Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My two cents about the Travyon Martin case

-- and this has nothing to do with the actual incident itself. Well, it has something to do with it, I suppose. It has to do with hoodies.

On Friday, Mr. Geraldo Rivera stated that Travyon shouldn’t have been wearing a hoodie (and later apologized for the comment). The statement indicated, it seems, that individuals who wear hoodies look thuggish. Sketch. Troublesome.

At first, I though the statement was silly and unwarranted. Who doesn’t own at least one hoodie? Sure, lots of crimes, especially those that are caught on security cameras, seem to portray the criminals wearing hoodies, but that shouldn’t make everyone who wears a hoodie suspect, right?

It shouldn’t – but, depending on your color, it apparently can.

I have a black coworker who said that he told all of his nephews not to wear hoodies with the hood over their head because people would assume they were up to something.

I cannot fathom that. I run, and my favorite time of the year to run outside is during the winter. And, as we all know, it gets dark fairly early in the wintertime. So the majority of the time when I run outside, I’m running in black running pants and I have either an orange, black, or brown hoodie that I wear – with the hood up.

So picture this: Here I am, a white female, running in the dark – possibly RUNNING UP TO SOMEONE WHO IS WALKING – with a hoodie up over my head.

It’s never once occurred to me that someone may assume that I’m up to something.

But then again, I’m not black. I’ve never had to face racism. All my life, I’ve been taught that people are equal and not to judge someone by the color of his or her skin. I’ve always assumed that racism is almost dead…but how can I be the judge of that when I was never the target?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying racism is part of the Trayvon case nor am I saying that it is not. I don’t believe I’ve seen all the facts, therefore I cannot judge that aspect.

All I know is that, as someone who runs…in the dark…with a hoodie on…and who could be thought as chasing someone…the idea that just because someone wears a hoodie is a gangster is wrong.

What if someone did think I was chasing someone that I was passing on the sidewalk? What if they yelled at me to stop? I probably wouldn’t hear them. I usually have headphones in my ears.

What if someone thought I was up to something? And, not saying I would be shot, but what if the cops were called on me just because I was wearing a black hoodie and black pants and running behind someone? Sure, you could argue that it’s better to be safe than sorry…but that’s not my point. My point is that I’ve never had to worry about this. Why? Because I was born with a certain tone of skin.

Two of my cousins adopted black babies in recent years, and it breaks my heart to realize that they will face racism. I’ve never had to worry about wearing a black hoodie at night…but will they?

One thing my husband has labored to teach me (because y’all know I want to change the world to my “perfect” world, ha!) is that we cannot control other people’s behaviors or actions. I cannot stop some of my white students from talking about the “white people” Sonic in or town or some of my black students giggling when they see that I graduated from an HBCU.

But I can control my family and myself. Like my parents taught me, I can teach my children that race has no bearing on a person’s character. I can teach them to love everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, because God loves us all. We are supposed to represent Him, and we are to display His love to those around us.

And maybe this is a fantasy, but when my children and my cousins’ children grow up, maybe wearing a hoodie, despite what color of skin you have, won’t make someone think that you’re up. to. something

Monday, March 26, 2012

Furry Fun Walk

Our parks and recreation department (Knope 2012...anyone?) held a Furry Fun Walk recently, and, because I want to support Parks & Rec and because, seriously, how amazing is a Furry Fun Walk??

We attempted to take a picture of our university pup and Vicki and Misti's pup, Sophie. As you can tell, that went over about as well as a wet blanket.

Champ can't understand why those two little dogs are so jumpy.
We finally had to get them one at a time. First Sophie...
...then Vicki...

We also managed to snag a picture with our university mascot, Champ!

I'm not sure who was more scared in that picture -- Champ or Vicki, ha!

Then, of course, we actually walked a mile with our pups. Sophie was in puppy heaven. Vicki tolerated it. She much rather would have been in my arms. Vicki is in the center, but Sophie is blazing her own trail.

