In a World Full of Maids, Choose to Be a MerMaid – A Running Update

I am a runner who loves FREE stuff so when I heard about a FREE race, I was all, “Where do I sign up?” When I heard that the race was a 24 hour relay hosted by the Mermaid Running Series (one of my favorite races when I was in San Jose, CA), I was even more excited! I am a night owl and now my nighttime wakefulness superpower can finally be put to good use!

Thank you to my friend and fellow MRTT/SRTT Chapter Leader, Katie for telling me about this run. Katie has run numerous Mermaid races out in CA. She also introduced me to the Taji 100. She doesn’t even have to “triple dog dare” me to get me to sign up for these awesome physical challenges. (Do you guys remember that TV show?)

I signed up for a slot after my friend, Kristi (who also completed the Taji 100 with me this past February). We’re going to run our miles “together”, meaning running separately in our own houses on our own treadmills while we video chat. I’ll be joining her for her “fin” (aka, leg) of the relay and she will be joining for my “fin”. We chose the 11:30-midnight, midnight-12:30 “fins” as we’ve never run “over two days” before! Haha! I’m so thankful for friends who are willing to join me on these crazy adventures!

I am also very appreciative of the 3rd hand treadmill we have at home. It is loud and it shakes if you run between 3.2-4.7 miles per hour. but it’s been keeping me moving during these days of shelter in place.

So, 1 hour of running at midnight…and maybe more, as they still need people for the slots between 12:30 AM – 6 AM EST….oh gosh, my brain is saying, “You’ll be awake anyway…” Should I sign up for another slot??

I’ll be back to give an update on this run! If you’re one of my readers who runs (especially if you’re international), please consider signing up and let me know if you do!

The relay starts at 8 AM PST (so 11 AM EST for me)…you can follow the race on their Facebook page and also check out other cool races they have including their FREE virtual on June 20th.

© 2020 iido

Mango Salsa – An Acrostic Poem for CalmKate

My friend: how did you know to

Answer my unsaid request, to

Negotiate distance and visit the abode of my soul, to

Give sweet words and kind fruit to 

Offset the bitterness brought by isolation.

Slicing through skin,

Accepting what is laid bare,

Lavishing wisdom like a balm while

Savoring mango salsa under 

A shared umbrella of hope

Last week, Kate at Aroused by Arête requested letters or words in her comments which she promptly turned into acrostic poems about the commentator. I gave her the words “mango salsa” since Kate had mentioned that she was on her way to the store (then would return to continue with her task) and this is my current food obsession. Of course, I was being cheeky and was subsequently quite humbled by her genuine response.

Kate’s intuitive and generous nature, her powers of observation, and her loving candor were on full display in her poems. You can read her responses here. I loved what she wrote for me and about me!

I wrote this poem with gratitude in my heart. Thank you again, Kate!! Once this is all over, please come and visit and share some mango salsa and chips with me!

© 2020 iido   

WOMAN – An Acrostic Poem

Waters of life connect us
Over millennia, we birth and love,
we cry and learn,
we bleed and live
Mother to daughter and mother 
to daughter and mother
to daughter
Awash in power and persistence
Now let us open the floodgates!

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I wanted to write a poem to celebrate the great accomplishments of women in the world, historically and more recently, as well as acknowledging the women in my life who are great, accomplished women. This includes:

  • my mother
  • all the wonderful women here in the WordPress blogosphere (Gina, Punam, Kate, Mich, Jamie, Jane, just to name a few)
  • my running tribe (Michele, Nada, everyone in MRTT/SRTT, of course)
  • my west coast fam (Karla, Ellen, Jane, Henny, Trucs, you know who you are – don’t make me call you out!)
  • my east coast fam (yes, that includes you if you’re reading this!!)

I know the “water is wide” with regards to how far women still need to go to achieve true equality…it would help if women were (at least) met half way, don’t you think? Still, we have moved forward and hopefully, together, we will continue to do so.

* The link above is to a song by Joan Baez called “The Water is Wide”. I wasn’t able to embed the video in the post. I love the first verse of this song (it always makes me teary) and thought it went well with the poem. The verses after…eh…

This acrostic poem is also linked to Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #222 – Connections and to Punam’s Saturday Ragtag Community Daily Prompt – Water.

