Snug

 I’m invoking the “if I haven’t gone to bed yet, the day hasn’t ended” rule since I realized I hadn’t posted yet. 

A good day with friends, both during the day and at night. A little activity (although tomorrow begins the Return to My Running Log because it’s been too long and the bleh is gone), some relaxation, a bunch of laughs. 

Short one. Checking the (asterisked) box. 

  

Green

I went searching through a pile of photos this afternoon, to represent where my mind has been recently. This is a photo of a film photo, taken a long time ago. Not a great photo by any means, especially in its reproduced state, but I look at this and I remember being on that sailboat and how the air and ropes smelled as evening fell while my dad and I prepared to head out onto the lake for a weekend.

Life is kind of coming out of nowhere a bit rapidly lately. It’s a little Dickensian once again with the whole best of times, worst of times schtick. It’s funny how certain places and themes seem to pop up repeatedly. It’s funny how quickly your whole outlook can change thanks to a few small actions taken.

Places and time and all that. This is a short entry but a loaded one for me.

The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.

And I need a new photo.

Core

Unbroken trail around Newcomb Lake

Here’s another wintery photo for @dagsly and the title is for @tracytilly. Yes, I’m using your Twitter handles. 

I took this photo just past the edge of the Santanoni Preserve Main Camp area earlier this year. It was right before here that I kind of had to make the yes or no decision about whether I was going to snowshoe around the lake or not. Hiking into and out of the Main Camp is roughly 10 miles and hiking around the lake is a bit under 5 miles, so I was looking forward to getting a good 15-mile snowshoe hike in. 

I feel like that hike around the lake was one of the worst and best decisions I ever made. It was, in many ways, totally not safe. People knew where I was, including a DEC officer, but the conditions were rough. The trail was completely unbroken except for a tiny part near the end and even with my snowshoes, the snow was not holding up and it was up to my knees at points. 

I fell completely a few times, having to hoist myself up again out of drifts with nearby small trees. I mean, how thankful am I that I had been running and boxing pretty regularly at that point and had the strength to yank myself up again and slog through that? I got a little nervous a few times that the trail just didn’t seem to be ending, but I reminded myself that I was moving much more slowly than I would have been were I hiking with no snow on the ground. 

It was a total physical test the whole way, but I also felt more peaceful than I had in a long time. Being on the other side of the lake, knowing that no one was around for miles and hearing completely unspoiled bird song and breeze… I wanted to stay at the lean-to I ate lunch at all day. 

I came away that day, as I made it back to my car, parked up from the Gate Lodge, feeling exhausted, but strong, both physically and mentally. 

And I just came back to writing this after a phone call with one of my best lady friends. Friends have been SO key lately and I hope I’m being strong enough for them right now like they’ve been helping me. 

Collab

Frank D’Agostino said I needed a cryptic, wintery photo for this.

I’m writing this from a booth at Clark’s, recovering from a fraught, high-probability-for-failure work event that ended up turning out well, by all reports. I was “live casting” from our new facility to our annual meeting. And tech issues abounded but then it all worked! And I managed to drop off a piece of furniture in the there and back as well. 

So I feel like I deserve the sandwich and cider I just had and @dagsly was kind enough to come out to hang with me. I noted that I hadn’t updated yet, so here we go. 

I’m asking him for a topic right now. He is dithering. The topic, based on the song that is being sung nearby, is “Don’t Stop Believin'” as sung by Journey. 

Tonight, I did not stop believing that we would manage to get Skype connected and running properly! I won’t stop believing that my friend I texted with all day will get a satisfying response that can be acted upon! I won’t stop believing that organizations will choose efficiency over complacency! I won’t stop believe in sending the equivalent of hand grenades as emails! I won’t stop believing in feelings > logistics (and all the appropriate footnotes therein)! I won’t stop believing! I will hold on to that feeling!

Anyway. I got cast as both Robin Wright and Kristen Wiig in the Lifetime 315Twitter Movie today. 

I think this counts as one of those “checking the box to get it done” entries. Still counts!

Stuck

I haven’t really written much about the whole Crohn’s thing lately because I’m seemingly “in remission” which is such a loaded term to use, but that’s what they call it. And I have been for awhile, thanks to sitting in a mostly-comfy chair for 2-3 hours every six weeks, hooked up to a machine, dripping anti-TNF drugs into my arm while I, usually, type away and work at my laptop.

There are much worse things to have, but dealing with Crohn’s has completely changed my outlook on life in so many ways. Or maybe I should say it solidified certain beliefs and pushed me farther and faster toward others. Losing my dad during my freshman year of college did that as well, maybe more so in some ways, but there’s a difference between the way an 18-year-old deals with things and the way a 30-something does (and I say that not to obfuscate my age – 36 – but because I couldn’t remember for a moment how many years ago I was diagnosed, so “30-something” was easier to type).

