Tuesday, April 29, 2014

So, this is happening

Plus one more as of today:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lone Star Race Report

I signed up for the Lone Star Race 10k to use as proof of time for my Disneyland Half Marathon on August 31. That will not be happening now because none of the courses (5k, 10k, half) were the correct length.

I was fortunate enough to pick up my packet the day before the race, which offered a pretty sweet technical t-shirt. Little did I know that it would portend the events to come.

Saturday evening I had the misfortune of a migraine and napped from 8:30 until about 11 p.m. before heading to a friend's place in Irving to stay the night and shorten the morning drive. The Lone Star Race Series was held in Arlington and it took about 20 minutes to get there, and a panicky 20 minutes longer to find my way to open parking, lost as far as Grand Prairie based on the directions given by the organizers instead of an address for my GPS to take me to.

I arrived 7 minutes before the start of the Lone Star Race 10k/half, tears streaming down my face. I opened my car door and reached for my race belt, and the wind blew the door shut on my foot. Not terribly hard, but enough to set me crying afresh. I was SO stressed out, and I hadn't yet had a chance to use the bathroom. The portapotty line was fortunately short, and I pinned my bib while waiting in it, but there was no paper. It's a lucky thing I didn't have to go number 2, huh? And that I wore my fancy wicking runderwear.

I walked over to the start corral with seconds to spare, snapped a grouchy selfie, and then worried when the race began and the people in front of me weren't moving. Had I gotten in a corral for 5k runners only? I threaded my way to the front as the crowd slowly dispersed and managed to start about 2 minutes after the gun time.

Gloom and doom

The weather was in the low 70s with a stiff breeze and 85% humidity, which is just about the worst possible race conditions for me. Humidity saps my strength and typically adds several minutes to my pace. The Lone Star Race was a surprisingly hilly and ugly as sin road course that wound through the business districts surrounding the Ballpark at Arlington.

Around the 25-minute mark, the 5k leader ran past me. My shins ached and my calves were stiff and sore, but I soldiered on, setting a careful, smooth pace that I could maintain . . . at least until the uphill parts with headwinds. I embraced the suck, focusing on my stride and form, sure I would hate every minute of this race and recognizing that as an acceptable outcome. I knew I would finish anyway.

At the 2-mile mark, I checked my watch and my heart sank to see that I had been running slower than even a 14-minute pace. My goal for the day was 13. All three courses overlapped, and as we approached the halfway point, volunteers helpfully cheered, "Almost there!" I gave them a weak nod as other runners corrected them. Suddenly, as I reached the 3-mile mark, I had magically caught and beat my goal pace.

Now, I've always been a solid pacer, no matter the conditions. I may be slow, but my pace hardly varies even with elevation. I was tired by now and gave myself a long walk break up the next hill. I picked up my steady shuffle again and passed the 4-mile mark . . . and another 4-mile mark. Maybe one of them had been for the Lone Star Race half marathon, but we hadn't split courses yet. At the 5-mile mark I caught a second wind, having worked hard at going slow to start, and I hoped it would last me through the end. I picked up my pace and began to hope I could make my goal.

I had been dumping Powerade from the aid stations into my water bottle and now wished I had a little more water. I got some at the next aid station and a runner beside me asked worriedly if we had missed a turn. I confirmed that we'd passed the half turnoff and were all on track for the 10k, even though she thought we should have turned back toward the finish by now. I was too tired to do anything but trust and follow the course and tried to reassure her that we were probably close.

What else could we do but keep running? Well, soon after, I ran out of energy and could only walk. I thought I surely could make it to the end, but the course just kept going. And my watch just kept ticking. And my dreams kept sinking.

In the final stretch, I caught up with two run-walkers who were consulting their GPS trackers and comparing their 6.7 and 6.85 mile recordings. I remarked that it had been an awfully long time, though I only had my watch to go by. We shrugged and finished strong, stepping up the pace and smiling to cross the finish line. One confirmed for me then that it was exactly 7 miles. We hoped that our chip times were recorded at the previous timer we crossed a little less than a mile back.

