Monday, April 30, 2012

4:02.99 vs 10:27.00

Dear 28,
Remember when Jenni and I trained to run a 5k way back in year 27? We had the best of intentions, even ran miles in the pre-dawn mornings. But the race never happened. 
We learned a lot. For example:
- 9 year old boys and 62 year old women run faster than you.
- You and Jenni will always dress alike even at 7am.

- Hand holding, fist pumping and pointing to the sky will get the crowd revved up as you cross the finish line.

So when I sent Jenni a note about registering for the Grand Blue Mile and she agreed to sign up and we agreed to pick up packets (on time) and showed up wearing the same color shorts, I knew this time, we'd run the race. 
We lined up in a sea of runners on Locust full of jitters, the gun went off and we giggled for that first 1/2 mile, laughing at the children, man in a lion costume and other real runners passing us along the route. The laughs faded mid-mile (yes. A mile makes me tired. Guess I should run more.)
The goal was to finish in time for happy hour. And 10:27.00 later we crossed that finish line. We did have kids and old ladies finish ahead of us. We did indeed dress alike. We danced across the finish line, watched people fist pump and the fastest man in Des Moines (at least in Des Moines for the day) finished in 4:02.99. But we finished. I had a side ache and watched a small boy finish stronger than I did, but we did it. Jenni's first race and my second race in a month- done. Now for another one.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

There's a Norman Rockwell book surplus.

Dear 28,
The new moon came and went. According to the astrologyzone people, this new moon was to be sweet, oh and will set off a "whole change of mood to the month." That new moon will be "bringing it from serious to sensational." I can't wait to have April get all sensational. 
Over the course of last week and the passing weekend I drew a nude with crayons, adventured to the east to buy used books, and saw Congressman Leonard Boswell pump his own gas like an everyday Iowan (This is not an endorsement, although Leonard does clearly endorse himself. He has his own campaign sticker on his truck or maybe he uses it as a label, who knows). 
Photo credit to Sara, part time paparazzi.

I made several keen, yet not-well-researched observations throughout the newly mooned weekend. ("Newly mooned" is not a phrase I'd use without referencing something lunar.) I wouldn't say many of these are worth sharing, but I find them interesting, so let's do this.
1. Leonard Boswell buys the Des Moines Register on Saturdays. FYI.
2. At the Planned Parenthood book sale you can find anything. You want to read a biography of Hillary Clinton  pre-Secretary of State stardom? They have it. You lost your copy of The Giver back in 1998 and need a new one? They have it. You want a book called An Important List of Words? They have it. Seriously. You want 8 different Andy Williams records. THEY HAVE IT. 
3. Norman Rockwell books used to be in every home in America. Judging by the number of Norman Rockwell books at the book sale, they only used to be in people's homes. (Googling "the decreasing popularity of Norman Rockwell" doesn't get you much information on just why there seem to be a surplus of the man's books that people do not want anymore. So don't start there if you want to get to the bottom of this.) I'll get back to you when I draw my own intelligent conclusions.
4. Someone would rather be kissing Laura. 
5. There are lots of German speaking talented artists in Des Moines. (I'm really sorry if it wasn't German they were speaking. It felt like German, even though I personally don't speak German.) Also- you should definitely go to Drink and Draw. 
6. Michael Kimmelman told me Germans love the Wild West. This is the most I have ever referenced the Germans on this blog.
So much knowledge for just one week. 

I'm running another race this week. This time it's one mile. I think two races in three weeks makes me almost seem like a runner, but please don't get that impression.
Now, off to further research this Norman Rockwell thing. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The day I ran a 5k.

