Friday, February 27, 2009

5K Training

Hey Google Ads... can't you read? I do not have a toenail fungus! My toenail fell off after being rubbed by my shoe for 20 miles a week for the last year. So why is there a laser toe fungus removal ad on my page? Not exactly what I assumed would happen when I signed up for ad-sense.

Speaking of running... I ran 2 miles in 19 minutes yesterday and was elated until Miena told me they run 2 in 17 in the army. I am just not a naturally fast runner. I can chug along just fine for long distances, but carrying a 10 mn pace past the first mile has eluded me as of yet. The last couple of weeks as I have been training for the Pasadena Marathon 5K I have been totally focused on speed. I have been running fartleks, intervals, pace runs, and still long runs on the weekend to keep up my mileage. I remember when running at 6mph on the treadmill was scary, and now I am running at 7.5 for short bursts of speed. When I step off the treadmill at the gym I feel strong and I know I will finish that 5K under 30 mn at the least!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

3 Year of Marriage

3 years goes by much quicker than a week. It seems only yesterday Paul and I stood in front of my Uncle Bob and said our vows at the Aladdin in Las Vegas. Now the Aladdin is Planet Hollywood and our marriage has shaped itself into an entire family. We have had our share of hard times, and we sometimes have the worst knock-down scream-it-out fights you could imagine... but every night as I pull the covers up and fall asleep without pretense I am grateful to be blessed with such a wonderful marriage. Some of my friends don't really understand how I deal with Paul, and the way he tells me what to do. For example, he wouldn't "let" me attend a soccer game with Adria, and was upset that I even suggested I would go. One of my closest friends has a birthday this weekend, and Paul was incensed at the mere idea of me joining her for a drink with a group of women. On the other hand Paul does whatever he likes, and explains without a hint of irony in his voice that he is not my child. He fails to even recognize the hypocrisy, but still I love him. Still I see that every morning he is up before dawn hard at work, and when he gets off rather than going out with the guys he comes straight home where he kisses me hard and always shows appreciation for my own daily accomplishments. He thanks me every night for his dinner, and when we trade backrubs he almost always rubs mine longer. If both of our shows are on, we watch mine. When I became vegetarian he agreed to eating meatless in our home, although I'm sure he drives thru Tommys Burgers on occassion! When I took up running he had no problem spending Sunday mornings alone with the kids while I ran, and he was the only one at the finish line of my first race cheering me on. He does anything within his power to attain whatever I desire, and proudly tells me if I really want it to just tell him, and "I'll make it work baby." Paul protects me, I firmly believe he would never let anything happen to me or the kids. I suffered from anxiety for a long time, sleeping next to Paul each night has been better than any medication. Paul never lets me get away with anything beneath my capabilities. He is what is necessary in a partner, he pushes and challenges me, forcing me to grow and be accountable. I strive to provide the same encouragement for him, expecting only the best because he is capable of it. For 3 years we have been married, and we have both accomplished more in those 3 years together then we ever really did apart. We've built a home, and a life, and I can't wait to see what else is to come.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Every person has the right to their own beliefs. Whether their government respects that right or not, there is an innate entitlement we are each born with to discover the world for ourselves. I was raised a lazy Christian by a reformed Catholic Father and a Mother who couldn't see past her physical pain into the eyes of God. I went through all the typical religious phases along with the rest of my generation. I was a born-again Christian for a long period of time, and suspect the social inclusion of a well developed "Teen Scene" overshadowed my spiritual needs at that age. I slowly left the church when I realized I felt closer to God during personal prayer then while in the church.

Around the age of 20 I finally built up the courage to face the threats I had been controlled by my entire life. I was able to say I do not believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead, nor do I believe he ever claimed to do so. I believe the church his Disciples created abused the power which Christ's name brought their organization, and built a book of lies to manipulate people while taxing them by tithes. The same church grew into a monstrous organization responsible for unspeakable horror over the years. As my mind unwillingly formed this opinion I begged God in prayer to take my doubt. I did not want to believe the answers my rational mind was creating. Through prayer my convictions only became stronger.

