April 16, 2014

Source: Tumblr



















HALA MADRID! HALA MADRID! HALA MADRID!!!!!!

Oh, God, what I wouldn't give to be in Cibeles tonight (well, early morning their time) to celebrate winning the Copa del Rey. Alas, I have to content myself with watching the coverage on live stream.

I knew my team could do it, though.

All day, that's what I was saying to the other footie fans- staff and students alike- at the high school. They all know I'm Madridista, so they expected me to keep the faith with my team. I'm not sure they all believed it was justified, but IT WAS!!! And I love it.

New Guy caught me in the hall to banter about it, since he's a Barcelona fan. He's going to get trolled in two languages tomorrow. Bwahahaha.

Speaking of New Guy, my athletes (who are my source of most information) tell me that he reads books in Spanish. Actual books. I knew he could speak beautifully, but wow. I can't read whole books without a translator handy. I've got serious language skill envy right now.

Like I said, I have the coverage of Cibeles on right now, and I'm listening to the commentary for a bit of practice. I get about two-third of it until the commentators let their excitement get the best of them; then they start speaking way too quickly for me to keep up. But whatever. It's my team. It's Cibeles.

It's awesome.

April 15, 2014

Coached a track meet in the pouring rain, wind, and cold. First meet of the season. Ordinarily, I'd write about that, but today I want to remember that the Boston Marathon happened one year ago.
Right around the time the bombs went off at the finish line, a bomb also went off near my friend’s home in Pakistan. We didn’t know it, then, but we both spent the next several hours frantically trying to get a hold of everyone we knew to make sure they were safe (and thank God they were). When we finally talked to one another, the first thing she said to me was how sorry she was that this had happened to my country.
That’s always going to be one of my most enduring memories of it all. 
That night I came online to say that I still believed running is an affirmation of life. I wrote this on all of my social media accounts:
To everyone whose thoughts are turned toward my beloved New England tonight, let me ask you to do something to honor those affected by today’s tragedy, and to remind yourself that the human spirit truly is indomitable: Go for a run.
One year later, it’s still what I most want to say. Remember. And go for a run.

April 14, 2014

A year ago I ran 26for26. This is what I wrote about it afterwards:

Each mile of a 26for26 run is dedicated to one of the people who died at Sandy Hook. Runners can compete all twenty-six miles or do it in teams.

I ran 4.8 miles for my team. We were joined by about 1500 other runners from all over the region- and beyond- who came to a little town in NH to affirm life, love, and hope.

And that's what running is if you get down to its core: an affirmation.





















I ran with an "angel" pin on one shoe and a memorial ribbon on the other. I still have them both, pinned on the cork board where I keep all of my most precious racing things. The experience of that run was incredible, emotional, powerful... I was there with my friends- my team from my school, Sunshine and Tiny and their school's team. I saw my middle school track coach, who is now a principal, leading a team from his school.

And there were so many people out to watch us run. I've been in big races with roaring crowds, but that's nothing like this. This was about showing up to say that the terrible thing that had happened months earlier would not break us.

It's surreal to think back on it now. This was the day before the Boston Marathon.

The run shaped so much of my reaction to that tragedy; it would've been a completely different thing if I hadn't done it. As it was, one of the first things I wrote in the aftermath was that I still believed running was an affirmation of life.

I still do.

It's fitting that tomorrow- one year on from Boston- is my team's first meet of the season. As runners in New England, they all have an intangible connection to what happened last year, and the most defiant, awesome thing they can do is compete- and live, live, live!- in that time between the start and the finish line.

April 13, 2014

My day has had a lot to do with groceries. It's not what I anticipated when I got up this morning to watch Liverpool-Manchester City. Two things about that before I go back to my theme:

2) I had to leave for Palm Sunday Mass before it was over. Divided my devotion to my two religions...













The match was tied at 2-2 when I left. Liverpool scored a third and won it before Mass ended, though. While that's disappointing for me as a City fan, I have enough of a sense of the poetic to appreciate it a little. And Stevie G cried. I'm a sucker for that.

I checked the updates as I was sitting in my car after Mass, waiting for the parking lot to clear a bit and trying to warm it up. The weather was wretched- rain, snow, and hail- so I wasn't in a hurry. I decided that I'd go to the grocery store and grab something for lunch rather than going home right away.

