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Tomorrow morning we will be NOLA bound! For any of you in New Orleans, our film screening for Crush will be Saturday at 2:15 in Canal Place 1 (333 Canal Street, 3rd floor). We are playing in a shorts block called LOL, which looks really fun.
I feel like I had a stroke of luck today. While getting my oil changed, I asked if they could also top off the air in my tires. The guy came up to me after filling them up and said that I had a bubble on the outside of one of my front tires. I’m sure there is a more technical name for this…but that’s the only adjective I remember. He advised that I get it checked out before driving a long distance (aka, New Orleans). So I drove down the street to a tire shop, and they confirmed that my front tire would have blown out hitting even the smallest pothole. And lord knows that New Orleans have the worst streets on the planet. I thanked my lucky stars today that I more than likely avoided a very nasty situation. Now I know what to look for in the future in case I ever get a tire bubble again. They are dangerous because they let air seep into the outside rim of the tire, which eventually bursts.
Rebecca and I got some more fun news for Crush that we can announce on Monday. It’s so awesome to have a film that’s doing well with festivals…it gives you many opportunities to network, see new places and get inspiration from others. The first film I made in 2006, Piece of Cake, had a harder time getting accepted for several reasons – most likely length and genre. Which is why I am even more grateful to finally experience what it’s like to have your work viewed by so many audiences!
I can’t believe I forgot my blog’s two-year anniversary last month!! It was only two weeks ago, so it isn’t too late to celebrate I guess. Today is also my 700th post… so a double whammy! I realize that I didn’t post yesterday, and I was supposed to…but I was so exhausted from my quick trip to New Orleans and I knew that this post needed to be special. I’m glad I waited until this morning to write with a fresh mind.
New Orleans was amazing, as usual. I drove down and back with my dear friend Micah Manor, who I’ve known for many years. She brings a special energy and view to things that never cross my mind, which I really enjoy about her. She also makes me laugh. We listened to great music in the car, talked about everything under the sun, ate cajun food, explored, and even shared an air mattress. It was a great quick trip.
What’s so wonderful about New Orleans? Everything. It’s mysterious, spooky, beautiful, old, alive and full of a special vibe that you just can’t find anywhere else. There is an element of survival there that I appreciate, as well as a magic that consumes you from the second you drive in to the city. It’s also a walking/bike city and you can get almost anywhere by trolley. It’s just perfect in every way.
When I look back over my last two years of writing this blog, immense change has happened to me across the board. I won’t recount those memories, because a lot of you lived through it with me and already know of what I speak. Now that I’m on the other side of some of those experiences, I have a greater perspective of why they happened. I feel so grateful to be where I am right at this very moment…lessons and all. If nothing bad/difficult ever happened to us, we wouldn’t know how wonderful the good things are. I’m in a place now where I feel grateful for almost everything in my life.
As you know by now, I am super goal oriented. I love a timeline in which to make something happen. I mentioned a few weeks back that growing up I never made goals for myself past the age of 34 (which I will be next year)…so it is about time that I start visualizing what I want for my future. As each year passes I realize how much individual experiences mean to me. Memories are what it’s all about. When I look back at 2011 some of my happiest moments were when I was totally present. Bonnaroo is a great example of a high point. I let myself just be there, no expectations and no schedule. Thinking about that weekend brings so much joy to me, and I hope to repeat that experience again at this year’s festival.
This Sunday I find out if I made the Hawaii Ironman World Championship Lottery or not! This Sunday is also the Half Ironman in New Orleans, and this will be the first time in 3 years that I haven’t participated. That is actually fine by me because after seeing Lake Pontchartrain during our ride home yesterday that was the last place I wanted to be swimming. It looked extra choppy, so I hope it calms down for the participants before the event. That lake is a bitch to swim in, no other way of describing it. It’s by far the hardest element that race.
This weekend I will be doing a toast to The Jen West Quest for making it through 2 years and 700 entries. Cheers and happy weekend!
After our 4 mile run this morning, Vero and I stopped to take a photo together before stretching. She did something that made me laugh…then Vero joked that I just woken up the whole neighborhood. I laugh really, really loud…it is uncontrollable for the most part. I felt bad and told her that I would try to be less noisy. Then she said, “I love your loudness. It comes from your stomach and through your heart.” That made me feel really happy, so I thought I would share.
I love my running buddies. It is a real gift to find people who you are compatible with first thing in the morning on a challenging course. Vero loves to talk and I love to listen (and laugh), so we make a good pair. Brandi is the third of our musketeers when she is available. We all have similar athletic abilities which is an essential part of a running partnership. Vero of course is a little speed demon, so she makes me better every time I go with her. This morning it was much chillier than I expected, only 48 degrees! We could see our breath as we got started. Vero was kind enough to let me borrow one of her jackets so I didn’t freeze my butt off.
I have a quick update for those of you interested in my rosacea treatment. I’ve been using Oracea now for about 3 1/2 weeks and I’m excited to report some significant progress. However, about a week ago, I started to have an allergic reaction to the medication. Benadryl keeps it at bay, but I refuse to keep taking medication for my medication if that’s what it boils down to. So I am going to give it another week to see if my body can get over it, if not, I will have to swap medicine and start all over. Boooooooooo. At least something is working though! There is hope.