I had just about 5 minutes to sit and rehydrate before the winds picked up and sprinkles fell from the sky. I headed back to my car and back to my nearby friend's place. It rained in earnest much of the way but lightened as I arrived. I walked to the pool, stripped off my outer layers, and jumped right in wearing only my sports bra and runderwear. Whatever. It was a little too cool for lounging but perfectly glorious on my overtired muscles. After a few minutes of frolicking alone in the pool, I gathered my things and headed up to the apartment for a warm bath and a nap. It was a lovely end to a less than pleasant race day.

We found out the next morning when results were posted that only the 7-mile finish line counted. And I found out on the Lone Star Race Series Facebook page that the half marathon had also run long and over a dozen 5k runners were directed to take a wrong turn and ran an extra mile when they might have placed for their age groups.

My finish time of 1:25:04 was freaking awesome for 7 miles and fucking useless as proof of time on a "10k" course. I was devastated. At Disney I'd have to start in the 16-minute pace corral with the walkers, trapped behind thousands of slow participants, which is not only irritating as hell but dangerous.

My whole month of May is booked up with obstacle races, and the Disneyland cutoff is June 1. I scoured the web for any mid-week races and contemplated skipping the Tough Mudder I'd already dropped a hundred bucks on. There was exactly one local run available on my one free day, May 11. It listed age divisions and an awards ceremony, but not a word on the page about chip timing. I emailed the listed contact to ask, and she said yes, it would be chip timed! I registered right away for the Bagel Run 10k and was especially delighted at the low fee of $20.

My Monday was saved, no thanks to the Lone Star Race Series and its weak apology email. I will definitely NOT be giving that event a second chance next year. May 11 will be hotter, but I'll have a little more time to train. I have a 5k mud run the day before, so I'll have to be careful to take it easy on that course. Ultimately, I should be able to make my pace, though.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fit Fatties Virtual Double Decathlon and We Stand with Boston

I signed up to participate in the Fit Fatties Virtual Decathlon this year and quickly knocked out a decathlon in January, so I signed up for a Double Decathlon after all. Here is my planned list of possible events:
  • 1 mile walk/run/roll
  • 5k walk/run/roll
  • 10k walk/run/roll
  • Half Marathon walk/run/roll
  • Marathon walk/run/roll
  • Swim - quarter mile
  • Swim - half mile
  • Shimmy it Out (30 minute shimmy--can switch shimmy location through event)
  • Belly Dancing (60 minutes of dancing)
  • Set It Free (Complete a free weight workout)
  • Lift A Ton (Lift a total of 2000 pounds, not necessarily all at once - you can complete this over a month!)
  • Take a Hike (Enjoy at least a mile of the great outdoors.)
  • Take a Tread (Enjoy at least a mile of the great indoors.  Walk on the treadmill, elliptical or other machine, or just walk around inside.)
  • Stairway to Heaven (Climb 100 stairs in one day.)
  • Push It Good (Do 100 push-ups (any style) in one day.)
  • Walk the Plank (Do 60 minutes of planking in one day.)
  • Squat it Out (Do 100 squats in one day.)
  • Get in the Flow - 60 of work with flow toy, such as poi, staff, juggling, dance/fire fans, rola bola, balance ball, aerial silks or hoop, meteor
  • On thin Ice - 60 minutes of ice skating or rollerblading
  • Keep it Class-y (Take a movement class - including dvd or online- that you've never tried before for at least 60 minutes.)
  • Drama Drama Drama (Throw a full blown temper tantrum lasting at least 30 minutes.)
  • Shop Til you Drop (Shop for three continuous hours - online doesn't count!)

In my previous update, I posted about my completion of Take a Hike, Push it Good, Shop til You Drop, Lift a Ton, Drama Drama Drama, and Keep it Class-y. Today's update includes two more.

#14 Set it Free (Complete a free weight workout)

#15 10k run

This run was warm and humid and fucking sucked. There were a lot of fumes from evening traffic and nearby construction sites, and my arms broke out as if I'd been rolling in grass. There was tons of Easter trash all over the park because people are shitty. And then I found unopened Starbursts on the ground.

I checked my app when I thought I must only have a mile left and found that I had TWO MORE MILES to slog through. The bib is for the We Stand With Boston virtual run event and I expect a medal in the mail sometime next month.

