Monday, February 23, 2015

Basic Bitches

It’s a little funny, I have this whole post planned out unrepentantly in my head, but I struggle with writing a disclaimer.  I want to tell everyone all the things about my life that validate my opinions.  And that is part of the problem.  So here it is. I am a person and, as such, I have the grounds to voice this opinion.
For a long time I have struggled with my relationship to the concept of the “basic bitch.” From the moment I became familiar with the concept I accepted the fact that it fit me pretty well.  I like candles, I enjoy coffee from Starbucks, I could happily spend the rest of my life wearing nothing but lululemon, and I love wine.  So I accepted it and laughed about it with everyone.  So what if I was “basic”? I knew that I had a lot of interests that didn’t fit in those categories, but if all people wanted to see was the basic white girl part of who I was, I wasn’t going to let that get me down.  I accepted it and moved on.  I even went through my closet and came up with a “Basic Witch” costume for my Halloween Half Marathon.
Friday morning there was a segment about “Basic B. Confessions” on the radio and I found it pretty amusing and I identified with a lot of the women that called in.  But then I spent the rest of the day thinking about it…and the next day.  I came back to a realization that had nagged at me for a while but I had been able to dismiss.  I can’t dismiss it anymore.  “Basic Bitch” is just a cute and socially acceptable to dismiss a portion of the population.  The worst part is that those being dismissed are just accepting it.  If you are a younger female, the odds are already against you in a lot of ways.  If you happen to fall into the “basic” category you are further reduced to the point your opinion is no longer significant. So many people have laughingly accepted the basic bitch label that they don’t see the ways in which it is negatively impacting young women.
Growing up as a girl is hard enough. You have to walk an impossible line between the labels others will throw at you casually. “Fat” “Anorexic” “Nerd” “Air-head” “Slut” “Prude” the list goes on and on.  You cannot win.  Now you have to fight to not be “basic.”  Too bad if you actually like those things, you have to pretend not to or accept the label. Middle ground is ever shrinking. What makes me sad is that girls/women use these terms against each other.  If only we could all realize that there are forces of oppression against all of us and we will not be able to overcome it while we are too busy labeling and demeaning each other.
The thing that made me most irate about the basic bitch label is that there is no equivalent for a male. If there was, I might be content to think that it is simply funny and sit back letting my basic flag fly.  But there isn’t.   Just for now, let’s imagine the male equivalent. I’ll call him the “basic jackass.”  You all know the guy, loves fast cars, action movies, rock music, football, big trucks, motorcycles, strip clubs, objectifying women with his basic jackass buddies, drinking beer and leaving the toilet seat up because the girl can put it down if he can lift it.  Sound familiar?  Now image the outrage if someone actually tried to make this phrase happen.  Imagine calling a man a basic jackass when he sat down to watch a football game with a beer.  It would never fly. You would be called an idiot and informed that it was normal behavior. 
So why is it not considered normal when women enjoy wearing comfortable pants?
The problem I have with the basic bitch label is that it is used as a weapon to make an entire subset of the population insignificant.  It does not benefit any woman in the long run, no matter how non-basic they may be. There is no equality.
Many people would read this and say that I am being irrational, that I am overthinking things.  Nothing would be said to counter the points I am making; things would be said to make me insignificant as a speaker.  When you dismiss the person it does not matter what they say.  Their words no longer carry any weight and are automatically dismissed regardless of the validity of the point they attempt to make.
I cannot change the world with one post, but I can ask that you think about what you have read. Speak up. Do not let other dismiss you because of some label they have given you. Share your thoughts.  Make people listen.  More than anything know that your ideas and opinions are valid no matter what others say about you.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The day I ate a pound of Red Vines and realized I do not have an emergency plan

