Category Archives: Lovin’ life

life is made up of moments

I may not be the oldest or wisest person in town … I am blessed to have not felt the heartbreak of losing a parent, or the disappointment in missing the final shot to win a game for my team.

… but I have been blessed to experience some amazing moments in my 24 years on this little planet.
Moments which inevitably made me the impatient, emotional and demanding woman I am today!!

I kid. I kid.

But really there are a few moments I can recall which I believe had a direct affect on some major life choices I have made in recent months. Most notably (and relative :)) is the day I packed my life in to ONE suitcase, boarded a train and moved from everyothersmalltowninthemidwest to New York, New York.

For as long as my closest friends/family have known me I always said I would live in New York.
For as long as my closest friends/family have known me I was always a chronic procrastinator.
For as long as my closest friends/family have known me I was always a home-body.

So needless to say when I bought my one way Amtrak ticket from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Penn Station in New York City everyone was shocked.

I didn’t have an apartment, a job that provided me with a paycheck (I was there for a royalty free internship), or a clue.

(But in my 22 year old mind, those were just details … silly details which I couldn’t be inconvenienced with.)

Even now, when I close my eyes I can still smell the street meat cart on the corner of 33rd and 7th, see the flashing lights of Madison Square Garden and feel the cool breeze that funneled down the street on that crisp fall night when I emerged from the underground hub. I was instantly overwhelmed. It became flight or fight, and kids – I was ready to rumble!

The following morning I rose with the sun … or was it the dump truck, taxi horn, or general noise which was reverberating from outside the window … either way, when I woke up, it was early. I grabbed a cup of coffee, and the Post (which became my morning routine) and headed from the couch I was sleeping on in the East Village up towards Central Park. I quickly realized thanks to the wonderfully undependable MTA that it was the morning of the New York City Marathon! I was a wee bit skeptical of the whole thing, thinking to myself

“How much fun can it really be to watch a bunch of people running down  the street??”,

… but I managed to finagle my way right up against the barrier on the north side of Central Park South near Columbus Circle. There were thousands, probably tens of thousands of people lined up on the curbs as far as the eye could see. Some groups wore t-shirts emblazoned with photographs of loved ones, others were wearing colors which depicted charities/causes they supported. There were thundersticks, air horns and cow bells (I felt right at home!).

For the first hour or so we waited. Straining our necks, glaring east along CPS waiting to get our first glimpse of someone, anyone. I had had about enough waiting, figuring there were other things to be doing on my first day in the city then standing there twiddling my thumbs, when I heard the clapping begin. It resonated, getting closer and closer until I was finally able to see the first runner. And then I was shocked because … well …

… he wasn’t a runner! It was a paraplegic man in a wheelchair and I can still see the look on his face as he came in to my view. It appeared first as a painful grimace but quickly morphed into the most glorious smile I had ever seen in my life. That man had pushed himself 25.5 miles and now he was surrounded by strangers who wanted nothing more in that moment then to see him finish. He was alive, and not just in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense as well.

For the next 2+ hours I stood in awe, pressed anxiously against the metal barrier, clapping and cheering. I watched children, adults, people in groups and others who were alone. Some ran – faster then I can when I am sprinting and some walked. There were a number of people who fell, whose bodies had given up on them … and then crawled along the pavement when their heart refused to do so. It was their moment. And they made mine.

That morning in a city of millions, there was a common tie, a respect for one another that meant more then any religious or political difference. All day long I spotted people everywhere who were draped in the foil blanket they were provided at the finish line, proudly sporting their medals around their necks. I even witnessed a woman stop the closing doors of a subway car to send her congratulations to a participant. There was unlimited appreciation and support and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to experience the grimace and simultaneous overwhelming joy that man felt that morning. I wanted to push myself further then I thought I could. I wanted to test my determination and dedication. I wanted to run a race.

Which brings me to now.

When I signed up for the Nike+ race in Chicago I figured –

10K, can’t be too hard right??

