Category Archives: On Blending

Redefining and Refining

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So what’s next?

Its no surprise that after finishing nursing school and getting engaged in April, I’ve heard that question more than a few times this summer.

Initially, my response was, “I’m going to take boards and see where I’m at.”

Well, I took my boards (and passed, YAY!) in June, so what have I been doing since then?

I decided that I was going to take the summer off! Since I was going to have the kids for a big portion of the summer, and since we had a couple vacations planned, and since they have suffered through the last two summers with me going off to school every day, it seemed appropriate for us to have one last hurrah.  Pretty soon I will be working, and by next summer we’ll be a family of 6, so I felt I owed it to them, and to myself, to have some fun.

I took my board exam while they were on vacation with their dad in early June and that was about the end of my peace and quiet for the summer.  After that we had pool days and adventures.  We spent a few days in Kentucky at a lake house over the 4th of July where we shot off fireworks, fished, jumped in and swam off the doc, played games, ate A TON and just generally enjoyed ourselves.

A couple weeks later, we spent 10 days in Michigan with the Jacobs side.  We crammed 12 of us (my mom, brother and family, nieces and my kids) into my mom’s New Buffalo condo.  It was cozy, but we made it work.  We played Scrabble, went tubing, played on the beach and in the pool, watched sunsets, hiked up the dunes, picked blueberries, ate A TON and just generally enjoyed ourselves.  Are you sensing a theme here?  We’re Jacobs.  We like to eat.

We celebrated Silas’ 10th birthday.  We celebrated Greyson’s (my bonus kid’s) 8th birthday.  We started planning a wedding.  We took all the kids to Johnson’s Shut-ins, which they deemed the coolest place in the world, after whining the entire 1.5+ hour drive there that it wasn’t going to be worth it.  (Just a hint: It’s totally worth it!) We sent my oldest off to high school (very bittersweet!).  We watched a total solar eclipse, sadly not together, but it was absolutely stunning.  It’s been a fun, and somewhat exhausting, summer of Lindsey.

But it wasn’t all fun and games.  I spent quite a bit of time working on some projects around the house as well.  While the kids were gone in June, I spent a couple days peeling wallpaper, painting and surprised them with a makeover in their bathroom.  They loved it so much, they all stopped using my master shower and moved back into their own bathroom, that only took 5 years of living in this house.  I guess I should have done it sooner.  Unfortunately, the shift in shower usage, also revealed a leak in the pipes, resulting in a hole in my kitchen ceiling that is currently under repair.  Thanks, Roger!

The wallpaper removal has continued, with the kids’ help in the upstairs hallway, stairwell and into the front room of the house.  We recently hit a stall there, but will pick back up after these few nice days that St. Louis has for the year pass us by.  I also started a project of refinishing a couple of old chairs.  Since one of the dining room chairs busted several years back, we’re down to 5.  We need to rectify that before there are six of us sitting around the table on a regular basis.  Of course, that will also require that the dining room become a place to eat, as opposed to its current state of “craft and game room”.  Ah, well, life is all about redefining purposes, right?

Another thing that happened this summer was I spent several hours working in the yard.  This is something I always enjoyed the excuse of, “I’m in nursing school, so don’t judge my yard.”  To my dismay, it was time to let go of that excuse and dig in.  As many hours as I spent digging, you wouldn’t know it to look at it.  I’ve made a dent, but it’s a never-ending process.  Oddly, I did find it somewhat satisfying every time I filled a yard waste bag to drag to the curb for pick up on Thursdays.

You want to know what I didn’t do much of this summer?  Run.  If I got in an average of one run a week, I would be surprised.  I’ll tell you this, running in St. Louis in the summer humidity is abysmal.  Any confidence you ever had in your abilities can be wiped away as soon as you step foot out the front door on day that its 95 degrees and 95% humidity before the sun is up.  As soon as you try to make your feet move you wonder who put lead in your running shoes.  Gross.

I found that doing yoga with a background of Pandora’s Instrumental Chill station was just as productive and better for my mental health.  I’ve also found that after a long hiatus from the pool, as in the lap pool at the gym, I look forward to the soothing sound of myself blowing bubbles in the water.  Silence IS golden.  Especially when your house contains boys.  I’ve also averaged about a book a week, reading for pleasure is nice.  And it’s hard to run while reading, so I jumped on the elliptical with my book more often than not.

