Friday, June 30, 2006

Sarah,

It's the night before our big trip, a mere 37 minutes before your 31st birthday, and before your 32nd year of life begins.

I'm thinking back to a year ago--where we both were then, what we thought we knew about our lives and where they were headed. We didn't know anything, lambkin. We had no idea how much would be utterly different in the space of a few weeks away from your 30th.

What I want to say to you today is this: I had no idea how strong you really are. I thought I knew, and if someone had asked me then, I would have answered assuredly, that yes, you were among the most resilient of men and women ever. But I didn't know, not even a little of what you are capable of.

So tonight I am pondering friendship--what that means when it comes to me and you--and I just keep coming back to Christ. We are told that we enter most fully into fellowship with Him by way of his sufferings. You and I have eaten a lot of the bread of adversity together; this past year was no exception. But this is no misery loves company construct. You are such a faithful conveyor of fun times, of heels being kicked up, silly-hearted adventures. Quite simply you have my back in a way that no one ever has. When I'm low on cash, you buy me groceries. When I'm acting like I've lost my damn mind, you break it down for me. And when I'm wrong, you tell me in no uncertain terms.

You drink from my cup--when it is bitter--as much as when it is sweet. The fellowship of suffering. Only a friend can eat the bread of adversity with you. So I considered it an honour to be there in your darkest times and to feel that I could share in your joy, when it came, when you realized you had been set free from that same heartache that just pressed on you for weeks, months, really years.

You know that adage... what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. This is the year that I watched you refuse to die. Really, every year that passes is one in which you more fully commit to live than you did the year before, but this past year, you took no prisoners.

So, you are still becoming the best of yourself, the part you are still hiding up your sleeve (thank you, John Mayer, you rock our world in so many ways). The part you could not have become if some other parts had not been sloughed off. I am glad you have been divested. It's so interesting to me, still, how much convincing it requires to get us (not just you and me, but everyone) to open ourselves to the possibility of greatness, peace, wholeness. You, my dear, are reft of the dogged confusion that characterized your life for so long--you are no longer willing to lose yourself in someone else's life and call that loss love.

2005 was a bitch of a year. It was a footbridge to this year. Ultimately, it was grace. I thank God for all of it, because here you are. Better than I've ever known you, more beautiful, more willing to take risks, unashamed of your choices, and still not bitter.

My wishes for you aren't very original. I always want you to be in full possession of yourself, first and foremost; I want you to be surrounded by people who empower you, not who sap your strength; I pray the successful meeting of your goals--personal and private; and finally, when the time comes, I desire--I covet on your behalf--a loving, faithful partner who will consider his investment and participation in your life a staggering gift; who will make it his top earthly priority.

So, we are once again getting in a car and seeing where the road leads. I think it's a metaphor. Don't you?

Here's to the soundtrack of our lives; here's to being somewhere other than here; here's to a vision of a dare to be great situation, starring you...
this time tomorrow

when the sun comes up again, i'll be preparing to leave my home for a week to travel to the land of sweet tea and y'all. i'm SO ready for this trip that i haven't even worried about how it will all come together (i'm such a planner-aheader usually). i just want to be there, sit on the porch, read books, sleep in, drink cocktails, watch movies, wander around shops and visit fun cafes, and spend time with the other person in this world who totally gets me.

i plan to drink in my surroundings, take lots of photos, and bring this vacation back to maryland with me, so that it will sustain me through what promises to be a very long summer.

and note to myself on the eve of 31: keep yer wits about ye. continue to slow your roll. but with that being said, jump in with both feet, arms in the air, lungs filled with praise, eyes wide open. keep moving, sarah. just keep moving. don't give up this time. you're doing it. you're doing it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

my boyfriend's back....

due to a wardrobe malfunction (thank you, janet jackson), i didn't make it to the gym today. it was just as well, really. i was SUPER tired and needed to do some dishes i'd been neglecting for a day or so. the thing about the gym is that it's like a good boyfriend in that you want to spend lots of time with it, but it means that you can often wind up neglecting your other responsibilities due to exhaustion and things just not really seeming nearly as important:).

