Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lately I'm Loving: How Did This Get Made?

Last weekend, Adam and I took a road trip to visit my BFF for her birthday. Because we were in the car for 10 hours over the course of the weekend, we needed to entertain ourselves. We decided podcasts would help pass the time quickly, and that's how we discovered How Did This Get Made?

HDTGM is a podcast about terrible movies, and they explore the question that all viewers ask themselves: How did this get made? I particularly enjoyed the episode about The Room. I have written about my affinity for The Room before, and it was great to hear the interpretations other people have of this horrible, horrible film. I also laughed hysterically at the episode about the Lifetime movie Liz & Dick, starring Lindsay Lohan and a bunch of amazingly bad wigs.

They always have hilarious special guest stars like Retta, Kristen Schaal, Patton Oswalt, and Adam Scott. The show is so funny that it makes me want to go back and watch these awful movies. Anything that actually makes you want to watch Spice World is a winner in my book.

What are your favorite podcasts?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: Marathon Woman

Because my life seems to revolve around marathon running right now, it's only fitting that my reading list also reflects that particular hobby.

I first heard of Kathrine Switzer last year when I watched PBS's Makers documentary about the history of feminism and the women's rights movement. In 1964, she registered for the Boston Marathon as K.V. Switzer and became the first woman to ever officially run the storied race. A few miles in, the race director came running out onto the course, yelling at her to "get out of [his] race." He tried to physically rip the numbered bib off of her and instead received a well-timed shove from Switzer's then-boyfriend. Switzer finished the race and found a passion in advocating for women runners and athletes.

Her book follows her life from her childhood to the 1984 Olympics, the first to feature the women's marathon as an event. The thing I liked most about this book was seeing the evolution of road racing. When Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967, there were no water stops on the course. If you wanted to drink water, you had to bring your own crew of people to give it to you. This was the norm in races. She talks about a series of women-only races she organized in the '70s that was the first to give medals to all finishers. There were no watches or timing chips; you got your official time from a person who watched you cross the finish line and wrote down your time with your bib number. Not only were there no sweat-wicking fabrics, there weren't even running clothes designed for women.

It's one thing to take technological and scientific advantages for granted, but the biggest reminder from this book was never to take running itself for granted. As a woman who runs with other women on a regular basis, it's crazy to think that just 50 years ago, people legitimately thought that a woman's uterus would fall out if she ran long distances. No one has ever tried to throw me out of a race or run me off the road or dissuade me from tackling my goals simply because of my sex, and I have Kathrine Switzer to thank for that.

If you are at all interested in running, I highly recommend this book. A

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Review: The Art of Fielding

This book has been on my radar for quite sometime. This summer, I saw it on the "recently returned" shelf at the library and checked it out. It sat on the bottom of my stack of unread books and I kept renewing it as other books surpassed it. But when it started popping up more frequently in my blogosphere and then on my BFF's Instagram, I knew it was time to buckle down and read it.

The story takes place at Westish College, a liberal arts school on the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. As the graduate of a Midwestern liberal arts school, I was immediately intrigued by the premise. However, unlike my women's college experience, this story is all about the dudes. The main characters are two young men who play on the college's baseball team. Sure, the story centers around the sport of baseball, but at its heart, The Art of Fielding is a coming-of-age story about male relationships and all that they entail.

This was a book that I really wanted to like, but the story just didn't grasp me. It seemed like a story for dudes by a dude, and I definitely did not feel like I was the intended audience. Also, I felt the story went on a bit too long and got unrealistically convoluted for the sake of titillation. There was a point in the story where I wanted to punch every single character in the face and yell "stop making horrible life choices!" Without spoiling the story, I was frustrated by the resolution of the story's central conflict, which seemed to come out of nowhere and was never explained. Maybe that's just how dudes resolve problems, though. Who knows.

It wasn't all bad, though. While the story bugged me at times, I loved the writing. I am not a baseball fan, but I thought the baseball scenes were among the best-written in the book. I frequently wished the characters would get away from their existential crises and back to the diamond. Also, this book has some of the best character names I've ever encountered. Henry Skrimshander? Guelt Affenlight? Adam Starblind? Excellent work, Chad Harbach.

If you are a twenty-something male or a baseball fan, I would recommend this book for you. Otherwise, I think you can probably skip it. I do look forward to reading more from this author, though. B-

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marine Corps Marathon Training: Weeks 13-16

Week 13: This was a really great week. I had a good 9-mile run on Wednesday night with a few girls from my running group. We even took a couple of laps on the public track that just opened! On Thursday, I ran my first 5K in quite some time. It was 90 degrees, but I managed to pull out a big PR of 29:04. I finally went sub-30:00! Saturday was our biggest run yet: 18 miles. The weather was on our side. It was a gorgeous morning in the high 60s with a few clouds. I felt great! The last 2-3 miles were pretty rough, but I held in there pretty well. I took a dip in a very rough and chilly Lake Michigan afterward, and it definitely did the trick because my legs recovered really well.