But between yard work and not running, here’s what I figured out.  This summer was not just about the summer of Lindsey because I got to play so much, it was more about the summer of redefining Lindsey.  I started thinking…I used to be a runner.  But does the fact that I don’t want to run because St. Louis is miserable this time of year mean that I should change the name of this blog to Rambling Swimmer Girl or Rambling Yardwork Girl?  I’m no less a runner just because I’m not as fast as I once was, or because I am only running when I feel like it and, sit down for this runner friends, WITHOUT a Garmin (Gasp!  The horror!)  I’m no less a runner when I average 5 miles a week than my friends who are posting about having a hundred-mile week…well, ok, maybe I am less a runner than them, because I literally AM running less.  A lot less.

But ya know what?  I’m ok with that.

The other day while I was sitting in a church parking lot with one of my best friends in the entire world waiting for the moon to eclipse the sun we were discussing how my relationship with running has changed.  I used to run 2 or sometimes 3 times a day.  Seriously.  It was kind of a sickness to be honest.  I had so much inner turmoil, my head and my heart were such a mess, that I felt this need to make the outside hurt just as much as the inside.  Every time I ran and pushed to the point of feeling sick.  Now I don’t think of that as particularly fun.  I told Lynn, “Running is there when I need it, but I no longer need it to be everything.”  Redefining Lindsey.

So where is the metaphor in this summer?  Because I’m RRG, and you know I’m all about metaphors.  Well, here you go.  I distinctly remember one of those days of working in the yard, I was a sweaty dirty mess in cutoff jeans that I’ve had since college and orange rain boots.  What?  I don’t want to come across some long slithery thing and have it take a stroll across my foot.  No thanks!  And besides, the one time I went out in sneakers, I ended up with poison ivy on my shin.  Grrrrrr.   Anyway, I was out there trimming hedges and gathering the clippings and pulling weeds, but it wasn’t just about making the parts you can see presentable, there were points that I was on my hands and knees digging underneath the bushes pulling out old, dead, rotted leaves that had collected in hard to reach places.  It gets nasty under there.  And I’m still bearing the battle scars of evergreens, holly plants and pricker bushes.  It got pretty ugly.  But it was necessary.  You have to clear out the crap to keep everything healthy and growing.  And it’s NEVER going to be finished, it’s always a work in progress.  There’s going to be blood, sweat and tears sometimes, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.  I guess you could pay someone to do it for you, but where is the satisfaction in that?

I am no more a gardener and no less a runner than I used to be.  I’m just RRG, doing what makes me happy.  And somedays that looks different than other days.  I will continue to redefine who I am, or maybe refine is a better word.  I’m sure I will find another race to train for in the not too distant future, but in the meantime, I’m going to leave the Garmin at home, or read my WW II novels, or whatever.

So, what’s next? The year ahead will be one with some pretty major transitions.  I’m going to start working again full time.  I’m planning a wedding.  I’m trying to finish some projects to get the house ready for 2 more.  Redefining and refining.  The leaves will fall, weeds will keep popping up, and so forth, but I’ll keep doing the best I can.

People have also been asking what exactly I want to do when I get a job.  I’ve been answering that I’m not really sure, so I’m keeping my options open.  I know I do not want to work in a nursing home, I prefer OB or Peds to geriatrics.  About a week and a half ago, I decided it was time to send out a resume with some intention, now that the summer is winding down I should start what has the potential to be a long, tedious process (like yard work?).  So, I sent a resume.  Yes, “a”. And yesterday afternoon, I was offered a job that feels completely meant to be.  Without knowing exactly what I was looking for, it is exactly what I was looking for. It doesn’t always work out that easily, but sometimes, like every 400 years or so, the sun and the moon align.  And when that happens, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

I’m a nurse.  I start September 5th.  Stay tuned for more…

When the sun and moon align

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Growing Pains

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If you’ve read any of my posts this year, you know full well that 2016 has had kind of a rough start. January was hard.  And as it drew to a close, I braced for February to be even more so.  February followed through.  And just because it didn’t think I’d seen enough, February went and threw an extra day at me.  Thanks, Leap year.

As I sit on the precipice of March, I am quite certain it will prove itself to be challenging in its own right. But I am quite certain, I will prove to be stronger.  I usually do.

