Saturday, February 27, 2010

The morning after a 14 mile run

Finding a new Runner's World in my CMR (Community Mail Room) box is akin receiving a prize in the mail. I've been getting Runner's World magazine again for the last four months. It's one of the few magazines I read cover to cover, over several days time, savoring the words. For a thin magazine, there's lots inside.

I feel a little like an impostor as I read it, soaking up the tips, reading human interest stories of world-class athletes and new runners. I've never thought of myself as athletic. I think I'm smart, I'm capable, but I'm not athletic. It's been the least of my abilities in my life.

Today I was thinking I should think differently. I've always loved running and biking, even if I was really never much of an athlete in say, high school, which of course is the prime of one's life, right? Not mine.

The sun is out, the snow is melting and all I've been thinking about the last few days is how I can't wait to get my bike out again. I even had a dream with my orange bike in it last night.

So I think I'll try to retrain my psyche this year. I'm going to decide that I am athletic. I have strong legs. I can carry myself on through all sorts of exhaustion and pain. And though I might try another marathon, with a time goal of 4 hours 30 minutes-ish, which is nothing special, it is special to me. I'll be running in Prague on May 9th. And perhaps Venice in October, depending. And very soon, I expect to be bike-commuting to work. At six miles each way, that's really nothing.

Here's to spring!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Slight procrastination on accomplishment posting

It's only been thirteen years since I got this diploma:
And nine on this one:

I finally got around to framing them since I have an office of my own for the first time in my professional life. We needed some credibility. This helps. Young women often don't look the way people imagine their eye doctor to look. I'm still getting the question, "How many years does it take to be an optometrist?" And other fishing-type questions. Now I can just refer them to the wall. With a flourish of the hand like Vanna White.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Simple things are beautiful

Like the music on the street, or in this case, under the street in Budapest.

One day I hope to learn to play a string instrument. I have been haunted by them my entire life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


"We have art so that we shall not be destroyed by the truth." - Nietzsche

This quote was interwoven into the beautiful book, "Divisadero" by Michael Ondaatje, which I recently read in two days' time. I couldn't stop reading it. It's one of those books that's hard to explain, without an obvious plotline, and when it was finished I wondered how that was the ending. Kind of like life I think.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Joy doesn't exist in the world, it exists in us." ~ Ben Franklin

It's the weekend. Time for regeneration. Sleeping 12 hours. Lulling about. Jogging. Reading. Rolling the marbles around in my mind, seeing if one falls out. It didn't. But.

It's been a busy few weeks. Working two days a week in Katterbach splits the week up; the days shoot by. Fridays I'm ready to lie prone for a few days, only to start again on Monday.

This goes on for a while- 4-8 weeks. I'm not complaining. I like the little clinic in Katterbach. With just a couple staff and a laughing tricare (insurance) administrator next door, the diversion is welcome.

Weeks fly by, life flies by. One day recently I woke up thinking, 18 weeks, 1, 33. Why? I looked at the calendar and it was 18 weeks to my birthday, the first day of the week, the last section of my year 33. I wonder we are doing when we are sleeping.

I wonder what we are doing when we are waking?

I try to live so that I bring happiness and peace into others' lives. But I have to be careful. I have a lot of energy to give, but only so much. Some people have looked to me to bring happiness to their lives. This is a dangerous position. I've always thought I don't want to be responsible for another person's happiness. Really if you are not happy with yourself, then no one is going to make you happy. Happiness comes from within.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Against Hesitation

If you stare at it long enough
the mountain becomes unclimbable.
Tally it up. How much time have you spent
waiting for the soup to cool?
Icicles hang from January gutters
only as long as they can.
Fingers pause above piano keys for the chord
that will not form. Slam them down
I say. Make music of what you can.
Some people stop at the wrong corner
and waste a dozen years hoping
for directions. I can’t be them.
Tell every girl I’ve ever known
I’m coming to break her door down,
that my teeth will clench
the simple flower I only knew
not to give . . . Ah, how long did I stand
beneath the eaves believing the storm
would stop? It never did.
And there is lightning in me still.

- Charles Rafferty

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bratislava, Slovakia

Last goodbye to Budapest; the view from my hotel room balcony.

Surprise!! Slovakia and Hungary look like... NORTH DAKOTA! They even really only had trees in shelterbelt lines. Very funny.

Driving into Bratislava.

Old town square. All the pics that follow I took while wandering around town. I drove from home on Friday to Budapest, via Vienna, and on Monday when I returned, I came back through Bratislava, Slovakia, Brno, Czech and hit a little traffic passing Prague. It sounds like I made it up, but no.

The nicest pink building I've ever seen.

People need glasses everywhere.

This is one of the city towers. Do you see the the cannon ball? Remnant from Napoleon invasion days.

Here's Napoleon, a sculpture from the 1990's.



Lastly, you can see McD's is still everywhere. When will we learn? Mystery meat is sketchy!
Take on Bratislava:
It was good for a few hours stop- it's small- I don't think you'd need much more than that. Unless you were crazy museum person (Shanta). Slovakia was the second European country to get to use the Euro (in 2009) behind Slovenia. Maybe it had something to do with the similar name? The average yearly salary here is around $8000 US. I'd like to come back to the countryside sometime.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On meeting others and companionship

"We never look beyond our assumptions and, what's even worse, we have given up trying to meet others; we just meet ourselves. We don't recognise each other because other people have become our permanent mirrors. If we actively realised this, if we were to become aware of the fact that we are only ever looking at ourselves in the other person, that we are alone in the wilderness, we would go crazy. ...As for me, I implore fate to give me the chance to see beyond myself and truly meet someone."

"The peace of mind one experiences on one's own, one's certainity of self in the serenity of solitude, are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another in close companionship."

Highly recommend the book from which these quotes come: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Though it is not a light read. I have gotten shit for my tendency to think and question everything in life too much. But I like it that way. It is me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Budapest II

Castle Hill - was just a staircase up from my bed and breakfast.

Cute guys.

To the left were views of Pest and the Danube.

Orange and Aqua, my favorite colors. I was looking at an orange purse in Pest, and the guy said, "You must be a happy person if you like the orange." Yes, I thought.

Look, they even had a vegan restaurant. How evolved! Veges are everywhere. Ha.

The Parliament. Nicer than our White House I think. Also circa 1986.

Chain Bridge. Again, windy as hell. But lovely.

Neat old lights.

Dethawing in a coffeeshop akin to Starbucks but called Coffee Heaven. Look at that family having a great time together. Feeling the love on Valentines day...

Tiles from the Synagogue, which is the second largest in the world next to NYC.

More synagogue and the tree of life memorial.

A pretty alley.

Not sure what this is but there is Litzt sitting on the side of the building.

One of my fav attractions was the OLD metro line of 1896. Amazing.

Castle in the park.

The Szenchenyi Baths. Where you go in hot and cold pools, saunas, etc.

I love the beautiful naked ladies.

Inside the lobby before I went tubbing.
The End.
Summary and recap:
-Budapest is very manageable on foot, though can be supplemented with a little public transport.
-Best attractions in my mind: Old Metroline (yellow), Great Market, Palace of Arts.
-People are very nice and friendly and seem to dress more wildly as they age. Yay.
-It's still a poor country, though hard to realise that, the average wage is only around $6000 US per year.
-It's not cheap by any stretch. My B&B was $75 a night in off season (single person rates) at best 2 stars. Musuem entrys were about $15 each. 10 subway tickets, $12, Coffee $4. Still worth a visit. Two to three days is plenty. I'm not sure what I would have done with an extra day, the inside of the Parliament I guess.

How to look good in front of a camera

It was called something like "looking good in front of a camera." You'll notice when you get to the bridal pictures, everyone was licking their lips prior to the photo, before the advent of lipgloss? Comical and distrubing was the section on making children smile and pose. After watching this and reflecting on my own experiences, I felt that I would never subject my child to professional portraits! Of course being without child, I can say these sorts of things.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Only place truly worth mentioning...

And I accidentally went there, I didn't even know the true name of the place, but it was alternative art and video, just off Hero's Square in Budapest. It is the Palace of Art. I just looked it up. It was listed as something you could miss. It is the best thing I saw in Budapest. Inside was a gorgeous building, followed by installations which were beautiful, connecting, and thought-provoking.

To follow is are photos from an exhibit (a film) entilted something like, "trying look good in front of a camera." From the 1960's. The exhibit I saw today was mostly archives.