Happy New Year

Christmas and New Year’s was good with all three kids in the house. The house feels busy. Doris has placed herself by the fire, and she is not moving much if we stay around her. The rain is no fun when you are a dog with short legs. She only walks when we go somewhere interesting, like the woods or the lake. I can’t blame her. The neighborhood walks are boring. Monday was first day back at daycare and you could say that she was excited. Yabadabadooo, howling all the way in the car.

The dinner table has been full again. People are coming and going, and something is always cooking in the kitchen. It feels like we constantly whip up something grand and have a dough proving. New Years passed and a lot of beef tenderloin was cooked and eaten. I woke up the other day and checked my list for the day and I felt like I was running a catering business on the side of my day gig. We have a lot of different needs and dietary issues around here. Add on veggie and fish eaters to that and it feels like you are inventing the wheel every night. In how many ways can you cook a potato and if you have fresh herbs you can magically transform any kind of dish. And who knew you could put dill on popcorn. And do you all know that homemade pizza dough tastes so much better. And freshly baked bread… I love bread. The hummus and veggies, chips and salsa are always circling around the kitchen island. And someone is always hungry even if you just cleaned up. All businesses need good names, even pretend ones. What do you think of a catering business called Your Plate or Mine, Basic Kneads, or Loaf and Devotion? It’s a work in progress.

Are we doing new years resolutions? No, not really. Who needs more pressure in life? And letting yourself down is the worst. I’m all for living the best life all the time. Since failing is out of the question, setting up absurd goals will only make you feel bad. Lame stuff like clean the house more often, drink and eat less, cook better food, loose 15lbs; will never happen. There are other things you can do. I’m always for working out more or doing things you like. If you want to follow in Nora Ephron’s footsteps, watch West Wing from the beginning (3rd time), paint your way through life, jump out of a plane… go ahead and do so. Give the world new memories of you, good or bad. Show everyone that you lived. Make the ground shake a little. Do something that make you forget to eat and drink and wake up exhausted. Meet new people, wander empty trails and try something you haven’t tried before. Use your wings. But stay safe. I’ve spent the last two nights reading about mountain rescues and crying my eyes out. Winter around here can be surprising and rough. Bring layers. And tea.

I will try to run more in the dark, in the early mornings. It’s not a resolution, just a wish. It feels like you breathe more when it’s dark, the air feels lighter and colder. The wind beats your face in silence and the world feels clearer. Your mind is free and your thoughts are clear. It’s like getting a fresh start in life.

And just a thought… Around here we don’t have hares, we have rabbits. Why are all little rabbits out in the dark and in the middle of the night? Do they have a difficult time sleeping? Anxiety? Out partying? Just a question.

I wish you all a very happy new year.

 

One of the most played songs at home the last few months and 1980.

An open mind

Let me tell you something. I saw a psychic. Absolutely nothing I planned to do since I really don’t believe in psychics. I’ve been passing the palm reader in our neighborhood for 12 years and been joking about going there to calm my mind about the future. And now it happened. We went to a party and there she was. Sitting at a table with her cards and a little furry hat with a sneaky smile. I could not pass on that opportunity. She was very pleasant; she had a nice and believable voice. We never got to the cards or the tea in the cup or the crystal ball, apparently, I have an open door to my mind.

I sat down and she looked at me and asked about my birthday and first name. That’s it. And she started talking, the clairvoyant lady with a higher knowledge of my spiritual life. Do I believe everything she said? Absolutely not. But let me tell you – it was a bit creepy. She might have had a speedy connection to Facebook, Instagram and everything else semiprivate. Or maybe she had a friend sitting in a room close by giving her all the info. She was spot on.

 

I got it confirmed that I am a tangled mess of wool and silk string. And a tiny bit of glitter and fleece. A little bit of chaos. Champagne on a mountain top. Lobster and caviar by the campfire. Opera mixed with a little bit of country. One foot in a high heel and the other one in a trail shoe or a boot. And I still have a part of my heart in another country. But I guess I already knew that. But how did she know? I’m not sure anymore. But I don’t believe in that kind of stuff. I’m not going to tell you guys anything about the future, but now I know. 😉

Talk about one foot in a boot… I finally found my dream car. But that one requires I move to Cornwall, get a couple of new Barbour coats, at least one or two more dogs and a veterinarian practice. Ahh, so I need to go back to school again. I’m really considering it since I want the car. And I love rain boots. And cows. Maybe I need to find that clairvoyant lady again and ask her some well thought out questions about my future.

