In an effort to reach even more of you, I'd urge you to take a minute and visit this woman's blog. In the contiuned fight against cancer, awareness is key.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Sunday, January 29, 2006
This afternoon my mom and I went to see a movie together. We laughed, we cried, we ended up in an intense argument and we said 'I love you' and left.
We're fairly close, she and I. We talk nearly every day. Sometimes about nothing, sometimes about everything. Still, I think there's something neither of us will ever 'get' about the other. I'll constantly be trying to convince her there's another side to everything while she'll rarely accept that there actually is.
My God, how I love her. The things I've seen her do in her life are not of the weak-hearted. She'll teach you a lesson or two, I tell you. She continues to teach me. That along with making me feel better, reassuring me constantly and giving me advice (solicited or not) should be enough to get a daughter by. Somehow though, I have this problem. This problem of wishing it were different and all the while, knowing it will never be.
It's bad, I know. I don't want another mother, I want my mother, but just tweaked a little. I want her to see my life through my eyes and I know that's not possible. I know the eyes she sees through... the no B.S., get to the point, why cry when you could just "get over it" eyes. Damn them. She'll never see through my eyes. She'll wonder though. She'll wonder how a girl can get so emotionally involved in everything in her life. She'll wonder how I can be so accepting of all the world and not of her. She'll wonder how I can be generous with others when I "don't really have it to give." Yes, she'll wonder. But she'll never see it. I don't know if she's not willing or just can't. I may never know.
And all I want to ask is: Why? or Why not? How did she raise me and yet, we're polar opposite on feelings? She has them, I know she does and yet, with me, she doesn't. Am I too much or is she too little? Of course, I'm inclined to believe it is I who is gifted with these feelings. It is I who gets to use my heart and soul as if they're commodities, as if I have every emotion and bit of passion to spare and will do so, with very little convincing. And with that thought, I'm forced to see the difference between she and I. A difference that may not have always been there but has been forced by time and experience. Is it possible she doesn't have the time and emotion to spare? Maybe she once did only to learn that time and emotion don't feed children, work does. Maybe she once believed that there was a time to laugh and a time to cry, but those times passed and have yet to come around again. Maybe this is her version of happy and it's me that's missing the point. After all, she says she's happy. Who am I to question her?
Friday, January 27, 2006
1. I can be in any mood and they'll still drag me along each mile.
2. They appreciate the scenery with me.
3. Miles pass faster when you have someone to chat with.
4. We encourage each other. Seriously, these people can be so positive I frequently feel undeserving.
5. We openly discuss trots, often.
6. They're loud, like I tend to be.
7. They're outgoing, like I tend to be.
8. They stop to help hurt kids, run-away dogs and lost tourists no matter how hard we're training.
9. They understand that everyone has bad days.
10. There's always someone there with an extra hat, spare gloves, sun block, socks, advice, and encouraging words when you need it. We take care of each other.
A woman calls her boss one morning and tells him that
she is staying home because she is not feeling well.
"What's the matter?" he asks.
"I have a case of anal glaucoma," she says in a weak voice.
"What the hell is anal glaucoma?"
"I can't see my ass coming into work today".
It's not that funny, I know.
And this is why I need the Caribbean vacation to HURRY UP AND GET HERE, ALREADY!!
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
While I realize it's probably incredibly annoying and boring to write about a television show, I'm doin' it anyway. If you're not watching 'Lost', I think you should. It's really entertaining at the moment and it's tough to find that anymore.
OK, enough of that.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Standing in line with about six thousand others at the post office today, I realized something. All these people want the same thing. We want to take care of our own business and get out of there. We equally wanted the same thing, I think. While I realize this isn't incredibly insightful, it started the wheels turning.
Last summer, after months of training and preparation, I ran a race up a mountain. The mountain was Pikes Peak and the race was the Pikes Peak Ascent. At the end of this race the clouds, hail and snow were rolling in over the mountain, effectively leaving about 800 people stranded at the top of a mountain for several hours. Walking around the small snack bar and gift shop at the top of the mountain, I came toe to toe with another runner. We did the back-and-forth dance and then just stopped and laughed at one another, exhausted. We didn't say a word but looking into her eyes, I knew we just wanted the same thing: to go home.
