Monday, April 28, 2008

Silent All These Years

Years go by, will I still be waiting for somebody else to understand?
Years go by, if I'm stripped of my beauty, and the orange clouds raining in my head?
Years go by, will I choke on my tears 'til finally there is nothing left?
One more casualty, you know we're too easy easy easy...

Well I love the way we communicate, your eyes focus on my funny little shape
Let's hear what you think of me now, but baby don't look up - the sky is falling.
Your mother shows up in a nasty dress it's your turn now to stand where I stand
Everybody lookin' at you here take hold of my hand - yeah I can hear them.

But what if I'm a mermaid in these jeans of yours with her name still on it?
Hey but I don't care, 'cause sometimes, I said sometimes
I hear my voice, I hear my voice, I hear my voice

And it's been here, silent all these years
I've been here, silent all these years

This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful, tragic, profound songs I've ever heard. I suppose it's rather cliche to wax poetic about Tori Amos - she is a doyenne of the deep philosophical thoughts of most college coeds (usually those of us who were labeled as such from about 1992-1999 or so).

She wrote this song about remaining silent after her rape.

It hit me tonight that my mother's voice, in deference to my father's selfishness and personal desires, was silent for many years. She never seemed to stand up for what she wanted - she always seemed to mold her life around his desires, and around what she felt was best for my sister and I.

Now, with the divorce final, she doesn't have to be silent anymore. I hope she hears her voice anew, and for once, makes herself happy. I would love nothing more than to see her sever all ties, get rid of all of her baggage (literal and emotional), pack her little Westie into her car and drive to wherever her heart takes her.

I hope she hears her voice, though it has been silent for far too long.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Breaking Radio Silence

Wow, have I ever gone over a week without writing since I started this thing? Yikes. Busy week, apparently.

Since we last left our heroine, she has been busily accomplishing the following tasks:

Finishing her trial level memo, which involved Herculean efforts and many late nights, culminating with a Saturday night all-nighter, which turned into a Sunday morning bedtime of 5:45am and a grand total of 90 minutes of sleep.

Baking three kinds of quiche for her classmates for the trial memo breakfast buffet in order to stay awake (can't go to sleep if something's in the oven...)

Running out of eggs with which to make a banana bread; using the last frozen zucchini bread in its place (which defrosted and served beautifully after residing in the freezer since August).

Proceeding to thank heaven, stars, and Professor B for cutting Contracts class short in order to go home, nap for 2.5 hours, get up, and go with Ric to the Santana/Derek Trucks show.

Rocking out in the 12th row for said show, throughly enjoying both performers and falling in love with even MORE awesome music (as if that's possible). Two amazing guitar players (one new, one living legend) in one night. Smokin' hot blues/slide on one side, Latin fusion on the other. Just can't help but smile when the timbales and congas come out.

Making Ric buy girly beer.

Working like mad on memos for the last week.

Talking with Mom for a few hours and processing the fact that, yes, my parents are now officially divorced, and while better about it, it's not over for me. Knowing she's in a good place about it helps.

Gaining clarity and perspective on a lot of things, which I had hoped to do a long, long time ago. Understanding that it couldn't have come any sooner, and hoping that I've done what it takes to come out of this particular trial with a sense of maturity and a renewed purpose.

Re-ramping up my training, getting back in the pool and on the run...waiting for a good few days to get on the bike and enjoy some of the Minnesota hills we have 'round these parts. Timed a race pace 800 on Tuesday at 18:44 (2:20/100 pace. Not bad! Definitely getting better. Will continue to improve on that - would like to get down to a 2:00/100 pace for a 16 minute swim in the pool - hopefully that translates into an open water swim of about the same amount. Factors: no stop/turnaround every 25, no lane lines and more people/veering, not an exact distance, plus in/out time.)

Dealing with a reeeeeeeeeeally sore lower back, hoping it is from too much butt-in-seat studying and training, and not an injury.

