Fifteen Minute Funkbuster: No Running Or Farting

It’s February, and I don’t know about y’all but I’m in a rut. I’m stuck. In a funk. And I know I’m not alone, because as stated above, it’s February; days are cold, tempers are short and buttocks are very, very wide. Ok that last one just might be me, but mine is wide enough for all of us, let me tell you. Anyways, in this terrible, cold, unforgiving month, right in the dead center of winter (the cold season starts in October and extends until May where I live- your sympathy may be sent to sarahwritescreativethingshere@gmail.com), as I was moaning, in this frigid month that makes people do strange things like contract “you” and “all” despite not being from the South, at times, one can get into a routine. And not a good kind of routine, more like a “Why are the Kardashians contributing more to the world than me?” routine.

hottest-members-of-the-kardashian-family-u1

Based on my observations, these ladies alternate between sitting on the couch and taking inappropriate pictures of themselves. Proof and point; they couldn’t even be bothered to get up from their chesterfield for this photoshoot. (Photo Credit : ranker.com)

Well, I’ve got a funk buster for you. Back when I used to run, (I know it was awful, the only reason I did so was because my mother would chase me the entire time with a giant spider. You may send your sympathies to sarahwritecreativethingshere@gmail.com) as I was saying, back when I used to run, and I wouldn’t feel like running, which was always, my mother would say “Just put on your shoes and run for fifteen minutes, after that time, if you still don’t feel like running, turn around and come home” then she’d shake the feared arachnid in my direction. This was a super sneaky tactic because if one adds this up, unless you’re in the habit of running fifteen second loops around your house, in all likelihood, you’ve been tricked into a thirty minute long run. A strategy almost as devious as my mother’s ability to animate that rubber spider into something that looked like an escaped nightmare.

So look at your To-Do list, or your Project List, or your List Of Things Too Awful To Make A List Of and grab the lowest hanging fruit. To determine which item is the low hanging fruit, subject it to the following test; upon reading or thinking of the item, is your next thought “Well, it IS slightly better than stabbing myself in the thigh with a fork repeatedly”, then do that, for fifteen minutes, that’s it. No tricks, no rubber spiders, just fifteen minutes. Pick one thing that you don’t hate, unless it’s running, because we can agree that no one actually likes running. Or farting, unless you live alone and have excellent ventilation.

It sounds overly simplistic, and that’s because it is, I actually learned an entire language using this method. My agreement with myself was that I would read a French comic book for fifteen minutes each night, no matter how tired I was, no matter if I didn’t understand much, no matter if I had read the exact two pages the same three nights past, no matter what, I read. And now I speak French.

So I’m using this same strategy because I have a baby. So my list is endless, and full of things like the art piece that I’ve been in the process of finishing FOR EIGHT YEARS. My painted covered albatross is hanging in our soon to be nanny’s room. So at present, the nanny will arrive and ask “What’s that?”. In it’s current state, my artwork looks like modern art that someone threw under a bus, then deciding that wasn’t bad enough, threw bits of sand and muck on for good measure. And I could lie, responding with “It’s our Paul Klee, one of his early years, isn’t it precious?” or I could tell the truth “That’s my art piece. I shall finish it when my mother finally gets around to cleaning the basement.”*

For the record, the art piece isn’t even at the top of my list, the reusable diapers with elastic so saggy that they could pass for an elderly gentleman’s underpants are the only items meeting the “Better Than a Stab Wound in my Femoral Artery” criteria. However, fifteen minutes adds up quick, especially on a daily basis, so I may very well get to my art. And if not, everyone is invited to come by my house and enjoy our young Paul Klee.

*Please nobody tell our nanny that my mother moved out of the house and it was sold before she ever got around to cleaning the basement.

