Closure & Commencements

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Closure. I think that is what I felt today. Well, at least partly. I felt a lot of things helping out at today’s JCU graduation ceremony for the class of 2021. “All the feels”, as the cool kids say.

I volunteered to help the Career Center staff encourage graduates to scan the QR code and take the “where are you going now” survey as they gathered this morning to robe up and get ready to have their final special event at their school before going off in many directions to start the next chapter in life. I put on a dress, even make-up, including lipstick, and left my mask in my purse. As of Wednesday of this week we got the message that vaccinated folks could move about the campus mask-less if we felt comfortable. In addition I had not been on campus for over a week as I had vacation time due to family being in town. I was very ready for people! I arrived to campus and as soon as I started seeing staff that I knew started hugging them. Yes I missed them during my vacation, but more than that I missed them during this past year!! I didn’t realize how much energy it takes to stay away from people, keep them at an arms length and try to communicate through masks and socially distanced. So much energy. Today I felt like I got all that energy back and more from my interaction with people. The extrovert in me that had been squashed down for the last 12 months was set free and it felt amazing!

I got to my volunteer station with my colleague and almost immediately ran into students that I knew. So many hugs and so many selfies. It felt SO good to see their faces and give them heartfelt congratulations in person after so much Zoom. It was especially meaningful to see student leaders from my former position in student engagement. We had such an abrupt ending last March when they were all sent home plus I had no idea I would get a new job while working remote at home. We weren’t able to do the traditional end of the year dinner where we celebrate the accomplishments of the year or even say goodbye in person when I learned I was transitioning to a new role at Carroll. Our goodbyes, for the most part, were limited to the same old familiar Brady Bunch Zoom squares we had all gotten accustomed to. I did get a sweet in person visit with gifts from my two fave leaders on my first day of my new job in August which I will be forever grateful for.

I have seen students in person here and there over the spring semester, but never more than one or two at a time and usually outside.

Today was so different. Not only was pretty much everyone unmasked, but there were throngs of people everywhere! I was not fearful at all like I thought I might be. No, I found myself just so full of joy that I could not stop smiling at all of these wonderful young people who had persevered through such a tough year and made it! I felt proud, relieved, happy and just grateful to be able to share in this special moment.

Truth be told in all my 17 years at JCU I’ve only gone to graduation one other time and that was at the Wolstein Center where we were told we had to help because of the combined commencement and reunion weekends due to the 125th anniversary of the university. Usually by the time commencement rolls around I am just done with events, including senior week, and looking forward to NOT being around. I am so glad I was there today, however. I saw commencement from a fresh perspective this year and am so glad I could witness it.

In some ways I think today’s ceremony symbolized a new beginning for us all. Here’s hoping we can shed our masks and isolation for good. Here’s hoping we can be who we truly are and reach out when we need help, especially for our mental health. Here’s hoping the terms “social distance” and “unprecedented times” get retired and our masks and sanitizer get tucked away in a drawer. Okay, maybe keep the hand sanitizer around.

I want to acknowledge that in many parts of the US and the world, this is not over yet. I also want to acknowledge the enormous toll and deep impact that Covid has taken on the loss of life, employment, businesses and so many other ways known and unknown. I think it is important to always remember this!

However we must move forward in the ways that we can. I encourage each of us to stop before jumping fully back into our crazy, busy lives. Take stock and think about what lessons you need to learn from this experience. We are all different and there are no right or wrong lessons here. Hopefully this will make us more appreciative of each other and the simpler things in life. Like hugs and smiles. Congratulations JCU class of 2021! You made it!

Erin Ahern, 2021 Graduate and Student Government President 2019
Jamie Durishin 2021 Graduate and President of SUPB 2019

Happy Veterans Day

Nov 11, 2016

Yep, it is Veterans Day. This is a day when we should feel proud for the veterans that have fought for our country and for our freedoms. But unfortunately, today I can’t even go there. I’m still reeling from the shocking and horrible outcome of the election on Nov 8. I simply cannot believe that Americans have elected a man who exemplifies the worst of our nation. This is a man who has bragged about sexual assault, called Mexican immigrants rapists, called prisoners of war cowardly and who has been endorsed by the KKK. He has disrespected and insulted every single group of people except for white men. I know some Trump supporters will say they voted on policy and “don’t really like the man”, and “yeah, he is kind of a jerk.” Um….I find that ridiculous and disturbing. First, I don’t believe Trump ever explained any detailed policy, like ever, unless you count the sound bites like “Build the Wall” and other choice phrases. And when exactly are we supposed to go back to in order to “Make America Great Again?” Like slavery times? Or back before women had the right to vote? You mean, those good old days?? The fact that someone would “choose policy” over the very dignity of other human beings is beyond disturbing.

