So I am 31 years old now. Yesterday, I was sitting at the nail salon next to two high school girls who were primping for a dance. I tried to imagine what I looked like in their eyes. Because I don’t feel old. I feel vibrant and lively and ambitious and comfortable and wiser. But I was thinking that they probably looked at me and thought “I like that lady’s nail color” or “that woman seemed nice.” I refer to them as girls. They surely refer to me as a woman or lady. In their eyes, I am ancient. It made me laugh to think about it in that way.
My birthday week has been pretty fantastic. It started with a wonderful birthday dinner with my parents who made me a Paleo-approved dinner and got me amazing presents. I also got some really personal and creative gifts from my friends:
But the big celebration was Saturday night. The morning of the party, I met the Perfect Strangers for our first indoor run on Saturday. The weather was unforgivingly cold. Eighteen degrees with 20 MPH winds meant it felt like two degrees with a thin layer of snow on the ground. We just weren’t having it. So we met at the Monon Center in Carmel where there is an indoor track open to the public. It’s only a 200 meter track so 8 laps = 1 mile. I was supposed to do 18 miles (144 laps!) but committed to just going as long as possible given the fact that I would be spinning circles for hours. Jaime, Kelly, Karen, Christi and I took over the track the same way we do the Monon Trail. We did our best not to run 5 wide as the track was very crowded (clearly we weren’t the only ones who said HELL NO to the weather). I have always thought running that many laps indoors would be mundane and that I’d rather deal with any conditions than to subject myself to such boredom. But with these girls by my side, the first hour flew by. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep track of the laps so we went by time instead. After timing our laps we figured out our pace and determined that by running just a bit more than two hours, we could get in 13 miles or so. An indoor half marathon (104 laps!) was good enough for us. And the best part of it all was running without layers and layers of clothing on. I felt free and light and it was the best long run I have had this entire year.
Jaime and Kelly started earlier so at the end, it was just me, Christi and Karen. At one point, I noticed this gorgeous blonde running on the track. She had a perfect body, perfect hair and I immediately didn’t like her. Why? Because she was pretty. When I told Christi and Karen this, Christi immediately said “Oh my gosh I know. I saw her stretching earlier. What the hell?” We died laughing about how typical it is for girls to get like this. We decide we don’t like someone based on something as shallow as the fact that they are pretty and we immediately hate everything about them.
One of the things we didn’t like was how she ran – it was a bit frantic, kind of like how Phoebe runs in that episode of Friends. We were determined to pass her. With only 2 laps to go, the three of us were kicking up our heels. Gone was the conversation – we were just running. And as we approached Phoebe & Friends, I said “ladies – it’s time to make our move.” And we did. We overtook their group with long strides and didn’t let up our pace the rest of our run. We even lifted our arms in the air like Rocky after accomplishing our mission. Poor thing. All she did was show up looking gorgeous.
And after our run, we primped for my party. I had the honor of dining with my favorite people last night. People from all avenues of my life. We laughed. We drank. My friends became friends with each other. We took over the jukebox at the Metro and loudly sang along to “God Bless the USA.” Martha passed out nametags to everyone in sight. We shook our tailfeathers. We wore sparkles. It was the perfect night, the perfect party. And I was reminded just how blessed I am to have such amazing people in my world.
I think 31 is going to be a pretty fabulous year.
This week in pictures….
We’ve been together now for about 2 days, so I want to have a little fireside chat with you about how I see these next 364 going for us. Open communication, setting expectations and mutual respect are important in all relationships, so let’s start this one off right.
First of all, I must offer an apology. Because like a spark someone has for an old flame, I still have feelings for 2011. It was a really fantastic year full of travel, self-discovery, new projects, and new friends. But I am giving you my full attention to wow me. In fact, I have put together a Vision Board on Pinterest for what I would like 2012 to look like, and have summarized it below. Take note!
So those are my expectations and those are what I commit to. You can call them resolutions if you must, but when I wake up each morning and consider my day, it is these things that will run through my head.
Now relationships are all about compromise so despite my tenacious will to make this an amazing year, I know you have some ideas of your own. You will throw in some curve balls. There will be sadness. There will be obstacles in my way. And I respect you for the unpredictable. We have an exciting adventure ahead of us and I, for one, can hardly wait.
More than anything, I promise to be kind. To always be kind. Because if we can be kind to each other, this year is going to be amazing.
So let’s do this. Let’s carpe the hell out of each diem and make 2012 a year to remember.
