Sunday, July 20, 2014

Celebrate we will.

"Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
We're climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue
These things we cannot change."

~ Dave Matthews Band's "Two Step"

I live life with more gusto now. More intention, more vigor. Matter of fact, I'm climbing two by two.

That is, I want to take it all in. Not two by two like I want to rush it along or anything. But just in big sweeping steps to get more of it.

Hmmm. Does this even make sense? Probably not. Oh well. Feeling rambly.

(That's a warning.)

Today I ran 13.1 miles with an old and dear friend. But before that we spent the weekend laughing out loud and talking about everything and nothing. We ate healthy-healthy and terrible-ish, too. We walked down the streets of Chicago going somewhere and nowhere. And the whole time, I savored it all. Every sight, every sound.

This would be my third half marathon. My third--whoa. I met up with my college sorority linesister/pledge sister Glencia who lives in Chicago. Being around her felt easy and natural which was good. Very good. But, still, I didn't take it for granted. I squinted my eyes and took it all in.

Isn't it good to have easy friendships? Non-heavy and non-pressured? That's what I think. 

We hit the expo which is where and when you get your race number and packet. Glencia inspected the route to let us know what we were in for. All I knew was that we were in for 13.1 miles of running. It was hard to ignore that fact, even if part of it was along a lake front. Ha.

One of Harry's best friends, Derrick, was kind enough to chauffeur us to and from the expo, too. He's the only person I know that's even more easygoing than Glencia. So hanging out with both of them at the same time was awesome. Plus I loved telling Harry that Derrick was looking out for us.

That reminds me--I love that my husband has very good and very old friends. That says something about him if you ask me. They all seem to have this code where they look out for each other and take care of each others' "people."  Derrick took care of us.

Plus he's not hard on the eyes or as Harry says "a smooth brother."  Even if he's like a brother to me, I can say that, right?

So yes. The expo was cool and Derrick was great. He dropped us off and we had some lunch at a swanky spot in the thick of it all. So Chicago, man. The city had a pulse and it was thumping. I loved it.

Then we took the L. Just because I wouldn't feel like I was in Chicago unless we did. So we did.

We got up early this morning. Started it off with simultaneous yawning and laughter just like we did when we were Delta pledges hiding from our big sisters. Ha. And that part was wonderful.

I had even laid all my stuff out the night before like a good runner. Yup. This is either "good runner" practice or "corny runner" practice. But whichever, that's what I did.

Once we got there, I let myself notice things. And notice people. I can't say that's so unusual for me, but I feel like I do it more now. I take it all in two by two, you know? No, you don't? Oh well. Anyways. I made friends in the crowd and asked people where they were from. I heard their stories and smiled with them. And since I love people, that part was good, too.

Three best friends from Minnesota, New Jersey, and Illinois met up for the race.
This woman, Peg (in purple) ran with her husband and their two daughters. Peg beat them all.
A little pre-race shenanigans never hurts

The race was tough. Surprisingly so considering how flat the Chicago course was. I'd heard that having no hills hurts more since you don't have to switch up muscle groups. And man was I sore. Well. It could have been that or just the fact that my training wasn't fully up to snuff. My guess is that it was a little of both.

And. My GPS devices were all going cattywompus. ("Cattywompus" is such a JoLai word. Ha.) I had no idea what my pace was or what mile I was on. Like two seconds into the race, my Map My Run app said, "DISTANCE: 1 MILE. PACE 5 MINUTES PER MILE."  For two seconds I was excited. I thought I'd turned into that dude Meb who won the Boston Marathon.

Or not. Ha.

I still had fun, though. And despite being GPS-sabotaged, I finished in quite a respectable time, if I do say so myself. Not far at all from my personal record--or "P.R." as us runner-people call it. Nope.

*brushes off shoulders*

So yeah. That was fun. In fact, all of it was fun, actually. Wait, can you say that? "In fact" and then "actually?" Oh well. You get the picture.

Glencia's coworker braved the crowds and met us down at the finish. He had cupcakes, too. But even sweeter was his big smile and the fact that he'd gotten up so early to be there.

Very cool.

Oh! And they even gave out beer afterwards. Beer! You know, to replenish the ol' carbohydrates.

Ah hem.

So I was super happy and ultra giddy. Not even because of the Michelob Ultra beer, either. Then I got hit with that wave of melancholy that always hits me after a long race. I originally started running in memory of my sister Deanna and as a way to tell heart disease to kick rocks. I run and I think, "Take that, you thief!" and sometimes I even say out loud, "BOOM! In yo' face, heart disease!" I actually do. Yup. And so. I always dedicate the third and last miles to her. Usually, I run and weep for the final mile and it's fine. People are usually so dog tired that they don't even see me. Or they just think I'm super sweaty or just emotional. But for whatever reason, this time I didn't cry on mile 12 like usual.


