Superwoman

From Miss Zoot’s NaBloPoMo site: When you were little, did you wake up early to watch cartoons or did you sleep until noon? At what point in time did you stop waking up before your parents? What about now? Do you sleep in on Saturdays? How much later do you sleep on Saturdays than you do on other days of the week? How different are your Saturdays now from when you were little?

I don’t recall my little brother and me ever being early risers, except maybe on Christmas. I do know that when we were 12+ we started sleeping later and later. Michael played football and he’d be so wiped out after games that sometimes he’d sleep until noon or 1 p.m. I never slept that long unless I was sick or something.

We didn’t get up for specific cartoons; we just watched whatever was on. We had three channels to choose from, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I remember Bugs Bunny, Roadrunner, Superfriends, Wonder Twins, Laff Olympics. I still love cartoons, and today’s Justice League is way better than the old Superfriends.

I generally get up about 5:45 on weekday mornings to get Riley on the bus by 6:40. Sometimes I go back to bed for an hour or so; most times I have to get ready for other things. Saturdays I get to sleep about an hour later … Riley gets up around 7 on weekends. Today since she’s at my folks’ house, I slept till 8:45. Nice!

I still watch cartoons; now, they’re just educational and on Noggin or Boomerang.

Later …

Talk Talk

A Children’s Hospital rep called this morning to ask if Ryan or I would like to speak to a local Rotary Club meeting about Riley’s hearing loss and how she’s doing now. Yikes! I’d like to do it, but I’m not great at public speaking. However, it’s only 3-5 minutes; surely I can handle that!?!

Anyway, we went to a local minor league baseball game in July because it was free and in honor of Chidren’s patients. (Riley had her cochlear implant surgeries at Children’s in Birmingham.) The kids played games, we had hot dogs & drinks and we got to watch a baseball game. We got Riley’s picture made and filled out a form with her story. That’s how they knew about us and why they called.

The rep said we could even bring Riley; “everyone would love to see her,” she said. It’s a 7 a.m. breakfast meeting, and we’d probably have her at school by 8:30. I know having her there would make it much easier for me to talk to a roomful of business people, and it would make the story more concrete for them, too.

I think I’ll do it. Where are my index cards? I need to write it all down and practice. 🙂

More Than Words

This was the question of the day at Writer Mama for her big back-to-school giveaway. I enjoyed answering it, so I thought I’d post it here.

My top three writer role models

1. Anne Lamott taught me in “Traveling Mercies” that I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me. She shares her imperfections, and it turns out those are things that make her beautiful. Writing is not about getting it just perfect; it’s about getting it perfectly you.

2. Brenda Ueland‘s “If You Want to Write” is one of my favorite books. I stumbled on it in a used bookstore in Dallas; the previous owner had highlighted many phrases and I’ve added to it. Brenda’s wisdom holds true: Know that you have talent, are original and have something important to say.

3. Sassy magazine from the late 80s and early 90s was my inspiration to be myself – in my writing, in my dress, in my beliefs. I regret that I didn’t keep all my back issues. Sassy spoke to me like no other magazine before or since. I loved it so much that at my prom as a junior the seniors “willed” me a lifetime subscription. Anyone know how I can cash in on that? 🙂

Later …

Feels Good

From my editor at a regional magazine: “You are definitely one of our valued writers. I like your work and will send you assignments as I have them. Thanks!”

Yippee! An ego-booster just when I needed it. And another pitch accepted, due Aug. 31, so I better get crackin’.

I’m also starting a new class, Pitching Practice, with Writer Mama Christina Katz tomorrow. We’ll write six queries in six weeks, and I’m aiming to get six sales out of it. Aim high, right? Also, check out her Back-to-School Daily Giveaway, lots of goodies for writers.

OK, I interrupt this blog to get back to my “regularly scheduled” job.

Later …

Whenever I Run

Run, girl, run
Speed doesn’t matter; hitting the road does

(Column first appeared at FemmeFan.com in October 2006)

By Tiffani Hill-Patterson

I am a runner. I’m not fast and I don’t do long distances, but I am a runner.

That description is one I never thought would apply to me. As a high school and collegiate athlete, I hated to run. When running is always used as punishment it tends to make you hate even the thought. Slowly, I’ve overcome that mind-set, and I no longer see it as the price you pay for missing a grounder or serving the volleyball out of bounds.

I see it as a way to sneak some time for myself, to gather my thoughts, relieve some stress or just zone out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And the bonus is that my legs are stronger and slimmer, my heart is pumping more efficiently and my mind is clearer.

I started running when I started doing the Body-for-LIFE program. The cardio portion was a 20-minute workout, and I did a combination of walking and running. Eventually, I was able to jog and run the whole 20 minutes. Without dying. And I liked it. It was a miracle.

The longest length of time I’ve run is 42 minutes, 12 seconds. That was my first 5K, on Memorial Day. It may have taken me awhile to finish, but it was exhilarating.

My husband had tears in his eyes and said, “I’m just proud of you” as I headed to the starting line. If that doesn’t put a spring in your step, nothing will.

