Archive for March, 2013

March 26th

Posted: March 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

My shift of supervising at the gym was awesome! There were only a couple of people who came in, and both of them seemed to know what they were doing, so I didn’t have to answer any questions or save anyone from squashing themselves. Instead, I got to spend my time trying out the equipment and working on a few exercises that I want to do with the running club, assuming people actually show up tomorrow.

I told everyone about the gym during dinner, and how it was actually energizing to lift some heavy weight. Most of them think I am crazy, but I think I might be seeing Penelope there during my shift next week. She and Mandy seem to be getting on a little better these days, but I think she wants a hobby to herself, which I completely understand. When you are in a “couple” type relationship, be it romantic or best friend, it can seem like you only do things that both of you want to do because you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feeling by saying you need space to do things that they are not interested in, but it can be beneficial to the relationship.

Okay, I’ve been reading too many of Mother’s old magazines, and I fear that bit came from one that had horrible fitness information, but that tidbit seems to make a lot of sense. Obviously, I cannot speak from personal experience, but I can see the logic behind it all.

I even took my run this morning before going to The Centre to start my first supervisor shift, and I am confident that I might be able to teach the fundamentals to whoever shows up tomorrow. I have no idea what kind of fitness level I will be dealing with, but I can always adjust plans to individuals so everyone gets the best out of their time. It would make sense if people could get out a few times a week to run, but I don’t think we all have to do it at the same time each time – maybe we can do just the one meeting a week and then everyone else can run when it suits their own schedule.

I must remember to suggest that people keep a log of their running – something I am horribly at myself – but it can really show you in black and white if you are getting better or not. Writing down the time of day you ran, how long, how many laps, how you felt after, and all of that kind of thing can help people figure out what they are doing right or wrong. I’ve actually started my own log, and hope to make it a habit, much like writing in this journal.

I honestly cannot believe I am still writing every day. I figured that I would have run into some excuse by now (something understandable, but an excuse nonetheless) that would have prevented me from keeping up with it. I guess keeping it right next to my bed, so I see it when I get up and when I am trying to go to sleep, has helped. I tend to write at night, but it reminds me in the morning that I better do something worth writing about, because there is nothing more boring about writing about doing the laundry than possibly reading about someone doing the laundry. I mean, a few of my entries are like that, and if all I have managed to accomplish throughout the day is do the laundry and get the house clean, fair enough, but if that was all this journal was, day in and day out, I wouldn’t be able to keep writing it. I would be far too bored with recording the details of a very dull life.

Always,
-Miriam

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March 25th

Posted: March 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

I finally got up the courage to walk into The Centre and see if there were any volunteer positions I could fill, specifically in the weight room. It turns out, in order for the weight room to be open to the public, they do need someone there to supervise it, and at this point, they don’t have anyone to do so on Sundays – until now. I start tomorrow, and the Saturday supervisor gave me a crash course in how to use all of the equipment, sanitation and basic duties of a supervisor: spotting, answering questions and making sure people wipe down their area after using it. I also get the fun task of spraying and wiping down everything at the end of the day, but for six hours a week, I have access to the weight room and will be helping the community. The coordinators at The Centre were ecstatic – apparently it has been a really long time since they have had enough volunteers to be able to be open 7 days a week. Now it is open daily from 11am – 5pm, which means that I won’t be too late to get home and make a quick dinner on Sundays.

It feels good to have something that is mine, and to build on a hobby I have been doing for a while now. It almost makes me feel productive that I am putting something new and interesting into my schedule. Let’s see how it goes.

As one might guess, if one were strange enough to read this private diary, there hasn’t been any word of Andrew. I called his roommates again, in case my message got lost in the chaos, but they still haven’t heard from him, and have been looking around, too. Maybe he really did leave town while the breach was still open. If he did, I hope he knew that he was doing. At this point, if he had died somewhere in town, I’m sure that someone would have found his body and it would have been reported by The Council so they could make a positive identification before dealing with the remains. They keep a really good record of everyone who lives here, and everyone who dies here.

I’m trying to keep positive about it. If he left, which I think he did, I’m sure he had a good reason and he knows what he is doing. He made it all the way to our town on his own, and I’m sure he can take care of himself.

I’m a little nervous about my first supervising session tomorrow. What if someone asks a question that I don’t know the answer to? Reading up on the subject in Mother’s old fitness magazines doesn’t exactly make me a personal trainer, but I’m sure common sense will go a long way. I won’t push anyone to do anything that seems unsafe, and I’ll stop anyone who looks like they are about to hurt themselves – I just don’t want anything to go wrong on my watch, especially on my first day. If I am lucky, maybe there won’t be that many people, since no one is used to the gym being open on Sundays, so I can ease myself into this position instead of being instantly overwhelmed.

