Monday, November 20, 2017

Adventures in Thankfulness - Day 1

Looking back on the past eleven days, I can hardly believe I’m now on the other side of the whirlwind and am heading toward Thanksgiving. Although they have become quite popular, I have avoided participating in the daily thankful/grateful posts on Facebook. This is not because I have a shortage of things for which I am thankful or because I don’t like social media trends; on the contrary, I have an abundance of things to be thankful for, and I am what my students might call “extra” and am quick to jump on trendy posts on social media. It's more that I would like to see some of the thankfulness spread throughout the year than concentrated in daily posts, yet as I reflect on what has been going on in my life lately, there is so much I wish to share. Maybe someone who reads this is going through a similar journey and can find comfort in our shared experience.
Or maybe not. One night when I still worked at LSMSA, a few of my residents and I spent over an hour eating pancakes (we had a weekly event called Pancake Tuesday) and taking Buzzfeed quizzes, and I’m pretty sure I scored 20% on the “How Basic Are You?” one. Maybe I am just letting that 20% shine. Either way, I have more words to say than I initially thought, so I am breaking this into a four day special of recent adventures from my life.

Day 1 – November 10 – This was an early morning for me because I wanted to go out for breakfast before my big test. Richard took me to Strawn’s Eat Shop where I ordered my traditional Wimbledon Waffle (a waffle covered with fresh strawberries and a heap of fresh whipped cream, not the stuff from a can) but added a side of bacon because I could. If it’s not a morning when I am up early for a run, Richard has usually been at work for an hour or so before I am even taking a shower, so we rarely have breakfast together. This was a treat for my stomach and for my soul.

Then, I took the GRE. After months of talking about the test, studying vocabulary words (and forcing those words on the people around me), and reminding myself that when a right triangle is inscribed in a circle, the hypotenuse is equal to the diameter of the circle, I finally took the test. I barely finished the essays and proofread them in the 30 minute windows. I thought for sure my practice tests had failed me when my first math section was not as easy as I expected. I feared the worst when my second verbal section was easier than expected. (The test is adaptive, so the second section seeming easy means either (a) the questions actually got easier because you blew the first section or (b) the questions only seem easy because you studied effectively.) There were moments of self-talk during the exam where I had conversations with myself like, “This is not going well. But I’m in the middle of the exam, so if I quit now, it’s really not going to go well.”

In the end, I scored higher than I did on all but one of my practice exams. Huge sigh of relief. Richard and I celebrated that evening by watching several episodes of Stranger Things on Netflix and having tacos and champagne for dinner, because I love tacos, and champagne is the customary beverage of celebration. I’m pretty sure I wore my pajamas while we did this, and it was a wonderful Friday night. I am definitely in that stage of life where I would generally prefer to relax on Friday night than go out and party, but if tacos and pajamas are involved, there is almost no chance I am going out of the house.

I’m thankful that the test is over, that I scored well, and that my husband not only supports me but wants to celebrate when something good happens in my life. I’m also thankful for the roof we have over our heads and that our home is exactly the place we want to be with each other, even on Friday night.

Day 2 – November 11 – I ran a 20 kilometer trail race (Run Caney) in Minden, LA with my new-ish friend Megan. We started the morning at Waffle House with the GOATS (members of our local trail group, Get On A Trail Shreveport), because everyone knows a greasy breakfast and a few cups of mediocre coffee are essential to trail running success. Sometimes. This race was a good way to test out the trails before a big race Megan and I are doing soon; additionally, it was an awesome day for the GOATS to get out and run together, as the majority of the participants in the race were GOATS members! I love being on the trails, even if the risk of tripping and falling is significantly higher than it is on the road. While I typically run alone, I have started to enjoy running with other people in the past year or so, and I especially love having company on the trail. Megan and I work well together as trail buddies because we run about the same pace, but she’s also great at talking and telling stories, so I can be a little distracted while we run. (Fortunately, I only tripped and stumbled…twice maybe. I didn’t fall at all!)

For the last hour or so that we were running, Megan and I were wondering and hoping that there would still be Subway sandwiches at the finish line when we were done; we wondered this aloud several times. When we finished, several of the GOATS were waiting to cheer us in, and Paul said, “They’re checking to see if y’all won anything!” I laughed in his face, and he said, “No really!” As it turns out, Megan and I placed second in our age groups and left with medals to prove it. BOOM. (Oh, and there were sandwiches left. Phew.)
Megan and me coming in for the finish of the Run Caney 20K. I love to raise my arms and leap over finish lines in victory.

After a shower and quick lunch with Richard, I spent the afternoon at Rhino coffee drinking their coffee (local and better than WaHo) and working on my novel for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I have been behind all month and am now even more behind, but that’s okay. Afterward, I got a manicure so my nails would look nice for my grad school visit.

I’m thankful for the body and the things it allows me to do (including digest a greasy breakfast while running trail), for running and the joy and friends it brings me, and for lazy afternoons entertaining my ideas for novels. In the spirit of Veterans Day, I'm also thankful for the men and women who have served our country and made it so I can spend my Saturdays this way if I choose.