Monday, July 30, 2012

into a corner

Neil and I have been treating this summer with a social reckless abandon... and its making me sleepy.

Our case of senioritis has given us fantastic weekends and spontaneous weeknight events with exhausted days and a messy house. (isn't that always the first thing to be pushed to the back burner?)

So while I once again pay the fun tax this monday, I am greatly enjoying this photography by my cousin (and very talented photographer) Kevin J. Colle

About this photo, he says: "Doing dishes in a small kitchen takes some planning, but when you are a procrastinator you become an engineer."

I love this so much.

I'm an expert procrastinator which means in the next day or so I'm going to have to become an engineer. Good luck to you if you're in the same boat as me and my family. 

(If you're not a procrastinator and you feel bright eyed today... screw you, don't talk to me.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope its full of "i do"

photo by Laura Phillips

Is it me or is the wedding season in full swing? (our next two weekends are packed with wedded bliss)

I love attending weddings so much! I think they are that secret perk of being married that no one told me about... "you mean I get to dress up, have a fancy date with my husband, see people I care about, dance, eat cheese squares with spicy mustard, AND not even have to check the weather!?! Actually, I don't have to plan one single detail. Just sign the card!!" um, yes please - at least one a month.

Some people attend weddings and think - "oh, if only I could do mine over again" - where as, I'm thinking, "this attending weddings thing is tops... nice touch with the chair covers, by the way. I didn't spring for it, but it looks great. Now where is the cheese?"

I never used to cry at weddings. Now I squeeze Neil's hand the whole ceremony and sputter like a baby. every. stinking. time. I know they're going to say "in sickness and in health" and yet it bowls me over. So I predictably turn to my darling husband and ask "Is my eye makeup smeared?" and predictably he says "no honey, you look great." while opting not to mention the snot on my face. I love not being the bride- because that whole interaction doesn't take place in front of everyone I know.

weepy mess

If you haven't crossed over to the other side of already married, blissful wedding hopping, maybe some of this will help:

Two lovely wedding sites with a million resources are 100 layer cake and once wed. Makes planning a wedding (somewhat) more simple.

And I can't say enough about our choice in registry. We went with alternative gift registry. Its a site that allows you to enter in all your own choices from anywhere. You can simply say "crockpot" or you can add a link to the specific Target crockpot you love. And there's space to type so you can tell the people "we want this crockpot because every sunday we make pulled pork for the whole family." (then people can feel invested). There is freedom to link up to a million sites and there's freedom to have guests shop around for where they can get a good deal. I ADORED the gifts we got because we could be practical by saying "we need wooden salad bowls" and still get unique items, like the wooden bowl from kenya (you can't scan gun that baby at Macy's!)  We were able to request framed photos from my cousin Kevin's website, which decorated our home beautifully and supported an artist we love. We even added a bunch of 'mix CDs' to our registry and people added them in with their cards. We listened to them on our drive to our honeymoon!
I could go on and on - but seriously, alternative gift registry. the best.

From the greatest thing to the worst thing: the guest list...ughhh the guest list. Never in our lives have we been forced to classify people we love and then cut them out. Friends vs. Family - who wins? and Person he likes a lot vs. Person we both know? and  Long time buddies vs. New friends? Making the list is the worst. period. I once heard the suggestion "Don't invite someone that you wouldn't/haven't had to dinner at your place." Either we know a lot of awesome people or we have a low bar for social eating; that advice helped very little...

My guest list advice is that you will never please everyone and you will never get it right, so stress as little as possible. Be honest with those you had to cut (the very frank 'hey we're really in a bind but we want you know we care about you. can we get together soon." goes over much better than radio silence and no invite). And try focus on the top few names you wrote down (siblings, roommates, wedding party) - those are the very important people that WILL be there - this helps to distract from the game of musical chairs you have to play with the other spots of distant cousin vs. co-worker buddy. Truth is, within one calender year you'll drift away from several guests and you'll cement other relationships that will make you say "I can't believe we didn't have so-and-so there!" It is inevitable.

So much of what is acceptable in terms of wedding etiquette is changing. Can you put a website on your invitation? Is it okay to have the grooms side pay for some of the wedding? And speaking of registries - is is okay to register for parts of your honeymoon? What do you think? We had a debate about electronic RSVP over snail mail response cards. The times, they are in limbo.

