Saturday, February 27, 2010

I sound like a slow jam but it's true.

“Wait!  Let’s split the Wet Ones™ napkin!”  
I looked at my mom and we broke up laughing.  Seriously?  This is what it comes down to and I can’t even be annoyed at the fact that we are using Wet Ones™ found in our odds n ends drawer from the last century because we cannot use our sink, or our soap because everything is by candle light and it’s amazing that one day we were running water like it was our job and the next we were the Swiss Family Robinsons of New England.  I sit in the car and get happy because the heat is on.  It doesn’t take much these days.
We’ve been out of power the last two days (and counting...).  Telephone wires look like sling shots, pine trees pull against them as if they might launch themselves upward into the rolling sky.  Road closures, the black coal eyes of traffic lights, trees whose middles have been sheared off by the guillotine winds, the swamp that sits idly as it waits for more, more, more rain so that it can move - at last- over Rte 236 - the cord of road connecting towns to A Way Out.  To Portsmouth.  These are the last reminders of a storm that blew through here Thursday night with wind gusts at 91mph.  
I have found respite  at two places:  Planet Fitness, my gym and guy-grunt-room-extraordnaire (for showers and bathroom and, of course, workouts) as well as  Breaking New Grounds in Portsmouth (for loads of coffee), which is where I write today.  
In this small space of two days, much has changed, and nothing has.  Everything is culled down to the simplest form.  Things are used only when necessity demands it.  I went to bed with the dark and was up with the dawn.  I read by candlelight.  I know how to light the gas stove without the pilot light.  I own three kerosene lamps and the light they give off has never felt so precious.  I like the way the blue of the moon fills my living room.  I’ve never seen it lay on the town the way it does without the street lamps poking holes.
It’s the same feeling I get when I go camping in the Whites for the weekend.  We are stripped down we are using only what we bring we hold only what we can carry and we are filled with the expansive clearing that leaves only what is important.  Then we are launched into working, mobile, easy world.  Technology, our advances - it all seems briefly new.  Then we pick up our commodities like old habits: here the internet works and my phone is charged and I am warm without my jacket on and I can see across the room.  And we soon forget.  I am happy to not forget today.  And likely tomorrow, and probably I will be ready for this weird hybrid-19th-century-feeling to be so over.  But right now everything is precious.  I don’t want to forget I mustn’t forget lock it in your mind remember how it feels.  Everything is precious, even the halved Wet One™.
Hold your day close.

Friday, February 19, 2010

To You, With Love.

I intended to write a blog about love on Valentine’s Day.  Now it’s February 19th and all the lacy paper hearts and long cursive letters are browning on the shelf.  It’s okay.  Apart from 3rd grade and sending anonymous perforated Bugs Bunny cards along with candy hearts to your entire class, your teacher and your gym teacher, Valentine’s Day is very overrated.  Love is everyday and it’s not always roses, but we all know that.  
So the love blog is here and I am STOKED.  But it’s not about love in the traditional sense.  I want to know what people I love are loving. I have so many wonderful and inspiring friends who everyday get up and rock the world, and I thought it would be nice to celebrate who they are and what they are lovin’ up on at the moment, and I wanted to focus on one thing:  Music.  Music has the unique ability to extract emotion, drive us on, slow us down, calm us, excite us, unnerve us, reinstate us.  And one person’s motivation might make another want to bury his/her head in the sand (this I have learned firsthand when a friend gave me four CD’s of his “all-time favorite running music”.  It was all trance/house.  After 2 minutes I was so over it).  
I solicited a few friends to share with me what particular song or album they are digging and why they love it so much.  It’s been cool to see the varying perspective as well as scoring some new songs or being reminded of old ones that I’ve now listened to again, knowing someone in my life is being inspired by it at the moment.  
If you have some you want to share!  Throw them my way and I’ll post!  I love new music.
Here they are for you, in their words. Enjoy:)

Songs We Love:
I like this song because of the different beats.  At the moment, I'm doing some long training sessions and whenever this song comes on- I can zone out and just get after it.  It takes me away from thinking about my body being tired or the session being "painful"- the beat, the instruments, the lyrics- it's a cool mix.

