Thursday, December 30, 2010

Physically sore, Emotionally rested


As we speak (or more appropriately, as I type this), my ass is killing me.  So are my legs and arms.  Yesterday, I went cross country skiing for the first time (that I can remember).  I went with a friend who claimed she's a "novice," but 2 minutes on the trails and I could see that she was better than she led on. 

As a young person in pretty good shape, I figured I'd get the hang of things pretty quickly once I learned how to balance on skis.  This was true, sort of.  The first mile was tough, and I just kind of shuffled along.  My friend had confidence in me, saying that if I can walk-- I can ski.  Well...skiing kind of felt like walking for the first mile.  

We kept on and soon approached a small hill.  I fell half way down it, but bounced back up right away.  My friend was impressed, saying most people who fall on skis are a tangled mess and have trouble recovering.  "Must be from years of playing hockey," I thought to myself.  A while later, we came up to a big hill.  And not big like a mountain, but plenty big for me.  My friend looked like a pro, as she glided down the hill with ease.  I stood at the top, and put my arms up and out as she looked back me.  It was the "WTF am I supposed to do?" gesture.  I thought about my options (taking off the skis and walking down the hill, sitting down and and starting to cry, or saying "eff it" and just go for it).  After about 15 seconds of running through my options, I went for it.  Half way down, I biffed it.  Skis tangled, sprawled out in the middle of the trail, I laid there, and looked up at my friend.  She watched as I struggled to pick myself back up.  After a few awkward attempts, I was upright and skiing on towards her. 

"I didn't think you wanted me to watch," she said sweetly.  "I didn't," I replied.  And I'm glad she didn't watch.  I would have felt worse than I already did.  It's funny how a person can read another in that way-- she knew that I didn't want her to see me fall-- so she turned away, but didn't leave me.  That's dope.  That's true friendship.  

I brushed the snow off my body, and we skied on.  There were a couple times when we could have taken a shortcut back to the car, but I said I planned on earning the wine we left at the house as a post-ski refreshment.  This might have been a mistake.  We came up to another hill-- this one with a sharp curve to the right and a drop off to the left.  I kid you not, we stood atop the hill for 10 minutes discussing what to do next.  I was given the following options-- 1. Turn around and ski back the other way.  2. Take off our skis and walk down.  3. Go for it.  

We went for it.  Actually, we let a few folks go ahead of us.  We listened for screams or crashing sounds, but heard none.  My friend went first, and said she would likely scream, squeal, or do both.  Off she went-- and stayed silent.  I stood there, wishing I hadn't come skiing, wishing I was better at it, or that I really could just take off my skis and walk down the hill.  I'm too stubborn for that though-- I'm too proud.  

I took one big deep breath, and down I went.  I went around the corner, and guess what?  It wasn't a steep-plummet-to-my-death kind of hill.  It was a decent incline however, and get this-- I didn't fall.  I smiled when I reached my friend.  "You did it!" she shouted.  To most anyone else, this may have seemed a menial feat, but to me it was important.  I tried something new, was honestly quite scared, faced it head on...and oh yeah-- I ended up being just fine.  

I had a beautiful day yesterday-- took the day off work (I can do that, because I'm part time until Monday), went outside of the city, didn't once look at my cell phone or email, spent some time outside, got my heart rate up, and had really meaningful conversation.  I think it's important to make time to do these kinds of things.  I get burned out easily, but something as simple as an afternoon of skiing, and dang I really feel rested.  I feel emotionally rejuvenated.  I feel good, because I overcame a challenge. 

I really can't say if I will go cross country skiing again anytime soon.  I think I should, but I'm not going to lie-- it's frustrating to not be good at it.  Granted, I got better as the afternoon went on-- but still, there's no biathlon in my near future.  The company was good (my friend did a nice job of supporting me, but not making me feel terrible when I wiped out or couldn't keep up).  The weather was awesome (mid thirties).  And overall, the workout was pretty good-- like I said at the beginning of this post- my booty, legs and arms are all quite sore.  That's a good thing though, because through it all, I came home emotionally rested and rejuvenated.  It's amazing what a day playing hooky can do for the soul.

Lastly, I should note that I thought about bringing my camera on our adventure, but figured I would wipe out a few times, and it wasn't worth risking a thousand dollars worth of equipment to get "the perfect shot."  I'm glad I chose to leave the camera behind-- had I not, I would likely still be on the trail collecting pieces of my Nikon off the ground. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

#lifecanbebeautiful


I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the people in my life who are no longer alive--here--with me now.  If you've been reading this blog the last couple of days, you know this.  If you have seen my sad face the last couple of days, you know this.

I got an e-mail this morning, asking what I was up to, other than "thinking a little too much about people."  Ouch....but point taken.  

I have a 7 minute walk to and from work each day.  I wear headphones on these walks...usually.  As I was walking home today, I started thinking about how lucky I am to know the people I do.  I really have been blessed with a diverse, eclectic, intelligent, and loving group of people over the years.  I've been really fortunate, and it's something I feel I should acknowledge. 

It's easy to get caught up in sadness (no matter how temporary it is).  It's easy to take for granted the people who are in my life now.  I'm 26 years old, and have crossed paths, joined paths, and created paths with so many inspiring and beautiful people.  I'm 26 years old-- and knock on wood-- have plenty of years left ahead of me.  I'm excited for my future.  I'm excited for all the people I am going to meet in coming years.  

My friend Tim just called-- I play cribbage with him on the occasional monday.  I've skipped the last several weeks, but felt tonight I should go.... I used to play cribbage with my grampa, and "flinch" with my gramma.  A cribbage tournament at a dive bar seems like the perfect way to celebrate my love for them. 

Lastly, here is a picture I took this morning (my gramma's anniversary).  I'm wearing her hat and bracelet.  You can't see it, but my grampa's pajamma shirt is under my sweatshirt.  It made today seem less lonely. 

Life can be beautiful-- if you're open to it.

December 27, 2010.  Happy anniversary gramma!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Unconventional


I went for a 5 mile run yesterday, to clear my head. It didn't work. I came home-- mind racing, heart hurting.

I went for a 3 mile run today, to clear my head. It didn't work. I came home-- mind racing, heart hurting.

My heart hurts because I miss my grampa. My heart hurts because it's the holidays, and I feel so alone without him. Even when I'm with my family, I feel alone. That hurts.

I realized on my run today, that I am trying to "fix" something unconventional (missing my grampa) with something conventional (running). It doesn't work like that. I mean sure, eating well, running often and putting my emotions into words on paper-- all great things, but they aren't going to "solve" this problem of my grampa being gone. I think I was hoping they would.

I want a quick fix--or even a long term fix, but one that I know is going to work, one that is logical. Unfortunately, that's not the way grief works. Not even close. Grief doesn't fit into a box. It doesn't have a specific sequence of steps you follow to solve the problem. No. Grief comes whenever it wants, and leaves whenever it wants. It can be absent for years-- only to rear its ugly head when you least expect it. On the flip side, it can haunt you everyday of your life.