don't misunderstand me. i'm not saying that men are gyms, or vice-versa. although i enjoy spending time with both - if they're of the right ilk.

in other news, people keep asking me if i've started packing for my vacation, and they seem truly shocked when i tell them that i haven't. anyone who knows me knows that i pack at the last minute. otherwise, i wind up needing too much of the stuff i'm planning to take, and then i have to pull it back out anyway. not practical, people!

i'm getting more and more ready to be away...more and more in serious need of an escape...more and more realizing how much rest is required right now. besides, i have to rest up; when i get back from vacation, i'll be meeting up with a personal trainer, and i'm sure my butt will get summarily kicked. needless to say, i'm excited:).

in all seriousness, i'm really looking forward to a week in which i can chill with my parents and my best salimah:). we're gonna have a blast, i think....and hopefully take in some good sights, eat some yummy food, perhaps procure a number of fun items for keeps, and have one heck of a road trip adventure.

but, tomorrow is another day in between now and then and, God willing, i'll be making it to the gym!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

keep it loose, keep it tight....

i know i've said this 100 times already (practically), but going to the gym is such solace for me. i just love knowing that i'm doing something for an hour that will not only clear my head of the day's gunk, but it will also exhaust me, make me truly hungry, and build my body in a positive direction. in fact, other than the onset of muscle soreness, there's really NOTHING negative about these experiences. i feel so out of sorts when i don't get my gym fix.

while on the treadmill today, i was reading an old issue of baltimore magazine and it hit me again that i live here....like, for real. and not only do i live here, but i live here alone....and in a very different mode than i was when i moved back almost 4 years ago (it was in june, actually). at that time, i really thought i knew where my life was heading, practically speaking. boy, was i wrong!

at this point, it seems pointless to speculate on the next six months, year, six years of my life, because chances are, the best laid plans of ME will probably go awry. this is why, i think, it is essential to have hope, yet hold onto everything with an open hand. grasping yields disappointment.

it's my goal to be ready for the next big adventure when it presents itself. to be open to possibility, even in the midst of clinging tight to what i already know. to let go of any agendas i still might have and fling myself headlong into God's plans for me. His are better than mine. this much i know for sure. but until everything shakes down like it should, i'll just keep on walking....

Monday, June 26, 2006

reunited and it feels so good....

i went to the gym after work today, and i have to say - it was a struggle to get myself there. i was SOOO tired and a few things had bothered me enough that my emotional energy had been sapped right out of me.

but, i suited up, filled my water bottle, and made my way in the rain to the only place where i can really zone out these days. on my way in, i picked up the latest people mag and got to steppin'....it was my first time reading on the treadmill and - i gotta say - i liked it!!

looks like i'm gonna be catching up on some oprah magazines very soon!

in other news, my birthday's in 5 days and i'm feeling tremendous ennui about it. i guess there's a part of me that fears it will go by relatively unnoticed (and certain events of the day did nothing to assuage that fear), which - if i may be honest - would suck.

but, enough of that for now. i've got an eggplant parm in the oven (it's a trader joe's deal; i hope it's decent.) and i'm going to take a shower in a minute. then it'll be all about trying to stay awake until bedtime. i love the exhaustion only exercise can bring!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

i couldn't resist....

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved.

You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred.

In this moment, you think of love as commitment. Love only works when both people are totally devoted.
it's sunday and one week from now, i will be in north carolina, far away from the life i currently know and on the early end of my one week of freedom. honestly, i can't wait.

of course, between now and then, i got big time stuff to do, but that's beside the point....

yesterday, i went to best buy and bought a car adapter (radio transmitter) and charger for my ipod. this thing set me back way too many pennies, and i'm not even sure that it works super well. has anyone else had one of these (i think it's an itrip or something like that)? if so, i'd be interested to know your experiences. so far, the one person i've talked to said his was worthless and he wound up taking it back....

all i really care about is that i can take my ipod on the trip and i'd prefer not to have to lug CDs with me for the car....i just hope i can settle on something that's workable.