~Mary “Moo” Miller, twin sister, best friend, amazing human and amazing athlete.  She’s currently in Oz getting ready for the 2010 season and everyday it’s blood and sweat and smiles.  This girl gives everything she’s got to her family, friends and career.  I love getting in her head to see what she’s got on her shuffle.  Her workouts are usually hard and/or long, so whatever is motivating her would definitely motivate me.  We’re womb-mates, afterall:)
Why? Because the sound, the lyrics and the energy of this tune is one i LOVE running to.  It’s not particularly the most glamourous love song, in fact, it's not happy. but it happens. i love the line, "always in the twilight, in the shadow of your heart."
Yes... this might be unexpected coming from me. my radio is on 88.9 everyday as i drive to and from lawrence. Pink is pop, mainstream, but Pink totally won me over with her grammy performance. I then downloaded Glitter and love the ballad, the honesty and also just the sound of this tune.
i was intro'd to FR this time last year, obsessed with this song this time last year, but have recently added it to my shuffle playlist and remembered why i love it so much.
* i guess these songs are all honest, a little unglamourous about love...
~Claire “Poison” Wood, is truly one of my best friends.  She has the most amazing perspective on life, is so full of positive energy and never, never gives up on anything and everything she touches is better for it.  Which makes her a rather coveted human being both in friendships and in her work life. And since she works in bringing to market the worlds hottest running shoes, this girl takes her inspirations seriously. And so do I.
Whenever this song comes up on my iPod- I find myself with my hands off my handlebars dancing, nodding my head, and pushing harder.  It's upbeat.  It's awesome.
~Joe “The Gambles” Gambles is a triathlete extraordinaire, a genuine Tasmanian Devil with a heart of gold and, most importantly, Mary’s BF.  seriously though, JoeGambs is a fantastic person to sit with over a good cup of coffee and discuss music.  It should also be noted that he is a M-A-C-H-I-N-E on the bike so the fact that this song makes him push harder on the bike makes me want to push Play on this song, like, asap.
After playing the first six tracks (of 12) on the album continuously I saw Gregory live. His music absolutely, ABSOLUTELY, blew me away. So much so that I bought the record again...but on vinyl. Only then did I fully come to grasp on the sheer brilliance of this album. The first are filled with a fantastic drive and stunning harmonies sung by Brandi Carlisle. The remaining six exist on their flipping sides of a record, as they should. They are brilliant and Isakov further s the album...the lap steel on 'Idaho' is well-timed and so tasty, the percussion and cello work on 'This Empty Northern Hemisphere' gives me chills at their entrance, and the words on 'Words' showcase Isakov as a lyrical genius. I cannot stop listening to this album. The first six will surely grab your earbuds; the latter will grab your soul.

~Pete "The Meat" Miller is my younger bro and one of my closest friends in life.  He is also a brilliantly talented songwriter and musician.  I kid you not.  I remember not too long ago I was the one telling him about all these new artists while he was packing up for college and now he is showering me with the most amazingly chill beautiful sparkling music.  He embraces life with a deep breath, a steady smile and a tune at the ready.  Given that music is his passion, he is always on the lookout for that under-the-radar goodness that makes you feel good.  And when he feels good, I feel good.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Aurora Splice. Isn't that nice.

