it's the most wonderful time of the year

I believe that it is a commonly known fact that this time of year is not exactly a walk through the park. Primarily because a walk through the park requires ten layers of extra clothing and will likely happen after dark because you leave for work at dawn and return at sunset.

Depression is something that has had an acute presence in my life since I was a teenager. At times it afflicted me and more often people very close to me. My life experience has given me a certain type of radar with depression and a sense of advocacy about it. I am very in tune with myself and make note of any consecutive days of blah. I want others to be in tune with themselves and to set aside the inane misconceptions about it.

A few days ago, I decided that any person I may marry in the distant future will have to survive at least to Januarys with me because I just hate the time of year. It is filled with post-tramautic Christmas stress syndrome and bills stacked to my ears. I've had people explain it to me and I try to explain it to myself. In general, though, I just don't like this time of year.

I know I am not alone in my sullen mood and I am not so sullen that it has decapitated my ability to function. (In fact, my to-do list making business is quite successful at the moment) Yet, my empathy for others who are fully entrenched in its cancerous wretch is quite high. I ran across this piece of (lengthy) writing yesterday and feel compelled to share. I hope that you can take the time to gain a better understanding (or bask in the empathy of another sufferer) of this very pervasive illness.


i think i can, i think i can, i think i can

Saturday was a big day in the world of my running shoes. I kicked out a full five miles in 47.5 minutes. That is good for the non-athletic, non-professional butt kicker, non-competitor in me. I could have gone faster, but the desire to avoid freezing my lungs out in the brittle air kept me at an easy pace.

It was good to really get out there and show myself that running long distances isn't as hard as my imagination had made it out to be recently. I was able to quash a few of my irrational running fears (like that my neck would cramp up and I would fall off balance into a ditch or worse, train tracks). I was also able to enjoy being in the outdoors running.

Treadmill running is ridiculously monotonous. You can only watch so many episodes of cheesy do-it-yourself shows before you would rather lose three fingers to frostbite. The only redeeming aspect of treadmill running is the absolute control over speed. On Friday afternoon, I knew that I ran 3 miles in 24 minutes. That is REALLY good for me. I could push myself to that time because I could see what my exact pace was and I could watch my form in the nauseating mirror to the side.

But in the end, the outdoors beckon me. I can't wait for winter winds to subside calling in the springtime dew. I know it is bad form to wish parts of your life away, but I could really do without the rest of January.


you can count on her

My older sister is the most thorough person I know. By thorough I mean that she thinks through every possible worst and best case scenario for situations in less than thirty seconds. She analyzes why things are good and bad down to their minutia and rarely hesitates at sharing either.

Growing up this was often in thorn in my side. I don't really want to know every detail about why these sunglasses look bad on me. Just say, "Not for you." I don't really need a thirty minute explanation on how to load a dishwasher correctly. Nonetheless, I have carried some of these learnings with me into my adult life, but they are generally anecdotal. At least she is consistently anal. I come off looking neurotic and touchy.

While it was a pain growing up, now that I no longer live with her and have to worry about why towels should be hung precisely even on their racks I find her thoroughness quite admirable and useful. If I need to find the perfect dress, she will help me find it. If I need help finding a bedroom comforter she will look at the color, she will feel it, she count the threads, and she analyze its ability to withstand being washed frequently. She researched cheese (types, knives, boards, and proper companions) for our family Christmas Eve finger food fest. She is really Consumer Reports in a living breathing body.

She is coming to visit for the evening on her way to a distant land. I can't wait because she is going to help me decide whether to chop my bangs to look like Anne Hathaway or to shave my head like Sinead O'Connor. Your opinions, while valued, will be outweighed by whatever she says. Remember, she is the one who introduced me to the greatest band on earth. Her taste is simply impeccable.


i've got to quit reading these books

Last night I finished yet another book (ahhh... I love reading).

The book is aptly titled: Man of My Dreams. It is by Curtis Sittenfeld (of Prep fame). The story isn't nearly as witty as Prep. Nor is it as tightly written. I imagine Sittenfeld had Prep ruminating in the recesses of her mind for many years. Man of My Dreams was dreamed up later and didn't have the luxury of years of tweaking and editting.

That's fine, it was still an entertaining book with glorious lines like "Go on. Go ahead. Give each other chlamydia." You have to love a protagonist that snarks hilarity quietly to no one but the reader.

