My Brain Has Fallen Out

To say that I’m “goal oriented” is a horrid, awful understatement. Without clearly defined, publicly documented goals and/or mortifying public consequences for not achieving said goals, I just sort of coast. The last time I really exercised was the Washington, D.C. Avon Walk. In 2008. I’m just not one of those people who likes to work out because of the health benefits or the endorphins or even the smaller dress size.

When Brookie and I were living together, we both wanted to lose weight. I lost 20 pounds, but only because if I didn’t, I would have to wear a bikini at our apartment complex’s pool. In front of boys. And disgustingly tiny 18-year-old girls. I need very strong incentives.

It’s not that I don’t know I need to work out, or that I want to watch my waistline become absorbed in a gelatinous blob of flesh. It’s just that those aren’t concrete enough reasons to get me to the gym. But lately, I’ve been feeling a little sluggish, and I know it’s time I got active again (even though I’d much rather sit on the couch watching an entire season of Bones).

So I guess Amaris just caught me on the right day (the day my brain fell out) when she tweeted:

considering starting training for a half marathon. who’s down???

This started a twittersation that went like this:

  • Me: Can we start when it doesn’t feel like we live on the sun?
  • Amaris: oh, definitely. deeeeeeeeefinitely.
  • Me: Can skipping and spastic dancing be part of the training?
  • Amaris: girl…YES.
  • Me: Can we celebrate each attained goal with cookies?
  • Amaris: YES!
  • Me: Can we run it somewhere awesome and make it a vacation too?
  • Amaris: like new york? orrrrrr hmmm…seattle?!! San Diego?? puerto rico? i vote the last one. we can, um, “practice” espanol.
  • Amaris: so what all did I promise again? Colder temp, cookie incentives, skipping/spastic dancing…anythi OH! And Puerto Rico. That all?
  • Me: That’ll do it!

Soooo…Amaris and I are going to go to New Orleans in February and run a half marathon. The way we decided on The Big Easy is that we figured a city called The Big Easy would make running 13.1 miles not as agonizing. No, that’s not how it happened.

First of all, I’ve never been there, so that was an immediate draw. In February, they’ll be getting all hyped up about Mardi Gras (even though it’s not until March 8), so that’ll be lots of fun. Plus, we can make rockin’ green, purple and black running outfits and wear sparkly gold afro wigs for the run! Aaaaand (this is the best part) it’s a Rock-n-Roll Marathon, which means that bands will be set up all along the way to play us on to the finish line. That beats the Avon Walk hands down (Remember how we had to walk up that hellishly long hill past the water treatment plant between miles 18 and 21? Yeah, not inspiring).

So there you have it. We’re still working on our training plan, but I think mine is going to involve some sensual fitness, I know we’re both looking forward to Zumba classes, and of course, we’ll have to jog (except we’ll pronounce it “yog”). If you want to join us, I’ll make you a sweet running skirt too, and you can help us with the choreography for every time we pass a band!

Orrrrrr, you could just come down with us, hang out in the French Quarter, and cheer us on as we pass. We’ll give you a stiff five and a shimmy!

1000 Ways I’m Better Because of Blogging

Ahem. Do I look any older today? Any wiser, perhaps? You may notice that I have a new banner up at the top there, which is all thanks to my awesome sister, who is much better at that sort of thing than I am. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

This is my ONE THOUSANDTH BLOG POST. I wish I knew how many words that was, but I have no idea. To be sure, it’s enough to fill multiple books, which is very encouraging. I know that I am capable of writing a book. It’s just going to be a matter of time and diligence. And that leads us directly into today’s actual post. I’m not really going to list 1000 ways I’m better because of blogging. You can read back through the past six years to see my journey if you want to. I’m just going to hit five highlights that I think encompass them all.

I’m More Confident in My Writing Ability

I started blogging in 2004 after meeting some girls in NYC who had blogs and couldn’t believe I didn’t have one. I think we’d met just once or twice before they both recognized that I would either love it or be good at it (I’m not sure which – maybe both). And for the first little while there, I really didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t set out to make this website what it is. It just evolved. In the first few months, I blogged about two things: Christianity and community league hockey. And while the hockey was a lot of fun for me, I’m not sure anybody else got it. But my more spiritual writing was what got people’s attention. Those were the posts people read and said, “You know, you’re a really good writer.” I didn’t really believe them (still have trouble with it, actually), but taking the risk of putting my words out into the world began to build a confidence I hadn’t known with anything before.

