Seattle, WA
Poet, blogger, lawyer, educator, sista, sister, aunt, daughter, mentor, friend, dog owner, lover of music and all things gluten free... Writing about all of this and more.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday 5K for Mom


The old adage goes, "The race is not always given to the swift, but to those who keep on running." ~Author unknown.

I thought about this as I ran down Embarcadero in San Francisco on Sunday, an abnormally warm and sunny day for San Francisco in near-October. I was running about a 12 minute mile, which was slower than my pace even as I practiced for the Race for the Cure. The difference? Everything that the race signified for me, and for the two thousand or so other people who gathered to run that morning, had finally made its impact on me. It wasn't weighing me down, per se. It was just... significant. It was something I needed to observe, which meant I was running a little slower than I wanted to but experiencing the event the way I needed to.

I'm running for Mom. On what would have been her 57th birthday. I'm seeing women and men that look like the world--they're from everywhere, they look like everyone. And we all want breast cancer to be a thing of the past, and we all want to do something beautiful and celebratory to honor those who've fought it, be they survivors running alongside us, or loved ones we now miss. I'm running for Mom and the lady next to me is running for Aunt Kristin, and the little boy to the left of me is running for his Nana, who is here at the race waiting for him to reach the finish line. And the Stanford Rugby women and the Cal Cross Country men with their pink shorts and tutus, they're running because they can and should run, because they have the lungs and legs and spirit to do it.

As I took it all in, I can't deny that it was bittersweet. I absolutely thought, Mom should be running here too, with a hot pink Survivor Shirt on.



As I encouraged myself to keep running, swift or not, I also thought about those who couldn't run. I also wondered, for the millionth time, why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Why do things happen the way they do?

Some say that old saying about the race not being for the swift was a reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11, which reads: "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."

In other words, to answer my questions, "Who knows?"

I sure don't. But I do know that I believe God has a plan for me and my life, and that as clueless as I may be to how it will all pan out and why, I'm confident that I'll be okay. I also know that as long as I can live--and run, walk, smile, laugh, fight, survive, WRITE--I will do it with gratitude.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fall's Coming (Haiku)

One last stolen kiss
Lingering, still, on summer
Warm September day

Monday, September 13, 2010

For mom, against cancer!

September 26th is my mom's birthday. She would have been 57 this year. I try to picture the 57 year old version of her. Can't. I'm sure she would have still been as youthful as she always was. She's been really really on my mind lately. I mean, more than in the usual every day way. So I wanted to do something special to recognize her this year.

I thought about signing up for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, which is a 60 mile event that takes place in Seattle on her birthday weekend. It sounds like such an amazing and inspirational event and I was getting really excited about doing it, until I went on an 8 mile hike that kicked my booty and reminded me that I actually have to condition for these types of things. (Note to self: "you are neither 18 nor invincible. Act accordingly." #myahamoment)

But I did some research and was so happy to find out that there's a Race for the Cure in San Francisco on her birthday. A 5K, this is much more within my current abilities (but shout outs to Mirenda darling for doing the 3 day and signing up for the 5K this year!). So in honor of her courageous 11-year battle against breast cancer, and to celebrate what would have been her 57th birthday, I will be participating in the 2010 Race for the Cure in San Francisco. My goal is to raise at least $570 (but $5700 would be nice!) to support the San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in its efforts to fund breast cancer screening, treatment, education and support programs, as well as Komen's national research grants program.

Interested in donating? This can be done online by clicking here. Your tax-deductible contribution will help women who need it now, by supporting local breast cancer programs, and will help protect women in the future by supporting Komen's national research grants program.

I will keep you posted on my progress! Also, please add your loved one's name, or your own name if you're a Survivor, if you want to give shouts out to those you love who have fought this disease.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

No thank you.

Doing another writing excercise from the book, An Old Friend From Far Away. Thanks Jace! This one asks you to write for ten minutes and everytime you feel yourself coming to a pause in typing, you are supposed to write "No thank you..." again and finish that sentence however the spirit may move you. I like it. Here she goes:

No thank you, I am not interested in living a compromised life, just because you lived it and you're "doing okay" and so I should follow that course too.

No thank you, I will not have a stale life where I settle for less than my wildest dreams because that's the practical thing to do.

Do you ever feel like as you get older and more "practical," some of the magic of being a dreamer fades? I hate feeling like I'm sinking into, rather than blooming into, adulthood. I think a lot of us abandon parts of the child within that should actually be given the chance to flourish now that we have more agency than we did as kids. It makes me think of the movie Drop Dead Fred, where the little girl would always imagine what she would be like when she grew up. Then she did, and it was just a sadder, less vibrant version of what she could have been.