Cooking dinner for my SIL and D., the classmate I set her up with a couple weeks ago. They claimed to have had a bad first date, which I found out last night was a double-sided PUNK on both their parts. And I was the victim. Apparently, they hit it off really well, had a great time, and are very happy to be seeing each other. Ungrateful little you-know-whats had the gall to come to my house and eat my food, and punk me.

At least D. fits in with Clan Thompson in that respect: we have a tendency to punk, practical joke, and surprise each other with regularity. Not only that, we're good at it.

I am happy they are hitting it off - she's a great girl, he's a really nice guy, and they both deserve some good times.

Song in my head: Africa Bamba, Santana

I heard this song for the first time at the Santana concert Sunday night, and remembered it because of the refrain "Ella, baila la portuguesa." My sis was a Brazilian exchange student and by proxy, I am sensitive to anything that says or purports to relate to Brazil or Portuguese. The song itself is so pretty and danceable - I looked up the lyrics, and was surprised to discover that my Spanish isn't so rusty that I couldn't translate them - and more importantly, translate the idioms (dar la luz literally means "to give light", but used in context means "childbirth.") Senoras C. y P. y Profesora R., gracias...something in my seven years of studying Spanish must have stuck.

The song just has a lovely meaning to it - I think I have found the first song on the Summer of Awesome soundtrack. Take a look (translation provided below):

Estoy llamando a todas las morenas
Y las llamada la viene da la luz
Con calma se baila esta danza
Y con amor canto yo esta cancion
Africa bamba ase a un lado a la tristeza
Y otra mas dulce no la podras encontrar
Oye eso te va sentir feliz

Ella baila la portugueza


I am talking to/calling on all the beautiful brunette ladies
And also those women/mothers who give birth
With calm confidence, you should dance this dance.
And with love, I sing this song.
Africa bamba - cast aside your sadness
And you will not find a sweeter one (song/dance)
Listen to it, and you will feel happy.

Girl, dance the Portuguese dance...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Summer of Awesome

I hereby declare the upcoming season, colloquially known as summer, lasting generally from Memorial Day Weekend (commencing on or about May 24, 2008) through Labor Day Weekend (ending on or about September 1, 2008) to be the Summer of Awesome.

The Summer of Awesome shall involve the following events:

1. A visit from Jordana and Todd

2. A trip to Phoenix with Kate, the girl, the mom and the sister for four days' respite, sleep, pool lounging, spa pampering, shopping and general laziness in order to shake off the rigors of a year of law school and the Most Stupidest Winter Ever.

3. A quick bout of summer school, ending on or about June 5.

4. A visit to Tennessee to see the in-laws.

5. A roadtrip to Summerfest with the sister in law to see AKeys on 7/1 and JM 7/2.

6. Continuation of said roadtrip to the S-T-L to party with the sister, see JM 7/3, and watch the fireworks over the Mighty Mississippi from Gateway Park.

7. A quick return home, then a roadtrip to Danskin Chicagoland with Sooz 7/12-7/13.

8. A quick return home, then yet another roadtrip to Chicago to meet up with girls from all over the nation, flying in to meet up in the Windy City for JM 7/18, and a girls' weekend downtown to follow.

9. My first Olympic tri on 8/2 - 8/3 in Duluth.

10. My 2L year starting on 8/9.

11. Y camp for the girl at a drastically reduced rate (and only when we need it!) approximately three days a week, and getting to keep her at home with me twice a week to do fun mom/daughter stuff.

12. Campaigning for Franken, hopefully for a bit of law school credit.

13. Minnesota State Fair the last weekend of August, winding up on Labor Day.

The official end of the Summer of Awesome shall occur on or about September 2, 2008, when I send the girl off for her first day of kindergarten. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I do know that she will know how to write her name, will likely wear a dress, she will be carrying a pink Hello Kitty backpack, will hopefully have her hair arranged in some semblance of order, and will pose for a picture outside our house.

Three weeks til finals can't pass soon enough. I'm ready to be done with being a 1L.

