Tuesday, May 25, 2010

strawberry festival

I'm a little delinquent in posting these, but here are some photos from our first visit to The Chattanooga Market. It was their Strawberry Festival. As far as first impressions go, it was a great one.

Have you ever seen such deliciousness?!

{George took this one!}

We taste-tested, approved & went home with salsa!

Because I adore sprout pictures. :)

Patience is...
waiting until we leave the pavilion
before digging into the basket.

Wash them? Nah.
Just blow the sand off.

Delicious! See?

and i quote...

“I have enough MONEY
to LAST me the rest of my LIFE,
unless I BUY something.”

• Jackie Mason

Thursday, May 13, 2010

tingly toes

Last night Dad & I went to a local track to do this week's speed-work session. A not-so-long story made shorter, I wound up running 2.5 of the 4.5-mile workout barefoot on the grassy middle. It was so freeing. I thought I might have unusual soreness today from jumping so eagerly into something different, but I really don't. Dad tried it, too. He sod his feet and jumped back on the track sooner than I did but said his feet stayed "tingly" for the next mile.

While experimenting with the new method, we both became tangibly aware of the theories we'd been reading about and researching. Once the spongy soles of our running shoes were left standing alone, we naturally landed on our mid-to-forefront foot areas, which is ideal.

When we initially freed our feet, I verbalized how light I felt, at which point Dad guffawed and retorted with, "That's so mental it's ridiculous." Of course! Ray Zahab, one of the three Sahara runners, put it well: Running is 90% mental. And the other 10% is mental.

In that case, why run barefoot? It feels good! And it's good for you, too, because it teaches proper form. I find my Newtons to be extremely comfortable (and I adore wearing them as "everyday shoes"), but as Dad astutely pointed out last night, their theory is maybe a bunch of malarkey. They've built up the forefront of the soles, and claim their shoes will make you fast, more efficient and teach you to be a forefront striker. The cost for this technology starts at $150 and goes skyward. (Granted, this isn't that unheard of for running shoes. Runners nearly rival Hollywood fashionistas when it comes to what they're willing to spend on shoes.) Nevertheless, when you're buying a new pair every couple hundred miles, it adds up. The other option is to incorporate shoe-ditching into your weekly training plan and teach yourself proper form for the whopping cost of nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-Newton. Like I said, I enjoy my pair, just not as much for running as for casual comfort.

My conclusion thus far is this: Running is more fun when you do it naked. (Ooops...I mean shoeless.) Try it.

{Photo borrowed from 802 via flickr.com}

pretty please

I can summarize my feelings in exactly three words (and a little punctuation): I want one!

Monday, May 10, 2010

ashley & james say i do

My childhood best friend got married last Thursday. So far it's the only wedding I've cried at. I was emotionally stable until she appeared in the doorway at the back of the chapel. By the time she reached where I was sitting, I was already digging through my purse for a tissue because my embarrassing lack of control needed a solution. There are likely a multitude of reasons for my unanticipated sentimentalism, not the least of which is the irony that her beginning of a journey sent my mind traipsing into a nostalgic past. Our dads were business partners for many years before her father was killed in a car accident. With such closely tied families, we were equally attached friends. Not surprisingly, a disproportionate amount of my childhood memories include her. We played endlessly with American Girl dolls and Ty Beanie Babies. Summer days slipped by too quickly while we played in their pool. During the holidays, we debated the existence of Santa Claus. I was there when she busted her head open from falling on a root below the hammock. We watched "Little Rascals" on a small TV in the back of the car on family vacations. And we stuffed asparagus up our noses. (Whether or not I should have admitted that last one is debatable. But in the spirit of the trend of transparency, I'm leaving it there.) More than a decade has past since those days, and we grew up into women separately. Nevertheless, I've always considered us close, and the realization of the present combined with memories from the past was enough to break the dam. I think I cried, too, because her exuberant happiness was matched only by how beautiful she was. I just hope crying at weddings doesn't become a trend for me. I'm not a very good public weeper.

Fear of runny eyeliner aside, the celebration was remarkable. And inspiring.

No doves, birdseed, rice, or bubbles. White balloons, instead.
Guests lined the chapel's sidewalk, each clasping white balloons to set free as the couple ran through. I don't know who to credit with the idea, but it's beautifully brilliant.

We ate Mexican food.
I've never been to a wedding reception (that I can remember) where Mexican food was served. I wasn't so sure about it at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. First, it's unique. Like I said, it's not traditional wedding food (at least, not among Caucasians). Second, it was delicious. Third (and probably the most influential), I love Mexican food.

They played music they like.
I think brides and grooms sometimes feel it necessary to play a particular genre of music at their wedding/reception because something else might be seen as inappropriate or unfitting for a wedding. Maybe not. It's more than plausible that I just don't have the same taste in music as some of the people whose weddings I've attended. Regardless, I got the feeling that Ashley & James hand-picked the music that would orchestrate their big day. It ranged from trumpet solos at the ceremony to classic love ballads and modern, beat-driven songs at the reception. All of it complimented their obvious enthusiasm, which set the mood just as much as what was pouring from the speakers.

And finally, my favorite...

She wore a dress with pockets!
Yes, that's right. Her wedding dress had hidden pockets--one on each side. I adore dresses and skirts that have pockets. And I'm completely ruined now. Up to this point, I had no idea this was an option. Now that I do, this might become a point of insistence for my own wedding one day.

It's occurred to me that I somehow failed to get a picture of the two of us. (See what happens when I get emotional?) Oh, well. I'm too happy for her to cry about it. :)

Congratulations, Ashley & James!