31 May 2012

In the Merry Month of May

Did ya'll know May had it's own theme song?

It really is true. You learn something new every day.

I'm a little sad to see May end.

I spent a lot of time in my own head this month, which generally doesn't turn out so well. But, this time it actually worked out pretty well! I spent much of my time focusing on what I want out of this crazy little life of mine but more importantly this past month was about taking steps to make some things happen.

The biggest thing to happen is May is that I have started running. I'll get into it more on Saturday, but I never expected after such a short about of time that running would be such an important part of my day. It's a time that I can be free with my thoughts and work through some things. It's been a great form of meditation.

I also dove head first into preparing for the PHR certification exam. I have a date circled on the calendar, and even though I can't officially register for the exam until July, December 3rd is going to be the big day. I realize that it is 7 months away but I am absolutely terrified. I know though that if I keep plugging away at it, I'll be read for the exam when the time comes.

The bucket list has seen a few revisions. I know it will always been a work in progress but sometimes starting from scratch is a good way to approach things, even if some of the things you took off the list end up right back on it.

My garden is looking fabulous! The roses are starting to bloom and Sadie is having a brilliant time protecting them.

Sadly, May wasn't all smiles and awesome life revelations. I've carried with me all month the huge burden of doubt about one thing in particular. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever been able to shake the feeling of "not being good enough" or if it will always be there. One of my greatest challenges is not put so much of myself out there that I'm questioning whether or not I've made the best decision. Case in point: Captain Random. I know, the whole code name thing is weird and I'm fairly certain I've a terrible job at keeping his identity secret (in real life) but it's important to protect the innocent. It's completely selfish and quite narcissistic, but it's tough to not think sometimes that things don't go quite as you had hoped without thinking it is sometimes to do with you or what you did or what you said or whatever. I know everyone goes through moments like these and that this will surely pass in time.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to June. I have a week of vacation from work towards the end of the month which I am very excited about. A little stacation to hang out around the house, get some projects done and just generally relax.

30 May 2012

What I Read in May

I know May isn't technically over with, but I've decided to post this now to spread things out a bit.  Plus unless something really exciting happens in one of the three books (yep, not a typo, currently trudging my way through three reads) I am reading, there won't be any changes to the list below.

I am quite happy to say that I managed to read more books in the first week of May than I did the entire month of April.

How is that for a win!

And I participated in my first Bout of Books Read-a-Thon.

I will admit though that very little of what I read this month was challenging, which I quite enjoyed.  Lots of trashy romance novels but sometimes you just need to read something a little bit ridiculous (i.e. all three book by Deborah Geary) and a little out there (i.e. selections by Evangeline Anderson) and get lost in the story. 

This past month I read:

At some point I do plan on writing actual "reviews" on the books I read or at least that is a goal I am declaring for myself. It would just be nice to have a book that I really, really liked to write about. Otherwise, it'd just be me lamenting the fact that I am having a heck of a time finding books with strong, independent female leads who I don't either hate or strongly dislike. Hopefully that'll start this summer.

Happy reading!

28 May 2012

Music Monday: Sounds of Summer

Memorial Day weekend always seems to signify the start of summer.

High school seniors are graduating. It's the first long weekend of the season. And the sleepy little town I live in starts to wake up as folks open their cottages for the year.

In keeping with that theme, I thought I'd go with a set of songs that make me think of lazy days on the beach with friends, afternoons spent reading a good book and evening cookouts and bonfires.

Colbie Caillat: Bubbly

Michael Franti & Spearhead: Say Hey (I Love You)

Justin Timberlake: Summer Love

Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat: Lucky

Kid Rock: All Summer Long

What songs make you think of summer?

27 May 2012

This Week in Photos

I must confess, even though I took a whole lot of photos this week, I'm not entirely sure which days I took which photos on. Whoops. So, I think I have them in the right order but I'm really not 100% sure it's accurate.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend.

26 May 2012

Running with the Devil

This past week has been exceptionally frustrating.

I should be celebrating finishing the 4th week of the C25k program but instead I am camped out on the couch with what has turned into a wicked cold.

I thankfully managed to squeeze in three runs this past week-Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday. But sadly, two out of three of them were rough! Sunday was great. Tuesday and Wednesday I wanted to quit.

In an attempt to keep myself from becoming too bored with running the same route everyday, I decided to start from my house rather than going out to the cottage. Great idea until I realized that in doing so, I would be running the first half of my route up a stead incline. Exhausting. Add that on top of the pretty nasty cold I developed (I think it started with allergies, but I don't know) and it was a recipe for disaster. I walked more than I feel like I should have. I barely made my daily goal of 2  miles. And am generally feeling like a bit of a failure.

I know the whole "feeling like a failure" bit is a little ridiculous. I can't help it if I'm sick (I totally sound like a dude--not sexy). I'm just frustrated and want to get back out there, which I will hopefully be able to do on Monday.

Before being struck down with this cold, I had set up a couple of challenges for myself. They are all still doable--it's just going to take some work. The plan is to completely the following by June 16:

  • Complete 18 runs
  • Run 30 Miles
I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to complete them. Heck I'm already three runs in so I should do ok! 

