Monday, December 14, 2009

Ain't this just like the present (to be showing up like this)

December 8: Moment of peace

An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

I wrote pretty extensively about the retreat weekend I went on in late September. I felt most relaxed during the afternoon I spent reading on top of the rocky embankment overlooking the lake. The book I was reading at that time was Population 485, which I wrote about in my last "Best of '09" post.

December 9: Challenge

Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

I was pretty worried that I wasn't going to be a good coach. I didn't worry that the girls wouldn't like me- I didn't really care if they didn't like me, so long as they thought I was knowledgeable and giving beneficial input. I remember that when I was a dancer, the fun coaches were sometimes worthless because they were too worried about not stepping on girls' (pointed and turned out) toes. I came in with a little bit of trepidation, but eventually found my stride. I've also realized that I know how to critique the execution of moves that I was never able to do well myself. I read in an article this year that the best coaches aren't necessarily the best former players. They are just the ones with a critical eye, lots of enthusiasm, and an effective strategy for the problems that arise in that sport. I've been reminding myself this a lot as girls come to me for advice on turning, which was never my strong suit.

December 10: Album of the year

What's rocking your world?

I'm terrible at listening to new music. Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago was definitely my most-listened to album of the year even though it came out in 2008. A close second was Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix- I give full credit to Joel for the introduction. Like the rest of the planet, I also spent the entire summer rocking out to T. Swift's Fearless. Props to Gret on that one- we had only Taylor with us for a trip to Madison and back, guaranteeing four full-fledged fans upon our arrival back in Minneapolis.

December 11: The best place

A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook?

I've been missing the comfort of a small cozy coffeeshop ever since I moved home from Madison. Even when I would head all the way down to Uptown to meet Joel last year, I felt even their cafes were too crowded and missing the comfort of Upper Espresso. I recently went to a Dunn Brothers in Eden Prairie- it's located in a historic mansion. There are several rooms, both tables and oversized chairs, and it was quiet except for the buzz of a few couples chatting. My friend and I settled in for a 2 hour chat in some loungers in an empty room. I definitely want to make it my new go-to place when I have time to sit for a quiet afternoon.

December 12: New food

You're now in love with Lebanese food and you didn't even know what it was in January of this year.

I'm really into cottage cheese right now. It's the only food that my family won't snipe out of the fridge when I buy my own groceries. My obsession is strong, but I think it will die down once I am living on my own and am guaranteed the rights to whatever I purchase. In other food news, I had to cut myself off from bacon a few weeks back. It wasn't pretty.

December 14: Rush

When did you get your best rush of the year?

I ran outside for all of November, eagerly heading out whenever I had the chance. It seemed silly to not take advantage of my favorite season, which was this year extended well beyond the usual MN standard. On Thanksgiving after I had recuperated from our early afternoon meal I headed out down my block, not expecting to get far. Instead I found myself sailing down my usual route, my legs propelling me faster and swifter than ever before. When I hit my final hill I had a startling realization: I don't want to stop. This has never happened to me, so I simply ran past my block, too distracted and in the zone to even think about where I was heading. U2's "Beautiful Day" came on just then and I was overcome with a feeling of warmth and gratitude during my first ever runner's high. By the time I got home an hour after I'd left, my parents were near frantic. I'm usually gone for 35 minutes like clockwork. I have yet to repeat the experience, but think I should probably just start eating more stuffing everyday. That must have been the catalyst.


J D said...

Congrats on your first runners high, it won't be your last. I can remember my first...running up Nesbitt, listening to "How a Resurrection Really Feels" by the Hold Steady, and feeling goosebumps all over. It's a shame that it doesn't happen every time I listen to that song, but I guess that's what makes it so special when it does...

Gina Marie said...

Joe- love it! Wish it had been to a cool Hold Steady song, but mine works pretty well considering it was Thanksgiving. Pretty much the only thing keeping me running is wanting to recreate that experience...