Now, I'm not saying this is me. I'm not some shriveled up prune or anything and I don't feel like I've strayed so far from the path that I'm not the same person. But I do sometimes find myself fighting to hear that inner voice--call it intuition, the Holy Spirit, your conscience, your heart, or just YOU--when really it should be the world outside that's struggling to get a word in edge wise. It should be all the nay-sayers and those who aren't me but think they know all the answers that have the most trouble breaking through to me; not myself, the person who God speaks to about what His plans are for me. Seems almost ridiculous to even have to write that, but I know too many people who have looked up one day, looked around, and not recognized themselves, so I have to stay aware of the danger of that happening.

I'm going to take up meditating more often. In a recent post I wrote about how writing is like my meditation, and how meditation is like the soul's way of speaking. Well I gotta listen to that. I'd encourage others to do the same. I will say that as the praying type I find it easier to rely on my own sense of self when I'm tapped in to prayer. After all, that's a type of meditation, isn't it?

I don't know why I'm on this whole, like, "Here's some advice" tip lately. Last post it was about self-reflection during the Fall season. Today it's about listening to that inner voice... I hope I'm not being redundant! But for some reason that's the message that is resonating with me right now, and so that's what I gotta share on this blog.

So, anywho: no thank you to anything that silences my inner voice or sets me off course from my designated path. No thank you to anything but living an authentic life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Itchy

In my front yard a couple of weeks ago, I worked hard pulling up all the nasty weeds that flourished from my neglect of the garden throughout the entire summer. It was serious labor. It was a legitimate work out, y'all.

Later that evening, feeling that sense of accomplishment one feels from both meaningful physical activity and a successfully finished project, I sat on the couch with my feet up and a blanket over me, watching t.v. Slowly, I began to notice the beginning tickles of a bug bite on the back of my ankle. And then another on the top of my foot and then another. The more aware I became of it, the more bug bites I began to discover. I think there were six or seven on my two feet. Gross.

This reminded me of the time I had chicken pox. Well, I believe Monty had it first; then Chantel, then me, then finally Chalon. I might have the order wrong, but in a short period time we had a little chicken pox pandemic going on at my Gram's house, where my cousins and I all went after school when we were kids. I remember the discovery ("Is this it...? Is that a... a chicken pock?"), I remember how my mom fretted over me and made me not want to get better because I liked the attention, and I remember Calomine lotion, that pinkish white stuff with its distinctive smell that sat in my nose, taunted me into wanting to actually taste it even though I knew it would be disgusting. I could never bring myself to do it, thank God. And I remember the oatmeal mix. Now that I wouldn't be surprised if I had eaten... Terrible!

I'm sure I must have felt sick and miserable. Chicken pox are no joke, after all. But seriously, all I remember now is that my cousins and I still got to play together because we all had it, so there was no harm. And I remember sitting on the floor at Gram's house, with blankets all over me, just straight chillin. When people reminisce about the 80s, I think about stuff like that time we all got the chicken pox. Must have been '86. I feel like that music video for the song Supersonic was out and I can picture us singing, "the S is for super and the U is for unique, the P is for perfection and you know that we are freaks..." and I can see the adults looking at each other because they hated for us to say the word "freaks" but they wouldn't explain why.

Ahh, good times. I don't know why I'm writing about that! Except that it's funny how one thing can take you all the way back to some other, seemingly completely random thing. And it's interesting how sometimes the most draining and miserable experiences can be mitigated, even transformed into wonderful memories, just by the sheer presence of good company and loving people.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Change gon' come

The rain this morning felt appropriate; the grey, interrupted by short flirts of sunshine, almost comforting. Outside my window at work, leaves on the maple tree are starting to brown a little and something in the air this morning smelled of the crisp coolness of Fall. While these things signal the end of hot sunny days and sunglasses, I actually welcome it.

I can never say that I want Summer to end, but there's always something about Fall arriving that makes me feel like things are happening in a fresh or exciting way. School starts, for one thing. Because I work with students, that means gearing up for new programming, winding back up to the energy level required to deal with K-8th graders. I also have a Fall birthday, so perhaps the start of the season gets me thinking about this marker of my time here on earth, gets me taking inventory on what I've done and what I want to do.

Fall feels kind of like New Years to me. This time of year is when I find myself more motivated to get things in order and clean house. Right now my priority is finishing my writing project. I've been writing more often, thankfully. Every day.

I have some other professional goals that I am newly motivated to pursue as well regarding my passion for education. I don't know why I'm being so secretive about it, but suffice it to say that I've got lots of ideas and I'm looking forward to figuring it all out.

Welcome back to school, kiddos! And for the grown ups, I hope this time provides a good opportunity for you to do some nice self reflection.