My grief comes during the same time Santa does his rounds. And so here it is, December 26th, and I'm in the middle of it. And guess what? It fucking sucks. It's ruined my appetite, messed up my sleep, made me cry and left me mad. The thing that is different about this time than other times in my life, is that I know this is only temporary. It's somewhat of a blessing to know that this will pass-- it has to. 2010 was an awesome year for me. I have very few complaints, and so much to be thankful for. I can't afford to forget that.

So yeah.... I need to quit trying to solve unconventional problems (i.e. emotional ones) with conventional order. The heart is going to do what it wants... and trying to make sense of it in a logical way isn't working. I don't know what plan b is just yet... but I think acknowledging my feelings as they are is a good place to start. We'll see how this coming week pans out. I want to stay busy, do positive things, and be around good people. It shouldn't be hard, if I make the effort.

Oh, I should mention that I have 1.5 pages left in my journal, and haven't gotten a new one yet. Had I a new one, this blog post probably wouldn't exist.

-a.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's that time of the year....


It's the time of the year that I dread.  The holidays.  And with the holidays comes all the bullshit.  Really.  Holidays are supposed to be fun, relaxing times, where people eat-drink-be merry.  But where does that actually happen?  Why do we stress ourselves out to feel relaxed and loved?  I don't like it.  I think holidays bring out the worst in people.

Holidays (especially Christmas) bring out the sadness in me, because it reminds me of when my grandparents died.  I can't think of Christmas or New Years without thinking of the pain that I felt 6 years ago when I lost my best friend (my grampa).  Quite simply, it sucks.  

I was talking with a friend the other day about how we celebrate those we have lost.  She doesn't do anything "official" on anniversaries, but lives each day remembering them.  I try to do that too, but seem to have the need for something "ceremonial" on the actual day.  I spoke with another friend about this last summer, who said that I take things too hard-- why would one want to relive the day they lost someone? 

I don't have an answer to that.  I started losing people young.  And frankly, when you're 16 and your friend gets killed, your folks have no idea how to support you, and so you just do what you can.  And since then, I've built my own way of grieving.  And yeah, there are probably parts of it that are unhealthy, and parts that are unnecessary, but for now--it's what I know, it's what's comfortable.

I've been reading my horoscopes lately, especially on Monday and Tuesdays, because that is when I get the paper (to do the crossword puzzle).  I had a fantastic afternoon and evening last night, and said to a coworker today that I wish I could have seen what my horoscope was yesterday-- cuz everything about it was unplanned/unpredictable. 

I went home today and started reading about my sign, Aquarius.  I fit a lot of the characteristics; free spirited, strong in my beliefs, creative, good in bed, etc.  Oh, and it says I'm the carrier of ankles, which is hilarious, because ankles are my favorite part of the body.  But there are some parts of the Aquarius sign that I just don't get-- for example, it says that I'm lacking emotions and detach easily.  I don't see those things about me.  I'm quite emotional, and to be honest, I'm very empathetic and can feel others pain really easily.  As far as detaching goes-- I think I'm the opposite, although there are some people who I think would disagree with me on that.  I think I do attach to people and causes and hobbies and whatever else... but I also know I need my alone time too.  

I like reading about the zodiac.  My sister and I have the same birthday, and we are so different.... so that makes me think about the flaws in astrology.  As I was reading today, I started looking at the Pisces profile, and I think I have a lot of those traits too-- medicine woman (I take lots of vitamins, ha!), but also this very perceptive and intuitive sense-- feeling the energies of other people.  I really feel much more in tune to the emotional descriptions of a Pisces than of an Aquarius.
 
It's funny-- I can't just choose the characteristics I like and ignore the other ones.  Well, I guess I can, but that kind of defeats the point.  I need to work harder on my weaknesses...or at least begin by acknowledging them.  It's nice-- I had a really good afternoon, sitting on my couch, reading about who I am-- and how I relate to others and how they see me.  Granted this should all be taken with a grain of salt-- or should it?  I don't know.  

Anyhow, it's that time of year, when emotions are high and I'm really aware of my feelings.  I can't explain them, or really even understand them-- but my sense of awareness is heightened and I'm being really mindful of what I'm feeling.  I suppose that's a good thing.  Even if I'm feeling bad-- at least I know I'm feeling something.  

Happy holidays y'all.  Be safe. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!

When I was a little kid, my mom used to have a solstice party every year.  I don't remember much about it, other than her friends would come, it was at our old house, and there was always a lot of food.  She might have had one when I was in high school too, but it wasn't the same as when I was younger.  Anyhow, today is the winter solstice.  This means that starting tomorrow, the days will be getting longer.  Hooray!

The weekend before this last one, we had a snow storm.  It was crazy.  It paralyzed the twin cities.  Seriously.  Stores closed early, busses stopped running, people were skiing down the streets!!  I went for a walk that Saturday, in my snowpants, to grab the essentials.... some food and some beer.  It took quite a while to walk, because the snow was so thick and deep.  What a mess.

The following day, I went out and took pictures.  I wanted to document the big storm we were in the middle of.  It was the biggest thing since the Halloween blizzard of 1991, which was awesome because I was a kid and got to play in the snow and didn't have to worry about things like driving, shoveling, etc.  Anyhow, I took some pictures...and looking back on it, I wish I would have taken them on Saturday when it was really a mess... but I can't go back now.  I will post a couple of pictures that I took with my phone on Saturday, but the rest are from Sunday.  Enjoy!


it snowed this much.  
this was my car at noon on saturday (cell phone photo)
this was my car at 8am on sunday (cell phone photo)

other cars got buried too
big time
businesses closed
and kept closing
most sidewalks were unwalkable.  people skied in the streets

it was the biggest snow storm since 1991

my emergency preparedness kit worked just fine! (cell phone photo)



So there it is.  My weekend in photos.  It was awesome to see so many folks out doing stuff.  I guess cabin fever doesn't kick in until you're stuck.... you know?  The day I went out and took photos...it was 0 degrees, and all I wanted to do was walk around.  Weird....right?  It's funny, because I don't drive very often, but the fact that I couldn't drive...the fact that I was basically stuck inside...that's what made me want to be outside.  I'm glad I did. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

8000 Meters



I've halfheartedly decided I need this. Except that it's 1000 dollars.


It can be found here.

This day is dedicated to sweatpants...

I don't have cravings too often, but when I do, they are strong. This morning, I woke up craving a totino's pizza...you know the ones, they cost about $1.50 and are made of cheap ingredients. My homegirl Ashley and I used to eat them all the time when we were in jr. high. (We ate everything back then).

Anyhow, I woke up with this craving, and figured what the heck...might as well indulge.

I got dressed (i.e. put some clothes on over my pajamas), and walked to the corner shop. "Good morning," I said to the guy who works there. He wished me a good morning as well. I walked over to the deep freezer with the pizza's, and there was nothing in there. I chuckled, and walked around the store and didn't see any pizza anywhere. Was this some kind of joke?

"Where's the pizza?" I asked. He told me they ran out, and a new delivery was coming tomorrow. I smiled....serves me right for craving pizza at 9 something in the morning.

Oh, I should note, that as I was putting on my shoes to walk to the store, I thought to myself I might get hit by a car on this pizza run.... and not in some messed up suicidal way, but in that I was so tired, I could just see someone running me over cuz I wasn't paying attention.

