Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Windshield on the World, Wyoming & Utah Edition (Part 8, probably)

Here we are, two days from the weekend that, in the United States, marks the end of summer. Sure, go ahead and wait until September 21st if you'd like, we'll all sit by while you pretend it's not the end. And we'll secretly laugh at you because everyone knows you're just living in a fantasy. Truth be told, I'll live in that fantasy with you a little bit anyway. We've still got those Indian Summer days ahead of us out West here, and if you think I'm packing up the flip flops before the first snow, well you don't really know me at all.

It has been quite the trip, this summer. Months filled with babies getting older, pirates, unforgettable moments of turquoise water and perfect days, friends and fireworks, live music, oh so much music, refusing to let Summer go by too fast, early mornings, calling it quits, sisterly bonding, and realizing that life, no matter my inability to predict, has some really great things in store. And if all that isn't a reason to take one more week and live it up for all it's worth, it ought to be.

Tomorrow I'll be hitting the road one more time for the year. I'm headed through corn country, then up the corn belt (I have totally made up these names and really have no idea what is or is not identified as corn country or the corn belt). All this for, you guessed it, friends. I'm meeting one, and going to do the race in the hometown of another. Hey, we do what we gotta do.

Upon returning, I'll spend a total of twenty-four hours at home before heading out again, but this time, there will be no race. Remember this little scenario from a few weeks back? Well, a decision was eventually reached. After careful examination of personal schedules, work schedules, flight schedules (and availability) and, well, a little bit of pure fantasy, we decided we'd head to the beach. I know how shocked you are right now, that I would make that decision. I promise, I did not coerce my friend. I can't help it if I'm really super excellent at travel research.

I will admit, it was not our first choice. We considered New York City (more hustle than we wanted, and I mean that in a good way), New Orleans (flights just did not work- this was a huge disappointment), and the West Coast (but then realized there were some flight restrictions and it made no sense to start in the middle of the country, head East and then turn around and head West). So, when it came down to it, South of the border became the obvious choice.

I'm about to cover more miles than I can count, set foot in approximately seven cities, three airports, several corn fields (how could I not) and several more cantinas. I plan to update in between to the two so as not to confuse corn and tequila but in the meantime, I'll leave you with some windshield commentary from my last trip.

Happy Labor Day weekend, my fellow Americans. And happy end of Summer/whatever season you may be leaving behind right now to all.

Utah, via Northern Colorado and Wyoming:

After getting through the madness that is North Denver these days, you're reminded Northern Colorado still has some wide open spaces. And thank God for that.

But as soon as you cross into Wyoming, you're also reminded that fireworks aren't legal in Colorado.
Lucky for us, Pyro City is just a drive away.

Once you're all stocked up on the sparklers, you can head out into the wild blue yonder that is Southern Wyoming. Wind farms, a repaving project and, oh yes, a little red Corvette (look closely, waaaay up ahead) kept me company for hundreds of miles.

Sooner than you think, however, you'll be near Utah and entering the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. Or at least the sign says so.

Then, if you're really lucky, you'll participate in a 178 mile relay with eleven of your closest and sweatiest friends. And it will be beautiful!
And if you're really, really lucky, the van your team uses is a rental so when you back it into a tree in the middle of the night because you're driving barefoot and parallel parking, it will not matter.

All too soon, though, you'll be headed home.
As you drive those hundreds of miles back, you'll stare out into the wild blue yonder that is southern Wyoming and know that every mile, both driven and run, was totally worth it. Because they always are.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Welcome mat

Alright, fine. It has come to this. It has come to another end to another day where I can't seem to find enough time. I am overwhelmed. It's these times I feel like I'm not being a good enough... anything (insert the following terms: friend, employee, daughter, sister, runner, dog owner, etc.).

I walked around all day feeling as though I was in a bubble. Several times I had to stop myself to check and see if I was dizzy. Was the room spinning? Was I spinning? My mind feels clogged. Nothing seems to settle it. I hate that feeling.

I think it's fear. It's got to be. It's fear making a short visit and I've got to figure out how to entertain it without letting it take over my life. I recently turned down a promotion, you see. Sure, promotions are good and include many good things like more responsibility, better titles and, of course, more money. But after a week of thinking it over, I just couldn't get my head around the idea that I wanted it. Because I didn't.

And when people asked why, all I could say is "it just isn't right." People do not understand this. They get that 'does not compute' look on their faces and stare at me as though I've lost my mind. It's the only answer I have, though. My heart is just not in it. At some point, you come to realizations about what you want for your life. And despite having to pay for school and my ever-persistent beach habit, money is not everything. My heart, however, is. It took me the full week in limbo to become comfortable with saying that.

This decision is helped by school. I'm not going to school to move up in my current line of work. Yes, I could use this education to do so but that's not my goal. Many people don't know this. They haven't asked, but I don't advertise, either. It's difficult to express to them that although I may be doing very good work and being a good employee (who gets offered promotions, hello!) that I want more. I am not going to be that person that tells someone that while they may be very happy with their job, well it's just not good enough for me. So I keep my mouth shut.

All the while, as I maintain my silence and hope and pray that I am making the right decisions, I feel very alone. Yes, I have friends and family that know about my goals and support me but no one is in my head, or my heart. No one really knows this feeling, this need. I know that it is impossible for anyone to completely understand, but it feels very lonely. Lonely is the welcome mat for fear, and fear is coming in. In fact, it's having its own personal wrestling match with sanity. My sanity.

