Category Archives: story time

Mother’s Day contest

babemoms

amaniRemember how it’s Mother’s Day on May 12?…

…right.

Remember how you put off thinking about it last year and then you scrambled to figure something out last minute? Let’s not let this year be another statistic.

Emily Kirwan and I are here to help. Emily works for Amani Ya Juu, a company that empowers African women to make and sell their goods at a fair price. Check them out here.

We want to give you a shot at winning some sweet goods for the best lady in your life; it’s almost like winning a stuffed animal for your date at the county fair. Almost.

Winner gets to pick something from this page on the Amani site, as well as a personalized card made by yours truly. That’s what moms want, right? Someone else’s kid to make the card?

To win these jewels, you can either:

1. Tell a sweet  or funny little story about your mama. Or perhaps describe her lovable quirks. Write it in the comments or Tweet/Instagram it to @beckycmurphy

or

2. Post a photo of your mom (with or without you, vintage or recent). Use the hashtag, #ICalledMyMomToday. Or, again, Tweet/Instagram it to @beckycmurphy. We’ll find you!

Do so by 11:00 AM Sunday, May 5. We’ll randomly pick the winner at that time.

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An idea’s birthday

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One year ago (April 1), I set out to do a marathon of drawings for a “silly side project that’s like, no big deal or anything or whatever. But I seriously don’t even care.”

I’ve gone over this love story before, but I think it’s worth rehashing.

2012 started with a bang. I went to Mardi Gras, SXSW and ran a half marathon. It was weekend after weekend of total-utta-insanity. Then BLAMMO, I had a minor case of post-running depression. I needed something to funnel all my energy into. I decided to do something about an I idea I had been mulling around for the last year or so, but didn’t do anything with because starting is hard and it requires starting.

I decided during a conversation with my good friend Amy, that I would do a bazillion drawings in April. It would be like training. I had to it even when I’d rather be sleeping or at the pub. I used the same discipline that got me out of bed to do 10 miles in order to draw pictures of human measuring sticks. I’d casually post these short people drawings to the blog day after day.

I did it. It was hard. I didn’t always want to stay up late working on them. I wondered what was getting into me. Who did I think I was? There was absolutely no reason to believe this would pan out and become anything at all. Since I deiced to start somewhere—anywhere, I was allowed to make stupid bad drawings. And I did. And they’re still up.

Something inside me knew it was a good idea and I had to do it. I can’t describe it other than delusion.

Nobody knew I was staying up late in hopes that it would one day turn it into a book. I figured I’d self-publish on Blurb and maybe down the road a little birdie (yeah, a real bird) would drop it on the desk of a major editor in New York (smoking a cigar with his feet up on the table during a business meeting. “STOP THE PRESS! We have a better one! Clarence! Call Ms. Murphy immediately!”).

Chad knew what to do. He writes and he told me I should submit to agents after I had about 30 posted (100 was the intention from the start).

I went to his house on a sunny Saturday afternoon the first week of May. He helped me write the query to submit to agents. I remember walking with him to the gas station down the road while he bought cigarettes (or some sort of lung poison) peach tea as we discussed my project. He encouraged me (classic Chad) and told me that someone would catch on to this idea.

I tried to guard my heart the way they tell you to in junior high youth group. Except my heart was my heart and the boy was a book.

It took everything in me to not tell anyone; this thing was too big. I felt like I would jinx it if I said it out loud.

I expected to wait weeks or months, but after submitting my query, I got an email the next day.

From Laurie, my agent.

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I feel like a jerk sometimes when I tell this story because it worked out so well for me. Beyond Laurie emailing me, the process has worked out seamlessly and taken almost as little time as it could have for being a book (still takes forever). Plume didn’t buy I’D RATHER BE SHORT because I was the best applicant; I was the only applicant. It was my idea and all I had to do was try. I used my gifts and my uniqueness the only way I knew how.

If I was born seven feet tall and loved hula hooping plus magic shows, I hope I would have done something with that too.

Don’t write this off because it sounds cliché: delusion bridges the gap between dreaming and doing.
What’s your story?