I'm also contemplating on doing a running streak. Runners World set forth a challenge to run at least one mile from Memorial Day (5/28) to July 4th. 38 days of running. 38 miles. I think I can do it. It's all hinges on this cold being done and out of my system by then. 

25 May 2012

Things I Pondered This Week When I Should Have Been Doing Other Stuff

  • I kind of feel like this series needs a graphic. Something to break up all the words. That'll be something I work on this weekend.
  • Everyone needs to go out and buy Born & Raised. Seriously.....do it now! That album is pretty amazing.
  • Even when it is crazy hot outside, drinking hot tea makes me feel better. 
  • I'm quite certain battling a spring time cold is worse than battling one in the winter. Hence, all the tea. 
  • Maybe it's the cold medicine. Maybe it's the introspective tunes I've been listening to all week, but I'm letting Captain Random go. I know. That doesn't make much sense but it's for the best. It was never meant to be--best to cut my losses now than get my heartbroken.
  • I am really discouraged by my lack of progress with running this week, but I'll dive into that a little bit more tomorrow. 
  • They may be cheesy, cliche and utterly ridiculous, but sometimes spending a little time with a trashy romance novel is good for the soul. Although trashy romance novels about hunky alien warriors (like The Rock but better) are the best. 

23 May 2012

Born & Raised: A Non-Review Revisited

I mentioned in yesterdays post that I had something entirely different written but couldn't bring myself to post it. 

But after receiving a few requests to read what I had originally wrote and after rolling the idea of posting it around in my head, I've decided to just go for.

Here's the deal......it's not entirely about Mayer's new album. I mean it is, but it isn't.

Music is one of the most important things in my world. When it comes to music I am bitchy. Catty. Judgmental. Opinionated. Obsessive. Passionate.

I can't play an instrument (well) to save my life. I sing out of tune. And will never be a musician.

But I love it. It feeds my soul. It lifts me up when I am down. It brings me tears when I can't shed them on my own. It provides the soundtrack to my life. It's a part of who I am and no matter how crazy I sound when I talk about it, for better or for worse it helps to define who I am.

So there is your disclaimer. Proceed at your own risk I suppose.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I absolutely adore Born and Raised but I don't feel like it's an album for the masses.

One of my biggest frustrations with the music industry is that there is no (little) room for experimentation. Once you have a hit, that's it! That's your role. You churn out what helped you succeed and heaven help you if you try to grow as an artist or try sometime new. The music industry doesn't have time for new or innovative. We are consumers seeking instant gratification and are onto the next best thing before an artist is able to establish their roots (i.e. a fan base). I know this doesn't apply to every musician, band, performer, but seriously--turn on the radio and tell me how many established artists are in rotation. 

Leading up to today, I avoided all reviews, press, reviews, interviews and even discussions with friends about the album. I didn't want my first listen to be clouded by what anyone else thought of the album or what anyone thought of his intentions or motivations for the songs. I didn't want to read how this album may or may not be like his previous releases or that he was channeling his inner Bob Dylan or that the sappy love songs (i.e. Your Body Is A Wonderlandish song) were missing or whatever.  I just wanted to experience the album in my own space on my own terms. 

It seems like an odd choice, but my first listen to the album was during my morning run but for me, it was the perfect environment--just me, the music and an open road and not a single distraction in sight. Perfection.

Of all his albums, this one is the most honest. The most introspective album yet--gone (or at least seems to be gone) are the songs/lyrics of an angry/frustrated young man trying to fight his way through a (love) life where the rules are constantly changing with the tides of public opinion. There is a maturity in not only the lyrics but also musically.

On the surface though, none of that really comes through. It doesn't sound like "Mayer". It doesn't sound or feel like any of his previous albums. This is album you have to digest. You need to listen to the words, to what he is really saying for it to sink in. It's raw and simplistic in the most complicated of ways. This album showcases his talents as a songwriter. As a storyteller.  It's absolutely amazing.

The Age of Worry literally stopped my in my tracks. Besides feeling a little bit an anthem, it  was like a punch to the gut. A reminder that sometimes you're stronger than you give yourself credit for and that this life is your own. You have to find peace within yourself for yourself. No one else (nothing else) is going to do that for you. 

That feeling stayed with me through the whole album. 

Born & Raised, the title track from the album brought me to tears--this, unlike any other song (for me at least) seemed to put Mayer's life into perspective and I don't know that I've ever recover from that. Walter Grace's Submarine Test: January 1967 reminded me of my favorite poem by William Carlos Williams and absolutely broke my heart. Speak For Me kind of sums up in three minutes and forty-five seconds how I feel about the music industry and made me giggle. Sometime Like Olivia made me smile because I think we are all in one way or another searching for our own version of Olivia.

22 May 2012

Born & Raised: A Non-Review


Leave it to John Mayer to send me into tears first thing this morning while running.

Today was album release day. A very exciting day for those of us awaiting the release of Mayer's new album Born & Raised.

