Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trotting for Turkey

It is kinda hard to see. There was a huge mass of people. But if you look closely enough you can see me and the Pilot crossing this finish line of my first 5K! The picture was taken by my father, who braved the cold (reminder- he a recovering heart surgery patient) and stood outside throughout the whole race to see me start and finish! There were other spectators there just for us. My cousin kept my dad company at the start/finish line. My mom and aunt strategically placed themselves at the half-way point and members of the Pilot's family also crowded the finish line to yell our names.

I did it. I ran the entire distance. I did not stop. I did not give up. I did not even really complain. But, once again, I had the Pilot by my side, supporting me and talking about everything under the sun to keep my mind off the pain shooting through my hamstrings. Then we crossed the finish line together at 36 minutes and 19 seconds. Although on the race results website they listed me as finishing 2 ahead of him!

This is me crying tears of joy at the finish line. I had no idea that was going to happen but the flood gates opened and I was so proud of myself. 3 months of training had finally culminated in the completion of this race and the tears streaming down my face.

I wore my race t-shirt all day. The Pilots family joined my family at my parent's home for formal introductions and breakfast. I made cranberry-orange relish and was able to proudly declare, "I contributed to Thanksgiving dinner." My abnormally loud family was silenced by the delicious food my mother had prepared. I joined the Pilot's family at his parent's home for pie, wine, Rummikub and good conversation. I read all the sale flyers and found the perfect present for the Pilot and then bounded out of bed at 6am Friday morning to go buy it.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, but, by far, this year's celebration takes the cake (or pie)!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who I am

These lyrics have always struck a nerve with me. Maybe it wasn't the lyrics but the passion and conviction in which Jessica Andrews sings about knowing herself. It was definitely a quality I could admire and be jealous of. I didn't know, until recently, who I was.

For many years many of my interests and identity was dictated by the interests of my boyfriends (cars, music, etc...) and some of my mannerisms closely mirrored those of friends that I admired. In the past 9 months, that has all changed. I have finally matured into the person I always wanted to be and I can confidently say that I love myself and I know exactly who I am.

I'm a saint and I'm a sinner
I'm a loser, I'm a winner
I'm steady and unstable
I'm young but I am able

I am a runner. I am a Catholic, working every Sunday (and occasional weekdays) to restore my faith. I am a student. I am a friend. I am a daughter. I am a woman (with a figure I am finally starting to appreciate). I am a girlfriend. I am a listener. I am a planner. I am one half of a happy, healthy and mature relationship. I am an individual. I am a roommate. I am a laugher. I am a blogger. I am confident. I am a reader. I am a writer. I am a dreamer. I am a cynic. I am a sister. I am a Chicagoan. I am a Seminole. I am a Floridian. I am a goal setter. I am a goal achiever. I am growing. I am a work in progress (steady and unstable/ young but able). I am happy.

I am Rosemary's granddaughter*
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done
My mommas still my biggest fan
Sometimes I'm clueless and I'm clumsy
But I've got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
It's all a part of me
And that's who I am

I am Joanna- that's who I am.

*My grandmother's name was Mary. However, all the rest of the lyrics ring very true.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama, you da bomb!

I want to remember yesterday forever!

In 2004 I cast my vote for John Kerry in Florida. The state did not end up electing him and neither did the country. But last Thursday, I stood in line for 2.5 hours to vote early in Illinois for Barak Obama. This time the state and country agreed with me and made history happen right before my very eyes.

I held back tears of joy. I celebrated my victory with a cold bottle of Coors Lite. I enjoyed John McCain's concession speech; not only because it was not a victory speech but because he was gracious and supportive and a human, not a politician. I listened to President Elect Obama speak to my fellow Chicagoans in a park only blocks from where I attend school. I silently wished I was at Grant Park experiencing this history first hand. I cuddled with my republican boyfriend with respect, affection and admiration, not drawing any attention to our political differences; I had made my choice and he made his and no amount of arguing (although, we did our fair share prior) is going to change anything now. I watched FOX News. I watched MSNBC. I ate popcorn and watched a movie. I went to sleep with a smile on my face and woke up with a sense of calm and peace.

I am proud to be an American.