Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Me ::: Toledo, Ohio :::  Circa 1990

Check out Underlined and Bold tomorrow to see more Halloween fun!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Scrapbook: The Surprise

a month in advance. i cleared my schedule.
for a random pair of October days.

day one. i rolled over. leaned in. and asked...

to be told. "pack-up. we're boarding a bus."
{this is the city i thought. of course we're boarding a bus}

shaking his head. nope. Milwaukee you dope.
and then...

Screaming. Laughing. Smiling.
an out-of-town getaway!

what it is 
to be with someone that listens.

We left Chicago for a few days to embark on my first Milwaukee adventure! See a glimpse of the fun below! 

Has anyone surprised you with something fun or special recently?
Would love to hear your story! Leave comments below!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Romanticizing the Amish...

A visit to "Amish Country"
Ohio, May 2011
Picks to Ponder:
A weekly post featuring a few notable items I've found to be thought provoking, and/or a positive influence on my outlook on life.  

In my Home State:
Renegade Amish.
I grew-up about an hour from one of the largest Amish settlements in the country. Visits to "Amish country" {as my mother says} is an aspect of visiting my family home I most treasure. Day trips involve flea markets, strawberry patches, home-made cheese and jams. It involves seeing people live a simple life. No electricity. No cars. Uncomplicated. Lovely. Romantic.


As with any romanticized idea we have about people or places, there are realities that counter. The New York Times recently ran an article citing a rift in the Amish community. Four terrifying assaults have resulted, and arrests have been made.

Assault and Amish are two words I never thought I'd utter in the same sentence. Nothing is perfect though. This, we must remember.

Click here to read more about the conflict.

In Journalism:
{Update!} A Good Man is Harder to Find
Last week, I featured  Katie Bolick's article "All the Single Ladies," under my journalism "Picks to Ponder". The article is still creating buzz. Therefore, I felt it only appropriate to provide an update!  

Bolick's been busy with interviews since her article went to press. I've loved listening to her speak! She has a charismatic demeanor, and answers questions with a sweet yet unyielding honesty. Her recent radio interview at WHYY with Marty Moss-Coane on Radio Times, I found particularly thought provoking.  During this interview people called in with questions, stories, and varying opinions in which Bolick responds.  


Listen to the interview here!

On the Map:
Memphis Love!
I am road tripping to Memphis in a month. Wahooo! A favorite blogger of mine recently posted details of her road trip there. And in turn, my own enthusiasm increased ten-fold.

Share in my excitement by clicking here to see her fabulous blog post!

Chicago Love!
If you love the windy city as much as I do, click here to view one blogger's fabulous visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  She captured the beauty of this city and its famous zoo undeniably well!

I would love to read your thoughts on this weeks Picks to Ponder.

 Please leave comments & questions below, so we can discuss. 

{Missed last weeks Picks to Ponder? Click here.}

Monday, October 24, 2011

Motivation from 1984

...And Marathon Training Continues:
Joan Benoit
First Women's Olympic Marathon
L.A., 1984
Photo Credit: Run Maine

The next three weeks I've scheduled the longest and hardest of my training runs.

Scared & Nervous?

Hell yes! 

Running twenty miles in one afternoon is unfamiliar territory. If I can meet disaster at twelve miles, I certainly can meet it on the sixteen, eighteen, and twenty mile training runs I've planned. 

My biggest deficit {besides some healthy fear} in my training thus far are my sore ass ankles. Between training and working at a restaurant all weekend, I've been "feeling" my ankles in a whole new way. Needless to say ice, elevation, and intentional rest are my new best friends. 

Beyond ankle complaints...

I'm also excited

to do something I've never done before.

My biggest assets include finally learning to LOVE running, breaking in a new pair of shoes, seeing an increase in speed on shorter runs, and having a great coach

Motivation this week to hit the pavement:
Joan Benoit and her courageous win @ the first Women's Olympic Marathon held in L.A., in 1984. {just weeks after knee surgery!!} View the video below and be inspired!

Cheers to strong women!

Peace & Love

Want to learn more about Joan? Click here!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear Readers,

A colorful tree on my block. Oh, how I love fall!!