I’m looking forward to taking this down time to learn how to build muscle. I can feel myself getting healthier every day, which is really helping me see that carrying on and just living life as best I can considering the circumstances we’ve been dealt is the best way to live. I just need to remember that the next time there is a big breach. Or any breach, for that matter.

Always,
-Miriam

March 24th

Posted: March 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Well, Penelope took some signs to the school and I put some up at The Centre, so we’ll just have to see how many people actually show up on Monday, and how many are still interested after the initial meeting. I’ve been combing through Mother’s old fitness magazines, but they all tend to say basically the same things: keep hydrated, make sure you stretch afterwards, try increasing your stamina by alternating walking and running but increasing the amount of time running every week until you can run for a whole 20 minutes without stopping. I guess that is basically what I was doing before, but I didn’t time it or anything – I just ran until my lungs or legs felt like they were burning, then walked until I felt better, at which point I returned to running.

It will also be interesting to see what people are wearing when they show up. I don’t know how many people in town actually have fitness clothing, since “working out” to keep in shape isn’t exactly popular here. Sure, there is a small gym filled with weights at The Centre, but I don’t ever see that many people in there. I have been thinking that maybe I’ll try to volunteer there, mostly so I can start using the facilities. One of the tips I keep seeing in the fitness magazines that I didn’t know was to cross train – I have been doing cardio training, and stretching afterward, but it is also beneficial to do strength training. There are lots of body weight exercises that I plan to use with the Running Club, but training at the weight room could be a fun pastime, especially since running used to be my “me” time, and now it will come with extra responsibilities and people. Not that I mind, but I feel like I need to add another activity that is purely mine, just to keep the balance.

Nick and Ellen are starting to look a lot better – more rested and more human, which is excellent because I was really starting to worry about their health. They are still working hard, but I think that now that the initial rush of getting the breach completely fixed is over, the cleanup crews are realizing that they need to work shorter hours if everyone is going to last through the whole process of re-enforcing the wall without burning out or getting injured. The new family that Ellen is helping seems to be less demanding, too, and they even offered to feed her lunch as part of her duties, so she doesn’t have to pack anything in the morning. I really think she is enjoying what she is doing.

Mandy seemed a little taken aback when I handed the flyers to Penelope to take to school this morning. I’m pretty sure that she hadn’t heard of the proposed club before, so I played up as though Penelope was really doing me a favour and she had no prior commitment in it. I really hope there isn’t a giant rivalry going on, and that it is all in my head, because this would be no time for them to have a falling out. Sure, they could always make new friends if they wanted, but none who come from where they come from, nor with whom they grew up and shared their tragic past.

All in all, things seem to be looking up around here, which is something we all need. I let Nick and Ellen know about the meeting on Monday, which like means that dinner will be either something I leave in the slow cooker for people to have whenever they want or some form of leftovers – it all depends on what I make over the weekend, and how long the meeting lasts. I’ll have lots of time to make dinner if only a couple of people show up.

Always,
-Miriam

March 23rd

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Penelope asked around at school to see if there was anyone who would be interested in joining a Running Club, and got a resounding “yes” from quite a few students. I guess I should figure out when to fit this into the weekly schedule. Maybe I can contact The Council about putting together an actual race (that way people would be warned ahead of time, and we could block off a few streets so we have more space to run during the event).

I wonder if the Physical Education classes have gotten extremely lack-luster since I finished high school, considering how many kids are jumping at the chance to do something as repetitive as running. Even though I personally like it, I remember lots of student who hated it because it didn’t vary – you just keep putting one foot in front of the other until the teacher says to stop or you get a stitch in your side or you need some water. At least, that’s how the other students talked about it. I have gotten into a groove and really enjoy running –especially since I am starting to beat my old times and can feel myself getting faster and stronger.

I’m guessing it is going to have to be an after school time-frame, because I don’t think many people will show up if it was scheduled before school hours (myself included). Although I would be content to run every day, I figure people will stick at it for longer if there isn’t too much pressure early on, so perhaps we’ll just meet twice a week? At most, three times a week.

I guess this means I’ll actually get to use some of the information from the junk my Mother left behind in her old room (those fitness magazines I have been looking through). It shouldn’t be too difficult to put together a training program for everyone to follow, and every few weeks we can do timed races or drills to see if people are getting faster. I can also pass on tips like the importance of hydration and stretching. I know I learned all of that in school, but like I said before – if this many students want to join a running club (something that would not have existed when I was in school) then the physical education must be lacking.