When I walked in, I had a flash of memory: seventeen-year-old me doing the holiday grocery shopping for my mother. I went through LT's check-out line so I could chat with him. He took one look at all the stuff I had to buy and said my brother must be on the way home with his friends for Easter. It's one of the many memories that come back to me during Holy Week each year.

I shook it off and went about my present-day shopping. I ran into one of my colleagues and his wife, and stopped to say hello to them. We caused a traffic jam in one of the aisles, and it was so funny to me to be that person- stopping to chat int he grocery store. Knowing people to chat with in the grocery store.

If it seems like I'm still a bit in awe of having a community, it's because I never have before.

I've never been that person before.

One way in which I'm still the same person I've always been: I buy whatever I want to eat, whether or not it's healthy, and I like it that way. And this is funny because a bunch of my friends are on a health kick, and writing about it on Facebook, and my responses are predictably discouraging.

I insult other people's groceries. I am such a troll.

I'm also known to say that I'm going to eat whatever I want and then die of old age- still fabulous- having thoroughly enjoyed myself. In all honesty, I can't picture myself as an old woman, so maybe that won't be true. But, then, I can't picture myself a day from now either. 

April 12, 2014

Yesterday was gorgeous, and we're all hopeful that spring really is sticking around. It was a half day for students, so we teachers spent the afternoon getting some professional development hours in. Jess and I actually presented at one of the workshops, and I think it went well- we got a handful of compliments- so that's good.

My sprinters had threatened to crash our presentation and do a conga line through it. Alas, that didn't happen.

Word had been spreading all day that there'd be a meet-up at one of the local restaurants after the professional development was done. It's in walking distance from my apartment, so I drove home, threw sneakers on, and went to see who else was there. Turned out to be a pretty big crew- including some of my colleagues who I never see socially anymore (life just gets busy)- and it was awesome. Good friends and good eats always are.

It struck me as I was standing with a few of the guys just how long we've known each other- since I was fresh out of college and barely twenty-two years old- and how much has happened to all of us in that time. It's a new experience for me to be around the same people for so long, having grown up the way I did (semi-nomadic army brat). The sense of belonging is unfamiliar, but it's welcome, because this place I chose to be- and these people who did the same- are awesome.

So, yeah, that was a fun afternoon.

Walked home as it was getting dark, watched a bit of TV, then admittedly went to bed. I do still have a cold, so I had a limited amount of energy to expend. Have to get healthy in the next few days so I can resume training.

Final race instructions for Expedition Everest came out. Team Cousins will rock it.

April 10, 2014




It's been a long time coming, but now the snow is gone!

Or, at least, it's mostly melted. And today it finally felt like spring when I went to track practice. The track's about halfway clear, so we could actually use it. The kids were delighted to finally do blocks and baton drills- and to stretch out on the high jump area afterwards, and soak up the sun.

I was loving it, too. The season just doesn't feel real when it's all parking lots and stairs. Once we're on the track, it's so clear we belong there- us adults as coaches, the kids as athletes- because this is what we love.

And this season is our time. I can tell.

I won't get to go to practice tomorrow because I have teacher workshop meetings. I'm actually presenting at one of them, which is vaguely nerve-wracking, but I'll manage. After all, I'm just talking about teaching, really, and I can do that forever.

One week to go after that until spring break. Then, after spring break? One week till Disney. It's coming up fast now.

I need to get over this beastly cold so I can get back to training.

But spring finally came back. My good health will, too.

April 9, 2014

Arrived at work at 6:30AM to finish my grading. Left at around 7:00PM. This is not something I make a habit of doing because it's exhausting no matter how much I love my job. But! I did whittle my to-do list down to something manageable.

Also, there was cake at the faculty meeting. I appreciate cake.

I didn't get to go to practice because of said meeting, but two of my athletes came and found me to tell me the scores of the Champions League matches. They know I appreciate knowing these things, so that was nice.

Oddest feeling of the day: being happy for Atleti. Normally I think they're annoying. Their win today was a good one, though, I will admit.

Madrid is still White, though. Always.

April 8, 2014

I sound worse than I feel today, but that doesn't mean I feel good. My students were mostly sympathetic, and my voice didn't give out until mid-way through track practice, so... Yay, I guess.

