KHP – Hello!!

KHP - A shot at sunset of the Susquehanna River in downtown Harrisburg, PA.

KHP – A shot at sunset of the Susquehanna River in downtown Harrisburg, PA.

Hello to my dear blog partners. I have missed you terribly! Wow, we are a month out from our last post and our huge accomplishment of going 365 days together. It was such an amazing challenge. As I move away from the experience, I am realizing what I got out of it and how I developed over the year. It was not necessarily my end goals planned. In fact I think it is a bit richer than I had imagined and I had high hopes! Last year was a tough year full of challenges, loss, stress and disappointments. I am so glad I had this blog and my blogmates to help pull me through.
This past month I slept a lot, I made lots of baked goods, and caught up on little odds and ends I had pushed aside. I have not been going as hard as I did last year but I am sure things will ramp back up. I just needed a little quiet time after a big accomplishment.
I say quiet time but so much is happening and has happened this month. I once again covered the Eat, Sleep, Run, Grown women’s seminar. I am heading out this morning to gallery sit for the Penn’s Wood Printmakers show at the Icefest. I started a new long term contract position which could end up turning into a permanent position. Two of my classes filled and one of them is a new course to me.
The course that is new to me is a Web Publishing class. Our second project is on developing a website using WordPress.com. I started my new blog Scattered n Split as an example for my class and as a way to jump start my motivation. I have been a bit to relaxed with my art making and my workouts over the past month. It is starting to make me feel down and out. So I joined a gym to help my workouts along. The weather here in Pennsylvania with Polar Vortex has not been conducive for outdoor workouts. With my new blog, the gym and a bit of structure I should be able to get my act in gear. It was fun having a month off too float around but it is time to get back to business. I am glad that KR is blogging too and I can still follow her life.  Her blog Mama on the Run will be full of fabulous, well researched tips plus she will make you smile. I hope Claire will post as well so I can stay in touch and read her amazing work.  She is an incredibly talented writer. Our connection and day to day interactions was the best thing that came out of our year together. I will miss that and cherish it always.

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Kristen R: Mama on the Run

Well, now that it’s February, I am finally ready to set some goals for myself. Without them, I’ve realized, I just float and don’t have any real direction. My running isn’t focused — even with a half marathon less than a month away. The writing habit is all but gone. I need focus.

And since I’m no longer making it daily, or really since I’m just making it daily in a new way, I’ve decided to continue blogging. I’m going solo tackling my life as a Mama on the Run. I’m using it, for now at least, as a countdown to 40 and a way to make sense — and fun — of my crazy adventures in marriage, motherhood and the corporate world.

Please follow along — visit and comment often. I will miss blogging with KHP and Claire, but I can tell that without our daily pact, I will let myself float along. I’m hoping a blog devoted strictly to all things running — without doing every single day! — will keep me motivated and focused.

We shall see!

Gotta run,
Kristen R.

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Claire: The Darkness of January

The albatross is a potent symbol in literature, but as seen here, dead due to the ingestion of a crazy amount of trash, it is an even more potent one.

I am trying to find a poem. I’m suffering badly from PMS today and can’t retreat as there are things and people to tend to, but I want to put some of the thoughts down anyway.
I know it’s dark as it is, but that’s the nature of these things, isn’t it?

Darkness

We fall into habits, and sometimes out.

A kiss before leaving every morning, at first spontaneous,

thrown lovingly my way, a gentle peck on the cheek.

That was then, the old marriage, and somewhere along the line,

the kisses stopped coming.

I mourned each kiss then,

but it’s not something that can be brought back

once someone chooses to withdraw it.

***

After days of wearing each other out,

winding and waiting after another fight

in the new marriage,

a gesture: a hot water bottle filled and warm in his spot

for when he comes to bed.

We are gentle now, delicate and wary,

and when he says he will know the state of my love

by whether the bottle is there,

I wince,

remembering the old leavings.

He is teasing and present and means to hold me.

But I think, the gestures cannot become things that we must do;

they cannot be something owed,

to prove love is still there.

The gestures change, and it is right that they do.

