Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

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Snacks at the most wonderful time of the year

The holiday season is about seeing your friends and family. And goofy Christmas specials on TV. And God and spirituality. (Baby Jesus if you’re Christian) And parties AND FOOD!

Oh the snacks. Party food is the best food. Some people get all ga ga over the Turkey and dressing. I, on the other hand, get all happy over the bites served at the parties beforehand. I like food that you can eat with your fingers while talking smack with your friends. Portable and tasty is a good combination.

Here are some of my favorites. In order to preserve what little girlish figure (HAHAHAH) I still have, I only eat these things during the Holiday Season. I am deliberately leaving out the veggie tray.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (I use the Frank’s Red Hot version when I make it)

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 (8 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup FRANK’S RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or FRANK’S RedHot® Buffalo Wings Sauce
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch dressing
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese or your favorite shredded cheese


PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

COMBINE all ingredients and spoon into shallow 1-quart baking dish.

BAKE 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish with chopped green onions if desired. Serve with crackers and/or vegetables.

Please don’t sue me Frank’s. I make a complete jackass out of myself eating this stuff. It’s a less messy version of hot wings. I am not going to say how much of this I eat but I am going to say that i am grateful that I run. I have also used this as a way to get rid of leftover turkey.

Those white chocolate covered Oreos. Fortunately, the Oreo people only see these things during the Holiday season. Everybody is happy.

Those little brisket sandwiches served on a roll with hot mustard aka Brisket slider. Some random caterer makes these and many of the holiday parties in Arkansas serve them. I have found them at the bar association annual meeting in the summer. But yeah slide down my throat into my belly.

Sweet Love holiday sugar cookies. Sugar cookies shaped like Santa? HO HO HO

Back in the day, I would say Charcuterie plates was a holiday only but some of the local restaurants have started to serve some awesome appetizer trays.

HELLO? What the hell Adele?

I love Adele. That woman can sing. In a time of rampant autotune, this woman can stand there and belt out a ballad like few others. The few others that get listed as competition are people like Barbara, Whitney, Aretha. Names that are legends. Only time will tell whether or not Adele will herself become one of these iconic singers. I loved her previous albums and was happy to see that she released new stuff.


That “Hello” video is hella crazy. It’s up there with Every Breath You Take. Also, it doesn’t make sense in the days of smart phones. And why does Adele have a flip phone in her video?

Let’s go through these magic lyrics shall we….

(I am using “He” because there is a man in the video)

Hello, it’s me

Okay with caller ID. Homeboy knows exactly who you are. Everybody smart phone has one.

I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything

Wait. you just said “it’s me” to someone you haven’t seen in all these years. You expect him to just up and know who you are? Really now. REAALLY… Even with caller ID… That’s a little too informal for someone …

They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing

Obviously. This is okay. Sometimes wounds, especially psychological ones are tricky like that.

Hello, can you hear me?
I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be

He’s not talking. He don’t want to talk to you. Or you got voicemail. Now he knows what state you are in… Unless you are lying.

When we were younger and free
I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

Yeah.. We all romanticize our youth

There’s such a difference between us
And a million miles

Hello from the other side
I must’ve called a thousand times

A thousand times. A THOUSAND TIMES. Surely you jest. A thousand times without someone answering is stalking Adele. Or you got the wrong number. Or the phone ain’t even ringing except in your head. Oh now I know why you got a flip phone in your video. its’ a burner because homeboy ain’t answering the phone.

To tell you I’m sorry
For everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never
Seem to be home

It’s 2015. everybody has caller ID. Most people have cell phones so it don’t have to be home. He don’t won’t to talk to you. NADA Zip. Not gonna happen.

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry
For breaking your heart
But it don’t matter, it clearly
Doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Yes you have tried. Good on you Adele. And it is clear he don’t want to talk to you. You’re sorry. I am sure he gets it.

Hello, how are you?
It’s so typical of me to talk about myself, I’m sorry
I hope that you’re well
Did you ever make it out of that town
Where nothing ever happened?

Yes. This whole trying to talk to him is about you. Not him. It’s about relieving your sense of guilt. It has nothing to do with him.

I am pretty sure after 1000 phone calls that this man is not going to tell you what town he lives in. He don’t want you to know where he lives. He don’t want to talk to you.

It’s no secret
That the both of us
Are running out of time

OH girl.

So hello from the other side (other side)
I must’ve called a thousand times (thousand times)
To tell you I’m sorry
For everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never
Seem to be home

Other side of what? I’m confused. Other side of mental health. It’s not about him being home. It’s about him not answering the phone. He don’t want to talk to you.

