Fall and me

"It's that time of year again."

OK. So I actually don't really use that phrase too often, but still. What I'm trying to say is that the first trees are changing and I can no longer deny that with every fluttering leaf that drops, the flora and fauna of my heart be...no, no, no.
Let me start over.

Even though it's hard for me to pick things out and label them as "favorite" and "best," I've decided that Fall is both the best and my favorite season. I don't know how it came to be that way; I never grew up with those American autumnal staples like football, apple cider or sweatshirts with turtlenecks underneath.
In fact, I used to dislike the Fall just because it basically meant that I would have to wear sweatshirts with turtlenecks underneath.
And I hate sweatshirts!
OK, not really. It just meant that playing outside was coming to a close end and then I'd be stuck inside with my family.
Um, no thanks.
But somewhere along the line, I began to like the Fall.

Well, not just "somewhere." I know where it began, goshdarnit, and I'm not ashamed to admit it! It started with cross country. I know that sounds really dorky...but whatevs, yo. Cross country is dorky! But that's where it started and you're going to have to accept that about me.

You see, after a month of hot weather, the season quickly changed to cool, brisk afternoons that make running 60 minutes of hills much more bearable

Then came the races themselves. Set against a changing backdrop of red, orange and yellow, the meets were both exciting and familiar. Exciting because you never knew where your legs would--or wouldn't--take you that day. (At least that's my definition of "exciting." You?)
Familiar because there was Mr. Bartoli, in the same spot, bellowing the same cheer, giving you that same feeling of pride and competitiveness. Or at least making you feel like The Thundering Herd wasn't such a bad mascot after all.

Saturday races--invitationals, mind you--were the best; hundreds of runners AND the chance to medal. The excitement here came from the large field and not knowing the other teams' ability, or even geography. I mean, I still don't know where exactly Emmaus is.
And I hope I never find out.

Oh yeah! And each team had a tent where ear-muffed parents diligently setup the post-race meal: steaming chilli, a cornucopia of chips and dip I'd have never found in my own pantry, fresh fruit and Gatorade galore...all this complemented with the menthotastic hint of Flex-All wafting through the air.
Can you feel it? No, not that. The burning chill inside your nostrils. Yeah! That's it!

By 1PM we were back on the bus, watching Nature's Change whiz by, on our way to Saturdee night's activities-which included, but were not limited to, a bunch of girliness, smelly markers, and, of course, more Flex-All.

My autumns at SU came both with and without running, mostly due to knee issues. Either way, Central NY provided an awesome substitute for the glory days of CHS XC with its most beautiful trees and many an apple festival.
Good enough!

Ever since that first Fall, I've found it impossible to disassociate the season with running.
The crunchy colors. The earthen air. The smell of tree bark changing--thickening for winter--but only when I'm running by it.
There have been times when I couldn't run, times where I just didn't, and times where I didn't know which one it was.
But now this Fall, as I prepare for the biggest running event in my life to date, I realize that over the past ten years running has never really left me.

Nor I running.

And this realization came on this Saturday's run when I noticed the first leaf fall on the trail before me. It was mile 8 of 14…


I'm going going, back back...

...to Cali Cali!

Yep, that's right folks! San Francisco, to be exact.
In two weeks I'll be headin' out West--this time for at least a few years. It kind of came up fast but I'm super excited and have a weird calmness that everything will work out.


-After living there, around the world and in various East Coast locations, I've decided that the Bay Area is the place for me right now: chill/diverse peeps, lots to do, diverse array of outdoor activities, good food, big farmers' markets.
-I am starting a company
-I have good friends there

Do you have a job?
In short, no. I do not have a definite, already-existing j-o-b. However, the reason I am going there is to start a non-profit radio production company, called AudioLuxe (please disregard the shitty-ass graphics on this starter Web site) with my good friend Stacy. So that would be my main 'job.' There's also the prospect of getting the morning news director job at KQED, the NPR affiliate station where I interned and, if not, working my way into that station through filling-in.
And then there's always waiting tables...(preferrably with my East Bay crew, somewhere involving Guinness).

Do you have a place to live?
In short, no. Not yet. Two of my future roommates are already in the area scoping out the sitch...such is the relocation process.

I still have some more questions, but let me ask this one that I just thought of: Do you know what the F you're doing??