Tonight I head off to New Orleans for a very quick trip (less than 24 hours) with my friend Micah Manor! I can’t wait to get my hands on some crawfish, I’ve been dreaming about it for MONTHS. Micah is the perfect person to go on a road trip with too, she’s so laid back and easy going. I’m sure the 5 hour drive down there and back will fly by with her as a travel companion. I also finally invested in a iPhone adapter so I can play Pandora on my car radio. That is going to make a world of difference as well! So by tomorrow morning I hope to have some fun road trip photos to share with you on my blog.
What a great trip. We got home last night around 9:30 and I was greeted at the front door by a very happy Baby Kitty. :) The last four days have been filled with lots of stimulation and inspiration from futurists and philosophers. A lot of the speakers talked about ideas that were applicable in almost any area of life or passion. I feel like this was a trip that I was meant to take. There is something about New Orleans that always energizes my spirit and makes me excited for life. The air is thick with mystery, fun and experience. It awakens a wild part of your soul. I had several enlightening moments in a short amount of time, both inside and outside of the conference itself. I’m ready for the big things to come.
It is a fact that our world will change exponentially every year until we leave this earthly existence, but some things will hopefully stay the same. Like the unique experience of eating a fresh beignet in New Orleans French Quarter…and how it feels to be in love, to laugh, and to have genuine connections with others no matter what the medium. I think what we currently view as a “normal life” and as “normal relationships” will drastically change in the next 20 years. While traditions will always exist, new ideas on quality of life will be introduced and incorporated. But you know what will never change? The importance of loving one another. The coolest thing I probably heard all weekend was the notion that we are all one combined energy, that we can live life as if in a lucid dream by pulling back from our physical bodies. Tim Freke might be a real freak to some, but he made me think. And for that I promptly bought his book.
This specific conference was for people who work in the beauty industry…so needless to say I was surrounded by all different types of what one would interpret as beautiful. Some had colorful hair and tattoos, some were sophisticated and classic, while others fit no specific description. But what seemed to be a common thread was the direct connection with their authentic selves. They weren’t afraid to express who they were on every level – internally and externally. Everywhere we went you could hear the locals say that “the pretty people were in town.” And it’s not that they fit the standard definition of what “beauty” is for body types & such, but they no doubt worked with what they had and presented the best version of themselves at all times. There is something to be said about appearance that signifies a person who is proud of who they are. We could all learn a little confidence from these visually expressive spirits.
I love New Orleans more than I could ever express in words. It is such a magical old city, and while only being here for a few days some very magical things have already happened. Just for the fun of it, several of us went to see a fortune-teller down in the French Quarter last night after dinner, and what she told each of us was nothing short of amazing. I’m not new to that sort of thing, as there is nothing I like more than to have my future told (even by someone who isn’t very good at it). It’s just fun for me. But out of all of the people I’ve ever had “look into my future,” no one holds a candle to this lady. She pretty much blew my mind. It’s no secret that bad things can, have and will happen in life…to everyone. There is no way around it. Luckily though I was very fortunate to not only get an accurate reading, but a very hopeful and exciting one as well. I completely respect those of you who think that this is a load of horse sh*t, but I honestly believe that some people have a gift in this way. While the majority who claim that they have this special talent are totally full of it, I have genuinely run across a select few in life who really have something very unique. This lady was definitely one them. I’m very grateful to have had this experience with the specific group of friends I was with as well. It was something that I will always remember.
While attending our work conference, there’s been a big budget movie (Broken City) shooting in front of the hosting hotel. Out of all the places we’ve been so far in the last 3 days, it is the only film I’ve seen around…and it’s dead smack in the middle of our walking path in and out of the conference. I’m taking it as a sign to buckle down and work hard, as I hope to turn my book into a feature film once it is completed. I get a fuzzy feeling in my stomach every time I pass the working set. Especially since we got to see Mark Wahlberg.
I am going to leave this city tomorrow feeling energized and recharged.
Sometimes when you are all alone in your little world at night surrounded by familiar things, tucked in bed tight, you forget that the world is still going forward outside of your door. That your favorite places are waiting for you to visit again, that people you know are somewhere in a loud place laughing and having a good time, and that somewhere else on the other side of the world someone is waking up to a new day. At dinner last night with my parents we talked about Paris, and how we’d be flying through on our way to Greece in April for my sister’s wedding. It reminded me of my brief 24 hours there a few years back with friends and getting to stand underneath the Eiffel Tower for the first time. Last night while lying in bed I thought about it sparkling, with other new eyes getting to gaze up at it. Probably happening at the very moment I was thinking about it. It made me feel happy.
I am so in love with my iPhone. :) Today I’m going to try out a new app called Wander that I heard about through a friend on Instagram (my current obsession). Wander is a penpal/chat application that connects you to a random person in the world for a week. Isn’t that cool? It’s hard to feel lonely when you literally have the world at your fingertips.
