misc. wednesday

--I don't really know what it takes to win the Tour de France(s) or hit thousands of home runs over one's career, but I do know what being an athlete is like, even if it's small potatoes.
My policy regarding doping would be simple: you dope and you're out. No ifs, ands or buts.
Deal with it.

--If I had kids, here are some of the things I would let them/allow them/encourage them to do (obviously pertaining to the appropriate stage in their lives):
-draw on one wall (designated) of the house
-make forts and sleep in them at night
-have little glasses of beer/wine at dinner and come up with a toast
-pick out their own clothes atleast once a week, regardless of what it ended up being
-let pet (gerbil, hamster, etc) run free around house or area of house at set times
-smoke pot, at least once, or provide safe space to do so
-have their own subscription to Highlights magazine
-pick out music/tapes/stories for car rides; also, help pack car
-have small garden of whatever they want to grow
-talk about curfew, come to mutual agreement thereof
-read a different newspaper once a week
-read Roald Dahl
-question authority in respective manner
-say their opinions and what they care about/how they feel

--Some things I would not let them do:
-watch TV/video games more than 1 hour a day, excluding PBS. Excessive exposure to media such as Nickelodeon/Disney/megacorporations with A.D.D-inducing programming=bad. (Old timey Disney movies and Looney Tunes=good).
-use calculators until algebra II
-throw away food
-drink soft drinks/sugary juices in the house. have conversation about why.
-call friends' parents by first names

--Some things I would make them do:
-make up their bed in the morning
-pick up after themselves before bed time
-share something once a day
-eat dinner as family then help as family cleans up after dinner
-go to the library (if they still exist). oldest takes younger by themselves once appropriate.
-go grocery shopping with me. help make list and then pick out items/make decisions based on nutrition and price when comparing two similar items.
-have an odd job or semi-job once 15
-extra-curricular activity
-have checking account (real or fake)

--Even if it's gotten silly and overrated, at least Cindy Sheehan is standing up for what she believes in.

--I think I'm getting sick of my 'swing' bangs. I'm thinking of growing them out.

--I recently saw the re-make of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you're at all familiar with my obsession with the original, you might be wondering why it took so long.
Well, I had made a pact with my friend Katie wherein neither of us would watch the movie without the other one (we share a long long historical love for the book and the original).
Duly, I made a personal pledge not to ever read any critics' notes or reviews so that my experience would be based solely on my own opinions, thoughts, and knowledge of Dahl's story ("CharlieATCF")/Mel Stuart's classic film ("WillyWonkaATCF").
I still haven't read any.
So here goes....
[I should add here that I'm not actually a "strict constructionist," of any sorts, when it comes to my beloved WWATCF. I am all about creativity and story "enhancement." However, I am strict when it comes to CATCF. ]
Let's just say that the only things Tim Burton's movie keeps true to the book are its title and the basic (very basic) premise regarding a kid and a factory. As such, here are some of the top things I found appalling with the new version:
-Charlie Bucket DOES NOT HAVE A FATHER! Dahl made Charlie fatherless for a reason.
-Willy Wonka DOES NOT HAVE A FATHER! Dahl made Willy fatherless for a reason.
-Oompa Loompas were supposed to be tortured and terrified creatures before coming to the Factory. All we see in the movie is that they live in a jungle that "sucked." Either keep their background out of the movie, or make it believable that they needed to be rescued by Wonka.
-The Great Glass Elevator's magic is supposed to be 1) relative to the times and B) special.
In the film, it was just a way everyone got around.
-Slugworth was in the story for a reason. Namely, to test the loyalty of the children. And, hello, that's why Charlie gets the factory in the end.
-The fizzled ending leaves you with no moral, no conclusion as to how you should live life. None.
In fact, at first Charlie reject's Wonka's offer because Wonka makes him choose his family or the factory. WTF??
-Burton's Charlie doesn't even do anything notable that should get him the factory. The kid basically walks through the tour with no challenge, no dilemma, and is randomly offered the loot for what seems like 'just because the tour is over'.
-And, finally, the biggest problem with the film according to Ms. Slocum and myself:
Must I really emphasize the importance of not knowing what happens to Augustus, Violet, Veruca and Mike??
Overall, I thought this movie was a thin and shallow version of the original story. Except for Mr. Depp, the roles were generically and unimaginatively cast to boring actors. (Although, I do like how the Oompa Loompas were all played by the same eerily-goofy, native-looking fellow.) Also, the factory tour itself was actually pretty dull, considering it's supposed to be the coolest place on the face of the Earth. I mean, the one scene that's supposed to take you to your highest indulgent fantasy--entering the Edible Park--is hurried and, quite frankly, bland.
As the tour continued, it seemed like you already were supposed to know the story and that these people on screen before you were merely going to half-ass it out for you just to get the job done.
And rather than being poor, down-and-out "good" people, the Buckets seemed like they were doing just fine, cabbage water and all. I never connected with them or their plight, and we never saw them in relation to others in their town. As such, the viewer could really care less whether they made the next month's rent or if Charlie even got the factory in the end. What's more is that you didn't even despise the other "bad" kids. Sure, they were kinda annoying, but the Schadenfreude of watching Augustus get stuck in the tube or Veruca fall down into the garbage chute was completely absent.
Then, like I said, seeing them emerge slightly altered was simply a slap in the face to Dahl's moral of the story.
And don't get me wrong--I'm not speaking as an adult here. Of course a 24-year-old will have a different opinion than a kid, and I realize that. However I was obviously surrounded by little kids and I frequently checked out their response to the movie. Looks of confusion and boredom glazed the audience, young and old.
Sure the effects were neat-o...Right when your mind started wandering to what you were going to make for dinner...er, which Happy Meal you were going to order at Mickey D's...a flashy spout of animation and a large, corresponding sound effect would snap you back into viewership.
But that's all it was. Moments of heightened, colorful excitement with none of the magic and wonder underneath. I could go on and on, but I won't.
To sum it up though, it didn't even leave you wanting a candy bar.

