Monday, April 30, 2007

Time Is on My Side

Lately, some people around me have been making some choices in their own lives without considering how those choices might change the lives of others. Without going into too much detail (I just love having to be cryptic on my blog) I'll say that not only have their choices affected me, they also have the potential to affect my work. People, I don't care how big or small your city is, when the stuff hits the fan the rule of Six Degrees of Separation more than likely applies. That is just the way the world is. None of us is an island.

What's really getting me over this situation is that I don't know how to react to it. Should I be upset? Should I be angry? Should I disengage? Should I judge? I ask myself these questions every day. Late at night, early in the morning, over breakfast, in the car, while I'm supposed to be listening to someone else. All the time. And while I know there's a line that one should always draw when it comes to getting involved in the problems of others, it's still my reaction that I'm struggling with.

Because this is, for the most part, not a moral issue (though I can't say I agree that it's aligned with my own values) the line I use to judge right and wrong is blurred. I'm finding it nearly impossible to make any kind of peace with it. Maybe it is a result of it being a friend. Maybe it's a product of being in my 20's. Maybe I really just don't know yet.

On one hand, this someone with whom I have a friendship and they have made a choice that is changing the world of a lot of people. Part of me says to be very tough on them. We all have consequences for our choices, right? I want them to realize what they've done! And then I catch myself. For starters, I'm in no place of authority anyway, so that's good reason to hold back. Also, I remember that it's not up to me to serve justice. It is not my responsibility to "make" them see what they've done. That will happen in time, regardless of my actions. And every time I feel myself starting to become angry, overcome with that feeling of being wronged, another feeling comes in even stronger. It's calm. It's a feeling telling me to take the higher road. To wait it out and watch things unfold. To have the bigger heart.

When it comes down to it, down to life, that's what I want to have anyway. A bigger heart. I can do this when it's easy, of course. It's harder, though, when it's a challenge. I will have to struggle with this. But I want to be the person that can see past the initial reactions of hurt or anger. I want to be the person that knows that it's probably not my job to judge. If laws aren't being broken, if children aren't being harmed, then adults just get to be adults, even if they're wrong. It doesn't mean they get my love, my friendship or my respect, it just means that I can deal with it in the context of how it affects me. I don't have to worry about making them pay. Time will do that without any help from me.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


So close.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hey, good lookin'... whatcha got cookin' *


It is Friday morning and that means the brain is getting a break. With a week like this has been, though, the brain would be taking a break even if it were Tuesday afternoon.

I have been entirely too deep lately (both in blog posts and in other people's crap) so therefore, I propose I ask many a question and then go take a nice long nap while everyone else answers.

Are you game? Can you handle it? I think you can!

And if you can't, old pro-wrestlers will come to your door and pretend like they're selling cookies but then when you open the door they will throw you over their shoulders and take you to the county fair. To mutton bust. Blindfolded. In mud. (Thanks to JACC for the idea to threaten with senseless, random, impossible scenarios. It's good fun.)

Here are some questions I have for the Internet today:

1. What is this Thinking Blogger thing? What do you all think about it? (Yes, I have done my homework, I just want to know what all of you think.)

2. If someone were going to eliminate sugar from their diet, what are the most common things to be eliminated? (Other than white bread, pasta and other obviously white things- I've got that part down.)

3. If I were to tell you I was thinking of walk/running a marathon next weekend, what would you say? (I have run 10 miles at this point with no pain and barely any recovery aches/pains.)

4. Does anyone have a Garmin and is it really worth downloading your workouts onto your computer? I have had mine for nearly four months and have only used it for pacing, distance and heart rate monitoring. Do I really need to download and have graphs showing me how slow I am?

5. Does anyone have any new favorite recipes? Dinner, specifically. I am bored to the back teeth with stir fry. Seriously.

6. Does anyone have any secret money-saving tips that I don't know about? Save for the obvious like "skip the Starbucks" (because, yeah, I know) and stop buying things online all the freakin' time (it is not my fault JCrew has to have one of the best darn swim sales ever three weeks before I go on vacation, is it?).

Actually, the real reason for this question is for a class I'm giving (I know, me teaching people, crazy). I need ideas!

7. What are your favorite jeans? Or, gentlemen, your wife/girlfriend/sister/whatever's favorite jeans? I need new ones and I don't know where to go anymore. I know this can be different for everyone, but I still need help. Jeans shopping will always suck.