If you read any books or blogs or articles on writing, one of the things you’ll have read over and over again is that in order to be a better writer, you have to write. Just write and write and write. Every day. And it’s funny – I never really considered what I do here writing. Not “real” writing anyway. Not writing that matters, but it does. It matters to me, to my craft, and hopefully to at least a few people here and there. And I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but even if I haven’t, even if I’ve stayed at the same level or even regressed, it doesn’t really matter because I love it more every day, and the more I fall in love with writing, the more confident I am in my ability to do it. And maybe that’s what improving is.

I’m a Better Problem Solver

I know things about HTML that no Psychology major or ESL teacher should know. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve screwed up this website to the point where I thought I’d lost everything and would have to start all over. And then, miraculously, I fix it. Sometimes this requires the assistance of several people who are clearly much smarter than me, but I think that’s part of problem-solving – humility and the support of people who still love you even though you suck at something.

So first of all, to everyone who has helped me solve a technical issue, I’d like to return the favor. If you ever need anything edited, or if you have a website you want me to advertise, or if you’d like some vegan cupcakes or cookies, you just let me know.

And the other part of problem-solving is just not being afraid to fiddle around. Granted, that’s how I get myself in trouble, too, but it is how I learned to do 100% of the things I now know how to do with my page design, and it spills over into the rest of my life. When I started this thing in 2004, I was not the kind of person who ever would have dreamt of going vegan, writing a book, walking marathons or cutting up/refashioning her clothes. I did what I’d always done, ate what I’d always eaten, wore my clothes the way they were made, and didn’t often push myself into territory that was dramatically different or uncomfortable (sometimes, but not often).

But as I’ve learned to solve problems better, I’ve gotten more comfortable with experimentation and challenge because I’ve realized that (A) it is very hard to screw things up entirely, (B) I am very luck to have an amazing network of people who are always willing to help me out, and (C) that’s how I learn.

I’m No Longer Afraid of Commitment

If you are one of the, like, three people who’ve been reading this since it began, you’ve been with me through two phone companies, eight moves, thirteen roommates, *cough cough* boyfriends/quasiboyfriends, countless crushes you didn’t even know about, three churches (not counting any of the ones involved in Church Search 2010) and at least five jobs. And there have been times when I’ve been more committed to blogging than others. I hope you’ll have noticed that over the past year or two, I’ve become more consistent. This is a phenomenon that is slowly taking over more aspects of my life. I’m living in places for longer, I’ve been with the same phone company for several years now, I try to blog every day, but if I can’t, at least three times a week, and in general, I’m looking for places to be and people to be with for the long haul.

And I’m not scared of it. I am sometimes scared of not having these things ever, of always being this sort of nomad who blows in and out of people’s lives, is never truly known and then easily forgotten. But I know that’ll never happen. I’m too good with a telephone.

I Have a Voice

…which I use on the phone for hundreds of minutes each month. If you haven’t heard it, email me your digits, and I’ll call you. For real. But mostly I’m talking about two things:
1.    My writing voice.
2.    A platform.

I was at my new Thursday morning writing group yesterday, reading a chapter from my book-in-progress to two listeners. One of them has read/heard a lot of me, and the other was a woman I’d just met. And one of the things the new lady had to say was that she loved how my voice on paper was exactly like my speaking voice. I don’t always achieve this, but as my confidence grows, so does my authenticity. And perhaps even more exciting than having a voice is having people recognize it and like it.

I hate to tell y’all this, but only about 7% of what I do here is for you. Mostly what happens is I see something noteworthy in the world or inside myself, and I want to document it. I don’t put it to you for your approval, but for your participation. But when you do approve, well that feels really good. And the more people approve of what you have to say, the more they want to hear, and the greater the opportunity for you to speak on the topics that really matter to you. I don’t do much of that here (mostly it’s just general ridiculousness), but on the days when I do have something important to say, I’m glad y’all are here to listen, and if I’ve said something that resonated with you, feel free to pass it on.

I Know Who I Am (and So Can You)

I feel the most like myself when I am genuinely laughing – not laughing out of politeness or discomfort or as a way to fill a void, but really cracking up. In those moments, I’m not self-conscious, I’m not worried, I’m not dissatisfied. That’s me being myself fully and completely.