April 29: My medal arrived yesterday and is bigger than I imagined!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hope's Door

When I performed with the DFW Vagina Monologues in February, Hope's Door was one of our two beneficiaries for which we raised over $900 each. Hope's Door is a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

I frequently get rid of my clothes at clothing swaps but wanted to only donate this time and not bring anything new into the house because we're packing to move soon. I decided to give some things to Hope's Door and on a whim to also hold a clothing drive at my Amtgard park, with which I like to periodically lead events to benefit local charities, such as the food drive we held in November for a local pantry.

A few days later, I overheard coworkers mention getting rid of some clothes and individually asked a few to send them my way for this particular charity. I also posted a flier in the break room and immediately received a few extra donations. One coworker requested further details and is going to talk to her kids' Girl Scout troop about donating items or possibly holding a garage sale and donating its profits to Hope's Door.

I was thrilled with the response and how quickly interest grew and spread from my small plans to others.

One coworker even put together a lovely gift basket to donate for Mother's Day.

I then reached out to Russ of the Circus Freaks to ask if I might set up a box in the lobby of the weekly Open Stage event to collect donations from that group as well. He was on board with the idea, and with less than one day's notice, I received a trunk full of clothes the first night and will have to make a few more trips than I first planned.

I wish there was an easy way to quantitatively report the results of this endeavor, but I don't even own a scale. Instead, I think I'll take pictures and report back in a few weeks.

Here is a little more about Hope's Door from its website:

The mission of Hope's Door is to offer intervention and prevention services to individuals and families affected by domestic violence and to provide education programs that enhance the community's capacity to respond.
Mission & History
Hope's Door is the only organization in Collin County specializing in comprehensive intervention and prevention services for all members of a family affected by domestic violence - from victim to abuser. Hope's Door was established in 1986 as a crisis hotline. Clients were housed in local hotels until the opening of a 21-bed emergency shelter in 1989. Since then, services have expanded to include transitional housing, counseling for adults and children, legal advocacy and services for abusers.
Annually, Hope's Door responds to over 1,900 crisis hotline calls, shelters more than 400 women and children, houses over 50 families in transitional housing and provides counseling and legal advocacy to more than 1,300 survivors.

Friday, April 18, 2014

For your amusement: Crappy copy editor cover letters, Part 2

These are actual cover letters received for a copy editing position.

April 11:

[Company] Administrators,

        I would like to express my interest in the position of Content-Copy Editor. I have confidence that I could be an asset to [Company] as a strong team member by facilitating the use of research-based best practices and promoting critical thinking and problem solving. The classroom teacher, instructional leader, and curriculum writing experience I bring will be invaluable. I have strong writing, grammar, and communication skills. I am adept to bringing teachers resources in grades K-5 Reading, as well as proficient at using [Company] data and lessons.  It will be critical for me to collaborate with my colleagues Thank you for your consideration for this position.


April 15:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in regard to your job listing for English Content and Copy Editor. I was pleased to find that the job requirements you have listed compliment my skill set.

As an English Writing Lecturer at [Place] University and a Facilitator for the University of [Online Place], I gained considerable experience creating instructional materials for diverse audiences.  My work as a Customer Support Representative for [Competitor] and as an Online Instructional Design Technician for [Other Company] provided me with a strong background in learning technology.  Finally, my publication history proves my ability to meet editorial guidelines and quality expectations.

I love writing and editing, regardless of the subject matter.  I want the opportunity to bring this love to a career at [Company].

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

[Name], MFA, MA

April 16:

Reply to English Content and Copy Editor:
I am writing in response to the English Content and Copy Editor position that I saw posted on the [Misspelled Company Name] website. The position requirements and my skills are a perfect match.
As you will see on my enclosed resume, I have the educational background, professional experience, and track record for which you are searching.  I currently serve as an Instructional Coach who specializes in literacy. Although I have many responsibilities, one of my main roles is to create, proofread and edit lessons the lessons of my staff.  In addition, I have a wide range of professional experience as a teacher, program manager, and curriculum developer.
I can promise that meeting with me will not be a waste of your time—and I will make myself available at your convenience, during or outside of normal business hours.