©️ 2020 iido

Runfession #7 – February 2020

February 2020 has come to an end with the bonus “Leap Year” day this past Saturday. Having an “extra” day made me think I had “extra” time to catch up on chores and start our spring cleaning project, maybe run an extra mile or two or 10, however that was not case. But actually, not being able to do those things didn’t stop February from being a Fabulous Month! Thank you to Kate from Aroused by Arête for the “fabulous” prompt for this week!

Forgive me Brooks for I have sinned….

I runfess…I am so so so very very very proud that I was able to complete the Taji 100 this year! I ended up with 103 miles for the month (I was going to do more, but this week was just too busy to get extra miles in). I never would have finished these miles without the support of and group runs with She RUNS this Town/Moms RUN this Town! My running tribe is so totally awesome and truly FABULOUS!

A special THANK YOU goes out to Kristi who started the Taji with me by running 8 miles on the first day. FYI – Kristi only re-started running last fall and had only run 4-5 miles before this inaugural 8-miler. We were doing great this entire month, finishing miles ahead of schedule until Kristi got injured the week before we were to finish our miles. In a true testament to her perseverance and intestinal fortitude, Kristi dug deep and took a lot of advil and we were able to finish the final 2 miles of the Taji 100 together last Sunday.

Shout out to Katie in CA who first introduced me to the Taji 100. She finished her 100 miles just today despite dealing with all sorts of distractions between family, work, house projects, and illness. I never doubted that she wouldn’t get it done!

I runfess…our SRTT/MRTT Cupid Shuffle Step Challenge has also ended. Our team, “Shot Steppers” were in 1st place the first two weeks, but we dropped down to 2nd place last week. Our fearless leader is in Hawaii this week so I’m still waiting to get our grand total for this week. Hopefully we regained our 1st place standing! Not that I’m competitive or anything..oh wait, I runfessed to that last month, didn’t I? Ok, fine – I hope we win because that would be just FABULOUS!!!

I runfess…now, I’m feeling a bit bereft without having a fitness goal for this month. Any suggestions? Drop me a comment!

I runfess…I am going to buy new running shoes. The ones I have can probably last a few more months, but the weather is starting to get warmer and I need new running shoes! (I know that wasn’t really logical, but do I really need an excuse to buy some new running shoes?) Right now, I’m wearing the Brooks Ghost 11 (my 2nd pair). I’ve been happy with this brand and style however I do like checking out the competition! Plus, I have a coupon! All the signs point to the running store this week…

I runfess…as the weather is getting warmer and I’m thinking of doing more running outside, I am actually really glad that we moved to this part of the country. Spring may not smell too good (ask the Amish farmers why) but there is nothing like running on trails and noticing buds on the trees and sprouts coming up from the ground. This time of year is holds so much promise!

Well, this might have been the most FABULOUS February that I have had in a long time! Will it be Marvelous March, next?

UPDATE:

My team “Shot Steppers” won our SRTT Step Challenge!! Woohoo!! February Fabulousness has been Finalized!!!

One “fabulous fail” though, I missed the link up to Marcia’s Healthy Slice with the other Runfessions. <sigh> Oh well, one can’t be too perfect! Keeping grounded and more aware of the date for March…

©️ 2020 iido

Gratitude Gestures – A Haibun

In the chilly autumn evening, deep contented sighs battle with the hum of heated air wafting from the grate. The food has disappeared but the smell of fullness lingers: the tart scent of oranges in the cranberry sauce, the savory thyme lining the turkey’s moist cavity, the sweet butter hiding in the mashed potatoes.

Unsaid words also hide in the small gestures of family. “I love you” is plated with each dish on the table. “Take care of yourself” is served with second helpings. All desserts come with a side of “glad you decided to spend this holiday with us this year”. “Thank you’s” are coded in each utensil that is washed.

Gratitude gestures

With knives and forks and drink toasts

Autumn’s chill dissolves

I’m coming out of my food coma and wrote this haibun for Frank Tassone’s gratitude themed Haibun Monday at d’Verse and Go Dog Go’s Tuesday writing prompt themed “Thanksgiving”.

