Yes, I am that runner.

Well, what better time to write a post about running than on the day of a disaster of a race for me. Let’s start there, shall we? First, you should know that I take special pride in my ability to pace myself and run smart at the start of a long (or any) run, even races. That is how I became one of the top female distance runners in my 5th grade class. Negative splits have always been intuitive to me. Well, maybe I was getting just a little too confident in that particular skill. 5th grade top distance runner? Someone should ask for my autograph. And as they always do, God & the Universe showed up at today’s race to knock me right back down a little.

I did not pace myself well. It was hot outside. I ended up getting such awful cramps in my legs and feet that not only did I start walking at mile 11 (when I should’ve been speeding up to finish strong), but I came to a complete stop and tried to stretch and massage the pain out of my calves on the sidelines. It didn’t work. I was beside myself. Fortunately, my training buddy graciously walked across the finish line with me. He was patient and let me throw my little fit when I wouldn’t high five him (telling him I didn’t deserve it) and when I refused to put my medal around my neck or take finishers’ photos. He stayed with me as I screamed and cursed in the medical tent for 20 minutes. And while I forced down a banana and Gatorade with three bags of ice on my legs and feet, he told me some of his own race horror stories until I started feeling like a normal person again. (This, y’all, is why I believe in training with groups and having supportive training buddies.)

So yes, G & U, I hear you. Lesson learned. But as it is impossible to get depressed about running (especially when I'm still feeling the endorphins from running even just part of a race), the next thing out of my mouth was: I have to right this bloody wrong. When's the next race already?

And if that’s not the sign of a running devotee, then maybe some of these things I’ve noticed about myself are:

1. I check the weather, compulsively. Increase that a hundredfold right before a race.
2. When I get sick, I wonder if a little fever is a good enough excuse to miss a training run.
3. I'm convinced that I'm getting sick the entire week before a race.
4. I wear compression socks.
5. I worship my foam roller and wonder if there is some sort of inconspicuous way I can use it in my cubicle.
6. I’m secretly disappointed when my training buddy wimps out on a long run in the pouring rain.
7. I’m openly disappointed when I get stuck in traffic and have to miss a hill workout with run club.

All of the above? Probably pretty universal for many runners. The next couple? Even I get caught off guard by the enormousness of my nerdliness.

8. When I’m driving, I automatically think about how I’d adjust my speed and form to compensate for the elevation changes if I were running instead of driving.
9. When someone tells me that it is going to be a 40-minute wait, I immediately convert it into “a little-more-than-4-mile wait.”

Ok, yes. I’m becoming that annoying runner that I’d kind of hoped I’d never be. But now that I am, I can testify that they don’t do these things just to seem cool. Either that or I’ve been brainwashed by those annoying runners who think they’re cool.

Wait, it's March already?

Well hello there, 2012.

I’m still here, still working, still running, and still grateful. And still committed to keeping up with the blog. For the first post of the year, I give you these fine moments that have happened since we last spoke:

From the mouth of Senior Sign Designer:
bebe Me, you are like the little sister that I never wanted.

An exchange with my marvelously marvelous father. Oh my, but everybody should have a father like mine:
HIM (looking as if he’d been thinking about asking me this for a while): So… how exactly do you send a text?

ME: Oh, well. I mean, it’s like an email. You know. You just type a message and hit send.

Long, thoughtful pause (same look as above, slightly intensified)

HIM: But, do you have to use a-

Thoughtful pause.

HIM: different language?

At dinner with my parents:
I'd just confirmed with the server that what I ordered was indeed vegetarian. Not 10 seconds later, my mother said, "Yes. I'd like the Foie Gras, please."

In a meeting, after giving out MAD LIBS valentines at work:
ME: I can’t BELIEVE how many people don’t remember what an ADJECTIVE is. WHO? Doesn’t know what an ADJECTIVE is?

