It’s Christmas Time In Contoocook

It’s been a while!

The excuse-truth for being anti-blogging: I’m Crohnsing pretty hard.

The latest attempt at making me feel better: methotrexate. It's a scary little drug I'm supposed to self-inject weekly. Tomorrow will be my first attempt at REALLY trying it myself. Stay tuned. The syringe scares me a bit.
The latest attempt at making me feel better: methotrexate. It’s a scary little drug I’m supposed to self-inject weekly. Tomorrow will be my first attempt at REALLY trying it myself. Stay tuned. The syringe scares me a bit. That’s not my hand. This photo is just so festive. I love it.

I know I know I know I know. It’s the never-ending shitstorm, and that’s not even supposed to be a pun. Though the puns are practically unavoidable at this point. So it’s OK.

In spite of the yearlong health drama I’m in the midst of, spirits are high. I’m spending the week up in good ol’ Contoocook, NH, doing all the annual celebratory things we do: the always-exciting Target run…

Cheap shampoo! Cheap deodorant! Cheap cereal!
Cheap shampoo! Cheap deodorant! Cheap cereal!

…the cookie baking, the fireside card playing…

My view.
My view.

…and, new to the schedule this year, a trip to the lawyer’s office to sign my life away (my dad seems to think I need to establish my Power of Attorney stuff, so that’s taken care of — goodbye, freedom and organs).

Tonight we’ll go to a Christmas Eve party and tomorrow we’re going skiing. By Saturday, the house will be full and we’ll do “real” Christmas then with Ryan, Michaela, Tyler (!!!) and Brian (he gets exclamation points, too!!!).

Tyler putting the sock monkey on the top of his tree. He seems excited about it.
Tyler putting the sock monkey on the top of his tree. He seems excited about it.

Another reason for not being so big on the blogging lately: I truly don’t have much to say. Weird, I know. But this holiday season has been pretty standard as far as city celebrations go.

I rode a CitiBike for the first time.

Those things weigh like 600 pounds. Not exactly the Lexa I'm used to...
Those things weigh like 600 pounds. Not exactly the Lexa I’m used to…
The long coat got in the way a bit.
The long coat got in the way a bit.
Probably should've adjusted the seat height, but I was lazy.
Probably should’ve adjusted the seat height, but I was lazy.

I saw plenty of lights.

I saw The Nutcracker (New York City Ballet’s is my performance of preference), the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (I know Mrs. Claus! I know Mrs. Claus!) and a bunch of other shows.

"Everything is beautiful at the ballet..." Name that classic line from that classic musical and you WIN.
“Everything is beautiful at the ballet…” Name that classic line from that classic musical and you WIN.

Brian and I got a mini tree and it sheds too much. I think it was dead the day we bought it, but we loved it just the same.

If you pick it out and carry it home and set it up...
If you pick it out and carry it home and set it up…
...I'll make it look amazing-ish.
…I’ll make it look amazing-ish.

I watched some holiday movies (I’m trying hard to adore Love Actually, but I don’t know…I find some of those characters to be mighty punchable) and listened to holiday music (I’m doing that at the moment, in fact, and it’s really distracting me from whatever I’m trying to write).

Brian and I found The Little Mermaid on TV the other day. We watched the entire thing. This was Brian's face the entire time. He loved it.
Brian and I found The Little Mermaid on TV the other day. We watched the whole thing. This was Brian’s face the entire time. He loved it. He will not necessarily be psyched when he discovers this picture on the internet.

I got snow on my jacket.

It's pretty before it turns the city into a slushy mess!
It’s pretty before it turns the city into a slushy mess!

I went to holiday parties.

At Brian's holiday party (with Coach Cane!)
At Brian’s holiday party (with Coach Cane!)
...and at my company party. Bowling. I bowled a 39. In case you're not well-versed in the art of bowling, that's a horrible, embarrassingly low score.
…and at my company party. Bowling. I bowled a 39. In case you’re not well-versed in the art of bowling, that’s a horrible, embarrassingly low score. At least Team Dance Spirit accessorized well.

And I tried to distract myself from the fact that I can’t run or, at this point, even spin by taking yoga classes.  I’m fully obsessed with yoga. I can do crow pose and I know how to pronounce a lot of the fancy pose names, even if I always forget what they are. I’m also getting good at not staring at all the “awesome” people during class and focusing on my own “practice.” (Bethany, my beloved instructor, is constantly saying, “Your eyes, Ali, your eyes,” to remind me to…well, you get it. I love her.)

This is in the bathroom at Lyons Den Power Yoga. It makes me feel very welcomed and happy.
This is in the bathroom at Lyons Den Power Yoga. It makes me feel very welcomed and happy.

I got a present, despite Brian and I agreeing not to exchange any gifts this year.