I am firmly in the try it/say it/do it/#YOLO camp and continually try to push myself to do more and try more and be more. If someone suggests doing something, I am usually already figuring out how to make it happen. Anytime I suggest something off-the-wall, I am usually 95% on board with making it happen. Saying “yes” to things turned me into a marathoner and got me caught up with the best bunch o’bandmates ever, for example.

But having a chronic disease is a bit of a Catch-22 with all the yolo-ing. Overclock yourself and you might end up spending the next two days in bed. Keeping your job and that health insurance is the looming force over everything lest you end up having to decide between total financial ruin or condemning yourself to extreme sickness and maybe even death (yes, people die from complications with IBD). One guess as to my feelings about healthcare in this country and I don’t even have it that bad.

It’s a balancing act. And, for me, every time I feel slightly warm (is it a fever???), or tired (what is my sedimentation rate???), or creaky (how can your digestive system mess with your legs???), I fear that another flare-up is looming, ready to banish me to the bed or couch until another round of steroids mess with my body enough to get it into submission. But I’ve been lucky and fingers crossed that Remicade every six weeks is keeping that all at bay. Let’s not talk about the migraines that I used to get either (that, in Crohn’s remission, seem to be creeping back a bit, but luckily without the frequency or intensity – anyone want to study that apparent link?).

So in the meantime, I feel like I have a duty to myself to try to do as much as I can. And why I will always get behind the “what have you got to lose?” line of advice. Will you regret not having done something, whether it be taking a chance on a new opportunity, telling someone how you honestly feel, or pushing yourself mentally or physically? Those of us who have lost people early and are reminded constantly of our possible limitations end up with this weird mix of nihilistic optimism, I think.

And the blankets at the infusion place are often warm, right out of the dryer.

bedienungsanleitung

stills from 19flipping99
stills from 19flipping99

I don’t know what made me dig up this old-times college project. Going down a line of thought where I took a different path and actually saw a particular endeavor through, perhaps?

Thinking about a record player. Playing a record over and over. You memorize the warps and skips and they become part of the song.

The changer drops the next record down with a clack and thunk. Trying to find the right song. Scratch. The one with the great hook but the bridge goes nowhere. Scratch. The one you haven’t heard in ages that takes forever to get out of your head. Scratch. The one with the melody that sounds so familiar.

The scratches are jarring and unexpected but the songs are sweet. Maybe the song you’re looking for is on a different album.

Lots of messages with people today and words of encouragement going in both directions. Lots of people doing hard things and supporting bravery and honesty in actions and words. A few months ago, I thought to myself that although I knew I had some good friends, I realized that I wasn’t sure I had the kind that I could feel comfortable dumping a little bit of angst on when necessary. But then I let myself open up and be a little vulnerable to a few because I absolutely needed to. And I realized that they were there – I just hadn’t recognized that yet.

Sometimes your kid makes you buy a flowery phone case, even though you like your black and gray phone cases. METAPHOR ALERT: your black phone case is your constructed exoskeleton and it won’t kill you to buy the flowery one and enjoy it much like it won’t kill you to exhibit your soft underbelly from time to time.

Wall

lake
This is Indian Lake, not Green Lakes.

Hello. I’m using the magic of technology to update from bed this afternoon. Yesterday’s post was written in my car at a rest stop. I should have just stayed in bed this morning, but I would have missed out on an excellent cinnamon roll. 

Earlier this week, I predicted a poor showing at the Corporate Challenge. I ended up being wrong about that. I then predicted a poor showing at this morning’s 7@7 race. I was correct this time. I woke up groggy, with the feeling of a blade against the back right side of my throat. But I managed to collect myself together and show up at Green Lakes to whine to everyone about how I didn’t really feel like doing this. 

And then the race started and then 1.5 miles in, after the first hill and water stop, I noted to myself that I was miserable and couldn’t regulate my breathing well and that knife was still in my throat and I’m just stopping here. If it had been a road race, I probably could have finished, but thinking about the hills and trail through the outer stretches of Green Lakes was just not happening. 

So back I went to the start, managing to run another mile or so on the flat trail around the lake. Managed to yuk it up a bit with coworkers and Y Runners (and accidentally record a finish time for myself when I forgot to take off my timing chip) and enjoyed our little party breakfast and then left and took an epic nap and and here we are. Back to that nap. 

Scene


I spent today in Indian Lake, NY attending the Annual Meeting for Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), of which I’m a board member.
movie posterThe meeting was held at the Indian Lake Theater and led to a fantastic theme of architecture and film: telling stories with a sense of place. A bit of a tech mishap meant that we weren’t able to screen Huybertie, a short film by 16-year-old Eli Moore, documenting Meghan Weber’s portrayal of Robert Pruyn’s cousin’s impressions of Camp Santanoni. 

