And That is Beautiful

And that is beautiful.

And that is beautiful.

Miles run today: 10

Weeks I’ve not written in my blog: 11

Days until the end of the school year: 1

No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful
Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful

They Might Be Giants, “Don’t Let’s Start”

My story starts: I was grumpy.

And don’t say that I am always grumpy. Just mostly more than usual and after 9 a.m. and before 9 p.m. but not always.

So I was grumpy. My family had signed up to do a neighborhood Adventure Run, and all I really wanted to do was loll about and not speak and read my book. But we were headed for the clubhouse under dark, threatening skies.

“You don’t want to be here, do you?” my husband asked.

“Not even a little bit,” I said. I have been told that when I am not smiling, my face is not altogether attractive, just to give you the visuals.

And after a slight delay, the skies opened up. Huge, thick, black clouds let loose, and big tiger paw drops of water sprinted for the ground as we huddled under the clubhouse’s overhang with the other families.

I was not amused.

But then the rain slowed down, and all of the little kids started stomping in the puddles, and the grownups shifted about from one foot to the other.

“Let’s get started!” the leader of the race (and a friend) yelled. “We’ll have a staggered start. Woodmans? Go!”

Whoa. My husband drove to the obstacle station he would be manning… a huge catapult he built out of jeans, exercise bands and wood.

The kids and I sprinted for where we thought we should be headed.

Thank goodness I had worn my old running shoes. My feet squelched through the mud, and the trees we ran past were heavy with the damp. We stopped and balanced on boards at one obstacle, filled buckets of water at another, and scooted under ropes at another.

We had to cross the neighborhood creekΒ six times. It was swollen with water, so jumping across was not an option; we waded, and it was wet and cool.

We ran and screamed and cheered, and the weeds tore at my calves.

It was the best time I’d had in months.

Minus the tick I found on my leg in the shower a little while later, I would say it turned out to be a fun, muddy, kid-like day.

Maybe part of the lesson is that we often don’t know what we want… or what will be good for us. And that is beautiful.

These past few months have been challenging. But thank you for checking in on me!

The blogging community is a loving one. To my wonderful blogging friends who sent messages to check on me 1. after the Boston Marathon (as if I could qualify!) (thanks, Dennis!) and those who sent me Mother’s Day messages (thanks, Amy!) and those who sent plaintive comments (thanks, Mike!): thank you, my friends.

I have missed you and my wonderful little life!

Yes, I have toppled off balance, and as one of my favorite ’90s bands might say, “That is beautiful.”

Because life isn’t ever exactly what you would expect, now, is it? And the whole God laughing when you plan thing has not ever stopped me from planning… no siree, Bob.

Eight things I have learned about myself since I started back to work full-time:

1. I can actually be a fairly grumpy person, though the bubbly person might still be in there somewhere.

2. I may never again be awake to see 11 p.m.

3. I still love bunnies.

4. Twitter is a fun and productive diversion when you are brainstorming creative concepts.

5. Sometimes I fantasize about being in bed, and not in a fun, sexy way.

6. I will do most anything to keep running and keep eating chocolate.

7. Mean people suck.

8. I may be one of those mean people because I am not always a good friend.

To those of you who are still writing, I will check back in from time to time, but not for every post. I apologize in advance.

To those of you who are still reading my stuff, thank you. That is beautiful.

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42 thoughts on “And That is Beautiful

  1. Bernie Brown says:

    Glad you are back blogging. I think you are remarkable to do all the things you do. Just sayin’, writing buddy. πŸ™‚

  2. Arianne says:

    Glad to see you are still writing (and running). I enjoyed reading your blog.

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    I have really missed your posts, too, as you may have noticed from the “ping” of my Tuesday post. That day job has a habit of taking up our time and leaving us tired when we’re home. My hours have increased recently and that eats up the time I want to spend on ‘fun’ things.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the run, and I hope you’re finding a balance that will let you post more than once every three months. πŸ˜‰

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, JM. I’ve missed reading your posts, too. I will have to check back in with all of my favorite bloggers! I hope you find some fun this summer, even with increased hours. And I hope you and I can get to that novel sweet spot sometime soon!

  4. Welcome back! I love your posts, always so well put together πŸ™‚

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Nice to hear from you, Anne! I’ve been thinking of you. I understand how life can (and probably should) get in the way of blogging. I’m taking a summer break myself, just checking in on other bloggers’ posts from time to time. And of course, I had to stop by here to say ‘hi.’ πŸ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, Carrie, I see your posts crop up from time to time in my LinkedIn feeds, and I don’t get a chance to read them during work hours. My husband and I are anxiously awaiting your next novel. ; )

  6. Andria says:

    Anne- I’ve been missing reading your blog. I enjoyed reading it again today. Isn’t it funny how sometimes you can enjoy things you don’t expect to. After I started teaching computers, the little school I worked at made me be the media specialist 2 days a week. I begged off every way I could think of, and then ended up loving the media center and seriously thought about getting another masters to teach that.

  7. So lovely to see a post from you pop up in my reader today! I have missed you and your posts. I popped back here a few times just to see if you had done a post that I had missed! πŸ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Vanessa! I have been thinking about the song that you recorded a while back on your blog–so charming! I will have to go back into your posts to see what you’ve been up to in the last few months. Thanks for stopping by after the hiatus.