Honestly the title pretty much says it all…although I technically ate the vast majority of the pound of Red Vines one day then polished them off and realized I was totally unprepared for any emergency happenings the next day. (Also beware that this is a pretty rambling post with no real destination. So just enjoy the journey if you like.)
Basically this post is about my general inability to be an adult sometimes.  Do you ever go along thinking you are actually doing pretty well and are maybe even reasonably successful at taking care of yourself then along comes a day that makes you wonder how on Earth you are allowed to brush your teeth unsupervised and swim without a lifeguard present let alone live by yourself?!  That was yesterday.
To start with, I feel no shame regarding the Red Vine situation.  They are my weakness and my mom sent them to me. They had to be eaten…so I did.  Quite successfully I might add.  Clearly I am actually demonstrating self control in that area of my life (despite all evidence otherwise) because there is still an unopened bag of Peachy-Os in the box from mom.  Those are being saved for a special occasion or total melt down, whichever comes first.
Now on to the emergency plan.  I grew up in an area where you didn’t panic and stock up on groceries when a storm/flood/volcano was predicted because you were already stocked up.  Central Washington State doesn’t get tornados/hurricanes/etc. like the East Coast seems to, and three feet of snow is more normal than not. I went home for Christmas once and I don’t think it got above 20 degrees out the entire month I was home.  Harsh weather is part of life.  We always had emergency candles, fire wood, and enough canned food to survive the zombie apocalypse. Maybe we were preppers before preppers were a thing.  While we didn’t exactly have family meetings about where we should all meet if the hills around the house caught on fire, I certainly can’t blame my upbringing for my lack of planning.  Also, I am a runner.  I love planning. I have almost my entire year panned out for how much I should run each day.  That said, when the power went out in my house last night and I remembered that the low tonight is going to be 7 degrees, I was a little baffled about what I should do.  Last year I was smart and shut myself in my bedroom with all my animals and cranked up a space heater that essentially turned my room into a sauna the night we were going to potentially lose power due to winter weather.  The power stayed on and I just sweated off about ten pounds. No harm done.  This year I am living in a one room cabin situation with absolutely no insulation.  But I have a fire place which makes me invincible…as long as you ignore the fact that I have no fire wood to speak of. I think there are some sticks I could use, and maybe one or two dry logs outside.  Go me.  To be fair, my stay warm plan is to tuck the dog under all the blankets I can find with me. He’s a very efficient heater so I am not too concerned.  In the darkness, because the power going off in the middle of the day is never as intimidating so naturally it never happens, I started thinking about food.  Then I remembered my stash of running fuel and a story about an ultra runner who got injured and survived in the dessert for a few days on just a couple GUs.  If she could do that I was set…and I still had my Peachy-Os and a six pack of beer.  If worse came to worse there was plenty of cottage cheese in the fridge and some peanut butter and chia seeds.  And eggs if I could figure out how to cook them in the fireplace.  I got up and wandered around the dark house aimlessly looking for a lighter that I knew was laying around on one of three surfaces.  Spoiler alert: the power and lights came back on before I found it. 
Overall it was a very eye-opening experience that made me realize I should probably be a bit more prepared than I am.  Granted I was thinking through what I should do instead while I showered immediately after the power came back on. Because nothing keeps you warmer than going to bed with soggy hair right? 
During that shower I tried to make a list of things I need and essentially came up with an oil lamp, firewood, and more alcohol.  It’s a start at least.
I think the main problem is that I do not take winter seriously enough. I grew up with bad winters so I assume I can handle it.  Tornados and hurricanes, on the other hand, scare the bejabbers out of me in a big big way and I am far more likely to prepare for those things than some snow and cold.
One other rationalization that I came up with is that I am only responsible for myself and my critters.  They have sufficient food and water to get through a few weeks and are sufficiently fuzzy to get through the cold.  Which leaves just me…and this is where I think I rely too much on my ability to improvise and scrap together a plan that gets me through.
So now I am asking for help! Do you have an emergency plan? And what supplies am I not thinking of? How do you cook eggs in a fireplace? (ok the last one is a stretch but I am curious!)