*photos are taken in my Waco apartment at the end of the book process.
Twitter & Insta: @beckycmurphy

Acuña goods

mexico2 copy

(Recap from trip two weekends ago)

Mexico was great. I did the same kind of thing a couple times in high school, so I vaguely knew what I was getting myself into. The quick summary: it was just what I needed when I most needed it. (You probably already heard that because that’s what I told everyone.)

mexico7

mexico1 copy

mexico8

About 10 of us drove from Austin to Acuña Thursday night and arrived home on Sunday. Short trip. I visit Austin all the time and spend more money than I did on this quick trip to Mexico. I’m grateful my boss let me have that Friday off at the last minute so I could surround myself with a community that I want to be more like. We woke up at 6:30 every morning and worked until it was dark. We completed the house in 2.5 days.

mexico6

I’m glad I went and thankful they invited me. It was  a good reminder that the world still turns when I’m not working on the book, blog or work. I detest how much Americans work, and I am among the worst. It wouldn’t be this way if I didn’t love it, but seeking balance is important. It was good to step away from clocks, mirrors and technology.

We love because he first loved us. —1 John 4:19

t: @beckycmurphy  |   i: @beckz_

The closest I’ve been to Ira Glass (AKA my Waco NPR interview)

A couple months ago I got an email from a local NPR reporter. Classic Chad had tipped her on the Becky’s-short-antics story. She was great! Also a short Becky, we chatted for about an hour at the station, and just a week later it was on the air. These moments are really special to me and I think she did an excellent job scratching below the surface.

It’s only about four minutes long. You can listen here.

Thanks again for being gentle with me, Becky. You are talent!

*photos of Ira Glass and Tavi Gevinson on the WSJ


@beckycmurphy

Regarding Animals

I didn’t grow up with pets and I never wanted a pet. I didn’t understand why people would go out of their way to care for a creature that would never have the potential to tell a good joke.

Old Becky, as best articulated by Tina Fey in this passage of Bossypants:
“I don’t hate animals and I would never hurt an animal; I just don’t actively care about them. When a coworker shows me cute pictures of her dog, I struggle to respond correctly, like an autistic person who has been taught to recognize human emotions from flash cards. In short, I am the worst.”  

New Becky:
One time I accidentally prayed that the puppies wouldn’t get scared during a thunderstorm. I almost Instagrammed photos of myself and [dog] Robert cuddling. I sincerely “awww” when I see [some] pups. I don’t go out of my way to pet them, and I have almost have no idea how to play with them (thank you Charlie dog at work for being such a gracious teacher.) But I much enjoy looking at them. I’m not ready to invest, but I dare not speak for my future self. Regardless, if a French Bulldog or teacup piglet shows up at my doorstep, I can confidently say that I would give that animal a badass name and spoil it…with water. Just kidding — I would spoil it like Paris Hilton spoiled her dog. Just kidding — it would be somewhere in the middle. In short, I would actually love it.

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How and why I wrote the book

I finally get to talk about I’d Rather be Short. Openly! It’s not a yeah-but-don’t-tell-anyone-else-yet sort of thing. A lot has happened in the last three months. There has been scheming. Late nights. Too many emails. Twitter explosions. Contracts. And more claw hands than ever before. I’ll start at the beginning.

I had this idea to do a series on the perks of being short. A) I needed to tell myself that it is okay to be a LITTLE different. B) I wanted to empower others to do the same. C) Since I’m always the shortest friend, I am always the one to get the wonky NPR articles on shortness. I knew there wasn’t much out there because I would have gotten it as a link or gift, so I D) capitalized on it.

I had the idea a year and a half ago. I casually mentioned it to some friends (silly short perks plus illustrations). I put it off for the whole year because I didn’t know where to start.  I always wanted it to be a book in the back of my mind, but I was very careful not to say that out loud. Around New Years, I reflected on goals and what I wanted to make happen for 2012. I made fewer, but bigger goals: run half marathon, write and illustrate this book (published or not), paint a mural and stop biting nails.

I ran the half marathon in March and after the race I had some sort of post-running depression. Besides the fact that this race was over (it was a HUGE deal that I was able to run that, by the way), I also got to see far away friends, go to Mardi Gras, and SXSW in the month or two before. I felt like all of these monumental things were over at the same time and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I decided to do a marathon of drawings starting in April. In April I would do 30 IRBS illustrations. I only got 15 done, but I worked really hard on them. Though the first few really sucked, I knew it was better to start somewhere then than start somewhere later. At the end of the month I figured out the style that I liked. I didn’t reach the goal, but I got started.

When April was over, I knew I had enough material to submit to literary agents. This is mostly because of my friend Chad. He already knew about the business. I confided in him what I wanted to do and he got on board. We spent three hours writing a cover letter, bio and summary to send to agents (mostly agentquery.com). I spent a couple of weeks refining which drawings to send off, proofread work and research the agents that were the best fit for my project. Finally I submitted. I sent the email out and hoped I would hear back from somebody in a few weeks. Anybody.

