Posts Tagged ‘one girl’s life’


It’s not as early as yesterday. The sky is already starting to lighten up, though it is not readily apparent whether today will be blue or gray. I am listening to the start of the day.

I’ve mentioned before that I like to write in the morning, but often times I’ve already been awake for at least an hour before I get started. There’s no specific reason for me to get up well before I need to do anything at all, except that once upon a time it started with a 5:30AM bootcamp and then it evolved into just liking the quiet.

Listening to the early time is like sharing a great secret with everything around you. I do not think anything is capable of denying it’s true nature in the first moments of waking up.

There are the normal routines of waking and tending dogs which occur. Every single morning I spare a second for tadasana about as soon as my feet hit the floor after the last snooze. I open my palms wide and sweep my hands up with a giant breath that looks like a yawn and stretch – but I feel it more deeply than that. It calibrates me somehow.

Eventually, though, on as many days as possible (there are still some days I run off to the gym at crazy-ass-early), all paths lead to a cup of coffee and staring out into space.

It’s my morning meditation.

Once upon a time, I used to watch the news before work. Catch glimpses of stories and traffic between putting on pants and putting on eyeliner. I felt very well informed when I picked up my carpool buddy. At some point the news no longer served me well and so I stopped watching it some time after 9/11. I’m not sure when or how related that is, but my brain keeps making that connection.

Now, I tuck my feet up under me, not in any formal meditation posture, but just a way I am comfortable, I cup my hands around my coffee mug, and I let my mind wander. It feels like a rebellion against the noise. Sometimes my thoughts go through the upcoming day. Sometimes a specific thing comes up, sometimes nothing at all. Today I observed that Fred already smells like feet again even though she just had a bath – courtesy of the deluge of rain in the past week. I don’t make pretense that my meditations are profound. Then I switched into thinking about some upcoming yoga studies and picked up a book. Which led me to thinking about meditation and the meditation which I chose for an online yoga group this week – “An Introduction to Sitting”.

As I sit and begin writing.*


*Afterword: When I picked up writing the blog again, it was after a period of realizing that I wasn’t writing the way I like. I had tried to be formulaic and clearly define a more narrow focus on running & race recaps. I really don’t know what end purpose that was trying to serve – but it was an experimental failure in that it made me not want to write what I needed to write for the structure (as an example, I never wrote about Mohican 25k, which was one of my best running lessons in all of 2015), and it constrained me away from writing what I wanted to write about – which is essentially, whatever the hell I want. So, in picking this back up, expect more randomness and just as much running stuff, probably more yoga stuff, and my waxing philosophic about my coffee here and there.

Hello friends!  I still contend that there are few things in this life more luxuriously relaxing than a weekend morning with some quiet and a cup of coffee! It’s about 8:45 as I’m starting this and I’ve been awake about an hour, feet tucked under a blanket on the couch and coffee mug in hand. It’s a form of meditation. And then I started thinking about the day, more about the days of other people than myself really. The Queen Bee 13.1 is this morning, with a large group of my RWB crew crossing that start line.  The Bourbon Chase 200-mile relay started yesterday morning and I know 3 different crews of runners from all walks of life in that adventure – an RWB crew, a group from my old training group, and some of my Lexington friends from Run the Bluegrass – actually they’re Louisville friends but I met them in Lexington…so does that make them Louisville friends or Lexington friends? Hmmm.

Finally, there’s my friend Allison, who in just over an hour, will be challenging Kona – the Ironman World Championships. Holeeee crap!

What am I doing this morning? Um, dog walking, at some point. Ha! I had a pretty aggressive chiropractic adjustment on C1 Wednesday which demands a few days of taking it easy til the stiffness fades away. Going to try a full on run either later today with the other dog or first thing tomorrow.

It’s gotten a little dusty in here, so I’m planning to clean that up – mainly because I have a short flurry of Race Recaps to update with a few other events tossed in.  After not being able to race, or even run at all for most of the Spring and early Summer, I noticed that the knee issues were finally starting to fade and it’s almost as if I’ve been trying to cram an entire year’s worth of races into this Fall.  On top of which, I started trail running – not on well-manicured gravel trail at my office, but on actual trails – with rocks and ruts and grass spears jutting up to stab your ankles. I LOVE IT! It’s like all of the best parts of running for me without the pounding of pavement echoing through my bones. So there will be a few posts coming up in the next few days to bring things up to speed, shake the dust off.

