Tag Archives: accident


“Embarrassment is a villain to be crushed.”
– Robert B. Cialdini

So, have you heard about Stefanie Dolson?

Stefanie, bless her heart, had something happen to her earlier this week that would absolutely mortify most of us.  As a member of the UConn women’s basketball team who had made a trip to the white house to be honored by the President himself for their NCAA national championship, Stefanie had … um … well, let’s just call it a little mishap.  Oh heck, here, let me just let you see for yourself:



(AP Photos/Susan Walsh)

And as if it happening weren’t bad enough…of course, it had to happen on national TV.  And, of course, newscasters everywhere had to run it on their news segments.  And you can see the reporters’ reactions in the lower left corner of the screen in the video – cameras clicking, flashes everywhere, etc.  Whew.  If Stefanie was going to embarrass herself, by golly she was going to do it right.  Get it, girl.

But you want to know my favorite part of this whole ordeal?  The reason why I’m blogging about the incident?  It’s what happens just after the above video clip ends – the part that most video clips I have found on the subject have managed to leave out.  After the initial embarrassment, after the nervous laughter, after being helped up by the friggin President of the United States for Heaven’s sakes, you know what Stefanie did?

She composed herself, looked right out at one of the cameras and…ready for this?…she curtsied.  Yep.  Curtsied.

Check her out.


(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

After facing what was probably the most embarrassing thing to have happened to her thus far in her life, she got herself together, looked the embarrassment right in the face, and basically bowed to it.  That curtsy said, “Yep. There ya go. I’m human, and I just proved it. You’re welcome. Carry on.”

It’s pretty safe to say that Stefanie Dolson is one of my favorite people in the world right now.  What a lesson there is to learn from this awesome lady.  I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to be thinking about that Dolson curtsy for many years to come.  The next time life knocks you down?  Hey, just get right back up, and give life the ol’ Dolson curtsy.  You know?  You can either be remembered for the embarrassment you felt while you were stumbling, or you can be remembered for the classy way you carried yourself after you regained your balance.  It’s that simple.

Really.  It’s just that simple.

(And another little secret – you’re actually probably the only one that’s really going to remember anyway. Unless of course you were on national TV… But isn’t what you remember about yourself the most important thing anyway?)

Remember the curtsy, people – not the stumble.

Got it?


“Relax; the world’s not watching that closely. It’s too busy contemplating itself in the mirror.”
– Richelle E. Goodrich


Moving Forward

“By seeking and blundering, we learn.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Well, here it is.  *sigh*  I knew it was coming.  Knew I’d have to face it eventually.

The dreaded winter.  The evil snow.  The crappy road conditions.


For my readers who have been with me a while, you may remember one particular snow-related blog I wrote earlier this year.  To recap, we had one last freak late Winter/early Spring snowstorm that showed up out of nowhere at the beginning of April.  And said freak snowstorm just so happened to show up while I was driving home from work.  Freak snowstorm + driving home from work in a big, clunky car = bad.  Very bad.

I wrecked.


And not only did I wreck, but I flipped my car down a rocky bank and totaled it.  But…I’m here to tell you about it, so obviously the outcome was much better than what it had the potential of being.  And I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for that.

Now, fast forward a bit.  Although I was definitely a little shaky getting behind the wheel for the first time after the accident, the fear soon subsided and my life as a driver sailed on.  I got a new (well, new to me) car, one with all-wheel drive, thank you very much, and the accident was all but forgotten.

Well, that is, until today.

Today, we have snowfall #1 for Winter 2013.  And where was I?  Driving in it.  What was supposed to be a 30-minute drive to work ended up being an hour and a half drive to work.  (Now, if you know me well, or even if you don’t and you’ve paid attention to things I’ve said in the past, you’ll know that I actually live an hour from where I work.  Why did I say a 30-minute drive?  I’ll get to that part soon enough.  Believe it or not, this will all tie together eventually.  How do you like for foreshadowing, huh?  Huh?  Dude, I’m such a writer…)


Ok, back to the story.  So, when I left for work, it was just spitting snow a little and I didn’t think it was going to be that bad.  But as I got about a third of the way there, I realized that the further I went, the worse the roads were getting.  If there had been a place to safely turn around, I think I would have done it right then and there and went right back home.  But, sadly, there wasn’t.  So I kept moving forward.  By the time I got to the main road, I was over halfway to work, so I figured there would be less driving to just keep heading in the direction I was going.  Now, I’ve never been someone who was scared to drive in the snow, mind you.  But I’ve also never been someone who was driving in the snow for the first time after a bad snow-related accident either.  Needless to say, I was a little shaky.  Ok, a LOT shaky.

