Wednesday, December 15, 2010

10 Things I Learned in 2010

  1. The first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem.
  2. Life can be really great.
  3. Sometimes the first step is the biggest step.
  4. Seasons change. Bad times eventually will get better.
  5. Enjoy the good times, because that season will change, too.
  6. Nothing feels better than making a decision with no regret.
  7. If it hurts, don't do it. Related- insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
  8. Survival (emotional, physical, professional) depends on adaptability.
  9. A life without happiness or sadness is pretty hollow. Both pain and joy are signs of life.
  10. When the right thing is the hard thing, it usually means it is all the more worth doing.
What did you learn?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We're growing up

I just got home from my good friend Blake's 30th birthday party. It was fantastic. Several of our old college friends got together and had a great time and especially great conversation.

It got me to thinking that we really are growing up, my friends and I. We don't always get to choose when we grow up in life. Some people are forced to grow up very young, others are in circumstances that they don't have to worry about things if they choose not to. But by the time you get to your mid to late twenties, the decision to not grow up (or mature) is a choice you've made.

I'm so thankful to have good friends that expand my horizons, challenge me to think deeply, and care about me. Life gets more complicated as time goes on, but I'm thankful to have these friends to grow old with.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I'm thankful for colors and light and changing of seasons.

I'm thankful for health and technology and medical advancements.

I'm thankful for work I enjoy more every day and coworkers who make the days that much sweeter.

I'm thankful for cruciblesque times that sift the faux friends from the true. I'm thankful for the abundance of true friends in my life.

I'm thankful that family is always family, and is always faithful.

I'm thankful to be in this place, in this time, with these opportunities.

I'm thankful that 2010 has been a fantastic year. My heart is full and my cup overflows.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm a survivor

In case we don't talk often or you don't use twitter, long story short- I have a stress fracture in my leg. This was determined through a bone scan I had done last week. I should note that during the bone scan, there was a complication with the injection and my vein swelled and leaked a lot of blood. The pictures are a bit graphic, but you can see some on my Twitpic stream over the past week. I'm fine now; it was the equivalent of a bad bruise.

Today as I was in the doctor's office, he mentioned that he wanted to do more blood work, but quickly brushed it off and said, "don't worry about doing it today, you can wait a few weeks." But I insisted that I'd rather get it done today and get the results back sooner. He explained that he didn't want to pressure me into doing it so soon given my bad experience last week at the bone scan. I told him I wasn't concerned.

He asked why it was that I had such a good attitude about all of this. I suppose I should have credited faith or God or Jesus or something, but the first thing that came to mind is what I said: "I work in marketing. It's my job to see the good in things." And that's true.

But perhaps moreover, it's because- especially where health is concerned- I believe in principles of survival. I've always leaned towards the fatalistic, but in some ways that's made me optimistic. Let me explain. Bad stuff happens. Bad stuff happens in spite of justice, in most cases. You don't deserve it, but you equally don't deserve to avoid it. Sometimes by accepting that, you are mentally prepared to tackle the situation at hand. It's how we survive. More importantly- it's how we progress and become stronger as individuals and as a society.

What can I say, I'm a naturalist at heart, and these are my rambling thoughts tonight. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Signs of maturity

Over the last year I've had to make several difficult life decisions. They've almost all involved doing the right thing that was the significantly harder thing.

And ya know what? Looking back, I have no regrets. I'm proud of each of those.

It's a good feeling.

Friday, October 08, 2010

How my mind works

This morning as I was curling my hair, I thought of my friend who is currently on her honeymoon- a 10 day Mediterranean cruise. Sickening, I know.

Then I thought of long honeymoons, which made me think of lua de mel, the Portuguese for honeymoon.

That reminded me of Latin, which made me think of the origins of honeymoons. Once I think I heard that the longest a honeymoon could be in ancient times was like 9 months. Then I thought that made sense if you were allowing a soldier time to conceive a child.

Then I thought about the word conceive. Then I thought of the word misconception.