I might have exaggerated slightly about the whole being chased by a rubber spider bit, but my mother DID sing and dance around my exhausted, still running body (my brain had floated away in self preservation) as a way of taunting me into finishing a run once. It’s also possible she viewed said action as “encouragement”. I love you Mom, I’m sorry I told your untidy basement secret to the interwebs.

Lighting Fires In Public Places

Another perk of living in the student ghetto along with the cast of Shakespearean inspired characters that grace my presence during the wee hours is the area around the house.

Needle and Junky Park boasts riverside picnicking, summer music festivals and countless people some with permanent residences and some without. It also has a needle drop box. The needles don’t always make it in.

This lush spot is one of my favourite places to run. It’s also the meth heads’ favourite place to run after me. As of yet I haven’t been caught.

So there I am running through the park, almost to the playground which marks the end of Needle and Junky Park and the beginning of Soccer Mompreneur Park when I spied a man carrying a GIANT branch. He also had with him a soiled grocery bag packed to the brim. Rather than being weary of the man, I concluded that he was an artist, hellbent on creating the perfect scene with just the right branch. However he was quite heavy and as a rule most starving artists are just that- starving and very skinny. With all of these factors indicating something else, I clung to my hopeful idea; he was an artist there to create incredible and heartfelt images with nature.

And then he gave me crazy eyes as I passed him. So I picked up my pace a little bit and decided he was a crazy artist. I continued on my run for a while then turned around. I didn’t think of the man again until I saw the thick cloud of smoke next to the river on my way back. Next I saw the fire, and watched Crazy Eyes pick up more branches to add to it.

Now in school they educate people on things like “Don’t eat poison.” “Don’t talk to strangers.” “Don’t play in traffic.”

They never covered what to do if you see a man start and tend a fire in the middle of a public place. What made the whole situation worse was that no one else batted an eye.

I came up with two conclusions;

  1. Building fires in public parks is a normal and acceptable practice, my life has been incomplete up to this moment and I am probably a little unpatriotic for never having done this myself.

    Fire in Dumpster

    Fires; not just an ingredient for a romantic evening under the mantle.  (Photo credit: benwatts)

  2.  He made crazy eyes at the people around me and they were equally terrified and refused to pull out their cell phones to call the police in front of him.

Walking until there was a fair amount of space between me and the crazy eyed arsonist, I phoned 911. Then immediately felt guilty because I had been taught never to call 911 unless it was an emergency and I still wasn’t sure this was an emergency.

“Hello, Emergency 911. Do you need police, fire or ambulance?” asked the operator.

I hadn’t thought I would need to make a decision, that if it was an actual emergency the operator would be comforting me because I would be going into shock.

“Uhhhhhh police?” I said, thinking that the only thing needed was a stern man in uniform to walk down to the park and say “Hey! Stop that!” At which point Crazy Eyes would cease tending the fire and dig through his soiled grocery bag for a bucket to gather river water in. Or possibly a fire extinguisher, for all I knew Crazy Eyes could have been an organized man who plans ahead.

“A man has built a fire in Needle and Junky Park.” I said into my phone as inconspicuously as I could.

“I’m transferring you to the fire department” said the 911 operator humorlessly.

What made the whole situation worse was that the fire department operator didn’t seem at all fazed by my story. “Is the fire out of control?” She asked.

“No” I said now thoroughly convinced that this was not in fact an emergency and may very well not even be illegal.

“Thanks ma’am we will try and send someone to check it out.”

The “try” in the last sentence before she hung up now has me questioning whether making campfires in public is something that people do.

I guess the only way to find out is to go get my own giant branch and light it aflame in the middle of the park.

 

 

 

This post is a part of the Student Ghetto Chronicles series. To read more about living in a place where items like pants are unnecessary click below.

Bongs, Dirty Laundry and Elmo

Midnight Thespians; profanity, moaning and sprinklers

This is also the last post in the 2013 Top Five Great Unwashed Countdown. Tomorrow starts the Unwashed-a-palooza in which I release five new posts in five days. You’re all invited to the party.

