April, 2009

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JAM in action

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Julie [about our 61-year old next-door neighbor]
“I want Neal to fall in love.  I wonder if he has a beau?”

“A beau is a man.”

“What – really?  I always thought it was gender-neutral.”

– – – – – – – –

“Do we have koozies?”

“No… but… we have couscous?”

– – – – – – – –

Mel [singing at the top of her lungs]
“Listen to the battering ram…”

“Mel, it’s ‘Mandolin Rain.’”

– – – – – – – –

[at the end of “Marley and Me”]

If this is true…

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

… then Tyler is the poster-child for marital success.



Monday, April 27th, 2009

I did it.  And it was the worst best thing I’ve ever done.

I have started this post at least a dozen times, and am having a hard time putting into words what happened on Saturday.

I could tell you about waking up at 4:30am, and stressing out in a traffic jam on the way to the race.

I could tell you about the last minute visit to a Porta-Potty that had no toilet paper.

I could say that miles 1-5 were fun, and 5-8 were less fun, and 8-9 was really tough, but 9-10 was easier, and from 10 on, it was sheer agony.

I could talk about the heat, and the people passing out right and left.

I could give you the amazing finish times of all of my friends, who I am so ridiculously proud of.

I could report that I came in 8,449th out of the 22,749 finishers, and 3,987th out of the 14,505 women.

Or, perhaps my favorite tidbit of information: I could talk about the friend-who-will-never-be-named who is so hardcore, she PEED HER PANTS in the last mile so she wouldn’t have to stop.

But I think that this is my biggest take-away: what an enormous privilege.  To have legs, to have a body that works, to have the opportunity to train for something far more physically taxing than I have ever attempted before.  To have the ability to run.

Even in the heat.  Even when it’s not fun.  Even when I didn’t get the runner’s booty that I hoped for.  I am ABLE to run.  Not everyone is.

And this girl is getting busy getting grateful.

I am so glad I did it.  I am so glad it’s over.  And I guess I can’t deny it anymore: once one has run 13.1 miles, she is officially a “runner.”

More to come in the next few days…

Ready or not

Friday, April 24th, 2009

One of the East Nasties has a bumper sticker that says “Run Happy.”

I don’t.  Run happy, that is.

Some people are built to run – I am not.  I really do not enjoy running.  Even after dedicating myself for months, pulling myself out of bed every Saturday AND Sunday morning, and watching my mileage go up and up and up, I still don’t LIKE to run – especially because I never got the runner’s booty of my dreams.


But after months and months of training, the Country Music Half-Marathon is upon us.  The starting line is in sight.  The gun fires (or whatever it is they’ll do – fog horn? yell really loud? I’m going to yell really loud) at 7am tomorrow.

I’ve been having stress dreams about it – that I show up and don’t have my number, or my shoes have no laces, or it’s 90 degrees outside.  That’s maybe my biggest actual fear about tomorrow – that it’s going to be really hot, which is not only a possibility, but the forecasted reality.  It is unseasonably warm in Nashville right now.  Even though I don’t enjoy it, I can TOLERATE running – unless it’s hot outside.  Then it’s truly miserable – if not impossible.

I am terrified that I’m not going to succeed – that it’s going to be too hard, too far, that all of my hard work won’t have been enough.  And at this point, it’s truly a case of mind over matter: my body is strong.  I’ve put in the training.  I know that I CAN run 13.1 consecutive miles.  But my brain isn’t so sure about it – and as soon as I let those thoughts start creeping in – I’m tired, I can’t do this, this is too hard – then it’s over.  I quit.

But then, I have to remember that before October, the furthest I had ever run was one lap around Green Lake in Seattle.  And the fact that I can run 5 miles, let alone 11.2 (which was my longest training run), is ridiculously amazing.  I’ve spent the past 4 months training with an incredible group of people of all running abilities – people who have encouraged me and pushed me – and it’s a very cool thing to be a part of something larger than myself.

And there’s no way to say this without sounding completely cheesy, so I’m just going to say it: everyone who has trained for this race is already a winner.


I hereby fire myself as the writer of this blog.

But truly, ready or not.  Tomorrow it is.  I’ve worked too hard to give up now.  May my will be as strong as my legs.


Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Now I know: any time I am ever feeling a lack of estrogen in my life, all I must do is post a blog about my hair – and voila, THE WOMEN APPEAR!

Thank you for your feedback, ladies!  Emily, Kristy, and Erin, I’m sorry to report that I listened to the majority, played it safe, and can still ponytail it.  I’ll save the next chop-fest for some cataclysmic day, like when TV goes digital.


Now, I must have a productive day at work.  I forgot my breakfast this morning – for the first time in YEARS, literally.  I’m not quite sure how I will make it to lunch with nothing but coffee, but I suppose that people have survived worse.  I will leave you with this clever little font fest.

The in-between stage

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

You don’t even have to say it.  I already know.

You are desperate for an update on the growth of my hair.

Ever since I cut off my hair over a year ago, I have been longing for it to grow out.  I have patiently not so patiently endured the days, the weeks, the months of the “in-between stage,” feeling dowdy and frumpy.  I have kept you up to date with the growth progress – all I can say is, lucky you.  It is now long enough to put in a ponytail without bobby pins, to French braid, to even do a fancy side knot thing when the occasion calls for it.