It’s been awhile since I have posted my Sunday rambles. I know – you guys have been on the edge of your seat waiting for one. Never fear. I’m here.
Here is the injury update. I went back to the doctor on Saturday and she said my Achilles felt better. The tissue is still very thick and so she spent a good amount of time doing her Active Release Technique and breaking it up with some tool that likens a baby spoon. She also worked on my hip because it too is out of whack. I am sure it’s all interrleated. Anyhoo, I am still limited to 1-2 mile runs every other day but I am not the best patient and will probably do more. I am hoping that this is the light at the end of a very long, frustrating tunnel.
Remember when I was ultra crazy? Yeah, well I clearly can’t run a 32 mile race in a month so have now modified my entry to do the relay. Me, Karen and Bri are going to tackle the 50K relay style, while running with Christi, who is doing the whole thing. I have no doubt it will be an awesome wintery trail run with my girls. And I have to believe my body will be ready for 10 miles by then.
This weekend was the Monon Bell game. It’s the longest standing college rivalry and I just so happen to be a lover of all things DePauw. Unfortunately, we lost. Badly. But a bit of day drinking, seeing old friends and a fun night made for a great weekend. And this week is very DePauwtastic for me. Tomorrow I am hosting students at ExactTarget to conduct mock interviews and sharpen up their interviewing skills. And on Friday we are going to DePauw to hear President Bill Clinton speak. I figure as long as I am continuing to pay for my education until I am 37, I might as well stay as involved as possible!
I am starting to love Chess. I am not good yet, but I am getting better and playing Chess with Friends is helping. I even beat my bestie Dan in person yesterday! (After losing one game first, however). I’d ask you to challenge me but I can barely keep up with the games I have going on currently. So instead just trust that I love me some checkmate.
My friend Molly is an amazing photographer. And this past Friday we did a photo shoot together. Here are a couple of shots from it. She made me feel pretty.
I have been doing a lot of traveling for work and I am becoming pretty good at it. If there was a competition on how to get through security the fastest, I might win. In fact, one TSA guy offered me a job last week. And I love being on a plane. The rush of take off that used to scare me now lulls me to sleep. And having my new iPad with me certainly doesn’t hurt. In fact, I am now on the eReader train. I never wanted to give up on books. I love them on my bookshelves, in my hands, the smell of the pages as I read. But there is something insanely convenient about reading on the iPad. Especially on the treadmill/elliptical!
One perk of my travels is that this past week I got to see one of my best friends in Tampa. I spent the afternoon/evening with her and her fabulous family. We drank margaritas. We went to dinner. We laughed. We played with the kids. It was good for the heart.
I like to hug. Hugs not drugs, people. And as a hugger, I have become quite the connoisseur of hugs. I analyze those that I receive: The over the shoulder hug. The low waist hug. The bear hug. The barely hug. And my personal favorite, the T-Rex hug. Next time you hug someone, think about it. Put a little oomph into it. They’ll feel the difference.
This morning I had breakfast with my parents and my inlaws. It was lovely. But it was sad at the same time because my dad is having a rough week. He couldn’t eat today and his tremor was geared up to an all time high. He had trouble talking so I just sat next to him, holding his trembling hand. I hate that every minute, every action is a challenge for him. Parkinsons is a bitch, friends.
Well it’s homemade pizza night here at the Dials household so I am going to indulge in a customized pie. Enjoy your Sunday night. And remember, When in doubt, castle.
It’s the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. My best friend just called me and said “Could it really have been ten whole years ago that we got in our cars to get gas because it was supposed to jump to $5/gallon?” I can hardly believe it either, Nat.
It’s a somber Sunday. I have a heavy heart. I’ve talked before about how normally I am Little Miss Sunshine. When I am not? It’s obvious. I was told today that I am wearing my “Sour Puss” face. And I am.
I’ll snap out of it. So in an attempt to speed up that process, here is a list of the sads and happys of Meggie right now.
Here’s to hoping Somber Sunday turns into Marvelous Monday.
Yesterday was an interesting day. In the morning, I painted the trim on the outside of my house. And later in the day, I went to a funeral. Now these things don’t seem related. But they are in my head.
You see, I couldn’t stop myself from getting philosophical as I worked outside on my house. We live in an older home (built in the ’60′s) and the wood is old. Though from a distance it never looked bad, up close, you can see the years of dirt and weather that has built up. I worked alone in silence and as each brushstroke whitewashed trim surrounding the windows, the words “clean slate” kept popping in my head. This white, thick paint covered up the grime and it was beautiful. A fresh start for that old wood. The dirt was still there, just covered up by a new beginning.