PURPLE BEATS BY DRE HEADPHONES! They are amazing. And noise canceling. And purple. I've never had fancy headphones before.
PURPLE BEATS BY DRE HEADPHONES! They are amazing. And noise canceling. And purple. I’ve never had fancy headphones before.

Being sick definitely puts a damper on things. I’m in the bathroom a lot and I’m in pain a lot, and that’s annoying. I’m sad I won’t be going for a Christmas Eve run, or a Christmas Day run, or any run to wrap up 2013. But I guess that’s kind of the theme of the year, right?

Still, it’s the holidays. And I refuse to not be in a good mood from now until the end of the year!

Get festive, bitches.
Get festive, bitches. Swearing isn’t cute, but I do it anyway. That’s me on the left and Becky on the right, in costume for our “Ellie the Elf” tap routine in first grade. Top notch.

Also, resolutions.

I saw someone post about New Year’s Resolutions the other day, and I was like, “Aw! I remember when I used to make those!” I definitely assumed I hadn’t made any resolutions for this year.

But that’s the beauty of blogging. The internet doesn’t lie. And it seems I did, in fact, resolve to do a ton of shit in 2013.

Guess how much of it I accomplished? LOL?

Let’s find out…

I will stop grinding my teeth. Probably not.

I will fix my pathetic posture. Probably not.

I will do a fishtail braid. I did half of one, one time. It was ugly.

I will go to the Museum of Modern Art. Nope. But I went to the gift shop in SoHo the other day. Same thing?

I will go to the Guggenheim. That museum a few blocks away from my apartment? Nope. Didn’t go there.

I will learn to look both ways before crossing the street. Whatever. I can’t be bothered with this. I’m in a rush. I only resolved to do this because I sort of almost got hit by a car once while crossing the road with my coworker, and she sort of freaked out about it. I was fine. It didn’t even really hit me. It just came close. It wasn’t a big deal.

Yield to ME.
Yield to ME.

I will carry a lighter load. Like, emptying my purse? Yeah, I carry a much lighter load…because I no longer need to travel with post-work workout clothes. Success!!

Here's my "lighter load." Brian helped me pack. Poor Selena Gomez is home alone for the holidays. He's probably so lonely and sad.
Here’s my “lighter load.” Brian helped me pack. Poor Selena Gomez is home alone for the holidays. He’s probably so lonely and sad.

I will use my crock pot. Definitely not. But Brian used it once the other day. So that’s pretty much the same thing.

I will cook spaghetti squash. I bought four spaghetti squashes over the course of this year. I cooked zero of them. I couldn’t cut them in half.

I will spend more time outside my comfort zone. I spent all my time in bathrooms, and most bathrooms aren’t comfortable. Success!

I will run with faster friends. I didn’t run with any friends all year long. Unless you count the 50,000 people I ran the New York City Marathon with. Then yes! Success!

I didn't have a perfect year? Doesn't seem that way from this picture.
I didn’t have a perfect year? Doesn’t seem that way from this picture.

I will be kind. Hahahahahahaha. No.

I will spend less time online. Eh. Probably not.

I will no longer hate-read. I actually did really well with this at the start of the year. But then when I got really really sick and went on medical leave, I was bored a lot, so I brought back a few of those hate-reads. I have eliminated most of them, though. Semi-success.

As always, Brian gets to give me some resolutions to ponder throughout the year. Here’s how I did with his mandates…

Don’t stress over the things you can’t change. I know you’re all probably thinking that I didn’t accomplish this, but I actually think I did. I got much better about “accepting” things this year, especially in the second half of the year. I dropped most of my OCD-inspired tendencies and stopped trying to plan stuff. My consistent goal was to get through each day and just do my best when I could. And sometimes, when I couldn’t muster the energy to do my best, I was OK with that. I was, believe it or not, so much easier on myself this year.

Not relevant, but pretty.
Not relevant, but pretty.

Stop putting things in every corner of our apartment. This was a major fail for the sickest part of the year. I was a slob. But right now, at this exact moment, the apartment is clean. So we will go off that fact and call this a victory.

Run just to have fun. The marathon was fun. No other runs this year were particularly fun, unfortunately. Every run this entire year required at least one bathroom stop. But I got out there when I could, so yay.


Bike again. I did this! When I first started feeling better this summer, I rode my bike a few times, and on two occasions much later in the summer Brian and I went on two “long” (for me, not him) bike rides (around 40 miles each time, I think).

Be nice to yourself. Always a work on progress, but I’ve actually gotten significantly better at this.

That was fun. And interesting probably only to me. Like I said, I really don’t have a whole lot of update-worthy happenings in my life at the moment.

