Monday, July 31, 2006

I Love Her Even if She Doesn't Love Classic Rock

My best friend is coming for a visit in four weeks and my mind is racing. What will we talk about? There's so much. What will we do? There's so little time.

We met in fifth grade and have been friends ever since. The Air Force kept her family moving for over a decade but through it all, we managed to sneak in the visits (mostly on her part), the emails (mostly on my part) and the phone calls (mostly on her part, when her family lived in England and would call and forget about the nine hour time difference and the phone would ring at our house at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. My mom loved that).

Two years ago, I was in her wedding. Now, it's her husband that has kept her in far flung corners; or rather, his education. Though we may be miles apart, picking up where we left off has always been our specialty.

The strange thing about our friendship is that we're not the traditional best friends. We don't like the same television shows or the same shoes. We don't scream and jump up and down when we find out Aerosmith or Bon Jovi is coming to town (hush, you know you've done it) because we don't really have the same music tastes. Our tastes, in fact, are opposite on several fronts. While I consider us both to be spiritual people, she is much more forward with her spirituality. She is a Christian and a good one and not just because she should be but because that is truly how she was made. It's what she honestly feels whereas I feel more like I could keep mostly to myself and be perfectly content with the fate of my soul. She's tall and thin and doesn't think twice about self-image. I am five foot six and have a mental block that doesn't allow me to consistently accept the size of my jeans. She is annoyed easily and affectionately argumentative and I? Well, I'd just rather have a drink and relax, sans the talking.

We're different, but in the best ways. We're different the way the mountains are to the sea: without one, you cannot truly know the value of the other. And what makes it work is that we accept these differences in one another. I never expect her to be someone she's not, and she has never required anything of me. I'm just allowed to be the person I am, with imperfection and without the least bit of grace most of the time. I don't know why this is, either. Maybe it's because we've known one another for so long or because we've been thousands of miles apart for most of our relationship. I couldn't tell you. What I do know is that it works, and it's good. What more could I ask for, really?

So she's going to be here in four weeks and I am filled with anticipation for everything the visit has in store. I've got thirty days to stock up on some wine, for the late-night chats. I've got thirty days to get the guest room ready for it's favorite visitor. I've got only thirty days to lose eight pounds and appear four inches taller than I actually am. It's gonna be so great!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Reasons 1997 Can Just Stay Right Where It Is

I'm such a good friend. Tonight I had two friends over for wine and ended up making them help me clean out a closet. I have a hard time parting with things if someone is not there to force me to let go.

I found a journal from high school. After we spent a good hour laughing at me, it was clear this particular item was staying in the closet. You'll see why. (And I only partly blame the wine for assisting me in bearing my long-lost teenage soul on the internet).

A few entries:

September 17-

I hate two things today: physics and Anna Lockhart. Physics because I know darn well that I'm never going to use it and Anna Lockhart because she is cheating on her boyfriend. Physics is b.s. because it's really just math disguised in science and I'd rather write a ten page paper while someone is pulling out my hair strand by strand than do math. Anna Lockhart is also b.s. because in addition to being a cheater, she is also a snob. I laughed at her when she tripped up the stairs today and you know what? I'd do it again tomorrow. I'm wearing my new black sweater today and I feel good in it. It's not quite sweater weather according to my mom but oh well.

-I never got physics and it never got me. I still got an A minus.

-I heard Anna Lockhart got married, just after she got pregnant. Probably by a boy that wasn't her boyfriend.

-My psycho college roommate stole that sweater.


October 22-

Tomorrow is my birthday and I have to sit in every class, all day. I love it, really I do. I have come to the conclusion that people have to study a lot more than I do and that some of them don't like me for it. I got an A on Mr. Gren's test today having only read four chapters out of eleven. It's not my fault, I just got lucky. But Andy and Erin both made comments that pissed me off. They basically said if I am going to have brains I should act like it. I assume Andy was jealous because he has a lot of pressure from his parents to be a genius like he was when he was a kid (because he could tie his shoes when he was two or some crap like that) and I think Erin said it because she doesn't approve of me dating Ryan since he goes to another school and because of that I don't know what he's doing all day. Truth is, I don't really care. I think I should break up with him because homecoming is over and that's the best reason to have a boyfriend in the fall. Also, I don't even think he's really my boyfriend yet so it won't matter. Oh well, tomorrow is my birthday so everyone is just going to have to get over themselves or kiss my butt.