After I finish my coffee. 🙂

So a friend of mine, his buddy and I were hanging out last night – actually,  I take that back,  it was the wee hours of this morning.

Seems my friend wanted to propose to his girl, but do it 1950’s style – whatever that means. So the three of us were tossing out random ’50-ish things for ideas of a theme.  Sock hops, steudebakers, Hoover Dam…

And this is how you wake up shouting “AREA 51!” at your husband when your alarm goes off in the morning.

Not recommended.

Weird dreams this week: 2
Cynthia: 0


A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently, saying someone had inquired if he was happy, and so he found himself asking “What is the meaning of happy? Is it a feeling? Is it a material thing?”  He felt he knew his own answer, but wanted to see how others felt. So I answered him:

It’s knowing you wouldn’t change your life – even the rough edges of it.

My birthday was yesterday. Launch of a new decade. Or as my runner-brain has been thinking of it, the dawn of a new age-division.

For the past few weeks, whenever my birthday has come up, I’ve heard it called “the big one”, or had people ask me if I’m having trouble with it as if it should induce some depression, or is comically old, or is catastrophic. Meanwhile, all I can think to myself is “my god! I am so grateful not to be 20 anymore.”  My thirties were pretty good to me. I have no doubt that this new decade will contain it’s own notes of adventure.

I put up my first photo show at the yoga studio last week.

I have posts I want to write floating about in my head – 2 of which are race recaps for trail runs. At 40, I have just begun trail running.

In a few hours, I debut my first guided meditation class as a teacher.  Then I need to go through my prep for my first intensive yoga series that I’m teaching which starts Monday.

And that’s after I’m taking off for a weekend to go teach yoga at The Rugged Red Trail Half-Marathon at Red River Gorge. Eric & Fred are coming along so that we can get our own hiking in between run-related activities and camping with Team RWB.

I have things to do which leave no time for lament, depression or catastrophe.

Too busy being happy.


Another photo from Eric from the Cali collection.

My friends, it is the end of a Monday and my feet are propped up. It’s that time of randomness between work’s end and making dinner. Please don’t check my spelling.

It has been a LOOOONG day, not for any sad or bad reasons, but just that life brings you tiredness sometimes.

Jack is coming along fine after his surgery with the exception that he’s miserable in his crate and “cone of shame”.  He handled it like a champ for the first two days, happy to nap out in the privacy, but now – he’s OVER IT.  The most Zen dog I know is OVER IT, with the stored up OVER-IT-NESS of 11 years. The barking and whining. OH. MY. GOD. Harder on him than me, I know, but still hard for everyone in the house.  Which is what brings me to today, and the repeated barking fits throughout the night that left everyone in the place a bit groggy this morning.

On top of which, I got something in my eye last night that just would. not. give. up. for several hours and repeated eye rinsing. Swollen, puffy eyes laced with gunk. Sexy.

When you wake up after little sleep, with one eye gunked shut and your brain not even thinking of firing, you reach for your fat day clothes to wear to work.

That’s what today was – frumpy, fat pants, red-eyed, little-to-no makeup and half-asleep Monday. Somehow I still managed to smile and say hello and be nice to a lot of people today, but yuck. I was not feeling good in my skin.

Then I saw it. The most perfect thing for the day. A selfie my friend had taken and had the balls to post on Facebook. Like nothing I have ever seen.

First, let me tell you. My friend, she’s beautiful. In the “traditional sense” – blonde, blue-eyed, gorgeous.  As if that’s not enough, she also has an impeccable sense of style. When I see her, she is usually put together with precision. Then there’s the wicked sense of humor. One of those women that just strikes you as flawless, except in a completely relatable, good friend kind of way.

