The Party You Are Trying to Reach…   Leave a comment

Thanks to the folks who have signed up for this blog over the past few weeks.  I am sorry to say I am no longer updating it.  The good news is, I have a new one.  You can now find me at

I figured with the divorce having been finalized four years ago, it was time to move on from being a marathon widow to being whatever it is I am right now.

So, hopefully, I will see you there some time.


Posted April 18, 2018 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

Rebranding   1 comment

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new Socrates

I did something the other day that I don’t generally spend a lot of time (read: any, if at all) doing.

I looked at myself in the mirror.

And I mean, really looked, not just in a cursory ‘please, G-d, let my shirt match my pants’ or a ‘does my hair look all right?’ sort of way – the answer was yes on both counts – and even though I know what I look like, I was still taken aback by what I saw.

Even though I still pretty much look the same as I always have – more on that below – at the same time, I look totally different. Mostly it’s the little things – the nail polish on my toes, the blue streak in my hair, the necklaces I now wear on a regular basis.

The real differences are inside.

As I have said in prior posts, my self-image is better than it has ever been before. (Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be walking around in public with a blue streak in my hair… Although I have to admit, it has gotten a lot of compliments.) The depression that was the bane of my existence for more years than I care to remember is under control without the meds that made me tired, bitchy moody, and fat, which is nice.

Most important is my sense of self-worth has sky-rocketed.

Now, to be clear, I have never doubted my abilities or intelligence. I have always known I was capable, in some instances more than capable. What I doubted was myself. I simply didn’t think I was really worth much of anything. It’s not that anyone ever told me I was wasn’t; it’s more that my image of myself didn’t match up with what society and our culture said I should be – popular, pretty, thin, witty. Being short, shy, awkward, and the size of an average person just seemed wrong. Now it just seems normal.

And as a bonus, I no longer really care what society thinks of me.

It took me much more time than it should have to realize the only person whose opinion about me I need to care about is me. And right now, that opinion is pretty good. Because I am no longer the same person I was before. In that vein, this will be the last post on Tales of a Marathon Widow.

This doesn’t mean I am going to stop writing.

I tried that once before, and it didn’t go over very well. Words to me are like lava in volcanoes; either they cascade out and create new structures, or they stay inside until the pressure is too much and create Pompeii. Which is not good.

See, here’s the thing. A marathon widow (or sports widow of any variety) is by definition someone who has been abandoned by their spouse for a game or a race to run or tournament to participate in. I haven’t been a marathon widow in four years, not since my marriage ended. It just took me longer than I would have liked to let go of that identity.

So, in that vein, it’s time for a little rebranding. After today, Marathon Widow will be archived in favor of my new blog, Snippets of an Unanticipated Life. The content will likely be similar – if not the same as this blog – but the identity will be new.

I hope to see you there.

Posted July 12, 2017 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

Lists, Part 1   Leave a comment

This is the last time I’m asking you this, / Put my name at the top of your list, / This is the last time I’m asking you why, / You break my heart in the blink of an eye Gary Lightbody, Taylor Swift, Garrett Lee

There was a conversation I used to have on a fairly regular basis with my ex. It happened often enough that I probably should have seen the divorce coming from early on. But I was either naive or overly hopeful. Possibly both.

The lead-up went something like this:

I would ask him to do a task or he would excitedly outline a plan for completing a project around the house then I would leave to go to work or do whatever errand needed doing. Not long after my departure one of his friends would call to ask for help with something, and he would drop whatever it was he was doing or had planned to do and go help his friend. Later on, I would come home to find him gone and the project either undone or started and not finished. He would eventually return from wherever he was, and with a glow of accomplishment, tell me about the phone call and regale me with the story of how the problem had been taken care of.

It was only after he paused to take a breath that he would look at me and notice I was fuming wasn’t happy. Then he would ask what was wrong.

After taking a breath and counting to ten, I would say that while I was glad everything worked out for his friend, I wondered if he realized what I expected to be done was still not done.

He would explain his friend needed him, it was an emergency, something had come up, (insert reason here), and he would get to the house task soon.

I would take another breath and tell him I was glad his friends could count on him for help, and he truly was the best friend in the world. The only problem was it felt like he was the best friend in the world to everyone but me. I would explain that it felt like everyone else’s needs came before mine, and everybody else’s wishes came higher on his list than mine did. And that it hurt. Then I would try to soften my words by saying I didn’t need to be at the top of his list, but I needed to feel like I was actually on the list.

