I have been running regularly for the past month and a half - about 30 minutes every other day - and feeling a lot better because of it. Everything is calmer and happier on a running day and it is a beautiful thing to keep improving.

Last Friday night I was out with Maureen and asked if she wanted to run together over the weekend and she said, "I'm running a 10k on Sunday. You should come!" I decided to go and give it a try, figuring I would run until I had no more run left and then walk the rest of the way. It was going to be a good test for me to try and go 60+ minutes.

But like Yoda said, "There is no try, there is only do," and I did! There was no walking at all and I finished in a very respectable one hour, five minutes (and 15 seconds). Tom and Rabito came and met me near the finish line, and I credit them for keeping me going because I couldn't wait to see them both. I rounded a corner with about half a kilometer to go and there they were! I clapped and waved and Rabito came bounding across the road to run with me, and I had a brief vision of crossing the finish line with him, but, as he couldn't stand that Tom was five feet behind me and kept trying to pull me back to run next to him, I had to do a reverse relay pass and hand the leash backward. And then I ran as hard as I could to the end!

And just like that, I became a runner. I signed up for another 10k in August, with hopes of running the half marathon in October. I feel like I have found a friend and I am excited for the journey ahead with her.


Michael Jackson is one of the reasons I want to be a mom

Because the idea of being able to hold a baby and dance to "Off the Wall" is just too heartbreakingly good. I remember the first time I heard that album - in 6th grade music class one day, our teacher brought in her copy and played side one. It was the greatest thing I had ever heard and I still love it. I want to be there when my child hears it for the first time too - albeit at a seriously young age so he or she doesn't have the capacity to tell me that it is crap.

Not the best reason to parent, but not the worst one either.


Yankees? Really?

Friday in Manhattan was a crazy day of errand running, starting with coffee and an eye exam in Greenwich Village and ending with a Yankee game at the new stadium. There is never enough time to do everything I want to do while I am there, but I have managed to amass a collection of exceptional moments, and this trip delivered a doozy.

Tom and I met Jason at the Strand before heading uptown for the game because, really, what says baseball more than used books? We got to the stadium a little early and walked up and up and up to our seats. I was only at the old Yankee stadium once and had nothing really to reference, but even I could appreciate the coolness of the set up and the fact that we could see the field great from way up in the nosebleeds. There were all these people walking around the stadium with "How may I help you?" signs and matching shirts, leading to Tom's observation that things have changed considerably since his first Yankee game when he saw some kid get mugged for his ice cream.

The Yankees were playing the Mets after being swept by Boston earlier in the week. There were a fair share of Mets fans at the game and a fair share of taunting on both sides, but I have to say that the Met fans were stupid and wore stupid hats and stupid jerseys and were more stupidly loud. Like they were dorky resident assistants in the college dorms of baseball. So I happily cheered for the Yankees, the team I love to hate, though when one of the stupidest Met fans was removed from the game by 8 police officers, apparently for SWEARING, I was tempted to switch sides. The Disneyland attitude that cleaned the surface of Times Square made its way to the Bronx -- keeping it shiny on the surface is paramount. If they could show Derek Jeeter in a white suit on the jumbotron saying, "Smiles everyone, smiles!," it would complete the quasi-illusion.

Toward the end of the game we headed down to the lower level to watch the game from that perspective and the security guard let me go down to the front to watch an inning from seats right between home and first. That was very cool and I took photos, though it was a very fast inning and I didn't get a lot of opportunity to take too many.

At the beginning of the 9th we left the stadium and went to the iconic bar across from the old stadium called Stan's because the Yankees were trailing and we were craving cheaper beers. Walking in, I almost turned back because the baseball hat to overweight and red-faced ratio was a bit too close for my claustrophobic comfort. But I got over my phobia and was rewarded with a booth open to the street on one side and with a clear view of the television on the other. It was truly kismet, as we watched the Mets go to the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead and two outs as Alex Rodriguez came to bat. There was a pop up and the crowd all groaned because it was an easy out and easy end to the game. But Castillo dropped. the. ball. And then threw to second! It was mayhem as two Yankees scored and they won the game. There was screaming. There was jumping up and down. There was high fiving. This film sums up the moment nicely:

We kept our seats by the windows as people streamed out of the stadium and the taunting commenced on the streets. An hour later, there were still yelling and hugging out there and Tom said it was like the Yankees won a playoff game. I just laughed and laughed and laughed, egging people on and grinning like a fool. The next time someone criticizes the USA, I may punch them in the face. Not really...but it was so nice to be there, enjoying the fun and ease and absence of existential angst. Sometimes a baseball hat is just a baseball hat!

The night ended late, with me getting my photo taken with New York's finest and a subway ride back down to the Village, where Tom got me a 2am BLT and I fell asleep a Yankee convert.


Why I love New York

I've been in New York for just over 24 hours and already:
  • was engulfed by humanity upon arriving at Penn Station and wheeled my suitcase through and around and over more than a few hurdles and the odd puddle of something in my journey to the hotel. It was hard to keep from beaming while maintaining my subway face.
  • accomplished my #1 goal of the trip and bought new running shoes. We went to Paragon Sports on 18th, and the experience made me think I was still in Amsterdam because the guy helping me was just showing me shoes they had in my size and not the best shoes for my gait. Then, after I told him that I'd like to see some different brands, said, "OK, but my shift is over so someone else will have to help you." If he had been 7 feet tall and had gelled hair, it would have completed the illusion. We left without buying and went to Jack Rabbit Sports where I had a complete opposite experience and left with some awesome new shoes and a big smile on my face. I tried them out this morning on the treadmill and ran like the wind.
  • went to a diner and had a sublime BLT on white toast, no mayo, side of fries and a piece of cherry pie.
  • met friends for dinner and drank Oregon pinot gris - woo hoo!
  • ordered a vastly overpriced pumpernickel bagel with cream cheese, lox and tomato and ate it over the Thursday Style pages in the Times.
  • found my awesome wedding dress at Century 21 marked way the heck down
  • ventured into the annals of the diamond district to get my engagement ring repaired at the city's top-rated jewelry repair shop. It was bizarre but so good to see that the undercurrent of weird still exists behind the chain stores.
  • got my manicure and pedicure and nearly cried
And that is just the first 24 hours. I love it here.