How do you buy gifts for someone for their wedding - do you buy on registry (Is that practical? Is that boring?) or do you go rogue (and risk getting them that thing they hate)? or something in between (for example a few cooking items on registry plus your favorite cookbook)? One of my favorite off-registry gifts was the Wedding Gift Crate from Penzeys Spices. My Step-dad knew how much we loved cooking and made the leap, since then we've purchased the gift for several others.

Nothing makes or breaks a wedding like the music. While I'm always a fan of hearing the good ol' fashioned "Shout" at a reception - my secret favorite is a little Marvin Gaye, "Let's Get It On."  Do you have a favorite song? I always love knowing what people played at their wedding. In my humble opinion, no wedding is complete without the contemporary classic "Let Get Married (remix)" by Jagged Edge.

and if you're in need, my cousin and I know all the words. We'd be happy to show up at your reception to rock out the rap parts at the amazement of your guests...

So after the reception is the grand farewell right? Thats what they show in all the movies (here, here, here, etc). I have yet to go to a wedding where the bride changes her outfit and runs out between a line of guests like its High School football. Then hops into a chauffeured car and gracefully waves while everyone holds sparklers. Has anyone experience this? Please tell me. Until then, I put it in the same file along with getting your shoe stuck in a sewer grate at the same time a handsome man is walking by to save you - "amazing crap that's only in rom-coms" but hey, I'm willing to be proven wrong.

Our grand farewell: at the end of the reception, several giant platters of hoagies came out. (and she lived happily ever after)

Any advice or input you want to add to those who are planning to say I DO? or are you like me, on the other side, just enjoying the fact that the only thing you need to worry about is "If I start with champagne, is okay to move to gin and tonic?" and "How do I best hide from the cameraman while I dance like a fool?" oh the good life! mazel tov!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Hey, Nice Split-Brain. Can I buy you dinner?"

A lot of months ago - it was April, to be exact - I was fortunate enough to be accepted into a trail study.

The clinical trial is one that's looking into a new kind of MRI. This new scan is non-invasive and can show 257 aspects of the brain's functioning. It can give great insight into how neurons are firing and how fibers are tracking after a traumatic brain injury... which can have huge implications for treatment and care.

Its called High Definition Fiber Tracking, HDFT for short (or sometimes it goes by the slang term 'woah that girl's brain is stunning!')

I framed one of the photos because,
did you have any idea I was so good looking inside?

Here is an article on some of the breakthrough work being done with HDFT, and I must say, I'm a huge fan of Dr Okonkwo.

While the thick packet of results was a bit disheartening, I had to remind myself, this is still a study and the brain is still an enigma. I have parts that are severed and very much broken. However, after getting clothes-lined out of a cattle car, I'm not shocked to see that there's damage.

It doesn't mean my brain hasn't or won't find new pathways. So I've decided to take the results not as a sentencing, but as this: fascinating and beautiful and full of potential.

the pictures are hard to understand,
but here is one of my broken parts you might be able to see...
my corpus callosum (the thing down the middle, allowing left and right to communicate) 
was torn in places and you can detect this by how the red strip in the center is short,
it doesn't extend fully to the top or bottom
(its cool, I'll just add a case of the ol' split brain to my long list of things).

There's a song by Frou Frou called "Let Go" and we listened to it on repeat junior year of college. In the lyrics they say "There's beauty in the breakdown." and for some reason that keeps coming to me when I see these lovely photographs. 

I'm sure if you had your head checked out by the new-fangled HDFT it would look nice, but I'm choosing to believe mine is just tops. Mostly because of the damage... because the sheering and the gaps that say to me yet again "I shouldn't be here - taking in air and looking at my own, gorgeous, messed-up brain - but I am. I'm here. And there's beauty in that breakdown." 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Marriage Advice

This weekend I'm fortunate enough to officiate a wedding for a truly wonderful couple.

While I put the final touches on sermons and vows, I'm thinking about great marriage advice.

This article by Lydia Netzer is so sweet and honest. I love all her tips, especially, "make a husband pact with your friends" - I think the way you talk to your spouse and about your spouse is so very important.

