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


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


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.


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 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 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, 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'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


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.