But let’s stop talking about policy. This is not about my candidate losing and it is SO much beyond politics. This is actually deeply personal to me. After the outcome of this election I feel personally devalued as a woman. I have felt this way all through the election process actually, especially after so many troubling things came out about this man, the blatent disrespect and sexism shown for women over and over again. But I kept hoping right up through election night. I had faith that the American people would not choose the path of hate and disrespect. But I was wrong. What I thought was just pockets of uneducated white folks in rural America has emerged as half of our country and include my family and friends at work and in my neighborhood. THIS IS SO DISTURBING AND HURTFUL!

I have never in my life felt this way before. I feel like I need to draw strict boundaries around myself, only allowing the people who I trust in my inner circle. Certain relationships in my life are broken – something has shifted and I am not so sure how/if they will heal. The thing that hurts the most is that the women who are closest to me in my life are on the other side of this issue and that feels like they don’t care and have rejected me. They don’t understand the depth of what I feel and it hurts to see the insensitive things that they have re-posted on Facebook. And you know what? At this point, I honestly don’t want to know or understand why they voted for this monster. Nothing they can say right now can make this okay. This is just where I am right now.

I know I should probably get off of Facebook and maybe I should. However, that is one place where I am connected with allies and I find support and hope and that is why I choose to stay. They are in my circle. We have to support each other while we try to find footing is this new reality.
Yes, I am grieving, but I am not grieving the loss of an election.

I’m grieving the loss of civility.
I’m grieving the loss of hope.
I’m grieving the loss of respect.
I’m grieving the loss of equality.
I’m grieving the loss of freedoms.
I’m grieving the loss of feeling safe.
I’m grieving the loss of the America I love.
We are broken. I am broken.

So yeah, Happy Veterans Day.

All the Feels

November 9, 2016

All the Feels

It is not about him
Feelings of shame and embarrassment as millions of Americans have chosen to let fear drive their decisions at the polling place.

It is not about him
Feelings of disappointment that the glass ceiling, although cracked, will remain intact for at least 4 more years.

It is not about him
Feelings of anger that the most qualified person for the highest job in the land was beaten by the most unqualified, at best.

It is not about him
Feelings of hurt that so many well-meaning and not so well-meaning people still don’t understand why this is a big deal to so many of us.

It is not about him
Feelings of fear that the threats, insults, and other harmful rhetoric made during the sludge of this campaign, might just be legislated into action against our friends and neighbors.

It is not about him
Feelings of disbelief as the polling returns expose the silent, covert, and widespread racism and sexism in this country.

It is not about him
Feelings of disgust as fellow women collude and support this hate agenda and overlook so many “isms” by touting #anyonebuther.

It is not about him
Feelings of discouragement as we face talking with our children about this election result and why they still should not be bullies.

It is not about him
Feelings of fatigue as we realize there is so much work still to be done, even though we feel so battered and bruised.

No, it is not about him.
It is about us.
It is about us. The us that are bleary-eyed with tears today feeling beaten and broken-hearted. It is about the us that have been targeted by hate time and time again (just in this election cycle). The us who feel a little less safe today than we did yesterday. The us who feel a little less included today than we did yesterday. The us who suddenly feel betrayed by our own country.

Yes, it is about us and what we do next.
But it is definitely, most definitely…not about him.

Top 5 women’s issues to be concerned about besides the color of graduation gowns

Feb 29, 2016

Seriously?! That was what I kept thinking as I read the comments posted to a petition that appeared on my news feed on Facebook this morning while eating my breakfast. The “issue” at hand is whether or not the female students at Hudson High School should be able to wear white gowns at graduation rather than blue. From what I gleaned from the comments it appears that a decision was made by the administration that all students will wear blue gowns this year and this was stated in the senior bulletin that was recently released.  People are upset that students were not included in the decision among other things.

