Monday, September 29, 2008

Blogs are hard to keep updated

I obviously suck at this. Sorry to anyone who's been waiting around on baited breath... all one or two of you. Anyway, sorry, honestly. But to be honest, I've been on Facebook a lot, so you can always check me out there. Meanwhile, I've promised myself to update this thing more often, and her I am embarking on that very notion yet again. Sure, I fall off the wagon, but I can always get back on, right? It's not rolling very fast, after all.

Okay, so marathon training is in full swing, with just five more weeks before the moment of truth. I ran an 18-mile race in Central Park yesterday, and that went well. Next weekend is a half-marathon, just to tune up a bit, and after that I think I start tapering back my miles, so we'll see how that goes. Weightwise, I'm maintaining my goal weight, eating normal food, and feeling really healthy, so all's well on that front.

Work is busy but manageable, school is marginally more busy and slightly less manageable... I haven't picked up my guitar in a couple of weeks, and that's killing me. I'm thinking of doing a show for my birthday, sort of a gift to myself, and having as many people as are willing come out and join me. I also want a couple of days for a vacation, but I can't think of when those will happen. Thing is, I really need a break. I'm also teaching an Intro Psych course in the Bronx and a community college out there, and that's just about as much fun as I've had in a good while. Seriously gratifying work... didn't think I'd love it THIS much, but hey, I've been surprised before.

Well, there's that.

This is just my first little toe back in the blogging swimming pool... I promise I'll keep at it better. I think I need it, just to breathe, to take stock, to feel like I'm not alone in it. if that makes sense, good... that's all I can ask. If not, stay tuned... maybe I can clear it up for you before too long.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yes, I'm still out here!

Okay... where to begin...

First, sorry about being gone so long from the blogosphere. Seriously, I didn't think anyone really cared, and then I start getting these random angry emails from eople telling me they're sad that I'm not blogging. REALLY??? Okay... sorry. so now I'll make a concerted effort to blog regularly from now on... consider my hiatus over.

Second, I'm still singing, still marathon trianing, still working at CASA, still a grad student (only now working on the dissertation and a couple of other side projects), still in New York City and still loving it. John and I are still together, still bliss incarnate, still healthy and keeping busy. I still kept all of the weight off, weighing in at the same weight as when I reached my goal back in December (sometimes even dipping below it by a couple of pounds!). John is also still working to keep the new bod looking good, and doing a great job. He's also still hard at work on the classics, taking on a summer course in Greek authors, which borders on fun for him these days. Basically, that's about it.

So where to go from here... I run the New York City Half-Marathon tomorrow; I'm nervous, but not freaked out. It'll be fun, lots of people there to cheer us on, and maybe even a couple of friends will come out to support me. That's always nice... honestly, it really does make a difference when you cheer runners on during a race. I remember a couple of races ago when a friend of ours was several yards away from the finish line, and I heard him shout, "Yeah! Go, Emily!" In that instant, I'm not quite sure what happened... in short, I don't think I've ever run so fast in my life. I just remember feeling a jolt of surprise and excitement as soon as I hearn him yell out my name... then I found myself in a whole new state of mind; I wasn't even tired anymore. I took in a deep breath, set my eyes ahead of me onto the finish line, and started kicking. There was even a photographer in exactly the right spot to immortalize the moment...
Bryan, the aforementioned friend, is the tall guy in black that I passed just before the picture was taken. the older couple in the sunglasses seem impressed, right? Anyway, the result was definitely unexpected... I hit the finish line in my best time yet... a 7:58 mile. Not bad for having just started running less than a year ago and having lost 70 pounds in the process. Since that race, I've beaten that time with a 7:44 mile (granted, in a 4 mile race instead of a 6.2 miler, which is what the other race was, but still... yeay). Tomorrow won't be about speed, but about distance run well; as long as I finish in under an hour and fifty minutes, I'll be able to live with myself well enough.
Right... so I'm back... and okay, I missed you, too.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Oh, yeah... forgot I had a blog...