I tend to feel things very acutely, and so for just a moment, I thought maybe I should forgo the pizza. But then I thought better of it. I needed breakfast, and I might as well risk it. Right?

Since there were no pizza's at the corner store, I got a chicken cordon bleu-- I haven't had one for years. I also grabbed a can of diet coke. So random. I've been having headaches all week this past week (tuesday-wednesday were the worst I've ever had, EVER), and so I've been trying to be more conscious about what I eat....which for the record, I eat pretty well. I don't eat much-- but the stuff I do eat is good for me. <-- this is why I thought having some pizza today would be okay.... just not trying to make it a habit.

As I walked to the store today, I thought "This day is dedicated to sweatpants," because it really feels like a sweatpants day. My plans today include working on an essay for school, going to the gym, and doing a crossword puzzle. Oh, and tea with Nicole when she gets here (soon). My point is...all of today's activities can be enjoyed while wearing sweats.

I'm tired... I stayed up last night watching Hugh Grant movies. I used to not like him at all-- but now, well, I kind of find him charming (which is probably why I didn't like him initially). Anyhow, I stayed up late (2am) watching "About a Boy" and "Did you Hear About the Morgans." I think once I get some food and some caffeine in me, I'll feel better. Wishing everyone a lovely sunday! Oh...we got one helluva snow storm last weekend...I took some photos. I'll post them soon.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

On a roll...

I was really on a roll last week, with my blog posts. Not so much this week. It isn't that things are horrible...no, things are pretty good. I guess I've just been busy with work. Oh, and running. I've found this new love of running outside at night in the freezing cold. Sounds crazy, right? I suppose it is, but it's also a really meditative feeling for me. I am typically scared of running at night, especially in the summer, because I don't want to get kidnapped. In the winter though, there's not as much foot traffic, and the general pace of life seems to be a bit slower.

And... truth be told... I'm getting sick of running on the treadmill at the gym. When I worked out at lifetime, I used to be able to run for an hour no problem, because they have TV's. It was simple... just watch a football game, or some shitty television show... time flew. At the gym I go to now, there are no TV's. And no music. It's quiet, minus the grunting and small talk people engage in. I used to be content on the treadmill, making goofy faces at myself and passing the time that way... but not anymore.

I've got a "study date" in half an hour. She's working on law school stuff, and I'm working on my school stuff. I have to bring head phones or I'll just want to talk the whole time. I like studying with folks in law school...cuz they are always studying! I met with one of my evaluators (for my project) earlier this week, which was really great to catch up and get some inspiration as well.

It's supposed to snow this weekend...they are talking 6-12 inches on Saturday. Wow. Oh, and apparently Sunday it is going to be below zero temperatures. Oh the joys of winter in Minnesota. It's funny, because so many of us complain about it each year.... yet we stay. I personally don't mind the snow...it's the cold I don't like. That said, I spent 50 bucks today on sierra trading post for a few pairs of socks and a couple of hats. I need to get some winter boots yet... perhaps that is something I should do today after studying. So long sneaker weather.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Love is not a feeling, it's an ability"


I am at a coffee shop right now editing my major paper for school. It's exciting, and long, and filled with grammatical mistakes. I love it. And I hate it.


I am going to Southside Family School this afternoon, to give Susie a look at what I've been writing.... and to talk to the kids about all the sweet work happening at Penumbra. The mission at Southside is very similar to the mission of Summer Institute, so I'm gonna take some time today to rap about it. I'm excited! It's my first official "in class visit" where I'm promoting the Summer Institute program. Woot!!

Anyhow, as I was reading through my essay, I came across the following, and felt the need to share it. Here ya go! Oh...and it's from "week 1" at Southside, two years ago.


That day, there was a saying written on the board that read, “Love is not a feeling, it’s an ability.” To me this was a sign that the atmosphere at Southside, specifically in Susie’s classroom was one that we would be able to love and learn together. It reassured me that whatever the students would bring next week, in terms of questions and directions to guide the following month and a half of exploring New Orleans, it would be out of love and a sincere desire to learn with one another and grow together.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

an·nun·ci·a·tion

It's no secret that I can sometimes be shy, mumble a bit, whatever....I know it's something I need to work on, especially at my new gig.

I called my sister last night, and left her a voicemail message. Apparently her phone is connected to her computer, because she wrote me an email back, including a transcript of my message. Here's what it said... (click the image to make it bigger).



So clearly, that is not what I said. Granted, it's a computer listening to my voice and transcribing it, and I'm no robot, so there's going to be some errors, but dang. It really reaffirms that I need to work on my presenting voice and my annunciation. A lot.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What a good day looks like

I had a pretty good day today. Here's what it looked like.

7am. Woke up an hour before my alarm went off.
8am. Ate a bowl of cereal, in bed.
9am. Walked to work.
9:05am. Worked.
12:15pm. Walked to the co-op and back to work.
12:45pm. Ate and did a crossword.
1pm. Worked. Hard.
4:30pm. Walked home from work.
5pm. Ran 3.5 miles at the gym.
6pm. Showered. Ate.
7pm. Crossword puzzle. Burned some sage. Sat in front of a space heater.

It's now 9:03pm. I'm tempted to start watching "Born Into Brothels", which is my movie of the moment compliments of Netflix. A glass of bourbon sounds good too. I may opt out of both however, do some stretching and go to bed early. Perhaps I will lay in bed and read for a while. I'm not sure yet.

Things are kind of funky in my life right now... I'm seeing a lot of chaos around me. It's hard to watch. When I was at the gym tonight, everything smelled so strong. And granted, it's the gym and things are going to smell...but every different smell there was so distinct and powerful. It was overwhelming. My senses, both smell and spacial are really sensitive right now. I'm feeling things much more acutely. In a way it's kind of cool.... being so aware of things. In another way however, it's kind of annoying. Sometimes, I just want to walk through the world untouched, unaware. You know?

I suppose when it comes down to it...I embrace these heightened awareness. I think it's better that way. I could be wrong, but I don't care. I'm gonna go with it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oh Em Gee - Mahalia is dead!


OMG stands for Oh My God, which is what people say when things are good, bad, or shocking. I'm having an OMG moment as we speak.

Today is Sunday, which means that while some are out to church, and others are tailgating, I am home, in my pajamas listening to Mahalia Jackson on vinyl. I often joke that I listen to Mahalia on Sundays in lieu of going to church. Well...today, it's true. Besides, I don't really go to church. I mean, I have. When I was little we went to a Unitarian church. But then pastor (?) moved, so we followed him (or her, I don't remember, I was just a kid), but it was too far of a commute, so we quit going to church.

Over the last 2-3 years, I've gone to church a few times. I went with the ever-speedy Ladia a couple of times. She would go in big part for the music, but also because of her dedication to God. I went with her to hear the music, to learn more about her, and to learn more about Christianity. I went to a mosque with my buddy Aziz a year ago. I was taking a class with Jim Laine (hilarious man, if you ever get a chance to take a class with him, I recommend it) and we had to go to a service/place of worship that was different from our own. I wasn't able to participate in the service at the Mosque, because I am a woman, but I was able to observe, which was really cool. (Note: before you judge, keep in mind I wouldn't be able to take communion at a Catholic service either).