Today, there was this woman. With the hair going all…and the expression going all…there just aren’t words. In the land of Monday morning selfies, this one wins the internet. Just holy shit y’all. No makeup. Pajamas. If feral can be done ‘precisely’, my girl nailed it. I saw this picture, and I just laughed. A whole rest of the day later and I’m still laughing about it. Not because she looked awful, because in some weird way, she didn’t. But because in an even weirder way, even though I’d put on my fat work pants and cleaned myself up a bit, that picture summed up everything about how I still felt inside my skin. If I looked in the mirror, and saw my true self reflected back, it would have looked back at me with wild morning hair and an expression of …I still can’t articulate the expression well enough. Something like, You’re going to get my 100% today, but just so you know, this is what my 100% looks like. So on with it.

I love that she had the nerve to post that. In smiling at that and seeing that, it reminded me that we all are in this struggle together.  And we should laugh at it.

Fast forward from the morning selfie, and an errand took me to the Downtown yoga studio where I teach. Just to pass through. Being tired, I also passed through the coffee shop down the street to grab a latte. The girl behind the counter had this shockingly red hair – shocking to the point that I could guess some would have comment about it. My corporate environment for one, would not welcome this look if I showed up that way. In talking about the weather, the humidity, she mentioned something about the color running. We spent a good 5-10 minutes talking about the natural dye she used and how she got her hair that color and other colors it had been. An easy, natural conversation happening in a way that doesn’t occur all that often with a complete stranger. And I thought to myself, ya know, I bet this girl takes a lot of heat over that hair color but if you take a moment to just take in the whole, she’s really beautiful.  Clever makeup, a goth twist to her look, but so friendly and open. Our discussion got onto the topic of the perception of beauty and I said to her that what I would really like would be if the world would just get rid of the phrase –

She’d be pretty if…

If she lost 10 pounds or 30 pounds or 100 pounds. If she cut her hair different. If she waxed her lip. If she smiled more. If she dressed differently. If if if.

My god,  can we stop with the IF? Or the WOULD BE?

When your friend can laugh at her feral Monday hair enough to share it with the world, that’s beautiful. She IS beautiful, as is, no photoshop.

When your barista can smile at you and talk about how she got a shade of red that you don’t have the courage for, she IS beautiful.

We’re all beautiful, even on the rough days when we’ve had no sleep and even detest our fat pants.

Without the if’s or the would be’s, we’re beautiful.

Peeps, please take a second for yourself, wherever you be in your skin, and just let yourself feel beautiful for a moment.

Because you are. Just as your are.

We’re beautiful.

Disclaimer: This is going to be one of those posts where the “somewhat” comes into the “somewhat likeable”.  In fact, by the end of it, I may need to re-title “not very likeable at all”. Don’t say you weren’t warned.


It’s Tuesday morning, and in addition to the dog surgery, what’s on my mind is wondering if it’s safe to go back into my newsfeeds yet. Someone famous died last night. All of the usual content I read has been replaced by condolences I can’t handle. I have seen no less than 40 posts of memes of this actor, captioned by poignant quotes from his screen career ~ mostly lines from scripts. A statement posted from his widow “liked” by thousands. I saw his own twitter feed – the last posting of which was a birthday wish to his daughter two weeks ago – turned into a digital condolences petition. And this is where my thoughts go –

I cannot imagine being his daughter, turning to such a message for comfort, trying to remember something happy, and seeing  a thousand strangers reply in focused unison about his death. I cannot imagine being his widow, seeing my grief for my husband “liked”.

People, what the hell are we doing?

You can blame this on my parents for raising me a bit old-fashioned, but I was brought up to believe that grief is personal. Private. IF YOU KNEW THE PERSON, or YOU KNEW THE FAMILY, you would reach out to extend your condolences either in attending the appropriate ceremonies, or offering help, or just helping without offering since sometimes people in grief can’t vocalize what they need, or you send a note. If you don’t fit into a category of actually knowing the person, or knowing the family, YOU LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE to grieve in private and comfort each other.

Let me be clear about this point, watching someone on screen, no matter how their talent makes you comforted by their movies, does not mean you know them. For those of us who appreciated his work, his life has not ended. We can connect with him anytime via Netflix and revisit the same sense of connection we had before. For those who knew what he was like “off script”, and how he liked his coffee, and if he smelled like aftershave or laundry detergent when he hugged them,  or that will never get another birthday wish or anniversary card, his daily contribution to their life has ceased. Connection ceased except in memory. Your knowing he is deceased when you hit ‘play’ on the remote is NOT the same kind of grief that a friend who has known someone for decades experiences.