--At a news conference unveiling the administration's new plan to overhaul fuel economy regulations for light trucks (SUVs, pickups and vans), Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta showed up in a Lincoln Navigator. WAY to lead by example.

--Google News is really, really awesome.


to a friend I once had


PEE-OPLE, as my first-grade self used to phonetically think.
Sometimes I just can't help but wonder,, what the heck? We are people. I, you, we. It's weird. We're all just these animals doing all this stuff...making computer chips, having arguments over dirty dishes, blowing up busses, lying, flying, begging, giving, ending, starting commercial real estate development companies and making coo-coo clocks and then setting up coo-coo clock repair shops in the Schwarzwald. We made up words and then used them to describe other words and things, 'words' and 'things' being the very same oh my god those are words too. I mean, I know. Blah blah blah, in a sense...but which sense?
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all. It's a mood thing, perhaps related to my period. That would be weird if it was, though, and I don't think it is. Sorry for talking about my period.
But when I start feeling overwhelmed I try to channel the overwhelmingness into a singular idea which mayhaps can represent the flurry of thoughtful dicta hurricaning around in my brainsies.
So thank god for Molly Schmelzle's recent post on friendship.

In life we (most of us) have parents/family, our significant other, and friend(s). One is tied to us in a way we didn't choose (family), another is sexual, but the third--friends--well...
How does it happen?

in the beginning there was...stuff.

"Even though friendship may seemingly be composed of universal principles, behaviors, and actions," writes Schmelzle, "in actuality it is a personal or relational conceptualization."
She further goes on to say that "creating a meaningful friendship is a long imperative process."

Essentially, friendships are these amazing relationships we form that, on one end, are really connected to our center beings--who we are, what we need, who we want to be, etc--and on the other end, touch someone else. It's like this ray we're shooting out of ourselves and everyone is shooting out these rays and when the rays cross, a friendship happens.
It could be ephemeral or eternal, but the lines have been crossed and it's taken a whole lifetime, whether you know it or not in "real time," just for that one instant connection. And, according to the Socratic idea of the dialectic, A + B must equal C. Thus the two people who crossed will necessarily be different after the crossing than before.

And what of a "meaningful" friendship? I would first say that every friendship is necessarily meaningful. But to avoid being nit-picky, which is not the point of this post or something I particularly like to pick, a meaningful friendship is obviously one that has impacted your life more than the Socratic synthesis of A + B = C. Rather, it's more like C + C Music Factory.
It makes you think
last but not least
go 'hmmm.'

a friend is someone who...well, just fill in the blank here with whatevs. it's all relative anyway

I don't feel qualified nor wanting to get into what happens once a friendship is est'd. The friendship is what it is to you and me and, really, who the hell cares to hear about it all?

so no one told you it was gonna be this way (clapclapclapclap)

Happy. Umbrellas. Fountains. Smiling.
Or not.
"Over the last couple of years I have slowly watched the links of a once cherished friendship break one by one. It is a painful and almost irrevocable process."
[sic. I know that "once cherished" should really be "once-cherished," since it's a compound adjective. But, again, I'm not here to nitpick my dear friends' blogs. Or am I??].
She finishes up: "What hurts the most is the one-sided realization of this occurrence. But we are both victims of each other’s new lives and seeming indifference."

