Monday, December 31, 2012

my running anniversary

running, trail running, why I run
Trail running

The husband and I suited up a few weekends ago for a cold morning trail run. It was the weekend of the Lawrence Farmer’s Market Holiday Fair, so we stopped by to check it out while we gave the earth a little more time to warm up.  As we wandered into a booth, the artist looks at us and says “looks like you guys either just got done running or are on your way to run.”  That was the first time someone who didn't know me identified me as a runner.  And I that was because I AM a runner.  

I have officially been running for 6 years. That’s right....6!  Most of the time I lose track until I do the math in my head and every year around this time the number takes me by surprise.  It’s been a long journey. A hard journey. An inspiring journey.  And certainly not a journey I ever thought I would take.  

Along the way, I've learned a lot and grown a lot, and I’m not sure I would have made it through everything if I didn't have the streets and the trails and my own two feet as an outlet.

I have run distances from 3 miles to 13.1 miles. On some days a 3 miler can be just as difficult as those 13 miles were.

I learned 13 miles is really far and there are miles of that run I still, to this day, don’t remember. I also learned during those miles that you can’t give up. Out in the middle of 13 miles, giving up just isn't an option.

I learned no run is ever the same. And only about 1 out of every 7 is a good run. The other 6 are runs with aches or a cramp or something I’m have to figure out.

I have run in the rain, snow, sub-zero temps, temperatures well over 90 and in the dark. I’ll take running in the winter any day.

I have slipped on ice and fallen on my a** and tripped during a race and split my knee open. In both instances I learned how to get up...NOT cry...and make it to the end of the run.

I have run with anger and hate and sadness.  

Friends have died and friends have disappeared along the way. I have run through both.

I learned how to run on trails and discovered what I do when I encounter a snake. I jump...high. And scream like a girl.

I have learned one of the hardest things to do is stay motivated. The couch always looks like the better option. But I know now it's not...and the feeling of being done with a run as opposed to regretting I didn't run is the better feeling.

I learned new shoes are the best thing in the world. So are new running clothes.

I learned I love being part of the running community. They take you in regardless of your experience and cheer for you at the finish lines even if they finished well ahead of you.

The best part of my adventure came this year when I found two unlikely and unexpected cohorts in crime. One motivates me online (you know who you are D) and the other from my own house. I may not run with either of them often or at all...but I love they have joined my insane love/hate relationship with running.

Here’s to a great new year of running in 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

the misfit Christmas vortex

This year, it was our turn for the husband and I to spend Christmas Day with my mother-in-law (MIL) and her husband*.  We decide to catch a movie and then head back to their house to eat some lunch.  Much to our dismay, the day unfolds a little something like this:

The Movie
We are the first to arrive at the theater so we see the MIL and her husband walk up.  Her husband is bundled in a coat that looks like it belongs at the North Pole, not Kansas. I can hardly see his eyes there is so much hood and fur.  He is also carrying a purse.  That's nice, I think.  He's carrying her purse for her.  Then I see the MIL and then I see HER purse...on HER shoulder. Her husband is actually carrying his own purse.  Not a hipster man bag but an actual purse.  I'm assuming probably one of the MIL's old ones.  We are not sure what he needed that wouldn't have fit in his ginormous coat.

The husband and I stop for drinks and popcorn...why wouldn't we?  The MIL waits as her husband instead heads into the theater ahead of us.  We wander into the theater shortly after he does and scan the already seated crowd.  We don't see her husband anywhere.  Then I  spot him (or at least I think it's him) in the front row with his coat still on, hood up, purse in his lap.  I assume we couldn't find him because he actually looks like a little old lady at this point.

We finally wrangle him into a row further back but now into a seat he chooses that is randomly super off center. We are given a demonstration of his gloves you can blow into to create heat before the movie starts. He then proceeds to sleep through the previews.

We head back to the MIL's house for lunch.  When we arrive the MIL's husband is outside on what he calls poop duty.  We get a demo of the poop claw as we shuffle into the house. Poop duty takes awhile because he is MIA for about 20 minutes while the MIL preps lunch.

The MIL's husband finally emerges from the depths of the basement wearing sweatpants, a tank top he made out of a T-shirt by cutting the sleeves off (remember earlier he required North Pole gear) and Crocs.  We appreciated the effort to look presentable. While we wait for lunch, the MIL's husband says he has some tips and tricks he is going to share with us.

Tip 1:
MIL's husband: When you're thirsty what do you do when you go into the kitchen?
Us: Blank stares
MIL's husband: You get a cup, right?
Us: Uh, sure?
MIL's husband: Then what?
US: More blank staring (we have NO idea where this is going)
MIL's husband: You put ice in the cup, right?
Us: Sure, sure
MIL's husband: And then when you pour in the pop you get all that fizz, right?
Me: I suppose
MIL's husband: Well, if you actually first pour water into your cup over the ice, shake it around, pour it out & THEN pour in your fizz!

We then get a demonstration.  Which I do believe takes way more effort and time then actually just waiting for the fizz to dissipate.

The husband...MY husband...heads to the bathroom.  The MIL's husband walks over to me and proceeds to ask the random question of the day.  Does the husband like microscopes?  I again look dazed and tell him I have NO idea.  Because I honestly don't.  The MIL's husband says we'll find out.  He has apparently found one in what he calls a "junk shop" for a super duper deal. So you know, who doesn't need a microscope at a super duper price.  He has been analyzing pond water (from what pond we don't know) and it is AMAZING what all lives in the water.  Thankfully, he never drug it or the pond water out. But, unfortunately, that means I did not find out whether my husband does or does not like microscopes.