How interesting. A mis-conception. Something ill-bourne, then growing. Interesting! So when I have a misconception, I have a serious problem that needs to be addressed before it grows.

Back to curling the hair.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The useless hypothetical

As time goes on, I have less patience for the hypothetical. Perhaps that's a sign that I'm moving from my idealistic 20's into my pragmatic 30's, but pontificating irritates me.

I believe it started by reading this blog, which said, "God only expects us to be holy in real life, not in every hypothetical situation."

I agree with that.

Frustratingly, I've gone through a few months of one of those times in life where your mind inevitably wanders to questions such as "what if I'd done this..." "what if that had happened..." "what if he had responded like that..."

But here is the truth- there is no what if. There is only what is. Or was. At the risk of quoting a pop song, "The rest is still unwritten."

I can't wonder what would have happened, because the truth is that what "would have happened" did happen. Countless forces led me to act as I did, countless influenced him, and then there are those universal forces of situation and time that are beyond our control. Every action is the result of a perfect storm.

It is for this reason that I can't stand it when people insist on how they would respond in hypothetical situations. The truth is that you don't know how you would respond. You don't know what relationships would shape you, what movie would influence you, how fear or love would drive you, or how the wind would be blowing that day. (perhaps it's for that reason that Christians are reminded to not judge)

There is no hypothetical. There is only what is. Conjecturing beyond that seems to assume that you know yourself far better than you probably do.

And that is also why I think it is important to take seriously those things you do decide to do, rather than pondering those you might. Perhaps the world would be a better place.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Raising Up the Dead

Rarely have I felt so strongly about any musical album to dedicate a blog entry to it (in fact, perhaps not since Derek Webb's Mockingbird), but the time has come my friends.

Caedmon's Call. So many evangelicals have run across them at some point in their Christian musical career. They've seen highs and lows in mainstream popularity, and honestly, the newest album, Raising Up the Dead, probably won't do much for them within CCM circles. But boy has it blown my socks off.

Not only is it musically enchanting with a hybrid of folksy tunes and a slight techno edge (a la Derek Webb's latest work), but the lyrics have more depth and poignancy than ever- and this coming from a group that was far deeper than the average Christian band to begin with. As someone who has listened to a lot of Caedmon's Call, I think they're finally using Danielle Young's voice in the style and genre it is suited to.

There are 2 songs on this album that struck me to my core in such a way that I could have sworn they were written by someone who has known my innermost thoughts over the past year. I'll leave you to wonder which 2. :)

I'm sure people will allege that this is a movement away from Christian music and into secular music, but that is a very surface level perspective. I'd say that these songs deal with the deepest issues of faith and the spirit in an incredibly subtle yet touching way.

I'm grateful for this album and it has come at a time when I most need it, so I thought you guys might benefit too. Below you can download 2 songs for FREE. But then you should go ahead and get the whole album. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When the summer's gone

Well folks, today is the last day of summer. I have done 3119 push-ups since beginning this journey. I did week 6 day 3 last night (for the second time) and today my neck and shoulders were dying. Knotted up, pinching, yucky. Not the good kind of sore.

Here I am at a cross-roads. I'm trying to decide if I want to continue on. I need to do another exhaustion test, and if I can't do at least 60 there is a good chance I'm going to throw in the towel. No, I haven't done 100 push ups yet, but I've done 3000+! And since beginning I've also started working out 5 times a week.

So... I haven't decided for sure yet, but forgive me if you think I'm a quitter. I just prefer full use of my upper extremities rather than hitting an arbitrary goal. :)

And thus the summer ends. It was a good one. I had a lot of good times and feel like I grew a lot as a person. I hope you can all say the same.

The last sunset of the summer.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Don't get SAD

Ever since living in Japan, when in winter-time the sun set at about 4:30pm, I have noticed that I am very sensitive to the days lengthening and shortening. Like many people, my mood plummets in fall and perks back up again in spring. This is generally known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Two years ago when I was running (pre-back injury) and exercising like a fiend, it wasn't as bad as usual, but last year about mid-September I started noticing in my anxiety and sadness dramatically increasing in September, right when fall was setting in. So this year I'm hoping to be proactive by testing many homeopathic methods.