There are two thoughts here: one is the pain involved with a friendship ending and the other is the idea that it's seemingly one-sided, but realistically two-sided. Both of these are interesting ideas to me.
I moved around alot. Like, a lot-lot. Like, every two years up until high school and then, after college (which involves a lot of moving as well), I moved a lot again. In 2003-2004 I lived in 4 different states and one district. However I rarely "lost" friends. There were some peeps who I grew out of touch with, but there was never a real ending to the relationship. Well, my best friend from 8th grade recently died in a car crash, but that's a totally different kind of ending. Indeed, if I were to randomly see most of my growing-up friends, I think we would just naturally pick up where we left off. Sans the sleepovers and whole light-as-a-feather-stiff-as-a-board thing.
So I don't feel, personally, what Molly writes about the ending of friendships.
Well, I take that back. I might be experiencing my first one of these endings as we speak, but even in the face of obvious signs as such, I am in a sort of emotional denial that it might be happening. Either way, that is something for another time, another place, or in the least, it's not pertinent to this particular post. Or maybe I don't feel like talking about it because it will make me cry.

Anywho, I am more interested in the idea that she is talking about the "one-sided realization of this occurance" as well as the simultaneous idea that the two are "both victims of each other's new lives and seeming indifference."
In a way, she is right. One person might be the only one who senses the friendship slipping even though circumstances mean that it's a team effort. But is this an acceptable occurance in the first place?
I don't really accept a friendship ending because of "new lives" and "seeming indifference."
To me, friends are the number one most important thing in life (because, also to me, "friends" include family members and partners) and being too lazy to check up on the friendship just 'cause you know the other person has had life changes and you think they don't care about you/the friendship anymore is a bunch of crap.
I'm not saying what Molly says is crap...I think what she is saying actually does happen, and that is what I think is crap. I should also add here that I'm not trying to be a 'hard ass' or something like that. This isn't about blame. In fact, it's the exact opposite of blame.
Of course there are times when once-friends just end up having nothing in common. [Kind of. I'm still if-fy on that one because if you had so much in common in the first place, how does that ever disappear? And that is also kinda my point] So I'm not talking about forcing a friendship to exist in the rare, RARE case that you actually have nilch in common anymore.
But except for that truly rare instance, I think most friendships can, and should, survive blase life-shifts, distance, and infrequent communication.
How? It's simply a matter of swallowing your pride.
Don't pretend like you've never felt that way--the seeming indifference stuff--before. How many times have you looked through your cell's phonebook, seen an old friend's number, but decided against hitting 'send' just because you figure that person is too busy or probably will think you're weird for calling out of the blue or just looking plain desperate?
Since when did calling a friend, even if you haven't spoken in forever, mean you were desperate? Sometimes I even feel that way for a split second. Even though I get the spontaneous urge to call someone I haven't talked to in a while, I get this weird hesitancy about it. But I realize that's just me and I hit 'send' and in the end I could care less what the person thinks. I'm not a hero or anything, but I do realize if I gave in to my fleeting moment about it all, I wouldn't have the strong friendships I have today. Sometimes it's just the way ya gotta do things even if you feel a little vulnerable for a sec. Because vulnerability inevitably makes you stronger and more compassionate--two of the most important personal assets involved in friendship.
On a similar note, I also think this is a bunch of crap:
"I'm just really bad at staying in touch."

[By the way, in all honestly, I am not thinking of anyone in particular here. So please don't get all worried or feel offended. I'm just sayin' how I feel about friendships and what they are and what they mean to me, which is a lot]

people, again

Because that's all we are, are people. We're silly people who have touched one another's lives in a significant way through caring, wondering, hurting, forgiving, sharing and knowing. And everyday I feel so lucky that I've engaged in this process with other people, with my friends.
For those to end so easily, well, I just can't accept it.


thanks to these people, I'll be doing something I'm not really "supposed" to do!*

SO! I am officially entered in the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon!!! As many of you know, I decided to give running 26.2 miles a shot and joined Team in Training, a program run by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society which trains you for an endurance event of your choice and a spot in the race in exchange for you raising money for the Society. My minimum to raise was $1700 and with the help of my loving friends and family, I made my goal by last Friday's recommitment deadline ($1847, to be exact)!
Without being cheesy, I want to devote this post to the people who have made it possible for me to run in the race and, more importantly, raise this good deal of money to help fund research and patient aid for blood-related cancers. If you don't want to read about the people I'm smitten with at the current time because of their awesome support, I'd stop right now. I can understand a post of this nature can be kind of annoying.
Here are the people who made it possible for me to stay in the TNT program, what I have to say about them/our friendship, and how I think they would fare in the 26.2:

---Catherine Bartoli: a good friend from high school who has known me since I put on my first pair of running shoes. A true big sister of sorts whose outlook on life is constantly positive, she helped me through some times where I felt like giving up on running. (Can you say Kendor Summit??) a superb cook and currently a grad student of Urban Studies in Philadelphia.
-without training, could finish the course in/around 4:30.
---Keith Beam: a fellow ROTC cadet who always made me laugh even when we were supposed to be taking that whole Army thing seriously. And "beam" is such a cool last name! Currently a 1st LT in the Army, serving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
-not counting his recent car accident and subsequent neck injury, Mr. Beam could do it under 4, no problem.
---Missy Bednarek: my dear friend and fellow Army brat who knows no limit when it comes to good old fashioned fun. She also has size 4D boobs and gets sunburned in the moonlight. Oh and she recently married a Venezuelan when she lived in Venezuela. Currently transitioning from living in Venezuela.
-Unfortunately, I don't think Missy would be able to run in a marathon given the size of her boobs.
---Amy Benson: a friend from college who I knew briefly (she graduated right after we started hanging out). Such a jovial person with that laid-back Burlington attitude many strive their whole lives to attain! Currently a physical therapist in Burlington, VT.
-Finish in 5, no sweat.
---Kelly Brown: One of my college roommates, Kelly never turned down an opportunity to get completely trashed or help me with Spanish syntax. Thing is, I didn't take Spanish and could have cared less about syntax! She also acted as my substitute for a date I had to cancel with my college boyfriend. Who does that?? Good ol' Kelly Brown, that's who. Currently event planner for a Boston-based company. Could I be more specific? Nope.
-Kelly's stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. She lives in Boston, so she's in the marathon capital of the US. Thing is, the race starts at noon and she'd already be too drunk to ever participate. However, I'm sure she's OK with that set up.
---Barry Brumitt: Boyfriend of a high school friend. Barry's motto is "never stop" and, in saying that, he's referring to LIFE. He's a skydiver and DJ on the side from developing computer games for Microsoft in Seattle.
-Already ran a marathon. Time: 4:12
---Melissa Chadwick: A college friend who's one of the most reliable people I know, also quite pretty. She's a Republican and that's OK. Currently lives in nearby Silver Spring, MD and writes medical-industry newspaper/pamphlets but I see her being a star reporter for a major pape sometime soon.
-I actually see Ms. Chadwick doing a marathon sometime in her life. 5:30.
---the Clippingers: Family of my high school soccer coach, Greg "Clip" Clippinger, who was seriously one of the top two coaches I have ever had in my life. Currently high school soccer coach and Navy logistics coordinator and moved down the street from my family's house in good ol' Car-lisle, PA.
-the Clippinger family (all 5 of them) could come in under 3 if they worked as a relay team.
---Becky Collins (and matching gift from employer, Universal Music Group): She left SU and went straight to LA where she's been ever since. Before moving to UMG, Becky was Judge Judy's legal assistant. Yes, that Judge Judy (Or "JJ" as she likes to call her). Like, she had JJ's personal cell phone number. Look for her name on the credits:) Becky and I spent 2 days making the power hour tape for our college ski team, and four years making memories from our college shenanigans. We also got kicked out of the Robert Mondavi winery in Napa Valley.
-the beckster is quite athletic and I can see a finish of 5 with the right training.
---Elisse Collins (no relation to Becky, but the ditty is applicable): If you know a Collins, you're one of the luckiest people alive. I know all four of them--maybe I should go buy a lotto ticket?? Elisse lives in close by Alexandria and is an MPH candidate at the GW University.
-Elisse has already started running for cancer awareness in this year's Cherry Blossom festival. I see her doing the 'thon in under 5 fo sheezy.
---John Coppola: Seriously one of the top 3 nicest guys I have ever known and a stellar gentleman. When the rest of us had senioritis, John never missed an ROTC PT session! 1st LT, deploying to Iraq in September.
-a shoe-in at 3:15. WITH full BDU's.
---Emily Cummings: Emilie Cole : EmCole :: Emily Cummings : _______. Together we had a penchant for freaking out the opposing cross country team by acting out SNL skits, (admittedly, none of which are funny anymore). She was a staple of my Carlisle experience. Currently a promotions coordinator for a Tampa, FL-based radio station.
-EmCum could easily take the course in 4:45.
---Brad Decker: um, hello! BRAD DECKER! Currently a campaign finance analyst at the Federal Elections Commission and, like, stuff.
-Brad can't run longer than 10 miles with out getting bored.
---Karen & Paul Decker: Brad's loving parents who think I take him into the ghetto.
-Mr: 3:30/Mrs: -5
---Judy Denham: Triumph's fabulous accountant. 'Round here she goes by Juds and drinks Mike's, which is fabulously trashy and disgustingly glamourous at the same time. Currently an accountant at Triumph Development.
-She bailed on our company run, so I'm not so sure about her level of dedication to running. If she "had to" I'm sure -6.
---Maggie Dukes: Also a kick-ass last name. And her first name isn't a nickname. AND she's both an overachiever and supercool at the same time. AND she gave me this really pretty skirt this one time. AND she's part of Bo2, this extraordinary gang of people I met the second day of college, the memories of which are still some of my finest. Currently works in advertising in N-Y-C.
-Mags. MAGS. 5:30.
---the Duckerts: Nicole's friends' family who I've never met, but who are extremely generous and most likely very very nice.
-They would do their best.
---Moira Fratantuono: one of the most sarcastic people I've ever met and long-time friend from HS. About her senior year as an art student: "I'm having such a great time being a senior. I'm so happy that I can't think of anything to paint."
-too cynical to run a marathon
---Jeremy Greenberg: my roommate in London and super-Jew. The most well-travelled 20-something I've ever met. Helped start AEPi at tons of campuses around the country until moving to DC this summer. Is currently looking for a nice Jewish girl to settle down with.
