Wild Turkey


There’s this place in Tulsa where it’s actually quiet. It’s hidden from the noise of traffic and the sound of cars. That’s important and rare in a city like this, where public transportation is lacking, bike lanes are almost nonexistent, and only small areas are walkable. Right now, this area is in danger of becoming home to a new outlet mall.

Turkey Mountain, from what I gather, has gone through many permutations. Twenty years ago it was a dark and unsafe hangout for vagrants and ne’er-do-wells. Couples parked there, people did drugs there, all sorts of terribly vulgar things happened. And unfortunately, many people still cling to that image of Turkey Mountain. I imagine that these are the same people who drive around town in Buicks with squealing belts, tossing cigarette butts out their window. Probably on their way home to their house with shag carpet, window AC units, and dirt in the front yard.

That’s unfair, I know. About as unfair as the ages old stereotype that some Tulsa residents are insisting is truth.

Here’s what I think of when I think of Turkey Mountain:


A few miles of trails where you can escape the city, even though you’re technically still in the hear of it. I don’t see vagrants or thugs here – I see fellow trail runners and bicyclers, I see families out for a hike, people taking their dogs out for exercise. I hear birds and the wind, I don’t hear gunshots or any other such rubbish.


I have hiked and run here, I have helped out with local races and escaped here more times than I can count. I have watched my dog (normally master of sad face) positively light up and crash through the brush in pursuit of pure freedom, something city dogs don’t get to experience in every metropolis.

People who are excited about an outlet mall insist it will bring money and jobs to Tulsa. They cite Tulsa Hills as an example, conveniently overlooking the disastrous Riverwalk and Eastland Mall, and the dozens of abandoned shopping areas in Tulsa. I’m sure they all started with the best of intentions, but they’re ghost towns now.

As for money…I don’t think so. Here’s a simple statistic: “For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community.”* This is why I shop locally, support local events, and why I feel a little bit of my soul die every time I see a new Wal-Mart pop up. Yes, a mall will produce jobs, but it will not produce sustainable, meaningful employment and financial security for the people who take those jobs.

I’m not against outlets. On interstates, miles outside of delicate wilderness areas, they provide a great distraction on long road trips. And guess what else? We can buy ANYTHING online these days, and with the wretched economics that go along with outlet malls, it makes just as much sense to click and buy as it does to go to a big box.

This mall is not being built right on top of the wilderness area, and we opponents understand that. It’s being built close enough to cause considerable damage. This wilderness area is private property and we opponents of the mall understand that we can’t tell private property owners what to do with their land. That doesn’t mean we have no voice, opinion, or power. Not everyone cares about individuality and local business, or understands how those things work and we opponents of this mall desperately wish everyone did.

We don’t NEED another generic shopping mecca where we can go buy things to compete with out friends and neighbors. Thoreau said it best when he said this about what we truly need: “We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

No, Turkey Mountain is not really wild, but it as close to it as we can get in this place. Here’s to keeping it that way.


Here’s the link to Turkey: http://www.turkeymtn.com/

Here’s a link for some info on the outlet mall: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/company-unveils-new-details-for-outlet-mall-near-turkey-mountain/article_62a0db65-09ce-5122-abe7-603a9029c24b.html



Sicky Sick Sickypants


I got sick over Thanksgiving. Then around new year’s. Then yesterday.

I am a pretty healthy person. I run, I spin, I eat WAY healthier than most people. I try to think happy thoughts and not hold grudges and do my best be a positive force in the universe. Apparently the universe thinks I’m a jerk.

Everyone in my office has been or is currently sick with some flu-like viciousness that will not relent. My coworker (she sits right next to me, separated by a common table) was sick, and I think we’ve been passing it back and forth. I missed a day of work because of it, she’s missed a day or two because of it.

My wonderful boyfriend is sick. He is staying home today for the third day in a row. He went to the doctor and was told he does not have the flu or strep, but here’s a Z Pack (that’s not a fanny pack full of sleeping pills, as I thought originally).

I skipped class yesterday evening because I really want to keep my sicky germs to myself, and the thought of sitting through a three hour lecture while having to step out to blow my nose every 15 minutes sounded awful. So I stopped at Walgreens and got medicine, went home and took said medicine and was asleep by 8.

Speaking of Walgreens, they card you when you purchase Nyquil. But only if they think you might be forty. Anyone younger than forty gets carded, but they have to make that judgment. I know this because the two employees had a very vocal back and forth trying to determine my age before one of them asked to see my ID. I’m glad they decided to ask for it, but I’m not sure that I needed to feel old on top of feeling snotty, congested, achy, tired and grumpy. Not that forty is old. But it is older than I am.