I hate being sick, though. I'm the teacher with the big voice and the boundless energy; getting sick flattens me. And it so rarely happens that I have bad coping skills, haha. I don't know what is is about this year that's had me catching so many more colds or whatever.

Ah well. I'm attempting the "smother the germs by eating lots of ice cream" method of curing this thing.

Meantime, it's the end of the quarter, so I had a bunch of grading to wrap up after practice today. I actually left some of it to finish tomorrow morning (side note: grades are due at 8AM) because I was feeling like such garbage. My asthma frequently makes itself known if I stay in the school too long because the air is so dry in there.

I had to get to the polls to vote in local elections anyways, so that's all right.

I teach Civics, so obviously the importance of voting is a theme for me, but there's also an admitted level of self-interest given my profession. My school's budget comes up for a vote, my contract comes up for a vote (and if you're thinking this is strange, you live outside small-town New England). I'm proud every time I go and cast mine.

Last thoughts? it was 60 degrees today. I'm inspired to post this song:

April 7, 2014

Friggin' TC.

He's had a cold for days, which he's been sharing with everyone. I figured, since I see him so briefly before he goes running around in 40-degree weather with a sleeveless shirt on, I'd avoid it.

Nope.

Woke up sick this morning, got progressively worse as they day went on. Went through half a box of tissues. My nose is all red now, and I generally look pale and miserable.

It is not a cute look on me.

Thankfully, it didn't really get bad until after the school day ended, so I was able to teach my classes without a ton of sniffles, and eat lunch with my colleagues and behave like a sociable human being. Everyone's a bit on edge because local voting is happening soon, and our contracts are on the ballot, and... yeah, I'll just leave it there. There's no sense in worrying about something that hasn't happened yet, so I'm not.

I spent lunch time talking to New Guy, a substitute teacher working on getting his full-time teaching cert. Normally, New Guy and I discuss sports, even though he's a Barcelona fan (ew), but today we were talking about Spanish. He found out after the Clasico that a) I'm not a nice girl, and, b) I can do it in multiple languages. He's more fluent than I am, but he told me he was surprised how little time I'd spent in Spain- and how little time I'd studied here in the States- given how well I speak.

That was gratifying.

Sensei remarked on my Spanish, too- we were talking on the phone earlier- but I said he'd just heard me speak it more often this year. It used to be more intimidating to talk to him, so I didn't do it much, but now? Well, one must practice.

I don't know why one must practice, but something tells me I'm going to want this skill for something. I don't believe in signs, or fate, or any of that, so it isn't like I think some destiny awaits me or whatever. I just have a feeling it'll come in handy.

April 6, 2014




On Sunday nights I lie in bed, awake, as all teachers do...

Actually, this Sunday night, I  did a thing I almost never do: I graded papers.

I don't take my work home if I can avoid it; I'll sit at my desk until 9:00PM if I have to, but once I leave, I'm done. It's one of the mistakes young teachers make- not having an off switch (I barely have an off switch because teaching is what I am, not just what I do, but there it is). Once or twice a track season, though, I'll have papers to grade and no time, so I'll put them in my bag. Typically, they stay in my bag and I hand them back a bit later than usual (I try to hand things back the next class after they've been handed in), but tonight I actually took them out and graded them.

I desperately want ice cream now. I'm not sure if that's related to the grading or not.

Anyways.

Today was otherwise lovely (and, hey, a lot of the papers were lovely). I went to Mass this morning, then got chai and a cannoli from my favorite coffee shop downtown. I got home in time to see the second half of Liverpool's match against West Ham; what a ridiculous bit of refereeing that was.

I started my grading when that was over, then set it aside. I wasn't feeling like a run, but it was a beautiful day (finally), and it would've been a crime to waste the sunlight. So I made myself get out and do it. Three miles, shook off the cobwebs, felt better for having done it.

My legs may have a different opinion tomorrow, but whatever.

I need to start running after practice, rather than collapsing on the couch (or staying at my desk to grade papers). Otherwise my whole racing seasons will catch me unprepared. Here's hoping the days stay bright and warm.

In other news, I'm making plans to go to Boston and see one of my college buddies, Libby, who will be home visiting her family. I might just get to see Boston the person (his nickname is awfully confusing, at times, isn't it?) as well. We'll see about that, though. And I really ought to hang out with LT if I can because we keep saying we mean to.

I'll definitely hang out with people. Whoever they end up being. That'll be fun.