-Not a runner type. Is really good at soccer and catchphrase though!
---Molly Harris: a recent friend (i.e., beginning of June) from the burgeoning lipstick lesbian scene here in DC. I actually don't know if it's burgeoning or not because I am not part of that scene, really. Neither is she, so that's weird, huh? I had actually never been to any sort of thing having to do with that before, so I was surprised to meet someone I would have become friends with anyway (funny, awesome, witty and nice.) Is the nice Jewish girl Jeremy's looking for, except that she is gay. Currently works for Sen. Kohl (D-Wisc.) on Capitol Hill and drinks beer out of a frisbee in her free time.
-All of Molly's free time is taken up by drinking so training for a marathon is not looking very probable. However I think she's a natural athlete so I'll go with sub 4:30 with the right training.
---Heather Hinckley: part of the 2A Crew. Senior year lived across the street and together our apts threw some classy beer pong tourneys as well as the 2005 Beer Olympics and Hot Tub Extravaganza. Ackerman Ave will never be the same. Our friendship has other aspects that aren't related to beer, but I can't remember them right now.
-Under 5 if she wanted to.
---Erin Hobday: Erin is from Tappanzee and that is one of the fun-nest words to say, and also to sing in a crescendo choral warm-up. We bonded especially our sophomore year of college when we felt just plain holed up in our 70's-era dormitory, Dellplain Hall, and fed up with the SU life. We watched The Graduate. We applied to other schools. We wallowed. And then we realized we liked it there and got over it. Erin is a kick-ass literaturist and writer with a terrific sense of humor, and I'm glad she exists. Period.
-One of the handful of people from SU who actually liked running. 3:30.
---Eric Hough: I have been envious of Eric's ability to do a helicopter on skis since our days of high school ski club. Of course, I tore my ACL the first time I gave it a shot, but that really has nothing to do with Eric. Eric is a complete computer nerd at heart and his forte, now that I think about it, is service projects. He used to go annually to the Dominican Republic to help out with a medical clinic. He also went every summer to build hay-bale houses in Montana for displaced Native Americans. He also went to Central America to build houses and even all the way to Africa to help set up community computer labs in villages. He also shares my passion for Blackalicious and beer. Currently a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and future Bill Gates-meets-Mother Teresa.
-Eric has already done a marathon: the Penn State 'Thon which is actually a dance marathon. He danced for 72 hours without stopping.
---Jen Iles: Jen is one of my (former) sorority sisters and a very snazzy lady if I do say so myself, which I do. I think it's 'cause she's a Cali girl:) Jen and I have very similar senses of humor which was imperative at a place like Syracuse. And even though I left Pi Phi after only a year of sisterhood, she made my experience with the whole thing, and especially my pledge class, unforgettable. For the years after that I saw Jen only occasionally--it's weird how you can not see people even when you're at the same school--but when I did have the good fortune of seeing her out at Darwin's or Faegan's it always ended up absolutely making my day to meet up with the hilarious Jenbino. I think she is currently building a retail empire in San Diego.
-Jen's a very determined gal and I think she would finish in under 6.
---Nicole LaCount: my loving girlfriend who had to donate or else I wouldn't talk to her. JK. As you can see below, she rallied the troops for sure! Currently a high school bio teacher at Bell "Multicultural" (i.e., Latino/African/Asian immigrant) HS.
-This is how Nicole goes running: jog. stop. walk. look at the flowers. stretch. jog. walk. As such, I'd say 10 hours.
---Lynn LaCount: Nicole's dad. Lives in the coolest house I've ever seen on the Pacific Coast of California. Knows how to retire. An amazing beach-sprinter.
-under 4:00.
---Jean-Paul & Allie LaCount: Nicole's brother and wife. One of the cutest couples ever. They have a neat cat named Hilo. Currently moving from the OC to Seattle.
-As a team, under 2:30.
---Christine LeMieux: a friend from college who I didn't know very well until she moved here to DC. Now we paint the town just about every week! Bonus points for: one day driving Nicole out to the airport at 4am. Then that afternoon braved DC rushhour traffic, came and picked me up from Annapolis where I was wasted on our company boat trip, then drove me all the way in the opposite direction back to the same airport she had been to 12 hours prior. All in one day. Volunteered. Currently works in a lobby firm.
-With very careful and detailed planning for a good two years, would finally actually run the race with an impressive sub 4. Her outfit would match perfectly.
---Allie & Erik Kochert: Allie is one of my bf's from high school and has been there through thick and thin as we gradually figure out this thing called life. She more than I, as she got married last summer and has recently bought her first house! I would frequently drop by her house and raid her candy drawer in the small-town life that is Carlisle. Then we would play You Don't Know Jack until it was time to go home. Also, a super-loving person with an equally-as-loving family. Recently got her masters' in therapy and got a therapist job.
-Allie would speed walk in under 4:30. Her mom would qualify for Boston.
---Lindsay Miller: Also of the fantabulous Bo2 gang. Lindsay and I had a special bond--she was the only other person I knew at SU who was from the boring and useless Central Pennsylvania region. As such, we had walkie-talkies for pretty much all of freshman year. How cool is that? Rather, how cool is Lindsay Miller?? Currently works in marketing in NYC.
-Linz already biked the Five Boroughs and I could see her running them in under 5!
---Nick Mira: In high school gym class volleyball games, Nick would steal the volleyball and punt it across the gym just to see what would happen. What would happen is that the ball would bounce around like a bullet trapped in a metal box and then he would get detention. Again. Currently works at a Boston architecture firm.
-Under one hour. On a skate board.
---Mom: My mom rocks!! I met my mom when I was born.
-My mom IS doing the marathon. She'll get her goal time of 12 min/mile, I know it!