Monday, February 16, 2015

I'm a BibRave Pro! and other weekend happenings

If you follow me on Twitter then this is way old news, but I found out on Friday that I was invited to become a BibRave Pro. Obviously I accepted the invitation and I still can’t stop smiling about it.  I tried to share the good news with my mom, but the whole internet thing still baffles her occasionally (sorry if you are reading this mom) and the idea of running for fun will always baffle her.  So she was nonplussed.  Nevertheless I am stoked!

Just in case you haven’t heard of BibRave, you should go check it out! It is pretty much the Yelp/UrbanSpoon/Google reviews of the running race world.  I am pretty much addicted to it and I feel like it is a useful tool to help you avoid any potentially awful races…or to double check if someone has told you a race is bad but you want another opinion!  There is also a Twitter chat every Tuesday night at 9pm (East Coast Time).  That means tomorrow night! Use #bibchat, check it out and join in because it is a blast!  There isn’t exactly a running community where I live and the bibchat community has been invaluable to me in my running journey.

I guess this also means I need to brave the cold and run more!

After starting off on that high note, this weekend continued to be busy and so fun!
Saturday I spent a majority of the day out at our school barn watching the horse show and hanging out with friends. (Confession, I miss riding so much it’s making me crazy!) When I finally couldn’t feel my toes anymore I went home to play with the dog for a while then celebrated Valentine’s Day with a friend.  We made lasagna and garlic knots and drank pink moscato.  It was a fantastic evening!
Sunday morning I started out by baking a King Cake with a coworker.  Mardi Gras has become a big deal at school and we somehow got conned into entering a king Cake baking competition. I have a KithenAid mixer and she has an oven (I don’t) so we teamed up and were actually quite successful!  I then rushed home and met my friend so we could go to yoga. More specifically: Beyonce Booty Yoga.  We left a little early and went to TJ Maxx (where I got a great Brooks running tank for $17! Score!) and Dick’s Sporting Goods where I made the mistake of trying on the Brooks Pureflow 4s.  I really meant to stock up on the Pureflow 3s now that they are being phased out by the newer model.  But the 4s won me over.  I put one on and fell in love immediately.  I will probably still hunt around for a deal on the 3s and pick up another pair, but the 4s are now in my future.  Beyonce Booty did not disappoint, although it was more like total body exhaustion! It was a fun combo of barre, yoga, and dancing which I can totally get into.  I am so sore today, it is unreal.  The instructor had us doing a few variations of calf raises that will be making a routine appearance in my life from now on. Hopefully they will help keep my calves strong enough to avoid ouches in the future.  On a side note, if you have never done wall sits to Beyonce blasting you have never fully experienced life!  I realized I can dance and wall sit simultaneously…mad skill yall. Post yoga I annihilated a Moe’s burrito…I thought I was going to die of hunger!  Fun fact: the grocery store in my town doesn’t sell purple sprinkles apparently.  Since they are pretty much a necessity for King Cake we also made a pit stop at Michaels for those, then hit up Purple Penguin for frozen yogurt.  It was a new place to me and I am not totally sold, but it was still pretty good.  After a pit stop for dog food and another to apply sprinkles to the King Cake, I finally made it home to take a fantastic shower.  Showers after a long day and after getting sweaty are just five million times better than regular showers. It’s a fact.
Today it is back to the office life…with lots of Beyonce on Spotify because I am not over it yet!  Tonight I am headed back to yoga (just the regular kind this time) and hopefully tomorrow I can get a run in! We are under a winter weather advisory though, so we will see what happens!
Did you have an awesome weekend? I hope so!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sweet Freedom...sorta

Today I submitted my final exam for my MBA class and the sigh of relief was real my friend.
The classes weren't that challenging, they were just so time consuming it was unreal. In addition to working until 8 once a week, I was also in the classroom until 9ish two nights a week.
I need my beauty sleep y'all.
I feel a bit like a quitter for ending my MBA pursuit after just two classes, but I think I am finally realizing that what other people think of what you do, and the societal pressure you might feel, mean nothing if it is not helping you and if you feel like it is preventing you from pursuing more meaningful things. Sure having an MBA would look good on my resume, but if it doesn't contribute to my actual happiness why bother?  It wasn't necessary and it was causing way more stress than it was worth!

