Saturday, December 1, 2012

Letter to November

Dear November 2012,

I'd like to start by thanking you for the month that allowed me to celebrate 34 years on the planet, the month that gave us the opportunity to elect leaders who choose to stand on the right side of history, the month that started with Madonna's technical difficulties in St. Louis, the month where I got to close Magic Kingdom at 3am complete with an eagle soaring over Main Street (ok, maybe not an eagle, but it was still awesome.  Right, Fabricio??) after running a great race that morning in the bitter Florida cold (who knew the swamps could be so frigid??), the month that gave us super sexy moustaches everywhere you look in recognition of Movember, the month that Downton Abbey and the dowager countess entered my life, and the month that actually produced a good Twilight film.

But mostly I'd like to thank you for being over.

You're also the month that gave me disappointment at work, stressful family worries, a Hurricane in my fair city, a physical therapy appointment that told me no running for a couple of months due to a bum knee, a cold that would not go away, incredibly dry skin and chapped lips, a leaky bathroom (again), and some agita in my love life.  You haven't been the kindest to me, and for that I choose to take the lessons learned but slam the door as I leave you behind.

Thank you, oh month of thankfulness (which I was graciously reminded of every day via all forms of social media), for piling it all into 30 days tough days.  Thanks for showing me just how amazing the people in my life are -- from the tips on where to get Reese's Trees and silly (yet "worried") pictures I received from the Midwest, to the Honey Boo Boo Buzzfeed articles, the offering of a good old-fashioned Hamlisch if needed, and the unexpected words of wisdom in the mailroom.  And thanks for the loss of appetite that led to weight loss having me down a pants size, but conversely the same above the waist thus creating that wonderful stressy carb baby I hate so passionately.

December will be my comeback, and I'll look back at you and laugh (or at least sigh in relief that you're over).  One of my dearest recommended a book (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller) for me to read.  I plowed through in the midst of your lack of love.  Oddly enough, it sorta mimicked my month as I read it.  The parts I want to share are a marriage of "thank you" and "screw you," November 2012.
"Once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time."
And this one...
"You didn't think joy could change a person, did you?  Joy is what you feel when the conflict is over.  But it's conflict that changes a person."
I am changed by these conflicts you've slammed together into 4 long weeks.  But maybe I needed a little change in my life... this time on the inside.

Your frenemy,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Joyous Anniversary

Today's that day.  Ya know... that one I used to hate.  The one that used to cause panic attacks.  The one that I deemed a year ago today to be a celebration rather than a downer.  Yeah, that one.

November 6, 2006, changed my life forever.  It's the first act break in my story.  And November 6, 2011, was the second act break.  We'll just call this a Shakespearean type of play with multiple arcs and scenes... the kind that seems to go on forever but each new section only makes the ones before it make sense.

A lot has happened in the section we're sitting in right now.  A lot I haven't known how to share outside of my private journal.  A lot that seemed vulnerable and scary, yet amazing and perfect.  A year ago I embraced the Joy I met 5 years prior.  And I'm proud to say that she and I (with the help of some pretty awesome outside forces) have created one heck of a surprisingly healthy 3rd act so far.

November 6th is also Election Day this year.  I was out at 6am to be #7 in line to vote.  I love this day.  It's so emotionally charged, and it never fails to take me back to elections past and where I was, who I voted for, why I voted that way, etc.  It's like a big day of nostalgia.

My voter card this morning

1996 Clinton victory speech in Little Rock... I was about 100 feet from this stage.  One of the best nights of my life.

To celebrate this new relationship I've learned to develop with myself, I'll be heading down to Florida this weekend to run a race.  Don't expect too much out of the race because I've screwed my knee up.  It'll definitely be a walk/run, but I'll have a kickin' run mix and will be crossing the finish line with amazing friends.  Then I plan on spending a few days in the Florida sun, grazing my way through the Food & Wine Festival, wearing a birthday button (which is just next week, people), and getting teary over the Wishes Fireworks show that never fails to remind me that all my wishes will come true.  Dramatic?  Oh, absolutely.  Am I ok with that?  More than you know.

Best Fireworks Show EVER.  Bring it, Blue Fairy.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Heeeeey, Sexy Lady!!