Once, when I was 9, my dog ran away. This wasn't the first time but still, we went looking for him. I rode my bike around the neighborhood for an hour before running into a kid named Jack who lived up the road. Jack was looking for his dog, too. We chatted about our dogs for a minute and then Jack, being only 7, began to cry. I tried to be strong and encouraging telling Jack he would find his dog and I would help him look while I was looking for my dog, too. I told him it would be OK. Then, as I pedaled off in the opposite direction, tears began streaming down my face. I was the same as Jack, I just wanted to find my dog.
In my sophmore year in college, I took a literature class in which the professor demanded we all read the book assigned and then stand in front of the class and report back on the book. Yes, 20 years old, expensive college tuition and book reports. The 5th grade all over again, but with a hangover. Katie sat next to me in class and was completely terrified of public speaking. I told her it was no big deal, all she had to do was talk about the book, nothing personal. Katie, being a much better and more thoughtful student than I, was worried about her grade, about the class not liking her report, about stumbling over her words and about everyone staring at her. It wasn't until she stated all her fears that I realized I may have some too. Or even worse, should I have some and don't? Katie and I became much closer that semester than I'd imagined. Both living with doubts and fears but she being the only one able to admit them.
Yesterday, I read the blog of a stranger. I've never met this man and likely, never will. Yet, the thoughts he expressed about his life were eerily similar to my own. He wrote of having everything that anyone should need and yet, doubted his ability to survive. He wrote of having no reason to feel bad and yet, he did. He wrote of coping and struggling and dealing with life and I identified. Turns out, he just wanted peace, some acceptance, and a little love. Yes, don't we all. We are the same.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Sometimes, I'm just lucky. There's no reason for it. There's no decent explanation. It's just a fact. I did nothing and I got lucky (um, not that kind of lucky).
Last Friday, my phone rang on the way home from work and I was invited to "not have plans on Saturday." That's it. That's all I got to know. Make no plans for Saturday and be up and ready by 8:00 a.m. Yeah, maybe a little early but hopelfully worth it?!?
So up and ready at 7:30 a.m., I was. Which, obsessive as I am, gave me time to vacuum, clean the bathroom and empty the dishwasher. Ninety minutes of cleaning packed into 25. I guess you could say I was a little pumped about my surprise day.
At 8:01 a.m., my doorbell rings and [since I'm standing right in front of it waiting for said ring] I run to answer it.
"Yes, where are we going?"
Breakfast? Hmmm... maybe it's some new, exotic, wonderful breakfast mystery that I've never heard of? Maybe it's a homemade breakfast? Maybe it's just IHOP (please, Lord, no).
So a 20 minute car ride later, I'm getting antsy. "OK, where are we going? I have to know where we're going."
"Surprise. Just wait."
Grrr. About 25 minutes after that, we arrive in a town just north of home at a small little cafe I've never seen. I'm excited but still a little confused as to why we had to drive 45 minutes to breakfast. Can it be that good?
Well, let me tell you, it was some gooooood eatin'. I hate to use words like that but when omelets taste so good you swear all the ingredients must have fallen from heaven together because there's no way a human could concoct this, that there is gooooood eatin'. After breakfast I slowly came out of my coma and thanked this dear person for taking me to this place. Who knew heaven was a 45 minute trip from home?
"I have something else."
"Really?" I am shocked. Don't you know food is enough for me?
"Yes. Here, what do you think of these?"
Woah, this person is really trying to get to me. Right then, in my hot little hands, were tickets to a hockey game. Not just any little game, but a game that happens to match a couple pretty good rivals (more so in years past, but the popularity hasn't changed). Tickets are hard to come by, to say the least.
"Ha!" I exclaim. And I hardly ever exclaim. "Is this serious?"
"Yep. Ready to go?"
Am I?? If being ready means that you've just had the greatest surprise of the year and possibly the best breakfast ever and you're jumping out of your seat and into the car in one bound, then yes, I'm ready.
Off we went to the game. It was tons of fun, loud fans around us, beer just after noon and the home team lost. The perfection of the day could be dimmed by nothing.
On the ride home I just had to ask, "How did you get those tickets? Did you have to sell something? Bribe somebody? What?"
"Just had them laying around."
Yeah, right. I guess I may never know. Though I'm guessing there could be a very bummed best friend out there somewhere that is now "owed big" by someone.