I'm going to stop at seven, I think. It's my lucky number. Also, we might get into really, really deep questions like what is the meaning of life and how do you trim the nails of a dog that becomes possessed by unnatural forces at the sight of a nail trimmer even though she has never been hurt by a nail trimmer?


*I might never get the chance to use this title so might as well do it now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Eight years to grasp, twenty-eight to appreciate

The third grade was a big year for me. According to my mother, this was the year I “really came out of my shell.” Emphasis on really because unlike the years before, there was no stopping me. Or my mouth. Eight years old and I’d perfected the art of a thick skin and a lot of nerve. This was evident in two areas, in particular. One, I gave speeches at school assemblies and two, my mediocre citizenship grades. Apparently, all the “straight A’s” in the world did not a quiet girl make.
Part of this shell exiting, I think, was that I entered my I don’t have to take crap from anyone phase. (Note: I have yet to leave that phase.) This had a little to do with our super mean third grade teacher, and a lot to do simply with my personality. I can’t really remember a time since the third grade when I did something or believed something or even reacted to something because someone else gave me crap about it. I don’t know what makes me this way. I do know that I’m blessed to have realized this so early, or even at all.
One day, at lunchtime in the third grade, a fourth grader named Tina Wiedlick (yes, that was her real last name and yes, it does sound just like you think) was giving me particularly mean looks across the lunch room. Tina, you see, was upset with me from the day before when I walked home with a girl that used to be her best friend. Tina did not care that it just so happened that her friend and I lived next door to one another nor did she care that IT WAS WHAT OUR MOTHERS TOLD US TO DO. She was mad because she got dumped and, apparently, it was my fault for living next door to the girl that dumped her, even though the house was bought five years before I was even conceived. People, she was ruthless!
Anyhow, that following day at lunch, Tina gave me so many dirty looks that I was sort of wishing I was allowed to flip people off because, my gosh, if there were ever a reason to use your middle finger, this was it! But I didn’t. I didn’t want Mrs. McNeil, the lunchroom monitor, to see me. I would certainly be suspended and therefore ruin my perfect attendance record of the year and completely lose out on the bright yellow ribbon awarded at the end. I had my priorities straight.
As we were filing out of the lunchroom and onto the playground that day, I happened to get in the double line right next to Tina Wiedlick. I looked at her out of the corner of my eye and, I tell you, if there were ever a moment a third grader wished she was a fifth grader, this was it. As we both tried to walk through the single door, I committed the cardinal sin of elementary school and walked in front of someone a grade ahead of me, which means I walked in front of Tina. And then, as if it could get any worse, I bumped her with my elbow. I know!
“Watch it!” Tina yelled.
Sor-ry!” I shouted back. I would not be intimidated.
“You should be!” Tina screamed, six inches from my face.
And here’s where I officially earned my life-long badge of hard-assdom.
“Let me tell you one thing, Tina Wiedlick,” I said, “the only thing I’m one bit of sorry about today is that I looked at your face.”
And I spun around, walked the other way and for the first time in my life, actually felt someone try to kill me with sheer will. I spent the rest of that day certain I was in for it. The worst that happened, though, was Tina running by me after school and calling me a “bitch.” Small price to pay.
I don’t think I’ve allowed anyone or anything to dictate anything in my life since then; at least not by intimidation. The value in that, by the way, is not doing it but rather, knowing you have the choice. Which is why no matter the circumstances, the challenges, or events out of my control, there is one thing I know: I strive to live every day with the same strength I found that day in the third grade. It's not always easy but I do it anyway. For the ones I love, for the things I care about, for the things that matter.
Thanks to all of you for your comments. It is wicked cool that you not only come here but are thoughtful and insightful when you do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I feel very much on the sidelines of life right now. It's like the team is out there, making everything happen and I'm merely watching. I'm excited for the team, we're winning, we look great, we're a success. But I'm just sort of there, filling the space.

I know these times in life come. I know that I'm in a unique situation with four pregnant friends, three friends or family members building or buying new houses, two couples getting married, one friend moving across the country to live with someone, and three other friends starting new jobs or careers. That is a lot. And me, well I went to Starbucks this morning.

I'm trying not to approach this as a woe is me type of story because overall, it's not. The situations above all have their problems and imperfections, and believe me, few of them are idyllic. Still, they all seem so full of meaning and hope. It's not that my life is without meaning or hope, far from it. It's just getting a little difficult to maintain that on my own. Possibly to a fault, I'm one of those people that believes I have to be very selective on who I burden with my problems. In turn, I get to do a lot of thinking and planning all inside my own mind. The way things are going right now, the mind is a little over taxed.