Happy Friday, friends! I love it when this day rolls around. I did wake up feeling a little tired though…not sure why. I guess it’s just been a big week, and I’m also mentally preparing for a bigger weekend in New Orleans. I am a little sad to leave Baby Kitty all by herself for 4 days after everything that’s happened, but I’ve arranged for special visits that should brighten her day while I’m gone.
My first book deadline is rapidly approaching on February 1st, and I believe that I’m gonna make it. My goal was to have a solid fleshed-out outline and a first chapter written. Not only will I have those two things done, but I may even have a partial second chapter down. I’m also making headway in other areas that will help me to write later chapters in the coming months. For me, I have to experience or become familiar with whatever it is that I’m writing…basically the “write what you know” theory. So not only will doing the things that I want to write about help with the execution of my book, but it will also knock off some of my 2012 resolutions.
Last night while looking for a CD that I burned with some old work files, I took a little unexpected trip down memory lane. When I moved into my mini house, I had to pack up a lot of my little odds and ends in a storage closet that I have downstairs. One of the coolest things that I found was an old postcard written by someone who I met at a work conference about 4 years ago in Indianapolis. We did a group exercise where you had 60 seconds to tell someone your life, and they in turn had to write a story based on what they remembered on the back of a postcard. At the end of the exercise, we got to keep what the other person wrote. I really loved mine…it had phrases like “creative spirit” and “bright future”, which made me feel inspired and glad to be me.
Next time you hear from me on Monday morning, hopefully I will have eaten a beignet or two and have some powdered sugar on my nose. NOLA, here I come.
Best news ever: I just found out this morning that my sister Christy got in the Augusta Half Ironman on September 24! This is her first year to do triathlon, and so far she’s knocked out a sprint and olympic distance over the summer. Augusta actually sold out a few days ago, and when she decided that she wanted to give it a try it appeared to be too late. I haven’t heard all of the details yet, but I know between her writing the race managers and her super friend/coach Joanne, somehow she got in as of this morning. I am so happy I could do a dance all by myself!
Christy and her husband Mike are also interested in having another baby, so I wonder if I will ever get to do a race with her. My next triathlon will be the New Orleans Half Ironman in April, which I’m already getting really excited about. I am also going to go for the Mercedes Marathon again in February, hoping that this time around my knee holds out. I have a strange confidence that it will, and that I will be able to cross the finish line with flying colors this year. I know what I did wrong last time so I will not be repeating past mistakes.
I’ve said it before a thousand times, but there is something amazing that happens when you push yourself to the limits… in any area of life. Reaching your full potential is a high like no other. It’s not about being faster or better than anyone else, it’s about competing with yourself. It’s getting better and better every time you do something. And if you don’t, you fix the problem and jump back on the horse. I’ve consistently become a better athlete over the past 5 years of my life despite a few set backs. I can only imagine what I can accomplish in the next 5 years if I really try.
A really fun fantasy popped in my head while writing this post today – wouldn’t it be amazing to cross the finish line with someone you love in a full Ironman distance (a distance I have yet to attempt). Maybe my sister will be that person. That makes me smile. :)
I don’t care how much you love your family, riding with a 32′ long RV for 7 hours in questionable weather… with a little caffeine added to the mix… and you will test even the most solid of relationships. By the time we got into the French Quarter last night we were ready to scratch each other’s eyes out. I faintly recall yelling at my dad that I wasn’t 5 years old anymore in front of the restaurant we ate dinner at. Not to mention the mild hurricane we slept through last night… or I should say they slept through, b/c unfortunately I was in an area that sounded like a constant ice machine was firing off. My mom says around 2 a.m. I yelled, “I can’t take this anymore!!!” It’s good times in the Prowler. Today we’ve been able to laugh about it all, especially since we know we don’t have to spend much time together for the next few hours. My parents are heading off to the French Quarter here in a few minutes (about a 15 minute drive), and I am going to chill out and catch up on my rest. I am meeting a triathlon group from Columbus at 2:30 for a practice swim, then we are all taking our bikes to check them in to the transition area. After that, I’m going to catch a ride and have dinner with the group before coming home for an early bedtime. Should be a great day!!! The weather is fantastic, but the wind is still pretty heavy. It’s nice to know that by this time tomorrow, I will have a real hurricane in my hand!
Today is a big day… b/c I find out at noon EST (11 my time) whether or not I got a slot in the October Kona Ironman World Championships via their annual lottery. Between that and competing in New Orleans this weekend, there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation in the air. I realize that my chances of winning a slot in the lottery are very small, but it’s still a possibility. If I don’t get in, then I will fall back on Plan B and find a slot in another Ironman. Either way, I’ll cross that bridge after this weekend… one thing at a time!!
We will be heading out to New Orleans here in the next hour or so to brave the storms that are also heading this way. There will be some tornadic weather in Mississippi and Alabama around lunchtime/early afternoon, but hopefully we will get through it before it becomes too bad. I’m sure there aren’t too many things scarier than driving a 32′ RV through severe storms. What would normally be a 5 hour trip to NOLA is probably going to be more like 7 or 8. Good times!!!
Honestly, I don’t care how long it takes us to get there… I’m just excited to be going somewhere. Like my mom said last night, sometimes you just have to get about 100 miles away from home in any direction. True that, sista.