Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ask me how I get through the day...

... and I'll tell you that for now it involves a lot of coffee, Red Bull, sugar, or any other energy-inducing substance I can get my hands on.

Today's menu:
One giant Red Bull, two cups of coffee, one chicken wrap from Sonic, one Cliff Bar, one Mountain Dew, one Milky Way bar, and one cranberry-raspberry martini.

Reread the above menu. Note the excess of sugar, caffeine, and a serious lack of anything decent. That's how you know you're back in college.

When I graduated three days after my birthday in December, 2004, I had an attitude along the lines of, "My Alma mater can kiss my a**! I'm never going back to school. Not for a master's degree. Not for anything."

Sometimes, when I remember thinking that, I kinda smirk and chuckle. Then there are those days when I groan in despair and can't help but wonder what on earth I was thinking when I enrolled back at UTA in January 2008.

It's hard -- telling my peers I'm back. I ran into a girl the other day that I haven't seen in four years and her comment was very matter-of-fact, "I didn't think you'd still be here. You were going to rock it out with the journalism thing."

(What are you still doing here? Hello?!)

I'm not still here. I'm back. For better or worse. If I'm going to jump career tracks, better now than later, right? Right.

That doesn't make it easier.

For now, I'd be incredibly grateful if the damned mid-terms could be over with already. Until then, I'll stick to my co-ed diet of Red Bull, candy bars, and chicken wraps.

The only thing that's missing this time around are the bi-weekly hangovers and all-nighters. Oh, and the last-second cramming that is a result of too much time at the bar and not enough time cracking the books. In so many ways, the last five years of your twenties DO make all the difference.

Oh, and forget about running and writing this week. I'll play catch-up next week -- that sacred co-ed week -- SPRING BREAK.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My "AWKWARD" Folder

A facebook conversation leads me to this blog entry. We were discussing whether writing at Starbucks is too distracting. There was some talk about rowdy children and teenagers.

I nearly always write in a social setting. I can’t focus if it’s too quiet. Silence is my distraction, my reason to pack up the laptop and call it a night.

Without the noise to stimulate my imagination, my laptop turns into this big white screen that freaks me out and forces me to reject even the most ingenious sentences as “seriously lame.” I’ll sit there – typing, selecting, erasing… sighing in exasperation, typing a new sentence, selecting, rejecting… cursing, and snorting self-deprecatingly – until finally reaching a breaking point that results in me jumping up to get away from the freaky white screen with its annoyingly blinking curser only to knock over the coffee mug, spilling half the hot stuff all down my favorite pair of jeans while the Husky nearby darts out of the room, clearly having decided that I’ve lost my damned mind.

Silence is bad.

So instead, you’ll find me sitting by the river near downtown Fort Worth – lots of noise from Interstate 30 – at Starbucks, IHOP, or occasionally at a college dive in Arlington. I just need a decent backdrop. In my head, it’s just buzz noise to kill the silence. If I’m stuck (writer’s block, grrr!), I can people-watch or pay attention to the way people speak. Either way, it’s a good study and beats freaking out over spilled coffee.

Sometimes, though, after writing a few paragraphs or a few pages, I’ll “come back to the present,” and catch a snippet of conversation out of context. Usually it’s just random junk – pets, kids, work, diets, fashion, whatever.

And then there are those other snippets of conversation. You know what I’m talking about.

I have a folder on my laptop. It’s called “AWKWARD.” Oh, yes. I’m that writer. The one who will jot down whatever weird, awkward thing you just said. And tonight I’m going to share my Top 15:

· "I get hot every time I see him, if he wasn't my preacher... Well, you know."

· "... I found him in the bathroom and he had two tampons shoved up his nose!"

· "Oh, come on. I know she's your sister, but she's way hot. You can see that, right? Have you seen that? What do her tits look like?... Hey, man! Take it easy!"

· (Woman on her cell phone) "...It's not my problem if she didn't want to know. She shouldn't open *that* drawer. Everybody knows what's in *that* drawer... Are you serious? ... Cindy, *that* drawer is where you keep the fuck rag."

· "I spiked it with Vodka... Well, I wanted him to go to sleep -- that damned kid was driving me nuts with his Bob the Builder bullshit."

· "I think I saw my boss fart at my co-worker on purpose."
"How could you tell?"
"He was standing behind her and he bent over like this, strained like he was constipated, and then it smelled really bad."

· (Lots of mad giggling from two teenage girls). "He said it was gonna be great... you know... with an Altoid in his mouth down there. But it burned like crazy!!" (more giggling). "... and I was mad at him so I *shoved one up his butt*!" (roaring with laughter).