I've always been pretty good at separating other's choices and successes from my own life. I can be really happy for a friend getting married, for example, because I can tell myself "that is what's right for them, not necessarily for me." It's true; not once has someone else's new husband, new house, new job, new dog, whatever, been something I'd choose for myself. It's a pretty logical way of thinking, for the most part. I suppose the only time it starts to get difficult is when you see all this new and all this change at once.

My first instinct is to do something about it. Of course, that's not a solution for everything. It works for me professionally when I decide to work harder, or work on something new. It works for me physically when I'm feeling fat or slow or weak. It works for me socially when I feel like I've lost touch with some friends and need to catch up. But doing something about this, well it's nearly impossible.

So I'll just have to wait. I'll just have to sit here, watch the game and trust that the coach will put me back in when the time is right. I'll let the pressure go, I'll watch and cheer and know that when the time comes, I'll be ready.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Let's Talk About Running Before My Head Explodes

Why is it that just when you think you can't add anything else to life, life just goes on ahead and adds it for you?

I've made every attempt over the last few days to escape and find some place I can go where I need not think about anyone else's life. Yes, some of it is valid, some of it trivial and much of it ridiculous, but honestly, if I have to utter the phrase "what did you expect?" one more time, I might gag. Instead, I've tried to get away.
Just ask Barb who got five questions from me that I pulled straight out of oblivion and slapped into an email. She says it was painless, but I think she was just being kind. Or, you could ask Nicole over at Powered By Vegetables. She asked me if I had any opinions or recommendations on travel to St. John (U.S.V.I.). What she didn't realize was that asking me about Caribbean travel is sort of like asking me to share my opinions and recommendations on the importance of breathing.

Both, though, were attempts at escape. As has been my running lately. It is not particularly smooth nor consistent, but when I'm out there, sweating and my heart pounding, I find relief. It's a little like years ago, when I "got serious" about running and started to train regularly. It's a struggle, but also a progression. Today's run feels a little easier than the day before. My body, even if it's fighting me for each step, is also getting it's memory back. I feel my strides becoming a little longer, my lungs a little more relaxed. Last weekend, I ran five miles with a friend and was able to talk the entire time. What used to be normal is once again an accomplishment.

In my continuing effort to convince myself that there is good to see in every struggle, I'm also reminded how running has brought more than just cardiac health and two-piece bathing suits into my life. It has brought me people; through them I get encouragement, inspiration and most of all, a reminder that we're all more the same than we are different.

Lia, a woman so very close to her first marathon, is in taper mode right now. I forget how this feels, the way your mind and body react to mile reduction before a race. She reminds me of that. It's a normal feeling and yet, when you're in it, you feel so very abnormal.

Or Ginger, a runner who pretty consistently leaves me in awe, is coming down off the high of one of the biggest races in the world. Through her struggle with injury, weather and the unfathomable (for me) emotions of one of the highest pressure races of many runner's lives, she crossed the finish line. And now, she has a question on her mind so familiar to a runner: What now? I don't know the answer but I do know that through this, I'm reminded of the inevitable let down that comes after a major event in one's life. And, I'm also reminded that we get past it and be it good or bad, we can look back on that time a different person than we were before.

And then there's Michelle, who makes a thirteen mile run sound like walk in the park. Who talks about beat up runner's feet like she merely stubbed her toe. Who gives a race report for a 50K in much the same tone you might talk about your trip to the grocery store. A 50K gave her trouble, she says, so she'll stick to just marathons from here on out. Yeah, just marathons. Michelle, you pansy. But I can identify, because there was a time when I scoffed that the phrase "just a 5K." It happens.

I thought about all this on my drive to work this morning. How we "use" some things, some people, in our lives from time to time to escape. So all of you that are returning from vacation, expecting new arrivals and, living, breathing and most of all, sharing, have been part of my escape, too. I'm really thankful for that, because this last week, more than I have in a long time, I needed it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Little Pink Houses

Last week tried to beat me up somethin' good. There were break ups, office dramatics, sick friends, bad news, worse news and a dog that was just ADR (that's an abbreviation for a technical term commonly used in the veterinary medicine world which means "ain't doin' right." No really, it is). And that was just within my little space of the planet.

Rather than bore myself and nearly a dozen others with my stories of woe, however, I'd rather take you on a walk through Spring.

Growing up, I was the kid that always drew pictures of my house. Some days, it looked Victorian, some days very modern and some days it was clear I was going to grow up and move into Barbie's Dream House. As time passed, I stopped drawing pictures and just started going around town and picking out my house. There was always this wonderful neighborhood with houses no one I knew could afford that I'd go back and visit time and again. It was obvious, though, that this 'hood and money and the money was old.

