In February 2005 I started running. I’m not sure why I chose running as my go-to activity; maybe because I had never been good at it or maybe it seemed like the easiest activity to feel invisible while doing. At any rate, I was determined to go every single day. No excuses.
The first month was rough.
I could barely run half a mile without feeling like oxygen would never find my lungs again. I ran on the track that was built above the basketball courts in the Student Life Center (SLC) at Baylor. It was perfect because it was often empty. That way no one would hear me wheezing.
I kept a track of the days I ran in my calendar, missing only one day that first month. By spring break, something miraculous happened: I was able to run a full mile without stopping. When I had first started, that milestone (pardon the pun) seemed impossible. Shortly thereafter, I moved to a treadmill and began running at least 30 minutes a day. In the first three years, I missed 12 days of running or less per year. That sentence sounds ridiculous to me now.
In the years since, I have always kept running. When I travel, my suitcase usually has my running clothes, and I could tell you the type of treadmills in all Hilton brand hotels. However, in 2013 I had a few setbacks. I stopped running 5 times a week. I would be lucky if I made it even once sometimes. While it used to be easy to get up at 6am and run before work, I could hardly pull myself out of bed to get to work on time, let alone run first. I also sprained my ankle badly last summer and it took an abnormally long time to heal. Worst of all, I don’t think I saw the inside of a gym more than a few times during my travels this past fall. I needed something to make me run again.
I’m going to run a marathon in 2015. There. I said it.
I realize this sounds like a crazy idea, and it might have something to do with my looming age increase being less than 72 hours away, but running a marathon is something that less than 1% of the population has done. And I want to do it. Even though I have only ran 10 miles at one time previously…. and that might have been 3 years ago.
Since I have a year to prepare, I think it will be good to start slow, especially since I’ve never run in a race of any kind. First up will be the 2014 ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run 5K. Hopefully by March 1st, I will be able to run that far again without wheezing.
It’s all I have left of my 20’s. When I was about to turn 20 a decade ago, I was excited. I was one year away from (legally) drinking, making my way through college, and living in my own apartment in Waco. I had and unlimited amount of time and as time would prove, a limited amount of knowledge.
In the course of ten years I earned a bachelors degree and two masters degrees, had my heart broken and was careless with others’ hearts, got a job at the University of Houston and made some incredible friends, traveled across Texas and the United States, got married, lost my grandmother, and left UH for Texas Chiropractic College.
Everything in that list feels like it happened yesterday. Some of it practically did.
A few nights ago, I was being dramatic with Mike - surprise! - and bemoaned my upcoming age milestone. He replied simply: “It’s not any different.”
No, I don’t suspect that it will be. Ten years from now I will have a similar list to the one above filled with all the things that are waiting to happen to me in my 30s. My only wish is that in a world where each year seems to pass faster than the previous year, I’ll be able to slow down and make every moment last.
One of the most decidedly Texas institutions found along our freeways would have to be Buc-ee’s. They have an excellent marketing campaign utilizing billboards beginning about 40 miles away from their stores. The signs say things like “Eat here. Get Gas.” and “Ever had a Beaver Nugget?” (I have - they tasted like cereal and it felt like I would never reach the bottom of the bag). After seeing all these signs, especially if you’ve never been to a Buc-ee’s before, you almost have to stop and go inside. Besides, when they say they have the cleanest bathrooms, they’re not lying. You might as well stop and use them rather than take your chances down the road.
On my way to Harlingen yesterday, I stopped at one of their newest flagship stores in Wharton, TX. Their beef jerky makes for a great snack when you have about four hours left to drive, and I wanted to take advantage of their bathrooms (without having to worry if I’d have to wipe pee off the toilet seat). In the bathroom, I noticed that they had hung “art” on the wall behind the toilet. By art, I mean that there was a framed 36″ by 24″ piece of gunny sack hanging with a price tag of $9.99. I laughed to myself, wondering who would ever buy that; not only was it hideous, but when people asked, would you tell them that you found it in the bathroom at Buc-ee’s hanging above the toilet?
