Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Devon Crosby-Helms: Doing things that scare you

i love this girl's blog and have tried her tasty recipes. i had to post a link to her latest entry because i flippn love it and by the time i reached the end i felt inspired and it's important to be inspired but to act on it - to go there, to the red line - is as scary as it is rewarding. enjoy the read!

Devon Crosby-Helms: Doing things that scare you: "I don't normal consider myself someone who has many fears. In fact, I cannot bring to mind anything that I truly fear. I like to challenge ..."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little Talks

I was listening to some music as I prepped for home and when I landed on this tune I couldn't stop listening.  Of Monsters & Men are a fairly new group out of Iceland - and recently won Iceland's nationwide battle of the bands competition.  Can't find their album anywhere and it turns out they're not signed....yet.  Very beautiful melodies and almost all acoustic save for one guitar.  I get a kick out of watching the video - from the tattooed hand of the accordionist, to the black cat wall decal just below the curtain, and the crazy hand portrait...there are treasures both visually and harmoniously throughout this little trinket of goodness.  It's no wonder my suitcase has yet to be filled and my clothes are still all over my bed!


Monday, December 20, 2010

silent night

walking home this evening from a friend's birthday dinner and I - despite not being able to feel my toes due to thin socks and frye boots - felt like walking forever.  tonight is the first snowfall in boston!  it is absolutely beautiful outside.  i think i'll sleep with my shades tilted up towards the snowy heavens.  

silent night, holy night
all is calm all is bright

when i sing this part of the Silent Night, I get that kid feeling all over again.  I'm giddy and happy and peaceful.  And I am so excited to be home for the holidays.  it's a small winter wonderland this evening.  and there will be many more more snowfalls (and much larger ones) to come.  but this is the first.  and the first snow is always special.

i just had to share.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

(i'll) sleep tonight.

thursday evening i sat behind the driver’s seat somewhere on storrow drive, stuck in traffic at 11pm*.  I was trying to get to the airport to pick up my twin, who’d just flown in from Boulder for Christmas...and i was going to be very late.  i hate being late.  i think about what it’s like to arrive somewhere and how, climbing off a bus or out of an airport gate and seeing a familiar face smiling or jumping around excitedly makes you feel and it’s an awesome feeling.  i  knew tonight mary would be sitting on her bag by the automatic doors at southwest, looking out the window for me and the pressure mounted.  ugh, why can’t this car fly?  as i scanned the radio stations wishing i had my self-titled,  “i eat i ate i oat” mixed CD with kickbutt tunes I speed-dialed Pois for an alt route.  no dice.  I must wait through traffic.  by midnight, Moxy Mini swung into Terminal E where Miller Kay and Miller Mary joyously reunited, all frustration tossed into the New England winter winds.  ALAS!!!  My Twin!!
*to everyone who plans on night driving around the highways and biways of boston the next few days: beware the construction on the Science Museum Bridge and in the tunnel!  you’ll sit for 47 minutes as I did.  be sure to have good music.
This whole week was filled to the brim with events - between holiday parties and meeting friends out for a bite and prepping for mary miller, I was never in bed before 1am on any given night.  It was great but felt like a giant food + drink marathon!  I love the holiday season, but I also find that it means compromising a bit in order to stay healthy or do the things you love.  I, however, did nothing of the sort.  I ran once on Monday and then sailor-dived into the rest of the week knowing it would be late, and I wasn’t going to suffer through winter winds or gym crowds for the rest of the week.  Nope.  So I owned that and worked it :)
The weekend started off with a bang: Friday night we celebrated our dear friend Claire’s birthday.  The three of us had dinner at a nice italian restaurant in Beacon Hill, caught up on life and then met up with a larger group of really great humans at Towne.  It was fun to see all the people who came out to celebrate with Claire:  friends from New Balance, Saucony, from the Marathon expo circa 2005, and friends met through friends who were now good friends, etc.  The next few hours were drinks and the entire desert menu and laughter.  At the end of the night a small handful remained, one got a picture with a very drunk Bronson Arroyo, and then we each took cabs to our respective burrows.  Another late night, but very very very worth it.  I love that girl and I love her friends.  Happy Birthday, Pois!!
Next was Saturday.  Mary and I laid around for a very long time, catching up on Boulder and work and training.   Finally, at 1pm, we went out for a nice 90min run around the river.  She’s got a Garmin heart rate monitor and, according to her training schedule, needed to be sure she stayed under 150 heart rate.   It was clear she’d need to lead because I have no idea how to keep a run easy without constant reminders to myself, which I rarely can remember to do.  I was amazed at how consistent we were in our pace.  Then it was off to Christmas shop, eat stuff, more shopping and general absorption of the holiday season.  Couples and families, wrapped warmly from head to toe walking around with giant holiday bags under twinkling city lights.  Saxaphones being played on the street by the CVS, Bing Crosby being played from a window on Newbury Street.  I love the Christmas.
Today it was church service at Reunion (i am loving up on this church so much.  what wonderful cool humans), brunch with more good friends, and then dark rich beautiful coffee on my bed whilst Mary packed for home.  It’s 5:38pm and she’s on a bus to Portsmouth, where mom and dad will greet her and my bro, Pete will have driven down from Portland to surprise her (she doesn’t know it yet).  I love that girl so much and am looking forward to joining them at the end of the week.  Until then, it’s holiday party detox, maybe some tea and lots of sleep (who am I kidding.  bring on the hot chocolate! the wine! the figgy pudding!)...