I also went to a couple different Evangelical services with my friend Shari. Girl can sing... which is mostly why I went. One of the services we went to was in Bryn Mawr, at a school auditorium.... I remember taking notes (which are in an old journal somewhere), and being really pleased with the messages being shared. To me, they were less about God and more about people. I felt like I could relate to a lot of the things being said. (This is weird, because when I think of Evangelical, I think of people trying to push their beliefs on to me...but when I was there, I didn't feel that way).

I used to live half a block from a Presbyterian church...so I went there a handful of times. I figured since I'd been to all the other places in the neighborhood (bars, coffee shop, etc), I should check out the church as well. The people there were very nice, and welcoming...yet they didn't push their religion on me. One old woman (probably in her 80's) asked me what my home church was, and I said I didn't have one. She asked what religion I was raised with, and I said I wasn't. She still served me a cup of coffee... and didn't feel the need to preach. I appreciated that.

I live close to the cathedral, but have not been there for services. I went once on a tour with one of my group home girls, and that was interesting. I stopped and talked to some protesters a couple weeks ago over there, who were upset about the DVD condemning homosexuality. I don't know what difference protesting makes, but I think it's good that they came together and had a physical presence.

This weekend, I declared it "Pajama Weekend". That means no church clothes... only pajamas and gym clothes. Feeling like I should "embrace my spiritual side", I tried playing some Mahalia Jackson this morning. It didn't work. It was warped. I yanked a few other records from the stack, and they were also warped. This initiated the OMG response...the OMG Mahalia is warped, dead, done, over. Ugh. What a terrible feeling. I hollered at my boy Adrian and he agreed with my plan to put each record under my heavy set of speakers for a while so they flatten out. Andy Wilbourn told me the same thing too, a while ago, when I was in denial of any record warping damage.

So....I now have a year long task ahead of me.... flatten out these records. Some I don't care if they get fixed. Some I can repurchase for a dollar at Landfill Records. Others, a digital version will suffice. And there's a few yet...that just can't be replaced with MP3/digital versions. A few like Mahalia, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, etc...

We shall see what happens. Maybe this is a sign that I should sell my turntables, and use my desk for studying, rather than spinning. Truth be told... I don't spin records. Well, sometimes I mess around with mixing, but that isn't very often. Mostly, I just let the record play itself...which usually is enough to make me happy. Today though, I am not happy... because as you know, music makes my world go 'round, and while sure I have a lot of music on my computer, nothing compares to the sounds of Mahalia, Marvin, Stevie, Janis, Joni.... on wax.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One pink sweater at a time....


A couple weeks ago, I mentioned in a blog that I needed some business casual clothes... I didn't think anything would come of it. I couldn't have been more wrong.


Last summer, in one of the most random moments of my life, I ran (part of) 193 miles with 12 people I had never met before. I don't think I wrote about it, which is a shame, because it was an experience like no other. Regardless, I made some new friends at this race. One of them, Alicia read my blog about needing clothes. She said she could help me out...and did she ever!!

I am sitting on my couch right now, wearing one of about a dozen cashmere sweaters she outfitted me with. In my closet are now 5 more pairs of heels that I started with (bringing the grand total to 6). I went to the western suburbs to check out "some sweaters" that Alicia had set aside for me...and holy smokes! To say it was overwhelming wouldn't be accurate... but it was something pretty close.

"Some of this might be too 'girly' for you", she said. I told her I'm trying to embrace my feminine side, so this will be good. As I sorted through a bed full of clothes, I unintentionally pushed the pinks and pastel colors aside. I didn't realize it until taking a step back. Alicia gave me 5 pairs of heels too, one of which I tried to do some house cleaning in yesterday. I didn't last long in heels (about 30 seconds), so I'm going to need some more practice before stepping out in the real world.

I am blessed. Really. So blessed. I've got a few women in my life right now, that are helping me become more aware of how I carry myself, how I present myself, how I work with what I've got. It's been amazing, and I am learning so much. I'm so thankful.

When I was little, I would run around in basketball shorts and tee-shirts. I still do, occasionally.... which I think is fine (occasionally). Frankly, I can rock both looks... I can do jeans with my grampa's button up and a jacket. Or I can work a dress (it's the walking in heels that kills me). And as I am experiencing more sides of life, I am learning that it's good to be able to go back and forth between the two. I'm also learning how important "presentation" is.

Argh... this blog isn't going where I want it to go. I've got a lot on my mind right now, and didn't sleep well.... so this is more "jumbled" than I'd hoped. I played guitar last night for a couple hours...it was good. I need to play more often (piano too). It's a good outlet for me, as is running, which I haven't been doing enough of lately. I need to pick a race, I think that's the problem. I have no upcoming races, it's 30 degrees and icy outside, and my motivation is low. When I run, I feel good about myself. When I dress nice, I feel good about myself. When I feel good about myself, I am productive, loving, and happy.

I'm going to embrace these feelings one pink sweater at a time...


Friday, November 19, 2010

Get Outta Town!!



2 posts in one day? Get outta town. I'm on a roll....deal with it.


A couple weeks ago (halloween weekend), I went camping with Andy and Chris Wilbourn. Here are the pictures. Also, in following up to my post a week or two ago... I didn't end up going to see Ardes. It was our first snow of the season, and people tend to lose their ability to drive during the first snow, so I stayed close to home. I'll get out to see her in the next month or two. She's awesome, and I was bummed to not be able to see her last weekend.

Anyhow....here are the photos. You can see the photos took here.


looking for firewood.

love.

andy.

andy getting the fire going.

pork.

beans.

pork and beans.

chris got fancy with his pork and beans.

andy during a serious moment.

andy.

chris.

my favorite photo of chris from the weekend.

jay cooke state park.

jay cooke.

chris and andy.

Eulogy: A letter to my grampa


I wrote this after my grampa died. I was 20. My best friend (amelia), her sister Rosie read this at their service. (my gramma and grampa died within a week of eachother-- yes, that's real love-- and so we had their service together).

I can't believe she read it. It meant the world to me...and she was so young...so brave. Thank you Rosalie, you may never know how much your courage meant to me.

-----------------------------------

You’ve been my hero, my love, and my best friend. All of that in an 88-year man, with a big round belly. Who knew I’d fall in love with such a character?

Without you these past 4 months, a wave of loneliness has swept over me. I feel incomplete. You’ve been so much to me.


You’ve been the father I never had, you’ve been the hero I’ve always admired, and you’ve been the best friend that I’ve always needed.


I hope you know how much I love you.


I loved fishing with you, except for the time I fell through the hole in the ice.


I loved bowling with you at the student center, even though I’d always quit after half a game and make a run for the snack bar.


I loved sitting on your lap while we watched football. I got too big to sit on your lap, but we didn’t care, I’d squish you anyway.


I loved playing catch with you in the front yard, you jumping in the air after my wild throws, and chasing after balls headed to the neighbors yard.


I didn’t so much love when you made me stand outside on the deck, one cold winter night, because I didn’t finish my vegetables at dinner. You probably forgot about that by now. I didn’t.


I loved that you would come to my hockey games, and lay out the blanket for grandma and you to sit on. I could never focus on games when you were there, because I was always so happy and proud you were in the stands. Sometimes you’d clap when the other team scored. You were so nice.