Oh, OK. From the looks of your first two answers, it didn't seem to me like you have a "plan."
Well, I do. But thanks anyway, mom.

You're welcome. So how are you getting there?
I am driving cross country with my third roommate and fine SU-ski-team friend, Karen. We are going to have the most fun!

What about that marathon you were training for? I mean, we all gave you money and now wh...Actually, I'm flying back for the big race, which is Sunday, October 30th. After all this fundraising and training, I wouldn't miss it for the world!

Aren't you in a relationship? What's gonna happen with that?
Yes, and I'm not sure. Even though she's from there, Nicole is not moving back to that area at this time; she'll stay in DC a little while longer. However, I made the decision to do all this a while ago because I knew it was what I wanted to do. Whatever will be will be and I'm not worried about it.

Why are you letting your grandparents down like this? I mean, they really wanted you to move to Edenton and get a good job, plus they are the only ones who seem to know the real deal about San Francisco: that it's a dirty city full of crazy liberals, homeless people, drugs, gays and crime-ridden immigrants. Didn't you know that??
Until I see that San Francisco, I'll go on what I know. Which is that it's one of the best cities in the whole wide world.


tonight's the night

"la la la la laaaaaa
la la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaa
la la lalala
la la
california, here we come
right back where we started from

season three


misc. wednesday

-Went over to the SCOTUS yesterday evening to observe/pay respects to Mr. Rehnquist. For me it was nothing political (I mean, obviously). Just something I feel was important because I appreciate our judicial system, the Constitution and the people who spend their lives working in those realms.
Sometimes I go down to the Supreme Court and marvel at not only the white marble pillars, statues and frieze but what the place stands for. Lady Justice holds the scales blindfolded and "Equal Justice Under Law" reads the classically-chiseled font above the massive entrance.
Maybe it's not that way in the real world (yet) and maybe special interests have their greasy hands in the dealings of our government and everyone's corrupt and just trying to exploit their power for the back-alley money mongers lurking in the darkness of racism, classism, et. al.
Or maybe not.
Maybe these people devoted their lives to an idea begun in Babylon, developed in Rome and continued today, which is that people have inalieable rights that no one should ever be able to take away. There's a lot of inherent controversy and debate into what these rights are and how they can be protected, but in the end it's people realizing they are important and trying to do something about them.
Thanks, Mr. Rehnquist. You did a good thing with your life.

-On a related note, the California Assembly yesterday passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, defining it as simply 'between two persons.'
Obviously there is controversy about this topic and whatnot, but the thing that struck me the most was that Gov. Schwarzenegger (who doesn't know if he'll sign it into law yet) stated: "This matter should be settled by the courts, not the legislators."
Didn't opponents cry foul play when the Massachussetts court "actively legislated from the bench" in that state's same-sex-marriage controversy?! I actually agreed with that point on its federalist/constitutional logic! Now a state has gone and passed it the "right" way (no pun intended) but--of course--it's no good. Honestly, people (and by "people" I mean "opponents of same-sex marriage"), make up your f-ing minds.

-On a related note. To my conservative counterparts: In light of recent disaster, war and world events, can you see how two people wanting to marry each other out of love and devotion is
actually not that big of a deal?

-I haven't hopped on the FEMA blame-game bandwagon...well, until today when I learned that a plane carrying evacuees headed for Charleston, SC actually went to Charleston, WV.
Come on guys.

-I forgot to mention that I had a really good Sabrett's kosher hot dog while waiting in line to get into the SCOTUS. Is that wrong?

-Some people have television, sports, etc.
Me, well, I day dream about winning the lottery. I know it sounds kind of silly and stuff. But it's not all the time or such that I don't live my current life. And, yes, I have a slight worry that doing so might actually "jinx" my chances of winning. But I just think the idea is so interesting, how your life can literally change in one moment of pure luck. I mean, I do it because it's fun.
If I won the lottery, I would first put 1/3 of it into an investment/trust--ya gotta protect something for the generations to follow.
Second, I would pay off any and all of my family and friends' personal debt...credit cards, mortgages, cars, student loans, whatever...and pay their monthly bills for 3 months.
Third-(a), I would look for a good charity with a good track record or which needs a good boost and I would give, give, give. Third-(b) I would start my own. Third-(c) I would volunteer the rest of my life. Third-(d) I would give random people money. I mean, it happened to me, right? Share the wealth is what I say. Third-(e) I would buy townhouses in DC, NY, SF & Chicago and let friends/fam there live in them rent-free.
Fourth, I would divide the rest up between family and friends. For example, if I won the MegaMillions this Friday, expected to be in the $200-million range, you can guaran-damn-tee that any and all good friends would be getting at least a mil in the mail...two if you helped me with Team in Training.
Fifth, this one was Brad's idea, but it's a good one, I would take my friends and fam on an all-expenses-paid, around-the-world trip that didn't have a clear ending date. We would just go and not come back until we felt like it was done.
Sixth, I would give the dude who sold me the ticket one million.
So go ahead. Indulge. What would you do if you won?