Despite its entertainment value, I've decided that the onslaught of "Ohhh.... If I could only find the man of my dreams then my life would be perfect" books in my reading repetoire has tapped discontentedness into my bloodstream. Does anyone else experience this acute affectedness from reading? Television and movies momentarily perturb me, but books have a lasting corrosive effect, as if their length errodes my immunity to wishy washy prince charming stories.

I decided enough is enough last night and as I finished Man of My Dreams, I picked up a perfectly acceptable book to transition me out of such a ridiculously repetitive storyline.

For the next few days it will just be me, the cannibals, and their sex lives.

Thanks to Kacey for the great recommendation.


a marital status rant

There are few things that drive me more crazy than married or otherwise attached people giving single people "marital status advice." Let "marital status advice" not be confused with "relationship advice." They are wholly different things.

Relationship advice deals with conflict resolution, communication, making the love of your life realize that you are standing right in front of him, blah blah blah. It is the sort of thing that we all benefit from because we are all in relationships with people.

Marital status advice is given to single people. It is given under the assumption that the single person wants nothing more out of life than to be married. It is usually vague and useless. My favorite marital status advice line is: "As soon as I let go of wanting to be married so badly and starting living my life for God, I found my soulmate standing right beside me."

Pardon me while my digestive system revolts against the intake of such ridiculous bollocks.

First of all, what does "living your life for God" even mean? I am not going to climb on my high horse and claim that I have it figured out (heaven knows I don't!), but I've been working on that in my life for quite a while now. I can't just start something up that I've already been trying to do. Should I stop trying to do so for a while so that I can restart again?

Furthermore, if I do "start living my life for God" then I will find great love? A simple causistic statement about complicated things like living life for God and finding marriage partners cannot be true. Such magic does not exist.

If someone has allowed their marital status to become a spiritual stumbling block, then call them out on it as a spiritual issue. Proposing that if they concoct the perfect God-following recipe, then they will encounter dream-mate only dodges the matter at hand.
If someone is just bumming because they'd like to get married someday, brainstorm ways to meet new acceptable and upstanding people. Veiling ridiculous advice with "God words" will not help them. It will only make them feel like a spiritual failure.

The moral of the story is that single people are great people and they don't need shallow advice. Just like married or otherwise attached people are great people and don't need shallow advice. Big surprise there.


speaking of stds... right before dinner on Christmas Day, a conversation between two sisters

"Do you know what the most phonetically pleasing word of the English language is?"

"No. Why would I know that?"

"It's syphilis."

"Are you suggesting that when I whisper sweet nothings to future lover, I integrate syphilis into the repetoire?"

"What do you mean?'

(in a hushed psuedo-seductive tone) "Oh honey, syphilis...syphilis...syphilis."

"There is a reason you are single."


time to get out of bed

My least favorite time of day is the time between my alarm ringing and me rising out of bed. However this fact would not be made obvious by the number times I hit the snooze button. I average about three times. Four or five on the weekends, Tuesdays, and other miscellaneous days-off that I attempt to be ambitious and get out of bed. God bless the man I marry, after a few weeks of being kind and rising with my alarm, I will forget that I love him and respect him and ruin hours of his life in nine minute segments. I loftily imagine that he will reconcile this fact with my maddening good looks and steely blue eyes. Let's face it, by the time we are fifty, we will sleep in separate bedrooms only because I hate getting up.

Not only do I hate getting up, but I am completely irrational while I lie sleepily on the princess and the pea (otherwise known as the ridiculously tall mattress I sleep upon). If you try to talk to me, I will either tell you that I hate you like Osama hates Americans or that it would be in your nose's best interest to remain quiet. If I don't say it out loud, the words are definitely ringing very loudly between my own ears. My nonverbal scowl might say it best.

Unfortunately, my sentiments for rising out of bed feel eerily similar to those surrounding the beginning of this upcoming training session. That's right, it is time to start training for the next half-marathon. The race is in April and a number of my friends are going to get out and run that morning. Some are running the full marathon. Others will run alongside of me. Others will join up to run a marathon relay race. It is going to be spectacular.

But I have to start training. Now. And I can't seem to stop hitting the snooze button.


back to the future

The last nine or ten days of my life has been spent in past memories.

Childhood memories.

High school memories.

College memories.

2006 memories.

Many are good memories. Many are not-so-good. Reliving old memories is always painful, always joyful, and always exhausting.

Today is the last day of this much needed vacation. It will be filled with laundry, library runs, rent checks, and of course the grocery store.

Tomorrow is re-entry day. It is back to the todays, creating memories to be relived late at night, alone in the deep darkness, together over a glass of wine and faint laughter of yonderyears. Tomorrow I'm headed back to the future.