play it again: that’s what friends are for

originally published May 8, 2012 and because right now, my girl, Tracey is rocking her final marathon. If you’re reading this go tweet encouragement and congratulations right now to her because I said so and because she is seriously kick-asstastic and family.

You gotta love social media. Yes, I know some days you can’t help but hate it…the drama, the “vague-booking”, the time suck. But some days you just have to love social media. The last couple of days I have loved it.

My friend, Tracey, was running her very first marathon back home in Pittsburgh. She trained well for it and, thanks to Facebook, I was able to follow her in her training all along the way. I was so excited for her…her very first marathon!!! I was also a little nervous for her too…a worrisome foot injury late in her training schedule and the typical race-eve freak out…I couldn’t help but be worried a little…it’s what I do. More than anything, I wanted to be there…to cheer for her at the start, along the route and at the finish…because I know how much fun it can be…but more importantly, because Tracey is my friend and I wanted to be there just as I have felt like I have been throughout her training that she has shared. I set my alarm to remind me while at work early, early Sunday morning, west coast time, to send out a shout out wishing her luck and I began to follow her posted split times as well as #PittsburghMarathon live tweet updates.

Okay, fine. It wasn’t like I was there but then again it was…kind of sort of.

It was then on my Instagram feed I saw my friend Kim had posted an amazing shot of one of the elite runners running past her. It was a great capture indeed…air under the guy’s feet as if he was running through the air rather than on the pavement…you know, like us

mere mortals who try to run. I KNOW that it had to be exciting as I once got to see running greatness run past me…in the opposite direction…while running in the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Excited I messaged Kim and told her how Tracey was running in the same event and just might be running by her soon…okay, later…still Tracey was headed her way! Kim messaged me back asking, “How can I spot her? I’m at mile 16. Would love to cheer her on.” Kim and I send back and forth messages with me trying to describe Tracey and then I send her a screen shot of Tracey with her running bib. An hour later I receive another message, “We just saw Tracey! I think we gave her a nice boost at mile 16!“, followed by, “Wish I could have lined up a few more folks to cheer for her.

Oh yeah, Kim is good people. She even came to my aid during BlogHer 11 with a dose of Tylenol…yes, it was part of her calling card but it helped me out and how can one ever forget that…oh, and I enjoyed sitting with her and sharing during a session or two. Even better, thanks to social media, I get to enjoy Kim’s company a lot and get to remind myself of the wonderful things that I miss about back home in Pittsburgh and that which makes Pittsburgh Someplace Special. Some pretty good people live there…like Tracey…like Kim.

It was after the race that I saw a posting on her Facebook wall from Tracey:

I’m home, icing every part of my body, reflecting on the day. A marathon isn’t fun or easy but parts of it did rock…My teammates, friends, fellow athletes! Laura Scarborough Setting up a surprise cheering section from 3000 miles away! The band at mile 9.29 playing Take the Skin Heads Bowling! Getting hosed down by a hot fireman in E Liberty! Knowing my Dad was with me every step of the way! My coaches Phil Thompson & Drew McCabe crossing the finish line with me! Best running partner Kathie O’Donnell finishing the last mile together!

Reading that made me cry…cry happy tears because although we can’t be face to face every day and we can’t just hop in a car and drive on over to be there for one another, I have some pretty amazing friends out there and thanks to the interwebs and a whole lot of social media I know that we can and are there for each other to support and encourage each other…to cry together…to pray together…to laugh together…tell me how and where to bury a body, you know, if I had to…to just be there for each other. It’s a small circle still it is a circle that has expanded my world in a way that I could never imagine…even when I am feeling alone here in Manteca. I have some pretty awesome friends…friends like Tracey, like Ann, like Kim, like Kari, like Kale, like Jenn, like Bill…I am so lucky…even if you all aren’t physically just around the corner.

Love you Tracey! Love you Kim! I hope that someday I can hook you two up…perhaps while taking in a game at PNC Park.

And one more time, congratulations Tracey!!! I am thrilled and honored to have cheered you on this weekend. You. Are. Awesome.

final marathon

When accomplishing something pretty amazing, most everyone can name at least one person who inspired them. When it comes to running and who inspires me two people immediately come to mind. There’s Kari, whom I hold personally responsible for the fact that I do run no matter how slow I go; and there is Tracey, a high school classmate and dear friend who remains my touchstone and connection to my “back home“…and because she pretty much adopted me into the Baker clan, my sister. Tracey can and will run in almost any crazy condition and considering the winter that was this past winter, I know she did while training for this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon. It’s kind of hard to whine about your running conditions in the Central Valley California when your friend is talking about ice and snow and freezing rain and freaking wind chill factors when sharing her running updates on Facebook.

Then there is the fact that she looks so damn good while running and looking like she is having a great time.

Apologies, Tracey, for snagging this picture from your Facebook wall. I couldn’t help myself because, yes, you look so damn good and like you are having fun. I would be the runner soaked in sweat with sweat drying so I look like a salt lick…a salt lick with a beet red face which would likely scare you and any spectators. I blame the ginger gene for the red face.