Lunch is served.  Corn flake covered chicken chunks, green bean casserole, a pistachio salad, rolls and apple pie a la mode.  But only about enough for two people...there are 4 of us.

Randomly: Do you guys drink coffee?  Seriously, how long have you known us?

As we are about done eating the MIL's husband proclaims, "what a great vegan meal we just had!"  I literally about shoot pop out my nose.  Uh, what?  That wasn't even close to a vegan meal.  He wants to know why not.  I can only assume he doesn't know what the term means.

So I break it down:
For starters...chicken.  Enough said.
Green bean casserole has cheese.
Pistachio salad is sporting whipped cream.
Apple pie used eggs.
Ice cream....uh, dairy.

Tip 2 (this one came w/ dessert):
MIL's husband: So you know how after you open ice cream and then stick it back in the freezer and forget about it for months?  And then you get that horrible freezer burn taste next time you eat it?
Me(in my head): We don't eat ice cream and certainly don't leave any in the freezer.
Me (out loud): I suppose
MIL's husband: What you do is cover the exposed ice cream with wax paper and then put the lid back on.  Then you don't get that freezer burn taste.
Me: blank stare

My conclusion...this man makes things WAY more complicated then they need to be.

Randomly: Do you guys drink coffee?  Seriously, didn't we cover this already?

As we sit and watch the MIL's husband clean up the kitchen, we see these gloves hanging on the side of the fridge.  They are dish washing gloves (although he is currently washing dishes and not using them) and they are labeled left and right.  I'm pretty sure those gloves only go on one way.

As we are getting ready, to leave the MIL's husband starts talking to us about recycling.  The conversations are always very random.  He wants to know what we recycle and how we recycle.  He then heads to the fridge and pulls down "instructions for recycling" and tries to give it to us.  Thanks dude but we have been recycling for about 6 years.  I think we've got this.

We somehow finally escape from the misfit Christmas vortex we fell into (not before being viciously growled at by their killer dachshund) and head home.

Or we thought we had escaped.  We are wandering through our movie rental place, and I get a text from the MIL's husband.  I have no idea why or how he has my number.  But he wants to let me know he did some research (in the 20 minutes we had been gone) and found a site with some great explanations of different levels of vegetarianism.  I've been not eating red meat and pork now for 17 years.  I'm PRETTY sure I know the ins and outs of all those rules.  But thanks odd little purse carrying man.

It's always an adventure!  Happy holidays.

*For those who don't know me well, it is a well known fact the MIL's husband is an odd little man.  Makes my MIL happy but odd nonetheless.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

1. A successful Secret Santa in the office.  Everyone had fun, everyone laughed a little all week and I received a sweet photograph taken by one of my employees.  How he knew I liked black and white photography and ponds I'll never know.

2. Finding out that even though we don't have kids to bring to the party, our favorite 6 year old twins were very upset the husband and I might not make their party this year.  I was super happy we made it even if just for a while.

holidays, mixology, martinis
Mixology 101
3. Getting our computer back up and running. On our own.  For relatively little money.

4. Sunday morning yoga with the husband.  I successfully led us through 90 minutes of yoga.  I even made him sweat a little!

5. Sunday afternoon mixology with my niece.  The husband was recruited (by me) to mix martinis at my family holiday gathering and my niece helped shake things up.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

the asylum

A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere.  Inside this building is a business.  A business with 50 employees.  A business making money and creating products.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment.  “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond absurd situations.  Anyone who stays on board for 2 years will win $2 million.  No one has lasted that long.  

Welcome to the Asylum

Episode 4
It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Max catches movement out of the corner of her eye as she reads the CNN headlines on her computer. She looks up just in time to see the boss walk by. Weird, she’s never here this early.

Max gets an email from the has been sent to group marketing.

Subject: FOOD
Hey, get the eating started early and enjoy some muffins, chocolate milk and OJ.
- The boss

Great, Max thinks, that's what we more day added to the expanding waistline season? She hates food tables b/c of the touching of food by others, but it’s an excuse to get up so she wanders over to the food table.

She walks up to the table and sees 12 muffins.

M (in her head): Are you kidding me? She brought in 12 muffins? For a department of 25? How do you grab that few muffins and think yup, that will work?

It’s about time for the annual ‘Suck Up (sorry Giving Thanks) Fest' the sales department organizes. The head of sales gathers his troops, brings in a ton of food and then gives thanks to the people they are asses to all year.

Max doesn't have the time (or energy) to wander upstairs. She’s scrambling to get work done before her days off and she has no desire to hobnob with the man who talks to her like she is 5.

'Suck Up Fest' organizer wanders downstairs and circles the floor. Max is pretty sure he is taking a headcount of those who didn't attend his lavish food offering.

Radio from the mail room stops Max.

R: Hey, Adam was looking for you at the Giving Thanks thing upstairs.

M: Yea, I had a lot of work I was trying to finish up.

R: Well he looked super upset you didn't go up to see his thanks he posted just for you.

M: I’ll have to catch up with him later

She tries to edge out of the conversation at this point.

R: Well, I just told him he would have to give you a wet floor next time he sees you.