Now I am not going to comment on the actual decision itself, who was or should have been involved, and why it was made because frankly I don’t have all the facts and will admit that up front.  What struck me as I read through the petition narrative in addition to the comments made by petition signers were some other disturbing things.

Here is the text taken directly from the petition site (with certain phrases that I have bolded for reference):
“The fact that the administration at Hudson High School has blatantly taken away our rights to wear specific graduation gowns for males and females, to cater to a few individuals who have complained, is disregarding the opinions of approximately two hundred girls, along with their families, in the senior class of 2016. We feel that the administration is afraid of controversy regarding what color the senior class’s graduation caps and gowns are, and expects to lie in a letter sent home to the senior families about the tradition of blue gowns always being worn by graduates, which is completely false. What kind of message is that to young women? That we have no rights? If there are only a few individuals uncomfortable with the color of the gowns, let them decide what color they would like to wear. We should not be changing the True Tradition for a select few individuals, especially when there is a majority of female students at Hudson High School in favor of wearing white caps and gowns at their High School Graduation.”

See the full article with comments here.

First I started reacting emotionally to this situation. I said out loud to my husband, along with lots of groans, “#firstworldproblem”! So true! I mean, is this really the issue that 649 (as of Monday morning) Hudson seniors, parents and other community members are getting so upset about? How ridiculous, sad, and frankly, embarrassing. It is interesting to hear what people refer to as “rights”.  But then, I got to thinking more about this and tried to look at this more objectively. Why are Hudson residents, alums and others reacting this way?  Well I submit that the reason some Hudson folks are getting upset about this is because they don’t have any other important issues to be concerned about. Something as ludicrous as this can become THE issue because most of us are comfortable in our little Hudson bubbles of privilege. Don’t get me wrong, I love my community too, but sometimes I think we can get lulled into a fantasy world and this situation seems to highlight this “Pleasantville” mentality. Sometimes it is good for us to feel uncomfortable. You might think this sounds harsh, but I encourage you to really stand back and let this sink in before reacting defensively to my words.

So I thought I would provide information on some actual women’s issues in America for those who might want to get involved in issues that might make an impact on women that is longer lasting than coordinating gown color with hair or lipstick color.

This is just a short list linked to one website that can provide more information.  I encourage anyone to explore any of these issues or others more if they are so inspired.

Domestic Violence
Economic Equality
Women’s Health
Eating Disorders
Human Trafficking

What are you willing to stand up for and is it worth it?  And yes, what message are we sending to young women?  Children will listen, indeed.

My Chautauqua Choir experience

Sun, July 12

I can still remember the smell of the place. It was a mixture of old and dusty wood, lavender (old lady) cologne, and perhaps a bit of lake air with just a trace of seaweed. It was usually a bit cool in the mornings underneath the roof and even as girls we would usually have to wear a sweater. My sister and I would often see older gentlemen falling asleep during the service, and every now and then we would spot a spider crawling on someone’s arm or once even a mouse scooting around the floor. Those were all potentials for entertainment for grade school girls in an outdoor/open air church venue like the amphitheater at Chautauqua Institution. But beyond the familiar scents and the funny sights that were regular occurrences there, there was something more to this simple, but beautiful structure of paint and wood. There was a magic that captured my fascination as a little girl and continues to be with me today. Was it the gathering of 6000 people from all around the country and beyond to worship together in one space? Was it the world renown speakers from near and far giving inspirational sermons that would pull at your heart strings? Was it the weekly singing of the favorite hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy” that was so magical? Yes, yes, and yes! All of those things contributed to the magic of this special and sacred place. But for me, the epicenter of this magic was the choir. It was not only the singing of “Holy, Holy, Holy” that brought tears down my face, but it was this exquisite descant from the sopranos floating high among the stratosphere, high above the congregation that overwhelmed me every time. As I looked at the choir in awe, wearing my sundress, sweater, and probably a new turquoise ring purchased that day that I would lose a few hours later swimming in the lake (happened every year!), I dreamed of someday being up there – being one of the magic makers in this magnificent place.

Little did I know that I would have the chance to make this dream come true some 35 years later!