Take. A. Walk...Notice. The. Trees...Find. Some. Peace...
Sit. Lounge. Relax...Enjoy. Your. Weekend...Hugs. Love. Abigail.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A New Addition to Underlined and Bold!

Photo Credit: Samantha (Flickr Creative Commons)

Picks to Ponder is officially a new weekly post appearing on Underlined and Bold. The weekly posts will include a few notable items I've found to be thought provoking, and/or a positive influence on my outlook on life. My hope is twofold:
  • The first is to spark conversation and dialogue, in order to increase my exposure to varying thoughts and opinions. Therefore, please leave comments after clicking on links and reading each post. 
  • The second is to maintain an organized and accessible record of items I've found to be notable, or have illuminated new ideas. In effect, I hope to better assess my interests as I continue to pursue different paths in regards to lifestyle, religious and political affiliations, and career.

This weeks Picks to Ponder

In Journalism:
A Good Man is Harder to Find
Katie Bolick's cover story "All the Single Ladies," in the October 2011 issue of the Atlantic, is stirring conversation across the country. I, like many others, am fascinated by this piece, and feel it's helping to fill a void in dialogue surrounding modern day relationships.

Click here to read the article.

What are others saying about Bolick's article? Click on the links below to find out!

In Music:
Bare Necessities 
When I arrived to nanny a young girl a few weeks ago, I was instructed to play the 1967 Disney Classic, The Jungle Book. "It's her new favorite movie," the mother explained. As the opening credits appeared on screen, I was consumed by nostalgia.  Midway through the film the "Bare Necessities" blared loudly through the speakers. Closely listening to the lyrics, I discovered a new relevant anthem for myself. It's poignant and speaks clearly to my current outlook on life. Thus, I've been playing the song on repeat ever since. 

{Look for the bare necessities/The simple bare necessities/Forget about your 
worries and your strife/I mean the bare necessities/Old Mother Nature's recipes
/That brings the bare necessities of life}

In Chicago:
Story Lab Chicago
Do you love reading or listening to stories? Are you a storyteller, performer, artist, and/or writer? If so, Story Lab Chicago is for you. Last night I attended my second performance, to support friend and former co-worker Jonas Simon. Simon and fellow cast-mates delivered powerful performances, presenting pieces filled with suspense, humor, truth, and wisdom. 

Click here to learn more about the monthly performances, and how you can get involved.

In Blogs:
Unconventional Living
In need of inspiration to change your current circumstance in life? Elizabeth Hudson at Story Wrought quit her secure "grown up" job to explore what she's truly passionate about: travel and writing. Click here to read her story.

A Tutor's Observation
Click here to read about a short thoughtful reflection about students and school work, and the timeless dilemmas of adolescence. The ending warmed my heart. Thanks Chris!

 I would love to read your thoughts on this weeks Picks to Ponder.
 Please leave comments & questions below so we can discuss.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Adventure in Honesty.

Photo Credit: Auntie K (Flickr Creative Commons)

When I'm not galavanting around the Chicago restaurant scene

...I take on a different part-time title

 in-home child care provider. 


 a  nanny.


A damn awesome baby-sitter... if you will.

{The term baby-sitter makes me feel fifteen, so I refrain from using that word. If you use it in my presence, don't be surprised to see a fierce furled brow being aimed @ you.}


if you are looking for an adventure

in honesty

look no further.

Hang-out with children.

They will not hold back opinions and observations.

They may say

you're an artist. it's obvious.

They may say,

 you have boo boos
{while pointing to the two newest bright red zits to pop up on your face}

They make say,

you're the best baby-sitter because Popsicle's were for dessert.

They may say,

your hair looks fake
{and proceed to pull}

They may say,

your a grown up. you don't know what's going on.

They may say these things

@ least that's what they've said to me

its not malicious

sometimes surprising

often true

& almost always refreshing.


if you're looking for an adventure

in honesty

look no further.

Hang-out with children.

{Wondering what I was like when I was young and honest? Click here to find out!}
Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A 12 Mile Disaster

Confidence Shot.  Depressed.  Shivering. 

it all. 
just felt.
so impossible.