About 5 minutes later:
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST: So March 14th. 3/14. It’s National Pi Day. I thought it might be nice to have fun with that on the 14th.

Appreciative giggles around the table.

ME: Pi Day? Hmm. So they just pick a totally, completely random day to celebrate Pi?

Astonished silence.

And yes, I knew that we were speaking of Pi and not PIE. The Universe didn’t waste any time putting me right back in my place.

From one of my training buddies, who has only seen me during training runs and in my basic running gear:
“You need get yourself a 13.1 sticker. A PINK one.”

Just as I opened my mouth to ask him how he knew I liked pink, I looked down at my pink running belt, my pink-trimmed running jacket, the pink trim on my shoes, and my pink LED reflective armband (pink bulbs, of course). Oh, right. I closed my mouth and agreed.


Yes, I apologized to Dirk

Well, if you're going to a hockey game for a girls' night, you might as well enjoy ALL the perks. And this is how you pick the night:

HER: I really want to see them play the Red Wings.

ME: Oh, do you like the Red Wings?

HER: Well. Red Wings… Detroit… KID ROCK.

ME: Oooh, my NHL crush plays for the Caps now. Are they coming?


Because deep in her soul, Senior Designer is just as sick and wrong as I am

As a professional creative, you need to know that you can get a good dose of hardboiled honesty about your work.

There’s the kind of honesty that comes in the form of your whipsmart, southern boss peering at you over her glasses: the nonverbal, “Really? REALLY?” (And secretly, you kind of totally live for those such moments.)

Then there’s the stupefied silence in a room, immediately after you've read one of your headlines aloud.

But what you need the very most is the co-worker to whom you tell EVERY sick and wrong idea you have just so she’ll throw you out of her office with a, “WHAT? Is WRONG with you?"

In my case, that last one is the Senior Designer. She whose honesty spills over into non-work issues too. Like in this little exchange:

ME: But if Dirk knew me. I mean, really REALLY knew me and my personality…



The trees have spoken

So there I was, running and enjoying a little drizzling rain. And as I ran under a row of low-hanging branches, a tree threw up on me.

A shower of tiny black specks all over my face, chest and arms that stuck to my damp skin for the rest of the run.

Dear tree,
Ok, you’re right. I could be more conscious about how much I print at work. But I recycle. And, by the way, those art directors print WAY more than I do.
Love, bebe Me


High as a runner

Something happens when I see my running shoes. I start hearing things. Soles hitting pavement. Inhaling, exhaling. Wind, cars, dogs barking from behind a fence. Someone else’s soles, someone else’s breathing. The little beep from my watch at every mile. My iPod.

And then all I want to do is put on those shoes and head out so I can hear it for real. And so that I can hear the best sound of all: the noise in my brain (yes, that giant fluffy bundle of pink). Thoughts flowing, connecting, sorting themselves out. Or sometimes just a single thought: keep running.

Sometimes running feels like celebrating. Sometimes healing. Sometimes release. Sometimes I have to run until I feel like a normal person again. Sometimes it’s just making it to the next mile. Sometimes it’s perfectly ordinary.

And I love it.

I don’t know why some people hate it and some people love it. I didn’t ever really have to learn. But I’d understand if you didn’t believe me. I never believed that falling in love is feeling like you’ve known a stranger all your life and being sad to say goodbye at the end of a date. Until it finally happened to me about 100 years after everyone else. And I’m still waiting to believe that you can suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of ethnic identity just by visiting a country, like oh I don’t know, Asia.

But since the first time I started doing laps around the little YMCA track in college 15 years ago, I’ve never doubted this great love of running. Of course, back then, I was also adding mileage haphazardly, not running with a group of more experienced runners, and not consulting with a running coach about my form and training. Shortly after, I started having pain in my hip flexors and my shins and was advised by a health professional to drop the running.