Let me be clear about this other point, ‘LIKING” is not an expression of condolence. Social media has made grief a competition for ‘likes’ and that’s wrong.  Grief should not get 1 like, or 100 likes, or 1,000,000 likes. If someone says something really sad in your world and the best amount of your attention it warrants is a split second ‘like’, lay off the like button. If you don’t give enough of a damn to write an actual well wish, then move along.  As much as the age of social media would like us to think otherwise, every once in awhile, it is okay to get the news of something sad, and say to yourself “Wow, that’s really sad.”  Then maybe you leave it there. Maybe you reach out to your personal circle with a text or a phone call, or you find a way to honor what that person meant to you within the bounds of your own life – watching a movie that person was in, reading a few quotes, reminding yourself that it’s been awhile since you ‘yawp’d’ and finding a way to do that. But maybe you, as a complete stranger, don’t intrude on the grief of a family. You may have put on your ‘it’s being supportive hat’, but noise is not being supportive. ‘Likes’ and ‘Retweets’ and 140-characters are noise. They are not sincere loss.  Their grief is not about you, and they should not have to be burdened with the obligation of gratitude for your grief tweet.

Can we stop with the memes? If you hear about the death of someone that touched you in some meaningful way, and your first thought is “wow, I should pull up a photo of them, find a good quote, and create a meme that might go viral on Facebook’, you, sir, are an asshole. Unfortunately, a lot of us choose to ‘share’ and ‘retweet’ assholes. Mainly because it doesn’t dawn on us in the moment that they’re assholes.

When I saw the news about his passing (I’m not repeating his name in this post because I don’t want to add to the ‘trending’), I tell you, I took a good solid think about what or IF I wanted to post about it.  Feeling already inundated by the headline shares and meme shares, and what seemed to be at least 23 separate people just posting listings of his movies and characters, I asked myself “how can I help?” and “what do I – me, myself – not the dozen memes or celebrity quotes, but simple me – think about this?”. I thought it was sad. Tragic. I thought about how depression is a bigger asshole than death-meme-makers. I felt sad again that Good Will Hunting was a brilliant character portrayal on his part and that I’ll never see another new movie with him in it. I thought about watching The Bird Cage. But I didn’t.

A solid 30-minutes later, I had a brilliant epiphany. I asked myself if anyone was expecting me to comment on it, and why they would be. In this day and age, our social media gives us the illusion that people may actually expect or wait on our comments about tragedy, so we feel obligated to post. That is my ego talking, not my grief. If you want to check your ego, ask yourself why you think the internet gives a damn about your opinion on the suicide of an actor you never met.

Be helpful. Be considerate. Be kind as often as possible. Be respectful if you can’t be anything else. I try to keep these things in mind when I’m posting, though I am human and I fail too. Helpful, though, is the word that started to stick out to me. In tragedy, how do you be helpful in a meaningful way? Please do not confuse R.I.P. retweets with something meaningful.

Instead, I asked myself who I know that struggles with depression, and I made a mental note that I needed to reach out to them this week – in person, or with a call, with a PERSONAL CONNECTION. Because instead of focusing on a stranger, or sending messages to that stranger’s wife and child that I hope for their sake, they do not see, there are people present in my day-to-day that need help. That need a connection and a reach out and a check-in. If I want to think about tragedy, I might better consider how to prevent one that can still be prevented, rather than focusing on what poignancy I can come up with for a stranger to see how many ‘likes’ it might get.



From our California coast trip. Seriously can’t think of a more relaxing vacation that we’ve taken together. I’m not usually fond of  pictures of myself, preferring the other side of the lens, but this one is just very…me.  Probably due to that guy reflected in my sunglasses. He inspires that smile.

I crossed a starting line this morning, friends.

To my recollection, I haven’t done a race since a fateful 10k in March that I should have stopped at 5k. My knee aching badly, I hobbled across the finish dead last with the bike dude picking up cones as I passed them. I wish I were joking, but I’m not. Talk about having your ego tarred, feathered and left for dead checked! I decided it wasn’t worth writing about at the time because I wasn’t in a good place with it. After that, I decided I wasn’t registering for a damn thing until I was certain my knee could hang with me for the distance. And I haven’t, watching the races go by on the calendar.