I didn't mean to, honest. Things have been completely nuts out here, though. Lots of work at the office, at school, with teaching... well, not so much with teaching, but its' still work. The running's going well; I'm up to about 30 miles a week, and will try to maintatin that for the next two or three weeks before adding any more. Speaking of which... I need to go for a run here pretty soon.

It's a gorgeous day in New York City today. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 degrees, and sunshine all over. It would be criminal not to go for a run in this. granted, it's a long day to run in... I had rehearsal all morning for a concert that's going on tonight 9and again tomorrow afternoon), but it's really just that gorgeous out there right now. I'd be kicking myself for a week if I didn't soak some of that in. As for the concert, I'm sure I'll be fine. Maybe a little tired, but whetever. Then I have a mass to sing at tomorrow, then the concert in the afternoon, then probably a work day at the office with John. I can handle that.

Where are we... April, right? Jeeze... that was quick. I'm not exactly complaining, just a little unprepared. This means that the semester will be over in just over a month, and I have some pretty major projects to complete. A philosophy paper, a practicum project, a conference presentation... no, two... and a nice big start on my dissertation. Ugh. I get tired just thinking about all of it. I know I'll get it doe... I always do... but I don't think I'm going to enjoy it very much. Jane's all done and going back to Canada to strart her new job. Andrea, another grad student in my program, is also leaving for a post doc at Harvard, and another one, Karla, is finishing up as well. A few of the undergrads I've met over the years are graduating and moving on. I'm starting to feel a little inadequate. That's normal, I suppose, but still not pleasant. Hell, I haven't even gotten the results of my comps yet. I'd love to have a huge milestone to celebrate, something to make me feel some sense of accomplishment. Guess I'll work on that for now. Does a dissertation proposal count? If so, that's in the fall, so I guess I'll keep my eyes open for something a bit sooner, something of a morale-booster kind of thing. Ideas are most welcome.

Meanwhile, I'm definitely in the grind. I go to a running class every Thursday, and am still taking fencing lessons every week. I fenced in a tournament last weekend and I didn't do too well, but at least I'm back at tournaments, so I could care less. I have a couple of voice students, and they, along with a few other invited folks, are putting on a recital that I've organized for them at the end of April. I have my sights on an audition in May, as well as a conference, and who knows how I'm going to feed myself over the summer. I've applied for a psycho-educational therapist position that doesn't really pay much, but it's experience I think I'll really benefit from... meanwhile, maybe an adjunct teaching gig over the summer might be good, just to do that silly grocery-shopping thing. I'm still leading the group therapy on Fridays for cancer patients, and I'm still in a size 4-6, which I'm actually kind of suprised by. I didn't gain it all back after all! I mean, I've actually managed to lose all this weight, stick to eating well, continue my workout regimen... I didn't think I was capable of it. Go figure.

I think that, in a few days, my CD will be on iTunes, which will be good, because maybe now I can make some money from all of that work in putting the album together. Who knows... it may not amke a difference, but I like to think it will. So yeah... buy my CD.

I need a break... I leave it at that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring break, in theory

Because I'm not feeling very "breaky" so far. Granted, school's been in recess since last Wednesday, but I've still been working, so I have to feel just a little bitter. I know there are a few of my friends out and about in the world, taking advantage of the fact that spring break is still a break. I, on the other hand, didn't quite catch on, so here I am, slaving. It could be worse, I guess, but since it's not, grrrrr.

On the bright side, John and I are getting to spend a little more time together, which is always fantastic. The other day, we decided to walk from Columbus Circle (60th) down to Union Square (14th). Thinking it was going to be a long trek, we mustered up our courage and went for it. Strangely enough, it was over before we knew it, and we didn't feel a thing. It reminded us of how far we've come, how a walk like that would have rendered us worthless for a week back in the fat days of a year or two ago. Now, it was barely noticeable, and that was nice, albeit a little surreal. In fact, being this new size is still pretty weird for me. I catch myself in mirrors or windows and freak out a little, even now. I thought I'd be past all that already, but it seems not... it's better, but not quite gone. Given the fact that it's still a little cold outside, I sometimes go for my runs on the treadmill at the gym. Every so often, I'll see myself in the mirror... running... my arms and legs showing muscular definition I've never seen before on my person... a couple of times, I've had to double check to make sure it was actually me and not some other person on a treadmill next to me. Sure enough, I'm coming along, and I'm not looking back, I can tell you.

