I have created a playlist of music from my favorite 80s movies: PG-50+.
I’ve danced. I’ve cried. It’s pretty emotional. Be cautious. :)
PEOPLE STRONGLY CAUTIONED
Some material may be inappropriate for those 50+ taking a trip down memory lane.
Here are upcoming pieces I intend to write. I’m sharing now so I can hold myself accountable for all my ambitious ideas.. :)
Things to do:
If I had 3 wishes:
I started this poem "Wellness Check" as a somewhat tongue in cheek reaction to a story I read about someone who was held captive and her family knew something was wrong because she wasn't sharing her Wordle score. I started to think about all the other things I could do or not do that would indicate I was in trouble. It took me all day to write and rewrite this and I'm still not 💯 satisfied but I'm so proud of myself. I haven't spent this long on creative writing since I earned my MFA from GMU in 2004. I loved reconnecting to that part of myself enjoys hunting for the right words to solve the puzzle 🧩 in my mind.
#BeThe1To take a few minutes and reach out to someone you care about.
#wellness#creativewriting #wordle #mentalheathmatters #suicideprevention
A related poem that I wrote when I was in college in 1993.
Another poem about identity from 2000.
Watching a variety of tv series, documentaries, and movies is something that helps refocus me when I’m caught in rumination and worry. Here’s my recommendation list for inspiration. Some items I highly recommend**** and others have had an impact on me in other ways. Will delve into how exposing my mind to such amazing shows has helped me in future posts.
Recommended by Friends and I Still to Watch…
Shows I Tried, but Just Can’t Enjoy or Get Really into for Some Reason
Guilty Pleasures / Background TV
When I started my seasonal position at the Virginia Film Festival I decided to put together a presentation of THE FILMS THAT INSPIRE ME. It was a fun project! I love documentaries, movies that make me laugh, and films that make me cry.
The last 4 movies I’ve watched as of October 15, 2022 are:
In the ongoing saga of me trying to figure it all out, the meaning of life, my career path, my dreams and wishes, hopes and fears, or simply what’s for dinner tonight or on the agenda for tomorrow, I know that I’ve been avoiding one particularly difficult area of planning: DEATH.
So as I went for my daily coffee walk this morning, the thought occurred to me that perhaps I should prioritize getting my shit together regarding end-of-life planning because as Chanel Reynold’s website prominently states: “Hoping for the best is not a plan.”
Turning 50 last year really made me face my own mortality and the thought has crossed my mind every single day since, What if this is it? What if I don’t get tomorrow, what do I want to be doing today? If I knew I had 6 months to live or won the lottery, how would my life immediately change? I’m working on answers to those questions and hope to create a an infographic to map out options for living my best life today.
It’s embarrassing to say that although I’ve had life insurance for both me and my husband ever since we had children, neither of us has a will and we don’t often talk about what we want to happen when we die. I always joke, “ANY MEANS NECESSARY” when it comes to making choices about my health care decisions if I can’t make them myself. If you’re not sure there’s life after death, I figure you might as well keep things going for as long as possible.
On the other hand, Fran, in no uncertain terms, has instructed me to pull the plug quickly in almost every hypothetical situation. And this is why I always pay the premium for his life insurance policy on time.
It’s probably not my most shining moment as a mom, but I told my daughter that I don’t want her dad to marry anyone else if I die first. Not that he would, he’s not really the marrying kind. Not quite sure how I got him to do it the first time to be honest. Anyway, in my fear of being replaced by a second wife, I warned her not to ever let him get away with saying, “She would have wanted me to be happy” if that was justification for falling in love with someone else because I unequivocally would not want that!
I don’t actually remember the last time Fran and I talked about what to do if one of us dies before the other. (Perhaps I should say “when’” because the odds of us dying together when we don’t even live in the same state the majority of the year seems rather unlikely.)
Years ago I vaguely remember him saying something about finding a way to scatter his ashes in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and donating his extensive library to … oh crap, where did he want that to go?!
Clearly it’s time to stop avoiding the death talk and start to have the conversations about end-of-life decisions. To make it easier I just signed up for a free account on In the ongoing saga of me trying to figure it all out, the meaning of life, my career path, my dreams and wishes, hopes and fears, or simply what’s for dinner tonight or on the agenda for tomorrow, I know I’ve been avoiding one particularly difficult area of planning: DEATH. So as I went for my daily coffee walk this morning, the thought occurred to me that perhaps I should prioritize getting my shit together regarding end-of-life planning because as Chanel Reynold’s website prominently states: “Hoping for the best is not a plan.”