M (in her head): I don't know what that MEANS.

M (out loud): Nervous laughter

She wanders off hoping Adam doesn't know what that means either because she is not interested in finding out what that involves.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

the asylum

asylum, work,
A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere.  Inside this building is a business.  A business with 50 employees.  A business making money and creating products.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment.  “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond absurd situations.  Anyone who stays on board for 2 years will win $2 million.  No one has lasted that long.  

Welcome to the Asylum

Episode 3
Today Max discovers her boss is putting together a daily update meeting.  Are you kidding me, she thinks to herself.  She knows exactly what this meeting is about.  Its being put in place for one guy who can’t keep his shit organized.  It’s just going to be 5 minutes her boss promises. Yea right, Max thinks.  When does a meeting around here ever last just a few minutes?

The first “daily update meeting” happens.  The 5 minute meeting goes 45 minutes with Max’s coworker making excuses over and over for why projects are not completed or running behind.  She only speaks once when asked where her projects are. The answer...complete or waiting on the boss for feedback or approval.  

Awesome. She has this to look forward to every day.

11:15 Boss is now on a conference call and is SCREAMING into the speaker phone. Max wonders if the boss thinks they can’t hear her because the other party is half way across the country.  Other supervisor on the call is stuttering...which means he is confused and nervous.

2:00 Radio from the mail room wanders in with a sample stack of this month’s brochures.  

M: Who are those for?

R: You

M: I told you last month I didn't need a stack anymore.

Radio just looks at her and then wanders out.  She assumes next month she will again get a stack.  He is clearly not worried about waste...or thinking for that matter.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

the asylum

the asylum
A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere.  Inside this building is a business.  A business with 50 employees.  A business making money and creating products.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment.  “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond absurd situations.  Anyone who stays on board for 2 years will win $2 million.  No one has lasted that long.  

Welcome to the Asylum

Episode 2
8:20 - Max stands in the lobby waiting for the elevator.  It’s only three flights up but it’s hot and she’s tired.  She just hopes Saul is off the crutches so he can stop annoying people.  The elevator bell chimes, the doors slide open and there sits Saul in a wheelchair.

You have got to be shitting me, Max thinks.

He is faced towards the back wall because he was clearly unable to wheel in and then maneuver around to face forward.  She is thankful he was not able to see her face when the doors slid open.

She has stood dumbfounded for so long the elevator doors are now shutting and she has to throw her leg into the doorway to stop them.  He cranes his neck and sees it’s her so she says good morning but leaves it at that. As usual she tries to limit conversation and refuses to ask what happened.

It is the most awkward elevator ride in history.

The doors open and Max bolts out ahead of Saul hoping to make it to Lark’s cube so she can alert him to the grand entrance that is about to unfold.  She arrives at Lark’s cube unable to breathe.

M: Stand up

L: What, why?

M (panting & laughing): Just seriously stand up.

Lark stands up just as Saul is coming around the corner.

L: What the....

He quickly sits down and looks at Max. He too is now laughing. Max just stands there shaking her head. She can’t even fathom what would have happened that would force him into a wheelchair. She tells Lark he is responsible for finding out the story and then heads to her office.

She watches out her fishbowl window as Saul asks his cube mate to remove his chair from his cube.  He is apparently going to stay in the wheelchair all day instead of get in and out of it.  She then proceeds to watch him hit his left wall, back up, then hit the right wall, back up and then hit the left wall again before finally lining it up well enough to roll into his cube.

10:20:  Max sees Saul telling his story in the kitchen and decides she doesn’t need water after all.

12:15: Max sees Saul trying to get in the office door that locks over the lunch hour. He can’t reach the card reader.

1:30: Saul has a fellow employee caught halfway in the bathroom telling his story. Poor guy just wants to pee.

2:15: Lark shows up in her doorway.

L: All right I’ve got scoop. He says while he was trying to hobble around on one foot, his other ankle gave out.  He apparently has weak ankles.

M: Of course he does.

L: Story has it, he used to weigh 300 lbs. (Saul is about 5’8) and carrying around all that weight caused his ankles to weaken.

M: You would think his ankles would be stronger from carrying around that weight.

L:  The story gets better. Apparently he couldn’t find a way in to work, so he called Sue who was already here at work and asked if she would come get him.

M: What? Why couldn’t his boyfriend work out delivery?

L:  I have no idea.

M: So does Sue have to take him home tonight?

L: That I don’t know.  My question is why didn’t he just stay home?  If I’m in bad enough shape that I need a wheelchair, I sure as hell am not coming to work.

4:45: Max packs her stuff up for the night and wonders what absurdities the next day will bring.  She makes sure to bolt past Saul’s cube so there is no chance for him to corner her for a ride home. She’s just sorry she will miss the show that will be Saul getting himself and his chair into Sue’s car.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

Crystal Head Vodka, vodka, bamboo
My empty
Crystal Head bottle

1.  Figuring out what to do with my empty Crystal Head bottle.

2. Two days sans boss.  It makes for very productive days.

3. A couple new potential opportunities.

4. A new season of American Horror Story

5. A Saturday night without the husband.  A quiet house is
always nice.

Monday, October 15, 2012

the asylum

the asylum, work,
A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere.  Inside this building is a business.  A business with 50 employees.  A business making money and creating products.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment.  “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond absurd situations.  Anyone who stays on board for 2 years will win $2 million.  No one has lasted that long.  