The next morning I got an email from Laurie. She loved it. I told her that I needed a couple of weeks to think about it and send it to more agents before deciding on who I wanted to represent me. I talked to several in the next 10 days and had some offers. My problem was now “which agent do I choose??!!” (A champagne problem, if you will). I talked to Matt in Austin and he gave me lots of good advice. I started a Twitter account, @idratherbeshort.

I told Laurie that I wanted to work with her, and I haven’t looked back. We spent three weeks writing the proposal and sent it off to 12 publishers. A week later we had an offer. There were rejections but there was also interest. Last week (while in Chicago), the book went to auction and I had several bids. I went with Plume and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

What are the chances that I would get the wonderful news when I was with my family. I’m only seeing them twice this year, and I got to be with them on Navy Pier while I talked to Laurie and reported my decisions immediately after making them. I couldn’t release any information about the publisher until Tuesday morning, which is when I posted it on all my social media outlets. God has blessed me. He’s given me hands to draw with and people to tell me that I should keep going.

I was hoping to write this in two paragraphs. Ha! I will have so much more to say as I think of it now until November. Or Fall of next year. Or whenever I want to write more. I hope none of this sounds braggy. It has been a really amazing opportunity. I hope that this give you hope to pursue that nagging dream you tucked away.

Lesson summary:

1. Go! Don’t wait a second longer! Just start.

2. Be protective of your dreams. It’s necessary to share them with others, but don’t do it until you’re ready. We are all naturally self-indulgent. Don’t expect anyone to be over the moon for what you’ve been stewing over for weeks. Also, watch this three minute Ted Talk about why we shouldn’t be loose with sharing our goals.

3. Become a little delusional for a little while. In the back of my head I always knew this was going to turn out well. I don’t know what gave me that odd confidence, but for some reason, I would work until 2 or 3 AM. Just to do some silly IRBS blog post for like 100 readers. That is crazy, but crazy was necessary.

4. Run a really long race that you will probably hate. It gave me a renewed sense of “Yes I can!” It gave me structure and discipline, which was just what I needed to begin this new endeavor.

photo via Fred One Litch

Homeless Mo

In March I went to a blogging conference at SXSW. It was mostly for fashion, but I convinced them to let me in (AKA they took my money). One guy was there representing his advertising company (isocket) out of San Francisco. I talked to him about blog traffic, twitter, illustration and pug people. I have been following Ryan via social media since. He’s been up to some pretty cool stuff.

Ryan met Mo when Mo asked for some money and cigarettes. Ryan bought him a sandwich instead. They became friends. Ryan gave Mo a flip cam to record interviews with various people around the city about the homeless situation in San Francisco. The interviews are brief but they are fascinating. Check them out on Mo’s YouTube channel or  Mo’s Facebook page. Or give Mo a couple of bucks. I don’t mind paying him for the insight he’s given me.

Chyess, I would love to play

“The only squares I see are the ones on these chess boards.” — joke I wish I thought of last night

The Waco Fork & Chipper Things Chess Tournament was a hoot. We had 16 participants, filling the competitive and casual divisions. Anthony and Josh were the night’s champions. Congrats, you two. Your cash money and trophy plaques are well deserved. Thank you to everyone who came out, and thank you to Jacob for bringing the competition boards. I’m sure we’ll be doing this again. Any feedback is welcome.

I can’t think of a better way to top off the weekend than to hang with friends at the pub. And yell at them sometimes because they take my Bishop when I need him. Now let’s all have a super Monday.

I don’t see why we can’t at least try.

Mom said I can get a tattoo when I turn 25

I made a list of 25 things to accomplish before I turned 25. I wrote it on Saturday:

comb nappy hair / make this list / wash dishes / clean desktop / get groceries / finish PressPausePlay documentary / learn more about camera / make Father’s Day post / finish that one thing I’m working on having to do with social media and stuff  / tell a great joke! / roast those sweet potatoes / figure out plants / write a letter  / write that one thing / sweep kitchen floor / wash car / set up eye doc appointment / finish woodburns / rest on Sunday / be brave like Special Agent Dale Cooper / buy plane ticket / make someone dinner / buy those wood planks already / reflect on church service / clean out inbox

But more seriously, I had another post I was going to put up today that was actually thoughtful. Since I didn’t have the time to make it polished, I decided to stave off your hunger with this list of ridic. In my real life list of 100 things, I have included: star in a nationally syndicated infomercial, be interviewed by Ira Glass and floss every night.

