Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Uncharacteristically Multi-Themed

Do you have any idea how often I have to remind myself to take my own advice? Confession: this winter I am barely hanging on to my running. Happens every winter, but worse this one. I don’t like cold, but even more I don’t like dark, and a lot of my running has to be in the dark in the winter. Then I usually get a chest cold or two, plus somehow my back ends up getting hurt during the winter, and before I know it, it’s days and days between runs. So I chant to myself, “Any run is better than no run,” “If it doesn’t hurt worse when you run on it, run on it,” and, believe it or not, I have to remind myself to slow down.

Thanks for the Nana advice, and TH will be perusing it. And yes, at this point HB understands that she is unreasonable and he is not likely to be permanently scarred by her, but I would like him to have some kind of relationship with her ultimately, and I don’t want that to be made impossible by her behavior now. Also, the aftermath of her visits have always sucked for us, with him having new fears (he’s going to have to go to her house alone, I don’t love him, etc.) and extra tantrums.

My own mother happened to make a connection I hadn’t realized. I was discussing it with her and she became very agitated. It’s unlike her to a) support Nana in anything or b) get very agitated about anything, so I asked her what the deal was, and she confessed that Nana reminds her of her mother, and she’s afraid that I feel like I was scarred because she left me with my grandmother often. And she’s totally right. Now, she had little choice—she was a widow with three difficult kids and no one to pick up any slack except her parents—so I do NOT blame her (and reassured her on this), but actually, my grandmother did scar me. An episode that haunts me to this day was when I was three and threw a tantrum because she made waffles for my brother but not for me (I woke up late and she’d already cleaned up). The tantrum was a typical unreasonable three-year-old tantrum, but for it she gave me the worst spanking of my life. I never liked or trusted her again, and I still flinch when I see anyone even close to smacking their kids.

Book Reviews
I recently read Keith Richards’s enormous autobiography, and since I finished it I actually miss him. I had no particular interest in him or the Rolling Stones before, but I adore him now, despite his drug-addicted parenting, his temper, and his cattiness about Mick Jagger. He is just so open-hearted, in this sense (and that clip is totally worth the 20 minutes, I promise you, and thanks to B for it), and funny, and unapologetic, and unexpectedly respectful of women, and loyal to people who treat others well, and honest about people who don’t (e.g. Brian Jones). And his love of music is enviable. At first the music talk bored me, but then I started pulling up the various songs he mentioned, and I got a great education and new appreciation for the Everly Brothers, Elvis, Chuck Berry, etc. etc. I still don’t like most of the later Stones music, but whatever.

I followed it up with Patti Smith’s book about herself and Mapplethorpe, which I liked well enough, but wished a) it was about her and not about Mapplethorpe and b) she had a sense of humor. Maybe she does in real life, but it didn’t come through in this book, which was earnest earnest earnest.

Music Reviews
I am loving running to The Dog Days Are Over (Florence and the Machine), Shake Me Down (Cage the Elephant), Bloodbuzz Ohio (The Nationals), Not Fade Away (early Stones!), and Tusk (Fleetwood Mac), which makes me laugh every time it pops up and which someone pointed me to because one of my forever favorites is the marching band version of This Too Shall Pass (Ok Go).

Other running, Nana, book and music recommendations welcomed.


Heather said...

Have you considered playing with any of the muddy runs? Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder ...

My running is falling apart (WHY is it so hard to put running towards the top of the wife, mom, employee, student list ???) and I'm thinking of taking one of those muddy runs on as a way to play.

I am loving Dog Days as well.

My books are lackluster, learning about how to have a husband with Asperger's - if anybody has one they have enjoyed I'm crawling up the learning curve and could take a recomendation.

EJW said...

If you're on a musical biography kick, try Miss O'Dell, about a long-time friend and groupie of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and other bands/musicians. It's not the greatest literature ever, but a cool, behind-the-scenes story of an amazing life.

Unknown said...

that's my thrill at being mentioned here.

Jul said...

I love that Brené Brown clip. It's been like bare-knuckle boxing for my brain: each time I watch it, something unexpected and jarring whacks me upside the head. Only, y'know, in a positive way.

Winter running blows... I have come to accept this. I've been doing Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred" in the living room (except on uncharacteristically gorgeous evenings). Jillian is surprisingly non-annoying (as well as gorgeous in a sturdy, can-lift-many-sacks-of-grain-for-the-motherland kinda way). And the workout kicks my ass like nothing else. Never before have I been so aware of the various muscle groups in my ass.

On those rare gorgeous evenings, I've been running to Foster the People (Pumped Up Kicks"), Muscles ("Sweaty"), Cut Copy ("Hearts on Fire"), and... um... well... Ke$ha. There, I said it. J.Q. LOVES her - he dreamily asked me, "Mom, what's her middle name?" the other day - and she churns out startlingly catchy songs.