No, of course I am not going to lose my mind over this. Of course I know it's the right thing to do and even if things work out much different than I plan (damn good odds there, right?) I still need to follow this road. I would much rather try than go along with something where I'm okay but not fulfilled. I can sleep at night knowing I at least tried. I can do that. It's just some days, well, it's really hard to feel like you're living on nothing but a dream.

Bred for the winner's circle

"You should have heard it, it was hilarious!"

"So they were shouting the horse's name?"

"Yes, over and over again!"

"And the horse was called 'Hoof Hearted?' "



"Yeah, it was ridiculous. Hoof Hearted! Hoof Hearted! Hoof Hearted! Over and over. In their big hats and Mint Juleps in hand!"

"I can't believe you were there for that."

"I couldn't believe that name."

"Yeah, that's what happens when rednecks get money."

"Funny, I was just thinking that's what would happen if anyone in our family got money."

"Same thing."


Disclaimer- I believe many good things happen when rednecks get money. I think it's a nice coincidence that most of them turn out to be entertaining.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last Sunday

There were two half-brown bananas sitting on my counter and I didn't feel like working. I'd just spent the day running, running errands and running after a kid, what I needed to do is clean up after it all. But I was too distracted for that. Something in my head didn't register that 3:00 on a Sunday afternoon was really close to the end of the weekend. In my mind, I had time to spare. And everyone knows the best thing to do when you have no time for anything is to bake.
So the two half-brown bananas and the one and only recipe I remember from childhood, and have remembered through out my life, became bread.

It's not impressive, really. It's probably the same recipe you, your family, the neighbor and her family all have used their entire lives, too. Or some slight variation thereof.

You start with the bananas, of course.

There are also eggs, just the beginning of the arguably cardiac-damaging ingredients. But if you're me, you have a coworker that raises chickens. Chickens who live free and sing elegant melodies while they lay eggs. Or something like that. And you use these lightly speckled, sing-songy eggs for your bread.

What I love about this recipe, other than the fact that it's in my head, is that even though it's baking, it truly is mostly just baking. Combining all the ingredients takes about 10 minutes, the batter stands for about 20 minutes and then, into the pan and into the oven, to be forgotten about for a good 50- 60 minutes. (Note: I am so glad they invented oven timers in this time in history. I would have made an awful 1800's baker.)
I love something I can dump into a loaf pan and fifty minutes later, call it bread. But on Sunday, I couldn't find my loaf pan. Really. Who loses a loaf pan? Well, me, for about five minutes. And in that five minutes, it occurred to me: bundt! I don't know if I love using it or typing it or saying it more. But bundt, of course!

So after the mixing and the pouring and the scraping and listening to the complaining because there was "barely any batter left in the bowl," into the oven it went. (And seriously, I have never gotten into the batter-licking thing, so please explain this to me. Maybe it is just the carbohydrate lover in me, but why lick raw batter when you could, theoretically, have more bread in the end?)

Ironically, it turned out there was extra batter. As a side effect of my ability to get this together in ten minutes, apparently, batter flies.

You should have seen her trying to lick it off, once she realized it was there. If getting entertainment out of those that depend on you for life and happiness isn't your idea of the best fun, well you'd better be the one in charge of keeping me from having children.
Forty minutes* at 325 would pass, though. The bathroom and the dog would be cleaned. The oven timer would sound. And the bundt would be turned over, revealing banana bread, sans nuts. Some are allergic, you know.

My intention was to bring this to work, because it is always my intention. I need bread made with eggs, sugar and shortening lying around the house like I need the proverbial hole in the head. So I sliced it and packed it up for the office.
Most of it. Because why else did I run ten miles that morning.


*Time adjusted for the change in pans.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Don't ever let anyone tell you there aren't at least a few go-to cure-alls in this world for a long week.

But I'll back up a little. I'm still getting used to balancing a new pass time in my life, you see. It's school, of course. And learning to make room for learning is an interesting transition. I anticipated this, or as much as I could anyway, but what I didn't know was how much I'd enjoy it. Through all the years I wanted to go back to school, I waited for it to feel right. I resisted the idea of going back for something I "should" do and waited until I figured out what I wanted to do. And now that I'm doing it, I'm into it and it's great.

The tough part, when you're making room for the books and the reading and the homework is that nothing else goes away. The dog still needs to be walked, the floor still needs to be cleaned and that project at work, you know, the one that pays? Well, there's a deadline. Oh, and have I mentioned the half marathon I'm registered for next weekend? No? I haven't? Well there's that, too. Which means making time for running. And if you were running as slowly as am right now, you'd know just how much time that's taking.

All of this sort of came together last week. I was all the sudden pulling the balancing act again and though you know me too well to know this was not a unique situation, I still managed to claim that it sneaked up on me. Sometimes I think that's why we're all here, for me to play mind games with myself and you to put me in check with a comment that says hello, liar, YOU DO THIS ALL THE TIME.