April 18:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am thrilled to submit my resume for the English Content and Copy Editorship. I am confident that I will excel in the position.

Master’s candidate in applied English linguistics
Research experience in technology and language teaching
5 years classroom teaching experience
Demonstrated experience writing and editing English curricula
Skilled at time management and meeting deadlines
Proficient in MS-Office and web-based educational and publishing tools
Owns a copy of Adobe InDesign
Can adapt and excel demanding situations

Larger companies are offering mid 40’s for similar positions. I am willing to negotiate for the chance to join a smaller, more dynamic company with room to grow (or ludicrous amounts of PTO).

I appreciate your sincerest consideration of my qualifications and welcome a chance to discuss what I can bring to the [Company] team.


Edited to add following submissions.
April 19:

To Whom It May Concern,

Having personally worked alongside Mr. [Owner] and Mr. [Important] as a freelance writer for the [Related Business] and for the [Misnamed Related Company], I would be elated to work for 
[Misspelled Company Name], and feel that I have the commiserate background and skills to be a perfect fit for the job. I hold two degrees in English: A Bachelors in Professional Writing and Editing and a Masters in Composition and Rhetoric. Additionally, I have 6 years of teaching experience English spanning grades 7 through university-level seniors. I also Directed the National Writing Project site at [University] and am familiar with the core curriculum in schools. I am also a PhD student in the Arts and Technology School at [University] which positions me to be an ideal fit for the innovative work at [Misspelled Company Name]. I look forward to the opportunity to continue my relationship with the [Misspelled Company Name] community as the English Content and Copy Editor.

Thank you,


April 21:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I'm writing to express an interest in the English Content and Copy Editor or related position listed on your company webpage.  I have an abundance of classroom experience that would bring value to your organization in steering the success of future generations.  As an end-user of the 
[Misspelled Company Name] product, I seek opportunities to help shape curriculum-based programs that will impact today's learners in a very insightful way.

My experience expands beyond the classroom and I have evolved as a teacher who have taken a more focused approach to the technology content that drives today's youth.  Please take time to review my credentials and consider application as a viable solutions to help expand the growth of the 
[Misspelled Company Name] product line.

Thank you for your consideration.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fancy Dress Picnic at Fair Park

Host to the Texas State Fair and myriad festivals and conventions, we all know Fair Park as a traffic nightmare to avoid if you're rushing on any given weekend. But did you know that Fair Park is like any public park in Dallas in that you can just walk in, have a picnic, and hang out?

On April 6, my fashion-savvy, spooky-savant friend Heather Carouth (pictured below) hosted her second annual Fancy Dress Picnic in celebration of her birthday. She calls herself a Fair Park fanatic for her love of the buildings, museums, and events hosted there and said she loves to spread the word about all it has to offer.

It was a gloomy, overcast day, perfect for our fair-skinned friends, though a bit chillier and rainier than we would have liked. The group of about a dozen laid out blankets on the grass in front of the Daughters of the American Revolution building and had a table of refreshments set up beneath a few pop-up pavilions. 

Melissa Veach (above) was kind enough to share her umbrella with me and brought beverages to share as well, and her fancy gentleman joined us in dressing up (below).

We drew no shortage of curious stares from the hoards lined up for the beer festival that day and even a handful who strolled by to ask what we were doing and take photos with us.

Above: Heather and Matilda Crow set the scene worlds away from Beer Fest.

So if you're looking for a unique setting to enjoy the spring weather, take the DART rail down and check out Fair Park. Just don't put down any wickets for croquet, because you'll probably get busted like we did for aerating the lawn.

  • Fair Park boasts the world's largest collection of Art Deco exhibit buildings, art and sculpture.
  • Fair Park is the only intact and unaltered pre-1950s world fair site remaining in the United States – with an extraordinary collection of 1930s art and architecture.
  • Today, the 277-acre park and its cultural, educational and sports facilities play host to more than seven million annual visitors.
Fair Park rules:
  • Skateboards, bicycles, roller skates or roller blades are not allowed inside the Fair Park gates during the State Fair of Texas. However, all are allowed during the remainder of the year provided that they are not used on the steps and plazas of our cherished buildings and monuments. 
  • You are always welcome to bring your own food or beverages in Fair Park, although some museums and buildings may not allow you to bring food or drink inside facilities. You may bring coolers or ice chests, but they are subject to search. Alcohol, glass containers, and metal knives and forks are not allowed.