Dear 28,
I found myself willing it to thunderstorm at about 6am. I hadn't trained for 3.1 miles. I hadn't even picked out what I was going to wear to run the race. I hadn't thought about goal mile times. I hadn't really done anything but sign up. And now the day was upon me, so I took the first step: I got out of bed.
At one point in life I was a runner of the serious kind. It should be mentioned that I was in high school, but still, I was a runner. In the 8th grade Mr. Brown (my Muskie friends will cringe at the mention of this man's name) convinced me I should join the track team, so I put on the polyester green shorts and a CMS t-shirt and practiced on the cinder track behind my parents' house. The first race I ever ran, I anchored the 4x200 meter relay. We were on pace to beat the record and about 10 meters from the finish line, I fell face first on the track. I can still hear the collective gasp the crowd let out (it was terrible). Surprisingly I continued to run track after that. We even went to the Junior High Championships. (Be impressed.) By the time 1998 rolled around, I celebrated my 15th birthday in Drake Stadium at the Iowa High School Girl's State Track Meet- I liked to run. In the years that followed I hyperventilated after running my one and only 400 meter dash, which meant I had a supply of brown paper bags with me at every meet and I managed to never fall in a race again.
Even back in 1990. (This photo should embarrass me. In case you weren't sure, the kid that looks like a young man, that's me.) I threw on some serious jorts and my best glasses and hit the pavement for the Watermelon Stampede. Here we are 22 years later (whoa. that's absurd) and I'm worried about what to wear to the race...
Chelsea was in far better spirits than I- she even made me some oatmeal and loaned me a pair of shorts. Eventually we checked in, so this race was officially happening. We stretched out with the rest of the runners, listened to the man with the orange microphone make announcements and, the best part, had the girl in front of us inform me that "some of my friends are real runners and they say this is, like, the hardest 5k they've ever done." Shortly after that the gun went off and we slogged forward. It was clear at the 1 mile mark that my training regiment had failed me (not drinking for a week and eating additional carbs is apparently not all you have to do to be race ready) and by the 1.5 mark, after passing someone else's unfortunate breakfast upchuck, I felt like I could do the same.
(Chase documented our race. Thanks Chase.)
Good thing my terrific race partner kept me motivated. (I'm skipping over the parts where I said "is it over yet" or "why did I sign up for this?" or "running. ew.") The last leg of the race Chels unplugged the headphones and we ran to the beats of David Guetta. As we got close to the finish line we were welcomed by the Isiserettes, which gave me just the motivation I needed to dance-run my way to completing the 5k. There's no way I could have done it without you Chels.
So I didn't run the entire thing (feels good to tell the truth) but I finished and, oddly, am ready to do it again. Maybe I'm still a runner after all these years of couch sitting. The next race I'll be ready for.
And, unlike in 1990, I got to celebrate post-race with a margarita and a nap.
xo- LP

Friday, April 13, 2012

Take a hike.

Dear 28,
I went on a hike. Who knew I could walk a dirt path up a hill. Like outside. We saw people riding bikes along the trail with impossible ease. (There are lots of rocks. Most of the time I wobbled while walking and very nearly fell, and these people were flinging their wheels down the paths.) We came face to face with a deer (and as you know, I really don't like deer- rats with long legs.) We ate sandwiches at the top of a ridge admiring the views. I complained very little (shocking) while wearing the least appropriate hiking clothes (okay it wasn't a pencil skirt, so it's wasn't the "least appropriate" outfit I could have worn.) Sitting at the top of a hill it felt like someone muted life for a minute and slowed my brain down as I took deep breaths (mostly because I was out of breath) and  felt present. Oddly, I'd probably do it again. Jen pointed out I could have done my hair a little nicer for photos, but it was a hike, no one is supposed to have good hair on a hike.
We did something a little more fancy the following day. DAM it was fun. I got swept away by Claes, posed with a Totem and on a runway, and we spent a lot of time wandering through a red dining room filled with flying foxes (this was a real highlight and super bizarre).
Thanks Becca. Such a perfect trip. Now if only I could count a "ridge" as a monument...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Still in 1999.

Dear 28,
It's been over 40 hours since my last text message (which was sent to John wishing him the happiest of birthdays). Didn't that feel very much like reconciliation?
In that time I've read a book, enjoyed a 2 hour lunch by myself, curled up some seriously voluminous hair, danced to Otis Redding, had a super terrific conversation (without any text intrusions), found a scandalous $20, and sampled Japanese scotch. But I did not run a mile.

Apparently 1999 was a good ole day, one with many uninterrupted thoughts and conversations. We all know we're on the phone too much. I know I'm a bit over-sensitive when it comes to text messages lately, but a couple days without them hasn't been as tough as I'd thought. I mean it's been sort of awful and I feel out of touch, but I've also been much less distracted. We ate soup dumplings at Cholon. We danced (ok so I danced) to the Temptations at the Horseshoe Lounge (where I chose, literally, 22 songs). We slipped into the Cruise Room and skipped out of the Jet Hotel bar as fast as possible. And the whole time- no phone.
I drew a bunch, wrote down funny things I overheard (including the woman next to me saying that her ringtone is Randy Travis' "I'll love you forever" because she loves country and cowboy art. "It's part of our culture."), and fully enjoyed the real cherries served in my manhattan. Apparently cellphone free life means you're extra good at eavesdropping and able to spot money on the floor with ease. 
The cell phone is back. I had enough overdue text messages to make me feel a little bit cool (more than 2! Wahoo!) and enough emails from work to make me feel a little guilty for vacationing. After the nearly two days without the blackberry, I think I might enjoy phone free time a little more often. What a good vacation.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back in 1999.

