Tuesday, June 30, 2009

5K Here I Come

I decided yesterday that it was time to "ponerme las pilas" (literally: put the batteries in me; in other words: get fired up, get energized, recommit, etc) and really get active again. So...I created a VERY transitional 10 week plan that should take me from my current all-but-completely-sedentary state to running a 5K--something I did periodically in college but something I haven't done in at least 2 years. For the most part I've really done a better job with my eating since spring break, but you can only go so far with food while still sitting on the couch. Less computer, more exercise!

I was showing my plan to Sergio and told him I wanted to sign up for an August 29th run here in Mission, and he said he wanted to do it too, which only makes me that much more excited! We've got a lot to do before August 29th!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vacation Exhilaration & July 4th Musings

I went to bed last night with the exciting feeling that I still have an entire week of vacation ahead of me. It's been a wonderfully relaxing holiday so far. I've pampered myself here and there with a manicure, pedicure, and highlights/haircut. I've got several massage gift certificates yet to redeem--will do that Wednesday or Thursday. Serg and I took Michael for his first beach outing--priceless!

We'll be taking him again as we spend the July 4th weekend back at South Padre Island; Sergio's mom was able to rent a beachfront condo from a friend for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Total relaxation!!

It will take me back to our 4th of July celebrations with Grandma and Grandpa Dolman at the beach house on Rincon--celebrations and traditions that turned July 4th into my all-time favorite holiday (yup, it even beat Christmas!) and left me with unforgettable family memories and a deep and sincere love for my country. It's exhilirating to feel such passion for my country and to manifest it through (among many ways) the traditional red-white-and-blue, John-Phillips-Sousa, hat-off-for-The-Star-Spangled-Banner outward shows of patriotism. It 's something that's often equated with what many of my peers consider "unenlightened," didactic, and religious-right conservatism, and their tendency to steer clear of traditional manifestations of American patriotism has given me the chance to think carefully through these traditions and decide what I do or don't want to pass on to my own children. I've concluded that what I feel is a very real patriotism that I've never found incompatible with my political positions regardless of how far right or left I lean on any issue. Nor have I ever struggled to reconcile it with my Australian-American dual citizenship. Getting chills as I listen to the national anthem, insisting that we begin every day at school with the pledge of allegiance, sporting red, white and blue clothing every July 4th, attending patriotic breakfasts and parades, raising the flag in the morning and folding it carefully after retiring it before sundown...all surface-level manifestations of a much deeper love for a country I firmly believe was founded on inspired principles by very imperfect but visionary men. Is it a perfect union? Not even close. Is it a more perfect union than it was 50, 100, 250 years ago? I like to think so. Is there much in terms of policy and politics that I disagree with? Absolutely. However, that's what I feel like I'm celebrating with my outward patriotic displays--the fact that I live in a country where so much happens that I do disagree with, yet I remain consistently inspired by the fact that I and my opponents on issues can argue, debate, demonstrate, and disagree to our heart's content. I hope those who consider such outward shows of patriotism to be ignorant or out-of-style will realize that they don't represent a platform or right/left position but are displays of loyalty and hope for a country that, in spite of its rough and rocky history, has produced visionary men and women each generation who had the courage and freedom to effect deep societal and political change, pushing our nation--ever so slowly but surely--toward fulfilling the ideals that were once simply words on paper.

I'm not your typical straight-ticket democrat or republican...I think less and less of my generation are. I get annoyed with people who try to define me or put me in an ideological box, because it's an outdated framework. Let me lean a little to the left while I simultaneously raise my American flag with pride, sing God Bless America with gusto, and work hard to be a devout and sincere Mormon. I will praise the current administration's stand on education and criticize what I consider complete inaction in the international arena. Some things are black and white in my world, others are not. No matter what, don't underestimate the importance of what happened 233 years ago this Saturday and don't be fooled by those who would have you believe that being proud to be American is backward, ignorant, or out of date.