A couple days ago, while walking with a friend, we came upon these streets again. This time, though, it wasn't the beautiful homes that took my attention but rather, the way each of them was surrounded by Spring.

Picket fences are always that much better with tulips.
Lots and lots of tulips.

And daffodils.
(That's what these are, right?)

And something else cute that probably has a fairy tale name that I don't know but it sure was fun to play with the image in Photoshop.

Though I drew houses as a kid, I never was one of those girls that got into the whole planning of my future wedding business. While I'll leave that whole story for another day, I will say that aren't these the most gorgeous flowers and wouldn't they be great at a wedding?

And more tulips, which I never tire of seeing.

Lest you think this neighborhood is all full of beauty and perfection with pink houses and little Pollyanna families filling each and every one of them, I give you a warning sign:
Truth is, I'd put this in my yard in a second.

The other day, I mentioned having some homemade rum which several of you asked about. I find it both exciting and a little frightening that I received more emails on this than almost anything else, ever. I'm sorry to report that though I enjoyed it, I really have no further detail. I know there's molasses, sugar, brown sugar and water involved. Then, fermentation. Then, running it through a still (which, as I found out today, is not sold at Home Depot. I think that is a rip because what would a still be considered if not home improvement?), maybe more than once. I'm not entirely sure.
Then, I guess you just bottle it so that you may randomly place it on the desks of coworkers on a Wednesday morning. Which, by the way, would normally be just fine but to do it in a week when office stress is at an all-time high, giving someone liquor that they cannot open or consume at work (or probably have on the premises, come to think of it) is just mean. It did motivate me to call some friends over for "emergency rum tasting" though, and that's never a bad thing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

You Will Be Amazed to Know All This

So Bre, in all her coolness, allowed me to pretty much tag myself with this looks like a meme but has all the emotion and feel of an interview, type thing.

She asks me five questions, I answer. You'll see more details at the end. It should also be noted that I worked twelve hours yesterday, ran five miles and then ate a ginormous dinner and had some homemade rum (stories and/or photos to come later but as a preview, there is a reason that stuff is sometimes called FIRE WATER). I have also not had enough sleep.


1. What do you wish everyone else knew about runners?
That we come in all shapes, sizes and abilities, that we don't mind stinking and that running is a part of who we are as much as our legs themselves. Also, a marathon is 26.2 miles. All marathons*.

2. Has having your nephew visit made your biological clock start to tick?
You know, I thought it might but then my sister turned into some kind of Colorado socialite where she'd go live it up like a rock star having high tea and going to see chick flicks and those nights I spent up babysitting pretty much made my eggs stop, go into a holding pattern and take a breather. They're on a chaise lounge somewhere, sitting still and waiting another five or so years, I think. Nonetheless, I would go to the moon and back for that kid, no question.

3. What is your shopping kryptonite - that is ... what can you never quite resist?
Good travel deals, just about everything in the running store, flip flops and chai tea. I don't know as any of that "counts" as shopping but my bank account probably thinks so.

4. Are you crafty/handy around the house? If so... how?
When I bought my place and moved in, I did a lot of work on it. I spent two months painting, flooring, hanging window coverings and putting $&%! together. I thought it was fun, then I got over it. Now, I'd probably either hire someone or just live with things the way they are. However, I can fix a toilet like nobodies business which probably has a lot more to do with genetics than actual skill.

5. What has blogging done for you?
Probably more than I can say. Which is a cheesy, cop out of an answer but it's true. There are so many things I've learned from this entire process, I don't know where to begin. On any given day, I rarely know what's going to come out here and yet, I always have something. I think I just have a lot of words in me. I don't think I'll ever be totally convinced they actually belong anywhere. And probably more than that, I like reading the words of others. Even if this blog ended, I'd still be wholeheartedly addicted to everyone else's.

Thanks, Bre. You rock.

And now, here's the rest of the deal, if you're so inclined to play along:

  • Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me!"
  • I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick them, and you have to answer them all. (Don't forget to leave me your email.)
  • You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
  • You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  • When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


*Unless it's an ultra marathon, in which case it's more than 26.2 miles.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lighter Notes

Scene: A suburban UPS store.

Me: Dropping off a return box of shoes from Zappos. (Do you not adore them?!)

Girl at counter: Bopping her head along to the radio.