As the clock has kept ticking through prime running season, a friend of mine decided to run for the first time. Ever. And something clicked in her, in that funny way that running makes things click for people, and it said to her “if you stick with me, I’ll change your life”.  So right now, she’s trying to stick with it. Working the Couch-to-5k program, about 3 weeks in, and while I’d like to say I offered to run a 5k with her for the purely selfless reason of being a supportive friend, I’ll be honest in saying that  I offered to go along if she picked out a 5k for more selfish reasons – it inspires the hell out of me to see someone step out of their comfort zone like that.

To get into the struggle, squash the fear, and try.

My friend, she jumped into the struggle this morning.  There were intervals, and hard points, and surprises. We did some breathing and tapped into my running toolbox. The smaller details in between the start and finish are her story to write, not mine. But Peeps, my friend finished her first 5k this morning! With her husband and her son by her side.

And while she was getting through her first 5k, I was getting through my third pavement run this week with no knee pain.  It’s been a SLOW recovery to get this kneecap moving right again, but it finally seems to be working proper.

Bashful Ostrich 5k is a small race, probably about 150 participants. A thing that makes it perfect for a first 5k, by the way.  We lucked out with the weather having a chill in the air to start, as most of the course around the Scarlet Oaks college campus is without shade. One water stop, which today was enough. A hotter day, you’d need a second, which pains me to write since I usually don’t take water at all for a 5k anymore.  FLAT! If you are trying to PR and need a flat course to do it, this is FLLLLLLLAT! Making up for the lack of interesting things on the course, the volunteers were all VERY pleasant and helpful, and there was a hat in the swag bag. I really love baseball hats.

It’s a sweet race. That seems like an odd word to describe a race for me. Sweet. But Bashful Ostrich is sweet, and small, and has that little community feel to it – like if I went back to it next year, the same runners would be there and remember you.  It’s also sweet, in that with 150 participants, almost everyone makes top-10 in age groups. There are LOTs of door prizes. You end up with more loot than just your swag bag – I added a knit Winter beanie from Monumental Marathon & a luggage tag to my stash. I also bought a $5 messenger bag from the previous years’ swag stockpile that was up for sale. $5. For a messenger bag!  If they gave away bubblegum, it would be about the cutest 5k ever! I’d need to pet it on the head, call it Ted and give it treats.

In asking myself whether I would do the race again, the course would make me a little ‘meh’ about it, but the cute factor would probably get me to say ‘yes’. Also, there was a guy there dressed head to toe in a homemade Captain America outfit that he had put SERIOUS thought into. How can you not love that? Someone said he dressed as Batman last year. I may show up next year just to see what he’s wearing – it was a GOOD costume!

Up next:  Midsummer’s Night Trail Run, a 5-miler through the trails of Mt. Airy Forest this coming Tuesday.

Because once your knee stops hurting, one of the first things you should do is register for a 5-mile trail run. Jeez-Louise! I need my head checked!

One of those runs came along. The kind where you can feel the stars beginning to align a full hour or two before your run, a little pep in your step starts – you know in your soul it’s going to be a GOOOOOOD run. A REALLY GOOD run.

It’s been a while since I’ve had one. I’ve been picking up some extra yoga-teaching opportunities as a sub, and focusing on my swimming. Running had temporarily fallen by the wayside, and I’ll be honest in saying that I didn’t run very much at all in July. When I did run, I took Fred with me – which meant shorter runs and all of them intervals (.25 on/.25 off) to get her conditioned without ripping up her little puppy feet. Okay, big puppy feet now.  I hadn’t earned a good run. I hadn’t put the time in on running that it takes for one of those to happen.

