While I have been a rather negligent blogger, I did update the weekly pick this weekend, so check it out!
Back in December, my awesome college friend Amy invited me to join a mix-tape club. Six of Amy’s friends joined, and we swapped CDs earlier in the month. While there was no pressure to be an indie label guru, there was the intention to expand our playlist horizons. I shipped off my mixes of self-conscious folk and a few college throwbacks — because really, who doesn’t want to revisit “Singing in my Sleep” by Semisonic? — and was delighted to have a great variety of new music delivered to my door. Er, the door of my apartment complex’s leasing office.
This new music comes at the perfect time, because it’s perfect running weather again in Texas — sunny and in the high 60s or low 70s. When 4:00 pm, Running Carrots Time, rolls around, I’m usually eager to lace up my tennis shoes and head out to circle the neighborhood a few times. I think it’s supposed to precipitously fall to the 40s on Friday, but I suspect this will be a chilly anomaly. Late January, February, and March. These are the months when I can brag about living in Houston.
As I dodged dog-walkers and baby strollers this afternoon, I realized that many of the songs on my current Running Carrots playlist are contributions from the Mix Tapers. I rounded the dual swimming pools of the condos next door to “Stardust Kids” by David Bowie vs. MGMT and deftly avoided some dog poo to “Saturday Nite” by Blitzen Trapper. (The dog poo is a coincidence and not a commentary on Blitzen Trapper.) It was nice, having some new music sent to me by (mostly) strangers (hi, Ames!), and it almost felt like I had some friends out there cheering me along. Instead of handing me paper cups full of water, they were keeping me going with Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, and the Eurythmics.
I’ve also earned a small following of locals. Well, a very small following. A very kind lady who usually pulls into the parking lot during my second lap always shouts a hearty “You go girl!” And then there’s the gentlemen with the nearly-blind maltipoo who has told me twice that “no one around here moves around quite as much as you!” Strange, but good-natured.
While I remain a very inept runner, my almost-daily jog has been the only way I have been really consistently taking care of myself over the past few months. I haven’t had a successful year on the job market, and this means that I have been angry and stressed out and a little mean. All of these bad feelings have crowded out healthy meals and meaningful conversations with friends and family and time to decompress without a small, angry storm cloud overhead. Last week, I realized that I am two shades paler than normal. As a redhead, this means I am nearly translucent. And my body just isn’t healing or staying energized on schedule. And I haven’t been blogging, because I’ve been (a) feeling sorry for myself and (b) unwilling to be introspective at all, because it just stirred up aforementioned evil feelings. And what is blogging but electronic navel-gazing?
But this afternoon, as David Bowie’s advice for me to “take only what I need from it” helped me keep my pace, drowning out the traffic from Westpark and the ache in my shins, I realized that I need to snap out of it already. I have lots of people — friends and family and neighbors and smart students who say amazing things in my class — who are showing me in big and small ways that I need to focus on those worthwhile things that I have going on.
Sorry to get schmaltzy. But, in the words of Guster, time to face forward, move slow, forge ahead.