Turning 50 last year really made me face my own mortality and the thought has crossed my mind every single day since, What if this is it? What if I don’t get tomorrow, what do I want to be doing today? If I knew I had 6 months to live or won the lottery, how would my life change?
It’s embarrassing to say that although I’ve had life insurance for both me and my husband ever since we had children, neither of us has a will and we don’t often talk about what we want to happen when we die. I always joke, “ANY MEANS NECESSARY” when it comes to making choices about health care decisions if I can’t make them myself. If you’re not sure there’s life after death, I figure you might as well keep things going for as long as possible.
On the other hand, Fran, in no uncertain terms, has instructed me to pull the plug quickly in almost every hypothetical situation.
It’s probably not my most shining moment as a mom, but I told my daughter that I don’t want her dad to marry anyone else if I die first. Not that he would, he’s not really the marrying kind. Not quite sure how I got him to do it the first time to be honest. Anyway, in my fear of being replaced by a second wife, I warned her not to ever let him get away with saying, “She would have wanted me to be happy” if that was justification for falling in love with someone else because I unequivocally would not want that. I vaguely remember him saying something about finding a way to scatter his ashes in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and donating his extensive library to … oh crap, where did he want that to go?
I just signed up for a free account on cake, the the leading company for end-of-life planning and navigating mortality. I’m also ready to play, “My Gift of Grace: A conversation game for living and dying well” with my twin this weekend.
Resources on Mortality
Workshopping Life and Death
If I were to die today?
What would my regrets be (if any)?
What have I left unsaid that I’d like to say?
I’ve been much better lately about being honest with people about how I feel, explaining why I do what I do, how what they’ve done or said has affected me both positively and negatively. It hasn’t always been easy and it rarely has given me all the closure I ideally wanted, but it’s something.
I’ve lost so much this year. I’ve grieved. I’ve mourned. I’ve struggled. I’ve endured the loss of friendships (without explanation), the unexpected (and poorly handled) terminations at places I’ve work, and a sense of identity.
Yesterday it occurred to me that I really need to be brutally honest with myself (and my family and friends) about what I need to do in order to thrive … to do more than just survive. And for awhile it feels like I’ve been stuck in survival mode, stuck in old patterns, making poor choices. I need to break out of that rut.
I’ve said “I love you” more often to everyone who I speak with or text. I want no regrets. I want everyone who matters to me to know how much I care about them and how much they’ve helped me get through some tough times.
I can’t stop ruminating about the job hunt. So much of it makes absolutely no sense and it preys on all of my insecurities and anxieties making the recent weeks of unpaid unemployment seem like a never ending mind***k. I really do hate to use vulgar slang so early in a post (hey, at least I didn't use "Mind***k" as the title!), but that’s the most accurate word to describe my current perceptions. Yes, I've developed amazing connections and clarity about my life goals as I navigate this process, but at its worst, interviewing has become “a disturbing and extremely confusing experience caused by deliberate psychological manipulation”. Of course my logical self knows that no one is actually consciously going out of their way to make this the most painful process possible, it’s just the way I’m experiencing this flawed system when I feel at my most vulnerable (which sadly is more often lately).
My dad told me that he could tell within three minutes of meeting a potential client whether or not they’d actually implement his strategic marketing plans if he were to consult. He walked away from a number of lucrative opportunities because he had a gut feeling that his talents and time would ultimately be wasted.
I don’t quite have the radar fine-tuned for immediately detecting a lack of integrity or a solidly good fit. At times I’ve been disappointed at unanswered emails late in the search process by people who initially seemed smart and kind. I’ve also been surprised at my ability to connect with people in positions I wasn’t initially that excited about.
I’m learning how important it is for me to be upfront about my need for honest communications with clear expectations and a timeline. I’ve had interviews that lasted only 20 minutes, but I was immediately asked to come back for the next round. Other times I’ve made it through 2 or 3 hour long interviews yet have to send multiple emails to finally get a rejection letter days or weeks later. (Sidenote: I’m still waiting on that rejection from an interview before Thanksgiving. Ugh.)
