Monday, July 30, 2007

You Say You Want a Revolution

My blessings have made me dull. Deep within this suburban, middle-class, white, forty-something mother lies the heart of a rebel: a reincarnated Panther, a Freedom Fighter, a Women’s Libber, a No Nuker, a Hug your Mother Earth, a Make-Love-Not-War, sign carrying, Capital-marching, rubber bullet dodging activist. Maybe I need something on the outside of me to make me take the action that is burning on the inside of me, but my skin blends with the empowered class of the United States of Mediocrity.

What will it take to light that fire that kindles in my belly? How can I fight for causes when my days are consumed with replenishing the negative interest-earning bank account, with monitoring the expiration date on the carton of pesticide and growth hormone filled milk, with washing the clothes purchased at discount on the backs of Malaysian pre-adolescents, and with financing the war-inspiring fuel for the tank of my made-by-bigwig-lobbyists car?

Maybe I want change without personal sacrifice. I won’t go to jail for a cause like my Birkenstock-wearing foremothers and forefathers. I have a child to raise. A mortgage to pay. Too much to lose. A disenfranchised Floridian, I’ve lost faith in the voice of a vote. I can put some nickels in the Anybody-but-Him fundraising can and change my lamps to those ingenious new light bulbs. Funny way to start a revolution.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Struggling to Find the Words

Sisters by choice
Brothers by association
Comfort for life's challenges
Neither duty nor obligation

Kin of our own selection
Rendering gifts of levity
Reviving faith in humankind
Respite from life's brevity

Rich with the bounty of friendship
Enriching my intellect and fortitude
With only these meager words
To express my most sincere gratitude


Okay, the poem with the big words didn't work...

Family, I understand. Family is a chemical connection. We are required to be there for one another based on the mysterious, random mixing of chromosomes. When we don't stand up for our family, that is the exception, the ghastly wrongdoing. But the devotion of friends is quite different. Friendships are earned and maintained without any genetic obligation.

I am graced with these friendships. The friends from long ago, still friends today, sharing a history and surviving great distances without missing a beat. With these friends I am carefree, surrounded by people who know me better than I know myself. And the grace of newer friendships, and my teaching friends. Sharing a common interest or circumstance, these friends fill me with their insight, their humor, and their wisdom. Friends with whom I can feel good about humankind, restoring my faith in the collected good that can be done by good people.

So without duty or obligation, I am graced with friends who stand by my side. Friends who grace me with the gifts of their presence. Friends who grace me with the gift of thinking of me in my absence. I have done so little to deserve so graced a life. So, to my friends, I offer my gratitude, and my friendship in return.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Perspiring through the Podcast

Running almost 14 miles, at my pace, is nearly half a day’s work. It has become increasingly important to keep my mind busy during our weekly Sunday Long Run. Besides, I need something to drown out the moaning muscles and the vehement voice of reason shouting in my brain, “Go back to the couch! You aren’t made for this!” The iPod has been an invaluable tool in these efforts. Downloading favorites, from the fast footed like Outkast's Hey Ya’ to tempo run sing-alongs like Love Shack (Baby) has served me well in my first year as a wannabe runner.

As I turn the calendar on year 2 as a reluctant runner, I seek new audio diversions. Further, our Sunday Long Runs are getting longer, as we prepare for the physical destruction that will be the half marathon. Thankfully, I have found a new way to use my trusty technology to trick both brain and body into plodding further down the path: the podcast.

Poking around iTunes I located a slew of NPR, PRI, and APM favorites. I went subscription crazy, downloading missed episodes of Writers Almanac, Word for Word, This American Life, and Car Talk. With Click and Clack added to my posse of running partners, I found myself laughing through the miles. Who knew I was missing important Language Geek shows like KPBS’s A Way with Words? Now they aren’t lost to me. With my newfound toy I can work out both mind and body.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tick Tock Zoom

An odd week for me and a mix of emotions.

Because of the mega-vacation and some luck of scheduling, I have been able to spend more than 6 uninterrupted weeks with EG and Dramaqueen. I haven't had that long a time with the family since October of 2001. And it has been wonderful.

Also this week, EG finally has become motivated to transfer all the compact VHS home videos to digital format. To do this, he purchased a VCR/DVD combo that records from A to B. As a result, I am reliving the first years of Dramaqueen's life. As we seem to lack the directorial discretion that signifies when enough-is-enough, the unedited tapes take us through the first years in real time.

Yesterday I had the privilege to hold a sleeping angel. I was entrusted to hold a precious one in my arms, and I could recall the special gift that it is to have my arms used to cradle and protect a vulnerable new life. Didn't I have one of these of my own?

Then this morning my baby was inducted into another rite of passage. The joy of orthodontia is upon us. Over the next three years the technology that has seemingly changed little since the age of bleedings and leeches shall be employed to straighten the teeth, adjust the jaw, and allow for the last of the baby teeth to exit.

Last of the baby teeth? Weren't we just waiting for baby teeth? Slow down, Big Ben.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Baby I Was(n't) Born to Run

Back at home and back on track. On trail. On the Black Creek Trail near the house. 3 days home, and we've done two of our regular 5.6 mile routes (AKA the 'Bucks n' Back) and a 7:30 AM 5K on the 4th of July.

Then we came home and registered for 5 more races, beginning with a 5K on the 21st of this month and culminating with our first 1/2 Marathon on December 16th. Hopefully, with six months training time and cooler December weather, we will be able to attain our goal, vertical completion.

It was odd, racing on the 4th, not to see LJ, MJ and Mom waiting for us at the finish line. MJ and Mom, cheering for us, LJ working hard not to gloat about his fast feet. We did see many familiar faces, though, and we're growing in our appreciation of what a good running city this is.

Wednesday's race provided a new experience for us too. A 5K in the rain was a wonderful thing to complete. It was liberating! A slight breeze added to the delight. With rain plunking down around me and the sound of wet footsteps as the fast people pass me by, I felt completely free to belt along to the uptempo soundtrack on the nano, "Love Shack, yeah..."

I'm not good at running. I'm certainly not fast, and I totally wasn't born for it. My physique is the polar opposite of the runner's ideal. But what the heck, I like it.