All this work is for the marathon, sure, but there's more to it. I'll be getting a new photo shoot booked soon, and I'll be performing more often in coming weeks. I remember comments from people back in Dallas, before I left... "You've got a great sound, and if you lost that weight, you might make it." Well, I took it to heart. At least now I have a fighting chance, yes? Well, it's worth a go, at least. Sometimes, it really is all about the packaging. 

As for school, that's coming along. It's now a matter of doing the work and getting through, as far as I'm concerned. I'm doing more than I have to at every turn, which is always a good idea, and always exhausting, but that's the dirty little secret no one tells you in grad school... going above and beyond is actually the norm, and those that don't are actually underachieving. Go figure... I'm actually just average after all. Oh, well... time to top myself, then. I'm looking into going through the process of licensure, which is not the normal way of things in my particular program. The way I see it, it's another necessary sort of thing they don't tell you about... we need all the extra help we can get in this field, and licensure is just that sort of edge. I hope so, anyway, because I'm doing it.

Tomorrow is actually a calm day for me, the closest to an actual spring break day I'll be getting. Video games are on the agenda, and not much else. Trust me, I'm perfectly happy with that.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

In light of progress

I find that I have to make due with "eh" news now and then... not bad, by any means, just not entirely what I'd hoped for. For instance, I've recently been told (in a very secretive yet informal email) that an application I sent in asking for a certain kind of funding has gone through, and that I've been happily approved. Good news, right? Well, of course... the thing is, I only applied for that option because it was a fall-back, in case I didn't get the option I wanted. If I got the secondary option, that means the one I was hoping for isn't going to happen, as I can't get both. It's not even a difference of money (as far as I know, the sum is identical), but of what I'd be doing in the next year as a result. Oh, well... again, eh.

In other news, I'm running a 15k tomorrow morning, and I'm excited and nervous about it. i ran a 15k in january, when I was still visiting over in texas, but it wasn't a normal 15k... there was a 5k, then a 10k, with a break of a few minutes in between. This will be the first time for me to run this distance continuously, and I'm pretty stoked about it... just a little nervous, too. I ran about 6 miles today in preparation for it, so I think it'll be fine. I'm also not going to push for any kind of personal speed records... i think I'm just going to take it easy, run a moderate pace, and gt to the finish line without injury. As a somewhat-related side note, John and I are both in the lottery for the ING New York City Marathon in November 2008. Apparently, we find out in June or July or somesuch if we've been selected in the lottery, adn there have already been a record number of applicants, so who knows. Either way, I'm still marathon training, so if i don't get into the NYC Marathon, I'll find some other one somewhere else to run. besides, I'll have guaranteed entry in 2009, so I'll get to run it eventually, but it would kick a good deal of ass if I could run it this year, too.

In other mindless news, I'm getting back into th swing of things with music. I'll be going on a photo shoot in the next few weeks (since I've lost about 85 pounds since the last shoot, i think these are long overdue), and I'll be re-entering the circuit of open mic gigs in the city, with the very real posibility of (finally) doing an official CD release by summer. I've had a couple of people on my case lately, telling me I should put the album on iTunes, so I'm researching that at the moment. it'll likely cost a little, but I'm sure it'll be worth it, right? Anyway, buy my CD.

It's been raining here for a couple of days, but it's supposed to stop in plenty of time for the race tomorrow. It's also supposed to be pretty cold, but not as cold as the last race, so I'm sure I can handle it. Running in the cold is actually pretty nice, once you get throught he first mile or so.

Friday, February 29, 2008

...just don't go corporate.