Apparently I didn’t need to soften my words. It didn’t matter how many times we had the conversation or how many different ways I said it. He didn’t understand.

The worst time was one Saturday I was working. I had asked him to straighten up the house as we were having dinner guests, and since I was the one cooking that night, I wouldn’t have time both to pick up our regular clutter and work on cooking when I got home. As I left, he stood holding our son and assured me the house would be neater by the time I got home.

Three guesses…

Needless to say, it was not entirely a surprise when I got home to find people other than those who were coming for dinner in my kitchen drinking tea. Friends had needed help with a car repair, so he had them come over so he could see if could figure out the problem.

For the first time, rather than getting disappointed I got mad. Furious, actually.

After saying a terse hello, I started the job of decluttering. Once the friends left, I plopped my toddler in front the VCR to watch a rollicking episode of Blue’s Clues, brought my husband in the kitchen, and – seething the whole time – quietly informed him if he ever did something like that to me again, I would leave him.

He was surprised, shocked even, and I’m pretty sure even after I explained through clenched teeth why I was so upset he still didn’t get it. Because it was just another permutation of that same conversation.

I felt like I didn’t matter to him. I felt unimportant. I felt like the housekeeper or the nanny or a roommate rather than his wife.

Different iterations of the same conversation.

Sometimes I wonder where I would be now if I had left him when it happened the next time. Because there is a vast difference between choosing something yourself and having it decided for you. Would it have taken longer to get over him? Would my self-image have suffered as much? It’s interesting to speculate but impossible to know for sure.

If some of the blogs I follow are any indication, other people have lists as well, and many of them keep their ‘important to me’ list in a weighted order: immediate family/significant other, birth family, friends, etc.

Whether it’s a holdover from my marriage or function of how my brain works, I prefer to keep mine fluid. This is partially because I find the order of importance fluctuates from time to time – for example, whether the cats place higher than my son on any given day depends entirely on which of them didn’t wake me up at five in the morning – and partially because I don’t feel comfortable looking at it that way.

I guess I’d rather think of my list more like one of those word clouds you see on the internet; whatever is currently uppermost in my mind is in a really big font while everything else hovers around in slightly smaller ones. Sort of like this:


It’s both kind of cool and a much more accurate representation of how my brain actually works. (Although I am surprised ‘chocolate’ is in as small a font as it is. Odd…)

What has thrown a wrench into the word cloud is the new relationship. Completely in a good way. Suddenly I appear on someone else’s list again, and I find it’s taking some getting used to. The funny part is I’ve gotten so used to not being on a list that I don’t always know what to do with it. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just been so long that I forget what it’s like.

But I’m slowly starting to accustom myself to it again.

And, you know what? I think I like it. I’ll have to check my word cloud again next year and see what it looks like. Who knows?

I am expecting ‘chocolate’ to be a larger font, though. Anything else would just be wrong.

Posted June 21, 2017 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

Don’t Punch a Gift Horse in the Mouth   Leave a comment

We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it. – John Lennon

Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago. Erma Bombeck

What greater gift than the love of a cat. ― Charles Dickens

It’s that time of year again. Time for one of those pesky anniversaries I can’t for the life of me make myself forget. This year, for a nice change, I didn’t re-experience the trauma I felt on that first day when the foundation of my life disappeared. (Yay me!)

To be honest, while I have been aware of the date, I really hadn’t been thinking about it at all. I’ve been a little too busy focusing on the good things in my life right now.

Like the trip my son and I will be taking this summer. And the recent uptick in his completed knitting projects. (I got a gorgeous hat for Mother’s Day; yes, I had to purchase the wool for it, but wow… I couldn’t even hope to match the quality of his work. He is much better than I am.) And the fact that his grades – cough… English… cough… – have improved enough that I am not going to have to maim him at the end of the school year.

And the relationship. Which is still going swimmingly.

So, given that is has now been four years, my therapist informed me I should asked if I was planning on writing about the gifts I have received from working through my divorce. I gave him a cock-eyed look, and said no.

Here’s why: I don’t view the things I have gained from my divorce as gifts.

To me, a gift is something given from the heart, something that you give knowing – or at least hoping – the recipient will want or enjoy. And while I have gotten things from my marriage ending – a better sense of self and self-image, the ability to travel places I want to go, time to focus on things I want to do – they were in no way, shape, or form given to me. They weren’t even thrust upon me like some kind of consolation prize for surviving the implosion of my world and personal life.