  8. Last week I actually checked through all the blogs I follow, wondering if somehow I’d mistakenly deleted you! I hadn’t… and now here you are checking back in. Hooray!
    In the back of my mind I DID remember you mentioning going back to full time employment and thought your new schedule probably WAS at the root of your disappearance! But I didn’t know for sure!
    It must be fun to be back in the workforce and feeling powerful. I know, I know, you are still getting accustomed to it again, and don’t necessarily feel “powerful” but as one who never had a career and rarely worked outside of being a stay at home mother, I imagined my career-oriented friends looking powerful in their business suits and making decisions while I made peanut butter and jelly….and peanut butter and jelly…and more peanut butter and jelly for the better part of 16 years!
    Anyway, I’m rooting for you and hope your position is everything you need and want it to be!
    Happy summer to youi! πŸ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Karen, Isn’t it funny how, as women, we question the choices we’ve made–career vs. stay-at-home mom–and we often have wistful feelings about what might have been. The men I’m friends with don’t seem to have that. I think it’s wonderful that you were able to stay home and make peanut butter and jelly… I am so thankful for the years I had to do that for my kids.

      I miss your comforting and informative gardening posts. I hope everything is gorgeous and blooming there in FL.

      And thank you for rooting for me! I need all the rooting I can get! ; )

  9. Oh, THERE you are! Thank goodness.

    Clearly this working thing is not working out. It is interfering with your blogging, making you more grumpy, and may quite possibly get in the way of your love of bunnies. We can’t have that, now can we?

    In all seriousness, it’s a delight to have you back in the blogging world. Don’t stray for this long again, OK?

    The timing of your reemergence is perfect, too. I had recently seen a live appearance of David Sedaris. (It was great.) And as soon as he took his bows I found myself thinking, “Hm. I wonder where in hell Anne is?”

    • annewoodman says:

      Oh my gosh! David Sedaris visited here recently, too! I didn’t even try to go, though, because it was at one of our most popular independent bookstores, and Sedaris grew up here. His appearances are akin to Bieber concerts for the middle-aged set. So I was with you in spirit, buddy.

      I’ve missed reading about your grass-roots anti-celebrity-book movement and your supernatural doodling abilities. Will check in soon.

  10. Amy Mak says:

    I’m glad you still like bunnies πŸ™‚ Very happy to have a new post pop up today! Yes, I would agree. Llife is beautiful and brutiful and terribly unpredictable, kind of like that mud race every person on the planet should run every once in awhile. Take care, enjoy summer!

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, hope things are warming up for you way up north, Amy! Here, it just keeps raining! Hug those kiddos a lot and enjoy lots of mud this summer for me.

      We’ll have to talk about Ms. Snark as the summer progresses. ; )

  11. kathleen says:

    Keep hanging in there, kid! I love your posts and your awesome family πŸ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Kathleen. I appreciate your taking the time to drop in. I’m still up for a Bulls game sometime soon. And maybe I’ll be able to make the Sound of Music thing later this summer.

      Your writing and spirit are an inspiration.

  12. 4amWriter says:

    Missed hearing from you, Anne. But I get it; I’m kinda there myself and am in need of a summer hiatus. If not because of time issues, then certainly because of grumpiness issues. πŸ˜‰

    Glad you enjoyed your run!

    • annewoodman says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one, Kate! I hope you get to do lots of fun things with your kids this summer. And I hope you’re still working on that novel (or two) of yours.

  13. David Gentry says:

    Anne,

    I was so glad to get the email of your new blog post, and, as usual, it did not disappoint. It was enjoyable to read.

    About not getting what you want — I discovered that there are actually three ancient, Chinese curses, not only “May you live in interesting times.” Remember, each of these is much worse than the preceding ones:

    1. May you live in interesting times.

    2. May you come to the attention of the authorities.

    3. May you get what you want.

    I have come to believe that one of the most salient characteristics of homo sapiens is that we strive. We are great strivers. Or as Churchill said when London was being bombed 96 straight nights by the Germans: “If the British Empire lasts a thousand years, it will always be said this was its finest hour.”

    I love you and I am very proud of you. You went back to work full time not for yourself. It is difficult now, but, later, you will realize what a good thing you did.

    Isn’t that a typical thing for a parent to say? “Just wait.”

    Dad

  14. David Gentry says:

    Well, I messed up that one. I meant to italicize homo sapiens and this as in “…thiswas its finest hour.”

  15. J-Bo says:

    Welcome back!! I had just been wondering where you went πŸ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Julia. How’s that memoir of yours coming along?

      • J-Bo says:

        It’s coming. I just finished my first revision and am undertaking my second revision. Should be one more after this, and I hope to be querying agents by September. It has KIND OF taken over my life, hence the lack of more frequent blog posts.

      • annewoodman says:

        I just read your most recent post. Can totally relate. Am wondering if my second novel will ever get written but am excited that it might. I’ll keep checking back in… good luck!

  16. Good Morning! It is a beautiful day now that you are in it!.
    I just loved this line, “Huge, thick, black clouds let loose, and big tiger paw drops of water sprinted for the ground…”
    Also, It is a known fact that grumpy people can’t love bunnies. Bunnies make you smile. I hope to see you more on the blog and Twitter.

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Dennis. Yes, still enjoying bunnies gives me hope! I’ll have to check in and see how your writing is going. I miss seeing your progress meter. ; )

  17. Melissa says:

    Ahh…welcome back…and to my world….a bed is a wonderful thing and so is a sofa and a comfy chair….all for sleeping. Sleeping is sexy because it brings out the bubbly, not grumpy person we know exists. You will eventually find way to work in the stuff that is important to you and find all sorts of beautiful things. Enjoy the ride!

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, agreed, Melissa! I sure hope you’re right… working back in all the fun stuff is my goal for the summer. I’ll have to check in with you to see what you’re knitting… after all, Christmas is just around the corner. ; )

  18. Still reading. Glad to find to your words…

  19. It is good to hear from you. It is always good to get your well-written updates. Cheers! – Mike

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