So, driving along scared to death in the snow with an extra hour of driving time than I had anticipated, my poor little brain had nothing else to do but think.  And think and think and think.  And since my dumb ole thoughts kept drifting back to the accident, and consequently to the similarities of today’s driving conditions to that day’s, I was doing all I could to redirect those silly thoughts to something else.  Anything else.  So…I reverted back to the old fail safe.  Something my thoughts seem to drift to pretty regularly.  Something I tend to overanalyze to death on a regular basis so why would my snowy drive to work today be any exception?

My relationship with Richard.

US2Richard and I have been talking about taking another step forward in our relationship.  And although I’m head over heels, madly in love with him, I’m a wee bit nervous about that.  Ok, just kidding…I’m scared out of my friggin mind.  See…I don’t have the best track record when it comes to making relationships work out.  I know, shocking, isn’t it?  I mean, a mild-mannered, shy, quiet little un-opinionated girl like myself?  How on Earth would I have trouble getting along in relationships, right?  I know, I know.  It surprises me too.  But alas, as hard as it is to believe, it is the honest truth.  And with that truth comes fear.  A well-founded fear.

A fear of another failure.

As my mind once again played out the pros and cons of our impending ‘next step,’ I looked around and realized that I was pulling into my driveway at work.  I had made it!  Obsessing over something besides the weather conditions actually worked to distract me!  Woohoo!

So, since I was safe and sound, I answered Richard’s “Did you make it to work?” text.

Me:  I made it!  My little car did awesome!
Richard:  Well, YEAH!  It has an awesome driver.
Me:  Ha!  I think last winter’s little accident proved that’s not true.
Richard:  Oh, that wasn’t your fault.  Shit happens.

And suddenly, with that one line of pure poetry coming out of my honey’s mouth (or, er…I guess I should say, fingers), it hit me.  The glaringly obvious similarity.  Duh!  How did I not notice it before?  This clear correlation between my fear of driving to work in the snow, and my fear of moving forward with Richard.  The fears were identical.  Both fears existed because of things that happened in the past.  And just like my carrying the heavy burden of blame for the accident, I was carrying that same burden of blame for my past failed relationships.

And this burden – this heavy, unnecessary albatross around my neck – was preventing me from moving forward.  Preventing me from just getting in the car (the new and improved car, I might add) and driving through the snow again.  I learned my lessons.  I drove a little slower.  I bought a better car that was more suited to winter weather.  I allowed myself more time.  I wasn’t in any hurry.  I learned.  It wasn’t my “fault” exactly, I realize that now.  As my philosophical sweetie so eloquently pointed out: shit happens.  It does.  It just happens.  So, you adjust.  You do things a little better next time.  You take it slower.  You make sure you’re better equipped.  You let life make you smarter.  And then you just keep going.

You just keep going.

So.  Accident logic learned – I cannot just stop driving anywhere because I once wrecked.  That would just be stupid, now wouldn’t it?   (*ding ding ding*)  Time to apply that logic elsewhere.  No more fear.  No more blame.  No more albatross.  Just let it go.

Time to move forward.

So, remember that little teaser I threw in there at the beginning?  The part about me having what should have been a 30-minute drive to work, when I actually live an hour from work?  Well, here’s why.  I was at Richard’s house.  You know why?  Well, let’s just say the past week has been a ‘test run’ of sorts.  We’re seeing what it would be like for me to live there.  With him.  Together.  And you know what?  We both feel – deep down in our guts – that this is the right thing to do.  It just makes sense.  You know?

So, as of January 1, 2014, Richard and I will be officially taking this next step forward to our future.  We’re moving in together.  We have our seatbelts on and we’re ready to go.  Our previous ‘accidents’ are just that.  Accidents.  They happened, they’re over, we’ve learned, and we’re ready to hop back in the car and see where this next trip takes us.

It’s time.

Wish us luck….

(Oh, and hey.  Do me a favor ok?  Don’t tell my Grandma!!!…) 😉


“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
– Rick Warren


“Any fool can have bad luck; the art consists in knowing how to exploit it.”
– Frank Wedekind


Ok, so you know those people, right?  The ones who seem to have everything going for them.  Who seem to skate through life with no noteworthy negativity [How do you like that alliteration??].  Everything just seems to go their way without them even having to lift a finger.  *sigh*  Must be nice.  As some of my graceful, elegant family members used to describe it, “They walk around like they have a horseshoe stuck up their butt.”

(Ok, maybe “butt” wasn’t exactly their choice of words…but I digress…)

Well, me?  Yeah, I am NOT one of those people.  Especially when it comes to vehicles.  While those people get to have horseshoes stuck up there, I apparently have an albatross that climbs up mine every time I get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Now, maybe blaming it on luck isn’t exactly fair.  I’m sure some of it may have to do with my own carelessness.  Maybe.  But seriously, a lot of it just really isn’t my fault.  Really.

Let’s look at the past five months, shall we?

Some of my regular followers may remember that I had an accident back in April.  I totaled my car.  (Missed that blog?  Want the gruesome details?  Click here.)