I fought for them. Hard. And I’m still working on some of them.

Yes, my self-image is better than it has been in years. Probably better than it has ever been. I like how I look, white-hair-with-its-trendy-blue-streak, cuddly parts that would be slightly less cuddly if I laid off the cookies, and all. (As an aside, pop culture really needs to stop telling teenage girls they need to be tall, thin, and part of a couple. And laying off the cookies? Not going to happen. Cookies are life.)

The time I spend at the gym – slightly less lately after the trip to the ER a few weeks back and the absolutely terrible weather we have been having – is for me, not because I am trying to mold myself into someone else’s ideal of how I should look. I like being stronger and relatively in shape. It feels good.

The trips? This has been one of the more difficult ones. Mainly because it honestly took me a while to realize I was now in charge of my vacations and could take my son places my ex wasn’t interested in going. Like Disneyland or the Harry Potter Park at Universal Studios, which was truly awesome. It’s actually been kind of cool. I mean, I did most of the planning when we went away as a family before, but now the plans are exciting rather than work. How far can we travel? What kind of cool, off-the-beaten-path places can I find for us to see? Can I get really cheap airfare so we don’t have to spend two days of our vacation trapped in car trying to get through New York City in the middle of the day? (DC, a fountain pen show, and yes. Score!)

The hardest one has been figuring out what I want to do. Obviously, writing is one of these things. While I wrote before, I was never able to dedicate the time to it that I can now. This was partially because the boy was younger, and as the preferred parent I was on call for him more, but it was also because my attention was focused on what I thought I needed to do for my marriage. That, and I didn’t know what to say. Or how what I needed to say would be received. It was easier not to express myself.

So, while I am doing pretty well with the first couple definitely-not-gifts, this last one is still a work in progress. But I’m having fun figuring it out.

And that’s the point of a gift, right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go gift myself a cookie.

Posted June 7, 2017 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

Compassion. Fatigue   Leave a comment

So, I had another post mostly done that I was going to finish up for tonight, but yesterday I had an adventure. Not an exciting or welcome one, but an adventure nonetheless.

I was supposed to be meeting my guy for dinner, our usual Tuesday night activity, when I realized my stomach wasn’t very happy. I decided to stop at a local grocery store to avail myself of their facilities (without having to buy a cup of coffee like I would have to in one of Northampton’s many cafés). After throwing up a couple of times, I realized dinner wasn’t going to happen, texted him to let him know what was going on, and ensconced myself on the patio display the store had thoughtfully set up close by the bathrooms. Just in case.

Fortunately someone I knew from my synagogue also happened to be in the bathroom at the same time, and she sat with me for a few minutes until I started to look and feel a bit better, as whatever had been bothering my digestive tract was well and truly gone. My acquaintance went off to finish her shopping, and my guy texted me back to let me know he was coming to the store to see how I was and drive me home if I needed him to.

This ended up being a good thing. Some time after that text, I started feeling really, really ill. To the point that when he got there, he offered to take me to the hospital. I agreed that would probably be a very good idea, and if I had been able to get up and walk, he would have done just that. As it was, he ended up having to call an ambulance to take me there.

(Before I go any further with the story, I will say I am fine. The problem ended up being dehydration after having been sick.  It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t life-threatening, either.)

My second ambulance ride wasn’t any more fun than my first – that being the one I had to take with my son after the sledding accident where he tried to take out a small stand of trees with his head – but did get me to the hospital without my having to stand up. Which was a definite plus. And after about twenty minutes of sitting/lying in a hallway on my gurney trying to sign my name to release forms with an IV in my right arm that made it really difficult to move my arm enough to write, someone came over and asked if I had anyone in the waiting room.

It was a huge relief when they brought him over to me. He had actually beaten the ambulance to the ER and had been waiting to find out what was going on. Apparently, the waiting room was full – it was an oddly busy night at the hospital – and a bunch of people who were waiting to be treated were annoyed that he was called into the inner sanctum before they were.

The nurses brought him a chair, and we stayed in the hallway for several hours, him holding my hand and talking to me, as I gradually felt better thanks to the bag of saline solution attached to my gurney. Arrangements were made for my ex to stay at my house with the boy in case I needed to stay at the hospital overnight for observation, and we settled in to wait. He made me laugh when he joked that having the beds in the hallway made moving people around seem like a giant game of Tetris, moved out of the way when one of nurses came to draw blood for tests – needle phobia being something we share, and held the bendy-straw in the cup of water I was allowed to have to my lips so I could drink from it. The rest of the time, he held my hand.