Cut to this spring. Since Zach was going to sailing camp again this year at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center (4th generation camper!), I got the idea that Mike and I could stay somewhere on the lake during the same week. We could enjoy a week at the lake and just make one trip! So after I booked a week at a cottage I began to research more about what else we could do in the area including things at the institution. I stumbled on information about the choir and learned that there was no audition to sing. What?? These people aren’t professionals??!! You just had to have previous choral experience (check and check) and attend at least 2 of the 3 rehearsals prior to the Sunday service. The rehearsals were Thurs, Fri and Sat nights from 6pm – 7:45pm. Oh, my gosh, could I actually do this?? I started letting myself get excited about the possibility of this actually happening, but then I ran into a problem. Our cottage rental was from Sat – Sat (which most are) which meant that we would not have a place to sleep on the Sat night before the Sunday service! Ugh! Well, I wasn’t going to let this stop me! No siree! I started calling places to book one extra night on Saturday so I could make this happen. After being turned down by about 3 places (most have a 2-night minimum!), I finally got a YES from a hotel in Jamestown. Done! I was so excited!

On the night of the first rehearsal I was pretty nervous. I had Mike drop me off 30 minutes early so I could find the place and check-in. The choir regulars were so welcoming and sweet that I relaxed right away. It was extremely organized and I became obsessed with documenting everything.

My music

My folder

Starting to gather

My card

The director of the choir, Jared Jacobsen, was also the organist and pianist for the amphitheater and he was a legend to me. His talents for directing us matched his abilities on the keyboard. He was a m a z i n g.


He kept things running smoothly with just enough humor, information, and inspiration. He did not miss a beat and I was astounded by how we could pick up on the slightest mistake while still playing and directing a choir with 8-part harmony. I was exhausted at the end of rehearsal, but in the best way. I had forgotten how much I loved to sing with a group, not to mention this group! I had to shake the rust off a bit with my sight reading, but once I did that I settled in pretty well. It felt so good that I could actually do this! I told Mike going home that first night that I needed to find a way to sing on a regular basis again. I had been since my early 20’s (after college) that I had sung with a choral group. It made me realize how much I miss it.

I enjoyed the rehearsal so much that I decided that I wanted to attend all 3. I mean, why not, right? I had no idea if I would ever be in the position to do this again so I wanted to enjoy every possible minute. Plus, we were doing this Kyrie piece, by Dobrogosz, that was crazy hard and I could use all the practice I could get!


Sunday morning came and I was ready. I just hoped I could get through the morning without too much boo-hooing. I had kleenex with me just in case. It was fun to see the amphitheater from that perspective.

Starting to gather

Some of the 1st sopranos

Rehearsal before the service

As soon as the organ started with the introduction to “Holy, Holy, Holy” I got giant tears in eyes. I mean I cry during that song in the congregation all the time, so no surprise there. I managed to pull it together enough to really blow out the descant which I can’t describe in words. Let’s just say I was sweating. Ha! The rest of the service went rather quickly. The choir sang a lot so I felt like I was really working the entire time. At the end of the service is when I really lost it. The choir was seated while Jared Jacobsen plays the postlude on the organ. This man is extremely talented as I mentioned, but something about seeing his face as he played rather than from the congregation was just overwhelming and very emotional for me. The loudness of the organ, the complexity of the piece, the perfection with which he played it and then the emotion on his face as he played was too much for me. Words don’t cut it, but the only way to describe it is “beauty in action”. But don’t take my word for it. Become one of the magic makers at the amphitheater at Chautauqua and see for yourself!

It has been confirmed: there are no coincidences!!

May 4, 2015

Have you ever had one of those moments? You know the ones where something happens that makes you hair stand up on end? And I don’t mean getting spooked watching the latest version of Paranormal Activity. I’m talking about when something happens that is just uncanny; something that feels like it was totally meant to be; like you are in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Some people may attribute these experiences to a higher power or the Universe, but no matter what they are called, they feel like anything, but coincidences. I call these experiences “God moments” and I had a big one happen to me this weekend.

I was attending the Women of Faith conference in Columbus this weekend with my mom and sister. The one and a half day touring conference held in an arena filled with 10,000 women, features inspirational speakers and music that make you laugh and cry. Participants leave feeling inspired and ready to live out their faith and love more fully in the world. World Vision, is a regular partner with the Women of Faith organization and is usually introduced at the conference on Friday night. This year was no exception. As I watched the video sharing one woman’s story sponsoring a child in Zambia I began to get teary-eyed. Well, for those who know me well, this is no big newsflash. Getting teary at an emotional story is just a day in the life for me. However, this time felt different. I felt pulled to actually consider sponsoring a child beyond just thinking about it during the 5 minute video. We were told that throughout the arena in some of the seats there were packets of children including pictures, who were in need of sponsors and we were asked to prayerfully consider doing so. I picked up the one closest to my seat – a little girl from Ecuador a few years younger than Zach. I wasn’t ready to make any kind of decision right then so I tucked it into my purse to think on later.