black satin steel
These are the three words that come to mind when I step into my brand new pair of Pearl Izumi Aurora Splice Knickers.  I’ve run in them a few times, and these puppies are meant to be taken seriously.  The fabric is as light as it is buttery and when they’re on you can hardly feel them but believe that they are working hard for you as soon as your feet hit the tarmac.  The Splice wick away moisture and also keep your legs the perfect temp.  Pearl Izumi says these fitted beasts are best for moderate weather (40-55 at the coolest), but I wore them on a cooler 35-degree day with some wind and my legs felt great.*
And besides feeling fabulous in them, I have tested their look with other trusted friends and they look fabulous on, too.  Total support on the booty and the legs and NO muffin tops.  I also love the way they’re notched at the calf, rather than scrunching your leg like the ends of a sausage casing.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Price-wise, they’re higher range ($60) - and while I’m all for throwing direct business to the brand, Zappos has free shipping and return, so go with them if you’re on the fence with sizing (you want them snug but ultimately you got to feel comfortable in your second skin).  Not that you’re in the market.  But if you ARE.  Try them out.  
Your legs will love you.
*In an effort of full disclosure, my bod warms up pretty quickly - it’s my Scottish blood and I am my father’s daughter.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

here we go.

I’ve never had a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of a run.  I mean, sure okay fine, I’ve had to go to the bathroom really badly and either held it until the pain of doing so was too much and by that time I am just putting my key into the door (I actually am pretty good at this, which bothers me on some level), or I am off in the woods pretending to “blend in” despite my hot pink long sleeve.  I run pretty far into the woods on such occasions, as I am absolutely convinced somebody somewhere is looking out their window at a weird angle.
Sunday was the exception.  Sunday, taught me a lesson in love.  When it’s over, it’s really over and it’s not going to get un-over.  And if you don’t let it be over when it should be over, your relationship will be exposed in the most public of ways.  Let me start with the Reader’s Digest version of this Love Story:  I own TWO pair of these 3/4-length running pants, whose name I shall not mention but rest assured I wrote a review.  Both pair had seams rip on the rear zipper pocket, which I left unattended thinking that for the rest of their lives, I would make due with long shirts or my windbreaker.  No bigs.
Well, it became bigs, because halfway through the Mid-Winter 10-miler Classic in windy, freezing Cape Elizabeth, Maine, my relationship with these knickers unwound seam by seam.
Oh yes.  Somewhere between mile 5 and the finish line, the back zipper hole announced my booty to the world but what’s worse, the upper inseam - alright fine, the crotch - busted 4 inches down my leg, leaving the left thigh exposed with every push-off of the right leg.  I literally busted through my pants.  At this point, though, my mind was so not focused on this snafu until I crossed the finished line, felt intense chaffage coupled with windburn in the netherlands and, upon quick assessment, sat down on the frozen tundra until Pete came back with my pants I (luckily!) packed in his car on my way to the race! 
This is coming from the twin who cannot possibly consider going to the bathroom in a water bottle on board a French tour bus because they refuse to stop (that would be my twin, Mary), or pull off under an overpass at a red light at midnight because I just can’t hold it any longer (ahem, nameless best friend), or forget to wear key undergarment to work and just “deal” by wearing a scarf (former amazing industrious co-worker whom I continue to admire for her creativity).  
I’ve always been a little jealous of those people who just deal with it without much thought to what other people might think.  I’ve never allowed the situation to occur because I’ve preemptively made sure these things don’t happen.  But sometimes they do.  My unwillingness to discard the broken apparel 10 months ago just wasn’t in the cards and suddenly I was inducted in the “Here We Go” contingent, and it’s amazingly exhilarating to choose to own whatever it is that happens, rather than getting embarrassed or feel the need to hide/quit/make excuses.  “My butt is showing with every stride, here we go...”, “My inner thigh is smiling at the people behind me, here we go...”  I embraced it.  I owned it.  I thought-dared anyone to run beside me to inform me of the malfunction.  I had a few witty lines. I wanted to use them.  This was fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I learned my lesson about letting go of things when they’re begging for it, but in the event I am left to be exposed, I choose exposure.  It’s kind of fun.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Shiny Red Button