I have come to worship in the context of these personal beliefs... We all exist as matter interconnected on a grid of energy. The grid itself is God and was created by God. There is 1 Creator, a male/female bipolar entity from which all we see has come from, and which is in each of us as a soul. Our thoughts are manifest on the grid as energy which is why prayer is a natural means of spiritual communication. There is no Devil or Hell, these are man-made concepts created to frighten people into submission. All things in the world seen as evil are actually a part of nature, because there can be no happiness without suffering, or light without dark. We are God's children, and she wants us to enjoy all she has created for us. We are bound only by Karma, and it is natural for us to want to please God by acts of kindness and love. Being that almost every major religion has generated the same list of commandements without deferring to the other, we can assume there are basic laws of decency God expects from us. Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, and other spiritual prophets who shared beautiful messages with us as a way to worship God efficiently are each like light bulbs on the grid which we are naturally attracted to. You can follow any of these paths, or none, regardless you are a child of God, and you are loved.

I identify as Pagan, because it enables me to worship our Creator as both male and female, while respecting Nature, and utilizing it's gifts as tools in prayer. I keep an altar on which I can leave small symbolic gifts in respect to God. I follow the Wheel of the Year along with it's ancient holidays. These holidays worship both the male and female aspects of God. I refer to God as Goddess most of the time if only to differenciate that I am not referring to the Christian God. My religious symbol is the pentacle with the top apex which represents spirituality always pointing up respectfully. I follow this path because it speaks to me, and still respect all other paths as the choice of its followers.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What if?

The water ran hot over my hands as I absentmindedly scrubbed at a dish this afternoon. I happened to glance up and notice through the blinds that my screen door was propped open. I quickly dried my hands and went to investigate, calling to Mica at the same time. I glanced outside and Romeo came in from an obvious escape attempt, and as I turned back inside I realized Mica had not come to my call. I scanned the living room, quickly looked in her bedroom whre she had been playing Barbies only minutes before, and ran outside barefoot calling her name. No sight of her. I looked up and saw a man standing on the porch of my upstairs neighbor, "Have you seen a little girl?" I asked, the panic beginning to rise my voice an octave. He gestured, but with my lack of hearing I could only assume he was saying no, that he had only seen the dog. I ran back inside, torn, should I sweep the house for her and risk losing precious minutes of her roaming alone outside? I also did not want to leave her alone in the house if I had simply overlooked her in a corner. I ran in a circle, anxiety gripping my chest as I yelled her name. I ran back outside and saw another man across the parking lot, I ran to him asking if he had seen a 2 year old girl with lopsided pigtails. He shook his head no and kept talking on the phone, as though a missing two year old is not big news. I wanted to hyperventilate but forced myself to stay calm and push away the images of me crying to the media to please just give me back my baby. I didn't want to be on the news, I wanted Mica. I hopelessly run down the sidewalk, calling in every direction, Mica Mica Mica... tears threatened to spill down my face and I roughly wiped them away as I strained to see as far as my eyes would allow me. Then through the row of cars across the way, I saw a little pink shirt! I ran as fast as my legs have ever run, darting into the lane, careless and terrified as I landed on the sidewalk. Relief flooded over me as I saw her standing obliviously at the gate to JT's school, a gaggle of school girls talking to her. All of them immediately faded into the background as I scooped Mica into my arms and continued to call her name Mica Mica Mica. I squeezed her much too tight and fought back a tear as she cuddled into my neck. Mommy. As quickly as the my fear subsided the anger rose in my chest. As we got back into our house I let out a torrent of furious scoldings, forcing her to repeat back to me "Mica no go outside without Mommy!" A flood of tears escaped her as she realized the extent of her mistake. After her punishment we lay together in her tiny toddler size Princess bed in her darkened room. Tears stained her cheeks as I pressed my face to hers and softly kissed her eyelids. I took a deep breath, allowing it to slowly release all of the tension and what ifs... I cannot even allow myself to think what if...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Toe That Binds Us