Speaking of comments, thanks for all of yours on the 'butterflies and fireworks' post. Though I did receive one choice email from Patty, a nineteen-year-old college student from Atlanta, I really appreciated all the insights. You people are really remarkable. (But FYI: Do not ever, ever tell a nineteen-year-old Southern girl there is no such thing as an effortless relationship. She will disagree. And she has seven (seven!) paragraphs to tell you why.) The more I think about it, the more the idea of soul mates and timing really go hand in hand, don't you think? Several of you commented that you believed people came into our lives, all people, at certain times for certain reasons. I couldn't agree more. I have friends I've met, it seems, at just the right time in my life and for all the right reasons. These people, I have no doubt, are some kind of "soul" person, if you will.

So do you see all this thinking going on? This is the sort of thing adding to the full plate. And yeah, OF COURSE I know we all have this. I'm just saying, it got a little rough last week. By Friday, I was ready for a cold one all the while knowing I had zero energy to stay awake long enough to drink it. I thought this was going to be my cure-all.

But lo, it was not meant to be. Instead, I got a last minute invite from a friend with a spare ticket to a concert. So I cancelled everything I'd planned for the evening (read: decided cleaning the toilet could wait another day) and met up with my friend. For a few minutes I was thinking, gee, does this make me a loser? The fact that I have nothing happening on a Friday night and can just say 'yes' to plans at the drop of a hat? I'm now Extra Ticket Girl. Nice. But then the music started and I knew that was definitely not a loser, I was lucky.

And there you have a cure-all. Live music, any live music (well, almost), just makes all my worries and stress go away for a little while. I take a deep breath, look around and for a while, everything is a little lighter.

We may also have done the Footloose dance in the aisle. So I guess that makes two cure-alls.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not because I don't like butterflies and fireworks

So I was over at Dawn's reading her most recent post about "soul mates." Or, more accurately, belief in them (or not). I started typing and after I'd spit out a good four paragraphs, I decided it was worth it's own post. Also, Dawn doesn't need my dissertation on her blog. Well, at least not ANOTHER one. (I have no good reason for all those others, Dawn. Oops?)

Dawn said she's "never been a big 'soul mate' person" but wondered what others think. I, of course, had an opinion.

This may come as a surprise but I'm not a huge soul mate person, either. Additionally, I think choosing to initiate a committed relationship is more due to effort on the man's part than the woman's*. Okay, that might not have come out right but go with it for a minute. I think, because we are very different in the ways of commitment, that it really is about timing, especially for men.

You know that guy, the one who'd date everyone? He was nice but he'd never commit. He'd have the perfect girl and somehow, some where down the line, he'd find a reason to break up with her. Then, after all that, he'd begin dating a girl and be married within six months? I think it's largely because HE was ready. My friends and I used to call this the "next girl wins" phenomenon. It wasn't necessarily because she was his "soul mate," it was because a) he was ready and b) they were compatible. That's it.

Now, even typing this, I am a little weary. It all seems very mechanical and not at all romantic. But I think that's why it's so much more attributed to men (in general). It's about logic, not butterflies and fireworks. I know the dudes like the butterflies and fireworks, but I think they see that as more of a given, or a "bonus" if you will. They'd rather know they're ready and that they're with someone who they can stand.

So part of me thinks this is encouraging, because what it all comes down to, for me anyway, is that I want to be with someone who wants to be with me. Someone who's ready and is aware they're at that point in their life. Call me crazy, but I like the idea that two people can decide to be together and then decide to put in the work it takes to make (and maintain) a good relationship.

Now, as Dawn asked, what do you think? Agree? Disagree?
*This is assuming, of course, you're addressing a male-female relationship, which we both were.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This wouldn't be so sappy if she weren't laying on my feet right now

The day I brought Lola home, she weighed 5.2 pounds. As I've written here about her before, she was a "rescue" which is code for Everything That Can Possibly Be Wrong With a Dog You, You Lucky, Lucky Sucker, Will Find It In This Dog. Yes, that is a title. And it was hers. She was 5.2 pounds of mange-infested adorableness with a extra large side of gastro-intestinal issues.
But when she licked my hand and raised her little non-existent eyebrows that wrinkled her bald, crumpled forehead, I knew she was mine. She was the little, squirmy piglet I'd always begged my mother to have, come fifteen years late.
Lola has come a long way, though. Through those beginning weeks of mange dips (13 weeks (it normally takes 6-8)) and dog food experimentation, which still sometimes proves to be a challenge, she is now nearly the perfect dog. Yes, there have been days I've gotten out of bed, walked down the hall, in the dark half asleep, and stepped in vomit, but by and large, she makes no trouble.
In fact, she has this tricky, almost evil way of looking at me when I've stepped in said vomit pile that makes me feel like it was something I did to make the mess. Like, woman, it was you who coaxed it out of me. And then all at once I feel incredibly guilty about everything I've done in the last month that hasn't been something that caters directly to her needs and desires. I am the guilty one.
And boy, does she do this ALL THE TIME. The worst part, it usually works. I don't really have the "ideal" dog-owning life, you see. I am up early, gone through the day and working on other things at night (like having a life or, you know, watching people sing karaoke on television). I travel quite a bit and run a lot and this just doesn't all fit perfectly with owning a dog who, if she could speak, would take every chance to remind me she was royalty in her previous life. So that walk in the evening, those visits to Grandma's and the hallway fetch we play every morning just don't ever seem to be enough, for me. For her, well, I think she's fine. All she ever seems to really care about is that I fill the bowls and that she gets to plant her butt next to me on the couch, no matter who else may be there.
I think of all this now, though, because it has been five years since I scooped up that 5.2 pounds of mess and never looked back. Five years of walks and wintertime foot warming and food experimentation and barking at things that NO ONE ELSE CAN SEE (her, not me- mostly). When I realized this today, and being the perpetual realist I am, I began thinking about her age, and how long dogs like her live. Average: ten years. I know, I'm depressing, but barring anything out of the natural order, I couldn't help but realize we are likely halfway through this thing.
I immediately understand now how a pet can mark your life. She lived with me in my first apartment, when I ate Ramen and her "specialty" food cost six dollars a pound. She's driven with me across the state and the country. She's seen my friends (some closer than others) come and go. She's been there when I've been too sick to get out of bed to feed her and when I've been so happy I pick her up and spin her around like the doll of a seven-year-old. She's the only one I make up songs for and the only one with whom I speak Spanish on a regular basis. She's seen me with my heart broken, at the end of the day after my very first "real world" job, and sat with me through a snow storm power outage.
And true, I know she is a dog. She is my buddy and my pal and awful cute but still, a dog. I do not love her like I love many people. But I do love her. How can I not? She is a part of who I am and reminds me of things about myself I'd otherwise forget. And like any good ally, she is too important to ever toss aside. She knows far too much.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Boring, but someone asked

