Friday, March 30, 2012

Frankly my dear ankle

Dear Ankles,

Hey guys, how's it going down there? Thought I forgot about you, didn't you? Ok, I'll admit I don't think about you a lot. Hardly at all really. On the bright side, I never think you're too fat. I never (ok, rarely) worry that you'll become cankles when I'm old. So see, it's really a compliment that I never think of you. You're usually super awesome at doing your thing, connecting my feet to my calves and taking me all the places I want to go. Infinity of thanks for that, by the way. I mean, where would I be without you? Nowhere good, that's where. I couldn't run, I couldn't walk, I couldn't slam dunk. What? We slam dunk all the time. Don't even pretend this is the first you've heard of it.

So ankles, thanks for 30 years of literally supporting me. But I do have a beef with you (and I learned about beef from the Notorious B.I.G. so watch out). Frankly my dear ankle, you've been a real pain lately. I've tried resting and icing and Ibuprofening the heck out of you, but you're still tender to the touch. Why so sensitive? I don't know what your deal is, but please get it sorted out soon. I'd appreciate it if you could go back to carrying me around without complaint. And then we can get some celebratory rice krispie treats. Or funny socks. Or whatever it is that ankles are into these days.

We're going to be stuck together for a long time, at least I really Really REALLY hope so. It would be nice if we could make the best of it, don't you agree?

From Robot, with eternal gratitude and undying love.

Lyric of the moment: "What's beef? Beef is when you make your enemies start your Jeep. Beef is when you roll no less than thirty deep. Beef is when I see you, guaranteed to be in ICU, check it..." (I don't know what any of that means, but it sounds tough. These are obviously empty threats, since I don't have a Jeep and we better not find ourselves up in the ICU any time soon, or ever, but please ankles, just heal yourselves so we can get back to doing awesome things.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Luxurious minimalism

Last night we were running in my 'hood and Eric spotted a guy he knows who lives in a studio apartment, doesn't own a car and only has one plate, one fork, etc. Apparently this guy gets job offers from high tech companies all the time, but turns them down to stay at his current job with a non-profit. First I thought how cool it is that he has such a minimalist lifestyle. Then I wondered how he could have company over if he only has one plate. I mean, even your closest friends would look at you weird if you had them over for dinner and only put one fork on the table. Though you could serve pizza and other finger foods and silverware wouldn't be an issue. Actually a finger foods dinner party sounds pretty awesome, now that I think about it.

My first apartment was a studio. I had 2 bowls, 2 cups and 2 ice cream scoops. I didn't own any pans (Technically I still don't own any pans. All the pans in my house were left there by people who used to live with me). I had RG&E turn off the gas because it would save me $20 a month and I never used the stove anyway. Everything was always in its place. There was never any extraneous stuff because there was no room for it. It was all very efficient and I loved it. But it started to get lonely. I needed a few complications, some chaos and more people. So I moved to a 3 bedroom apartment with roommates and then a 3 bedroom house with roommates, then a boyfriend and a dog, and soon to be another boyfriend and another dog.

When I bought the house I was concerned that I'd have to buy a bunch of stuff to fill it up and once I started running on that hedonic treadmill I wouldn't be able to get off. So far it hasn't really happened. I do have more furniture and more tools now, and at times I fantasize about selling everything and taking off to travel the world, but at the same time I like having the extra space to fill up with guests and parties and good times. My house is just under 1200 square feet, which is small in comparison to the typical American house. But it's always felt big to me. I could be happy living with less. Of everything really. Except people. I try to be vigilant about not accumulating too much stuff. But I always like accumulating more people. 'Cause if I'm going to take off and travel the world, I'd like some company.

I suppose my current aesthetic is a sort of luxurious minimalism, somewhere in between austerity and excess. Maybe I've always been trying to find the lifestyle equivalent of Baby Bear's bed: not too hard, not too soft, just right.

Lyric of the moment: "I refuse to fade into the grey of something trite. I'd give a lot of precious things to see you taking flight. Oh, if we meet, be brave, be brave. The Mayan Pilot needs no aeroplane..."