When I travel, the most interesting thing to me is all the different people I come across. When I had walked into Buc-ee’s, I could easily tell that people here were definitely not from the “big city.” Everyone moved a little slower (including the mom and her son who I was stuck walking behind with no way to get around) and it was apparent that Buc-ee’s was one of the biggest things to come to their city in a long time. So, I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked that when I came out of the bathroom, I walked by a couple in their 50’s and overheard the wife, who was holding up the gunny sack toilet art, telling her husband how amazing it would look in their front hallway. I can only imagine how the rest of their residence was decorated.
And with that, I bought my peppered beef jerky and continued on my way.
Charlie Sheen and I finally have something in common: we are both WINNING!
I have to say, I believe my version of WINNING is quite possibly better than his; I have yet to upload rambling videos here that reference a rocket ship to the moon where all the warlocks and trolls shall be vindicated, and we will view the bi-polar Earth from afar. I mostly made that up.
No, in my version of WINNING, I took to the radio airwaves in a heated battle over song identification. This morning, when I turned on my car to head to work, I caught Special K from the local 104.1 KRBE radio station playing on a Casio synthesizer in “elevator music style.” He said “if you recognize this song call in!” Now, I definitely recognized the song. Usher’s “OMG” haunted me last summer when I would go on drives around my neighborhood in Houston. At one point, I remember alternating between three stations, and it seemed as if I was stuck in a perpetual groundhog’s day where Usher wanted to “love me down” and I just wanted to file a restraining order. So in the next moment, I was dialing 713-390-KRBE. I am still not sure why.
As I backed out of my parking spot, I got exactly what I expected: a busy signal. I told myself I’d give it one more try and then continue on my drive to work, so I hit redial and waited. And then, instead of a busy tone, it started ringing. At this point, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. The last time I called into a radio station was in 1997, when I was 13, and then it was to request Leeann Rimes’ song, “How Do I Live.” The busy signal had never deterred me; I hit redial a record amount of times, and when three hours later I FINALLY got to request the song, I stayed glued to the radio another four hours waiting for the damn thing to play. Thus, I learned two things: the system was rigged, and I had horrible taste in music.
I believe the phone rang a least ten to fifteen times, or as I would call it, eternity. When I got to the point when I was contemplating hanging up, Special K suddenly answered the phone and said “104.1 KRBE what is your call for?” And my brain decided to show off my intelligent side.
“Uh…well, I um, knew the song?”
“GREAT! So you want to participate in the contest?”
“Ok, when you get on air, remember to be EXTRA excited and happy!! What’s your name and where are you calling from?!”
“Kelly from …downtown?”
“Downtown downtown…uh GREENWAY PLAZA!”
“Awesome! Just hangout on the line and we’ll get to you in a minute.”
And then I almost shit my pants. I was going to be on the radio. Participating in a contest that I didn’t realize I was calling to participate in. One Republic’s “Apologize” was currently playing, followed shortly by Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World.” At this point I seriously considered the ramifications of hanging up, but by the time I was pulling onto Highway 59, I was on one of Houston’s most popular radio stations. Thank God it was spring break and I was in the lightest traffic I’d seen since Christmas.
This is the point where I found out what was happening. Fortunately, I had listened to other people participate in this contest before. Another contestant and I were competing to win a $104 gas card. We had to identify three songs based on Special K’s version of them. The other contestant went first, which is good because I was already mortified that my speaking voice on the radio had been about 10 times as high as what it is normally. She correctly guessed her first song and then it was my turn. I braced myself for public humiliation but suddenly realized I knew the song: La Roux’s “Bulletproof.” One down, two to go.
The next song played for her was Cee Lo Green’s “F You.” Sadly for her, she thought the song was by “Cee Cee Something” so she ended up not getting getting credit. When I identified Katy Perry’s “Firework” within 3 seconds, I took the lead 2-1. Then, she correctly identified Enrique Iglesies’ “I Like It,” so it was my turn for the win, which I secured with Pink’s “Please Don’t Leave Me.” I’m slightly ashamed that I knew all of these songs, but either way, I now get to go pick up $104 dollars from the KRBE studio because of it!
And most importantly, while I may not be as WINNING as Charlie Sheen (depending on your definition of WINNING), at least I know that my bachelors and master’s degrees in music were not in vain. After years of having to identify classical music played for me during exams, I should have known that a few pop songs would not break me.