These have been good, good times, friends, and if you weren’t around for some of the earlier ones, I want to invite you to see the hilarity for yourself.

Ode to a Weather Man – My poetry really is one of my favorite things on here.
The Zimmerman Limmermacht dream – You know you’re crazy when this kind of thing goes on without you even thinking about it.
Hey, remember when I was a pole dancer? Good times.
The one in which I shake my head violently.
One of my all-time favorite poems, God is NOT a Temp.
The one where Whitney imitates a porn film.
Goodness gracious how many haikus did I write that day?
That’s Racin’!
The one where I talk to Jane Austen, who, sweet as she is, is really quite thick.
Roy Orbison + Clingfilm = Endless Entertainment
Why I’m becoming a Jehova’s Witness (It took me 3 tries just now to type ‘witness’ instead of ‘Whitney.”)

Here’s to another 1000 posts!! Onward Hoe!!

My 20s. All of them.

And just like that, my 20s are over. Man, what an awesome decade. I’m going to try to do a recap of all my 20s birthdays and hit the highlights of some of the incredible things I’ve had the opportunity to do in the last ten years. I’m old, though, so I might not remember all of it, but I’ll give it my best.


My 20th birthday was also known as “Princess Day.” In college, we started calling all of our birthdays Princess Day, and we’d wear tiaras and sashes and be treated like princesses. So I think that year, my friend Rachel made like she was going to take me to dinner at Chili’s, but then when we got there, we were “hijacked” in the parking lot by Becky and Faith and taken somewhere else instead (Applebee’s maybe – Chili’s was just too crowded for our large party). And then after dinner, they took me roller skating. You remember that, right, Laura Jenny?

Other than that, 20 was not a very remarkable year, although I think it was the year I did that deviance project for my sociology class – the one where I dressed up like some kind of cracked out super pirate (of the ECU pirates) and ran around downtown handing out candy and doing body builder muscle poses in the elevator of that apartment building.

It was also the year that I met my friend Andy, with whom I shared the most horrific moving adventure ever. Amazingly, we are still friends.


By my 21st birthday, my parents had moved from WILKESBORO!!!!! to New Bern, which was only about an hour’s drive from ECU, so my mom came to town for that one, and she and all my friends and I went out to eat at Red Lobster (then one of my favorite places on earth), where I was COVERED in toilet paper by the semi-psychotic waiter who was responsible for celebrating the birthdays. He dressed up like the Gorton’s Fisherman, covered the birthday girl or boy in an entire roll of toilet paper and sang birthday songs through a megaphone – songs like, “Who’s got a birthday? Who? Who? Who? Who?” which was, of course, an adaptation of the Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

That year was also the year I decided not to work at Caswell again, regretted it, and was down there every chance I got. That was the year of 9-11, and just a few months after 9-11, I decided to leave the country for the first time and go on a mission trip to Honduras. I don’t think anybody saw that decision coming. I had several friends who’d gone to Kenya (while I was not working at Caswell), and when they came back, they all came to me individually and told me I needed to go overseas, and y’all are not going to believe me, but my response to all of them was, “Nope. I’m fine right here with my indoor plumbing and my familiar foods. I’m not going anywhere. I’ma stay right here in the U.S. of A.”

And then one very normal day, I was sitting in the computer lab in the psyc building at ECU, and plain as day, as though someone were standing right over my shoulder, I heard, “Go to Honduras.” I stopped, my whole body stiffened, and (almost out loud, but not because I didn’t want everyone to think I was crazy, so just in my mind) I replied, “Come again?” And the voice said, “You heard me.” And just like that, my world travels began, but not until…


I have no idea what I did on my 22nd birthday. I remember that being sort of a rough time. It was my last semester in college, and there was just a lot going on. I’m sure it was celebrated. I just don’t remember how. But to continue the story started just a moment ago, that was the year I left the country for the first time. It was also the year I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s sort of a long story that I’ll share with you in person if you want to know, but by the time I got back from Honduras, I knew I wanted to pursue ESL as a career, and by Christmas of that year, I’d been accepted to NYU’s graduate program. And THAT is a day I’ll never forget. I’d gone home for lunch and checked the mail on my way back out to work. When I opened the envelope and saw the word “Congratulations,” I almost drove off the road. I just couldn’t believe it. And then I started calling everyone I knew to tell them about it. It was a good day.


