Monthly Archives: April 2005

Broad Street Run!!!

Okay folks, the day has arrived (well, almost).

Tomorrow I run 10 miles, the longest I’ve ever run in my life (I’m hoping for eight out of ten).

Think of me starting at 8:30 am east coast time and don’t stop until around 11 am (if I’m not finished by then, they kick me off the course)!

I’ll post tomorrow and let you know how it goes!

Marisa as train wreck

It’s official.

I’m a wreck.

Yesterday was shitty ass and while today is looking up, I’m not really back to my normal buoyant self.

Friday I was late (really late) to work. I called my boss to let her know, and then she wasn’t in when I got there. I was in for about an hour and then had to leave to pick up my packet for the Broad Street Run (okay, I didn’t have to, but I had plans to do so before my late night and didn’t change those plans). Traffic was ridiculous and I was gone from work for almost two hours. When I got back E. was there and she callled me on it. And she was justified, because I’ve been a pretty lousy employee lately. I don’t want to be there anymore, and it shows. So I spend most of yesterday suffering under the dual mantle of guilt and frustration. I feel guilty because I’m not my best self at work. In fact I’m about half of my best self there, which turns into a pretty mediocre Marisa who I don’t enjoy being. I’m frustrated because I don’t want to be there and because while the people I work with know I could do more, they don’t have any way of helping me do more.

I called my mom while I was driving home and ended up sobbing into my cell phone. She was sympathetic but also a little tough (because of the disservice I’m doing to my bosses).

So what do I do in the meantime, until I can move on to something else?

I try to change my attitude and choose peace (even if I have to re-choose peace every second of the day).

Life can really be a pain in the ass sometimes.

service auction blah blah blah

I just got home. Check the time of the post, yep, that’s right, it’s after 1:30 in the am. On a school night.

Was I doing something fun?


I was sitting in the hot, sweaty church office with Cindy, slaving over a hot copy machine, listening to bad corporate radio, putting together the book for the service auction next week.

Insanity or devotion to my church. You be the judge.


I think I have a problem.

I have too many books.

I have no more shelf space left and yet, in the last two days, I’ve purchased 20 books (at 6 for a $1 at two of my favorite thriftstores).

Having all of these unread books doesn’t stop me from requesting more from the library or borrowing them from friends. I could read books I own for the next year and not exhaust my collection.

The other problem is that I keep buying the same books. I have multiple copies of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A Town Like Alice, 84 Charing Cross Road, Saint Maybe and From Time to Time. I love these books, and I like to be prepared to pass them along to friends without fear of losing my only copy, because it’s a well-known fact that people rarely return books. I’ve never understood why people would never imagine keeping anything that didn’t belong to them think nothing of keepinga book on lend.

My book purchasing addiction began at a young age. From the time we moved to Portland when I was 9 years old, every second or third Saturday my mom and I would go to the main Goodwill in SE. Upstairs to the left was the bookloft, a dusty, well-organized haven for readers. It was divided into sections, I would make a beeline for the kid’s section, and settle myself on the floor in front of the shelves to select my 10-15 new books. At $.69 a piece, the price was right and the selection was broad. Writing this, I am awash with longing for that thriftstore, with it’s book loft. In the grand tradition of making things bigger, nicer and newer, Goodwill Industries of Oregon ripped down that store when I was 12 years old to make room for a big, glossy store, with handicap accessible bathrooms and no book loft.

It’s time to go read.

When your car becomes a teenager…

My family got our first Subaru in 1986. It was also the first new car that parents ever bought. My mom loved it because it started every time you put the key in the ignition (a rarity for the first 10 of my parents’ marriage and joint car ownership years). It had a manual transmission, no 4-wheel drive and was tan and boxy and we all loved it. When we moved from LA to Portland in 1988, it was the car that took us on the two-day journey, up the coast, through mountains and to the doorstep of our closest family friends’ house, where we stayed until our house in Laurelhurst was ready for occupancy.

