#28 participating in a 5K race

i'd like to call this post "running in a 5K race," but who am i kidding? this post should technically be "slowly jogging in a 5K race," but i decided to be diplomatic for myself. 

regent university, where i work and jeff attends, sponsored the neptune 8K run, and this year they added a 5K option. since i have not run consistently since approximately high school ago, i decided i should be practical and go with the 5K option. my hope was that the excitement of the race and the pleasing sense of accomplishment would lure me into a desire to run often in the future. 

spoiler alert: nope.  

friday night, i went to bed feeling nervous and excited and a general sense of dread. i tossed and turned for much of the night, and eventually fell asleep. i dreamt that jeff and i had a tiny baby, but we were utterly unprepared for it. no one had thrown us a shower or anything and we had to borrow an old car seat from a friend to lug the kid home after we'd left it at the hospital for a few days. we put it in a room and left it in there for a couple hours, and when we reopened the door, that tiny pink baby was running around the room like a maniacal, naked pygmy. i peeked in the borrowed car seat and saw a diaper that was somehow full, like a wee coffee cup of nasty. and then i woke up. horrified. i mean, you readers are currently horrified, so you can only imagine what i felt. and memories of that stupid baby kept me awake for much of the remainder of the night.

of course, the night was short because they require you to wake up before dawn for these races. i woke up and felt a little crick in my back, which is never a good sign for me. i considered not showing up to the race, but i knew my sister was planning on cheering me on and for some reason that made me want to go. 

jeff and i parked about a mile away from the race start by accident, but i arrived with three minutes to spare. i strapped the chip on my ankle and headed to the start. i honestly was unsure for a whole minute as to which way we were running since the herd was just milling about near the start, but then the announcer said to get ready and a horn blasted and away we went in a clear direction. i started jogging, dodging people left and right. 

there's not much to say about the actual race, except that i think it's a very odd practice to attempt to drink while jogging and then throw the paper cup violently to the ground. i opted instead to toss most of the water in my face, choke on any that happened to make it into my mouth, and daintily drop the cup to the side of the road. also, i repeated "slow and steady wins the race" to myself the entire 5K, but it turns out aesop is a liar. somewhere out there is a smug little hare with a shiny new medal. 

in conclusion, i ended up finishing in just over 31 minutes (that's two minutes worse than the trial i had done four days earlier) and i came in 16th place. in my age bracket. for the women. impressive, right? no? well. join me in blaming the nightmare baby.

here's a picture of me with some of the girls in my office (and one girl who is the roommate of a girl in my office), all of whom participated in a race that day too:


#27 dog scootering

i was recently in a small group at my church where we read through the book s.h.a.p.e. by eric rees, which is an excellent tool for starting to figure out what the heck God wants to do with you. i'd love to write something profoundly spiritual about what i learned in that group, but to be honest, i'm still processing. i think i started to figure out some of my gifts, but i still haven't heard a specific calling from the Lord. i continue to hope that He'll bust out a neon sign with the answer, but i'm also trying to listen for a still, small voice just in case He's not as theatrical as i'd prefer. i'll let you all know if He sends anything concrete my way, but for now, i'm trying to consciously love those around me. in an appropriate way. how do you people out there hear from God best?

on a less ambiguous note, i made several new friends in that small group, including michele. thus far, i've learned that michele works at sentara, lives in the country, and is a loving mother with lots of fun interests, including all things nature, kayaking, birdwatching (specifically waterfowl), photography, writing, and...bum bum BUM...dog scootering. michele was kind enough to read my blog, and even kinder still to invite me to do something very few people have done - get pulled at high speeds on a manual scooter by her two dogs. 

michele and i met up in the evening and set out for dismal swamp. i'll take a moment while you californians google that to ensure i didn't make it up. great dismal swamp. who thought of that name? they are fired by now, i'm certain. also, jeff, arabella, shep and i went there once, but we somehow made it to the not so great side of it and were super confused by the name. i thought they should change it to something like "underwhelming dismal swamp" or "wee dismal swamp." this time i had a better glimpse of why it's called great, though now i kind of think it should be called "great big road with no cars."

anyway, i had the pleasure of meeting jack and riley, who would be my horsepower for the evening. jack is a golden retriever and riley is a german shorthaired pointer. jack is sweet and calm and riley is a spazzoid. jack had terrible breath and riley really wanted to sit in the front seat of the car with me even though she was the size of a preteen. i love them.

we got to the trail, and michele hooked the dogs up. oh! a note: we were not slave driving. riley especially has a lot of extra energy no matter how much michele walks her, so michele discovered dog scootering as one way to really give her the exercise she loves. don't be hating, peta people.

i was much too chicken to hop on the scooter first and i encouraged michele to give it a go and wear the dogs out a bit before i got on. she did and it looked like fun and i thought i could handle it, so i went on.