[Ugh…ok, I’m lying.  There aren’t any ‘gruesome’ details.  That was just a shameless plug of an old blog to get you to read it.  I’m a jerk…]


So, I totaled my car.  And that sucked.  Yes, I guess you could say that was my ‘fault’ (at least my new insurance premium screams that loud and clear), but in my defense, a freak, unexpected winter storm hit us out of the blue while I was on the road.  A new layer of snow on a curvy road doesn’t make for the most favorable road conditions.  So, fault or no fault, I guess you could say a little bad luck was at play.  That is, if you believe in that kind of thing.  I call my boyfriend Richard and he comes and picks my car-less self up and takes me home to take care of me.  (Awww.)

So, fast forward a few days.  I finally feel able to drive again.  (Now, nothing was all that wrong physically, mind you, other than my slight concussion – it was more of a mental barrier to wanting to drive again after flipping down a rocky bank…)  That sweet, wonderful boyfriend of mine and his generous mom offer me a spare family vehicle to drive until I get the insurance stuff straightened out and get another car of my own, and I gratefully accept their offer.

So, here we go.  Vehicle #2.

The *first* day I get behind the wheel of this borrowed car to drive to work, I’m about ten miles from home and out of nowhere comes a turkey.  Yes, a turkey.



[**Note.  This is not the actual turkey.  But this is an accurate portrayal of the look that was on the little jerk’s face as he barreled towards me.]

He side swipes me and…rips off the driver’s side mirror.

Are you freakin kidding me??

Yep.  A turkey just tore up my borrowed vehicle.  So, of course I make what I feel like is the hardest call I’ve ever had to make to Richard and, through my tears, ‘fess up.  And what does he do?  Laughs.  A lot.  It’s not funny!!  I borrow a vehicle and break it in the first ten minutes!  How is that funny??  Still.  He laughs.

Oh, he thinks that’s funny, huh?  Let’s fast forward another two weeks.  Really.  Two tiny little weeks later, I’m driving along in the same borrowed car, now complete with a brand new driver’s side mirror, and what happens?  I turn the wheel to the left going around a curve and…ready for this?…it FALLS OFF.  I’m not exaggerating!!  Ok, I’m exaggerating a little bit.  It didn’t completely come off.  But it fell over.  Apparently this is known as a tie rod end breaking.  Call it what you want, but I call it “Oh crap!”  (And again, maybe crap wasn’t the actual word being used, but no point in digressing yet again…)

So, here comes call #3 to Richard.  (If you’re keeping track, call #1 was totaling my own car.  Call #2 was the turkey.  And now call #3 is telling him his wheel fell off.  And this is all within a matter of 2-3 weeks.  *sigh*)  He didn’t laugh as much this time.  But he did have to come get me.  Again.

Well, after some pretty hefty repair work and Richard driving me to work every day in the interim, I manage to drive his car for a few more weeks without anything else falling off.  And eventually I am even finally able to get the insurance mess worked out and get a car of my very own.  Yay!  After the first few days of a random ‘check engine’ light malfunction (don’t EVEN tell me there’s no such thing as bad luck…), the dealership got everything taken care of and all was well.  Smooth sailing with Vehicle #3…

Until today.

Trash pickup day.

Now, most of you know I am a runner.  I just ran 8+ miles yesterday while working my way up to my second half marathon in November.  You read that, right?  I ran EIGHT miles yesterday.  But you know what I apparently can’t do?  Walk my trash down to the end of my driveway.  Ugh.  It’s sooooo far.  (Read that with your internal whiny voice, because that’s exactly how I just said it.)  Nope.  That 100-foot walk to the end of my driveway is apparently too much for this chick.  Instead, I feel the need to drive it down and drop it off as I leave for work.  And, well, it’s a bag.  Of trash.  I don’t want to put that nasty thing in my cute little car.  Gross.  So, what do I do?

I leave my driver’s side door propped open and back down the driveway holding the bag of trash out of the car.  You with me?  You got the mental image?  You see me backing down a slight declined driveway holding a bag of trash out of my door?  Ok, now picture a huge mound of dirt that I forgot was there.  And then picture my drivers side door catching on that mound of dirt.  Picture me not noticing and continuing to back down the driveway…and picture my door bending BACKWARDS and practically breaking completely off.

Seriously??  SERIOUSLY?

Call #4.  “Richard?  Um.  I just broke my door off of my car…”


Goodbye, Goldie Sue.  (It’s a gold Subaru.  Isn’t that name clever?  Yeah, like that matters to this story…)

IMG_20130924_184206 (2)

So, here we are again.  Richard had to come and get me and take me to the same borrowed vehicle from before and once again save the day by giving me something to drive to work until I get mine repaired.

Story should end there, huh?

Oh no.  Not for Melissa.

On the way home today, the passenger side mirror on the borrowed vehicle that had been just a tad loose all along, decided to go ahead and snap all the way off.  Of course it happens while I’m driving it.