- I liked run on sentences. And fragments. Some things never change.

-I could never bring myself to write a curse word in my journal. I mean, what if it got out one day?!?

November 10-

Crazy, mad, insane in the brain Dr. Kort is the only teacher that understands me, ever, it feels like. He assigned us to write a story about love and when I turned in about fifteen typed pages while everyone else had about four, he took a deep breath like he was going to cry. At first I thought he was going to give it back to me for being too long but then he said that he couldn't wait to read it and that if it was good he was going to make me do extra credit and teach some of us how to write a screen play. Whatever he means by that I don't know. He's insane and if he were normal he would know that I can't write. My story was about a couple in their thirties living in Manhattan and I don't even know anyone in their thirties or anyone that lives in Manhattan. What I do know about those things is on television or in movies so hello Dr. K, IT'S ALREADY BEEN DONE! I still feel like he understands me though because he always writes comments on my paper about what else I could have included in the story and it's usually something I took out because the story was too long. So the insane understand me most, great.

Also, I broke up with Ryan finally. Turns out, I had to go to his homecoming, too. Which was much nicer than ours because he lives with all the rich snobs. They had a coat check. What are we like 50? OK the truth is his homecoming was three weeks ago but I just couldn't get the nerve to tell him that I don't think we should date anymore. When I finally told him he just said ok, I have to go to hockey now. I understand, I made our team go for a run today and beat most of them back to the gym. Lazy men is what they are. No wonder we don't win crap.

-I now find it sort of cool that "crazy" people understand me. It probably has something to do with the fact that I've redefined crazy, and that I've embraced my own craziness. Dr. K's class was my last experience with fictional writing.

-I've never been a good breaker-upper. Fortunately, after my break-up with Ryan, I wouldn't be the breaker-upper for another seven years; I think being the break-uppee is worse, even if you are in a hurry to get to hockey practice.

- One of the guys I made run that day is now one of the leading conditioning trainers/coaches in the NHL. You'd better believe I take the credit.

Part of this makes me want to go back and pat that little seventeen year-old girl on the back and tell her not to analyze everything so much. The other part of me realizes she wouldn't listen and that this was just the beginning.

I'm so glad time just marches on.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

On to other things more ridiculous than my problems


Can't a guy have a miraculous come-from-behind victory any more?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hard to Break

With all the time I haven't spent running lately (And no, still can't run. I attempted to hussle across the street last night and half way there I became approximately ninety percent certain that those would be my last steps before I began using crutches/a cane/a walker to assist me in daily ambulatory function. No running allowed. Not to worry all you motherly types, I have an appointment with the orthopedic on Tuesday.) I have had ample opportunity to refine my other "skills." Like my keen ability to analyze the living daylight out of myself and my life to the point of exhaustion. Fun times, I know. Do attempt to control your jealous rage for the time being, mmmmkay?

During this deep, detailed examination of all things me, I have been giving myself an especially hard time about my habits. Specifically, the bad ones. The ones that I wish I didn't have and wish that I could somehow control. Without going into awful detail, I will admit that though I consider these habits to be next to dreadful, they hurt no one. Except me. Which is the fun part.

So because I'm tired and I'm committed to going to lift weights before work tomorrow, I am going to abuse the fabulous and undeserved privilege of having people that visit this site. I ask you, dear fellow bloggerites, for your opinions. Yes, you.

Do you think a bad habit (I'm talking habit here, not addiction) can be broken with effort alone?

Can it happen instantly or is it more of a progression? Specifically, how is this for you? I know it's all relative but I'm open to whatever you may have to say.

I thank you in advance for your input. I look forward to reading any comment you're willing to share because it will give me a new perspective and also, I'll have more time to move on to more important things. Like criticizing my body.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Entirely Too Much Wiener Information

I have never liked hot dogs. I like ketchup, mustard, onions, relish and even buns, but never the dog. It has never appealed to me. My mother will tell you that I sometimes ate them as a child but that was also lumped into a time that I now refer to as "when I was a brainwashed toddler." Further evidence of this truth is that I would also eat brussels sprouts and my only wish was to have my entire bedroom adorned in Strawberry Shortcake paraphernalia. See, I told you, brainwashed. I also like things having to do with hot dogs such as baseball games and street vendors. A friend from Chicago once told me that I couldn't go to Chicago with him unless I ate a hot dog, it wouldn't be a true Chicago visit. We never went to Chicago together.