I had this whole giant "Gosh darnit I love this album!" post ready to go but then couldn't pull the trigger to post it. *sigh* Ridiculous, I know.

Here's the thing. I listened to this album all day. I listened to it on my run this morning. All day at work. And now all evening at home, trying to figure how to put in my own words what I think about Mayer's new release. And all I keep coming up with are over enthusiastic, single words with lots of exclamation points to describe the dang thing: Amazing. Refreshing. Brilliant. Moving. Honest. Pure. Genius. I could go on but I won't for fear that I end up sounding like a thesaurus.

I can say this.....The Age of Worry brought me to tears on my run as did the title track Born & Raised. Walter Grace's Submarine Test: January 1967 broke my heart. Speak For Me made me giggle and Sometime Like Olivia made me smile.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sometimes music strikes a chord (no pun intended) and hits you at just the right time. That's how I feel about this album. And for the life of me, I can't explain why. I'm sure part of it has been the overwhelming feelings of "being lost" lately and so many of these songs (at least to me) are about searching for something, searching for yourself, who you are and who you thought you were/supposed to be. This album seems to speaks to those feelings from start to finish. Say what you will, but Mayer has a way with words, cliche as sometimes they may seem. He is able to put together lyrics that resonate with me and how I am feeling. I feel like I could hand someone his words and say "This! This is what I want you to know!" and they'd get it. I know that makes little to no sense at all, but sometimes the music speaks for me. And that's what this album is for me. A voice for a soul searching for something that is barely out of reach.

So line on up, and take your place And show your face to the morning Cause one of these days you'll be born and raised And it all comes on without warning.......

21 May 2012

Music Monday: Shadow Days

I have done absolutely EVERYTHING I can to avoid any talk, review and/or preview of John Mayer's new album, Born & Raised which comes out tomorrow(!!!!!!!).

Why when all I have done for the last two years is complain that he needs to put out new music?

I'm a big believer that albums are meant to be listened to all the way through as a whole. Not broken up my singles that are ready made for radio or individual songs that were just thrown in for filler. And whether or not that's how he produces his albums, for me, that's how Mayer's albums listen. They tell a story from beginning to end. A progression of life lessons.

Tomorrow morning when I queue the album up for my run, when I listen to it for the first time, I don't want anyone elses thoughts about it in my head. I don't want to know that a song doesn't resonate with someone else or that he's channeling another artist or that this album is a big departure from his previous releases or whatever anyone else is saying about it. It's just unnecessary noise that I don't want in my head.

So, in honor of tomorrow release of Born and Raised, I leave with his this first single off the album Shadow Days. It took a while for this song to grow on me, but grow on me it has, even sending me into tears a time or two.

20 May 2012

Bout of Books v4.0: Recap and Review

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

This week has been a lot of fun! My original goal was to read the following five books:

  • What the Dickens
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  • The September Society
  • Fleet Street Murders
  • The Night Circus
I managed to read 2 of them from the original list as well as 2 that weren't on the list. And even though I didn't read 5 books this week (I am blaming it on a spring cold that I seem to have developed---not fun) I'm totally happy with the progress I made. 1046 pages read in a week. I'm calling that a win!

Plus, this project totally helped to kick start my reading again! I am totally back on track to meeting my yearly goal AND I have a whole slew of new books to add to my TBR (to be read) list thanks to a all the tweets and blog posts about what everyone else participating in the read-a-thon are/were reading. 

I still have to work on the whole "review" thing though, so you'll have to excuse the slightly scattered and really random reviews below. That'll eventually come with time and practice though.

I am absolutely looking forward to the next installment of Bout-of-Books, whenever that may be and to checking out all of the new blogs I've discovered this past week.

For now though, I'm going to set the books aside for the rest of the weekend and watch a movie.

The books:
What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire: This was a pretty quick read-even though it was just a little more than 300 pages I finished it in a few hours. I liked the way Maguire retold the story of "tooth fairies". It was a nice twist to the traditional story even if it was a bit darker than I had originally expected. I also really like the way he wove the telling of the tale within the 2nd story of the book. It was an interesting take on re-telling a fairy tale.

Declaring Spinsterhood by Jamie Lynn Braziel: Right.....maybe it wasn't my cup of tea, but this book was pretty awful. It seemed like every character was an over-exaggerated archetype of the role they played in Emma (the main characters) life. An overbearing mother who is obsessed with getting Emma "married off" (honesty, how kicks their daughter out of the family for declaring she has decided to remain single!?). Then there is an ex-boyfriend who after cheating on her seems to have all of a sudden decided he can't live without her. And her best friend (whom she only met 6 months prior to the beginning of this tale when me moved in next door to her) whom, of course, she falls in love with. It's a pretty cliche telling of the same chick lit story I have read over and over again, but reads like a chopped up version of a teenage diary.