Yet they become messages, signs, roads toward or away;

they cannot help but become so,

weighted as they are in the rituals of familiarity.

***

As I lie tucked into the warm spaces

of a shared bed and love,

this is what I wonder about the albatross,

dead and rotting with trash spilling from its guts:

Which was the piece that killed it,

and how did it feel to swallow each one before it,

taut and sharp with its bright plastic poison?

Is it fortitude that keeps it seeking more?

Or folly to keep foraging when inside,

hard and pinching warnings shift and slide?

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KHP – The Process of Learning

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

As we wrap up this year of Making it Daily and begin a new, it is time to look back and lay out plans for the big spring forward for 2014. I am sitting here in front of my computer on New Year’s Day thinking of the difference in feelings from this year to last. Last year I was so excited and thrilled about the prospect of this process. I was thinking of all the projects I would create, the PR’s I would gain, how tight my abs would be by the end of the year and how mind-blowing my portfolio was going to end up. I was nervous about the creative writing aspect but I wondered how writing regularly would change my feelings towards it. I was not sure what to expect out of the ride but I had definite outcomes in mind.

This year was full of challenges from unexpectedly taking the very rigorous Online Academy, a lot of sickness for me and my family, my mother-in-law retired, my freelance work tripled, I started coaching, I taught a new class, and my sister-in-law lost a long battle against cancer. This is life, life happens around you goals, life fills in and is organic and we can only do our best to plan, schedule and morph along with the ebbs and flows. I guess as I get older I realize that we are just passengers on a boat ride and we can guide and direct but you never really know if a storm is going to hit or if you will end up in a rough rapid just hoping and praying you will come out on the other end.

Where did my boat take me on this stretch of water in 2013? Well I certainly had my share of rough rapids but I had a pretty fun ride too. I had a lot of moments and events that ran together in perfect sequence when things could easily have gone south. I may have not created the quantity of quality work I had planned on but I did create work that I am happy with. I see more of a vision into where I want to go creatively and conceptually.

As I moved through these past few years I have pushed myself, pushed the limits of what can be completed in a day and lived without sleep. What has come clear to me this year is that this not healthy to sustain for long periods of time. Sleep, rest and fun need to be part of our health plan. This last semester of the blog I have really forced myself to control my stress and try my hardest to take down time and sleep even if I don’t feel like I have time.

The boat took me down a windy stretch of river this year and feel deep down in my heart that 2014 will bring me to smoother waters. I am sure I will find myself in with crazy stretches but that is what keeps the ride interesting and at times fun.

What I got out of this year is really more than what I mentioned above. What I received is a forum to connect with women who I love. I got to keep up with their lives, their trials, and their joys. I was able to see them meet challenges, achieve their goals and meet challenges with grace, kindness and dignity. They helped me do the same. As I move forward into 2014. I want to keep this connection, to develop it further and nurture it.

As far as my art, photography, fitness goals are concerned. I have a few targets I would like to list.

  • I really want to start getting back into an integrated mixed media.
  • I would love to start creating a consistent body of work. I have some good beginnings from this year.
  • I would like to start a 365 photo a day for fun.
  • I want to continue analog drawing.
  • I will continue my yoga practice.
  • I will focus more on cross training.
  • I will work with the core, hamstring and hip exercises that my PT created for me.
  • I want to start climbing again.
  • I want train to do pull-ups again.
  • I want to run 3-4 days a week with a 3,5,8 routine. Focusing less on high mileage but more on correct form.
  • I want to spend time researching and gathering inspiration which is just as important to art than the creation.
  • I want to start creating work about concepts that are dear to my heart.

My last thought on this year and as we move forward into a new adventure, is to emphasize what a gift friendship is in our lives.  I feel so fortunate to have Claire and KR in my life.  All of our goals are secondary to the love and support we have for one another.  I see you both as a gift in my life.  I am so proud of you both.  You have inspired me, amazed me, brought tears to my eyes and filled my soul. For that I am eternally grateful.