Later that day, I attended the funeral of a very talented man. Though I had never met him, I am close friends with his nephew. And when we walked into the funeral home, it was not only flooded with people, it was also flooded with his art. He was an amazing musician. Throughout the service, his music was played and it honestly felt like he was talking to us through each note.
Clean slate. Legacy. Seems like a stretch to bring them together with some sort of meaning, but don’t give up on me quite yet. I love that we all have the opportunity for clean slates. We can wake up each morning with a fresh coat of paint if we want. Maybe it’s something as simple as a new attitude. Or a resolution. Maybe it’s the age-old “On Monday I’ll start _____.” (diet? running? writing thank you notes?) No matter what we do, the errors we make, the mistakes that happen, we can always choose to start over the next day. But just because we wash ourselves down in white paint to begin again, the past isn’t erased. Just like the dirt on my windows isn’t gone. We don’t forget the experiences, we just learn from them. And each layer of paint we add onto ourselves only enhances us.
At the funeral, my friend’s mother read a poem. I’m going to butcher it but it was something like: Express your talents. Because the forests would be quiet if only the best birds sang. Her brother embodied his. He followed his passion and he left a lifetime of music for his friends, family and even strangers to enjoy. Though he exited this world way too early, his body of work is massive. His passing is a reminder that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. To do what you love. To show the world, and yourself, what you can do.
Last week I did a guest blog for my friend Leslie. In it, while talking about running, I said “Yesterday you said today.” And I say it again now as it can apply to anything. You can always wake up to a clean slate. You can start a new beginning and you should. Because life is too short not to.
This morning I woke up to a fresh coat of white paint on the outside of my house, and on a few other areas of my life.
Just because viewing for both The Wire and Friday Night Lights was very low, doesn’t mean that they weren’t amazing TV shows. And I feel the same about blogs. I know there are hidden gems out there that could quite possibly be life changing for us to read, yet get very little attention. And blogs that have tens of thousands of followers, sometimes have lack luster content. I’d rather read really amazing material from a blog with 6 followers than read something boring from one of the biguns. Numbers don’t imply brilliance.
That being said, I do pay attention to my site stats. I find it fascinating what posts resonate with readers more than others. So tonight, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my most popular posts. Some were pretty surprising to me…but the numbers don’t lie.
Total views since I started the blog 10 months ago: 38,101
The blog post that got the most views in one day was a recent one: “Finding My Thing” with a total of 586 views on July 6. Before that, other posts with notable one-day showings were “The Virgin London Marathon – A Review,” “New Developments,” “Fired Up” and “Turning Thirty”
As for total views over the age of this blog, the rankings are below. Not surprisingly, the most popular are also older blogs which means they have had some time to accumulate readers.
What do these numbers mean? Got me. “Most views in one day” is a statistic that probably represents how well a post hit home with readers. The rest of these? Who knows? Take #1 and #10 for example: my guess is that people who hear the term BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) for the first time, Google it and sometimes end up on my blog. They may not read past the first sentence. But sure makes those posts look popular.
Here’s the thing. I am glad that the numbers are growing. That people are coming back to read what is written here. And that I still get messages from people that have found inspiration in these words. Whether I ever get 1000 views in one day on this blog hasn’t ever been the point. This blog has been a good friend to me. I won’t stop writing. And hopefully you won’t stop reading.
But if you do? I still won’t stop writing.
So this Sunday Random Thoughts post stems from my most recent weekend in Chicago. I went up there to co-host a baby shower for my sister-in-law. And after spending a few days with my family, my favorite high school friends and talking all things baby…I have some chatter.