In a comfy reclining chair, I replayed the late afternoon events in my mind. I was suppose to spend the evening at an art gallery, but weakness and fatigue plagued my body. Thus, a blanket, hot tea, and the Rolling Stones doc, Gimme Shelter, were my only company.

I started my 12 mile run feeling as if someone attached twenty pound sand bags to my feet.  The culprits: four hours of sleep and one too many glasses of wine the previous evening. The sun was shining though. And while others waited impatiently in traffic, my legs roamed free on the open road with very little stop and go. I felt, despite lassitude, this to be my victory.

Explosive waves crashed on the shore as I hit the Lakefront trail. Trees, butterflies, and graceful runners passed my sight line. Moving my legs continued to grow tiresome. I glanced at my watch. Time was the hare. I was the tortoise. But I believed this to be my consequence. And I believed with the beauty of the southern skyline view of the city, I would persevere. Even if it was slow and painful.

Bold and formal, Buckingham Fountain stood on my left as the once welcoming blue skies faded to a distant memory. Black clouds overshadowed the blue quickly. Frigid gusts of wind nearly knocked me to the pavement. And rain drops began to plummet from the sky, five miles from my final destination.

Legs still moving, the torrential downpour forced old make-up into my eyes. They burned with a vengeance. Squinting ahead, I looked for shelter to find relief. Clinging to puny trunks, I found others huddled under trees. As hail nailed me in the back, I joined them without hesitation.

As the rain raged, a friendly couple allowed me to share their umbrella. I trembled. As the rain raged, dampness and cold were making a home in my body. I trembled. As the rain raged, I yearned to shout obscenities and curse the world. But instead, I trembled.

When the rain slowed to a trickle, I jutted north. I knew of shelter less than a half mile down the trail with a bathroom and hand dryer in-toe. My body ached and eternity seemed to stretch over the next ten minutes.

Battling tourists down the Pier, I found the bathroom. I maneuvered the stream of hot hair up into my shirt, trying to force out the dampness and cold. But they would not budge. They clung to me. Intense. Unwavering.

Trying to ward off the feeling of failure, a part of me wanted to continue. Instead, with no cash in my pockets, I jumped into a cab. He kicked me out. "No Money, no ride," he announced. He was not taken with me, my stories, my I-Pod collateral, or the promise of money.

A second cabbie showed reluctance, but gave into compassion, pity, or his conscience.  And once reunited with my wallet, I rewarded him handsomely.

Hours passed.  The comfy reclining chair cradled my cold restless body. Deflated. Depleted. Alone. The larger goal of 26.2 miles loomed over my head.

it all.
just felt.
so impossible.

Since this event (which occurred a couple weeks ago), I successfully completed a second attempt at a 12 mile run. I also completed a 14 mile run on Friday in good spirits. 14 miles is the furthest I've ever run in my life! Holy Cow!

Each of these runs I approached with a healthy fear of non-completion and failure. But with some coaching, a good nights rest, and an increase in my spaghetti consumption, I met the challenge of each of these runs with surprising ease.

Thank you to all those who have shown support as I continue moving toward the big Marathon day. It means more than you know!

Light & Love,

P.S.- Clueless about my journey toward my first marathon? Get more info. by clicking here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eating In-Season Food!

Photo Credit: Natalie Maynor

In attempt to improve my eating habits, I've been referencing a web site called Sustainable Table. Sustainable Table is a tool aiding consumers in buying local in-season food to decrease environmental degradation and help local farmers.

(Click here to check out the fabulous blogger who informed me about this great site!)

My biggest in-season meal success, thus far, is Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas via my favorite recipe blog, Fresh365. Living in the mid-west the main in-season ingredient is the sweet potatoes.

It is absolutely vegetarian, and absolutely delicious! Click here for the recipe!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Club: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Another successful book club gathering!
 I was skeptical about this months's book club choice. I had never heard of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. When introduced to the book, I was assured it was a New York Times Bestseller. I was assured a friend highly recommended it. And then I was assured it was an interesting book about science and cells.

"Science? ...Cells?" my inner monologue chimed. Science was my sworn enemy throughout my school years. Why as a grown up, who takes great pride in having choice about the pages I turn, would I entertain reading something that sounded more like a text book?

