The Longest Week: Rest, Ice, Recovery

I’m not seriously injured!

Rather, it’s a good old-fashioned knee sprain.

I’m recovering well! The most difficult part is not putting on my running shoes.

It’s been six days since my last run.

I made it to Quick Care Sunday morning when it opened at 9 a.m. I was second in line at the door. They even did x-rays! I wasn’t expecting that, but it made me feel like they were being very official.  Lucky for me, my primary doctor was working. Because I stopped running activity, iced and elevated it immediately, he said I was in good condition.

He told me I need a week’s rest from running. And that no, I couldn’t do that 5k next week.

My Dad told me he didn’t think it was necessary to actually go to the doctor. But thank goodness I made my own decision. I am flabbergasted by people who for some reason are proud of never visiting a doctor. No matter how bad they feel, they will do everything to avoid it. They pride themselves on just working through it– but really, it’s just a heavy case of denial. And then they end up worse-off because by the time they are forced into medical attention, the problem is really bad. And that costs considerably more money, and maybe time off work.

Specifically, I wanted my doctor to set limits for me. To tell me what’s reasonable to expect and what’s not wise. I’m proud that I addressed it right away and followed protocol. I haven’t needed to miss any work, and I’m fine.

The night before I made it to Quick Care, I was so worried I couldn’t sleep.

Now that anxiety is gone and I can just resume my life.

When you face things, you can solve them and move past them.

I accept that my body has limitations. I respect and trust the judgment of my doctor.

I’m shocked how much I miss my runs already! I’m counting the days.

I told Eleise, my running partner, that I’m out of commission this week. She was bummed but understanding.

I’m going to wait a full week, just to be safe. I’ll get to a 5k later, after a bit more training.

I feel no pain. I haven’t used a wrap on my knee since yesterday and feel I’ll be okay without it. Icing it helps the most.

I’m going to start from scratch when I resume activity next Monday night. Back to 1 mile, then working up.

Just glad I didn’t ignore the pain and keep going.

Sometimes ya just gotta slow down and go back to start!

Indomitable Annie: A Five Star Re-Make

“What if you have no cards?” Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) asked her temporary guardian, Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx.)

“You bluff,” he answered.

They were flying in his personal helicopter above New York City.

That’s the moment I remember most about this new re-make on the 1982 original movie.

Why? Because the relationship between the business tycoon and this young girl is both believable and inspiring. It’s clear that they were meant to be family: they share the same go-get ’em mentality. Both are opportunists- but Annie’s agenda is pure. She just wants a better life for herself, and to help out her friends when she’s able. She never forgets her roots and isn’t corrupted by fame or instant wealth.

She also sees right through any attempts at manipulation and calls it immediately. She reminds the adults trying to hustle her that though she may be a kid, she deserves respect and will not be forced into anything that doesn’t feel right to her. She will not be used as a PR prop. Rather, she agrees to play along to help the mayor’s campaign– but only on her her terms. She requires that Stacks get to know her. She is not bought or dazzled by paparazzi.

The best thing about Annie is her refusal to be defined by her current circumstances. She does not see herself as someone rejected by her parents or society– but someone waiting for what she knows she deserves: a family that will cherish her. Even when people try to label her an orphan, she corrects them: “foster kid.” She doesn’t attach easily to Stacks– she reminds him he is not her real father. He realizes he needs to earn HER respect and cooperation: something new for a man used to being surrounded by greedy fans and “Yes men” paid to meet his whims.

Annie cannot be bought. Thus, she wins HIS respect. And he finds that, probably for the first time since he was a boy who idolized his workaholic father, he values a human connection more than money.

The movie is a Republican fairy tale– with a heart! Republicans always get a bad rap, but they’re not evil. Just motivated, which is why they are successful in business. From the first scene, it’s clear that Annie is a smart kid, capable of navigating the city streets alone. She has plans. She has dreams. She’s the leader at home, where is she one of a small group of foster kids (not orphans)– run haphazardly by Miss Hannigan.

I’ve never much liked Foxx before this movie– he always seems arrogant. But he played his role so well that I even changed my mind about the actor himself. It’s clear that once he stops his denial about his genuine love for Annie, he is ready to step up and become a devoted family man.

