Enjoying the Journey

This Postsecret struck a chord with me.  This is the lesson I have been trying to learn and integrate into my life; it’s basically just another way to say “Enjoy the journey!”

I like to think that there are very few things I will regret about my roaring twenties.  One of my college bffs and I were talking about life recently and thinking about what we might wish we had done differently in twenty or thirty or fifty years.  I decided that I would wish I had taken better care of my body (working on it now), traveled more, and spent much more time with my friends and less time stressing out, watching tv, or playing computer games.

What do you think will count in twenty years, and what won’t?  Do you have any serious regrets to date?

Power Ten

Once upon a time, I used to wake up at 5:00 in the morning to pile into a van with a bunch of other sleepy gals to drive to the river, heft a heavy boat over our shoulders, and slide across the flat water of the Connecticut River.

This weekend, I experienced the next best thing as I cheered on the MHC crew team at the Head of the Charles.

Love that dirty water!

We watched from the banks with our moose calls and hot chocolate, saying hello to everyone and anyone who was wearing MHC crew attire.  From the shore, it’s hard to tell how each boat is going because of the staggered start, but we analyzed all the stroke ratings, the smoothness of the catch, the sound of the oarlocks.  It was almost as good as rowing, and we even got to sleep late and go out to brunch first!

[For the record, a power ten is when the coxswain calls out for you to crank it out and row your hardest for ten strokes.  It is very effective, but always made me upset because after rowing a hard ten, I wanted to row an easy ten and they just expect you to continue to power through!  This, along with the early start time, is why I am no longer a crewton.  Also, my wrists were shot after three semesters.]

More updates soon, including about my new JOB!  YAY!

To Infinity and Beyond

I was blown away by this video my friend Jessica sent to me.  She titled it “best dad ever” and I have to agree – this is pretty incredible.  (Though I’d still rather have my dad, thankyouverymuch!)  I just love that these kids and their dads took the initiative to try something crazy, think it all the way through, and see it work!  What an inspiring lesson, and a beautiful view from outer space.

Sure beats the dioramas we used to make for science class, eh?

Exercise Fail

You know that phrase, “You never know until you try?”  I could have used a reminder of that over the last week and a half.

Since I hurt my ankle in the race two weekends ago, I have been laying low.  I walked around NYC a bit with my sis, strolled around the square, walked in the park with my bf.  But I didn’t lift a finger to actually exercise because I was trying to give myself time to heal from than injury (and then from tripping and falling really hard in the middle of the road during the bookfest.  It would have been much cooler if I had been reading at the time.)

This morning, I finally returned to the gym, good old Planet Fitness.  And after a good workout, I looked around and said, “Why did I wait so long?” Only then did I remember that my foot was supposed to be hurting me.

If I had just taken the time to try something other than walking – in tevas no less – I think I would have realized my ability a lot sooner and would feel a lot better about my body this week.  Next time, I am going to stay off the couch rather than letting something – even an injury – keep me from moving.

Lesson learned!


One of the things I love about our current apartment is the small community around us.  We live right off the T and everything is within walking distance, including the local library exactly one block away.

In my “funemployment,” there are some key things I am trying to accomplish.  In addition to getting a job, I want to use my time to volunteer, exercise, and learn new songs on my guitar.  I also wanted to get a library card.

So today, I set out to do just that.

I strode up the steps, threw open the big doors, walked to the front desk, and happily announced “Hi!  I’d like to get a library card, please.”

The man at the desk stared at me.  Stared at me.  Stared at me some more.

And then he laughed.

This was even before he looked at my ridiculous last name, and before he saw that I had brought my lease with me to prove my address (I couldn’t find anything else!).

In the end, he gave me a card, but I don’t really get what was so funny about it.  I guess maybe he doesn’t see many people my age who still get excited about the prospect of a new card and all the possibilities it allows.  Can I really be the only young woman who still cares about a new number and a new collection of books to explore?

I have to admit, the last time I got a card to the local library (across the street from Mount Holyoke) I used the card more often to pry open locked doors than I did to check out books, but that was mostly because it was only open about 16 hours a week and I was in class for the majority of them.

Even as I remain mystified about his stares and laughter, I am excited to have taken one more step to be a part of this community.  Plus, more free books!  Win win win.

Kitchen Adventures: Mexican Style

This week, I decided it was time to dust off my pans and use my shiny new knife to make dinner for me and the roommate.  We both love food, but since we’ve been living together, we tend to eat most of our meals either on the go or in front of the TV (if you saw the number of shows we DVR each week, you would see why this is inevitable.)