Call #5.  “Um, Richard?  You know that mirror that was loose?  It just broke off.  But it’s NOT MY FAULT….”


I’m betting not many of you are going to want to ride with me after reading this blog, huh?  Well, join the club.

Hey, at least I have one living creature that will still come along for the ride…

IMG_20130924_162736 (2)

Bless her heart.

Well, there you have it.  Confessions of a Bad Driver, Volume One.  I’m sure there will be plenty more to come….

Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you do?  You know?  Yes, I have some seriously bad luck when it comes to vehicles.  That albatross has apparently found a nice comfy home.

But you know what?  That bad luck only applies to vehicles.  Because look at the rest of my life.  Look at this story alone.  I have a wonderful, patient man who is always there to help me pick up the crazy pieces of my chaotic life and calmly put them all back together.  I walked away from a totaled car with barely a scratch, I have a cute little dog (ok, it’s the neighbor’s but she doesn’t realize that) who loves to go along on car rides with me, and I have wonderful readers who read this blog and come along on this crazy ride and laugh right along with the silly happenings of my never-a-dull-moment life.


Maybe I’m actually a pretty lucky lady after all.

Well.  That is, if you believe in that kind of thing…


“Not many people have had as much bad luck as I have, but not many people have had as much good luck, either.”
– Tig Notaro

I did it!

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot


Well, it’s official.  I’m a half marathoner.

And let me tell ya…it was HARD!  This course was definitely no walk in the park.  (Ok, admittedly there was some walking, but there was NO park. I swear.)

I really am so proud of myself.  Somewhere deep inside of me, I truly wondered if I could do it.  During my long training runs, my legs were so heavy and so weak.  I never made it up to a full 13.1-mile run in training (11 was my furthest), so I was so scared that I might not actually be able to make it that far.  Especially on this extremely tough course.  It helped me though to see quotes like the one by marathoner Alberto Salazar:  “I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.”  Made me feel less alone.  Made me realize that what I was feeling was what most everyone feels or had felt at some point in their running process.  Even elite marathoners.

But, alas, I did it.  I made it!

And here’s a short list of awesome things from the race:

  • I made a running buddy along the course.  He was an older man from the Winston-Salem, NC area.  Silly me – I didn’t even ask his name. Nor did he ask mine.  But we leap-frogged each other throughout the race.  Kept each other company at times.  Chit-chatted about our jobs, our families, etc.  It was nice running a half-marathon and having a conversation every so often.
  • I saw a shirt that said “Slow and steady, my ass! This is my top speed!”  That made me giggle.
  • I saw a shirt that said “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1).”  That made me smile.
  • I saw my friend Kelly who broke her foot during training for this race, out there running anyway after only having been out of her cast for about 2 or 3 weeks now.  I was in awe.
  • I got “I love you” and “You got this!” texts from the man I love during the race. Priceless.
  • I got “Run Forrest Run!” texts from my coworker during the race.  Sigh.
  • I got close to the finish feeling like I might not make it, and rounded a curve and saw my boyfriend Richard’s friends (ok, my friends) standing on the side to cheer me on – the same people who I cheered on during their half marathons and marathons in New York last year. That made me cry.
  • I got to the finish line and saw Richard and my son Jeffrey waiting for me (after their own 5K race) with smiles and cheers.  And saw my son (who never ever EVER remembers or cares to take a picture of anything) poised with his camera waiting to snap a picture of me crossing the finish line.
  • I got this from my boyfriend as a post-race gift:


The shirt says “13.1 wuz worth it.”  And yes, it was.  Awesome gift.  Awesome man.  Lucky girl.

And probably my favorite moment from the race:

  • My son’s dad called him to see how the race went.  And without missing a beat, Jeffrey immediately began telling him my finishing time and details from the half marathon.  Momentarily forgetting that he himself had just finished second in his age group in his own 5K and won an award for it.  Talk about a proud mom.  That definitely started the waterworks flowing, and I’m not sure he even realized what he had done.  In fact, I’m sure he didn’t.  Feeling my son’s pride in me was like nothing else.

I know there are a million more things I could list that I loved about this race.  But those are the highlights.  Point is – this was a beautiful experience that I won’t soon be forgetting.

So, in honor of all that I have overcome in training for this race, and in life in general – two divorces, two bouts with cancer, a bad car accident during training, a breakup at the beginning of training (which ended up in a glorious reconciliation mid-training), and just a general past filled with doubt and uncertainty about myself and my abilities – this race is for you.

I can do anything.

And so can you.


“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham


“The huge problems we deal with every day are actually really small. We’re so focused on what bothers us
that we don’t even try to see our lives from a clearer perspective.”
– Susane Colasanti


I saw the above picture on Facebook yesterday.  The “someecards” are meant to be funny usually.  But every now and then, one pops up that is spot freakin’ on.

(I don’t mean to be snarky with this blog, but if the snark slips out, so be it.)