Man across room: Tall, built, dressed in jeans and a black leather jacket. You would not want to meet him in a dark alley.

"Hi," says the girl behind the counter.

"Hi," I say, "I just have this return package."

"Okay! Cool!" She's very peppy. "Hey, do you know who this is on the radio?" she asks me and tall, built, leather man.

I do know who it is. It's George Michael, and the song is Faith.

"It's George Michael," I tell her.

"Oh yeah, I was thinking Michael Bolton!"

"Oh, definitely not," I say.

The hugely tall and now nearly frightening man in leather crosses the room toward me, bends a little closer to talk to me and says "Ma'am, not meaning anything by this, but you were really quick to answer that question."

"I know," I say, "it's my curse. Bad, huh?"

"No," he says, "bad would be if you walked out of here letting this girl think it was Michael Bolton."

I love people.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just Words

I think I've commented on a handful of your blogs that I just don't know what to say. I've commented to myself, a hundred times, as to whether or not I should say anything at all. I suppose I still haven't reached a conclusion. While I'm not one who can ignore feelings, who can pretend like her heart doesn't feel as though it weighs two hundred pounds, I also don't want to be disrespectful. In my mind, I don't want to make this tragedy my tragedy.

But it is. It's ours. It's the news we wake up to in the morning and the tears we sleep with at night. It's the shattering of our realities, of our comfort and safe places. And whether now or down the road, it is a part of the way we see life.

In the Spring of 1999, I was sitting in a college classroom when news of the Columbine High School Tragedy came in. It was a Philosophy course, which seemed more ironic then than it does now. The classroom I was in, immersed in higher learning and the smell of old linoleum, was merely an hour's drive from the high school where twelve students and one teacher were killed that day. We turned on the television in the classroom, and watched the news. When class was over, no one moved. Our professor, doing her best counselor impression, asked us if we wanted to talk about it. Thirty-seven students sat in that classroom with nothing to say.

In the hours and days that would follow, it became clear: safety was relative. And that's not something a college student worries about. We spent days in class and nights in groups, the worries there but so very disconnected, generally, from anything life-altering. From anything evil. Eight years later, I still remember that feeling of a changed reality. And still, I cannot begin to imagine what the Virginia Tech students, faculty, and their families are feeling today.

This morning, while attempting to get myself back into the land of higher learning, I had a meeting at a local college with a department dean. It was, of course, scheduled a week ago but I know better than to think I wasn't there for a reason today. So there on a bench, outside a building in which I received most of my undergraduate education, in the drizzling rain and fog, I said a prayer. A lot of prayers.

Monday, April 16, 2007

High-Profile Survival

Over the weekend, yet another relationship split has been in the news. Prince William and Kate Middleton's break up has been a top story on several news websites. And of course, following any high-profile break up, there's loads upon loads of speculation as to "what went wrong."

London tabloids, often leading the pack in "reporting" celebrity splits, wasted no time jumping on the assumption train. It was pressure from the Queen, one says. Another says it was Prince Charles who urged William to break off the relationship if he could not "commit to marriage." Yet another says the fate of the relationship was neither influenced by family nor the two people actually in the relationship but rather, a royal summit.

None of these, in their ever scandalous tabloid nature of course, are suggesting that maybe they just broke up. Maybe it just didn’t work. And when there’s any suggestion of Kate, at the age of twenty-five, deciding that she didn’t want the lifestyle of a princess, well that’s just squashed immediately. Not that I claim to know anything more than I’m reading in the news (which equals basically nothing) but if that might be the reason, well I can certainly relate to that.

Just before I began this blog, I had made a decision to no longer be in a relationship that, though no crowns were being placed on any heads, certainly felt high-profile at times. I dated a man who was a very kind, intelligent person who also happened to already be married. To his career, that is. He was a physician, a surgeon in fact. Anyone who has ever been married, dated or otherwise in any relationship with a doctor knows this: It is not a job; it’s a lifestyle and a calling. It is first, last and best. I saw this from the beginning and it’s not at all something I ever held against him. In fact, I admired it about him. Up until we met, I had never witnessed anything like it. I never knew someone could dedicate their entire life to a career of helping people like he did.

In the time we dated, which I’ve heard since was a “record breaking” duration for most doctors in their residency, there were numerous instances in which I felt our relationship was under intense scrutiny. Looking back now, I can see it was mostly because, well, he was a catch. In addition to being in his residency, having graduated at the top of his class and giving his spare time to research and international medical outreach programs, he was also very popular. No one had to tell me this, it was one of the reasons I was attracted to him in the first place. He was friendly, and before I had any inkling as to what his work was, I was impressed at how easy to get along with he was. This, of course, translated into all of his life. People liked him and therefore, were very critical of who else did, too.