I heard about this last week, but only today did I get the chance to watch a video of Psy's "Gangnam Style."  Let me tell you, gentle readers, this is right up my alley.  Even Fitocracy has you earning points for dancing Gangham Style (any of you into Fitocracy??  I've been thinking of giving it a go). 

By the end of this crazy week (ya know how September is always nutty at work?  multiply that times 8, and you'll know why I haven't been around much), I plan to know Psy's dance along with the best of 'em.  The best of 'em being Britney Spears and The Today Show hosts of course.

The original video

Britney learns it
"Dress Fancy, Dance Cheesy"

Today Show

I've been wanting these sunglasses for awhile anyway... now I have a real reason to get them!

Oppan Gangnam Style!!
(or something like that)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Pakistani Independence Day

August 14th

Rust proof paint is invented.  Oregon is organized by Congress.  Gustave Whitehead takes the first powered flight.  Social Security goes into effect.  The last US public execution takes place in Kentucky.  Not one, but three blackouts occur in the Northeast.  And Pakistan gains independence from Britain.

Oh yeah... and the cutest law-abiding Astorian I know was born.  In fact, on my calendar (which was clearly hi-jacked) it reads "My Birthday, Fool."

Yes, indeed.  The boyfriend turns 35 today, and while he's not a big birthday kinda fella, I'm certainly glad this Leo was squeezed into the world -- much like Alana's older sister Chick-a-Dee will squeeze her new best friiiiieeeeend out hopefully on next week's episode of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (if you haven't watched this, you must... it's a glorious trainwreck).

Birthday Boy, you make me smile.  You make me laugh.  You push my buttons.  You keep me in check.  You're incredibly good to me and even better for me.  And I can't wait to use your birthday presents I got you... (do I know how to think things through or what, gentle readers??)

These guys were also born on August 14th (the most famous gambler/gunfighter/dentist and our favorite Christian who went on vacation with us)

(I only put the pic including me to show the muddy mess this birthday boy created... totally worth it and amazing day)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Although I'm partial to their chicken nuggets, it is a truth that Chick-Fil-A makes one delicious sandwich.  It's also true that there are loads of privately-owned companies with bigoted CEOs.  However, I fear the point of this debate is being missed through arguments found near the likes of Facebook.  In a time when over 1,100 basic human rights are being denied to more than 9 million Americans (those are just the ones who are out), the rest of us in the majority have a responsibility to our friends, coworkers, and family members to stand with the minority.

I honestly couldn't care less whether you fill your body with chicken made from mutant animals, burgers made with pink slime, or french fries that never decompose.  I also don't care how much extra money you're able to spend on super-organic-all-natural quinoa or how broke you are that you have to buy the 75-cent slice on the corner to not starve.  And I truthfully don't need to put our political views into our diets... they're already everywhere else, and if we want to discuss the issues, let's go.

I also firmly believe that Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A, has every right under the sun to be as big a bigot as he wants.  In that same light, though, I have to try to put myself in my friends' places.  If the President of another restaurant chain spent company funds supporting the KKK or other absurdly archaic and offensive groups like Focus on the Family, I might choose to stop my patronage there as well.  You might, too.  Or we might not.  We have the right to do either.

But the bottom line is this:  until Chick-Fil-A stops using its funds to support groups that work to make sure a group of minorities remain 2nd-class citizens and are proud of it, I'll have to go without those delicious waffle fries when I go to Arkansas or hit the airport in Orlando.  It's not a difficult sacrifice to make.  I can't consider myself a Straight Ally in this fight by running to the basement and irresponsibly ignoring things that are hurtful to those I love.

Conor Gaughan says it best in this article that I do hope you'll take the time to read.

If you disagree, I'm not looking to de-friend you, start a cyber-war, or even publicly show my disappointment when you "like" inflammatory pictures/articles/pages.  Just like you have the right to openly support bigotry, I have the right to shake my head in shame because I realize that you think this is over chicken and nothing more.  Know that each time you support this company, you're putting another dollar into the pockets of those keeping your friends, your coworkers, your children, your congregants, your cousins, and your neighbors down.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who Knew Staten Island Could Provide Such A Long Review??