Annie’s optimism and unrelenting kindness changes him.

Annie also refuses to be bullied by Hannigan and escapes at her first opportunity without fear.

And contrary to the bad reviews of Diaz, I think she claimed this role of Miss Hannigan and made it hers. She starts out as openly verbally and emotionally abusive– a desperate alcoholic. She throws her self at every male who enters her lair, and it’s cringe-worthy to watch. But there’s obvious pain and palpable regret behind her negativity. She was once a promising star, now faded. She, too, feels trapped by her circumstances. To begin she hates Annie, who represents what she herself will never have: joy. She singles out Annie the most for bad treatment and talks badly about her. Clearly, she sees Annie as a threat.

So what if she can’t sing like Carol Burnett? Rather than try to do the impossible and copy the master, she had the courage to do her own interpretation. She more than conveys the anguish behind the character’s hostile facade. As she sees Annie holds no resentment toward her, even she begins to change for the better. She puts down the bottle, sees herself as valuable, and begins treating others better.

The girl is downright unstoppable.

I loved the music! It’s more urban, with complex arrangements. It reminds me a lot of the “RENT” movie, which I love as much as the Original Broadway Cast version now. Not all of the songs are included, but I think this team found the heart of the songs and did them justice.

I don’t compare them– it’s that good. This movie stands alone.

I won’t ruin ALL the plot twists for ya. This movie teaches us about faith, love, ethics and sacrifice.

Go and see it. It will make your day and remind you to believe in your own potential, and that of everyone.

It exudes Christmas spirit.

This is a film everyone can enjoy, and LEARN something from. And that’s a big statement from me, because I’ve been a hardcore fan of the 1982 movie since it’s release. It was one the of the first movies I saw, and I STILL HAVE my vinyl record soundtrack! I wore out my first cassette tape of the soundtrack.

I can’t wait to see it again! And buy the soundtrack.

On Turning 34, Lauren Bacall, and Feminine Power

I turned 34-years-amazing on November 4.

Originally, I had planned to drive a nature preserve out of town and spend some time alone.

Instead I chose to stay local so that I could vote, enjoy my community, and see people I care about.

My first idea seemed cool. Except that I already am a bit of a loner, so the more challenging thing was to get out there and mingle for a change.

And I’m happy with my choice. I decided to put on something that made me feel glamorous and powerful: a suit.

I used separate pieces– a new maroon blazer I bought myself, along with a pencil skirt and my favorite boots. The blazer has sleeves that roll up with a pinstripe pattern, and two buttons. The night before I had gone shopping and decided I’ve been putting my money mostly toward necessities for so long: gas, food, bills. I can’t remember the last time I bought a new outfit or accessories. Usually what I do buy for myself has nothing to do with fashion or beauty: books and journals. I’ve become so intellectual and contemplative I’ve largely neglected my appearance for the past year.

In my younger days, every year I’d splurge and buy myself a fabulous birthday ensemble. I’d get my hair blown out, my nails done, I’d buy myself a sophisticated dress and some cute costume jewelry to match and probably some new shoes. I’d plan a big party for myself and take tons of pictures with my friends.

I used to love to go out! I still love to dance. I really enjoyed dressing up back then. The past few years, I’ve considered it tedious and a waste of money.

I don’t have the cash to treat myself this year the way I did back then. But I’ve still got style.

But sometimes it just really feels GOOD to spend money on yourself. And why shouldn’t I? I’m not supporting anyone besides myself.

I treated myself to mascara from Lancome, for the first time ever. Even the tube is beautiful.

And I put myself together, with a gold theme. My dangly earrings and bracelet were costume, but that’s fine by me. They’re still fabulous! I didn’t wear a jacket.

I stopped by the library cafe. I saw a business man, who looked at me and was impressed. He complimented my earrings. He asked if he could buy me lunch and I told him I’d already ordered, but he could sit with me. Normally I would have probably declined and sat alone.

And we had a lovely conversation. It wasn’t flirting– it was just two people having a respectful, delightful conversation. He’s traveled all over the world and done a lot of work for peace. We talked about faith. He gave me his card and asked for mine. I felt like an equal– not intimidated at all.

