Archive for April, 2013

April 4th

Posted: April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Mandy wasn’t kidding when she was talking about how completely adorable those kittens are. There are six in the litter, and every single one has huge eyes that make me want to take each of them home with me. We saw them when I walked with the girls on their way to school, since I was headed in that direction any way to visit The Centre. The owner seems really nice, but his family already has several cats that they have taken in, and they cannot afford another six mouths to feed, even if they are tiny, adorable and ridiculously fluffy.

As we left the kittens, each of the meowing after us, to get the girls to school on time, Mandy asked how I would feel about her adopting one or two of them. I told her that she would have to responsible for them for the rest of their lives – much like being a parent – and that I felt that if she were to adopt, she should adopt two of them, since it is not really fair to split them all up individually, but I don’t think we have the space for six cats. I also told her that she has to seriously consider everything to do with this commitment – feeding, watering, training, medical care and poop duty, as well as affection and making sure they never feel neglected. I told her to think about it and we would talk about it again after school.

At The Centre, I did a quick warm up, lifted some free weights and made sure to stretch as many muscles as I worked before leaving. The weather is getting better as spring progresses, and I took a walk around the neighbourhood – purposefully taking random corners instead of the easier route home – just to enjoy the sunshine. Before I knew it, I had to stop and ask directions back to the main drag, because I had let my mind wander and had no idea where I was. After quite a few blocks in one direction, I realized I’ve overshot my street by a really long distance, and what would have been a 15 minute walk turned into more than a 90 minute walk.

In any case, it just made lunch taste even better, and I basked in the sunshine from the porch while scarfing it down and enjoying how things are going. I never would have guessed when I started writing this journal that three months later I would be working for myself, volunteering, living with a house full of people and instructing a different group of people on how to run to improve their health. Somehow that seems very different from a girl who worked in a smoothie shop, lived alone in her dead Mother’s house and had never kissed a boy. I’m guessing that 2023 is going to be one of my best years, and I’m excited to see what else happens – assuming that there is more of the good stuff instead of constant breaches, more zombies breaking into my house and boys who confuse the hell out of me and then disappear without a trace.

I hope Andrew is okay, where ever he is, and that he finds something to make him happy. I think he found a little of that in our town, but maybe he always felt something was off or missing, and that’s why he is trying something new. I know the guy can take care of himself, but my well-wishing doesn’t take anything away from his independence. I just wish he would have said goodbye, instead of leaving abruptly and causing so many people to worry about whatever happened to him. He’ll figure things out eventually, but if he is out in No Mans Land, between towns, and dies, I just hope it is a clean kill and he doesn’t come back with a hankering for human flesh.

Always,
-Miriam

April 3rd

Posted: April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Although a few names from the list of people who attended the first week weren’t able to be checked off when I took attendance, there were some new faces at the Running Club meeting that more than filled those vacancies. A few more people who use the gym at The Centre saw the posters over the past week, and a few more students decided to join their friends to see what all the fuss is about. All in all, I think the meeting was really successful – almost everyone was able to get out and run on their own at least once since the last meeting, and the newcomers seemed enthusiastic.

I realized during the meeting that accountability might also play a part in keeping people coming back to the club; not everyone joined for the health factors, but I hope everyone stays when they realize how much running can improve their quality of life. I decided that everyone, by next week, should choose a partner from the group, and if at all possible, try to do their out-of-club-meeting running with that person. I’ve also decided that I can use these teams to form groups and do challenges that keep people motivated and interested. Sure, it’ll take some organizing, and I’ll have to be sure not to put all of the fastest runners in one group (which is why I’ll be recording run times in the coming weeks). I figure faster runners will be able to encourage the slower runners on their teams.

So, obviously, I’m enjoying this new club, and I’m kind of getting a kick out of having so many people look to me for instruction. I made sure to take everyone through a good stretch after we all ran, and explained that warming and up stretching are two completely different things – which even some of the gym members didn’t realize. I want to keep injuries to a minimum, because they aren’t any fun and I don’t want anyone to complain that my club is hurting people.

Penelope couldn’t stop talking about Running Club and its members over dinner, to the point where Nick asked if I was drugging people somehow to get them excited about what appears, from the outside, to be a really boring task. I explained that it is more than just running in circles – it is social, it is health competition, and it often results in what Mother’s magazines call a “runners’ high” – so I guess he was sort of correct, even though I’m not spiking any water bottles. He was still a little skeptical, so I invited him to join us next week, if he wasn’t working, or suggested that he could come along on one of my personal runs if he was up to the challenge. I should have known that would be the way to hook him in – give him a challenge, and he has to prove that he can do anything a tiny girl like myself can do. I think the poor guy is going to be seriously out of breath when he follows me around the field on Wednesday.

