Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adventures in "cooking"

In the past two weeks I have discovered the secret to cooking. Or to be more accurate, I should say "cooking" or "feeding oneself from things you find in your kitchen." Semantics aside, the secret is this: throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and call it salad. Spinach, frozen veggies you have "cooked" in the microwave, beans, beets (from a can of course. who has time for doing whatever it is you do with beets before you eat them?), couscous, cheese, bow-tie pasta (because bow ties are cool), hummus, honey mustard dressing, (those peas you found in the freezer that said best if used by 06 13 and you weren't sure if that meant June 13th or June 2013 but you decided to give peas a chance anyway), whatever. Just put it in a bowl, mix it around and then eat it. Voila! Lunch. Dinner. Second dinner. No wait, second dinner can never be salad. It just can't. Cheese and crackers, yes. PB sandwich, obviously. But salad is for first meals only.

Some people are culinary masters and that's cool. To them I raise my chocolate milk in toast and say, did I mention I'm looking for a roommate? But me over here, I'm a culinary slacker. I'm just looking to get the most amount of nutrients and deliciousness into my mouth in the least amount of time. My whole random shit+bowl=salad thing takes 10 minutes or less. Which is of the utmost importance to me. Because every minute spent "cooking" is a minute I'm not doing this:

or this:

Priorities. Am I right?

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the contents of this post. I haven't eaten sugar in 2 weeks. I'm trying to get rid of this never-ending cold and sugar depresses the immune system, so cookies and I are on a break. You guys, there are 5 sea-salt dark chocolate bars in my pantry that remain uneaten! I haven't even wanted to eat them. Inconceivable, right? It's possible that I have been replaced by a pod person.

I'm a little worried about it because sugar is my only vice and if I give that up, what is left? Clean living? What fun is that? Just kidding. I will never give it up. A life without dessert is no life I want to live. It's just that I think from now on sugar and I are going to be casual acquaintances who only see each other at parties instead of Siamese twins.

Lyric of the moment: "This is not, this is not really happening. You bet your life it is..." Tori Amos "Cornflake girl"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How to be rich

Step 1: Congratulations! You're already rich. How do I know that? It's not because of your top hat and monocle, though those are pretty sweet. It's because true wealth is not about money or material goods, it's about living a meaningful life. Check it out: If you can answer yes to one or more of the following questions, you're already living a life of abundance and prosperity and ridiculous good fortune.  

  • Are you alive? Congratulations! You are a member of a very selective club. Most of its former members are now dead, but not you. Way to be alive over there. Enjoy it.

  • Are you imperfect? Good for you! That's what makes you unique. Accepting your own imperfections and letting yourself learn and grow will make all the difference. In everything. Ever.

  • Do you know other people? Lucky you! Meaningful relationships are the best part of life. Time spent with awesome humans and animals is time well spent. Love them and laugh with them and be ever so grateful for their presence in your life.

  • Do you love something? I mean really love it. It can be a sport, a hobby, a job, anything you're passionate about. If you can't think of anything that tickles your fancy, no worries. Just try some new things, wander, explore. Find the things that light you up inside and then do them.

  • Do you struggle? Excellent! Attempting challenging things and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone will open up a whole new world of inner strength and beauty and courage that you may not have been aware you were hiding under there.

See how wealthy you are? Look at you over there, living a life rich with experience and individuality and people and passion and expansion. I for one am quite impressed. A toast to you and your amazing life! Here's to many more years that are rich with awesomeness.

Lyric of the moment: "I wanna have friends that I can trust, that love me for the man I've become, not the man I was. I wanna fit into the perfect space, feel natural and safe in a volatile place. And I wanna grow old without the pain, give my body back to the earth and not complain..." ~Avett Brothers "The Perfect Space"