When I was 9 years old, I was playing at my across-the-street neighbor’s (Yumi) house and we got on the subject of what car we wanted when we were old enough to drive. She wanted a red sports car (she was always flashier than I was). I stated with conviction that I wanted a Subaru, like my mom’s, because it was sensible and you could carry extra stuff around if you needed to. She rolled her eyes at me and the conversation moved on.

My Subaru loyalty stayed true through the sad destruction of our little tan wagon in a 4 car pile-up on the Sunset Highway in 1992 (my mom was in the car and was able to walk away unscathed. The accident was so intense that the toolkit in the back melted into the metal of the car).

When I turned sixteen, my parents started talking about getting me a car so they wouldn’t have to drive me around anymore(I was a pretty darn lucky kid). I wanted a Subaru, what I got was a 1986 Ford Tempo. When the Tempo proved to be a train wreck of a car, my dad sold it, and got me my very first Subaru. It was a grey 1989 sedan. While not a wagon, it did me just fine for the next couple of years. During this time, I convinced my dad that the older Subaru was the way to go. He bought a red 1988 wagon, which later became mine as well. There was a period of time when I had the red wagon, my sister had a white one and my dad had a blue one, you’d think we were patriotic or something.

When I moved to Philly I sold my red wagon to my sister’s best friend’s boyfriend. He isn’t Meredith’s boyfriend anymore, but Sean took that car with him to Colorado and still drives it to this day, 3+ years later.

I was carless for my first year and a half in the City of Brotherly Love, but when I got my current a job, a car became a necessity and I started looking. I felt frustrated and discouraged, there wasn’t anything out there that seemed reliable and cheap. The car I had in my head was a Legacy wagon like the one our NW Portland neighbor’s daughter had had, the one I wanted when I was 16. I started praying for the universe to send me a car that was safe, cheap and reliable (some may say crazy, but I say, what’s wrong asking for a little help with something that you rely on to keep you safe?). Then I found it. A women in my neighborhood was selling a 1992 green Subaru Legacy wagon with just over 100,000 miles, the car of my dreams. She was the original owner and had taken really good care of this car, at one point replaced the sun visors in her diligence to maintain it’s integrity.

So I got the Subaru of my dreams, eight years later. The problem with getting your dream car after it’s entered it’s second decade of life is that it has already started getting a little persnickity. This year my car turned 13 and has started showing signs of teenage rebellion. It smells funky, dresses funny (okay I admit, I like to dress it up with liberal bumperstickers) and it’s voice is starting to change. But like any devoted parent, I would never give up on my car, just because it is acting out. I plan on sticking with this car and hopefully I’ll see it through to adulthood, just like it’s seeing me.

Apartment 2016

I walked into the building from the garage this afternoon around 5:30, in my normal swirl of post-work, almost home activity. Check package list at front desk, dig through bag for keys, open mail box, retrieve junk mail and bills, find building id card in wallet, glance at bulletin board in passing…whoa

I was stopped in my tracks by a sign in the glass fronted bulletin board, which read:

Bunny of apartment 2016 passed away on Wednesday, April 20th

I registered the apartment number first, thinking, “Hey, that’s my floor, do I know that person?” Instantly, I realized, I did. Bunny lived across the hall and down a few apartments from me. I always remembered her name, because my California grandma was also a Bunny. She was a thin woman, probably in her late 60’s, with shoulder length dyed brown hair that she always wore in a flip (I always imagined that it was her preferred style in high school, on which someone had once complimented her, so for her entire life she remained convinced that it was her most flattering do). Whenever I saw her in the trashroom or on elevator, she would smile broadly and greet me enthusiastically. She remembered my grandmother and never failed to mention how wonderful she thought she had been, and how beautiful.

I worried about Bunny, for the last couple of years she seemed thinner every time I saw her and the dark circles under eyes stretched down to her cheeks. But it never occurred to me that she sick. I had fleeting thoughts that considered whether she was an alcoholic, but always dismissed them. I worried about Bunny, but I didn’t check on her, didn’t leave a note, didn’t offer to run an errand or two for her, didn’t do any of the things that a concerned neighbor should have done. I live in a weird world that way, humanity is stacked one on top of another in my building, but once we are tucked away, each in our own cell of an apartment, thoughts of the people around us shimmer and fade like a mirage.