I gracefully allowed Mandy to change the subject once I realized that she was not only looking bored with the conversation, but a little hostile – which I attribute to the jealousy of Penelope and Justin being in the Running Club together, and having their own “special” thing that they do together. Mandy wanted to talk about the litter of kittens she saw on her way home from school, and if I’m not careful, I might be getting some furry tenants in the near future. Obviously, I don’t object to cats – I was thinking about getting some myself – but I would just want to make sure that Mandy was serious about her pet ownership before committing to adopting a kitten, because they do require feeding, medical attention and poop-scooping duties, unless she trains the cat to go outside.

Always,
-Miriam

April 2nd

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Half the club showed up at the gym today, which means my volunteer shift was much busier this week than my first week. I spend a lot of time explaining different machines and giving tips on proper lifting positions/form, but it was really good to see so many people are still excited about getting fit. I think that over time we will really start to get to know each other, and that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling (even if I had a mostly sweaty feeling while in the gym with everyone). Even Penelope came with me, although she obviously didn’t stay for the whole shift. She put in a really great effort, though, as did everyone else I saw there, so I am really pleased with how things are progressing.

Many people thanked me for the programs I passed on to them via Penelope or through the board at The Centre, and I answered a few questions and clarified a few things for people regarding their plans. The biggest thing I stressed was that people have to actually get out there and go running. It almost doesn’t matter how fast people run at the beginning, as long as they make the habit of actually going for a run and make that into something they do automatically. Then, as long as people apply themselves, they will always get faster, stronger and better. This is true of pretty much any new hobby, and it amazes me how much people get caught up in details. They want to know exactly what to do, to the point where they spend all their time researching and thinking about how to do it instead of just getting out there and doing it.

Ellen had another day off today and surprised me by making dinner for everyone, which was really delicious. I also left The Centre a little later than I anticipated, so I was extremely grateful that she wanted to help out. She said that she doesn’t have the urge to cook very often, but after spending so much time helping people rebuilt their lives, she couldn’t sit still in the empty house all day and wanted to do something to help our own house. I sure didn’t complain, and since she’s a pretty decent cook, no one else did either. Nick even refused to let me do the dishes, so he took care of all of that.

It is really awesome that we are all getting along so well. If we weren’t, no one would ever feel the want to help out and would be insulted at the thought of doing something that I indicated was part of the rental fee, so I think I made the best possible choice when it came to my tenants. Even though Mandy and Penelope had a little bit of a fight a while ago, they were still able to make up, which isn’t always the case when a boy comes between teenage girls. I remember there was a whole saga of fighting between previous best friends when I was in high school. I tried not to pay any attention to it, because I found it petty and it had nothing to do with me, but even as a social outcast, I couldn’t help overhearing the gossip and tales of back stabbing. In the end, I think the boy broke up with the one girl in favour of someone who wasn’t even in the love triangle, and the other girl was bitter for a while but eventually they made up – and started fighting again as soon as the other girl got her own boyfriend. Honestly, I don’t know how people can live their lives with so much hatred and jealousy instead of just being happy for each other.

Tomorrow’s Running Club meeting should be interesting – I’ll get to see how many people are still serious about it and who has been getting out on their own time to get their runs in.

Always,
-Miriam

April 1st

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Strangely, everyone has today free from work and school, so it feels like there are more people in the house than there should be for lunchtime. I finished my run earlier enough to shower and make some delicious chicken and vegetable wraps, which we all ate together, like a family meal. It was nice to see everyone looking a little bit more rested than usual. Nick and Ellen are still working really hard most days, and the girls are still getting caught up in all their classes, but it was nice to see everyone relax, even if it made the house feel strangely full during the lunch hour.

I checked my online banking and The Council made all the correct rent transactions, so that is one less thing to have to think about. I did pretty well last month, as far as the food budget goes, but I then realized that there was about a week where we couldn’t grocery shop, so maybe it isn’t the best indicator. I mean, everyone was fed, but they might have been fed better if we hadn’t been invaded by zombies and forced to stay inside until they were dealt with.

I’m looking forward to my supervisor shift tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have some people from the Running Club join me to work on their strength training. It is fun to have something to look forward to that includes other people. If I don’t watch out, I might get myself a social life.

I’ve decided to take a break from combing through Mother’s old fitness magazines and think I’ll spend some time just being lazy in the sun that is streaming into my room, and reading one of the mind candy novels I found while cleaning the room. That way, I don’t really have to think too hard but can be entertained and soak up some sun.

All in all, I am still pretty content. Looking back about a week ago in my entries, I cannot believe how low I felt when I now feel so safe, warm and in a good place. Life is full of ups and downs, warmth and cold, but it is weird to have such extremes so close together. I’m hoping that I will continue to look on the bright side instead of being consumed by the dark side, because life is going really well right now and I would love for that to continue without me freaking out and confining myself to my room under the pretense that I am sick. It isn’t any fun, it isn’t productive, but I guess I just needed some time to reflect and rest. It is better than bottling depressing feelings up and having them inevitably explode everywhere, taking other people down with my sadness.

That was a strange visual – I just saw a dark cloud (supposedly of sadness) drop out of the sky and smash my house, completely destroying it. Sometimes my imagination can be rather dramatic. I even saw items from the house spraying outward under the pressure of the (supposedly heavy – which is weird because clouds shouldn’t be seen as heavy) cloud, hitting people passing on the sidewalk and embedding themselves in the walls of the neighbouring houses. Vivid. Strange. Maybe I’ll keep that daydream material to myself.

I wonder what Rick would say about that. I personally think that I am being a little self-centred – my bad mood couldn’t possibly effect that many people, right?

Always,
-Miriam

March 31st

Posted: April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

The Thursday and Friday supervisors seem nice, although both of them seem to be fulfilling some begrudging duty to the community rather than actually taking advantage of using the gym while they are there. That’s fine, but both of them are getting on in years and could probably benefit from getting a little more motion into their days, instead of reading their romance novels and doing crosswords (Wednesdays is an old woman with a stack of Harlequins whereas Thursday is a man with a book of crosswords, and I have a feeling that if they actually met they might get on really well).

My workouts for the past couple of days have been a little less intense than Tuesday, and although I have felt them a little bit each morning, I no longer want to toss my limbs in a cold bath to numb the pain, so I must be on a better track. If I’m lucky, I might see a few people from the Running Club at the gym during my shift on Sunday, which would be fun. I know that ultimately they would be there to work on their health and fitness, but a small part of me likes to believe they would be there to visit with me.

I was glad to get in a long run and a full workout today, since it was threatening to rain when I was on the way to the field, but it held off until I finished and got to The Centre. It was still coming down really hard when I was done, but at least it wasn’t a cold rain, so I didn’t feel like I had caught pneumonia when I got home and hopped in the shower.

I’ve got tons of extra energy and have no idea where else to put it, so I am putting together a sort of “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” feast for everyone tonight. I’ve even been smart enough to clean the dishes while preparing everything, so the kitchen doesn’t even look like I’ve been baking and mixing up side dishes and a roast all afternoon. Everyone should be home from work and school/study sessions in about a half hour, which means they will be right on time for when the roast gets out of the oven and can help me carry things into the dining room after washing up. I feel like I have gone a little light on meal preparation and execution in the last little while, so I think this will be a pleasant surprise for everyone. I sure hope they are hungry.

If I finish this entry quickly enough, I should have time to run the clean laundry upstairs and change into something that isn’t covered in various cooking spills. I know I’m in my own house, but sometimes it feels good to look good, even if it is just your housemates who will see you. Plus, it adds a layer of amazement to the mix – I was able to do my run, go to the gym, do laundry, clean the common spaces, do the dishes and prepare an amazing feast, all while still managing to look like it didn’t cost me a drop of sweat.

I think this is what pride feels like. I have my life in order, and I’m happy and healthy. I don’t know that there is much more I can ask for, nor anything else that I would really want in my life right now. My tenants are happy and contributing to the community – either by learning so they can help save the world after graduation or rebuilding families’ lives and reinforcing the barricade – and I am supporting them but still keeping time and hobbies for myself while throwing in some social life just for good measure. With all that is going right, should I be worried that sometime in the near future something will go horribly wrong?

Always,
-Miriam

March 30th

Posted: April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Well, it is official – Penelope and Justin are dating. He asked her to be his girlfriend and they went on a proper date last night, which meant she called the house to tell me she wouldn’t be home for dinner, but would be back early enough to get her homework done. I felt a little like her mom, but congratulated her and told her to have a good time. All accounts when she got home read that she did just that.

Mandy seems to be a little bitter, but she is trying not to show it, which makes me think that even though she’s not over it, she has made up with Penelope. I asked if she still wanted to join the Running Club, and she politely declined – which I figured would be the answer. She already has to see her best friend with the guy she likes at school, why would she want to see it socially? Not to mention that whole hatred of dirt and sweat.