I also think there is something so wonderful about realistic love... not the grand sweeping things we see in romantic movies. So I'm posting my favorite clip from my favorite romantic movie. (Actually its my second favorite clip. I couldn't find the "She's heard me say I love you a million times but she's never heard me say I'm sorry" scene from Die Hard, so this will have to do)

And I love the song "Born" by Over the Rhine (a husband and wife duo). When Karen and Linford were going through a rough patch in their marriage they decided to buy a case of wine and sit down with a bottle every night until it was gone. They would use that time to talk and to listen - to let things unfold.

I'm not sure that 'drink a case of wine' is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of standard marriage advice but I love that story because the two of them stayed together and this gorgeous song came out of it...

Other fun marriage advice I've heard includes "laugh a lot" and "fight naked"

Any good tips you'd like to add? I always love to hear what makes a good marriage thrive!

Friday, July 20, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope the clouds lift

This is a dreary day and I feel the best thing to do is embrace it...

With a low rumble of thunder I'm reminded that, yes, its still raining. And while I tend to love a good downpour, its now been days of rain and I was hoping to play outside all weekend with my cousins and even dive into this new game.

I like the idea of a cheery umbrella (see below), but let's not kid ourselves... this is how we all really feel, am I right?

Running has been kicking my butt lately and hot yoga has been making me woozy so I wasn't surprised yesterday when my doctor delivered his official opinion: cool it. (not in those exact words, he was more doctory). This isn't devastating because (1) there are bigger things in life to mourn (2) I haven't been getting out there much, and (3) running has been so very painful and hard. However, I'm still pouting. You don't know how much you want something until someone says 'no' (just ask a toddler, they get it).  So good bye running shoes. Hello um, well, I don't know... sensible flats? this is lame.

And waking up to news of a mass shooting in Colorado was, for lack of ways to phrase it, a terror. Putting myself in the place of anyone in that theater is virtually impossible. I don't know anything that big, that scary. Maybe thats part of why our nation is so in shock - because the bottom dropped out of what we know of as 'safe'. We can calculate risk of flying in a plane or having surgery but seeing a movie? That should carry zero risk. It opens us up to fragility of life everywhere. So when we can't even begin to imagine what the victims and their families must feel, we can say with shock, 'I see movies, that could have been me."  

I just finished a book called "We Need To Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver. Its about a teenage boy that goes on a killing spree in a school. Its all written from the mother's perspective and over the hundreds of pages you feel drawn so close, right into her nightmare. It is a disturbing and chilling novel and it is really well done. I can say it was good in the same way I can say I liked Schindler's List (both of them were terrible, does that make sense?). It effected me deeply, getting into the psychology of this family. So hearing about the shooting in Aurora, CO - the first thing I thought of was the mother of the shooter. I attribute this thought to how well the book was written. Now I can't get her out of my head. This article says she had an instinct, before knowing any details of movie theater killing, she instantly said 'you have the right person.' That gives me chills.

But I won't delve too deeply down that rabbit hole. For the people of Denver, this must seem larger than life. That's the nature of tragedy, it swallows everything else around it. But clouds eventually lift (not that the platitude is of any comfort on a stormy day like today). Sooner or later life's events that were shrunken and made insignificant by pain will demand to be noticed again. The bills and the baby showers and phone calls will resume normal size, thus compressing all mourning until it only fits in corners and closets. When people say 'in time this will feel better' I don't think they mean "you're pain will go away". I've found the meaning to be - "Time is a force... and inevitably this pain that's in the foreground will have to shift around. Time will move things back to almost right size"

This weekend is two years since my cousin passed away. The pastor hinted at the idea of what I said above in his sermon at the funeral. I've thought about it (and expanded on it) a lot since. I've thought about my cousin a lot since too - although the pain isn't as big as it was then. I don't remember much from the service, but I remember his step-sister singing a breathtakingly beautiful version of 'hallelujah'

I will say to you I hope the clouds lift, but I know for a fact that they do. I am a firm believer that there can be good along with the bad. This weekend a large group of my cousins are gathering and its something I've looked forward to what feels like ages. Despite the rain, it will be wonderful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

old, new, borrowed...

I have a number of great books lined up in my reading queue for this month, so many that I feel a bit of the overwhelm as the library notifies me of their return dates...