Celebration! White Rock 5k race

Last Thursday I ran the inaugural Celebration! White Rock 5k race to benefit the White Rock Lake Conservancy. I was the only costumed runner in attendance, a first for me. I ran in galaxy tights and a blue and purple tutu in honor of SELF Magazine's #tutugate snafu and got a shout-out in the race report, another first.

Serious runner

Yet another first: nowhere to fasten my D-tag timing chip. They're designed to thread through shoe laces, though I always wear Vibram FiveFingers for running, most of which have a velcro strap that does the job. That day's shoes did not, so I had to get creative: searching my car for twine and elastic to fit my ankle and settling for carefully safety pinning the tag to my shoe without stabbing myself. It's a good thing I arrived very early with plenty of time to spare.

My only complaint about this event is that the festival and water were at the top of the Winfrey Point hill and the Start/Finish line at the bottom, so I had to hike uphill in my exhaustion, near to puking, and search for buckets of water hidden around the festival area. Once rehydrated, I forgot all my frustrations at the offer of free barbecue sliders and full-size bottles of Powerade. Way to go, event sponsors!

My chip time was 38:42.

The weather was pleasant if a little on the warm side, and the wind along the lake was a bit fierce. I really enjoy training at White Rock Lake and am grateful for the opportunity to support this organization. I look forward to running in this event again next year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

For your amusement: A collection of crappy copy editor cover letters

These are some cover letters submitted by applicants for a content/copy editor position with an education company. They remain unedited except to scrub identifying information and sometimes add space between paragraphs. They are terribad. Italics indicate my commentary. (Update: I'm going to slowly add screenshots.)

February 26:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am interested in applying for the position at [company name wrongly capitalized].  I feel as though I have the experience and skill set needed to meet and exceed the expectations of [company name wrongly capitalized].

To summarize my qualifications for this position*:
  • Illinois Elementary Type 03 Certification
  • Bachelor’s Degree of Science
  • Clinical Observations in Early Childhood, K, 3rd, and 5th.
  • Middle School, Social Science, English, and Science Endorsements
  • Community Involvement
  • Substitute teaching in K-8
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Experience with IEPs
  • Experience with [company/program name wrongly capitalized]

(*Where is the rest of the sentence?! Don't leave me hanging! None of the listed skills are relevant to this position. Why is there so much space here in the original? Why does this person use double spaces after periods?)

I would like to use my skills and experience to meet the goals of [company name wrongly capitalized]. I would welcome an interview at your earliest convenience.

[name scrubbed]

March 3:

During my 8 years of experience as an educator refined my abilities to communicate effectively using the written word.

In an industry such as this, where the goal is producing clear and engaging curriculum for clients, such attention to detail and accuracy is of utmost importance.

I would be perfect for this opening and can bring a level of energy to this position that requires acute detail and focus to properly complete.

I enjoy writing and editing. And, when I find mistakes in publicly shared documents such as websites, signage or others, I cringe knowing that first impression made on the customer is a negative one.

Thanks so much for your consideration.

(Is this a joke? Seriously, IS THIS A JOKE?? What is "acute detail," I wonder, and what would it "properly complete"?)

March 19:

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is [name scrubbed].  I have been teaching for a total of 13 years at the elementary level.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Child Development and my teaching certificate for 1st through 6th grades from the University of [place].  I also have my master’s degree in Library Science, focusing in School Librarianship, from the University of [same place]. 

I firmly believe that every child is entitled to an enriching education and the equal respect they deserve.  My goal is to motivate teachers and students to find their inner strengths and abilities through engaging activities.  I believe that a stimulating learning environment builds confidence in children and helps them reach their full potential.  With teachers, support staff, and parents working hand and hand all children can be successful. 

Currently, as a teacher, I use frequent and varied assessment practices to ascertain each student's level of development and monitor their progress toward their appropriate goals. Through regular communication with families, I encourage and strengthen parental involvement with their children's education.