NaBloWriMo Is Making My Thighs Cramp Up

I’m not running but I’m in a marathon. I know this because once upon a time I actually ran those distances; Halfs, 30 kilometers, Fulls. I ran them all so I know how the experience feels.

The only thing one needs to know about running a full marathon is that it’s long. Picture the longest thing in the world. Marathons are longer than that. Conjure up your most unpleasant memory. Marathons are just like that, but longer.

There are a couple of reasons why people run 26.2 miles. One is to lose weight. This is not a good reason to run; I never lost an ounce from marathons. The other is more subtle but deeply satisfying, it’s the ability to walk in to work the Monday after, the race bling that a volunteer carefully placed around your neck at the end of 42.2 kilometers glinting proudly on your chest and casually say to a coworker “What did you get up to this weekend?”

And then the ability to reply when the same question is posed back to you, “Oh me? I just ran a marathon, your weekend sounded fun though, watching three seasons of Friends in one day, that sounds like something you’ll be proud of years from now.”

But that’s just me. And sometimes I’m a smug jerk. However that is the reason that propelled my butt across more than a dozen race courses. And through even more training runs.

The last reason is less self-righteous but equally subtle. As I mentioned before marathons are long. Endless. There are countless places where you want to give up and just walk. Or perhaps lie down and die. But somehow you keep going through the pain, through the endless kilometers, through the defeating headwind. Afterwards, when sitting alone with your banana, when everything, even your back hurts you can smile to yourself and quietly say “I did that”.

Yesterday I sat down and wrote 1,770 words as a part of NaNoWriMo. It was long. It was hard. I didn’t like a lot of what I wrote. But the important part was that I did it. Today I have to keep writing, even when I feel like I don’t have any more content. However after thirty days of this, I know one thing for certain; sitting alone with a banana and my computer on December 1st, reading over all that I produced is going to feel awesome. If only it came with a medal.

Lighting Fires In Public Places -The Student Ghetto Chronicles Part III

So another perk of living in the student ghetto along with the cast of Shakespearean inspired characters that grace our presence during the wee hours is the area around our home.

Needle and Junky Park boasts riverside picnicking, summer music festivals and countless people some with permanent residences and some without. It also has a needle drop box. The needles don’t always make it in.

This lush spot is one of my favourite places to run. It’s also the meth heads’ favourite place to run after me. As of yet I haven’t been caught.

So there I am running through the park, almost to the playground which marks the end of Needle and Junky Park and the beginning of Soccer Mompreneur Park when I spied a man carrying a GIANT branch. He also had with him a soiled grocery bag packed to the brim. Rather than being weary of him I concluded that he was an artist, hellbent on creating the perfect scene with just the right branch. However he was quite heavy and as a rule most starving artists are just that- starving and very skinny. With all of these factors indicating something else I clung to my hopeful idea; he was an artist there to create incredible and heartfelt images with nature.

And then he gave me crazy eyes as I passed him. So I picked up my pace a little bit and decided he was a crazy artist. I continued on my run for a while then turned around. I didn’t think of the man again until I saw the thick cloud of smoke next to the river on my way back. Next I saw the fire, and watched Crazy Eyes pick up more branches to add to it.

Now in school they educate people on things like “Don’t eat poison.” “Don’t talk to strangers.” “Don’t play in traffic.”

They never covered what to do if you see a man start and tend a fire in the middle of a public place. What made the whole situation worse was that no one else batted an eye.

I came up with two conclusions;

  1. Building fires in public parks is a normal and acceptable practice, my life has been incomplete up to this moment and I am probably a little unpatriotic for never having done this myself.
    Fire in Dumpster

    Fires; not just an ingredient for a romantic evening under the mantle.  (Photo credit: benwatts)

     

  2.  He made crazy eyes at the people around me and they were equally terrified and refused to pull out their cell phones to call the police in front of him.

