Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Boys of Summer

Our summer is officially over. We said goodbye to it with a full day at the beach yesterday. As I tucked Tommy into bed, his hair still smelled like the beach even after a shower. If I could bottle up that smell and keep it with on long work days and long winter days, I would.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

What I Read Wednesday*

On Thursday. I kind of forgot that yesterday was Wednesday, until it was 8 o'clock at night and then I just wasn't going to update my blog.

The Son
I love epic novels of the American West because I have a hope that every one of them will be Lonesome Dove. If you haven't read Lonesome Dove, please stop reading this and go add Lonesome Dove to your library list. Or order it from Amazon. Or if you live close to me, text and ask if you can borrow it. If you've seen the miniseries, that doesn't count. You need to read it and fall in love with Gus and Call. I don't care if you don't like novels of the American West. Lonesome Dove is different. It has 630 reviews on Amazon and FIVE stars. See? The people agree with me.
Anyway, back to The Son. It, of course, wasn't Lonesome Dove because nothing is, but it was still good in its own right. It was definitely an epic saga, one that swept through multi-generations. From Eli, who was stolen in a Comanche raid and then integrated into Comanche life and spends the rest of his life straddling both worlds, not knowing quite where he fits in; to his son Peter, who is disappointing for not meeting the family's vision and for falling in love with a woman from Mexico; and Eli's great-granddaughter Jeanne, a tough woman, struggling to keep the family's empire afloat and gain respect as a woman in a changing Texas. This is not a novel where you will fall in love with the characters. Many of them are flawed and broken and make huge mistakes, but they're real. While it's also a big book (500+ pages), it's action packed and I was so engaged in each story that I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened next.

I loved this book. The author is from Indiana, it's mostly set in Indiana and it makes fun of Indiana in a way that only people from Indiana can do, without it being offensive... because they're from Indiana. The main character Nathan studies birds for a living and spends his day meandering around one national forest or another, writing down the habits of the birds he's watching. In the process, we're treated to vignettes from his childhood and his day-to-day life, some sad, some funny. Overall, I really enjoyed the tone and voice of this book.

What are you reading?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Seen on my Run [+ Sesamoiditis Update]

I don't normally run with my phone on me, but this morning, I ran on very sparsely populated country roads so I tucked it into my back pocket for safety reasons. I figured that since I had it on me, I would snap a few photos and actually update my blog for once. I didn't start taking photos until the second half of my run, figuring that if I took photos during the first four miles, I would never finish.

I've only ever done this route once. It was the last long run before my first half marathon and it was miserable. One, it was hillier than I realized and way back then, I used to avoid hills. I didn't realize that hills made you a stronger runner, even if they seemed miserable at the time, so I died on all the hills that day. Two, I got freaked out because a car pulled ahead of me and stopped, so I had to alter my route and run toward the nearest house and that threw me off. It's a really pretty, somewhat challenging route, though, so I wanted to try it again.

It starts out hilly for the first mile. A lot of up and down hills, which can be kind of scary on a country road because there aren't shoulders and some of them are blind hills. Fortunately, I saw a grand total of two cars, so I didn't have much to worry about.

After the first mile, it's just flat but there's still no shoulder and the uneven road prevents a challenge. My hips were feeling it.

I saw lots of horses
and pretty views.

I haven't run this far in months, so I just took it slow and steady. My feet are a little sore right now, but they aren't too bad. I am hopeful that I can keep these longer runs up because I miss them. I do notice they're harder on my body than they used to be, but I'm also not used to them anymore. 8 miles today felt much easier than 7 miles last week, though, so I have hope that I'll get there.

Every so often, people google search and find the sesamoiditis post that I wrote in January and ask for an update, so I suppose I should give one. In terms of sesamoiditis issues with my feet, I would say they're about 97% healed, which is AMAZING considering where I was back in the winter. Running in the Altras really helped my sesamoids. I actually wore nothing but the Altra Intuitions for months, whether it was running in them or wearing them to work. It severely limited my wardrobe, but it was the only thing that didn't leave my feet in crippling pain. Unfortunately, when my sesamoids were at their worst, I developed a secondary case of plantar fasciitis from offloading weight and walking funny. Were it not for that, I feel like I could've kept running in the Altras, but a side effect of zero drop shoes is that your calves get tight as you're adjusting to them. Tight calves irritate plantar fasciitis, so as the shoes were helping my sesamoids, my heels were getting worse. I tried to run again in my old Brooks and they felt great on my heels, but my sesamoids flared up again. Basically, I needed a Frankenstein's monster concoction between my old shoes and my new shoes where I could attach the front of my Altras to the back of my Brooks, but that wasn't an option. A whole lot of google searching later and I came across some good things on Neutral New Balance shoes. Happily, they were only $49 on Amazon, so I figured I would give them a shot.
Fortunately, they've worked really well. They've got less of a drop, which is good for sesamoiditis, but they still have a slightly built up heel so my plantar fasciitis doesn't get completely painful. Every so often, I'll step down funny and feel a flare up in my sesamoids. The plantar fasciitis is kind of on-going battle in that I have to roll my feet out and ice them all the time, but I'm still able to run. And really, the fact that I'm this far healed from the sesamoiditis is amazing to me because back in December, I could hardly walk because the pain was so crippling. So yes, there IS hope that if you're suffering from this, you can and will heal and run again!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What I Read Wednesday

One of these days, I would like to actually blog again. I always plan on it and then suddenly, it's Wednesday and I just have time to write about books. Oh, well. Maybe next week.

The Engagements
It's very rare for novels that switch perspectives to do it right, but this one did. This novel focused on Evelyn, an older married woman; James, a paramedic struggling to make ends meet; Kate, who is anti-marriage but living happily with her partner and child; Delphine who has seen stable love and exciting, daring love; and Frances Garety, who penned the well-known line "A Diamond is Forever." Although the novel bounces back and forth through the decades, it flows perfectly between the characters and their lives and I felt completely connected and engaged with each of their stories. It was a flawless transition and so wonderfully written. This was one book that I didn't want to end.

So Cold the River
I was drawn into this book at first because it was set in Chicago, then transition to Indiana, so the both settings were familiar to me. Primarily, it was set in French Lick, IN, which I've heard of but never visited. The main character stays at West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick and refers to the how amazing the hotel is. I kept thinking, "Yeah, right. Indiana?" Until I googled it and okay, I can't believe I've lived in Indiana my entire life and had no idea something this beautiful existed. I asked Shane if we could visit, like TOMORROW, but he seemed to think that maybe that was a bit hasty. Aside from the setting, the book itself was a great read. The main character, Eric, is approached by a woman he meets a funeral (he puts together video montages for funerals) who asks him to look into her father-in-law's past. She gives him only a few scant details and a mysterious bottle of mineral water that carries the ability to remain cool when stored at room temperate and gets even colder when Eric arrives in French Lick. As the story unfolds, it becomes more supernatural in nature, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a horror story.

Sea Creatures
This was one of those gut-punch books. Georgia is married to a man who suffers from parasomnia, a sleep disorder that involves strange behavior while sleeping. Her son, Frankie, is 3.5 and doesn't speak. Not because he can't, but because he's selectively mute, possibly due to the stress of his father's condition--which has caused them to uproot from Illinois and move to Florida, where Georgia has taken a job for another lost soul, a hermit who lives on a stilt house while his wife ails in a nursing home. This was definitely a quick read because the book was full of conflicts and I wanted to see how they would be resolved by the end.