First of all I started exercising- mostly running in the mornings (for the light)- again at the beginning of August. I've also been adding fruits and vegetables to my diet and almost eliminating cokes. And I went down to half-caf coffee and have been drinking considerably less of it.

Then last week I finally got the light therapy box pictured below. I've heard of tons of people who swear by them, so I decided to give it a shot as well. I just have to sit in front of it for half an hour each morning. It also has a negative ion machine thing that is also supposed to help.

We'll see how that goes. Today was my first day and I felt really good all day, but there could be a lot of reasons for that I guess.

So all that to say that if you notice yourself getting winter blues, maybe it's time to do something about it rather than just suffering through it. And remember, the days will start getting longer again on December 21. :)

If you have any remedies or tips please feel free to share! I'm open to suggestions!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Get that dirt off your shoulders

If you know me well, you probably know that I really love listening to hip-hop. If you know me really really well, you might have heard me say that I think Jay-Z is one of the great motivational speakers in the world.

A common theme in hip-hop is about dealing with haters- people who try to get you down. Which makes sense, because most of the artists grew up in schools or families or neighborhoods were little was expected of them.

Jay-Z sings a song where the chorus repeats "You've got to get that dirt off your shoulders." I like to be informed, so I googled what that meant to make sure I knew.

From the rap dictionary, here is a definition and brilliant parable.

To step up. The origin of this term comes from a story in which a donkey falls into a well and cannot get out. The farmer tries to get the donkey out by rope, unsuccessful in his attempt. He decides, instead, to just give up and bury the donkey in the well. As the farmer begins filling the hole with dirt, the donkey becomes depressed, realizing that all of the dirt on his shoulders and back were going to eventually bury him. He then thought of an idea: I can just shake it off and step up. Therefore, he could just die by doing nothing and getting buried, or shake the dirt off his shoulders and step up to the occasion. So when you have a problem, will you shake it off and step up or be buried?

So let that be your lesson for the day kids. Step up and shake it off. Don't be buried.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Still pushing up

I can't believe I'm still doing push ups. My initial goal was to finish the challenge by the end of summer, which is two short weeks away, my friends. Unless I start snorting spinach like Popeye with similar results, this ain't happening in two weeks.

A few days ago I did an exhaustion test and did 55 push ups. Which is great, I'm not going to knock it. I've improved from 24 in the beginning. But good grief, some days- like today- I feel like this is never going to happen. I am still wondering if women were meant to do push ups, feminism be darned.

But alas, I shall persevere!

In better news, 2 of my friends also doing the push up challenge finished! Congrats MM and BB!

And for the record, I did bail on the sit ups. I started running at the beginning of August, and the sit ups and running were aggravating each other, so I went with the cardio.

Feel free to leave encouragement. If you can't find me some day, I'm probably collapsed on my yoga mat from death by push up.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Maslow's hierarchy upended

I am mesmerized with this photograph.

The caption says "An interior view of the library at Holland House in Kensington, London, after it was extensively damaged by a Molotov ‘Breadbasket’ fire bomb."

I've been trying to put words to why I am intrigued and keep going back to it.

The closest I can come is saying that it defies logic. More specifically, it defies Maslow's hierarchy of needs. How the sky can literally fall in on you and still have your mind set on things beyond the current reality.

But that's how we move on, right? By transcending the noise and focusing on what matters. Whatever sustains us on a deeper level. It's mature and it's wise. It's important.

Friday, August 27, 2010

When pain speaks

Three weeks of running! It takes 21 days to make a habit, right? Well I guess I'm back in it.

One of the odd perks of running that I had forgotten is the profundity of thoughts I have while I run. I am a big believer in the benefits of altering consciousness to experience new ideas (I'm probably not supposed to say that), and I think the surge of different chemicals running through your body during running contributes to that sensation.