First of all…I am going to be an Aunt in about 5 weeks. (A REAL LIVE AUNT!) They don’t know if it’s a boy or girl but I can tell you that whatever it is, I will love the hell out of that baby. And spoil it. And tell that little munchkin all about the things his/her dad and I did as kids. Here are just a few:
Looking back, we were pretty creative kids. And we were the best of kin. We had a game we called “water people” which we could only play when it was raining. We would use a few buckets and put them underneath the gutters. The whole premise was that you couldn’t let any of them overflow so had to constantly monitor your time to run to the back yard, empty one and get back to the other buckets in time. We LOVED this game. We also used to catch garter snakes in our backyard. Once caught, they’d go into one of my dad’s old coolers and he would drive them out to the country to let them go. Then we’d complete a manila file folder on each one. Information included the name we gave the snake, length, where we found him and where we let him go. And finally, our love for wine started early. We found some grape bushes (trees?) at our neighbor’s house. So we’d collect lots and lots of these hard, green grapes and stomp them into mush. We’d then put this mush along with some water and sugar into my mom’s old hairspray bottles (Final Net). We stored them in the basement for months to ferment so we could make homemade wine. Unfortunately, mold ended up ruining all of our batches. And this little baby is going to love hearing about our imaginary world of Elfton someday…
In addition to attending a baby shower, we went to Mayfest which is a German beerfest in Lincoln Square. My friend Nathan and I were more concerned about the carnival games than the beer so we lined up in front of balloon darts to win a prize. I schmoozed the carny to let me have more darts for my money and off we threw. Within $7 and 4 darts, we both won very high quality Twilight pictures. I offered to hang mine up in the nursery but my brother responded with something to the effect of “I’d rather swallow a grenade.”
My friend Nathan has a framed picture in his bathroom that says “Happiness is Expensive.” I love it and it couldn’t be more fitting for Nathan. I am sure Pete the Planner does not have this same art in his house.
Nathan and my sister-in-law also have clear glass bowls full of Skittles at their respective houses. I know this doesn’t sound revolutionary…but the pop of color as well as the tasty treat should seriously be added to all homes. Taste the rainbow.
I get really excited watching how cute my parents are as they prep for becoming first-time grandparents. They are ecstatic and my mom may wear her “Grandma to be” pin everywhere she goes. They will be amazing grandparents. Added bonus maybe? This little baby very well could squash all the side comments that theme around “So Meggie. When are you going to have a baby?”
That being said. Looking at baby clothes makes me want to have one right this very moment. Then the thought of having to teach the kid to read. And do math homework. And watch cartoons really settles me and my womb down. So though tiny onesies make me consider it, don’t get too excited people. I get my fix from all my friends’ kids so no babies in 2011.
We hosted the shower at Branch 27 in the most amazing room. Think Harry Potter meets old library meets greenhouse. I want to live in that room.
If you live in Chicago and haven’t eaten Smoque’s BBQ, shame on you. Magic.
My friend Stephanie is a Nurse Anesthetist. She’s incredibly smart, talented, hard working and I never bore of her stories. The things they surgically remove from people is outstanding! Bring her to every party you have…trust me, you won’t tire of this topic.
And let us not forget The Hunt. Nathan’s amazing boyfriend who was adopted into our circle of friends from the beginning. He gave Nathan the most amazing 30th birthday gift. He rides rickshaws. He has decorated the White House and met the Obamas. He is a Polly Pocket.
Nathan and I have been best friends since kindergarten. We played house together. He taught me to jump hurdles in junior high. We shared a locker in high school. He’s the type of friend that I can laugh with. Do fake modeling shoots with. And sit in my jammies eating taco dip straight from the dish until 3am with. This time around, it was Jack’s frozen pizza from Walgreens and he, my SIL and I dominated it. That’s when real memories are made.
I don’t have a real sister, but if I did…I can’t imagine we could be closer than my sister-in-law and I are. I got really lucky. She is one of my closest friends and will be such an amazing mom. That kid is already blessed.
And so am I. My friends are genuinely excited that JD and I are running the Chicago Marathon in October. I have no doubt that they will be out on the course cheering for us every chance they get and celebrating with us after. Marathon training is right around the corner so knowing that they will be there to support me will fuel every training run. Bring it CM2011.
And lastly, we got to talking last night about friendships. How they change and evolve. How some weaken over time, only to circle back with greater strength years later. How some are based on convenience and circumstance, and once those go away, the foundation crumbles. And how as we get older, it seems natural that we start to become more selective. We “defriend” those that are one-sided. The ones where we pour our heart into the friendship only to have nothing returned. That’s the point I am at in my life. Reevaluating the energy I spend on certain people, if I know it’s never going to be reciprocated. That being said, the people I spent this weekend with are lifetime friends. The ones I have pages and pages of memories with. They have seen me at all stages in my life and love me regardless. They can look at my Dad and know whether he’s having a good or bad day healthwise. These are the friends I can talk about my hopes, fears, dreams, embarrassing moments and Brazilian waxes with. They really are more my family than anything.
And after a weekend with them, I feel loved.