We had a traditional American Thanksgiving meal at my in-laws. I was looking forward to Thanksgiving with a Vietnamese twist however there was no turkey pho or banh mi with cranberry relish. The food was still delicious and watching the cousins play together made the occasion even more special.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year – for not only my family (immediate and extended) but also for the family of friends I have been blessed with here on WP, as well as, in real life, at school, church and my running group. The saying “many hands make light work” come to mind in terms of the many hands that touch my life and make light work of and support the improvements I need to do to become a better version of myself.

As this holiday season gets underway, I hope we all get a chance to pause and appreciate the people, things and activities that bring joy to our lives.

©️ iido 2019

Patient Anticipation – A Poem

I’m waiting for you

To put on your clothes

You can’t decide between

Dogs on your shirt or stripes

The clock ticks

I’m waiting for you

To brush your teeth

So I can have my turn

You spit not in the sink

The clock ticks

I’m waiting for you

To eat your breakfast

While I’m packing a lunch

I know you won’t eat either

The clock ticks

I am waiting for you

To tie you shoe

The bunny ears are too big

But you say you can do it

The clock ticks – we’re late for school

I’m waiting for you

To come out of school

The clock ticks – the patient anticipation

Feels like the nine months

I waited

To show you the depth of my love

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #206 – Depth and #207 – Waiting. I am finally caught up!

I have had a lot of time to contemplate waiting – having kids gives me plenty of opportunity. I usually do try to be patient, to show them that they are “worth waiting for”.

But sometimes I am stressed because we are late or because I have to do something else that seems more urgent – and in those times, I am not patient. Sometimes I am even angry and spewing all sorts of non sensical threats and pronouncements.

And after I’ve calmed down (and we’ve arrived where we need to be or done what we need to get done), I usually end up apologizing and explaining why I was so upset. I also talk about what I could have done better and what they could have done better and encourage them to give me and their siblings feedback as well.

It’s an imperfect process and one that is often repeated in our house. Getting all of us out of the house and somewhere on time is feat we always acknowledge!

Still, if getting there on time didn’t really matter, I do try to wait for them – to practice their self-care skills (brushing, buttoning, tying, etc.), to finish the story they are telling me, to finish looking at the caterpillar crossing the sidewalk, to finish enjoying their childhood.

©️ iido 2019

Ode to the Taji100 – A Quadrille and Running Update

Dawn’s light blush appears

As I sip this bitter brew

Trying to feel connected

To the desert and to you

Soft heat on my tongue

Lacks sandy grit and dirt

My eyes closed in prayer

As yours stay alert

My peace

For your hurt

This Quadrille includes prompts from Mish at dVerse, Quadrille #74 – Sip and from Beth Amanda at the Go Dog Go Cafe Tuesday Writing Prompt – Light.

Another serendipitous meeting of prompts that helped me to express my thoughts about completing the Taji100. “Complete” might be too strong of a word since I am no where near the 100 miles I was supposed to run for this challenge during February. Between snow days and hubby traveling, finding the time to run was more difficult that usual. Coupled with freezing weather, I just couldn’t bring myself to run with the stroller either – Mommy guilt: it’s ok if I’m running in the freezing cold but I don’t want to put my child through that.

Still, I think about all the men and women in the military who suffer in heat and cold and other uncomfortable (to put it mildly) situations all over the world. I know my difficulties are nothing compared to the trials of being active military.

I asked one of my friends who was in the Army how he can run so fast. His answer was, “You learn to run fast when someone is shooting at you.”

My personal goal now is to run 50 miles before February 28. Yes, I know that’s tomorrow…I’m going out for a 10-15 mile run right after I post this. It’s 25 degrees out but at least there aren’t snipers in my neighborhood.

©️ iido 2019

Bed and Breakfast – A Haibun

The blue sky smelled of manure. Even the allure of coffee and raw milk, homemade bread with rhubarb jam and omelets plucked from their mother just that morning couldn’t overcome the scent that distinctly said, “You’re on a working farm.”

The distinct sound of a tractor pulled up to the farmhouse door. The farmer offered us a hay ride around the farm and explained the difference between hay and straw, silo versus barn. The farmer named each machine and it’s purpose, but not the animals.