Yesterday was my first race in a really long time. I had signed up for a 15k trail race back in the fall to give me a little focus through the winter months.  I’m glad to say that it definitely helped me build my mileage and give me a sense of accomplishment during these weeks that have been a somewhat blurry funk.  While I was fortunate enough to get some really beautiful days for some long runs (I made it all the way up to 10 whole miles…albeit slow miles) I never managed to get out on the trails like I had hoped.  So I went into yesterday’s event with the motto that it wasn’t going to be a “race”, but rather an “accomplishment”.

When I awoke yesterday morning feeling well rested, I marveled at how unusual that is. I typically don’t sleep well the night before a race, so perhaps there is something to be said for the lack of stress when the pressure is off and the only expectation I have of myself is to go out and have fun.

As I dressed, I took 2 things into consideration. 1. The weather was expected to start cool but warm up to 60 degrees by the time we finished.  And 2. Perhaps starting with a personal trainer at the gym on Thursday had been really bad timing.  My quads were feeling it, but I managed to make my way down the stairs slowly and gather my necessary gear.  I got a good luck text from B while I sat eating a piece of toast with peanut butter and drinking my coffee.  A few minutes later, I kissed the kids goodbye and headed off to Castlewood.

When I arrived, I had to drive to the back of the park before I found open parking. I was sitting in the car checking my phone and changing into my shoes, for about 5 minutes before I finally realized that Steve was parked right next to me.  He admitted he had even noticed my 140.6 magnet on the back of my car and thought, “Oh cool, an Ironman” but failed to recognize it was me.  We can’t even blame being up early since this race has a late start time of 10am.  We grabbed our bags and walked toward the Start/Finish area together.  When we got there, he still needed to get his bib so he went off to do that and I joined Kristen and Gerry at a nice spot in the sun.  As we stood in line for the port-a-potties, Kristen and I discussed our mutual goal of finishing this race and not requiring medical attention.  Beyond that, we both hoped to finish in under 2 hours.  I knew she would probably smash that, even with the muddy trail conditions due to a typical Midwestern snow storm that hit mid-week and was completely melted making the trails nice and sloppy.

Our group grew as others showed up, Tony, Wes, Roberto and Brian (Laiderman, to avoid confusion). Even Shane and Heather who weren’t racing had run the Al Foster trail over to say hi and bid us all a good race.  I waved to several other familiar faces and I found myself smiling.  A lot.  It felt good.  As race time drew nearer, we had begun asking “Where are Nick and Andrea?” but we all know that Nick runs on his own time frame, so we banked on the fact that Andrea would get them there before the gun went off.  We were correct.  As we all gathered and determined that we were primarily split between waves 6 and 7, we decided to all start together in 7, with the exception of Nick, Steve and Brain who are faster than the rest of us.  I was just glad to have friends to run with, especially in the beginning.  It made it feel less like a race, and more like a typical Saturday at Castlewood.  When our turn came, it didn’t take long for our group to spread out.  We basically ice-skated across the muddy field and came to Lone Wolf hill which I haven’t run in ages.  I had been chatting with Andrea and we made it up most of the hill before we decided not to overdo it right off the bat.  I had planned that this “race” might be more of a glorified hike.  We got up to the bluff, veered right and carefully made our way down the switchbacks toward the creek.  We ran along the creek and at about 2.5 miles we came up on the aid station.  I grabbed a cup of water from Gerry, half expecting it to be Tequila.  Fortunately, it went down smooth, it was water.  We crossed the road and instead of taking Cardiac Hill we went right to go up the switchbacks.  Thank God!  It was shortly after that when I gave a quick glance over my shoulder and saw that several people had snuck in between me and Andrea.  Rather than stop where there isn’t really room to do so, I just kept going  and figured we would find each other somewhere on the course.  The next few miles were a lot of sloppy ups and downs.  At one point a young kid was running by me and I heard someone ask him how old he was. “12” he answered.  The lady right in front of me said, “My 12 year old is at home asleep”.  I responded, “My 13 year old is home watching my boys.  She got the tougher job today.”  We chatted some before she ultimately let me pass to run down the hill faster than she was comfortable with.

A little while later, as I made my way back up, my shoe had come untied, so as I stopped to make adjustments, a passing runner asked, “Everything ok?” And I realized it was Tim. So we walked up hill together, agreeing that neither of us had been on trails in way too long, but we couldn’t have asked for a better day.

