I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Friends’

Shoutout Series: Four Foot Fabulous

  
I was trying to come up with what picture would be ideal for this shoutout. She’s like Wonder Woman in every way, but she’s short. I googled “Short Wonder Woman,” and this is what they gave me. 

Four Foot Fabulous is on her way to completing her first Ironman at this very moment. I could stop writing right now, right? What more do you really need to say about someone who has the will to overcome – well, everything, really. The Ironwoman of the moment (Lord willing! Minus a few hours or so) happens to be bringing her forth her zeal for life in this particular way. 

FFF (N.B. –  also the musical notation for very, very loud, which is fitting) makes my heart happy. She’s a brilliant risk-taker who does anything she sets her mind to. Her big heart can usually be found on her sleeve, she has occasionally lamented, but I think this is my favorite thing about her. Nobody keeps it realer than Four Foot Fabulous. She allows herself to express her ups and downs very honestly and, in my opinion, this puts her in the best position to motivate others, which she does frequently. 

I told FFF yesterday that it really is a privilege to call her friend. She has a pretty big fan club, indeed. I look up (down?) to her so much that I wonder why she would keep me in the loop. Don’t get it twisted, y’all. Heart of gold nonwithstanding, FFF is simply too F for riff-raff. This woman makes you feel as good as you are just by being herself. What could be more fabulous than that? 

Go get your finish line and well-deserved title, my dear FFF. Don’t forget Lil Ole Lady J! 

PS: FFF, Imma put you on blast right here because I’m not classy like you. You told me you expected to be running Mile 17 of your marathon around 10 PM and as of right now you’re ahead of schedule. That’s very inconsiderate. Love you anyway!

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It’s always the Mother’s fault: Lenten Tribulation

1. This one is the most important. I know whatever comes below will be executed imperfectly. I resolve to give myself the freedom to be imperfect without beating myself up.

“Hey, Mom,” I used to query, shamefully not too long ago. “I didn’t ask to be here, right?” “No, you didn’t,” she would reply. “Your father and I wanted to have you.” “So!” I said triumphantly. “If I do anything wrong, it’s YOUR fault, because I would not have done it had you not had me.” She would shake her head at me and I would laugh maniacally. I mean, it makes sense! I couldn’t leave dirty dishes in the sink if I didn’t exist to put them there! 

Of course, even then I understood such passing of the buck was terribly evasive. My conscience is generally as tender as my mind is sharp. I truly believe one of the reasons I don’t handle criticism very well is because I am constantly raking myself over coals. By the time another person tells me something that needs work, I’ve probably told myself the same a million times. If I make a bad decision, I likely know it is a bad one, ‘wretched Lady J that I am.’

I like to think I am spending the time between now and getting my glorified body (just think of how fast I’ll be able to run in Heaven!) becoming more like Christ – minimizing the bad decisions as much as humanly possible. This sanctification business is no joke, y’all. The Holy Spirit has a LOT of work to do in my life. Today’s shortcoming: how I treat my body. In an effort to do better for myself, I’ve given up eating out for Lent. It’s not just about eating better (though important) or even saving money (races aren’t free) but what’s required for me in order to not eat out.

I’ve got to plan. And I hate that. 

I could wax eloquently here about why I think this is the case, but I’m basically your garden variety, boundary hating sinner. I’ve had to adjust my bedtime. Cook more. Plan my shopping. I have met a fair amount of success, for I feel better physically and am learning valuable things about planning, not to mention praying for patience

Then there was the Mother. 

Not my dear mother. A mother. A longtime friend! She’s moving to Italy for a few years and I will not see her unless I see her tonight. We love to eat. Naturally, she suggests we meet for a meal. Dilemma. 

I agreed because of my initial reaction. I didn’t think, ooooo, opportunity to cheat! It was more like, hmm, should I really do this? I wasn’t looking forward to it, aside from seeing her. Moreover, I didn’t care to make her seeing me extra work for her, though I don’t think she and her family would have minded. I  am not out to make some point on how great a Lenter I am. 

