Sunday, January 10, 2010

Decade in Review

I was thinking about the last decade - kind of a lot going on in the last ten years. You'd think things might be fairly much the same from the ages of 27 to 37, but in this case, not so much. So since I was thinking about it (and since I've read some other bloggers that reviewed their previous decade and it entertained me), here's the very abridged version of the last ten years:

2000 - We celebrated the New Year at the Outer Banks in a beach house with Clark's brothers and their wives and a bunch of our friends. We had a great time, although I'll confess to being slightly disappointed that all of the computers in the world didn't grind to a cataclysmic halt and end technology as we know it. I mean, I'm not really advocating for the end of days here, but still, there was a lot of build up for not much of a result.

In 2000 we were working in Charlotte, childless, and had just moved to an old farm house in Chester, South Carolina so that we could consolidate our horses and our lives in one place (in other words, I had gotten tired of commuting to a barn 40 minutes from our house to ride a horse in the middle of the night (since that was the only time I had to ride my horse given my job), and Clark had gotten really tired of never seeing his wife.) So we decided we'd put everything in one place - which was a great idea, except that the only place we could afford to do that was Chester, South Carolina. Which is about an hour from where we worked, and we were the epitome of "you're not from around here, are you?" Everyone we met was so nice, but we had *nothing* in common with any of them. My vet introduced himself by wanting to know if we had found a church yet, and assuring me his was a "god-fearing, bible-believing congregation." Umm. . . we actually do go to church on occasion, but I'm pretty sure my kind of church and his kind of church were not the same thing, and really, I just wanted him to look at my lame horse. And while we were in Chester it was made famous for dog-fighting, cock-fighting, and a boy his killed both of his grandparents. Seriously.

2001- still in Chester, still riding horses, still driving a really long way to work. Wondering if maybe we might one day be brave enough to reproduce. About 10 minutes after we wondered that, I was pregnant. Turns out my paranoia about birth control for all of those years was not paranoia at all. Fertility's a fickle mistress - you just never know which way she's going to turn.

2002 - yep, still in Chester. Around April, when I was 7 months pregnant, I decided that there is no way in hell I'm going to keep doing my current job. I was Senior Counsel at a telecom company, and while I liked a few of the people I worked with, that was the only redeeming feature of that job. Seriously, the only one. Except maybe for the giant Harris Teeter I could walk to. And now that I think about it, when proximity to a grocery store is a shining light of your employment situation, that job totally sucks. Decided I'd quit, and job search after Sam was born. Turns out that's the last law job I've ever had.

June 19, 2002, Sam Duncan is born. He's a doll. As long as I'm holding him at all times. Parenting gurus would say we were very attached. And we were - very, very attached, usually literally - the kid ate all the time. He was the sweetest thing I've ever seen, and I felt a primal urge that said if anyone messed with this kid I was going to rip the flesh from their bones. In fact, I still pretty much feel that way, so if you're considering messing with Sam Duncan, consider yourself warned. Motherhood's a powerful force, and I've got a bit of a temper.

By late summer it was clear that Chester was not the place for us any longer (my big outing of the week was to head to the Wal-Mart in Rock Hill with the baby - kill me now), and it was time to head back to Asheville. I grew up in Asheville, and all of my family is here, and we'd always thought that one day we'd move back. One day just happened to turn into that day. So we put our house on the market and Clark started looking for a job. But finding a job in Asheville and selling a white elephant in Chester aren't easy tasks, so that was also how we ended 2002.

2003 - In April it all came together - our house sold, and Clark got a job. Hooray! We're on our way to Asheville! We stayed with my parents while we were house hunting - talk about incentive to find a house. All three of us were staying in my high-school bedroom. Tight fit. A month after we got here we were closing on our house - thankfully our rush didn't impede our judgment - we love our house, it's walking distance to downtown and we have a ton of good friends in the neighborhood.

This year I also was running again for the first time since my ill-fated collegiate running career. Since there's no call for middle-aged hurdlers, I started running a little distance. It all started with Sam in his baby jogger the previous fall, and then I kind of just kept seeing if I could run a little farther and a little farther. It culminated with the Citizen-Times Half Marathon in September, where I ran a 1:39:21 over a super hilly course, and was 6th in my age group. Not too bad, I'll take it. So then I ran the first Dupont Forest Trail Marathon. Oh my. Talk about a hard day at the office - I had a pretty bad day, [ok, probably the worst I have ever felt at a sporting event], and still ended up 3rd in my age group even though I ran well over 4 hours. That's when you know the whole thing was a long hard slog. Unfortunately I also tweaked my IT Band in that race, and it was a long time before I was running again.