That night, I briefly wondered if the chicken that gave her life for our pot pie dinner also sacrificed her progeny for our breakfast. And if the rooster that would wake us in the morning, knew what happened to his family.

Plastic and foam trays

Deception and protection

Farmers eat the truth

Yes, that’s me on a tractor – picture courtesy of one of my sorority sisters who posted some “throwback pictures” of a reunion we had a bed and breakfast in the Pennsylvania countryside a few years after we graduated college. I don’t think the tractor was actually moving for the picture, but it was a first for this city girl!

Coincidentally, Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing prompt requested: This week share poem/s out of your own nostalgia, experience, impressions, gratitude, concerns, or convictions about farms, farming, or farm policy. Despite now living in “farm country”, I still don’t know about farming although I do appreciate the numerous farmers markets in our area.

One thing I do know: I am very appreciative of the men and women who work on farms because I know I don’t have the constitution or inclination to grow things or kill things to eat. Maybe because living in cities, I was never exposed to that reality and thus my aversion to being close to the true source of what I/we eat. Food came in a package and didn’t have faces. Maybe if more people were aware of the reality of farming, there would be less food waste and a better understanding of the need to conserve and protect the environment/nature and animals as finite resources. But what do I know…I’m just a city girl…

©️ iido 2018

Writers Anonymous Manifesto – A Collaboration

12 Steps to Never Recovering from our “Writing Addiction”

Step 1:

Admit we are powerless to fight

Against the need to write

Step 2 :

Admit that we are together not to cure this affliction,

But to continue with this addiction

Step 3 :

Vehemently believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Why we swear upon a thesaurus and/or a dictionary

Step 4 :

Keep the fire to write burning bright

stoking it with humour, insights and candour alright!

Step 5:

Admit that writing is in our blood

It has always been our first love.

Family and work, we  take care of you

But writing is the thing we prefer to do.

Step 6 :

Let all our characters have many virtues and some flaws

Alphabets in inky soup are our allies for moments when inspiration withdraws.

Step 7:

And if that ever happens to anyone of us,

The others will rally around without any fuss.

Step 8:

If we go a day without rhyme or meter

It doesn’t mean our voices have petered.

We commit to finding inspiration

Even if it takes all our perspiration.

Step 9:

When you don’t hear me, see me or smell me,

I am still here,

Just hidden under a pile of words,

Beneath an avalanche of poetry and prose.

Worry not, fear not I will emerge….when?

Nobody knows.

Step 10 :

For reading is what keeps me sane

Free from fears, holy and profane!

And then gradually as I inch towards writing

I can hear your cheers, warm and inviting.

Step 11:

My words break free and release my soul

If I don’t let it go, it will exact a toll

So join me in this wonderful condition

Allow life’s dilemmas to bring words to fruition.

Step 12:

We strive to live by these principles.

We commit to carry this message to all who hold sacred the trysts of paper and pen.

Let this love affair never end!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the USA, a time for remembering and appreciating all the wonderful people, experiences and material blessings that we have in our lives. This year, I am especially appreciative of the connections I have made through this blog in the WordPress Universe – the other bloggers and my readers! You have all made me a better writer and poet! Thank you!

This post is a collaboration with Gina and Punam, two talented poets who have greatly enriched my life with their inspired writings. We had a conversation on the comments section of one of our blogs (I’m forgetting which one it is now!) about how writing is like an addiction for us – something we can’t live without, that (at times) takes us away or takes precedence over our families/work, that occupies our minds when we are not writing – but how we wouldn’t want to be cured from this addiction, but would want others to join us.

This piece is not intended to take away from the gravity of substance abuse or other behavioral addictions such as gambling. Addictive thinking can center around many activities. Even if the activity starts of healthy or benign, the addictive intention can turn it into something unhealthy.

Cutting through the denial, I really enjoyed working with Punam and Gina on our manifesto! They are profound and prolific poets and really pushed the quality of my work. As women wearing many hats (mother, worker, lover, friend), writing allows us to let down our hair. So let us write to our hearts content…because, really, we can’t stop!