I know I've already told some of you this story, but it burns me up so much that I simply HAVE to tell it a little more, just to get it off my chest. I was at the gym, in the locker room, standing naked in front of my locker and putting on my running clothes. A woman was just getting ready to leave, and was taking her things out of the locker next to mine. She noticed the tattoo on my bicep and asked me what it said. When I answered (and demonstrated, by turning my arm), she said, "Hmmm. Wow. That's neat." Then turned the corner and left. A few seconds later, she reappeared from around the corner, so I thought she'd left something behind. Instead, she just looked at me and said, "Yeah. Just don't ever go corporate." And then she left again. I was stunned. I didn't know what to say, and even if I did... well, I was stunned.

What the hell did that mean????



Okay, so I have a few tattoos. However, they're invisible when I'm fully clothed, and I'm guessing that people tend to be fully clothed int he corporate world, yes? There are people who see me almost every day, have even seen me regularly for years, and don't know I have a single tattoo. And what if anyone DID know that I have tatoos? They're not of naked women or skulls and crossbones or anything like that (mind you, I find neither of those at all objectionable, nor am I saying I'll never have tattoos of either)... the tatoo this woman saw says "philosophy" if you read it one way, and "art & science" if you read it the other. As for my others, they're all... well... interesting in a pretty academic way. And okay, I have a naked picture tattooed on me, but it's of DaVinci's Vetruvian Man. Seriously... never go corporate???

Actually, I don't suppose I ever will. Then again, I'm pretty close to it now, working in my big office building in midtown Manhattan, with my own office and my daily boardroom meetings and such. And my attire is regularly complemented by the people in my office, none of whom have ever seen a single one of my tattoos. Prompted by this incident, I asked John, who is covered in his share of skin art, if he had ever had anything like that happen to him. he said it happens now and then, and he wasn't sure why, either. He doesn't exactly look the part of what is actually does, for that matter, so people are often shocked to hear that the guy covered in tatoos is a PhD student in Classics holding down a full teaching load at a university. you know... despite the tattoos and the pony tail. So yeah, he gets the odd comment, and he doesn't really care. As for me, I still think the lady was a bitch. She wasn't making small talk... she was giving me life advice I wasn't even asking for. Hell, she came BACK into the locker room to tell me that. And for what? Don't go corporate OR ELSE? What the hell? Ugh... I hate people.

Okay... That's done. One a lighter note, here are some new pictures from my last race, the Al Gordon Snowflake 4-mile. See any tattoos?

(Bitch. Okay, okay, I'm done.)

It's called the Al Gordon Snowflake 4 Mile and there are actually snowflakes? Yipee!
Ah, snow... oh wait... this race is gonna be cold.
Oh well... I finished anyway! Yeay for me, I'm a winner!
And check it out... not a bad finishing time for 4 miles on a cold day and icy roads... treacherous conditions be damned!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Checking things off the list

For instance... I just finished up headlining at an AIDS benefit concert at Fordham, which I think went well. It ran a little late, so the crowd was a little thinner when I finally got up there, but my set went well, and I sold a CD. Yeay for my big ten bucks! Anyway, it was fun, I'm glad I did it, and now it's done. I've also just finished vocalizing with the cast of the show I've been assistant music directing for (they're having their opening tonight), and they sound great, so my work's done there. As of this evening, I've put the finishing touches on the call for abstracts for the qualitative conference, and I'm on my way to upping my running miles tonight so that I'm into the double digits by next week in my marathon training regimen. Check, check, and check.

I'd like a nap, please.

I mean, I feel great, so I'm not running myself ragged or anything. I just want a nap, that's all. That, and about six extra hours tacked on to each day. I just don't have enough time, and that's always stressful. yesterday I gave an interview to the "Inside Fordham" paper, about my role as a graduate student mentor to the Fordham University Choir. Afterwards, I stoped and thought about what I'd said... something about other grad students probably wanting to do all the things I'm doing but simply not having the time to invest in the undergrad community, since they're so busy with their graduate work. it makes me wonder why the hell I think that I've magically found the time that the other people around me don't seem to have. Truth is, I haven't, though I continue to try. Was it always this way?

Yep. I've always done this. Ever since I was a kid... lessons, choirs, activities, shows... always. And there's always more, and I always do that, too. When cancer came along, I got this great excuse to keep doing things this way... live for the moment, you never know how long you have left, do everthing you possibly can, and all that. Whatever... I'm having fun, yo.