Dark Star Safari 
by Paul Theroux

by Chuck Palahniuk

Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace

and these are just the ones I have currently checked out from the library... my 'to read' list is a mile long and ever, wistfully, wonderfully growing! (and I'm always taking suggestions) 

But I find myself torn between venturing into the books that I have yet to read and returning the few I've read over and over - the ones I love so much, that they feel like home. I feel this way about travel as well. With a whole world out there, do I see something new or do I go back to a place I adore? And that great restaurant - do I try out more of the menu or do I go with the dish that I know will satisfy? 

So I might risk that hefty fine of five cents and shelf those borrowed books for an old one that has long been my favorite. I read it every time I'm going through something. That is to say, I only pick it up it when I need it. (sadly, I don't want to admit to you how many times I've creased its cover.) Despite it's cheesy sounding title of "When the Heart Waits"; it's very real and honest and good to me. 

When the Heart Waits
by Sue Monk Kidd

Which are you... always seeking the new? or comfortably resting in the old? I find I need a balance of both, but if I'm honest, I trend towards the new. I don't like the idea of something fun or exciting existing and I don't know about it. (I was always the last to fall asleep at slumber parties). 

Do you have a book you go back over and over again... a book with deep spine grooves and crinkled pages and passages that you remember by what they mean to you at different phases of your life? Mine are Sue Monk Kidd's above, "Tale of Two Cities", and "Traveling Mercies". 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

hair today, gone tomorrow?

Sometimes I just need some change in my life - shake things up a bit - and that's not always an easy thing to create. Usually when that happens I go on a spontaneous road trip or delve into a large art project. Thankfully, Neil instinctively understands what I need when I get this wave of restlessness - early into our marriage I got this way and he suggested we swap all the furniture from one room with the other room.... bless him.

Honestly though, the simplest path to change is through my hair - so fast and so satisfying. Which is why I'm considering any of the following styles and I'm itching to do them soon...


aka the semi-shave


or I could just get rid of all of it and go the way of Natalie (and others)
*reminding myself I may not look like the model in the photo

How about your thoughts? Any weigh ins on my choice - not that these are major life choices - which might be why I like them. I can take control of my hair, if nothing else. 
Do you ever get antsy too? What do you do with the restless? 

Monday, July 16, 2012

thoughts and street art

some randomized thoughts this monday afternoon....

I just finally watched exit through the gift shop, a documentary on street art that won an oscar a few years back. It was excellent and has me thinking a lot about what makes art "art" and what qualifies someone as an artist.  It also makes me LOVE these creative pictures of street art!  especially this one:

I had my first ever huevos rancheros yesterday. Huevos Rancheros: mexican food for breakfast (awesome idea); mexican food for breakfast (terrible idea)

We were lucky enough to dog sit for an entire week and now that Snoop is gone I miss him so much! However there was that moment when I forgot he was here. There's nothing like thinking you're alone in the house, having stepped fresh out of the shower, and feeling a nose on your bare butt, to scare you right into next year.

Is there a worse place for a bug bite then your knuckle? Cause than its more than itch, its hurt-itch.

I'm having a harder time than ever getting myself to run these days. Maybe its the heat. Maybe its that my pep talks are no longer working to get me though the pain. Maybe its that there's so many fun activities, I have no reserve tank for exercise... here's the catch with it all: I feel worse when I can't fit running into my schedule, and I can't fit it in because I feel like junk. (does that ever happen to you? for example: you're more rested/refreshed when you work out, but you can't get to the gym - you're too tired)  Help me break the cycle friends, if you live around here, lets go for a jog!

I usually tire of long articles that have no pictures but this interview with Michael Keaton was good the whole way through.

My cousin has been joking about wanting a pair of crochet pants, but I saw this pair on etsy and with the right kind of underwear, you could really party! I can't think of anything else but crochet pants. I hope you're in the same boat. (you can thank me for that in the comments section)

Friday, July 13, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope its hot (and a little bit gangsta)

I know I've said this before, but we don't have air conditioning. So the simple act of sitting on our couch in the evening, turns into actively hating the oppressiveness of all fabrics and the loathing the fact that ceiling fans create more noise than cool air (a worthless ratio).