I mentioned in previous posts that my job requires me to travel across the state of Texas. Now, I have completely neglected this website for over a year, and I promise it was for several good reasons. However, I would love to start catching you up on the last year of my life. I have had plenty of adventures from my time in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi, El Paso, and East Texas, and plenty of other adventures right here in Houston. Over the next few weeks as I get back in the habit of actually writing here, I’ll do my best to keep you (or whoever is left still reading this) as entertained as I have been!
And am I born to die?
To lay this body down!
And must my trembling spirit fly
Into a world unknown?
A land of deepest shade,
Unpierced by human thought
The dreary regions of the dead,
Where all things are forgot.
Soon as from earth I go
What will become of me?
Eternal happiness or woe,
Must then my portion be!
Waked by the trumpet sound,
I from my grave shall rise;
And see the Judge with glory crowned,
And see the flaming skies!
My grandmother’s niece sent her a beautiful arrangement for the holidays, so I had to snap a few shots. This is probably my favorite of the set, and it reminds me of why I have always loved Christmas. Which also probably explains why my decorations are still out. I promise I’ll pack them away. Soon…
I can honestly say that sometimes I am at a loss about what to write here. During the days, I come up with plenty I would like to say, but when the time comes to actually log in and publish it for the world, I never follow through. Maybe I’m just tired from the day, or maybe it speaks to a larger personality flaw where I start a lot of things and never finish them. It has been known to happen before…
ANYWAY. Just thought I would give a quick holiday update. I suppose I should use the term “holiday” loosely, as we’re now four days into the new year and the next holiday is two weeks away (thanks MLK)! Unless, of course, you count my birthday on Saturday. Lets do that.
This was my first Christmas in my new apartment and really, it was my first Christmas on my own. When I was in college I would always come home about two weeks after Thanksgiving, so there was really no need to put up a tree or any other decorations. I definitely made up for that this year. My tree went up the day after Thanksgiving and is shamefully still standing in true Kelly From Texas style:
At this point, I might as well just call it a birthday tree. At any rate, I hope you and yours had a lovely holiday season this year. 2010 is not only a new year, but a new decade. What will it bring?
So it’s been a while. I know. There’s something about blogging that just keeps me from being consistent at posting. Some days I just have nothing to say, and others my mind races with the possibilities. I have missed my little piece of the internet, though, and I have had so many things in the past few weeks that could have made/could make excellent posts. However, I have just been so exhausted my brain cannot form the words to write. In fact, I am currently trying to warm myself back up after loading my car in a torrential downpour with the temperature hovering below 50 degrees. Wet and cold. Now that calls for a glass of wine. Or three.
The previous statement probably made no sense as I’ve offered no explanation of my job or what I do at all. It’s easy to say “oh, I’m an admissions counselor for the University of Houston,” but that could not possibly describe what I do completely. Remember when you were in high school and you had a “college fair night?” The people at those booths? That’s me. But the thing you don’t realize is that the person behind that booth did not magically appear; they had to travel there with a car load full of all the materials that are on their table and if it was raining they hauled it all in while getting drenched. It can be miserable. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I promise to tell you more later; in my three months on the job, I have met some of the most ridiculously stupid people you could ever imagine. But for now, I need to get to sleep. I’ll change lives tomorrow.
Or crush dreams.
Have you ever seen those annoying commercials for Jamster ringtones? They usually air on MTV2 (3, 4, 5, 500) or Fuse. And all I can say is…what the HELL is this song??? I mean come on, the green thing is horrifyingly frightening, especially when wearing briefs, pimping in his car, and shaking his ass. If the next gummi bear I eat starts singing me this song I will either be shit-faced drunk or having a nightmare.
Today was the first day of the rest of my life. Ok, scratch the dramatic opening. I really hope the rest of my life does not consist of a comedy of errors. Today, I began my job at the University of Houston. That was KIND of misleading, as today was only their orientation, or ROAR. I’ve long forgotten what that acronym means, but it did kind of make me want to spontaneously bust into a roar at 2oclock this afternoon. I’m sure afterward an asterisk would appear after the title stating that anyone who actually roars is subject to immediate job termination. But at least I would have my roar.