There seems to be something inherently wrong with the way most companies go about hiring and I’m still trying to determine the best way forward for me. I’ve had friends ask if I’ve thought about using a headhunter. It would be appealing to feel like a potential employer is recruiting me rather than me being at their mercy for an opportunity. The imbalance I’ve consistently sensed in many interviews has taken its toll on me. Yes, it’s true that I’ve taken both jobs that were offered to me immediately without any negotiation, but that doesn’t mean I’m desperate. Employers have to know that everyone you interview probably has submitted resumes to dozens of other companies. The competition is real for both sides. Employers need talent. Jobseekers need offers. In the end, everyone is playing the game, but we don’t all get to know the rules or see the scoreboard.
I love research and gathering data to make decisions. I can get easily frustrated when someone spends 10 minutes telling me stuff about their company that anyone who spent 10 minutes on their website could figure out - I want to learn something that is not common knowledge. That being said, sometimes I don’t want to hear about how great it is to work somewhere if I’m not even going to make it past the first screening. I also don’t like it when it feels as if I’m the only one who needs to give the elevator pitch. Why shouldn’t a potential supervisor feel compelled to share with me why they are an ideal manager/director? In other words, I’d like to flip the switch: Why should I choose them rather than why should I convince them to choose me?
I’ve made so many mistakes in interviews, especially when I’m caught off guard and triggered by a particular question, comment, or reaction. It usually results in me nervously oversharing to the point where I probably come across as being too intense, emotional, and quirky. Despite having had at least 50+ interviews, I’ve only withdrawn myself from one application process. The short version of the story is that someone who wasn’t from Charlottesville and had never lived here referred to the place I consider to be my home as one of the most racist cities in the country. I thought it was an inappropriate thing to declare as fact in an interview (most significantly because it’s just not verifiably true) and I couldn’t see myself working with a person who’d say something that seemed so inflammatory for no useful purpose when we didn’t even know each other yet.
This week I had four wildly different experiences in my job search. I only wish I could have compiled the best of each into one perfect interview.
The first was for a part-time social media specialist position with a local nonprofit. I immediately cliqued with the person interviewing me and it was an authentic and intimate conversation. The only real drawbacks were that it’s only part-time and it’ll take at least a week to find out about next steps. I can’t stand the waiting! I do believe I could make a substantial impact in this role because it’s so similar to other work I’ve already excelled in.
The second call was a screening for a volunteer position with a nonprofit I contacted back in November via Instagram message. I stumbled across their page during my research on early literacy and was amazed at their product and team. It’s important for me to find a worthy place to implement all the ideas I developed during my research on the literacy crisis over the past year. Money isn’t my only motivation or measure of success. I’ve volunteered time for causes that matter to me for most of my adult life and I want to continue that even though I’m also looking to pay the bills. ;) The call went so well I immediately scheduled another with the founder. We spoke for nearly an hour and it was the most refreshing and inspiring conversation I’ve had in weeks. I’m so excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to learn more when I meet with them again this week.
The third call was for another nonprofit education related position. The call was only 30 minutes and it felt like a third of that was taken up with an overview of the company which I already knew about because I was familiar with it. There was a hard stop so I didn’t have the opportunity to ask more than my top priority question on what are next steps and the timeline. It didn’t help that I rambled, so the whole experience felt like a waste of everyone’s time.
My fourth meeting was a group interview for a running-related position that seemed like a dream come true opportunity. Sadly, I failed the most in this particular interview by making critical errors that, in retrospect, I whole-heartedly regret. If I could do it over, I would. After talking it over with my sister, who overheard most of the call (thanks to thin walls in a small townhouse!), I now realize I was actually self-sabotaging the interview by having absolutely no filter and being way too honest. Maybe I was hoping that my experience, resume, portfolio, and personality would carry me into the next round or maybe I was so afraid of getting to the next round only to be rejected that I gave them an easy out. Could it be both? All I know is that for the first time ever I received both a prompt response and a detailed explanation for why I would not be receiving an invitation to a second interview. I really respect that because it’s been nearly impossible to get the same from other potential employers, even those who I’ve met multiple times and provided assignments for review that took hours to complete. It’s possible that this role really isn’t the right fit for me now and I saved myself future disappointment by not investing myself too much into the process. I do know that I appreciated the candor and responsiveness.
So all this is to say: I need a break. Actually I need two breaks — I need a break from interviewing and I need someone to give me a break by offering me a position. I’ve had multiple interviews every week since my part time job ended in early January and it’s emotionally draining. I need to hit Control-ALT-Delete to reboot. Taking a week without scheduling any interviews will give me time to reassess and energize. I also would love to be able to have some assurances made with my next offer, however long it takes to get one. I am looking to start working in a place where I see myself staying for 10+ years. I’ve never had the desire to jump from job to job to advance my career. Loyalty and dedication are important to me and I feel like onboarding takes time. No one can ever fully realize their potential if they aren’t given a solid amount of time to adjust to a new role and grow.
I've never run The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race, but my twin insisted I enter their annual contest. I waited until the very last minute and submitted 3 designs from the collection below three minute before the deadline! Phew. I tried to create some designs that were something other than a 🍑 yet still simple!
When I created the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon in 2014, it was my goal to make the “perfect race” that included everything that was important to me as a runner and avoided all the things that annoyed me about other events. I’ve enjoyed how the lists of what makes something special and what frustrates me has evolved over past 8 years.
One of my favorite additions in 2021 was to include an adapted version of the Boston Scream Tunnel by devising my own version of “Chalk the Walks.” I asked participants and their supporters to submit their favorite running mantra, motivational quotes, or special messages of encouragement. My identical twin sister and I then spent hours chalking those messages on the course.
I want to find more ways to use art as a tool for spreading joy, optimism, and inspiration in my events. I’ve seen success with contests for t-shirt designs (especially kids races!). I’d love to create more swag using unique approaches to make motivational messages visually appealing. I also hope to commission original pieces from local artists, especially those from diverse backgrounds.
I love mascots! When I watch the Olympics or any track and field event on the global stage I’m looking for the mascot. Nothing makes me smile more than a giant mascot cheering on the sidelines or racing in an event. If you have something iconic and cute, people will remember it and might even buy it. I’ve got 4 mini plush Spike the Unicorns from each year I ran the Boston Marathon. Sadly, I never got a photo with the costumed mascot, but I love my stuffies and took plenty of photos of Spike having pre- and post-race fun in Boston. I’ve applied the mascot effect to the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon & Half Marathon with the introduction of “Coney” (inspired by Dumb Runner satirist, Mark Remy). I started by giving out a mini Coney instead of a medal. Then I was able to find am affordable traffic cone costume that became perfect with the addition of googly eyes and a mouth!
I love stories, especially a personal story about someone’s journey into the sport of running and what it means to them. why they choose to run a particular event, or what relationships have emerged from a love of running. People are sharing these gems on social, we just need to find them and harness that energy and passion!
I know there are a lot of “ambassador” programs out there. That’s not exactly a term I’m comfortable with because it’s become synonymous in my mind with paid relationships and, for me, when money is involved, you lose some authenticity by turning loyalty into a commodity.
My three favorite races (besides my own Rivanna Greenbelt Series!) are the Chicago Marathon, Boston Marathon, and Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. CUCB has an Ambassador program. I've tried to be one, never got it. I think it's a lost opportunity not to use everyone who wants to brag about how much they love your race. I understand that you can only give special perks to so many people, but I also think the people who are saying the best things about your race with no financial benefit or personal gain are the ones you want to tap into... not to take advantage of them, but to appreciate and support them with attention and acknowledgement. It's all about building relationships and brand loyalty. If you treat participants like they matter that will be worth money in the end (if that's your aim). Research and dig for people you want to collaborate with and don't necessarily rely on the right people to apply for a program or fill out a form.
That being said, I always ask my participants to share their stories and photos every chance I get. I have used post-race surveys and online forms to encourage runners to submit photos of their training, details about their race routines, and how they celebrate their accomplishments.
Music is such a huge motivator for me and so many other runners that the thought of running a race without headphones is unheard of :) Curated playlists for both training and race day celebrations is a great way to connect with participants.
A dream of mine is to have a “theme song” for the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon. Although I can’t compose music, I know I can write the lyrics. I’d love to have a funny, catchy song about the quirky aspects of my race. I’d also like to have an ode to running, a song I can sing that describes my love for everything this sport has brought into my life.
Finally, creating a special “Twins Run” podcast about running has been on my to-do list for awhile and I’m hoping to finally start producing it by 2023. If you’re a twin who runs or know any twins who like to race, let me know in the comments.
Interviewer: "Tell me about the most important accomplishment of your career."
Me: “Success doesn’t interest me anymore…anyone can do that. But failure…that’s a secret. As much failure as possible, as fast as possible.”