Unbroken Dreams

The other day, I had an inclination to pull out my old This Foreign Land cd and listen to it.

That never happens.

Seriously, that never happens. 

I tend to avoid it because I can't stand the sound of my own voice, or worse, people thinking I like to listen to the sound of my own voice. 

And, there is so much sadness associated with that time of my life- broken dreams, broken hearts, broken friendships.  Oh, but that's college, I suppose.

But I wanted to hear it this week.  I thought Emerson might like it.  She likes things like that.
Of course, that's no excuse for my continuing to listen to it the next day, on my way to work with an empty car seat in my backseat. 

As the familiar tunes I had so painstakingly pinned burst on my memory from my car stereo, the short drive down Adams Street became a trip down memory lane.  I could anticipate each strum of the guitar, tap my fingers to every tap of the symbols, nod my head to each "bum-bum" the bass made.  Heavenly.  Like youth.  Like unbroken dreams.

I'll admit, there are regrets.  Regrets that have kept that cd hid away in my visor for nearly six years. 

But music draws me like lost love.  After all, it's given me more than any lover ever could.  No caress is so tender as that caress of the soul.  And it's true, I've often mistaken mutual passion for mutual affection.  Who can resist a music-man?  What girl doesn't swoon over a guitar player?  And two people who can sit for hours in intense focus on the same occupation, is it not love? 

But don't get any ideas.  I won't be calling up any of my former band member on this, or any other, melancholy day.  Not everything that has passed needs resurrected. 

Even so, it's good to remember every now and then.

the whole band 2007


Grad school.

It calls to me like destiny and it seems I'm bound to go.  I've already made up my mind where, what for, and how much I'm going to have to spend on this venture.

I had finally decided that this was thing to do.  Exactly what would suit me best at this season in my life.  I was all ready to jump in with both feet.

And then, the recruiter from my school of choice informed me of a little test called the GRE.  

Call me naive, but I'd never heard of it before.  Never knew such an exam could even exist.

So, as it turns out, before I can go to grad school, I have to sit for this exam...like the SATs....like I didn't already earn a bachelors degree....like I'm not about to spend $30,000 to go back to school.

So, Friend bought this for me last night:

Notice how Charles snuck into this picture?

I'll admit, digging into nearly 600 pages of preparatory reading for a standardized test that includes, of all things, math, is not really how I want to spend my free time over the next three months.

But, it seems my course is set if I plan to go back to school in the fall.

Mean Green

So, Saturday morning I was all:  Clean eating and juicing and healthy living!  I bought a juicer on Friday and a garden's worth of vegetables.  I also purchased some organic staples like milk and buter and almonds, ya know, the clean stuff.  On Saturday morning, I turned on Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and let the inspiration wash over me, celebrating my decision to take the juice plunge. 

This is what I started with:

It took a few kale leaves to figure out how my juicer worked, but once I cleaned up the liquid green mess, and learned the difference between the spout and the pulp basket, I was feelin' like a rock star.  Friend and Charles came in to watch...and maybe to laugh a little. 

The end result:

That's right, a nice tall glass of Mean Green

I don't think I could have been more proud of myself.  The first sip...not bad. 

And then it hit my tongue. 

Sorry juice lovers, but all the lies you're telling about Mean Green not tasting like lawn clippings are criminal. 

Seriously, it tastes like the stuff you drink before a colonoscopy. 

Not my fondest memories.

And now I'm not so sure about all this clean-eating, fruits and vegetables, natural health remedies stuff.  I had to think about it over a delicious cookie dough concrete mixer at Culvers. 

The jury's still out. 

What I do know is that I'm unsatisfied with my current weight and that eating unhealthy food doesn't seem to alleviate my disatitisfaction.  Though I have been losing weight lately, I want something more than just a smaller dress size.  I want better health.

I think that means scaling back instead of overhauling.  Let's face it, throwing out everything in my cupboards is not really an option.  And never having another Starbucks Frappucino, uh...yeah right! 

So, my new goal is to cut out fried foods, soda pop, and *gasp* sweet tea....

......Okay maybe not entirely.

See how hard this is.

Eating and Such

Dear Mary,

I think it's time for me to stop eating fried foods.  Yikes.  It's scarier in writing than just mulling it over in my head.  I've been fascinated lately with this idea of "clean eating."  After watching a couple of informative documentaries (Hungry for Change and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead), I'm pondering this idea for health reasons, not just weight-loss.  