It’s been a long day.
Since I’ve been sitting on my unemployed ass for the past five months, I’m not used to being awake before 10 err…11am, but I awoke at 7am perkier than I could have possibly expected. I glanced longingly at my baggy shirt and shorts as I pulled on my khaki pants, brown shirt, and wedge brown heels, and then headed out, arriving a good 30 minutes early. I would need those thirty minutes.
Why? Because I am an idiot. I looked at the map, “memorized” it, and thought “oh, I know where that is” because it looked quite simple: my building would be directly across from the parking lot. Except in reality, it was a big fucking parking lot. Lots of buildings were across from it.
After aimlessly wandering and asking three strangers who all suspiciously had no idea where this building was, I finally came across it. I was sweaty, my hair had expanded 6 inches around my head (thanks, humidity), and my adorable brown wedges were feeling less than adorable as they rubbed my feet in all the wrong places. But I had arrived and there was a complementary breakfast. My day was complete.
Almost. When we finally broke for lunch, we had two tasks to complete: get our ID cards made and buy parking permits. Conveniently, both of the places we needed to go to accomplish these things were directly on the opposite side of campus. So off I go, in my increasingly painful brown wedges, prepared to go take a terrible picture of myself and fork over a ton of cash for a parking spot. I was going to be smart and get my parking permit first, since everyone else in my orientation group was getting their ID first. This way I wouldn’t have to wait in line! And I didn’t. Because halfway to the building, my feet were dying and while concentrating on the blisters I knew were forming I made a wrong turn and ended up back at the parking lot COMPLETELY ON THE WRONG SIDE OF CAMPUS WHERE I NEEDED TO BE.
At this point, I said fuck it, and decided to spend the remaining 50 minutes of my lunch break hobbling to my car, driving to my apartment to grab my tennis shoes, head back and hopefully be able to find another parking spot. Luckily, someone who desperately needed a parking spot as desperately as I wanted to not be walking in my awful brown wedges offered to give me a ride to my car so he could have my spot. I probably should have hesitated a bit, but I didn’t. It was wonderful, even though he almost asphyxiated me with the bath he took in cologne before driving to campus.
After the tragedy that became my cute brown wedges, the rest of the day finished smoothly in my comfortable brown tennis shoes. After orientation was over at 3:30, I was able to get my ID made, acquire my parking permit, hike back to my car, and be home by 4:45 with a little traffic along the way. I’d say it wasn’t too bad for a first day, minus the part where I can hardly walk. So now I’m sitting on my new porch and enjoying the cool, humid-less breeze, a rarity for Houston this early in the fall. And I am also enjoying the bud light lime that’s capping off the first day of my new life.
A while back I posted this entry, sharing a creepy commercial that will haunt your dreams. It was probably created by people who dropped acid a few minutes before filming began, ESPECIALLY the dude with the giant pickle/dildo on his head. I can’t imagine anyone was paid very much to humiliate themselves this greatly. I’m sure the copious amounts of drugs caused them all to not care anyway.
Since then, it has become the most commented entry on my website, not because real people are actually viewing it and saying “OH MY GOD THE HORROR.” It’s because Viagra and Cialis spammers latched on to the the title “pickle surprise” and decided that would be the most appropriate entry to place their poorly designed comments and links to buy their products.
But really, after viewing the video, I suppose you would need a heavy dose of Viagra to even hope to get your penis in the upright position. Especially after seeing the hooker with the blacked out front tooth in the first 10 seconds.
I have visited many cemeteries doing genealogy research and have never really been disturbed spending time wandering around. The style and etchings of the stones usually indicates the era in which the stone was made, and I have always found looking at the dates fascinating. While I was in Waco, my street ended at the entrance to Oakwood Cemetery. It has a sprawling landscape and many important people in the Waco community have been laid to rest here, including the founder of McLennan county. I have driven around it a few times and always loved looking at the dates on these stones, especially the older ones, while imagining what the lives of these people were like. A few weeks before I moved back to Houston, I went in the late afternoon one last time and snapped this shot of the seemingly endless road through the cemetery, lined with the giant trees who have silently guided those here to their final repose.