SO FUN. those dogs could run! and michele said they weren't as fast as usual because it was hot that evening, so i can imagine it would be exhilarating at top speed. we went about a mile and a half before they lost steam and needed a break, but it was a fun trip. when we got back to the car, michele placed a water bowl in front of the dogs and riley made it clear that she was overheated when she took a few gulps, then tried to get into the bowl. 

also, i'm used to getting looks from strangers because my dog buster has such a unique coat, but i got way more looks with this contraption:

of course, they really might have been looking at my shirt, which combines super Christianity with twilight. epic, right? my grandma sent it to me. 

in conclusion, a huge thank you to michele, riley, and jack for this awesome new thing. i hope to hang out with you three again sometime soon!


#26 going to a callback

last night was the callback for 25th annual putnam county spelling bee. now, i know i should just be happy that i was called back after i botched one of my songs in the original audition, but i'm still finding myself disappointed that this happened:

thank you for coming back! i want you to know that all of you would be great at any of the parts in the show, and i wish i could cast you all! unfortunately there is a very limited number of roles, so tonight will mostly be about matching people up. i'm looking for most of the cast to be similar heights, with the adult roles a little taller than the kids. ladies, can you all line up on stage please? 

ladies all line up on stage. our protagonist, emily, is approximately seven inches taller than the rest of the ladies, and she looks much too young to have an adult role. 


i'm fairly certain that the director mentally drew a big red X over me right then and there. 

next, she had several groups go on stage and read scenes together. everyone at the callback was in at least one of those groups. i was in less than one of those groups. 
next, she had several of the guys read one part. then, she had several of the girls read another part. i did get a chance to do this, but it had been about 40 minutes since i'd last spoken so my voice sounded like i had just woken up even though i was supposed to be peppy, peppy, peppy. 
then she had the guys sing some scales. finally, she had us learn a short dance. i flubbed the ending, but i'm 97% sure she wasn't even glancing in my direction anymore at that point.

a note: every time one of the kids loses in the spelling bee, the rest of the cast sings a goodbye song. i'm hoping the director will sing that when she calls to tell me i'm not in. it would add a happy little surprise to that wildly predictable conversation. 

in conclusion, i blame my parents and my gene pool for this flop. 


#25 auditioning by my own free will

i took a performing arts class in the eighth grade. we were required to audition for the school play by singing rather moving renditions of "where is love?" from oliver! i wanted to play the artful dodger - he was funny and charming and, well, artful! instead i was cast as oliver, who is nervous and wussy and monosyllabic except when he's singing. always singing. freaking oliver.

fast forward to today. first of all, looking back, i'm really glad i was cast as oliver. it's much more fun to tell people i was oliver in oliver! than it would be to say i was dodger in oliver! people instantly think i was the lead. i wasn't really. second of all, i still love musicals. i'm no actress, but there are a few roles i know i could do well and love if given the chance and a little help: little sally in urinetown, lucy in you're a good man, charlie brown, and logainne schwartzandgrubenierre in 25th annual putnam county spelling bee. (basically, i'd like to act like a child.) therefore, when the opportunity to audition for spelling bee at a small community theater in virginia beach arose, i knew i needed to carpe diem my way over there. i figured i would either a) totally bomb and be humiliated and have excellent blog fodder or 2) i'd get to be in a fun show!

the audition notice said for girls to prepare two one minute songs - a belting song and a ballad. for the belting song, i wanted to do something funny and a bit childish, so i picked "shy" from once upon a mattress. i listened to it for the first time on monday and learned the words and rehearsed it over and over and over in the car and a bit at home. for the ballad, i wanted to simply find a not love song, since the kids in spelling bee don't really fall in love. finding a not love ballad is tricky, but i settled on "home" from beauty and the beast. i have been rehearsing that song since 1997, when it came out on classic disney volume 4, so i didn't spend much time on that.

when i arrived at the audition, it seemed like everyone knew each other. that made me super nervous, and i briefly considered making a run for it. i stayed though. then i found out that we would all be watching each other audition. that made me yet more nervous, and i again entertained the thought of bolting. i stayed though. we went in and the first few people went. i won't go into detail about other people's auditions for various reasons, but there was one guy who forgot his words, and i thought "well, my acting might not be great, and my voice isn't amazing, but at least i'll remember the words."

oh, me.

the director called my name (well, kind of."emily...faaah. uhhh. how do you say your name?) i got up there and sang two lines of "shy" and promptly forgot the rest of the words. i laughed it off, threw out a "15 years since being on stage!" and continued from behind the piano. i wasn't quite as humiliated as i thought i would be, but it was fairly embarrassing. it helped that the other forgetter went before me though - kind of lessened the blow. then i sang "home" and that went fine. i thought of california. my eyes brimmed. i'm sure everyone was just so moved and went home and cried themselves to sleep.