I felt bad for just a minute. Then again, maybe it was just my lucky day.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Several days ago I found myself wandering around Whole Foods. No list, no plan, no idea. I didn't know why I stopped there or what I needed. Milk? Maybe. Eggs? Okay. Bread? Why not. Really though, I didn't need any of that. I guess I could have just left but something told me if I drove all the way across town, walked around for 30 minutes and sampled everything I could get my hands on, I should really buy something.
Finally, I settled on frozen food. Vegetables to be exact. I reasoned that I could use these any time so they wouldn't go to waste in three days.
I was standing in front of the freezer doors, trying to make up my mind. Always trying to make up my mind. I settled on broccoli, peas and carrots. I now had an armful of frozen veggies and was headed for the checkout. I swear, I have no idea how the following chain of events occured. I turned a corner, fell off the side of my own shoe (in case you missed that, yes! off the side of my own shoe!) came hip to metal with the shopping cart of a stranger and half-toppled over the edge of his cart. He caught my elbow which, subsequently, caused the frozen goods to go flying. My hair flipped over my cheek hiding my face and I was thankful- at least this stranger couldn't see me, yet.
After recovering from the tumble as ungracefully as possible, reuniting my foot with my shoe (damn slip-on crap) and gathering my food, I looked up. I swear right now, if my ankle weren't throbbing in pain I would have been absolutely convinced that the crash ended my life and I was in heaven. The face I saw when I looked up looked right back at me with the bluest eyes in the world. I'm talking poetic blue here kids.
"I'm so sorry about that," he said, and I melted. Not only was I seeing everything in blue and embarassed beyond belief, but now my socks were near charmed off by the Australian accent. Holy crap, if this is heaven, no problem. I can deal with the throbbing ankle.
"No, no. It's my fault. I wasn't paying attention, I was just... I don't know... I'm..."
"Don't apologize, doll." Doll?
OK, I won't apologize, Mr. Aussie McDreamy.
Still completely enamored but utterly embarassed I apologize again anyway, begin to move away and tell him to have a wonderful evening. We catch one another's gaze for a few seconds, say nothing and I turn toward the checkout counter.
I have small talk with the cashier, buy my veggies and carry them out to my car, leaving some of my pride inside the store. As I opened the back door of the car to throw my groceries in, my work bag comes tumbling out and since I'm too lazy to zip it at the end of the day, so do about three dozen documents and folders I'd brought home. So, exasperated, I started laughing at myself and gathering everything into a pile.
"Need a hand, love?" Holy crap. Don't tell me. No. Don't turn around. It's not him. You're imagining. But I wasn't, I slowly turned around, still bent to the ground, and looked up at the very same face from the store.
"Oh, no thank you," I said, "I've got it."
"Looks like you're having a bad day?"
"Um, yeah, it does look that way, doesn't it?" Eventhough I really wanted to say, hell no, as long as you keep showing up, I'll be a clutz as much as possible.
"But I'm sure you'll go home to a nice hot meal and a drink," he said.
Was I hearing right? Did he just round-about-way ask me what I was going home to? I'll admit, I was so friggin' charmed by the accent again that I couldn't really reason with myself. But this has happened before. I've heard it has a purpose. Is it international? Do Australians pick people up the same way American's do? Well, polite Americans anyway.
"Umm, no, actually I'm going home to my dog and work. But close enough," I joke.
"Anyway I can convince you to have a hot meal and drink instead?" Dear God, this isn't happening. "I mean, it looks like you need it and with the kind of day you're having, doll, what have you got to lose?" Again with the "doll".
Crap, he was right. What did I have to lose?
"Why not," I say, feeling like I'm having an out-of-body experience.
And so we gathered paper, threw it in the car and walked across the parking lot to the nearest restaurant. I wasn't sure if I was actually losing my mind or just had yet to regain consciousness from the grocery cart stumble earlier. Dreaming? Likely.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I think we all have at least one. That teacher from sometime in childhood we still think about as adults. We remember something they taught us, how they stayed with us and we wonder how they're doing today.
I had a dream recently that reminded me about a teacher I had in elementary school. He was in his late thirties, bald before it was cool and one of the most confident people I've ever known. He loved the Beach Boys, played hockey and [at least in the classroom] lived by some great rules that I still try to live by today.