The next morning walking to our seats in the arena we passed the World Vision booth and my mom and sister reminded me that I wanted to stop and ask some questions of the volunteers. I asked them about the amount of payment required, and for more information on how the program works. I then gave them back the little girl packet I had taken the day before and explained that I might be interested in a boy, about the same age as my son. They explained that boys seldom get sponsored, especially at women’s events, and she directed me to the further side of the table where the older children were laid out. Now I have to mention that there were hundreds of these packets throughout the arena and hundreds more spread through the various booths and with the volunteers. My sister and I began to look at the older children and I told her that I have a soft spot for Central America, particularly Guatemala. Almost just as a I said this I saw him. Luis. Luis! His familiar little face jumped out at me and as I read that he was “Luis from Guatemala” it was confirmed. I knew this kid! I had met Luis in Guatemala during my immersion trip there with John Carroll in 2013. I knew his face!

Here is a snapshot of this special moment:


“This is Luis! I know this kid! I know this kid!” I kept saying to a stunned audience that included my sister, mom and the volunteers. We were all stunned. What were the odds of this?! We could not believe this was happening and I told the volunteers that I had found the child I was supposed to sponsor! Luis was a favorite child of our immersion group, especially to Molly, the student co-leader.

Here is a picture of she and him during our 2013 trip.


And just to show what kind of impact this child had on our students here is Luis with Molly the year before in Guatemala!


I’m so excited to begin corresponding with Luis and learning more about him, his life, and his family. I’m excited to be able to share this with Zachary too. Maybe there will be another trip to San Juan, Guatemala in my, or our, future. One thing I know for sure: If it happens, it won’t be by accident.

The Coolness Factor: When did I become “un-cool”?

April 28, 2015

So it turns out that one of the many intangible benefits of working in higher education is the coolness factor. I mean, let’s face it, I was definitely, totally, and completely uncool as a high-school student, but my late-bloomer self hit my stride in college. Yes, this was my element. I was hip, joined a sorority, liked to hang with the cool kids and party…I had it going on!! Okay, true confessions – I really LOVED the library, scheduled 8 am’s on purpose and went to bed at 11 pm much too often, but be that as it may, I was still cool (and young). It then came of no surprise that I decided to pursue career on a college campus (I mean who wouldn’t?) and my coolness factor just increased. As a young professional close to the students’ age I watched the same shows they watched, listened to the same music and knew all the jargon that came with twenty-somethings of the early nineties. Yes, back in the early part of my career I could still very much identify with those I was advising and they thought of me as a big sister.

Years passed. I got married. I had a baby. Things changed. It seemed like all of a sudden I didn’t watch the same television shows as my students did and Beverly Hills 90210 was just a place to me. Lists of possible bands for the yearly big concert looked like alphabet soup and I realized that I looked more forward to talking to the parents of students at orientation rather than the soon to be first-years. I became aware that my kid’s age was now closer to my students’ age than mine was. Whoa! How did this happen? Convinced I could still be cool in spite of this growing age gap, I kept on “keeping on”, occasionally “dropping it like its hot” and always “keeping it real”, ya feel me? I went from an older sister, to a “cool aunt” to a “yeah, my mom really likes 30 Rock too”!

However, today I had an experience that made me realize that I might just have lost enough cool points that I have to leave the cool kid table and saddle up with the grown ups. I was sharing a story with some of my students about life with a teenager in the house and how suddenly everything I do is “so embarrassing”. For example, the immediate response to my greeting to Zach in the morning of “Good morning, how are you?” is “Stop asking so many questions!”