But I have a haircut appointment today during my lunch hour.  And – so help me – I am THIS CLOSE to chopping it again.  People, I do not have the PATIENCE for the in-between stage.  I remember back to this stage, and think, “That was cute!” even though we all know that at that point, I sure didn’t feel like it was cute.

But right now, my hair is an unruly mane of mediocrity.  It’s kudzu-gone-crazy.

I’m stuck.  I know that if I cut it off again, I’ll be starting back at the top of the downward helix of discontent.  If I just get a trim, and let it keep growing, I’ll continue being drab for a few months – but then again, maybe by the end of the summer, I’ll have flowing locks like Liv Tyler.

What should I do?

You have until noon, central time, to weigh in on the matter.  But then, it’s the moment of truth.


Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

I don’t have anything to say today.  Because I already said it all to Joey.

Joey is a blog friend (good NIGHT, we are such internet nerds), a law student in Austin, a writer, a seeker, a thinker – and as you will see, basically the next Stone Phillips.


Monday, April 20th, 2009

Back in March, I went to Kansas to sort through my childhood things and help my parents get their house ready to sell.  While I was there, I found an old jewelry box full of various plastic beaded bracelets, butterfly rings, earrings with no mates, and many, many necklaces whose thin gold chains were knotted and tangled into a solid mass.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not get those knots untangled.  There was no way to decipher where the problem began, and with every link that I would tug, the knot would get tighter.  The mess would get worse.

Sometimes, I feel like those gold chains.

Sometimes, I feel like such a complicated jumble, there could never be hope for a solution.  I cannot see where certain issues end, and where others begin.  I am confused by my emotions, by my tendencies – and have no more understanding of myself than I do the infinite galaxies.

Last night in church, I found myself praying, “God, forgive me for… just… all that I am.”  I didn’t even know where to begin, because I cannot pinpoint a beginning.  All that I know is that a lot of the time, I’m a tangled, muddled mess – and I don’t know why.

Will it ever be resolved?  Will I ever be resolved?

But then, I felt God press on my heart: “I know what you’re made of, and it is good.”

I see the mess.  He sees the gold.

I see the knot.  He sees a straight line.

I see the confusion.  He sees the solution.

One day, the chains will fall loose.  Everything will make sense.  Everything will be made right.  I believe it.

Because if I can be victorious in untangling a mass of gold necklaces using olive oil and a needle, then surely the God of the universe has a creative solution for the complexities of you and me.

Good things come in twos

Friday, April 17th, 2009

If you’re regularly on the World Wide Internet, which most of us are, then I’m sure that you’ve already seen these two videos.  But if you haven’t, you should: two of the most influential songs from my childhood, brought to life in a new way.  Both made me all teary eyed.

Sometimes I wonder what true, true love looks like.  And I think it looks like this, and this.  It’s not the sexy fantasy that we are conditioned to expect; it is deeper, and quieter, and messier.  And, oddly enough, better.  Not that I would know, or anything, but – you know.  It sounds like.

And speaking of twos, here are two of my favorite “Twos.”

The roomies, Mel and Julie.


The nephews, Tyler and Micah.


Have a fantastic two days of weekend!

Documenting my favorite documentaries

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Netflix has made it easy for me to discover and watch some lesser-known documentaries – so while I love the popular “Spellbound” and “Young At Heart” (seriously – see them both! Your heart will sing!), I’ve unearthed some other gems that you should know about.

American Teen
A film crew descends on a high school in small town Warsaw, IN, and follows 5 teens through their entire senior year.  With disarming candidness, these 17-18 year olds draw you into their worlds; in a mere hour and 35 minutes, I honestly became emotionally invested in these kids.  When it was over, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wallow and cry, remembering my own awkward high school experiences, or go out and hug every teenager I saw, in an effort to say, “It’s totally going to get better.  There is so much more to life.  Hang in there.”

How’s Your News?
Five mentally and physically challenged adults are taken on a rare adventure – an RV trip across the country with stops in major cities where they act as field reporters.  Get ready to fall in love with these people, and to sing along with the theme song (that they wrote!).

Born Into Brothels
We all know what happens in the Red Light district.  But what about the children who call it home?  Two filmmakers enter into the lives of the children of prostitutes in Calcutta, India, and build relationships with them, using photography lessons as a way to connect.  The horrific living conditions of the children juxtaposed with their sweet spirits and eye for poignant, incredible photography create a sense of urgency – is there a chance for a better life?

Standing in the Shadows of Motown
I watched this at the recommendation of Juliette.  And it is fantastic.

Shut Up and Sing
Remember when Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made that controversial statement about the President of the United States?  This is what happened after.  And it’s amazing.  And inspiring.  And makes me want to stand up for what I believe is right.  Regardless of what you thought of “the incident,” as they call it, this is worth watching.  I will always love the Dixie Chicks.

Unknown White Male
How terrifying would it be to wake up on a New York subway with no clue as to who you were – except a phone number in your pocket and a British accent?  The mysterious amnesia of Doug Bruce – a young, good-looking, seemingly healthy man – made me think deeply about identity.  What is innate?  What is learned?  And if I woke up tomorrow with absolutely no idea who I was, would I still be me?

Go feed your mind.