Now, of course, I wished I’d done a little more research and learned how to get rid of/manage the pain and continued to run. But I was just recovering from an eating disorder and was afraid that I was destroying the body that I was trying to learn to respect again. Which is when I started my love affair with the elliptical trainer and every other kind of cross-training I could get my legs on.

But I’d still think about running now and then. I even ran some. A 5K here and there. But it wasn’t until the end of last year when I was spending a lot of time with runners that I found myself thinking about it even more. And cursing my right knee that had started hurting about 8 years ago (from something unrelated) and had never stopped.

Then at the very end of December, God & the Universe and I were in yet another tussle over my life. I was sad and confused and I couldn’t stop thinking about soles hitting pavement. So I just put on my shoes and ran. This time, I was running to feel like a normal person again. I figured if my knee started screaming, I’d just stop. But it didn’t. When I came back in, I felt calmer. And my knee? No worse than before.

So running is now back in my life. I had a brief 2-month hiatus due to hip flexor pain, which lit a fire under me to do all those things I didn’t do before. I joined a run club with a certified running coach who made one tiny tweak to my form and introduced me to (cue angelic music from heaven here): The Foam Roller. The result being more miles, no more hip flexor pain and incredibly, less knee pain.

And a few weeks ago, on a rare afternoon run, a lovely butterfly fluttered right into my path. I smiled, laughed out loud and thanked God & the Universe for the beautiful gift of running.


Have you considered adopting a poor, starving artery?

This weekend, there was an almost-full bottle of a lovely, dry red wine in my fridge. And it wasn't going to keep forever. So what's a vegetarian with an extremely low tolerance to do? Google "vegetarian recipes with red wine" of course. And then spend an entire Sunday afternoon cooking delicious French dishes with a lot of shallots and a lot (and I do mean a lot) of butter. Oh my, the butter. Rich, creamy butter that made my taste buds think they’d reached palatal nirvana.

And as I scooped up another chanterelle mushroom in a red wine and butter sauce, I’m pretty sure I heard my arteries gasp.

Which is when I told those spoiled little blood vessels to chill out and be grateful. And to think of all those starving arteries that live in vegans.


Like an afternoon with a stack of drawing paper and a box of Crayola 64

Is it wrong that I ran around the office this morning with one of the season’s new throws, demanding that everyone smell it because it smells like crayons? And by that I mean it smells SO. GOOD.


Come listen to the story of a city named Dallas

My friend C came to visit me the last weekend of January. I met C at the music conservatory and we became immediate friends when we were brushing our teeth in the dorm bathroom as freshmen and discovered that she grew up in the same upstate New York town where my cousins lived.

Now, she lives in upper Manhattan where she’s been attending medical school and playing the violin. And when she asked if she could come visit during a rare break from her rotations, I was thrilled. I’d finally get to show her around the city I love. The city about which she’s heard me rhapsodize since the days we wrote papers about string quartet scores and bundled up in four layers plus a down coat and ran all four blocks to a coffee shop. Because even though it was midnight and 8 degrees outside, we really needed a slice of flourless chocolate cake.

The first day of her visit was a perfect 78 degrees. She whipped out her summer shoes as soon as she got off the plane and my heart swelled up with pride as she gushed about the blue skies and snowless roads during the drive back to my place. As we were driving, we came up to a great big sign on the freeway that I pass almost every day and don’t even blink an eye. As we drove closer, C couldn’t help but notice it and read it slowly out loud: THE PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH TURNPIKE. Each word slowly sucking all that pride out of my heart. As she sat there, not really knowing how to react, I cleared my throat and tried to keep the sheepishness out of my voice as I said, “Right. So, um. Welcome to Texas.”

And about 48 hours later, the blue skies turned gray. There was the threat of snow, there was the threat of ice. There was a New Yorker in my living room, trying desperately to get an earlier flight out of this weather-schizo town. And I said in a slightly more sheepish voice, “What? You mean you want to leave so early?”