Walking until there was a fair amount of space between me and the crazy eyed arsonist I phoned 911. Then immediately felt guilty because I had been taught never to call 911 unless it was an emergency and I still wasn’t sure this was an emergency.

“Hello, Emergency 911. Do you need police, fire or ambulance?” asked the operator.

I hadn’t thought I would need to make a decision that if it was an actual emergency the operator would be comforting me because I would be going into shock.

“Uhhhhhh police?” I said, thinking that the only thing needed was for a stern man in uniform to walk down to the park and say “Hey! Stop that!” At which point Crazy Eyes would cease tending the fire and dig through his soiled grocery bag for a bucket to gather river water in. Or possibly a fire extinguisher, for all I knew Crazy Eyes could have been an organized man who plans ahead.

“A man has built a fire in Needle and Junky Park.” I said into my phone as inconspicuously as I could.

“I’m transferring you to the fire department” said the 911 operator humorlessly.

What made the whole situation worse was that the fire department operator didn’t seem at all fazed by my story. “Is the fire out of control?” She asked.

“No” I said now thoroughly convinced that this was not in fact an emergency and may very well not even be illegal.

“Thanks ma’am we will try and send someone to check it out.”

The try in the last sentence before she hung up now has me questioning whether making campfires in public is something that people do.

I guess the only way to find out is to go get my own giant branch and light it aflame in the middle of the park.

 

 

 

This post is a part of the Student Ghetto Chronicles series. To read more about living in a place where items like pants are unnecessary click below.

Bongs, Dirty Laundry and Elmo

Midnight Thespians; profanity, moaning and sprinklers

This Post Was Supposed To Involve Barfights And Then It Was About Me Being Half Naked In Church And Now It’s A Note To My Husband

At the end of every work day what I want most is a glass of wine. What I need to do most is to go for a run. Sometimes wants and needs conflict and I consume half a glass of wine before lacing up my shoes.

Sometimes this is a good idea. Other times I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast and I’m approximately the size of a large tween. This has the expected outcome. The following is a note I left for Roscoe written with Sharpie marker on an envelope offering 2 for 1 pizza coupons.

 

Dear Roscoe,

I’ve gone running. Drunk.

I’ll try not to cross any major roads.

Love you,

The Great Unwashed.

 

When I arrived home Roscoe was quite upset. Not over my inability to run in a straight line but over the company I keep on runs. Occasionally while jogging through my favourite park I am chased by homeless people and meth heads. He argued that these people made running in an inebriated state a poor choice.

I countered that I went running in my second favourite park, which also happens to be the meth head’s second favourite park, so they weren’t there to make haphazard attempts to keep up with my wobbly pace. Besides I can’t figure out why Roscoe is so worried about a few disheveled people chasing me when I have yet to be caught.

Part two of the award post is coming, however I did show up in church only half dressed last weekend, so that story needs to be told first, some things are so embarrassing that they need to be celebrated.

My 60,000 Dollar Cat Scratch

By my estimation, Roscoe and I have invested some sixty Gs in his medical education, most of the time I don’t see the benefit to this expenditure. As a med student he works long hours at the hospital for no pay, brings in loads of debt and when he has practical exams, insists on testing the range of motion in my knees. Not terribly exciting.

Around the beginning of his second year of med school Roscoe developed his “Doctor Voice”. It’s a very confident but stern sounding voice. Entirely different from his husband voice which is the one that tells me I look pretty and asks whether it’s past my bedtime.

See if you didn’t know the two of us, that last sentence would sound like a come on “That’s what SHE said”. I badly misused that saying, teenage boys everywhere are hanging their heads in shame at me.

Roscoe sometimes attempts to use his doctor voice at home, generally when he wants to prove that he’s right about something. “Put that away!” I’ll yell when I hear those soft but reassuring tones.