I’m not sure how we celebrated 23 either. I was living in Winterville with my sister and hanging out with Collice and Hilary a lot, so they might have all been involved in the celebration. I just don’t remember what we did.

Anyhoe, that year, I left the country for the second time, had my wisdom teeth removed, moved to New York City, drank alcohol for the first time and got my nose pierced.


In grad school, I got involved with the Navigators, a campus ministry similar to InterVarsity, with which I was involved in undergrad. A week or two before I turned 24, the Navigators went on a weekend retreat/conference in upstate NY, and I just had the best time ever. For my birthday, I asked to go to Winter Conference again, and we sort of did have a little mini version of it, which was really nice. And then we sang karaoke. But my clearest memory from that night was Mike and Sonja dragging me, running, through the streets of NYC yelling, “IT’S HER BIRTHDAY!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETH!! BIRTHDAY GIRL COMING THROUGH!!” So fun.

That year, I:

  • started blogging
  • left the country for the third time to backpack Europe and study Spanish in Spain (see any entry from late June-early August 2004)
  • resolved not to move back to NC
  • decided to move back to NC
  • spent New Year’s in San Francisco
  • moved back to NC


For my 25th birthday, Laura Jenny (aka Marieke, aka Partner) and Jason Jones took me to Bojangles. Then we went back to Jason’s house, where they had a cake for me, and Jason made very strong margaritas, and we all decided it would be better to watch a few episodes of Knight Rider before driving home.

Starting that year and continuing for the next few, we had a lot of fun making the dirtydish. There’s not much activity there any more, but I was and still am very grateful for what it did for my writing. It gave me an outlet and the confidence I needed to put my stuff out there for a new audience to read. Thanks, ddo.

And we’ll just hurry things along by saying I’ve left the country at least once a year since that first time. When I was 25, H(P)M and I went to Paris. That was also the year Emily Furr Hogan and I spent New Year’s in Times Square, which was SO fun.


No idea. I didn’t even blog about it. I probably went to Chili’s. This might have been the year I had bangs, so it’s possible that I blocked it out. However, this was definitely the year I flew to London to stay with Ann and surprise DLF for New Year’s. Oh what fun we had!!


My life in Raleigh by this point had reached a level of autopilot where I was almost curled up in the back napping. I knew I needed some sort of adventure, so just before I turned 27, I signed up for my first Avon Walk. It helped. It also got me to the gym, where the Cutie Von Hottenstein encounters began, which culminated in the weirdest party I’ve ever been to in my life. I also went vegan that year, and oh, that was the year of the most awful semester of my life. I won’t force myself to think about that right now, though.

Gasp!! I don’t think I left the country that year. Did I? If I did, I don’t know where I went. I think I was too busy. Oh my gosh. I need to take two trips this year to make up for it.

I think for my birthday that year, I was supposed to go on a luxurious mountain road trip retreat with some friends, but I became deathly ill and was laid up in bed all weekend. I definitely went to Chili’s, though.And wait, was this the year I had that awesome surprise party, or was that mystery 26? Either way, there was one year when my sweet Brookie, even though she was in the middle of working on her national board certification (which she passed on the first try thank you very much), conspired with Whitney and all them hoes to throw me a surprise party that I almost didn’t go to! Whitney, however, being the genius that she is, got me to go, and it was awesome. Whenever it was.


By 28, I’d met Lauren (Josh), whose birthday is the day before mine – HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY, BUDDY!!!! – and that was the year we had the photo scavenger hunt party and the Teen Girl Squad cupcakes. This was also the year wherein:

  • Brookie moved to Wilmington 🙁 and got married 🙂
  • I moved in with Josh and Josh
  • I didn’t think I would survive the summer
  • I had a boyfriend
  • Whitney and I went to Mexico for H(P)M’s wedding
  • I became an indentured servant of Wake Tech
  • The Rack Pack walked DC


We’re almost done!! Last year’s birthday was lots of fun. We went to Bald Head Island for the weekend, played Wii, rode bikes, lounged around and hung out on the beach. It was a much needed get-away for everyone, and nobody wanted to leave and come back home. We powered through, though, and it went on to be a most momentous year. I completed my indentured servitude, moved to Italy for three months, almost moved to Oregon, and moved to Asheville instead.

