Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Memories

Last night between dinner and (unitarian) midnight mass, my family sat around the fire inventing and playing a new game based on something my Dad had done recently at his church board retreat. We each had a piece of paper and pen and we started by thinking of a christmas memory. We then had to draw the memory on the top quarter of our page and pass it to our left. The next person would look at the picture and write down what they thought the memory was. Then they'd cover up our picture and pass it to the next person with only the words showing. That person would draw the memory they read, fold down again over the previous person's words, and pass on to the last person with only their picture showing. As you can guess, the last person writes down what they think the memory is based on the picture they're looking at and then passes the sheet on to the original person. With our own memories back in hand, we read them to ourselves, laughed until we cried, and then tried to read and show them to everyone else through the laughter. Most of our memories we had all been a part of and remembered vividly. We are, after all, a family and are always together on Christmas. We are always together but we are rarely alone. This Christmas Eve and morning, though, it was only the four of us. It was only the second Christmas with just the four of us in the past ten years, and probably one of only three or four in the last twenty years. I missed Josh, and the Vermonsters, and my Grandparents (one of whom we were happy to see for a few hours this afternoon), and our North Carolinians, all of whom I've celebrated with Christmases past. But the four Shawshaws together was very nice. It was nice to know all each other's memories. It was nice to have the typical "christmas eve slumber party" with just Nathan-- though I always loved staying up with Katy and Emily waiting to hear footsteps in the living room and sneaking upstairs for chocolates and cookies in the middle of the night. And it was nice to have a quiet morning in which food and family and fireplace were just as exciting as present opening. I'm not going to lie, I still love getting presents, but I've gotten to the age where I love giving them even more. In recent years, many of our family gifts have been hand-made, hand-me downs, or hand-picked at thrifts stores and they tend to mean more that way. I'm in absolutely no hurry to have kids, but I'm pretty excited to be Santa Clause one day and, when I do, I think I'll make sure we celebrate just our immediate family sometimes. We've got some good freaking memories and now they're pictionaried for a handmade scrapbook. Hmmm... present idea for Christmas 2011?

Nathan's Memory
Nathan: Santa Clause at Bethesa Metro with ice skating rink.
Betsy: Santa landing on top of the building towers @ Bethesda metro w/choir & Christmas tree lighting.
Sandy: Draws picture.
Carrie: Santa lands on roof at Bethesda Metro as all the locals sing and light xmas tree & menorah. (and go skating after- no longer possible :( )

Sandy's Memory

Sandy: Memory is unclear-- someone kisses under mistletoe...
Carrie: I saw Mommy kissing Daddy under the mistletoe!!!
Nathan: Draws picture with very veluptuosly puckered lips.
Betsy: Betsy & Sandy kissing under mistletoe with Carrie watching. (did this happen?)

Carrie's Memory

Carrie: Grandpa does disappearing spoon trick for the family.
Nathan: Grandpa gets confused without forks and knives.
Betsy: Draws picture. (somehow, of Carrie's original memory)
Sandy: Grandpa's magic trick at Aspen Christmas.

Betsy's Memory

Betsy: Santa skiis down snowmass mountain on Christmas Eve as villagers cheer and watch fireworks.
Sandy: Tony skiis into woods at Snowmass in 1968.
Carrie: Draws (mildly inappropriate) picture.
Nathan: Skiing/peeing on the continental divide. (Yes, this is a real memory... Sandy Shaw "peed in both Oceans at the same time".)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I love LeeRoy

Yesterday I did something crazy. I registered for the National Half Marathon on March 26, 2011. This was crazy but not at all spontaneous. It is something I've been thinking and talking about since October 12 when I was tricked into running almost 6 miles by my friends Nikki and Hadley, both of whom were already registered to run the half at the time. I continued to run with them and decided that I ought to just go ahead and run 13 miles in March if I'm training with two girls who are working up to that. After all, what is an extra 7 miles? HA!