The walls are brightly colored
Stained with crimson,
Adorned with shame
And drifting shadows form silhouettes
that disappear, consumed by darkness.
With vision only night bestows
You can look toward your crimson wall
Seeing only shades of gray
and the faint outline of my face
That fades with morning’s light
Then with the break of dawn
the shadows disappear from your eyes
You can see clearly now -
and drive another nail into your wall
as punishment for your sin.
I have never been a patient driver, but I like to consider myself a smart, albeit speedy, one. Yes, I realize that few people actually describe themselves as terrible drivers, but I would like to think that in the ten years that I have been on the road, my spotless record (squeaky clean thanks to defensive driving) allows me to brag just a little bit.
However, I am definitely no longer a complete moron; as a freshman in college, I would routinely drive 90mph or more on my drive to Houston from Waco. I have no logical explanation other than I did it because I could. Those extra 15 minutes I saved in travel time were TOTALLY worth the risk of violent death. Since I have mellowed with age, I generally cruise 75mph when traveling on the highway and have zero patience for stupid drivers. If you ride my ass on the highway for no good reason, I promise that it will not make me go any faster. Just ask the guy in the white F150 who discovered this when I was going to Houston this past week.
I was gaining on a slow 18 Wheeler when the F150 tried to pass me at a point where there was clearly not enough room to do so. Visibly irritated that I was only going 75mph, right after we passed the 18 Wheeler, the F150 immediately cut the truck off before I could get over, swooped in front of me and slammed on his brakes. Of course, there was no one in front of him, but I had wronged him by not going fast enough. This was my punishment.
As he slowed down to 65mph I couldn’t help but visibly shrug to him just so he knew that I really didn’t give a shit. Seriously. YOU WON’T WIN THIS GAME WITH ME. About that time, Katy Perry’s newest single, “Waking Up in Vegas” began to play on the radio and I suddenly had the perfect solution: I began to sing along to the song as obnoxiously as I possibly could. Now, I have never had any shame in singing along with the radio while I am in a car. I really don’t care what you think of me as I rock out while driving around town. But this time I went above and beyond. I exaggerated every word of the song and did some awesome white-girl car dancing. Most people would probably describe it as a seizure. This was not the reaction the F150 driver wanted to illicit from me, and when he slowed to 55pmh, I couldn’t help but to throw back my head and laugh. I’m sure he noticed, because it was about that time when he finally sped up to about 90 mph and shot off into the distance.
The best part? I caught up to him five minutes later. Traffic will always trip you up, no matter how much of a dick you are.
While in Seattle, we visited a variety of drinking establishments, and by variety I really mean that I LOST COUNT OF THE NUMBER. My liver just twinged out of anger after I wrote that sentence.
My absolute favorite place that we visited was called Bleu and it was located on Broadway, the main drag of Capitol Hill. Their drink menu was a huge packet consisting of everything you could ever imagine, and the atmosphere was exquisite. Guests were seated at private tables partitioned by large drapes, and I told Brad that anytime he has a date and does not bring her there, he will definitely not be getting laid.
Of course, in true Capitol Hill style, after I took this picture, a group of naked bike riders whizzed by.
In a little over two weeks, a U-Haul truck will be loaded with with everything that represents my life in Waco for the past seven years. If there is one photo from the collection I took while in Seattle that makes me want to send that U-Haul on a two thousand mile trek northwest, it would be this:
I took this my last night in Seattle on our way back to Brad’s apartment after passing a bar where drag queens were performing their best impersonations of Lady GaGa and Reba McEntire. Lets just say those drag queens and the wonderful sushi dinner we had at a place called Ha Na, followed by this skyline, made me fall in love.
Brad and I have been friends since we were 14 years old. Although he moved back to Seattle after our freshman year of high school, this awesome invention called the internet helped us keep in contact. Really, if we had to write letters to each other I don’t think we would have made it this far. As fun as snail mail can be, it just doesn’t have the same effect as waking up to an instant message exclaiming HOLY SHIT I WAS SO WASTED LAST NIGHT.