The Uncommon Ready by Alan Bennett: For the most part I found this one to be a bit dull. Even though it was only 120 pages which puts it firmly in the category of novella, parts of it just seemed to drag on and didn't really go anywhere. I did however like that it reminded me why I love reading so much-- "You don't put your life into your books. You find it there.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith: I really, really liked this book. This was a really great mash-up of history and fiction. There were a few parts that seemed just plausible enough to make me have to think twice about what I already knew about Lincoln's life.

This Week in Photos

What a week! Spring has finally arrived and brought with it was really warm temperatures which means summer is right around the corner! I am really looking forward to some lazy days in the backyard or at the beach with a frozen drink and a good book.

Sunday:Garden//Monday:Sunrise//Tuesday:Crossroads//Wednesday:Deer//Thursday:Morning//Friday:Current Read//Saturday:The Cottage

19 May 2012

Running with the Devil

“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” - John Bingham

I read that quote Sunday morning after coming back from finishing my run and it instantly made me feel better. Not that I had a bad run, it was actually quite a nice one. A bit slower than normal, but I'm sure that had to do with the spontaneous dancing I did a couple of times when a good song came on my iPod. I know....I'm a bit weird.

In fact, all my runs have been really great this week. The only thing I am struggling with is getting myself on a consistent schedule but that will come with time, I'm sure of it. Four of the runs were following week 3 of the C25k program, the last run (today's run in fact) was a combination of running and walking on my own. I'm finding when I don' follow the C25k program, I'm able to run faster and longer. I don't know why but each time I've done a "free run" that has been the case. I dunno.

Week 4 of the C25k program starts tomorrow. Again, looking ahead it doesn't look like it'll be too bad. I am however a bit terrified by week 5. Running for 20 minutes without walking---oiy vey. But, I have another week to prepare for that challenge before I really have to worry about it!

I've also decided to set little mini-goals for myself to meet each week. I think it'll be nice to have something to small to work towards as well instead of always focusing on the "big picture", which to be honest I'm not even sure what that is right now. This past week, my goal was to run 5 days. Seems simple, right? It is simple until you are cursing your alarm clock each morning. I know the C25k program says you should run and have a break day in between, but like I said last week, I've come to rely on this new morning routine to get my days started and I feel so much better after getting out there and doing it!

This weeks goal is to run 12 miles. It's just shy of 2.5 miles per day, which I think is pretty doable. Right now I'm averaging right about 2.2. miles so adding two-tenths of a mile to each run shouldn't be to bad.

Does anyone else give themselves weekly goals/challenges?

Happy running!

Little victories: This week was the first time I didn't feel "embarrassed" to be out running. I know that sounds a bit weird, but there has always been a little, annoying, nagging voice in the back of my head mocking me. This week that voice was replaced by another reassuring me that I'm doing great and reminding me that the only person I am doing this for is myself. 

18 May 2012

Things I Pondered This Week When I Should Have Been Doing Other Stuff

  • My friends are awesome. I don't tell them enough, but I totally won the friendship lottery. 
  • Born and Raised comes out in FOUR DAYS!!! And I haven't even pre-ordered it yet. I've been actively avoiding all things related to the album and John Mayer as I'm waiting for release day. 
  • If you always expect the worst from people, that's exactly what you'll get.
  • I don't always want advice. Sometimes I just want someone to listen. 
  • Thanks to the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon I've been a reading fool this week! I've already finished three books and am making my way through my fourth and I love it!

15 May 2012

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon 4.0 Updates

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
It took me all of one day to abandon my reading and posting plan. Make a plan, don't stick with it--that's how I like to roll! Oh well, if you can't play by your own rules, what's the point. ;)

This will serve as my update page for the read-a-thon and challenges! I'm a day late, but was so determined to get through a big chunk of my first book I kind of forgot to post this. Whoops! Hopefully though I'll get this updated each day with my progress during this reading adventure. 

Currently Reading: What the Dickens
Number of pages I’ve read today: 216
Total number of books I’ve read: Big fat zero
Books Read: 0

Currently Reading: Declaring Spinsterhood
Number of pages I’ve read today: 142
Total number of books I’ve read: 1
Books Read: What the Dickens

Day 2 Challenge: Reviews Answer the 'this or that' questions

  • Physical book or eBook? Physical Book 
  • Paperback or Hardcover? Paperback 
  • Reality or Make-believe? Make believe
  • Adult or Young-Adult? Adult
  • Dog ears or Bookmarks? Bookmarks 
  • Breaking the spine or Barely open the book? Breaking the spine 
  • Tea or Coffee? Tea 
  • Reading in bed or On the couch? On the couch 
  • Series or Standalone? Series
  • Original or TV Adaptation? Original 
  •  Defy motion sickness or Audiobooks? Defy motion sickness!
  • Author crushes or Who-was-that-guy-again? Author Crushes 
  • Interview or Guest post? Interview 

Currently Reading:  The September Society
Number of pages I’ve read today: 186
Total number of books I’ve read: 2
Books Read:What The Dickens, Declaring Spinsterhood 

Currently Reading: The September Society
Number of pages I’ve read today: 120
Total number of books I’ve read: 3
Books Read: What the Dickens, Declaring Spinsterhood, The Uncommon Reader

Currently Reading: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The September Society
Number of pages I’ve read today: 25--it wasn't a good day in the neighborhood. 
Total number of books I’ve read: 3
Books Read: What the Dickens, Declaring Spinsterhood, The Uncommon Reader

Currently Reading: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The September Society
Number of pages I’ve read today: 200
Total number of books I’ve read: 3
Books Read:What the Dickens, Declaring Spinsterhood, The Uncommon Reader

I've fallen a bit behind where I thought I would be at the end of today. Only reading 25 pages yesterday didn't help (long and slightly frustrating days at work will do that to a person), but with just a little over 100 pages to go in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (a.k.a the fourth book in this project) I'm still happy with where I am at. 