Anyway, back to the hot dog. As much as I do not find them appealing, I do find them interesting. I mean, it's a stick of meat, people. What's not interesting about that?

Because I like to disgust myself early in the morning, I looked up how the hot dog is made. (If you love hot dogs, skip the rest of this post. It's for your own protection). Right away, I knew I'd made a serious mistake. Although I never intend to eat a hot dog, there are just some things a human should not know. Words like "grinder" and "meat binder and filler" should never be read by anyone, ever. Here is Wikipedia's take on commercial hot dog preparation:

Hot dogs are typically prepared commercially by mixing all of the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers, if any) in large vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation, assuring a homogeneous product. This mixture is then forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are called "skinless" as opposed to more expensive "natural casing" hot dogs.

Particularly interesting to me is how ground meat is shaped into hot dog form in the first place. Yet another mistake of my overly curious mind.

As with virtually all sausages, hot dogs must be in a casing in order to be cooked. Traditionally this casing is made from the thoroughly cleaned small intestines of sheep, and are known as "natural casing" hot dogs. These kinds of hot dogs are preferred by some for their firmer texture and the "snap" that releases juices and flavor when the product is bitten into.

The "snap." So that's what keeps us coming back. Yum.

Which bring us to the history of the hot dog. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (What? It's a real thing.) says the history of the hot dog is as interesting and controversial as the meat itself. There is an ongoing debate in the wiener world over where the hot dog, also known as the frankfurter or frank, originated. Hot dog fans are admirably idealistic. A large majority tend to agree that the hot dog originated in Frankfurt, Germany. However, there are wiener experts that have successfully proven the hot dog we know and love in America today originated in Europe. It was a common sausage and European immigrant butchers brought it- and it's casing- with them to the North Americas. No matter where they believe it was born though, hot dog connoisseurs agree on one thing: The hot dog (the sausage of the common man) is the oldest form of processed food known today. In fact, the hot dog was even mentioned in Homer's Oddessey as far back as the Ninth Century, B.C. Wieneriffic, no?

As you read this (if you've made it this far) you might wonder what brought on this interest in processed meat. Well, over the past few days some news stations and, as recently as today, The Today Show, have been running a story of two Colorado sisters and their hot dog. That's right, Flora Zimbelman and her sister, Rose, pranked each other with the same hot dog for fifty-four years. It all started when Flora put an uncooked hot dog in her sister's suitcase and left it for her to find later. The women spent the next fifty-four years shuttling it back and forth between their homes and always finding it in unsuspecting places; under their pillows, behind their curtains and in their drawers. Sadly, Rose lost her battle with cancer this year and the hot dog has since resided at Flora's as an everlasting reminder of her sister and the humor they shared.

In addition to this story, there is also the story of a Colorado man that has had a hot dog on the antenna of his car for five years. Richard Karroll was grilling hot dogs on July 4, 2001 when one fell off the grill. He figured no one would eat it so he stuck it on the antenna of his car. Five years and 80,000 miles later, the dog still stands. Not even a bird was tempted to nibble. "It appears to have become part of the antenna," Karroll says.

These stories say three things to me. First, there are people here in Colorado far more interesting than I'll ever be. Second, if a hot dog can survive fifty-four years of pranks or 80,000 miles of sun, rain and snow, we should not be eating it. Siding our house or building a canoe with them maybe, but not eating. And third, I need to start thinking of much better pranks to pull on my sister.

I always knew I was right. I knew I never sang the along with that hot dog commercial for a reason. Notice how they never sing "oh I wish I was stuffed inside a sterilized sheep intestine" or "I wish I were an 'all beef' frank with a dairy-based filler." Not me, thanks. Not me.

I'm going to a baseball game tonight and I don't know what I'll do when I see someone eating a hot dog. Maybe I'll ask them about the "snap."