I loved helping you get dressed at 7am this summer…but loved it more when you were still sleeping and I’d push your legs over and climb in bed with you.


I loved your big belly…sorry I always joked about you swallowing a bowling ball.


I loved that you showed me how to artificially inseminate a chicken, long before I knew what insemination was.


I loved yours and Kirk’s panicked reaction when I got carsick on the way to Canada. Y’all had no idea how to help the sick 10 year old Indian in the back seat.


I loved it this summer, when I asked you what your favorite music was, and you said “hip hop”.


I loved that I was your sweetie and you were my dude.


I loved holding your hand. I’d do anything to hold your fat, old, dry hands again.


I loved that you’d call me a smart ass, but never held it against me.


I loved that you were the “ladies man” of the nursing home. That’s quite the honor.


I loved that we shared clothes…well, that you let me take all your sweaters and button up shirts.


I loved your “women want me, fish fear me” shirt. I wear it when I miss you.


I loved that you promised me a jeep wrangler when I graduated college.


We both knew I wouldn’t graduate college in your lifetime.


I loved when I’d try to drink whisky and eat dry burnt toast with you, but couldn’t stomach it. You’d laugh, I’d grimace.


I loved that funny smell you always had. Old man smell.


I loved saying “stay out of trouble” when I’d leave the nursing home, and you’d sit there with a huge grin on your face because we both knew the kinds of trouble you could get into.


I miss you Grandpa. And I love you, so much. You mean the world and beyond to me.

I will never forget you, the love of my life, my super hero, my best friend.


------------------------------------

It's hard for me to read this, and know it's been almost 6 years since my grampa died. It still feels like yesterday. He was the one person who understood me. He was my love.

Without him, i feel lost....yet, without him, I am inspired, to take it one step further. I want to make him proud.





Thursday, November 11, 2010

One of many...

One of many reasons I don't update my blog very often is because I have terrible internet connection. That is...I use my neighbors, and it's slow/unpredictable. Also...the only place my computer can get online is when it's on the back of my couch. If you happen to have a laptop, put it on the back of your couch, and try using it there for a while. I know I could write on a word document and then just upload it to my blog, but that's not the point.

I'm getting my own internet today!! I've been wanting to get internet for years, but have never had the funds to do so. Now that I'm rolling in the "big bucks" at my new job I can actually afford it. What this means, is I am not limited to sitting sideways/backwards on my couch. Nope, this time I'll be able to do like most people with laptops do... I'll be able to check my email while I'm in the bathroom, or making dinner, or still in bed. Ha!

Anyhow, I hope to update more often with this new luxury. This weekend I am going to visit my homegirl, Ardes Shea. She's a riot, who I can barely keep up with. I'm excited for our slumber party. Last night I took pictures for a quilt binding event at work. The dozen women who came were beautiful in their own, unique way. And...they all brought food. Yummo!! Tonight I am taking pictures for a corporate event being held at the zoo. I wonder if I'll get an elephant ride out of it?

A friend and I spoke (briefly) last night about going to India. That was always my plan.... to go volunteer at my orphanage after I graduated college...which was supposed to happen a few years ago, I guess. We'll see. I'm slowly making progress on my schoolwork. I'd like to have my projects done by winter break. Scratch that... I WILL HAVE MY PROJECTS DONE BY WINTER BREAK.

With my new job...I'm finding that I need to update my wardrobe. If anyone has business/casual attire they no longer use, hit me up. I'm pretty small...but have long limbs. Either that, or if anyone wants to shop with me, give a shout.... I usually don't last but an hour, so hopefully you are similar. (I love my sister, but damn the woman can shop! I can't keep up, so I don't try).

Lastly, I went camping with Chris and Andy Wilbourn a couple weekends ago. Sheesh, it was COLD! It must have dipped below freezing at night. (I know people camp in much harsher weather than that). In fact, Chris and I spoke that night about what it would be like to be homeless, and sleeping in the cold without the comfort of a tent or a sleeping bag. Very sad to think about, but important to remember as well.

I took pictures while we were there. (We all took pictures, actually). I will try and have those edited by early next week. I've got a lot on my plate for photography right now, so I might as well take it on all at once!

Hope folks in MN reading this are enjoying the nice weather we've been having. Rumor is, it's gonna get colder soon. I'll believe it when I see it. (I'm currently sitting-backwards- on my couch, with a space heater on my back, so I guess I'll see it soon enough).

Cheers and love!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

As of late.

Things I have been thinking about lately.... (but haven't written down until now). Oops.

PS These are in no particular order of importance or otherwise.



1. Why fathers/men name their kids after them, but women do not. I've never met a "Sally Jr", or Melinda III. Have you.

2. Gay kids killing themselves. If you haven't been thinking about this, you haven't been paying attention. Last week there was a vigil at Loring Park that I went to with a friend of mine. There were a couple hundred people there, maybe more. My candle kept blowing out. The vigil was nice, but what does it do? Ideally, at least one part of it could be that people who were feeling shitty about who they are, could go and see that they are loved and supported. There was lots of talk about how "we" need to teach others to be tolerant and teachers need to step in, etc... but I'd be willing to bet that those who needed to hear such things were not at the vigil.

3. My new job is amazing. I met some of the kids, they are brilliant. I am excited for my future.

4. Yep, I said it. I am excited for my future. :)

5. I ran twin cities 10 mile race a couple weeks ago. My goal was 80 minutes. I ran 80 minutes and 52 seconds. I didn't meet my goal, but I did have a mimosa at mile 8. <--- I wouldn't have made my goal even if I skipped the mimosa, so don't hate.

6. I've been trying to de-clutter my apartment. One of the things I struggle with is what to do with my grampa's clothes. Some of his sweaters and button ups, I will wear. Others, I probably wont, but I can't throw them out. I talked to a friend the other day, and she suggested I make hats and mittens out of the sweaters I wont wear. I think this is a fabulous idea! I need to learn how to knit though.... anyone want to teach me? Also, if you are a man, with a frame bigger than me (not hard, i know), you can have these button up shirts. Get at me. I don't want to give them to the goodwill (I have other stuff to give to the goodwill). I want to give them to friends.... cuz they are important to me.

7. I need to learn how to let go.

8. I 'm trying to eat more. If you are reading this, and we are friends.... hit me up. Lets cook dinner or go to a happy hour. :)

9. I've been listening to the music that I wrote. Some of it is good. I want to make more music.

10. I got a skateboard. I rode it once, a half a block. I should ride it more, especially before it snows!

11. I need a headshot for work.

12. I need to get internet at my house. I can finally afford it!

13. We are winterizing the garden today. I'm already wearing my overalls.

14. My cousin got married a month and a half ago. I did the wedding photography. It's a lot of work. Good work, but a lot of work. I was happy with how the day went and how the photos turned out. He was too :)

15. I still need running partners. I've been running with a couple of dudes, and it's been great. It needs to happen more often. Holla!

