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Archive for December, 2012

I predicted that 2012 would be a very good year, but it wasn’t a hard prediction to make. There was a lot to be excited about.

Graduation, marrying the love of my life, and a Hawaiian honeymoon, to name a few things.

GWGraduation!

Wedding - afterparty

Snorkeling

But this past year was also about more than the big things.

It was about battling old demons, learning new things, pushing myself, embracing the ugly, and starting new traditions. Plus a million other little things in between.

What I said for 2011 holds true, too, for 2012: this year has once again exceeded my expectations.

(Minus my Philly teams imploding, of course. Though, one could argue that I should have expected that, too.)

Regardless, 2012 was fantastic, but I know that 2013 will offer up its own adventures.

And I can’t wait to embrace them.

Cheers!

new_years_toast

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Years ago – when I was old enough to know better, but still prone to stupid mistakes – my parents left me at home with a friend while they participated in a progressive dinner. They were hosting the main course, so they’d be back eventually, and my only instructions were not to touch the pot roast that was cooking upstairs.

No problem.

Cara and I were downstairs watching a movie when we got hungry and decided to make ramen. To this day, I’m not sure why I didn’t just pause the movie, go upstairs, and make the soup. But then again, hindsight is 20/20.

I decided to boil water in the downstairs microwave, which was situated so that I could still see the TV.

The next thing I knew there was a fire in the microwave.

You see, the “still prone to stupid mistakes” part of me didn’t think about the fact that I had used a metal pot – with a plastic handle – to boil the water.

It was the handle that caught on fire and was slowly burning up, blackening the formerly white microwave and stinking up the entire downstairs.

I grabbed the first thing I could find – a ladle – and tried to fill it up with water to toss on the flames. Cara, the calmer of the two of us, pointed out that the bowl (next to the ladle) would hold more water.

Good point.

We safely extinguished the fire and nervously waited for my parents to get home. Even if I could have hidden the microwave, there was no hiding the smell.

I remember wondering just how mad my parents would be, and what they’d say when they walked through the door.

First words from Mama:

Whatever happened, that better not be the pot roast.

I thought there’d be more, but they had company coming, so my microwave-shenanigans weren’t fully addressed that night.

Fast forward a few weeks to Christmas morning, opening our stockings.

My mom has always been an expert stocking stuffer. She manages to find the perfect mix of fun doodads and incredibly useful things that you didn’t know you needed until you open them. But always smaller, lighter things (and each individually wrapped, to make it more fun).

My stocking that year, however, was fully weighed down in the toe and as I made my way through the rest I was both excited and curious.

The last thing I pulled out – the heavy thing – was probably about seven inches tall and cylindrical. And I couldn’t even begin to guess as to what it was.

I certainly wasn’t expecting the huge can of heavy duty microwave cleaner. Though maybe I should have been.

I imagine that my mom must have been smirking as I pulled off the wrapping, but I don’t remember that for a fact.

I do know that, given the damage I did to the microwave, and the smell that permeated the house for at least a week, I was lucky that the cleaner wasn’t the only thing in my stocking that year.

And no, I haven’t boiled water in the microwave since.

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Some people are photogenic, no matter what they do.

Some people are especially good at spotting any camera in their vicinity, and can therefore pose and appear to always be photogenic.

I am neither of those people.

And the times that has proven to be most true?

Races. Always races.

Sometimes, the photos aren’t so bad – just goofy looking:

sleepyrace

Not the only photo in which I closed my eyes this race.

Granted, running-while-sleeping did result in a PR, but I would still recommend keeping your eyes on the road.

Sometimes, though, the race photos are bad – seriously bad – and belong on Seriously Ugly Race Pics.

Husband introduced me to the site months ago, and I figured I’d submit one of my gems. You know, embrace the ugly.

Chicago - worstfaceever

Chicago Marathon, 2011

I never heard back and never saw it posted, so I assumed it didn’t make the cut and forgot about it.

Until I got an email confirmation last night that it was being added to the queue.

Now, being part of a photo collection with the word “ugly” in the title isn’t exactly something I’ve aspired to in my life, but I was oddly pleased to share.

Maybe it’s because every runner knows that they hit this point eventually, whether the camera captures it or not.

Maybe it’s because I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous I look.

Or maybe it’s because I know from experience that there will always be another photo like this, and you just have to learn to run with it.

MCM2011-oof

Marine Corps Marathon, 2011

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I’ve never gotten my own Christmas tree.

When I lived in the studio, I didn’t think there was room (and didn’t want to deal with it by myself). I set out advent calendars and other holiday decorations, but no tree.

When I moved in with Husband two years ago, December was the time for finals, holiday parties, going to Puerto Rico, and then up to Philly for Christmas. And we didn’t make time for a tree.

Last year we were in Argentina for Christmas.

But this year there’s time.

This year, we got a tree and a menorah to celebrate our interfaith-ness, and I realized that I’d forgotten just how much fun it can be to pick out a tree together. (It was fun to get the menorah, too, but Target only had one option, so there wasn’t so much choice involved.)

photo 1

Carrying the tree to the car. We tied it down, but I still held on through the sun roof.

Saturday was spent stringing lights, hanging ornaments, and lighting candles – and standing back to admire our very first tree and menorah together.

lightsandornaments

lituptree

I wanted blue and white lights, but the white were sold out.

menorahfirstnight

Yes, that’s my nativity scene right in front of the menorah.

I know the menorah will make it all eight nights, but I can only hope that the tree lasts through Christmas.

I have a terrible track record at keeping things watered.

Bonus video for anyone who, like me, loves holiday a cappella and mashups:

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Up until now I’ve only seen races from the runner’s perspective. I wasn’t especially privy to all the behind-the-scenes organization and set-up.

That changed this weekend.

On Sunday I volunteered at the Girls on the Run 5k, with Heather, Kate, and MJ. We volunteered to help at the finish line – particularly with passing out the medals to the finishers. I can’t speak for all of us, but I know that I was thinking of how it felt to finish the Marine Corps Marathon and have that medal placed around my neck. I might not be a marine, and this might not have been a marathon, but there’s still an awesome sense of accomplishment for finishing a race, and I wanted the girls to feel that.

At the starting line...

At the starting line

The first step to handing out the medals, however, was unwrapping them. Each medal had its own individual plastic wrapping, and there were roughly 1,000 medals.

GOTR medals

Step two was figuring out where to stand to distribute them. Were we meeting the girls right at the finish? Were we funneling them toward the food and water? Were we a line across the course, or two receiving lines on either side? Honestly, I’m still not sure. We ended up in each of those places at one point or another.

The third (and arguably most important) step was identifying who got a medal. We’d first heard that it was just girls who were part of the GOTR program. Then it was all kids.  Then it was everyone. At the end of the day, we still had medals left over.

Part of what you don’t always see as a runner is the communication confusion among the volunteers. During our finish line stint, one race official told us one thing, another contradicted her. And then both changed their minds.

When all was said and done, though, the runners didn’t seem to notice the confusion. The girls got their medals and had huge smiles on their faces, even after sprinting to the finish.

They were so incredibly proud of themselves, and they had every right to be.

And that – plus seeing those final sprints – made any frustration from the confusion completely worth it.

GOTR

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