29

I found myself in a weak moment today.

I was interrupted from my morning lesson planning

by a knock on my classroom door.

A former student and her two younger siblings.

“Mrs. D,” she said.  “I brought you this note I wrote you.

I didn’t know yesterday was your birthday.”

She handed me a folded sheet of binder paper,

decorated with purple hearts, my favorite color.

I’ve received notes from students before, but none like this one.

I’d like to consider myself a tough teacher.

I hold in my laughter and sense of humor often.

I try to be strict.

My parents would tell you I’m the teacher who never smiles.

But as I stood and read this note,

the tears welled up and there was no stopping them.

I hugged her and thanked her,

and almost accidentally shooed her away and closed the door.

I wasn’t ready to let a student see me cry.

29 was a good birthday, but not the best.

After that note though, it was better than good.

Thanks to students like Alexa, a little extra sunshine brightened up this birthday.

I hope I never forget this day.

alexa

Speedy Quick

Holy bananas!

My, has it been awhile!

Life has been busy – with getting married, buying a house,

and training for a half marathon.

Yep, I said it.  I’m back in the game!

I signed up for a half marathon in late November,

which is dedicated as my “comeback run” after being basically injured for a year.

Training has already had its ups and downs.

This Sacramento weather just can’t make up its mind.

One day it feels like summer, another feels like fall.

So my after work runs have been a little hot and slow.

But I’ve been crossing miles off the training schedule,

and that’s all that matters!

Last weekend I nearly had a crying fit because I missed my long run,

so this morning I had a little more amp in my step.

Well!  What a glorious long run it was!

Sometimes you need a little motivation to push yourself to your best,

and today it was the girl who was running faster than me up ahead the trail.

I consider myself a medium speed runner – usually a 10 minute mile,

so people who pass me usually don’t get to me.

But for some reason, today I was a little irked,

so I pushed myself to go faster.

Long story short, I finished my run with 9:15 splits!

Who knew I had it in me?  I certainly did not.

My best half marathon time was 2:02,

but just after that is when I injured my knee.

I’ve been dying to get back to that kind of shape ever since.

Maybe my comeback really is here.

And it feels damn good.

Happiness is

For some reason those license plate frames that read ‘Happiness is (fill in the blank)’ have always erked me for some reason. But last night, I seriously had a moment where I thought to myself, Now this is happiness.

I was driving to get frozen yogurt at a shop I used to visit often before the yogurt craze began. As a kid, it was a family ritual to grab yogurt on hot summer evenings, or even on brisk winter nights. My mom was even a pro at memorizing the daily yogurt flavors, without even needing to call to confirm. Our new house is conveniently in the very neighborhood of this shop. Closer than my parents house even.

But as I made the familiar drive, I realized our new house is in a neighborhood of my fondest childhood memories. Happy, happy memories that I am overwhelmingly thrilled to relive again! The yogurt shop. The grocery store we once shopped in regularly. The park that leads to the river. The local pizza place my childhood best friend introduced to me. The list continues. I feel like I’m breathing in all these old memories and it brings me such joy. Especially because now new memories will be made here in this very place.

The new house we live in brings me such pure joy. My main wish list item was a big backyard because my childhood home had the best backyard. As I gaze from my kitchen table, I see such possibilities if the memories that are to come. Chris and I continue to add to the already large list of ideas to make this backyard amazing. I’m dying to just lounge under an umbrella and daydream about our future in that backyard.

So though those license plate frames may cause me to roll my eyes from time to time, I guess I can finally say I get it. I have found that happiness.

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Runner Problems

Driving home from getting a scoop of ice cream,

(Have I mentioned that it’s blazing hot around here lately?)

still on a high from my run this morning,

I was filled with a surge of energy,

partly from the sugar and partly from the high of the run,

excited to brainstorm a plan for another run tomorrow morning.

But then in dawned on me.

Tomorow’s either a cross training day or a rest day.

Blast!

There is seriously nothing I hate more than cross training days.

You’d think I’d learn to like cross training by now.

After all, overuse is completely to blame for my nagging Runners Knee.

Yet, I really can’t stand cross training.

I guess maybe I just haven’t found an element of cross training that I connect with.

I’ve done hot yoga, spin class, Zumba. Even Jillian Michaels videos.

But really, nothing gets me going like running does.

It just isn’t the same kind of feeling.

Half the time I end up talking myself out of it, and justifying why a run will be fine.

But I guess I’ll never say goodbye to Runners Knee if I keep that up.

So I guess I’m here looking for suggestions.

What do you do on your cross training days?

And if you’re not a runner, what exercise do you love that I should give a try?

If I dissed your fave above, motivate me to give it one more try.

I need some inspiration.

So sadly tomorrow I won’t be running.

My grumpy butt will be going to the gym to find a cardio machine that calls to me.

I can only pray this half sugar, half runners high will get me through tomorrow’s workout.