When planning an adventure-date to that far-away Island of Staten, we did not count on all of the education we would receive before the night was over.  Here's our story:

After work Friday, the boy and I met up downtown to catch the 6:15 Staten Island Ferry to make our dinner reservation -- him wearing a gold chain and wife-beater A-shirt, me sporting a bump-it and perpetually pouty mouth (ok, not really but we did threaten these to each other).  My native New Yorker found himself at the Statue of Liberty Ferry dock because "just walking toward water" made sense when he arrived at the Whitehall Station.  Lucky for him, he's super cute with a great smile, so the 6:30 ferry was totally fine.  We boarded the ferry and went straight for the snack bar to grab a can of beer so he could fit in with the locals, while I fittingly matched the tourists by photographing the water, Ms. Liberty, and our developing new skyline.

We arrived on the landfill.... er, island and found our way to Enoteca Maria.  We had learned of this restaurant from the Cooking Channel and decided we needed to check it out for ourselves.

Fully expecting to be amongst the "Joeys" and "Ginas" of Staten Island complete with SI accent, we were slightly disappointed that the restaurant had only a couple of men in gold chains and women in pink leopard print.  We sat at the bar where the owner/sommelier provided an impressive wine list.  He added a lot of flourish as he swirled the "Grandpa Chacha" wine we ordered ironically at which point we caught each other's eye in appreciation of what was suddenly turning out to be exactly why we made the venture.

Teresa was our chef for the evening, and the menu was extensive and glorious.  From the imported mozzarella appetizer, to my entree of rolled beef and green beans and his entree of rabbit, the food was lovely.  Our well-chosen vantage point allowed us to watch everything Teresa did as well as take stock of everything the owner engaged in.

Throughout the evening we watched our sommelier do odd things like balance wine corks and pennies on a scale.  He even filled his hands with water from the sink at the bar once and proceeded to run his wet hands through his hair.  Russell and I looked at each other silently noting the growing peculiarities of our wine-loving "friend."  For each bottle of wine he opened and every glass he poured, he seemed to check it out for himself by taking a swig thus creating a more, how can I say it diplomatically... "loose" demeanor.  I kid you not, gentle readers, the next part actually happened.

We had pulled up the Yelp reviews to read some of the negative ones (as we are wont to do), and as we were reading our favorite, it came to life, playing out before our eyes:
"The problem: The sommelier (inferred that he is the owner) is a complete jackhole. He seemed personally offended that we didn't order wine, gave us a hard time over it, and asked several times how our water was. He was visibly inebriated on a Paula Abdul kind of level, ate at the counter, and was blasting really questionable music selections. At one point singing along to Smells Like Teen Spirit turned up so loud it was making my silverware vibrate. Which let me tell you, I think $25 a plate for pasta, I think impromptu drunken Nirvana karaoke." -Brady B., 2/26/2012
I wouldn't call him a "Jackhole" (thought don't think for a second this isn't my new favorite slang), but he was definitely eccentric... or, well, tipsy.  However, he - almost as if he knew we were reading this particular review - made fun of my prosecco order and ate his stuffed mussels at the bar directly in front of us.  Shortly thereafter Nirvana came over the sound system, and this dude turned it up, sang along, and even gave an air drum/air guitar performance.  It was awesome. Awesome good??  I'm not sure.  But awesome nonetheless.

Eventually the place was hoppin'.  People who looked like they stepped out of "The Sopranos" began filling the joint.  There were WonderBra cleavage and waxed chests everywhere we looked.  After our plate of Teresa's amazing cookies, we paid the bill (cash only if you decide to go) and reluctantly headed out to catch the 25-minute ferry back to civilization.

Here's where the story turns from awesome to one of the best dates of my freakin' life.  On the way to the ferry terminal we were almost tempted to pop into the local bar full of Top 40 hits and every can of beer imaginable.  We forged on (with me getting my hip poked over and over by his attempts at figuring out the implausibilities of The Astoria Penetrator) and arrived at Slip 6 where we had about 15 minutes to people-watch -- a span of 15 minutes my awkward-loving self wouldn't have minded lasting longer.

What seemed to be every 20-something Staten Islander had come out to head into the big bad city on the 10pm ferry to go clubbing, drinking, whoring, and/or partying.  The outfits on these party animals were amazing.  I so wish I had pictures to show all of you, but we were already staring at everyone as though they were zoo creatures, and I don't think the camera would've been welcomed.  Our two favorite groups included wanna-be frat boys complete with a fanny pack, wing tips being clicked together incessantly in a Dorothy fashion, a girl who was NOT happy to be there, and a salmon-colored dress worn by a girl who I'm 97.3% sure was wearing a butt lifter.  For those of you unfamiliar with a butt lifter as my sometimes-simple boyfriend was, see below:

My degree of confidence in her undergarment of choice was due to Salmon Dress Girl's salmon dress being so incredibly tight I could see the thong and butt lifter through the material.  We're dealing with super class, ladies and gentlemen.