---Kathy Mullaney: My former sorority big sister and the only person I know who's actually from Delaware. Inspired me to learn "Over the Hills and Far Away" on the guitar--I think it was my first non-Indigo Girls song? Now that's influence! Currently works at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center here in DC area.
-It would take some focusing, but she could do it in under 5.
---Carol Munger: another firend from SU who graduated before our friendship really blossomed. Along with Amy Benson, the blossoming took place last summer at our dear friend Erica Collins' (see: Elisse Collins, et. al.) kick-ass wedding in the upper lakes of Michigan. Currently a am-pro volleyball player, recently returned from France and is hopefully going back to pursue European professional volleyball.
-Under 4.
---Molly Nichols: Please see post titled "fallure" for Molly's outlook on life. Currently teacher at magnet school in Boulder, CO. I heart Molly Nichols.
-at sea level, easily under 5 hours.
---Colleen O'Brien: CoCo is the sassiest etepetetes I have ever known. You don't even know what that means.
-Under 4:30. Colleen's a great runner and XC pal.
---Mike O'Connor: The newest edition to Team Triumph. A jolly irishman who can drink the rest of us under the table and pretty much out the door. Currently development manager for our humble company.
-Playing 18 is similar to a marathon, right?
---Molly Peterson: A jolly irishwoman who drank the rest of us under the table and out the door. How do I keep befriending these types of people? One of the funniest people I've ever met. Likes bobbleheads. Got her JD just for fun. Currently freelance reporter and producer for NPR and former producer at NPR member station KQED in SF.
-Under an hour. In a kayak. That she built.
---Andrew Poolman: my highschool boyfriend and, along with John Coppola, one of the top 3 nicest guys I've ever met. One day last summer we spent all evening racing his automatically-reclining overstuffed chairs while drinking mint juleps. Thing is, racing automatically-reclining overstuffed chairs is pointless since they go the same speed and no one can win. Currently a teacher at a private school in upstate NY.
-Last I knew he wasn't too fond of running, but I think he could do it in under 4.
---Darya Porat: my freshman and senior year roommate. From dealing with a ton of army crap sprawled over our teensy room freshman year (and the M16 target I hung on our door without realizing it came across as creepy--hey, I was just proud of my shooting!) to senior year's debauchery which included many power hours, a caribbean cruise and crawling around the apartment mewing like cats, when I think of college, I automatically think of Darya. Who doesn't, really?
-Darya would win out of sheer cuteness. Barring that, I think she'd easily get in around 5:15.
---Ali Lee & Mitch Price: Ali Lee and her boyfriend, Mitch Price. I cannot begin to explain Ali Lee in this humble blog. It's just too humble!
-Ali: Boston mat. Mitch: I have no idea, I'm still getting to know him.
---Meghan Riley: the third and final senior roommate. Shares my Type-A (which I think is all but gone now, but back then...well...) side so I didn't feel like a weirdo organizing my grocery cabinet and having to do lists all over my computer monitor. Meghan bites off more than you think she can eventually chew. But she'll prove you wrong and wash it down with a beer to boot! Born, raised and currently a grad student at SU. Meghan: please leave Syracuse before you die.
-If she could actually fit 4 and a half hours into her busy schedule, she could do the 26.2. That's highly unlikely, though.
---Amy Savage: of the 2A Crew as well. No. 2 worst Boston-area accent I have ever heard in my entire life. Has replaced the ability to pronounce the letter "R" with an impeccable ability to party.
-Would be with Kelly on this one. Not so much running in the marathon so much as watching and drinking.
---Molly Schmelzle: see www.mcschmel.blogspot.com for more details. Currently lives in San Diego as a grad student and liver of life to the fullest.
-Will make Boston in her first marathon, whenever that happens.
---Adam Smith: a DC friend of Nicole's who will never be able to write a book on economic theory without coming across as silly. That sucks because he would probably write a book on economic theory if he wasn't a structural engineer.
-Probably can't do a marathon because of his knees. But if he could, under 4 for sure.
---Jack Somerville: the old dude that works in an office inside our office. Is obsessed with the mail and the weather. Calls from vacations to check in on the weather and mail. Calls Asian Americans "Chinamen." Currently on vacation, called earlier today to see how the weather was and if the mail came yet.
-8-9 hours.
-the Strands: family of dear friend Ellie Strand, my youngest friend to date (when I was senior, she was freshman, etc). Also one of my closest running friends--we've climbed a lot of hills, run a lot of miles, and won a lot of meets together. A great runner and even better friend.
-Boston or better.
---Marygrace Tilman: I met Marygrace on accident when she was visiting SU as a high shcool senior. Then, somehow, we both showed up randomly at SU XC preseason, looking to walk on the squad. Our friendship then quickly grew and running is truly at its core. Favorite run: the Quarry (that one trail, especially:). Marygrace has narcolepsy and when we roomed together I frequently made her brush her teeth and tucked her in to bed. She is now married and deployed to South Korea the other day.
-I think she randomly ran a marathon in Spain and did pretty well. Like 3:50-ish or something like that. Definitely Boston.
---Geoff Washburn: A fellow ROTC cadet who was as hardcore about the program as I wasn't. A dedicated and reliable chap who didn't mind hearing my liberal crap day in and day out. This guy was born a ranger. Thank god because he now is one. Currently stationed in Hawai'i. Boo hoo.
-Hates running but could do it in 2:30 if under enemy fire.
---Karen Weidert: one of my fondest memories of Karen (along with Ms. Becky Collins) is dressing up like "KISS" and hiding out in the lobby of Psi U for about 2 hours. Karen went to South Africa right after college where she taught prison inmates First Aid. Currently lives in Boston working for a South African organization but is moving with me to SF in the future (I still hope).
-Karen would come in exactly 5 minutes after me, regardless of the time. Hehehe, jk. You know you're the best at life and I'm just jealous.