Welcome to the Asylum

8:30 AM - It’s Monday.  Max sits and stares out into the office through her wall-size window. The window makes her feel like she works in a fish tank.  No privacy.  She wonders whose great design that was.  She sees Saul arrive; he’s on crutches.  

Seriously, she thinks to herself?  

Saul is the boss’s pet (a**kisser is probably more accurate).  And he likes attention...lots of it. She can’t wait to hear what happened.  She’s not going to ask though...his stories are too long and she doesn’t like him anyway.

10:00 AM - Lark wanders into her office.

L: Do you want the scoop (knowing fully well she does)

M: Is that a serious question?

L: He twisted his ankle when he fell off A stair.

M: Wait, what?  A stair? As in ONE stair?

L: Yup.

M: And he’s on crutches for that?

L: I couldn’t make that up if I tried.

Who the hell falls off A stair and winds up on crutches, she wonders.  

1:00 PM - It’s 108 degrees outside, but it is so cold in her office Max has to put on her fleece jacket to keep from shivering.  She can’t feel her nose.   

2:00 - Max looks up and sees Saul heading down the hall.  He has abandoned the 2 crutch method and is currently using 1 crutch and the cube walls for support.  As he grabs each cube wall, the cube resident jolts from the shock wave Saul creates.

Max bets the entire office hopes the crutches are short lived.

**Stories may or may not be true.  All names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

1. A win on an idea we pitched at work this week.

2. Birthday shopping for the boys.

3. A night out with some great friends.  It made me feel old. But hey, I rallied and made it until about 2 AM.

Night out.  I was not on stage dancing but rather sitting
in the back...cause I'm old.

4. My niece's pronunciation of my name.  You may now call me Kicka.

5. The return of The Walking Dead baby!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

high school reunion

So I went to my high school reunion this past weekend.  And I feel like I should write something about it.  Something revolutionizing, something about how it was better or different than expected. Something.  Anything.  But honestly, I don’t really know what to write.  See it was pretty much what I expected. There were very few classmates there...way less than I expected. And it was simply people who knew each other in high school standing around talking to each other.  And for those who did not know each other, there were these random moments of “hey, how have you been” as they squinted at your chest hoping the name on the name tag would reveal more than the face staring at them.  Yes, everyone was cordial and yes everyone was polite. But just as I expected, what exactly do you talk about with someone you barely spoke to 20 years ago?  

I was glad I had taken the husband, and I was excited we caught up with a friend from long ago and his wife. He was as cool as I had remembered and super easy to talk to. But I was really disappointed in all the faces I missed. There were so many classmates in the Facebook group who simply just didn't show. There’s a guy who plays dodge ball every week I really wanted to talk to. I wanted to hear stories from the girl whose brother I worked with who has an awesome adopted daughter. There’s the mom who I was good friends with who has a house full of adopted foster kids. I wanted to hear all these stories. But something about reunions, or at least this reunion, seems simply uninviting to most.

What I wonder is how do we get THOSE people to show up? Or are those people just not interested in those they never knew to begin with. Or is it that we are so disengaged because of what the Internet and social media provide that we feel we no longer need to gather face to face anymore.

I don’t know why I went. I think it was because I honestly thought more classmates would show. I thought I would get to hear in person the stories I have discovered along the way online. I would still love if some of those stories were shared. Maybe I’ll start and put one of mine together. One that tells someone a little more about who I am and what I stand for. Because who we are and what we stand for 20 years later can simply not be conveyed over three hours of drinks and mingling.

What’s your story?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

wise word wednesday on a thursday

“Running is like celebrating your soul. There's so much it can teach us in life.”
- Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run

I have been known to pay money so I can drag myself out of bed at what can only be referred to as the butt crack of dawn and drive halfway across the city to run 3 miles.  Now that the husband has ventured into running with me, he has the pleasure of being drug along with me.  And while a 5 AM wake up call on his only day off of the week may seem brutal, there is a lot that can be learned on these early morning treks.  

On this past Sunday morning, we participated in the Blues N Brews 5K down in the crossroads. After the run, the Blues Travelers performed. Here’s a little of what we learned:
  • It is DARK at 5 AM.
  • Watching the moon go down and the sun come up is breathtaking.
  • The dog refuses to get up that early.  We got a “screw you guys, I’m going back to sleep” look as we headed out.
  • The streets of downtown are quiet in the morning.
  • While I was elated to hear Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s ‘Good Vibrations’ pounding at the water stop, I’m sure the residents of the apartment building across the street were not thrilled about the early morning wake up call.
  • The homeless like to stand on corners and blow cigarette smoke in your face during mile 2.
  • Somewhere in Kansas City lives a man over 65 who can still crank out 3 miles in 24 minutes.  
  • You are not a true rock star until you play a concert on a Saturday night then rally the next morning at 7 AM to play again for a bunch of crazy runners.  We heard the guitar player for the opening band was smashed by 9:00 the night before but was back on stage and sounded great the next morning.  
  • Sometimes when you get up early you are rewarded with sweet a cool medal that is actually a bottle opener (see what you’re missing out on D?).
Blues Traveler, running, 5K, Crossroads KC
Sweet Swag

  • Runners like to drink...duh, that’s why we run.
  • The Blues Travelers still sound fantastic...even after all those gun charges.
  • does a body good.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

the unobservant husband

flowers, unobservant husband
The suspect flowers
Thursday after work I ran by Hy-Vee to pick up a few things we had forgotten at the store the previous weekend.  While I was there, I spontaneously found and added a great fall flower bouquet to my cart.  It had been a crappy week and I figured why not.  I beat the husband home so I put away the few food items, dug a vase out of a 'too high to reach' cabinet and got the flowers in some water.  Then I went about my business.  The husband eventually came home, we fixed dinner (and by we I mean the husband), watched some shows and went to bed.