The other group of derelicts we loved to hate (or hated to love) included a handful of young pretty girls in dresses that were sure to get the attention they were looking for, complete with taped-up boobies, five-inch stilettos they were definitely not making it far in without changing into flip flops, and plunging v-neck ballet-type costumes.  The ring-leader of this group, however, was a young lady with a beautiful face, pronounced clavicles, and a cute little tank top that showed off her arms (which she unfortunately covered up with what I'm gonna assume was a Members Only jacket non-ironically).  The problem with Clavicle Girl was her lower half.  Before I continue, please note that I have never considered myself a supermodel and I'm sure I've left the house in pseudo-situations of attire-regret.  But just follow me here...

Clavicle Girl had a pear shape.  She had a white girl booty.  I know this because she had on a white spandex skirt topped off with horizontal piping.  Underneath the skirt was a black string thong bikini.  She had also awkwardly tucked in her cute tank top and bunched it up at the waistline, so as not to cover up her pear shape.  Her super tight, super short mini skirt was not hiding her trouble areas thus creating an incredibly obvious cottage cheese look.  (Stay with me, gentle readers... I'm not being cruel for cruel's sake.)

We got on our 10pm ferry, sat outside for approximately 8 minutes, and got up because we HAD to go see what the party animals were up to.  We find Clavicle Girl's group near the exit (already changing into flip I know my non-heel-wearers or what?!) taking pictures of each other (complete with pouty mouths...not to be confused with potty mouths).  Right about the time I had decided to hate Clavicle Girl's friends for letting her walk out of the house in the outfit of the lower half of her body, Clavicle Girl found a new friend.  An older gentleman was sitting across ogling her and making it known to her and all of us that he loved the dimply booty showing through the skin-tight garment (I'll spare you his quotes).  She adored every second of it.  I was shocked.  I'm not often shocked.  Staten Island Clavicle Girl was in heaven, and her friends were jealous!  Maybe I should add this to my wardrobe too...

When we departed the ferry, we shared the R train uptown with Salmon Dress Girl and Crew.  We made bets about which stop they would exit and how many times they would shout, "Woooo!!"  I won the station exit bet, Russell won the number of woos.  So I guess we were even.

Seriously great date night.  We've both laughed about it for the past 3 days.  And now I've happily shared it with you.  Doubtful that you did as much as myself, but I hope you enjoyed my recap.

Ah, Staten Island...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Date Night - Thunderstorms and Hyperbole

The boy and I have decided to defy the constraints of an impossible work schedule and try to make Wednesday our midweek date night.  Woohoo!!

After reaching what I can only assume was 627 degrees we had one of those storms that I so love in the city.  Here's an Instagram picture captured by Dhani Jones showing how cool this one was.  That's over my hood, y'all.

In light of such an intense downpour, I had to rush home after work to change out of my peep toes and silk shirt and into a tank top, fedora, and messy bun before heading to Ali's Kebab Cafe.  So weird, but I went here literally a year ago today with my friend Jared.  Such a strange little factoid.  The food was still to die for (even if a bit experimental for me), and Ali was still just as charmingly amazing as he was a year ago.

Sometimes dates are lovey-dovey, sometimes they're passionate, sometimes they're hysterical fun.  This one was just us chatting about work, chatting about family, chatting about friends, and most importantly discussing the intricacies of our newest obsession - The Astoria Penetrator.  Don't ask for details from either of us unless you want a serious earful.  Just know it involves Astoria, a ninja, racism, and exaggerated implausibilities at their finest... what isn't worthy of hours of discussion about any of that*?!

Happy Date Day, gentle readers.  I've missed you...