Monday, December 6, 2010

a winter song + ode to the treadmill

tonight i headed straight for the gym after work.  I knew today was going to be a blistering 32 degrees outside (dropping to 27 tonight), and since I don’t typically leave work until after 5pm, it’s most definitely dark.  So, unless I’m meeting Pois on the river, it’s tough to go home, strap on the winter gear and head out into the wind alone.  
But as I climbed the stairs from the Copley T stop and headed up Boylston to my brand new gym, I tasted the sharp, sweet ice of winter.  It caught me right between the tonsils.  It was lovely.  I was tempted to turn on my heels and beeline it to the apt for some my first bitter cold run out on the river, but beat back the urge and thought maturely, “right, just get in the doors, find a treadmill without one of those stupid tv screens and you’ll be in the clear. it’s too dark and too cold and you’re too alone for a river run.”  Smart Kay.  Tonight’s workout was an easy 5mi (easy is NOT typically the word I would use to describe a treadmill workout because all my mind wants to do is be entertained and after watching skinny legs and faceless arms pumping for the better part of 35 minutes, it gets o-l-d).  But I had a solid play list and my mind actually wanted to not think for a while. So I zoned.
I feel like this time last year I wrote a lot about my “dready tready” workouts.  How annoying-yet-necessary the gym was in the cold, short days of winter.  Wow, how time flies!  On the coattails of being thankful, I need to give some credit to the treadmill - more specifically, The Woodway, “For the Long Run”.  This sucker is made up of slabs of rubber tread that “give” a bit when you run, making it feel like trail but without all the obstacles.  I love them.  So while my heart beats for the outdoors, on the days I need four walls and an electronic machine to make my heart race, I will head to the gym, and I will honor the belt of tread.
Ode to the Treadmill
As much as the day’s cologne from the hairy man beside me burns 
my nostrils and perms my hair, you’re not so bad.  
You keep me honest, but I hate it when you tell me 
I’m running a slower pace than I expected.  I think sometimes you’re lying.  
But you’re a computer, so probably not.
You set my pace - for long runs, for tempos, for speedwork.  
And though I know my limits, your “+” button gets me excited.  
I stretch those limits with you and feel accomplished 
when I can round off the minutes on the clock.  
And even when I crank you up to 2.5%, you don’t mock me when I start wheezing.
I throw my feet off either side of your belt a lot and you don’t judge me, 
I set goals and break thresholds and you don’t second-guess my actions.  
You don’t ask me where I am when I opt for the outdoors
You’re not jealous, but you kick my ass with no strings attached and
you do the job well. and when i hit stop, you boast my stats for a hot minute 
and i feel like a champion, or
i feel that i have moved well, and the sweaty cologne man is sideways glancing at our air-high-five. and he thinks it’s crazy but
he doesn’t know how i just ran up God’s mountains in my mind and raced 
cheetahs with my lungs and opened up in a hard rain while 
fluorescent lights tried their brightest to remind me the that I was 
on a treadmill.  But tonight, I was on stage with Phoenix when my run was written.
and it’s those rare occasions when I go there, go anywhere, that I love you most.
tonight's best:  "right where it starts it ends, oh! and then we start the end..." ilovethissong. 6:14....wait for it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