Will I regret this someday? Maybe. But right now it feels great :)

Now...this weekend I get to sign up for some races!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

If we were having coffee

I always plan to join the Ultimate Coffee Date link-up. I write it on every calendar I own... but somehow I still forget. Today I am remembering!

The Ultimate Coffee Date

If we were having coffee, I would want to know how your week was. Like how it really was. As I get older I am learning that we so often pretend things are going well when they really aren't... and I am learning how important and amazing it is to have friends you can share your truths with.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you what your goals are. I used to hate setting goals and sharing them. It took me a long time to realize that your friends want to cheer you on. They are not going to laugh at your goals.

If we were having coffee, I would share with you that January was a big struggle for me on a lot of fronts. It was not the start I wanted to the year, and I'm still really not quite where I want to be but I think I am getting closer.

If we were having coffee, I would talk to you about work/life balance to see if maybe you have got a better handle on it than me. Lately I feel like I have been spending so much time at work that I am either out of time or energy or both by the time it I can focus on my personal life. I would tell you how much of a toll this has been taking on me. I would tell you that lately work has been hiving me more and more to do and that I am feeling overwhelmed. I would tell you that way too often I bring that stress home with me and I become less fun to be around. I have a lot of thought about this whole situation that I would share with you.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you for book recommendations! I am aiming to read more this year and my to-read list has lots of room for growth.

If we were having coffee, I would invite you to come to yoga class with me... then we could grab more coffee after!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 6, 2015


This has been one heck of a week and I am coming to the end of it crawling. I spent the weekend and Monday in Florida which was beautiful and warm... then migrated back north to the not-so-warm. Between not getting home until after midnight on Monday and staying late for class or work Tuesday through Thursday, I am more than ready for the weekend to get here. Then again I am spending most of tomorrow helping a friend move and I need to finish up with a big group project for my MBA class final. I hate group work. It is the bane of my existence. I much prefer to do things alone and just be responsible for my own stuff. The girls in my group are great, but they Skype in to class, so we are actually trying to do group work at a distance which is even more frustrating.

Sunday the fiancé moves to Orlando and I plan to spend the day, sleeping, knitting, and generally being green with envy! I am a warm weather kind of girl, so the land of perpetual summer is my dream.

In all honesty, I really ought to go for a along run Sunday. Hunting season is over, which means that my favorite trail is open again! The dog might enjoy getting out and adventuring for a while as well.

It has been far too long since I have run a reasonable distance, so I suppose the time has come to stretch my legs a bit!

As weird as it is, I am really looking forward to Monday because it means a return to my regular yoga class! I am proud of myself for doing yoga at home three nights in a row now, but there is just something extra special about the heated vinyasa class that will totally wear you out bit make you feel like a new person all at once!

I have to admit it is really strange to type out your week in a nutshell and realize the nutshell is so very small....I think it is time to find more adventures!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"January" Resolution Check-In

As you might gather from the fact that my end of January check-in is being posted halfway through the first week of February, my resolution to post more regularly isn't going so well!

I have also only read one book and run one mile this year. Also not a stellar start.

I have, however, been doing yoga pretty regularly. I've been going to hot yoga on Monday then practicing on my own throughout the week. It's still not really a regular practice, but it's getting there. More importantly, it is becoming a part of my life. I find myself doing little stretches here and there and having the urge to try different poses at odd times. The other night I got out of bed to practice headstones against the wall!

The last month has been hectic and February is looking like more of the same, but I am starting to see a light at the end of the chaos!

This month I am rededicating myself to my resolutions and hoping to do better than I did in January! I am not perfect but I am a work in progress :)