-I really hate days like yesterday where I'm just like "blah." I'm glad today it's back to my normal 99%-of-the-time goofy & laughing self. Boo-yah!



I rarely ever say, or feel this, but I think someone's got a case of the Mondays.
And even though it's Tuesday, that person would be me.


the irony of drinking

In one of these stories, I get rewarded for drinking. In the other, I get punished for not.

-Wednesday night I was out at a dance club until 2:30 or so. I hailed a cab to take back home since it was kinda far and I was, well, really really drunk. Once in the cab I decided/realized that I was also really really hungry so I asked the cabbie if he could please drive up 18th Street, since that is where all of the late-night food spots are. Also, in my mind, I never really thought that asking cabbies to stop so you can get food is kind of not really allowed.
So we're driving up 18th St. and I'm like "hey, can you please stop at this place?" referring to Amsterdam Falafel Shop. He stops and I get out but see that AFS has closed for the night. So I get back in the cab and say "well it's closed. But there's pizza right up there..." pointing to the Jumbo Slice half a block up.
Looking back on it, I didn't really even think to myself, "this guy's job isn't to drive me around looking for food." I just assumed he was cool with it, yo.
Well we pull up to Jumbo Slice and I get out and go in but lo! and behold, they just ran out of pizza. WTF.
So I get back in the cab and tell the cabbie--Ali, to be exact--that they ran out of pizza! I then go, "but there's another place right there" pointing to two doors down to another version of Jumbo Slice. I also ask him if he wants some pizza as well.
We ride the 4 seconds further to the second pizza place...lol, kind of ridiculous I realize now...and I went in and bought a piece cut in half (still enough to feed a family of 5). Got back in the cab and then Ali and I ate the pizza outside of my building.
We also talked about Pakistan for about half an hour.

At the end of this all, I got kind of nervous when I realized I still had to pay the guy. What with all those stops and all, I was dreading a $30 cab fare.
"So, how much do I owe you?"
"Nothing." he says.
Rock on!

-Last night after work my bosses took us all out for a couple of drinks. They are nice, huh?
After a beer or two I left (I had to show my apartment). The rest of the evening was pretty chill---I just went over to Brad's to watch the hurricane coverage (I don't get TV so I hadn't seen any of the news really yet). I was there till, oh, 11. I fiddled around back at my place for another hour then went to bed.
Well this morning I was just really tired. I tried to get out of bed but it just wasn't happening for me. I slept until 8:30--the time I'm supposed to be at work--and called in and said I was running late.
I got to work about 9:30 and did the whole silent-serious thing because I hate being late and feel really really guilty whenever I am.
My co-worker, Nick, comes up to me and says, "James and Steve want to see you upstairs. They weren't too happy about you being late."
Of course my stomach drops. Like I said, I already feel bad and now I'm really nervous.
I went upstairs, into James' office, and started to apologize. He interrupts me and says "well, where were you last night?" Steve says "yeah. What did you do when you left Caddie's?"
"Well, I went home, cleaned and watched the hurricane coverage."
Steve says, "why don't you just tell us the truth?"
"I am."
"Sure" they both reply.
James then says, "well, we've had to give this a lot of thought."
Steve: "Emilie, this is the third time that you've come in either late or not at all after we go out after work."
James: "It's just not acceptable anymore."
There was a moment of silence in which I didn't really know what to say back.

James then goes, "In response to your behavior" [takes out large cardboard thing] "you have to wear THIS until we tell you to take it off:"


So now I'm wearing this falsely-accusatory sign around my neck.