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It's No Shame November!

writing is the new black.

and we’re back!

18 December 2009

hi there loyal readers. should your rss feeds still include the blogging wasteland that is sjworksitout, dry your tears and open up your minds for What Sarah is Reading:

one mo’ time

19 November 2009

True Things Thursday.

1) I went to a presentation at MSU today, and being on campus among students, I thought to myself, “maybe it would’ve been fun to come to a big school like this, and be ‘just a number’,” but then as I wandered the cavernous, seemingly unending concrete halls looking for my lecture hall, I decided I missed my cozy little liberal arts school. I like it here.

2) Christmas music. I’ve succumbed. (that’s a funny word to sound out. s u c c u m b e d.) I usually get grumbly over the too-soon-ness of the holidays, but this year I’m more okay with it. (Am I getting old? Am I, like Sherman Alexie said of himself at convo last week, “nostalgic for nostalgia”?)

3) Taco Bell Black Jack Tacos are God’s gift to fast food. And they’re friggen 89 cents, people! 89 cents!!

4) I love getting my daily news from It’s a great mix of politics, smart cultural commentary, and mindless celeb gossip. check it out.

5) My book club is having a good ol’ girlie sleepover this weekend, and I absolutely can’t wait! I need a little break of pure silliness. Between Twilight and Bump-Its (yes. Bump-Its.) and junk food and sleep-deprivation, I think some silliness will ensue.


19 November 2009

Well, it’s been 39 days…high time I wrote about the ol’ marathon, huh?

I’ve finally gotten around to ordering the official marathon photos (and paying out the wazoo for them…), which I will post once they’re here and I scan them…digital copies were $59.00 (that’s right, fifty-nine. like I said, got me by the balls, that…).

And I did a little early Christmas shopping for myself on, where some Chicago Marathon 09 Finisher swag remains.
(reminds me: mom asked me last weekend what I mean by “swag” when I’m talking about stuff…”well,” I said, “you know…stuff. Swag means stuff. Like goodies. Free stuff.” But I’m not sure whether that’s true…an informal search of online dictionaries found that Merriam-Webster disagrees, whereas and a few others confirm, that “free shit” can be “swag” as well.)

Anyway, over a month after the fact, I’m still a little dazed about it all, as you might guess by my procrastinatory writing and photo-ordering. Life (like it does) has gone on. One can’t wear her medal to work EVERY day, after all. (Better believe I did wear it the day I came back.)

The whole weekend in Chicago was a delight. Mom and Dad loved it. Brandon was a patient tour guide. I had my deep dish Giordano’s and saw Second City (the drunken 50th birthday revelers were big fans of me, and the performers even called us runners out as “crazy people” during the show. Delightful.) Ooh! Plus the red-headed chick in the new Sonic commercials? TOTALLY at our show. I liked her. Amy Poehler-esque.

The race itself: pretty amazing. Really. It’s impossible to describe the feeling of those 5 hours and 56 minutes. Delight. Disbelief. Relief. “This isn’t so bad!” Thirsty. Cold. GottaPeeGottaPeeGottaPee. Excited. Hilarious. Summer Camp Warm Fuzzies with Strangers. Tired. Blistery. Worried. Relieved. Delighted again. “I’m going to finish? Holy Shit! I’m going to finish!” Done. Smiling. Smiling. Smiling.

When I finally got to bed that night, I just kept thinking to myself: I’ve done this now. This is now something I’ve done. I couldn’t help thinking about our guide in India who told us, “there are two kinds of people in the world: those who have seen the Taj, and those who have not seen the Taj,” and knowing I’m am now one of the kinds of people who has finished a marathon. (I read somewhere it’s less than 1% of the U.S.)

One of the best parts of running a big race like this are the crowds who line the course offering encouragement (and in later miles, bless their souls, snacks!), so in honor of that awesomeness, which you really can’t know unless you’ve run one, I’m going to share some of my favorite posters along the way:

    “Chuck Norris never ran the Chicago Marathon!”
    “You’ve done much worse for much longer.”
    “I ♥ correr” (in hispanic neighborhood…”to run”)
    “Runners have balls. All other athletes just play with them.”
    “Poop if you gotta.”
    something in binary (1000101) that this one dude and i giggled over. nerdiness.