Things like "don't bother other people" and, when playing handball on the playground, "if it's so close to the line that you have to talk about it, you should have played it." Things that seemed like good rules then strike me as profound logic now. Principles.
I often think back to one of his rules when I'm in a situation where people are acting like children- usually at work, or the airport. It's times like these when I think everyone should have had to take my teacher's class. Everyone should just not bother one another. Everyone should remember that if you have to talk about a silly mistake after the fact, you should have done something to prevent it. What a wonderful world it would be.
I don't know where my teacher is now. It's close to twenty years later since I was in his class. About ten since I've been back to volunteer in his classroom or at a school event. I'm sure he's retired. Hopefully he's enjoying it and somewhere, he knows that he taught a young girl, lacking confidence, a little about hockey, a little more about the Beach Boys and a lot about principles.
Thanks, Mr. B.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
I put it off for weeks, months even. I hem-hawed each time I looked at the list of choices. Sure, everyone said to give it a try but sometimes I take longer to make up my mind than most. There was always something else and besides, did I have time for it anyway?
Well, finally there was a weekend with very little to do so I had time. I got in the car, drove to Blockbuster and rented the movie 'Hitch'. Of the three people I called on my way home in hopes of having some movie companions, only one took me up on the offer.
Two hours, a couple glasses of wine and a plate of nachos later, Jill and I settled in to watch this so-called "best date movie of 2005." It started out charming, even promising but I soon realized that as cute as Will Smith can be and no matter how many times Kevin James tried to dance, my interest was fading fast. There were several enjoyable moments, I even genuinely laughed, a lot. In the end though, it just lost steam. It should have been over thirty minutes before it actually was. It went from hopeful to unbelieveable (and not unbelieveable in a good way) pretty quickly. Darn, and I had wanted this to be a good choice. Then, I could say, "why did I wait so long?" But no such luck.
Honestly, I know it was just two hours but I feel a little cheated. The kind of cheated where you say "dang, that's two hours I'll never get back" and then rush to return the movie and avoid late fees because it's definitely not worth even more time or money.
UPDATE: Months later, I feel the need to let anyone reading this know that this post was actually about a bad blind date. The movie just happened to be a convenient comparison.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
I know the truth about love. My truth, anyway.
I was five and a half years old and heard my name outside my bedroom door. Before I could peel my eyes open out of a dead sleep, the light was on and I was watching my Dad pull clothes out of the dresser.
"What are you doing, daddy?"
"It's time to go."
"The hospital. Mommy's having the baby."
I wiped my eyes, put on the clothes he'd layed out and hiked up from the basement of our ranch-style house to see my mom, breathing lamaze-style, trying to get shoes on and telling me to get my coat. I remember wondering why the baby couldn't wait till morning and what a pain this was. I thought that all the way to the hospital and even as I waited in the hallway with family members.
Until the nurse and my dad came walking out of the room with this little wad of white. The nurse bends down and holds this ball of white blanket in front of me. I look at her and I'm instantly fascinated. Little did I know, that feeling would never leave me. Every moment from that second on, I was a big sister. The love, the responsibility, the duty, all effortless from here on out. She and I would be loyal friends, fierce adversaries and the best and worst secret-keepers to one another, for life.
There, at midnight in the Spring of 1985, I knew the truth about love. I knew what it meant and that it was meant for me.
Now, 21 years later, I get to be reminded of it again. My life-long confidant, friend, and partner in crime is bringing a little ball of white blanket of her own into the world.
How brave she is. How strong she is. How she continues to fascinate me.
Friday, January 13, 2006
"I have a theory about you," he says.
"Yeah, you're afraid."
"Yes. You're afraid that if you gave us a chance, you'd like it."
"US?" I ask.
"Yeah, otherwise, you wouldn't be so nice to me and continue to hang around me."
"Or," I contend, "we've been friends for years and I like to keep my friends."
And so it went on. Him trying to convince me and me trying to convince him.
Why is it so complicated? Why can't he see what I'm telling him? Shouldn't the number one thing you look for in someone you want is that they want to be with you, too? I never thought men were like this. I never thought they obsessed about someone to the point where they had actually convinced themselves it was only a matter of time. I thought this was a process reserved for the more feminine of the species. In fact, I'm guilty of it myself. Just not in this case.
"Sounds to me like you just need to get out there," I tell him.