Happy Solstice

Today is the day, it’s turning around. It’s the shortest day of the year. The sun will come back. The light in our hearts will burst and the darkness will disappear.
It’s time to start sparkle in the sun, find the rhythm of your heart. The furnace and the fireplace are burning, but crack a window to get some air in your lungs.
Light up all the dark between all the stars in the sky. Your greatest day is in the future. The best laughs and hugs, the sweetest kisses are yet to come.
Don’t wake up and not have lived. See the sunsets on the darkest days.
Happy Solstice!

Ut ur dimman

Plötsligt händer det. Livet slår till och inget blir som förr. Efter besöket hos optikern för några veckor sedan är jag numera stolt ägare till ett par progressiva glasögon. Läsglasen som hängt på näsan, på huvudet, i fickan, i bilen och lite överallt var enligt optikern ett kraftigt ålderstecken. Det här med att kika under lugg och knöla ihop hakan är tydligen inte något som man ska sträva efter. Men om man tycker att läsglas är ett tecken på hög ålder vad är inte då progressiva glasögon? Men jag måste erkänna att jag ser på livet med andra ögon, det är klart och tydligt. I alla fall i vissa fall.

Helgen har varit av varierande kvalitet. Lite spring och knatande i skogen och lite fest. Det började med superpartaj inne i stan på SAM och slutar i soffan framför tvn. Vi snyggade till oss och såg faktiskt riktigt respektabla ut. Men tror ni att vi lyckades få till ett kort? Nej, bara en något fånig selfie.

Årets julfest, superpartajet krävde ett inköp av en ny trikåtrasa. Det finns ett par i garderoben men det är ju skönt att ha något att välja på. Blindheten slår till och det finns absolut inget att dra på kroppen för en natt på stan. Jag räknar till 1, 2, 3, 4 svarta jumpsuits i garderoben, men… Det blev ett inköp av en något tight jumpsuit i sammet och insåg jag att kroppen, framförallt mittendelen behövde klämmas åt lite för att bekvämligheten skulle infinna sig. Känner man sig inte bekväm så är man ju inte snygg. Och om jag klämde. Jag köpte mig mitt livs första Spanx. Blev det bättre? Lite slätare och plattare blev det ju men jag vet inte om det blev skönare direkt. Men snyggt var det.

Och så blev det söndag kväll. Julmusiken har dundrat högt hela kvällen, KitchenAiden och ugnen har jobbat. Som vanligt kom julpaniken hastigare än kvickt, inget är gjort, inga julklappar inköpta, lussekatterna är uppätna och skumtomtarna är slut på IKEA.

Sleep

The simplest thing. Something we all do and after so many years of practice I should master it. I don’t. It comes and goes. Different phases of my life, thoughts, work, races, it all weighs in. Right now, I’m in a wake-up early phase. We are not talking 6am, waking up right before the alarm sets off. We are talking 2.30 to 4 something. Prime sleep time. The time of the night when you can hear the coyotes howl and the bobcats sneak around in your back yard. When the house is quiet and the dog snores. Long before the newspaper arrives. I force myself to stay in bed to 4.30. I’m not allowed to check my phone before 4 but the Kindle is ok. I have high standards; everyone knows that the phone is bad karma and a no-no in the bedroom. Well, at least until insomnia hits. Then it’s a lifeline to the outer world. It is great to have a kid to communicate with in Europe. It’s prime time for her and I get to calm my mind. And when I finally allow myself to get up and walk down the coffee tastes so good, news on and the day goes by.

The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.
~ Leonard Cohen

Don’t worry about all the things you can do to make it better. No caffeine in the afternoon, alcohol, very cold and dark room, good bed and nice sheets, exercise… I’m on it. Only complaint is Doris. She is from time to time extremely annoying. Crawling around my feet. She has fur but thinks she is a nude cat. Skin to skin under the down duvet. Her mission is to keep my feet warm. She is the one that wakes me up. But to her defense, she is always asleep after 2am.

It’s kind of funny that this is going on. I’m a snoozer. I love sleep. From time to time I sleep more than enough. I have a hard time getting up in the morning. I take naps during the day. If I run a lot, I take every chance I can to nap. Doris is usually a candidate for heating cold feet during couch naps. And who can resist that? And now I can’t even nap.

I remember the worst time I went through a phase like this. 18 years ago, 3 kids under the age of 4, went back to school for a second master’s and gave myself a year to finish it. Renovated a house. Exhausted. Woke up every night with three kids around me or in a very small bed counting sheep, minutes, breaths. Kids with asthma. And its endless when you are in the middle of it. And then one day everything is back to normal and sleep is the last thing you must worry about. And you kind of forget about no sleep and tired days.