My head littered with unfounded judgement, I couldn't bring myself to buy the book. Soon reminder e-mails popped up in my inbox about our meeting.  Staring at my calendar, I realized I had one remaining week until our date for juicy discussion, and gorging myself on wine and scrumptious vegetarian treats. My judgement was quickly pushed aside, as my stomach realized it may miss out on such a gluttonous occasion. So I finally scrambled to the nearest bookstore. A few days later, I began digesting the 328 page narrative. And as I turned the last page, thirty minutes before our meeting (in true procrastinator fashion), I found the corners of my mouth turning up.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a book about cells and science. It is also a book about Henrietta Lacks and her family's journey of grappling with her death, as well as her cell's enormous contribution to the medical world. It's a book about ethics, scientists, the role of the media, law, and research for monetary gain. It's a book about understanding our rights concerning cell research and informed consent.

Author, Rebecca Skloot's ten year journey to produce a narrative with layers of information weaved through each chapter is extraordinary. Skloot illustrates that the production of something great takes time, discipline, and a team of supporters ready to roll up their sleeves with feedback. 

View the video below to learn more about Rebecca Skloot and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. (The video visually scrambles a bit at times. So if you cannot see it, no worries! The audio is what's important!)

A big thanks to Emma, Kristen, Jason, and Julie for putting together a wonderful evening filled with laughter, "couchlates", and thought provoking questions.

Click here and here for other books our book club recommends.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Scrapbook: Chicago Marathon 2011

Elite Runners
I almost peed myself with excitement as I watched world class runners pass me at mile 20!

Then More Runners Appeared!
And we cheered and clapped and said "wait to go"!

And Soon The Streets Were Filled.
Runners everywhere! LOVE IT!

Pumpkin Muffins!
We cheered on the crowd for hours. Luckily my friend Dana brought out pumpkin muffins to sustain our efforts!

Hooray for friends!
I knew several individuals who participated in the marathon. Unfortunately, I didn't see every single person who ran. And I most definitely wasn't able to get a photo of everyone. Below are two amazing gentleman (John and Andre) I was able to photograph!

...A Beautiful afternoon.
Chris and I snapped a single photo before we departed for the afternoon. I couldn't have asked for a better day! I am truly inspired by the efforts of every runner out there today. Congratulations!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Inspiration: The Chicago Marathon

Photo Credit: Flicker (Creative Commons)
Yesterday I announced I will be running my first marathon this December in Memphis! Exciting (and scary) news. The thought of running 26.2 miles is extremely intimidating, but I love challenges. So we'll see where it leads me.

Not a runner? Click here to read my reflection about running my first half marathon in May. Most of my life I didn't enjoy running. Gradually, (with the influence of many) I changed my mind.

Over the next two months of training, I will be in constant need of inspiration. Therefore, early Sunday morning I will roll out of bed to watch the Chicago Marathon in Pilsen (around the 20 mile mark). I know seeing the strength and endurance of others will help motivate me. It will motivate me to continually tie up my laces week after week to give every bit of energy I can muster to my training.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
Good luck to all the runners participating in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday!
You are my inspiration this week!

Light and Love,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Next Adventure!

Photo Credit: david__jones on flicker (creative commons)

Graceland and Beale Street here I come! The first weekend in December, Chris and I are road tripping to explore one of America's most historic music cities; Memphis

Our adventure includes running the St. Jude Memphis Marathon and celebrating our one year anniversary.

Stay tuned for marathon training and trip planning updates!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Northeast Adventure's Bits and Pieces Part 4

The Final Post.

There are no happier people on this planet than those who decide that they want something, define what they want, get hold of the feeling of it even before its manifestation and then joyously watch the unfolding as, piece by piece by piece, it begins to unfold. That's the feeling of your hands in the clay. 
- Abraham Hicks

I want to travel. 
I want to see the world;
its diverse landscapes and people.
I want to taste unknown fruit
and hear sounds for which I have no words. 
I want my nostrils to know confusion 
and eyes to stare in wonderment and awe.
I want faraway sands to filter
through my fingers
-- upon arrival home
find it swishing around in my shoe.
I want to witness the sunset 
at a thousand angles, 
slowly watching the night stars fill the sky 
with brightness. 
I want to listen to the rain make peculiar noises 
under an unfamiliar roof.
I want to travel
I want to see the world.