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Kristen R: A Year of Running (+1)

A lot can  happen in a year

So what do you do after running for 365 days in a row? Well, you run again. At least, that’s what I did today. A quick 5k to ring in the New Year — a ritual I plan to do year after year for as long as I can, as way to start the year on a healthy note.

My morning walk into work on New Year's Eve -- before getting in that last run of the year.

My morning walk into work on New Year’s Eve — before getting in that last run of the year.

Now, after a year of running, what do you say? I’m not really sure. Some of it was summed up in my last official post of 2013. As for my final run of 2013, it was a little anti-climatic, to be honest. Partly because I knew it wouldn’t be the final run of my running streak (that was today), and partly because it just felt like any other day. I went to work, came home and went for a run. Just like I had done every single day of the year.

I will admit, though, that typically, I would run after my kids went to bed, so I could squeeze in as much time with them after work as possible. But yesterday I wanted to get in my final run of the year outdoors, despite chilly temps and a lingering cold I picked up before Christmas. I wanted to finish this challenge I set out to do 365 days ago in the light of day. So that’s what I did.

And when it was done? Well, it was done. No fanfare. No high-fives. It was just the end of my year-long goal. I savored it all alone, quietly and briefly.  When I returned home, I had to quickly switch back to mommy-mode and move on to cooking dinner for my kids, asking them to quiet their usual late-afternoon giddiness, and figure out what to do with our New Year’s Eve.

But I think that’s how it should be. I didn’t do this to cross some big finish line that would mark the end of it all. I did this to change some bad habits. I was a runner before this year, I just wasn’t very consistent about it.

I captured a little bit of my final run yesterday -- a habit I think I'll continue this year.

I captured a little bit of my final run yesterday — a habit I want to continue this year.

Over the course of the year, I certainly found the consistency I was lacking. My excuse leading up to Making It Daily was that I didn’t have time to squeeze fitness into my busy days as a working mom and partner. But I do have the time. And I also have time to reflect on my life and family as well as connect quite regularly with close friends in meaningful ways.

2014 is going to be about continuing  to make time — time for my health, time for my family, and time for my two closest friends who joined me in making 2013 a year of change.

I plan to continuing blogging — weekly — and setting some new health goals, too (I’ll share those in my next post). It will serve as a way to stay connected to KHP and Claire, to see what they choose to make a daily part of their lives for 2014.

Thank you, KHP and Claire, for joining me in this. You are both strong, smart and beautiful women, mothers, partners, dear friends — and you are truly family to me. Thank you, Taylor, for your constant patience and support. What a wild year it’s been for both of us! You are the greatest partner and father, and I’m lucky to have you as my best friend to share in this life with. And thank you, readers. I have loved connecting with so many other runners this year.

Happy New Year!

Gotta run, and Friday seems like a good day to make that happen.
Kristen R.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 4.59.35 PM

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Claire: The Red Tent

The other night, Newman’s daughter invited me to go with her to a Red Tent event. The Red Tent is traditionally a gathering space for women during their time of menstruation; Red Tent gatherings more generally are structured to allow women to come together, share stories, and affirm each other in a sacred, positive space.

Newman’s daughter is currently in a transition; she is seeking healing and personal growth, and as we try to support her in her journey, we too find ourselves transitioning and growing. It is an interesting space, sometimes fraught with fear and often full of possibility. It is a liminal space, one that lies on the edges of things: past and future, danger and development. We must be attentive and present, loving and open. We must be willing to share ourselves and bring our gifts to the journey, but we also must put our own needs and desires aside when necessary.

At the Red Tent gathering, K and I sat with about 20 other women, all strangers to me, for about 3 hours. The room had been decorated to set the stage for us: a giant red umbrella swathed with red weavings, ribbons, and beautiful gauzy linings wrapped around twinkling white lights. Women sipped tea while stretching out on red floor pillows and snuggled into red blankets. A guest moved from one woman to another, painting intricate henna designs on our hands. We talked, opening up about our lives, our sadnesses, and our dreams for ourselves. We spoke of our mothers, our children, our sisters, our lovers. We listened. We acknowledged what we heard. It felt sacred and significant.