Currently Reading:
Number of pages I’ve read today: 113
Total number of books I’ve read: 4
Books Read: What the Dickens, Declaring Spinsterhood, The Uncommon Reader, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

14 May 2012

Music Monday: Father John Misty

I have no words for how much I love the new album by Father John Misty. I think I've listened to it every day since I bought it last week. Such good stuff.


You're welcome. ;)

13 May 2012

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon 4.0

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

My apologies dear readers, I'm a bit chatty today.

After posting about a lack of connection with the characters in the books I've been reading, a fellow blogger posted about a read-a-thon that starts tomorrow! How convenient! And totally perfect to (hopefully) get me back on track.

You can read all about the read-a-thon here: Bout of Books Read-a-Thon Info

My goals for the week are:

  • I'm setting the number of books to read at 5 but will be not-so-secretly happy with 3. And all the books must be from one of the many stacks of books hanging out around the house. 
  • Become a better book reviewer. Seriously--I love reading and books and all things related. I just wish I was a bit better at sharing why loved (liked, or hated) a book that I've finished reading.
  • To read at least one book where I don't want to strangle the lead character to death. This could be quite challenging but I'm ready to face that challenge head on. ;)

Books To Read:

I'll be updating my progress here and on Goodreads. I'm quite certain there will be updates on Twitter as well. 

Happy reading everyone!

50 Shades of Annoying

Despite the title, this isn't going to be my review of 50 Shades of Grey which I finished reading last night. One could argue though that it would be quite fitting as this is the book that prompted this post. I will simply say one must read this one on their own and decide how they feel about it. I'm still not sure if I hated it or am just ambivalent about it. I just know I didn't like it.

But that has been a common theme lately. Me, not liking the books I am reading. Or I should say not like the characters in the books I am reading.

I have tried reading everything from YA to romance to fantasy to chit lit and none of it is sticking. I'll get a  few chapters in (I have a 100 page, used to be 50 page rule) and then bail due to a lack of a connection with characters and/or story. It's not really conducive to meeting my reading goal for the year.

I know it sounds kind ridiculous and I'm sure I'm not alone, but I get attached to the characters in a book when I'm reading it and if that's missing then what's the point. I want to feel something for the people I am reading about. If I am going to spend hours with them, even though they aren't real, I want to be happy when they are happy. I want to be sad when they are sad. I want to care how the story turns out for them. *sigh* It is even more frustrating when the books are really well written (it's not such a shock when the writing is sub par).

Does anyone else feel that way? Feel like something is missing if/when you don't connect with the characters in the book you are reading? How do you get passed it?

This Week in Photos

Well this has been quite a productive Sunday morning!

Laundry: Done. Run: Done. Breakfast: Done. Three blog posts written & scheduled: Done. All before 9a.m. = Pretty dang awesome!

I think I finally sorted out my "new project" which is nice. Borrowing the words from one of my favorite photographers, Chase Jarvis, "The best camera is the one you have with you".  I'm looking forward to the photo project, even if it is with my iPhone. You just never know what you're going to come across!
Sunday: A bunny I met on my morning run//Monday: Quiet time at the lake//Tuesday: Foggy Morning//Wednesday: My new necklace//Thursday: Journal//Friday: Sunrise//Saturday: Tattoo Inspiration

12 May 2012

Things I Pondered This Week When I Should Have Been Doing Other Stuff

  • Reading 50 Shades of Grey is giving me a headache from all the eye rolls. With that being said, I wouldn't mind a little one-on-one time with Mr. Grey. Interpret at your own risk.
  • I am currently OBSESSED with Cheez-Its. Not the healthiest thing to be craving right now. 
  • Went to see The Avengers this week. It was BRILLIANT. I was not expecting it to be so funny. This will definitively be an addition to my movie collection.
  • I can't listen to the song Call Me Maybe anymore without thinking of this video from the Harvard Mens Baseball Team:
  • I feel like it is time to bid a fond farewell to Captain Random. The whole thing is kind of breaking my heart. 

11 May 2012

Runnin' With The Devil

Two weeks in and I'm already changing my plan for these posts.

Running this week has been..... transformative.

Until yesterday morning, I didn't realize how much, in such a short time, I came to rely on running being part of my new morning routine. I'm beginning to rethink the notion that I'm not a morning person. I really do love being out there first thing in the morning, breathing in the crisp spring air and seeing the sun come up over the lake. It's a pretty fantastic view. I am also coming to realize that I am quite capable of quieting the voices in my head telling me that I can't do this because obviously I can do it. I just need to find my zone/space and stick to it.