As an adult, I have found deciding what I want is not a simple task. 
For me it ceases to be simple because there is so much I want and yearn for. I only have so much time in a day. I only have so much money to spend. Understanding these facts, despite my best efforts to ignore them at times, I know decisions must be made. I know I must move certain interests aside, allowing others to take center stage and come to fruition.

One of those decisions I've made is to travel. A choice that involves scrimping and saving for such experiences. Forgoing luxuries of a car, new clothes, or even a fun night out with friends. And sometimes that is hard. But I know something harder. Not buying the plane ticket. Not climbing the mountain. Not visiting faraway friends. Not eating my first lobster roll. Not flipping the truth I've known on its head. Not seeing how others live out their day-to-day lives. That would be much harder for me.

So onward I continue.

Below are the last remaining highlights of my Northeast Adventures. 
If you missed my Northeast Adventures Bits and Pieces Part 1 click here , Part 2 click here, Part 3A click here, Part 3B click here, Part 3C click here.

And be sure to visit Underlined and Bold tomorrow as I reveal my next travel destination! 

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!

Light and love,

Local. Local. Local.
Unique small local businesses are on every corner of Portland, Maine. Placed prominently in front window displays are "buy local" signs. Guides books to "Keep Portland Independent" are easily located throughout the city. As American landscapes are taken over more and more by big corporations, Portland shows a strong stance against that norm.


Click here to see the work of a talented local artist.

Yoga is for everyone.
Yoga is an integral part of my life. A source of spiritual guidance. A light where darkness lingers mentally and physically. I believe it can serve as such in anyone's life.

My goal: to visit at least one yoga studio everywhere I travel.

In Boston I had a delightful experience with Back Bay Yoga Studio.

In Portland, I attended a one hour "Mixed Flow" class with Shannon at Lila East End Yoga. Shannon is a hands on teacher with strong cuing. Her presence is light and fun, making me feel right at home among her regular students. After class we spent an hour chatting about yoga, and her journey to becoming a yoga teacher. She truly has an amazing spirit! If you are in the area, drop into one of Shannon's classes and tell her I say "hi".


Camping with a porcupine.
As day slipped into night, a porcupine decided to join Betsy and I at our campsite on Hermit Island. Running around our tent with baby in tow, it eventually decided to sit on the branch directly above our tent. She kindly reminded us of her presence by pooping and dropping tree bark all night.

Embarrassing Fun Fact:  As Betsy and I hid in the car, I called my boyfriend Chris to ensure we were not going to be viciously attacked by a porcupine. He informed us, to our relief, that porcupines are docile creatures.

Bathroom Wisdom.
Henry Ford and I shared a meeting of the minds while I tinkled in the Hilltop Coffee Shop bathroom. 

Strengthening Friendships.
There is something truly magical about visiting friends who no longer live near. Details of their new locale may penetrate your imagination via phone, e-mail and/or Facebook. But there is nothing like seeing where they walk, where they sleep, and with whom they find companionship with in person.

I have had this experience repeatedly in my life.
 I feel immensely blessed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Northeast Adventure's Bits and Pieces Part 3C

Scrapbook: Exploring Maine's Natural Elements

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. ...I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.  
-Anne Frank

For me
Only as an adult
I've Learned 
Turning to nature
And helps heal even the deepest of wounds
Clarity. Stillness. Quiet. Love.

What places provide you healing and/or inspiration?

If you missed my Northeast Adventures Bits and Pieces Part 1 click here , Part 2 click here, Part 3A click here, Part 3B click here.

Otherwise, check back in the next few days for Northeast Adventure's Bits and Pieces Part 4.
It will be the final wrap up post of the series!

(I'm a little sad about this. It's been extremely fun to daydream and revisit the pleasures of my vacation as my days fill up with the more practical aspects of life -- you know -- laundry and paying my rent.)
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