Afterwards, I thought about that gathering and how simple the formula was to create it. Create a space; set a positive and encouraging tone; invite women to participate. How can I do this more often, I wondered?

And then, of course, I made the connection.

This blog has been exactly that kind of space for me this year. On the (intentional and visionary) whim of a friend, a site was created, a place where I was welcomed, encouraged, and accepted. It was scary and exciting at the same time, and I was anxious to step up to to challenge and respond well. I stepped into this blog without knowing what it would mean to me.  It has become a sacred space for me to gather with women, share stories, open myself up, and to explore and push myself. It has been a place of affirmation, connection, reflection, and creation. In essence, it has been a personal Red Tent. I wish that every woman could find ways to create this space for herself, and it is not something I want to let go of.

In the new year, I will continue to blog here occasionally as a way to keep myself connected, motivated, honest, and in a positive place. Since I thrive with structure, I plan to post once a week, and over the course of every monthly cycle, to touch on my goals and progress. I’ve become less inclined as I get older to make big picture “resolutions” as they’re so easily broken. Forming an alliance with the Kristens, however, and working on the small picture, day by day, has helped me achieve things this year that I didn’t know I was capable of.

I, for one, would like to keep that going.

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Claire: Making it Happen

Well, it’s almost come to the end, and I promised myself that I would try to be more specific about how I would make my goals a reality next year.

In this post, I laid out goals for next year that seemed meaningful on a personal level and challenging enough without being impossible in the real day to day progression of my life. Now I want to break down for myself what I intend to do to make those goals a reality.

Woo-hoo!

1. “Break that 24 minute wall for a 5K”

My January-March fitness goal is to return to the 3x weekly running/workout schedule that motivates me when motivation is low. I have dropped off completely over the holidays, and I just want to get back to somewhat regular working out to get through the winter. When I work out 3 times a week, the minimum run is a 5k, but I can substitute a full gym class if I want. My plan is that when I can regularly run outside, I will incorporate track workouts and 5K races into my springtime routine to make my goal a reality. I hope to meet this goal sometime between April and June.

2. “Finish my vignette writing project.”

I’ve been talking to my mom about getting her started on her vision for editing and revising her writing, possibly through a shared blog, and so my plan is to work with her to set deadlines for ourselves and other strategies for getting it done, one of which is (gasp!) committing to sending the thing out to publishers, not because I think it stands a chance to actually get published, but more to keep the dream alive and force me to get it done. I actually think the process will be good for me to face my fears and realize it doesn’t matter at all if I get rejected; the process is what I will value the most.

3. “Spend some targeted time and energy re-vamping my approach to work.”

This has now evolved since I admitted to myself that I don’t want to be in this job forever. I vow to continue keeping the extra duties to a minimum, use my extra time in the spring to streamline prep for my two courses as they exist, but also try to develop a realistic five year exit plan. Steps include researching the specific logistics of my pension and reviewing/revising my savings goals, identifying other potential career paths, and looking into training programs if needed.

4. “Save and invest.”

I actually think the best way for me to save is to decrease my shopping and my need for shopping as an escape from stress and as a way to claim “me” time. Training for the half-marathon helped me see how there are lots of ways to find the same things that shopping gives me. I don’t plan on cutting it out entirely, but I do plan on cutting back significantly, starting right away. I have made progress on this goal already this year, but I think I can do even better.

5. “Be more mindful every day.”

There’s a mindfulness course a friend told me about that I’m interested in pursuing, and if it turns out not to be possible given my location or schedule or because of cost, I’m determined to practice it more in smaller, easily accessible ways. Like picking up those beading supplies I bought months ago and starting a project, for example, or working on some projects with Free that will help me tune into the present moment.

All of these goals will evolve as I go, but I’m determined to make them a reality, and I plan to use this blog space to keep me accountable. At the very least, I will do a monthly check-in to report to my blogmates and to review progress and challenges.

I’m excited about the new year and about what’s to come. Woo-hoo!

KHP Art Below

KHP - WE DID IT!!!

KHP – WE DID IT!!!

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