Throughout the course of my career I have had wonderful opportunities to teach diverse groups of students; including those with learning disabilities, those who performed at grade level, and those who are gifted.  As a result, I have become proficient at designing creative and stimulating lesson plans to reach all levels of students.  I have also had the wonderful opportunity to mentor student teachers at the university level, perform professional development within current school and district, and travel to [island country] to teach an educated set of teachers within a private Christian school.

Some of my greatest strengths include motivating others, organization, being a team player, great communication and problem solving skills, creativity, self motivator, and positive energy.*  In my current and previous positions, I have demonstrated excellent time management, prioritization, multi-tasking abilities, and project coordination skills.  I am confident that I will quickly become a valuable member of your team and wish to work alongside others dedicated to achieve a common goal. 

I look forward to meeting with you in the near future to speak about your positions that you have available. Thank you for your time and consideration.

[name scrubbed]
(Damn you, double spacer! *Emphasis mine. Because that sentence is AWESOME. Did you notice there is not a single word in this cover letter about the position or the applicant's experience relevant to copy editing?)

April 1:

To Whom It May Concern,

I am interested in the Copy Editor position. I am currently employed as a teacher at [city] ISD. While teaching at [city], I have absorbed many roles, such as a curriculum writer, district presenter, as well as a team lead position. I am very familiar with [company name wrongly capitalized], as my district utilizes [company name wrongly capitalized] as a primary source of assessment and instruction.

In my position as curriculum writer, I write, edit and upload the lessons through our district purchased software. Through the extensive work I am doing, I learned how to multitask, be organized, and efficient.  I also hold a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

In response to your search for a copy editor, I believe my experience in curriculum, my organizational skills, as well as prior experience with [company name wrongly capitalized], qualify me for consideration.
To further acquaint you with my background I am attaching my resume. I hope you will consider me for this position.

[name scrubbed]

April 2:

To whom it may concern;

I am writing to express my interest in joining your staff as an editor.

I have, for the past 23 years, held a variety of teaching and administrative positions in [city nearby] and [nearby city]. My qualifications include, but are not limited to, teaching certificates in the areas of English, ELA and ESOL. In addition, I am experience with MS Office Suite and Microsoft Office.

 Currently, I hold positions as an English teacher at [city nearby] ISD. Though I have loved and cherished my 13 years of service at this school, I believe I am prepared and ready for new and exciting opportunities

I look forward to discussing my qualifications with you further in person.  Should you be interested in any additional information, feel free to contact me via email at [scrubbed]@yahoo.com . My direct number is [scrubbed].  Hope to hear from you in the near future.

[name scrubbed]
(Yes, there is a space before "Currently" and a missing period at the end of the same paragraph and a space before a period in the last paragraph.)

April 8:

To Whom it May Concern,

I am interested in the Copy Editor position.  I am currently employed as Gifted and Talented teacher for [nearby city] ISD.  My 15 years of experience in education has afforded me with the opportunity to become an expert with lesson planning.  Being that I have extensive experience in writing lesson plans, I know that I will be able to edit them.

To further acquaint you with the specifics of my background, I am enclosing my resume.  I hope you will consider me for this position.  I truly look forward to meeting with you and discussing my qualifications in more detail.
[name scrubbed]
(Again with the double spaces after periods!)

Monday, April 7, 2014

365 Project update

At the beginning of 2014, I undertook a 365 photo project which would entail shooting at least one photograph every day for a year with the aim to improve my photography skills. As expected, I lost steam after about a month and fell behind on editing but kept shooting. I missed a day after about two months, and it all fell apart. Now I take photos only when I want to instead of forcing myself as a chore.

Uploading and editing are far too time-consuming with consideration to all the other hobbies I have. I rarely make it past two weeks of 30-day challenges, so I'm fairly proud of how long I stuck with the 365 challenge. I'm still taking a lot of pictures and enjoying it, even if I have a long list of events to edit.

I enjoy photography as a hobby and not having to worry about owing anyone perfection. I enjoy cell phone photos and selfies and learning to see my self and my world in new ways and capturing memories. Here are a few favorites from this year so far.