We humans sure are a bunch of complainers aren’t we?  Don’t believe me?  Go scroll through your Facebook for a minute or two.  Seriously.  Go right now and scroll.  I’ll bet you $100 and a Snickers that you’ll see someone complaining about something.  I’m not saying I’m not guilty of it myself at times.  I am.  But some people just seem to be pros.  For real.

“The people who live in a golden age usually go around complaining about how yellow everything looks.”
– Randall Jarrell

How much truth there is in that quote.  Sometimes I think we just forget to realize how incredibly blessed we are.  And this week is one of those weeks that should drive that point home for you.  And if it hasn’t yet, then maybe it should start now.  Ask yourself a few questions.  For instance – Are your limbs still intact?  Are your loved ones still around you?  Do you still have a place to work?  To live?  Have you gone through the week without being a firsthand eye-witness to a bloody, fiery trauma?

If your answer is yes to those questions, then I’d say you’re in pretty good shape.

Now, I’m not saying people are sick of hearing you complaining.  Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t.  Hey, it’s your life – it’s your Facebook – it’s your soapbox.  Do what you will.  You’re allowed.  But, that’s not my point.

My point is that for you – for your own well-being and your own peace of mind – you should probably stop complaining about things that, in the grand scheme, are really not that big of a deal.  And you know they’re not.  It’s really hard to find peace within yourself if you’re constantly in turmoil.  And that’s what complaining is.  It’s turmoil.  Give yourself (and – ok, I’ll say it – everyone else) a break, why don’t ya?  Chill out.  Relax.  Be calm.  Recognize.

Look around you.  See what others have been through in our country in this one little week.  One week filled with so much devastation.  Fall down on your knees and be grateful and appreciative.  Go hug your kids.  Go kiss your spouse.  Go pet your dog.  Take a big, deep breath and exhale gratitude.


“Remember, if you are criticizing, you are not being grateful.  If you are blaming, you are not being grateful.  If you are complaining, you are not being grateful.”
– Rhonda Byrne

And still.


And still.

The week goes on.  New horrible news has filled the TV screen.  We go back to work.  We continue with our daily lives and go back to the way things were before we heard about it.

And still.

I continue to blog.  I continue to write on other topics.  But still it sits there.  Waiting for more to be said.  More to be done.  But what?  What can we do?  What can we say?

And still.

Still the thoughts won’t go away.  Won’t leave my mind.  Something is begging to be said.  But I have no idea what it is.

My thoughts keep going back to Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to ever officially run the Boston Marathon.  (Other women ran, but weren’t allowed bib numbers to show that they were “official” runners and to have their results included among the male runners.  Kathrine registered using her initials only and was given a bib number.  Once the “mistake” was discovered, race officials stormed the track and tried to remove her numbers, but other male racers formed a barrier around her and her boyfriend shoved them away.)  Kathrine is quoted as saying this: 

“If you lose faith in humanity, go out and watch a marathon.”

On Monday when I first heard the news, that quote immediately popped into my mind.  And I didn’t want that quote to be tainted by having it discovered that the bombing was intentional.  But, of course, it was confirmed that it was no accident.  Someone did this on purpose.  On purpose. 

And still.

Still, that quote was there.  I couldn’t get it out of my head.  But doesn’t this event erase that quote?  Shouldn’t what happened serve to prove that humanity is somehow tainted now and Ms. Switzer’s words no longer stand true?


No, it does not.

I have struggled so much with this.  And I’ve finally figured out why that quote doesn’t want to leave my mind.

It’s still true.

“If you lose faith in humanity, go out and watch a marathon.”  Yes.  Watch the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.  Watch what happened surrounding the horrible, unfathomable bombing that took place at the finish line.  Watch how people immediately responded and started helping each other.  Watch how perfect strangers lifted each other off the ground and carried each other where further help awaited.  Watch how marathoners ripped off their shirts on the spot and used them as tourniquets to stop blood flow on the injured.  Watch how Dr Vivek Shah, an orthopedic surgeon who was just ready to approach the finish line area when he heard the blasts, continued to run towards the scene and immediately began using his expertise to aid the victims.  Watch how other finishers passed the 26.2-mile finish line and continued running an extra 2 miles to Massachusetts General Hospital where they donated blood.

Further still.

Listen to the stories that followed in the days to come.  Listen to the story of Laura Wellington.  Laura was one of the ones who did not finish and was still running when the blast occurred.  She knew that her family and friends were waiting at the finish line and didn’t know if they were safe.  Once she finally found out what was happening and, after wandering around alone and in fear for her loved ones, was finally able to contact a member of her party to confirm their safety, she fell to the ground crying with relief.  By this point, a couple, one of whom had finished the marathon, was walking in the same area and stopped to ask if she was ok.  She convinced them she was and, after explaining the situation, the man, who had just worked so hard to obtain the coveted Boston Marathon medal, took that very medal from around his neck and gave it her.  Just like that.  Laura put out a plea on Facebook as what she thought was a hopeless attempt at locating this kind man who extended such a humane gesture to her – and was able to identify him.  Brent Cunningham from Alaska.  Brent now joins the list among the many, many little heroes that surround this tragedy.