(And yes, you did count that correctly: I am going to three JM shows this summer.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


It's Memo Week, which explains my notable absence here. Law school is kicking my arse but good, and I can't help but feel overwhelmed that my first year has ended so quickly. Seems scary.

My parents' final divorce hearing is on Friday. I hope they are happier without each other than they were with. I hope Dad feels like he can move on. I hope Mom doesn't feel guilty or like a failure.

Mostly I hope they have the fortitude to shake hands, say goodbye, and let each other go. Not an easy thing to do after 33 years, one week and six days. But who's counting?

The girl is in the wait pool for Expensive Private School - we had an interview last month and unfortunately she did not get offered outright admission. As a veteran of the waitlist, I understand completely. The boy was devastated - I was less so. Mostly because the worry of the tuition price tag was just lifted. There's still a chance she could get in, and I certainly hope she does because no matter the struggle to pay the bill, it's a fantastic fit for her. "We believe Girl would thrive at EPS" said the quasi-rejection letter. I couldn't agree more.

We're now on the hunt for another school for her. School choice is such a double edged sword.

Off to outline and memo.

Yesterday's Training
Walked 3.2 miles with my sister in law outdoors. I desperately needed the sunshine and though the lake was still covered in thin ice, it was a glorious day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat

My hair is long.

Really long.

Not quite Crystal Gale-long, but long. Past my bra strap long. I love it.

It is a weird brownish reddish blondish color that usually settles on normal brown after a few days without a wash. It's very very thick, coarsely textured, and in certain spots, has enough natural curl to border on kinky. It gets pretty wild at times but I have neither the skill nor the fortitude to wrestle my mane through a flat iron every damn day. I usually go for a trim and blow out every six weeks.

I plan to keep it long until such time as professionalism dictates that I cut it. I hope that whatever job I have as an attorney is one where they don't care how long my hair is.

I only wash it about once a week, despite my level of activity, mostly because I find if I rinse out the chlorine, and brush through it a couple times a day, it stays in good shape. I can ponytail it, braid it, or leave it loose. If I let it air dry in braids, the natural curl stays pretty well. It also gets really thick and voluminous. I'll be honest; I don't like my hair the day I wash it. Too flyaway for my tastes. My "best" hair is usually a day or two after I wash it- it's got enough oil worked through it to stand up to whatever I want to do to it; it's got body and shine, and it feels good - not heavy, not super light.

Fridays are a good day to wash my hair - and trust me, when you have hair as long as mine, it's a process. Here's how I do it:

Brush hair, remove all excess loose hair.
Comb with wide tooth comb, remove knots
Step into shower, wet hair, squeeze excess.
Wash with "defunktify" shampoo to remove excess oil, buildup and chlorine.
Wash with "Straighten Up" shampoo to add shine and a bit of weight; hopefully control a bit of kink and frizz.
Comb with wide tooth comb, remove knots and loose hair.
Squeeze excess water.
Condition with "Straighten Up" conditioner. Apply in sections. Leave in for 2-4 minutes whilst washing up the rest of me.
Rinse me.
Rinse hair until hands run through without catching on knots, continue to rinse until hair feels evenly conditioned.
Squeeze excess water.
Comb once again.
Bend over, apply towel to hair in "babushka" fashion, dry rest of me.
Leave towel on hair while finishing personal grooming and dressing. (At least 10 minutes)
Bend over, remove towel and rub hair a bit more.
Comb once again.
Apply leave-in conditioning lotion and comb yet again.
Braid or leave loose to air dry.
Comb yet again, brush once completely dry.

Repeat next Friday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Training Log: 4/10/08

Warmup: 100 Pull, 50 Kick
Main Set: 3x400 (45 RI)
Cooldown: 50 Breast

Total Yards:1400

10 mins walking
Intervals - 5:2 x 2 (fast mile) 12:05
Total Distance: 2.5 miles

I went to the gym on Wednesday with my sister in law and did a fairly intense 30 minutes on the elliptical machine - then tried to up my intervals today. Bad news.

Oh right! We've been training for almost 4 solid weeks! Time to level off a bit and toss in a recovery week!