Cale the Juggler at Scarborough Faire

Cathartic smashing of a bathroom scale with a big rock

Johnny's Valentines Day Double Rainbow wedding

Me being silly

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fit Fatties Virtual Double Decathlon Update 1

I signed up to participate in the Fit Fatties Virtual Decathlon this year and quickly knocked out a decathlon in January, so I signed up for a Double Decathlon after all. Here is my planned list of possible events:

  • 1 mile walk/run/roll
  • 5k walk/run/roll
  • 10k walk/run/roll
  • Half Marathon walk/run/roll
  • Marathon walk/run/roll
  • Swim - quarter mile
  • Swim - half mile
  • Shimmy it Out (30 minute shimmy--can switch shimmy location through event)
  • Belly Dancing (60 minutes of dancing)
  • Set It Free (Complete a free weight workout)
  • Lift A Ton (Lift a total of 2000 pounds, not necessarily all at once - you can complete this over a month!)
  • Take a Hike (Enjoy at least a mile of the great outdoors.)
  • Take a Tread (Enjoy at least a mile of the great indoors.  Walk on the treadmill, elliptical or other machine, or just walk around inside.)
  • Stairway to Heaven (Climb 100 stairs in one day.)
  • Push It Good (Do 100 push-ups (any style) in one day.)
  • Walk the Plank (Do 60 minutes of planking in one day.)
  • Squat it Out (Do 100 squats in one day.)
  • Get in the Flow - 60 of work with flow toy, such as poi, staff, juggling, dance/fire fans, rola bola, balance ball, aerial silks or hoop, meteor
  • On thin Ice - 60 minutes of ice skating or rollerblading
  • Keep it Class-y (Take a movement class - including dvd or online- that you've never tried before for at least 60 minutes.)
  • Drama Drama Drama (Throw a full blown temper tantrum lasting at least 30 minutes.)
  • Shop Til you Drop (Shop for three continuous hours - online doesn't count!)

In my previous update, I posted about my completion of the 5k run, half-mile swim, On Thin Ice, and Squat it Out. I have since completed six more.

#8 Take a Hike (Enjoy at least a mile of the great outdoors.)
 I took a 4-mile jog around White Rock Lake.

#9 Push it Good (100 push-ups in one day)
Did 50 bombers and 50 regulars, no knees! But not all at once.

#10 Shop til You Drop (3 hours shopping)
I found this gorgeous beaded tunic in Deep Ellum for $15.

#11 Lift a Ton (Lift 2000 pounds, not all at once)

#12 Drama Drama Drama (throw a tantrum for 30 min)
I spent about 90 minutes smashing things after a breakup.

#13 Keep it Class-y (try a new fitness class you've never done)
I signed up for Hiking Yoga, which entailed a brisk 5k walk along Katy Trail and four yoga stops for a total 90 minutes.

Friday, April 4, 2014

I love to run and I love to kill cancer!

Yesterday I signed up to participate with Team in Training and set a personal fundraising goal of $2000 by October for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It's sounds like a big damn scary number, but it breaks down to finding a mere 100 people who can donate $20 or 200 at $10. Those numbers sound much more reasonable to me.

For a lot of people, the challenge is training to run the race. TNT didn't have any marathons available, so I signed up for the Honored Hero half in October. I have zero interest in this event and am finding conflicting information online about whether I can change my event later, such as if the org ever posts its winter events. Oh well. By October, that distance should be a regular part of my marathon training and nothing to stress about at least.

I'm brainstorming creative ideas for fundraising, such as selling jewelry at Open Stage and offering for every donation of $X amount to write the name of a donor's loved one who had cancer on a ribbon and pin them all to my shirt during the race. I think that would be really neat, but I wonder where to set the price point for that. I already have three names of my own. I hope my company will offer a donation and/or matching funds. That would be a big help. I asked my sis if she would donate some funny sketches to sell. She's very talented.

The fundraising guidelines stress the importance of sharing your personal story of why you are doing this and why it's important to you. I don't have an engaging story for why I chose to do this. I signed up because it would be a challenge and because I would be doing good for people. I just love to run. And kill cancer. I could wear my Lady Sif costume (that I plan to make for the Disneyland Half Marathon) again for this race or make a different hero one. Ooh, I could design a Humorless Harpy heroine costume. Fun fun.