And still.

Even now, on a smaller scale, look around you.  Odds are that you probably know a runner.  And most of us, not having any clue what to do to show our support, have done all we know to do.  We just run.  Running isn’t going to fix anything (at this point, what can really?), and it’s not going to change what happened in any way, but it is our attempt to show that our spirit remains untouched.  We put on our fake little printed out Boston memorial “bibs” and run in honor of all who were affected in any way – including ourselves.  We don’t know what to say.  We don’t know what to do.  So we run.  We just run.

And still.

And still humanity stands firm.  We are still what we were seconds before those blasts occurred.  We are human beings who love each other; who care about each other; and who rise to the occasion when we’re needed.  We keep moving.

We just keep moving.  A little shaken, yes.  A little confused, yes.  Feeling a little helpless, yes.  But still moving.



“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”– Mahatma Gandhi

Little Things

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
– Andy Warhol

(Let me start this blog with a disclaimer to my child.  No, Kelly – this is not a tribute to One Direction and their song of the same title.  Sorry, kid.)

Ok.  Back to business.

Little things.

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently.  Especially over these past few days.  A variety of “little things” have seemed to catch my attention more lately than they might normally do.

For instance.

I went to visit my grandparents in the nursing home this past weekend.  They have both been recently admitted after battling pneumonia and, unfortunately, the prognosis is not a great one for my 96-year-old grandfather.  Thankfully, they have been placed in the same room so they can spend this time together, although my grandmother’s failing memory makes it hard for her to understand what is happening.  But even with his sickness, and her failing memory, they both periodically asked about the other and looked over to be sure the other was still there.  To me, that was beautiful.  A glance to make sure the one you love is still by your side?  Yes, a little thing in the grand scheme.  But so very beautiful.

Also, while I was there, it was mentioned that my grandmother’s fingernails needed cutting and she hadn’t been able to do it herself.  So, I cut them.  Cutting your aging grandmother’s fingernails? Definitely a little thing.  But it meant something to me.  In my tiny little way, I was able to help.  Little things.

I watched my cousin Amy feeding my grandfather.


Putting a spoon to someone’s mouth when they aren’t strong enough to do it on their own? Yes, maybe a little thing. But is it so little? I think not.

Aside from the trip to visit my grandparents (and possibly because of it), other little things started catching my attention as well.

The man I love, for instance.

Now, for those of you don’t know us personally, let me start by explaining something.  I am in love with the quietest man alive.  It’s true.  The spoken word is not his speciality.  One of his favorite quotes is by Mark Twain: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”  Smart man.  Me, on the other hand?  I never shut up.  We are the proverbial Mutt and Jeff of verbal communication. Well, in public anyway.

But for the past few days, I seem to be “hearing” him much more clearly than I ever have before.

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that he is letting me borrow a vehicle until I can get the insurance mess sorted out from my wreck and can get a new one.  Earlier this week, the vehicle started overheating a little.  So, what does he do?  Gives me his own truck to drive to work so that he can keep it and check to see what’s wrong.  He then fixes it and returns it – with new windshield wipers to boot because it was a rainy day.  Little things?  Maybe.

After dinner one night while the kids played together, I was overwhelmed with a sudden feeling of exhaustion.  Usually I immediately start clearing the table after we eat (he cooks, so it’s the least I can do), but instead I asked if he’d mind if I went and laid down for a bit.  Not only did he not mind, but he came and laid with me.  We both ended up falling asleep and my daughter got this sweet picture of us:


A nap together as a break from a busy day?  A little thing?  Maybe.

Another example – Mondays are hectic for me now.  My daughter was cast as Annie in our local production and I am a chorus member.  We have rehearsals on Mondays and she also has dance class on Mondays.  It’s hard to be in all these places at the same time, mind you.  So, what does that man of mine do?  Helps.  He picked her up from dance and brought her back to rehearsal so that I didn’t have to leave during chorus rehearsal.  And this followed him keeping her for me over the weekend so I was able to visit my grandparents like I mentioned before.

Little things? 

I’m telling you.  Pay attention.  Those little things speak loudly if you train your ears to hear them.

A few more before I wrap up.

I ran 11 miles yesterday in honor of all who were affected by the Boston marathon bombings.  It was my longest distance to date as a runner.  I wore my printed-out Boston runner’s bib in tribute.  While on the run, a fellow runner saw my bib as he was passing, and reached out and high-fived me.  A high-five from a stranger?  Definitely a little thing, but it sure had a big impact.  (Before the run was over, I got a few car honks as well.)