Any event we attended, any time we’d run into anyone somewhere in town, it was a little like a test. A pop quiz, really. When you go to a baseball game, in your shorts and tank top, the last thing you’re really planning for is to run into five nurses looking you up and down like you have arms growing where your ears should be. I was assured by my boyfriend that this wasn’t an issue but when it happens enough times, it stays on your mind.

There was also the issue of time. While I don’t claim to be the most available person in terms of time, dating this man was sort of like what I’d imagine scheduling the launching of a space shuttle would be.

6:04 – meet for dinner (not 6:00 because, well, the only thing that starts on time is surgery)
6:04:42- wait while cell phone is answered
6:05- order dinner to go, emergency call
6:06- say “bye and see ya later”
10:00- finally eat dinner, reheated
10:00:25- boyfriend passes out because he’s worked eighteen of the last twenty-four hours

The time we were able to spend together was, at best, erratic. This also made life challenging when it came time for those stages in a relationship where you meet each other’s friends and, when you meet the parents. In the end, it resulted in me meeting a few of his friends, which also happened to be fellow residents, (because yes, that part of hospital life really is like Grey’s Anatomy) and him meeting about as many of mine. We never did meet one another’s parents, either (and this had little if anything to do with my hesitation to bring people home). Yes, it was strange.

That wasn’t really what any of it came down to, though. The demanding schedule, the exhaustion, the scrutiny, those things can be overcome, I think. The real contributing factor, the one it took me months to be able to accept, is that it just wasn’t the right relationship. Toward the end, which also happened to be toward the end of his residency, I started talking about taking a trip together. He started talking about getting married and moving across the country. At first, I thought we were just on different pages. I thought if I’d give it time, I’d be ready. For the move, a marriage, a lifetime with this man. But I wasn’t, I never got there.

Eventually, we had to break up. Taking a step back and looking at our relationship, there were loose ends all over the place. There were parts of our lives, personalities, likes and dislikes, and life goals that just didn’t match up; that weren’t going to match up. Love was, as wonderful as it could be, not enough. It too would have faded. So we (yes, shockingly, WE) made the decision to break it off. To this day it remains one of the hardest yet least regrettable things I’ve had to do and I think that’s partially because things looked so right to everyone else; which I’d use to fool myself into thinking it was right for me, too. The question of “why did you break up?” could not have been answered by the standard replies. It just was.

That’s why it’s so odd to me that we’re fascinated by break ups in the media. Heaven forbid people in their twenties (or any age, for that matter) decide that things just aren’t going to work and they need to go their separate ways rather than spend any more time on something that’s not right. Maybe that’s what William and Kate think, too. I don’t know, of course, but let me assure you, it’s likely not nearly as interesting or scandalous a process as the tabloids might have us believe.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Believe: to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing

UPDATE: I meant to add this before now but this "Believe" exercise thing is, apparently, something well known on NPR. I don't know who came up with it or how it came about, but I think it's awesome.

Well first she did it, and I thought "wow, I cannot attempt that." Then, she did it and I thought "dang, this isn't going to be easy." Then, she did it too and I thought "this is just too much."

But, like most things I do, I wasn't one hundred percent sure about it and yet, I did it anyway. After all, I am, if nothing else, a believer.

I believe that it’s okay to like stuff. I believe we are too hard on ourselves for wanting to consume what’s out there. The issue isn’t spending or buying, it’s control.

I believe happiness is a choice. Every thing, every day. Digging through crap will result in finding a pony.

I believe in the little things, like holding a door and saying “good morning.”

I believe life is very, very short but too long a journey to travel alone.

I believe our bodies are a gift, and we should make every effort to learn to love and treat them as such. I believe we are built to break a sweat.

I believe in kindness, and empathy.

I believe in the power of family, babies and puppies.

I believe you can find peace on the sea, at the top of a mountain or on your living room sofa.

I believe we were created, because I believe there are things that science just cannot explain.

I believe there is absolutely no replacement for education.

I believe music should move you, even if it’s just dancing in the car.

I believe you should approach every situation as if those involved have the best intentions. You will sometimes be disappointed.

I believe, when all else fails, you should laugh.

I believe the ocean has the capability to cure.

I believe shoes should not hurt your feet. This is probably also why I have forty-two pairs of flip flops (a.k.a. “thongs” for my Aussie friends).

