Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We'll let you know how this one turns out

There is a new kid on the block.  His name is Gustav.  Gustav wants to make friends with everyone.  But Gustav is having a hard time acclimating to the neighborhood.  Everytime he goes near someone they run away, grabbing their 3-day kits, water and extra gasoline to get the heck out of dodge before Gustav makes it to their house.  Poor, poor Gustav.  

Because of Gustav, we spent the day collecting cases of water, loaves of bread, multiple jars of peanut butter, new flashlights and an extra 5 gallons of gas.  You know, just in case.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

There is a palm tree outside our front door and lizards in the park!

We arrived Sunday evening, driving headfirst into the lingering remnants of Fay.  Good girl that she was, she left as soon as we arrived.  Lucky us!

Monday morning, Miss J had an early meeting, so after waking and making her a wonderfully gourmet protein shake and getting her out the door, I enjoyed a shake as well and reviewed my maps.  Then I pulled on my running clothes and eased myself out the door.  (I ran a 5K on Saturday and then spent two straight days in the car driving.  Poor Jessica had run a half-marathon and then driven for two straight days!!  Needless to say, we were achy-breaky.)  The weather was decent, not too hot, and fairly overcast.  I set off in what I thought was the correct direction only to four blocks later decide that I was absolutely going the WRONG way.  Hrm.  I return to the apartment, realign myself, and start off again.  Except this time, four blocks into the journey that direction I find myself at the corner of a CEMETARY that I am 100% totally positive I never saw on either of my maps!!  I return to the apartment for the second time with the express intent to have a little discussion with the map.  We needed to be much better friends.  I finally determined where I  had gone wrong and headed out once again.  And it was amazing how quick and easy the trip was once I got it right!  :)  I made it to the park, the destination of choice, ran for a while, and then headed home, still running.  I was so juiced up that I ran past our street!  I was feeling good.  The running was a bit dodgy, what with the sore and tired muscles that were NOT in the mood to be challenged.  But in the end it was great!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Be all that you can be

"The brick walls that thwart us in life are there for a reason.  The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.  The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough.  They are there to stop the other people."

Randy Pausch, the late computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University

I love this quote.  At many times in my life, I've wanted to just stomp my feet at life's injustices. But through them all, I've realized that I've learned much more through the adversities I've faced.  And yes, sometimes, they are self-inflicted adversities, and yes, often things happen to us  that can kick our butts and keep us down if we give into them.  But you keep going.  You learn.  You strive to do better.  You set goals, you meet them and then you set bigger and harder goals.  

My dad and I love the movie, "A League of Their Own."  Tom Hanks, in a great role, reveals what I believe is one of life's secrets in a key scene.  He says to his pitcher, who is quitting because she says it's too hard:  "It's supposed to be hard.  If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it.  The hard is what makes it great."

I've been doing a lot of thinking the last few weeks over what I've learned and where I can go in life.  And yessiree, there are a lot of moments when it all seems big and scary and too hard.  And then I laugh at myself and think, Why not?  Why not try?  Let's shoot for the highest and hardest and see what can come of it.  Because for darn sure, if you never try, nothing will ever happen.  So here we go.  This roller coaster we call life sure is exciting.  Buckle your seatbelts and lower your safety bars, because we're about to fly high.

Blueberries for Sal, Mom, Dad, Sister and Everyone

Summer in Ohio means berry picking.  Raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, it doesn't matter what kind of berry it is, we are equal opportunity berry pickers!  They are all delicious and not much can equal the fun of trompeling through berry fields on a hot summer afternoon.  

We drove to a blueberry farm, appropriately called "The Blueberry Patch" - so cute! - with our goals in mind.  It's important to have goals, you know.  They give you a purpose.  They keep you focused.  The goals were varied.  For Jessica, to pick enough to fill her buckets full and enjoy nature and the sounds of birds and bugs.  For me?  I'm a little more aimless when it comes to berry picking.  I was just happy to be outside and decided to sample as many berries as possible.  I felt like a brown bear, happily grasping at as many berries as I could possibly reach.

The blueberries make a great ping ping noise when they are dropped in the bottom of an empty bucket.  As the bucket fills the sound gets muffled by the other berries.  Our ears were always sharpened to determine whether someone was already onto their next bucket, meaning they had picked faster than you.  That, of course, would be no good.  The two buckets each get filled and we decide to get more buckets because it's such a gorgeous and lovely day.  The blueberries are plentiful.  They are sweet and tangy.  The bushes are tall and the bees and beetles are few and far between.  The ripe blueberries are nestled between leaves and branches, next to little pink ones that have yet to ripen.  They are just beautiful.

Ping ping the new buckets get started.  Chapel bells nearby kept the time for us.  Finally we decide it's closing time.  We realize we're at the far end of the field, in quite a valley far from the road.  And we realize we have 11 buckets of blueberries.  11!!!  And they are heavy!  And difficult to carry!  And we are far away!  We strap up the buckets and start back.  Up the hill.  Through the bushes.  Trying to keep the little berries safe in their buckets.  A bucket breaks, spilling its treasure onto the dirt road.  We scramble to scoop them up.  We finally get all the berries, safe and sound into the car.  The trunk is totally filled with thousands of tiny little blueberries.  Enough to last forever.  

Guess what I had for dinner?  BLUEBERRIES!  And for breakfast today?  BLUEBERRIES!

My tongue is purple and my tummy is happy.  Happy summer to all.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Run, Emily, Run!

Have you all been watching the Olympics??  Oh my, it's been so very exciting!  So many wonderful athletes and competitions--and we're only halfway through!  Between the awesome Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Dara Torres, both the men's and women's gymnastic teams, Yung Wei, Laure Manadau and everyone else, it's been simply amazing.

I always, always wanted to be an Olympian.  (Never mind that my skill set is not in volleyball, figure skating or gymnastics.)  And so, in the spirit of patriotism and Olympic fever, I did something great.  I ran a 5K. 

To some of you, this may seem like a trifling little matter.  But to me, it was everything.  I never ran track in high school (like my little sis, a runner extraordinaire) nor have I run marathons (like my dad, whose similarities to KipK are quite remarkable).   No, I have never done anything like this before. 

So I ran and got ready.  Made a delicious pasta dinner for us the night before.  You know, carbo loading.  A very fun part of the race!  And the next morning we woke up with the dawn, pinned on our numbers, and off we went.  Dad and Jess were great running partners, pushed me and worked with me.  We had a grand time.  And now that I'm done, I can say I did it!  I can't wait to do it again next weekend.