I'm sitting in BRGR the next day around lunch time with some friends when I get a text from the husband:

The Husband:  Where did these flowers come from?

Me:  I bought them.  They were there last night.

The Husband:  Nuh-uh


Saturday, September 15, 2012

the asylum

reality tv, asylum, game show
A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere. Inside this building is a business. A business with 50 employees. A business creating commerce.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment. “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond-absurd situations. Anyone who stays for 2 years without quitting will win $2 million. No one has lasted that long.

Welcome to The Asylum.  

Watch for episodes coming soon.

**Stories may or may not be true. All names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

deny the lie - a fight against the words

#denythelie, sticks and stones

It’s just weird, he told me one night in reference to my deformed left hand. He had supposedly seen someone staring at it again and, as usual, was quick to point it out. He hated it when people stared; in his head he thought everyone was making fun of me. I don’t know why it mattered to him when it wasn’t him they were staring at. He saw me as incomplete...broken, and I suppose he felt this reflected badly on him.

Over time we started staying in more. We no longer attended concerts or movies and dinners out were always picked up and taken home. I became a prisoner of his insecurities, and I began to actually believe I wasn’t good enough.

I was born with a left hand that only has a thumb. But lucky for me I was raised as if nothing was different, and so I grew up believing I was just like everyone else. I may have learned to tie my shoes a little later than most kids and I never could cross the monkey bars, but my life was always still business as usual. I attended kindergarten through high school in the same school district so all my classmates had known me since we were little...and somewhere along the way they had stopped seeing me as different. So this boyfriend, this boy who saw me as incomplete, was my first encounter with someone who had an issue. Someone who was able to take the thing about me which I had no control over and use it like a knife to carve away at my confidence. He made me feel small and not quite right and, man, was he good at it.

Somehow I moved on; somehow I moved into a space where I embraced being different. I like to think it was because I am strong and smart. And I refused to let this one person form my identity for me and dictate what I thought about myself. I also think it was because I learned to surround myself with great people who love me for who I am.

Unfortunately not everyone is as lucky. Not everyone has the ability to pull themselves up after the sticks and stones and words have broken their inner being. But hopefully discussions like these will not only help those who have endured the harsh words that have shaped them, but also those who use these words without fully understanding the repercussions.


This post is part of Jennifer Luitwieler's link up #denythelie. I encourage you to share your own story and link up over at her blog. She's a great writer and a great person who seems to fight the good fight daily.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

wise word wednesday

quotes, Besa Kosova, fly a kite, wise word wednesday
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos

“I wasn't born to cook or clean, but to read and write, if you don't like me the way I am, then go fly a kite.” ― Besa Kosova"

I wasn’t born to do lots of things women are supposed to do. I don’t cook...can’t is actually a better way to put it. For the safety of the house and those who reside in it, the husband does not allow me in the kitchen. I melt stuff to the stove, burn food and am a disaster with knives. The trade off is I clean dishes, but I wasn’t made for that task either. I’m really, really bad at it. And please don’t eat off my floors, because I’m bad at cleaning the house too. It’s dusty and a little covered in dog hair and my toilets always leave something to be desired. I wasn’t made to be crafty. I can barely sew a button back on a shirt. I don’t understand the need for girly bedspreads and curtains and home furnishings. I was also not made to be a mom. I don’t have kids nor do I want them. I have lots of kids in my life...lots who I love unabashedly...but I get to send them home at the end of the day. I don’t have to (or want to) do diapers and late nights and feedings and kid activities and all that other kid stuff.

I was truly born to read and write and dance. To see plays and concerts. To travel and experience. And to ultimately my own way...through these experiences, with words.

So you can take me as I am...or go fly a kite!

Monday, July 30, 2012

yoga mat monday

lake, yoga
The lake
We are on a two week break in yoga and I’ve been meaning to post about this topic for a while now...

Our summer started out with three weekend trips down to my father-in-law’s lake house.  Him and his wife live on this little lake in the middle of Kansas in this little (and really awesome) house he built himself.  We usually only get down to the lake a couple times a year and often only stay for just a night.  But between Memorial Day weekend, a weekend of wedding vow renewals and a trip down with the boys, we spent 5 nights and 7 days over the course of 3 weeks.  And during this time, I had the privilege of getting to know this tiny little community a little bit better.

If you know anything about me, you know I have been talking for years about moving out of Kansas and the little town I call home.  I like cities and the west coast and everything that comes with these bigger, hipper areas.  But then I spend a weekend or two in a place like this small lake community, and I wonder if I would really fit in those bigger, impersonal places?    

These people in this little lake community are some of the nicest people I think I have ever met.  They are retired couples and young couples just down on the weekends and families who have just decided a lake community is where they want to raise their kids.