I have survived in my own flesh for a quarter of a century. Whoa, thank you God and thank you friends. Alive at 25. I am truly thankful.

Dad, thank you for hiding the TV every summer. I get it now.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Now that I’m as old as I’ve ever been, I realize more and more how great of a father you are. I get my goofiness, can-do attitude and drive for success from you. Thank you and I love you. For those of who wish to know a bit more about the man in the mirror, let me indulge you.

Dennis is really really positive. One time he said ‘can’t’ was not in the dictionary. My little sister said it was — and showed him. He crossed it out with a permanent marker.

Dennis doesn’t want to be like everyone else. My cousin Kelly went to college a while back and showed up at a family get together with bright blue hair. My dad was so impressed, that years later he proposed our family do the same. “Just one week of all different colors of hair,” he would say. He was so excited about showing up to restaurants and baseball games and getting all sorts of looks from strangers. My mother did not support the notion, but in her defense, he wanted her to have purple while he got bleach blonde.

Dennis is silly. I remember when I was making something with powdered milk and I needed Dad to taste test it. Of course he fell asleep in the chair watching the news. When I accidentally woke him, he jerked and a little spilled on his shirt. He then took the glass out of my hands and poured the rest all over me because he thought I was playing a trick on him. I was covered in smelly pasty milk.

Dennis is a saver. It even goes back to first grade. He said that every day they got a cookie during snack time. In typical Dennis fashion, he saved each cookie and hid it in his desk until the day he would have a glorious feast. One day he opened his desk and the cookies were gone. Good thing that didn’t discourage him. He made sure that when I saved up for my Sony Discman, I put just as much money into my savings account as the purchase itself. I am so thankful for that, as well as many similar life lessons. I am quite blessed to have been given this father.

Airport scavenger hunt

When I went to Nicaragua a couple years ago, we had an obscure trek to our destination. We flew from Des Moines to St. Louis to D.C. to Miami to Managua. How one can be in all those cities in the same day is still amazing to me. This must be how T. Swift feels every day. On our last leg, we decided to do a scavenger hunt to make the layover go by a little faster. As far as I remember, we played boys vs. girls. I’m thinking about revisiting this list when I go to Chicago in July. Wish me luck!

1. statement hair
2. socks + sandals
3. foreign hotties
4. person reading Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings
5. doppelganger
6. pro athlete
7. velour jumpsuit
8. airport worker who can say the alphabet backwards
9. home-schooled [looking] child
10. twins
11. sweat pants butt word (bonus if it has glitter or sparkles. i.e. “angel”)
12. stranger separated by six degrees from someone we knew
13. couple having an affair (to our best JUDGEMENT)
14. butterfly tattoo
15. adult braces
16. whale tail (thong hanging out of jeans)
17. stroller used as storage

photos via old brand new

This just in! IRBS is on Twitter & Instagram

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of my creative pursuits. Through the good, bad, mediocre, funny and awkward, you have stuck by my side. I don’t know what kind of weird stuff I’d be up to if I didn’t have these hobbies to keep me out of trouble. Maybe I would learn how to shuffle cards. Or get into World of Warcraft. Or deal drugs. Or study cartography?

In regards to IRBS, it is just as important that it be life-giving as well as funny. I think we all constantly need to be affirmed that we are beautifully/wonderfully/perfectly made.

In an attempt to reach more shorties (and general yay-sayers), I’ve turned I’d Rather be Short into a Twitter critter. I’m excited. Things are still getting worked out, but it is time to release this baby into the wild.

Head over to @idratherbeshort on Twitter 

and id_rather_be_short on instagram.

I’ll still be posting on @beckycmurphy, but I’ll be hamming it up a lot more with its own Twitter space. Tell your kids, wives, grandparents and tall friends.

She decided she will go sailing / BBBS

Madison is in fourth grade. She is a little quiet, but has come out of her shell so much in the last year and half of knowing her. Last night we went out for for dessert. The girl was craving chocolate cake and I wasn’t going to be the one to get in the way. It was one of the best times we’ve ever spent together.

She asked me how I’ve been. She wants me to teach her how to draw — this is huge coming from a child who disassociates herself with art. I am so honored and thrilled that she trusts me with her goals and dreams. She even let me talk her into going sailing this Sunday.

Read more about my journey with Big Brothers Big Sisters here, on my company’s blog. If you read that article, I won’t make you read the next ten on Chipper Things. Deal?

*image via Resolute Woman

Almost caught the bouquet. Almost doesn’t count. But it almost does.