If, after reading this, you'd also like to help, please consider donating to my mom's fundraising since I have completed my goal. Click here.

*According to my "doctor"


Rest in Peace, Mr. Jennings.

"I have never spent a day in my life where I didn't learn something."
-Peter Jennings, 1938-2005


I discovered something this weekend, practically in my own backyard, that is just absolutely fabulous! (I love when this happens; it takes a familiar place and makes it new all over again)
I don't know how I missed it for so long...it's really loud, tons of fun and crowds of people attend this thing: Every Sunday in Meridian Hill Park there is an African drum circle.
Not a drum circle with a bunch of white hippies (although there were some in attendance, naturally). No, this one actually had real, pure soul.
Around the circle there were a ton of people (like, 50), each with a set of bongoes, drums, cowbell-type things, or cymbals. There were a few 'leaders' who would reset the rhythym by playing a simple beat which meant to stop the current one they were playing. Once everyone would do the restart beat, the leader then tapped out the next one, and slowly everyone would join in.
Standing outside the circle, but still close to it, I closed my eyes and took in this makeshift orchestra's performance. I could hear every. single. individual instrument--even the small rain-trickley sound made by some hollow wooden rod--and, at the same time, one big instrument, one big song.
It was a whole and also the sum of its parts.

And it was so celebratory! Everyone was having a such good time! They weren't there for a demonstration or to raise money. They were there to get together, forget about everything on their minds. To make beats, to dance (people dance in the middle--not your hippies trying to look African, but the real deal- the real dancing with the flailing arms, the smiling faces, the stomping, the loose wrists) They were just getting together to beat on whatever they had for a good four hours in the sweltering DC summer heat.
Just cause.
I love it!

