our book club reads happy books!


It was book club night last night. As usual it was a fun night. Unfortunately, I can’ t say the same about our book this month. It was “Committed: a skeptic makes peace with marriage” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I had read Gilbert’s previous book, Eat, Pray, Love”, and had liked it. I had been surprised that the section that I thought I would like least – “pray”- was actually my favorite part. I found her immersion in eastern religion fascinating. I read that book at a time when I had just started doing yoga – something I had always considered too “new age-y” for me. So I guess the fact that I had just recently dipped my toe in the Eastern religion water made it more interesting to me. Because, although I tried yoga because it was offered at a gym and I told myself it was an exercise class, yoga is defiantly more than that. It is still something I do ( ok, I don’t say I “practice yoga” yet), and I have come to appreciate the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of it. Hey any exercise class that ends with a nap and the beautiful parting word “namaste” is ok with me. (I have read many interpretations of namaste, but the one I love is “the spirit in me honors the spirit in you.”).
Unfortunately, the section from “Eat, Pray, Love” I liked the least was the “love” part. This was surprising to me, because I am absolutely in favor of love and looked forward to that section. I said unfortunately because “Committed” basically picks up where this love story ended.
I will say this about Elizabeth Gilbert: I love the stories she tells about the people she meets in her travels. And I have admiration for her ability to connect with people.
But this was our first book club book that I really struggled to finish. Parts of it I found boring, parts of it I found condescending to married people. And her endless and repetitious analysis of her and Felipe’s relationship I found excruciating. To tell the truth, I found myself avoiding blogging, for fear I would appear as self absorbed as Elizabeth Gilbert appeared to me in this book. Which I feel bad about, because I’m sure she is a very nice person, and I wish her all the best. Namaste.


“Let the Wild Rumpus Start”

  What a wonderful legacy the Caldecott Award winning author Maurice Sendak has left. He died today at the age of 83 and I couldn’t let the event pass unnoticed.  He has written and illustrated so many great children’s books, including “Where the Wild Things Are“, which of course I read to my children.

But the fondest memory I have of  Maurice Sendek is reading the tiny books of “The Nutshell Library” to my son. I was first attracted to this set of books because of “One was Johnny”.  Aren’t we all attracted to books that feature our children’s names? The rhymes in all four volumes were so simple and so fun to read – I never got tired of them.

Cover of "Nutshell Library (Caldecott Col...

Cover of Nutshell Library (Caldecott Collection)

Since it’s May, I’ll treat you to this one:
In May I truly think it best
To be a robin lightly dressed
Concocting soup inside my nest
Mix it once, mix it twice
Mix that chicken soup with rice

But my favorite by far, was “Pierre: A Cautionary Tale”. When my own Johnny was out of sorts and shouted “I don’t care!”,  I began responding, “who are you, Pierre?” He never liked it, and I never tired of it. To this day, when I hear the phrase, “I don’t care”, I think of Pierre fondly.

So it’s a sad day that we have lost the man Maurice Sendak, but his beautifully misbehaved children will live on.

‘He rubbed his eyes, and scratched his head
And laughed because he wasn’t dead.
His mother cried and held him tight.
His father asked ‘Are you all right?’
Pierre said ‘I am feeling fine,
Please take me home, it’s half past nine,’
The lion said, ‘If you would care
To ride on me, I’ll take you there’
And everybody looked at Pierre,
Who shouted, ‘Yes indeed, I care!’
The lion took them home to rest,
And stayed on as a weekend guest,
The moral of ‘Pierre’ is CARE!”

RIP Maurice Sendak and thanks for the wild rumpus!

Maurice Sendak, author of the children's book,...

Maurice Sendak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“Gonna Fly Now, Flyin’ High Now”

Yes, they actually do play the “Rocky” theme song at the beginning of the Broad Street Run – even  for the people who start all the way in the back like me. What other song could they possibly play at the beginning of a 10 mile run through Philadelphia?

After all the drama leading up to it, the race thankfully went smoothly.   I pushed myself, because I really wanted to improve my time from last year, but I also tried to appreciate the experience.

Because it certainly was an experience. Close to 40,000 people with one common goal. The diversity of the people running was amazing – every color, shape and size  were represented.

As I ran, I read the stories so many people had pinned to their backs. Sometimes just a name, sometimes a charity, sometimes a picture. Like the young woman who ran “for Papa Bear, you will always be with me.” It made me so grateful, that at the age of 55, I still have my Papa Bear, and my Mama Bear too.

