have never met before – also giant strides that required a lot of prowess on my behalf.  SO, it is these experiences that solidified my decision at becoming (or trying to become) a Maine Marathon ambassador.  I think this program will not only benefit me but benefit from me.  For those of you who do not follow my IG, I’ve thrown in some pictures from the NYC Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff at the end.

Suffice it to say, I do suppose that I am on the correct path to eliminating undue stress and anxiety in my daily routine, all the while rediscovering time management and diversity in my efforts.

Cicciarun2run

 

 

 

Advertisements

Mainely A Stereotype

I reside in a small town.  Not only do I live in a small town, I live in THE stereotypical small town.  Think: Mayberry combined with Cheers (yeah, the bar) ’cause my residential township is quaint, peaceful, and the locals know everybody’s name (exception: seasonal tourists, but many of the locals are nosy / social so they know the tourists’ names too!).  So, for the sake of my privacy, all the while giving my home a name, I shall refer to this quaint land of familiarity as Cheersberry . . .  or Maycheers . . .  or . . .  ORRRRR . . . I will use these interchangeably.

I have various run routes established.  There’s one route that I like to do either very early in the morning or later in the evening because 1.5 miles in, I reach a very small beach, and to witness the sunrise or sunset there is breathtakingly beautiful.  Plus, there’s the added bonus that if it’s a wicked hot day, one can jump in the lake for a little swim!  The picture I have does not depict the rise or set of the sun, but it’s still a glorious view, even at midday.  Also along this route are fellow Cheersberry residents who have become familiar with me and will oftentimes whoop words of encouragement or offer me water.  The Friends on the 4th 5K is mapped along “downtown,” but there is a portion of the run that is residential; many people sit on their lawns to cheer and lightly spray runners with their garden hoses – this is my favorite!  The garden hose incidence is less frequent during one of my “regular” runs, one that isn’t a big to-do / event, which makes it even more special if it should so happen, and once in a while, it does.  Small town livin’ is the tops!  . . . at least for eight months of the year.

Narrows

Summer is now in full swing, and the tourists have come from near and far!  Adding to the small town stereotype, the locals are not always so fond of the tourists, and by this, I mean I am not so fond of the tourists.  The environment changes when the out-of-towners flock to Maycheers in gaggles.  Just last week, I was pushed around and rudely cut in front of at the farm stand, and all of the commotion was caused by non locals.  When running, the out of state cars do not move over to share the road; in the last few days alone, my Radin and I have had several close calls with vehicular modes of transportation.

Yearly, I am prepared for the sudden change in environment at the grocery store and other shopping venues.  What is typically a friendly and patient setting becomes a climate of superiority and brouhaha.  When it’s the off-season, patrons of the grocery store chatter with one another as they wait in line, say “excuse me” if they need to reach something that is in another’s personal space, and offer to help those who may need helping.  Now?  Now, it’s a free for all.  Overall, the from-awayers are impatient, crashing their shopping carts into others because they’re ceaselessly using their cell phones, they loudly insinuate and make certain that we, the townies, are aware that their vacation time is valuable and that they cannot be bothered to wait, and the number of people that aggressively invade personal space is utterly galling.  My intent is not to generalize because I am certain that there are just as many delightful vacationers in our area, but I’m just indicating that the poor behavior is noticed.  I can adjust to the sudden influx of strong personalities, but what I tend to have difficulty acclimating to are nightly fireworks and unleashed dogs.

I love fireworks, but I much prefer them when they are appropriate.

  • Q: So, when are they appropriate?
  • A: Holidays such as the 4th of July or New Year’s, and on Friday or Saturday nights should the desire be to launch the works of fire just for the pure sake of doing so.

I wish beyond all measure that my town ordinance did not change, that fireworks were still banned and illegal.  The nightly fireworks wreak havoc for the wildlife, not to mention the pets who are terrified of the loud noises and riddled with anxiety over the ruckus.  *I am not a parent, other than fur babies, but I imagine that it is exceedingly arduous for those with babies, toddlers, and young children.*  The late night annoyances are also not appreciated by those of us who get up at 0400.  I understand that many of the temporary residents are on vacation, and I acknowledge that they should enjoy their vacation time, their relaxation time but not at the expense of those who live here full-time, year-round.  Cheerberry is not The City That Never Sleeps; we sleep . . . or at least, we used to.  I’m not requesting that the fireworks and drunken carousing cease altogether, I just ask for the commotion to wrap up at a sensible time.

Finally, leash your dogs!  How do I know that the offenders of the leash laws are out-of-towners’ dogs?  Just like with the humans, the locals, especially those of us who are actively outside and running about the town, have familiarly with the local yokel puppers.  Sunday evening, I took Radin for a long walk.  *Radin and I are not able to run together because we are equally clumsy and end up in calamitous, though comical, conundrums.  So, when Radin accompanies me, it’s for the slower paced meanderings.*  About a mile from home, during our return expedition, an unleashed dog bolted toward us.  I have no doubt that this dog was friendly, but my Radin and I were recently attacked by an unleashed, not-so-friendly dog, in our own yard.  It is fair to assert that Radin and I are now a little suspicious and mistrustful of foreign dogs that come darting at us.  Stranger danger is real, folks!  I should note that Radin does not get along remarkably well with other dogs as a rule, and because I know this about him, he is always harnessed, leashed, and kept close to me.