I guess this is what we would call “Runner Problems.”

Run now, sleep later

I awoke this morning already sweating.

Sacramento is experiencing a heat wave that we usually don’t get in June.

Multiple days of over 105 degrees, and no relief in sight.

It’s summer vacation – I should really be sleeping in.

Most people would have looked at the clock,

which read 6:56, and rolled back over and forced themselves back to sleep.

Me, on the other hand, decided that I’d much rather sweat while running

than sweat as I unsuccessfully attempt to go back to sleep.

(For my adorable little apartment does not have central AC.)

Though this early morning run was far from cool,

it was, in my opinion, the best way to start this day.

Since returning to running from an injury,

I haven’t quite gotten that feeling yet that I’m back where I used to be.

There was a time that I was approaching 9:15 minute miles

and was close to making that my norm for my training runs.

I was on the edge of breaking a 2 hour half marathon

and 3 miles was a joke of an easy run.

But now, my pace has slowed to a respectable 10:15-10:30 mile

but 3 and 4 miles are definitely challenges at times.

However, today was the first day that I ever felt like I could return to the runner I once was.

My knees did not ache, my pace was up, and I never felt tired.

I’m not sure if it was the haze of the heat or if my mind was just in the right place,

but this morning was one of the best runs I’ve had in a very long time –

to the point that I said a little prayer of thanksgiving when it was over.

Thank you for this run.

This run makes me feel clarity, feel strength, feel peace.

I feel ready for this day!

So cheers to feeling like the runner I once was,

and hopefully the runner I’ll always be.

Strong. Healthy. Free.

And now I will retreat to my couch,

where I can feel the cool breeze from the wall AC unit

and return to slumber.

Go Kings!

My heart is swelling with pride.

I’m glued to local television coverage of the Sacramento Kings

Long Live the Kings Rally.

As a Kings fan, we’ve been in turmoil and a haze of wonder for the past few years.

Would our team stay?  Or would they go?

And finally, I can finally sit here with immense pride

not only for my beloved team, but for my city.

photo-22I have so many amazing memories of this team.

Above is just a small picture of the years I’ve spent cheering for this time

beside my family, and now, my husband to be.

I’ve been attending games for as long as I can remember.

My brother and I made friends with the long time usher in our section,

and we even have developed our own pre and post game rituals.

And if Dad comes with, there’s always the after game jog to the car,

just so we can hear Gary Gerould’s final commentary following the game.

The Kings came to Sacramento in 1984, the year I was born.

And my life has been filled with Sacramento Kings memories since then.

My high school graduation party guests sat glued to the television

as the Kings (sadly) lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Another season, my brother and I found ourselves on the Jumbo-tron

with a giant poster for Beno Udrich – “Beno es Bueno.”

And one of my favorite memories was my first date with

the soon-to-be Mr.

See!  I even saved our tickets from that night.

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Then there are the memories of sitting in the arena

during the two “Final Games” in 2011 and 2013,

where we didn’t know if this would be the final time

we’d watch Sacramento Kings basketball.

Both were two, very different nights with different emotions, but both held uncertainty.

But the end is here!  The Kings are here to stay!

So, long live the Kings!

For this is only the beginning of more memories to come.

I can’t wait for the day that Chris and I get to take our kids

to a Sacramento Kings game.

Though as a city, we’ve been through a rollercoaster of emotions,

the best are ahead.

Never been prouder to be a Kings fan!

Go Kings!

Beautiful, Beautiful Books

photo-21This picture was my happy place today.

No time in the school day brings me more joy

than our moments after lunch when we read our chapter book together.

My class is about two thirds of the way through our last novel of the year,

Holes, by Louis Sachar.

The best part is, I actually have a class set of this one.

My heart does a little pitter patter every time I see my students

get comfy with their copy as they follow along.

One girl loves to rest her chin on her desk with her eyes on the text.

Another boy likes to rest his forehead on the desk with the book in his lap.

Another is literally consumed by his book because it practically covers his face.

Just when I think I’ll catch one off task, I realize, they’re just getting in their cozy spot.

They’re bonding with their books!

So as we read today, I had a lightbulb moment.

Wouldn’t it be cool to see all the books we’ve read together in one big stack?

As the students traded turns reading pages,

I did a quick rummage around the room to collect them all.

Eight in all, and what a beautiful pile of books!

I wish you could have seen two of my girls who sit in back

oohing and ahhing at the sight.

Those are our books!  We’ve read them all this year! one whispered.

Wait, let me count them! the other joined in.

I’m telling you, books have bonded us together.

As I look at each title, I am reminded of a different time frame of the year.

It reminds me of the journey we’ve taken through this school year.

And it makes my heart feel so full.

There’s already a countdown in the teachers lounge

for number of school days left until sweet summer begins.

And I’m not going to lie, I’m more than ready.

But today, that stack of books brought me the bit of joy I needed.