I believe in Fall football, drinks with friends, and Sunday afternoon walks.

I believe you can make friends anywhere. I believe I have.

I believe a group, whether your soccer team or your entire nation, must believe in itself to succeed.

I believe we have a responsibility to our planet. I believe most of us don’t take this seriously.

I believe in questioning “the way we have always done it.”

I believe some things are worth the calories.

I believe in travel and broadening your horizons.

I believe harmless superstitions are healthy.

I believe in working hard, and playing hard.

I believe, even with all this, I’m really only on the cusp of knowing all I will truly believe in this life.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pursuing It

I have a friend who is picking up his life, quitting his job (with a company he started) and moving across the country. To me, that's massive change. But he says he just wants to be happy. He knows it's a risk, but something stronger than fear of that risk is driving him.

I know some other people, apparently not happy in their lives, who decided to go outside their marriages to find happiness. They claim they've found it, even though there are consequences. Honestly, I don't even think they know the extent of the consequences yet.

I consider myself lucky. I believe happiness, or even the act of looking for it, is largely a choice. I believe even with the bad days and the hard times in life, you can still find a way to be happy. I believe that even with mountains of debt, life-threatening illness or great loss, there is still a chance for happiness. I have seen people do it- it is entirely possible. I'm not sure we're all cut out for that though, half the time I'm not sure I am. But that doesn't stop me from trying.

I suppose that's the basis of the two situations I mentioned. When moving your entire life for a shot at happiness is less frightening than staying where you are, and being unhappy, the choice seems easy. With the second situation, though, I can't agree. Because the other thing I believe about happiness? It cannot come at the expense of others. Once your choices begin to affect the life of someone else and their shot at happiness, it becomes wrong. And selfish.

I'm always amazed, though, the extent to which people will go to find a place where they consider themselves happy. Blinded by the thought of love, or change, or the ever-elusive "newness" of it all, I wonder if they're really conscious of any reality at all? I know our happiness comes in different packages, but are we sometimes fooled by the thought?

How do you find your happiness? How do you know that it's real? How do you know that it's right?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In Like a Lion

How do you know it's Spring in Colorado? It snows. And it's freezing on Easter. It was a wet, heavy snow. More like rain that just decided to be colder, and more spiteful. Like a scorned- dare I say- woman getting her one last gesture in revenge before she was finally chased out by the new love. It was cold and uncomfortable. The sort of cold that, when coming out of the movie theatre late Friday night and having to scrape windows, made me think seriously of moving to the desert. I even dreamed about it that night, hearing over and over in my mind "it's a dry heat."

Nonetheless, it is Springtime. There are certain signs everywhere and though it was cold and likely will be again later this week, I know I'm not the only one who's impatiently waiting for warmer days. And I'd be lying, a little, if I said I didn't at least like this weather to an extent.

Spring weather is very unique in Colorado. And though I hate, hate, hate to be cold, the erratic nature of this transition in seasons fits me. It changes it's mind, seemingly on a whim (though always carefully calculated behind the scenes) and when everyone thinks it's become boring and predictable, it throws something new into the mix. Though, I assure you, if I were weather, I'd never throw in snow. It'd be more like sunshine. And beach chairs. I digress.

I suppose this is why the desert will have to wait. I'm somewhat accustomed to this changing of seasons. It's timing and it's ability to surprise from one day to the next is comforting in a way. It's weather that reminds you to soak up the moments, it reminds you of how to live. It's weather that makes you draw every breath a little deeper, to let those mental pictures of smiles on faces and shadows on the ground sink in a little longer. It's the kind of weather that makes you sit on the porch in the late afternoon, hoping to absorb a little sun in anticipation of upcoming getaways. It's the kind of weather that makes you snuggle up one evening only to run through the grass barefoot and toss a ball around the next day.

Most of all, it has promise. Promise of newness, of warmth and of more. Promise of summer bar-b-ques, outdoor concerts and patio lunches. And really, in my mind, even if I have to endure some window scraping, there's still nothing better than knowing the best, what I love and look forward to most, is yet to be.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Two in a Row, Because I Can

Praying I put down the camera soon

Pretty sure his aunt is a human body with a lens for a face

Thought deeper than most
Or, plotting his escape

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my nephew. I appreciate that you appreciate my need to share. And if you don't, well who asked you?

Content different but certainly not cuter soon to come!

Friday, April 06, 2007

We All Knew It Was Coming

I never knew one small person could be so entertaining, hilarious, sweet, and profoundly life changing all at once.