When I’m not just googling recipes, my go-to cookbooks are either Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats or good old Betty Crocker (opting almost always for the low-fat variations).  But my lovely sister recently treated me to a cookbook from her publishing house and I am now the proud owner of Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200. The real point of this book is to make lots of little meals to eat over the course of a day, but I decided to give it a try for a satisfying and healthy dinner.

My base recipe was HG’s Lean Bean ‘n Cheese Enchiladas.  From here, I made a lot of changes due to personal preference and cooking style, along with supermarket availability.  Here’s what I ended up with:


  • tortillas – something small and healthy in case you want to eat them as a snack later (some of the ones I looked at had 160 calories per tortilla!)
  • one small can enchilada sauce (I chose red)
  • 1/2 cup fat free refried beans
  • a handful of grated low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • a packet of taco seasoning mix
  • toppings, including sour cream, scallions, salsa, etc Continue reading

Dinner in Warsaw

Of all the things I love in the word, free events that feature books are near the top of the list.  (Right below random musical scenes acted out in public, which is pretty much the pinnacle of my possible happiness.)

My friends and family always call me out for noticing little details that others pass by.  Like the fact that they painted all the electrical boxes at Downtown Crossing one afternoon.  Or the name of the song that the bells at Macy’s peel out at 9:00 every morning.  Or the extreme joy I show when I find out that the Shaw’s down the street is FINALLY making loaves of Portuguese sweet bread.

One such thing I noticed was that the Boston Book Festival was happening today.  I attended the first BBF last year on a soggy October day with a smallish crowd that was mostly focused on the writing process.  This year, the event organizers put a lot more energy into publicizing the event and getting all sorts of authors, publishers, and people to attend.  The area was teeming with pedestrians, though I’m sure it didn’t hurt that President Obama was stumping for Deval Patrick down the street at Hynes.

Of the two sessions I attended, I was most intrigued by the one about “Home and Away,” which featured Bill Bryson and Tony Hiss, and was moderated by Robin Young.  I chose to attend this lecture because Bryson’s books always make me laugh out loud and yearn to pack up my backpack and my passport, often at the same exact time.  I feel like he sees the world the way I do, but he says it much much hilariously than I can.

Tony Hiss, however, affected me even more.  Though his slide show was an example of a “before” in a visual aid class, I was riveted by his presentation on “deep travel.” He says that we will use our brains more and get more out of life if, in every scenario, we look around and imagine that we are not in our local coffee shop, but instead in Warsaw.  If you were in another city, you would be noticing the papers people around you are reading.  The astonishing variety of sweeteners one can put in one’s coffee.  The speed of the cars passing by.  The smells!  The taste of that particular coffee, even if it’s your third one of the day.

I loved this, because it is exactly how I try to live my life.  I’ve been in Boston for almost 18 months now and I still strive to learn something new about the city every day.  I want to be the one seeing where that path ends, what new store is moving into that empty building, which flowers are in bloom this week.  I love being the first to notice that down the street, Brian has put up bright orange lights for Halloween, or that our new curtains exactly match the picture frame in our library. Right now, I’m sitting here, wondering who is getting married or why else the church bells would be ringing at this hour.

At the same time, exploring my own city makes me long for others.  I want to be back in a land of accents, of foreign money, of roads where I can’t pronounce the street names, nevermind know where they end.  I want to order “the best beer on tap,” and not always have it be a Sam Adams.  To forage for my breakfast, hop on the next train, and see what the people there have to say for themselves.

But in the meantime, I’m off to find dinner in my own personal “Warsaw.” Pożegnanie!

Curve in road ahead

Done and done.  Yesterday was the 34th annual Tufts 10k for women, and we kicked its butt.

“We” is my mom, myself, and 8,200 other women (and some errant men, grrr) who ran the 6.2 mile race around Boston.  It was a madhouse of female athletes and their fan clubs all gathered on the common to warm up, snag some free samples, and get ready for the run.

We started at Beacon Street, then headed down and over the Longfellow Bridge (really hoping the construction is finished by next year – I lost all my downhill momentum here!).  Then we went along Memorial Drive toward MIT.  It was here, less than two miles into the race, when I came down on my ankle wrong and felt a piercing pain that made me stop in my tracks.

A nearby runner stopped to give some advice which helped a little, but I could barely walk, nevermind run.  Every time I tried to put any weight on it, it felt like there was a pin being jabbed into my ankle and my leg.  I feel like I could have sprinted if only I could get past a jog, but I couldn’t get to that point.

Cue my hero of the day, my mom.