Thursday, July 20, 2006


A wicked lightning storm on the Front Range this afternoon prevented me from posting earlier than now. I didn't want the computer -my lifeline to all that I know and love in the internet world- to fry. You understand.

Actually, I'm writing this during the lightning storm and plan on posting later. I'm unplugged and it's all good; I always liked acoustic anyway.

The lightning started just as I was leaving work this afternoon. The first thought that came to mind was "geez, if it's raining I won't be able to run this afternoon" and then I remembered, I CAN'T RUN! It is ridiculously frustrating and annoying. Instead of doing something good for me that I don't feel right without, I get to sit on the couch. Sure, I lift weights and stretch and I think I'll start swimming soon but I really wish I could just go for a good, easy ten miler.

Being one that's unnaturally obsessed with looking for the positive in everything, I'm trying to notice the positive in all this. Let me tell you, there is a lot of it.

For example, you have all kinds of time. You get up in the morning and, huh? what's this? you don't have anywhere to go. That's right, you can just get up, drink some tea and sit. You don't have to find your shoes, or your iPod or grease your beltline in Glide. No, you just get up leisurely and go about your day. On weekends, when you normally do your long run, you don't have to. You can just go to the grocery store or the bank and beat the crowd. Incredible.

Or, to those of you who run later in the day, guess what? You don't have to. Instead, you leave work, drive home, maybe go out to dinner and then stay home. There are no Fartleks, no 800's, nothing. It's just peace and quiet and bad summer television programming. Or if you're like me, you can watch your latest Netflix choice the very same day you get it. I know, amazing, right?

And then there's that whole numbers thing. How many miles today? How many minutes? What was that last split? Well, when you're not running you know what happens? YOU DON'T CARE. Oh yes, you read right: you don't care. You don't have any calculations to do, no miles to map out. Nothing. The only numbers that concern you are the time you wake up, maybe the number in the checkbook and, if you're feeling ambitious, the miles per gallon your car is getting. Fabulous. Truly fabulous.

So, in my good-natured, positive thinking way I am enjoying this non-running lifestyle. I am observant. I am more rested.

I am a liar.

Because you know what? No matter what I get out of this non-running life, none of it is better than running. Not getting to the grocery store early. Not drinking my tea first thing in the morning. None of it can replace going for a run. As much as I am trying to appreciate the extra hours I save every week, it will never feel as good as getting my heart rate above 100 (sometimes, 160- ha!) and sweating. There's just no way.

Nothing will replace running for me. And, if I have to, I'll see every doctor in this city until I'm better. No lightning is striking here, folks.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Our Own Yellow Ribbons

My sister is sending her husband off to war tomorrow.

The person she loves. Her partner in life. The father of her child. Off to a place where uncertainty is normalcy and work is done without question. Days are long and hot. We think it's been warm here; we don't know from warm. I'm ashamed thinking of my complaints about long days in an office when I think about the life my brother-in-law and his soldiers will lead over the next several months.

I have to take this time to say a little about my brother-in-law (with the complete understanding that thousands of families are feeling this same feeling right now and that not one of them wants to see someone they love in danger) and who he is: a fantastic person. He is smart, successful in whatever he attempts and he loves my sister and my nephew with everything he does. He is a strong person and a good man that I am proud to know.

And I have to admit, it's difficult for me to understand why he has to go in the first place. The task he has to accomplish is not what I'd consider a solid plan. If I were to bring a plan like this to my boss and suggest we spend money and time and take priceless risks, I would be sent away and likely, not asked back.

I suppose it's normal for family members to ask these questions. Why should the life of someone we love be risked in the journey down a road that doesn't seem to end? Whose responsibility is this, really? It's a difficult time and often, the questions don't have answers. Or, if they do, they never seem good enough.

What we do have, though, is my brother-in-law. He believes in doing good work. He believes in leading a strong team. He believes in doing the best he can with a situation. And he believes in his country. I know, it's strange to read: A person, regardless of how they feel about politics, can and will do the best they possibly can in service of their country. I sometimes wonder if that's possible, to separate those feelings. But it is, and he does.

So, over the next few months we will wait. I will talk to my sister more times a day than I already do. She'll come here and I'll go there and I'll try to help her however I can. And she will be okay, because she's strong too.