16. I'd been feeling kind of dejected lately, because I'm not as into politics as I used to be. I felt like I was less of a person/citizen, cuz I don't see the point of door knocking and bleeding heart and soul over politicians who really dont give a F*#$ about ya. I realized though... I do still care about the ways of the world, and the future, and that my way of being politically active is through teaching. I may not hold up signs on the franklin bridge, or go to conventions or rallies... but I do talk to kids and the work I am doing know is all about supporting them and their projects for creating social change. That is how I can be an activist.

17. I don't have a TV, so I'm not seeing all the political ads that are abuzz. This makes me happy.

18. This year, I am going to become a member of MPR. I can finally afford it. This also makes me happy.

19. Clearly, I am procrastinating. It's my day off. I need to finish sorting laundry, get new running shoes, help my mom winterize the garden, and ideally start working on my school work.

20. I will try to update my blog more often. I know I make that promise a lot.... but now that it's getting cooler out, and I'll have a stable internet connection at my place... I think writing will be less of a chore. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Skateboarding Almost got Ruined by Perverts


I want to get a skateboard. Actually, I want to get a longboard. There are several places within a mile of my house, that I like to frequent. Walking there is fine, I do it often, but I also get bored pretty fast. Biking there is easy, though short, and sometimes not worth the effort (...where did I put my lock, where is my helmet, the front tire might have a leak, etc). Driving seems like a waste of time, especially as it getting cooler, and my car wouldn't even have enough time to get warm. I can run to all of these (elusive-unnamed) places, but arriving sweaty and out of breath is not always my first choice.

My solution to all of this is to get a longboard, obviously. Of course, a longboard will only be able to be ridden for half of the year or less. It doesn't work so well in snow and ice, nor does riding in the rain leave one with a flattering look and windblown locks.

Upon doing a google search of longboards, I found hundreds of different options, varying in style/price/materials. So what do I choose? I have no idea. Part of me also wonders if buying a longboard is worth it. Maybe I should get a regular skateboard, so I have a little more flexibility in its use (in case I decide to practice and compete in X-Games). Yeah right. Anyhow, my point is, I have no idea what I want.

I was at my moms the other day, and there were a bunch of kids in the neighborhood on their boards. During the summer, I swear that is all they do. I miss those days, granted I wasn't on a skateboard when I was a kid. I was usually off scrapping with the boys, or pissing off the tennis snobs by playing roller hockey on the courts. Anyhow, it occurred to me, that the best way to find out what kind of skateboard I want is not to read countless reviews online, but to just go out and find people who will let me try out theirs.

So here is the problem. As kids, we were told not to talk to strangers... cuz for every X amount of awesome and well intentioned people, there is gonna be some perverted d-bag who is going to kill you, kidnap you, cop a feel on you, or all of the above. Every now and then, while reading the paper, I see a brief that says "Dude in car lurking around bus stops, asked girl for directions, girl ran away screaming". And that's legit. She should have, cuz that is what she was taught.

So my issue is that I don't want to be "that dude", which clearly I cannot be for the obvious reason (I am not a dude). But you get what I mean. As well intentioned as I am, and as honest and as gentle of a person as I am... it really doesn't matter when it comes to talking to kids. I mean yeah, I still talk to kids, and wave to them when I run by them during my training, and smile at them when I see them, or make funny faces at them while waiting in line at the store or out to eat.... but you never can know for sure when the kid will read into it the wrong way, or the parent will get pissed off at you, or any other number of things that might go wrong.

There are kids in my neighborhood that I don't know. I haven't introduced myself to them, yet. I will, and I think the best time to do that is when the parents are around. I have this image in my head, of me talking to some neighborhood kid, and a "concerned parent" seeing me out of their window across the street and becoming fearful.

It's fucked up that we live in a world that kids and parents (and humans in general) are taught to fear "strangers". People who are "different" than us, older or younger, darker or lighter, from nearby or across the pond... we've been blasted with messages of "stranger/danger", which yes, is true, sometimes... but what about the other times? What about the fun, genuine people, like me, who just want to try out your skateboard so I can decide 1. if I want a shortboard or a longboard. 2- if I can do a kick-flip.

I probably will hit up one of the neighborhood kids about their skateboard. Forget the culture of fear and perverts. I want to be real in my exchanges and interactions with people in my community, so I will.

As I reread this blog, I see how it sounds like I am afraid to just be me and afraid to talk to the kids in the neighborhood. That's not the case. I'm just disappointed that it's even an issue, that there are people in this world who are so messed up in the head, that they would take advantage of young minds and bodies. They ruin it for everyone.

I'm having a hard time articulating myself in this post, which is weird, cuz I love kids and I love to write. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm taking it as a sign to end this entry. I'll let you know when I get a skateboard. Until then...






Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Alive!



I have been alive this whole time too.... My apologies for not writing.


This summer was one of the best summers yet! And for once...I realized it.

I often found myself saying, "damn, my life is SO good right now". I said this a lot...to others, to myself, in my journal, in my actions. Life is good.

What makes it good? Plenty of things. Probably the most important thing would be my friends/family. I was extremely active this summer, not only in the literal/physical way, but also much more intentionally social with folks. Banging.

School is school, and I'm taking my projects a bit more seriously this time around. I need/want to get them done ASAP.

Work is work... and I will write more on that later, when the time is right. :)

This morning (monday), I walked to the coffee shop (at the corner) to get a paper. I like doing crosswords on monday's, because it's the one day of the week that I have a chance at finishing them. Besides, I want to check out my horoscope to see if I like it or not. Anyhow, I went to the paper machine, put in 2 dimes and a nickel....and what did I get? NOTHING. No paper, no change back, nothing. I smiled, and walked back to my house, empty handed. "Must not have been a good horoscope then", I thought to myself.

Today I am going to edit photos from my cousin's wedding (a week and a half ago). I've got a new website, but it's still in the works. Stayed tuned.

I ran a race this weekend.... it was a small one, and not very competitive. That said, I placed 7th overall, and was the 2nd female finisher. This is a bit deceiving, because I am actually not fast at all... however, it's cool because with a 2nd place female finish (and 1st in my division), I win a prize. I don't know what the prize is, they are going to mail it to me... but I am hoping that it is cash.

I think one of the other big reasons my summer kicked ass is because I ran a lot. I ran gramma's half marathon in June. I ran a 193 mile relay race with 11 people I'd never met before in August, and now here I ran this 10k a couple days ago. Up next is the TC 10 mile (October 3). I'm still looking for a sponsor... I'm hoping costello's will pull through. Seems like good advertising to me... I'm going to be running past tens of thousands of spectators....and, since I'm not very fast... people will actually be able to read what my shirt/bra reads. We'll see.

It's beautiful outside. And I'm inside. Time to change that. I'll try and write more often as well. I think about stuff to write everyday, but I never seem to make the time to actually write it down. Lame. This will change.

-asha.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm a sucker for a cream based soup.


Here's the deal--

This is not going to turn into a food blog. I can promise you that. However, this morning, I got to thinking.... I am a sucker for a cream based soup.

This morning, my friend Keri called me to make plans for playing guitars later today. We've been practicing on our own for the last week or so, and are gonna hook up today and see how we sound. I'm excited. I hadn't played my guitar for so long before that. Anyhow, Keri called around 930, thinking I would still be asleep. Sorry friend, you were wrong. We made plans for later in the day, and then just chatted on the phone for a while. Keri mentioned something about having made hash browns for breakfast yesterday. Yum.... hash browns. I instantly got hungry for them.