But look at her!

I’m inspired to run right now; except for the fact that it is nearing midnight and the Big Top is slumbering.

I received a text from Tracey early Friday morning that made me smile and cry sad and happy tears. This Sunday in Pittsburgh will be Tracey’s last marathon.

No, not her last run.

Thank goodness!

But, for so many reasons, it will be her last 26.2 mile race. And I was sad. Then she told me how she has read and re-read this particular blog post…and then the tears were happy tears filled with so much love.  I’ll be at work, again, but I am looking forward to following my dear friend and running crush via text alerts as she rocks this marathon in the ‘burgh. If I had the power and influence, I would make sure that all the hot firemen were all along the route cheering her on. I don’t have that influence and power…alas.

But I will be cheering my dear friend on 3,000 miles away in spirit, in my heart and via text messages because that’s what friends are for.

You’ve got this girlfriend!

like cellophane

Quote

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

It’s one of the age old philosophical questions…isn’t it?

Well?…

Does it?…

Does it make a sound?

Then what about the wife, the mother? If she makes a statement to her family as they are gathered around and they all seem to nod in assent does that mean that she has ever made a sound at all?

Really?!

It’s like no one ever knows you’re there.

Wives and mothers totally get what it feels like to be Mr. Cellophane.

Do they even see you if they don’t hear you?

I mean really?

Am I right?

Of course I am!

Today feeling like cellophane.,

Thank goodness for friends who work along side you, friends, who like you, rarely ever take the time to make it just about them alone, to remind you and them that it sometimes needs to be just that. It needs to be all about you…and them.

And good food and wine…

And karaoke…good, bad, really bad and great karaoke for the win, bitches!

Exactly what is needed to remind you that you are impressive, distinguished, remarkable, valuable you.

All of us.

 

 

ownership

Working this week on me being the sole proprietor of my thoughts, my memories, my words, my opinions with my therapist has been hard. A lifetime of being told these are not mine, not real, not true, not worthy of being shared takes it toll. It’s one of the reason why I stopped writing decades ago, much to the disappointment of a high school writing teacher who just recently reconnected via Facebook upon discovering that after high school I stopped writing altogether. I did stop, until I started blogging more than ten years ago. First in secret. Then with a faceless audience who seemed to like the words and thoughts I put out there. Then it grew and grew as did the audience some who know me very well and some who like to imagine that they know me even better than I know me and now, well sometimes it’s hard again. Most times I ignore it all as I remind myself that I am a grown-assed, accomplished woman with real thoughts and opinions and memories that have every right to be put out there with the words that I want to use. But sometimes that damn codependent-y, Golden Retriever in me comes out and, well, it’s hard.

Which is why this week we worked more on the truth that I am the owner of me. And as I reinforced this within myself I received this:

I’ve promised the one who shared this that Brad Pitt will be cast to portray him in the movie version.

this week’s photo dump

Feeling lazy…fighting hard against Bill’s nasty cold that he picked up after our trip to Texas that everyone else is succumbing to…thinking that I have way too much to say and not really wanting to say much of anything at all…I’m just going to dump another slide show on y’all.

Yes, I’m running more again and I am thinking seriously about running the Modesto Half…the one I couldn’t run three years ago. No, I still don’t have a place to hang all those race medals from all of those other half marathons that I ran three or four years ago. But I do have these new, sweet compression tights which proved to be AMAZING on their inaugural 5 miler.

Yes, I am THAT mom who sent her son to school with mismatched socks. In my defense, it was Spirit Week and yes, one day was Mismatched Socks Day.

But the next day was NOT Dirty Face and Un-brushed Teeth Day. Twelve is such a wonderful, kind of scummy age. Yes, I am THAT mom who didn’t notice this until he leaned over to kiss me goodbye at the drop-off. I don’t imagine that he will forgive me for the spit bath I gave him anytime soon. That’s okay.

Halloween came the next day and that trauma was soon forgotten. This happens to be the first year where an older sister wasn’t using him as her trick or treat beard…er, I mean volunteering to take him trick or treating which meant even more candy for him and his new neighbor and friend here. Do you know how awesome it is to have a friend your age living on your street and who likes doing the same things you do? Daniel says it is definitely awesome.

And while Daniel was haunting the neighborhood, some sisters were busy making adventures of their own.

Nieces too.

Fallon’s very first flight, from San Francisco to Atlanta.

Where she and Hazel rocked it as the flower girls.

Hard!

Meanwhile, you know that Halloween drinking game everyone was playing this year?

Major fail here under The Big Top.

Two Elsas and one Anna.

A good thing since I voted while passing out candy.

Then there was the end to Daylight Saving for this year. For some of us it was hard…really hard!

As for me, driving home from SFO late tonight, after picking up my daughter, her husband and their wonderful, little flower girls, I am thankful for that extra hour. Yes, as a matter of fact, there is wine in that cup.