Anyway, it’s time for everyone to stop being sick. We’re all tired of it. Let’s move on, shall we?

#20 – Top Ten Reasons to Run at Work


Lunch time running is a newfound love of mine. I always thought it was something that I just didn’t have time for. The idea of getting down to the locker room, getting changed, running, getting cleaned up and reassembled for work just seemed impossible. However, I quit wearing makeup about a year ago and I work in a casual office that is in easy walking distance of a lovely urban running path. So since I go to class after work three days a week and can’t run after class or in between work and class, and don’t want to get up super early to run after getting home late from class, these three weekdays are my lunch run days! Here’s my list of the top ten reasons I think it’s awesome:

1. It’s so beautiful outside. Today I saw a squirrel hanging out in the very top of a tree. I watched Cardinals and Blue jays and birds I couldn’t name just frolicking around. Yes, frolicking.

2. Sunlight. Maybe not full blown sunshine, but there’s something healing about getting out in the middle of the day in the winter. It’s not dark, it might even be sunny, and if it’s cold it’s probably still the warmest part of the day.

3. Air. Even in the city, outside air beats office air any day.

4. Sights. People, animals, nature, houses, just all sorts of things to look at besides the computer monitor.

5. Motivation. Only having about thirty minutes to run makes me run harder and really get a good workout.

6. Rejuvenation. I’ll work until 6 pm and then go to class from 7:20 until 10:00, drive home and get there at about 10:20. This mid day run helps me stay alert and cheerful throughout that whole long process. It’s like getting an injection of endorphins in the middle of the day.

7. Superiority. What did your co-workers do for lunch? You might keep this reason to yourself.

8. Showers. I love hot showers. Love them. Getting to take one in the middle of the day…for free…on a cold day? Yes please.

9. Reinforcement. This jaunt outside makes it easier to resist the fully stocked snack cabinet in my office. It’s great that free food is just around, but it’s not healthy. Knowing I’ve done something healthy for lunch makes it easier to pretend there aren’t any Nutterbutters or Oreos in that kitchen.

10. Time. I don’t have to worry about getting up early tomorrow. I don’t have to worry about squeezing in a run somewhere else. The run is done, man!

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ten that leap to mind for me!

# 19 – Breakin’ the Rules!


When a runner first decides to take on the challenge there are SO many rules. So many experts, guidelines, recommendations and musts. It can take a long time to settle into your own routine and figure out what works best for you. If you happen to be vegan, throw another couple months onto that timeline.

I was told a lot of things when I first started running. Never try anything new on race day. The morning of a marathon, wake up a few hours early and drink an entire Gatorade or a big glass of water. Hit every single port-a-potty just in case. Eat and drink during your run on a schedule  – do not think you can simply drink when you are thirsty or eat when you are hungry. Make Saturday your long run day and get up at ass o’clock to start it. The list goes on. There are a few things I have learned for myself that I think are more appropriate for me.

I try new stuff all the time. I don’t care if it’s race day or not – if I have a cool new thing that I want to try I’m going to bust it out. I probably wouldn’t wear brand new shoes for a half marathon, but you get the point. Runners get to play with lots of really neat toys and gizmos and gear, so if race day is when they get broken in, so be it.

I sleep until the absolute latest I can sleep on race day. I drink enough water and eat enough fruit and vegetables in my everyday life that there is no earthly reason for me to get out of bed and drink something as noxious as Gatorade before a run. That is just crazy talk. Sleep wins.

As a runner, I will venture into restrooms that make your average Joe turn green. I understand that GI problems can be a big deal for runners. That does not mean that I should stand in line at every single available porta-a-potty I see. More crazy talk.

Nutrition and hydration on a long run are super important. Anything longer than three miles in unfamiliar territory and I’ll take a water bottle and a Pro Bar. Or some dates or trail mix, maybe even some hummus and a whole wheat wrap, depending on the situation. However, I will not take a drink whenever my Suunto beeps at me or eat something simply because it’s been some pre-determined amount of time. If I feel thirsty I’ll take a drink and if I feel hungry I’ll eat, simple as that.

Lastly, it is unrealistic to expect all runners to be free to make a certain day of the week their long run day, and even more unrealistic to make it happen as the sun comes up or before. We are all on different schedules with different commitments and responsibilities. Some of us like to sleep. A lot. I always found that when I ran long on Saturday I slept way, way in on Sunday, couldn’t get to sleep Sunday night, and found myself worn out on Monday morning. Add a full time college schedule to the work schedule and I’m too exhausted for my running to ever improve. Once I let myself actually sleep in on Saturday and run long either late Sunday morning or in the afternoon once it warmed up, my whole world became brighter, happier, and just less grumpy all around.

