Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Mascot for the 10K

I've got to admit, I've been a bundle of tears the last few days. Though I knew I'd likely lose an old friend, I still held out hope for a miracle, and was unprepared for her departure. If I had to play a morbid game on what friend I would lose first in my life, I would never have chosen Amanda. She was so strong, so vibrant. Yet she is gone.

I had wanted to run in her honor this year, and was an emotional wreck Friday worried about making her proud. I wanted a way to express it, but didn't want to be gooey - she would hate that. So I made a simple tee, complete with some childhood memories - a copy of her signature from high school, symbols she'd sign off with. It was therapeutic in a way, allowing time to go through our old notes and photos and letting myself feel the loss of an old friend.

I made it through the 10k, intact with no tears. In fact, I clocked in at 1:11:43, a personal best, shaving 10 minutes off of my time last year. Much of that is thanks to my running mate, Tanya, who brought out my competitive streak and kept me going. The majority of it was because of my mascot, an angel-winged zombie warrior, who flew ahead of me in my mind, egging me through the race, making me keep my word on running in her honor. I just couldn't let her down.

I thought I may be emotional when I passed Amanda's family, waving at her husband and blowing kisses to her son. Instead it gave me a renewed energy, and helped me to push even harder, and I found slight relief from the heavy grief in my heart. Several times I had cold shivers, and would imagine it was her way of telling me she was with me. The visualizations worked and pushed me to perform to the best of my abilities.

I kept tears at bay all day until later, when I wanted to tell someone about my time. And I realized the only person I wanted to tell was no longer with us.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Parable of Immortality

Trying to balance the grief and the joy of having been privileged to call Amanda my friend, I found myself searching poetry, looking for meaning, for an explanation of my soul's song last night. This poem was one that spoke to my heart.

"A Parable of Immortality"
– Henry van Dyke

I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
'There she goes! ' ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
'Here she comes!'

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Trails Amanda... I'll miss you.

Saturday I had planned on running in Amanda's honor. Sadly, I'll be running with her memory, instead. Tonight that young, old friend spread her wings and left me behind in the dust. Though she's been sick for a long time, the loss was still sudden, and I feel blindsided - unready to say goodbye.

I've spent all evening reading old notebooks full of our childhood scribbles. Looking through scrapbooks and photos. Wishing she were by my side to laugh with me at our antics, terrible senses of style (hers was WAY cooler than mine, even back then) and countless secret phrases about anything and everything. I can't think of what to do to memorialize her, to really say what I need to say - to cut to the heart of how much I'll miss her.

So instead, I offer up a list of my top 10 favorite moments, ones that embodied a friendship that lasted a lifetime, and will last beyond.

  1. (sung to "Yesterday" by McCartney) "Leprosy... all my skin is falling off of me... I'm not half the man I used to be, oh I can't live, with leprosy" - Our response to the demand for a church camp skit.
  2. Stupid elevator games, to freak people out.
  3. The one and only movie I've ever walked out of - The crying game. We bolted after a few scenes and headed for another theater.
  4. Convincing my parents The Cure was a Christian rock band so that I could go to the concert with her. A lie I'll never regret (sorry Mom).
  5. Amanda and Adrian's wedding. Never in my years of friendship had I seen Amanda so happy. To this day, I've never seen another couple so well matched, so in love, so perfect for each other. My heart aches for his loss.
  6. Singing a duet to "Our God" - man I thought we rocked on harmonizing that. I used to get goosebumps over how good we were. Ha! (Amanda was a great singer, I was not). I still think of her when the TV commercials for "inspirational" songs come on with that tune.
  7. Inscribing our memories into the rafters at the top of the girls' bathroom at our camp. I need to take a trip out there to see if they're still there. Although it would kill me if they weren't.
  8. Fruit Loop Prostitute and Honeycomb Hooker. I won't bother to explain.
  9. Skipping out to 7-11 for Blueberry New York Seltzers. I think the two of us alone should have been enough to keep the brand alive.
  10. Alastair... her legacy. Sharing pregnancy stories, birthin' fun and mommy pride.
There are so many more. Almost 20 years worth of friendship can't be caught in ten bullet points. But I'm overflowing with emotion right now, so this will suffice.

See ya in Wonderland, Alice. I'm going to miss you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kid News

Because you care...

Sadie's officially potty trained - hooray! She's made it two days with only accidents while sleeping (actually, no accidents today). It only took about two months of potty requests every 30 minutes or so. Piece of cake (ha!).