Just as in all those that came before, part of the strength in this war is found at home.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's a sacrifice working day to day

I am so lucky. I don't have the "I don't want to go to work" days that I once had. Don't get me wrong, I do have the "I don't want to work" days, I just never dread my job.

I've had some crappy jobs with some crappy people. There have been times that I felt one more day at that job would cause my brain to start eating itself just for something to do. Thank goodness, those days don't happen now.

Instead, I get to work hard, figure stuff out and sometimes, on a really good day, I actually feel like I might be smart. I work with, quite honestly, some of the best people I've ever known and likely, the smartest people that will ever put up with me. They don't even mind when I sit really close hoping that some of smart will rub off on me. It's great. It doesn't come without a price though. Today, the cost was leaving for work at 5:30 a.m. and getting home at 6:00. P.M. No lunch. Uber-technological emergency type work. Scary, eh?

I made a comment on Sizzle's post today about working hard. It's only after my day came to an end that I realize how much I really believe the comment. I said something like "I know how you feel. If you get to work hard, it makes the times when you get to play that much better."

Work hard, play harder. My new motto for twelve hour days.

Title courtesy of Donna Summer.
I also like the part where it says "But it's worth it all, just to hear them say they care."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

In the Interest of Safety

Mom: Hi, hun. What are you doing?

Me: Going to the post office.

Mom: Oh, good. Kill two birds with one stone while you're there, okay?

Me: What? Do you need stamps or something?

Mom: No, I just mean look at the photos of the criminals on the wall and make sure you haven't given any of them your phone number lately.

Me: Thanks, Mom.

Mom: What? I'm just saying, you never know. You can't be too careful.

Me: Right. Okay.

Only because she cares.


Thanks to everyone who has commented and emailed lately. They have all been especially nice and I like that. I like it a lot.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Running wants to break up with me.

That's how I feel. Rejected. Like I'm in a relationship that has become old and stagnant and the days are numbered. As much as I try to get it back, it doesn't want me and that feels so strange. You know one another so well and yet, there is an uncomfortable distance between the two of you. You know it's there, but you can't figure out why. We have a couple good days and then, wham!, back to the bad days. We don't even look each other in the eye anymore. We just coexist and put up with each other. I want to talk about it but Running doesn't want to listen to what I have to say.

In the beginning, it was never this way. Running never made me moody, never irritated me. If there were bad times, I didn't notice. I was too caught up in the newness of each run. Each new distance brought us closer and more aligned with one another and the world. Each new challenge was taken on with the eager enthusiasm that only a new love can bring. There were memories made almost daily. Together in the sun, the snow, the rain. On a West coast beach, on humid Kentucky pavement, even on a trail at thirteen thousand feet, we felt at home together. It was simple, yet exciting. New, yet comfortable. We were clearly M.F.E.O. Made for each other.

Over the last week, I have had four wonderful outings with Running. The knee injury didn't bother me at all. There were sunny skies and cooler temperatures, things were perfect. I had begun to see all the miles ahead again. It was almost too good to last.

Today, as I walked down the hall at work beside a coworker, I got the feeling in the back of my knee that someone had sneaked around the corner of a cubicle wall and thrown an axe that had been sitting in hot coals at the back of my leg. I buckled, grabbed my coworker with one hand, the wall with the other and thought I might completely collapse. It was like Running called me and said "oh sorry, I can't make it to dinner tonight after all. Or tomorrow night. And I don't know about the night after that, either." Stabbing pain. The miles I could see so clearly yesterday all seemed to be slipping away in that moment.

How can this be happening? Things have been great for two weeks. TWO WEEKS!

Running just doesn't want me anymore. It's acting strange and unpredictable. It's like that thing some people do when they want to break things off but don't have the nerve to do it so they just become distant and mean until you go ahead and do the dirty work.

But I don't care. I'm ignoring it. I don't accept the break up. Even if I am spending time with a handsome, svelte Elliptical and a shiny, desperate-for-attention Hardtail. Even if I see running giving attention to countless others on the streets, as if it loves them more than me. I don't care. Sure, we may go our separate ways for a while and the pain I have to endure as I heal and grow will be difficult, but that's okay. We can work through the hardships and pain, like we have in the past. In the end, I know we will find each other again.