My mom, who has been training for this with me all summer, was there by my side as I winced, as I hobbled, as I tried to run and then almost fell down.  She said it was ok if we didn’t do the race, that she didn’t care if it took us three hours to finish, that she just really didn’t want me to do anything to hurt myself.  And she stayed with me as it took us 18 minutes to go the second mile, after a strong 12:15 on the first one.

Because she’s my mom, she didn’t care when I started and stopped running as the pain came and went.  She also wouldn’t let me cheat and skip the middle miles by running across the median strip, but I respect her for that, too.  She told me to stop saying sorry and to do what made me happy.  In that moment, it was running at a snail’s pace next to her.

We crossed the finish line 1:33 after we started, more than an hour after the elite runners came in (my mom and I like to say “anyone can run for half an hour, but it takes a real athlete to run for three times that!)  My dad and sister were standing there to cheer us on and photograph our success.  Most of the runners had already returned, and we joined a good crowd on the grass to stretch and celebrate our victory.

I am confident that I will finish even stronger next year, and will again cross the finish line with my running partner, my best cheerleader, my best friend, my mom.

[ETA: This is basically half of a half marathon, which I hope to accomplish as part of my Five Year Plan.  After this race, I am feeling pretty confident that I can do that, and maybe even more!]

Three Days

That’s the amount of time between me and my next road race, the Tufts 10k.

I’ve spent all summer getting ready for this, in fits and spurts.  I’ve run on the bike path, by the dirty water of the Charles, through the streets of Somerville and Cambridge.  I’ve gone first thing in the morning, after dinner, in the blazing heat, dodging puddles.

I think running is the best way to get to know a city.  In all the place I’ve lived and those I’ve visited – Hollywood, FL, the suburbs of Michigan, the backroads of New Hampshire, small towns in Europe, and more – I’ve found that my best adventures and discoveries happen when I am aimlessly jogging around.

In London, it was how I found what what ended up being our favorite bar with “baby football” aka foosball and foreign beers.  In Germany, it led me to an art museum featuring the works of Damien Hirst.  Here in Boston, it taught me the actual proximity of Alewife station to my house (for those times when the train gets randomly expressed and I end up way out there).

I am proud to call myself a runner, and proud of my dedication to going out and pounding that pavement.  And I am also not embarrassed to admit that my pace is about 13:00/mile on a good day.

I don’t run for speed or to impress other people – I run for adventure, for the feeling of my ponytail whipping in the breeze, and for another way to see the world.

I like the medals too, though, and I’m looking forward to collecting another one on Monday!

[Want to read about a more serious runner?  Visit my friend’s blog about training for the Boston Marathon!]

Being Proud of Our Differences

Variety is the spice of life, right?  It’s what keeps things interesting.  Some of my friends grew up eating lots of Italian food, some of them grew up on the West Coast, some of them were raised Jewish, and some of them are taller than me (few are shorter).

And some of them like people of the same sex.

I love that we live in a diverse country, a melting pot where people of different backgrounds, interests, and ideas can all meet under the same roof.  But I cannot stand to see how this one group in our society is being treated like second class citizens and told they’re not good enough just because they love people of the same sex.

Worst of all, the arguments that the haters use to defend themselves are EXACTLY like those that were previously used to dismiss the possibility of interracial marriage.  That it’s unnatural, it’s not what God intended, it will lead to a corrupt society and confused children.  Yet, somehow, the world didn’t collapse when we give interracial couples the freedom to marry.  In fact, it got a lot more interesting, in a good way.  So what are we so worried about, what exactly will we lose if we give more people the opportunity to be happy?

Many celebrities have spoken out about the recent rash of suicides among young gay people who were bulled by their peers.  Ellen Degeneres and Chris Colfer (from Glee) both released videos about the need to stop the bullying and create a culture of acceptance in society.  But a video from Sarah Silverman spoke to me even more.

While the other celebrities focus on the need to stop the bullying, Sarah gets to the core of why it is happening.  It’s because, as she says, that we’re raising kids in a society where we tell them that gay people are second class citizens.  These kids aren’t deciding this by themselves – they hear it from their politicians and voters around the country who say that gay people don’t deserve to be married.  They don’t deserve to adopt kids.  They should be forced to lie about who they are, especially if they are in the military and fighting for the principles that this country is based on.

It makes me sick that in 2010, we should still be arguing about this.  Haven’t we evolved enough to realize that equality is the best practice, and inclusion, rather than segregation, will make us a better nation if not a better world?

Please, when you vote next month, vote for people who promise not to harbor hate and fear, but instead vow to celebrate our differences.

PS: For resources to inspire you to keep living, check out Hopeline – PostSecret always talks about what a great resource it is for people going through hard times.  As Chris Colfer says, it always gets better.