okay, so on the docket for today is some cleaning, helping one friend pick out clothes for a wedding, and helping another friend with her resume/cover letter. somewhere in the mix, i hope to get some laundry done and eat some actual food. and then tomorrow is back to the grind all over again....

oh, and might i mention that the theme of 2006 is that you really CAN get over anyone....and for now, i'll just leave it at that.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

just a brief collection of thoughts:

i miss the gym.
i'm ready for a vacation.
i need to vacuum.
i don't like namby-pamby, haphazard relationships.
i wish i could stop coughing.
i miss my grandfather.
i want to take a long drive.
i'm hungry for lunch (or breakfast, because strangely, i have yet to eat today).
i'm hungry for something else.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

half full, half empty - who cares?!

has it ever occurred to anyone that the working world is like one big pyramid scheme? i'm serious. i mean, you sit through dog and pony shows that companies put on to entice you to come and work for them. (look at our benefits package! look at how happy our employees are! look at how we have free hand lotion in the bathroom!) then, you decide that maybe, just maybe, it's the place for you and so you invest all this stuff up front in the hopes that things will pan out in the end. but truthfully, you're taking the hugest risk that they may or may not be pulling the wool over your eyes in the process as a way to get you in the door. and you also begin to realize after not too much time has gone by that YOU, my friend, are the reason that the higher-ups are taking fancy vacations, driving nice cars, and sending their children to europe for spring break while you're buying discounted meat at the grocery store in the hopes that you can stretch it with some rice into three nights' worth of dinners. do you see how the pyramid is forming here? so few of them with all the money and so many of you with none of it....

now, i'm not speaking about anyplace or anyone in particular here, but how many of us have been roped into a scenario that sounded that it would be just as easy/effortless/successful as ray crock starting up his first mcdonald's (this was the presentation i received on two separate occasions when someone tried to get me to go in on his 'business venture.')? here's a brief synopsis of my experience with situations like that:

1. nothing that is presented to you at the outset comes anywhere close to panning out in the way in which it was promised.
2. chances are, the dude (in my first true pyramid presentation, it was a dude from my then-church) making the presentation - while presenting himself as totally above board and what-not - is actually trying to score himself a date with you. and, let's face it, you don't want to date him.

okay, seriously, i know i sound all bitter and stuff, but would you believe me if i told you i'm not? really. not bitter. just weary of the ways of the world. wishing i were on my vacation right freaking now. amazed that another year has gone by and i'm going to be 31 soon and i'm still hoping that i'm gonna win that lottery despite the fact that i don't play....

ah well. when you're on the bottom rung, there's nowhere to go but up!!

oh, and brief mini-update: i'm back in the game (or gym, as the case may be). i went last night for an hour, and i felt great. broke in some insoles i'd bought, and although my foot is sore today, i'm going back tomorrow. yay persistence!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

dear man from colorado who called me this morning at 7:30 a.m. while i was on the way to work,

if i were some other woman who was interested in you and your heavy breathing, perhaps this could have worked out for you. to answer your question, no, i am not in bed, nor would i be at that time of day. and furthermore, if that was some kind of prank, you should have thought about blocking your phone number before dialing mine. i'll be keeping my eye out for you.

seriously, dude, wrong number.

seriously.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

crap

okay, so i had a truly bad workout today. i couldn't even stay on the treadmill for the full 65 minutes (i only made it to 45). my foot hurt a LOT, and i probably did more than i even should have...but this is something to know about me: i'm stubborn. i guess that's a good thing in this case, although i am concerned that i don't hurt myself. that wouldn't be so great....

anyway, there are a variety of factors that contributed to all of this, but suffice it to say that i'm feeling kind of emotional right now, and having a bad workout made all those other things feel worse. i'm sure i'll get over it, but in short, it bit.

in other news, i have my annual review tomorrow. i've already gotten my evaluation to look over, and i feel like it was more than fair. probably the most fair one i've ever had. my past reviews remind me of the scene in clueless when cher tells her father that she renegotiated her grades: "some teachers were trying to low ball me, daddy." yeah. that pretty much sums it up.