Hello from the outside (outside)
At least I can say that I’ve tried (I’ve tried)
To tell you I’m sorry
For breaking your heart
But it don’t matter, it clearly
Doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Ooooohh, anymore
Ooooohh, anymore
Ooooohh, anymore

Hello from the other side (other side)
I must’ve called a thousand times (thousand times)
To tell you I’m sorry
For everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never
Seem to be home

Hello from the outside (outside)
At least I can say that I’ve tried (I’ve tried)
To tell you I’m sorry
For breaking your heart
But it don’t matter, it clearly
Doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Outside. Otherside. Yeah yeah yeah.

This guilt and remorse is about you girlfriend and you need to borrow a song from the kiddos.

Let it go.

This is about you not respecting his boundaries. He obviously doesn’t want to talk to you. He could have picked up the phone. He hasn’t it. He has sent his message. He knows your sorry. He either doesn’t care or doesn’t see the need to rehash it.

I get that pain lingers. Even the wounds of the soul can get infected but wow. Please stop. I get reconnecting but damn. I am not sure these lyrics are indicative of that.

Bang Bang

“We have met the enemy and he is us,” Walt Kelly

Yes I am a day late and a dollar short already Holidailies. Life is funny that way.

I have watched the news. There are more shootings. There are more mass shootings now than ever. And there is speculation on why this one occurred with people yelling over each other.

Does it matter why? Does it only matter how? The only thread that seems to matter is that each person thought shooting a bunch of people would solve their problems. Terrorists of the islamic persuasion seem to think violence will carry out a jihad. A random white guy thinks killing a bunch of people at Planned Parenthood will stop abortions. Another guy thinks killing a bunch of kids will stop the demons in his mind from haunting his dreams. Ultimately, killing solves none of these problems.

Will slowing down the sale of guns help? Does having guns make us safer? How many people carrying guns have stopped any of these mass killings. There is no such thing as perfect safety. Even a person in a hermetically sealed bubble runs the risk of suffication.

The fear based dehumanization of others needs to stop. A person is more likely to be killed by someone he already knows. A woman is more likely to be killed by an abusive partner. There isn’t a magic decider ring to see evil.

I have no solutions. I only have questions. Lots and lots of questions.


After a year hiatus, I am back on this thing. Thanks to the gentle nudging of Elizabeyth, here I am. Somehow I have agreed to do an entry a day for the rest of December. So this will be a kick in the pants for creativity and time management. GO ME.

I have opinions and sometimes I buy into the Southern gentility thing just a little too much and don’t necessarily express these opinions. I am slowly learning to say “fuck that noise” and yawp away.

I like to run (slowly) and have completed six (or is it seven) half marathons along with a hodge podge of other shorter distances. I belong to the Hot Legs running club and hope to participate in Grand Prix next year.

I have a cat. I like to read books. I think too much or sometimes, I don’t think enough. Veronica Mars is my spirit animal. I am a liberal in a very red state. I am at a cross roads for many things and am considering rebooting my life. It should be an interesting month.

I moustache you some questions


So I found this via Running and Reading and thought I would play along.

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name:


2. Four jobs I have had:

Hostess at the old school Brownings
Criminal Investigator
Music Department Clerk

3. Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

The Shawshank Redemption (hell I’ve probably watched it once a month for years)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
Splendor in the Grass
Dead Poet’s Society

4. Two books I recommend:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

On Writing by Stephen King

5. Four places I have lived:

My parents house
Washington DC
New York
Couch Hall

6. Four places I have been:

The White House
Cummins Prison
Samburu National Game Park
Katz’s Delicatessen

7. Four places I would rather be right now

Bed (I am sleepy)
Waffle House (yet i am hungry and craving some scattered and covered hash browns)
Washington DC

8. Four things I don’t eat:

Deer (venison)
Boiled okra
Iceberg lettuce
Green peppers

9. Four of my favorite foods:

Chicken tikka masala
Black bean quesadillas
cheese dip
Chocolate cupcakes

10. Four TV shows I watch:

Assuming this is shows that are currently on the air

House of Cards
American Horror Story
Big Bang Theory

11. Four things I’m looking forward to next year:

Little Rock half marathon
Finish a marathon
Getting AGS Alumni off the ground

12. Four things I am always saying:

That sucks donkey balls
Where are my keys?


Ten books that have stuck with me.