2004 - Clark and I were sort of running, but I wasn't having much luck with the IT Band. Although this was when I found yoga, and discovered it's pretty much the cure-all for anything that ails you. We did manage to get to the Kiawah Half Marathon, and had a great time. I ran a 1:39:30, which just goes to show how flat Kiawah is - I wasn't in anything close to the same kind of shape as the year before.

2005 - IT Band was still kind of a mess, and I had been sort of riding the horses off and on while Sam was slowly growing up, so I turned my attention back to the horses. Hooked up with a really good trainer - Amy Barrington - in Landrum, and was having a blast.

2006 - doing a lot of riding, and raising Sam (who by this time was in pre-school a few mornings a week thank god), and having fun with Clark. Loving being in Asheville.

2007 - the year of the horse (for this decade anyway). Was taking Fred to a lot of events, and had Finn started, and was generally having a great time. But in August Sam started kindergarten, and Clark and I had our 10th wedding anniversary, and I barely remember either one - because I was in the trauma unit at Mission Hospital after a very unfortunate landing from a pretty easy fall off of Fred. Oops. He stopped at a jump and I went over his head and landed on a jump pole, and broke 4 ribs and punctured a lung and ended up with a chest tube and was in the hospital for 11 days. Clark was amazing - held everything together even though I was in a drug-induced haze for the better part of a month. It's kind of like the lost month for me - I was fairly blissed out and unconcerned from the opiates. I really think Clark got the worst end of the deal. Although the opiates had to go in fairly short order - turns out you don't poop when you're taking opiates. Like, at all. Dear god, how those Hollywood stars all get addicted to Vicodin is completely beyond me. So I ditched the drugs fairly quickly, and was actually back on a horse 6 weeks later. Took Finn out to his first events and had a great time.

2008 - Was planning on another big horse year, but in January Finn was 3 legged lame, and we thought he had chipped his stifle. This is really, really bad news for an event horse. Turns out he didn't (although we never actually figured out what he had done, even after a trip to the vet hospital at NCSU), but he did need a few months off in the field. Around this same time Clark was changing jobs and with Sam starting kindergarten it was time for to be a productive member of the family. But the law jobs weren't looking so appealing so I decided I'd start growing flowers. And that was the beginning of Spotted Dog Farm. Around September, after no riding and no running, I discovered my skirts no longer buttoned. Huh. So started running again.

2009 - Was going to try to run a marathon in the spring, but of course started running too much and ended up injured. (Seriously, I seem to have no self-control when it comes to this. If I ever win the lottery I'm hiring a coach immediately.) So I decided to try a few triathlons, since it would be like mandatory cross-training - and LOVED them. I remember thinking halfway through the ride at my first one, "I think I've found my new sport." And it was pretty successful - I was 3rd in my age group at the first one (Enka Lake), 2d in my age group at the second one (Asheville Tri) and won my age group at the last one (Lake Logan Sprint - but it should be noted that most of the really fast people did the Olympic distance the day before at this one.) So it turned out that triathlon was a pretty compelling new pastime, and somehow I just didn't manage to put Finn back to work this year. I figure he's certainly happy enough hanging out in the pasture with his buddy, and I'm feeling very entertained trying to figure out triathlon. Revelations for the year - I can actually sort of swim (if I have a coach and apply a LOT of effort to the project), it's possible to run a decent (though not great) 5K off of 6 miles a week of running if you're also swimming and biking, and I need to ride my bike more. Also in the middle of this year I decided that in addition to growing flowers I was going to make beeswax candles with pressed flowers in them. Did I decide this because of my exhaustive experience with candle making and pressed flowers? No. I just decided it. So thereafter ensued a period in which our whole house was covered with melted wax and really ugly candles. But I'm pretty sure perseverance trumps inspiration most every time, so I just kept making slightly less crazy looking candles for months and months - until I actually had something I liked. And it turns out lots of other people like it too - so 2009 was the year of the candle.

At the end of the decade I suppose I've got a few resolutions - although I'm not really one for concrete things like "floss my teeth." Instead I'm more in the mind of keeping on having a great time with my family, keep enjoying the new things I'm learning, and make sure Sam keeps having the best possible life. Pretty good goals all in all.


  1. Is sounds like your decade was productive and full of new adventures. Asheville is happy to have you and your creativity back!

  2. hi, sumner!:-)

    i love your story!:-)...and your candles!:-)

    wonder what 2010 will bring?:-)


  3. Thanks guys! We are soooo happy to be back in Asheville - now when we visit big cities I always feel like leaning out the car window and yelling "You don't have to live like this!!!!" :)