We're meant to be.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Windshield on the World, Part 4: The US-1 Edition

There's just something about the road. Maybe it's the consistency. Maybe it's the idea of beginnings and endings. Maybe it's everything in between.
Come rain or delayed planes or lack of sleep due to the loud hotel, I was going to drive down
US-1, through the Keys.
Don't ask me why.
(Please. My mother does that enough for everyone).
Just something I had to do.
Map. Car. Buffett. I was on my way.

I reserved a rental online. They called it something like an "economy car." I'm generally very economical.
They ran out.
Here's what I was issued instead:

Let the cliche begin.

I think it was fate.

I started the drive early, watching the sun rise over Miami.

When I finally hit US-1 past Florida City (I think), I had my first sight of the Two Lane Temptation. I was all Christmas morning excited- you know, where you get that feeling in your gut that you're in a great moment? That feeling. It would last most of the drive.

The sight of the ocean on the right AND the left never grew old. I was amazed each time I looked out into the never ending horizons.

The Bridge?


All Seven Miles of it.

And finally, I reached the end.

Mile 0.

Naturally, it was time for some rest and a drink.

A trip I'm so glad to have taken.

Time well spent.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Aunt Fun

When I think about my new nephew, I often think of how he'll see me as he gets older. Will I be the fun aunt? Will I be the smart aunt? Will I be the smartass aunt? Really, I like to think I'm a combination of all these things but I wonder which side he'll see.

Selfishly, I want him to look forward to seeing me and being around me. Not as if I'm the greatest thing in the world but I'd like to rank maybe less than Santa but more than Grandma. That seems like a good in between place for "fun aunt."

I have visions of sending him loud toys that drive his parents insane and giving him his first concert tickets. Maybe he'll call me for advice when he wants to shave his head or when he backs his mom's car into the mailbox.

Since I'm familiar with the way deep-seeded favortism works (just ask my sister with all her I'm the youngest and oh, look, I was born tactics), I'm starting early. From the time he was in the womb I've told my nephew how cool I am. I constantly repeated words like "ice cream" and "no bed time" so he would associate my voice with the idea of everything wonderful. As he gets older, I'll change these words to things like "tattoo" and "cold, hard cash" so he'll get the idea that I am the source for everything fun and anti-parent. Sure, his other aunt has a cousin for him to play with but this aunt? This aunt has a Corvette for him to play with.

Take that, girl cousin!

And when his parents get upset because I spoil him, I'll just remind them that it's only because I love him so much. Well, that and because they are so completely uncool that I have no choice but to expose him to some of the best things in life. (Some, not all, because some things you can only learn in college. Or, in the bar that's down the street from your college.)

The way I see it, it's my duty as the aunt. I would be doing my nephew, and therefore the world, a disservice if I let him go through life believing that his parents knew everything. It's my job to make sure he knows what fun is. And to make sure he knows he always has a place to go when he wants to run away.

I'll do my best to only be a good influence but I can't promise 100% responsibility. I mean, who else is going to buy him his first rock t-shirt?

I know, it's so cute you want to gag. And then break into Beast of Burden on air guitar.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I saw my ex at the gym this morning.

My ex trainer, that is. The trainer that whooped me into shape faster than a new recruit at Ft. Knox. The guy did all but shave my head and if he could have done that, he would have. Seriously. I called him Sarge.

I said "hi" in my cheeriest voice possible, hoping that would distract him from the fact that I am not the dedicated gym rat I once was.

"Hello, dear," he said, "how are you?"

"Doing great, " I said, knowing he could measure my body fat just by looking at me.

"Well, good. You look great."

"Oh, no I don't. This year has been one thing after another as far as training goes."

"Well maybe it's your attitude," he said, "because you look well."

"Thanks, Sarge. You look good, too."

"I know."

And right then and there I realized what I got out of that training.