For the things are only things

i haven’t felt much like writing lately.  i’m not sure why, it may well be the weather, the changing darkness, the busyness of the holidays.  but i’m here and i will do my very best to spread some kay miller love all up in this joint.  
i know i wrote that i would share what I am thankful for.  i will.  that post means so much to me i almost feel like i don’t know where to begin, and so I haven’t.  but rest assured you shall see a post about it soon.
this weekend, I hung out with some of my greatest friends.  Kimmie, Fo, Maynard and JB.  We’d all played soccer at UMaine, our times there having overlapped at one point or another, and the tie that binds us - along with a large handful of other Incredibles - is as strong today as it was when we toed the line at the start of a match.  I love that I have them.  
Fo just recently moved to Narragansett (and lives right next door to another friend of mine, Brian, who gave her the hookup!  I love it when worlds expand!).  So anyway, Fo (her real name is Carolyn), moved down there for a job opportunity and having no real plans for the weekend, Kim + I jumped in a car, flipped on some serious dance party tunes and rocked the highway to, well...not-the-city.  I love beach towns in winter.  We never ended up walking the beach (my absolute FAVORITE thing to do) because a certain friend forgot. to. bring. a. coat.  But I digress.  So Saturday night we found ourselves sitting cross-legged on Carolyn's couch, giant glasses of wine in hand, shining light into our lives and offering sage advice (or wine-laden advice), both of which are extremely useful.  Then we hit the Mew’s - a very Killington-looking pub with dollar bills stuck to the walls and men with big beards and flannel shirts.  Well, okay not all of them had beards.  We had a great time, with more friends joining us and we found ourselves with the last car in the lot.
The next day we headed up to Providence for some dark coffee with JB.   Jen Buckley (JB, JBucks, Jibs, etc) is a real doctor as well as one of the most clear-headed, humble, brilliantly insightful humans I’ve ever met. The coffee was poured, the conversations were long and we wrapped it up with a solid commitment to write a book together.  I’m working out my chapter in my head.  I’ll let you know when it’s out.
jb, kmills + kimmie post coffee awesomeness
Anyway, as we were leaving to head back to The Bean, I noticed a quote tacked to a board in her kitchen.  It read, “Imperfect Simplicity.  Finding the beauty in the worn, the misshapen, and the everyday.” I quickly wrote it down on her Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Progress Notes notepad .  It made a lot of sense.  
hospital note pad and my prescription.

Imperfect Simplicity.  When I go to coffee shops, my first instinct is to look at their scones.  If they look completely unique - you know the ones with all the nooks and crannies - then I know the place is going to be good, because whoever made those scones allowed them to take on their own shape in the oven.  The ones with the perfect convection oven shapes bore me.   This quote convicted me because more often than not in my real life I sometimes feel that everything needs to be perfect before I start.  Things need order and semblance and I need some sort of heads up that the end turns out okay.  For instance, I haven’t done a triathlon yet because I haven’t spent a ton of time on a bike.  I’m missing out on the experience because I desire to be good at the thing before I even try.  That’s so backwards. How can I look at life and desire perfection in one sense, and look at a blueberry scone and pray for imperfection?  Well, it’s obvious that one has more of an impact on my life ( One IS my life). And this is when I laugh at myself because honestly THIS is how I rationalize: give me food and I can give you an analogy:) 
The best part is that I can look at these things I want to have so perfectly arranged, and I can see all the energy I’ve used up just trying to make them take a certain shape. And they’re never perfect anyway.  Too hard!  If Perfect Complexity or Imperfect Simplicity were filters for how to live life, the latter seems much more freeing.  So this week I’m taking baby steps in those pockets of my life that need it most.  When I head to my coffee shop in the morning and I see the bumpy scone in the glass case, it will be a reminder to embrace imperfect.  It’s gonna taste good.
a delicious scone from the beach pea bakery, kittery, me.  very imperfect + delicious.

my salvation lies in your love

i love my family.  i miss you, moo.  next year, perhaps you'll be here, too?