I stood in front of that sign in the mail room for over a minute, feeling waves of shock, surprise and sadness slap against me. I kept looking around for someone I knew, needing to share the assimilation of this loss with another. But no one passed.

So now I say good bye to Bunny, my neighbor. I hope that wherever you’ve gone, you realize that your presence on Earth was felt and that your absence now leaves a hole. Be well.

Peace, joy and a little productivity

I’ve been in a funk, could you tell?

Doing my work has supremely difficult. I haven’t been running like I should be a week (A WEEK!) before the Broad Street Run. I was crabby towards the apple help desk guy (and I’m never rude to customer service people). I ate ice cream for dinner last night (sorry Ma, at least it was lowfat).

I talked to my mom four times yesterday, mostly just to sit on the phone and whine about how I felt crappy and sad and yucky. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been a little (okay, a lot) premenstrual for the last couple of days, which never lightens my mood (or the scale!). I hate to perpetuate that stereotype, but what can I do, sometimes stereotypes do have some foundation in reality.

On our final phone call of the day, she read me a paragraph out of the spiritual book du jour, and it helped. It said that you have to live your life with peace in your heart and mind. That we will always have to do things that aren’t fun, that don’t inspire us, that require effort and dedication to finish, but that if we can come to those activities choosing to execute them from a place of peace, then you will be peaceful in the carrying out of those tasks. It might sound simplistic, but last night it was a revelation.

This morning, as I was walking from my car to the building, the sun was shining and I was dreading having to complete another day of work that leaves me feeling empty and unfulfilled, I thought of peace and that passage from the previous night. I stopped walking and said out loud, in the empty parking lot, “I choose peace, joy and productivity today.” This declaration made me feel instantly lighter and a bit readier to take on the day that was opening before me.

Lately I’ve been wishing my life away. I’ve been desperate to be at the next stage, working the next job, meeting the next boy, figuring out what/how/when to go back to school. Nothing about my life as it is was satisfying me. I’ve been acting like myself at my ninth birthday party, lower lip quivering and ready to burst into tears because the event (a really lovely party with good friends, loving parents and fun gifts) wasn’t living up to the image I had created in my head and so it must not be okay. But that ends here. I’m drying up the tears, throwing away the expectations and choosing to go to and participate in my party.

I'm a bad cousin

Hey Mel, happy belated birthday!

I was so worried Sunday, when I thought I had forgotten your birthday, and then look at what I did, I forgot to call you yesterday, when it really was your birthday. I love you!

Avoiding my responsibilities

When I was in high school, my abilities to accomplish tasks were legendary. I created children’s theatre workshops, ran blood drives, acted in plays, coordinated youth group overnights, played handbells, organized and ran all technical aspects of school assemblies. I was driven, motivated and responsible.

Now I wonder, where did that girl go?

I don’t want to do anything anymore. I hate most of the responsibilities I’ve taken on at church, I haven’t read my book club book this month and I’ve only gone running once this week. The only thing that hasn’t become a chore is writing this blog (that’s because I love it). Completing my work at my job becomes a monumental task, requiring massive amounts of will power and mental dragging to get through the day.

I know what’s going on here. My carrot is missing. When I was in high school, I was in the race, on the path towards college and achievement. I did it all because I was under the impression that those things would get me somewhere, and that somewhere was deeply important to me at that time. I was sure that by getting to that place, I would be a happier person. A better person. A more liked person. But, as I grew up (damn maturity), I realized that wasn’t the case.

I guess it all comes down to love (doesn’t everything?). In those days I loved being successful, being lauded and achieving the next step. That motivator doesn’t work for me anymore, and I haven’t replaced it with something else I love. I don’t need to impress people or have them tell me how terrific I am. But I need something that will propel me forward into my future. If you have any ideas, let me know.