And then there’s the all-male cheerleaders of boys town.
The seeing Sears Tower from north and south.
Charity groups supporting their runners.
Wackos in costume. Running in costume.
All the lovely volunteers handing out water and gatorade (and getting splashed. bless their hearts.)
The port-o-potties. Thank Jesus for port-o-potties. And whoever makes sure they stay stocked with t.p.

And my #1 fans who managed to find me at mile 13 and 22!

Who could’ve imagined in July 2007, when I started this little running blog, that this is where I’d be? I never would have.

…and with this I think I put sjworksitout to rest, at least for now.

Don’t fret, loyal readers! i’m starting a new direction for my blogging life, in fact i’ve already started it. you can continue to follow my e-writings soon. I’ll let you know.

From now on, I’m focusing more on books, articles, movies, etc. and how those things shape my life. I’m a creator and consumer of words after all, so I’m getting serious about writing about that.
You can be sure I might still write a little about running, no doubt after all i’ll read about it, but my focus has changed.

Been there. Done that. For 26.2 miles.
Now it’s time for something new.

What a country.

10 November 2009

Do you ever go through your daily life and wonder to yourself, what would Yakov think? Yeah, me neither, but I’m wondering it now. Some things about America perplex me. What a country.

First of all:

The Mall
I was at the mall on Saturday (a statement that will not be true again until Christmas has come and gone. oye.)
Y’all saw the commercials for $1 scarves at Old Navy…well I fell for it. Along with 1000s of other Springfieldians. The mall is in full-out Christmas bustle. Garlands are hung from the ceiling with care. St. Nicholas, and his jolly elves paid-by-the-hour, are there.
Somewhere while navigating the narrow aisles, dodging double-wide strollers, and scouring ransacked racks for my size, I’d had enough.

I got ANGRY. Nobody in this mall needs a damn thing, I fumed.
Poor Brandon, he did what he usually does in times like these, quietly humors my rampage and then reminds me that maybe I can’t change every injustice in the world, and maybe it’d be better for me (and my blood pressure) if I could learn to say “that’s just the way it is” and move on. (I hate that.)

I can’t get over the fact that we buy too much shit.
(Pardon my french, mom, if you’re reading this, but you know it’s true.)
There are people in the world who don’t have clean water to drink. Do I really need another pair of jeans? What’s so bad with the 10 scarves I already own?
(nothing. Nothing is wrong with them.)
And so I don’t really need another scarf, whether or not they’re just a dollar.
So I didn’t buy one.

And that is, I think, the one victory i can have in the midst of my middle-class existential angst.

What I can do is continue to look at my own spending, and learn to tell myself NO.
And while I’m at it, I’ll ask wouldn’t it be better if we stopped buying what we don’t need, and evaluate what we could give away?
or save for a trip?
or save for a big item we really do need, but “can’t afford”?

Because there’s nothing wrong with spending money and having nice stuff. But there is something wrong with trying to buy happiness, and I think that’s what we do all too often.
What a country.

Second of all:

Brandon and I went to Shoney’s for Sunday breakfast buffet. mm mm you got your home fries…your bacon…your pancakes…your eggs with hot sauce.
you got your highest tank top undershirts* per capita.
you got your old people. cute, polite, chatty old people.

(*trying to eliminate biased language from my vocabulary, but dang it—there really is no better term than “wife beater”…)

One particular old dude across from us, on oxygen (and, it turns out, coumadin…some things you can’t help but overhear) reminded me of my grandpa. Not just because they shared blood-thinning medication, but because a playfully grumpy disposition like that is exclusive to the WW2 generation. Something about the gravely voice and time-tested wisdom.

I missed my grandparents in a tangible way like maybe I haven’t since my grandma died this summer.

Old people get to me. Especially if they’re dining alone. (This is another case where Brandon tells me not to get too upset; they’re probably fine. But I can’t help but be sad, imagining they’re lonely.)
I wish it was more socially acceptable to talk to strangers.
That somehow life could feel more communal, instead of closed off. too busy, too self-concerned, too scared to care about anyone else.

The newest Radiolab, “New Normal?” was all about community (Listen to it for free at and whether people (apes. foxes.) can change.
What got to me the most is the idea that empathy is a highly evolved trait, and will continue to be a side-effect of survival.
Maybe someday war and conflict won’t be “human nature,” and instead empathy and care will be. It’s worth thinking about, and worth believing in.

In America, podcast listen to you! What was that, Yakov? You crazy.

Blast from the past

3 November 2009

Working in Publications and Creative Services at Drury has its perks. Not minimal among them is the fact that “Creative” is part of its name. Another perk is access to old publications and photos from years past. Today we happened upon the admissions viewbook from 2002…and who should appear but…


I conjure my best hispanic hotman accent here as I tell my coworker, my roommate and i, we luuuuulved him. he was a 5th year architexture studen’ from Mehico. we had psychology with heem.

rodrigo 3GRAY 2 2

i want to touch your model.

So funny. I hadn’t thought about that dude in years. Seriously I was a freshman 7 years ago…
I dropped my hispanic accent to lament aloud: i feel so old.

To which she replied: I guess that should just be a reminder to seize the day now…

Me: that’s very wise.

*I feel as though I should note that I am aware my hispanic hotman accent is entirely stereotypical, and intended for entertainment purposes only.

no shame november

1 November 2009

Good Lord a new month’s upon us already! Hard to believe Once A Day in May was six months ago. Maybe I need another little gimmick to get me writing regularly again…
So many bearded ones choose to celebrate “No Shave November,” so I’ve come up with a rhyming near-homonym homage: No Shame November, as in:

she’s got no shame: one has no susceptibility to guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety
what a shame: declaring a “tsk” at something to be regretted

Inspired a bit by last week’s Community (ps– that show is getting so much better. Premiere week I was skeptical, and not raving nearly as much as some folks I know. but lemmetellya Halloween episode was a delight—A delight with a nugget of wisdom, one of my favorite TV phenomena.)

If life is just a series of ridiculous attempts to be alive, you are a hero to everything that’s ever lived. ~Guy from The Soup to Chevy Chase

That’s the spirit of No Shame November. Finding as many ways, even on mundaner days, to facilitate ridiculous attempts to be alive.

On post-daylight savings fall evenings it can be far too easy for me to get gloomy. Get sleepy. Get nothing done. That’s probably true of most anyone, but I in particular become a little hibernating bear come wintertime. The cold draft wind that sneaks under my door frame is evidence that depression might be setting up a sleeping bag outside my door. After that there’s only a matter of time until it wants to come in.
I’m trying to exercise my choice in the matter. Claiming that I can overcome how I feel.

So I’ll write. Because I (like David Sedaris…and I know this because, well, he told me) feel that “nothing quite seems real to me unless I write it down.” Hoping to write my way toward waking up like Meryl Streep’s Julia Child, springing out of bed with a 5:30 alarm ready for cooking class.
Hoping to write my way toward Bobby Darin singing “It’s Today” from Mame: Though it may not be anyone’s birthday, And though it’s far from the first of the year, I know that this very minute has history in it, we’re here!

That’s right. I strive to be a lyric from a musical. No Shame November, folks. no shame.

quite the week, folks. quite the week.

16 October 2009

Think of this as True Things Thursday, week-in-review edition. Sorta wish every week could be this action-packed. Then again, I’d never afford the gas.

Obviously much of last week requires its own entry, longer with more anecdotes and photos and such. For now, this is all you get. I’m at work after 5:00 and Ima make this quick.

Sunday: Ran the Chicago Marathon. saw Second City.

Monday: Bought an iPod touch; ate Giordano’s.

Tuesday: Saw David Sedaris do a reading in Arkansas, during Q&A I asked about his writing habits, and he answered by reading from his pocket journal (!) “nothing quite seems real to me unless I write it down”, waited for hours for a signed book. Laughed out loud more than at all Judd Apatow movies combined.
First pumpkin pie Andy’s of the season.

Wednesday: Ate Addison’s, Shakespeare’s and Sparky’s during mid-week field trip to fetch my car from Columbia.

Thursday: Inspired by Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) during convocation, signed book #2 of the week. she quoted Faulkner, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.”
Season premiere of 30 Rock. I heart Tina Fey. Watch her Letterman appearance on YouTube. It doesn’t get much better.

Friday: Supported KSMU, felt grown-up and stuff pledging to public radio…and if that doesn’t make me feel old, my boyfriend’s 10-year reunion is tonight.