I’ve traveled well over 13,000 miles in the past year, visited two new countries (Hungary and Austria) and a few old ones, and now, I’m getting ready to head out on what I’m calling my “30 on 40 Roadtrip.” It’s where I turn 30, having three parties in three cities on I-40. And I’m sorry for the rushed ending, but if I don’t get in the shower, pack and leave very soon, I will actually miss my second party – the one in Raleigh tonight.

But one thing before I leave. If my post yesterday made it sound at all like I am disappointed with where my life has gone, that is not the case. I meant to say that high school senior Beth just could not have imagined all of this – all the travel, adventure, friendships, food, passions, love, opportunities and general awesomeness I’ve had the incredible pleasure of experiencing. I can only hope that my 30s out-do my 20s.


2008: A Year in Review

Happy New Year! I trust that you all had a good, safe, happy, Guitar Hero-filled holiday season. I’ve been trying to think of something brilliant to say about 2008, but having come up with nothing, here’s a list of what I did with those 52 weeks.

  • items returned to Target: at least 30 (and I’ve already returned one thing in 2009)
  • blog posts: 213
  • times served as a bridesmaid: 3
  • marriage proposals from Donald Miller: 0
  • trips outside of the country: 1
  • trips to the Washington, DC area: 3
  • number of miles walked in DC: 21
  • amount of money raised for breast cancer research, prevention and education: $5,400 (Go Rack Pack!!)
  • haircuts: 1
  • cellular minutes used: approximately 20,000
  • (number of DAYS on the phone: 14)
  • boyfriends: 1
  • roommates: 3.5
  • weddings attended: 9?
  • months survived just barely: 1
  • houses painted: 1.5
  • times I cringed at “Baby, Baby”: too many
  • shows and concerts attended: 8?
  • books read: 6 – Is that it?! That’s pathetic. And depressing. (New Year’s resolution: read more)
  • Sundays in church: 51 probably
  • spastic dance parties in my car: impossible to say
  • parties thrown: 5
  • new holiday recipes: 4
  • trips to New York: 1
  • trips to WILKESBORO!!!!!: 3
  • times the letter jacket was worn: 0

Stay tuned for an oh-so-scientific projection of what’s to come in 2009!

professional trainers strike again…but I’m striking back this time

The personal training company that trained me for the first Avon Walk, I’ve just realized, has been charging me for training sessions almost every month since last March. They were supposed to stop last December, and when I didn’t get charged in January, I thought it was over. And then the little description bit on my online banking (the part that tells you who it was that charged you that money) changed, so I didn’t recognize it immediately. And by not immediately, obviously I mean for seven months. So I filed a claim with the bank, but they couldn’t really do anything until I had called the training company, which I am doing now.

They’ve had me on hold for a loooooooooong time now because I am in the process of screwing them completely. You see, what had happened was that I unwittingly initialled a little bit on the original contract, agreeing that my payments would automatically convert to a month-to-month agreement if I didn’t file a written notice of cancellation at least 30 days before my original contract ended. Fair enough. I signed it. That’s cool.

Unfortunately for them, however, the dum-dum who wrote the contract filled in the blanks incorrectly, so the contract says that I am purchasing 48 sessions per month for a monthly payment of $100. He was supposed to write 4, not 48. Woopsie. So the lady at customer service is saying to me, “But ma’am, you understand that if you bought 48 sessions a month, it would be more than $100,” and I am responding with, “Wow, it looks like I got a REALLY good deal! That’s like two bucks per session! Thanks guys!”

So their options, I believe, will be to either give me my 336 paid sessions or give me back the $700 they’ve taken out of my account. They’ve already told me (before I pointed out the 48 sessions per month thing) that I can transfer my sessions to someone else if I want. So if it comes to this…who wants cheap personal training?! I may have sessions for sale.

it’s a start

I have some more photos on the PinkBerry, but I haven’t figured out yet how to get them onto the computer, so for now, here are some pictures that my sister took around either mile 14.5 or mile 16.

This first one was taken from across the street. And yes, at the first sight of a camera aimed at us, this is what happened. There’s just no controlling it. I don’t know what to tell you.