When I was running my "fast mile" yesterday, I could actually feel my upper body's weight. It's odd- I havent' felt the sensation of a really heavy front load since I was pregnant with the girl, but there it was yesterday on the treadmill. I think I really need to get my eating in shape - I've always had a really rough time losing weight, but I don't like the way my body felt yesterday.

In fact, I actually had the sensation of where I wanted my body to be (lithe, flatter, more toned) and it felt like I was wearing one of those expectant father's sympathy bellies or something. I could feel where I wanted my body to end.

I sometimes wonder whether I'm beating my head against a wall with all the training and working out, or if eventually, one of these days, something will change and I will maybe, just maybe, lose a little weight. I love the shape my legs have taken since I got back into the gym- I can feel the tone there and I know I'm stronger. Likewise, my arms are still chicken-wingy but I feel stronger, and the ache I feel after 1200 well-paced yards in the pool is a satisfying one.

I eat pretty well, most of the time. I don't play games with the number on the scale - I can tell myself everything I want about the number not mattering, and about muscles being denser than fat, and all the other things you tell yourself. Point is, if I want to be a better athlete I have to continue to train, and I'll get more out of my training if I fuel the machine properly.

Farmer's market opens in two weeks and I.CAN.NOT.WAIT.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Girly Talk

This morning at the breakfast table, after a round of Idontwannagodaschooool (Mom 3, Girl 0):

Girl: Darn it!

Me: Girl, we don't say that. It's a grown up word. How about...pickles!

Girl: Darn it!

Me: Tartar sauce!

Girl: Darn it!

Me: Barnacles?

Girl: Mom, it's my new word and I want to use it! Darn it!


New words in her vocabulary: organizing, bloom, and ridiculous. "Ridiculous" has actually been with us for quite some time - since about age 2 1/2 - 3 or so. However, she now pronounces it correctly - it used to be "a-dick-a-yus." She still has a few baby steps to go with her speech - mostly mixing up m's and n's (nusic is a prime example) and she will substitute a "th" for an "f" at the end of a word ("stuth" instead of "stuff"). She also adds an "n" onto the front of "used to" (so it comes out noosed to).

Her mind is so alive. Light bulbs go on for her every day as she continues to explore the world. I see the evolution of her person, her sociological self - it happens month by month, sometimes week by week. She gets frustrated when we jump to conclusions and isn't afraid of letting us know when we simplyaren't listening. She is by and large a mindful child - at every center and school we've ever used, she's gotten exemplary praise from her teachers as to her ability to follow directions and mind the teacher. I think she'd go stir crazy if she didn't let out her disobedient side at home - nobody's perfect and we try not to pressure her in that way.

I once read that the parents' job is to give their child space to grow and become their own person. I couldn't agree more with that statement - too many times parents choose to live vicariously through their children, impressing their own lost dreams and desires upon them without regard for the child's feelings. Would I love the girl to be a world class pianist? Absolutely - she's got the fingers for it, no doubt. Would I love for her to take dance class and gymnastics? You bet - I wanted to be Mary Lou Retton, and I never bothered to ask my parents for dance class because I was convinced they would say no.

When she comes to me and asks if we can do something, or if she can take lessons on something - I think it will be my job to give her a hug, check the bank account, and say, "Yes. You can do that." And then help her see it through.

My thoughts are all over the place this morning - but it all comes down to wanting the best for my girl, and learning her inside as well as I know her outside.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Training Log: 4/8/08

Today's Training

100 free warmup

25 minutes continuous swim (10 sec or less RI, minimal use)
(1000 yards/25:00 = 2:30/100 pace)

50 breast cooldown

Total Yardage:1150

Today I wanted to test my endurance - so far I feel like I've been doing better at the drills, and my 400's are coming easier to me. I decided to just swim continuously for 25 minutes, at a decent pace, and see how far I could go. This is a good way to gauge your training - I will do this again in about six weeks I think, and hopefully my yardage goes up in the same amount of time. Either that or I will extend the time and just decide to swim X yards no matter how long it takes.