Okay, relate to me. I know you can. Sometimes, I sit down all ready to write and my fingers start moving and yet, I have nothing but crap to talk about and crap is never good. At least not over and over again. You do this, right? I know you do, you must. It's like the chi isn't flowing right, or something. My chi knowledge is limited but I'm pretty sure that's the problem.

It seems to be that time lately. The end of Summer, Fall on the horizon. Some things winding down, others just beginning. Could it be that I'm feeling all transition-y again? Oh no, certainly not me. I never get that way.

Lately I think we're all there a little bit, though. Today, after my three mile run I met my sister and watched my nephew while she did her run. When she returned, we almost simultaneously said "why did we do that?" It's just one of those times when you're either overwhelmed, exhausted or a combination of both and the thought of putting more effort into something than you need to just makes no sense.

Which leads me to this: Email question time. Yay!

(Over the course of days/weeks/months, I had a few emails. I'm sorry, I know, I suck at returning them promptly. Again, sorry. No good excuse, no excuses at all. Anyway.)

Here are a few things I've been asked, in no particular order:

1. Do you really think the kind of shoes someone has for running are that important?

Yes, I do. Yes. Yes. Yes. And absolutely yes. Without going into great detail and/or "preachy speech" I must say yyyyyyeeeeeeessssss! Running in the right shoes (or even extensive walking, for that matter) will be the thing that makes the biggest difference in your running. It can mean the difference between yards and mileage, between injury and health, between comfort and misery. They are important for every part of your body, not just your feet. Your back, your knees, every joint will thank you for having the right shoe on your foot. Go to a running store, have your gait evaluated (by someone over the age of twelve) and try on every shoe until you feel like it's right. Yes, this takes time but it is just as, if not more, important than any part of your training. Promise.

2. What do you do with your dog when you travel?

She stays home alone, but after this last trip we're going to have to quit that. She totally had a huge party and the cops were called and my fancy import rugs were ruined. She's lost her freedom.

Quite honestly, she stays with my mother, who loves her like a grandchild. She comes home all hyped up and thinking she has a chair at the dinner table. It takes weeks to retrain.

3. What are you going to school for?

To remind myself not to end sentences in prepositions.

Ha, kidding. Well, sort of. I am not going for my M.B.A. This whole school thing is still a little new for me though so give me some more time to decide how and when I want to talk about it and then I will. Promise.

4. Why don't you move your site? It could be so much better.

Though I don't think it sucks now, I understand this question. Soon come, my friend.

5. You are always going somewhere. When are you traveling again?

I hit the road again- and hopefully for the last time this year- in eleven days. No, it won't be the last I travel for the year. Of course not. Just hopefully the last time I do it on wheels for a while.

6. Do you weight train?

Yes, two to three times a week. Not because I love to have bulging muscles or to get ripped, but because of how it makes me feel. I like the feeling of a stronger body when I run. It's hard to describe, but I have felt like a running blob of floppiness before and this year, with serious dedication to weights, I have felt great. It sort of keeps all things in their place, if you know what I mean. Clothes fit better, even if you haven't lost an ounce in weight. Make sense?

7. Are you going to move? Where would you go if you could go anywhere?

Probably not within the next year. I have some commitments and some things I'd like to see through here first. And, I have a sweet, adorable, 16 month-old nephew and awesome sister who are here for the next 6-9 months and I wouldn't trade these times for the world.

If I were given a choice, and really put a lot of thought into moving (and the timing, work and finances, etc. were right) I'd ideally split my time, between here and other places that feel like home. Sort of like retirees do, but without A.A.R.P.

8. Do you really not know when someone is flirting?

No, I would have to say I really don't. I'd say I really have a better idea of how to notice this after the comments from that post and I certainly feel less alone in my flirt-detecting oblivion than I did before. Why? Do you have a flirt detector I should know about?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The part about the run isn't really the point

Yesterday morning I got up at about 5:00 a.m. (yes, on a Saturday) to get my run in. I wanted to do twelve miles and avoid the heat. I'd also had a thrilling Friday evening of watching Music and Lyrics (we thought it was just "eh") and going to bed early so I figured I was setting myself up for a great morning run. Aren't I mature.

