Friday, April 26, 2013

Sidewalk Chalk and a Challenge for the Week

As I was lying in bed earlier this week giggling at a rerun of Friends on TV, I saw a commercial for sidewalk chalk. Crayola, to be exact (I'll expect a marketing payment by next Wednesday, ah-hem!). It focused on a little boy who invites his neighborhood girlfriend out to the driveway to draw with his multicolored sidewalk chalk bucket. I guess Crayola has revamped their colors in preparation for the summer. Watching the children smile and draw and laugh and create while their moms look on lovingly at first made me roll my eyes (ugh, kids). But when I thought about my childhood sidewalk chalk memories, it hit me--I, too, smiled and drew and laughed and created while my mom/camp counselors looked on lovingly. Sidewalk chalk hasn't changed.

In this fast-paced, technology-filled world known as 2013, even a youngster like me at twenty-five has seen how much has changed. I didn't grow up listening to an iPod, using 3D glasses to watch movies at home, or writing notes on a tablet in middle school. But today, kids all over the country are doing just that.

Nevertheless when it comes to sidewalk chalk, my memories reflect this week's commercial. Surely by now, sidewalk chalk would come with 3D capabilities or a talking holder with a computer that tells you just how to outline a portrait of Beyoncé. But, no, sidewalk chalk still comes in a bucket. There are still a limited number of colors. It still gets all over your fingers. And kids still have a blast creating pictures in the great outdoors.

Thank God!

How badly am I making you want to grab a bucket and hit the concrete right now?

Well, that's my challenge for this week. In an attempt to find un-plugged ways to spend my time, much like I did as a child, and much like those kids on TV, I am going to turn off my TV for a WHOLE WEEK. No six o'clock news, no Food Network, and no Friends. 

I am going to spend my TV time looking for new (old) ways of entertaining myself. Whether it's as simple as reading a book or as lavish as decorating my front steps with sidewalk chalk creations, I'll spend seven days without my TV plugged in.

If you want to join me, comment on here and tell me what you're doing each day with the TV off (let's keep it PG people...). I'll meet ya back here next week to see what we all did!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Guess It Must Be Love--A Spectator's Perspective on an Upcoming Marathon

In eleven days, my best friend will be running her first marathon. So will a former coworker of mine. So will roughly 25,000 other people. I've been planning to make my posters, strap on my Chacos, and wait at the finish line for months now. Last year I watched my friend finish her first half marathon. I used my packing-tape-laminated poster as an umbrella as it rained. Why would I not go cheer her on again?

Two days ago, bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people died, with many, many more injured.

The news coverage, Facebook postings, and Tweets have been all over this event. They keep saying things like "Why hurt people at a marathon?" "Look at all the people who ran toward the bombs to help" and "Those who cheer on the runners were the ones hurt."

The spectators who stood near the finish line were hurt--were killed. And while I'm impressed and grateful for the wave of positivity pouring out of the American people, I can't help to wonder selfishly, Do I still want to go cheer for my friends? 

Many runners have already stated their intent to run next weekend. There are already blogs and tweets about how they won't back down, how terrorists (or crazies) can't break their spirit. But what about us spectators? What about those of us who can't run the length of Wal-Mart let alone a whole marathon? We don't have to be there. We don't have to prove anything to ourselves. We don't have to reach a goal toward which we've literally been running for several months. We just wanna watch.

So what makes me care to put myself in harm's way to cheer on these runners?

I guess it must be love.

Because you see, despite the extra security guards, despite the precaution, despite the runner's attitude, all hell might break out again. But I'm still going to show up. I'm still going to make my poster, strap on my Chacos, and cheer on my friends. I'm still going to put myself in the position of expressing my love toward my friends and the strangers who run with them. Each of these runners has been working hard to reach this goal. Each of them has been sacrificing their bodies, social lives, and diets to prepare for the long road ahead of them. But so have we--the spectators who plan on watching them. We've been preparing right along side them.

We've marked out our calendars, bought our craft supplies, and set our alarms. We've sacrificed our social lives for them. And we've sacrificed our diets as we carb load with them the night before. The runners may have an unmatched spirit, but those who watch them, we have a spirit too. We're the Robin to their Batman, the Vice to their President, the stage manager to their lead actress. We're a part of this too.

We want to see success, we want to witness the finish line. We want to watch our friends push to the end and achieve that for which they worked so hard. Because we love them.

And so in eleven days, despite my fear, I will let love triumph and watch the marathon. In person. At the finish line. Poster in hand.

I will defeat my own inner terrorist by being a very real, very present expression of love.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Literally (did not) Flip a Shit

"It literally blew my mind."

"He literally flew over to her."

"She is literally larger than life."

"I am literally going to die from this homework!'

"I literally flipped a shit."


I hope you brain is in bits across the sidewalk, 'cause if not, you're doing it wrong.

I hope he's on an airplane, 'cause if not, he needs to tell scientists how he did it, asap!

How big is life?

I hope your homework is beginner's alligator wrestling, 'cause if not, you're being dramatic.

I hope your washed your hands before serving me my fries.


Never walk away from a conversation thinking you did it justice. Millions of words are misused each day. Our vernacular allows us to interpret meaning based on the social acceptability of  Opposite Day phrases. Sarcasm was created by saying exactly the opposite of what we mean. But in it's wake, it's left a trail of misused words, and we rarely notice anymore. Listen to the next conversation you have. Or, if you're not ready to analyze yourself, listen to those around you--in the office, at school, in line at Orange Leaf ("OMG I've literally been dying to try this new banana-pudding flavor!").

Then ask yourself, what can you do to save the misused words? They need your help. Literally.