But then the stars – and there’s no ignoring those stars when they start to tug at you and say “hey! hey you! lace up!”. I was actually dancing around the house as I got dressed for the run, and chanting rather selfishly “I’m going for a ruh-hun, all by my-sel-elf!” to Fred. Who was entertaining other company, so she didn’t really care – but she did find the little dance amusing. Dogs like it when their humans dance for them. In case you didn’t know. I decided on my favorite around-the-house route, an ambitious 6-miler for the amount of not-running I’ve been doing lately – and then set the goals. Interval (3:1) the 3-miles to the park and stay unwaiveringly strong for those intervals, then walk it back to just soak in the sunshine on the cooldown.  I set out –

And it was GLORIOUS!!

Apparently, there was some keg of energy that I needed to get out of my system because the first 1.5 miles of intervals were sub-9 min/miles. Um, I don’t run sub-9’s. Really, I don’t run sub-10’s. Guess I do now.  At one point I looked down at my Garmin and saw 8:12 pace. One of those moments where you go “WHAT THE HELL am I doing, I NEED to slow down!” except then you shrug your shoulders and go ‘but I feel good, so I guess I’ll just go on then’. So, yeah, the first 1.5 I went out WAY too fast, and spent the other 1.5 slowing down and struggling just a little. But I stayed with the struggle and made my goal all the way to the park, even running past my usual endpoint just to make sure I rounded out all the way to 3 miles.

Then I paused at the beautiful overlook that’s there and just took a moment to enjoy the view. What’s the point of it all if you don’t stop for the view.

Drinking fountain stop. Then I walked over to the jungle gym and used it to knock out some sets of elevated push-ups and regular sit-ups, beginning the walk back after that.  Then I decided to add some sets of alternating lunges, side-lunges, and knee-ups to the first few blocks of the walk back. Grinning at all the other runners who passed by, heading to the same point I’d just left. Never mind me over here, just lunging my way down the street, nothing to see, move along.  It felt a little ridiculous. It also felt really STRONG and AWESOME!

My legs were spent by the time I got back to the house, but WOW did I feel good! Re-energized. Inspired.

Friends, sometimes running hands you a gift even when you don’t deserve it and you haven’t earned it. Haven’t put in your time. It takes a moment to say “hey, you’ve got rested legs – and this is what they’re built to do” and you have to say THANK YOU! and take off like a shot because ignoring that gift would be wrong in your soul. And you remember why you put the time in the rest of the time. 

Time to start logging miles.



If this weren’t a collage of faces blended together, changing every few seconds…men, women, all colors, nationalities, ages…showcasing diversity in our city, then blasted all huge size across the face of one of Cincinnati’s most legendary icons – Music Hall…

It would probably be very weird.

Anyone else remember General Zod, and all the talking heads in Superman 2 (I think it was 2)?

This was taken at Lumenocity last night. I’m sure there are 1000’s of pictures all across the web from the weekend, and that a lot of them are far better than this one. But sometimes, you leave the camera at home, take one shot of something cool with your phone, then you shut the thing down and enjoy the show with a husband that busted his ass to make sure you had a SWEET spot all set up.

Somehow, in a crowd of 17,000 people, we had chairs and a picnic blanket and a cooler of snacks & beverages. Space. We could see. We managed to grab a no-fuss bite at A Tavola ahead of the show and weave straight through to our seats afterward. A lucky contact meant free parking in a secured lot a block away. No long lines, no waiting. Traffic smooth enough that we were home 20 minutes after it was over. I was absolutely astonished at how smoothly everything worked.

The show was AMAZING!!!!!!

It doesn’t hurt that I adore Charlie Harper art and a large portion of the show was a tribute to his work. I honestly didn’t expect that this would be much more than a light show (and shhhh! maybe a little boring), but it was way more than that. Funny. Creative. SPECTACULAR! Other arts brought in during the twilight hours waiting for it to be dark enough for the light show – ballet, opera. A friend of mine sings with the May Festival Choir and I’ve never heard it, except that she was volunteering with their performance last night. What an excellent venue to expose the community to all the arts available in the city! (and point out that Music Hall needs some preservation funding!)

They’re going to have to change some things next year – all the grumblers bitching about not getting FREE tickets, and all – but honestly, I hope they don’t change too much.  It was truly a fantastic event – and one of the most civilized groups that large that I’ve ever been in.


Ahhh, standard travel picture out the airplane window…you’re welcome. 

