Running Solo

Most runners nowadays have to run solo because of the restrictions in place over the Corona Virus. I just read this encouraging article from Runner’s World I want to share for those of you feeling discouraged about all the events cancelled in light of social-distancing: https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a31737816/how-to-run-by-yourself/?source=nl&utm_source=nl_rnw&utm_medium=email&date=032220&utm_campaign=nl19785516&utm_term=RNW_Paywall_Newsletter_List

Other circumstances forced me to slow down my running habit to a near trickle–my diagnosis of Urticaria (chronic hives) in recent months. I was hoping to work my way back to the goals I had achieved, such as running 5 and 10K’s at a pace I was happy with. Now, even if I want to, my efforts might become limited as it is some places, such as Spain, where apparently running outdoors is against the law. I’m grateful I have a jogging buddy in my husband Ryan; we run in the early morning hours when there seem to be few of our neighbors out. We don’t have indoor running equipment such as a treadmill, but we do have a stationary rower and bike. But there’s nothing like running freely in the outdoors, and I think I’ll take advantage of this freedom while I have it. For your other running-lovers, what are you doing to compensate for the loss of running events and running partners/groups?

Release of Giving Up the Ghost

My book is officially released today. Please visit my store to order direct. Cheers!

First Reading

I read from my book for the first time last night, at our first open mic of the year. I chose the first piece “Day of No Dead” because it isn’t too long or too short. When I got to the part about memories returning without effort, “her left leg trembling. The shock I felt at seeing her head nearly bald…Bending over to kiss her cheek,” and especially at this moment: “seeing dismembered strands of hair strewn on the pillow,” I choked up. I paused, tried to contain myself, almost didn’t go on. I couldn’t believe it–a rush of emotions completely through me off, un-beckoned, most likely repressed for too long much as a buoy forced underwater popping up unexpectedly. Perhaps it was guilt I had openly confessed in this piece–of mourning more for a lost pet than for a dying sibling. Or tangentially, still grieving over my father’s death one year and two months ago now. My relationships with both were not “typical,” whatever that means. As I ponder it now, I had conflicted feelings about both, which according to Zazen Buddhism, is essentially more about me than about them. I feel the loss of my father more strongly because I was in closer contact with him than with my sister. In his musings on the Singularity, Kurzweil claims that you really do lose a part of yourself when someone you love dies, the pattern of thought tied to that person. That part of your mind atrophies. And so I had lost touch with my sister long before she literally died. Yet memories of our youth filed deeply away, still within reach. Of course, when I read the part about seeing her shriveling body–a traumatic sight–it triggered all sorts of sadness, anger, misery, and confusion over what I was losing–a component of my lingering childhood and adolescence. You cannot cut ties just like that, no one can. And when you try, all the more mired you become, like trying to erase the stench of a dead skunk. I nearly stopped reading, but my kind audience, particularly a current student in English who had also read a brief but sweet poem about feelings. She said, “You can do it.” And I did. I had to forgive myself for indulging, I swallowed and went on to the finish, encouraged by kind faces of those enduring my long-winded essaying on the necessity of obituaries, and their overall failure to encapsulate any life.

Book shipment arrived!

Preorder my first book Giving Up the Ghost (and other Hauntings) at my store.

Runner’s Log: Before Going Mad and Retiring as a Running Monk

Illustrated Book

Memories of Death

Here I subject dreams on the first year anniversary of my father’s death to the plot of narrative:

In my dreams, I walked down the street with a group of strangers, and we glimpse a tidal wave and scream. I pinch the waist of a woman and apologize. We brace ourselves to be swallowed up by crashing waves, but somehow the waves stop short and when we turn around I shout “Look at the beautiful stingrays and they fall from the sky raining down, not hitting any of us to our surprise. Then robot humans descend and step out of their costumes; again we scream with gratefulness–our saviors. A castle appears, opens its doors and we wonder, was this all a hoax to get us to enter this carnival of delights? Or had the tidal wave been real? We were just lucky to have survived and the men in costumes just so happened to arrive–serendipitously–so that the near tragedy of death by tidal wave could be transformed from to fancy simply by coinciding with the sudden appearance of a castle from the sky?

*

Music with hard drum beats and rapid rhythms plays while we hastily clean out Papa’s house now that the morgue has taken his body away.

Soft lilting melodies (like the Titanic theme) play when we are sorrowful, when we weep in our own way in solitude.

*

Mind summons intellect to project structure and story onto the chaos of dream and memory, unlike animals who live in the present and care nothing for past and future. We humans categorize and fit events into calendar time, but memory and dream do not play by the rules, so… today on the first calendar year anniversary of Papa’s dying, I do not grieve the way I expected to. I did yesterday unexpectedly on the drive to work remembering lucidly: the early morning hours when I and the hospice stranger look after my comatose father and waited for the oxygen machine to stop torturing with its oppressive rhythmic sound. And of course it did, upon Papa’s last breath. I wish for happier memories to rain down like the stingrays, jellyfish, and angel-like machines of my chaotic, splendid dream.

Update on hives

I have an appointment again with my allergist tomorrow. We’re going to try the skin allergy test again, if I can become asymptomatic; unfortunately, the 5-day break from my meds has caused another outbreak of rashes and hives–this time, swollen lips, hives on my arms, face, and legs, and a hot rash this morning on my neck. At my last appointment, the allergist diagnosed me with a hyperactive/misdirected immune system. But I also brought up how in my 20’s, I was diagnosed with borderline lupus. Could it be that those symptoms have returned? It seems so. Lupus is a difficult disease to diagnose because if the blood test for it (ANA) shows positive, this may not be enough to diagnose Lupus for certain. Apparently, if you show 4 out of 11 common symptoms for Lupus, then you probably have it. For my appointment tomorrow, I plan to bring it up to the doc again and ask for that test because I do have at least 4 of those common symptoms. The worst physical symptom is when practically my whole body becomes inflamed and itchy, and the only way to get immediate relief is to apply cortisone cream all over. Even then, it sometimes takes hours to cool. These symptoms in turn cause me to feel depressed and anxious, and thus a cycle develops. I also get moody and cranky, but try not to show that side of myself too much with my students.

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