"Get out where?"
"Into the dating world."
"What do you mean?" he asks.
Ok, time to be blunt. "Look, you had a girlfriend on and off for two years. You came to hate that relationship and each other. You were single for a year, defying anyone that said you should date. Now, you're finally ready to date and the first friend you stumble on becomes your target? You need to get out there."
"But why would I get out there when what I want is right here?"
"Because it's not right here," I say. And I turned to leave, only stopping to pet the dog because if things continue like this, it's unlikely I'll ever be back.
My conclusion: My original theories on men and women need some work.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
With a heading of 'JustRun' you'd think my first post would have been about running. But writing, like running, is something that just happpens on it's own for me.
So, to live up to the heading, here are some of my thoughts on running:
1. I've been running sporadically for as long as I can remember, though I never felt like I needed to until about two years ago. That's when it all started. On a cold February afternoon, on a treadmill, in my house.
2. I've had countless people tell me how to be better, faster, stronger and last longer. Some advice I've taken, some I haven't.
3. I don't "blank out" when I run (as 'JustRun' may suggest). I take it all in, I let it all go, I contemplate, I plan, I sort- always the multi-tasker.
4. I enter races. I don't race. The only person I'm ever trying to beat is me.
5. I started running because I felt like a fatty.
6. I keep running because it's the only thing that's helped me realize it's not about the fat. Or the money. Or the house. Or the car. Or the job. It is about living and running gives me the opportunity to remember that.
7. I've met countless friends through running. I now have race invites and "places to crash" in London, Atlanta, Iowa, L.A., Chicago, St. Croix and right here at home thanks to the people I've met through running.
8. I've never regreted a run, even the ones where I lost my keys, my faith or my breakfast.
9. I wish my dog could run with me.
10. When I think about running, I hope to always feel just as I do now.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Sometimes I wonder if those days still exist. Remember? Those days when you didn't care about the future and didn't have time for the past. You just live for the here and now. Your little group of friends and hangin' out take top priority.
Today, as I drove home from my downtown job, windows down, radio up, I was reminded that yes, those days are still alive and well.
At an intersection I gazed over to the car next to me. There it sat, a Chevy Nova. Rust around the edges, running loud and puffing exhaust as three teenaged kids sat in the front seat.
"Wonder why they're all in the front seat?" I thought.
I stretched up further to take a look. Ah, there, the end of a guitar case sticking up from one side. And I recognized an amp next to it. On the other side, more big cases. "Drums. Definitely drums," I thought.
That was all it took. Memories came flooding back without any effort of my own. The music, the cars, the football games, the parties we weren't supposed to have. Oh, and of course, the guitar player. Yup, I was in love and I'd gladly squeeze into the front seat of a car to be near it- whatever it was.
The car, the kids, the memories, all wrapped up in that one little glance at a guitar case. Most people would have missed that image. They wouldn't have cared who those kids were or where they were going. But not me, I was reminded. Reminded that yes, those good ol' days do exist. I felt reassured.
And maybe, just maybe, somewhere back in time, there would always be room for just one more in that front seat.
Friday, January 06, 2006
I remember it as if it were only yesterday. There I sat, Freshman Civics, squinting at the board. I reach over and grab the glasses of a friend and put them on and realized, no, blind girl, you shouldn't be squinting at the board. The chalk lines aren't blury, it's your eyes.
So began my love-hate relationship with lenses. First, the glass kind- which lasted about a week. Then, the contacts after that. Every sleepover, volleyball game, homecoming dance, college exam, late-night pizza session, job interview, vacation and run now involved putting in the contacts. The spontanaeity was gone. I now had to learn how to plan for these pain-in-the-rear lenses that would haunt me for 11 years.
Then, LASIK eye surgery came a knockin'. First, it was just a commercial. Then, family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers all began sharing their experiences.
"It's amazing. I never imagined I could see this well," they said.
"But it's surgery. In your eye," I'd say.
So, being the anal, know-it-all reasearcher I am, I finally decided to look into it. For over a year I read and researched the risks, the possible outcomes/complications and the benefits. I researched doctors near and far. And finally, after years of hem-hawing (what a good word that is), I made the appointment.
And now, I can see clearly for the first time in a long time.
In 9 weeks the Caribbean and I have a snorkeling date. And I'll be able to see the fish!