Happy "tails"!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dear Spring...

I love all seasons. Each time a new one comes around, I say it's my favorite. Each one just brings a lot of beauty and excitement. This spring has been particularly eventful already, but I'm looking forward to relaxing days coming...soon? Nah. But I'll take any break I can get!

I love my backyard. We have a park literally right behind our back yard and an empty lot to the side, so we're pretty much as secluded as you can get living in the city limits. I love it. I love being in town but having that alone feeling, too. And I love the trees blooming in our back yard. I'm getting beautiful irises soon and some gardenia and Jane magnolias. I can't wait!!

And I get to play with this majestic feline all the time!! Isn't Apollo gorgeous? She is such a sweet, fluffy kitten!

A stretch in the sunshine
Someone else who really enjoys the warmer weather is the Voo...

This was taken right before Apollo went in full military stealth mode to sneak-attack Vicki. It's one of her -- Apollo's, not Vicki's -- favorite games. Vicki pretty much hates it.

And, naturally, no spring day is complete without a little cheer from this adorable little munchkin of Misti's.

Vicki, of course, had to see what all the fuss was about.

And, yes, it is raining -- pouring, actually -- right now, but I'm looking forward to a very sunny weekend in all aspects. =)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Good/bad dog, good guest, bad meds

This is why my dog has, of late, been using our entire house as a giant pee pad. Queen Poops A Lot, as we like to call her. But this is why she has been doing so -- because when her "present" is discovered, one of two things happens: 1) If my husband finds it, he just disposes it because, as he says, she looks too pitiful to spank, or 2) if I find it and she runs under our reading chair, I coax her terrified booty out so I can get a picture of her panicked expression.

I know, we're going to be great parents.

Also, here's my husband and our super awesome house guest, who is spending his last week at our house. His mom and dad both attempted to teach me math (before we all realized that was a hopeless endeavor), and I went to school with his older brother. Now he's doing his physical therapy rotations, and one of them happened to be in our hometown. Therefore, we've housed him since January. I cannot state enough how great of a houseguest he has been. Kyle keeps asking if he can stay longer, ha!

And, lastly, here's the first update on the melatonin. It didn't work. In fact, one of the three or four times I woke up last night, I woke my husband up as well and asked him if he had emailed his boss his notes that he was supposed to. He assured me he did and then told me to go back to sleep. Easier said than done. However, I did take it fairly late last night (10 p.m. -- not at dinner like I think you're supposed to), so maybe that had something to do with it. The melatonin experiment continues!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A journey of melatonin

Sleep, you are a heartless wench.

Sleep has eluded me for the past week. Throughout my life, I’ve always had trouble sleeping. I wake up in a full-fledged panic, thinking about things that I cannot solve at 1 a.m., imagining fantastic worries, and just raising my anxiety up a few notches and not getting the needed sleep I craved. My life has frequently been like this.

Until running.

Running was my outlet, my cure. Especially when I started my Ph.D. program, running was my sanity. I quickly found that running helped calm me and allowed me to sleep deeper than ever before. Ah, running, my love. Then, as I became a better athlete, I had to run harder and faster and longer to sleep well. Four miles, that should do it. I should sleep well that night after a four-mile run.

Last week, I ran a half marathon and drove over four hours back to my house. That night, at approximately 2:30 a.m., I woke myself up in a panic because I forgot to email my dissertation adviser back. So what did I do? Rolled over, grabbed my smart phone, and texted out a reply.

I think that classifies as crazy, right?

I haven’t slept the past week. I know why – one of the big reasons being my proposal defense next week. I don’t particularly like the idea of taking sleep aides, but, at this point, I need to sleep! So this weekend, I downed some Nyquil and slept wonderfully Saturday night…

…and most of Sunday.

Nyquil will not allow me to wake up the next day. I found myself dozing at practically every moment I was awake – even while I ran my short distance! So, no more Nyquil for me.