Maybe I'll meet interesting and inspiring people along the way (undoubtedly) and bring back a better story another day.

"I love to run and I love to kill cancer!" is a pretty good story, though. I think it would make a good children's book, too. I know I'd read it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Coming out

Yesterday (April 1) a lot of people had a laugh at pretending to come out of the closet and have since had the privilege not to give it another thought. I'm not laughing. My identity is not a joke or a punchline.

Since today has a slightly lower risk of ridicule and derision, I decided to publicly come out as bisexual on Facebook. I wanted to do it yesterday when I read about the Michigan woman who married her partner and was beaten by hateful homophobes because it scared me so very much. That isn't something people should have to be afraid of, and fewer would if more of us spoke up.

Many of my friends already knew, many didn't, and many probably won't see the post and still won't know. I typically have remarkably bad coming out experiences, so I don't know if I'll do it again.

I've known for over a decade, and it wasn't the fear of attack or judgment by strangers that kept me silent but all the thoughtless things said by friends and family in that time that hurt and made me afraid.

When I was 17 or 18, I told my very best friend. She recoiled in disgust and firmly asserted that she didn't feel that way about me. What the hell? I was hurt that she would be so repulsed by the thought, though I certainly hadn't even hinted at an interest in her and never found her attractive. Feeling dismayed, I never brought it up again.

I don't talk much about my relationships to my family, and my stepmother used to suggest I should be a lesbian so she could be the cool mom in the neighborhood, at which I internally groaned and silently rolled my eyes. I decided then and there to never give her the satisfaction. But over the years I've grown so very tired of her attitude and judgmental nature.

Over this past holiday visit, apropos of nothing whatsoever, she went on and on about how she could never be a lesbian because she hates the smell of women. I mildly suggested there are men she hates the smell of and there are women whose smell she never notices, but she was adamant that all women smell disgusting and she could never be a "rug-muncher," as if it were something so universally distasteful. I dropped it because she has little interest in the logic of confirmation bias and seemed to really get a kick out of going on about it.

Now, after coming out online, she tells me I should have called to tell her because I have nothing to worry about and she couldn't care less about my orientation. And she always wanted to have a bisexual child. Seriously, how on earth does she manage to make my coming out about her?

Coming out to my dear sister as polyamorous some years back was more horrific than I could have imagined, and our relationship suffered for a long time after. She's the one person in the family that I would have counted on to accept me, and after that I decided I never wanted to come out of any closets again as far as family are concerned.

But I'm tired of fear and complacency, discomfort and policing my own words. What kind of ally or activist am I if I'm content to rest on straight-passing privileges? What kind of partner could I possibly be?

So far, those who've responded have been very supportive. Though I don't quite understand why I'd be offered "Congratulations!" on coming out. "I'm bi" feels a lot like telling someone that my favorite color is purple (or green, depending on the day). I don't like that people should have to come out at all, but I hope my doing so can make it easier and safer for others as well in the future.

What can lipstick really do? #redmylips

I rouged my lips, dubiously wondering what the point was and what it could possibly accomplish. I don’t even like wearing red lipstick except with loud costumes and didn’t bring a tube with me to touch up later in the day.

But wouldn’t you know, a coworker commented on it and I had the opportunity to tell her that April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and there’s a campaign @redmylipsorg to wear red lipstick every day to open up a dialogue about the issue. #redmylips

She smiled and said she’d join in, too.

What is the point?

red lipstick ≠ consent
being woman ≠ DTF
bisexuality ≠ DTF
polyamory ≠ DTF
silence ≠ consent

*DTF is short for "down to fuck" is slang for "open to fucking anyone"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Have I told you how much I love White Rock Lake?

Well I am now. It's only a miserable fifteen-minute drive from my office in dreadful evening traffic but mostly worth it. I drop by a few evenings a week to jog a little bit. I wish it had more space to run alongside the paved trails, because I can't tolerate many miles on pavement, but it's otherwise lovely. Except for the dirty lake smells depending on the wind.

It's a lot less crowded than Katy Trail, so I really like that.

There's an inaugural 5k/10k event on the evening of April 10 that I hope to attend.