Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Forward Motion AKA Run Girl RUN!

He said, "Yeah, you're a late-stage pronator".

I said, "Uhhh...Whaaa??"

The curly-headed, big-eyed clerk at the running store reminded me of a cross between a really tall minion and the comedian Carrot Top with the largeness of his eyes being in direct correlation with the seriousness of his tone.  It was all I could do to squelch the urge to joke about my condition being contagious, but I have a feeling it would have been met with a curly-headed, big-eyed blank stare and total silence.

You would think that because he is a "SERIOUS" runner, all those miles would have equated to some heavy-duty endorphin action in his system.  Just sayin...

He proceeded to explain my flat-arched predicament and how my right foot turns in just a bit too much at the end of my stride.  I just kept nodding and smiling like I had a clue.  I really wanted to ask him to find a pair that makes me look a little more like Florence Griffith Joyner when I run and a little less like Big Bird with a red wagon filled with his body weight in Oreos roped around his foot being chased by Cookie Monster.

"THESE PARTICULAR SHOES might correct your problem", he continued.  "They could quite possibly and simultaneously not only help your recent knee issues but also push chocolate to the top of the Government food pyramid where it rightfully belongs, bring about world peace and persuade Kim K to rethink the weird baby name." 

"SOLD!"  I shouted.

Did his very serious explanation confirm my very serious concern that I, indeed, was just not part of "the club" anymore?  Ummm...Does Wendy Davis know how to filibuster?

My first attempt to turn myself into something resembling a runner happened a couple of years ago (Trot Forrest Trot) but as life became a little more intense, the running became a little more distant until it was finally once again something only others did, as I watched from the sidelines.

Until now that is.  I suppose it is a forward motion thing.

The moment has come to move forward in life, in thought, in faith, and yes even in running.  Is the running really just about the running?  Of course not.  It never is.  It is however about the attempt, the letting go and the moving on; not running from but running toward.  What the "toward" is well, that is completely up to you, me, or even Carrot Top at the running store.

Now, I wonder if the running store has those pink Mizunos?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Yeti Fears and Pink Fluff Perspective

When I turn on the cold and hot lately at my kitchen sink there is a sound resulting from the faucet that I can only imagine is similar to a noise a yeti would make if, in fact, a yeti actually utters any type of audible sound.  Hearing the noise is slightly disconcerting each time because I tend to forget about it from one turn of the tap to the next (and consequently forget to mention it to Daddy Owl who will most definitely say it is air in the pipe or some such thing), so hearing it each time is like hearing "aaa aaa aaa aaa" (do not judge me people - you try to figure out how to to type yeti) for the first time again which makes me think of 100-foot scary furry creatures jumping out at me on dark country roads with a half-human, half-gorilla face, like on that cable show I watched, and that frightens me ever so slightly.

To make myself feel better, I silently try to scientifically justify the non-existence of yetis while slowly turning off the tap.  I mean short of the beast-like characterizations from Star Wars or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, how do we even know that yetis actually exist to make any sound anyway?  Was that a yeti in Star Wars?  I believe the creature in Rudolph was actually referred to as the "Abominable Snowman".  Who are they trying to kid?  He was a yeti.  He scared me when I was 8 and nothing much has changed in the last forty years.

I have to say that aside from the yetis, not much frightens me.  OK, that is a lie.

I have unmitigated fear of most things including but not limited to:  big dogs chasing me, guns, snakes, snakes with guns, New Jersey, asteroids, those fish they discovered with human teeth, panic from not being able to find pink fluff cotton candy for sale anywhere in the DFW/metroplex area to fill the cute little grey chevron bags for a baby shower I recently hosted, flying while in airplanes, flying while para-sailing (don't ask), those  "elephant hook" people protesting outside of Ringling Brothers several years ago (BET THEY HAD PINK COTTON CANDY), roller coasters, boats, anything that moves, floats or is up high, etc.  Hmmm...I am now beginning to understand why "no fun" is a commonly used phrase when being described by others.

Mama Finch Disclaimer:  I should explain that I am not actually afraid of the entire geographical state of New Jersey.  I'm sure it is a lovely place and the residents are fine U.S. citizens with many wonderful qualities.  I am just hesitant concerning a few of its elements like well....Snooki and all those housewives and their hair.  I kid you not when I say that I once cowered in the corner of a Burger King on a visit afraid to open my mouth to place our order in fear that my Texas accent would be discovered and the entire cast of Saturday Night Fever, who seemed to be dining there that day, might in fact envelope me with their gold chains and then proceed to talk at me with THEIR accent. Scary...

