Thursday, May 31, 2007

A little male companionship

Many people know that when I got my own place last year, I also got my own cat. I happened to be driving down a road in my parent's neighborhood when I saw a sign about Free Kittens. What I found were three of the most adorable little kittens. One immediately stood out to me... he seemed full of adventure as he ran around the garage and climbed up on the lawn mower, but he also seemed sweet as he let me hold him and cuddle his little face up to mine. I had intended on getting a girl cat, but he won my heart and a new home.

It took me a few weeks to name him. I wanted to pick just the right name. I guess in a way it's like naming your children... he's likely to live for quite a while, so I needed to pick a name that I could live with for years and years. I also needed to get to know his personality. I was on the plane to Boston to visit Steph for her bach'ette party when it hit me... he loves to play hard until he just kind of falls over asleep - all tuckered out. So Tucker seemed quite an appropriate name.

Tucker is no ordinary cat. What I found is that he has a LOT of personality. He's a sweet but often rambunctious little fellow. When I come home, I often find him right at the door greeting me or asleep on the couch with an eye on the door. He insists on plopping down in my lap or on my chest for the first 5 minutes I'm home so that I can love on him. He has the loudest little purr I've ever heard on a cat.

While he's a year old now, he's still full of energy. Sometimes he'll run back and forth from one end of the apartment to the other as if he's hot on the trail of some critter. He also alerts me to any bugs in the house. He's especially troubled when they land on the ceiling and he can't climb up high enough to bat them with his paw. He's quite a vocal kitty, and he certainly lets the bugs know he's watching them even if he can't get to them.

He insists on being in the bathroom while I shower. He usually sits on the counter waiting for me to finish so he can hop in and splash in the puddles. I'm not kidding. He actually likes water. I've turned around before in the shower and found him in there with me. (Ha, I must admit, this little guy's got it made... he cuddles up to me at night, watches me bathe, etc. haha)

He's really just a fantastic little guy. He's always cracking me up with some new game he's playing with himself. And he certainly is very affectionate, which is nice. It always feels good to be loved, even if by a cat. He knows I'm his mom, and it's funny how protective he acts whenever someone else is in our home.

All this to say that some people think cats are boring and don't bring much to a home, but I have to argue the opposite. Tucker brings a lot of life and character into our home, and now I can't imagine not having him around. Granted, every time I come home I find his food bowl knocked over and several things in places they don't belong, but I can look past these little nuisances. He's a sweet cat and I love him. He's got many years of life ahead of him with me, so I certainly hope that any man who decides they want to stick around in my world someday can accept that I've got another little man in my life, too.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

On Distance Running

It seems as though it would be rather rude of me to not address the title of my blog. For anyone that doesn't know, I like running long distances. Ok, so some days I don't like it as much as others... but for the most part, I find much satisfaction in a really long run.

I began running when I was a freshman in high school. The next four years brought many cross country 3 mile races and track meets where I mostly ran the 800m or 4x800m relay. It was sometime in college that I became fascinated with the idea of running a marathon, and I finally made it a reality when I ran the Country Music Marathon the Saturday before graduation. I recently ran that same marathon again, and I'm already thinking about marathon No. 3. Of course, I sprinkle in some half-marathons and 10-milers here and there as I'm not really interested in running 26.2 miles every weekend, or even every month.

There are many reasons for running... it keeps me in shape, I never feel guilty about what I eat, and other obvious things such as this. But really, it's about so much more. It's about feeling the wind (or the a/c at the gym) on my face. It's about setting out to do something and then accomplishing it (every single time you hit the pavement). It's about knowing that you're absolutely insane when you're running 20 miles outside and it's snowing... or doing 17 on a treadmill because it's snowing too much. And in many ways, it's about how running is so representative of this life we live... there are easy moments and hard moments. There is the uphill and the downhill. There can be moments of solitude and moments surrounded by people. The start and finish lines. The pain and the joy. The good days and the bad days. I can think of no better metaphor for our life than that of the marathon.