Sadie's latest bed time routine is to force Jason or I to lie in bed with her and "tuddle". She gives kisses and hugs, pecks on the nose, strokes our hair and sometimes sings "Tinkle Tinkle Wittle Star" or "Some-whayw Ober da Rainbow". Then she turns over and says "I'm done sleeping with you," which is your clue to get out of the toddler bed you just folded yourself into and leave.

Soccer's back in season! Katie's on a team with two of her favorite friends this year - both boys. Already she's playing better than last year, and loving her team. Last year our team had a whiner or two, which quickly became a cancer in the group - all the kids whined and cried throughout the season. Day one of practice, and they were rockin' and rolling this year. We switched over to Dynamo from Richmond Strikers, and love the organization and direction they offer. Big change - for the better.

Katie has apparently inherited my entrepreneur gene. She's started a club for kids her age, which she designed herself. She wants it to "be fun at first, then maybe someday she'll have lots of them and make money like you[I] do." Poor thing - if only she knew how little I made from my endeavors she'd run screaming the other way.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Equal Exchange Fundraiser for Three Oaks

OK, shameless plug here.

Three Oaks Montessori (our little preschool) is hosting it's first ever fundraiser through Equal Exchange, a fair-trade cooperative that creates a direct, transparent food system that empowers small-scale farming communities throughout the world. In a world full of Walmart distribution and ownership, small-scale, local and organic farmers struggle to compete. Our students learned about the continents this past month, tying in the theme with our fundraiser.

So, if you'd like to buy any items, we have the following for sale. I've sampled most, and can vouch for them (especially the cranberries, coffee and chocolate) - they are outstanding!

5 oz Cranberries
Whole, juicy cranberries infused with organic sugar and slowly kiln-dried to preserve every last bit of flavor. $ 7.

5 oz Pecans
Plump pecans are perfectly roasted and salted to bring out their full flavor characteristics. $7.

Organic Green Tea, 25 bags per box
A healthy and invigorating tea made from premium unfermented Darjeeling tea. Popular for its antioxidant qualities and low level of caffeine. $4.

Coffee, Organic Mind, Body & Soul
Medium & Vienna Roast, 12 oz. A smooth blend with mild acidity and characteristics reminiscent of dark chocolate. $10.

Only a few items remain of each, so they're first come, first served. Thanks for any interest, and sorry for the commercial!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Birthday Fun

Sunday was my birthday, and it was one of my best (at least Saturday night was!). My sister planned an awesome little surprise party, full of some of my favorite people. I had a blast hanging out, visiting with friends and just letting loose. So much fun, in fact, that I woke up Sunday feeling a bit blue that it was over so quickly.

The past year was one of my toughest in so many ways. I took risks that didn't pay off, stuck around when I should have walked away. Ran away when I should have clung on. Made more mistakes than may seem humanly possible, yet learned more about myself and why I'm here. I'm not sure where I'll end up from all the experiences, but feel forces of change working in me to open up parts of me that have been dormant for years. Nothing like a good kick in the butt to get you to re-examine your path in life, I guess. And a few good self-help books to get you back on the right track. Blah, blah, I'll stop now.

So, another year under the belt. I look forward to the year ahead with both excitement and trepidation. There are a lot of changes in the months ahead (aren't there always?). I'm not ready to talk about them, but suffice it to say I'm hanging on for the ride of a lifetime. Great things are in the works, some things are complete unknowns and others are ripe with emotion. I can't even write or verbalize at the moment, so if I seem distant, please bear with me. I'll be back in time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Snow Much Fun!

Look Mommy - SNOW!


Our backyard the next morning - we woke up to 9" of snow.
Carly Sparkles Crystal loved jumping through the drifts.

Don't let the smile fool you. Sadie loved the deep snow for about 10 seconds. Then she erupted in nonstop screams all day - the snow was so deep that it came almost to her waist. Every time she fell she couldn't get back up. She was like a turtle turned over on its shell - except much, much louder.

Time for some sledding fun!

Katie the snowgirl.

Why one should not use blowpops for a short snowman's eyes.

Our Snowman 09 - go Hokies!!

Over the past three days we've sledded, had snow ball fights, drank at least a gallon of hot cocoa and built the best snow woman (Katie insisted) ever. I'm exhausted, but in that warm, fuzzy good way that comes from too much outdoor fun!