Also – a new friend of mine who is an ultra runner celebrated my 11 mile run with me as if it were her own personal victory.  Did I mention she’s an ultra runner?  She has run in a 130-mile race. Yes, you read that right.  One hundred and thirty miles.  And she celebrated my 11 like it was the greatest thing on earth.  Little things.

A random sweet text from my son; an email from a friend saying that my blog has inspired them to start running; getting chills while listening to a room full of little girls singing songs at a rehearsal for Annie….

I have to make myself stop.  This list could go on and on and on.

And isn’t that awesome?

Take the time to notice them.  They’re everywhere.  All of these little things are what make this crazy ride called life worthwhile.  Unfortunately, we are sometimes too busy to appreciate them.  But we need to stop that.  These may be the memories that fill our minds one day when we’re looking back on our past – the same ones that we might forget to give a second glance to in the present.  So, stop.  Look around.  Hear the things that aren’t being said – see the things that aren’t so obvious.  Be grateful.  Be appreciative.  Be alive.

Now, go make your list of little things.


“Half the joy of life is in little things taken on the run…
but let us keep our hearts young and our eyes open that nothing worth our while shall escape us.”

– Victor Cherbuliez


As a writer and a runner, I feel drawn to blog about what happened in Boston yesterday.  But honestly, there just aren’t any words.  There just aren’t.  I don’t know what I can say that others before me haven’t already said.  How do you make sense of such useless violence at an event that is supposed to be filled with joy and pride and unity?

All I know to say is what I posted on Facebook yesterday in the midst of the first news coming out about the bombings, and what I’ve turned to myself many times before (including most recently during my little personal “disaster”).  These words from Mr. Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
Fred Rogers

Knowing that good still exists is sometimes the only thing that gets you through things like this.  Because it does.  It truly does.  For every nutjob, there are thousands of kind, good, caring citizens to help pick up the pieces from the destruction they leave behind.

Today, I will join the many runners across the nation who will be putting on our makeshift race bibs (see picture below) and running in honor of everyone who was affected by what happened yesterday – the victims, the injured, the families and friends, the bystanders, the runners (both present at the marathon and otherwise), and anyone else whose heart was broken by this blow to humanity.  I’m due an 11-mile run, which will be the farthest I’ve run so far.  No time like today.  Will you join me?

Print out the bib below and pin it to your shirt.  And run.  I don’t care if you run 0.5 mile or 50.  Just run.  Just run.  Do what we runners always do best – overcome adversity by putting one foot in front of the other and keep continuing to move forward.



“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Excuses = Fuel


I went for a 4-mile run this morning.  This was only my second run since my accident a few weeks ago.  I’m trying to take it slow and ease back in.  But after today’s run, I have realized something.

I’m ready.

My half marathon is 3 weeks from today.  This wreck did slow me down, I’ll give it that.  But it’s not going to stop me.  I’m still going to do what I had planned to do.  No excuses.

While running, I was thinking of all this and this random phrase entered my mind:

Turn your excuses into fuel.

At first, I’m not sure where that phrase came from or even if it made any sense.  But as I thought about it more, it started making perfect sense.  I started thinking of all of the excuses I’ve used in regards to running and all of the ways that I’ve turned those excuses from hindrances to motivators.  And if you’re a runner – or even if you’re just a living breathing human and have considered doing anything ever and have let excuses stop you – you might relate to some of these.  Here are  some examples of the excuses I have used in the past, and the responses I found to give myself:

I can’t run because I am overweight.  Oh yeah?  Well awesome.  Running will help you lose weight.  Go run.

I can’t run because I don’t have the energy.  Oh yeah?  No energy?  Awesome.  Running will help you find that energy.  The feeling after a run is hard to beat.  You’re energized for the day.  Now go run.

I can’t run because I’m too tired.  Awesome.  See above.  Running energizes you.  That tired feeling will be gone before you know it.  Run.

I can’t run because I have kids.  Really?  You have kids?  Awesome.  Teach them that staying active and healthy is important.  Show them that if you can do it, they can do it.  And you might even get to the point where you do it together.  So go get started.  Go run.

I can’t run because it’s taking too much time away from my kids.  No, it’s not.  It’s taking some time away from your kids – not too much time.  And you know you need some time alone.  And besides, you’re teaching your kids that time alone is important too and they’ll know to make it a priority one day themselves.  And that’s something that they really need to learn.  Go run.

I can’t run because I don’t have time.  Yes, you do.  I used to say the same thing and, believe me, I am extremely busy.  I live over an hour from where I work and I have two active teenagers.  I found the time.  You will too.  You make time for what’s important.  Run.

I can’t run because it’s raining outside or it’s cold or there’s a tornado or a hailstorm or whatever.  Awesome.  Good reason to finally join the gym.  And you can do more than run there.  There are weights and machines and everything.  And if you try hard enough you can even figure out how to use them.  True story.

I don’t have the money to join the gym.  You don’t?  Awesome.  That will make you cut your expenses in other places like you know you needed to do anyway.  It’s amazing how much you can save when you turn those lunchtime McDonald’s runs into lunchtime gym runs.