Have I mentioned the shimmying yet? No? How silly of me. You see, as a great wave of pink moves through our nation’s capital, there’s a lot of honking and waving from passing drivers. And most of the walkers would wave in response or maybe wave and give a hearty “WOOOO!” But we are the Rack Pack. We don’t do things the same way other people do. We shimmy. Well, I do anyway. And I did all day. And it makes me giggle to think about how many people in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area saw me shaking and shimmying the day away in my Rack Pack regalia. And how many of them have me doing it on their vacation videos…because several tour buses passed us during our walk.

comin’ atcha!

Awwww there we are! Aren’t we cute?! Look at those shirts! Lauren, you’re awesome.


And now, kids. I leave you with one final shimmy. Enjoy.

work it baby YEAH!


Here it is, friends! I am proud to introduce you to…


Imagine, if you will (Whitney won’t), two 73-year-old politicians who have never been particularly “cool” in their lives. They’ve just won a highly competitive team Parcheesi tournament, however, and they are super stoked about it. So stoked are they, in fact, that they succumb to the impulse bubbling up within them to express said stokedness with a physical act of celebration and camaraderie – a high five.

They rear back, palms open, elbows at 90-degree angles, and concentrating on their aim, move in quickly yet cautiously toward the moment of contact with the palm of the other. Keeping their arms and hands stiff, they make contact, at which point there is an ever-so-brief pause before they put their respective hands either down by their sides or up in the air in further celebration.

Can you picture it? Ok, now try it with someone, preferrably me as I just love it to death. I don’t know what it is about it, but the stiff five makes me quite giddy.

I’m not even really sure how it started. Maybe Whitney can help me here as she was present at its creation. We were driving up to DC on Friday, and we were in rare form. At one point, I was laughing so hard that I was crying. And I was crying so much that I thought for a moment that I might need to pull over. That was when we were listening to the TV theme songs CD that Lauren had made for me, and the “Sanford and Son” song came on. Whitney started doing this dance in the passenger’s seat that cracked me up, first of all, and then immediately brought to mind the kid from “Fat Albert” who was always wearing the ski mask.

When I told her that’s what her dance reminded me of, she commenced to freak out saying, “That’s EXACTLY who I was thinking of!! HE WAS MY INSPIRATION FOR THE DANCE!!!”

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand cue hysteria.

So anyhoe, I don’t know how the stiff five started. I think it was probably an accidentally stiff five that we found particularly hilarious, and then we just started doing it over and over again, and then we named it, and then we taught it to other people. And now it’s pretty much an international phenomenon. Spread it around. You’ll love it.

photos forthcoming, however…

I wanted to give you an update on the walk even though I don’t have any pictures to share yet.

First of all, I made a walking skirt, and I customized my Rack Pack shirt for Saturday’s walk, and no less than fifteen women stopped me to comment on one or the other. It was incredible. I had no idea it would get such a reaction. And apparently (I missed this comment, but Amaris heard it), one woman referred to me as being “fashion forward” and “very Project Runway.” Oh my my my…why thank you.

And now for the story of the walk…

When I signed up for this one, I had really high hopes of finishing the whole 39.3 miles (I only did 30 in Charlotte), but then the little punk just sort of snuck up on me, and I didn’t have the time or the energy to train like I ought to have done. Plus I doubted those “blister-free guaranteed” socks that Amaris spent $13 on, so I just had the regular kind, which were admittedly far superior to the socks I wore in Charlotte, but alas, by mile 21, I knew I was done for. I sat down and removed my moleskin, the nurse popped the one blister and re-covered it, then she poked around at the other, decided not to pop it and re-covered it, and the moment I stood up, I looked at Amaris and said, “I’m done.”

She said that she could also be done, so we got on the bus with the roughly thirty other walkers who were also tapped out. And as we rode to the finish line, watching the mile markers go by, we were more and more affirmed in our decision to let go of our pride and stop at 21 miles. It was getting late anyway, and we were slowing down, so I don’t think we would have been able to finish in time even if we had kept going, which was terribly confusing. I’m still rather baffled by it.