· "We were laughing so hard... My sister snorted, and then I snorted, and then Tina snorted, and then I snorted again and a great big wad of snot hit the table and Mom just about died."

· "Excuse me... Um, not to be rude or anything, but you have a rip in your jeans and I'm not sure if it's the fashion or if it's not on purpose, but your flesh is showing. Actually, it's kind of oozing out of your pants and my kid won't stop staring."

· "I don’t know why you get to sit on her lap. I want to sit on her lap. She’s my babysitter, Daddy!”

· “… I don’t know if we’re at that stage in our relationship where we can give each other enemas, honey.”

· (Another woman on her cell phone) “Ewww. That’s disgusting… He really heated it up in the microwave?...” (laughter) “…Well, maybe he won’t blow his wad early again, now that he’s had some relief!”

· “Yes, I know what he means when he talks about his junk.” (Long Pause). “Oh, I thought he was talking about all the stuff he has flying around his room. Why are the kids calling it ‘junk’ nowadays? It’s not ‘junk.’ It’s good stuff. ”

· “It’s not my fault she hasn’t password-locked her computer or that she doesn’t know how to hide her files, or erase her browsing history, or that she leaves her diary all wide-open next to the bed, or that she has a shoebox full of letters in the closet.”

· (Fraternity boy on his cell phone) “… Man, you’re not going to melt into the toilet. Trust me. It’s not physically possible. Don’t make me come pry your sorry ass off the seat, dude.”

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Just Warming Up

Let me get the stats out of the way: My official time for the Cowntown 10K-run was 1:12:42. That time placed me in the bottom third of my division (F 25-29). About half the women who finished the 10K finished before me.

Some more stats: When I checked the weather first thing after crawling out of bed yesterday, it was 32-degrees outside with howling wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour!! Yikes! The trees were rattling against the windows and a quick step outside sent me dashing back for additional clothes. Even after the sun came up, it was bitterly cold and miserable outside. I applaud every single person cheering the runners and all the volunteers brave enough to hand out water and pick up trash. I don't know how they did it.

What weather to have on a first official run! It had been nice all week —70s and 80s—and I'd laid out a nice short sleeve shirt and shorts. Ha! I ended up running in sweats and it still wasn't warm enough.

At least I finished the 10K (althought the temptation to chicken out was strong). Now I know what a real running event is like. And no matter what the weather does at the next one, it'll never touch the ice block that was downtown Fort Worth yesterday.

I could be really disappointed, especially since I've completed 6.2 miles in just under an hour several times before. My time yesterday worked out to an average of about 12 minutes per mile, which isn't terrible, but I can do better. The way I see my 1:12:42 time is this: It certainly leaves a lot of room for improvement. It wouldn't be that hard to shave off 10 or 15 minutes next time. And you better believe that I will.
Some women have planned to be married by the age of twenty-five, have bought a house with their significant other by the age of thirty, and have that first baby in the house by the age of thirty-one. Me—I wanted to birth a novel by the age of twenty-eight (and one more every other subsequent year), run a half-marathon by the time I'm thirty, and finish my first full marathon by the time I'm thirty-one. Hmmm.
I haven't figured out the baby thing yet (unless I'm allowed to count books and dogs as children). But I know that I love to run and can only improve from here on out. It's barely been four months since I started running for real. I think I can handle a half-mari before the end of the year. I've just got to get Lesson Number One in mind: Don't. Start. Fast. Because. You're. Excited. PACE YOURSELF.

So here's my first run report:

Mile One: I was really excited and took off running as though I were doing interval training. Before the first mile was up, my throat was completely raw from sucking in the freezing air, I had a terrible stitch, and my whole core felt numb (I never warmed up!).

Mile Two: I had to walk out my stitch for about 30 seconds before starting again at a much slower jog. I focused on my breathing this time and keeping it slow so I wouldn't have a repeat incident.

Mile Three and Four: A slow, steady jog. I'd wasted too much in that first mile. Nerves, I guess, but I'll learn. I got in a grove and was slowly picking up speed.

Mile Five: I love the hills. I'd been so worried about Seventh Street hill that I spent a lot of time working on my hill performance over the past month. This is where I picked up speed and felt strong, relaxed, and good. (My mantra on hills: It's not a hill, it's just another step).

Mile Six: I was tired, my left knee started aching badly, but I knew it was almost done. My favorite part of the run was those last two-tenths of a mile—seeing the finish line. Sarah, Monique, John, and Diana were screaming so loud that I started giggling and laughed my way accross the finish line.