Monday, April 27, 2015

Let's all be awesome together

The other day I came across this quote:
"Commencement speakers are always telling young people to follow their passions. Be true to yourself. This is a vision of life that begins with self and ends with self. But people on the road to inner light do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs?" ~David Brooks, The Moral Bucket List
I don't feel like I have any particular intrinsic talents. Unless a penchant for punny, nerdy and/or inappropriate jokes counts. (I had to call customer service because I forgot the password to one of my bank accounts. I hardly use it because it's for emergency savings and thankfully I haven't had any emergencies. So the guy is going through all the typical prove your identity questions: last 4 digits of your Social Security Number, mother's maiden name, email address. And then he says, "Ok now I need the answer to the secret question you set up: What is the answer to everything?" and I started laughing. Past me cracks me up. I totally forgot about writing that question. Note: I have since changed the question, in case any would-be identity thieves are also fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)

But Brooks' questions really resonated with me because it's something I've thought about a lot. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never felt a passion for any specific profession. I still don't know what life is asking of me. Life is kind of cryptic that way. But the answer that I kept coming back to was this: Awesome. When I grow up I want to be Awesome. Then I thought, Ok, so now what? What does that look like? And I decided I wanted to be a force of honesty and humor and light and love. So that's what I've been trying to do, in my real life and in my little corner of the internet. These are my adventures, my faults, my failures, my little victories, my loves. These are my stories, the lessons I've learned, the good, the bad and the ridiculous. These are my attempts at figuring out this whole being alive thing.

In a world of rampant judgment and hating, I want to be a beacon of understanding and encouragement. There is a proverb, I think it's Swedish, that says "Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is a half sorrow." (Those Swedes know a thing or two about life. And red candy fish.) Let's double our joys and halve our sorrows and triple our hugs. Let's cooperate and build each other up instead of competing and tearing each other down. Let's all be awesome together.

Lyric of the moment: "Keep it up. I know you can. Just keep following the heartlines on your hand..." ~Florence + The Machine "Heartlines"

Friday, April 24, 2015


Lyric of the moment: "Just let it go, enjoy the ride. Without the low, there ain't a high..."
~Young Rising Sons, "High"

Monday, April 20, 2015

My life. In tiny poems.

The satisfying crunch of
leftover pizza lunch.
Found a hole in my sweater.
I like the lived-in look better.

There is a windowless van outside. It's yellow.
This makes it seem less creepy, more mellow.

A school bus came down our street and lickety split,
Mozzie ran over and tried to get on it.

I bought a steak.
For Pete's sake.

That time I volunteered for a bike race so new,
and got to open and close the gate at the zoo!

Of all the days that I have run,
the ones with you are the most fun.

We are the wanderers, the explorers, the seekers.
With awesomeness in our blood and mud on our sneakers.

Lyric of the moment: "It's never to late to call on your strength. And if all else should fail, there's still the unknown. On and on, go along. Don't be scared by being alone. If all else should fail, there's still the unknown..."


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Muddy Sneaker 2015

Thanks to Laura for the action shots and
awesome volunteering!
I was nervous for this run, but chatting and laughing with Alison, Bob and Danielle on the car ride to Naples took my mind off it. Honestly, I was expecting this race to be a total sufferfest, but it was actually quite lovely. The weather was sunny and perfect. Any day I can run in a sleeveless shirt and shorts, in Rochester, is no small miracle. The course was technical single track in some spots and I'm terrible at that, but I did achieve my goal of finishing with all my blood and bones on the inside where they belong. I didn't fall at all and I barely even stumbled. I mean, I was definitely slow. I sometimes find it hard to get my breathing into a regular rhythm on technical and variable terrain, but my legs were pretty awesome about getting me where I needed to go. There were times I thought how in the name of physics can we still be going uphill? and what is the deal with that giant chicken? But I was never in any pain.

The thing I love about running, and life, is that even when I think I'm going to be all alone, I somehow always find the most excellent of company. I got to run part of the race with John on our 4 year friendiversary, in much better weather than on the run where we met, in brutal cold, wind and rain. I also got to run the majority of the race with Matt, who even with a black and blue and yellow ankle is too fast for me. I finished in about 2 and a half hours, which is not terrible I guess. I really enjoyed myself though, so I think that is the important thing. The trails were beautiful, the people were awesome, and the Arnold Palmer (half lemonade/half iced tea) I drank after the race really hit the spot. I'm hoping all those hills will be good for my butt. And that the good weather and good times will continue for the rest of the spring and summer racing season.
Group photo thanks to Todd!