It happened after I was sitting in a Thai restaurant with Glencia a few hours later. I had just sent a text to Will and JoLai telling the that I'd finished the race. And then I ended it with this:

"Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters." ~ DMB #runfordeanna

Now. That quote comes from the lyrics to an old Dave Matthews Band song and writing that to them immediately put the song in my head. It also made me hear the next stanza after that line in the song:

"And hurts not much when your around."

Which made me cry. And is making me cry again. And will make me cry anytime I think of it.


Glen was awesome. She let me cry and she understood. She knew Deanna personally and was keenly aware of the hole that was left behind when she departed. And as much as a buzz kill as it was to have me with leaky eyes after her first (awesome) half marathon, she was patient. It was a sunshower, fortunately. And before we knew it, we were back to laughing.

Will and JoLai love the Dave Matthews Band. Deanna and I have always just sort of gone along for the ride with them. Later on, I started listening to Dave Matthews Band a little more and though I didn't fall in love like my eldest and youngest sibs, I did start to hear the lyrics differently. They spoke to my spirit a lot more and I let them. That felt good since I know how much Jo and Will love that band.


I did listen to lots of Dave Matthews on my playlist today. And, specifically, I played "The Best of What's Around" and "Two Step" just to connect me to my siblings. The running part feels spiritual and like I'm connecting with Deanna and the Dave Matthews music part feels like a hug from JoLai and Will at the same time. And all of it together felt good which made me feel strong.

You know what else?

I was with a good friend. A sorority sister, no less. Which made it even better.

Here's what I'm thinking right now: My life is good. It is rich and wonderful and full of love. I have legs that can run strong for 13.1 miles and a heart that can sustain my body when I do. And family and friends that I wouldn't trade for the world.

And so. Celebrate I will. Because life is short but sweet for certain. I'm climbing two by two to be sure these days continue.

Oh, and if that doesn't work? I'll make the best of what's around.


"See, you and me
Have a better time than most can dream
Have it better than the best
And so can pull on through
Whatever tears at us
Whatever holds us down
And if nothing can be done
We'll make the best of what's around

Turns out not where but who you're with
That really matters
And hurts not much when you're around."

~ Dave Matthews Band's "The Best of What's Around."

Happy Sunday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . ."Two step". . . 

and my favorite DMB song that always makes me cry. . . "The Best of What's Around."

(I blogged about this song before. Here and here, in case you're interested.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Top Ten: Flight of Random Ideas.

Hi y'all!!

Life is busy right now. Very. When it gets this way, it's hard for me to stay at a story long enough to finish it. But that doesn't mean I don't want to write anything. Wait. Does that even make sense?

Oh well.

In medicine we call it "flight of ideas" when  a person jumps from subject to subject without any rhyme or reason to the discussion. In the blog world we call it being "random." Either way, when I get this crazy busy, I definitely wrestle with a flight of random ideas when it comes to my thinking and hence my writing. Matter o'fact, I even wrote a little top ten about it. 

Like to hear it? Here it go.

I bring you:


#10  Biking Boldness

I'm the first to admit that I'm no real biking guru. I do admire the folks who jump on them to go hither and thither. I like this idea of getting physically and cardiovascular-ly fit whilst being kind to the earth. I do.


I have a confession. Please don't hate me, biker-people. Let me first say that I DO share the road. I make plenty of space for my two-wheeled travelers when heading down the streets in my car and I also try my best to be mindful of where they are. I do. 


Sometimes? The Bike Nation can get pretty bold, man. Lately I've encountered my fair share of folks rolling right in the middle of the lane in front of me. No. Not making a left turn or anything but just trucking along. At, like, 17 miles per hour. When I'm late. 


I guess my confession is that I feel annoyed when that happens. I need to figure out how to reconcile the mad respect I have for what you are doing with the fact that you aren't in a car. Because maybe, just maybe, I've had a few choice words (in my head, of course) for you when I ride behind you on Briarcliff Road at a snail's pace.

I'm just saying.

#9  Football season has HIT THE BUILDING.

As we say in our house, "We 'bout that LIFE!"  Those entrenched in hip-hop youth culture will know this phrase. For the rest of you, it's this all-encompassing saying that can mean a whole bunch of things. Mostly it means being fully entrenched in the culture of something. Said culture might get one arrested if you are listening to certain references, but not our football one. 


Look at these cleats, people. My son is HYPED, do you hear me? He's trying out for the travel team this year. When the boys were out in California, I sent Zachary some snapshots of cleats from the sporting goods catalog. He picked the Batman Cam Newtons. Why, you ask? 'Cause! WE 'BOUT THAT LIFE! So. Cannot. Wait.

And yes. My seven year-old son plays football and I'm okay with it. #nojudging #didyouseetheworldcup #theytotallygetheadinjuries #relaxpeople

 #8 Me-ma

This week was the anniversary of my maternal grandmother's passing. Here are some snapshots from one of the last really good conversations we shared. That day I was talking to her about hair, eyebrows, wrinkles, and everything else you can name. We were laughing and hugging and just yucking it up. It was actually a flight of random ideas that day. Which was fine with me.

My grandma was awesome.

