Wednesday, July 24, 2013

i want ALL the color

so last sunday i did a color run with my dear friend meredith. you know meredith, the one who runs marathons? just the friend you want next to you when doing a 5K that you haven't even thought about training for.

but let's start at the very beginning. it's a very good place to start.

that song is awesome and you should totally stream it as you read the rest of this post.

anyway, a few months ago when i thought i might want to become a "runner" i signed up for a few themed races that i thought would make me excited about jogging. (spoiler alert: it didn't) including a mud run in two weeks and a color run that happened this past sunday. i encouraged others to join so i wouldn't look like a complete asshole alone. meredith took me up on the color run and that was that.

so a week ago, we realized the "race" was around the corner and needed to make plans to head to - gasp - new jersey. yep, this race required me to leave manhattan proper and if you know me or ANYTHING about me, you know that this is NOT something that pleases me. i figured out that there was a bus that dropped us off at the race site, but in order to make sure we arrived on time, we had to board a bus at port authority (aka the scourge of the earth) at 6:50. AM. as in ANTE MERIDIEM. which means that i had to be up before 6 am. this was going to suck.

somehow, we managed to get bagels, bus tickets and coffee and in line early enough that we could get seats and head out to jersey. dressed in white tanks, white hats and shorts, we were ready for "all the color."

we got out there, checked in and received our free sunglasses and realized that our heat wasn't for over an hour. since i am not a patient person by nature (meredith is a bit better), we obviously just got into the starting ranks as early as we could because we could tell there was no checking to see who was where. music was going, people were jumping, we were ready to run.

if you know me, it should come to no surprise to you that other than the first 3 minutes of the race, there was no running to be had. just simply had to beat out the slow walkers so i wouldn't start punching people to get moving. the course was lacking: it was a parking lot. with cones separating the field. not much scenery. but there were color stations throughout the course where volunteers would either shoot you with colored water or throw dyed cornstarch at you and give you a very "pollock" look. the first station we encountered was yellow colored water, so mere and i spent the first 5 minutes of the race discussing how we looked like we got peed on. #classy. luckily, pink was after that and then we were full on tye-died from the point forward, as you can see below:


strength, we've got it. "borrowed" from the official site

bad boys fo' life. 

going through the color station and PUMPED

though it was fun, color runs don't impress us. (not much does)
meredith happened to be at the exact height of where everyone throws the color at, so she was legit pink in the face. me? not so much.

the irony of this is that the only real running we did was to the bus after the race was over. during the ride home, we realized that color was EVERYWHERE. and while originally we wanted all the color, when i was in the shower, i realized i was wrong. my stomach and underarms were stained pink through tuesday. good thing pink is great on me.

overall, i may do a color "run" again, but i'd need a better location. while mere and i wrote an EXCELLENT song called "walking through a parking lot," there was little other inspirational points in the course. the color was fun, until shower time, and the live music was a nice incentive.

i'll review the mud run after i take part in it in a few weeks, but don't be shocked if the review is messy. get it? GET IT?

betsy's book club of one: freedom

i actually finished this book about 2 weeks ago, but i wasn't sure how i felt about it enough to give a review. and i'm not sure that i still am, but dammit, i'm going to try.

it is rare that i leave a book basically hating all of the lead characters. seriously. if the book had ended with a drive by shooting that took out the berglund clan and richard as collateral, i would've supported it one hundred percent. i will say that it is a testament to franzen's writing that i have such strong feelings, because it's better to make someone feel ANYTHING strongly than to have indifference.

but given the state of pop culture, can i really be surprised with the anti-heroism in the book? look at don draper, walter white, nicholas brody. all characters we love to hate. and franzen is at the top of his game when writing patty berglund.

i wanted to root for patty. i really did. a strong woman who excelled in high school athletics who ends up with two kids and a loving husband? basically my life and my dreams. well, my dreams until i realized i might not be the marrying or parenting kind (disregard that, mom). but there is something about patty that makes my blood boil. i get that she had a rough life growing up, but i don't understand some of the choices she makes. maybe she's more complex than me. maybe i am just not grown up enough for it. but either way, i spent half of the book thinking, "stop being a bitch and get your shit back together, lady!"

sadly, there's not much more that i really want to say about the book other than i got through it. in fact, after i finished it, i read two books in the following week that i loved so much more. one is a series i like and the other you should all go out immediately read because it is beautiful and sad and happy at the same time. it's called calling me home by julie kibler and you have to invest your time in it immediately.

now i'm on to grapes of wrath, which has been a goal of mine to read for the past 10 years or so. when i picked up my copy that i've owned that long, i found this note as a bookmark:

game on, steinbeck.