While I don’t like sleep aides, I have a couple of friends recommend melatonin, a natural supplement designed to help people sleep. If you’ve used it (or if you have some other good sleep tricks up your sleeve), let me know. I’m going to try it tonight and, if you’re like me and have trouble sleeping, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Sweet dreams, friends.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kony 2012

 "It’s bad for the world if we fail." – Luis Moreno Ocampo, prosecutor for International Criminal Court

It’s amazing how many different voices you will hear in response to one cause. The first voice says what an amazing technological breakthrough this is, to attempt to bring Joseph Kony to justice for using child soldiers in Uganda. Then the second voice chimes in, wondering how much money really goes to Uganda and if this even will help – or if this is all just some hoax.

Maybe it’s because our Bible study group just started reading Kelly Minter’s study on Nehemiah, who had a heart who broke for others. Maybe it’s because I’ve read about the child soldiers in Uganda and followed the stories. Or maybe it’s just because I see the injustice of what Kony has done to these children and want to do something, anything, even if it’s small.

I had a discussion with my coworker about this film earlier this morning. She called it a “hoax.” I asked her how it could be a hoax – Invisible Children is a (fairly) legit organization. She couldn’t answer (Though I did address that a majority of the money goes back to the IC organization and not to Uganda, which is usually people’s biggest problem).

Yes, the war has been subdued, but Kony is still out there. And if we can do just something to bring him to justice, isn’t that worth doing?

People are getting smarter and smarter at realizing that, for the majority, governments and politicians and such are not good vs. evil. It’s gray matter. If you want to get into politics (and, frankly, I really don’t) I like a lot of things that Republicans do. And I like a lot of things that the Democrats do. Heck, I even like some Libertarian ideas. It’s not that one party is good and the other is evil. But while Kony is evil…what can our government or the Uganda government do that will save the most children? Because let’s remember, when this guy’s been cornered, he uses children as shields. How do you fight that?

Here’s my suggestion. Watch the video. Be aware. But do something. If you’re a Christian, pray about it to determine what you feel the best course of action is. Maybe you think donating money to IC or some other cause is the best idea. Maybe you want to help IC’s cause of making Joseph Kony famous. Maybe you want to call your senator and/or congressmen and tell them that the American government needs to stop fighting each other and band together to figure out a solution to bring Kony to justice and assist the victims in housing and education. Maybe you feel that praying for these children is your course. Just do something. Because, despite some critics who say differently, doing something is better than nothing.

“It’s hard to look back on some parts of human history, because when we heard about injustice, we cared, but we didn’t know what to do. Too often we did nothing, but if we’re going to change that, we have to start somewhere.” –from “Kony 2012”

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Halfie No. 3

Good news: I apparently broke the jinx on my running partners, because this year’s half-marathon companion didn’t get hurt in the race. Hooray!!

Good news again! Not only did I score an awesome PR, but I also beat my goal of what I wanted to achieve.
Prep time -- my timing chip, race number, and Gu
25,000+ individuals signed up for the Rock & Roll: New Orleans half and full marathon. I wore my running clothes to bed (out of necessity more than convenience, as I forgot to bring PJs on the trip…fail) and my running partner, Kari, and I both woke up before our 5:45 a.m. alarm. We slowly got ready, taking our time and even heading downstairs to grab a small breakfast before meeting her mom in the lobby of the hotel.
Lauren (who ran the full marathon), me and Kari before the race 
 We were half a mile from the start point, which was fantastic. Next time when I run this, I want a hotel near the start line. The marathon hosts ask that you arrive at 6 a.m. – a full hour before the race. Well, Rindy and I did that two years ago and arrived at about 5:45 a.m. You know what we did? We froze our booties off in the cold for over an hour. Last year, as Kelsey’s sister-in-law lived right beside the start line, we drove to her apartment around 6 a.m. and headed out at about 6:30 a.m. This year, we got it absolutely perfect: we started walking to the start line at 6:45 a.m.