They have the route all laid out with stops every 2-3 miles, and there’s a certain time by which you need to be leaving each stop in order to finish the whole route before it closes. At the beginning of the walk, there were roughly 3,500 people trotting through the streets of downtown Washington, so it was understandable that our pace would be a little slow. And I think we were toward the rear of the pack. And it was downtown Washington, so we stopped in several places for photos and whatnot, so I was not at all surprised when we were late arriving to the first rest stop. We decided at that moment, though, to pick up the pace, which we did, and our time started to improve. A few stops later, we were actually about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, and even though we didn’t slow down at all, we just seemed to start getting to the stops later and later.

And THEN…oh it was awful, and this just makes no sense to me at all…between miles 16 and 21, there was ONE quick stop that was in a parking lot with NOwhere to sit down really or stretch and no shade, and then between miles 18 and 21, there was NOTHING. And I mean nothing except a water treatment plant and about 2 miles of uphill climb with trees on the left and a 2-lane road and trees on the right. There were no cheerleaders, no stops, no water, no cars driving by honking in support/appreciation/shock and surprise at a great pink mass of hot women walking by…nothing. Not even a 20-mile sign. And that was probably the greatest morale breaker of the day. We were walking up this hill thinking, Oh sweet and holy baby Jesus, this is the longest freaking mile I have ever walked in my life. Ever. Please, please, please, please, please just make it end, and make it end now. Take me home if you have to.

So we got to the top of the hill, and there was the 20-mile marker, and about a tenth of a mile later (no exaggeration), there was the 21-mile marker. I wanted to punch somebody. But then we were on the bus, and it didn’t really matter any more.

And thus ended the 2008 Washington, DC Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I decided not to walk on Sunday because I learned my lesson in Charlotte about walking on blisters, and I was not about to relive that pain. So I told my pride to blow it out its old wazoo, and I gave my body a rest. I figured that given the amount of training I’d done, 21 miles was pretty respectable, and the DC walk had raised 8.1 million dollars, which is way more important than me trying to prove anything to myself.

Amaris did the 21 miles on Saturday and the whole 13 miles on Sunday. We’re not sure how, but I think her magic socks had something to do with it. Whitney was in some serious pain and stopped walking just before Amaris and I did on Saturday. She wanted to get to 20 miles, but since there wasn’t a sign, she didn’t know that she had reached 20 miles about half a mile earlier. She and I enjoyed a restful Sunday morning in the hotel, and then we hobbled around, packing up our stuff and Amaris’s stuff before hobbling to lunch at Baja Fresh with Richard, J.Beau and Lauren, who are all SO wonderful for coming up to support us (thanks buddies!! My awesome sister came to cheer us on too, but she had gone back to Maryland by this point, so we didn’t get to have lunch with her. She took some pictures, though, so hopefully she’ll share them with me so I can post them for you.).

Then I hobbled to my car and picked up Mrs. Emily (Furr) Hogan, from whose carriage house studio apartment I am writing at this moment. I have lots of fun things to share about my time with her, as well as fun things to share about the drive up to DC with Whitney, but those will have to wait for another post. Until then, I leave you with two words to ponder: stiff five.

next up…

Well, now that you know I’ve finished my fundraising (!!!), I guess I don’t need to tell you that the crock-pot cook-off was rather a success. But I’ll tell you anyway. First of all, it was a lot of fun. Once we got there and stopped planning/preparing, when we could just enjoy the company and the food, it was great times. We had a LOT of great raffle prizes, there were several cute boys there, people were excited to win things, I got to see a lot of old co-workers whom I hadn’t seen in a while, and apparently I looked way cute and was funny on stage. As if that last bit were at all surprising.

Anyhoe, we came away with a little over $200 apiece, which we were VERY happy with. I’m extremely glad that the fundraiser (and the fundraising) is over, and I’m looking forward to the walk being over as well. One day at a time…one thing at a time…breathe in…breathe out…collapse on the sofa in a rumpled heap of exhaustion…

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

I have some exciting news. As of today, although it does not yet register on my website, I have fully and officially 100% completed my Avon Walk FUNDRAISING!!!

A VERY special and heartfelt thank you to all of you who donated. If you have not yet donated but still wish to do so, please give to Amaris‘s efforts as she still has a way to go with only ten days left.

I now leave you with the words of one of my man-donors, which I found unbelievably amusing:

Giving some dough was easy…you’re the one that has to walk four hundred and thirty seven miles. After all, what self respecting man wouldn’t give money for boobs? Anyway, thanks for saving second base…it is one of my favorites.