next was the cold reading. this was just fun. also, there was another emily auditioning, and the director started referring to me as "red dress emily" (the dress is really more of a pink, but i wasn't going to argue), and for some reason, "red dress emily" made me feel a little more pizazzy than just plain emily. don't worry - just plain emily who was standing beside me did not need extra pizazz. she was super talented.

in conclusion, i had an thoroughly entertaining evening for just the cost of some sheet music. 

stay tuned for my next first, which is "going to a callback." because i got one of those. get excited. the director didn't indicate which role i was being called back for, but they're all pretty great, so i'm happy. even if i don't get in, at least i didn't completely suck. holler.


fall 2010 syllabus

**i wrote this a couple weeks ago, but didn't have the chance to post until now.**

I started grad school last week. I also quit grad school last week. I had a variety of reasons and I feel good about the decision, but it was still a rather difficult choice. For the past year I’ve been “just Jeff’s wife,” and I thought grad school was going to be a way to stand out and be my own person. Well, what a terrible reason to pay hundreds of dollars when I’m not 100% sure that writing scripts and screenplays is what I want to do in life!

I do, however, think having structured goals would have been nice. Grades have always motivated me, so class would have been instant motivation. Again, not a good reason to pay hundreds of dollars. Therefore, I’m going to put out some goals for the semester and post them on my blog and attempt to accomplish them. My readers (all three or four of you!) will have to keep me accountable.

Ready? Go!

Fall 2010 Syllabus

1. Write an entire play. It does not have to be good, it simply must be complete. If this means I write the world’s crappiest show, so be it. This goal is quantity, not quality. We can work on the quality in another semester.
2. Read Story by Robert McKee. Jeff keeps talking about how great it is, and I think I could learn a lot from it.
3. Learn three ukulele songs by heart. No music or lyrics necessary.
4. Read one novel for fun. At least. Check! I read The Help this weekend. Such a good book.
5. Try at least five new things and blog about them. Check one: Blogged about video chatting.
6. Continue to exercise regularly – at least four times per week.
7. Pray at least ten minutes a day. (I considered deleting this because I'm rather ashamed that I don't do it already. But I decided to be honest instead. I have not been talking to God as much as I - or He - would like. My hope is that I'll devote much more time to this and eventually have a constant dialogue with Him because God is important to me, but let's start with an achievable goal.)
8. Find an entire day to be silent. This can be one of the anything once blog posts.
9. Attempt to remain positive at work. Continue doing my best there and try to take criticism better. Find a balance between accepting change and not compromising my personality and empathy.
10. Discover ways to give glory to God. This could be in finding a place to serve in an organized ministry, but maybe it will be something else. He's much more creative than me.
11. Choose to hang out with people we don’t usually seek out at least three times. 


#24 video chatting

okay, i have skyped before. i sound like an 83 year-old woman, writing that i've never "video chatted" before. i may as well have written that it was my first time using one of these fancy typewriter contraptions to making moving picture advanced telegraph communications. or something. anyway, like said 83 year-old woman, i have only skyped a couple of times and only in group situations, like last new year's eve when our east coast westmont crew skyped with our west coast westmont crew.

this time was new for three reasons:
1. it was through google chat, which is why i'm calling it video chatting instead of skyping. or is calling it video chatting similar to calling kleenex facial tissues? discuss.
2. it was just me and mikkele.
3. and most importantly, it was on my brand new mac. i suppose i could write an entire post about being a new mac owner - how i feel like a cooler person now because i've been brainwashed by their shiny marketing, how the simplicity of this computer's functions truly confuse me, how i have heard two whooshing sounds while i wrote this sentence and i have no idea what they mean - but i'll refrain.

i loved video chatting with mikkele. we talked for two hours and the time flew by. i loved being able to listen like i used to when we were in person - listen fully without feeling the need to interject so she knows i'm there.

i absolutely loathe the phone (except when i'm talking to my grandma - for some reason i do well with her) for many reasons, but one reason is that you have no genuine way to indicate that you're listening. you can say "uh huh, uh huh" but that can be interpreted as "i'm painting my nails and reading a magazine while you rattle on about your life" even if your uh huhs actually mean "i care about you and what's going on in your life and i like listening to you." and i get so nervous that whoever i'm talking to will interpret my uh huhs in that nail-painting, magazine-reading way, so i end up dispensing advice or talking about similar experiences that i've had. that is NOT good listening, folks. that is selfish listening.

all this to say, video chat is neat. kind of makes me wish i had consistent internet at my apartment so i could partake more often.

in conclusion, it turns out i make this face when i am figuring new things out on the computer: