Thursday, December 20, 2007

List --- 20 (only good things) on this (only happens once) 20th day of December:

1. I got a happy note from a reader today.
2. I looooove those.
3. I used my new lens professionally for the first time yesterday
4. It was to take pictures of our new university president.
5. The lens is a beaut.
6. We're having our office Christmas party today.
7. I put my name down for chicken fried steak with gravy.
8. Mmmmmm.
9. Speaking of food, I still have some grapefruit left over from the stash Mom and Dad sent home with me.
10. With the amount of vitamin C I've ingested this week, I won't get sick until Easter.
11. I read the last chapter in a book I'm trying to finish
12. And I don't feel guilty at all :)
13. Get to see my family this weekend.
14. We'll play bingo.
15. With dollar-store prizes.
16. I think ours is one of the best family traditions ever.
17. I get to wear jeans tomorrow.
18. That means open-toe shoes too. Oh, boy.
19. I finished some crafty stuff last night. I'll post soon.
20. With my new sewing matching, the crafting possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

There are probably hundreds of post-it notes and loose notebook pages floating around my apartment, car, purse, stuck between pages of a book I never finished, stapled in my planner, in journals I've tried to theme. Flying around are things I want to do, descriptions of my day, ideas that I find important, quotes, song titles, activities.

I need to gather them all together and start doing them.

Matagorda Island?

yes, please.

Go backpacking, kayak, freelance, learn Spanish, practice piano, write letters...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I really like paint... and glitter.

Friday, November 30, 2007

HI-YA! chop.

Had coffee with two friends last night. Though I ordered decaf, I'm pretty sure I got the real stuff--- and was chemically transformed into a Christmas elf. I was (high-pitch) WIRED! The neighbors were playing Guitar Hero really loud, but it didn't matter... I was crafting until past midnight.

I made cookies, wrapped a pretty pretty present, made a advent calendar, decorated tins for granola and pecans AND cleaned up after it all.

I'll have to download the photos; I can't wait to show you it all!

Before coffee, I headed back to the gym. I took a break from running (knees) and did some cycling. I know that's not the best for a recovering knee either, but it's better than the impact of running -- and it's whoa intense.

Those cycling people are crazy! I haven't been so pushed to the brink in... I don't know how long.

Try it someday.

You'll cry... oh wait... that's sweat. My bad.

P.S.-- this is what my family and I will be doing this weekend (plus Bingo). It's the Hardin family Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I got a years membership to the local gym here.

When it came time to hand over the credit card, I was too late to join in on the cycling class. So I lifted weights.

Today my arms are so very sore.


I went to yoga today.


How do I feel???

(photo by brother)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I got up at 6 this morning to run.

Hey everybody! Look at me!

Actually, I am quite proud. For the past week or so I've set my alarm for this early morning rise but pushed snooze every time. Two times I accidentally turned off the alarm and was almost late to work. Ooops.

But this morning...



I had been resting my knees since my doctor visit last week. I have a big painful bump at the top of my tibia. Doc said it's an overuse injury and labeled it a form of tendinitis. the pain usually went away after the first mile, so I had continued to run. I really don't know how that happened. I had been doing a very gradual mileage increase.

But when I couldn't climb the stairs at work, I made the appointment.

The run this morning was pain free, and even now... I feel great.

WHOOP!!! (look, I'm whooping again)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh, these college students here. They are so focused on the future, they can't enjoying the present. Attending meetings, wearing suits for student gov, wanting to date the officers in student senate.

Once, I kinda had the same mindset. I was a complete idiot for wasting time in meetings. It's not cool to pretend you're cool.

Affirmative, Captain.

mmmmm mm, girl. (*snaps*)

(head nod)

I want to share my crystal ball with them. I want to show them that pretending to be cool now only leads to pretending to be cool later... which is way worse, because then they think that pretending to be cool now will make them really cool later. And then, when they realize that pretending gets you pretend everything else (friends, pretend job, pretend passion), you will be sad.

Negative on the sadness.

The only way to be cool is to care about others, I say in my head.

Become less, I suggest.
Give away, I say today.
Conversate with a stranger, it doesn't always mean danger.

This idea has a place in the world... karma, and the like. But, it is the place for Christians. I read this book. It said that giving to others shouldn't be in the church's budget, it should BE the church's budget. Until Inspector Gadget 2007 comes out with a heart detector like on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (remember how the Grinch's heart grew three full sizes on that awesome monitor?), the way we relate to others will be the only way others can get a taste of the Kingdom.

Friday, November 2, 2007

(photo from flicker)

I had a quote from Amelia Earheart on my desk in Tyler.

"The most effective way to do it, is to do it."

I should probably re-write that (it's ripped out of a reporter's notebook) and put it in my new office.

It's easy to forget.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm no athlete, but in the distance I can launch a pumpkin from my apartment complex... is a park.
Not good enough of a descriptor?
If I stand at the apartment's welcome sign AND take off my glasses, I can STILL see the park.

And I never knew it was there, which just proves there's no better way to greet a new town than in running shoes.

The park is absolutely perfect. Its trails are a little overgrown -- almost to the point that it walks like a corn maze with trees. Reminds me of Anne of Green Gables and my own time when I felt part of fiction.

Last year at this time I had just started at the paper. One of my first "out of the office assignments" was the Henderson Syrup Festival. If if wasn't my first out of office story, it was for sure the first one I enjoyed. The drive was beautiful! Tree-lined roads, Fall leaves, red dirt, horses in green pastures, cattle with plenty of hay... if everyone has an environment meant for their combo of atoms, DNA and chocolate vs. vanilla taste, the road to Henderson was mine.

It almost didn't seem real that I could be driving down such a beautiful road, going to my job.

You can breathe better in beauty.

I breathe better in the park.

P.S.-- Funny story. I went home for lunch today (I got stuck in my apartment last night. The door knob came off in my hand and fell through to the other side. A friend came over to let me out and fix it, but I still needed to tell my apartment complex that telephone calls for help were not being forwarded last night. I'll tell more later. You'll get a chuckle.) Well, as I backed out of my parking spot at work, the radio station was still on NPR from this morning. I guess at lunch they were highlighting orchestra music that made you think of vampires, ghosts and goblins. My music for reversing out of my spot was this big scary multiple-crescendo thing that hit its mark with cymbals. That's not good parking lot music. Every time the crescendo came to the top, I slammed the brakes thinking I was going to hit the car behind me.

Drive/ brake squeal/ drive/squeal


Thursday, October 18, 2007

First run in the new town.


I'm running, I'm running. Don't run into that car. I'm running, I'm running. Hi Corps boys dressed in all khaki. I'm running, I'm running...

I'm home.

There's nothing like a good razoo through town to say howdy.

Speaking of howdy, I'd like to say hi to these special people:

Hey, you girl in the back and blond little one. I'm talking to you.

Hi to all of you and more. (Hi Mike :) )

I miss y'all.

You too, friend of mine...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

First cool weather run.

Did you hear what I said? COOL WEATHER!!! Today. In the a.m.

It was glorious. The park is bordered by thick stands of trees. And this morning, cool weather fog got caught in the branches and tangled around the knotty roots. The leaves looked thicker for some reason, wrapped in foggy marshmallow. Sticky.

Yet, it wasn't sticky at all. The cool weather was so wonderful.

I wish I could say the run went well, but, my knees (particularly the right one) were really hurting. This whole weak knees business is going to have to stop.

Pray for me, please.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I haven't had a really good run in about two weeks, and I learned something this morning... in the game of upkeep, two weeks is too long of a break.

The run hurt. I couldn't breathe. The hills were a mess. My arms flailed. I had uneven breathing and couldn't get a good stride.

You see, I had put the big runs on the back burner with excuses: I'm packing. I worked late. I'm tired. I should spend time with people since I'm leaving.

Each are totally valid... but my knees don't take excuses. They say, "you haven't worked me for two weeks and now you want what?"

I want a big run, knees, I tell them. You've had lots of rest, now show me what you've been saving in energy.

And my knees laugh.

It's not funny, knees. Work with me.

If something was funny, it was my attitude before starting. I thought it would be a piece of cake! I forgot how I had shortened all the other runs. I didn't have the training. The build up was on the break down.

Well, as I was running I got to thinking how sometimes my conversations with God are a lot like my knee talk.

I want things to be "strong" when I haven't pushed limits to be stronger.

"Hey, God... I know I haven't been around much. No long no talk. Ummm... so, I've been meaning to ask... What did you do with my joy? Oh, yeah, and while you're reinstating that one, give me some warm fuzzies. I love those. Where'd they go anyway?"

When I don't connect, that Life goes away and the only thing left is words and rules. Boo.

I'm not saying God is a loan shark... like He's coming to make good on my failed bet where I put my eternal life on horse "Mama needs a new pair of shoes." God's not showing up on my doorstep with a crowbar threatening to flatten my face until I can pay back His gift.

I'm realllllly not saying that.

It's not that I have to get stronger in Him... it's that... He offered to change me and I accepted. He said His way is better, and I agreed. He said if I want a life of intrigue, confusion, compassion, excitement, heartache, with the knowledge that someday it would make sense, I should follow Him.

So, the fact that if I don't do those things... of course I'm not going to feel close to Him. Life from the inside looking out will just going to be a shell, because that's what I started with.

So, anyway... that's just what I was thinking about.

If I see you, ask me if I went running. And if I say no, look at me like I just ate your sandwich out of the office fridge or something.

I'm sure I'll make up some excuse. :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

I'm such a pansy.

I've long paid homage to the morning run. It's quiet, it's empty. It's perfect. I love stretching to the Today Show, and breakfast somehow tastes better after washing off sweat in a cool shower.

But, I don't like to run on the high school track when the cross country or track team is out there. If I get up early enough, I can miss comparing their hare to my turtle.


Morning came too fast for my brain, so I just resigned myself to running on the treadmill. Not even Golden Girls could distract me from how bored I was.That's pretty bad.

One for your weird files: I slept with a tube of frozen hamburger last night. While making a crown for one who shall remain nameless ;), I burnt my middle finger on hot glue.

Curse you little yellow pompom :)

I stuck my head in the freezer looking for another ice pack. Frozen peas, no. Salmon... ehhh. Day old bread? too mushy.

The light flickered, and there it was. A rock solid tube of beef. Not perfect, but good enough. It allowed me to sleep and wouldn't ruin over night.


It was still partly frozen this morning and I put it straight into the fridge.

Not rancid.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are." Bertolt Brecht.

Big changes swirling around my little hut, and last week, the bottom fell out.

Sept. 28-29
Parents came down for Lake Palestine time. Verdict: Great. We skied, my sweet friend Lauren came out, and Mom and I looked at a used car. I asked for the keys to a $11,000 Rav 4 while dressed in ratty shorts and an over sized T-shirt. I tried to make excuses. "We were at the lake, mister car salesman in a tie."

Don't judge me :)

Well, I must say, I liked the way the little car drove. I liked its leather seats, I liked its mileage, I liked its look.

I liked it so much, I decided I would think about it.

And then I burned my thumb on the car's cigarette lighter.

Monday, Sept. 24:
I go see what the dealership will give me for my '97 Rav 4. They pull out the papers with the dotted line at the bottom, you know, to make it final. But, I was strong. "No signing yet," I told him. Plus, the employee that does the estimates for trade ins is not there.

I work. I write. I have a missed call from the Association of Former Students. The voice asks if I have any other questions about the position, but the clock says it's after 5 p.m. I decide to call them tomorrow.

Tuesday, Sept. 25:
I call.
They offer.
I marvel. Then I question. Then I marvel. Then I question.
"Yes, take it. No, stay."


I go back to the car dealership to get their offer for my Rav. They'll only give $1,000. That's another decision. Will I buy this car?

I tell my soon to be roommate sweet friend, and words of wisdom flow from her mouth. Should wisdom calm you down? It does. I tell my Bible study girls. They pray for me.

It's past midnight when I follow my would-be roommate's advice. She told me to make a list. I map it out. And, wouldn't you know it, the two choices end up equal.

But in my apartment's silence, I'm asked the question... would I regret not taking the position?

Yes. I would regret it.

At the time, that wasn't a good enough answer for me.

Wednesday, Sept. 26:

Called at home about a puppy mill in Upshur County. It was a good distraction, but once it's over, I'm still puzzled about the position. But inside I know what to do. The Lord laid it out so perfect. Way too perfect to explain in my limited language. But perfect doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to say goodbye. I visit with Chapel and her pooch Lucy. Time with her is sweet.

After getting home around 11 p.m., I write my resignation letter. I tell my bosses how wonderful they are and it's true.

On Thursday I sat down in my bosses office and gave them the news. They're kind and wish me well.

I drove to work that day in A NEW CAR!!!

I bought the Rav, now dubbed Beatrice by both me and Lauren. It's a happy silver and I'm happy in it.

Can you tell.

Since then, it's been a whirlwind of activity. Attempting to pack, and then unpack because I need what's already been placed in a cardboard box and taped closed. I've spent more time with friends. I drove to Ft. Worth for Meg-a-moo time.

Nights have been spent away from my messy apartment. They've also been spent away from the track.


I ran a few miles this morning, but it didn't stretch my capabilities. Ohhh, I need to get back on the ball. Tomorrow's a new day. I plan to start mine in running shoes.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Today's run was a big fat bust.

I spent the weekend at the lake with my family. It was wonderful. There's something magical that happens on Lake Palestine. The water washes away my yesterday and the trees absorb tomorrow.

All that's left is today -- sorry run and all.

The past year I've wanted to make memories. Naturally, it's hard for situations to stick in my head -- the smell, the touch, the sound -- so I've tried really hard to make things concrete.

One of the things -- riding on the lake. For reasons I'm not sure of, my mind goes into mode memory making when I'm riding the tube. No, not the slalom, the knee board or the rocket... but the inner tube.

I think it's being so close to the water (and since I'm being pulled behind a boat, being so close to the wake.)

While being pulled today, I couldn't help but wish I had a waterproof camera. I wanted to take a picture to help me remember.

Don't have a camera, but I can try something else:

The sound --- it's the closest I'll ever get to being a hermit crab... folding waves, motor running... It sounds like the inside a seashell.

And since I'm lying on my belly, atop the tube, I can touch the wave at its crescent point. It's just a little reach.

It's colder up top with the waves than it is down at my toes -- When the boat's a' moving, and I'm a' riding, I can dig my toes in the water and send up spray.

It's the same physics that Fred Flinstone used to stop his car.

Except with me, I don't stop.

I can't wear my glasses in the water. They'd sink. So everything is fuzzy. (Maybe there's a little magic in that as well.) But when I put my specs back on, I can see again: My mom (normally) driving, kneeling on life jackets so she can see over the boat's helm. My dad, legs propped up on two seats in the front. He sits at the very tip of the boat, so when we're driving he's elevated above everyone else. The trees. The water. The houses.

It's a weird balance. I see things out on the water as blurry blobs, but know as soon as I put my glasses back on I'll get the details. I'll be able to see the bird's feathers and the dragonfly's wings.

Lake means food, too.

Which is why my run was less than what I wanted.

I ate a cow for breakfast and lunch. A cow and a pig. A cow and a pig covered in BBQ sauce.

Then I ate ice cream.

When I got to the first mile tonight, I could feel all of that food doing flip flops in my stomach.

So I walked.

The end.

Friday, September 14, 2007

U2 and morning go like this (*crosses fingers*)

Enjoy these lyrics. I sure did while running this morning. The sunrise
was awesome.

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that
Changed the world

And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness
In everything

She's got the walk
Not on a wrapper on chalk
She's got the time to talk

She travels outside
Of karma, karma
She travels outside
Of karma

When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty
In everything

She carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips
Between her fingertips

She carries a pearl
In perfect condition
What once was hers
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stains

Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty
In everything

Grace finds goodness
In everything


Nice aye? GolLLEEEE. Love it.

More later.


Sorry 'bout the no talking bit. This week has been one of late nights
and early mornings. I've still been running, but have had to half it
-- half in the a.m. and half at night. I didn't do a great job on last
week's schedule. It's getting a little rough, but I knew that would
happen before I made the commitment... and it is a commitment.

So, about this week. I've been doing a lot more on the treadmill since
running after dark isn't very smart for this girl. One good thing
about the treadmill is constant updates.

I get my average speed, time spent, miles traveled, all on a little
scrolling screen. Oh, and the TV in the workout room gives me reruns
of all my old favorites.

Hi, Tim the Tool man Taylor. Missed ya Zach, Slater and Kelly.

Running alone inside, it's socially OK to belt out all the theme songs.

"If the teacher pops a test, I know I'm in a mess 'cause the dog ate
all my homework last night, (bop bop)"

Oh, classics ;) We're such children of the 90s. Whoa! NOT Ug ug ug

Did you catch the catchphrases?

But, geez, back to running.

Nope, nope... I guess that's it. Update complete.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I felt strong today.

Four-and-a-half miles and it felt great.

I love it when a run feels that good.

Most of the time I want to quit, not take the time to stretch, drive away, and eat something chocolate.



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Five miles today, at least I think it was five..... The track was being used by the school (losers, that's my track ;) ) But I'm pretty sure the path I ran at Rose Rud. was about 2.5 miles. I ran it twice.

It was pretty hard. My arms and back were sore from falling yesterday. My arm hurts too, but it's a surface pain. My arms and back are from muscle pain.

Chocolate helped :)

Chapel and JennaLeigh came over tonight. Chap brought a loaf of French bread, broccoli cheese soup and three fancy desserts (think truffle topped brownies).


Monday, August 27, 2007

I was scheduled to do 35 minutes of cross training today. I'm not sure if rollerblading is cross training... but I decided to take my chances.

I still don't know how that choice affected my runs, but safety wise, that chance of mine threw me into a neighborhood lawn.

I was rollerblading just fine. Up hills, down hills, stopping at all required stops... when a perceived "little" hill got the best of me.

I was rolling faster and faster.

Brakes, use your brakes

But the little knob of rubber couldn't fight gravity.

Faster and faster... directly to a -- albeit lightly used -- street intersection.

I can't stop before then. What should I do? Just whiz through and hope no cars are coming? Or do I throw myself in that lawn there?

Whizzzzz... Too late for that lawn. How about the next? Nope, now it's gone too.

This is the last lawn before the intersection. Go for it now.

--- Truthfully, it was kind of cool... actually going through with such a brash decision. (Brash for me, anyway) I jumped the curb, tucked my arms, clenched my hands, and rolled to a stop in the grass.

The dogs in the backyard went nuts.

At first nothing hurt, then my fingers and wrist started throbbing, then my knee.

My arm didn't hurt at all until I was off skating again. Even then it was just stinging, but I had given myself the worst strawberry I've had since two hands could tell my age. Oozey, slightly bloody and grated skin with dirt.


I silently screamed in the shower and went to Bible study/let's talk about life. The injury got some grimaces.

It is pretty nasty looking.

I'm proud :)

But not too proud... I walked down the next hill wearing my striped plaid socks, rollerblades in hand.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Short one... only two miles.

I ran without headphones, hoping I could spend that time praying.

It's just 20 minutes and with no ringing phone or television -- No big deal, right?

Yeah, right...

Do you know how hard it is to stay focused?

I watched other runners on the track. I inspected the stands and stadium lights. I thought about the pending football season and how a mosquito just bit my leg.

All this is zippy zapping around my brain at the same time.

Finally, I'd had enough.

And I said, "Hi God."

Did I just say hi to God? Gah, you're so stupid Stephanie. Oh, well, I already starting this thing... might as well talk about a good one...

"So, what do you have planned for me, Lord?"

And scripture popped into my head... "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..."

Cringe. How often do I do that?

Do I have to answer here?

If so, it's not so often.
After a four-miler, I stretched in the grass today.

I ran at the track and stretched on the football's 30-yard-line.

It smelled oh so nice.

It reminded me of being on swim team in Pflugerville.

Time warp:

I was in elementary school, the bathing suits were red and blue, and the leg slits cut clean to my hips. My brother wore a Speedo. We were the Piranhas.


I loved swimming but pretty sure I would have skipped the meets. They were held early Saturday mornings. It was hot and the time correlated negatively with the city's mow schedule. Since they mowed right before competition, the ants were nice and agitated; the dead grass would stick to anything wet.

And since we were swimming our whole bodies were wet.


I remember tents being set up out in the grass where people would relax before swimming their heat.

And I remember sitting statue-still to have the events in which I would compete written on my arm in permanent marker. Of all the memories I have of swimming team, those abbreviations -- and getting a chocolate and banana bomb pop from the concession stand -- are most vivid.

I loved having that list written on my arm. Don't know why. It could be because my dad did not like my brother and me to write on our hands. Maybe having nonsense written in PERMANENT marker all over my ARM made me feel rebellious.



Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sooo... I'm running a marathon.


Oh, yes my dubious hombre. That's 26.2 miles.

Twenty-six POINT two.

And what's more, I'm running with a purpose... to raise $1,800 for blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma.

I teamed up with the organization Team in Training and am now one of bookoos running to be part of the cure.

I know, I know... This hasn't always been one of my issues. This isn't conservation or agriculture. And not only have I never been sick, I've also never watched a loved one battle these awful diseases.

But so what.

I know how many have.

-Every five minutes someone new is diagnosed with a blood cancer; every ten minutes someone loses their battle*
-Leukemia is the number one killer of children and strikes ten times as many adults.*
-And non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S.*

Maybe someday those little tidbits won't be true, especially if you help me

I'm not good at fundraising.

Little known fact, the name Stephanie in Hebrew means "can't ask for a red cent."

Even in middle school I'm pretty sure my mom and dad had to buy my required "you must sell 5 items" from the band wrapping paper sale.

So, it got me thinking... Maybe, if I write about training -- what I'm learning, what I'm hating, what I wish would happen -- you'll feel involved yourself.

Maybe you'll learn something new.
Maybe you'll want to give (you can make a tax deductible contribution at and help me meet my goal)
Maybe you'll want to help.
Or maybe I'll see you on the trail.

You never know, passion makes you do funny things... like wake up at 6 a.m. to run with the rising sun.

But if not, that's totally cool. The point of this journal is to make a connection.

Talk to you soon!!!!

P.S.- The TNT Web site is up for donations. I'll be making it prettier later :)

*cancer info from TNT