The magic genie (Steve Madden) granted me one night of tall girl time. I felt like I was on MTV’s Made. Or Cinderella. Or Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday. I bought these shoes for Ray and Julie’s wedding. They were comfortable enough. I learned what it’s like to block the people standing behind me. And duck for doorways. And dunk a basketball. And change a tire (irrelevant) (and untrue). And how to be the WORST at the limbo.

I almost caught the single ladies bouquet during the reception. It was in my hand, and then my famously terrible hand-eye coordination left me with a catch and release. It fell to the ground — almost in slow motion (just like when Paulette dropped the pen in Legally Blonde before she bend-and-snapped for the UPS guy). Next to me was a precious gal. Really short. Probably the shortest girl in the building. If I had to size her up, I’d say she was in first grade. She probably doesn’t even know how to spell ‘acquaintance’ yet. I couldn’t tell if she really wanted to get married soon, or if she was just extremely competitive. Either way, she beat me to the punch! The little blonde firecracker grabbed the bouquet of flowers beneath me and claimed her victory —  all because she was closer to the ground. Legend says she’ll be the next to get married. Fine by me. I need a little more time to organize my tupperware cupboard before I commit to anything long-term.

The rest of my weekend in Austin:

Sangria. Shangri La. Traditional shopping. Pool time. Whole Foods +  smoothies. Dresses with pockets. Winter lipstick but WHO CARES. Some 24-year-olds really do have it all together (white furniture). Happy hour sangria. The Killers. Chicken waffles. Breakfestivals. Economics banter. Barton Springs. Puppies. #smallnups. Simple pizza. Lake Austin. Goat cheese, thyme and honey ice cream. Coffee shop doodles. Hugs.

Ray and Julie, we are all so happy for you two. Many congrats and many blessings as you begin your new journey as one. Thank you for the beautiful ceremony and epic reception. I think we’ll celebrate your anniversary with a bang next year. Cabo?

photo via Herschel lookbook

Overzealous Moon

The moon was like, “WATCH THIS.”

So we says, “Okay.”

Then…we got solar eclipsed.

I regret to inform you, mom, that I looked at the sun a lot. You know when people say, “I know it’s so bad, but I just can’t stop watching [insert vice].” ? It was like that except it was literally bad for my eyeballs and I literally stared for quite some time. I did wear sunglasses and I sometimes looked through the welding glass. Please don’t be mad at me please don’t be mad at me.

Friends + wine + sunset. Perfect Sunday? Yes. I hope God was fist-pumping in His heart at the sight of it all. I know I sure was.

Everything I know about duvet covers

1. Worst chore: putting duvet back on comforter. I just want to wash the duvet and be happy about it. I want to enjoy the process as much as I enjoy the end result. But no. You have to take the dumb thing off. Wash it. Dry it, then…you have to match the corners up and tie the dumb thing back in place. I always go for the crawl in this matching process. I feel like a cat trapped in a dismantled tent. Again, worst chore.

2. Tip: if you’re like me and you fall asleep with a ballpoint pen in hand from time to time, you are going to end up with a splotchy duvet cover. Once it is almost to the point of no return, remember that there is one last thing you can try…fabric dye! I used this trick on my beige West Elm duvet. I tried to color it charcoal, but as happy accidents go, it transformed itself into an acid wash plumb. I still love it. Pictures will appear on my unborn post, ‘Thrifty Like Me’.

photos via Sandra Juto 

Charger says, “uh uh”

I’ve had my Mac for about five years. We’ve been through a lot and I’m surprised she’s still kicking. In her old age I do not take a day for granted. The damaged corners from when she was dropped, the replaced keyboard from when I spilled water on her, the faint buzzing she makes when the screen isn’t tilted at her favorite angle. These are her beauty marks and I am thankful I get to experience them with her (because I have to). Unfortunately, her sidekick, Charger, has gracefully stepped out of commission. I think God was serious when He said that I need to put down the computer. It was a piss poor effort on my behalf, so He did it for me and I will complete the Hunger Games in this short time of being power-chord-less. A divine intervention indeed.

Photo via Oracle Fox

Blog post in lieu of 13.1 bumper sticker

You read about the series of misfortunes in my un-athletic life. You read about how I tricked myself into being healthy and you read about when I fell off the treadmill. Now I tell you about the race that I killed this weekend. Suggested tools: banana, legs, Big Freedia. I’m not sure if it was God’s grace or if it was part-grace part-reward. I let at least five cars cut infront of me in the traffic jam on the way. I also refused to litter during the race.

Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon. Most people run with friends. That would have been too cool and conventional. I signed up by myself because I knew I had to do it while my motivation was still above sea level. I have no qualms with that method, except  A) I didn’t know that I had to get my number at the expo the day before and B) plan an extra hour for traffic. I barely made it in time. I did not have a number. I still got a medal at the end.

I fully embraced the event. I tried to congratulate those around me when we reached a new mile. I always high-fived the children’s hands in the road that stuck out like branches. I saw Jorby twice while he was filming. That made me feel very very very popular. I even did that “rock on!” hand sign to one of the bands. It felt funny, but I’ll try anything once. I was nervous I would “have to” walk at some point; it turns out that all I had to do to not walk was to not walk. I did not walk.

I learned a lot and I could write a long post about how good this is for your body and self-esteem and street cred and ice cream points. It’s not a full-marathon, but I get the idea. I think my knees are scheming against me now. I heard one tell the other that if they keep acting like they have grandkids, maybe they won’t have to work anymore. I told them that’s a poor strategy, for it would be impossible for them to have grandkids.

All in all, I am very pleased with what the last few months have brought. The race was the cherry on top. As a pre-ward, I bought a pretty mug and took myself on a date to the Whole Foods buffet. I was so happy after the race that I went to Anthropologie and bought another mug. I know it’s excessive, but I was able to afford it.

*The organization that brought me to doing the race in the first place is going to get a post of its own. Check out As Our Own.

…and God was even at SXSW

Parking review: just bike.

Beer review: drinks on them. You want to find yourself at the gatherings where Shiner flows like water. If you are like me, you will almost never finish your beer before it gets warm; excessive consumption is a non-issue. None of this matters though, because South By is now over. Womp womp.

Moving on. I think I’m finally starting to de-compartmentalize God. Instead of thinking in terms of God-place and oh-whatever, it’s starting to become more holistic. Since God is everywhere, He was at SXSW. I knew this when The Kingston Springs played at the end of their set. One of the long-haired gentlemen was banging the drum and I could not help but dance. The kind of dancing where I flail my arms and accidentally hit those around me. I was so full of joy. I think that God probably liked that His creation created something so jolly that dozens of people couldn’t stand still. My eccentric dance habits and their musical outpouring are gifts meant to be enjoyed. I did not give myself these legs for jiving,but I am thankful I have them.

Favorites from SXSW: BenshRubblebucketThe Weeks

Photo of Rubblebucket via here

SXSW butterflies

I was going to write a doodad about each of these bullet points, but I realized that I didn’t have time to be clever enough to make it worth your while. I’m leaving for SXSW tonight. I went last year, so I guess you could say I’m an old pro. You would be wrong, but you could say it. The traffic is terrible and the parking is even more mad but the spirit of the city mends all frustrations. I hope the parties let me in and my shoes don’t fail at working. I also hope that I don’t get hungry at the wrong times. You know, the times when you would pay an arm and a leg to eat a turkey leg. That doesn’t seem like a fair trade, does it? I don’t even like those things.

This is going to be glorious. I can no longer pretend to be kind of cool about my “knowledge” musicry, so please don’t expect a legitimate review of the festival on Monday. What you can expect is a review of the parking. And the free turkey legs beer.

People of Austin / South By know-it-alls / any breathing person: twitter me @beckycmurphy for any exciting happenings. Cool and thanks.

Mom, do these glasses make me look hipster?

This weekend I went to the Texas Style Conference. I am by no means a fashion lady, so you should understand why I was so scared to go. The girls would have mile long legs and wear flashy patterns. The patterns that would match without matching and they would look fabulous. They would all have long hair and they would be beautiful and they would all know each other.

Everyone was 100% fabulous, yes. One thing I took away from the conference was that I need new shoes. And by need, of course I mean need. But by the second need I really mean want. There were some cool short girls too who will have to teach me how to dress. Even some that are in a roller derby league.

I was so impressed by how kind and gracious everyone was. New friends galore! I learned a lot about using social media, some avoidable habits, and how to remind myself that this blog is just a blog. Wait a second…you already knew that?

One more thing: free loot. We were treated like royalty. I need to write about the sponsors and other little lessons, but for now I must head to the office so I can slap fives with my jolly coworkers.

Confused Becky, Diana and Rocio in photo

One of those days when you just need to fall off the treadmill. Right?