My burger didn’t have enough cheese. 

I told my own mother about it later and she teased me. “What kind of sacrifice is that?! How can you say you are committed?” I’m sure she knew I had already asked myself that but couldn’t resist. You know how moms are. I don’t feel great physically or mentally, nor do I feel good about going back to real life tomorrow. I might if I felt healthier or skinnier but right now it’s as though eating out doesn’t really make a difference. My shirt didn’t look that great at 6 PM. It doesn’t look so hot at 9:50. What did I lose? I suppose that misses the point, though. Discipline is discipline and I know that even if I were to gain a billion pounds between now and Easter, I would have done so doing the right thing and committing to do better for my body. 

Not even the sweet potato fries I had earlier are as sweet as God’s grace.



Lady J’s Christmas Reflections: The “J” is for Jerk.

Christmas The way Christmas is often celebrated sucks.

I had to word that carefully. As a Christian, the marking of the Savior’s birth is a pretty big deal. I have no desire to be blasphemous or flippant about it. It’s merely that all of the hoopla surrounding the observance – for me – doesn’t serve the purpose of celebrating His
birth. Forget about the supposed commercialism of the holiday and how some are up in arms about “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas.” “Oh, woe is me, a store is trying to sell more things!” That’s kind of the religion of business, no? I’m talking about familyism. And friendism. It’s y’all who ruined Christmas.

Let me tell you how.

A quick look through my previous posts will illustrate that I am fairly adept at expressing thankfulness for the blessings in my life throughout the year. Yes, of course there are times for me personally that make me reflect upon these blessings more than others, but it is definitely more often than the last 6 weeks of the year. So all you jokers come along, “Hey, it’s the holidays! I miss you. Let’s grab food/drink/swim/bike/run/whatever.” I am not in some black hole, inaccessible the first 10 months of the year – unless Coachie has me there, but even then I still get phone reception there. I get a little time to relax from work and all of a sudden because the Savior is born you want to blow up my phone. Quite frankly, if it is important for me to talk to or spend time with you around this time, I would have done so on stupid October 3. I’m not saying I’m above losing touch with important people. I’m just saying that I’m probably better at staying in touch than you are. 🙂

Then I hear the still, small voice.

“Hey Joan. I came because people are imperfect.”

I then am forced to take the time to reflect upon my own imperfections. Indeed, I am a thoughtful person, and one of the things I hate most is wronging someone unknowingly because it reminds me that I cannot be in control all of the time, even when I think I am. As good as I am at expressing my gratitude throughout the year, I will never be perfect.

I pray that in years to come, I am able to find both the solitude I need to strengthen my relationship with Christ and with others. Love is patient, wrote the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. I’ve got a long way to go.

Merry Christmas!

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Sooooo…why did YOUUUUU clap? Recital Report, Part III

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Among the many things for which I am thankful is a well-functioning frontal lobe. It keeps me from asking stupid ass questions such as the one posed in the title. However, as I was giving (getting?) hugs after my performance, people seemed to be answering this question though I did not ask it.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I bloody hate logistics. I CAN be an organized person, but because of my tendency toward perfectionism I usually shut down and wait until the absolute last minute to execute plans. One of the things I put off was deciding whom to invite. Of course, there were the people whom I knew love Lady J; por ejemplo, Mom and Dad had invested, say, $6920572047204 into my piano lessons. They’ll probably come check it out. Then there are the friends who are there to listen to me meltdown about the latest problems with my dead guy friends. Those were easy.

I’d like to say if I were performing popular music, inviting people would have been more of a no-brainer. Alas, I am an overthinker anyhow and likely would have operated with similar hesitancy. My program went a lil sumthin like dis:

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People like what they know. Perhaps most could pick Beethoven (his likeness, not his music) out of a lineup, but the others? I didn’t want people to be bored. I settled on inviting people whom I figured would be amused to see me doing something that they don’t normally see. How often do non-musicians attend piano recitals of people to whom they did not give birth? People do things for the sake of novelty, right?