Monday, July 8, 2013

rule #76: no excuses. play like a champion.

i read something this weekend and it's helping me start a new mantra for the next few months, so obviously, it's going to start with me telling you all about it.

it all began when i signed up for this thing called the listserve just over a year ago. do you know what the listserve is? basically it's a massive email database where a random lottery picks a reader to write a message to more than 23,000 people across the globe. here, watch a short video:

i like the idea of being able to read random people's thoughts, so naturally i signed up. plus, i'm just narcissistic enough to want to get picked and impart my wisdom (or more likely, list of favorite backstreet boys songs) with the world.

every day i get a notice in my inbox - actually into a custom folder that screens it because gmail is awesome - and i see what advice, stories, poems, recipes or thoughts people have to share. and then even better part is that there are no web links allowed, so no one is pimping their products.

yesterday, i logged on to read the past few days worth and one actually had something more than "live moment to the fullest" crap that i see somewhat often. the message was from samantha in wisconsin and it was simple: no regrets.

wedding crashers: always ahead of the curve.
as i was reading through it, i realized i make excuses CONSTANTLY. whether it's why i'm late for work (overslept/commuting issues/general laziness) to the reasons i don't make my nightly workout (happy hour/exhaustion/general laziness) to the reasons why i order in chinese takeout once a week (no food in the house/exhaustion/general laziness). do you sense a theme here?

so i decided that for the next month - and longer since i will no longer going to have a reason not to - i'm going to live with no excuses. no more finding inane reasons to do things that i just may not "feel like" doing. so that means tomorrow i will be eating most of my meals at home and definitely making that 6:30pm hot yoga class, despite the fact that it's a billion degrees outside and napping is the best thing in the world.

this also means that i have no excuses not to say yes to go out drinking on a wednesday if i don't already have scheduled plans. unless it's in brooklyn, because there is no excuse for going there.

Monday, July 1, 2013

life! and introducing betsy's book club of one.

sorry it's been so quiet for the past few weeks, faithful readers (all four of you). i've just been super busy with many important things, like:

baltimore girls weekend
"but what's our ROI for lifting you up?" answer: shots

cool kids (though so are the others who are missing)

stop going on vacation and hang with me, food-giver.

BIG kitties at the bronx zoo
nothing says summer like sneaking in beers to yankee stadium

pre-pride america drinks!

40 oz to freedom.
so yeah, basically i've been boozing with friends for the past two weeks. and if i'm not doing that, i'm chilling with bud man so he doesn't try to eat me in my sleep. so that's the update on where i've been because it obviously hasn't been behind a keyboard writing to you.

when i first started this blog, i was going to work on some self-improvement, which i am still trying for, despite my total backslide on keeping a tidy apartment and running schedule. but i have been continuing to go to hot yoga and the last class i didn't have to sit down or stop ONCE so at least i have that going for me.

but, i shouldn't just be improving myself in the physical sense. my brain needs some work too - especially with all the drinking that i do. (see above photos for obvious evidence). so i've decided to get my brain some much needed boost this  summer - and rest of the year - with betsy's book club of one.

what is this "betsy's book club of one" you may be asking yourselves. well, it's basically me trying to read at least one book a month, and preferably something with a little bit of substance. think more franzen, less berenstain bears. and yes, i'm using the words "at least" in my description.

i have always loved reading, probably because it's in my blood. seriously, my mom (hi mom!) is a librarian. for real, her twitter handle is @lauralibrary16 (follow her! and me @yournewbff). i used to fall asleep as a child with a book perched upon my face. i read "ahead of grade level" about things that just started making sense to me a few years ago. but for some reason, i haven't had as much fervor for it lately as i had in the past. it's probably the fall out from taking last year to read the entire "song of ice and fire" series to date. those are the game of thrones books for all you who didn't know.

don't get me wrong, the books were amazing, but they are LONG. like thousands of pages. and detailed. with a million characters. reading them is a commitment. it took me 9 months to read all 5 books (i did squeeze a few others in there as well), but coming down from that can be rough. my brain needed some time to process all the conspiracy theories and ideas, so i just found myself diving back into the books a month or two ago. and it's been great.

i recently read and would recommend:

  • yonahlossee riding camp for girls by anton discalfani: a coming of age story set during the depression. more scandalous that i was planning on, and i mean that in a good way
  • sharp objects by gillian flynn: loved gone girl, so had to give her earlier stuff a try. super twisted and gave me a visceral reaction. if you're into thrillers that are fucked up, def read this one.
  • six years by harlan coben: i heard that hugh jackman was going to play the lead in the movie version so naturally i had to read the source material. easy read with a good story basis. 
  • the marriage plot by jeffrey eugenides: so i LOVED the virgin suicides but have never gotten past page 73 of middlesex, which apparently is blasphemy. i was heading out of town to visit family in alabama and needed a plane read, so when i saw this on the shelf at my local public library (have you joined yours yet?), i figured might as well give it a go. and guess what, it was super engulfing. don't get me wrong, there were some issues with the novel, but overall i was into it. and i felt well-read for the first time in a while.

so when i went to return the marriage plot and pick up my next novel, i noticed freedom by jonathan franzen sitting on the shelf.  just like middlesex, the corrections is a book that has plagued me with the pick up and put down syndrome. apparently it's the best book ever, but i haven't made it there yet. BUT, if leslie knope wants to discuss a book (season 3 "the fight" i.e. snake juice and bringer of this gem: enough, it must be good enough for me too. so i picked it up and crossed my fingers. and again, it has so far been worth it.

so thus, i am going to take my goodreads list of books that i've always wanted to read and combine it with the "bests" books of the past few years lists that i always see and try to make a dent in them. and after i read each book, i'll come here and tell you my thoughts and feelings, as if i'm back in my old book club. and then if you have read the book too, you can comment and we can interact. cool? cool.

i'm still only 1/3rd of the way done with freedom, so this will be the july book. not sure what august is going to be, but there's a chance it'll be grapes of wrath by john steinbeck. it's on my book bucket list and there will be plenty of saturdays in central park for me to get going on it.

got recommendations? send them my way, i rarely turn a good book down. unless it's on top of my face when i'm too lazy to get out of bed to turn off the light.