Well, almost because for some very non-mature reason, my idea of carb loading on Friday night was cereal and popcorn. I know. So for miles 1-3, I felt great. It was easy. Just about that time when I started feeling that great I-could-run-forever euphoric feeling that never comes around often enough, my poor choices from the night before came back to haunt me. We'll just say it felt like someone was putting a citrus peeler under my ribs and stirring. And trust me, I could get much more graphic than that, but even the memory alone is far too painful.

And you'd think I would have stopped, but no because despite my upper abdominal muscles being in some sort of seizure, I was determined. Well that determination took me another five miles before I gave up and walked the remaining mile home. Nine miles felt like nineteen. I sat down on the couch and stared at the wall, asking myself why I'd ever gotten up to begin with.

But I'm not really telling the entire story, here. There was actually another reason I got up early yesterday. I wanted to get that run out of the way because I had somewhere to be.

Some friends of mine have a small ranch property in Eastern Colorado- you know, horses, cows, pastures- and I'd been invited out to ride. Yes, horses. I am not going to lie, I was Christmas morning excited about this all week.

I've been around horses on and off my entire life. I can't remember my first ride and I've never owned my own horse, but I've always had friends with horses and I've always known enough to get by. So when I pulled up yesterday after having driven down miles and miles of dirt road and my friend said "are ya ready?" I was. At this point, I still had no idea we were actually going to be doing anything with a purpose. Sometime during the whole "saddling up" process, my friend says we're going to move some cows. Wait, what?

I'll save the whole story of how I had an internal freak out and managed to stay calm and just tell you, this is some of the most fun I've ever had. And the most tired I've ever been. Some friends from up the road (or "over yonder" as I started calling it- I know, I'm hilarious) joined us and we herded and moved the cattle from one pasture to an adjacent pasture in less than an hour. I probably just used five words incorrectly and sounded like some ridiculous city girl, but that's fine.

It was hot, dirty, tiring, and so much fun. And when we were finished, and did some "fun" riding, we came back to the house, had a couple beers, watched an incredible rain storm blow across the prairie, followed by rainbows and a beautiful sunset.

I was told I am allowed to come back and help again. And I will, next time I'm over yonder.
I think I'm ready for my spurs now.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This would all be much easier if he would just say "here is a picture of my boat"

I am notorious for being the girl that has no idea she's being hit on. I meet someone, talk with them, laugh with them, laugh at stupid jokes (because they're funny, duh), graciously accept compliments and all the while have no idea that someone might actually be flirting with me. Unless it's those sixty year old men, they're pretty obvious. And no, not in a good way.

Now, don't get me wrong, I can do my share of flirting. I am very aware of this. I have tried and true flirting practices that even when minimally successful, get the job done. Or at least in my mind, they do. It's sort of like a hobby, even when it's bad, it's good. Or a bad habit, but we'll not go there.

But then there's me, not as the flirter but the flirtee. I used to be almost afraid of flirting, or being flirted with, rather. I didn't know what to say or where to look and, my gosh, when did my hands start getting in the way all the time so I'd just sort of play along and hope for the best. Then sixth grade graduation came (ha! Exaggerating. A little.) and something magically happened to me (hormones?) and I was no longer afraid of it. Rather, I became oblivious to it.

Now we all know I don't go around the Internet talkin' up the dates and what not, that's just not me. First, some things are just mine and second, well the "line at my door" my grandma always used to talk about just, ummm, how do you say... isn't. Nonetheless, we carry on. Or at least I think I do. And I go to coffee shops and happy hours and running events and travel and hang out with my friends and always end up hearing phrases like "what's wrong with you? That guy was totally flirting with you!" And I'm all "Wha? Huh?" And my friends are all "Uhh, yeah." And then they smack me and then we all laugh at me. Because it's funny, except when it's later and I think about it. I question myself and think oh no, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

I usually come to the conclusion that nothing is really wrong, as I don't really believe in "fixing" these kinds of things. Addictions? Yes. Bad habits? Yes. I'm all for self-improvement. But personality? Eh, I don't know. I mean, yes, I could be more aware. But I usually feel I'm aware every day. A few days ago I noticed the woman at the toll booth got her hair cut and I don't even use that toll booth. I notice things. Just not this.

So guess I could ask what you would do? How do you know someone's hitting on you? How do you "hit back?"

I'm expecting some earth-shattering answers here, really. Because as of now I'm just going with the assumption that some people just haven't been good flirters with me. Yeah, I'll let you know how that approach works out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I work with a lot of smart people. I also happen to know a lot of smart people. This is not bragging about all the smart around me but more so to convey that I, often self-proclaimed "decently smart" (yes, I know that isn't helping me here) am not often The Smart One in the room. I can be one of the smart ones, and sure we all have our little pieces of intelligence we know better than anyone but overall, not so much.

This also goes for my geek qualities. You see, I will openly and often admit to my dorkdom. This is usually done by knowing something ridiculous like what song John Denver sang to close his show at Red Rocks in 1975 or by dancing in the car. Sometimes, I'll get a little to excited about my dorkdom and call it "being a nerd." This, however, is not good because a dork is not a nerd. A nerd is more like a geek, and I am not. I think geek implies some form of extra special intelligence and as we all now know, I merely have my moments rather than full-on genius.