Memorial Day weekend we hung out at the local outdoor community theater where a local cover band was playing, and I watched kids run carefree and happy like I used to run in the summers...almost 30 years ago.  They didn’t have their phones or their electronic games...they had balls and bubbles and homemade pie.  That night we attended a local fireworks display and chatted with one of the nicest ladies I’ve met recently.  She shared a little town history and a whole lot of good conversation.

The next weekend over 50 people attended my father-in-law’s vow renewals.  They brought food and gifts and great spirits.  And we had one of the coolest couples offer up their spare room so the husband and I had a bed to sleep in.  It was an evening of drinks and great, great conversation on the best screened in porch I’ve had the opportunity to hang out on.  

The following weekend with the boys, we had docks and boats and tubing expeditions provided by people who hardly even know the boys.  But these people know how much these boys don’t have and would have done anything to provide a fun filled weekend for the two yahoos.

It’s been several weeks since we’ve been to the lake, but I keep thinking about that little community.  And when the movie theater violence erupted last week, and I began to once again lose hope in humanity, I thought of this community where the humanity is still good and caring.  And I began to think that living in such a little place might not be such a bad thing after all.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

1. A Sunday with my niece

la la loopsy, 50 shades of grey, John Irving, KC Fringe Fest
Her new La La Loopsy

2. Fringe Week with some GREAT friends.  Thanks ladies!

3. Delivering a work project a day early on short staff.

4. The reminder that no matter how many times I fail or fall just short, my husband always supports my quest for what I want.

5. Finishing the new John Irving book.  That's right, I read something other than 50 Shades of Grey.  That one I'm boycotting.

Monday, July 23, 2012

yoga mat monday

high temperatures, heat, drought, tragedy
KC temperatures

The flags are at half mast and the streets and sidewalks are empty because it's too damn hot to venture outside. Temperatures have reached all time highs, the trash in the alleys has found new levels of decay and evil has morphed into a new level of insanity. Plants and grass are dying or already dead. One of my car's tires keeps losing air and so on most days it looks as if it is literally melting into the scorching earth. The pools offer little relief and the movie theaters have become unsafe. My house looks like a cave on most days as I try to keep the heat out (and now the evil) out. You can't move and you can't (and don't want to) think.

The Midwest is in a dark place right now and it becomes harder and harder to find that equanimity we are all looking for.

Friday, July 6, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

1. A weekend at the lake with the boys.  I think it has taken me the whole week to recuperate.

lake, on a boat,
Boys in a boat

2. Swimming on a Wednesday morning.

3. Water gun fights.

4. An unexpected text from someone who has proven to be a great, great friend.

5. Friday night with the little sis, sushi and Magic Mike.

today's soulpancake

soulpancake, fortune, chance, original thought

One of my favorite sites for promoting original thought is still SoulPancake. Today's prompt is below along with my submission.

In ten words or less, write a fortune cookie message you hope you never receive.

You passed up your opportunity to take a chance.

What fortune do you hope you never receive?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

wise word wednesday

friendship, sacred friends

"Every man passes his life in 
search after friendship."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently I have made some really great connections with people on Twitter. I share similar interests with many. They are writers and runners and super hero/supernatural/comic nerds and insanely sarcastic people. But there is also a group of women out there who have a very different background than mine. They are women of faith. I on the other hand am an agnostic who has always struggled with faith...of any kind. And while at first I wasn’t sure how my views and posts would mesh with theirs, I have discovered getting to experience their views on life is not such a bad thing for me.

So when I saw a post about cross gender friendships from one of these women of faith, I thought I should check it out. While I didn’t know what about cross gender friendships it would talk about, I figured it would be an interesting read because I have guy friends…and lots of them. Little did I know how close to home the article would hit.

As I dove into this post and a few other related ones, I discovered within the Christian community, cross gender friendships are often frowned upon. The posts themselves actually sprang from a gathering of Christians who met in support of cross gender friendships. But while their meeting was about the positive things born from such friendships, stories of the difficulties and failures of these friendships were also abundant.

The struggles and stories resonated deep in my bones as I have recently been told I can no longer talk to one of my good, good friends simply because I’m a girl and he’s a boy. And while these posts have helped me move out of my self wallowing stage, I am however still filled with the anger towards these absurd views about friendships.

Like I said, I have lots of guy friends. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. I learned at a fairly early age I often had more in common with boys. By high school I had spent too many years in female friendship drama and was already running with the male pack. It was never a big deal…until now. Now I have (or had) a friend, a friend who is a boy, who I’ve known well for over 5 years now. I knew going in that his spouse thought it was weird for girls and boys to be friends. And I got that. I really did. So I tried for years to get us to hang out as couples. I figured if she could get to know me as a person, she would change her mind. I threw out invites to parties and BBQs and movies and concerts and art museums. Nothing. We had foster boys for 7 months and, because they have kids, I then I tried to set up kid stuff...parks and baseball games and zoo trips. My boys unfortunately never got to meet their boys. And then after years of trying, suddenly his spouse decided he can no longer be friends with me. And as far as I can tell, its just because I’m a girl.

It is what it is I suppose, but here’s the thing that gets me. I thought we lived in a world where we, as women, fight against being objectified. Where we fight for the world to see us for what we stand for, how we think and what we have to offer as people...not just as just a woman. But here I am, suddenly and unexpectedly, objectified by another woman. And it makes me sad I never got to be seen as the strong, independent woman I am. The woman who has so much in common with this other woman its not even funny. But instead of our two families spending time hiking and being outdoors and sharing in all the things friends share, I have instead lost a great friend.