But an extra seven miles is a lot. Six miles, in and of itself, is a lot. I don't know if I had ever just put on running shoes and run six miles before. My relationship with running has been long and unsteady for the past ten or so years. Growing up, I got more exercise than I needed by playing soccer so it wasn't until high school when I kinda cared about weight and "exercise" and crap that I started "running" for exercise. Still, I ran enough in sports that the only time I really ran was over the summer. In college, I thought I was so out of shape because I wasn't playing soccer every day and was, instead, working hard on my freshman 15 (20?!). Despite my physical inactivity and steady weight gain, I found that I could still do the occasional run with friends and do it better than they could. Unless it was on a treadmill, in which case I would lose focus and fall off the back in a University gym in front of hundreds of sweaty and intimidating college boys. I only did that once and I don't think I've been on a treadmill since. I started running again my sophomore year and had a few months of real commitment to it. It died for a year or so until my senior year when I moved in with Nicole who inspired me to start running again. That was a high point in my relationship with running. I did it 3 or 4 times a week, usually for 2-4 miles at a time, and it made me feel happy and strong and skinny. Right at the end of that year, I bought new running shoes and, being in the height of my Gilmore Girls watching days, I was lame enough to name my shoes: Lee for Left, Roy for Right, LeeRoy for the pair. I was a dork but I was healthy. Unfortunately, when I moved to DC and started working full time/living in the cold, I became one of those sedentary old ladies and failed to run more than once every month or three. That is, until I, without knowing it at the time, began training with my committed runner friends.

The problem is that I'm only training with them. I'm only running when we make plans to run together, which is once or twice a week, and I'm not doing anything on my own which they each are. I don't have a gym so I can't run inside. It is dark when I get home at night so I'm uncomfortable running alone outside. And it's cold and windy every morning and I am so not inclined to leave the warmth of my bed an hour early to get out and start my day with a run. So I've been thinking that my after work runs twice a week, that range between 4 and 6 miles, have just served as training for my training. I had plenty of time to start a real training regimen and I would get around to it once I registered for the race. Now I'm registered and the race is only three months and five days away. I am going to make moves and by the end of this weekend, I'll have done research and have a training plan for the next three months, whether I have to buy it online or make it up on my own.

Along with preparing my body for a 13.1 mile run, I'll have other important work to do prior to March 26. I am running the half as a "Sole Mate" through an organization called Girls On the Run which works to reduce the display of at-risk behaviors and encourage the development of self-respect and healthy lifestyles among young girls by providing them with the tools to make healthy decisions and form positive self-images. As a Sole Mate, I had the option to run, walk, or bike in any event of my choice and raise money for girls on the run. Luckily, I work in Fund Development and have at least some experience with fund-raising. I am excited to support the organization and the girls who will hopefully learn to be healthy enough to have a long and steady relationship with running and never gain a freshman 15. Check out my fundraising page to ensure that this can be possible for young and impressionable girls in Washington, DC!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

bike blog in winter

It is hard to have a blog about biking when it is only 20 some degrees outside. The fact that I have a blog that has been neglected for so many weeks really brings to light how neglected my bikes have been. In a normal winter, a few months without biking wouldn't seem so bad. Well, in normal winters past, I lived in Florida so a few months without biking would have seemed bad. But in the snowy, wintery torture that is DC in December,  I would tend to be ok with taking a cycling hiatus. But this year was different. I made a lifestyle out of biking unlike I have in the past. Commuting to campus by bike was easy and quick and a matter of necessity. But commuting to Van Ness by bike was a matter of choice, it was a commitment that I made, and a routine that I prided myself on. I obviously thought it was so important that all you people in the blog world would care enough to read about it. But now, I've thrown it away so easily simply because I dread the cold. It is sad but I'm not going to try and pretend I'll change my ways. Maybe I will but right now, sitting on my cozy couch under Christmas lights, drinking tea, the idea of biking in the bitter cold just doesn't appeal to me. I do feel kind of bad but maybe Lucy and Charlie need to hibernate just like the rest of us.

Don't let my failure to blog this month fool you. I have thought a lot about this. About how I miss blogging and I want to keep doing it even when I don't have frequent bike-related stories to write about. But also about how I dedicated this internet space to Lucy, and then Charlie, and all that they represent in my life. It seems a kind of betrayal to spend the next few months writing about basketball games, ski trips, joyce visits, and new apartments, with maybe a random note here and there about how Lucy is still chilling in my apartment as she was the day before, her handlebars as pink as ever. But I think I've decided to betray. I love Lucy and Charlie but I love many other things in my life. In 2010, I learned to love something new: writing a blog. So write I will. I think it will be a fun experiment to see where my mind wanders when the page is blank and the subject area is open. However, I won't forget where this blog came from. Come warm weather, you will be hearing a lot about the adventures of Carrie Shaw and her bikes. And hopefully we'll all be surprised at how much I have to say about those wonderful contraptions even throughout the icy winter.