No, your body fat doesn't have to be super low or your abs rock hard, you just have to feel good about yourself and know it. As long as you honestly feel good, you will always look good.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

She had never seen anything like it, in all her twenty-six years

I didn't quite know how to recap this trip. I started out writing about it in a start-to-finish style but soon realized -okay, about 5-6 paragraphs in- that nothing is more boring than a play-by-play of someone else's travels. So, since this is the longest Monday that wasn't really a Monday I've ever had, I'll do the list thing:

1. Stayed at a fun hotel. By fun I mean, wow, I am probably too old for this Spring Break style of partying but heck if I'm not going to take advantage of it. And it's not likely I would have been able to sleep early anyway unless my idea of a lullaby was "Pour Some Sugar On Me" at 1:00 in the morning.

2. Had lovely plans of laying on the beach a couple days and catching up on the reading I've wanted to do over the last two months. Instead, I fell asleep listening to the waves. Oh well.

3. Took my first drive down (and, consequently, back up) US-1. It was quite the drive, quite the experience. I made sure to play my Jimmy Buffet CDs because I'm fairly certain there is a law that says you have to. It was a beautiful day and I got to drive with the top [of the car] down for most of the way. I know, I'm such a cliche. I'm sure I'll cover it more in one of my "Windshield" posts soon because I did take several pictures. I mean, when driving over a two lane bridge you've never driven before, the smartest thing to do is take pictures while you're driving, right?*

4. Actually got to see a lot of the Keys. Stopped briefly in Key Largo which seemed straight out of the movie of the same name. Also made quick stops in Islamorada and No Name.
I stopped at The Holiday Isle Tiki Bar (Mile Marker 88) on the way back and let me tell you, I could have stayed there for a good long time if I didn't have to drive. The people were friendly and I tasted something called a "Pain in the Ass" which was definitely anything but that.
As a runner, I was all excited to drive through Marathon but I didn't stop because, well, I already know what a strip mall looks like. I'm sure there are lovely areas in Marathon, I just didn't have enough time to discover them.
Crossed the Seven Mile Bridge and before I knew it, I was coming into Key West. Interesting place, that Key West. And as the day went on, it only became more interesting. I walked around, talked to some tourists and some locals, had lunch/dinner and drinks at a bar I can't seem to remember the name of and made many stops at some other places. I need to get back there one day when I can fly in and stay a while. I thought I was too old to really get excited about a good pub crawl but clearly, I was wrong.
I also met a guitar player (I know, me meeting a musician, shocking) that splits time between Key West and Colorado. Lord knows how he affords that but I promised I'd look for him at a ski resort later this year.

5. Back on the mainland (or whatever Floridians might call it) I did some shopping and hung out at the hotel bar when it rained and met a couple boaters. One guy, a Philadelphia lawyer that comes down to his boat on the weekends, invited me fishing. Sadly, I did not have the time. Which is really awful because in my world, saying "come and hang out with us on the boat" is the grandest gesture one can make. I do have a name and number should I ever return to the area, which wouldn't be difficult with an invite like that.
I told my mother about this and she was quite certain that I would have had to "do" something for the invite. I understand why she'd think this but, as I told her, the guy already had a wife and a girlfriend so I had no worries. Ha.

Great trip. Great getaway. I didn't worry, I didn't plan, I just went. And it was good.

By the way, bonus points to anyone who understands the title of this post.

* My apologies to Florida. I know your concerns regarding the dangers of the US-1 highway (mostly because of the death toll signs you post on the side of the highway) and it was and would never be my intention to be dangerous on this highway. My photos were taken in a very safe, responsible manner. And the video, too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

In pursuit of happiness

Back from the depths of... well, okay, no depths. The only thing that decreased was latitude, which is generally a good thing.

The last four days have pretty much been my own little happy adventure. As I drove home from the airport tonight and watched fireworks in the distance, I had to take a minute to really be thankful for my life and the way I'm allowed to live it.

I am truly amazed that an ordinary twenty-six year old girl can drive over the Seven Mile Bridge* one day and be sitting in the comfort of her own home the next. Not because of the miracles of transportation but because it started as just an idea and as just something I had to do and, by some blessing I'll never completely understand, I had the freedom to actually do it.

I'm reminded of the sacrifices made for this freedom. I'm reminded of the principles that make up it's foundation; though what we see on the surfaces today may seem very different, I have faith that those principles will not be forgotten. There are inalienable rights I'm so fortunate to have. Among them, the pursuit of happiness for which I'm so very, very grateful.

* More on the Seven Mile Bridge and other US-1 happenings in a post coming soon!