Lyric of the moment: "We live in a beautiful world. Yeah we do, yeah we do..."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

That time I didn't hate asparagus. And other miracles.

Some people don't believe in miracles. And to that I say: yesterday I ate asparagus and didn't hate it. Now, asparagus is the third worst food, next to mushrooms and brussels sprouts. And if I have reached a point in life where I can eat asparagus and not think it's disgusting, I have to believe anything is possible. That's the thing about life. It never ceases to surprise you. One day you might get a salad that you didn't realize had your mortal enemy asparagus on it, but you might try it anyway because hey you never know, right? and you might find out that maybe you and the weird green stalky things can get along after all.

I hope that I haven't yet exceeded my miracle allowance for this week because Saturday I'm facing the infamous Muddy Sneaker trail race. The website for this race is a bit sparse on information, which may be a good thing. This is probably one of those races where it's better not to know what you're getting yourself into. I've never run this race, but from what I've heard it's basically all directions. Last year a Jenn got injured and had to be carried off the course. While I'd like to sign up for this whole being carried around thing, I really, really don't want to get injured. I have no desire to be the next victim in the Hi-Tor area's Jen(n)detta. Don't mess with me, wilderness. I know (some) karate. Ok, so I only remember like 3 moves with a bo and I don't even own a bo anymore. Please just go pick on someone your own size.

I'm not really worried about this race. I know it's going to be difficult, that it's probably going to be uncomfortable at some point. But I also know that it's going to be beautiful and exciting and awesome. I'm a little bummed that everyone I know who's running this race is much faster than I am so I'll probably be poking along in the back by myself. But I'm sure I'll find a way to amuse myself. Like singing Here Comes The Hotstepper in my head to remind myself to pick up my feet when there's mud. Not that I've ever done that before. Nope.

Lyric of the moment: "Sun's gonna rise in a mile. In a mile you'll be feeling fine. In a mile you will see after me. You'll be out of the dark, yeah you'll get your shot..." (This song is actually called Son's gonna rise but I always hear sun in my head. It's a good mantra for the tough spots in a race.) 

Monday, April 13, 2015

The secret to life

The secret to life, in four words and an ampersand is this: fresh air & good company.

Life is messy and challenging and let's be honest, there are moments it just sucks. But it is also beautiful and hilarious and amazing. The bad moments can be made better and the good moments can be made most excellent by going outside and/or spending time with your people.

So how do you do this?

To find the outside: just open the door. Don't wait for the right weather. There is no "good" weather or "bad" weather. There is just weather. Sometimes the sun goes away for a while. Sometimes things fall from the sky. Things will stop falling eventually. The sun will come back eventually. Either way, go outside. Make the best of it.

To find good company: there are many ways to do this, but it helps to be good company. Try some of these things:
  • Don't take things too seriously. Have a sense of humor about life, and especially about yourself.
  • Listen more, judge less. You don't know what it's really like to be anyone else.
  • Deal with your own shit. Don't take it out on others, or on yourself. It's ok, everyone has shit. Such is life. Work on it. Let it make you more compassionate and open minded.
  • Do difficult, challenging things, things you're afraid of attempting. Whatever the outcome, you will likely find secret reserves of innate awesomeness you never knew existed.
  • Love your people on their good days. Love them more on their bad ones. Be grateful for the ones who do the same for you.
Lyric of the moment: "Let love show you that everything here is gonna be okay. When you feel lost, let love show you the way..."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

#TrailsRoc Mess The Dress 2015

Thanks to Laura and Prem for the pics!
Mess The Dress is one of my most favorite races. Any occasion to run or to wear a dress is my kind of party. And if I can do both at the same time, so much the better. Plus, today is our one year anniversary! This race last year was the first of Pete and Jen's excellent adventures. We both wore dresses. This year we decided to run together, take it easy and just have fun in the mud. We both wore black and white. And I wore my Epic socks because any day that involves mud and merriment and men in dresses is one for the epic books.