John J. Kelley (famous runner with 4 Boston marathon wins under his belt) once said, "We runners are all a little nutty, but we're good people who just want to enjoy our healthy, primitive challenge. Others may not understand running, but we do, and we cherish it."

That is so true. Running is a challenge. I like challenges. And after every race, you can always pick a new one to challenge yourself with next time.

I read recently in an article on happiness something that I thought was so simple and so true: "When you commit to a goal, you're showing faith in your ability to create your own reality rather than merely reacting to life's ups and downs" (Tal Ben-Shahar). When I set a goal for running and I go after it, it reminds me that I have the power to do that with the rest of my life, too. That's what much of running is for me... believing in myself that I really can get out there and do anything I want to do and that I can find a way to handle everything that life throws my way. Good ole Coach Evans always reinforced this idea when he'd remind us before races that "it's all in the state of mind."

Happy running... or whatever it is that you may do.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Random tidbits from this past week

Just an assortment of things that happened or came up this week...

1- I don't go to enough concerts considering I live in the Music City area. (this realization made about halfway through the Bright Eyes show on Saturday) I will have to remedy this. Anyone interested in helping?

2- While helping my parents organize things in my grannie's house, I found that she kept every single greeting card anyone has given her... ever. Wow.

3- My cat Chelsie is over 15 years old, and we think she's on her last days. This makes me sad.

4- Two guys that looked all of 18 walked in the office to see if we're hiring. They called me ma'am. I wanted to point out that while I may be 24, I still look like I am their age and certainly do not need to be called a ma'am. Don't make me old any sooner than necessary. I'll pull out my ID and prove my youth if need be! But I appreciated the respect nonetheless.

5- I can make a meal at the Olive Garden into 3 meals if I take home my leftovers. Practical and delicious!

6- I am not capable of making myself get out of bed to get to the gym at 5:30am no matter how good my intentions are of doing so. (yes, I tried... unsuccessfully)

7- In an effort to prove to the Post Office that I am not pleased with the continuing raise in rates without a raise in quality of service, I have found that I can pay all my bills with my Discover card. Then I am only forced to pay for one stamp per month to pay the Discover card bill. And I earn air miles for every dollar on that Discover. So I will also purchase the 41cent stamp with the Discover. And I will always pay the bill on time so that they never charge me interest. Take that! (Now if I can just figure out how to manipulate the oil industry so that gas prices go down...)

8- Grannie also kept tomato sauce in the front bathroom closet. I do not know why.

9- I hate shaving. I am sick and tired of it. When I look at my running magazines and see all these women with perfectly smooth legs I wonder if they think it's as big of a pain in the butt as I do. When you're a runner, you have to keep them shaven. But then I realized they probably don't shave. They probably did laser hair removal. I think that's the one cosmetic procedure I would consider. Don't judge me. I want to wear my short shorts with no fear of any unwanted hair. I want to take shorter showers. I want to quit buying razors and shaving cream.

10- I am just as busy now as I ever was in college, even though I always thought life would slow down once I didn't have school work and a full schedule of activities. Somehow it's ended up that I still have to live by my planner to make everything happen. The thing is... I'm perfectly happy this way. I'd rather live a life full of good relationships with others and fulfilling activities to engage in.

Hope everyone has had a good week!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Not exactly my first blog...

So I realized several things today.

1) I am a writer, so why am I not writing more things for people to read... even if it is just random stories from this life I live?

2) I do have a blog... on my myspace page... that I've set to private. So while that allows for some readership, it is problematic that some of my dear friends who have no interest in myspace can't read the things I've been writing about. So this is a solution to that. I'm losing interest in myspace anyways - facebook is much better, though it doesn't facilitate writing about my daily life as well as a real blog.

3) My best pal Steph uses this thing, so I figure if it works for her, it can work for me. Hi Steph!

So, I commit to you dear reader to offer my words to you. Some days they might be interesting and other days not. Sometimes I'm funny. Sometimes I speak of sad things. But no matter what, you'll always be getting some first hand insight into what's going on in my world. And I'll get some more writing in which may ultimately help me get rolling on a book idea or a freelance career... eventually.

More to come quite soon!