So here’s a picture of Tyler:


And here’s another photo of Tyler, who was busy negotiating a business deal during Grandmom’s 90th birthday party last month:

Priorities, you know?
Priorities, you know?

Looking back at my resolution success rate, I could easily call this year a “fail.” And in the grand scheme of things, it really was. I accomplished so little of what I wanted to accomplish — going far beyond my silly resolutions — and that was frustrating. But it’s just a year. I’m about to get another one, so I’ll try again. Plus, the fact that I did ultimately get to run the marathon and have the best day ever made up for a lot of the not-best days. And that makes me so happy.

As tough as this year was and as much as I hated so many of the days that passed, I actually did learn a lot along the way.

To be continued…

Happiest holidays to you and your families.

Oh, Ryan, give me a break. I wasn't THAT heavy back then. Lift me higher.
Oh, Ryan, give me a break. I wasn’t THAT heavy back then. Lift me higher.

I love you.

SHARING IS CARING: It’s been a while since we’ve really caught up, so can you talk to me? Tell me about your favorite holiday tradition and also about your biggest resolution fail this year. Or success. But the failures are fun, too!



33 Responses

  1. I’m a little delayed but wanted to say hi! 2. things. 1. Love the Ellie the Elf picture, we (and by “we” I mean you, were adorable, I was questionable, thanks for the mullet, mom!)
    Two: you have to bake the spaghetti squash first then cut it! Can I please come be your personal chef?? 🙂 Cheers to a happy and healthy 2014!

  2. My resolution was to be more daring and I think I was. I stepped out of my comfort zone a lot and really enjoyed the rewards of that. My resolution for next year is to save money and stop spending $300 every time I go to Target. I know, setting myself up for failure. Hope you had a very merry Christmas and that 2014 is full of health and love 🙂

  3. Your year wasn’t a fail!! You just accomplished other things (: Merry Christmas and I love your blog, you are an inspiration to me. Your blog posts always put a smile on my face. (:

  4. You can roast spaghetti squash whole without having to deal with cutting it first! Preheat oven to 375. Pierce squash all over using a sharp knife. Bake on cookie sheet or glass baking dish for at least 1 hour, flipping halfway through.

    Once it cools, you’ll be able to slice easily, scoop out the seeds and then pull out the stringy squash with a fork.

    Merry Christmas!

  5. I ran the Las Vegas rock n’roll half with Team Challenge this year! Sadly that’s the only resolution I kept… And sadly been sick myself since then… Crohnsy with a side of stress fracture… Luckily Humira seems to do the trick some. That and iron infusions. But I pledge to do more next year. Between the nutribullet I got for christmas(I.e better absorbing real food?) and more foot rehabbing hoping to do 3 races this next year. We’ll see if I’m just plain crazy or just super ambitious. Merry Christmas Ali! Best of luck this next year! P.s. Tyler is a cutie. Totally melts your heart!

  6. 1) Happy Christmas, Ali!
    2) SO nice to see you blogging again. I thought you’d quietly retired, which I would have understood, but it’s so nice to get another post.
    3) I love Love Actually but some characters are horrible. But that’s life, isn’t it? It’s worth watching for Emma Thompson’s amazing scene when she straightens the duvet, which I’m not able to watch at all.
    4) You had a rough 2013. 2014 has to be better.
    5) I got a crock pot for Christmas and I am clueless about it.


  7. Thank God you feel the same about ‘Love Actually.’ I got the dvd for Christmas this year because I’ve always resisted watching it and….. well, I think you’re right on the money with “punchable.” Apparently it’s considered a holiday movie classic, too?

    One of my 2014 goals is to cook a new recipe once a week… 27 seems like a good age to stop just eating scrambled eggs and sweet potatoes for work night dinners, right?

    Happy holidays!!

  8. I just started reading your blog and I love it! 🙂 Sorry you’re so sick–especially around the holidays. Hopefully you can pull out the sick card and make everyone do everything for you (I would, not sure what that says about me…). Christmas tradition: Christmas Eve dinner/white elephant gift exchange at my grandparents. Resolution: well, I haven’t made a resolution since I was in the 5th grade and resolved to paint my nails a different color every day. I failed at that after 2 weeks, so I figured resolutions weren’t for me…ha! Feel better!!

  9. Merry Christmas! First year in a long long time I’m not driving past Contoocook on the way to Hanover for Christmas. Yay New England!

    Your “standard” holiday season? That’s a lot of stuff that seems pretty special to a non-New Yorker. I’m not sure what the right way to put this is, but make sure you consciously enjoy the parts of it that you enjoy. Things will change. You will change. Some of what you have right now is precious, and wonderful, and will never be quite like this ever again. Try to soak it up.

    (That’s what I tell myself, too, with a radically different set of Christmas activities and expectations — different from yours, but also different from what I grew up with. It’s a good time to recognize the great things in your life, and appreciate them in this moment).