Last night as I sat talking with Miena we both looked down and noticed my toenail was sitting on the ottoman. It had just fallen off without even a whisper of a warning. Upon closer inspection we discovered the entire nail was turning white and unattaching from my big toe. We squealed in disgust, oh my God my toe nail is falling off! I have toe cancer, I am dying! Of course I headed straight to Google and searched "toe nail fall off runner" and up popped a million forums devoted to runners congratulating each other on losing their first toe nail! I guess it is considered an initiation of sorts, separating the occassional runners from the true devotees. No matter your speed or number of medals, if you run consistently you start losing nails. Forgive me for being less than grateful but I have always loved my feet and tend to be a bit vain. If this is shocking to you then you really don't know me at all. I cannot believe I have an "ugly toe" now attached to my body and following me with each step I take. What is a bit ironic is I was going to have my foot tattooed today, which would require me to wear sandals for a week as it heals. There is no way in hell my funky toe nail is making a public appearance until it stops looking like it has leprosy. I could pull a Michael Jackson and cover it with a Hello Kitty bandaid, but it would probably just slip off as I walked, leaving my shameful appendage exposed for all to taunt. Definitely not an option.

The unavoidable truth is that I am probably going to lose more toe nails, and will be lucky if this one grows back. Most people would quit an activity that corroded the nails from their skin, but I do not know a single runner who would quit over such an inconsequential nuisance. It is the persistent need to run past all barriers that inspire the congratulatory pats on the back at a toe nail lost. When we rise alone at 5am to run down dawn filled streets, it is our lack of toe nails that binds us together in a common cause. So I will run on, a freak with no toe nails hobbling along, and know I am not alone no matter how empty the streets may be.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

18,000 Nights

Last night I lay in bed, my feet mingled with Paul's and the covers tightly over us both. I stared at the outline of his bald head I could barely make out in the darkness of our cocoon, and gently traced my finger along his ear, careful not to wake him. I thought to myself that one day we will be separated, if not by life, then by death. Truly nothing is forever. I did what I always do when I think of this, I tried to count the nights we could have left. If I am lucky enough to make it to age 50, I would have another 24 years with Paul which sounds acceptable. Until I realize there are only 365 days in a year, which is not a big number. In just the last year absolutely nothing has really happened. Sure, my parents moved and Paul got a new job, but in the grand scheme of things this year was another tiny fraction of our kaleidoscope. So I think, well that would be about 18,000 nights left together, which again seems like a lot. Then I remember when I had this amazing 2 hour massage, I thought it would be so long and luxurious. While I was being rubbed down it seemed to go slowly, my mind even trailed off and lost focus on the intent for chunks of time. When the girl suddenly finished and I found myself outside in the crisp winter air, I could only think how quickly it had went, and how I should have absorbed each moment of that massage. After 18,000 nights will I suddenly find myself out in the cold? I cannot imagine a happiness without Paul, which probably sounds psychotic, unless you have found your soul mate too. Then maybe you lie awake at night, holding them a little too tightly, lashing out at any idea that may threaten the time Goddess grants you. The simple idea that he would be removed from my presence makes my heart lurch, a cold feeling creeps through my blood and gives me chills as I pull the blankets ever closer, almost like when you enter a haunted house and are waiting for the inevitable fears to be realized.

When I awoke this morning Paul was at work, and had left without a kiss good-bye. I feel loved that he is so secure he doesn't even consider that I wouldn't still be here every morning after, caring for his children while he works. I feel special that I am taken for granted, that I am so ingrained in his life I seem almost like a fixture attached to the walls of his soul. I am happy to go about my day, tending our home and babies. When he walks in the door I will no doubt rush to him and cover him in kisses, as I do almost every single night. I wont think about how many more nights we may have, I will only embrace this one and be grateful for what it holds.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I started the 200 sit up program this week! I did my initial test and found that I can do 100 consecutive crunches, so now I follow the program and work up to 200. My abs were actually a little sore the next day, which I love! So today will be the first day of the actual routine, and I highly suggest anyone who wants to trim a little waist try this program.