It's okay, I'm happy with this. Really, I am. (No, Mom, seriously I AM.) For one, it allows me to have a respectable social life and two, I do not live in a basement nor do I forget to shower. Well, mostly. And we also all know that is the line crossing from Nice Intelligent Geek to the holy-crap(s)he-is-forty-two-and-has-(s)he-ever-even-been-on-a-date Geek.

I share all of this for a couple of reasons. First, here's a little secret: I have geekly aspirations. Honestly, I do. The little bits of geeky stuff I learn every day just make me want to learn more. So, I have done that a little. And while I won't bore you with what I've learned at work let me just tell you that yesterday I officially learned how to repair something with code by "going through the back door." And while you either a) don't see the big deal or b) are thinking of all the crazy google hits that are going to end up here now, let me tell you, it was kind of fun. Because this makes me more computer geeky, which is a good thing.

I know I talk about career aspirations and how the work I do now is not the work I want to do forever but I'm all for learning. I'm all for moving up on my own version of the geekery ladder. And let me just say, it's pretty cool. There are all kinds of geekery ladders I'd like to climb in my lifetime, but if the difference between moving forward and not is either using what you already have or sitting and waiting, I'm glad to be using it. Pretty geeky, eh?

So thanks for getting through that. It feels good to maybe not be a geek but at least talk about my geek wishes and hopefully, someday very soon, share the fruits of my geekage with you, right here. Or some place like it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Sometimes I get really afraid that I won't be able to run any more. I wake up and something hurts, or my knee is swollen or I freak out because things just don't feel the way they used to and I'm convinced it is being taken away from me.

Truth be told, I think some of it has been taken. I shudder to think I've done permanent "damage" to my body. I can't bend my knees a certain way or put certain pressures on them any more. But maybe that is normal? We just have to be more careful. Maybe that happens as we age, things just work differently, take longer to heal and sometimes, it hurts.

It never lasts too long, I guess. But it makes me wonder if I'm doing the right thing. I mean, if I'm going to age anyway, and my body is going to change anyway, I might as well be doing something good for me. Something I enjoy. Something that keeps my heart strong and my mind quiet. What's the alternative? Sit? Do nothing? Lose more health? Age anyway.

I have no answers, I have no idea. I feel like I'm doing what I can, seeing doctors when I need to, taking preventive measures, praying. That should be enough. Consciously keeping myself healthy should be enough. And still I'm scared of it being taken away.

That's a little silly, I know. If I'm allowing myself to be afraid of running being taken away then who's to say I shouldn't be afraid of everything being taken away? Things far worse than my healthy joints could be gone tomorrow, and I don't want to live there. That's a place where we're constantly saying what if and when and why, which leads nowhere.

I'd rather run as though it is the right choice, as though it has only benefits and as though it is there to be seized. Sort of like the day itself.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Every Day is a Glory Day

I close my eyes. I can hear the splash of the water, the laughter of the children. I take a deep breath, the scent of chlorine and barbecue fills the air. The sun beats down, it feels more like July than August. The Dog Days, these must be them.

Work was heavy last week. Every day worked seemed to be followed by an especially demanding evening. The curse of doing too much. The consequence of having it too good. I look around, it's all here. Now. An afternoon in time. A beach ball lands at my feet and instinctively I kick it back into the water.

The sky above is a remarkable blue, and I remember that no matter where I lay my head there's just no sky like the one here, at home. It's deep and wide, it's clouds are bright white. It this sky I stared up at, on my back, from the grass of my childhood front yard, making shapes out of nothing. My feet are hot on the pool deck and it brings me back to the moment.

I can't quite put my finger on what it is here lately. I can't quite understand why it's suddenly so easy to take stock. To look out into the blue or into the faces of people I care about, and realize how lucky I am. Maybe it's just summertime, maybe it's the hard work, maybe it's age. I can feel it, though. It's tangible. Although I'm not ever likely to stop trying to do more and work harder, I'm glad I can see where I'm at. It's a quiet reassurance to know that even if it were to all stop tomorrow, I'd still have known it today.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

When He Looks At Her

“When I look at Judy, I see her at twenty-seven. And I see her at thirty-five. And fifty. And ninety.”

They’re not yet ninety, but when you’re around them, it seems that’s how many years they’ve known one another. It takes about ten seconds to see what they really are. Real. There are only two possible conclusions you make when you see what they have, either you want it or you have it.

She shakes her head when he makes a sandwich on the bare counter, not mindful of the crumbs. She spends an hour telling me about their first trip to Mexico, and how they never left the room “but not in the romantic sense.” The water was bad. Then he chimes in “well, there was that first night.” And our faces turn red, and she rolls her eyes. Then he mentions the way she tucked him into bed those nights, as if to apologize for making her blush.

He tells me about the time she first met his friends, and how they suggested she may not be his “type.” And how he knew that she was no one’s type, which is why he had to have her. “If I didn’t do something to get her to marry me, my entire life would have been a failure.” He was already successful, had made more money than he’d ever dreamed. Without her, it wouldn’t have mattered. The classic story.