My training plan says a 25 minute swim should be around 900-1200 yards, and I fell right into that with 1000. I will have to start increasing my distance soon - I will start throwing 800s pretty regularly now - and I'll work up to a second 800 so I do 2x800 with probably a 2 min RI...then start putting it all together. Once I've got that going, I can work into a "fast" 800 if that's all I'm doing, so I can pump my speed up for the tri.

By the math, I was averaging about 38 seconds per length (25 yards). Last week when I did my descending 100's, my first length was 34 - and I thought I was swimming slow. I definitely slowed down toward the end of the 1000 - my arms were tired and I was losing form. I will definitely need to do some recovery/drill work next week so I can up my yardage without killing my form, arms, or time. Endurance first, then speed.

Bike weather is coming up...I haven't NOT been on my bike in April since before I started triathon. In other words, NEVER. I need to get some cold weather rides in before too long - the spring winds and hills make for great force and endurance workouts. Will also make the transition to outdoor runs soon. That's tougher for me - running is easily my hardest challenge.

Monday, April 7, 2008


As you can see up yonder, I have placed a picture of a sakura tree in full bloom at the top of my blog. I have been constantly thinking about its symbolism and message since I read JM's blog and referenced it about a week ago.

Life is so and downs, hurt and healing, reflection and renewal. Karen's anniversary was this past Wednesday, and I believe this picture sums up her spirit and tenacity - things which I admire and desire:

Karen broke out her wedding dress and ran around a park with a bunch of friends taking pictures. This one is my favorite.

I referenced the sakura tree before, but I don't think I fully fleshed out my thought.

In Japan the cherry blossoms are believed to exemplify the transient nature of life, because of their short blooming times. Cherry blossoms also symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse, besides being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhistic influence, and which is embodied in the concept of mono no aware, or "a sensitivity to things." The association of the sakura with mono no aware dates back to 18th-century scholar Motoori Norinaga. The transience of the blossoms, the extreme beauty and quick death, has often been associated with mortality; for this reason, sakura are richly symbolic, and have been utilized often in Japanese art, manga, anime, and film, as well as at musical performances for ambient effect. -Wikipedia

I took a class in Japanese Culture and Politics in undergrad, and I remember my impression of Japanese culture as being drastically different, and yet, simple and completely alien and beautiful. The logic of following the symbol of renewal in native botany in order to renew one's spirit and begin a new business year seems perfectly reasonable to me...rather than stating "on the second Tuesday in October," the timing is just "when the sakura bloom." Talk about sensitivity and harmony with nature.

I found quite a few color pictures of the sakura in full bloom, and I was stuck at how amazingly colorful they are. The trees are tall and often cover a sidewalk; in broad daylight they appear to turn the sky pink. I can only imagine what it must look like in person; one of these days I will have to go to Japan and experience it for myself. Perhaps I'll have my own little hanami under a tree in Shibuya, and I'll look up to a floral pink sky, reflect upon my life, and hopefully have no regrets.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Utterly Random Free Association Blather

I received notice that I got a spot in the second section of the summer school class for which I was waitlisted. It's a 2-credit short course and it will be done by the first week of June. Kate is taking it with me, so I'm pretty jazzed.

I dropped Crim Pro for the summer. Too much other stuff I want to do, and I really want the girl to be home with me this summer. We're both burnt out on school and she could do with some quality mom time. This should motivate me to get out more with her as well as keep myself actively exploring my new environs. She's going to day camp 3 days a week when she's not traveling to grandparents and relatives. I want this summer to full-on rock. We all need it.

My summer reading (now that I am going to be law school free) is The Tale of Genji. Note to self: head down to the used bookstore and find a copy in order to promote re-use. Walk to store. Parking is horrible and useless, and walking will promote greener living and overall health. Alternative: ride bike.

Training is coming back to me like an old friend. It helps to have a new friend there with me.