Why *shouldn’t* I have a card? I did as a reporter. I loved it.

Maybe it’s time to design my own.

Then I voted. On a political day, I felt like I fit in, dressed professionally.

I enjoyed dinner with my parents at a nice restaurant out of town, a victory! I got them to break routine.

I drank Voss sparkling water and adored it.

And after, my friend Kaela and I met at a local combination movie/dinner venue to see a classic: “To Have or Have Not,” with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. I wasn’t aware it was their first picture together, nor Bacall’s first film. She was only 19 in it.

The attendant lead us into an elevator, upstairs and down a hallway lined with movie poster memorabilia. We went into a small room with black leather couches! The movie was showing black and white, as well.

I was mesmerized. I am such a dork that I took two pictures of the movie with my phone. They came out great.

For such a young age, Bacall exudes poise. That unmistakable and unique Forties glamour– conservative. Unapologetically stylish. Her voice doesn’t have much cadence– she’s very still. You rarely see many facial expressions, except for a smirk. What’s riveting is her absence of action.

I’ve never seen a woman embody “playing it cool,” the way she did. WOW.

And I thought, “THAT is what I need to emulate.” The woman is a BOSS.

There is tremendous power in being quiet. In choosing your thoughts. In cultivating understated.

When you don’t demand attention, people are drawn in. I’ll pass on the smoking, however!

My friend had never seen the film either, and we marveled equally.

Afterward, we goofed around in the lobby, posing with movie posters and taking a few pictures of each other.

It was just a day where I felt in command of my femininity. Energized by it.

There’s something about taking yourself seriously– you command respect.

I’m glad I didn’t just throw on jeans and tromp into the woods on my 34th birthday. I can do that anytime.

Instead, I celebrated myself. I didn’t have a big party, but made plans to do things I really wanted. My birthday was on a Tuesday and I celebrated it that day. I spent time with my parents and one of my closest friends for the past four years.

I felt beautiful, strong, in control.

I’m glad I wore that suit to see this movie.

I’m going to rebuild a wardrobe of beautiful clothes that I love.

I’m going to take myself more seriously.

I’m going to own my beauty without apologizing.

And channel Bacall like a boss.

My Favorite People

are flawed.

But own it.

It’s a rare attribute– most are so concerned about their image, they feign perfection.

That extends to their happiness, their health, their job satisfaction, socio-economic status.

I like people don’t pretend. Who just wear their feelings openly.

Be that with their facial expression, body language, and what they do (or don’t) say.

Who SHARE their struggles.

You know you can trust those people.

I’m not one to hide my feelings. I did when I was younger.

But since I stopped, my life improved exponentially.

I like myself better, I’m more tolerant of other people. More humble.

People treat me with *more* respect, actually.

You may lose people along the way– but at least you’re being your true self. Over time, the right people will be attracted to and stick by you. I’m not saying to be cruel and irresponsible just because you *feel* like it. Be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions and words.

What I’m saying is, the hardest person to forgive is yourself. Don’t compromise your values and feelings just to perpetuate a facade for everyone else.

I’d rather be rejected for being myself than accepted for putting on an act.

It’s the HIDING that gets us all in trouble. Why be so afraid? It’s not weakness.

We’re all human– we’ve got that in common. We have bad days, aches and pains.

Physical limitations. Disappointments. Abject failures.

Don’t feel you’ve gotta impress everyone.

Be yourself. And I promise, the right people will adore you for it.

Give it a try.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Pike: A Couple with Equal Challenge and Parity

Just watched “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the original MOVIE.

Way superior to the series, although I love what Joss did with it. I watched all seven seasons.

Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry are great in these roles– probably my favorites of them both. Not to mention David Arquette, Paul Ruebens, Hilary Swank and Donald Sutherland– and young Ricki Lake, Seth Greene and Ben Affleck as extras!

It’s infinitely quotable.

But really, I like this movie because the relationship between Buffy and Pike is one of two equals. She leads a very superficial life until she is recruited by Merrick as “The Chosen One.” She resists her calling, but finally accepts it– partially because Pike believes in her and is the supportive partner she needs to feel confident.

