An epilogue

Peru 2014 139.JPG

Caral, Peru. Photo by J. Calderon, 2014.

“..we found you lying

Choking on the dirt and sand

Your former glories and all the stories

Dragged and washed with eager hands

But, oh, your city lies in dust…” “Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and The Banshees

A terrible situation I have experienced for many years recently ended. (Year of milagros) Though I claimed I would samba in joy, I didn’t. Nor did I throw confetti, pop bottles or make it rain.  Certain routines feel awkward. Certain places bring back memories.  The reality of victory is simply that, a reality. Life has moved forward quietly.

I do ask if it’s really over. I wonder if my work with this particular situation is done.(My second career as an exorcist)Call it PTSD (though I don’t like to, given my personal experience loving someone with true PTSD) or shock, I have moments when I brace myself for more fighting.  After years of experiencing abuse, it will take time to resolve these reactions.

I wonder about the other party. Has this person reflected on choices made and actions taken? Can this person heal?  I don’t have it in me to truly hate this individual. Deep inside, underneath layers and strata, yes strata, of God only knows what, this person is in so much pain. It is a pain so visceral and so overwhelming that it has terrorized others for decades. That’s some mierda.   I will continue to lift this person up in prayer. Fix this person, Jesus.

Though I say “icant”


My secretary gave me this paperweight for Christmas. To know me is to love me.

or “I’m unable to can”


Team Petty. T-shirt collection to prove it.

for a laugh or to keep from cursing on the daily, I know I can. Taking on a malicious individual has taught me that I can stand strong. I can fight back without compromising my better self. I can win.

Another half-marathon, another medal

I did it again! Another 13.1 miles, this time down the Las Vegas strip(and the neighborhoods that boast real strip clubs)in the cold crisp morning. I was joined by hundreds of Elvis impersonators, brides and grooms, and a dragon. I walked 4, ran 9, and smiled all the way.
More to come.

2:57 again or how I surprised myself

Tenacity: persistence in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired; dogged determination

I have always considered my tenacity a strength. While there are those who may find it foolish or even “borderline obsessive,” I know it’s a quality I developed early on in life to compensate for chaos at home and for my own inner chaos(even if I only began to understand that in my 35th year of life.)My mom says I have been tenacious for as long as I have been alive: determined, driven, focused on a goal. Tenacity led me to go through 24 hours with a ruptured appendix and little more than a whimper(no tears, amazingly!), earn a Master’s degree in Creative Writing while in my second year of teaching, walking over 100 miles and raising over $5000 for breast cancer research, and for facing my mental illness proactively. My tenacity is a gift.

Nevertheless, I am also a realist. I know I’m a romantic and a sentimentalist, perhaps naively so at times. I know being rational and objective, particularly in matters of the heart, can be challenging. But I can face facts. This morning, as I rose at 4 in the morning to get ready for the San Francisco Marathon, I had accepted these facts:
a) My longest training run during this round of training was 6 miles.
b) I only ran 6 miles total in the past 3 weeks.
c) My coach and I decided that a run-walk would be the only way I could participate today without injury.
d) If I didn’t make the three-hour mark, I might not receive a finisher’s medal.
As my friend and I began to run across the starting line, I had decided that I would enjoy my run, medal or not.

But I got my medal!!!!!

The day was drizzly as we made our way down the first 3 miles of the Embarcadero and Aquatic Park. The first hill was into Fort Mason. I power-walked up, past the three people I had secretly adopted: an Asian couple and an older black gentleman. We then ran down the Marina Green, into Crissy Field, and up the hill towards the Bridge. More power-walking. Then the Golden Gate Bridge. Here the temp dropped and we had wind and heavier drizzle. But I was happy! I’m sure all my pictures will feature my wide grin. I couldn’t stop smiling. I don’t know if it was my trusty iPod shuffling upbeat disco, salsa, house, and reggaeton or knowing I had already made my past mileage or the energy of my fellow runners. As we rounded Vista Point, I realized I was making San Jose time. Though I was thrilled, I walked up the incline of the Bridge before running again. On Lincoln Blvd, I ran on the flat and walked up the hills. At Mile 10, I realized I might finish in under three hours but again, I wanted to not overdo it. So I decided to walk for two miles. I kept up a good pace and kept my arms moving as my coach suggested. As we approached Golden Gate Park at Mile 12 in the avenues, I told myself that I would run across the finish line. I checked my phone and saw that I could make my past time if I ran. But I was tired. At one point, I wanted to run but my legs were hurting. Then, like a mirage in the desert, I saw the finish line. Could it be? Was I going to get my medal? I hate to sprint but I ran like crazy across that finish line. 2:57 again, just like last year at San Jose’s Rock N Roll. I almost cried when I was handed my medal.

Another year, another half-marathon, another victory.

No longer a sophomore and ready for summer vacation

I am so happy the wind rustling through the trees on my street made me start to cry. I love every tree and bird and all that blue sky. I ran 4 miles this morning and despite the fact I experienced my first chafing(ouch!), I grinned at every senior citizen I passed on the shoreline trail. I waved animatedly at the two bums sleeping near the little park by Heron Drive.
Last night in group, I was giddy. I survived this tough second year at my job. I didn’t have to take a leave of absence or use up my sick days or call 911. I got a glowing evaluation from my boss. She also reminded me of the afternoon when I told her I might not make it through the school year. My depression was overwhelming and I wasn’t sleeping or eating well. Then a fight broke out, before I could break down into tears. I made it through that day. I made it through the rest of the school year. And yes, praise God, I made it through this depression.
I’m off to Nashville for the beginning of my short summer.