*For those who don't know me extremely well, I'm known to get on controversial soapboxes, on occasion, and not get off them for days (or longer).  This ranges from injustices being done to serious issues in the community to simple annoying pet peeves that crawl all over me.  Who knew I'd locate someone who feels the same way and also likes to discuss ad nauseum WITH me?!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stressful Summer

Summer is half over and needless to say it's been a little stressful.  Some things at work changed and change is always awkward.  My health has been... well, it's been stupid.  I had a little setback on the neuro front, and now I'm on some dumb new meds that are taking some getting used to.  Being in a romantic relationship is definitely challenging when dealing with summer schedules.  Heat waves suck.


Here are some awesome things about the summer of 2012 that allow for de-stressing:

Including a Hantz, a Boogie, a Jani, a Razorback, a Coach, and a Chen-Bot

Including Mia Michaels, which is sure to produce tears

Including an Altar Boy, a Greek goddess, 2 Taylors, and John Carter

Sun flares at the Frying Pan (and their signature sangria)

Including a Phelps, a Lochte, and 2.5 weeks of awesome

And a beautiful city

When those de-stressors take hold, I realize that I have a great job that I truly love.  I have amazing progressive doctors who give me meds that suck just to make me better.  Being in love is wonderful (who knew?!) especially when the dude is pretty awesome (and hilarious to boot).  And the heat wave has periodic the upcoming weekend.

Here's the rest of the summer being all downhill, less stressful, and just all around easier.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Running Life of a New Yorker

This song speaks to me.  I think it could to a lot of New Yorkers.  I think it could to anyone who desires to have their bills paid by their creativity.  I know my loves who have chosen the grueling life as a performer will.  This is for you... you know who you are.

Adam Gwon: brilliant lyricist/composer.
Andrew Keenan-Bolger: multi-talented guy (currently seen 8 times a week at Newsies)
Maddy Trumble: lovely interpreter with a gorgeous voice

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What a Lady

A year ago I had just returned from a trip to Arkansas, where I was so fortunate to be able to spend some time with my great grandmother, my Mamaw B. My dad had forewarned me that she may not recognize me, but when I got to 36th Street, it was as if nothing was wrong at all -- family in and out of the kitchen, on and off the porch, and back and forth between boisterous and thoughtful. At one point Mamaw got tired and said she was ready for a nap but told us to not let her departure keep us from visiting. I helped walk her into the bedroom where she took my face in her hands and said, "I pray for you and your happiness every day. I just want you to know that." These are words that I have cherished for the past year more than you can fathom.

(Remember when I was blonde??)

There was a moment at her funeral that hit me hard. She never really traveled, she was never loaded with money, she was never defined by her career, she only loved one man, but her legacy was extraordinary. The overflowing room where her life was celebrated, filled with flowers and laughter and friends, was beautiful. And I wondered, will I have that? Am I on a track to touch that many lives for the good? Is my playful life really making a difference? Or am I just flitting about from moment to moment as life hits me? And I realized that’s what she meant… “I pray for your happiness every day.” An unsettled life can be loads of fun, but it’s not truly and deeply happy.

Her presence in my life, even from 1200 miles away, through the hustle and bustle of NYC is profoundly missed. It's funny. After I returned from her funeral (which was a trip I debated whether to make and am so glad I did... those few days were some of my best memories), I kept thinking about just how lucky I am to have had such a force to follow. I'll never be a mother to 4, grandmother to 16, great grandmother to 32, or great-great grandmother to 26. I’ll never be a pillar in a small community. I'll never be able to say I lived in the same house for 73 years. I'll never sit on my porch swing while telling my granddaughter from NYC that I've figured out the drug-dealers’ signs across the street (plant on the porch = open for business; no plant = keep driving). I can, however, show care for my family and friends the way she did. I can strive to make the world a better place and hope to succeed if only a fraction of the way she did. I can stand up for what I believe in while never making people with differing opinions feel bad or stupid or less. I can sing at a moment's notice just because the mood strikes me. I can make peanut butter cookies. I can wear fun hats and endless smiles. I can love.

One year ago the world lost the best person I ever knew, but we’re somehow still celebrating her life. I went on Facebook this morning, and was taken aback at just how many people had written about their love for this woman, funny stories about her, and just how much they miss having her in their lives day-to-day. What a life! What a lady…

(One of my favorite places with one of my favorite people)

**Click here for a copy of her obituary.  And here for my thoughts last year.**

Friday, May 4, 2012

Welcomed Predicament

I’ve been in a predicament. Granted it’s a predicament that I am not remotely complaining about. The past few months my calendar has been full of guests, opening nights, and RuPaul’s Drag Race (yay, Sharon!!), but a decent chunk of my down time has been occupied by a new and unexpected adventure as well. This blog is entitled “EnJOYing Life, Love, and Adventures in NYC,” but I’ve been in a quandary about sharing any of those three for fear of jinxing things, for fear of over-thinking things, for fear of pushing this adventure to its limit, for fear of "Being Alive."