What I choose to do though, instead of continuing to wallow in this hole of objectification, is to celebrate the friendships I DO have. I choose to celebrate the women who, even though I was friends with their husbands first, see me as the passionate, really cool person I am and welcomed me into their lives. The women whose kids love me and the husband. The women who have only just met me but are willing to let their husband blindly jump into a business venture with me.  The women who ask me for advice. The women who believe in what I stand for and who I am as an individual. 

Life is hard enough as it is and good, good friendships are almost impossible to come by. I would love to think we can move past gender and just choose to spend time with the really great people we meet along the way, regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl.

Monday, June 18, 2012

yoga mat monday

fathers day, dad, mentor
The random kitchen floor

Not a lot happened in yoga tonight, so I thought for this Monday's post, I would share a story about the person in my life who helps me the most in my search for equanimity.

Yesterday was Father's Day.  And the web was littered with posts and articles wishing fathers everywhere a happy day.  Dad's were taken to breakfast or lunch, spent days at ballparks and picnics and some probably received some pretty sweet gifts.  My husband is not a "dad" and therefore was not part of these Sunday celebration.  However, I thought everyone should know he maybe should have been.  While we don't have biological children...we don't want them...he spends more time providing "dad" like support to many people in our lives than many actual dads probably do.

This weekend we had the foster boys who lived with us for 7 months a few years ago.  Their mother is one of the few who recognize how important it can be to keep the foster parents in their kid's lives and so we get to see them every 4 or 5 weeks.  This weekend they attended the husband's softball games, visited the pool twice and hung at a super kid-friendly BBQ.   Aside from all the fun things we do with the boys though, my husband also spends a large amount of time acting as a mentor for the boys and their mother.  My husband excels at listening and empathizing and usually receives weekly calls from the boys or their mom looking for advice or just wanting to share their week. She asks him to talk with boys when they misbehave or stop listening to her.  The boys will call to share stories of band camp and karate classes.  You can already see how important he has become in their lives.

Across the street lives a family with a young teenage boy.  His family works a lot, and he is often home alone.   My husband has become somewhat of a second father figure for this boy too.  When he's locked out we provide him a couch, when his mom works late we've been known to feed him, the husband stops him from dragging out a too-tall ladder to climb and assists in the building of skate ramps.  And every time we drive by the boy out and about with his buddies, he always, ALWAYS hollers hello to my husband.

The husband also has a young man he works with who has fallen on some not so fun life challenges recently.  My husband has taken it upon himself to make sure this young man has the support and resources he needs to make it through this extremely difficult time.  He makes our spare bedroom and laundry room readily available,  offers needed advice and life experiences and often times, can be found waxing poetic while helping this young man improve his softball skills.

On any other unoccupied weekend he can be found dancing with his niece or on a kitchen floor in a heard of kids.

So while no one wished him a Happy Father's Day yesterday, the young gal taking money at the pool recognized him as a "father figure" and let him in for free...and that was pretty cool!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

Anniversary night we stopped in this store
for shopping and (unexpected) drinks

1. Anniversary sushi dinner and Prometheus.  My friend was right, it is too legit to ever quit!

2. Pool time with the Baileys and the Brooks

3. The Gusto splash page.  Check it:

4. The creation of the @MSolisNametag project on twitter

5. SYTYCD...I still feel dance in my bones every time I watch this show.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

wise word wednesday

quotes, wise words

"To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping."

Chinese Proverb

I love quotes and have lost my outlet that allowed me to gather and share them.  So I thought I might try sharing here on occasion when I find one that speaks to me and thought what better day to do it than the oh-so-exhausting middle of the week.

So for today we'll go with a Chinese proverb.  It is timely to me as I am starting a new journey, a journey into the world of creating my own business.  And its huge and scary and overwhelming on any given day.  But you know what?  I make a step almost every day at this point.  And for now, I'll take that.

What journey are you stepping through?

Monday, June 4, 2012

yoga mat monday

Sometimes I think when I tell people I do yoga, they have visions of a classroom full of young, fit, sweating women in their cute little yoga outfits defying gravity with each pose. On the contrary, at 38 I am one of the youngest in a class that, on a good week, pushes max capacity at 25-30 students.  There is an equal mix of men and women and many are well into their 50s, 60s and above.  My yoga instructor's mom takes class with me and she is 72 (and can snort with the best of us).  And it's within this older community where I have begun to find great moments of inspiration.

This past week, my 'older generation inspirations' continued into my weekend.

The father-in-law and his wife were renewing their wedding vows and my husband's grandma was in town for the event.  I had the pleasure of riding in the back seat with her on the way to dinner (at Pizza Hut no less) and discovered the following:

1. Grandma is 84 and she has a membership to Curves...and goes on a regular basis. 

2. She likes to drink her beer fast, before it gets hot.  She actually prefers keg beer...cause you can take just a little at a time so its always cold.

3. When offered a JagerBomb, she says 'sure why not?'

Photobucket Image HostingI also discovered a friend's grandfather ran a 10K with him this weekend.  At 81, he managed to not only run the entire thing, but finished in a respectable 1 hour and 15 minutes which secured him third place in his age group and a trophy to prove it.  He also ran the race with an actual Walkman tape player and old school headphones.

