It began with--surprise surprise-- being with Alina. Andy, Alina, Alina's husband and I rang in the New Year at their tiny apartment in Needham, MA. I think Hercules the cat was there, too. He never did like me and always scratched my ankles when I tried to feed him. Anyway. Shelty (Alina's husband) is a cook, and we had the best meal... That's what I remember.
In 2000 I was on sabbatical from teaching, and getting a degree in Children's Literature/English. Andy was in school too, working on his doctorate in Risk Science and Analysis at Haaaarvard. (You need to stick your nose in the air and elongate the aaaaa to really get the effect.)
We were super poor. So poor. Like unbelievably poor. We lived in a run-down carriage house that was both a health hazard and so cool (horse-hair insulating the walls it was so old) and we lived on this beautiful piece of property. The owners of the estate weren't there, so we used their lland and created a massive garden and let our dogs, Minna and Linus, (who were young pups at the time) room free.
I am a person who has obsessions that usually last between 2 and 5 years. At this point (almost thirty), I was obsessed with literature, Lindy Hop and horticulture. Many of my friends (ahem, Liz) called me Granny because my predilections were those held most often by retirees (except for the Jitterbug... that was pretty youthful and it super fun.) I'm lucky in that Andy usually encourages and tries to facilitate my obsessions. He was especially into the gardening. It was a great project.
I grew all of our flowers and vegetables from seed in the tiny garage below our carriage house. I insisted on labeling everything with little stainless steel markers that stated the plants' Latin names and common names.
(Note the Crate & Barrel boxes in the background. We were one year into marriage and had the boxes to prove it!)
And here's our garden freshly dug, in early spring.
And here's a view of part of the property we lived on. You can see Minna, Linus, and also my brother-in-law's dog, Arthur in the foreground. Both Arthur and Minna are gone now. Linus, at thirteen, is holding out.
Okay. Onward. As I said, we were poor and in school. I decided we weren't poor enough, so I decided to apply to do doctoral work in English. Andy agreed this was wise. Overly educated and dirt poor was a trajectory with which we were both comfortable. I killed myself interviewing, applying, nailing the GREs and so on and was eventually accepted to do doctoral work locally, at Boston College. Perfect.
Then I got pregnant.
As you may have guessed, this wasn't exactly in the plan.
Babies don't care if you can teach nineteenth century literature to graduate students.
They don't care, and they also require that someone in their home is bringing home some bacon, not just some learning.
I deferred entry to BC. We were going to have a baby and we lived in a shack and we had no income to speak of. Time to go back to teaching for moi.
Ahhh... what happens to a dream deferred? Does it shrivel up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?
Luckily for me, it did neither. After spending some quality time in (ahem) therapy, I correctly deduced that doing doctoral work in English was just an attempt to prove to the world that I am a super-smarty pants. Plus, as I have stated, my obsessions usually only last 2-5 years, so I reasoned that by the time I finished my degree the literature obsession would be dwindling anyway. More importantly, the world doesn't give a fart if I recite Donne or I recite Britney Spears lyrics. In retrospect, this realization--that no one gives a rat's ass if I'm a smarty pants except for me--was pretty big as realizations go.
So, in short, I did NOT spend the next five years in poverty studying the nineteenth century novel, but rather I spent it.....reproducing.
Jordan Rebecca. 8/01
Exhibit B: Noah Shepard 10/03
Lara Caroline 6/05
To be perfectly frank, not much else happened during these years. We bought a house. I kept teaching. Andy finished his degree and began to teach/work at Harvard. We got older.
A few photos of the pregnancy years:
New Year's 2002. Jordan, Maria, me, Shelty, and Andy at a Portland Pirates game (hockey).
At Heidi's house summer 2003: me, Jordan, Maria, Alina. Two months shy of giving birth to our sons...
Early summer 2004. Vacation in Acadia (maine) with Alina and family: Maria, Shelty, Andy, Noah (in the carrier), me, Jordan.
Noah and Ethan on the beach, 2004.Yum, sand. Have you ever changed a diaper with sand-laden poop?
Easter 2005. Due in two months with Lara.
Christmas 2005. Lara is six months.
at Julie's with my high school friends--summer 2006. on bench, Ange (with Nick), me Alina, standing, Julie, Heidi
All of our kids: from back Nick (ange), Cam (ange), Lauren (heidi), on bench Charlie (julie), Jordan (me), Amy (heidi), Maria (alina), on ground Tommy (ange), Dara (alina), Lara (me), Noah (me).
Here is a little video that captures my life at this time. It's not riveting, but it is revealing. It's too long--you may want to forward past Jordan's Happy and You Know It. It gets funnier at the end of the clip when Lara spits up and Minna licks it off by licking lara's lips. grossssss. And it happened every day--actually multiple times a day.
Onward. After Lara was born I developed an obsession with running. This was at first because I was desperate to get my body back. Three full term pregnancies in four years tends to make one a little nuts with desire to own one's own body again.
At a birthday party I made friends with a fellow mommy and runner, Jen. Jen told me she ran with a group, and gave me the email address the leader of that pack, Michael. Michael brought me into the group (still his MO--welcoming people into our group!) and introduced me to Melissa and others... all good friends now.
After I began running with my new peeps, I became even more obsessed with running--and decided that having three kids under the age of four while still nursing and while working full time was no reason not to train for a marathon. And just running a marathon wasn't good enough. I wanted to qualify for Boston. Just qualifying for Boston wasn't good enough either. I wanted to make the qualifying standard for women under 35 (3:40), even though I was at this point 36.
The group began training for the Clarence de Mar marathon in the spring of 2006.
I raced all summer, and then raced some more, and in September I crushed that damn marathon:
At this point we decided to make our group into a club. We became the Greater Norwood Running Club and I was our first president. I was obsessed with running, our club, and RACING. We created a Grand Prix, and I raced every one of the twelve races in the next year, and more, and won the damn thing. I ran Boston that spring and dropped my time to a 3:31.
Ange, with whom I had been racing all summer, told me she had done a TRIATHLON and that she had decided to sign up for a half Ironman.
That sounded cool.
So I signed up too.
I didn't even own a flipping bike.
The kids were growing, I was working, Andy got a new job in finance (which pretty much ended our affair with all things in academia, fyi. Poor and overly educated is just no way to go through life, especially when your wife has decided she now wants to become a TRIATHLETE.)
Andy got me a road bike... (later he would regret encouraging this new triathlon obsession, btw....) Then I got a plan to train for that sucker (Timberman) from Jesse, a coach who came highly recommended by a good friend of mine. At this point, Jesse was just getting moving in terms of creating his coaching business. Now his business boasts five coaches (soon to be six, I think) and is a major force in this area. While I'm on the topic of Jesse, he just wrote a really good post on body composition tools. Check it out.
Okay. You know the rest... I competed in Timberman 70.3 in August of 2007 with Ange. We both smoked it. Ange got a 5:19, and I got a 5:25. I began this blog just before Timberman.
So that's my brief synopsis of 2000-2009. Obviously I totally skimmed over important details and failed to apply analysis as to how I matured (or didn't mature).. etc and so on.
Happy New Year!~