After several hours, we were moved into a room, the nurses thanking us for being so patient, where we waited to find out the results of all of the tests that had been done. By this time it was a bit after ten o’clock, and I was feeling much more like myself. A tired version of myself, but myself. When the doctor finally discharged me – there was “a bit of a backlog” we had been told – it was close to midnight, and we had both been dozing. He walked me through the lobby and sat me down so he could get his car to drive me back to the supermarket where mine was still parked. As we left, the nurses told us how sweet they found the two of us.

During the short drive, he quizzed me to make sure I felt up to driving back home and informed me he would be following me back to my house to make sure I got there safely, even though it would mean a) he would be driving way out of his way and b) the extra miles would increase his trip home by forty minutes.

As I crashed into bed with my very vocal cat who had apparently been wondering where the hell I was all night, all I could think was how lucky I was. Not only that nothing was seriously wrong with me, but that I have found someone as kind and caring as he is.

Tonight I am planning to go to bed nice and early. I feel better, but better still feels a bit like having been run over by a pickup truck. But on reflection, I can honestly say that while last night wasn’t the evening I had been hoping for, it was a good one nonetheless.

Posted May 24, 2017 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

Anger Management   2 comments

So, over the past few weeks I have had two people tell me I look happier and calmer than I have in a long time.

I’m taking it as the compliment I know it was meant to be. Because I am. Both happier and calmer. It’s kind of nice.

This may come as no surprise, but for a long time, I was angry. Angry at my ex, angry at the world, angry because the supermarket was out of the granola bars I liked, angry because the stop light was taking too long… I could go on, but you get the picture. It wasn’t pretty.

Mostly I was angry at myself.

Angry for putting up with certain behaviors for as long as I did, angry because I viewed the dissolution of my marriage as a failure on my part – divorces are known as ‘failed marriages’ not successful ones, after all – even though I wasn’t in the marriage alone, angry because I prefer to do things right the first time. And angry because, even before the end slapped me upside the head, things had already gotten to the point where I felt like I was failing at marriage. Like I would be getting an F on my report card or something.

I’m not a big fan of failing.

I know when you fail you learn stuff, but honestly I would rather learn by doing and doing well than by doing and having things blow up in my face. (Type A personality much?) And when twenty-five years worth of things blow up in your face, the end result is scar tissue. Also known as anger.

Now, at first, I didn’t try to manage the anger. At all. I couldn’t. I was a walking collection of sharp edges held together by anger, exercise, and vast quantities of ice cream. Really, the only thing holding me together was the anger – the ice cream helped with my psyche; the exercise allowed me to sleep – and I held on to it with all the strength I could muster.

I managed to blunt the edges a tiny bit at work and temporarily smother them with fuzzy blankets when my son was around, but when I was alone and not focusing on my behavior, I raged.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it took longer than I would like to admit for it to dissipate. (Cough… three years… Cough.)

I would like to take credit for it finally happening, but I can’t. It’s not that I didn’t try. I tried listening to calming music, coloring, long nature walks (it’s useful living at the bottom of a mountain), telling the negative voices inside my head to go the hell away. Nothing worked. Well-meaning friends suggested meditation and yoga, but I shied away from the former as that gave the negative voices both lots of space in my head and my undivided attention – which was not the effect I was going for – and the latter left me feeling stretched out and craving an energetic aerobics class followed by more ice cream, but not necessarily any calmer.

What finally did it was time. And not in a “time heals all wounds” kind of way, as I’m pretty sure the psychological and emotional wounds I sustained will never completely go away, but more in a “can we just call this done now” manner.

Honestly, I think I tired myself out. Maintaining that level of anger is exhausting. Not to mention extremely unproductive.

Anyway, if nothing else I learned something. Not that I can control my emotions, as I did a really crappy job at that. (Cough… three years… Cough.) Or that I am a great actress. The fact that people are commenting that I look happier and calmer now lets me know that fact loud and clear. Despite my claims of being all right when everything first blew up, the husband of one of my friends told her he thought I looked fragile. Now I would call it an accurate assessment, although then I thought I needed to try smiling more and see if that helped. It didn’t. The smiles were all rather… feral.