Oh – and I will never be able to blast snot out of nose as I run. Maybe that isn’t a rule exactly, but there are so many people who do that it makes me think there’s a super secret snot rocket class being conducted somewhere. No. Just no.

#18 – Inspirational Movies


Since school and work take up most of my time, it’s hard to pin down the time and energy to see movies these days. There are a few standbys that I have loved since I was little – Gone With the Wind probably tops that list. I took my boyfriend and his thirteen year old daughter to see it when it was in theaters for its 75th anniversary recently. The first time I saw it I was ten, and I watched it with my Grandma. I wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara more than I had ever wanted to be anything in my short life. Her bravery, her wits, and her almost otherworldly beauty just thrilled me. I watched that movie so many times growing up that I remember when the meaning of certain parts actually sank in for the first time. When Rhett carries Scarlett up the stairs to her bedroom and she wakes up giddy the next morning? When I was ten I didn’t really get it. As a teenager I thought it was dirty but didn’t really get it. As an adult I was a little outraged that this beloved movie of mine was glamorizing a man forcing himself on a woman – regardless of marital status or the love between them or whatever. Now I just remind myself that there isn’t really any battle to be fought there. 1939 was a long time ago.

I read the sequel as a teen and just loved it. I read the book Gone With the Wind around the same time and loved it just as much. It was so wonderful to see these characters as Mitchell wrote them. To go through so much more than they were able to show in the movie and get all these details, large and small, that made every character more real and more sympathetic.

I remember the first time I watched the movie, my Grandma shushed me and said, “Pay attention. This is where she makes her speech”. And Scarlett stands up against that red sky, with her fist full of red earth held over her head and says, “…If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. I’ll never be hungry again! No, nor any of my kin!” It still gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.

When we walked out of the theater with my boyfriend’s daughter, I asked what they thought. They both HATED Scarlett. They thought she was cruel and manipulative and just a terrible human being. I was so shocked to hear them say that, but then I realized that I’ve had twenty years to get to know Scarlett O’Hara. I’ve read the book more times, seen the movie more times, and watched more making of documentaries than a person should, really. Yes, she was mean and manipulative. She lied, she took advantage, and did business with bad people. But she did it to survive and to make sure everyone around her survived. Everyone talks about how selfless Melanie was, but there is very little difference between her and Scarlett. Scarlett simply had the physical strength and the guts that Melanie lacked.

Even after all these years, Gone With the Wind and Scarlett still inspire me.

Day 13: Yay for Sunshine!


This is the thirteenth day in a row that I have run or gone to the gym. Every single day, I have managed to get it together and get it done. Today I even ran at work. Last night was a late one and there was no way I was making an early gym class, so I brought my gear to work and ran on my lunch break. First time ever! I always thought you had to be a whole different level of dedicated than I could even dream of to run at work. Turns out you just have to be organized! And you should probably bring a towel. Just because the office has a locker room doesn’t mean it has towels.

It was fantastic to get out in the middle of the day and soak up some winter sunshine. I was worried that I would feel worn out after, but I do believe it has seriously boosted my energy. This is a very good thing, since I have class with the long winded professor this evening.

Day 12: Favorite Quote


There are two quotes that have been rattling around in my head since the first time I heard them.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Meade. This is actually on my fridge. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed and feel like you’re the only one who cares when you’re really passionate about something that really only a small percentage of the world’s population care about. Being a runner, being agnostic, a vegan, an animal lover, a supporter of equal rights – all of these things are such important parts of my life and it sometimes feels as if they’re not important to anyone else. There are days when I think it would be so much easier to go back to the days when I didn’t think about all these things and just mindlessly plod along as so many people do. Then I remember Meade’s wise words and they give me the hope I need.

“What is a soul? It’s like electricity – we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room.” – Ray Charles. I’ve heard this attributed to a couple different people but I like to think Ray Charles is responsible for it. I just like it, pure and simple.
This morning, the little guy pictured here followed me and Theta along on our run and wound up coming home with us. We have feelers out to see where his home is, but judging from his condition I’m concerned that he was dumped. A lot of people will tell you that animals don’t have souls. That they’re somehow lower life forms than we. I concede that they are different. They have different priorities and a different understanding of how the world works and their place in it than do humans. But there is no doubt in my mind that this sweet boy has a soul, feels very similar emotions to those that we experience, and that he is capable of love. Or at least something dogs feel that aligns with our definition of love. How anyone could abandon another living soul is beyond me. As the “smarter” and “better” species, it is our responsibility to at the very least do no harm.
We’ll take this guy to our vet in the morning and get his nails clipped and have him checked for a chip. If we find his owners we’ll let him go home, and if no one claims him we will take care of him. It’s the least we can do.