Oh well, at least they have made up. It would be incredibly awkward around the dinner table if they kept fighting, but Mandy is already bringing up the names of other boys at school when she tells us about her day, so I’m sure she’ll move on soon enough.

It turns out that Nick and Ellen are high school sweethearts, as the saying goes. Ellen told the story of how the first got together, and I almost didn’t believe how shy she portrayed the both of them, but it is sweet that they have been together for so long and that they found each other so early in life. I don’t know if it is the fact that everyone seems to be finding a partner or that it is spring – the season of blooming love – but I sometimes get the feeling like I am missing out. I’m not really one to push these things, but if someone could show up in my life and sweep my off my feet, I would be open to that. I’ve become more social, since starting the Running Club this week and volunteering at The Centre, so you never know who I am going to meet.

Some of the magazines I have been combing through for useful exercise tips have sections devoted to dating, but I try to avoid reading them, because they make everything seem so complicated – like it is all a big game and if you don’t know each strategy, you will lead a life of loneliness. I was never one to play chess, and I’m not about to memorize “49 ways to keep a man interested” in me. I would want someone to actually be interested in me, not whatever the magazine thinks I should pretend to be. I know I’m not every guy’s ideal woman, but that doesn’t mean that I want to change who I am so every man wants to be with me. I really only need to find one, eventually – and I actually don’t “really need” to find any, if you think about it. I would just prefer to find one, and if I do, I would want him to like me for me, not me for my strategies of getting him to like me.

Besides, if I were to meet a guy now, I don’t know if I could fit him into my busy schedule. Between organizing things for the Running Club, doing all the house work and cleaning, and volunteering on Sundays – plus getting my own running done – he would have to either be good at laundry, cooking or running just so we could spend a decent amount of time together. In fact, if he wanted to spend lots of time with me, it would be beneficial to be good at all three.

Always,
-Miriam

March 29th

Posted: April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

The girls had scowls on each of their faces when they left this morning, so I guess I am hoping they will make up on the way there. Or even at school, during a class for all I care. I just want them to be friends again. Penelope barely smiled at me when I gave her the rest of the training packages for the people at her school – such a strange change from the day before.

Speaking of being friends again, I hope my arms get back to loving me at some point, because it hurts even writing this entry. I guess I might have overdone it slightly at the gym yesterday, although the magazines tell me that it is a good thing if you have some muscle soreness the day after a big workout, as long as you are still able to function. I guess today will be my rest day, even though I was excited to meet the Wednesday supervisor. I guess I will meet him or her next week, and I’ll have to learn how not to overdo it when I do go to the gym.

I’m not injured or anything, but I think if I picked up one more weight, I would be in bed all today. Oh well, this just means that I have an excuse to lounge around the house. Ellen is starting work late today, so we had breakfast together and she told me a little bit about the work she is doing. It is mostly cleaning up and repairing things that were damaged, although she will be painting the outside of the house today. I guess it is better to paint when there is a lot of sunshine, and it is cloudy this morning with very little wind, which means the paint would take longer to dry – or something like that. I sort of understood what she was talking about when she was saying it, but it doesn’t seem to make as much sense now that I am writing it down.

My work out clothing is all folded and making me feel guilty by staring at me from the end of my bed, but even the fitness magazines agree that taking a rest day now and then is very beneficial. I guess I should remember to pass that information on at the Running Club at next Monday’s meeting. It feels counterproductive to sit and do nothing instead of keep training to get stronger and faster, but this is a part of training that I will learn how to get used to. You would think that is would be the easiest part to get used to, but once I start moving, I want to keep going.

Nick mentioned last night that they are making great progress at reinforcing the barricade. It is going to be a really long project, but they are working at a decent speed while still paying close attention to detail. I like that. It makes me feel a little safer, even though the pessimistic part of me knows that there will be another breach. It might not be soon (and I would be completely fine with that) but I know it will come one day. I didn’t mention this to Nick, though. It would be like telling someone building a house of cards that there will always be gusts of wind to undo their masterpiece; it is only a matter of time. I don’t want to discourage all the hard work everyone is putting into rebuilding the community. I also try to keep the discouraging thoughts out of my head, but at least when they pop in there, I don’t share them with everyone else. If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all. I assume that bit of wisdom came from my Mother, although I cannot remember an actual incident where she might have imparted that nugget of knowledge. Maybe I heard it on one of her programs. For all I know, I got it from one of the billion fitness magazines I have read or reread this week.

Always,
-Miriam