Friday, October 29, 2004

good ol' teen angst

i went to a teen angst poetry reading the other night with some friends. sheer hilarity. here is a sampling:
A Buttercup In A Field Of Flame
Erin Millar

I am a buttercup
golden and free
standing in a field of flame
the light of love does not reach me
sunshine is lost above me
trees lash out and strangle the rays
and the flames dance around me
at night
strange and hideous beasts wander through the fire
and I want to be a rose
I am a buttercup
golden and kept
caged by windows and parapets of stone
gazing at the world below me from a cold
and loveless tower room
plagued by my knowledge and my silence
lost in a room with one door, clearly unlocked and flung wide…
What I wouldn’t give to be a rose!
a single red rose…
I am a buttercup
And I will never love again.

for more go to

Thursday, October 28, 2004


as promised, an account of my half marathon experience. ( by the way, do any of my friends read this? comment so i know, although it is just clearly a way to soothe my ego. am i writing into empty internet space? is anyone out there?)

there are many things one could do in 2 hours and 41 on seconds. see a movie. take a nap. grocery shop. catch up on email. i decided to run 13 miles. i'm still kind of scratching my head, trying to figure out how this happened, because i've never been into running before. i like playing games, interacting with other people. running was something i did only because it was training for some other sport (my crew coach made me do it), and it was boring and solitary. admittedly peer pressure had something to do with this new hobby, as i have several friends who run regularly. besides, vancouver, as a whole, is pretty fitness obsessed. i've been pleasantly surprised at how much i have enjoyed the training, spending the time on long runs conversing with friends, spending the time alone, and being pleased with my progress.

i didn't get nervous until we were driving to the race in the morning. "what the hell am i doing here?" we were late, having only time to dash to the porta-pottie for a last minute bathroom break, and rush to the starting line in time to hear the announcer say, "2 minutes to start" there were about 4000 people entered in the race, and it was eerie in the early morning light to only hear the footsteps of so many people, some hastily assembled army storming off to nowhere. i didn't have any time to stretch, so my shins immediately tightened up, which actually was a good thing because it took my mind off how much my knees were hurting. it took a while for me to settle down and get into a rhythm, i was distracted by watching the many different people running, who all seemed to be passing me, which was irritating to the my competitive side.

victoria is a beatiful city, which has a great laid back beach town feel to it. my favorite moment was coming out of the park halfway through the race to see the sun shining through the clouds on the Juan De Fuca Strait, casting a golden and silver light on the water. i found the moment beautiful and absurd. absurd that i was doing this, something that i had never tried or even wanted to do before, and beautiful that i was there to see this sight at all. and i felt blessed.

i turned my mind back to the race. the course doubled back on itself, and i saw the front-runners pass me. they looked like they were sprinting. it was crazy. my friends that had come along for the trip were the best fans ever. they drove around to different points in the course and waved their signs and cheered loudly. as the race wore on, i couldn't spare the energy to react, but i was grateful for the sight of them. there were a lot of people out to watch the race, and even some strangers cheered for me and i managed a tired smile at them.

with 6k to go (about 4 miles) i realized that i could maybe break 2 hours. i hadn't come into the race with any time goal in mind, i just wanted to see how i would do, without the pressure or expectations. the women behind me were talking about it, and i decided that i would attach myself to them and go for it. i don't remember much for that last part, around 30 minutes, besides telling myself to breath and to go hard. the last part of the accursed race course ends up back in town and zig zags around several city blocks. at each corner i thought i'd see the finish line, only to see more race course. in my mind i yelled "DAMMIT!". i had no breath to spare. i sprinted down the chute, which seemed to take an eternity. but i finished! got my little medal and race photo (if you want to check it out, go to and do a search for me) and i'd do it again.

my friends and i hobbled around for the rest of the day. 3 of us ran the half marathon and my friend rochelle did the whole shebang. we piled back into the car and went out to cheer for her. we pigged out on the post race buffet of fruit and doughnuts and yogurt - for this reason alone i would do another race. mmm... donut.
celebrated thanksgiving that night, falling asleep at 2 different points in the evening. they didn't hold it against us - at that point, it looked like we were afflicted with serious cases of arthritis. it took about 4 days for me to be able to walk normally again, and not do some sad little charlie chaplin shuffle crossing the street. hard to believe that i voluntarily subjected myself to this kind of pain. i'm just a glutton for punishment.

reading break

it's reading break. the semester is half over (what the heck? how'd that happen?) and i get to catch a breath and get square with my school work. that's the idea anyway. so far, it's been a week of wondering where the last month and half went, realizing that i've been in survival mode, and hoping that life won't always feel like this. kind of a sobering realization, without really understanding how to move on from here. perhaps this is just the over-analysis provoked by being in grad school, and while it is annoying sometimes, i think ultimately a valuable thing. stop. think. check in with yourself. rest. connect.

been frustrated mainly with how to keep in touch with my friends here. seemed easy enough during the summer, full of lazy days, and a little school work. the frenetic pace of the school year has not been one that i have enjoyed so far, and even though i spend it with people, little of it is the interaction that i crave. and this is my friends here, much less with friends in farther away places. so odd to feel lonely in the midst of so many people, yet it is something that afflicts all of us at one time or another. not sure what God has for me in this time. seems like nothing really of interest is happening, but i know that He is up to something, and i am growing in some ways that i'm not going to realize until after the fact. so really, i should just chill the hell out.

my current funk is also in part caused by the onset of fall, and the rain. this rant has been brought to you by seasonal affective disorder. give me sunshine.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

aches and pains

sitting here with ice packs on my knees, just after a run. the half marathon is this weekend, in victoria. i'm looking forward to it, because i've been training since mid-july for this, and also because i'm looking forward to giving my body (mainly my knees) a rest.
the knee pain just started up this week, i think mostly from overuse, and i'm just reaching the peak of my training. besides that preparing to do this race has gone pretty well. i've enjoyed the discipline in my life again, feeling in shape, taking the beauty of vancouver in the summer, and the long runs chatting with friends. misery loves company, i guess - but when else do you get a chance to have uninterrupted time with a friend? not so often. i never thought i'd like running, or ever voluntarily choose to run 13 miles on a sunday morning. i've always played in team sports, and that requires a different sort of motivation. well, i never thought i'd live in canada, either, so i guess everything else is fair game.
i remain blissfully unaware of the election machinations. i'm a bit ashamed of myself, not exercising my right and responsibility as an American to vote. from what i can gather, people are pretty pissed off at the state of things. and scared. not exactly a good place to start to make decisions on voting, nor does it reflect well on our incumbent president. not that the other option seems all that better either. it is interesting to be in another country and to hear a more international perspective on things. i may have just missed the deadline to get my absentee ballot, so i am hanging my head in shame.
well, i've reached the requisite 20 minutes of icing my old joints. off to the showers. a report of the weekend will be forthcoming.
p.s. canadian thanksgiving is monday. eat some turkey.