but this time, i feel like my efforts over the past year have actually been acknowledged, which is a GREAT feeling. gosh, what a relief. so, i'm trying to focus on that and the fact that i actually took my butt to the gym, even if i couldn't go for quite as long as usual.

oh, and you know, today was part of a brief experiment i was conducting. this was my first workout (that i remember) when i didn't eat a clif bar beforehand. clearly, that was a bad idea. i'll be sticking with THAT program from now on....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

yes, yes, i know that all of my posts lately are about exercising, but can i be honest? that's really all i do anymore. i worked from home today and as an early 'lunch break,' i hit the gym around 10 a.m. and did my workout then. i gotta tell you - taking a day off when you've just done three in a row does wonders for a tired bod. i felt so amped up during my 65 minutes on the treadmill that, just for kicks, i decided to get back on my arch nemesis, the elliptical. i managed to stay on there for a whopping 3 minutes (most of which i did traveling backwards to try and stretch out my legs a little). hey, it's not like i hadn't just busted my butt for over an hour, so i figured it was okay to take it a little easy....

then i came back home, stopping to pick up yet another asian chicken salad (i'm telling you, for 4.72 including tax, it's a great lunch option.) at mcd's that i had with a black cherry vanilla diet coke (the only diet soda i like, actually). the rest of my day has been spent work, work, working on a project i'm trying to get off my desk.

i promise that i shall try very hard to think of something else to say relatively soon...something that has nothing to do with treadmills, calories burned, sweating, or my butt hurting. oh, and would you think me utterly insane if i told you that before i eat dinner, i'm contemplating getting on my gazelle here at home and doing about 10 or so minutes (or as long as i can stand it)?

i know. someone help me. i need an intervention....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

apparently, i have lost my freaking mind....

so, today, after work (where, i might add, i had spent 6 of the 8 hours desk dancing - a subtle form of working out, really), i went to salimah's place to hang out with her, her sister, and our friend, the illustrious misnomi. we had this pocket of time before noms was scheduled to arrive, so i decided to plug in my ipod and play them some tunes. i scrolled over to my workout mix and put on a few different songs that are on heavy rotation right now, and i'm telling you people the truth: i could NOT stay seated. i was so filled with this nutso energy, i got up and danced around the room for a good 15 minutes non-stop. i would have continued were it not for the fact that it was freaking HOT in her office and i was beginning to glisten. (glistening in a non-air-conditioned apartment is not a good thing when company is on its way.)

so, yeah, i calmed myself down and made my inner phunky diva take a chill pill for awhile.

see, now, this is why i need to be going to the gym basically every day. i am a machine and i cannot be stopped. i'm sure i should be thrilled about this, but there's a part of me -- the more calm, subdued part -- that's a bit freaked out by my constant need for motion.

what can i say? the rhythm IS gonna get you. you might as well ride the wave until the end of the song....

Monday, June 12, 2006

okay, so, yeah....

i'm so seriously sore right now, i can't even tell you. today was the third big workout in a row, and i think i'm really gonna have to take tomorrow off. i mean, no lie. my legs are HURTING. i wonder if this is because of my new shoes. my body is like, 'what are you doing with my arches - giving them this support? i shall rebel by making you HURT.'

my body is a pain in my butt. seriously.

on top of it, it's been a rough day otherwise. i'm thinking i'll turn in early tonight and try to sleep my blues away.