The next morning, after I drove her back to the airport on those same roads, now covered in white, she called me from the airport. “My flight’s delayed,” she said. “The runway is covered in snow and ice. And it’s the craziest thing. They don’t have tow plow trucks here. But you won’t believe what they DO have. You know those little tow attachments that your brother’s best friend in high school would attach to a pickup truck to plow backyards for cash? They have one of THOSE on a red pickup truck, trying to clear all that snow so we can fly back to New York. Can you BELIEVE that?” After which, she dissolved into a fit of giggles.

And even though I kinda had absolutely no idea what the hell she was talking about, I knew enough to immediately hear banjo music in my head. The perfect soundtrack to a little red pickup truck at the DFW airport with a home plow attached, trying to do something about that there darn snow. This being C’s last impression of my beloved city. I think I might’ve managed to squeak out, “Well, I hope you enjoyed it. You come back now.”


the rockin' new job

This being the post for which I finally wrote that last sentence (or two) today. After having started it in February, when I started the job. And I believe I wrote the middle paragraphs sometime during the summer. So I guess it's about time this post meets the world:

Well, it’s been quite a year. The Superbowl came to my hometown. There was a large patch of ice right outside my garage door that didn’t melt for two weeks because the icy, snowy winter storms couldn’t decide whether it wanted to go or stay in this exotic place called Dallas. I joined Netflix. I fell in love with and bought two pairs of Steve Madden distressed cowboy boots.

And, I wondered for a little while if I had a bona fide addiction to being Stupid New Girl.

Because unbelievably, after being Stupid New Girl three times in the recent past, I found myself accepting a new job. AGAIN. I swear I am not a flake. I wasn’t even looking. In fact, this new company of mine had turned me down last summer. And when they contacted me again, with an even better opportunity, I politely declined. Until I couldn't stop thinking about it for the next two weeks. Because, you see, this new company is not an ad agency, but a retail corporation whose brand is one that genuinely excites a writer. This writer, at least. Its products are inherently storied. The voice is fun, fresh, sassy and stylish. I just couldn’t let it pass.

So here I’ve been, deep in the depths of brilliant home fashion. Finding inspiration from art and women's fashion. Collaborating with wonderfully talented art directors on everything from the color stories in our glossy print catalogs to clever brand messages, played out in animated digital ads, to headline-driven outdoor posters and urban boards. Immersing myself in trends. Getting paid to think and write under the direction of a whipsmart, southern smartass Creative VP who’s not afraid to shoot down an idea as fast as she’ll fall in love with the next.

I have gone, as ad people might say, to the CLIENT SIDE (insert dark, ominous music here). And if the dark side means better hours so you can live your life, a sample room to devour, a photo studio to breathe life into our ideas, and writing that feels like a perfect mix of advertising, blog writing and magazine writing, well then, get out a floor lamp from the new fall collection. Because the dark side is beginning to feel a lot like home.


The year thus far

Four things have happened so far this 2011 that have changed my life:

1. I got a rockin’ new job.
2. I picked up running again after a 15-year hiatus.
3. I traveled to Asia for the first time.
4. I became goth and now read all of my teen fiction books in a cave in the backyard. Just kidding. I don’t even have a backyard. Ok, ok, not really. But, well, what do you think the last thing is? Of course it’s this: THE MAVS. THE MAVS. DIRK, DIRK, DIRK, DIRK, DIRK!

So all 1 of you that read this thing (hello Blog Conscious!), get ready to hear some stories.


And yes, I absolutely went to the store (the RIGHT store) to get myself a work-appropriate one.

In anticipation of our Red River Rivalry tailgate party at work tomorrow.

ME: Well, crap. I don’t have any work-appropriate Texas shirts.

CO-WORKER: No worries, you can just borrow one of my OU shirts.

ME: You are so so sweet and generous. Can I, you know, alter the shirt just a tiny bit before wearing it?

CO-WORKER: Only if you add more rhinestones to the OU.

ME: Like in the shape of a longhorn?