#7 Not-so-cool Runnings

I have no idea why I'm smiling on this photo. Summer running for me has been a major chore, to say the least. Anything over 3 miles feels heinous. And before you ask why I would run more than 3 miles in the summer in Georgia, I'll tell you that I don't really have a great answer for you.

Oh, I'm cheap.

Yes, that. See, I signed up for a half marathon that's coming up. . .errrr. . . this Sunday. And once I've paid my hard-earned money, I'm going to get my moulah's worth. Yep. So yeah, I've been training. But it's been painful. The good news is that I'm running it with my very, very awesome sorority sister and friend, Glencia W. We pledged together in 1992 and she's absolutely hilarious. So that's going to be fun. She lives in Chicago so I'll also get to visit there.

Please wish me luck. And pray to whomever you pray to that I don't turn into "The Fly" on mile 12. Oh. You're too young to remember this movie scene? Well. Here you go.

Ha ha. You're welcome.

#6  #sister

Had this super cute necklace made for JoLai and myself. Isn't it, like, the cutest thing ever?

Oh. Did I mention? Mine came in the mail first. Umm. . .yeah. JoLai's hasn't yet. #actuallyabadsister

#5  The Medical Student Teaching Competition

How cool is this? Remember the Fellows' Teaching Competition that I told you all about? The thing where our fellows in training gave these 8 minute talks before a panel of judges for a prize? Well. Our awesome medical students have taken it upon themselves to organize a similar version for medical students.

I'm advising them but man! They are SO organized. They even have a website:

I'm so two thousand and late. They are SO 3008, man. Totally. They even had the bright idea to assign each student competitor a faculty coach/mentor. Kind of like that show The Voice. Ha. This photo above if of me with my mentee, Kelly A.  All I'm saying is this:

We. Are. Beast. Mode.

Have I mentioned how competitive I can be? Ha ha. It's on. Don't be surprised if Kelly comes swinging in on a flying trapeze in less than 8 minutes. I'm just saying.

Emory peeps! Be there or be square. man.

#4  The parental units.

My mom and dad are simply awesome. Even if my dad's fanny pack has gotten even larger in the last few years, he's still cool. And how can you not love a mom who photobombs your picture with her childhood teddy bear? I mean, seriously?

Best. Parents. Ever.

#3  Speaking of photos. . . .

Here is my little godson/nephew the other day who was introduced to the MacBook photobooth. This is one of twelve trillion photos. My lap top now has zero memory because a three-year old has taken it up with selfies. Oh and did I mention? He knew the word "selfie."

Seriously? Seriously.

#2   For my protection

How annoyed am I that every twelve months my bank keeps sending me a new debit Visa "for my protection?" Don't they realize that I have fifty ka-trillion things connected to my debit card that ALL get jacked up when they do this? Seriously, this is like the fourth time they've done this to me. And then it's all cryptic when I call to ask what, pray tell, prompted it.

"It's for your protection," the Siri-sounding lady says.

Maaaaaaaan. That's real, real annoying. Almost as annoying as the dude riding down Clairmont in the fast lane on his ten speed.

Ah hem.

#1  Ridiculous gifs

Every day, I send my sister JoLai a ridiculous gif via text. For absolutely no reason whatsoever. I find gifs to be absolutely hilarious. I also animate any and every text I can with them. This is particularly fun when someone is supposed to be behaving themselves but has taken it upon themselves to message me. I'm ruthless like that. Here's a sample of the awesomeness:

I'm not a fan of any of those reality women from Bravo. But dang they make some good gifs! Especially Nene Leakes and the other woman Quad from Married to Medicine. Kanye has some winners, too.

I also make my own just to torture my sister with. Here is one from right after my last ten mile run the other day. I had just run around Stone Mountain twice which is SUPER hellaciously hilly.


Wait: Bonus item!

This BIG A bug landed on me when I was down in Florida for the fourth! OMG! My toe is there for size reference. The south is on something else. That thing was as heavy as a hamster! I sent a pic of it to our pest control man who just LOL'd at me and said it was a "ground beetle" and "harmless." 

I lost 4 pounds from the cardio workout I got from flailing around after seeing that damn thing on my leg. 


Just fainted thinking about it again.

Ha. That's all I got y'all. Wish me luck on my run!

Happy Friday

Friday, July 11, 2014

This man is a QUITTER.

Image taken and shared with my patient's permission.

Two packs of cigarettes per day at $5 per pack for many, many years.
Numerous failed attempts in the past.
A world of people who love you and need you.
And one young physician who didn't just talk at you about quitting but who stood by your side and patiently believed that you could be a non-smoker.

Until you did, too.

Here you are at your follow up visit. Proud to say that you are a quitter. Because you are.

Congratulations, sir. You did it. And like you told me yesterday, "I hope me quitting blesses someone and encourages them, too." My guess is that you've already achieved that goal. As a matter of fact, I know you have.


Man. I love this job.

Happy Friday. And thank you, Heval M.K. for seeing triumph in your patients' futures. You inspire me, too.