    Blessings to you and all your family and loved ones.

  10. First, I always laugh when I see the sign of Contoocook on the highway.
    I too have had a crappy year health wise, 36 chemo treatments is no fun.
    I’ve been giving myself daily injections for a few years, it’s not that bad, just breathe through it. Where on your body do you have to do it? Good luck Ali!!

  11. You’re still giving it the day by day best shot. The year has thus been a success. Checking shit off a list is not an accurate way to measure these things. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. Wishing you the best.

  12. Wish I could wave a wand and make your Crohn’s go away. People around the world are working to make you better. I ran the Whistler Half Marathon this year (bucket list…check) Nice to see they support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Let’s hope for new discoveries in the New Year 🙂

  13. Merry Christmas! My dad made me do all of that Power of Attorney stuff this year, too. Is 28 the year for this? It freaked me out. I told my dad, “Listen, you can pull the plug if something happens, but give me like a month, okay? No jumping the gun.” So morbid.

    ANYWAY, I hope your holiday season is happy and that you’re successful in stabbing yourself with that needle. My boyfriend does Enbrel and it took awhile, but he got used to it. YOU CAN DO IT. You’ve ran a marathon before, I feel like you can do anything after that.

  14. A. To cut spaghetti squash with ease, cook before cutting. Cook it whole in the oven at 350 for 50 minutes or so (until it gives slightly when you press it with your thumb) and then let it cool a bit and cut in half with a knife. EASY PEASY.
    B. A CHORUS LINE! (Best. musical. ever.)

  15. I’m saddened to know that our run was not considered “fun” or a “run with a friend”……also, you did not make a bathroom stop on our run! How was that run so memorable for me, but not you!? UGH! WOO WOO

  16. Our family tradition – every year on Christmas Eve the kids get to open one gift – and guess what? It is always pajamas! But they still humor me and they are all wearing them now to be cozy (and have elastic waistbands) for our late Christmas Eve dinner (hubby forgot to put the rice in the oven before mass and it bakes an hour — oops!)

    I have gotten out of the habit of resolutions but overall I think I feel pretty good about this year – and it is just a year after all, here is hoping you have many many more to look forward to….

    Enjoy Tyler and the rest of your family the holiday season and we all will wish for a healthier Year for Ali in 2014…

  17. I had a crock pot resolution this year, too. Step one: Take it out of the box. Step two: Use it. I did neither. But there’s still a little time left in 2013. I got this. Maybe.

  18. I started a new tradition this year. I bought a fillable advent calendar, and filled it with experiences for my 6 yr old instead of presents this year.

    My biggest fail..well..I am fairly certain I have gained weight vs losing weight.

  19. Spaghetti squash can be cooked whole!
    Stab with fork (get out the anger)
    stick in oven – at 375.
    leave for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes.
    take it out – burn the crap out of your hands.
    cut in half
    scoop out guts – act as if they’re your own guts and throw them. They will stick on the ceiling. You might just want to throw it in the sink. or at people.

    I’m sorry you’re sick. Makes me want to swear on your behalf.

  20. My favourite Christmas tradition is opening our stockings on Christmas morning, We do it in bed. It’s a nice, cozy moment for our little family of three before the chaos begins.

    My biggest resolution fail- losing my baby weight. The thing is- my child is 4 1/2 years old. I’ve been making this resolution for 4 years now, and still haven’t done it. 2014 has to be my year!!!

    Happy holidays to you and yours, Ali! I admire your attitude and your courage. 🙂

  21. I feel for you but admire your courage and attitude even more. Enjoy the music, the sights, smells, and scenary with the mindfulness you are now exploring on your mat. Much love to you in the new year.

  22. 1. A chorus line, come on, Ali!
    2. Sorry to hear you’re not feeling great but hope that time at home is mentally/emotionally great and a perfect time away.
    3. Kindly get better so you have more to write/I have more to read and I can live vicariously through your Central Park /NYC adventures. Gracias

  23. Welcome back, Ali!

    My favorite holiday tradition is making Irish scones and watching Charlie Brown Christmas.

    My mom & grandma have been making Irish scones for breakfast on Christmas day since forever, and it’s fun to carry that tradition on now that I’m old enough to start thinking about creating my own traditions.

    Also, my major resolution fail was not making any resolutions…ergo, nothing to report. Womp womp. Maybe next year!

    Hoping your new year is healthy and bright 🙂

  24. “Everything was beautiful at the ballet…graceful men lift lovely girls in white…” from A Chorus Line!

    Biggest resolution fail – go to one dance class per month. I maybe made it to three all year. It’s taken a back seat to running, but there’s always next year!

    Merry Christmas!

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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