I distinctly remember a picture of myself dressed as a butterfly as a very young child.  My wings are made out of some sort of white fabric (perhaps a pillowcase) and are delightfully hand-painted.  The next costume I remember is this amazing mouse  one that my mom made for me.  Since I was never a fan of masks, the head of the costume was basically a hood that snapped under my chin.  The next year I wanted to be a cat, so off came the mouse ears and on went the cat ones.  I believe it may have gone on to be a bunny before finally becoming a donkey for a church Christmas play (it may actually live on in this incarnation to this day).

The majority of costumes I have worn as an adult have had much more in common with that butterfly than the crazy-amazing mouse/cat/bunny/donkey, in that they are typically extremely homemade (i.e. no pattern or sewing machine involved) and mostly last-minute.  There were a number of years as a hippie (a pair of red John Lennon style sunglasses + things that may or may not have been a part of my actual everyday wardrobe at the time).  This was followed by a number of years as the ever popular Someone from the 80’s and/or Punk Rocker.  More specific costumes have included the Drunk Bridesmaid and Princess in Training.  Then there was the year I just happened to be wearing my glasses at a Halloween party and told everyone I was Tina Fey.

So if you’re still working on that costume for tonight – fear not!  I’m sure there is an old pair of jeans you can slash up or a bridesmaid dress you can spill something on (seriously, you aren’t going to wear it . . . no, not even to that holiday party someday).  Need more inspiration?  I leave you with this awesomeness and the Princess in Training:

*I just realized that this costume is actually Tina Fey as a Princess in Training – even better!

Happy Halloween!


Some time over the course of the last nine years I became the kind of person who exercises in the morning.  Don’t misread – I’m still not a morning person.  I have just learned to enjoy starting my day this way.  The fact that this has become who I am is most evident when I don’t do it.

Today for example, I decided to run my four miles (8K training) in the evening.  I started lamenting the fact that I rolled over for that extra hour this morning on my walk home from work: It’s going to be 7:oo before I’m done, this sucks.  When I got home I decided to charge my phone (so I could listen to music while slogging it out on the treadmill).  I emptied the diswasher.  Went through the mail.  Finally I left.

When I got to the gym I lamented not getting new running shoes a month ago before those calluses turned into blisters.  I wished I had remembered band-aids.  As I logged onto the wireless network and scrolled through my Pandora stations I thought about creating a more upbeat one.  Four miles.  On the treadmill.

And then the music started.  There’s only us.  There’s only this.  Forget regrets. Or life is yours to miss.

Exactly what I needed to hear.  At exactly the right moment.  A chill ran up my spine and a humbled smile pulled at the corners of my mouth.  I am running four miles because I can run four miles.  People are having babies, mourning the death of parents and for the next forty minutes all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other.

And so I did.  I took a deep breath and started running.  I finished and came home.  I made dinner and poured myself a glass of wine.  I read good things that fed my soul and didn’t give rolling over in bed this morning a second thought.  Because this is the only shot I have at today and it deserves better than that.


(Not So) Unexpected Awesome-ness

Yesterday a friend casually mentioned getting  “rush” tickets for a Virginia Rep show.  Did you all know about this?  How did I not? (Maybe it was on facebook.)  Just in case you’re in the dark too, Virginia Rep is now selling tickets for same day shows, 2 hours before the show for a (significantly) reduced price!  Here are the details.

So last evening we went to see Night Blooms, for nearly half price on a random Thursday night.  While I love a planned evening at the theatre, there’s something equally sweet about a seeing a show I hadn’t even thought about over breakfast that morning.  The show itself was well-written and well-acted.  The relationships between characters were grey and complicated; the ending hopeful while resisting tying the whole thing up in big fluffy bow.

Today I was getting ready to sit down and write something about how awesome this one little unexpected surprise was, when I realized I’ve had a week full of them.  From the big (seeing elk at the end of a long hike in Rocky Mountain National Park last Thursday) to the small (that delicious bowl of carrot, coconut, curry soup on Monday).  I suppose it’s actually not so much about the awesome things, as it is the open-ness to seeing the awesome.

The F Word

There’s an awesome dialogue about health and wellness and whole-ness going on here.  After reading it I feel enlightened. And embarrassed.  Why?  Because the concept of fat talk is something I never thought about.

My personal philosophy on life embraces kindness to self and others as its overarching value.  My education in counseling taught me about encouraging strength in people.  Yet I had never considered the impact of my internal and external dialogue about weight.  How many times have I thought or said things like, those three miles I ran this morning totally off-set that cinnamon bun I just ate?  How many jokes have I made about my beer belly?  How much have I  talked about the fact  that the apple I ate  is totally counteracting that chocolate bar?  Or lamented I’m so bloated?

This was never directed at others, always at myself (though I’m sure I haven’t contradicted others when they have uttered these phrases about themselves).  But why is this the dialogue? Why not say instead: I’m so proud of myself for running three miles today.  Or damn that was a good cinnamon bun/beer/apple/chocolate bar.  Or I should probably drink some water; that creamy soup didn’t sit so well.

Even more important for my dialogue to change since my professional role involves being a trusted resource for college students.  And while I am appalled at this counselor’s terrible response to a serious situation and can’t imagine what would possess someone to say that, I can’t ignore my own vocabulary.

So I pledge to be more aware.  To stop the fat talk.  To start instead the health talk.  The wellness talk.  The whole-ly, beautifully, uniquely me and you talk.