In order to fight against complaining too much, I relish in the few things that work for me. For example,  I love our ice maker so much sometimes I thank it out loud for its fine service. And since there's no difference between indoors and out, save for a soft breeze, I find I'm venturing more than ever.

This weekend we are embracing the heat by grilling, picnicing, lazying by a river, camping in a tent, and picnicing (again)... consider it a staring contest with mid-July. We still actively hate fabrics but we will not back down!

Here's a picture of us camping two years ago, I'm displaying my best 'beat the heat' resolve

My other favorite way to stare down summer: watch old school rap videos. You know the kind - when a few people start off in bouncy cars, or motorcycles, or some cool vehicle, and then end up at a shindig picnic, or on basketball courts, or chillin with the whole neighborhood on a stoop. There's always group games and short shorts and up-shot camera angels and people sitting on hoods of cars. 

There is ALWAYS good music, and its always wonderfully, visibly, sticky hot. It makes me say "Hell yea! Dr. Dre doesn't need air conditioning, neither do I." 



HAPPY hot hot hot summer WEEKEND!

blurbs and books of love

There is company I love called blurb and I feel the need to tell you about it. My friend Lauren first introduced me to it a few years ago and now I'm hooked.

I've used both snapfish and shutterfly before to make a custom photo album (we had one made for our wedding guest book) and they can't compare to the quality you get with blurb books... for the same prices!!  (we made photo books for our parents with wedding pictures and they look better than some professional albums we've seen)

Its a small company and they don't just do photo albums - they do novels, cookbooks, children's books, even mini instagram flip books! Its like a tiny independent printing press.

And the best part is that you can create something and then make it public for others to purchase.... so if you have a stack of family photos and recipes you want to scan and preserve you can do it - then the whole clan can log on to buy it for christmas! (am I the only one blown away by this? its awesome right?) You can also search the site for other people's items, often they have ones sold for charity, and buy them as well.

Its really easy to use - I know because I've written several books with blurb (not necessarily good books but they are books none the less, my friends)

When Neil and I had been dating a year we set the gift limit to $1. Around that time I was encouraged by the concussion professionals to journal or write and keep jogging my memory (also a reason for this blog, by the way). In attempt to both work on my brain and seduce my man, I wrote a book about our year together. I wasn't doing well with chronological order so instead I put it in alphabetical categories. It was an encyclopedia of sorts. My Abilities, our Beliefs, his Characteristics, etc, etc, all the way to Vacations. In a used book store, I found an old, worn book for $1 and pasted the typed pages inside.

When we were dating for two years I felt the desire to continue. Both because I still had a huge crush on him and because we were engaged to be married. So I took that computer file from year one and the new book from year two and converted them into Blurb... easy peasy!

I was so happy with the quality, in year three I continued the pattern and the books got longer - that one being 152 pages. (note: I'm not scrapbooker and I don't make photo albums so I slip in a number of pictures here and there for posterity - which pads the stats, page wise)

The best part about Blurb - a paperback, Orbin original, will only set you back $6.95!!! Granted, my books are only for sale to one guy but the point is still the same, you've got a good deal here.

Moving on from my glowing endorsement for just a second, I have to share that our 2 year wedding anniversary is coming up in about a month and the deadline of Aug 22nd is looming ahead because now it comes with the pressure of completing a novel. I'm happy to do it because I still have that huge crush, but I'm a mere 14 pages into our 4th edition! 
Question: is it cheating to copy and paste parts of an irreverent blog into a book of gushing love and adoration? 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

comedy and coffee

ummm yes please, Mr Jerry Seinfeild

I'll look forward to seeing you July 19th

mine that bird

I've been thinking a lot about hope lately.

This video of the 2009 Kentucky Derby is my favorite example these days.
I'm not a huge horse racing enthusiast but I can't help but get swept up in the drama,
watching the impossible materialize...

mine that bird
trailing the entire first half of the race
winner with 50:1 odds

How do you get a bum horse that lost 31 of its last 32 races to win the Kentucky Derby?!?
When they interviewed the jockey after this historic race he simply said:
"I rode him like a good horse"

I've been thinking a lot about hope lately

and I'm considering renaming it blind, stupid, determination.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

50 in 50 by 50: #9 MICHIGAN

I'll remember this as the one where I fell in love with trail running...
also the one where I tripped and fell.