Love you, IJ.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

On Things You Cannot Make Up

"So what's he like?"

"He's nice. Really kind, a triathlete, owns his own architecture firm, does humanitarian work in third world countries."

"Wow, does he have time to date?"

"I guess so. He has time to ask people out, at least."

"Where did you meet?"

"The office of a non-profit I work with. He was dropping off donations before leaving for the airport."

"Where was he going?"

"To visit his grandmother, and then climb Mt. Rainier."

"Oh my God, if you tell me he likes puppies and kittens, too, I'm going to puke."

"I'm watching his dog while he's gone."

"Quick, get me a bucket."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My Socks Also Match

I wake up in the morning, walk ten feet and run into a door. A door that's not usually closed. I stumble into the bathroom, step into the shower and something squeaks under my foot. There's nothing on the coffee table, the remote to the T.V. is no where to be found and there are smells that scream pureed coming from inside the refrigerator.

My house has been transformed. It's happened before, yes, with the toys and what can only be described as mountains of baby equipment everywhere. But he's mobile this time. He's everywhere, you can't stop him. And so you move everything out of his path. His path of destruction.

It's good for me, I think, mixing up my routine. It's teaching me you can to go bed without everything in it's place. It's teaching me that a shredded magazine is not the worst thing in the world. It's teaching me that whenever you have a child in your house that eats, it is best to also have a dog. She has never been happier, the dog. She's taken right to her post under the high chair like a fish to water. When I try to get her to move, so I can pick up my nephew and shake the crumbs off, the dog looks at me like I'm ripping her from the place she was meant to be. If she could talk, she'd say something like "please, don't make me move. Gazing up at the base of this highchair is the one thing in life I'm actually good at doing!"

It always amazes me how small changes have the power to completely redefine our priorities. I normally manage to leave the house in the morning awake, fed and even accessorized. I turn the music up, make some toaster waffles and head out the door proud that I have remembered to wear earrings and cute shoes. This morning, I left with wet hair, tripped over some sort of rolling, spinning, noise-making contraption and walked into Starbucks looking like I'd forgotten the ever important part of waking up that involves opening one's eyes. And this is not even the morning after a night of babysitting, this is just how good I am at having a change in routine.

The best part, though, is that I think I've realized a little bit of what gets a parent through. Last night, as my sister and nephew were leaving to spend an evening with friends, he reached out for me and said "aaagggguuuiieee." Translation: I don't want to leave my favorite Auntie, give me back to her now or I will scream. Sure, there's no way to prove this but spend two minutes with that baby's head on your shoulder and you'll know there's no way I could be wrong.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Four days ago, I had a Dexamethasone injection under my left patella. Don't I sound official. This was a difficult decision for me. I had a hard time accepting that maybe I needed something else to help me with the pain. Something other than religiously stretching and practicing every physical therapy exercise I've ever learned, without fail. Something other than wishing really hard that I'd just get better, finally. Aside from the difficulty, I know there are associated risks. And I know it doesn't always work.

What I also know? I'm tired of hurting. Tired of doing everything right and still not feeling good. So I gave it a shot (ha, I'm hilarious).

Four days later, it feels okay. The doctor says about six days is the time I'll really be able to tell if it's working. All I feel right now, though, is lazy. Because along with telling me to wait six days to see results, I also can't run for another week. Rest, again.

Initially, I was immensely depressed to hear that news. Resting right now means no training. No long runs. Which means no marathon in May. Cue violins, please. Yes, it's very sad. Giving up training half way before a race is sort of like building half of your dream house and then selling it to a really mean person that you know is going to install shag carpet and have no appreciation for the arched doorways or the hand-painted tile. You give up something you're dedicated to for no other reason than the budget ran out and the loan fell through.

But then I had some time to think. The doctor didn't say stop, he just said take some time off. Slow it down a little. And then the unexpected happened: I felt relief.

It's hard to explain, really hard. But sometimes, when you get into running, even if you're not competitive or even fast, you feel pressure. You feel pressure to train, set goals and put in the miles. Part of this is good, it's good for you. It pushes you, to do better and do more. And it feels good.

It's tiring, though. And I don't always know when to say when. So now that I've been given orders to take it easy, for lack of a better phrase, I kinda like it. I feel like I've been given permission. I love the long runs, I love pushing myself further each week, I love the build up, I love taper. But that doesn't mean I can't take a break. So I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to going out and enjoying a quick run. I'm looking forward to a good 10K followed by a bike ride. And if all goes well, it'll be just what I need.