I mentioned him here. He’s a version of George Bailey meets Roger Sterling (and I do so need a Roger in my efforts to morph into Joan Holloway). He cheered me on at a race in the snow.  He created a dessert based on my favorite foods with no recipe. He had food delivered the day after I had to make a trip to the ER for over-swollen tonsils (I know, I know, I need to have those removed). He takes me to the opera. He buys me macarons and braves Times Square to bring me coffee. He lassoed the moon. He makes me laugh.

So I’m ending this predicament today. I’m choosing to share this unplanned, exciting, and whole new portion of my adventures with you, gentle readers.

Like… next week. We’re going to this little piece of paradise, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it:

Welcome to the next chapter…

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cracking Wrists

There’s a preacher in North Carolina who gave a sermon this past Sunday admonishing his congregation to crack the wrists of their male toddlers who might show signs of too much femininity. He gives them a special dispensation to punch the boys in order to man them up. He also allows for girls to play sports as long as they are pretty some of time too.

Those who know me well know I’m no fighter. In fact I lean toward pacifism more often than not. I will make an exception in the case of Mr. Sean Harris. My prayer for him is that this fear provoking his hatred and violence be personified and paid back to him ten-fold.  I'll provide a special dispensation... because apparently we can just do that.

The rage that is surging within me is fueled by a mixture of fury that in 2012 we still deal with this, disgust that the congregation heard in the above clip finds it both funny and agreeable, and mostly intense sadness. I’m terribly sad that close personal friends of mine had to hear this kind of tripe growing up. I’m heavy-hearted knowing that this clip might send them back into painful memories of families who don’t accept the way God or the Universe or whatever you believe in made them. I’m tearful at the plausibility that these people who have changed my life for the better just by being amazing don’t get to share that with their families fully, if at all.

And with that, I share this. I’m putting my southern, lady-like sensibilities to the side for 3 minutes, 36 seconds. To Sean Harris and all the other hateful, sad, disillusioned, so-called Christians, this is for you.  Sometimes a girl just has to let the bluntness of music speak for her.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hey. I Did It.

I finished a half marathon.

I’m not sure where to begin or how many details to give you, gentle readers.  So I’ll start from the beginning.

Remember this?  That was the day I wanted to run away, but I had no idea where to go.  So I dug into the back of my closet and found some sneakers.  I put on a winter hat to keep out the cold.  I gave myself some pigtails, and I went out in the heart of Washington Heights.  I disregarded doctors who said I couldn’t do too much cardio.  I didn’t care that medical professionals said I should constantly mind my heart rate and blood pressure to avoid having seizures.  I had to run.  So I did.  I ran until I couldn’t breathe.  I ran until I didn’t feel anger or pain or anything.  I just ran.  I got about a mile and thoughts started creeping in,

(This was me that first run back in 2006.  My tweezers were clearly packed away...)

“Maybe the doctors are right.  Maybe I shouldn’t do this.”

I turned around and walked home.  On that mile walk back down Fort Washington Avenue from Fort Tryon Park, those thoughts changed,

“Stop it.  You can do anything you want.  If you want to run, then run.  You are in control for once.  Don’t let that go.”

This became my motto:

I decided I was going to eventually work up to running a half marathon.  I had no idea how long it would take.  I didn’t care.  I needed a long-term goal in the back of my mind.  I needed something just for me that only I could work toward.  I knew I would have a number of impediments along the way, and I didn’t care.