Although he did come to visit once before our senior year of high school, since then a lot of our time was spent either on the phone or instant messaging. It was during one of these phone calls last year, while I was driving to San Antonio to visit my boyfriend, that he announced his intent to come to Texas. Lets just say that in July 2008, after seeing each other for the first time in seven years, we really did have the ability to have a conversation comprised entirely of inside jokes.
I have always wanted to go to Seattle to visit Brad, but it had never happened for various reasons. However, my impending unemployment made for the perfect excuse to get the government to pay for my flight to Seattle. Thanks, Stimulus! And so, the “Buddy Trip,” nicknamed after years of drunk dials starting off with the word BUDDY!!!!, became an annual event.
Now let me take a few minutes here to tell you about one of the most AWESOME TRIPS OF MY LIFE. Brad lives on Capitol Hill. The name doesn’t lie. It’s a big fucking hill that I’ve walked up and down many times and have the blisters to prove it. Although we did do a lot of touristy things, like ascending the Space Needle, taking the Underground Tour, and going on a Duck boat tour, we also did a lot of walking around his neighborhood. The weather was absolutely perfect, compared to Texas, and Capitol Hill has to be one of the most fun neighborhoods, mostly because you never know what, or who, you’re going to run into. In the course of the 5 days I was there, we saw naked bike riders, colorful people, and overheard many out of context quotes, such as “I really love your hairpiece,” and “I need to clean my cock ring.” Also, the sheer amount of bars in the area is astounding; we had to have visited at least 10 while I was there, with my favorites being Bleu, which had great atmosphere, Clever Dunns, where I played shuffleboard for the first time ever, and The Honey Hole, which was a gay bar. Enough said.
Did I mention how on the plane ride home I was contemplating applying for jobs in the Seattle area? This trip was THAT MUCH FUN. I will be in Houston next year, and since this will hopefully continue to be an annual trip, I’m going to have to work extra hard to find things to do that can even compare to this experience. And I definitely cannot wait to go back.
Whenever I go to the mall, I am inevitably accosted by various people working kiosks trying to hand me soap or re-straighten my already straightened hair. Their overpriced lotions, soaps, and salts are not all as terrible as some of them smell; I have purchased sea salt and a package of lotion after significantly haggling the prices down. Most of the workers are directly from Israel and probably receive commission, but I’m sorry. 99 dollars for a container of bath salt is not going to happen, even if you collected it directly from Jesus’ ass after a soak in the Dead Sea.
I usually avoid making eye contact with these people and hustle by as quickly as I can because, no, I really don’t want you to inspect my hands. However, my mom was not so lucky. Yesterday, she was pulled aside by a lady who aggressively grabbed her hand and began the buffing process as my mom was telling her, no really, I already have a buffer. The woman continued talking through her rehearsed speech, halfway insulting her skin as being too dry, as my mom countered that she already had products that she clearly didn’t use from the sea salt kiosk down the way. But that is where the lady exclaimed that she wasn’t selling sea salt! She was actually selling a sugar based product from Las Vegas that was so good for your skin that it was even edible. Because that makes sense.
And then she asked if my mother was married. After replying yes, the seller excitedly informed her she could even lick it off her husband, and winked.
Needless to say, she didn’t make the sale.
My best friend and I were born five days apart. This has always led to several fun joint celebrations, starting with our arrival at the ripe old age of 18. Being the great risk-takers that we are, we took Houston by storm, hitting up the liquor stores with our fake IDs, renting a hotel room, hosting a huge party and trashing the place while getting totally wasted.
Who am I kidding; our lives were nothing like that movie 10 Things I Hate About you. Friday after school we went to the local Diamond Shamrock, got cappuccinos, and bought some scratch-offs and lotto tickets. Why? Because we were 18 and could legally purchase them! The most disappointing part, other than the fact all our tickets were losers, was that we weren’t even carded. We thrust our IDs at the clerk, who probably pretended to look at them only because we were acting like morons. Now, its a slight inconvenience to pull out the ID, though I probably get carded more now than I did then. Not that it’s a completely bad thing.
Anyway, up until now, the two or three times I got a scratch off on a whim, I have always been a loser. The state of Texas is now my bitch. I’m sure Texas really going to miss those twenty dollars I just won, what with the recession and all…