She speaks of him in a way that makes you tilt your head and crease your brow. It makes sense and yet, you feel like there’s a mystery about it. It’s from her heart, the bottom of her soul. “I’m not a romantic,” she says, “but he does the laundry. He’s always done the laundry. I just love that.” There’s some magic they’ve found, some intricate simplicity.

And I think he does see her at twenty-seven, and thirty-five and fifty and ninety. I think they know that’s what it’s about, that life is fluid and when you choose someone like they have done, you choose to be along for the ride.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I look forward to actually being awake in every class

In a few weeks, I'll be starting school again. I have books, I paid tuition (then threw up- seriously, when did it get so high?) and I even have a cute little student ID entitling me to absolutely nothing other than a discount movie admission, which I will no longer have time to see.

Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for being student again. I am surprisingly more thrilled about this go 'round than I was the first time. I loved college, the time, the friends, and even some of the learning, but it was always a means to an end for me. I'll never forget the way I felt the Spring of my junior year when I sat in the counselor's office, going over my credits and learning that I really was just a year and a half from graduation. That was the light at the end of the tunnel for me, I was finally going to be finished and ready for "real" life. How innocently that plan formulated in my head.

Now, obviously, it's different. Now it's not only the means-to-an-end concept that motivates me, it's what excites me. It's taken me a good five years to "figure out" what I think I should be doing to further my education and to come to the conclusion that I do not want to be in a finance class, ever again. In my entire life. No thank you. Clear enough? Seems simple now, but I thought an M.B.A. was always going to be my next step. I thought that was the logical thing to do for my career, a career that I am good at but am not passionate about- at least not the kind of passion I want to usher me into the next stages of my life. I finally reasoned that when you're guaranteed almost nothing in the future, it's a good idea to do something you're excited about in the meantime.

So that's what I'm setting out to do. I'm a little nervous, I'll be in a classroom again. I actually asked my mother the other day, half joking and half serious, "what if no one talks to me?" Which is just silly. I mean, when has that ever been a concern? We all know that I will just talk to them anyway. And that they will immediately decide that I am super cool and they want to be my friend forever and ever. Or maybe that's just what my mother said.

With this coming up, along with everything else happening at the natural full-speed-ahead style of August, I've lost a little sleep. That's acceptable, though. Who needs sleep when you have text books and parking passes and are already in a place where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it, and it feels good. As long as I don't start having any of those dreams where I'm in my underwear and can't remember the combination to my locker.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Of course it would happen on a day that I have so much to share

I have to go do some big, supposedly important work task thing. Apparently, there's this job here they pay me to do and I need to go do it.
So, I'll save all my secrets until tomorrow and in the meantime, I'll leave you with some photos that are sure to entertain. Well, entertain me anyway.

Me too.


Anyone got a guess?

No words

Thanks for putting up with the shameless kid promotion. I just can't seem to stop pointing out how adorable he is.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Shockingly, Not About Flip Flops

"You've got too many shoes. And look, half of them are flip flops. How many pairs of flip flops can you wear at once?"

"I'm not answering that."

"I bet you could wear one pair each day all summer and not repeat once."

"I bet not."

"I'm not sure I've seen you without them, actually. Do you sleep in flip flops?"

"No... but I'm not sure I sleep. I don't think I've slept all summer."

And just about all of me feels that.

I think it's important, with all this happiness talk lately, that I remind myself (if not, everyone else) how incredibly exhausted I am if I let myself stop long enough to think about it. Even when I try to sleep, I can't. There's so much to do, so much to worry about.

I know better than to think it's anything but a phase. A phase I've no doubt been in before. I think, apparently blinded by being happy and grateful, I've filled the plate a little too full. Maybe setting end of summer goals or already planning for next year has not served me well. Just because it seems like preparing doesn't mean you're prepared now. At least not prepared to deal with it.

A huge contributor to this feeling, I think, is having my nephew around. Not to say I'm with him constantly and not to say that his mother isn't infinitely better at washing the dishes, talking on the phone, and pulling his hands out of the electrical outlets all at once, because she is, but I feel like after a lifetime of no one ever having really tried, this kid is kicking my ass. (And mom, when you read that I typed "ass" on my blog, just remember it took you a year and a half to start reading this and if ass is the worse thing you see from here on out consider yourself lucky. Might I suggest you never go into the archives.) Since my sister and her child, The One Whom Shall Never Need Caffeine, arrived, I've been able to see them every day. Yes, this is odd in itself because there are other things I should be doing every day that I can't manage but when it comes to rolling around in the grass or throwing a metal bowl against the wall because it makes that hilarious noise EVERY TIME, well I have no problem finding time for that.

Sometimes my "auntily duties" consist of nothing more than turning on the radio (kid loves to dance and sing) while other times, they're decidedly more challenging like pushing fifty pounds of kid and jogger stroller up a hill. Or wiping his face, an act in which my jaw is usually on the floor because his head can turn 360 degrees without moving his body. The entire time, no matter what we're doing, I'm having a great time. Thrilled with the concept of being part of his life and him mine, all the while basking in the glow of the idea that I get to give him back.

Which I do. Usually.

Then I leave, drive home or wherever, and generally hit a wall. Suddenly, I feel like I've run a marathon and instead of being allowed to recover, rehydrate and celebrate, I have to go back to normal life. I have to walk the dog and fold laundry when all I really want to do is collapse. And drink. Each time, the same thought comes to mind: How do parents do it?