I went to the doctor for one of my many check-ups.  Dr. Rein is a former runner herself.  She was supportive but echoed my realistic fears that this just might be too much.  She gave me signs to watch for, and gave me words of caution that unlike 100% healthy people, I would need to hold off on overly stressful days.  When life caved in, I wouldn’t be able to relieve the stress with a nice run in the park.  I would have to take those days off and keep my heart and brain in check.  My other two doctors were not completely in agreement with Dr. Rein.  The neurologist (who I find to be a imbecile with a God complex anyway… and I subsequently no longer see) said I needed to stay on the meds I was on which would not work with a training schedule necessary to complete a goal of running a half marathon.  My gynecologist said it would be ok on some fronts but that overall it might not be a great idea on others that I won’t go into here… (TMI, Joy)

I went online and downloaded the Chubby Jones podcast for Couch-to-5K runners from iTunes.  I can’t say enough what a believer I am in this system.  If any of you want to run a 5k, or a 10k, or just get your butt off the couch, do.this.program.  Start tomorrow.  Start next weekend.  But do it.  It’s a 9-week to prep you for a 5k. 

My 9-week program took 9 months.  And I still had to walk some of the race.  There were days of stress I had to take off… in fact there were weeks here and there of stress.  There were days of seizures as I weaned off the meds.  There were also days of frustration at my progress, or lack thereof.

Shortly after I did that first 5k in Central Park, I had a gyno check-up like I too often do.  I didn’t get great news.  She (and her horrific bedside manner) told me I’d need to stop running for awhile while I went through a little treatment plan to rid my bizness of some bad cells and polyps and cysts.  I was disheartened.  She saw my face fall and assured me I’d be able to pick it up again once we got this taken care of.  Of course she also told me that my lacking sex life was not helping the situation and I needed to get a boyfriend.  (See? Horrific bedside manner... again, TMI, Joy)

I left her office upset on a number of levels.  But the biggest disappointment was that I had become accustomed to running in the evenings.  I felt good about doing something for myself for the first time ever.  So I planned a trip to Paris in the meantime.

A few months later I was able to resume the running.  However, I was nearly back to square one.  So I picked up my trusty ipod and downloaded Chubby’s newest C25K podcast.  This time it only took about 4 months to get back to a 5k status.

Fast forward to the summer of 2011.

I started training for a half marathon scheduled for the end of September.  I used Jeff Galloway’s program.  Then I got an awful case of strep throat.  I lost some training time and went to the doctor in August.  She said I couldn’t do the half.  It was going to be just a bit too much to push in the coming weeks.

Trying to do what I was told, Katie and I ran a 5k through Animal Kingdom, and I vowed to myself to continue the half training.

Needless to say, when I posted this, I was more than a little terrified.  And in the two months following, my life was consumed with running.  When I went to Arkansas in January, I ran.  When I had opportunities to go see Oscar nominated double-features with my peeps, I ran.  When I had the chance to go out on dates (which I'll fill you all in on that area of the ole life soon), I ran.  I ran when I hurt, I ran when I was tired, I ran when I had fever.  I even hurt my back in December and ran against the pain with the help of my physical therapist.

And on February 26th, I finished a half marathon.  It was hard.  I was in a lot of pain throughout.  I wanted to quit a couple of times.  But when I crossed that finish line, I said "Hey.  I did it."  And then I cried.  With Selby and Sal on the sidelines, Katie at my side, and a number of you in my ears through my iPod playlist, I finished a half marathon.  Me.  The girl who's sometimes physically broken.  I finished 13.1 miles.  If I can do it, anyone can.

Seriously.  I have the best friends on the planet.

*To read Katie's take on the weekend and see a few more pics, go here

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lasso the Moon

Since as long as I can remember, I've been in love with George Bailey.  Most Christmas Eves have consisted of watching "It's A Wonderful Life".  He's the perfect man.

He's Funny.

He's Scrupulous.

He's the Life of the Party.

He's Sporty.

He Sings (Badly).

He's a Good Friend.

He's Romantic.

Valentine's Day is this week, and God knows I hate this holiday.  It's like any of those holidays that tell you what to do, how to behave, and who to love.  It's the holiday that's just plain mean to single people.

But for George Bailey, I'd celebrate anything including February 14th.

I've been dating, Gentle Readers.  I met someone nice.  He's also good-looking.  And he has a job.  And he lives about 10 minutes from me.  He the kind of guy who resembles 2012's version of George Bailey.  I've thought that from our 3rd date (we're on like Date #8... and I do so love the number 8).  Needless to say, I'm intrigued.  Tonight he asked me what I wanted.  He asked for me to respond with something physically impossible to obtain.  I instantly thought of my favorite scene in "It's A Wonderful Life"

"I want you to lasso the moon."
"Done," he said.

