Sunday, May 9, 2010

race day + my mother = good weekend

This has been quite the wonderful weekend.

I ran my longest race yet, the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K (just longer than a half marathon), on Saturday morning. Of course, the temperatures dropped from the lovely warmth of earlier days to low forties accompanied by strong winds and misty rain, but it really wasn't as bad as I had begun to anticipate. Besides, when I'm running in that kind of weather alone, I wonder at my sanity, but running in those conditions with so many other people is simply invigorating. There are 21,000 other people running this morning! I think to myself. I can't be crazy! (Though I hear the cries of the non-runners out there, and yes, there is that chance that we are all crazy...)

There is so much I love about races: the energy that comes from being surrounded by so many that love to run as much as I do, the camaraderie of strangers in this together, the conversations overheard, running in the middle of the road, the children with signs to cheer on their mom or dad, new scenery and parts of the city I rarely see, the feeling of accomplishment when I've crossed the finish line. I'm quite happy with my time and still feel energized. It was a great race.

Now I'm on the lookout for a half marathon to run with my dad in the near future... and dreaming of training for a marathon in the further-off future... someday!

My lovely mother then came up on Saturday afternoon and stayed through today for our celebration of Mother's Day. We had a wonderful time; it was so fun to have her here and play hostess to the woman who showed me how to host in the first place. Dinner out last night at a favorite Spanish restaurant played tribute to our shared love of that country. After church today, we cooked brunch together and sat at my little table, light streaming in through the front window, and as we sipped our coffee out of my favorite bright tea cups, my mom remembered aloud when we purchased these cups and their matching saucers several years ago, from an earthy little coffee shop in Montreal during a summer trip we took along with my dad. And here we were today, drinking our coffee together in my first apartment. I love seeing the threads that tie different times and experiences together, making a whole cohesive something out of our seemingly-random lives.

And on Mother's Day, I must just say that I am increasingly thankful for this incredible woman that graces my life with motherhood and love and friendship. She teaches me so much, from small and practical things--like how to keep mold from building up in my shower and how to scramble eggs really well--to the most crucial--how to love well and practice contentment and not be afraid.

My mother is strong and loyal and kind and compassionate. I want to be like her.

Sometimes life is not all that wonderful. But sometimes, like today, like this weekend, it is. And for that I am thankful.

Cheers, then, to long runs and the beauty of movement and strength in accomplishment, to mothers the world 'round, that very concept of motherhood and my own lovely mother in particular.

I hope your weekends were full of joy also.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I have been waiting--rather impatiently, I'll admit--for the start of the farmers' market here in my dear Grand Rapids. I've been reading food blogs written by folks on the west and east coasts, and as they rave about the markets and their rhubarb and strawberries and ramps, I have been, frankly, filled with jealousy and a great deal of impatience.

Thankfully, the first of May finally arrived, and with it, the spring opening of my local farmer's market!

I was overjoyed.

I love farmers' markets. I love the fresh and beautiful produce and plants and eggs and cheese and baked goods and jam. I love the bustle of people. I love being out on a Saturday morning when the air is crisp and the sun bright. I love the farmers: the lovely old man who delights in the brightly colored stems of chard just as I do, the folks with the pretty display of baskets who will employ one of my dearest friends this summer, the couple with the interesting selection of jams--and the husband's helpful suggestion to pour his favorite of them on ice cream for a summer treat, the people with the plethora of wonderful whole grain flours...

It's early yet, so there wasn't an enormous array of produce, mostly herbs and potted plants and eggs and such, but I didn't mind. I just wanted to be there. I wanted to absorb that spirit of springtime, to revel in the joy of the shifting of seasons manifest in new varieties of produce from week to week, forcing us to move with the earth, encouraging us to live and eat accordingly, breaking up monotony with new life and delightful change.

I came home with spirits high and a bag filled with the bounty of early springtime.