Week 14: I had a trial going on in the suburbs, so thanks to all the 12-hour days, I didn't run at all during the week. I had a great 14 miles on Saturday, though, in the very fall-like weather. I wore long sleeves and it was wonderful! After the run, a bunch of us went out to brunch. We drank mimosas and talked a little too loudly. It was awesome. Days like that Saturday are what make this whole process worth it.

Week 15: This was the big one. The highest-mileage week of the year. I did an easy 5 miles on Tuesday, 10 miles on Wednesday with my group, and then 20 on Sunday. I was supposed to do 5 more on Thursday, but packet pick-up for the 20-miler took forever and I ran out of time. I felt pretty good for the first 15 miles, and then it got really tough mentally. Sometimes I forget how mental marathon running is. Sure, you need to train your body, but training your mind is just as important. I got some good mind-training in that day. It's definitely a boost of confidence knowing that my body is capable of running 20 miles. What's another 6 after that, right?

Week 16: After 20 miles, my legs needed some time to recover. I ran 8 miles on Wednesday with my group and my legs felt surprisingly good. I had to skip my Thursday 5-miler, though. (Remind me to not schedule so many evening commitments in September next time I do a fall marathon.) Unfortunately, this was my last week running with my group. As most of them are running the Chicago Marathon, which is two weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon, they have begun to taper. I have not. The group was scheduled for 12, and I had to do 14, so I showed up extra early to start before them. My stomach didn't feel so hot, and I seriously contemplated dropping out early. However, around mile 8, I finally started to feel OK. I'm so happy that I stuck with the group. It was great to get one last run in with my CARA friends before they all crush Chicago in a couple weeks.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Two years ago, we got all dressed up, threw a big ol' party, and promised to love one another forever and ever.

They say the first year is the hardest, and looking back, I see why. In year one, there was a lot of "getting used to" to do, but after two years, there's a sense of familiarity.  Dan Savage talks about a concept he calls "the price of admission." The price of admission in a relationship is all the little things that drive you nuts about your partner. Maybe your partner leaves his towels on the floor every day or maybe he is horrible at loading the dishwasher. Savage's theory is that you have to put up with the annoying habits to get to all the good stuff. For me, year one was figuring out what the price of admission was, and year two has been about enjoying the good stuff. Two years in, I know what to expect, I feel settled, and I wouldn't change a thing about our life (except for maybe a little more vacation time).

Happy anniversary, my love. Two down, a million to go.

Friday, September 19, 2014

30 Years of Clair Huxtable

The Cosby Show premiered on September 20, 1984 and aired for 8 seasons. It was the #1 show in the country for 5 straight seasons and remains one of my personal favorites to this day. (I can often be found laughing hysterically while watching reruns and DVRing episodes to show to Adam.) While I am an unabashed Bill Cosby fan, it was Phylicia Rashad's Clair Huxtable who captured my heart.

She taught me about feminism before I knew it had a name. She was a successful lawyer, a partner at her firm. She was always the smartest woman in the room. (Fun fact: Phylicia Rashad spoke fluent Spanish, so they gave that trait to her character.) She was elegant and cultured, but wasn't afraid to dig in the dirt or play dress-up with her kids. She was kind and understanding, but she was never hesitant to speak up for herself. Her marriage with Cliff was based on a rock-solid foundation of trust, respect, and admiration. She's exactly the kind of mother I aspire to be someday.

In honor of The Cosby Show's 30th birthday, let's take a look at some of Clair's greatest hits.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lately I'm Loving: Rainbow Rowell

It all started a few months ago when I first heard about Eleanor and Park. Pretty soon, it was popping up everywhere I looked, so I figured I should give it a read. I tore through it in a day and promptly reserved every other book written by the author, Rainbow Rowell, at the library. I've now read them all and can say I am a huge fan. Rowell does a great job creating characters that you instantly relate to and root for. Her writing is witty and laugh-out-loud funny at times, but it's also touching and poignant. Part of me hopes that they'll be made into movies because the stories are just perfect for the big screen, but I don't want the studios to ruin them like they so often do with great books. Her most recent novel (Landline) just came out in July, so unfortunately, it looks like I'll have to wait a little while for new material, but I'll be first in line when it comes!