Friday, March 23, 2012

The dude presides

I have a half marathon race in 36 days and a marathon in 57 days. I don't feel ready. Strangely, I'm not that concerned about it. I'm fairly optimistic I'll finish, since I've done it before. But I don't think I'm getting any faster or stronger. And I haven't even figured out what running shoes I'm going to wear during the races. Instead of following a formal training plan as I assume most people do (because that would be smart), I've been making up my own as I go along. I'm slowly adding more yoga and spinning and cutting back to running 4 days a week instead of 5. I don't think I want to be just a runner anymore. Lately I've been craving a little more variety and it's nice to have 3 days a week to cross train any way I want. The thing is that I'm having a lot more fun training this way. Except I'm a little afraid I'm going to be disappointed with the results on race day. I guess the results aren't important. I run because it makes everything better, no matter how fast or slow I go. Maybe that's why I have yet to buy a GPS watch and why I don't keep track of my yearly mileage or or other statistics - I don't want running to become something that makes me feel worse instead of better.

Read in Running Times magazine: "...success or victory isn't the point of what you do. The process of trying to reach your potential is the point." ~Lauren Fleshman

Success in running is often defined as achieving a certain goal time or distance. I find it easy to get sucked into that way of thinking, because of course I want to improve. But the Universe keeps telling me to let go of all that and be in the moment and enjoy the journey. Except, holy cannoli (mmm...the kind with chocolate chips), all that be-here-now stuff is really hard to do. Totally worth it, but still really hard to do. I'm working on it.

This is the point where the crazy part of my brain wants to freak out. It's all "You're not ready. You can't do this. Blah, blah, blah." And then the dude part of my brain is all "Chill out, whatever man, it's cool. This is going to be an epic adventure. Like the apex of awesomeness, dude."

I'm rooting for the dude on this one. He's way more fun.

New this week:
*I finally watched The Princess Bride. I'm not sure how I'd never seen it before now. Inconceivable!
*I got my first (and mostly likely only) manicure yesterday at girls' night to celebrate Becky's upcoming wedding. I picked blue nail polish (because what other color is there?), but managed to chip it before I even got home. This is why I can't have nice things.
*I went to Friday Cycle Express spin class at the gym this morning. I must have looked particularly confused or out of place when I walked in because the instructor helped me adjust the bike and gave me a free Vitamin Water. Bonus! It feels weird to work out under a disco ball, but whatever, good times.

Lyric of the moment: "The sun goes down, the stars come out. And all that counts is here and now. My universe will never be the same. I'm glad you came..."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend festivities and minor epiphanies

Weekend festivities:

*Seeing A Raisin In The Sun at Geva Theater. Even though it was as depressing as I feared it would be, it was a great show, with some funny moments that I hadn't expected.

*An 18 mile run by the lake on a so-foggy-it's-almost-surreal Saturday morning. Seriously, it was like running on the set of a horror movie or in an episode of the Twilight Zone. So freaking cool!

*Dinner at Mamasan's. Because I will take delicious Thai food over corned beef and cabbage any day.

*Sunday morning yoga at my gym. I am the worst at yoga and my new gym intimidates the hell out of me, but at this point I consider it a success if I don't topple over and none of my appendages fall off in protest. So winner winner, ice cream for dinner.

*Watching This is Spinal Tap with Mike and his mom. I don't know how I'd never seen this movie before because it's so ridiculous and funny. I wish Spinal Tap was a real band and "Big Bottom" was a real song.

Minor epiphanies:

1) I discovered the secret to not feeling weird and restless while taking a bath: a book and a smoothie. Some runners recommend ice baths after a long run, but I hate being cold and cannot bring myself to willingly inflict an icy torture upon my limbs, so I decided to take an Epsom salt/bubble bath instead. Usually I don't know what to do in the bathtub. I feel like I'm just sitting there in my own filth. Which, after a long run, is a pretty considerable filth indeed. But I made myself a smoothie, grabbed a book and had a go at it. I lasted 20 whole minutes before I got too antsy and had to take a shower. My legs felt great afterwards, so this may become my new recovery ritual.

2) I discovered how many robots it takes to change a light bulb. I have been trying to find a new lampshade for the wall sconce in my third bedroom since I moved into my house 4 years ago. All the lampshades I found that had a clip big enough to fit on a standard 100W light bulb were too big to fit in the small space between the lamp and the wall, and all the lampshades small enough to fit in that space had clips that were too small for a standard light bulb. Finally, a light bulb went off in my brain and I figured out it would be easier to simply swap out the standard light bulb for a smaller one. Add a Yoda lampshade, and voila, problem solved!

Lyric of the moment: "This is your life. This is your time..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Awesome vs. Not Awesome

Thanks to Shmeagans for the pics!
Things that are awesome:

*The run around Irondequoit Bay on Saturday morning. Good friends, good training (lots of hills!), good breakfast (Thanks, Chris!). I'm looking forward to doing this route again in the summer, with an ice cream chaser!

*Fortune cookie: "A winner forgets he is in a race. He just loves to run."

