Monday, March 23, 2009

On races and cozy and autumn.

Random fact of the day: I'll let you in on a little-known fact: Summer is not my favorite season. Autumn is the winner. I know it's weird, because everyone loves summer. People in Michigan are usually aghast when they find out I don't have the same love affair with summer as they do.

And I've concluded it's not my season of choice because of three things: 1.) I am abnormally allergic to mosquitoes. I must have extra-sweet blood or something (which rules out any hope that I may be a vampire), because those buzzing insects attack me the minute I step outside. And the bites are usually the size of a donut hole or something (very slight exaggeration). OFF does not really help. Neither does Skin-So-Soft. Neither does running around in circles, flailing my arms, screaming, "Get away from me, you horrid creatures of sin." Believe me, I've tried everything. 2.) I secretly HATE laying out. I can only do it for 8-12 minutes because I get very, very bored. And then I start thinking about skin cancer and wrinkles and the fact I could be eating ice cream right now, instead of laying on a sandy towel, sweating and squinting at the pages of my magazine that are reflecting the sunlight like a mirror and giving me a headache. And it makes me very sad and hot. 3.) Humidity. That's all. Humidity is a fact of summer, and I don't like it.

HOWEVER, before you get all riled up, I do LOVE three things about summer as well, which makes this whole paragraph balanced and therefore, neutral: 1.) I love ice cream on summer nights. It's my favorite food (probably because I worked in the business for 7 years and ate it at least twice a day, every day of the summer. You should visit here: You may see my picture. And please don't knock the hat). Nothing quite tops a sundae and a sunset. 2.) Bonfires are one of my favorite social gatherings. They work best in the summer, especially with s'mores and doughboys (if you don't know what these are, you must try them. They are possibly what manna tasted like). I love the smell of burning wood. Odd for a girl who cried every Fourth of July because of a deathly fear of sparklers and fireworks. 3.) Apparel. Who isn't a sucker for a sundress and sandals? Beats a wool skirt and boots and tights any day. Whoever invented tights was clearly not a woman or hated to be comfortable. Oh...and, it's your lucky day. I thought of a fourth reason: 4.) Even though I don't like laying out, I do love being on a jet-ski or in a boat or on a tube. Life feels so much zestier on the lake.

Welcome back, summer, the silver medal winner! How I've missed certain parts of you.

Gratitudes of the day: Just bought more "Dark Chocolate Dreams" peanut butter. No, I didn't just go through one jar in three weeks at my desk, using a fork. Why would you ever think that?/Went to Meijer and saw five people I knew. This usually bothers me and I vent in my head about Holland's smallness. But tonight, it made me happy because they were all people I like a lot and one person I needed to call tonight anyway, so it saved me some time./Grateful I'm in my room with candles burning. My stress level was a little high today for various reasons and being alone, with some candles and silence, dressed in sweatpants, makes me feel a lot more sane.

Thoughts to ponder: This week has been busy, so as usual, my brain has been in a constant state of thinking and analyzing. Here it goes -

On running: Saturday marked an important occasion in my life - I ran my first race and thus, am well on my way to London 2012 (uhhh...the Olympic, obviously). Just kidding. However, I discovered that I love running in races, probably because I haven't been feeding that competitive side of me lately. (Wait, me, competitive? I never knew.) It was interesting how competitive I got in my head during the race. Here's a look into my thought pattern while running (er, sprinting) the 5k:

"WHY ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE PASSING ME??? Whatever, they all ran in college. I'm just a novice. An eight-year-old girl is passing me. Oh no, you are not passing me, sweetheart (run past the elementary school girl). Ha! Down one, 18,000 to go. How is the lady with the electric blue earmuffs going so dang fast? Man, I gotta turn up my iPod. Maybe some Miley will help me out (no knocks on my workout mix, please). Maybe chewing my gum harder will help. I'm glad I'm wearing Sara's marathon jacket. Definitely makes me look like a seasoned pro. I can't wait for some coffee. I wonder what I look like while I'm running?..." All in all, it was a success and I'm looking forward to the next race, relatively speaking.

On joy: As referenced in my last post, the past year has been a time of some major ups and downs, questions and searching. August - January were probably the most frustrating, difficult months I'd encountered in a while, and I certainly let everyone who came into my path know it (thank you to all my friends and family for the extra grace). That being said, over the past year, my prayer has been simply for joy. Because joy is exactly the opposite of what I was feeling. And I didn't feel joyful or pretend to be joyful. And actually, people who were joyful grated on my nerves and I tried to avoid them.

After I finally unclenched the iron grip I had on my future this winter, I felt 700 pounds physically rolling off my shoulder. And true joy ensued. I know it sounds very cookie-cutter and "easy" and what everyone says when they just listen to God's still, small voice. But it was really my experience. An absolutely phenomenal shift.

Before, I was just "getting through" the day. Nothing seemed monumental - just very blah. Kind of like warm, flat Diet Coke on a hot summer's day (now that we all know my thoughts on summer). You drink it because you're thirsty and there's nothing else around, but there's nothing fulfilling about it, and it leaves your teeth a little bit on edge and you kind of want to start using Crest Whitening Strips or brush your teeth for an hour. And now, for the first time in a very long while (maybe ever), I'm taking one day at a time and savoring each one. I feel lighter. I'm laughing a lot more. And, there's a deep peace and quiet joy that's settled in my soul. Everything's not peachy and dreamy and carbonated - that would be a misrepresentation - but everything is loaded with possibility. I feel like I'm resting exactly where I'm supposed to be. And I'm happy - very happy - to be where I am.

On cozy: Random, I know. But, I just read an article in a home decorating magazine a week ago that posed the question, "What does cozy mean to you?" My favorite answer was one about blankets and ice cream and watching American Idol. Because that's most similar to what I would say. But, if I had to answer that question, I would say the following (as my eye is twitching...a sign of stress or a potassium deficiency. Should have bought some bananas at Meijer):

"Cozy means wearing sweatpants and a worn-in zip-up with slipper socks. It's lying on your bed with your eyes closed, listening to the best songs, with the scent of a hazelnut candle wafting through the air and rain drumming against the window. It's your hair in a ponytail and your bangs off your forehead and no make-up and chapstick on hand. It's drifting in and out of sleep with nowhere to go. It's warm donuts and crisp air and down comforters and fireplaces and well-loved movies." Ahhh.

And now, a poem:
The wind is blowing against my window/I'll have to wear some earplugs to bed, I know now/Glad for a very full day and laughs a'plenty/Happy birthday to my bro - today he's twenty!/Tuesday - a day full of mystery and time/Maybe tomorrow will bring another rhyme.