Monday, November 21, 2011

On Running Shoes and Knitting Needles

I started running in 1992 because my brother ran and I wanted to have something in common with him other than, you know, our family tree.

I raced and finished my first 5K in Las Vegas in 1997. Cindy Crawford ran one around the same time and it was heartening that my pace was comparable to hers.

While I concerned myself with marrying and beginning to produce offspring, I only ran intermittently. But in recent years I've picked it up again. I love it because it calms my Irish temper, keeps my heart healthy, and people clap for me when I race.

I started knitting two weeks ago, because I am intrigued with the idea of turning string (well, yarn) into clothing and useful household items, and because I want to challenge myself to persist with things even when they're difficult and even when I can't accomplish them perfectly. For you normal people out there, this is no biggie, but for me, it is a giant undertaking. As my friend, knitting instructor, and fellow recovering perfectionist has challenged me: "Dare to be average!"

In recent days, I find myself comparing these two "hobbies" of mine. Here are the findings of my analysis:


Yarn is cheaper than Asics.
Running carries the higher risk of being hit by a truck.
Knitting doesn't require a special bra.
Strangers hand you Gatorade when you run.
I have never once seen my shadow while knitting and thought my butt looked fat.
It is easier to screw up knitting than running.
Someone is teaching me to knit. Running came way more natural.
Knitting can be done in a recliner.


Both make me sweat. One from physical exertion, one from mental and motor skill.
Both distract me from eating large quantities of unnecessary food.
Both indirectly benefit others: knitting produces things like scarves that can be given as gifts; running increases my overall sanity, which helps my children live another day.
I prefer to knit, and to run, in the company of others. But both are also totally acceptable solo activities.
I hope to pass both on to my grandchildren.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where Is My Gum Specialist's Restroom?

It's quite alarming, really - people turn forty and immediately complain about how their bodies suddenly fall to pieces. I would wholeheartedly object, but out of nowhere my gums are receding!

I can tell by his name that my gum specialist is Korean. And though I have just days before read about the War with Korea - I determine that this might not be the best conversation topic at my gum consult. I vow to keep the dialogue mainly centered on what is to be done about my rapidly elongating teeth.

I've recently taken up coffee drinking, and gum-consult day was particularly stressful, so I downed three cups of coconut coffee right before driving a LONG way across town to meet my new specialist. This means I had to pee like crazy even before I got lost three times, within a block of my destination.

Evidently, disorders of the gums are rampant, because this office is NICE. I only had a moment to take in the opulent surroundings before asking for the potty.

There is no need for me to draw out what happened in the restroom. Let's just say that I was going about my business like normal when the room went pitch dark. Where once there was light and the hum of a fan --- nothing. Perhaps it was instinct that caused me to immediately flail my arms and wave my torso. Whatever, it worked. The light came back on and the annoyance that began with the receding of my gums and grew with the distance of the specialist and getting lost on the way was now enormous.

I finished, situated myself and what's left of my gums on the plush sofa in the lobby, and began the tedium of doctor's office paperwork. Part way through, a man in a tie approached me with a clipboard. He told me that as soon as my chart was complete, he would commence our tour of the office.

What reaction am I to have upon hearing I'm to be given a tour of my gum specialist's office? What purpose does it serve to know the layout and workings of such a place? In my life, I have been to pediatricians, general practitioners, gynecologists, obstetricians, dermatologists, dentists, orthodontists, radiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, hair stylists, midwives, ear nose and throat specialists, orthopedists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists, and never once before have I been offered a tour of their office! All I can assume is that this is some sort of customer service gimmick and that they think if I've been shown around the digs, I will feel loyal to this specialist forever.

Included in the tour: the restroom (I'd already discovered it, thank you), the coffee maker (as if), the orthodontic room, several staff members in scrubs, and two cutting-edge-technology machines which were explained to me as if I cared one whit (or even understood). My one question: if you pride yourselves on this amazing new technology, could you please do something about the motion-sensor light in the bathroom that leaves your patients in pitch-black mid-pee?

Around three thousand dollars from now, I will have a small piece of tissue grafted from the roof of my mouth and relocated to cover my three nearly-naked teeth. I will drink only milkshakes for a week, and the stitches will dissolve on their own. This was all explained to me very kindly, with the aid of state-of-the-art video. On the way out, I stopped in the restroom to pee again before my trek back across town to home. And yes, the light went out and I sat in blackness. Just forty feet or so from the eight million dollar imaging whatsit machine that my tour guide was so proud of.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I remember the days...

... of college summer Saturday nights in Ridgecrest. I'd arrive at the house of a friend where a bunch of us would gather to hang out and eat and usually watch Saturday Night Live.

It is a vivid sad memory that "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey" would come on and I would be laughing so hard I'd be doubled over on the carpet. Everyone else (like, nine people) would be silent and stoic and not getting it.

Is it the same thing now with "Catalog Living?" Well, not exactly, because I'm reading it on my computer, usually by myself (some glorious days Kevin reads over my shoulder and laughs, and this is a big part of the reason I married him and not any of those guys from Ridgecrest - even though one of them had the last name McCrary. And Teri McCrary is an epic name.) So typically there is no one around NOT to laugh. But it is all I can do not to post it every single day here or on facebook. It is my fear of the silent and stoic reaction that keeps me from doing so. Go read it! Only tell me if it cracks you up.