About halfway through the race, with the temperature rising, the sun shining through the trees, the mud puddles splashing around me on trails where I have so many great memories, it occurred to me, this is like Homecoming, in the middle of winter. It was so perfect, I couldn’t stop smiling as I jumped over familiar roots and ran down hill with reckless abandon. My park was saying, “Welcome Home”.

With 6 miles down, I knew I would easily finish under the 2 hour goal I had set for myself. So I continued to enjoy myself.  At 7 miles, I was almost sad that there were only a couple miles left.  My quads were a different story, lamenting how much I had put them through in less than 48 hours.  At about 8 miles, we came back around to the aid station Gerry was at.  I tossed my gloves to him and said to a runner right over my shoulder, “It’s time to get wet!” and I plowed through the creek.  The cold water felt good, but it made my already heavy shoes feel even heavier.  I knew I didn’t have much farther to go, so I shook it off and just ran.  I passed a lot of folks in that last mile.  As we came around the field into the finish, I had my sights on the guys ahead of me, I made a push to pass him.  I caught him, but I felt another guy off my other shoulder trying to catch me.  I sped up.  He sped up.  I sped up again.  He sped up again. He was a step in front of me.  I took back the lead.  It was a photo finish.  But it was fun having that little bit of competition right at the very end.  And because I am who I am, I wasn’t going to let some guy in a green headband come from behind and beat me.  I said, “Nice race” and then I easily sauntered over to where Tony was standing, while green headband went hands to knees to catch his breath.  I may have been smirking. (Read: I was definitely smirking)

A minute or so later I saw Nick heading toward the finish line to cheer Andrea in. I walked over with him.  I said to him, “My face hurts from smiling.”  A more than 9 mile trail race I had just completed and my face is what I noted was hurting.  I’m a weirdo.

When Andrea crossed we walked over to the pavilion to enjoy the benefits of the post race party. We stood in line for our food and then found a spot at a picnic table in the sun.  Other members of our clique eventually joined us.  We ate, and drank, and laughed and caught up.  And my face still hurt from smiling.  As I sat there amidst my crew of friends that I haven’t seen nearly enough lately, it occurred to me that I felt like ME again.  The fog had finally lifted.  Even if only temporarily the hard had disappeared.

Everything about yesterday made me so happy. Being with friends that I love dearly in a place that feels like home with the sun shining on me while doing my favorite thing in the world.  I was so full of gratitude I thought my heart might explode.

As things started to die down and we all had to go our separate directions, I decided to walk back to the car, rather than wait for Steve who was going to ride back with Brian. He had pulled his jeep up to the pavilion but was busy saying good-bye to, um, everyone.  I knew exactly what would happen, and sure enough, just as I got back to the car, I heard cat calls from behind me.  They had arrived at exactly the same time.

The three of us were single file driving out of the park. I honked at Dan, who wasn’t able to run but came to hang out with us anyway. And I left Castlewood, with the windows down, the sun shining, and my face hurting from smiling.  I said softly to myself, “I needed this.  I needed this so much.”

I arrived home to find B helping Silas make a “super suit” out of cardboard boxes, construction paper and toilet paper rolls. Everyone was in good spirits.

B asked, “How was it?”

“It was perfect.” I responded, “It was exactly what I needed.”

“That’s what I was hoping,” he said.

 

Today was another absolutely gorgeous day. This morning the kids wanted to get donuts and go to the park, how could I say no to that?  There is this amazing new park just up the road from us and its set right in the middle of the woods.  It’s so unbelievably cool.  I sat on a bench with my coffee watching my kids play.  I could feel my frustrations wanting to come back and anxiety over the week ahead trying to creep back in.  No, I thought, just no.  I lifted my face to the sun and thought, “In this moment, right now, things are good.  I will not worry about what hasn’t happened yet, or the things I can’t do anything about. In this moment, things are good.”

A few minutes later, Ally came and sat with me. She was sharing her frustration with trying to plan out our day, but not getting much of a straight answer from those we were trying to plan with.  And we were talking through some things.

I said to her, “Well, adjustments are hard.”

She said, “But I’m happy, I mean I’m glad to have this new (adjustment)”…

“I know,” I said, “but even good change is an adjustment. Even good change can be hard.  It just takes time. That’s why it’s called ‘Growing pains’.”

She nodded in agreement and put her arm around my shoulders. We sat there in the sun, smiling.  And I realized that all this smiling, has made my heart hurt a little less.  It doesn’t mean March will be easy, but in this moment, right now, things are good.  Things are very good.

Typical

Typical

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