Dear 28,
I'm sitting here at Steuben's sipping a bacon bloody mary (don't worry I'm on vacation so a lunchtime drink is ok) and I don't have a functioning cell phone. I realized late last night that while I remembered to pack two library books, a curling iron (which will likely go unused) and my running shoes (which I have to use, a 5k is less than 10 days away), I failed to pack a blackberry charger.
This photo could have been taken anywhere. but I'm at Steubens. I promise.
In 1999 I didn't have a cell phone. Actually in 2001 I didn't have a cell phone. We would leave the movies in middle school and when it was time for a ride home we'd stand outside Whitey's Ice Cream, where we spent all of our extra money on Mississippi Mud, and use the pay phone to call collect home. And then, when it would ask you to state your name, Becca would say "Mom it's Becca come pick us up." Much like this commercial. Now I can call you anytime I want. I'm not sure I know anyone's number by heart, unless I learned it pre-2001 (I can call my parents, Becca's parents, the Eagles, and the greatest pizza place in Iowa- Salvatores.) So here I am, in Denver, without a way to contact the outside world (other than to email on the Macbook I'm currently typing on. So that's really not true. I'm blogging for anyone to read. I just can't call anyone.) I'm sort of embarrassed to say it's frustrating. I can't send Emily a picture of myself in front of the graffiti I just walked by that said "Smarty!" with stars around it. I can't text Becca asking what time she'll be home. And I can't LIVE TWEET my vacation. (be disappointed. so far I've had lots of hilarious things to say)
Without a cell phone pictures get weird.
Instead I'm listening to the dude next to me, a guy from Chicago wearing a Vikings tshirt, tell his lunch date he has met the keyboardist from the Steve Miller Band, that he appreciated the use of giardiniera on his "weird" cheesesteak, and ask lots of questions about what Guy Fieri ate while he was at Stueben's. His favorite movie is Good Will Hunting. The waiter, also from Chicago, and I had a long conversation about brine and why pickles and olives taste so gross. Without a cell phone to distract me, I can notice so much more about what's happening. So this is how aware of my surroundings I used to be? (I just heard a man in the kitchen use a Julia Child voice to announce an order.)
After all that overhearing, I'm tired.
While being phoneless is frustrating, it's oddly freeing. No one knows where I am or what I am doing. And this nap I'm about to take will go uninterrupted. I think I'll enjoy watching cable television for awhile. (Phoneless vacation is kind of wonderful.)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Palmer Reading.

Dear 28,
I don't believe in magic. Bold statement, maybe, but I just don't.
In fact I wouldn't say I believe in horoscopes or psychics or auras. I added "Get my palm read" to the list as an experiment. (I should admit I do read my astrology zone horoscope thanks to maybe I'm telling a half truth. A psychic would know.) After a March of unexpected outcomes, I thought it might be time to see what my palms tell a psychic about my future. Then at least I'll be prepared. 
I found Sister Star (I know. Awesome.) through google and called a few days ahead to make a couple appointments for Tone and me. She's offering a special package deal right now that includes a palm reading, a tarot card reading AND a psychic reading, but I stuck with the simple palm reading. (Tone, known to go big, went for the super sized reading, of course.) Sister Star's office (do you call it an office?) exists in a little room to the side of her home. We were greeted by the faint smell of smoke and incense as Sister Star, dressing simply in black pants, a dusty black fleece and her hair wound up in a clip, gestured for us to sit on a bitty love seat. In front of us, a glass table with crystals and what appeared to be a wand lay ceremoniously beside a deck of tarot cards. Beside me there was a money tree (seriously) and pictures of the Pope sat atop glass cases and presided over us from the wall. (That surprised me. Didn't know the Catholics were down with psychics. Seems like they'd prefer Jesus.) 
Sister Star allowed me to ask her questions, both about the reading and about her life as a psychic (which I loved). She was born with her gift and believes that some training on the science of palm reading and understanding auras helps, she relies heavily on her psychic ability. She, regrettably, can't predict her personal future, but has visited a psychic once in Vegas. "She was very, very good, but I can't recall her name." Sister Star grew up in here in Des Moines and has been doing readings for over 25 years. 
Sister Star spoke calmly as I held out my hands and she surveyed the damage. While sharing specifics of the reading is "not encouraged," Sister Star provided some interesting insights, talked about my chakra and told me that I need "focus" about 6-8 times. That was a given- I've needed focus since 1983. (And I got rid of the focus just this year. Not funny. I know.) She spoke of future predictions, auras and again, said I need focus. In case you need a visual to read along with Sister Star, I've included my palms. Should you be a palm reader and reading this- let me know if you see anything Sister Star might have missed. I guess you don't really know if a psychic is good for a few months, or even years, but if you're looking for an interesting adventure and willing to hear a couple things you may or may not want to hear, go see Sister Star. If only to see the money tree.