I learned that I am more resilient than I thought I was. Resilient over a long period of time, but still resilient. And I’ll take that.

After all, there are much worse things to learn. And worse things to be.

Like angry.

Posted May 10, 2017 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

More Than Words   Leave a comment

Cause it’s easy to tell me you love me / Easy to say you’re thinking of me / Words are so easy to say” – John Romano, Julian Hernandez, Richard Miranda, Tony Garcia

If you’ve met me, you know I need like to talk. A lot. Actually, if you haven’t met me, but you’ve read any part of this blog, you have probably come to the same conclusion. Because I talk. A lot. Sometimes I even say things when I talk. Sometimes. Not always.

When I met my ex, one of the things I really enjoyed about him was his ability to talk, to tell a story, to make me laugh. The ebb and flow of conversation was easy, and we always had a lot to talk about.

By the time we had been married a while, some of the conversation stalled. We had told each other most of our before-I-met-you stories and needed to find other things to talk about, which wasn’t always easy. I spent a lot of time at the terrible, soul-sucking job that provided our health insurance as well as the majority of our income at the time work and wanted to spend most of my limited free time with him, so I didn’t have much fodder for amusing stories and ended up mostly talking about work. Right up until he told me I complained about my job too much. So I started censoring myself, even though what I really needed was – in addition to venting – someone to tell me someday the economy would improve, and I would be able to find a different job. With health insurance. (Spoiler alert: I did.)

But I kept a lot of what I felt to myself. And continued to about other things. Sometimes issues would bubble around inside my head until the words exploded out of my mouth, but for the most part, I found other things to talk about. Looking back on it now, I realize it probably wasn’t that healthy, but it was what I thought I needed to do to keep my husband happy and my marriage intact. Live and learn, right?

His conversations included talking (read: sometimes complaining) about work, discussing politics, and expounding on his running habit, which I didn’t share. (I tried. My knees complained violently, so I had to stop.) And then over the years, conversations dwindled.  I can more or less pinpoint this to two events, the first being the birth of our son, the second being when Facebook took over the world.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Facebook. I post this blog on Facebook. It lets me keep track of friends and family all over the world, read interesting articles I wouldn’t generally find, and introduced me to Words with Friends, where I regularly get trounced by some of those aforementioned friends.

He spent more time on it than I did, usually starting while I was putting the boy to bed, and stayed with it once I made my way back downstairs. Conversations became fewer and farther between as I read books and he stayed glued to our computer’s monitor.

When he sat me down to announce he was ending our marriage, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, although I was. Then the words started. And one of the things he told me with those words was that he felt like he had been lying to me for the previous few years because he had told me he loved me even though he no longer did.

The clarification of, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” didn’t help, and I wouldn’t recommend saying it to anyone. Ever.

The funny part was I used to love hearing him use those three little words. Because to me, they were the proof that he really did love me. I mean, why would he say them if he didn’t mean them, right? And, as his actions didn’t always make me feel warm and cozy inside, I really needed that proof. So any time he told me he had thought about doing something I would like – even if he didn’t actually do it – it made me feel loved.

Boy, was I dumb naive.

My new relationship – although it’s not that new; we met almost a year ago – has been a bit of a revelation.

We talk. We talk about the weather and movies and our families and the interesting science blogs he reads. We talk about our jobs and the new library the town I work in is hoping to build and the interesting things he ships all over the world in his job. We talk about our pets and our hobbies and places we have been and would like to go.

But it’s more than that. There are also little things I didn’t have before. When we walk, he walks next to me. Even though he is much taller than I am. (I mean much taller. Like I can take 2-3 steps to his one if he’s really moving.) And he holds my hand when we walk. Everywhere. He opens doors for me, helps me with my coat, and makes sure I can get over large obstacles in our path when we go hiking.

Recently, when we were out for a walk in a state reservation, he mentioned that he had seen people out riding horses on the path we were on when he had been there in the past. I replied I had never been horseback riding – pony rides at fairs don’t count in my book – and was interested in trying it some time. That night in my email there was a coupon for a one-hour horseback riding lesson.

I’m surprised my son didn’t have to pick me up off the floor after I read it.

So, all in all, I’m kind of liking this relationship thing. More than like, actually, but you know the phrase – actions speak louder. So, I’ll keep working on those actions.

And I’ll be sure to let you know how the riding lesson goes.


Posted April 26, 2017 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts