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It\'s No Shame November!

writing is the new black.

I do.

8 October 2009

I just got done watching Jim & Pam’s wedding.(it’s so odd to say “watching” when it felt more like “going to”. ridiculous i know, but it feels that personal almost.)

It was all lovely, wasn’t it? Zany side-bits with the supporting characters (Dwight’s a sex-bomb, what?!), Jim’s cute speech about the last four years…I wasn’t too schmaltzy about it until the last 15 minutes. And in those few (well-orchestrated, surprise-montagey) moments, my own emotions of the last four years washed over me all at once. (I KNOW! It’s cliche and stupid. Leave me alone.) Because this show isn’t just about the show. It never has been.

It’s been about the coworkers who’d giggle about it with me Friday morning.
The is-it-better-than-the-BBC-version arguments with fellow tv-snobs.
The “that’s what she said” jokes.
The dreams of romance that Jim and Pam rekindled with every glance at the camera.

It’s been about the friends I watched it with week after week. The yummy snacks and comfy home where i shared the show with my cousin and her husband, and a large group of friends. For the last four years, in times when work was stressful, or life was hard, I looked forward to Thursday night. Some weeks it seemed The Office was the happiest 30 minutes I had—one of the few things I looked forward to.

And when times were good, the show still meant a lot to me. There’s something magical about sharing something like that week after week. The characters start to mean something to us. It all becomes routine.
You hum the theme song.
You “shh! it’s back on!!” after commercial breaks
You “yesssss!” when Jim and Pam seem to get together, “NOOOO!” when Michael does something awkward.

And it’s all “just a tv show”…but it’s so much more. Tonight when Jim said he’d waited four years for this moment, I realized I have too. And what a perfect moment it was.
(I know I’m not the only one who felt the magic…In about two minutes 1100+ tweets stacked up for #TheOffice.)

I watched this one by myself…my cousin and her husband recently had a baby (a beautiful, magical, wonderful baby) and so our weekly Thursday tradition has been put on hold.
I miss those times. I miss the people I’ve shared this show with (geez, since 2005…) many of them far away from me now.
I feel…i dunno. I feel bigger emotions than are perhaps “appropriate” for reacting to a television show. Like actual people I actually know just got married. Two people whose ups and downs i’ve experienced up-close once a week. Whose ups and downs I’ve associated with my own.

And it turned out okay for them. It turned out perfect.


i would run [20] miles…i would run [6.2] more

5 October 2009

I just got an email with the subject:
“Six days to go until the Bank of America Chicago Marathon”

In six days I will run a marathon.
Sunday morning I kept telling myself: “in a week. in exactly a week.” This was true from about 7:30 to about 12:30…

I’m filling my brain with pre-race preparation. Reading my participant guide. Making notes. Race-week tips online and in magazines. Filling my body with carbs and water. (plus zinc tabs and orange juice thanks to pre-race-sickness paranoia.)

I don’t really know how to describe how I feel. It all feels a little unreal—as it should, since I am in fact about to do something I’ve never done before.

It’s like the feelings i had the week before skydiving; I was feeling excited but also a little undefined. (until, that is, the night right before where i had a sudden, paralyzing grip of fear: I am going to jump out of a plane… and I could feel my stomach fall, like it does at the crest of a roller coaster hill.)

Lucky for me, my paranoia was wrong. Skydiving felt like nothing I could’ve imagined. Better. Nothing like what I feared. And like nothing i’ve felt since.

So thats how I approach this big day. This Big Race, as i’ve called it for months now. (in fact, it was 10 months ago tomorrow that i first had this crazy idea. Sitting in memphis, sorting through my 1/2 marathon packet, thinking: is this something I could really do?!)

And I’m about to do it.
The closest I’ve come is my 20-miler (believe it!) which I survived over the course of 3.5 hours on Thursday, Sept. 24. (mid-run thought: i’m running for an entire extended-cut Lord of the Rings movie…) I’ve meant to blog about it since then (i wrote that night, of course), but life has been getting in the way.

Like it do.

And that, my friends, is another reason why I am a runner. (in spite of the stress and the sweat and the self-consciousness and the time spent and the soreness). Running for me is a time (a half-hour here, an hour there, and 5 hours ultimately) when I can turn off everything else in my life. Where I’m just doing this one thing I truly enjoy. where I’m experiencing my thoughts and the passing of time as they come, just as they are.

For most people I talk to, the idea of running a marathon is tortuous. For me, it’s exciting.
And it’s also just something I’m going to do. It feels natural by now. Simple. I’m going to do it. (And according to Runner’s World’s website, I’ll be one of 0.1% of Americans who can say the same.)

So I’m nervous, and a little unsure how to feel, but I know I can do it.

Just found an inspiring story of a blind runner who will have 100 volunteers helping him along the way. if this guy can do it, I can too.

“I could write while in motion I’d have a memoir by now”

23 September 2009

Life, folks! It just needs to slow down sometimes.
Remember that scene from Our Town, where Emily is visiting her family from the afterlife, and she is so frustrated that everything’s moving so fast, saying “can’t we just look at one another?”

Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?

I have that feeling a lot while I’m still here.
Can’t I just stop and absorb this?
I had a special “driveway moment” with a particular NPR story two days ago. There’s something simply wonderful about sitting in my car, in the rain, and listening to a good story at the end of the day. Check it out:

Andrei Codrescu: Growing Up The iPod Way
You’ve got to take the time to listen to this, though you can read a transcript online as well. Codrescu has a delicious accent that compliments his storytelling. He talks about how our music tells the story of our lives.

I’ve found I learn a lot about someone by experiencing her music taste, or borrowing his iPod. In fact, I love running with a mix of someone else’s music that I’ve never heard before. It is a bit like experiencing life from within their mind, from their history, as Codrescu argues in the piece.

Growing up, he asserts, is like moving from being a memoirist to a novelist.
Finding value in learning the stories of those you love, learning to listen with their ears.

26 days: glasses in the rain

14 September 2009

There are sexier things than running with glasses on.
There are sexier things than running with glasses on in the rain.

And to all the midtown Springfield motorists out this evening, I apologize for the wet-tshirt contest entry that was my last half-hour of running. At least the shirt was green, y’all.

It wasn’t that bad. It was just misty, but misty enough to totally drown my spectacles.

What is sexy: when running for an hour really doesn’t feel like a big deal. Went by really fast tonight. Took a different route, for one thing. Can’t believe I haven’t taken advantage of Phelps Grove’s proximity until today.

Tried out jellybelly Sport Beans tonight.

Not so bad! jellybeans with extra punch of electrolytes and vitamins.
flavor: delish, of course…they’re jellybelly. kinda sour, but not overpowering. a hint of chewable vitamin.
texture: more easter-bean than typical jb style, but totally easy to consume while running.
power: well, I had half a package before my run, and didn’t feel weak at all for an hour. I think they could easily sustain for part of a longer run. but i’m skeptical…for some reason it seems like energy foods made by a candy company can’t be as legit as yucky tasting gels…
bonus: they have a resealable zip-lock closure. neat!

Will run 26 miles in 26 days.

True Things…you know what day it is.

10 September 2009

1) Love working on a college campus. Convocation was inspiring today. Hearing the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s (what a title!) words reenacted makes me want to take up the cause of the oppressed today. See below for a little Come To Jesus moment, care of MLK.

2) Shameless plug: (please read in manner of infomercial voice-over)
Have you ever wished you could help fight Alzheimer’s Disease with just the click of a mouse?
Well now you can!!
click here
Help Sarah Jenkins raise money for Alz.Assoc.’s TEAM CARE!
She even gets to wear a nifty TEAM CARE tank top during the race!
With your help she will raise $1000. Donations are trickling in already. Don’t miss your chance to keep her motivated with 30 days to go!
End commercial.

3) boo car trouble. Smelling hot, “low oil” light on. Sketchiness. Turns out it’s my Oil Pressure Sending Unit. (The Chairman of Literal Car Parts Naming Services got a bonus that day.)

4) Am I the last person alive to discover The Flaming Lips are cool? Yes?

5) I finally have internet and cable at home. (God bless gainful employment!) You know what that means…more blogging! And more Top Chef!

begin Come To Jesus time
in one of his last sermons, MLK spoke about what would matter at the end of his life:

Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school.

I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.
I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question.
I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.
And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked.
I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison.
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that’s all I want to say.

If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.

postcard show

4 September 2009

Last weekend was one of the most delightful times of year in Springfield, Mo.:
The Postcard Show and Paper Americana Sale

I’ve gone to this for a few years now, and have enticed my family (mom, dad, then even Daniel) and now some friends into the fun. People like me (schmaltzy, collector-y, story hounds) don’t need any convincing that this is the Happiest Place On Earth. Others aren’t so psyched right away, but I promise it really is cool.

Imagine a roomful of dealers, each with boxes and boxes full of cards, most 50-100 years old, from every state, country, holiday, oddity you can imagine. Some have delightful handwritten messages or unique postmarks. Some have shocking racist or political propaganda. Many are crazy-expensive. (turns out Halloween cards are especially rare, and are priced $25 and up. For one card.)

I love it. Love it. Love. It.
I’ve managed to collect some great antique cards from India, Italy, Spain, and various US cities I’ve traveled to.

coming to you in 36 days

coming to you in 36 days

This year I spent a lot of time scouring boxes of international postcards, looking for London and Paris to commemorate LP10 (next summer’s vacay extravaganza). I found some really nice ones, and a few had the most delightful messages. Though they were written by complete strangers decades ago, they mirror my exact sentiments on European travel.

February 24, 1954
Really you must promise to come to Europe. Everything just like a picture book. We are just one big exclamation. Seems every day is better.

date unknown
Really this is a wonderful world and I wish I had the lire for goods I’d like to bring home. Tomorrow–Rome! If only the women were more friendly-like!

(ha. well, mirrored my sentiments aside from the women, of course. I found the fellas in Rome to be as friendly as I’d have liked them to be…)

*ah travel*
good food. gelato.
spending without guilt.
not worrying about money…realizing what it’s really for.
good friends. good conversation. meaningful questions and honest answers. silliness.
new experiences.
embracing art and life.
seizing the day.
tradition, history.
a different routine. time even changes. days seem so full.

In one of the guide books I read before Italy, Rick Steves gave the advice that to enjoy travel you must be “militantly optimistic.” Not such a bad way to live your life.

True Things Thursday was SOOO yesterday…

4 September 2009

1) I love NPR with increasing fervor. More and more driveway moments. More and more notes scrawled on napkins in my car.

2) I LOVE being in History of Film Class! Best bud classmate, hilarious and smart prof., neato film history, Charlie Chaplin this week (brilliant!), homework. Yes. I like homework.

3) The corporate coupon machine has lost a victim…I had a $25 off $50 purchase NY&Co coupon, but I walked out of the store with nothin’…because I didn’t see anything I really needed.
And you know what? It felt GOOD.

4) Ocean Zen s’mores is an ideal desert. Delicious AND Fun.

5)  Desire this book (70s golden age of LA standup. heard on, you guessed it, NPR):

yes, please!

yes, please!