Blog Conscious

I had lunch with my Blog Conscious last week. Also known as my talented, charming, Ben-Folds-Evangelist friend who is mother to a 6-month-old son. A 6-month-old son who kinda always looks as if he’s about to share his thoughts on the pros and cons of baby subcultures in this day and age.

But anyway, Blog Conscious, gave me the look. The look that reminds me that it’s been 9 months since I’ve last posted and there is at least one person out there that reads this cerebral candy. So I responded with a meek, “But see, I wrote this one post. It’s just that I can’t think of the right last sentence.”

And it dawned on me that since I last posted, Blog Conscious brought life into this world, went back to work, wrote her birth story, and successfully found a way to articulate to me how it feels to be suddenly thrust into parenthood without making my eyes glaze over. All of that and she still cares to think of me and my silly blog. And I? Can’t even write one bloody sentence to finish a post from February?

Well, this is the day that I return to blogging. Thank you, Blog Conscious, for giving me an inspiring kick in the skinny jeans.


Ditzy with a little ditz on top

Please note the date of this post before delighting in the following IM exchange:

ME: Ditzy moment of the day: Burst into my boss’s office and said, “Happy March 30th!”

SMART FRIEND: ha ha ha! A little late, aren’t you?

ME: Did you mean early? Or are you continuing the joke?



Very long pause as I talked it through to myself in my head.



New year. New chutzpah.

Well, y’all. I lived on the edge this new year. Tossed all that 2010 caution aside, looked common sense in the eye and said, “Hell yeah, I’m going to wear a white leather jacket to a concert on New Year’s Eve. Standing room only.” Ok, so I had to dodge 1 or 20 drunkenly spilled beers and a few drops of champagne. And slowly inch away from the frenzied dancing of the guy who’d remembered to get beer, but forgotten to wear deodorant. But by golly, when that very drunk girl (and her entire body weight) fell shoe-first onto the top of my very exposed foot, her drink stayed right there in her glass. And as I bent over in excruciating pain, I gasped, “SEE COMMON SENSE? The concert’s almost over. And my jacket? STILL WHITE.”

You needed some inspiration for the new year, didn’t you? You’re welcome.


First day of the real, full-time, PERMANENT job

Guess who’s not an intern anymore? That’s right, I’m back to plain old Stupid New Girl. New agency, new stories and holy bloody hell, I have my own cubicle. It’s been so long since I haven’t sat at a temporary space that I kind of forgot what to do with so much of my very own dull, gray wall space. But as the morning wore on, I felt a familiar comfort or two. Frozen air-conditionified nose and toes by mid-morning. The sweet shivers up and down my spine every time I open a new Word doc. Some sort of office technology (voicemail in this case) that abhors me already.

But the most important one happened before I even got to the office. There I was, driving and rocking out to my Let’s go kick some ass! tunes. Excited, pumped up. I was ready, damn it, so ready!

Ready to make a wrong turn. Two minutes away from the new office and right where two highways meet with all kinds of weird loops and turns. Outstanding! And strangely comforting. Because after three years of life upheaval, my ditzy mistakes still remind me of who I am and have always been.

And thank God. This blog would be awfully boring otherwise.

I wrote this post on the actual first day of my new job, which was about a month ago. But no worries - at one month, I'm still new, stupid and girl. And I promise to keep the stories coming.


Ready to move on. To first grade.

Just another typical father-daughter exchange.

ME: Why would you have a layover all the way over there? Asia is east of here.

DAD: West.

ME: East. You know, the east meets west thing.

DAD: Asia is to the west.

ME: I’ve seen a map. North America is way on the west and Asia is way on the east.

DAD: You’re talking about one of those flat maps?

ME: Yeah, like that big one in our house growing up. North America is one the left side and Asia’s on the right side.

DAD: Left? Right?

ME: Yes.

DAD: bebe Me. The EARTH. IS ROUND.