Today's thoughts.

I've been keeping tabs on my back and legs, given my history with discs and shin splints, careful to not not overdo it. I have specifically been working to note the difference in soreness and pain.

One of my favorite Grey's Anatomy episodes was on the importance of pain. To sum it up, it focused on the fact that medically speaking, pain exists to alert you to a problem. As pain increases, your problem does as well. The inability to feel or acknowledge pain greatly diminishes your safety, both long term and immediate.

The same in running. It's normal to feel tired or sore, but to perpetually ignore pain when it's crying out to you is very foolish. If you don't change or stop what you're doing, you will likely injure yourself.

And such is life. Emotionally, spiritually- pain tells us something is wrong. We listen to the pain, evaluate the source, and treat it. But ignoring will only aggravate the problem.

-"Does it hurt?"
-"Where does it hurt?"
-"Maybe it hurts for a reason."

-Grey's Anatomy (Izzie and Alex talking as Izzie tries to re-enter the hospital after her fiancée died)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When to trust yourself

I've been slowly trying to get back into running. In a case of unfortunate timing, we are several weeks into an oppressive heat wave here in OKC. Triple digits daily... the lowest temp I've seen in a while is 77. I go running in the mornings though, so it's not so bad.

Today though, perhaps because the heat was reminiscent of a sweat lodge, I had an epiphany. While I was running I got confused. You see, I plan my routes out very carefully pre-running so I know when to run and when to walk and how far I'm going, gone, and have yet to go. But today, mid-run, I thought I made a mistake in planning. But as I cooled down, I realized that I had, in fact, planned correctly.

Here's the epiphany: oxygen-deprived, running, tired, sweaty Ann should trust calm, cool, collected rested Ann to make the decisions. This is hard to remember in times of distress. It also comes to play in when I want to quit mid-exercise. Rested Ann knows what I am capable of; tired Ann is doubtful.

Think of all the other areas of life this can apply to- relationally, professionally, spiritually. Although I'm a big fan of the gut decision, decisions are best made when you are able to have perspective. When you're at a place of peace and rest. Sure, this isn't always possible, but when it is we should plan ahead.

Trust yourself. But know when to trust yourself. :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

"Seems reasonable"... and other famous last words

So almost two months ago I said it seemed reasonable to be able to complete my hundred pushups/ two hundred situps challenge. I am a little wary of that statement now.

On my last exhaustion tests, I was able to do 90 sit ups and 42 push ups. That means I have improved by almost 3x in the number of sit ups I can do and not quite 2x in the number of push ups. Push ups are just harder!

I have been keeping tally of my work outs and so far I've done 1608 push ups and 3695 sit ups. Whew! Many more to go and another month and a half to do it. Let's hit it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Don't be like me

After a super fun day of "blowing stuff up" by the river, I noticed strange spots on my feet.

They quickly went out of control.

You can't tell here- mercifully- but below the knees I had 75+ bites on my right leg and 50+ on my left. By Monday I was in MISERY.

I started with conventional treatment- Benadryl cream and Benadryl. Neither was effective. At. All. I became desperate and looking on the internet. Just FYI- NO ONE AGREES. Hot, cold, wet, dry, etc... everyone has a different idea.

So I turned to some alternative methods.

Yes that is Scotch tape on my legs. It stopped me from scratching, at least. But as soon as I went outside they became sweaty misery (can you tell I'd lost all shame at this point)?

Two things have worked for me. 1- Vapor rub + a moving air (fan, AC, etc). This only helps on a superficial level, though.

What really did the trick was this-

A baking soda+water paste on my legs, allowed to dry. I sleep like this. It stings at first, but it's the only thing that felt like it was actually healing the bites. My house is covered in baking soda. It's in my belly button and may never come out. But I don't care! Thank you, magical baking soda.

So friends, don't be like me, and foolishly believe your bug spray is waterproof.