Silliness aside, one of my real fears actually happened to the residents of Moore, Oklahoma last week.  I was finally able to explain to my husband, who did not grow up in a tornado prone area, why the involuntary pacing starts when the phrase "tornado warning" is issued and there is talk of wall clouds, super cells and "hook echoes".  Each time the sirens sound, the possibility of the monster is there.  The monster that leaves you no where to hide and can take away what is most important.  

Just ask those who had no choice but wait out the night to find out if their children were dead or alive in the rubble.  Just ask those parents in Moore having to face the true nightmare of burying their children this week.  Just ask those whose worst fears came true.  This is what stays with me and makes all the rest, the yetis, the snakes, the cotton candy seem like nothing more than the pink fluff it really is.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Big Machine AKA Life as We Know It

As I write this, I'm listening to some of the music that assist in keeping my sanity intact at times. The present assistance would be from the Goo Goo Dolls.  That's right.  Some grandmas, like yours truly, enjoy the occasional Goo tune as well as Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N' Roses, etc. and from what I remember from Psych 101, because of my musical choices, Erikson might be ever so slightly confused as to which life stage Mama Finch is actually perched in.

That's OK Erik, Mama Finch doesn't even know which life stage Mama Finch is in most of the time.  Daddy Owl does not throw out the occasional Dodo Bird reference for nothing you know.

Life stages are funny like that.  Sometimes they are well defined.  We know exactly where we are, where we are going, blah, blah, blah, and sometimes, well...not so much.

It is a tough go watching my children as they go through all their various stages.  I sit and  watch their struggles and have no real answers.  I just want to make it all better, but I can't.  A couple of them tackling real adult issues and figuring out what being a grown-up in a tough world really means, one trying his best to make the transition into fatherhood and provider, one who is contemplating future choices while being thrust into the world head first ready or not, and one who just really, really, really wants a turtle.

Now you understand why I listen to tunes.  Confusion - 5, Sanity - 0.

Will someone please turn up the music and direct me to the nearest pet store?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Good and Evil

Let's just call it what it is.  This week I mean.  This week has just plain sucked.  It has sucked not only for America, not only for Boston, not only for Texas, but for...humanity.

Let's all just breath now, shall we?

Evil gave a sucker punch right into the rock bottom gut of innocence, goodness and the inherent hope that we all cling to, whether we admit it or not and before we could recover our collective breath from the horrific events in Boston, another punch was thrown right down the highway from where I sit now.  Thrown while families were having dinner, children were complaining about their homework, and someone was getting ready for the night shift.

West, Texas is only 68 miles from where we live.  We have driven by it a million times down I-35 on our way toward Austin, San Antonio and all points south.  The only thing I really know about West is its kolaches, Czech heritage and slightly confusing name.  I may not know much about West, but that's OK.  I know enough.

I know it's spirit was attacked last night.

At the risk of sounding all flighty, Mama Finch does like her soapbox and now my friends her feathers are ruffled.

Evil is a coward.  It waits until backs are turned and eyes are closed.  It takes great delight in knocking us down when we least expect it and laughs when we cry for mercy.  It's darkness rejoices the most in the suffering of the truly innocent, the good, the hopeful, the faithful.  Evil rejoiced in Boston on Monday and laughed in West last night.  Evil is the worst kind of coward there is.

But even evil knows the truth.  It will continue its darkness knowing full well it will not last and that its days are numbered. The time will come that it will be forced to look us in the eye and admit the truth.

Until that day we will pray.  For Boston, for West, for humanity.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mr. Dickens and an Orphaned Grammy

One year ago, the town we live in had a tornado blow through causing much damage and chaos.  In the past sixty-five days, I have felt a somewhat similar but altogether different storm travel straight through the nest blowing our lovely birdbrains and scattering our conscious and unconscious thought processes hither and yon. Did I really just say "hither and yon".  Wow, how old am I?  Anyhoo, this storm is one in in which taking cover and/or flying south may not be viable options, especially since Mama Finch's wings have not been worked out as of late and their flap-worthiness is questionable at best.

It has taken all of the twelve months since the tornado for those in our community with damages, both mental and physical, to begin to recover.  As of this Monday, it will have taken only sixty-five days for yours truly to become an orphan and a Grammy.  Uh whaaa?

