"The secret to a successful marriage is a lot of dirty talk and ass grabbing."

— My dad, spewing marriage advice after being happily married to my mother for over 32 years. 

We are finite

Death is never easy to accept. You have to twist it into a perspective that you are comfortable with because life continues with or without your consent. 

My grandfather passed away and, as difficult as saying goodbye was, I have to reframe his death into something positive. He lived a great life. He was so brave to uproot his family from Italy and come to the United States over 40 years ago without a job, house, or lick of English.

His grandchildren were his life. I am unbelievably grateful to have spent over 30 years with him. He taught all four of his grandchildren so much about gardening and canning tomatoes. He was such a humble, selfless, and generous man. These were a few anecdotes I shared when my family asked me to write and read his eulogy.  

When he passed he was surrounded by the love of his family. He is no longer suffering. That’s relief. My hope is that he is in a better place. 

Headed to a farm dinner with Granite’s family.

Headed to a farm dinner with Granite’s family.

Running epiphany

I hate distance running…right now.

(When I say distance I mean training for 10 mile races and longer). 

I’ve tried really hard to enjoy pounding the pavement for more than six miles. I’ve run with people who are faster than me hoping they would motivate and push me. They have, but I hate that I am not as fast as them. I’ve participated in friendly distance challenge competitions within my running group. Then, I stopped caring about my weekly mileage. I don’t get any pleasure from distance running nor am I good at it. So, why am I still running distance? 

I’ve stopped. It’s not worth it anymore. I love track workouts. Gimme 400 repeats any day of the week. Gimme negative splits and tempo runs. I’ll do any speed workout. I also realize that my body responds so much better to speed than distance. And, to top it all off, being out of retirement to play ultimate Frisbee again certainly helps my speed training. 

It’s time to break that 20 minute 5K! 

I have plenty of distractions

It’s funny how I can remember to bring the book I am reading to work, but manage to forget my cellphone. Glad my priorities are in check. 

Honestly, it’s quite refreshing not having my cellphone. But, I have a work phone, gchat, and the internet. Who needs a cell? 

Time to celebrate and ask for advice

My cousin is engaged! I am so excited for her and her beau. Our family needs something to celebrate. Our grandfather is very happy for her. 

While her and I were prepping for family dinner, she asked me to be her maid of honor. I was shocked and elated. I started to cry. I am unbelievably honored. 

This is where the advice comes into play. I’ve never been a maid of honor before, just a bridesmaid. If anyone has any bridesmaids tips for me, I’d gladly appreciate it. 

It’s sold when the money is in your hands

I am no longer a car owner. Goodbye Jetta, hello Cannondale. Been riding to work the last few months, but selling the car today really solidified being carless. I am psyched and relieved. 

It all seems so unfair

It took over five years for my grandparents to finally sell their South Carolina home. When they did, it was a joyous time, knowing they would return to Connecticut to be with their entire family. 

They settled in a quaint in-law apartment with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. My grandfather found a patch of soil to plant a garden—his passion. Soon, the tomatoes, zucchinis, and eggplant were thriving. My grandmother started cooking up a storm for family dinners. 

Sunday dinners were reminiscent of my early childhood. The adults conversing in Italian. Multiple courses of pastas, veggies, and salads. After dinner, we slice fruits and crack nuts while my grandmother attempts to force feed us more pasta. When all four grandchildren were little, she used to chase us around the backyard with a meatball jabbed on a fork, “Why you no eat!” My grandfather used to laugh, but he’d show us secret hiding spots in the garden for future food pushing escapes. 

It seemed as soon as they settled back into their New England lifestyle, my grandfather became very ill.

Sunday dinners are different now. Sometimes we’re recalling the good old days and other times, we worry that my grandfather will be okay.

The most difficult part for me was when he told me how much he likes Granite and how happy he is for us, but that he will not see us get married.

Such is life. At least he is here with his family and we can make the best of the time we have. 