I took yesterday off as a "rest day" and could immediately feel a difference in how I felt, physically and emotionally.

Physically the day off was great! I definitely needed the day to rest my muscles and recharge. Emotionally though, I felt like a train wreck waiting to happen. I felt really itchy and nervous and had a hard time not getting down on myself for taking the day off. But I needed that rest day, more than I really wanted to admit.

Thankfully it didn't happen this morning, but after my runs on Tuesday and Wednesday I ended up at my car in tears, sobbing. It almost felt like a panic attack but not nearly intense. It's been weird, but I'm learning to go with it and I am very happy to say that today no tears were shed. Just a pretty overwhelming sense of calm while doing my post-run stretches by the lake. I mean seriously, how can you not love this view!

As for the actually runs, they were all pretty good (minus the crying) this week. Wednesday was the only day I really seemed to struggle, but it is also the only day this week that I didn't follow the C25K program. I went out that morning with the idea that I'd just walk, but decided that I had it in me to run. It wasn't terrible, just not as easy which I suppose is a good thing. It's nice to push yourself every now and then.

Today was my last day of Week 2 for the C25k program. Looking ahead to what Week 3 has in store for me doesn't look too terrible. I think I'll be able to handle it pretty well.

Hey look at that!! I kind of look like a runner. Can I get a "whoop! whoop!"?

Little Victories: I'm pretty excited that I've been able to keep a pretty steady pace and a pretty consistent time. I'm learning to accept the notion of a slow build and while I'm not there now, I'll eventually get to my goal pace/time. It's just going to take some work. 

08 May 2012

Are You An Athlete?

Leave it to my friend Micah to post a blog today that managed to get me thinking and kind of pull me out of this mornings funk. Funny how a little distraction can do that.

More importantly, it got me to thinking about this whole business of running in a different light.

This morning, I was ready to throw in the towel. Seriously. It was about the halfway point that I started questioning why I doing any of it. I was tired. Cranky. Sore. And sick of being nearly run off the road by drivers who weren't paying attention, which by the way I don't understand---it was kind of bright out and my running top is neon orange. Seriously, I look like an over sized tangerine out there. I don't know how they could miss me!

Right....back to Micah's blog.

She posed the question Are you an athlete? followed by the following quote:
My initial response to the question was laughter. No way am I an athlete, far from it! I'm barely making it through the C25k program. Athletes are hardcore. I'm not.

But after letting it roll around in my head for a little bit, I came to the same conclusion with a twist.....I am not an athlete yet but I'd like to be one some day.

My reasons for starting to run vary from day to day, mostly depending on my mood. Some days it's because it's something I've always wanted to do. Others I'm trying to silence the critics who have always said I couldn't do it. Other times it's to get healthy. But the one constant reason that I am doing it is to prove to myself that I can do it.

Where does that all fit in with the question of being an athlete?

I'm not really sure there is a wrong answer to that question. There is no quantifiable answer. You either are or you are not. You either think you are one or you think you aren't one. It's a state of mind about who you want to be.

There are some days when I feel like I could run forever. Those days I feel like an athlete. Other days I can barely drag my ass out of bed. Those are the days I feel like a poser trying to fit in with the cool kids.

So where does that leave me? 

On the path to being an athlete. And being the best one that I can be. 

We All Need Something Sometimes

Oh geez.....this is not going to be a fun read.

I'm all jumbled up inside my head again. I don't know if this is another "wave of depression" making it's way to shore or if it's from letting myself slide so far down the rabbit hole that I'm bound to get hurt but this overwhelming feeling of failure that came over me this morning on my run is really frustrating.

I sat in my car for a long time after my run, trying to get the tears to stop but also trying to sort out the mess inside my head. Trying to figure out where I went wrong in so many areas of my life and how I managed to get to this place.

I feel like I'm not living by my own rules anymore. Shoot, maybe I never have and that's what the real problem is. But, it just seems like so much of what I'm doing and have been doing isn't about or for myself. It's about making everyone else happy, making sure they are o.k. Or I'm putting things off or just plain not doing/saying things because it's inconvenient or doesn't fit into someone else's plan/schedule. I feel like I'm making all sorts of concessions and compromises for everyone else and not getting the same consideration in return. *sigh* I'm beginning to think.....no, not beginning....this has been a long time coming....

I get that I'm flexible and accommodating and want the best for everyone, but even the most flexible of us are bound to break. I'm moments away from that happening.

I know I don't say what I need enough. I don't put myself first, ever because I feel like when I do I'm letting everyone down and they have no problem making sure that I know that. I always try to make sure everyone else is taken care of and are happy and have someone to lean on.

But sometimes I need that for myself. And I just need to figure out how to ask for that.

07 May 2012

Photography: A Love/Hate Relationship

There are days when I look at my camera(s) and curse the day I ever decided to pick one up to see what I could do (create) with it.

