Archive for September, 2009

I just read what is possibly my favorite movie review ever written:

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

Roger Ebert’s reviews are frequently better than the actual movie, and I’m quite sure were I to see Transformers – which I’m not – those four sentences would be the most enjoyable part of the experience.

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This past weekend was my tenth high school reunion, and I kind of went back and forth on whether or not it was good enough excuse to go home for a few days, but finally concluded that, yes, it was worth the trip. (This was partially due to Minnesota’s tax free shopping, the change in season, and Banana Republic’s cute fall collection, but MOSTLY it was about the reunion.)

I think Facebook and other social media has changed the mystique of class reunions. For the most part, I have a basic idea of what my fellow classmates are up to, what they look like, where they live, etc., even if it’s just an occasional twitter update or status message; I wasn’t sure I needed to fly back to the Midwest for the experience. In some ways social media is like a continual high school reunion — on Facebook you give people the version of yourself you want them to see, just like you do a 10 year reunion.

If Facebook has taken some of the mystique away, I didn’t feel cheapened; if anything, knowing people’s particular logistics (“Oh hi. You live in NYC, are married, and just had a baby. Congrats”) gave the opportunity to talk more in depth about the tone and tenor of people’s lives. One classmate I hadn’t seen in ten years opened the conversation about how she liked my wedding pictures (posted on Facebook) and from there it was an easy conversation about wedding planning, marriage, life, instead of “Oh, are you married?” I felt connected to people that I wasn’t necessarily close to in high school (Hi Jolawn!), and have found that through Facebook, blogging, twitter, etc, I’ve established a common ground and continued a connection that started, in some cases, back in 4th grade.

Of course, some of the familiarity has to do with the fact that I graduated with less than 100 people, so keeping track of everyone? Not that hard.  And I know that a lot of people wouldn’t think that a continual high school reunion is their idea of a good time, and don’t see the benefit to the onslaught of social media and overall life transparency. But I have fond memories of high school, and I found it comforting to see that people, including myself, are basically just a refined version of who they were back in the day.  And it’s been nice to get to know each other as adults, one tweet at a time.

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100 Life Goals

A former classmate of mine, Jolawn of SpelHouseLove.com, recently blogged about the developing her “100 Life Goals,” a concept taken from the pastors at The Courageous Church. She writes about it in detail here, but the basic gist is:

These 100 goals are stretch goals. Some are short term, and several are long term and may take a lifetime to complete. Setting these goals requires me to really check my motivation in a lot of areas.

Why am I doing this? Well, since faith is the evidence of things hoped for, I need to write down the things that I hope for. If I don’t have a God-ordained plan for myself, I will follow the plan my job has laid for me, or my spouse or my children have for me, and it won’t be my own plan.

One reason Jolawn’s post struck a cord in me is that it contains a reference to my absolute favorite quote from the Bible:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen“(Heb.11:1)

I love everything alluded to in this passage: the idea that hope has a substance, a weight, and that weight provides us the evidence that the world really might be all that we dream it might be. And I love incorporating into this idea the notion of setting goals for ourselves, adding accountability to our beliefs, challenging us to become the architects of our own lives.

This would have been a really interesting exercise to do as part of pre-marital counseling, but since we’re a leeeeeetle bit beyond that point, it seems as that it will be a part of the ongoing discussion The Boss and I have about who we are, and who we want to be when we grow up, and how we want to get there.

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The Honeymoon is OVER

No, I mean that literally: We finally took our honeymoon, and it is now over.

As a wedding present, the Boss and I were gifted the free use of his parent’s time share… IN GRAND CAYMAN. Wow, our lives are SO rough. It was such an amazing gift, and we had a great time.

I have a ton to write about with regards to our trip, but to tide you over until I get the breathing room to write it all, I give you this story:

It appears that I have the same problem scuba diving that I have when walking; namely, I cannot maintain my own personal space. Apparently, no less than three times while diving, I managed to knock the Boss’s regulator out of his mouth, leaving him 20-100 feet underwater with no attached air source (Him to me after the third time: “Gee, this is like ‘Our Thing’ now.”)

I say  I “apparently” did this, because I had NO idea this was happening until we would surface and he would look at me all “Seriously, you understand my daughter gets the life insurance money, right? Like, you do not benefit if I die” and I’m all “I saw a fish! Wheee!”

Finally I said to him, “You know, we need to come up with a signal for when this is happening, because I never know and I need to be able to recognize this” and the Boss just looked at me for a minute and said:  “The signal? The signal is me, underwater, grasping for my lost regulator, trying not to drown.”