My daughter stood near the finish yelling, “Go, Mommy!” I knew I couldn’t slow down even a little until I crossed that line.

And I couldn’t have done it without my little brother, who has run 10Ks and half-marathons. He ran with me and kept me going. And my parents and sister-in-law were there to cheer us both on – it’s great to know you’ve made your family proud.

But even better was the pride I felt in myself for taking on the challenge and accomplishing the goal. I did it. For me. To prove that I could.

After my first 5K, I met a woman at the gym and we hit it off and started running together at least once a week. She’s faster than I am and much more committed. And that’s a good thing. She doesn’t know it, but she challenges me to get better. And even though I haven’t been giving much lately, I’m grateful to have someone to be accountable to.

My second race was in September, and I cut about 2 minutes off my time. Another goal met. Another boost in self-confidence. This running thing has turned out to be more fun than I thought. And I’ve made some friends along with getting in better shape.

The final proof that I am a runner came last Saturday, the day of my third race. The first thing I had to do when I awoke was hit the bathroom. Um, someone find the Imodium. After three trips, I was sure there’d be no running, but I was going to do that 5K anyway, even if I had to walk the whole way.

That’s just what I did. The cool air and conversation with a fellow walker kept my mind off my tummy troubles. At least for the first mile-and-a-half. By then I was halfway done . no point in stopping. Finally, I saw the 3-mile marker and rejoiced; the finish line was just ahead.

I spotted my husband and daughter in the crowd and yelled for my daughter to come with me. My sweet 5-year-old grabbed my hand, and we ran the last 30 yards to the finish line. The look of excitement on her face was enough to make me sign up for another 5K in November. And to dream about the day she’ll run a race next to me.

I’m not fast; I’ll never be fast. That doesn’t matter. I’m a runner because I run.

Hot Stuff

Forget the Cheese Fries
How I’m going to become one of the ‘hot mamas’

By Tiffani Hill-Patterson (originally published at FemmeFan.com, Nov. 2006)

Talk about motivation.

I went out to lunch with some gym acquaintances. All of these women are in shape and good-looking, and, except for one, they’re all mothers, too. I’m taller and heavier than all of them, so I usually feel out of place.

My running partner is friends with lots of women at the gym, including several instructors, and she invited me along for a lunch to celebrate three of their birthdays. Most of them are at the gym every day, teaching or taking two or three classes. Out of the nine people at lunch, only three knew my name.

But that’s my fault. I get to the gym about twice a week now and hit the treadmill and weights on my own, and I take only one class. No wonder no one knows me.

I’m 34 years old. I have a wonderful husband and daughter and a successful career. I’m not in junior high, so why is it that I let myself feel inferior? Sure, they’re all in better shape, but I’m working to get there. And they’ve all been nothing but nice to me and have included me other events.

It’s silly, but I doubt I’m the only woman who feels this way. So I’m using my inferiority complex as motivation to get in better shape and be one of the “hot mamas” (literally) at the gym. Here’s my plan:

* Make better use of my mornings by scheduling gym time and writing time before my workday starts at 2 p.m.

* Be consistent with my running. Stop making excuses.

* Stop being such a sissy and push myself harder, whether it’s on the road or in the weight room.

* Be more outgoing at the gym. Turn off my iPod every once in awhile and see what’s going on with everyone else.

* Let the instructors know when I enjoy their classes. Ask them for advice. What can I do when my motivation starts to wane?

* Next time we all go to lunch, lay off the cheese fries and indulge in a salad instead.

If I use these strategies, I’ll be feeling—and looking—like I belong in no time. And the best part? I’ll have new friends to turn to for support and good times.

(Update: Alas, I’m not thinner or in better shape now than I was then, but when school starts, it’s back to the gym for me. LOL)

Later …

Daddy’s Hands

I watched a slideshow of my 4-week-old nephew today (he’s gorgeous and sweet and beautiful) and after seeing a photo of my bro and his wife holding the baby in their hands, I noticed something: We have our dad’s hands, wrinkly knuckles and all. Thankfully my fingers are a bit slimmer, so they don’t look like man hands. 😉

We may never be hand models (well, we could be the “before” pictures), but our hands have been there to hold on to through some tough times. Like my dad’s prostate cancer, my mom’s recent heart scare, finding out Riley was deaf and her cochlear implant surgery, my brother’s hospitalization for dehydration when he was playing college football. They’ve also been great at high-fiving one another: after my brother’s many touchdown runs and 3-pointers, or my triples and strikeouts (I was a pitcher). After my dad’s retirement. After my mom finally became a grandmother…and for the second time. After our kids were born.

It’s funny how you can know a person forever and still discover new things. I’ve never noticed that our hands are the same until tonight. My brother and I are very different in a lot of ways: he’s way cooler than I am. 🙂 But we’re both great parents, good athletes, smart, and we love our family. We may disagree on politics (actually we’ve never discussed it in depth, so maybe we do agree!), we may not like the same kind of music, we may disagree about money and schools and cars, but there’s one thing we will always agree on:

WE ARE FAMILY, and we’ll always be there for each other, wrinkly hands and all.

Later,
Tiff