I have decided that when I run, I am really jogging since I am so slow. I do not want to be a jogger, I want to run! Since I do not have any scheduled races until July (San Francisco baby yeah!) I am going to drop my mileage and build it back up at a 10mn pace. This weekend I plan on running 4 hard miles, keeping the pace at my goal. I am actually excited, I haven't run in much too long, life has just been in my way. 4 hard miles sounds much more exciting than 15 slow miles, although I love my long ambling jogs around here. I will work back up to 15 miles but at a pace I can be proud of.

Update on Mica: Her fever broke soon after my last post and so we held off on the ER. Her fever spiked again last night but my neighbors are doctors and they both examined her and said the impetigo and fever are unrelated. She just needs lots of hugs and pedialyte and should be fine within a week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


About a week ago a friend's child was sick for the millionth time, and I casually mentioned that my children pretty much never get sick. I mean aside from JT's NF2, they have not had a cold or flu in over a year. I was just asking for Karma to come kick me in the ass, now Mica is sick! Poor thing is running a high fever and has an impetigo, which the doctor says is unrelated, but which to me suggests a staph infection. Her doctor felt her lymph nodes, then sent her home with tylenol and an ointment. Today she still has a fever, even while on the Tylenol. I called the doctor's office back to ask for them to send her for lab work to be sure this is not staph, they told me to go to the ER! They said the doctor is out of the office today and it would take a long time to order blood work. Do they not know that ER stands for emergency? This is not an emergency, and it does not need "urgent care" either, what it needs is for her doctor to think of these things on his own and handle her appointment times more responsibly. Now I have a sick Mica Stinka who is missing all her Valentine's Day parties, and will have to sit in an ER for God knows how long! I was hoping this post would be all about Valentine Adorableness and Mica in a new pink dress, but I am off to the ER. I should have knocked on wood...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Smart Ass

I cannot believe my own son! I was called in yesterday for a parent-teacher conference. Apparently JT thinks he is funny. The teacher showed me his chair, where she had place blue tape as a visual border to keep JT in his chair and from messing with other students! No other child in the class has this type of boundary! She utilizes a punishment system similar to the terrorism warning signs CNN uses. A rainbow of colors ranging from a well behaved blue to a hot red for the naughtiest of offenses. Each child gets a clothespin with their name written on it clipped to blue each morning, and with each offense they must move the clothespin down. JT was asked to move one level to yellow, instead he moved it all the way to red and defiantly looked at his teacher, as if daring her to send him to the principal's office! Unfortunately she could not call his bluff as Mr. Taylor was away for the day, so instead she had a 2nd grade teacher known for being strict come talk to JT. I was told JT is the best reader in the class, and is now in GATE and doing advanced work. Each week he brings home the same homework packet as everyone else, plus an advanced packet to finish in addition to the regular homework. He is smart, but I am not tolerating him acting like a smart ass. He is grounded and got his butt whooped, so we will see how smart he thinks he is now. What is with my children!?

Friday, February 6, 2009

$500,000 for NF Research?

A CTF marathoner has reached the top 10 in the Lenox Extra-Mile Hero contest! The winner gets $1 million to split with the charity of their choice, his choice being CTF! The Children's Tumor Foundation is the charity I have been running for to raise funds for NF research. Neurofibromatosis is more common than Huntington's Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, and Muscular Dystrophy combined! It is a great organization, so please visit the link below and vote for Pete Dingeman, then pass the word on! Let's show everyone how strong our numbers are! Only one vote per email please!


Fabulous Lazy Mommy?

Is it just me or has there been no running update for a while? I mean am I not the Fabulous RUNNING Mommy? Well I have been not-so-fabulous this week. I have been just relaxing, doing the bare minimum on my chores and feeding the kids poptarts for breakfast! Granted they get a piece of fruit and protein shake with that, but in this house poptarts are usually unheard of! I even had a little eel last night on my sushi! Yes I am still vegetarian, but come on... eel? That is not a freaking animal! I step on spiders so eating eel is not a huge leap. So I have been just getting by this week, and I am ok with that!