January was the month of the mental.
February was the month of the academic.
March was the month of the physical.
April will be the month of the epicurean.

What shall I work on next?

Domestic, Spiritual, Literary, Sartorial, Financial, Motivational... my life feels so present and full of potential right now. I have a huge dichotomy going on: I feel like the active searching for a relationship with my family of origin (and really, what all that means to my foundation and my future) is pointing me toward getting my own house in order. In a way I'm trying to reconcile my past with what I want for myself.

Life is so fluid and intangible, yet riddled with rules and order and certain inflexibilities.

There is so much to learn in this life; it is a wonder anyone gets anything accomplished. I don't believe in business jargon, or mission and vision statements, but I do believe in goals. Resolutions falter, motivation wanes. Influence invades. If forced to boil my life's goal into one sentence it couldn't be as trite as "be a better person." That's too vague.

A tentative life goal: Open to change, accepting and mindful, constant in effort.

Is that too ambitious?

Today's Training
Virtual 5K (repeat of Thursday)
6 x 3/3 intervals (5.1/3.6 speed)
Total Time/Distance:42:30/3.1 miles
Overall, this felt better than Thursday. I beat my time by 3:20 and more importantly, was more consistent in the run. I got 1:30 into a 7th interval and just couldn't pull it out. Next time I will. A 7th interval will just about get me across the finish line. Once I can do that on a 3:3 comfortably, it's time to up the interval to a 4:2. Sooz says she's got a road race for us the end of the month, and I can't wait!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Training Update: 4/1-4/3/2008

Forgot to add Tuesday's workout to my training log:

Warmup: 100 Free
Main Set: 4x200, 45 RI
Descending 100 (34, 31, 24.8, 24.4)
Cooldown: 100 Free
Total Yardage:1100

I felt good on this one - forcing myself to keep a tempo through the 200's was good practice. Altogether the times were fairly consistent. The descender was a pain in the butt - the first two were fine, then on the third, I thrashed it out and took too much time off. Overcompensated and lost my form on the fourth and ended up chopping big holes in the water instead of moving quickly and efficiently. Life lesson.

Today's Training:
Warmup: 150 (50 pull, 50 kick, 50 free)
Main Set: Down Ladder (400, 45 RI, 300, 45 RI, 200, 20 RI, 100) with descending pace
Cooldown: 50 Free, 50 Breast
Total Yardage:1250

The Down Ladder is a great pacing tool - if you know you have another 200 to go, you swim a little more conservatively. If you've only got 100 total, you push it. My times reflected that today - I'm really learning how to pace myself in the pool. Now that my form is coming back I'm better able to do some of the faster paces and sprints in the end of the workout, and that just bodes well for my ability to race this year.

Virtual 5K (treadmill) Time:46:30
Intervals: Six minutes at a 3/3 split x 6 (36 minutes), 2.4 miles, 3.4/4.9 split.
10:30 at 3.5-3.9 to finish last .7 miles.

I can tell that I was pushing a bit with the intervals. I need to work on getting a full 3/3 interval through the entire 5K, then maintaining that until it's second nature. Once that happens, I can "graduate" to a 4/2 and eventually a full 5/1. Once I've got the 5/1 down for a 5K, I'll go back to a 4/2 or a 3/3 and add distance, then work up to speed again. I need to be able to 5/1 a 10K if I have any hope of making it through an Olympic by the end of this year. I also need to remember my water bottle if I'm going to be doing this kind of distance. One of these days I'll run a "fast mile" and see how I do pacing myself. I think I could get under 12:00 if I knew all I had to do was run a mile and cross the line.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kids No More


If they sound as good as they look... I will be buying my first New Kids CD. Ever.
(Oh yeah. Cassette tapes, baby.)

In other news, JM is partying it up under the sakura in Tokyo, and it's a time for new beginnings. The cherry blossoms represent self-reflection and renewal, and the Japanese take the time to walk in the park and watch the full blooms come in.

What a beautiful tradition...taking time to renew oneself and reflect upon the events since the last time the blossoms were in full bloom.