 I’m going through a relationship breakup.  Yeah, I know.  That sucks.  And it makes you sad.  But guess what?  Now you’re going to have even more time to run.  Taking time to spend with just yourself is more important now than ever.  Take this new time and use it.  You’ll amaze yourself with how strong you are.  Now go run.

And now we got back together.  Oh yeah?  Awesome.  Now you have your running buddy and cheerleader back.  And he understands and supports you training for this half marathon.  Don’t worry about taking the time you need to train.  He gets it.  And he’ll be there at the finish line.  How awesome is that?  Now go run.

Now I have all these man-hating songs on my running playlist…  Awesome.  Replace all the dude references with references to your old self instead.  It’s amazing how motivating those songs can be when you dedicate them to the old excuse maker that used to be you.  Show that chick who’s the boss and who’s going to rise above it all.  Go run.

And finally…

I can’t run because I had a wreck.  Yes, you did.  And it was scary and it sucked.  And you got hurt.  But it won’t last forever.  It took a little out of your training schedule plans, but that’s ok.  There’s nothing written in stone that says you had to follow every single step of that training plan.  Two days before you got in that accident, you ran 10 miles.  TEN MILES!  Girlfriend, you got this.  That wreck did nothing but make you stronger than you were before.  Because it served to show you that NOTHING is going to stop you.

So, yep.

Turn your excuses into fuel.

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?  Glad I thought of it.

Now, go run.


“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people;
to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.”
– William Arthur Ward



“My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.”
– William Wordsworth

[Warning:  This is going to be one of those fuzzy warm feel-good kinda blogs.  I mean, it’s about a rainbow.  You had to see that coming.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you…]

Ok, so I know sometimes I think too much.  Sometimes I might see more in a situation than what might really be there.  I get that about myself.  (Of course, in my defense, I still stand by the fact that it’s better to see too much than to see too little.)  But I had a pretty cool experience this morning and I want to share it.

As most of you know, I had a car accident a week ago yesterday.  My car flipped down a bank and was totaled, but thank God I walked away with just a headache and a few scrapes. Now that I’m ok, I get to deal with a different kind of headache…the avalanche of insurance paperwork aftermath.  Ugh.  But in all the crap I’m having to deal with, there’s one thing I’m not having to worry about.  And that’s transportation.  My incredibly generous boyfriend has offered me a spare vehicle to drive.

And it’s not just any ol’ vehicle, mind you.  It was his dad’s.

Richard’s dad passed away a few years ago, and he meant the absolute world to him.  I know he misses him every single day.  So, I know that trusting me to drive his vehicle is a pretty big deal.  I, unfortunately, didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him.  I came into Richard’s life just a little too late.  And from what I have come to understand, I really missed out.  I remember over a year ago when Richard and I first started seeing each other.  Anytime I would mention the name of the guy I was dating, local people would say, “Oh, Richard?  Yeah I know him.  Great guy.  Clyde was his dad, right?  Clyde was such a good man…” It never failed.  Happened every single time.  I hope I’m remembered like that one day.

And incidentally, even though I never met him personally, I feel like I know him by knowing Richard.  Because from what I’ve heard of him, his son is just like him.  I have a Keith Urban CD with a song on it called “Song for Dad.”  Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics:

In everything he ever did
He always did with love
And I’m proud today to say I’m his son
When somebody says I hope I get to meet your dad
I just smile and say you already have.

So yeah.  In a way, I already have.

So, anyway, back to the rainbow.

This morning, as I was driving to work in Clyde’s vehicle, I was thinking about all of this.  I was just feeling so grateful for having a way to get work, and was thinking about the huge amount of generosity that allowed for that.  Which made me remember another thing that I’ve heard about Richard’s dad.  Richard has always talked about how his dad was always so willing to help anyone who needed it.  And he would do these things quietly, without fanfare or recognition.  He just wanted to help.  As I remembered this, I realized that his legacy is still living on.  He’s helping me, someone he’s never even met – through his son.  He’s letting me borrow his car.  And he’s doing it quietly.  Without recognition.  Without fanfare.

Something about that thought made me feel better about using the vehicle like I am.  Rather than feeling like a burden, I feel like I’m helping a story to continue on like it should.  Make sense?

And I kid you not – the very moment that thought crossed my mind, I glanced up and there was this gorgeous rainbow stretching across the sky.  I mean it, it was absolutely beautiful.

Just a scientific coincidence?  Maybe.  Maybe it meant nothing at all.

But could it have been more than that?   A gentle agreeable “nod” from beyond?  A sign?

Yes.  Maybe it was.  At least I like to think so.

In fact, I like to think that signs like that are all around us a lot more often than we take the time to notice.  We just have to remember to keep looking up to see them.


“There’s a rainbow in the sky all the time – don’t be blind.”
– Ziggy Marley