So a month or so ago I was running my first road race in three years, my first ten kilometer race in goodness knows how long. The event was in Toronto, so Roscoe and I were staying overnight at my parent’s house rather than driving the two plus hours from our home to the start.

Everything was going smoothly. Well for me at least. Some kids grew up with mothers who cut the crusts off their sandwiches, moms who dropped them off at university and then returned many, many times for visits, mums who really cared about important things like jewelry, and whether your purse matched your shoes.

My mother is a sports mom. She leaves crusts on sandwiches, she visited me once at university after dropping me off and I’ve frequently left the house wearing both stripes and floral print at the same time.

However come race day, get out of her way, she’s a tiger mom, up at five am with coffee and strategies for how to cut your time. She stashes extra safety pins for your bib in her coat and has water and chocolate milk sitting in the car to rehydrate. You’ll recognize her at the finish line because she’ll be the one jumping so high that she might as well be attached to a pogo stick.

So despite the fact that I didn’t train, had no idea where the race was, and had not packed the appropriate gear, I wasn’t terribly worried about the ten kilometer race I had to run the next day.

That was until I was mauled by a Bear.

I have a theory that my parent's cat is related to the Terminator, or some other alien robot being. It would explain her eyes when photographed.

I have a theory that my parent’s cat is related to the Terminator, or some other alien robot being. It would explain her eyes when photographed.

Bear is the newest addition to my parent’s house. She is the only cat they’ve ever had who has not lived with me. The cats that I grew up with understood that I moved like a Sherman tank, crushing everything in my path. They stayed out of my way, and I lived up to my end of the bargain by not being too upset when they loved my mother more than me.

Bear has never lived with me. Bear also moves like a Sherman tank. One with claws.

Which is how the night before my race I got these.

My photoshop instructions to Candy- "Make my foot look more like Charlize Theron's." Candy's reply "I don't know what to do with these instructions?"

My photoshop instructions to Candy- “Make my foot look more like Charlize Theron’s.” Candy’s reply “I don’t know what to do with this request?”

 

Essentially Bear and I played a very dangerous, painful and ultimately bloody, game of chicken.

Bear was racing up the stairs, across the landing and heading for my bedroom at top speed. Watching her shoot straight at me like some sort of ginger cheetah, I stood my ground. And Bear also stood her ground. Until at the last second we both moved the same direction. Which caused Bear to run half into the door frame, as she attempted to stop herself with her claws on my foot. I felt pain, heard a loud thud and watched a starry eyed Bear wobbly make her way under my bed.

“Bear!” I cried, “Bear! Come here, I’m sorry.” I pleaded bending down to lift up the bed skirt, the extent of my wounds disguised by my body’s beautiful shock reflex. Still woozy but expecting me to somehow cause her to run into more door frames Bear darted past me. And that’s when I looked down and realized blood was pooling on my foot.

Roscoe took one look at it and thought “Infection and cat scratch fever”. Immediately he put his doctor voice into action. Overwhelmed by my feelings of guilt and the blood about to stain my parent’s beige carpet, I blindly followed my husband into the kitchen. There he cleaned the lacerations and then set about neatly taping a napkin to my foot. Power gels are on my mother’s grocery list, not gauze. The gory blood now covered up and the new carpet no longer in danger I returned to my senses. “That doesn’t look dramatic enough! You need to wrap it!”

Roscoe stopped ripping the masking tape into neat sections and instead began haphazardly wrapping my foot with tape. “There” he said “happy now?”

“No, take a photo of it.”

The Great Unwashed way to dress a wound. Note how it makes use of none of Roscoe's doctor abilities.

The Great Unwashed way to dress a wound. Note how it makes use of none of Roscoe’s doctor abilities. My first opportunity to use Roscoe’s expensive degree and I didn’t take it.

For the record I ran a fifty-four minute ten km, for my American readers out there I ran a fifty four minute six mile race. Pretty good considering the perfectly straight blood stains I found in my sock afterwards.