The most recent example of my master plan to completely and totally embarrass my kid unfolded at the local ice cream store after Zach’s band concert last night. Outside the store and seeing other band members (easy to spot – black pants/skirt and white shirt) already celebrating with their families, Zach announces to me, “Oh, great, I know like 4 people in there. Let the awkwardness begin.” I was like, “what the what, dog? (all the cool parents say it), but he just shot me a look and told me to be quiet. We quietly and politely got our ice cream and of course I got chastised with an eyeroll for telling Zach to ease up on the ice cream when it was almost overflowing the bowl. So, we sat in silence in the restaurant eating our ice cream. There was a woman and her son like almost right next to me and so I whispered to Zach, “do you know that boy right there?” This brought on a “Mom, just be quiet!” response which had me puzzled. I didn’t get it. Why is this embarrassing? We all know that we were all just at the same event, that was very good, by the way, as highlighted by the black and white dress theme going on in the restaurant. Why do we have to pretend we have never met in our lives?

I felt vindicated a bit when one family left and the mom exclaimed to the entire restaurant, “congratulations on the concert everyone!!”. Okay, who is the cool mom now, yo?

On the car ride home I reminded Zach that at least I didn’t give a speech to the restaurant like that mom. What was her deal, bra? He proceeded to tell me that he was waiting for me to meet another band family, and in 5 minutes be friends on Facebook with the mom and set up a playdate. Okay, that’s ridiculous! That would NOT happen…this year. I still was puzzled at why our ice cream trip had to suddenly become a covert operation.

I figured out the answer to this question during my conversation with my students today. I explained this whole little ice cream drama to them hoping to get some sympathy, but what I got instead was heads shaking and nods of agreement as they all agreed what a horribly awkward and embarrassing situation that is and proceeded to share flashbacks to when they experienced similar kinds of shame with their parental units. I was stunned. Huh? What? Wait, this was awkward for Zach simply because I’m the mom and I’m not cool? Just simply being with me and having to admit that he belongs with us is a crying shame?? Well, the feeling is mutual buddy!!! Don’t think I’ve never been embarrassed by the choice unmatched wardrobe you have put on to go in public. Or the wave of Axe cologne that seems to follow you out the door every morning. Or don’t forget about the times you have “forgotten” to brush your teeth!! This can go both ways, sonny-Jim!

So, I guess I’ll gladly take that card for that uncool adult now. This could be fun! But just don’t make me talk about aluminum siding.

Natural Runner

So I used to be a skeptic when it came to anyone being a “natural” anything. I cringed at the phrase natural mother (well, I still don’t like that one), and I resisted the urge to believe that anyone was a natural anything. I mean it was always my belief that if you worked hard enough you could achieve any goal you set out for yourself. Call me a naive optimist, but in spite of possessing areas of strength or special abilities I always believed that generally people could strive to learn or do whatever they put their minds to. Well, today I am finally a believer in the concept of someone being a “natural” something – all thanks to my dear runner friend.

It happened during our normal pre-lunch run locker room chat. My friend mentioned that she ran for an 1 hour and 1/2 over the weekend.

I said, “What? You are kidding me!”.

Now, let me explain. This friend is not training for anything right now. She typically runs about 3 times a week or so at 3 miles a run, usually.

She said, “Yeah, it was such a beautiful day and I was looking for this one trail head…”

Um, yeah – that is why I usually run for 1 hour and 1/2. NOT! If I ever run for 90 minutes (or 9ish miles) you better believe it is part of a training program!! I don’t think my body would react well to going from my typical 3 milers to all of a sudden a big nine-er!! This is why they developed training programs that build miles on slowly – to help the body get used to the distance and to prevent injury, etc. But not my girl!! No, she just gets the idea to run long and runs long…like that!! No injuries, no probs. She is the bomb. And she is also a little crazy. She is the one who had a full phone conversation with a friend while running an entire 6 miles!! And I bet she did most of the talking to boot based on her chattiness on our runs (thank God!)!!! Told you she was crazy and I’m so glad!!

So I said, “You know, you are seriously a natural runner, girl – to be able to pull that off.”

She agreed, but then said, “Yeah, but Lisa, you are the better athlete because you work so hard.”

Not sure about that, but it made me feel really good and I was somehow finally okay that I was not a “natural runner”. I didn’t have to be a “natural” or fast or anything else to be a runner. I just had to run. I thought of the typical situation in school where there is the one kid who seems to never have to study and excels at school and then the other who has to work hard for good grades. I realized then that it does not really matter which is which because the result is the same. As we say in yoga, “we are all the same.” The same thing goes for running. What matters is that we put on our shoes, hit the pavement, sweat, laugh, talk, …and run. And why do we keep showing up? Well, its only natural.