During our aforementioned adventure, I pulled Radin close to me and commanded him to stand between my legs.  Because my thighs are much stronger than my arms, I know that I can hold him still and protect him that way.  (Hey, I’ve been credited with saving his life during our attack, so I know that I could (and would) do so again).  We began to simultaneously walk backwards, taking slow and steady steps, but the dog continued to dart toward us.  To my horror, the unleashed dog scampered into the road and into oncoming traffic.  Now, I don’t want problems to arise between this dog and my own, but I also don’t want to see harm befall this visiting dog.  I’m typically the person pulling over and rescuing dogs (and cats and turtles and whatever else I find in the road that needs an assist).  Meanwhile, drivers are annoyed because traffic is slow going – Radin and I were nearly hit by two or three vehicles that refused to move over!  Out of approximately seven passing motorists, only one man stopped to help us.  Coincidentally, the other six vehicles had out of state and out of country (Canada) registration plates, respectively.  The man who stopped to help me, he was a Mainer.  Summer folks, enjoy your stay in Vacationland, but please, consider the residents of your interim abode.

. . . I don’t want to be the stereotypical, vacationist hating, country bumpkin so please, do your part in not turning me into a stereotype . . . just sayin’.

Venom of the Greenery Variety

Before deciding upon Venom of the Greenery Variety as a title, I was also contemplating Bitch of an Itch.  Each are accurate.

I was born and raised in Maine, and I have never lived in another state.  Other than a brief stint of city living, I’ve lived the majority of my 33 years in small towns, enjoying the quiet and beauty of country living.  I’m not so country that I own dairy cows, nor do I drive a dusty and rusty pickup truck stereotypically depicted in most cowboy-esque twangy country tunes.  However, I do live rurally, surrounded by nature and woodland creatures; it is abnormal to not see deer or turkeys in the yard, and just last night, there was a fox hanging out under one of my ancient and ginormous oak trees.

It is most surprising then, that for the first time in 33.5 years of life, I’ve recently encountered my very first bout with poison ivy or poison oak or poison sumac; whatever it is, it’s poisonous.  What began as a dot on my neck Thursday, became a line by Friday. On Monday morning, I was peppered in it: neck, chest, arms, legs, wrists, and hands.  Now, just because I live near the woods does not imply that I spend a lot of time in the boscage.  In fact, this is the summer that I have devoted to spending more time out of doors with the purpose of becoming more accustomed to the heat and humidity, and also because I find most aspects of nature to be beautiful, and I miss out on much of that allurement by spending the majority of my time inside.

Though I have spent more time outside this summer, I know for certain that I have not traipsed through the venomous greenery.  So, just how did I get the ivy of the poison variety?  Radin.  Radin gave me poison ivy; it is the only feasible explanation.  Oh, how I do wish my unfortunate tale has an exciting backstory, but alas, it does not.  I got poison ivy from my dog.  However, in all of its lackluster, the true story maintains that I’m “that person.”

I’m “that person” who, if it’s going to happen to someone, it’s going to happen to me.  Over the course of the last year or so, I have been dealt an absurd hand of cards:

  • An allergic reaction to facial cleanser that resulted in my eyes being swollen closed for the better part of a week or more.
  • A tumble on the pavement when my parents’ boxer, Gracie, caught a bout of the zoomies.
    • Q: What was in it for me?
    • A: Battered and bruised bones and scrapes and skinless patches.
  • A freak and unprecedented fainting spell whereby I hit my noggin and was left with a concussion, which I still face symptoms from to this day.
  • And now, bitchin’ itchin’.

Probably the most disappointing, other than the itch and pain and overall frustration, is that I had to opt out of the 4th of July 5K I had been so looking forward to running – I had such an awesome red, white, and blue tutu picked out for the event!  However, the rational Amy concluded that the 98 degree weather, coupled with the humidity and my streaming, salty sweat (A+ for alliteration!), would make me feel even worse and allow the rash to spread even more.  I’m almost finished with my Prednisone, and the poison laced patches are now dry so I think I can start to exercise vigorously again.

I have not had a decent run or workout since last Thursday, and while lying in bed, doped up on Benadryl, I remembered that the David Payne Memorial Run (7.2 miles) is July 23rd, and Beach to Beacon (10K) is August 4th.  I am now in full blown panic mode as it’s my modus operandi to doubt my ability, especially when I’ve been forced to slow down in my training.

It’s amazing the havoc a single week down-and-out can wreak on one’s confidence.