Then there are other days when I feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day to capture all the images I want/see around me. Sadly, there haven't been many of these kinds of days lately.

I was hoping that starting yet another 365 project would prove useful in my attempt at falling back into love with photography. I couldn't have been more wrong. Most days I dreaded having to pick up the camera--mainly from a lack of time needed to set up the shot, take the shot, process the shot and then upload the shot. Half the time I'd totally forget and end up taking a photo with my iPhone just so I would have something to fill in for that day. Not a good way to approach a project of any kind.

So I quit. Again. Almost 2 weeks ago. But the crazy part about it is that it wasn't a conscious decision to do so. I literally just forgot to take a photo. And I am more than o.k. with that.

What I am not o.k. with though is that I don't have a project any more. I know. I know. I was just saying that one of the reasons I hated my 365 project is because I didn't have time. But that's because I had to do it every day. I need something that I can work on at my own pace.

The question is what.....

Do I do just the iPhone thing for awhile?
Do I just into the deep end and pick kind of a giant, long term project?
Do I just set the camera on the shelf for a bit and totally regroup? <---side note this one. I mentioned to a friend the other day that I was thinking of putting the cameras away for a bit once I finish my last scheduled photo shoot in a few weeks. She looked absolutely mortified.
Or do I just star shooting again and not worry about the direction or purpose of each photograph?

Music Monday: Payphone

The first time I hear this song all I could think was "Oooh....Adam Levine is pissed" but after listening to it over and over and over I think it's turned into my summer theme song. Yeah, Captain Random might have something to do with that, but the lines If happy ever afters did exist, I would still be holding you like this. All those fairy tales are full of shit. One more fucking love song, I'll be sick pretty much sum up how I feel right now.  But not because I'm bitter about love (I swear there is no sarcasm in that statement). It's more of being sick of hearing love songs on the radio. Someone has to have to something else to sing about, right?!

06 May 2012

Sunday Snapshots

The weather was pretty crummy this past week. Lots of gray skies and rain including a pretty wicked storm on Thursday.

Below are some of my favorite iPhone photos from the past week. All of them were again taken with the Hipstamiatic app using the Loftus Lens & DC Film settings. I tried other combinations, but this is by far my favorite! Maybe next week I'll step out of my comfort zone and really try something new!

1. Garden Owl//2. Happy Sock Monkey Family!//3. Sadie//4. My Party Shoes//5. Postcard//6. Tiny Moth//7. Me, looking like a runner!//8. Field of Dandelions//9. Cottage//10. Boat//11. Weeds//12. Horseshoe for luck!

05 May 2012

Things I Pondered This Week When I Should Have Been Doing Other Stuff

  • Running downhill is much harder than running uphill.
  • I am totally overwhelmed by how supportive everyone has been lately. It's an odd feeling to hear people tell me "You can totally do this!" when I'm used to hearing "Why do you think you could to that?!"
  • Mornings are definitely my favorite time to run....now I just need to work out this whole night owl business.
  • No matter what you do or how hard you try, some things will just never be good enough for people and those people can suck it. 
  • I've found my summer theme song. It'll be Music Monday's selection.
  • I am not ready for the humid weather that is coming our way. I like crisp and cool, not hot and sticky. 
  • I'm pretty proud of myself, I've managed to read two whole books and it's only May 5th! Whoop! Whoop!

04 May 2012

Unlikely Influences

Today is one of those day that I wish I was a better writer.

Today is also a day that has made me look back at a time when a teenage girl in a sleepy northern Michigan town was desperately looking for something to hold onto and managed to be inspired by the most unlikely of characters and find what she was looking for in the most unlikely of places.

It frustrates me as a music fan to admit I never really understood the draw of the Beastie Boys. They always made me feel old well before my time by "all that noise that they made", but I respected what they contributed to music and the music industry. For me though, their reach and influence, specifically Adam Yauch, went well beyond the music.

I was 15 in the summer of 1996 when the first Tibetan Freedom Concert took place in San Francisco. I remember hearing about it on MTV. It was an interview with Adam Yauch and even though I don't remember what was said or even the specifics of the interview, it was enough to draw me in. I remember being fascinated by the cause and what it meant and who and what was the driving force behind it. I remember trying to get my hands on everything I could about Tibet (the culture, the people, everything), which admittedly wasn't much (this was pre-Google and a reliable internet connection) but it didn't matter. I was in love. There was something about it all that I understood, on a subconscious level and that I couldn't get out of my head. But more importantly, it was my first real introduction to Buddhism and to what it felt like to find a sense of peace in a time in my life when I was feeling everything but peaceful. In that one moment, my world changed and it changed for the better even if I didn't know it at the time.

Since that summer, Buddhism has been a constant, if not slightly sporadic element in my life (quite certain this will be a shock to many--I don't talk about it much). It keeps me grounded when my head is in chaos. It allows me to find a peace and calm within a world I don't understand. From mediation to studying what Buddha taught to reading the words of the Dahli Lama, it's a part of me that I would be lost without. And a part of me that I must thank Adam Yauch for helping me find.