When you google sleep it’s easy to get a tad bit worried. If you don’t sleep, your brain and your body don’t rest and recoup. Scary stuff. But according to a very serious webpage there is hope. Or a stroke. Since my brain is not getting enough rest, I have a hard time understanding the information about the neurotransmitters and the risk of stroke if you don’t get enough sleep. I turn to WebMD instead, the Bible of real home medicine. And – drumroll – get supplements. It’s not going to happen. My brain and I are going to wait it out. Count sheep, think of life decisions, overthink race scenarios and look forward to the first cup of coffee every day.

“A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky –
I’ve thought of all by turns, and still I lie
Sleepless…”
~ William Wordsworth

 

When you meet a cat

Everything is great. Life is good. I have plans, I’m moving forward and it’s sunny and cold outside. I write notes, lists, blogposts that I never publish. I collect words in my phone, send myself texts and try to remember things that I like. The last note I have in my phone says – stay away from big cats! Good advice.

Today’s run was quite long, almost 2h long. Freezing the whole time, blue fingers in my gloves, bright red nose but so beautiful. I ran into a bobcat a few days ago. Nothing happened but he showed off his pearly whites and made a growling sound all the way from his tummy, scratched the paws on the ground. I look around and realize that we are alone on a street in Kirkland. Weird. He looks at me, I look at him and I freak out a little bit. I tried to talk with a steady voice and said “nothing to see here…move on…turn around…I’m not going to move if you’re not moving…” After what felt like eternity it turned and took off, back to the wetlands on the side of the street. This thing is kind of growing in my mind. Not really a big deal but I freaked out and I had to really talk myself into running the trails today. And about an hour in my run I thought I heard something follow me. Talk about stressing yourself out. Nothing there. My heartrate spiked, and I ran so fast. Well, my speed fast. Kind of pathetic. I would not stand a chance if I had a cat chasing me. Or not even a squirrel.

Running feels good again. I can’t say that it’s been bad for the past ten years or so but sometimes you just got the right feeling in your body. Not too much pain going on and not really getting too tired either. Maybe it’s the weather. Sun and blue skies. We have dry trails around here and snow in the mountains. Isn’t it wonderful to move around among huge trees and moss, leaves on the ground and fresh air? It’s a great warm up for life.

It’s time to clean up the notes in my phone and move on…to move around and be moved.

Brain or body

Let’s keep up the scary article reading. Stuff you should or need to do to be a human today. We’re talking exercise and age. Related and unrelated. Or just throw in the midlife crisis subject while at it. It’s always something. You don’t move enough or you move too much. You buy a crisis car or marry someone younger. Get some botox or lift your butt to a nicer angle. And if someone hears that you like to run long, bike, lift or hike, you usually get the follow up comment that you must hide from something. Or maybe something is missing in your life? Beats me. There’s been an endless number of articles in the Swedish press about people starting extreme exercising after 40, burning out because of the pressure of maintaining a good career, a beautiful Instagram life and a great body – and an impressive exercise routine. This sounds so strenuous and exhausting. It’s not only happening in Sweden though, it’s the same way here, I guess. My Insta life is very boring. A dog, lots of trees, mountains, some kids. Not very exciting. And no Insta worthy body here.

It’s easy to say that (extreme) fitness or exercise is about a crisis, the feeling of being young again. But I think it is the opposite. It’s planning, gearing yourself up for the years that are coming, getting better at growing older. I think that sounds so much better than that some of us 40+ (or closer to 50) are running marathons, 50k, 100k and more fun stuff just because we feel old. I can tell you one thing. Nothing makes you feel older than training for a very long multiday race. You have good days and bad days but the bad days… no fun. The soreness, fatigue, body pain, endless endurance training is hard work.

I think the underlying problem is that your limits get pushed and it takes more to make you feel satisfied or maybe even happy. Long runs give you a very rewarding feeling and tiredness that are hard to beat. If you are used to long hikes with no end, usually in horrible conditions it will be difficult to adjust to a walk around the block or the local park for fun. I’m not saying that I need a 5-hour run or a sucky and difficult hike to feel happy, but I need to get outdoors, to a place where you hear the silence, hear your heartbeat, your breath. Feel the rain, your sweat, get your heart pounding. And it’s an ynnest to be able, to have the time and strength to enjoy the outdoors. And I know ynnest is a Swedish word, but I can’t find the right English word. Something like luxury, honor, privilege, blessing.

The things we know about moving your body every day, any kind of exercise, is good. It releases the happy chemical, endorphins. It improves your brain, helps you focus and solve problems. Being a runner gives you even more brain goodies. And we all know that the whole body benefits from it too, not only the brain. The quality of life, overall well-being and mood increases. Your heart loves it. But the question is still if it will be too much if you overdo it. Will too much exercise burnout your brain just like it does with your body?

And some Insta photos