Like I said: The honeymoon is over.


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Conversation I just had with my boss:

Me: “Just for fun, I’d like to write a paper on Acquisition Reform in the Dept of Defense over the past 30 years, and discuss how every initiative has failed, and then challenge the government to tell me why the latest initiatives will work, and, if I have time, I’d like to look back at the ‘objective’ GAO reports over those same 30 years and see how objective they are in light of the  historical and political climate of the time.”

Boss: “Your definition of “fun” and my definition of “fun” vary drastically”

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“No, not again. I… why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam? I swear to God, one of these days, I just kick this piece of shit out the window.” – Office Space

I went through a few years in my early twenties when I could not watch the movie Office Space; it just hit too close to home. (oh my GOD the TPS reports. YES I KNOW I FORGOT THE COVER LETTER, THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME).  It’s just hard to have that sense of promise and excitement leaving college, only to realize that, you know, it’s great that you can do ANYTHING with your life, but what if you don’t know what you want to do? Every boss I have ever had has told me “I will help you get to where you want to go, just tell me where that is,” and I have sat there, staring dumbly at them going “Ummmm, what?”

I have to imagine that’s the same feeling my friend Haley had one day. I’m telling her story here, and I’m sure I’ll get some of the finer facts and details wrong, and I hope she corrects me when I do but the gist of it is: Several years ago, Haley realized she wanted to change her career, change her life, and so she did. Having wanted to be a medical professional, Haley researched her options, and decided to join the U.S. Army. She is now a nurse stationed at Ft. Belvoir, and while the Army certainly brings with it a certain level of pain in the assery that would not be tolerated of any other employers, I have to imagine that her life is much more fulfilling now than when she was working a job in Atlanta void of purpose or future.

I am so proud of her.  I can only imagine the courage it takes at age 26 to stop your life in its tracks and change course so abruptly. Courage, sense of self, and probably a little bit of insanity. But that’s why I’m friends with Haley. She’s the girl you call when you want to run a 5k through Epcot … in a Disney costume.


Goofy Challenge 5k, 2005. Good times.

Haley just told us that she is deploying to Baghdad in a matter of weeks. Last minute change of planes, though I suppose for nurse with a specialty in trauma, it’s not that unexpected. She’s going through the process of shutting down her life, basically, and I understand now what The Boss meant when he said that just before he deployed he felt like he was going to jail, that life was just being put on hold for a year. She’s freezing her gym membership, giving away food (Almond butter, anyone? She’s got a whole jar!), packing up her apartment, putting stuff in storage. (Because I am a good friend, I offered to store some of her stuff. Like, you know, her brown belt, which I took directly off her body. Don’t say I never did anything for ya, Comet).

Taken Directly off her body. Classy.

Taken Directly off her body. Classy.

Except, life isn’t going on hold. We’re all going to have a whole year of experience, of life going forward. Sure, her life isn’t going to be happening where she wants it to be happening, but when she comes home we’ll all be a year older, hopefully wiser, (but [hopefully] not fatter). We’re not kids who think the world stops when you close your eyes and waits for you to open them again; it’s just easier to think of it like that because, well, I’m not ready for her to go. (Neither is Moose. He REALLY likes his Aunt Haley, and has never tried to eat her, not even once).

Aunt Haley!

Aunt Haley!

I’m so proud of her. Proud of her serving, proud of her for working in a profession whose main purpose is to help people, and proud of her for leaping full force into a brand new life. Come back safe, Comet. We’ve got races to run, meals to cook, kettle bells to swing.

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Pumpkin Spice LattYAY!

Two weekends ago, I left the house early in the morning and worked my way through the moist sponge that is the DC summer to meet up with good friends and slog ourselves through the heat on a training run. At one point my friend Laura complained that the outside smelled of dirty laundry, which I’m sad to say was actually just the smell of me sweating through my running clothes in record time.

What can I say? DC is built on a swamp, and you really, really know it in the summer.

So when I walked outside today to a brisk cold wind, I was THRILLED. I love fall. LOVE. It smells of leaves and marathons and pumpkin bread and scarves and apple cider and the GWU Men’s soccer team that runs along my running route with the occasional shirtless member. Fall is good stuff.

And what better way to ring in the briskest day of the year than with its signature drink: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s heaven in a cup, and it’s on sale starting today. Bring it, Fall. I’ve got my scarves ready to go, my puppy ready to hike, my legs ready to run, my pumpkin bread ready to cook. This “summer” with its “heat” and “sunshine” and “long daylight hours” is like, SO over.

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