Month: February 2013

Running Therapy

I promised to post about why I suddenly decided to sign up for this 10k.

Because it was sort of sudden.

I’d been wanting some sort of fitness goal lately for all sorts of silly, selfish or just plain human reasons: to become super-fit; to have a goal to distract myself from other things going on in life; to be burning so many calories that I could eat a Chipotle burrito without caring that it’s 700 calories.

But those sorts of goals really don’t drive me. So I wasn’t really paying any attention to them, other than to make a mild effort to fit in a minimum number of workouts each week.

But.

But.

I work with a community that is filled with stories of everyday struggles, big and small. A child who can’t laugh without fainting because her body can’t get enough oxygen. A parent who has to explain to her young children how to cope with knowing their mom could die in the next few years from a combination of rare diseases. People fighting to live their lives, to be able to just walk, let alone run. And they’ve embraced me in their community simply because they inspire me every day to work my best to help them.

And for so many of them, it will all come down to this: Will they get the call for a transplant in time? Will the donor be a match? Will the transplant be a success?

We lost another patient this week. Someone I knew personally. We’ve lost a lot of people I knew personally in the last year. But I had just found out about this passing, and then I saw this 10k. And it’s for organ donation awareness. There are few causes that could be so meaningful to me right now.

So I’m going to run 10k, for all the people I know who can’t run at all, and to show my support for organ donors and organ recipients. The race is on April 21 in Philly, my birthday weekend. My job has taught me to be grateful for every birthday, every year, and I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate than by being part of something that helps so many others have another birthday to look forward to.

By becoming an organ donor, you can save up to eight lives. Are you registered?

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The Literal List

I mentioned a few months back that I was planning to work my way through the reading list for the comprehensive exam administered to Masters of Arts in English students (my list comes from “Pittsburg State University” – which I thought was quite the spelling error until I discovered there IS a Pittsburg, Kansas).

I’m still doing a lot of off-list reading and going at it at completely my own pace. So here are a few stats:

Books completed on the list (not including books I’d already read before starting this project): 11

Books completed on the list (including books I’d read before): 31

(Actual books on the list: unknown. It depends on which choices you make within each category, so I’ll have to count the final number when I’ve finished! But it should be somewhere around 130.)

Favorite “new book” on the list: Beowulf

Favorite “read-it-before” book on the list: Jane Eyre

Most recently completed: Aurora Leigh (Comment: the author wants to prove that epic poetry is still a relevant writing form for today. While I understand why she wants to express herself in poetry – it allows for more emotion than prose – she goes on too many tangents for it to really work well in this book.)

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I’m currently reading Morte D’Arthur …. as I understand it, it’s essentially the oldest English translation text of the legends of Arthur. It took me a while to get into it, mostly because I’ve been grappling with the following:

  1. There’s absolutely no “downtime” for the first several chapters – it’s boom, boom, boom. As in – Arthur gets the sword. The other kings wage war on him. He wages war on a different king to gain allies. He wages war on the kings who are against him. Oh, look, a new knight joins the Round Table who happened to kill that knight’s father. Guess what happens next? There isn’t even enough downtime for detailed descriptions in a lot of the stories. It’s more suited to a TV mini-series than to a book you read in one sitting. I imagine a storyteller would flesh out the stories a bit more …. or at least break them into installments.
  2. I don’t quite understand why God punishes Arthur for begetting a child with his sister (who he doesn’t know he’s related to), but has absolutely no problem with Arthur sleeping with plenty of married women before that. I’m missing something big in Christian theology here.
  3. Likewise, I’m taken aback by how casually Christianity and sorcery go hand-in-hand in this book. No one seems to have issues with Merlin making religious proclamations. I guess it’s an era thing.

I think #s 1 and 2 really boil down to … this is a guy’s book, not the romance I was expecting. I mean, if I had a dollar for every story that involves a man wanting to have sex with a woman – even Merlin gets obsessed with a damsel and won’t leave her alone until she tricks him under an enchanted rock (by the way, women definitely seem to be smarter than men in this book so far). The mindset of the characters revolves around honor, and honor often seems to mean “wage war, not peace.” The author also feels no obligation to historical authenticity – as evidenced by Arthur’s supposed coronation as ruler of the Roman Empire (apparently some versions actually claim some event called him home before the coronation to get around the little issue of the historical record, but my version has no such scruples).

Even though there have been books I had to force myself through, I’m really enjoying this project. I’m trying to read at least one book from the list each month, and I often read more. I’m not going in any particular order – periodically I just go crazy on the library’s website requesting whichever books catch my eye.

I’ll try to post another update on my progress with the list when I’m further down the line!