Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pronunciation Key

About 15 years ago I pledged a fraternity (yes, a fraternity) as a freshman. There were six of us in our pledge class. 2 men, 4 women. For the purposes of this story I have to name them MS, MG, A, P, S and then me.

We decided to declare our individuality by spray painting our letters on a giant bedsheet and hanging it from the front of the fine arts building. Three things to note: the fine arts building faces one of the busiest streets on campus. The front of that building houses a professional art gallery. The night we chose to hang the sheet was one of the windiest that year. 

Six of us gained access to the roof of the fine arts building about 11pm. We roped the sheet to the roof, and watched it blow right back at us. We needed ballast. We sent MS and S to the ground to tie the bottom to some bushes. Only a few minutes after they arrived the red and blue lights made their appearance. MS and S were sitting ducks. The 4 of us on the roof took off running. 

[Security guards from the school were "watching rabbits" on a boring night when they saw a group of people they assumed to be attempting to break into the school's art gallery. They called the police.]

P and A escaped quickly to the men's dormitory adjacent to the fine arts building. MG and I couldn't access that building so we started running. Not surprisingly, I was the ringleader of this operation and I was wearing a backpack full of our supplies (mainly rattling spray cans). We ran across the roof to a ladder toward the back of the building. I jumped down the ladder and watched MG start to slowly climb toward me. There was a searchlight scanning the roof. It waved above her head like a menacing T-Rex in a Spielburg movie. At the last second she jumped down and we were both hidden by an open door. 

The door led to a staircase inside the building that dropped us right inside the green room of the theater. "Huh, didn't know that door led here!" 

We snuck out a side door and tried to run-for-it toward the back parking lot. Cue another sweeping searchlight. I was running in front. I turned toward the light and began to put my hands up in the classic "don't shoot" posture. MG shoved me hard in the back and we both crashed down behind a berm on our hands and knees and crawled quickly the rest of the way to the parking lot. We hid under a car. 

The parking lot was a terrible hiding place. We crawled through it until we reached the next street. 

Did you guys know I had a problem with running? Well, we had to run. And we ran. We ran the long and far way around campus. We circled the entire school and arrived in our own women's dorm at about 12:30am. We rushed up to the room of MS and knocked on the door to find out where she was. Her roommate answered that she was not home. 

"Uh, she might be in jail," we dejectedly admitted. 

"That would be good for her," was the reply. 

MG and I went to the bathroom to attend to our wounds (cuts, scrapes and a LOT of road rash). Hours later S and MS arrived in their respective rooms after having been questioned by police. 

The next day we were hauled into the office of the Fine Arts Director. Our names had been handed from the police to the school. Since we had no intention of stealing any artwork or defacing school property they never filed a formal report. We were reprimanded, but not disciplined. 

In the end I found out that the list of names was drawn out of the memories of the pledges, who, as a part of initiation, had been instructed to learn the spelling (but not the pronunciation) of each of their fellow members. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fourth Date

This other time, after meeting Stephan, he took me on a date downtown Chicago. I bought new shoes- cork and suede wedges. They looked a little bit like these but with brown instead of the blue.............

Anyway- they were new. I hadn't broken them in yet. I started getting blisters as we walked to the sushi restaurant. I secretly slipped them off under the table to give my feet a little break. I don't remember anything about the food because there was a DJ spinning techo music much too loud during the meal.

As we walked back to the car I took the shoes off and asked Stephan to hold them for a minute while I fished in my purse for something (possibly band-aids for the broken blisters that I was dealing with due to the shoes). I was walking and digging as I heard him exclaim, "BEGONE DEMON SHOES!!!" I looked up just in time to see the shoes sailing through the warm summer air, and landing about 20 feet below us in the Chicago River.

I had no words. I just stared at him. He grinned like he'd just caught a hail-Mary pass. And I just stared. Finally, the only words I could think of slipped past my clenched teeth, "I don't think I'm ok with that."

We walked in silence to the car.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

And Also

This is our post from 3 years ago this week. Unbelievable that it's already been three years.

Always Get in the Limo

In 2002 I was working as a lighting designer with Lightswitch at the Concert for World Children's Day sponsored by the Ronald McDonald House Charity. I was 23, engaged (to not-Stephan), and working my way steadily up the design food chain. During production it was my job to adjust the lighting for backstage interviews. I got to stand shoulder to shoulder with Celine Dion, Enrique Iglesias, Nick Carter, and Michael Bublé. It was a cool job. I wore glasses at the time.

I watched all of the interviews with the artists with an artistic eye toward the lighting. And then Michael sat in my chair. This is what I remember of the interview (which never made it on-air or onto the DVD):

Interviewer: Michael, why did you agree to do this concert for charity?

Michael (totally paraphrased): Hey. I'm just a guy who likes to sing. I'd be singing no matter what job I was doing. But God gave me the skill to sing well, and if I didn't use my gifts to give back, then why have them?