Corral 15
 Here’s the thing the marathon hosts don’t tell you: if you’re a slower runner (like me), you’re not even going to start running until about twenty to thirty minutes after the race begins, since they start in waves. At 7 a.m., the first corral, with the super fast runners, was released. Two minutes later, Corral 2 began to run.

Kari and I were in Corral 15. We started our race at 7:25 a.m.

The race begins!
Also, I’d like to add how perfect the weather was for race day. I wore shorts and a T-shirt in 50-degree weather. Beautiful. The week before had been sweltering, and, per Louisiana weather, Nola was freezing the day before the race. I was a little anxious, as I had brought short-sleeved gear to run in, but, again, as Louisiana weather goes, it was a perfect temperature on race day.

The race course itself got on my nerves. The first seven miles were a there-and-back route. We went down St. Charles Street for about three miles and then turned around and came up St. Charles Street. Boo!!! I also disliked that the halfies and full ran the first 12.6 miles together. Here’s the problem: with more than 25,000 people running, despite the corral waves, it’s congested. Kari and I dodged more people than potholes during the St. Charles part of the run. Not cool.

However, there were the usual people lined up all 13.1 miles cheering us on, which I always love. There were these cute little kiddos near Decatur holding out water for us. Kari and I did take the water. Because the kids were so cute!

Signs Kari's mom made to cheer us on 

And, of course, the signs. My favorites (besides my own, ha!) included:

* Run faster! The Kenyan stubbed his toe!
* Haley! Your cankles can get you there!
* Worst parade ever.

Oh, and what was my time, you ask? ;) Well, let me divulge the details…

I saw the finish, and, as Kari and I had booked it the entire way, I was overcome with running madness, and I just sprinted toward the end. I can’t wait to see how awful those pictures of me crossing the finish line look. Oh! And I didn’t know where the finish was. I thought about three times I had hit the finish, and I even asked one of the emcees who was calling out encouragement to the runners where the finish was because I thought I’d already passed it. Turns out I hadn’t. I booked it and finished at 2:12:37. With a two-minute potty break.

Kari's first medal and my third!
Yeah. My super duper goal was 2:15, but I expected to finish in 2:20. We rocked that thing. Kari finished four seconds after me.

So, let’s breakdown the last three years’ halfie times:

Year 1: 2:49:07.
Year 2: 2:29:00.
Year 3: 2:12:37.

I kind of feel like a speed demon. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Injured report

I’m running 13.1 miles in three days. This week is officially the Taper Week. Which means instead of running about 13 miles during the week, I’m running 9. Easy peasy, right?

Well, I might be injured.

Okay, there’s definitely a slight injury there. See? I can’t even come out and say “injury” without saying “slight” or “maybe” or some other adjective before it that lessens the word. Injuries are for people who have to go to the hospital or who are bleeding or twisted an ankle. A hyperextended tendon in the foot isn’t really injured, right?

Thankfully, we have a physical therapy student living with us right now (one day I’ll write about how we’ve been spoiled on houseguests, promise), and Tuesday night, I had him check out my toe.

“It’s an extended tendon,” he said. “You need to rest.”

“Okay,” I said. “Can I run?”

He looked up at me as if I didn’t hear him the first time. “How long?” he finally asked.

“Thirteen miles,” I said easily, and my husband died out laughing. “Her half-marathon is this weekend,” he explained.

Our houseguest told me good luck and to ice the heck out of it, stretch it, and take some ibuprofen. Which, I will have you know, I have been doing very well. I’m a great patient when it comes to anything but rest.


I’ve also learned that it’s a bit awkward when a health care professional tells you to take it easy…and then sees you the next day right after a run. Like I said, not a good patient.

However, he also saw me icing the toe, so that’s listening to his advice, right?

I’ll rest next week.