Its stories like these that give me the kick in the ass I so often need.  I can only hope at 81 I'm still lacing up the kicks and telling the younger generation how I like my vodka cold.  And next week when I'm in the middle of a bad run or a not so great day at work, thoughts of that 81 year old will probably drag me through the muck.

What do you gain from an older generation?

Monday, May 21, 2012

yoga mat monday

Not only do I love Monday nights because I get to spend 90 minutes practicing yoga, but also because I usually get a little bit of good conversation before class.  This week's pre-class happenings turned old school.

yoga, anti-technology
Enter yoga
It started on my drive to class when I passed a little girl on a bicycle carrying a transistor radio.  I kid you not, she was holding a little radio with an actual antenna and singing along as I passed her on the sidewalk.  I wanted a picture but surely would have freaked her out if I had stopped.

When I got to class, it was only fitting we started talking about new technology and what some of the older generation thinks about it all.  The conversation started when funny guy told my yoga teacher's mom he saw a picture of her at her grandson's graduation.

Yoga Teacher's Mom: Where did you see said picture?

Funny Guy: Facebook

Yoga Teacher's Mom:  Facebook?  Bleh...why am I on Facebook?

I laughed.

They talked about how invasive and pointless Facebook is.  Yoga Teacher's Mom  says, "If I have spare time, I'm going to read a book."  I thought that was a fair statement.  A fellow yoga man agreed with her sentiment calling himself antisocial and certainly uninterested in reminiscing about spelling class with schoolmates he hadn't seen since 6th grade.

They then started comparing anti-technology stories.  I discovered yoga man is a dad but does not own a cell phone.  I also discovered yoga teacher's mom doesn't own a computer "or anything to do with a computer."

Me: So you don't have email?

Yoga Teacher's Mom: Why on earth would I need email?!?  Then I'd just have to answer people.

It was refreshing to find there are still people out there holding out and holding onto a quieter way of living.  I was actually a little envious because I was sitting there knowing I was going to rush home and hop online to write about this.  As a writer and hopefully a soon-to-be small business founder, I am all about self promoting and unfortunately that involves being connected...everywhere.

But maybe something can be said for disconnecting.  I don't have to be online to write.  And maybe I need to find more ways to spend face to face time with people beyond facebook, twitter and texting.  I know a few people who institute "technology free" nights and am beginning to think that might not be a bad idea.

While I might not be able to find a transistor radio, I could certainly find things to occupy an evening sans technology.

How do you escape?  Or do you?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

favorite 5 list, sunrise, runningLast week's:

1. Four 'boss free' days in the office.

2. Mother's Day walk with my sister and super awesome niece.

3. 11 miles for the week.

4. Gotye's "Somebody I Used to Know" and my husband's proclamation I could have written that song.  A break up of any kind, specifically a friendship, will always suck...that song speaks volumes.

5. Web concepts.  For me...for us...for Gusto.  One more step towards freedom!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

can I have a, but you can smell my feet

I'm not a mom.  By choice.  But that doesn't mean I can't celebrate Mother's Day.  So today I spent the morning walking/running a 5K with my sister and super awesome niece.  Those of you who know me know I hit the pavement weekly, sometimes daily, putting in the miles.  But sometimes its nice to forgo my routine and spend some slower time putting in my miles.  And sometimes those times are when I learn the most.

Here's what I discovered this morning:

The husband is ALWAYS willing to get up at the ass crack of dawn to drive me to and support me at a run.  Besides...we get to see awesome sunrises.

My niece is always happy to see  me and always willing to chat my ear off (I have no idea where that comes from).

My niece LOVES to go fast in her stroller...and screams "weee" as we pick up speed.

There are lots of women in KC who love celebrating being a woman and being fit on their Mother's Day when they could be sleeping in.

I think the sister and I could get around more slow walkers if we would teach my niece to yell "move" as we came up from behind.

By the look on her face, my niece also thinks its strange some women run in tutus.

While my sister could not get her to leave her "first time participant" tiara on, the husband was charming enough to talk her into it.
Mothers Day
My niece's first run

My sister loves being a mom.
Mothers Day
My sister and my niece

My niece thinks the husband is one funny guy.

And finally, when you ask my niece for a good bye kiss, she declines but instead invites you to smell her feet.

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 7, 2012

yoga mat monday

Yoga © Wizdata | 
Dreamstime Stock Photos
No matter how my Monday's go, my yoga class never ceases to either make me giggle or teach me something new.  I know it's a good night when I get both.  

Tonight I learned how quickly I become claustrophobic when I find myself in a pose where I have been required to strap up some part of my body and now suddenly find I've cinched the strap too tight and can't get out of it.  Of course all I have to do is release the buckle...but for a few split seconds before I remember this I head towards panic.

Todd, the class clown, matted up next to me tonight.  Whenever I spend class anywhere near him, I know I'm in for some sort of entertainment.  Tonight it came as we lay on the floor trying to contort our bodies into the stretches our instructor was currently torturing us with.  "Breathe," she says.  While I tried to calmly breathe through the poses, Todd sounded like he was trying to birth a 10 pound baby.  Breathing while giggling is hard to do.

On my way out to my car, a fellow yoga person drove up and parked.  His car was slathered with bumper stickers but the one that caught my eye said:

"Remember who you wanted to be."

And I realized in that very moment I felt more like the person i wanted to be than I have in the past 2 years.  And in that, i found a small moment of equanimity.