There might have been more to the interview. But I didn't hear it. It was the most honest, humble thing I'd heard all day. I was brought to tears. Later that day I saw him walking down the hallway by himself.  It was totally against the rules, but here is what happened:

Me: Um, Michael? I know I'm not supposed to talk to the talent...

Michael: Hey, no problem. What's up?

Me: I, uh, I heard that interview you just did backstage. I was the lighting person. And I just wanted to tell you that what you said was really touching. I heard a lot of interviews, but none of them were as personal and honest as yours. 

Michael: Well, I meant it. I'm so lucky that this is my job. I LOVE my job!

Me: Me to! Doesn't it make it so much fun to go to work when you love what you do?

Michael: Yeah. [Shakes my hand] It's nice to meet you. 

Me: ......

Michael: Wow. You have beautiful eyes. 

Me: .....

Michael: And your hands are freezing. My limo is right outside. I can warm them up for you out there. 

Me: .....

Me: .....

Me: ..... I'm working. I mean, I'm on the clock. I'm... I'm at work. I can't. But, um, thanks?

Michael: No problem [walks away].

Friday, December 14, 2012

Can't Even Hide.

I'm writing this on Friday evening, after a really emotional day in our country. Just... really emotional. If I were to try to type out what's going on in my brain it would echo this post by The Onion which has lots and lots of swearing in it, but definitely gets its point across.

I'm also 18 days into a run streak. That means that I've logged at least one mile every day for the last 18 days. The goal was to continue it until January 1st. But tonight.... I just can't leave the house. I had a really hard time leaving my son's bedroom, even though he was sound asleep. I seriously contemplated spending the night on the floor next to his bed.

Is that a symptom of mental illness? I don't think so. When I typed the other day that there are some things you just can't outrun- I had no idea I would actually mean it now. My brain just can't look away. There's no escaping this one tonight. I just keep turning to the skills I've been practicing the last few weeks, and praying- actually praying- that... I don't even have words yet. I'll have to get back to you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

There are some things you can't outrun

When I was approached about changing my diet I tried to explain that I'm a runner. I get to eat more. "I'm not a runner, I'm an Eater. I run to support my habit," were the exact words I used.

The response? "You can't run yourself a new pancreas."

Touche, health professional. Which is why I'm feeling this week's diet disaster very keenly. Alright. I ate a cake. Precisely: a very large, but less-than-one-quarter of a chocolate mousse cake. Crap went down at work, I came home, saw how much space in the fridge the cake was taking up, and solved the problem.

Also, did you know that a bag of BBQ potato chips is 1500 calories? Also also... the entire bag does not constitute a meal replacement. Just in case you were wondering. But the good news is that I've now exorcised the house of all its hidden junk food. So it's peanut butter on whole wheat toast for breakfast and red beans and rice for lunch. Maybe broccoli for dinner. Stir fry. Sorbet..... you get the idea.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I've led you guys back to Marc Parent a few times. Yesterday's January edition of Runner's World came in the mail and I skipped ahead to his article first. I can't find a link to it right now, but it was about spouses running together.

And it was very gentle. It doesn't really reflect the truth Stephan and I live with. The truth is... we can't race together. We've tried it a few times. Even training together, or running together, we usually end up fighting. Example: The Soldier Field 10 Mile. This race was a birthday present from Stephan to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. 5 years is apparently the 'stadium blanket and race medal' anniversary.

Prologue- Stephan runs comfortably at 8:30 minutes per mile. My cruising speed is about 11 m/m, 12 if I'm cranky.

Chapter 1- The run starts out great. It's a little boring, being essentially an out-and-back down Lake Shore Drive. We turn the corner at mile 5. Then get to mile 7, and I get cranky. I slow down. I think Stephan should really just run ahead. Why am I holding him back? I don't like being pushed.

Chapter 2- We start talking. "Go ahead. Leave me here." "Just keep running." "And another thing, you left your socks on the floor again." "Why are you talking about this now?" "I hate running with you." "Stop making me go faster." "Then tell me to slow down."

Chapter 3- I astop running and start walking... stomping really. The run/walk pace team passes us, and everyone gives us dirty looks. They give us a wide berth. We walk in silence for 2 miles.

Chapter 4- At mile 9 we turn a corner into the Soldier Field parking lot. I start getting choked up at how supportive Stephan always is. How proud I am to run alongside him. How selfless he is when it comes to my hobbies and my health. I would never have started running if it wasn't for him. I would not be continuing to run without his support.

Chapter 5- We cross the finish line holding hands and smiling.

Postlude- After publicly fighting during 3 races, Stephan and I decide it's best not to race together for a while. Mr. Parent doesn't cover any of this in his essay. That's ok. I did it for him.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lyrics 3

You loved me cause I'm fragile. I thought that I was strong. But you touch me for a little while and all my fragile strength is gone.

Where there is Desire there will always be a flame. Where there is a flame someone's bound to be burned, but just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die.

Sometimes I hate the things that you do. Sometimes I hate the things that you say. I won't lie, I won't even try. No, sometimes I know I drive you crazy. Maybe that's why we love each other forever and always.

Don't think twice. It's alright.