We had been staying a few days with family in the lovely town of Saugatuck, Michigan. This was my first introduction to the state that looks like an oven-mitt (or a big toe, depending) and I must say - I was bowled over!

Saugatuck dock

We decided on our drive home we would squeeze in a race. It was July 4th but we didn't want the typical parade and 5K (sorry Ann Arbor, I'm sure you would have been quaint and patriotic). What we found was anything but typical...

The T-Rex 10 Miler Trail Run and Wimpy 8K in Lowell. It was put on by the Old Farts Running Club so when we arrived to find most of the people looking to be over 70 we were impressed. When we heard a group of them playfully gang up on one guy for running the Wimpy ("hey lay off" he defended "I'm nursing this hamstring and I'm running with my grand daughter"), we were in awe... we had found our future.

The race was held in a beautiful park. I wish I had taken pictures along the trail because it was gorgeous. Here is as best as I can give you - a picture of our course map:

very technical, as you can see.

The few times we weren't in true wooded areas, we were on dirt paths that wrapped around a lake or we were crossing a field. It was decidedly not the Michigan described by eminem. It was breath taking. (mostly for the fact that I was winded).

I paced myself much better on this 8K than my last race and I fought back every urge to prove something and just enjoyed the run. I think that's what makes trail running something so easy to love - it's very liberating. I couldn't directly compare it to my road race times so I didn't think about time. And I had to stumble down the rocky hills and make sharp turns to head back up in horribly ungraceful ways. I had to run like a little kid. (or like Phoebe in friends). Its liberating to know you'll probably get dirty and you'll probably get scratchy shins from the overgrowth on the path. Running has always been messy for me, so with trail running it was easy to fall in love.

Coming to the end, my headaches had spiked (no surprise) and the weather was hot (low 90s and humid). When my brain is all about hurting, its not in the mood for thinking. This turns dodging tree roots and jumping stones into the sort of 'high level' thinking I can't deal with, so my head checks out of the equation and I bite it. Nothing major, just a lot of dirt and a few scrapes. It would be much worse if I didn't have Neil to dust me off and help me get going again.

We finished the race, only to find that Neil's parent's drove to Lowell to cheer us on (which was not exactly on the direct route home). It was a great encouragement and a lot of fun because when we're in other states we rarely have finish line paparazzi and warm hugs.

yikes maybe with that back sweat, we skip the warm hugs and just give thanks for great parents... also for running partners and wooded trails and old farts galore

Oh and I need to mention we got our first finisher's medal - sort of. The entire race we were mocked for running the wimpy 8K (4.97 miles). Our shirts were separate from the T-Rex 10M and they said wimp all over them, on the trail there were arrows and signs everywhere that said "wimps this way" and "repeat after me 'I'm a wimp'", and the 8K finishers got "metals" not medals. So here are our wimpy tire irons:

I'm also awkwardly displaying my extra dirty hands from falling,
because who doesn't trip and land palms first? who?

So that's Michigan! We both said we want to go back and do this one again. I want to run all 10 miles and say defiantly "no one calls ME a wimp and gets away with it!" and Neil wants to take his bike and ride the trails instead of running them. Until next time MI, sleep with one eye open my friend.

The Breakdown
date: 7/4/12
race: T-Rex 10 Miler and Wimpy 8K
location: Lowell, MI
charity: supporting the Old Farts Running Club
time: 55:47

Monday, July 9, 2012

Up Against The Ropes

In a recent podcast of The BS report, Bill Simmons interviews comedian Louis CK about his upcoming season of Louie (a show I love). In this interview Louis CK shares that he is an avid boxing fan, to the point of training and sparring himself.

He says there are a lot of parallels between boxing and life (its a great podcast so I recommend you listen to it all) but there's one metaphor he mentions that I can't help holding onto...

being up against the ropes

I've always taken that phrase at popular face value to mean "you're trapped", used interchangeably with "backed into a corner" or "there's no way out"

Starting at about minutes 18 in this interview, Louie begins talking about boxing and he breaks down "against the ropes" in a new way. I won't quote him or try to recreate exactly what he says, instead I'll summarize and tell you what I gather it means for me...