However... next week will be all about punishment! I'm starting the 200 situps program which will help me to be able to do 200 consecutive sit ups in 6 weeks! I will be in a 2 piece this summer, if I have to beat my belly off with a stick! I'm going to jump right back in with my running, with 1 interval and 1 mile repeat session a week, with a long run of course on Sundays. I am currently averaging an 11 minute a mile pace on my long runs, and before I distance train for the full 26.2 mile marathon I want to get closer to 10 minutes a mile! I will get there, I just have to buckle down, because as I have learned "Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever!"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Only Child

I have always been an only child. I remember as a little girl begging my parents to play Barbies with me, there was no one else to play with. Rainy days were torture, and I was a book worm by the 3rd grade. To this day I need my space, I like to zone out to my own tasks for hours at a time, I get irritated when people speak to me while I am preoccupied, I like to sit and read entire books. Except that I am not an only child. Before my Dad met my Mom he impregnated a young girl, he was only 20 at the time, but she was under 18. There were a lot of problems with her conservative parents, and the baby girl was given up for adoption. I had no idea until I was around age 10, one night at dinner my Dad just told me for no apparent reason that I did in fact have a half-sister somewhere out there. I remember being shocked and feeling incredibly ripped off. You mean to tell me I have been in isolation this entire time because you gave away my sister? I was too little to understand all of the complications surrounding the issue. In years to come as the internet grew my Dad would spend late nights searching adoption boards for my sister. We found out her name was Melissa and she had been adopted near San Diego, she was so close to us still, but so far away. I grew accustomed to waking up late in the night to hear the keys clacking on the keyboard in the computer room, my Dad hunched over the screen, circles under his eyes as he sipped at cold coffee.
When I was 20, and pregnant with JT, my Dad received an email from Melissa. She had been at a friend's house who suggested they check to see if anyone was looking for her, my Dad had searched and posted for so long, Melissa immediately found him. She called us, and my Dad and I, giddy with excitement, drove out to meet her that night. As we drove we were both quiet, all I could wonder in my pre-child self-absorbed mind was would she look like me? We pulled up to a dark home deep in Riverside, and when we knocked I cannot even imagine what my Dad was feeling. She opened the door cautiously, funny I cannot even remember our first words, or if we even hugged. I remember she was so sweet, and a bit quiet, but smart and funny just like all the Amador's. We stayed and talked for a couple hours, met her daughter, and learned that she was Catholic and a total hippie! Vegetarian-barefoot-lived in the Haight-named her child Summerthyme Breeze-hippie! I do remember hugging her tight as we left. I loved her immediately, and had to hold myself back and remind myself she already had a family. She even had an adopted brother, I was almost jealous, why did he get to grow up with my sister while I spent so much time alone? My Dad and I drove home animated, talking about everything, laughing that she looked nothing like us. She is light, with light brown hair all the way to her waist, her eyes remind me of my Daz's but other than that I guess she looks like her biological Mom. Her and I had a lot in common, and had become single moms at the same age. I just couldn't believe I really had a sister!

In the months to come she and Summerthyme visited once in a while, we even took a trip to the beach just her and I with our babies! I was so unbelievably happy, telling everyone I'm going to the beach with my sister, proudly, as though I had the only sister in the world. We talked for hours, about adoption, about our Moms, about "our" Dad who I never knew how to refer to in front of her. After all, it always hung over us like a shadow, she already had a Dad. Once she started asking about how old I am we realized we were only 1 year apart... barely. I honestly think that hurt her, I didn't know what to say. I just told her I was mad too, that I wished we had grown up together, and that both of us were ripped off. It was supposed to be us against them, but maybe that was just me being self-absorbed again. I even let her call me Oli, and called her Meli in return. I don't even know if she realizes she is the only person I would ever let call me Oli. While at first I thought we looked nothing alike, we realized quickly our bodies were exactly the same... when we pressed our hands together the length met up perfectly, palm to fingertips...