Because of that line, I've loved George Bailey.  Because of all the pictures above, I've known what I want.  Because of George Bailey and Mr. Darcy, I've never found someone to live up to my impossible expectations.  Thanks to these characters and my delusions of what I want, I'm single at 33.

"I want you to lasso the moon," I replied.
"Done," he said.

Ok, Mr. Modern Day George Bailey... hit me with whatcha got.  Let's see what you can do.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Who'da Thunk It?

I got an email today with the subject:

Final race instructions for your Princess Marathon Weekend!

And here was the body of the email (or at least the important part):

It's almost time, Joy!

Running shoes packed? Frogs kissed? Good. 'Cause in less than a month, it'll be time for the 2012 Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend! So we're back with final race instructions, including how to download your race waiver, tips on getting around and more. See ya real soon!

I totaled 10 miles on Saturday.  I was sore Sunday.  But Monday I was back at it.  And tonight I was out in Astoria Park.  I have 2 days of rest.  Then I'm in the home stretch.  

I still can't believe this is where I am.  It's February 2012, and I'm running a half marathon.

Who'da thunk [insert random period of time] ago I'd be here?  I imagine in addition to the quick projectile vomit that occurs after a race for me, there will be some emotions.  The kind that pour out of my eyes.

2012 seems to be going my way so far.  I'm healthy, I'm happy, I'm diggin' work, I'm liking dating.  I didn't, however, like the number I got when my waist was measured for my running tutu, but at least I'm running.  March will inevitably consist of lowering that number.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Better Than Horoscopes

I love this test.  I like to believe that life really is this simple.  Which one do you apply every day?

What Does Your Lipstick Shape Say About You?

Slant close to the original shape

This reserved gal abides by the rules, is a great follower, doesn't like too much attention, is a little self-conscious, is schedule driven, and may occasionally want to attract attention with dyed hair or new outfits

Rounded Tip to a Point

This loveable lady is family-oriented and domestic, often labeled a "doer," can be stubborn over little things, exaggerates, and needs people around

Rounded Smooth Tip

This easy-going peacemaker is even tempered, steady, likeable, and generous.  She is gentle, feminine, and has a deep need for harmony.  Everybody feels at ease in her company because she has no rough edges.  She's a marvelous lover, a fantastic cook, and a loving wife.  Everything is planned as she leaves nothing to chance.

Flat Top

This born diplomat is to the point and has high morals.  She is very dependable and quick-minded, loves challenges, and is careful about appearances.  She has a carefree disposition, is eloquent, and has a lot of friends because she is such a good listener.  Women rarely find her a competitor, but men rarely consider her a sex object - no matter how gorgeous she is.

Sharp Angle Tip

This Powerwoman is opinionated, high-spirited, argumentative, and outgoing.  She dislikes schedules but loves attention.  She is selective of her friends, self-confident, well-balanced, conscientious, and has a love for detail.  She has a perfect memory, doesn't bear grudges, and is often uncontrollable.  Bam.

Flat Top Concave

This emotional detective makes friends easily and is inquisitive, adventurous, complex, and exciting.  She is sensitive, thoughtful, and reserved.  Her passion flourishes undetected, and in her dream world everything is much more beautiful than in reality.  She looks for closeness, understanding, and friendship, but quite often she is disappointed. Big romantic words, poems, and charming lyric poetry feed her passion.

Sharp Angles - Both Sides

This daredevil with a big ego is spiritual, curious, imaginative, mysterious, and very sensual.  She loves life and surprises and couldn't care less about conventions.  She always goes her own way and seeks out attention in the process.  I admire this girl so much...

Last but not least (can you tell which one lives in my makeup haven??)

Sharp Angle Box Curved Tip (of course there are 97 adjectives)

This awesome (I added that one) creature is enthusiastic, energetic, talkative, and helpful.  She loves attention -- both giving and receiving.  She gives the benefit of the doubt to everyone, and this doesn't always work out in her favor.  She is very funny (take that Selbs) and her friends adore her because of her precise loyalty.

I found this years ago Cosmo magazine -- ya know, the one I've had a subscription to for nearing 20 years... dear god I'm old.  But the variety of sources (I'd never steal anyone's words without giving props) came from here, here, and here... obviously.

And just for kicks here's a sampling of mine.  The "sharp angle box curved tip" is quite drastic...