WRONG. I have dedicated all of my free time to training. I am in the gym 6 nights a week, running 4 nights a week and watching everything I eat. Some days I feel great!! My workouts go well, I increase my weights, or I am able to rack up the miles by foot without any trouble. Other days … well other days aren’t quite so easy and I get frustrated, discouraged and crabby. – EEK!!

And that is when I take myself back to that morning in New York … and that moment …

Yesterday night Matt and I ran the longest distance either of us ever have. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t necessarily fun, but dammit – when we were done I was so proud. I was proud of myself, and I was proud of Matt.

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home is where the humidity is

I love Michigan.

I swear.
Cross-my-heart-hope-to-die-stick-a-needle-in-my-eye.

I do.

You see … growing up my parents did something for my sister and I which few other parents (with the exception of the Griswold’s) ever venture to try doing. For a few weeks each summer we’d pack in to our conversion van, a la the Partridge Family, and drive cross country.

One year it was Michigan to Florida, up the coast and back home. We covered Disney, the Fountain of Youth, Charlotte, a trip to the ER in Roanoke for my sister, Washington D.C., a tour inside the White House and 5374534 museums

Another it was Michigan to Colorado, MEXICO (& yes. My family really did drive to Mexico, and no I will never do it again) and back. Included was a drive through the smelliest town in America – Ogalala, Nebraska, Rocky Mountain National Park, Pikes Peak, Albuquerque, the “Very Large Array” (aka. a very large waste of time”), Mexico border crossing, family in Tucson, Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Vail.

Then there was Michigan to New York City (when the love affair began) up to Canada, back down to the States and home. Also included were stops at Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont, Montreal, Quebec City, and Bar Harbor Maine.

In addition to those long trips we have been down and back to Florida countless times, New York again, as well as the Carolina’s. I have traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Dallas, Texas on my own, and LIVED New York City – which I will discuss at a later time when I have a box of tissues handy and have prepared my love-lorn heart.

… and you see … my travels around these wonderful United States of America, as well as our lovely neighbors to the north and south, have instilled in me an appreciation for HOME more then any cruise or day at the beach could. I have been lucky enough to see more of this land then most people 3 times my age. And if I had to choose one place to live for the rest of my life – you’d bet your bottom dollar it’d be right here:

NOW …

Yes we have winter, and I hate it. Have I mentioned I loathe the snow?? Especially when it is falling in April, or worse yet May … BUT I also love waking up to a fresh blanket of fluffy snow on Christmas morning – even as an adult it is magical.

And the rain in the spring … eeeek – it can be horrific … BUT seeing the trees come back to life

and the transformation of my backyard from sleepy hallows into dense arbors is sensational.

And fall – ahhh yes fall. It is always sad seeing the landscape slowly slip into a deep sleep for the coming months … BUT It makes my heart flutter. The crispness of the air. Hearing the echos of the high school band drumline playing on a Friday night from my patio. Pulling out my favorite warm hoodie from deep within my closet and standing in a parking lot tailgating for 8 hours while drinking and eating in excess. Oh yes …

and the incredible crimson and burnt orange hues of the leaves. It is spectacular.

And finally I find myself, circa now, trapped in the dog days of a Michigan summer. Where the humidity pushes 100% by noon on most days, and you feel like you are stuck in an excruciating sauna from the moment you rise until … well until the next morning you rise, because even in slumber it doesn’t cease.

And for those of you runners who do not live in a sauna …

... running, in Michigan, in July/August is TORTURE. If I could do it naked, without getting arrested, gawked at, or harrassed, I probably would.

**Disclaimer: the following information is an honest, and gross account of my workouts!**

The sweat my body produces is ridiculous. I am dead serious. I could easily soak through 2 shirts. And my hair – ICK ICK ICK. After a run it looks like I submerged my head in water. And it doesn’t stop there! My feet (poor pedicure), behind my knees, between my boobs, EVEN MY PALMS FOLKS, are drenched! And although running on the treadmill is probably my least favorite form of exercise, in these tough times, I am often tempted to hoove it on rotating rubber in my air conditioned gym, because I JUST CAN’T TAKE THE HEAT ANYMORE. I am ready to get out of the kitchen!