I am happy with myself

I’ve fought with scales. I’ve stared in the mirror criticizing every imperfection. I’ve cried to Granite about hating how I look. I’ve racked my brain with guilty feelings after indulging.

Self-loathing used to be a part time gig. 

I’m fucking done. 

I had an epiphany. 

When I exercise, I am happy. It doesn’t matter if I gain or lose weight. When engage in physical activities, I feel good about myself. Honestly, that’s all the matters.

For the past six months, I have consciously made time for exercise despite my work and grad school schedules. I’ve created training goals. I value exercise, therefore, I do it. That works for me. Now that I know this, I can end the hate and embrace the progress I’ve made. And that fucking feels really good. 

Grad school has given me the time to work on my doodling skills.

Grad school has given me the time to work on my doodling skills.

That went by fast

Celebrating my 7th anniversary working for the same company. Clearly, this is the longest relationship I have ever committed to. 

I don’t understand people who can only poop at home.

People really do leave work to go home to poop. I never thought this was reality until I met people who have poop agoraphobia. 

There are some races you want to cherish and others you want to immediately forget.

Portland was the latter. I finished despite intense cramps as I passed a very stinky sewage plant at mile 11. That’s when I broke down and stopped giving a shit. Combined with the heat and misery, I trotted across the finish line. As soon as I saw Granite, I started crying. My feet were bloody and sore. I chugged two bottles of water. I was happy that it ended and, now, I can put that race behind me. 

Not every race is a good one. Back to training. 

Our new roommate moved in and with her arrival, we inherited a cat, Cleo. She already owns the place. All flat surfaces are hers. 

She freaks me out when I wake up and find her watching me from her perch.

Our new roommate moved in and with her arrival, we inherited a cat, Cleo. She already owns the place. All flat surfaces are hers.

She freaks me out when I wake up and find her watching me from her perch.

An Open Letter to Asheville

As a northerner, I was psyched to hear about your liberal village of the south. It seemed like a fairytale that such a place would exist. The rolling Blue Ridge Mountains that surround you look vast and massive, like they are the protector of your freethinking microcosm. 

As we drove closer to you, the gratuitous church crosses did not lessen. The gun shops did not diminish. Even though we had already passed the Mason Dixon line, I remained hopeful that deep in the valley of the mountains, you would be my Burlington, Vermont of the south.

Your downtown was flooded with street performers, including a nun on a tall bike providing drive-by baptisms with a squirt gun. Most of the restaurants had what I was hopeful for: fresh produce and pushers of the farm-to-table movement. All your meals were delicious. And the beer, well done, Asheville, well done. I wish we had more time to explore more places to eat and drink. (Places of note: Wicked Weed, Champagne Bar and Book Exchange, and Seven Sows.) 

Your biking trails throughout the Pisgah National Forest were immaculate. Thanks for your variety of easy to challenging trails. I can see why people would want to be mountain biking aficionados here. Your cool summer nights and mornings paired with toasty hot days were glorious. I will say, there is more to life than weather…

Asheville, please don’t pretend you’re a bunch of liberal hippies. Your ‘Asheville, loophole of the Bible Belt’ motto is cute, but it’s not reality. You’re trying and I appreciate that. Please don’t stop trying, but I’m not really sure if that’s what you want? 

I’ve been running and racing for a long time. I have to say, being prayed for before a race is new for me. Reminding me about God and running for God after a race is also a new experience for me. Asking what church I go to boarders on poor boundaries. I just want to run without religion, thanks. 

You’re still in North Carolina and I know paying teachers an adequate salary is not your top priority. I heard some not-so-impressive stories from friends living and working in education. If you don’t value your teachers and education, I worry. That’s a huge red flag for me. Yes, everything is cheaper than the north, but for me, there’s more to life than cheap real estate.

Thanks for beautiful vistas and majestic mountains, Asheville. I enjoyed myself and bring back lots of memories. We can be friends, but I’m no longer interested in moving in you.