Or perhaps it is a survival thing – they understand that it is easier to run from a zombie (or any other threat) when you accustomed to cardio activities. I don’t know why people want to join, but I’m willing to give it a go. I’ll let Penelope take a few posters to the school to put them up with a date, time and place for the first meeting – maybe Monday after school? That should give me enough time to think things over, and enough time for posters to go up at the school and in The Centre, in case any adults are starved for exercise and want to join. I better got print some up, so Penelope can take them with her tomorrow morning, or no one will have the information before the meeting happens, consider that I doubt anyone will be at the school over the weekend. I can put up the remaining posters in The Centre tomorrow when I got to see if there are any volunteer positions that I could commit to.

It feels kind of fulfilling to have a new task to complete. Hopefully I can make sense of all the information in the fitness magazines. I’ll just have to remember that I don’t have to impart all of the knowledge all at once – if things work out, we’ll have weeks, even months to continue learning about this hobby.

Always,
-Miriam

March 22nd

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

I mentioned my Running Club idea to Penelope in passing this morning while she was grabbing her lunch for school, and she actually seemed to think it was a good idea. She volunteered to be the first member, admitting that she wished she had the will power to get a little more active. Apparently, sitting at a school desk all day is making her feel unhealthy, and even though she thinks that Mandy would make fun of her if she were to go running by herself, she figures that if it is a club, she can pretend she is “just being nice to me” by joining it. I think there might be a little rivalry between these unrelated sisters, but I offered to take Mandy with me any time she wanted, and even promised to pretend she was doing me a favour if Mandy is around.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the whole Justin situation. I think that Mandy is the more popular out of the two; she is at least the more extroverted, and although not all introverts are insecure, I think that Mandy is feeling a little left behind. Focusing on getting healthier is a great way for her to lift her spirits, and it might be nice to try running with a friend before committing to creating an actual club.

Obviously, this is no news on the Andrew front (or I would have started my entry with it), so I’ll leave that alone for now.

Nick and Ellen are fast asleep downstairs, and I think they both have tomorrow off as well, which will really help them catch up on their rest. I could almost confuse them with zombies last night, they moved so stiffly and their faces were so gaunt. The spot where the barricade was breached has been completely patched, but The Council has approved work hours to re-enforce the entire barricade (they usually do a pretty thorough yearly re-evaluation, and they are due anyway) so Nick will be busy for quite some time. Ellen has moved on to helping another family who are in need of assistance, so she’s doing a lot of work, too. I almost feel like I should be volunteering down at The Centre, just to play my part in rebuilding the community. I’ll look into it when I go to the market tomorrow.

For now, I’ve kept up with keeping the house in order. After cleaning up from my run, I did a full surface clean of all the common spaces – I dusted, wiped down counters, did the dishes, cleaned the stove top, vacuumed all the carpets and the furniture with fabric, swept and mopped all the tiled floors, did all the laundry in the laundry room and even remembered to clean out the lint trap. Some people find this type of thing super boring and tedious, but I make little games out of it and always feel more energetic after the house is clean. Maybe I missed my calling as a maid, who knows?

Dinner went well, as usual. Fortunately, I haven’t served anything (besides those vegetables to the teenagers the other night) that has been criticized or unsuccessful. I’m not saying I’m a master chef and everything I feed my tenants is absolutely mind-blowing, but the fact that it is sufficient is enough for me. I wouldn’t want anyone to go hungry, especially not if it was because my food was horrid.

Besides a run and checking the sales at the market, I don’t really have anything planned for tomorrow, so perhaps I will either tackle cleaning the bathrooms or try to find a more interesting task.

Always,
-Miriam

March 21st

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

The study party seemed successful, although it got off to a bumpy start when I was given a pretty strange “you are serving me vegetables?” glare from one of the students; however, the veggie tray was completely empty by the time everyone left, and I refilled the tea pot a couple of times to keep them caffeinated, so hopefully it was a productive meeting.

One of the invitees was a pretty good looking guy, and I couldn’t help but notice how close Mandy was sitting to him. Perhaps there is some chemistry there, despite what subject they were actually studying (English literature, I think; I tried to make myself scarce because I felt like an over-enthusiastic house Mom every time they watched me come into the room to refill the tea pot). The girls introduced everyone when they arrived, but I’m really bad at names. I want to say it was Justin, but I might have to wait to see if the girls talk about their days to see if that name pops up or I made it up.