And so you see … I love Michigan.

I swear.
Cross-my-heart-hope-to-die-stick-a-needle-in-my-eye. I do.

Great Lakes, Great Times

but on nights like the ones we’ve had lately, I wish I lived in Alaska. 🙂

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manic monday

Hello and happy Monday all! I hope you all had as enjoyable of a weekend as I did.

In the event that you have spent every moment since you awoke this morning concerning yourself with my whereabouts and the goings-ons of my life from the past 3 days – fret no more! – here are the highlights 🙂

Friday night was one for the record books – literally. I had my best bowling game ever (besides the 265 I had on Wii bowling – I’m still working towards that perfect game!). You heard that right, and please, please, hold your applause until you hear my score. I started off slow … *cough* 6 gutter balls in a row *cough* but by game number 3 I was on fiiiiiirrrreee.

700 Bowl for those of you who are not familiar is the locally alley in South Lyon and on Friday nights they have $15 all you can bowl from 9-midnight, shoes included. Matt and I invited Dear along to join in the festivities – plus I wasn’t up for drinking and Matt wanted a partner in crime. As the two of them quickly discovered the pseudo bartender/cashier/owner/manager/shoe polisher/mechanic has a heavy hand when it comes to pouring drinks … and as their score got progressively worse … mine got that much better and by the end of the 3rd game I had posted a 109!! Oh yes – I broke 100 for the first time in my life – Papa would be so proud! 🙂

By that time Casey had made his way out and they were ready to head up to the Hotel as per usual for shots, laughing and dancing. The rest of the night played out in usual hotel fashion and around 1 am I packed the boys in the car and drove them to Matt’s.

Saturday morning I rose with the sun and by 6:45 I was hitting the pavement. I had a really enjoyable run – I just love running in the morning when it is still quiet and a bit cool. I ran about 3 miles and then headed in so I could make it to my pedicure on time – priorities here people!

Now, as I mentioned previously I had never had a pedicure before in my life so this review may be skewed on account of having no prior comparison, but my pedicure??? – HEAVEN ON EARTH. Oh man. Nothing better. Visions spa is pure luxury. From the moment you arrive you are pampered. Warm shoulder wraps, comfy socks and robes, tea, snacks, etc. I am pretty sure I dozed off a handful of time just from total body relaxation. If you have the chance to have a treatment done at Visions – GO!

I spent the remainder of my morning/early afternoon relishing in the relaxation I was feeling and then it was time for the wedding. The ceremony was at the All Saints Chapel in downtown Howell. It is a wee little chapel and totally adorable. Emily looked beautiful and the ceremony was perfect. The reception was a lot of fun as well – the Naudi family never ceases to make a party! I volunteered to DD Matt, his sister and her hubby back to their house in Howell after the wedding. I really do love hanging out with the Firby’s and feel very lucky to have them in my life. We always have so much fun together (stay tuned for updates in regards to our upcoming rafting the Rifle River trip stories!) I didn’t take many pictures but here are a few!

The new Mr. & Mrs. Naudi!

… le sigh … I wish I knew how to properly work my wonderful Nikon

With the Naudi’s

The grooms Aunt and cousin who had had about enough 🙂

Yesterday was very low key. I went with madre to Costco for a few things and then to Randazzos … I love Randazzos, it reminds me of the Union Square Green Market in New York. The food is so fresh and cheap. I will be returning very soon! Then later in the day Matt and I went for a walk in Kensington, got some ice cream  at DQ and then wandered around the Bakers car show – as per many Sunday evenings.  We did make it to the gym for a quick workout of chest/biceps. Thankfully, Sunday is a rest day for running training – after an eventful weekend I needed last night off!

As for the rest of the today … after work I am going to look at a house which is for rent in “downtown” South Lyon – woo hoo!! I doubt anything will come of it, but I figure, why not just take a little look. After that Matt and I have a 3 mile run tonight for the training plan which we will most likely do on  the same route we used last week.

I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend as well!!

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