*A 3 day weekend of running, movies (Friends with Kids was funny in that awkward way I love. Plus The Little Theater is awesome, though sadly the secret balcony has been closed down by the Fire Marshall for not having 2 exits. I'd like to point out that technically there are 2 exits: the stairs and over the balcony edge. I'd also like to point out that having to hang and drop from the balcony in the event of a fire would seriously increase the awesome factor of the secret balcony), euchre, my first attempt at golf (I hit a few balls with the driver and a few with the putter, but mostly I drove the golf cart and watched Mike and his dad play. I think golf might be too slow motion for me, but driving the carts is a lot of fun!), reading and watching all my DVRed shows from the week.

*Hills. Ok, so I don't really think hills are particularly awesome. But I do feel tenacious after running a bunch of them. It's like anything else. I can focus on how difficult and unpleasant it is and how bad I feel or I can enjoy the moment and the view and realize that it's not so intimidating and is probably making me stronger. So I have made my peace with hills. Now I have to work on doing this with everything else.

*Euchre. It's my absolute favorite game. Four cool people + one deck of cards + delicious snacks = good times. I don't even care if I win or lose, I just like to play. I wish I could adopt this philosophy to the rest of my life. I am sort of getting there with running, but everything else...not so much (which probably has something to do with the mean voice, see below).

Things that are not awesome:

*I am sick. Again. I keep getting these stupid colds or whatever they are (Maybe they are smart colds. They are certainly getting the better of me). I am getting supremely annoyed, which I know is not helping at all, but I'm so frustrated. Stupid little germs. You can't live rent-free up in my cells. This is your eviction notice.

*The mean voice. The one that says I should be lighter, leaner, stronger, faster, smarter, prettier, nicer, happier, more extroverted, better at sleeping, better with money, better at not eating peanut butter straight from the jar (I can't help it, peanut butter is delicious). It's a real jerk. I don't know where it comes from or how to make it go away forever. I don't think throwing things at it will work. Though it is tempting.

Lyric of the moment: "If there's love, I just want to have somethin' to do with it. I just wanna feel yours..." (Because I was rocking out to Citizen Cope in the shower this weekend. It's good shower music.)

Friday, March 9, 2012


Dear Bonsai Tree,

You are the coolest present I have ever received (Thanks, Mike!). When you came into the house, did you see the sign that said "Abandon all hope ye plants who enter here?" Just kidding, there is no sign. But fair warning, I should tell you that I have a reputation as an inadvertent grim reaper to plants. Just ask your predecessor, the Blue Hyacinth, once beautiful, flowering and fragrant, now reduced to a mere handful of leaves. I don't know if it was my fault that his flowers grew so tall they fell over and then died, but my sporadic-at-best watering probably didn't help. In my defense, he is still alive. Mostly. But you, dear Bonsai, are different. I promise to do better, to spray you with water everyday and do my best to keep you alive for a long, long time. Or at least to set you next to the Buddha and put him in charge of keeping you alive.

From Robot, with love

Lyric of the moment: "Just sit back and hold on, but hold on tight. Prepare for the best and the fastest ride. And reach out your hand, and I'll make you mine. Everything, everything's magic..."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Running against the wind, bench pressing the moon

On Saturday morning I ran 18 miles in 30 mile an hour winds. In some spots, the gusts were so strong they almost pushed us into the street. Awesome, right? It's a cool feeling to be pushed around by air, like being in a tug of war contest with an invisible opponent. I think it's safe to say we won, since the wind made a hasty retreat the next day. I can't tell if my body is getting better at long runs or if I'm simply becoming more accustomed to the dull ache of fatigue in my legs, but I am finding the longer distances increasingly enjoyable. Especially the subsequent breakfast and nap.

After the run there were free cupcakes at Fleet Feet. Four different kinds of delicious looking cupcakes. And I didn't even want one. I think there might be something wrong with me.

Saturday night Mike and I went to the planetarium, where we bench pressed the moon, went to Jupiter and watched the Dave Matthews laser light show. Then we played some darts and listened to a terrible 80's cover band. Good times, good times.

On Sunday, we watched two of the worst movies I've ever seen: Drive and The Trip. Drive is great if you enjoy watching people stare at the camera while not talking and Ryan Gosling stomping a man's face to death in an elevator. The Trip is great if you like watching middle aged British guys eating weird food and doing terrible impressions of celebrities. I have to watch a really good movie soon. I need a dose of funny, quirky and cute, stat.

Lyric of the moment: "I wanted to stay, I wanted to play, I wanted to love you..."