While friends near and far are celebrating him for his music and his contributions, I will be silently dedicating tonight's meditation to him. There aren't enough thanks in the world to send him for what he unknowingly did for me.

Runnin' With The Devil

My first week back to running has come to an end! I think that deserves a double whoop!

Still trying to figure out what to call this series. If anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears!

Here's the recap.....

4.29.2012 C25K W1D1
Not going to sugar coat this one. It kind of sucked, but wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would. I just had to keep reminding myself that it was only day one and that it'll get better over time.

One of the things I really need to work on is how to slow myself down. I have such a burst of energy at the start that I over-do it and am exhausted and can barely make it through some of the last intervals. Again, I'm hoping that this will get better over time.

5.2.2012 C25K W1D2
Holy crap. First of all, never in a million years did I think I would do any kind of running at 6am...that's right....SIX IN THE MORNING. It's just that, I'm not a morning person, at all. I usually rattle of a string of expletives that would make a sailor blush when my alarm clock goes off in the morning so this kind of a big deal.

And the run felt GREAT. I don't know what it was (especially since I was operation on maybe 3 hours of sleep, 4 tops) but I felt good the entire time. I managed to keep a pretty steady pace and not wear myself out too quickly. And at the end, I had this weird little kick of energy where instead of doing a 5 minute cool down walk, I ran it. And I loved every stinkin' minute of it.

5.3.2012 C25K W1D3
Today I learned why it is so important when you are starting off to take a day of rest. I was quite content to come home and hang out with my book until a brief 30 second interaction at the end of my word day sent it into the pooper and all I wanted to do was release some of that work stress and I thought this was going to be perfect. Not so much. I know, I know.....rookie mistake and I'm most likely going to make it again.

From the first step to the last, I just felt off. I felt tired, heavy, had a heck of a time keeping my breathing steady (not making excuses but it was pretty humid today, too so that may have had something to do with it). There were a couple of times I wanted nothing more than to quit, but I pushed through and finished my 30 minutes.

02 May 2012

Run Away with Me

I had intended on posting this yesterday but after an exceptionally long day at work, I just didn't have it in me.

As I mentioned the other day, I've once again started the Couch to 5k program. I started the program last spring before McDreamy suggested I might wait to start running until after my foot/ankle/Achilles tendon issues were fixed. Whoops! Even though I was only able to make it through the first couple of weeks I (mostly) loved it! Running has always been something I've wanted to do, so to actually be doing it was pretty incredible. Sadly, surgery a few months after I begin sidelined me until this week.

Confession time.....I could have started sooner, I'm well aware of that. I didn't out of fear--mostly that the issues the surgery had taken care of would return and also that I couldn't do it. That I would fail. But, now feels like the right time to do it, so I'm embracing that feeling with all my might so that I can accomplish a pretty big goal I have set for myself!

Before starting on Sunday, I mapped out a little plan (like I do) for myself to not only keep my motivated but to keep me on track. Random note....I've been having a heck of a time keeping track of what day of the week it is! Hazards of being busy I guess. 

My run days will be Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. I still need to figure out what to do on my "rest" days simply to keep myself moving, but that'll come in time I'm sure.

I am using 2 apps (mildy obsessive, it's cool) to keep track of my progress: Nike + and C25k Free. The Nike + app is great because it keeps track of my speed, distance and even calories burned. I also really like that I can set it for prompts to let me know when I have either traveled a set distance or how much time has passed. The encouragements at the end of each run are kind of fun, too. The C25k Free app is perfect for knowing when to walk and when to run during the C25k program. I've used Podcasts in the past, but this works much much better for me. I love that I can run these apps simultaneously while still listening to the music I have crammed on my iPhone.

Seriously, I don't know how people run without music. I'm still trying to work out the best songs to add to my running playlist. I have a pretty good start, but want to make sure I have a big enough selection that I don't get burned out or bored with it.

And then there is the gear! What would a post about running be if there wasn't at least one photo of running gear? Below is what I am currently sporting while I am out and about. 
1. iPhone//2. Champion Power Workout Tee//3. Merrell Barefoot Pace Gloves//4. Champion Sports Bra//5. Old Navy Cropped Wide Knit Pants

As for blogging about all of this, I plan to do a weekly post....Fridays after my last run of the week. I plan on writing something after each run and then will post them all at the same time. Someday's I'm sure it will be as simply as "Well, that's done!" while others will be more elaborate. Regardless, I'm really looking forward to sharing this journey with everyone! 

Oooh....before I end this for today, even though I'll be posting more about it on Friday, totally had a little victory this morning that I wanted to share. Despite being the furthest thing from a morning person, I dragged my sleepy ass out of bed at 5:30am (that's right A.M.) and was on the road running by 6am. I know--I was shocked, too! But it felt so amazing to be out that early in the day. If I can keep myself from being too exhausted to do it, that may just be my new favorite time of the day to run!

01 May 2012

Hey Friends.....

Just want to make sure everyone knows.....

Card from Able & Game, the best card shop on Etsy!

Thanks for reading!

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