Alternative titles: “Actually quite jumpy” and “Woof”

There isn’t much to it. I was in the dark and usually lonely cinema room at the gym. Today’s movie was Tower Heist. There was a scene in the beginning where Ben Stiller was running his fastest — when out of nowhere — someone clotheslined him. If you know me even a little well, you will know that I am actually quite jumpy. At the exact moment Ben Stiller hit the ground, I hit the ground. It’s hard to play it cool when your body goes limp and the treadmill has its way with you. Oh how embarrassed everyone was for me, but not as embarrassed as they will be when I have to explain my thigh burn next time I wear shorts. Of course I tried to play it cool, but that only makes it worse. Yes, this quintessential awkward moment does happen in real life to real people. At least it wrote my post for me today.

New HTR shirt idea: “I fell off the treadmill and all I got was this bloody shin”. I’ll let you know when they start selling.

Etchings by Al Held

How to trick yourself into being healthy

Short version:

1. Sign up for race. 2. Eat healthy so training is easier. 3. Sleep more so training is easier. 4. Be optimistic so training is easier.

Long version:

December 15th. 11:27 PM. Picture yourself chilled to the bone in the middle of winter. Not because of the plummeting temperature, but because you have just inhaled a baby-sized portion of ice cream (baby-sized, of course, being the size of a whole baby). You feel okay enough because you are still a voting citizen and you still take your vitamins. You vaguely [clearly] remember telling a few [lot] of people that you are going to run a half marathon in March. “Cinnamon and gravy!” you say between gorge rallies, “For it is only 33 minutes until the early bird registration closes!” It is imperative that you save $20 as you pay to do what you most loathe.

This is when you are locked in. You thought that 5k Turkey Trot was God’s way of punishing you for not liking peas.You have been blessed and cursed with the frugality of your father and probity of your mother. You will not waste your (half) MARATHON fee. And you will certainly not flake out after telling your peers that you are, “so in this.” You know you have to run.

When you start training you will do everything humanly possible to make the race less hell-ish. You will buy wheat grass and scoff at those who do not understand that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You will kind of try to get more sleep. You will not miss a workout on the schedule (at first). You will [hope to] say at swanky bar, “Oh yeah, once you’re past mile six, it’s so fun. Just plain fun. Gee whiz I wish I was running now. Don’t those marathons in Antarctica sound neat?” Your utmost desire is that running just not be terrible. Perhaps even comparable to the minor inconvenience of washing your car.

It won’t take long until you eventually really like running. This will be evidence of God’s grace. You will feel superhuman when you complete eight miles before work. Your feet will become calloused. Your socks will wonder why you’re putting sandpaper in them. You will smile and kindly tell them that it’s your strong feet and they mustn’t worry. Your socks will tell you that they are only strong in the first-world kind of way. You will have to agree. You will also actually get more sleep. You will find three miles to be child’s play. It will be wonderful. You will be proud. A half marathon is not impressive to five out of ten people, but you are part of the five who is impressed. Before you started training, you thought running was only used for ice cream trucks and indigenous survival. You did everything you could to catch a break in seventh grade track. All of the sudden, you no longer fear the running pirate ship and its mates. You are now one of them.

You will laugh as you tell your legs and heart that the joke is on them this time. You have successfully tricked those suckers into thinking they are having fun while they are really just working to keep you healthy. They deserve it though. And so do you.

photo via this isn’t happiness

Lessons from my mother

1. Take your vitamins.

2. Don’t buy because it’s on sale. If you wouldn’t want it at regular price, what difference does the money make? (I have a feeling that this isn’t an aha-moment for the male readers.)

3. Don’t be trendy  just to be trendy. If the “cool patchwork jeans” look unbecoming on you, then it is not your trend. She told me that middle parts were all the rage — but not for Crystal. Crystal is not a fool. Crystal is not going to be fooled by the masses and she sure as hell isn’t going to be fooled by a hair stylist. She has rocked the side part her whole life and hasn’t looked back.

4. Keep your jewelry. It takes minimal storage and your high school daughter [me] just may go through a phase where loud and dated jewelry is, “like, seriously the coolest thing ever.”

5. Know what colors make you glow. I am a winter. Only crisp and cool colors were allowed when growing up. I felt guilty whenever I bought yellow or orange. I knew in her heart she was disappointed, but then she probably remembered that my idea of rebelling was buying yellow and orange. “I think Becky is going to be okay,” she must have said to my dad.

6. Pray fervently. Then pray more! This is a woman of faith and I have no idea how she has stayed so strong.

7. If you want French silk pie for dinner then eat French silk pie for dinner. (I didn’t need to be taught this, but as I proofread I realized that I skipped #7).