I am an apprehensive flyer. I will road trip anywhere, anytime with you, but flying…I like my feet on terra firma. Earth girl, through and through. Something to do with it being completely unnatural to be flying around in a metal tube – although, ironically, it’s all the laws of nature that make it possible to fly. Take off and landing involve a few breathing exercises and meditation.

In full disclosure, the last time I flew was 2-days before 9/11. THE 9/11. *It’s been that long.*  I wasn’t all that thrilled about flying before then. Everyone has their own 9/11 story, and there are at least 2,977 people plus all of their families and friends that have unimaginably more terrible stories than mine, so I don’t want this post to be about that. But by a narrow window and a single “No thanks”, I ended up coming home on September 9th instead of September 11th. Mainly for the ridiculous reason that I wanted a day to do laundry and get my hair done before I went back to work. My flight home would not have been one of the flights, let me be clear about that. Odds are I would’ve have been grounded in Salt Lake City, completely broke at the time, which would have been terrifying not fun. But “not fun” is still alive and unharmed. However, there is still a feeling that haunts me and makes my chest tighten knowing that a single decision about some laundry made such an impact on my experience. It’s little things sometimes. On 9/11, I listened to Eric’s phone ring over and over again through the day as people who knew I’d been traveling called him to see if I was home. Including my own sister, who, when I asked her later why she’d called Eric and not me, said “I was afraid you wouldn’t answer your phone.” Because then what? Things like that make an impression. So, terra firma.

But I’d like to travel more, so frankly, I need to get the hell over it. Just breathe.

Usually, once I get in the air, I’m fine. There is an acknowledgement I give that I am no longer in control of what happens to me once my feet are off the ground, and I just have to trust – everything. I relax a little. I breath normally.  I actually like to look out the window. See the curve of the Earth. The blues and tans and greens. The places we’ve left wild and the way we humans have divided up so much into straight line grids, as if this planet doesn’t laugh at such notions every time a weather front moves through.

In one of the periods where my mind was contemplating wanting to travel, specifically to see the Reds play in St. Louis – a road trip, one of my brothers came to visit over Christmas and invited us to visit him in California, and not just show up, but really, just. show. up. He had a place to stay for us, would let us have his car to explore while we were there, and would even let Eric use his motorcycleS. Plural. My brother has nice toys. How can you not get your ass on a plan with an offer like that?!


I was thinking about my brother this morning. Part of what brought this photo to mind beyond that it was taken at the very, very start of our trip. More accurately, I was thinking, as I got out of my car in my office parking lot, how grateful I am that I don’t take much advice. Which is a weird thing to think, I know, but I gave up normal for some Lent years ago when I still believed in God and never took up the habit again- of God or normal. Even weirder that the thought brought my brother to mind, except that my family is like that, all STRONGLY independent spirits and detrimentally self-aware.  None of us take or offer much in the way of advice – rather, we offer OBSERVATIONS.

My brother and I had some awesome conversations while I was in California – the kind where most people who don’t share your DNA just aren’t going to understand the context – and there were lots of observations. Particularly about the way my corporate thinking doesn’t fit at all into the way corporate people should think. 

About my career.

About enjoying my life.

About really spending my time and energy the way I like to spend it.  WHEN I like to spend it on such things.

A lot of observations to think about. A gratitude for not taking much of the advice I’ve been getting lately (none of which came from my brother) to be more corporate and to hide my way of thinking. Stifle myself. Keep my opinions quiet. Go with the flow. Don’t make waves. BE MORE NORMAL. Stay on the path, put on blinders. It’s funny how corporations will hire you for the way your thinking doesn’t fit in the standard size box, then spend the next few years trying to stuff you back into the standard size box. That, my friends, is an observation. Which brought me back to this picture and a quote that keeps playing through my mind:

“… the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.” ~ Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

I love that quote. And so…the picture that makes me think of the curve of the Earth, and my own road down it. 

Friends, we tend to fear the road we can’t see far down. We keep a white-knuckle grip on our blinders so we don’t have to fear change and opportunity. We can be like everyone else. Normal.

But if you aren’t willing to travel the path, to see how far the road goes, how do you know there isn’t a beautiful land on the other side of it?

Random Thursday observation for you.