A couple of days before my dad died, when we knew it was just a matter of time, Baby Chick asked me most sincerely if when his pawpaw died, would I then be an orphan considering I had already lost my mother years before.  When you are 9 and your entire universe up to that point revolves around your own parents, his wondering becomes valid.  So there you have the orphan part.

The Grammy part?  That's a whole different story.

Our second male child, the one which should be coming up on the conclusion of his freshman year of college, will instead begin a new journey this Monday as a dad and hence (OK, seriously?), I become a Grammy and Daddy Owl becomes a "Sir".  No, really.  That is what he wants to be called.  Don't ask.

Hawkeye and his girl have decided to dive into grown-up land at warp speed and welcome a  new baby girl next week.  We are truly thrilled about the new little life and our move into grandparent grandeur and the land of babydom, just not so much about the timing of the situation, but what are you gonna do?  Life happens, you move on, and lessons are learned.  At least we hope they are.

So there you have how I became an orphan AND a Grammy in the span of sixty-five days.  There have been many other things going on but for the moment this orphaned Grammy has not the energy for more. “Please, sir, I want some..."  Uh no...thanks Mr. Dickens, we're good.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Death-defying.  Now there’s a phrase that will grab your attention.

I have never understood those who believe you are not “REALLY LIVING” until you are jumping from a plane at 10,000 feet, riding the world’s fastest, steepest, most heart-stopping roller coaster, or taking a daring little sprint alongside a few gore-happy bulls in Spain.  What exactly are they trying to prove?  As Mama Finch does not like anything that is too high, that goes too fast or that may result in her immediate demise, she just doesn't get it.

Is not everyday life frightening enough for some folks?  Did no one explain to these people when they were mere chicks in the nest that darting in front of cars or jumping off the roof in a misguided attempt to fly may not be a preferable method of extending ones life?  Why do we allow a few “devil may care” attention-seeking thrill-junkie Houdinis, (who, I believe, were most likely dropped on their heads as infants), to define what really living means for the rest of us?  They have apparently not chaperoned a third-grade field trip as of late.That is a fear-inducing time there.

I very recently lost my own dad, so obviously his death has been on my mind lately.  More specifically, I have been pondering exactly how facing his impending death (as well as my mother’s ten years earlier) square in the face and getting down that first steep terrifying coaster drop of child-like fear actually helped change my perspective on the entire ugly affair.

The anticipation of hearing the clickity-clack momentum of the cars slowly lurching up the track, the knowing of what is inevitably coming will always bring the breath-defying, white-knuckle fear that will exist, no matter how old, experienced, or tough one is perceived to be .  Once you reach the end of the fall however, the scary slows down just a little and you stay on that ride because you know you have to stay seated until it comes to a complete stop.  The sign and the teenaged attendant say so.

Okay - here's the kicker:  Once the experience is over and the safety bar lifted, (assuming of course that you did not run screaming like a banshee for the entrance or were not left hanging over the side vomiting) you and your jello-like legs step out realizing no matter how unavoidable death may be, its defining boundary of inevitability should not paralyze but rather provide the inspirational kick-start needed to “really live” right now and I don't mean by jumping out of airplanes or running with the bulls no matter what Hemingway thought.

As the old saying goes, life is short.  We should use death as a reminder to live each moment with mindful purpose, making the most of our presence in the world while realizing what a gift life is and most importantly how much time we waste each and every day trying to defy death rather than live life.  There is a difference.

No, you will never find Mama Finch attempting outrageous stunts or seeking death-defying thrills in order to validate her life.  Well, unless you consider a trip to Wal-Mart a little scary.  I know I do.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Did Not Know It Then

Life is fleeting and time is fragile.  Handle both with care.

Christmas Eve my family and I visited my Dad.  While we walked, I held his arm to steady his steps.  I would not know it then, but it would be the last time I would see him walk.

Last Wednesday I guided his lunch spoon while he shakily scraped at his plate, occasionally scooping up the food myself and then handing it back so that he could feed himself, because he still had dignity.  I would not know it then, but it would be the last time I would see him eat.

Thursday the final downturn that had always been expected had begun and by Saturday I held his hand while his body fought.  I would not know it then, but it would be the last time I would hold my Daddy's hand.

He fought hard but was tired.  Sunday afternoon he left us.  Just like that.  The normal that had always been and the constant his very existence provided died right along with him.

Never take those closest to your heart for granted.

To read more about my Dad's journey:

Make Mine Pastrami Please
Stories to Tell