Pike’s strong rebellious streak enflames her own. He changes her, from a girl to a woman. And I don’t mean sexually– in the movie they have a chaste relationship. The most you see is a slow dance and a few kisses at the end. I mean that he is masculine enough for her to feel safe becoming vulnerable– and consequentially owning her feminine power of intuition. She can own her emotions– whereas with everyone else, she hides behind a mask of apathy or frozen anger.

Buffy may be “The Chosen One,”– The Slayer– but she’s still  a human woman. She’s still insecure, not sure that she is ready to take on such a responsibility. She doesn’t believe in her own power. With her school friends, she was the leader. Her boyfriend thought she was hot, but they had a pretty vacuous relationship that faltered once she began to realize that other things were more important than cheerleading and dance committee– like saving people’s lives. It was a huge sacrifice–and one she didn’t want to make. But eventually she realizes it’s her destiny and that she is the only one with the power to help her friends and stop what’s happening.

Her boyfriend Jeffrey and the other boys at school had mainly just drooled over her– they didn’t care about who she was or care about much of anything, other than basketball.

When Buffy begins slaying and starts to change, everyone is frightened by her. They don’t want to know what’s going on with her, or how they can help. They just are uncomfortable with her new awareness, because that would force them to question themselves– which they are too vapid to care about doing. They’re more comfortable with ignorance.

But when she meets Pike, he is intrigued by her mystery. He wants to find out who she is, how she can be so powerful.  And he’s drawn to her power, rather than threatened. He wants to fight by her side– but trusts her instincts. When she wants to give up, he challenges her and is the only one who cares enough to tell her the truth. He doesn’t give up on a relationship with her, but is patient until she is comfortable with it.

They are transformed by each other. They become better people, for each other.

That’s the thing about love: it’s transformative. It makes you a better person. It forces you to grow and become the person you need to be– it elevates you.

Intellectually, emotionally, spiritually.

Buffy is fierce and unapologetic. When a male friend at school  passes her in the hallway,  he grabs her ass and says, “Got to get some.” Buffy body slams to the ground, then into a locker. He stammers apologies– visibly shaking. “Don’t grab me, OK?” is all Buffy says. Jeffrey, her boyfriend, tries to comfort her– but she shoves him off and says, “I can take care of myself.” He feels completely emasculated, and they drift farther apart.

As the Slayer, Buffy is now constantly hunting and killing vampires. Her instincts are now for defense. No one knows how to act around her. And they honestly don’t much care. They merely distance themselves from her, and Buffy retreats into isolation.

Except she does open up to Pike. Because he understands what she is going through.  Pike allows her to set the pace of the relationship– backing off when she needs– but always there, always ready to welcome her back or help her in any way he can.

And that’s what your true partner does– they meet you as an equal. They challenge. But most of all, they aren’t too proud to meet you halfway and compromise to meet the needs of your relationship. They vow to change WITH you, and accept you for all your quirks, past, and insecurities.

This year I’ve opened my heart to God in a new way. And slowly, my heart is opening more.

Patience is the key to my heart. Patience, and being a steadfast man who follows through on what he says.

The more I trust myself, the more I’m open to possibility.

On Mercy

I’ve talked a lot about forgiveness this year.

But truly, what I hold dear to me is the conscious choice of mercy.

That’s something reserved for only an elite few in the realm of my heart. That includes both friends and relationships.

Mercy is choosing to forgive *not* because the person deserves it– but because you see the big picture. Because you know whatever the sin was, it’s not indicative of their respect for you, or their character in general.

Mercy is a gift. Mercy is a choice. Mercy is an unconditional acceptance of someone’s faults.

I’ve only learned it because I was raised with so much love at home.

I learned it because I’ve been given mercy in my friendships.

I learned it because I was lucky enough to receive mercy in a few precious relationships, when I said something mean or impulsively broke up with someone I cared deeply about.

Mercy is when you contact someone  you’re estranged from, and they are glad. There’s no suspicion. There’s no drama. They don’t ask why you’re contacting them– you just have a normal conversation.

In minutes, you can be laughing. You’re just glad to talk again.