And the spectators were tremendous! There wasn’t an area where there wasn’t someone there to cheer you on. But the last two miles – that was something else. There were crowds of people and the noise was loud! People were shouting and ringing cow bells and making me feel like a super star. My least favorite cheer: “only two more miles!” I guess it’s the “only” that bugged me. But then I heard a man shout out “you’re doing it!” This is my favorite cheer to use when I’m a spectator at a race, and it was so nice to hear coming from the crowd. Heck yeah, I was doing it!

 I have such admiration and respect for the super athletic people who finish in less than an hour, but I also have admiration and respect for the people I saw as I was leaving the Navy Yard. I had finished my race, but they were still running. Some overweight, some limping, but not giving up, persevering to the end. Heck yeah, they were doing it too!

I finished the race strong, 1 minute faster than last year. After meeting up with the rest of our group and finding out that everyone had excellent races, it was time for a post-race brunch. Yum! A great way to celebrate. Then it was home for a shower and a nap. Because as great as it felt to run those 10 miles, it felt even better to lay down and take a nap!

Mission Accomplished!


Tracks of my Tears…or, Better than a Stick in the Eye

Here I am, on the eve of my second Broad Street Run, filled with anticipation. I’m a little nervous, but not as nervous as usual. Here’s why:

This last week before the  race hasn’t been the best in terms of race prep. Rain every morning this week kept me from getting in the runs that I wanted to. I know I’m supposed to taper, but it was getting a little ridiculous. Finally, Friday I got a few good miles in, came home, jumped in the shower… and then the fun began…

What I at first thought was a little shampoo in my eye, turned into an all day event that ended with a visit to the emergency room. I drove to work with what felt like an eyelash in my eye. Tried getting it out at work – no luck. Tried to help patrons – could barely see the computer screen for all the tears running down my face. Kept telling patrons – “Really it’s not pink eye, I have something in my eye!” I used up a box of tissues mopping up the runny eye and nose. At lunch time I ran out and bought eye drops and more tissues – no luck. Finally at 2:00 I gave up. I wasn’t really working – just dabbing my nose and eye and grossing out everyone around me. I left work. Ok – here’s the scary part: I drove home holding my right eye closed. Somehow made it home safe. Laid down with a cold compress on my eye and took a little nap. Woke up – no luck. By now, I was frantic, I had to get this eye to stop tearing, not to mention the pain of what felt like a grain of sand in my eye!

As lame as it sounds, I had my hubby drive me to the emergency room. They examined my eye and saw a pinpoint that could be either a little grain of something, or an abrasion. The nurse flooded my eye with eye wash. No luck – the pain was still there. She sent me home with Vikodan and instructions to see a opthamologist in the morning.

But here’s the thing…

I kept thinking about Broad Street. As one of the  nurses was leaving for the night everyone was wishing her luck at Broad St. The nurse who was treating me talked about how much fun she had when she ran Broad St. The patient in the bed next to me mentioned that her son was running it.

As the nurse sent me home she asked if I had any questions. I just asked how long it would take to heal. She said there’s no definite answer, maybe a week. My husband asked the question that I didn’t want to ask because I knew the answer.   “She’s supposed to run Broad St. Should she?” The nurse gave me the answer I knew she would and then explained all the reasons why it was a bad idea. But as a Broad Street veteran, I think she felt my pain because she added, if you’re just doing it for fun, and not running for a time, and use common sense and quit if you start feeling too bad, you can try it.  Then she added professionally, “but I would not recommend it.”

So I went home, feeling not much better. I was determined to run, but didn’t think I would bother if I was still in the same condition. I went home, put my eyedrops in and took my Vikodan. As I fell asleep to Action News showing film of runners picking up there race bibs at the expo I  said a little prayer that the next day my eye would be miraculously better…

… and it was! The eye was still a little swollen from all the irritation the day before, but it got better and better as the day went on. And I knew as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning that either  the “grain of sand” was gone or the abrasion had healed, but my prayer was definitely answered.

No tears today! Just smiles that we’re ready ro run!

So, I’m not too nervous tonight. Just grateful that my prayer was answered and  happy that I’ll have a chance to be out there running tomorrow – running down Broad Street! Now that’s better than a stick (or even a tiny little speck of sand) in the eye!