I reach the end of the recital. I get the claps. I wouldn’t expect anything less because applause is just good manners. People hand out standing ovations like I hand out candy to bribe my students to behave. Whatever keeps society running more smoothly, right? Most of the feedback fell into one of two categories:

1. You played some of my favorite pieces.

Of course. Moonlight Sonata and Clair de Lune. I picked my program with no regard to the wishes of my audience, so I suppose I was fortunate. “While I wasn’t surprised that this was said, I was surprised to learn that people were thankful that I played something familiar. I totally hadn’t thought how that would affect how my recital was received. I, too, am ‘guilty’ of preferring what I know. “It was really
cool to hear Clair de Lune performed live!” That made me smile. I got to bring people closer to something they already knew.

2. Cool. Weird, but cool.

“Man. You were really saying something up there. I don’t know what it was! But you sure said it.”

I’m pretty sure that’s the best review I’ve ever gotten. Thanks, Uncle. It spoke to the fact that many people don’t choose to listen to Classical instrumental music. Words give us cues. I REALLY take for granted that sometimes it’s easy to feel lost without that guide. If your ear isn’t ready, Mozart can sound like Schoenberg. And that’s a DAMN shame. I was pleased that people were able to enjoy the program without having a map, so to speak.

I’ve written previously about why I think people really clap for a performance. Lady J’s got some ovaries on her. I am the most at peace I’ve ever been about a performance. I am excited to prepare another recital. While I am a competent pianist, I don’t think that’s my greatest strength. I think it’s – well, this. I’m VERY mortal and I put it out there. Usually unapologetically. Truth? I can’t stand my people. Classical musicians, I mean. We make triathletes seem gentle and humble, and that is no small feat. I had to think twice about blogging about my recital because throughout school it felt like showing weakness was not allowed. Ever. Dammit, I’ve got feelings. I believe I reach people by sharing them. We play the greatest music in the world. Let’s not make it less accessible by being jerks because we put the time in.

In Him, I am strong. Rar. 😎

Why am I not sponsored yet? Beginning Triathlete Problems: Race Report, Part I

The Finish

After I had gotten my medal and water, I walked over to the board to check my time.

Sigh.

Only 2 minutes less than St. Anthony’s.

“But Lady J,” you ask. “Doesn’t that mean you got a PR? Why aren’t you TURNTUP?”

Here’s the thing. There were two distances – the half-iron and the international. My swim was significantly shorter in this race – by 500m. The half-iron athletes swam two laps and the international athletes swam one. My swim pace was slightly faster than previously, but that had to mean that I had regressed on land. A LOT.

I give myself this – I am proud to say that my first reaction wasn’t to say that triathlon isn’t for me. I was thinking, “Okay, gotta regroup, gotta spend more time on my feet, perhaps I wasn’t mentally prepared for the run. If that doesn’t work, then I quit.” LOL!

However, it wasn’t the time alone that I allowed to screw with my head. I am pretty in tune with my body and know when I am feeling great and can push more or when I need to slow down in order to survive. I thought I had been doing well on the bike course but it actually took me 8 minutes longer than it had at St. Anthony’s! What the hell?! I had been looking forward to triumphant blogging and Facebook posts and I didn’t earn them. Anger. Depression.

I must give shoutouts to 3M, The Running Mentor, and Coachie. I trust them enough to allow them to listen to me moan about how the sky is falling, and they were encouraging me to put things into perspective. “The humidity!” “The course!” “Your body!” It’s not a one to one comparison, apparently. “Are you proud of me?” I sheepishly asked. Of course they said yes, but you’d have to be a complete asshole not to say yes. Come on. I KNOW that finishing is winning but I just was not feeling it.

Then I got the email.

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LOOK! The bike course was 4 miles longer than standard! And the run was a bit longer too! Soooooo my bike pace was actually faster than it had been a month ago over a longer distance. CHAAAAAAAMP! And the run was long in the blazing sun. How could I be mad. Tee hee.

Next goal: really internalizing that even if the distances had been the same, or shorter, I still had reason to smile at the finish line. Timeline: before I’m dead.

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