It was a chilly start, overcast, windy and only 43 degrees. But once I started running, it was actually quite perfect. I felt just warm enough and didn't sweat at all. The course wasn't as muddy or wet as last year, but we still got nice and dirty. Thanks to the Eagans and TrailsRoc-stars for another well-run, super fun event. Thanks to Greg for letting me borrow his jacket on the way to the start. Thanks to the photographers, the course sweepers and everyone who turned a cold, cloudy day into a day of silliness and smiles. Infinity of thanks to Pete for a laugh and adventure filled year of awesomeness.


I felt great the entire race. I don't know if I'm getting more confident on the trails or if I was just happy I got to spend 5 miles in the woods with my love and see so many of my favorite faces. At second breakfast, the sun even came out for like 5 minutes. Good things are coming, I can feel it. Sunshiny and warm things. I'm looking forward to a spring and summer filled with friends and fun and running all the trails.

Lyric of the moment: "What a beautiful mess! What a beautiful mess I'm in. Spending all my time with you, there's nothing else I'd rather do..."

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Price Is Right Live!

Last night, Chris, Heather, Pete and I went to see The Price Is Right Live at The Auditorium Theater.
Source: RBTL
The Price Is Right originally ran on daytime TV from 1956-1965 with host Bill Cullen. A new version debuted in 1972 with host Bob Barker and then Drew Carey took over as host in 2007 after Bob Barker retired. (Bob Barker did make a guest appearance hosting the first pricing game on April Fool's Day this year.)

The Price Is Right Live is the traveling stage version of the TV show, so you get to see the Big Wheel, Plinko, all the same games and even the Showcase Showdown, but you don't get to see Bob Barker or Drew Carey. The prizes were real but the Mark Wahlberg was not the real Marky Mark. Our host was Mark L. Wahlberg. Of Antiques Roadshow and Temptation Island, not of The Funky Bunch/Calvin Klein underwear ads/all those movies. For some reason the announcer kept introducing him as "The one and only Mark Wahlberg." Even though he's not the only one and not even the hottest one. But he was a decently entertaining host, though of course no one can ever compare to the iconic Bob Barker.

It was neat to see the games in person. They looked smaller and more retro than they do on TV, though possibly that's just my faulty memory. I haven't watched The Price Is Right in years. Sadly, watching daytime TV doesn't fall under my job responsibilities at work. The Big Wheel was smaller but louder in person.

Unfortunately, the four of us didn't get to Come On Down! and be the next contestants on The Price Is Right. We didn't win any of the "instant winner" Target and Starbucks gift cards either. Oh well. The prizes at the live show aren't nearly as awesome as the ones on the TV show. None of the contestants really won big. One woman won $300 at Punch-a-Bunch, another woman won $250 at The Big Wheel and the Showcase Showdown winner went home with a new computer and printer (you have to guess the showcase price to within $100 to win the car or the vacation in the live version).

Part of the fun of TPIR is the audience. People were wearing all kinds of funny shirts, like "Two In The Plinko" and "I want to get lucky...on The Price Is Right." One of my favorite parts was watching clips from the TV show's history of most excited contestants. I love the people who go all crazy and are just completely beside themselves when their name is called. It's the best. No one in the audience last night was too crazy. Though one woman did do a hula dance on stage. Some of the people who were picked didn't even seem to know how to play the game. In the initial bidding game, one woman guessed $750 after the first contestant had already bid that number, then when Mark told her $750 was taken and she had to guess again, she guessed $749 (Face palm!). Like she didn't even know that the object of the game is to guess closest to the actual price of the items without going over. No one bid $1 either, which is always my favorite bid. I love it when the $1 bidder wins.

We could have stayed after the show and paid $20 for a T-shirt and a chance to spin The Big Wheel. I totally wanted to do it but when I saw the line, I changed my mind. I'm not willing to wait in a long line to spend money. Even though we didn't get to play any of the games, it was a great night and front row balcony is my new favorite place to sit at The Auditorium. There's a little ledge in front of the seats that's the exact perfect height and length for my legs to stretch out fully. Plus I'm glad we got to see Chris and Heather before they head off to the Boston marathon next weekend!