Also: when I have the need to strut like a badass, Folk Implosion's "Natural One" continues to be the song to which I do it. This has been the case for sixteen years. Either "Natural One" is awesome or my badass strutting skills are awful. Probably both.

Anonymous said...

Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons.

fuzzy said...

I think that somewhere around 5 or 6 was when my kids figured out that their grandmother and mom seriously didn't get along, and that Grammy was unspeakably rude to their father. Not long after that, they managed to compartmentalize it as "that's just gram" and do well visiting and such while letting it all roll off their backs.

They're grown now, and we've talked about it, so I'm pretty sure they've suffered no lasting trauma.

It can work if you foster a "gram's weird, she can't help it" attitude while simultaneously minimizing her chance to do actual harm.

Anonymous said...

Adele - Rolling in the Deep


Anonymous said...

Shipping up to Boston, Dropkick Murphies. Works well mid-run for stride set. Something about a hard base line, celtic melody, and utter lack of any harmony.


Anonymous said...

I'm in the minority, it seems, because I prefer running in the cold to running in the heat. My work schedule allows me to run in the mid/late morning, though, so that could have something to do with it.

Some favorites on my running mix: My Body (Young the Giant), Bang Pop (Free Energy), Out of the Blue (Julian Casablancas), Heartbeat Song (the Futureheads), A-Punk (Vampire Weekend), and California On My Mind (Wild Light). I like catchy stuff that makes me want to sing along (even though I can't because I'm breathing too hard).


Anonymous said...

Loved Eric Clapton's autobiography "Clapton."

Carrie said...

I second Mumford and Sons...

Lisa Mc said...

I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers so I've been thinking about Anthony Kiedis's Scar Tissue. It's probably rubbish but I may try it one day. I like running to their 'Dani California' and 'On Mercury'. Recently, I've been running to Broken Social Scene's 'All in all', 'Meet me in the basement' and 'Chase scene'.

Jill said...

I enjoy running to NPR podcasts like Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and This American Life. Sometimes I'll buy an audiobook and only listen to it when I run which gives me motivation to go out and run more.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Long-time reader, first time commenter. I'm inspired to write by your wonderful insight that your feelings about Nana are those of your three-year-old self, who you wish you could go back and protect from physical trauma.

I've followed the Nana saga off and on and I've never thought her issues rose to the level of deserving banishment (and large-group-only visits do come awfully close, I think). There really is no substitute for a grandparent in terms of family history and continuity, just a sort of deep feeling of rootedness, regardless of a person's personality problems. Structured activities don't allow for the kind of casual interaction and intergenerational storytelling that really make memories. HB needs to know what TV shows she always watches, what she has for a snack in the afternoon, what old photos she treasures, what Dad used to do at his age, etc. I think you should do everything you can to give HB a relationship with her.

HB's sense of self is already well formed by you his parents and at this point I have a feeling he has the critical skills to shrug off some of her more bizarre behavior (witness the calling your husband's cell!).

And the truth is that there are lots of difficult people in the world, from bosses, to teachers, to neighbors; learning to deal with them is an important part of growing up. In that sense, even the negatives of Nana can provide useful, teachable, moments.

Anonymous said...

Book recommendation, followed by a question: "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. A very odd book, gonzo journalism style but an interesting read nonetheless.

The author, a sometimes and always injured runner, starts hearing about the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, those fabled runners who travel impossibly long distances, and decides to do some research on what makes them tick. The book has so many fascinating aspects, part autobiography, part biography, part bio-mechanical treatise, part anthropological detective story.

There's a whole chapter on running barefoot and why some people think shoes actually cause injuries. That made me think, because when I was a massage therapist I used to lecture clients about why it was good for you feet not to wear shoes all the time. Here's my question: have you ever thought about running without shoes, or with those rubber toe-sock thingies? Because I'm seriously considering it at this point.


E. said...

I love everything the National has recorded. But my very favorite of their records is Alligator. I also like running to the most recent LCD Sound System (dance music with a big debt to indie rock) and Lupe Fiasco's The Cool. I also love it when "You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son" by Wolf Parade comes up on my ipod when I'm running or ellipticalling (and not just because of the running reference - it's got a great driving beat).

I'm currently reading and mostly enjoying Skipping Toward Gommorah by Dan Savage. I'm also making my way through the Harry Potter series (which I've avoided 'til now, despite more than an hundred of my students telling me I have to read it) beause O. is reading it and has encouraged me to, too. (And how can I say no to that?) I'm almost done with the second one. (O. is starting the fifth! He has more time to read than me.) It's pretty good.

Jennifer said...

Hi! Just wanted to thank you for getting me running (over three years ago). I went slow and for only 30 min every other day for over two years before decided to up the ante and I ran my first 10K yesterday in under 57 min. It was a lot of fun.

thank you thank you thank you!