We did, however, see a portion of Derek Muirden’s documentary on Arto Monaco, A Castle in Every Heart, detailing Monaco’s work on The Land of Make-Believe. 

My photo above is of Michael Fisher’s film The Owner, filmed in part at Greystone Mansion in Essex, NY. I was really taken with this. It was beautifully shot and having been lucky enough to have visited Greystone a handful of times as part of my role with AARCH, it was a treat to see the home portrayed so stunningly on screen.  
When I was speaking with Michael afterwards, I noted that apart from the way that architecture can instill a strong sense of place in a film, cinema and film such as home movies are often some of our best sources of “hidden” documentation in places like the Adirondacks thanks to people recording their vacations and trips. 

I can still go back and change my thesis topic, right? 

Overall, it was an excellent meeting for our 25th anniversary. And, as usual, it was terribly hard to make the turn south to drive back. 

I love seeing logos I’ve helped create in cake format.   
  

    

Portrait of a biker dude taking a photo of a scenic view.   

Trombone

(I just picked a random word today for a title. Sometimes they relate to the topic. Today, you get “trombone.”)

cat
This is not my cat. Cela ne veut pas mon chat.

This was a great week for external validation on a number of topics. One in particular made me LAFF out loud today and be all “THANK YOU FOR ADDRESSING THAT PARTICULAR DEAL BECAUSE NOW I KNOW I’M NOT CRAZY.” People are funny. They do funny things and what I have to say about it is this:
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Seriously though, on other topics, I’ve had some people say some really nice things to me recently and it has been appreciated and when I’ve heard some dumb things said to other people, I’ve tried to let them know that I thought it was dumb and validate that they are not dumb. So much validation. It’s like a parking garage here.

I’m close to feeling the need to raise a white flag in terms of taking care of some important stuff. It will happen, though, and soon it will seem like ancient history.

I have a busy weekend coming up, but it’s all good stuff. Grabbing dinner with one of my many soulmates as prescribed by Facebook quiz app things then seeing some local music (featuring a ladyfriend on bass! rbblgrrlmusicpower). I’m being That Person and wearing one of my new Malvinas shirts. Tomorrow, I head to Indian Lake for the Adirondack Architectural Heritage Annual Meeting and the time of my arrival back in Syracuse will dictate further plans. THEN, I wake up too early to run in the 7@7 at Green Lakes and hang with Y Runners for a little party. I’m pleased with the red shirts this year. That color isn’t really represented in my athletic-wear until now.

I also need to reiterate that I love working in Downtown Syracuse.

This is a less cryptic weird entry than usual. Sometimes daily entries take the form of laundry list-type stuff. But I gave you a cat photo. #toobad

Novelty

ice cream thrice

I ended up at the Downtown Gannon’s twice in just over two hours today, which is impressive. Even for me, a bona fide member of an ice cream club, with the elephant adoption papers to prove it. And the woman who knows what I always (usually) get was there behind the counter both times, so my reputation as A Person With A Problem (or, A Person Who Needs a Scheduler for Her Various Ice Cream Buddies) was solidified.

Yes, that is the same ice cream order in all of these photos, taken months apart. I have this problem at eating establishments where I get hung up on a particular dish and have difficulty ordering something different because then I’d miss out on getting to eat my favorite thing again. This is why they pretty much have my takeout order ready to go at Erawan. Why I’m “Greek Salad No Onions” at Soup R Salad. So on. So forth.

The thing is, and keep this on the down low… I don’t even really love ice cream that much. I KNOW. I mean, I love ice cream. I’m not saying I don’t LIKE ice cream. But in the past, I’ve ignored it for long stretches of time. If a gun was put to my head, I’d choose pie as Best Dessert-type Food. And I’ve definitely moved more in the savory food direction as I’ve gotten older. I’m saying that there are other people who really LOVE ice cream much more than I do. I’ve built up a bit of an incorrect reputation.

What I do love is seeing my friends. My “ice cream buddies” are my friends. And if saying yes (because who is going to say NO?) to “hey let’s get ice cream!” means I get to hang out with my friends for a bit, at least for the time it takes to demolish a cone, I’m down with that. “Hey, let’s get ice cream/coffee/brunch/lunch/dinner/whatever” means that someone took a moment out of their busy day to think to themselves that they’d enjoy your company. It’s a simple thing, but we’re all in our own heads so much that I think it’s nice to acknowledge the leap of faith you take in the simple act of reaching out to your friends.

I think this calls for a Smiths song, don’t you?
Hey friends – ask me. I won’t say no – how could I?