Life is funny that way. One day you get invited to go to an Amerks hockey game and you start talking excitedly about how you just found out The Price Is Right is coming to Rochester in April. And your awesome friends get on board your Excellent Adventure Train. Then, several months later, there you are at said adventure. (Oh man, if I ever own a van, I'm totally painting Excellent Adventure Train on the side of it.)

Lyric of the moment: "It's your night tonight. You can shine real bright if the price is right. I'mma live my dream, I've waited a long while for them to call my name and say come on down. I don't know if I'mma win the showcase but I better cuz I ain't tryna sit up in the audience forever so, if it's all the same I'mma chill up here til they call my name..."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Eating fro-yo with your fears

It's funny how the things I'm most excited about are also the things of which I'm most afraid. Not afraid of doing. Afraid of failing. Because it's when you take risks and go all in and attempt the things you think you cannot do that you find out what you're made of. I hope that what I'm made of is atoms and awesomeness. But maybe it's insecurity and stubbornness and flight risk.

My biggest fear, always, is that I won't be enough, that I won't be able to keep up. I don't ever want to be the one who has to say let's slow down or I can't do that. I'd rather err on the side of reckless abandon, experience, living. I want to go big, not go home. Sometimes that gets me into some ill advised situations. But whatever. The only way you can know is to give it all you have. If it doesn't work out, no worries. You live, you learn, you get some funny stories, you go on to have other adventures.

When I'm worried about something, I feel this urge to talk about it. Perhaps that is a terrible idea. But that's life. All of it. The happiness and the messiness, the rational and the hilariously irrational, the light and the dark. And I don't know if the fears will ever go away. So I'm not going to pretend they don't exist or sweep them under the rug. (They're probably too big to fit under there anyway. And everyone would be like what is the deal with your rug? It's all lumpy and wiggly. You should really get that checked out). I'm not going to run from the fears. I'm going to invite them out for frozen yogurt, get to know them, maybe realize they're not so scary after all. Maybe they're even kind of cuddly when mollified by yogurt. Once your fears have become your cuddly little friends, they no longer hold you back or impede your awesomeness. And you can get back to your regularly scheduled adventures.

Lyric of the moment: "There is an answer in a question. And there is hope within despair. And there is beauty in a failure. And there are depths beyond compare..."

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Simple things

I love travel and adventure. I have a tank top that says "I haven't been everywhere but it's on my list." I'm itching to go skydiving again. But what I love most are the simple things right here at home: good times with good people. Last night I found myself running some trails and hanging out with friends at the bar known affectionately as 'Jammers,* having conversations about everything from the hilarious to the serious to the drunk lady that came over to the table and said a bunch of crazy funny things that didn't make sense. (Though I think her main point, minus the expletives, was something to the effect of "Live for today," which is pretty Zen for a dive bar. You can find pearls of wisdom in the strangest oysters).  As I sat there enjoying my PB&J sandwich, sweet potato fries and pitcher...of water, I thought this right here, this is the good stuff, this is what I want my life to be always. Motion and meaningful relationships. That's where my happiness is.

Some of my favorite simple pleasures:

*When you think you can't run one more hill or mile. And then you do.

*Watching dogs run around and play. They just look so happy and cute. I wish that I could look that way when I run but I'll have to settle for the sweaty zombie look.

*Peanut butter/almond butter. I could eat it every day and never get tired of it. I think Popeye was doing it wrong, eating spinach straight up out of a can when he could have been adding it to a smoothie with peanut butter so it would taste infinitely better.

*Friends who you can say anything to and who can say anything to you.

*Sunny days and no pants runs. As in, when it's warm enough to run in capris or shorts. Not as in no bottoms at all. I'm not a hash house harrier. But kudos to those who have the balls to go balls out on the trails.  

*Hugs. I'm not a handshake person. High fives, I can dig. But hugs, man. Hugs are the best.

Lyric of the moment: "Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters...Turns out not where but what you think that really matters..."

*If you're ever feeling down, just do a Google image search for jammers. It's the weirdest combination of images. And it's virtually impossible not to laugh at the results.