Unrelated- Amy tagged me! Here you go. :)

1. How often do you go over the speed limit? Not too often. 5 or maybe 10 over. But without cruise control, sometimes if my mind wanders, my foot gets heavier or lighter.

2. Do you dance like crazy when no one is looking? Just when no one is looking? I am a wild woman.

3. If you were going to be stuck on a desert island which book, movie, and which CD would you take with you? Hmm. East of Eden, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and Tchaikovsky.

4. What did you get in trouble for as a kid? smarting off, fighting with my sister

5. What really gives you the creeps? the texture of smooth paper, touching fish

6. What was your favorite toy when you were a kid? rolly pollies!

7. You run into a friend while shopping. Where were you? Target

8. When you fall asleep are you usually on your side, stomach, or back? back

9. If fat or calorie intake were not an issue, what food would you consume the most? donuts and coke! Not together. :)

10. If you could hire one of the following, which would it be: Driver, chef, maid, or stylist? maid, easily

11. What movie have you watched the most? The Notebook, Madea Goes to Jail (the play)

12. What perfume do you wear? Moonlight Path by Bath & Body Works, Hypnotic Poison by Dior

13. What was your favorite sitcom growing up? The Simpsons

14. What were you doing the last time you had a really good laugh? I am lucky enough to laugh really hard pretty much every day at work.

15. What was the very first concert I ever attended? Acappella! Who'd have thought one day I'd be a groupie. :-P

16. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list? Harrison. Oops! :)

17. How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings? I can get ready in as little as 10 minutes, but usually I get up 1.5 hours before I leave the house. I take my sweet time. I like waking up early.

18. When is the last time you went to the mall and what did you buy? JC Penneys... a dress... last month

19. Ever go to camp? Band camp in junior high, church camp 2 years in high school. I wasn't a good camper. :)

20. Do you collect anything? Black and white vintage photos

Monday, July 19, 2010

Let's blow stuff up

We all have those unique people in our lives who tend to march to the beat of their own drummer. My friend Brad is that guy. His birthday tradition is going out to the river with his friends, shooting his 50 caliber rifle, then building sand castles and blowing them up with fire works. So... that's what I did this weekend.

Must be seen to be believed!





Friday, July 16, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset

This summer Oklahoma has had some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.



Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Push-up Update

If you check my actual blog, you see my twitter feed that runs through the right column. My push-up updates run through my twitter feed, but I wanted to give a little commentary on it.

I'm about 4 weeks into it. As you can see in the picture on the right, I'm doing pretty well.

For rizzles, though, some days I feel like a beast and others I feel like I'm going backwards. The other day in a training session I did 122 push-ups! That's crazy! I was very proud. Granted they were in 5 intervals, but still, within 10 minutes.

I don't feel so sore after them these days, but I do feel tired. Also, I've noticed a lot more knotting up in my shoulders, but such is the price of beef-dom.

The sit-ups are still harder than I anticipated. I have started working in some oblique sit ups into the mix for variety.

All of this has made me want to get back into pilates. Maybe once this challenge is over I will look into it.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, July 01, 2010


I'm trying to be better at learning about photography as a hobby. It's stretching my brain. So many numbers and dealing with light and such. Whew.

That said, I'm trying to branch out into different styles of photography. If you've read long, you have been assaulted with my love of the macro flower shots, but this week The Pioneer Woman's photography contest was themed Americana, so I made myself go find some subject matter. Here is what I came up with (I'm also playing around with textures because of the Americana theme).

If you have a fave, lemmie know. I submitted the one of the cow.

PS- Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Squeezing my mind grapes

People of earth. I have used this phrase several times in the past few weeks and people think I'm crazy. Please commit this to memory and introduce it into your every day usage.


From 30 Rock:

Jack: Jack Welch has such unparalleled management skills they named Welch's Grape Juice after him, because he squeezes the sweetest juice out of his workers’ mind grapes.

Liz: That doesn’t even make sense.