I'm on a budget now (i.e. I'm pretty close to broke), so I couldn't just take myself out to eat.... which was of course my first choice. 2nd pick, walk to the co-op, which is half a mile away. As I left my apartment, I noticed my car... and I had to stop and give it some thought. I was super tired, and super hungry.... I could just drive to the co-op, or even drive somewhere else and get food. But I thought better of it.... I know I enjoy my little walks. Makes me feel accomplished in some weird way.

Anyhow, I got to the co-op and here's what I bought. Remember, I went for hash browns.

2 yellow squash.
2 zucchinis.
3 things of the best yogurt ever.
1 thing of raspberry jam
bulk items: granola, mixed nuts, sesame sticks
6 brown eggs
1 pack of string cheese
2 red plums
1 black plum
1 package of hash browns
1 sunday paper
1 package of extra firm tofu.

I came out pretty well, I think. I've usually got to go grocery shopping when I'm hungry...otherwise, I wont get much of anything.

Oh, and so the title of this blog... I can't forgot about that. So...as I'm walking through the aisles, picking random things, snacking on items that are clearly NOT labeled "sample", I come to the deli. I say hi to my friends mom who works there, and then start looking at the soups. "something or other chowder". Fuck.... I love me some chowder. For real. Clam chowder, corn chowder, chicken chowder....whatever, I love it. I opened the lid of the pot, and took in the aroma that was steaming out of the top. Yum. I put the lid back on, and just stood there. (i'm sorry for anyone who had to watch my dilemma). I though to myself, "Damn, I really want this soup, and it's ready right now, unlike these hash browns which will take a while to cook". But...I was here for the hash browns.... that's why I walked up there in the first place. I smelled the soup once more.... and kind of messed with the ladle that was in there. Ugh, I closed the lid and walked away, feeling salty (yes, pun intended.... i was at a grocery store after all).

I went home and started to cook my hash browns. I started snacking on the sesame sticks and string cheese while I waited. I sent a text to my neighbor, to see if she had some ketchup. By the time my hash browns finished cooking, I wasn't really hungry. I didn't get any ketchup either. I used hot sauce....which tasted better than any ketchup would have.

So here I am, on my couch, with a belly full of sesame sticks and hash browns. Oh, and some yogurt. "Breakfast" is my biggest meal of the day (ideally), so I went all out this morning. It's okay though.... because while I am stuffed and waiting for this food to digest (so I can go on a run before Keri and I hook up), I will do the sunday crossword puzzle.

Life is good.

-asha.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Things I love...



Every now and then, I like to make a list of things I love...as a reminder that I do love things, love life, love being present.

I thought about doing that today, but have opted to write more about who I am. This may include things I love. This may include weird character traits. I'm not sure. I haven't written it yet.

Definitions of ourselves should be fluid. What "defines" me today, may not tomorrow. Maybe it will, I don't know, and I don't like the idea of having to know.

I could do this as an "I am" poem, but those always end up being too fucking deep. I don't want deep. I want surface... at least initially for this task.

(is this a task? i don't know. not really, i don't think). I think I need some coffee. Or maybe some tea. Something to wake my ass up. My water bottle is the closest thing to me... so water it is.


About me.

Food/Drink:
-I like my water at room temperature.
-I like my diet coke from a can.
-I like my vodka sodas with 2 limes and 1 lemon.
-I like green peppers only when they are raw.
-But don't like yellow/red peppers raw.
-One of my favorite things is to watch cream and coffee mix. It reminds me of a bi-racial relationship.
-I love ice cream. I eat it whenever I can. Like this morning for example. But I had a banana with it, to make it seem more like "breakfast".
-I love meat. But I'm broke, so I don't buy much of it.
-I love to cook, but cooking for 1 person (myself) is boring, so I don't cook as often as I'd like.
-I don't like to eat leftovers...this is probably because I don't have a microwave.
-Things reheated that I enjoy: Pizza (in a frying pan), and chinese food (also in a frying pan).
-I like sugar free popsicles, not because I'm watching my weight, but because they taste good.


Sports:
-I played hockey for 12 years. I could have played (lower end) D1. I kind of wasted that opportunity/talent.
-I lost my skates, sometime after high school.... I borrowed some from a friends brother, and had to give them back this winter. Now, I have no skates.
-I love to fish. Is that a sport? It's on TV sometimes.... and they have fishing jerseys, so it must be a sport.
-Why aren't there any women who umpire professional baseball?
-I played softball from when I was a little kid (actually, I started out in baseball), through the 9th grade. My coach always thought I cheated when we had to run the big block (around central). I was just that fast.... (compared to some thick softball players, big deal). She turned me off of the sport. I played a bit on a co-ed team with some friends, but the guys did the typical guy thing, and would basically run the women down trying to catch balls that were clearly not in their side of the field.
-I've gotten back into running lately. Thank god. I was slacking, and needed to make a change.
-Today I signed up to be a mentor for boulder options (like big brothers big sisters, but focuses on running/cycling).
-A couple of winters, I decided I should be a long jumper (mostly because my legs are long). I trained for a month or two, and competed in an open race at the U. I didn't come in last place.


Music/Sound
-I love music. Lots of people say that, but I really do. I take pride in my music library. -Sometimes people have asked to get my whole library on their ipod. I say no. This makes me a hater, I know... but I just can't do it. My iTunes library is my baby. I'll make you a mix CD though, any day of the week.
-In my little apartment, I have 2 turntables, a guitar, 2 keyboards, a drum, and a trumpet. Believe it or not, I'm actually a pretty quiet neighbor.
-I used to have a "sound machine" that I'd put on when I slept. I'm letting a friend use it this summer, since I have a window fan going most nights.
-I want to learn how to read music. I'm not very disciplined when it comes to doing it though.
-One of my favorite things is to wear my big ass headphones at track meets. This is for 2 reasons... one, it prevents me from getting "spooked" when the gun goes off. and two, it's really amazing to listen to sigur ros type stuff while watching fast/intense running races...it's kind of surreal.
-I want to see stevie wonder play live. Ideally at First Ave (or my house, if he really wanted to).


School/Education.
-I've been in/out/around college for 8 years. I'm still working on my bachelor's degree. I'm annoyed.
-I think education outside of the classroom is equally (if not more so) important that "traditional" education. I wish more people thought that way.
-I want to be a high school english teacher. Or maybe a counselor. Or maybe a social worker. I don't really know what exactly, but I want to be in a position to use music/art/creative writing to -help youth work through their issues/concerns in positive ways.
-I still keep in touch with some of my teachers, one from almost 20 years ago.
-I collect books, many of them non-fiction. I want to have my own library (at my house). -Furthermore, when I have a question about something, I want to be able to look it up in a book, not on wikipedia.
-I like to write. I should do it more often. I should do a lot of things more often.