I’m baaaack!  So I had a flippn outrageous time in Quincy.  Quincy is a town of action.  Where sushi and brazilian and greek food meld around you like old scarves.  Where morninglight and nightsky are seen so infrequently (I was in a windowless operation for 3.5 days) that each night as I stepped out to grab dinner on our 1 hour break, I felt like a grizzly coming out of it’s alaskan cave moments after hibernation.  When I started writing this, I wanted it to be brief.  I’d written a journal entry after Day One of the seminar that mildly compared the feelings I was having that morning to a day in high school when we’d invited a hypnotist to our Senior Outing and he actually hypnotized my friend.       
Now, I want to stop right here for a hot minute and look at this:  You’re seventeen years old, you’ve spent the better part of three years wanting to be cool or at least avoiding being uncool, and here you are subjecting yourself to a little man thirty years older who could give a flying hoot what “group” you fit into or that you just finished a rigorous ritual of Clearasil-ing your face so that the blemish on your chin would reduce in size before you high-fived your friends on the SAD #35 bus or made eye-contact with the Jared Leto of your so-called-life.  All this Hypnotist wants is to use you for entertainment while you’re under his spell.  You are not in control.  What you are is 24 hours from graduation with a semi-decent reputation still intact.  WHY would anyone subject themselves to the Rewind button?
Now I do not believe I can be hypnotized.  The swirly wheel, the gold pocket watch, the counting backwards from 100-1 just seems like bait my brain wouldn’t take.  I would not raise my hand to that and I wasn’t entirely convinced my friends could be “put under” either.  It’s a scam held up by the social pressures of needing to conform.  At the very most, the kids would make pretend, hamming it up for the audience just to look cool (there IS no looking cool with hypnosis, in case you are wondering).  Very black and white for me.  But I was willing to consider that there might be a slim chance it would work.  As long as I saw it with my own eyes, preferably being done on someone I didn’t know or wouldn’t feel secondhand embarrassment towards.  
So when my friend, Andy, a hulking football player, went up and took a seat on stage I could feel the heat in my face.  Andy can’t act and I had a bad feeling this Hypno could work the pinwheel.  And work it he did.  In ten minutes Andy was pedaling on a “bike” with his finger hooked in the air as he convincingly stroked an invisible pet canary named “Princess” whilst singing a lullaby.   And that is my only lasting memory of Andy from high school.
*Twelve years later, I shook out the blanket of skepticism-slash-belief and wrapped it’s familiarity around me once again.   I walked into the seminar for the first of 42 hours with 200 perfect strangers, but instead of five eager beavers being called to the stage, it was all of us who would be called to make what is possible a reality in our own lives.  To understand the tools we’re given, I had to take my hand off of the “Control” button and allow myself to play in the sandbox of abstract possibility.  I assumed that somewhere in the next three days I’d be tricked; a thumb and forefinger snapping in front of me, calling me out of some ancient trance.  But that’s where the bad dream ends.  I learned a heckuva lot about myself and the context with which I operate.   I was open-minded, really open-minded (I tend to be open-minded until something is wrong because I say it’s wrong and then I stop listening), and discovered that I was learning what I thought I’ve always understood and rebuilding what I never considered broken.  It was and still is, a lot to take in.  And I’ll be honest in saying that there were a few areas I didn’t necessarily agree with, but on the whole, I found it to be a valuable approach to my life on a personal, professional and spiritual level.  
Taking my hand off the control button was scary and equally freeing, if only because it showed me that I am not in control.  Not really.  In fact, I actually built that control button bit-by-bit over time and ascribed its meaning.  It was a good-looking control button, too.  Bright, shiny, red and important.  Now that my hand isn’t hovering over it, I can make better use of my hand.  I can actually get up BE.  And being is what it’s all about.
*Please Note:  This was NOT a hypnosis seminar.  Not even close.  But because it was so clearly unknown to me what I was in for,  I likened it to that high school night when I refused to give up control.