Jack: No, it doesn’t, does it. I wrote it down in the middle of the night.
Tracy (to writers): What else is on my mind grapes?
Tracy (to Kenneth): I got something on my mind grapes I need to talk to you about.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Illinois River

This weekend I went on a float trip to Talequah, Oklahoma on the Illinois River.

One of my favorite things to do when I'm with a group on overnight trips is being the first person to wake up. There are several reasons for this. One, I like getting ready without waiting in line. But in the great outdoors, I like it because the world is beautiful in the morning light!

The hours spent waking up early are rarely wasted. I couldn't believe no one else was out there to soak in what I got to see.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Goals and such

If you want to keep improving, you have to keep setting goals. So as summer is now upon us, I am setting some goals. I may be crazy, but I am motivated enough to want to stick with them to actually post them here in cyberspace.

Hundred pushups

Two hundred situps

Last night I did the initial test of both of these. I was surprised by the results of both- pleasantly by the push-ups and unpleasantly by the sit-ups. 25 push-ups and 34 sit-ups.

My goal is to complete both of these programs by the end of the summer. Seeing as how we're 12 days from the beginning of summer, it seems reasonable.

Wish me luck. Anyone else want to join in?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I WENT SKYDIVING! It was at this great place in Cushing, Oklahoma called Oklahoma Skydiving Center. I highly recommend this place. Everyone was great there.

Most people ask why I jumped out of a plane. Several reasons. One being that I always thought it'd be cool. Second, I was hankering for an adrenaline rush. Third, I unexpectedly came into an amount of money almost exactly equal to the price. Fourth, three good friends of mine were going and I knew that would likely never happen again in life.

Let me say first that I had a blast and I have no regrets! That said, it was almost nothing like I anticipated.

Three other friends with with me- Holly, Harrison and Denver. We arrived about 10am at the hangar and filled out all kinds of paperwork. We waited around and watched other people jump. Several other friends joined us as cheerleaders.

Then came our training time. Training consisted of 5 minutes of Billy (who ended up being my tandem partner) reassuring us that there was virtually no way for us to screw this up. We just had to refrain from grabbing or hitting our instructors or the plane.

Then it was time for me and Harrison to go! Only 2 of us could go per plane, so we were first. The plane ride up was actually pretty nice. It was about 20 minutes of slow spirals to get up to 10000 feet. The view was incredible. It was a clear, sunny day.

Then suddenly it was my turn! My instructor and I harnessed together, then they opened the door. Nothing is quite as alarming as having a plane door open at 10,000 feet next to you. :) You can see my reaction in the video.

The next step is to put your right foot on a step (like a running board on a car) outside of the plane. That's when the pressure of the wind first hit me. Wow it's overwhelming! I didn't even feel like I could keep my foot on that step. But the next step is the big one, and you just roll out of the plane. Harrison said he kind of freaked out when he saw me jump. I'm glad I went first. :)

After that I am kind of fuzzy on what happened. I remember keenly the pressure of the air on my face. I remember trying to scream, but nothing would come out because of the pressure. I remember my instructor telling me to wave at the camera.

Some people have asked if it's like flying. Lemmie answer- no. No it's not. :) It's like FALLING at 120 mph. But the real kicker was when the parachute deployed. Although you're in a full body harness, all the pressure is in your hip harness. The parachute deploying felt like being in a major car wreck. I screamed it hurt my hips so much! As soon as that happened, I could feel my circulation starting to cut off in my arms.

The instructor put my hands on the parachute steering ring things, and I pulled once to turn right, but it made me so nauseous I had to just float down normally, but I was fine with that. I could see Harrison spinning loopty loops below me.

Then by the time we were about to land, I felt like I was about to black out. But I made sure to keep my eyes open til the very end! We landed just in time. Harrison ran over to me to help me up, but I told him there was no way I could get up. :) Once I did get up I realized I was crying involuntarily. Hahaha, I was so overwhelmed. I just wanted to fall over. But judging by photos, I was grinning the whole time.

Then I just collapsed. Seriously. :) This is not a posed picture.

It was rockin! You should do it too! See photos and video below. :)

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.