In any case, they are a hundred times happier looking that when they first arrived, for which I am grateful. I cannot imagine that it would be easy to move to a new town and new school in your last few years of public education, but when you add on top of that the fact that they lost their families, I think they are adjusting really well. I’m glad that made it out together; that is likely why they are doing so well. It is as though they have a small piece of their hometown and their upbringing with them at all times, and they can still think back on the good occasions of their lives through private jokes and stories instead of just remembering how everything ended. It must be almost like having a sister.

My run today went well, although I blanked and completely forgot my water bottle, which forced me to cut the session shorter than usual. My eyes also kept being drawn to the woods were Andrew was staying when he first got to town, but I didn’t see so much as a pigeon come out of there, let alone any indication that he was in there. He’ll come back when he is ready. We all cope differently, and some people need more time than others. There is no way to force someone through trauma recovery – Rick taught me that all anyone can really do is listen and assist the person in being able to talk through their troubles. I’m not saying that I want to make Andrew reveal his secrets to me, but I would listen if he needed a friendly ear. He told me about his family, after all, which must have been cathartic, even if it brought up tough memories.

Who knows if he even wants my help? Who knows if he would even take my help if it was offered? I don’t know what it is about him that makes me feel so off-kilter, but I’m glad he didn’t take me up on the offer to try dating again, because even though he can make me feel safe and wanted, most of the time I just feel unstable, like I don’t know where I stand or what to do. I’m fine with being his friend, but it’s good that deeper emotions aren’t being utilized. I’m not lonely anymore, with my house load of tenants. Now that I have had my post-breach hissy fit and gotten over that depression, I’m pretty happy with how my life is going. I know that sooner or later I will crave adventure again, but that’s just the way things go. I can always make time for a new, exciting hobby, if I can ever figure one out that will make me feel like I am doing something adventurous, but staying within the town walls. Maybe I could organize some sort of running club – not the height of adventure, but it would be fun and I would meet new people while helping them get passionate about my hobby.

Always,
-Miriam

March 20th

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

I’m getting faster with my running, which means I can do more laps of the field in the same amount of time. This fills me with a strange feeling of pride and success, but I suppose isn’t so weird considering the old magazines I found when I was converting Mother’s room to my room. They were fitness magazines, focusing on exercise and diet plans, and there were tons of tips about how to run faster, farther and more often – I guess it really did used to be a fairly normal hobby before the barriers went up and space to run became limited – not to mention the fear factor of seeing someone running within the barricade; people automatically think you are running from something, and their first reaction is that they should be running, too.

If I were poetic, I could say that perhaps I am running from some things: I run from my past, looking for a brighter future. I run from my insecurities, creating a more healthy body. I run from my feelings, creating a stress release, or “happy place”. Come to think of it, if I were poetic, I would be able to come up with a better way to say all of those things without making it sound so lame. This is why I just write journal entries, not poems.

The girls seem to be adjusted to school – they even mentioned that they were wanting to have a couple of people over tomorrow night for a study session prior to a test they have this week and asked if it would be okay to use the living room or dining room. I have no problem with that, as long as I know what time so I can make sure we are done eating dinner before people start arriving, not to mention it is only a couple of class mates, not the whole class. If I’m feeling generous tomorrow, I might even pick up some studying snacks – and by that I mean chop up some veggies and grab some dip from the store. It makes me feel matronly to admit it, but I used to always grab veggies as my studying snacks instead of junk food, because I knew the stress of studying would get me to eat tons of whatever was in arms reach – and that is how I got my recommended vegetable intake.

The bags under Nick and Ellen’s eyes are growing pretty deep, but I think they have another day off coming up soon, which they really need. I made sure to grab all their dirty clothing while they were away today and had it washed, dried and folded by the time they got home. The look of exhausted gratitude as Ellen grabbed a clean towel from the stack and headed for the shower was well-worth the effort. They are really working hard to rebuild the community, and it is the least I can do to try to help them relax once they hit quitting time. When they finished dinner and headed back toward their basement suite, they both looked like they would be falling asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow.

In a way, I feel like a support worker; I have people around me who need someone to lean on, or a little help now and then, and I fulfill that need. The crazy thing is they never seem to expect it of me, and always seem delighted and grateful whenever I make a kind gesture. Perhaps they just aren’t used to having someone around to help them. Perhaps they are used to having to carry the load all by themselves. I certainly know how that feels, since my Mother died when I was quite young and I’ve never really had anyone around after that, but I had Rick for support until he died, and the Kevin, until the same happened to him. Maybe they are my new line of support.

Always,
-Miriam