oh, but one thing: the asian chicken salad (with grilled chix, of course) from mcdonald's is ACTUALLY pretty good. and not bad for you. and filling. at least temporarily. the bear in my stomach is already growling again, and it's only been 1.5 hours since eating. dude. this working out thing is some serious biz.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

before bedtime

today was a good day. i started it off with an early morning hour-long workout, followed that by a yummy breakfast burrito (whole wheat tortilla, scrambled eggs, cuban black beans, lite cheese, lite sour cream, and salsa) and some grapefruit juice, watching a movie with my best friend, a nice hot shower, a quickie nap, and then a shopping trip out with salimah and a friend from work, whose birthday present to me this year was a pair of new athletic shoes (the specific shoe i got was the adrenaline). the store we went to was fabulous, because the owners waited on us, and i got a REAL shoe fitting and an assessment of what my feet are doing these days (i had my theories, but it was nice to have someone else substantiate them). basically, i've been having some heel/arch pain for awhile (plantar fasciitis), and she totally nailed the reason why and gave me a shoe that will address my problem. also, i got some swell inserts for extra support and three pairs of fantastic socks that feel like a dream. i can't wait to get back on the treadmill tomorrow!!

anyway, after a quick trip to the store and a short visit at salimah's apartment, i headed back home for an easy dinner (chicken sausage, curried rice, and roasted carrots), after which i watched a truly dumb but slightly heartwarming movie. now i'm readying myself for sleep, because morning (as always) comes early. i feel gratified by what i've been able to accomplish over the last couple of days, but if i'm being honest, there's a bit of loneliness mixed in with the satisfaction.

*sigh* no sense in dwelling on it. i'm off to bed. 'night, world....

Saturday, June 10, 2006

back on track (or tread, as the case may be)

this morning i slept in a little - until 8:30 - and then got up, took a shower, and headed off to the gym. after two days off, i wasn't sure how i would feel getting back onto the treadmill. the answer was clear: i felt fantastic. i did an hour and then came back home for a protein-intensive late breakfast (i had eaten a clif bar beforehand), and then i watched a movie and took a nap (early afternoon naps are THE best). honestly, exercise exhausts me...but in a good way.

so, now i'm off to shower again, get salimah, and then later we're scheduled to have dinner with an old friend, her hubby, and their new baby.

what i can't help but be amazed at, though, is the fact that if one makes the decision to put one's body on a schedule, one's body eventually has no choice but to comply. that is glorious - to be in charge. with every step on the treadmill, every calorie burned, i thanked God that i have the choice to take charge or not. and i'm taking it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

reprieve

okay, so i took the evening off from the gym. this morning, i woke up in PAIN. the soreness from day 2 of working out was kicking my butt, majorly. that, and i have blisters on the bottoms of my feet. i'm telling you - it's NOT good.

anyway, my body will have to get over itself, because i'm GOING to the gym tomorrow (assuming i can walk by then!!). i'm also supposed to get some new shoes this weekend. can't tell you how much i'm looking forward to that....

in other news, it's raining in baltimore, baby (thank you, adam duritz). actually more like POURING. it's good, though. i'm sure we need it....

final sidebar comment: i'm craving crabcakes.

thank you, and goodnight.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

dude

the elliptical kicked my butt. i couldn't stay on more than a few minutes. it's simply not meant to be yet; i was out of breath within like 20 seconds, i think. SO not easy.

so, in lieu of that, i got on the treadmill for 45 minutes. now, for me, that's a long time to be walking without stopping. it felt great, though. i was sufficiently sweaty by the end of it and felt pretty good throughout. in fact, i didn't start coughing until after i got OFF the machine. i'm determined to sweat the remnants of this bronchitis out of my body....

and the best part is that i was SUPER angsty/antsy all day, and being on that machine listening to hip-hop cured me of the angst. at least for now. we'll see what tomorrow brings. but thankfully, i can go to the gym whenever i want....

why do i have a feeling they're going to be seeing a lot of me?:)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

'the race is not given to the swift, but to the one who endureth....'

it took me getting sick to realize that i've been running rabidly on this track, trying to move super quickly to where it is that i want to be. and my reasons are quite reasonable, really. there are parts of me that are ready for the things i've wanted for so long....

enter, stage left, a long weekend and a major bout of bronchitis to bring things into focus....

it took me a few days to realize that the things i was feeling weren't just fear and anxiety over bits and pieces of circumstance but instead were the pervasive truth speaking to me in clear and undulating waves: i'm not ready.

i fought against it, wanting to believe it wasn't true. wanting to be wrong, just this once. i wasn't wrong. how can your soul - informed by God himself - be wrong when it's telling you to slow your roll?

note to the stubborn: being arrested into bed by coughing fits and an upset stomach will clinch the deal if you're refusing to listen.