Sometimes there's a point in a fight when fatigue sets in for a boxer - when they can tell their muscles to work but they've been out there so many rounds it just won't compute. At this time they need a break more than anything. Leaning on the ropes doesn't give them full rest but takes some of the load off. It allows them to sit back a bit and pull in some energy.

This is a calculated choice because putting their back to the ropes leaves them vulnerable. They have no where else to go. It means they will have to take more punches and willingly face more pain. But a boxer could lose a fight for fatigue and so its a choice of rest over pain. All of this, so after a short time they can spring back ready to fight anew.

So I'm not sure I have to spell out all the ways this resonates with me but I will... (and I don't hope you're against the ropes but I hope this connects with you too, especially in the sense that I'm speaking clearly here - sometimes I feel jumbled in thought)

When a life circumstance puts you in a position where there is no foreseeable way out you are, as popular phrases say, backed into a corner. And when you are "up against the ropes" like this its almost always perceived as a terrible thing. Even in enlightened Christian circles, people don't handle this position well. I've heard many kind wishes and prayers from people to get me out of this place. Of course. That's nice, because I don't want to be here - but its also telling that no one knows quite what to do with "up against the ropes"

I loved hearing Louis CK explain this reasoning to lean into the ropes. That being stuck in the corner can be okay. Because round after round of fighting does make one weary and sometimes the whole thing can be lost because you're just worn down more than anything. 

I loved hearing this reasoning because sometimes you honestly have to face pain when you're in a dark place and that can be good

I loved hearing this because it brought to mind the verse from Matthew 11 when Jesus says, "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." How often is that depicted as a stained glass window, Jesus seated on a smooth stone with arms outstretched, children nestled beside him, sheep lazy in a grassy field? How often have I pleaded that my rest from all this hurt would look like that church window promise, only to lay awake with ice pick headaches?

But it says nothing in that verse about circumstance, only rest. Maybe that's why we have no comfortable answer for people up against the ropes. We want to control circumstance. We focus on seeing the people we love get out of difficult situations, even when there's no way out (even when - and this might be my whole point - maybe getting out is not the only thing that needs remedied)

I think thats why I like this verse all the more now that I can imagine it in knock down, drag out fight - "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest" and it might continue on to say "you may still get punched in the face while it happens, but you will rest. So that painful time is still good, don't hurry through it. You will think you can't make it but I promise the cords at your back will lift you enough, and when you stand again you'll be able to keep going. In fact, you'll be stronger... now get these sheep out of my boxing ring." ~Jesus (paraphrased)

Friday, July 6, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope its cool

with everything being so hot, here are some things that I think are super cool...

Pretzel Raft (I hear it goes perfectly with a chilled beer)

Yoga Breakdancing - holy what?!


VW Camper Tent - sleeps four


and its about time this corn hole assistant was invented (I just need to know if there's a parking lot converter for tailgates)

A throwback of Zealots (for my husband) "you can try but you can't divide the tribe"... sorry team but Lauryn crushes it, the writing was on the wall with this one. 


Hope you find a way to be cool this weekend and enjoy the summer fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"I've got a bad disease"

When I come back from a vacation I need rest. 

I used to feel that way even before I was concussed. I would hurry and pack (leaving a tornado wake of clothes behind) and fill my trips with a bunch of fun activities, then come home with laundry and travel fatigue and a mess to deal with.

Now its enhanced even more because I just can't do all those days of conversation, thinking, and interaction (on top of the usual vacation fun activities). My travel fatigue is exponentially greater.

I don't want to imply that I had a bad time. I had a wonderful trip! My enjoyment of family never wore thin, but by the end of the week, it was nearly impossible for me to interact with strangers. I couldn't be in clamoring coffee shops and I thought mean things at the slow walking families. 

And when everyone wanted to do a wine tasting, I realized the thought of responding to a sommelier about 'how long we're in town' or 'if we can detect the subtle hickory notes' might push me towards aggression. (it wasn't far from this scene in Bottle Rocket when Anthony explains why he went into a mental institution. which is not necessarily comforting)

So I'm taking all morning to say nothing and do nothing and rest from my relaxing vacation.
(that sounds spoiled, I know, but I'm saying it anyway)

Here is a nice soothing song for my kind of concussion recovery day (I've got to take it slow):

Here is an image of the beaches in Michigan (yes Michigan) that I will close my eyes think about.