I honestly do not know. Perhaps you adapt? I've heard some mothers say "the energy just comes to you." I cannot imagine, and I have quite the imagination.

The best conclusion I've got, the nearest I can tell, is that you are motivated. Something, be it the cuteness or the automatic sense of parental responsibility, or nap time, must keep you going.
I might be biased, but I think that cuteness factor would be huge for me.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I Have No Idea What's Next, I Just Know I Can't Wait

I was reading Bre's post about, well, life last night and I got to thinking about it. I left a comment that if I had some kind of "solution" that would give us any clue as to what we were supposed to do to know the direction of our lives, I would have bottled and sold it by now. When I think about it, though, I guess that does take all the fun out of a lot of life. The knowing and the ever-mysterious questioning is part of the journey, right?

I mean, don't get me wrong. If I could bottle and sell something that no one else ever had bottled and sold before I would totally do it because that would probably mean I'd earn some cash which would then lead to me being able to finally buy every pair of flip flops ever made. And if you know me at all, you know that having all those flip flops and wearing them would then entitle me to run around making declarations that I am The Happiest Woman on Earth.

Speaking of happy, though, and the original point I started, I think I might already be there. Not that there's no further to go, I know (and hope) there is. But what I also said on Bre's post was something along the lines of "I don't know when he's coming along but when he does, he's going to run into one really happy girl." (Yes, I am too lazy to go read the comment and quote myself. I know. Shush.) Which, if I do say so myself, is pretty cool.

I've been going about a million miles a minute for the last few weeks. I'm not going to lie, I've been stressed more than an astronaut's family during a spacewalk. (I know, random. But I had never considered how stressful that might actually be. Have you?) I'm currently staring down the double barrel of job changes and becoming a student again. I've got more family around right now than I know what to do with, friends that want to take me places with them and, oh yeah, the dog needs to go to the vet. There's a guy coming to fix the door on Saturday, that project due at work on Monday, that resume you need to revise and oh yeah, it'd be nice if the bathroom were clean. I'm still tired from an awesome Tuesday night of four hours (FOUR HOURS!) of fantastic live music and still reeling from the four miles I put in on the treadmill (and I usually cannot stand the treadmill, you know).

And when it's all together like that, in a mass of words and happenings and "things" it doesn't sound stressful at all. It sounds good. It sounds full, like that "mmmmm" noise you might make when you give a really great hug to someone you love. It sounds like life.

So with my comment, it was just what came to mind. That's what good is meant to be, what it's meant to give. Happiness. Hope. Faith. The times, they are not perfect. The days, they're long. But that solution, that "solution" to accepting what life is and where it might lead, I think it might be balance. Finding satisfaction somewhere between what you've chosen and what's chosen you. It's not reading too much into something* and yet, purposefully looking for what you know you shouldn't miss.

* I feel a little like I hijacked my own comment and therefore, hijacked Bre. Sorry, Bre. Now let's all go distract her by talking about shoes!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I regard your opinions very highly, you know

Here's the scenario:

-2 airline tickets

-2 friends

-must travel by September 10

-must be a long weekend (because we USE that vacay time, yo!)

-must go anywhere Jet Blue flies

New York? New Orleans? Nashville? San Francisco? Chicago? Where would you choose? What would you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!? (Sorry, Speed flashback.)

I know, quite the perdicament. I know, I know. And I promise when I can actually think straight, I will post about just how damn lucky I am.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Because it might actually be Mighty

Do you ever see things? I do. I'm forever seeing things out of the corner of my eye. Things that may or may not actually be there.

So when I saw a light brown streak on the floor of my office yesterday, it was hardly out of the ordinary. Something made me look closer, who knows what. I craned my neck a little, looked under the shadow of the desk and there it was, in a small access port in the floor. The little brown body. And a tail. Scurrying down into the floor.

In one motion, from looking, to realizing, to the deep inhale, I was flying in my rolling chair. Back from the desk, across the cube, into the small hallway. The sound I made, when I saw the creature, must have been abrupt. It was the audible gasp, like the one your mother used to do when you were new to driving and she sat in the passenger seat, utterly shocked there wasn't a break pedal on that side, too. Four coworkers immediately appeared in my doorway.

I should back up a little here to say I'm not scared of mice. Scared is a relative term. I am not afraid of them eating my toes off, or crawling near me. It's not scary. What it is, though, is disgusting. I am disgusted by them, just like spiders. They give me the creeps, like shivery creeps. Like dirty old man flirting with you in a bar creeps.

When I saw this mouse, fear didn't go through my mind. Rather, the thought of having to share space with this critter, clearly out of it's element, grossed me the heck out.

Upon some inspection, figuring out yes, the mouse went into the hole but probably had the option of coming out anywhere, we fashioned a blocking device (and by we I mean another coworker because at this point, I am still ten feet away). I wish I had a photo for you, but honestly, convincing my coworkers I've not lost my mind is difficult enough on a daily basis without setting up a mouse surveillance camera. It's an empty Tupperware container, clear plastic so I can see if he comes out, with about seven binders stacked on top. You never know.

And now, I sit at my desk, do my work, talk to people on the phone and act like everything is normal. It's not easy though, because about every 4.3 seconds I have to gaze over to that spot on the floor and keep my mind from picturing a mouse crawling out to get me. Once he moves seventeen pounds of office supplies.