So You Want to Be a Writer

Not exactly an inspirational poem, but for some reason it really speaks to me.

So You Want to Be a Writer
By Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Spirit of the Marathon – Take 1

So I had hoped this would be an inspirational post. You know, one of those posts that at minimum might bring a tear to your eye and at the most might make you sign up to run 26.2 miles. But alas, it truly is just going to be another example of the craziness that happens in my life. I could not write this post last night as I was still steamed. But, thankfully, with the light of a new day, (and a yoga class), I’ve come to see this situation with the humor that it really deserves.

It all started a few weeks ago when I saw a preview, before the regular 6-86 preview trailers that appeared before the actual feature presentation movie. Whew – no wonder movies are all like 2 1/2 hours long now! I usually don’t pay attention to those “Fathom event” things. In my experience they have been opera things and frankly, not my bag. But, not this time. This time the preview talked about training for a marathon and showed a large crowd running through the streets of what looked like Europe with motivational music playing underneath. I was captivated immediately and began to shush my family aggressively. I was already putting the date of this “one time event” in my phone when I had to wipe a tear. A documentary about runners training for a marathon? I’m in…even if there is opera involved!

I researched more about this movie when I got home and discovered it was playing in Hudson on Wed, June 12 at 7pm. Sweet! Then I wondered if this could be a warrior outing and I could invite the girls to all go. I discovered it was also playing at a theater near work so we could all go to dinner and then the movie together. Brilliant! The girls were down so we soon made plans to eat some Thai food and then get our movie on. As the date got closer we learned, sadly, that we might be one warrior short so we kept hoping for rain (they know what that means)!

Cut to last night – the main event. There was a threat of a “derecho” (read: severe thunderstorm) that evening, but I was unwavering in my commitment to see this movie! No “weather event” would keep me from this flick! We met for dinner and my curry was majorly spicy hot so I was happy about that. We ate, visited, and got caught up and pretty soon it was time to shuffle off for the show. We arrived just on time and got our seats. We made it even before the previews! Or maybe there aren’t any previews since this is a “one night only” event? We chatted a bit and soon it was 7:10pm and no movie. Then a theater employee came to the front of the theater and addressed the crowd. He explained that they were having technical difficulties and that they would keep trying and if it still didn’t work in a little while they would refund our money.

“What?” I stared blankly at the guy and started getting irritated. Now usually when this happens I either get really upset or really punchy and thankfully the later happened last night. I started laughing at everything. Everything was suddenly really funny to me. So when Marilyn noticed the world’s biggest popcorn bucket ever (empty) next to one of the audience members in our row, I totally lost it. This was bigger than it looks in this picture. And did I mention it was empty at like 7:10pm? I’m not judging, just observing.

Then she says under her breath, “kind of ironic, isn’t it? A giant tub of popcorn at a movie about a marathon?!”

At this point I was laughing so hard I thought that I might miss the movie because I would be ejected for being obnoxious!! We kept waiting as we were teased by staccato audio clips that would stop and start, interspersed with a few precious video clips on the screen. At one point the lights were dimmed and the screen went down so we were relieved and ready to watch finally! But, our hopes were dashed again as still nothing happened. Now it was 7:30pm and I was starting to worry about this weather business. And then I wondered how long were we supposed to wait? I didn’t want to risk leaving only to hear that it started with not problem two minutes after we left! Well, I didn’t have to wonder for long. Right after 7:30pm, the theater dude addressed us again and this time he was defeated too. He told us that the movie could not connect correctly so they could not show it. He would give us our refunds at the front of the theater. BUMMER! So the lot of us, probably about 20 – if that, trudged out to the front to get our money back. It was then that I noticed that some of the movie goers had marathon shirts or jackets on and that was cool. Everyone looked equally disappointed. It is not like we can just go back tomorrow!! The theater could not tell us if there would be another showing of it so we were placated with our ticket refund and another complimentary Regal ticket to boot for the inconvenience, which was very nice.

So the evening was not a total loss, of course. It was fun to share a meal with friends. But, on my way home I was already concocting a plan for how I can get access to this movie and when! It would have been more fun to see it on the big screen, but now my plan is to buy the first Spirit movie and watch it at home with my girls. Hey, then maybe we can enjoy it with some wine! Or maybe just a huge-ass tub of popcorn.