It became obvious that Melissa was afraid to tell her real Mom she had found her biological parents. By this time she had even met her biological mom, and spent a few holidays with us. She was hiding the truth from her, and none of us had the right to tell her how to handle it. Tish kept telling everyone, if she waits too long it becomes a lie and it will be so much worse. I don't think Meli would ever lie to her Mom, I think she just honestly didn't know how to tell her. Her adopted brother had found his biological parents, and not even kept in touch, and it devastated her Mom. Then the unthinkable happened, Meli's Dad died of a heart attack last year. What could we say? My Dad felt horrible, and didn't want to impose himself on her and disrespect the man who had raised her, who had stepped up and been her father. Summerthyme was getting older, we all began to worry, what would happen if she mentioned us to her Grandma? No one wanted to tell her to lie. Slowly Melissa began to pull away from us. We used to text message each other and just check in, I realized she had stopped answering my texts. It has been about 6 years since we first met, so I am used to us just talking every few months. She came to a birthday party for Daz in February of 2008, but this month she didn't RSVP for Nani's 80th birthday. We had sent an invitation, all of us had called, emailed, text messaged. Nothing. Finally I text messaged her saying that we are all worried about her, and to please just let us know she is ok. No answer.

At this point I can only assume she has decided not to see us anymore. She can't be part of 2 families, or lie, or hide things from her Mom. It's been too long, and she never told her, how could she tell her now 6 years later? I don't understand why she couldn't text me back and tell me her decision herself. How could she just cut me off after all of this without a good-bye? I can only guess that this was hard for her, and it would be wrong to presume to understand her feelings. The truth is I don't want to understand, I don't want to share her. I want her to be ours and its not fair at all that just as I had grown to love her enough to take her for granted, she leaves. I keep wondering if I did something wrong. We have such different views on life and religion, and had really gotten into it a couple of times, but thats just the way my family is. It's how we express ourselves and relate. I just feel I deserved a response, I thought that she would think our relationship was worthy of a good-bye. I just miss her...

I guess I really am an only child...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I've been in New Mexico with Paul's family the last week! I did not announce our vacation because I am paranoid about what I say on a public forum, I have been robbed before and couldn't stand to have it happen in my safe little cocoon. We had a great time with Paul's family, his brother Steven married his wife of 5 years Christa in the Catholic Church. Of course Mica found this the perfect time to attack me until I dragged her outside and she called me stupid... repeatedly. I spanked her... repeatedly. She was crying and kicking, screaming for Paul. She was hysterical, and for the rest of the day disregarded my presence. I am so terrified of what will happen as she gets older. Will she hate me? I can't imagine my precious baby girl looking at me with contempt.
As I have shared before my Mom and I did not get along for a very long time. The other day I stood in the shower at Paul's brother's house with the steaming hot water streaming over my shoulders. I absorbed it as I worked the shampoo into my hair, working deep at my roots as I flashed back in a montage to different fights between my mom and I. Her screaming, demanding, me crying, her leaving, everyone blaming me, the irrationality, the constant volatility, begging her not to get the shot for a day... I realized I was furiously scrubbing my head and sharply yanked my hands down to see them covered in broken strands of soapy hair...
Once I came home from school and she was gone. The truck was still parked in the garage, she was barely able to walk so where had she gone? I searched the house in a panic, calling Mom... Mom... Mommy... knowing she couldn't hear me. I looked for a note, some sort of trail. Finally I turned on her relay machine and used the arrows to scroll back and read her last received communication. It was from an ambulance company. I called the ambulance company and hunted her down at a local hospital. I flew down in the truck, certain she was dying, that this was finally it after what I considered then to be a long battle. I got there and it was only the beginning. She had her daily migraine and had called for help since I was not there to take her for a shot. When I asked why she had not let anyone know or left a note, she told me to just get out and leave her alone. I sat in that dirty hallway outside of her room for an hour, until she noticed I was there and again told me to just leave. I have no idea where my Dad was. I was 16. So I left, and went where I wanted, away... I escaped...
but I always came back.

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