I thought about "race." Well, not race cause I don't really believe in race. But it made me think about cultures in a way which I haven't in the recent months.
The first was the history of this drum circle--not just here in DC but back in Africa. The tribal aspect. Standing there, my whole body felt taken over by the beat. I couldn't help it! The rhythym just coursed through my veins. I didn't want to dance--I enjoyed watching others do so. But my soul was dancing involuntarily at the sounds.
This is part of daily life for these people. Music and dancing are in their culture. (I also love this about Latin, and now come to think of it, most of the world's non-white cultures because of this). Here our celebrations are organized, purposeful and, when compared to this kind of stuff, kinda boring! I experienced the same, I think, when I went to one of Nicole's student's Quince Ano. It was a random attendence on my part and I didn't really know what it was. But in the basement of a local El Salvadorean church with its flourescent lighting, plastic decorations and erratic DJ, the family still danced like there was no tomorrow.
Getting back to the drum circle,
It made me think how the colonialists could ever think the same thing savage, beastly, barbaric.
This was something new to me--something I could never do, per se, and I felt so appreciative of what I heard. How could something like this not be seen as beautiful?? I thought of Waiting for the Barbarians by JM Koetzee. In reality, which group is the "civilized" one?

That being said, I also got some chuckles out of the white people in the drum circle. There were about 3 or 4 and they were focused concentratingly on the drum leaders, their lips pursed, their brow sweaty and their movements stiff...making SURE that they stayed on beat. I wonder if that's how blacks feel in our mostly "white" world: somewhat stressed out about getting it right, making enough to get by, and being able to stay in the game for atleast one more whatever it is that individuals measure their increments of life by.
But at the Meridian Hill drum circle it was the other way around, even if for a few hours on a hazy Sunday afternoon. This was their world.
We had to keep up this time.


misc. wednesday

Hello somewhat-faithful blog readers! Hope everyone is doing well this fine August day! It's hot as whatever outside here in DC but you know me-I try to keep cool. Well, I actually have some thoughts this week. Of course there is no real consistency between them (summer does that. sunshine=less pensive=jumbled thinking) and so here's another round of miscellaneous wednesday!

-Once you've run 14 miles, suddenly running 8 seems like a walk in the park. This was the farthest I've ran to date!

-I know it's a tad late, but I think that the Bud Lite "Real Men of Genius" commercials are one of the top 5 advertising ideas of all time. My favorite: Mr. 80-SPF Sunblock Wearer ('don't forget the moonlight')

-Is there really a difference between simile and metaphor? I don't think there is. Isn't the "like" or "as" simply implied with metaphor?

-Another quote from my Uncle Thomas, which I forgot to put on that post is: "If you don't want to pull yourself out of the toilet, go ahead and flush yourself on down."
I think this could be applied to: welfare reform and the current Washington Nationals.

-I'd like to congratulate the following peeps in certain life milestones (that I know of!!):
--Katie Slocum: got a sweet teaching job at a private school in Fredericksburg, VA
--Brad Decker: was promoted to G-11, Step 2
--Erica Schulze, Allie Kochert, Marygrace Tilman: celebrated one-year anniversaries this summer
--Molly Nichols: got a sweet teaching job at a magnet school in Denver
--Sarah Schilling: entering grad school at Emerson
--Dan Vaughn: getting new apartment
--Doug Weck: full-ride to UPenn for JD/PhD
--Karen Weidert: deciding to move to Bay Area (with me!)
--Stacy Bond: quit KQED to pursue life dream, AudioLuxe
--Molly Harris: after years of penning legislation, finally got millions of dollars in appropriations for Wisconsin's roads in last week's Transportation Bill
--You: reading this blog

-Rahzel is one of the most talented vocalists who has ever lived.

-Marijuana greatly, GREATLY enhances watching The Transformers.
That is, if it is actually possible to enhance watching The Transformers.

-Communication=transmission + reception.

-A frisbee can hold more than 40 oz. of beer.

-I hate to comment on this 'publicly', but it's on my mind at least once a day, no jokesies:
I'll admit that I'm not the best one at taking hints. I don't like to assume what someone else is thinking and like the same done for me, which is why maybe I'm not the most tactful person you've ever met. You know? As such, I'll keep it brief.
I *think* that I have recently lost a friendship that was very dear to me. There's a combination of things that come into play here for me. One is that I'm accustomed to making and keeping friends, not losing them. Secondly, I really care about this friend and it will be weird and it is sad to me that it is possibly gone.
Another is that I really thought our friendship and relationship (i.e., what we've contributed to one another's lives, etc.) was important enough and strong enough to take anything thrown at it. Even if I might have done the throwing. (Did I??)
But I mean, come on. I'm a girl. My throw can't be that good.

-"Big wheels keep on turning and the Proud Mary keeps on burning. And I'm rolling on the river."