Other things:
-I love hooded sweatshirts, and wearing layers of clothes. I can't do this in the summer, so I wear what every other mid 20's girl is wearing right now.... knee length shorts. Sigh.
-I love old people. LOVE them.
-I have the soul of an old man.
-My grampa was my best friend. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you should know this.
-I am not a morning person, but I am trying hard to be.
-I have a lot of different friends, from all over the place....they are different colors, genders, orientations, classes, personalities, ages, etc. My friends are awesome.
-I'm liberal in my thinking, but get annoyed with liberals. I get annoyed with conservatives too... but at least conservatives are honest about being greedy.
-I love st paul. I'm a st paul kid. I may leave, travel, study, whatever, but my heart is in st paul.
-I love kids. They are inspiring, humbling, challenging, etc... I want more kids in my life (not my own kids--yet, but kids to hang out with for a couple hours, or a couple days... and when they get bratty, teach them a lesson first and then give them back to their parent/s.
-My couch is more comfortable than my bed. If you stay the night, and we are not sleeping together, don't be surprised if I take the couch.... and yes, I'm trying to be a good host and give you the bed.
-I might go to noon meditation downtown st paul today.
-I'm true to my word. If I make a promise, I will keep it. (the only time I will break it, is if someone's health/life is in danger.... and if that's the case, I will let you decide who needs to make it known).
-I love doing the NYT's crossword puzzle. When I complete them (it's only happened a handful of times), I hang them up on my fridge.
-On saturday I wore a little white dress for a bachelorette party. Monday I wore carhartt overalls and worked a construction job. Tuesday I wore a business suit. Not to brag, but I made all of them work.


That's probably it for now. I've clearly bored myself. More soon. Oh, and the following is a picture that kind of describes my summer so far.... music and dead flowers. Life is good.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

1:48:15


A couple weeks ago, I ran 12 miles with Jamie Cheever. It was the longest run of my life... so when I got home, I threw on dry clothes and went to the pub for a couple of "celebratory" beers. I didn't stretch very well, and this was a mistake. My legs were sore for the next week and a half, and my training dwindled.

Gramma's Half Marathon was this Saturday, June 19th. I'd been nervous leading up to it, for a couple of reasons. 1. I was not sure where I was staying. 2. I was not very happy with my running the last couple of weeks.

I woke up on Friday morning to pick up Koby, and I was nervous as hell. My stomach was doing all kinds of funky things, and I thought to myself... "even though the race isn't till tomorrow, I'm having my pre-race jitters". That was fine though, as I hoped then that race day would leave me cool and collected.

Koby and I arrived in Duluth on Friday afternoon. We picked up my race packet, and had a pasta dinner. After dinner, we watched the 5K, that Erin Ward and Carrie Tollefson dominated. Next, I met up with Leigh and Keith for a beer at Old Chicago. I went back to the tent where Koby and I camped (about a mile from downtown Duluth). I popped a melatonin pill around 9:30, and was asleep by 10.

Race day: Alarm sounds at 4am. Fuck, that's early. I went to the car, and got changed. I ate a PB sandwich, and took my vitamins. Koby dropped me off at about 5:00am to catch the shuttle to the start of the race. The shuttle ride was about 15-20 minutes, and it was nice to talk with people about the race and share the excitement.

It was about 55 degrees at the start of the race, and I was hesitant to undress (into my racing outfit of a sports bra and little shorts), because I didn't want to get cold. I had to be ready for the start though, so I stripped down and threw my sweats in a bag with a couple thousand other people's bags.

I was supposed to meet my friend Chris at the 1:50 pace setter, as my goal was to run 1:50 or faster. I saw 2 hour balloon, but along side it said 8 minute pace. Up where the 1:50 guy was, it said 7:45 pace. WTF, I thought? Had a been wrong in my math all along? I had e-mailed a bunch of people a few days prior, and said my goal was 1:50. If 1:50 was a 7:45 pace, I would be screwed. I lined up with the 8 minute pace people, and away we went.

A few minutes into the race (actually, probably 4-5 minutes into it, as it took me 2 minutes to even cross the starting line), I saw chris. What a relief. I told him I thought my math was wrong, but he reassured me, things were just lined up kind of funny at the race.

We ran together for the first couple of miles, and then parted ways. "Run your own race", Chris said to me. He was right. I needed to "own" my race.... I was the one in charge.

I ran with an older guy about 5-6 miles into the race. I had met him on the shuttle to the starting line. I told him this was my first half marathon. He said I was doing great. "7:54 we just ran that last mile in". Yikes... that's a touch too fast, this early in the race, I thought. I felt pretty good, but didn't want to push it.

One of my goals for the race was to run the 2nd half faster than the first. By this time, I had lost the 1:50 pacer... he was ahead of me. "Stay calm", I told myself.

Along the route, there were people cheering, as well as people handing out water/powerade, sponges, and fruit. I had read once, to take a sponge that they hand out, and keep it in your shorts. When you go through the water lines, you can dip your sponge in there and just suck the water out of it. It helps you hydrate without slowing down too much. This was one of my race tactics.

I grabbed a couple of orange slices along the route as well. I don't know if these helped or not, but I pretended like they did. I had heard from a friend that they hand out beer along the course too... but I was suspicious of this. Low and behold, somewhere along mile 10 (?) was a row of young men handing out "cold beer". I slowed down a bit, and thought to myself, "if I take this, will I sabotage my race"? I thought not, so I grabbed a cup and took a few sips. I'd read in Bob Glover's book "The Competitive Runner's Handbook" that a couple of beers every night isn't a bad thing, because it metabolizes faster than food. Anyhow, the beer didn't hurt me.

I wanted to stop running after about 10 miles. Even when I ran a 10 mile "race" a couple weeks ago, I stopped and stretched during the middle of it. This time though, I kept on.

I ran my last 1.2 miles around a 7:45 pace. I often have a pretty big kick at the end, which is something I don't want.... I want to be spent by the time I get to the end, so learning that my last mile was a quick one makes me happy.

Anyhow, I crossed the finish line at 1:50 something or other, but my actual (chip) time was 1:48:15. I achieved my goal.

Koby biked around and took pictures, and I will post them here. (note: I did some minor color editing to these pictures, but she was the photographer). I took a few pictures the night before, of the 5K, as well as a couple of pictures on sunday of Koby in Lake Superior. I will post a few of these as well.

Anyhow, this was longer than I anticipated...(I have schoolwork to do, that I am putting off, obviously). Short story long... I finished my first half marathon, and achieved my goals (to run 1:50 or faster, run the 2nd half faster than the first, and place in the top 10% of all women finishers).

I'm not sure what my next race will be. I want to drop my time to 1:45 or faster, which will take some consistent training. I might run a 10k in July, and then go for another half marathon in August. We'll see. I've been looking online for races, but none have really "jumped out" at me.

So that's the story of my first half marathon. Thanks to Koby for taking pictures and finding us a place to camp, and congrats to all my friends who ran this weekend. Oh, and thanks to those who sent me some positive energy over the weekend.


my race results.

photo taken by koby, edited by asha.

photo taken by koby, edited by asha.

photo taken by koby, edited by asha.

photo (of chris and asha) taken by koby, edited by asha.

re-hydrating with friends after the race. (photo taken by koby, edited by asha).

carrie tollefson running the 5k on 06.18.2010.

carrie tollefson and erin ward (winning the 5k). 06.18.2010.

koby heading to the lake. 06.20.2010.

koby in the lake. 06.20.2010.