*cough* i'm getting better at hearing, now, thanks....

so my roll has been sufficiently slowed. sure, it's scary. i don't know what i might lose in the process of pacing myself, but what's even more than that, it's occurring to me that i should be excited for all that i will gain. besides, i've set some very aggressive goals for myself for the next six months, and to achieve them, i've got to put my head down and push forward with all my might....which, by the way, is what i intend to do.

so, now that my feet are more firmly planted on a level path, i'm moving forward - one foot in front of the other. and yes, slowly but surely.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

contract

as of about 11:30 today, i'm now the proud owner of a 1-year gym membership. i'm so excited about this, i can't even tell you. now, if i could just get to a place where i can actually breathe, things would be much, much better for me....

slowly but surely, though, i'm getting better. i haven't had any type of upper respiratory infection in a year and a half, so this illness of mine has definitely given me a run for my money. tonight, for instance, my lungs have actually started making groaning sounds. not particularly cool....

but, i'm hopeful that this week, i can start moving in a cardiovascularly effective way....i'm feeling a workout mix coming on....
abs of steel

i have been joking with my coworkers over the last couple of days that at the VERY least, i'm getting a serious ab workout from all the coughing i've been doing. um, okay, so i'm not really kidding. my stomach muscles hurt in that 'i've been doing 200 crunches a day' kind of way. yes, i've been coughing that much. last night, it was so bad, i just couldn't get it to stop for awhile. i was on the phone with salimah, and she began to think i was crying, because the coughing kind of morphed into this sort of sob-like sound. it was just me trying to breathe. at least this is what i would have told her if i COULD HAVE.

really, i'm fine now. well, not so much, really. but i will be. at least i hope i will be....

Friday, June 02, 2006

also

okay, i don't mean to detract from my more 'skimming below the surface' post from earlier this evening, but can i just say that i have a love-hate relationship with sushi? like, for example, i love the taste of some sushi. love it when there are interesting sauces and flavors in it, but i hate raw fish and i also hate how thirsty it makes me. even with low sodium soy sauce, i still feel the need to drink a gallon of water when i'm finished. and furthermore, i don't stay full very long.

my point: i just had a nearly 20-dollar sushi dinner (2 'fancy-ish' rolls), and to be honest, i could eat a burger right now.

is it really worth it? okay, kind of. but also, it wasn't even my most favorite sushi hana (which, really, is SO worth the 60 bucks spent on lunch or dinner for 2 - so delish) in towson.

okay, so enough of my rant. i just had to express. sushi, if i'm being honest, i wish i had more of ye....
paint your life

there's a point at which your life is either art or it isn't. where YOU, as an artist, are either an artist or you aren't. i've been content with allowing myself to think of myself as less than what i am for too long. and now that i realize who i am and what i am, so much more makes sense to me.

i may not be the best painter or writer or singer (although i CAN sing and i CAN write and i CAN cook - painting - notsomuch), but i am still an artist. at my core, this is part of what defines me. it may not be what puts meat on my table at any point in my life, but it also may just be....and i'm open to that. i've cracked the door to being used for my artistic gifts rather than just my more 'practical' ones. the arts are what light me up inside - not being able to administrate some tasks or figure out how things ought to run.

this weekend, someone from my past (a friend of sorts, but also a friend of a friend) found me. it was very out of the blue, very unexpected, and more than a little unsettling, only because he reminds me of a time that is long over for me (but from which i'm still kind of recovering, still hiding out from, in parts). it occurs to me that maybe he's recovering, too. in fact, i wonder if he's seeking solace in another escapee from a life once lived. and as i mused earlier in an e-mail trail with salimah: 'he's trying to reconnect with his wounded artist self. dude, he's a freaking refugee. who isn't at this point?'

i, however, am coming out of hiding. i speak only for me in this, but it is the truth indeed.