Last night Evan (my little brother) and I ran five miles in the cold.  We're training for a marathon in June.  I've been training since October and am amazed at how my body still refuses to run the first mile.  I've found that it takes a mile to really warm up while I limp and gimp like an awkward, lame dog trying to get down the street.  I wonder if part of it's a lack of proper nutrition.  I usually can start running in normal fashion by the second mile and keep a pretty steady pace (though slow) throughout the run.  But I'm usually pretty sore afterward, and I can never run two days in a row.

So, I'm wondering  if adding in more fruits and vegetables, cutting out the sugar and wheat products, and rethinking the way I feed my body would make a better runner out of me...among other things.

And the funny thing is, it's all a very terrifying prospect.  If I were fearless, I'd just do it.  Just go out and buy a juicer, all the fresh vegetables, all the fresh fruits, pitch all the processed garbage in my cabinets, and eat clean from this day forward.  But eating is a funny thing.  It's not so much about food as it is about custom, social habit, and even personal beliefs.  If it were all a matter of putting the right nutrition in one's body, we'd all be eating healthier, living longer, and looking and feeling better.  But it's not.

More on this later as I sort it out.  As for the other things you mentioned in your last letter, I agree with you whole-heartedly.  Funny thing that we should be reading the same authors and coming to the same conclusions so many miles apart.  And like you, I prefer to remain an observant student at this time as I find myself unable to argue my position for lack of knowledge on the subject.  But that's part of the learning process, keeping silent until I know what to say.  Oh that I would always have the wisdom and self-control to do so!

A picture of Charles to make you smile.

Finding My Voice

Dear Mary,

Whenever I try to sit down and write a post for this blog, I feel like I don't know who I am, what I think, or how to express myself.  But that's not really true.  The truth is, I don't know who my audience is, what they might think of me, or how to express my message in a way they can appreciate.  So I started thinking about the Dear Sister Diaries and how much I loved that blog.  No, this is not an attempt to get you to write again, just an attempt to capture that which was beautiful about your blog and apply it to my own.  Of course, the most beautiful thing about your blog was you, my dear friend.  But, all I have to share is me.  And life is not so terribly exciting, but it's all mine and that's something.

So, the solution:  "Dear Mary"

Not so original and charming as "Dear Sister," but it suites my purposes.  You are my audience.  Mostly because you have loved my writing for years and have made me feel a writer when all I had was sappy love stories I couldn't finish and flowery language that didn't always make a point but sure looked beautiful on paper.  And because you're a lover of ideas, thoughts, and dreams.  And because you've had the courage to be honest and raw in the face of that which scared you most.  

Today I was driving down a road I've been down a thousand times, but my mind was wandering to places I'll never go, things I'll never do, experiences I'll never have, people I'll never meet.  And it doesn't scare me.  But maybe it should.  I've never been a thrill-seeker, just a seeker of truth, and something tangible that I don't have to feel ashamed of when I'm trying to defend it with straw-man arguments and cliche stereotypes.   Maybe that's enough for a homebody like me.  Maybe all that is around me is enough and never knowing what I'm missing is a blessing.  Maybe.  And yet, my mind wanders on days like today.  Seek and ye shall find, right?

My dog snuggling my foot...cause it's cold in Indiana!


A good friend encourages you in the daily ups and downs of life.  A great friend encourages you to make goals and plans for your future.  The best friends encourage you to dream outside the realm of possibility, because it's in our big dreams and greatest ambitious that we reveal who we truly are.

A good friend allows you to have a bad day without changing their opinion of you.  A great friend gets to the root of your bad week and helps you work through the real issue.  The best friends already know the back-story, see the stumbling blocks, and sit with you through the darkest nights while you're recovering from the worst of it, never asking, "What's in this for me?"

A good friend can come into your life and linger.  A great friend can come into your life and make a place for herself.  The best friends can come into your life and change who you are.  Because with them, you are more yourself than you are when you're alone.  

Who would I be without my friends?  In my friends, I see a more accurate reflection of me than in any mirror.  They echo back my strongest convictions, my deepest beliefs, and anything good that can be found in my thoughts and feelings.  They tell my story better than I can, a tapestry of all I admire and aspire to.  They are a suit of armor and at the same time, the comforting arms that cradle me when I'm at my weakest.  They are the band of crusaders, championing my cause, championing me in the fray of life.  And who would I be, if not for them?