8. Don’t let under garments show. Keep the whale tales hidden in the deep denim sea.

9. Posture is imperative to those lacking a tall stature. Stand as if there is a string pulling you up. Every time I go home, I get this talk from my parents. I think they are still surprised that I’m not taller.

10. Being involved in the community should be normal. Don’t talk about change. Just do it. School board? PTA? Volunteer firefighter? No problem. (except for the firefighter)

V-DAY with Brieyonce

Brie and I didn’t like each other at first. I was walking down my dorm hall and the guys accidentally pegged me in the calf with a baseball. I tried to hide the pain and play it cool. Meanwhile, Brie was at the other end of the hall annoyed at how much “attention” I was craving.

I didn’t like her because when I asked her what her favorite Disney Channel Original Movie was, she said, “Becky, we’re in college. No one watches Disney anymore.”

I didn’t know she was joking and she didn’t know I was actually in pain. We roomed together for the next three years along with Katie and Rachel. Valentine’s Day makes me miss homemade cards from college. This is just one tasty lick.

For the record, my top three DCOM: Brink!, Smart House and Motocrossed. 

The time, which is every time, I realized I’m not athletic.

My older brother Ryan once told me that I would “totally get first team all-conference for art” if it were a thing. That was near the end of my high school sports career. I never excelled in anything involving hand-eye coordination or endurance (aka: running in circles). Allow me to explain.

1993: Playing tag. I spruced up an innocent game by deciding to play with my eyes closed. That way I could run into the middle of a tree or moving bus. Luckily I chose the former. The bark imprints on my forehead made me look like an injured cartoon character that fell out of a backpack that fell out of a tree and then got ran over by the aforementioned bus.

1995: 2nd grade basketball. YMCA Wizards. During the time-out of our last game, Coach told everybody, “Whatever you do, pass the ball to Becky.” This is because Becky hadn’t made a basket all season. I did end up getting the ball; and I missed. My poor parents went to every game, bless their hearts.

1998: Swimming lessons. I was the oldest one in my class. And I failed. I actually failed swimming lessons.

2000: 7th grade track. While (illegally) passing another girl on the inside lane at a meet, I tripped over her foot. I dramatically fell and stayed on the ground three seconds too long, yet plenty long enough to get Starmont disqualified from the race.

2002: JV softball. (almost the best one). While not bad at second base (JV as an 8th grader just means we were short-staffed), I wasn’t exactly the stand out. I always flinched when digging grounders. I turned my face enough not to break my nose incase the ball hit an unexpected death trap in the sand. Coach had had enough of my pathetic invisible shield and one day at practice — at varsity practice — she ordered me to wear the catcher’s mask as she drilled me with grounder after grounder after grounder. If that summer was a movie, this part would be what we call foreshadowing. 

Later in 2001:  JV softball. (This is the best one). I was playing third base at a softball game in Springville. The runners were stealing, so Allie faked out the gal at 2nd and also faked me out. Throwing as hard as she could at not-ready-not-alert-Becky, she nailed me in the face. Allie throws hard. I dropped to my knees and writhed in pain. Yeah, I stopped a high school softball game. No big deal. Whatever! It’s still just me! I had the laces imprinted on my face as well as the pretty blue and purple hues you see on futuristic screen savers. Alas, I was glamorous!  Everyone called me Sloth for the next two weeks.

2004: High school competition cheerleading. Sometimes I got nervous and wobbly as the flyer. It was bad timing to be nervous and wobbly considering it was the homecoming pep rally (the one that the whole town attends). I fell from two stunts in one routine. In Twitterland, #winning and #FAIL would have both been appropriate.

Fear not, I do have some redeeming qualities. First, I played a really good game of bags at the Baylor vs. Iowa State football game last season. I made four in a row — knocking out one of the opponents to get us right at 21. Another example is when I worked at Cheesecake Factory and someone bumped into me when I was about to deliver a beached whale to one of my tables. I dove with the plate to save it from a sea of broken glass and shiny tile. People (me) are still talking about it five years later. But what about sports you can get scholarships in? Guess who had the highest serving percentage on the whole volleyball team senior year? Tiny but Mighty” Becky is who. They may have been soft and delicate, but they mostly went over the net most of the time. And they were always served with love.

All that to say… I’m engaged! And by engaged, I mean I’m running a [half] marathon in March. I never thought I would be able to make ma and pa so proud. Dad, because I am refining my can-do attitude, and ma, because I am finally drinking more water.

Drawing by Ana Benaroya.

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