This is a meme on Facebook that has been going around the “interwebs.” I am choosing to answer it here so I can fully explain my answers. ALso, I just love talking about books. The actual challenge was listed as such:

” list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way and to tag 10 friends to do the same. [Don’t try to think too hard. They do not have to be great works of literature or the “right” books. They just need to have affected you in some way.] ”

MY Books

1. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

I first read this book as a junior in high school. It had the distinction of being a book that was so “difficult” that the Cliff notes were also part of the lesson plan. It was the first first person stream of consciousness story I had ever read. For people who haven’t read it, this book tells the story of Candance Compson as told from the view point of four different people. It shows how a person’s personality and intellect affect the way they view the world and hence, their own reality. It brings up the issue of whether there is an objective reality can even be observed by human beings. I also remember the slut shaming inherent in the book itself as well as the slut shaming by my high school English teacher. Caddy is just a whore. Yep, that is exactly what she said over and over again. Then she would read critiques by others of the story which gave a more nuanced view of the story.

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

The language in this book is beautiful. I contemplated composing music so that the opening paragraphs could be sung. (I composed my first piano piece when I was 10 and started college as a music major). The story is told by an unreliable narrator. It’s a tale of how childhood actions can affect adulthood. Delores Haze’s behavior is consistent with the behavior or a sexually abused child, which makes the whole thing even creepier. I discover something new in it every time I read it.

3. Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

I suffer from depression. My first depressive episode started in college. This book spoke to me personally. I was not alone.

4. Making Faces by Kevin Aucoin

This book showed me the transformative power of makeup and also showed me how to apply the stuff. Aucoin has a tone that says “you are beautiful but play with this and be even more fabulous than you already are.” It has before and after pictures of every makeover.

5. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I love epic family sagas ad this is one of the best. It’s a tale of two brothers: one is “good” and one isn’t. It’s a cautionary tale about labeling people. It’s about imperfect people. Oh I can’t talk about it without spoiling it but WOW. It’s a classic but it’s as titilating as any soap opera.

6. Marathon by Jeff Galloway

This book introduced me to the Galloway method: the practice of including walk breaks in your long dHilistance runs. It taught me that I didn’t have to run the entire distance. This gave me the confidence to sign up for a half marathon. I have since finished 4 half marathons, a couple of 10ks, and a bunch of 5ks. I wouldn’t have gotten into running hardcore without this book. Through running, I have met a lot of wonderful people.

7. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

This nonfiction book about a murder case in Savannah, Georgia, might be the most accurate depiction of the modern day South as anything I have ever read. Not a false note anywhere. It’s also a rip roaring tale that is simultaneously funny and drop dead serious.

8. Promiscuity by Naomi Wolf

This discusses the idiosyncratic way that American society treats the sexuality of girls and young women. The entire damned if they do, damned if they don’t scenario. Wolf also talks with friends and associates to have them tell their own stories about their sexuality.

9. The complete stories of Flannery O’Connor

Hilarious, sassy, religious overtones, Southern. I still chuckle every time I think about them.

10. The Harry Potter series

Okay everyone and their Mama has read these books. Rowling’s world building ability is unparallelled. There are so many life lessons hidden in this book and yet it doesn’t preach.

Back in the saddle: 5 (or 4.75 because I can’t add) miles and other things

Life has been a little tough for me lately. If you are the praying time, please pray for me.

All this life kicking my ass distracted me from my running routine so today was my attempt to get back on track running wise. According to my training calendar, I was to run 5 miles today. I am currently housesitting Grandma manor and puppysitting Breezy the bitchingest Bichon.

Breezy the bitchin' bichon

Breezy the bitchin’ bichon

That is one cute dog. JoJo, while not friendly with the dog, has reached a point of tactfully ignoring her. I guess I should praise his manners. No blood shall be shed in the eternal dog vs. cat war over here.

The weather yesterday was perfect for running. The route I chose was up and down a straight road. I know from running here before that from my grandma’s house to the church down the road and back is two miles and from my grandma’s house to Sonny’s house is a mile. I inadvertently stopped my Runkeeper app during my run so I have t logged on twice for my one run. I didn’t realize until I got back and was relaxing that the amount of distance of the driveway made a big difference in the calculation of those one and two miles. Also, there were these beagles that were loose that were “helping” me “run.” My intervals were faster due to my new running form and cadence but that also got me tired quicker. I will build.

I have also been reading. I finally got around to reading Gone Girl. I was already partially spoiled by the time I picked it up but it just made me enjoy the ride a little more. The physical descriptions of the main character Nick Dunne show that Ben Affleck was born to play this role.

“I have a face you want to punch: I’m a working-class Irish kid trapped in the body of a total trust-fund douchebag. I smile a lot to make up for my face, but this only sometimes works.”

. . .

“He looks like the rich-boy villain in an ’80s teen movie – the one who bullies the sensitive misfit, the one who will end up with a pie in the puss, the whipped cream wilting his upturned collar as everyone in the cafeteria cheers.”

Seriously. Look at those quotes. I even said out loud in the house by myself, “holy shit that is a perfect descriptionn of Ben Affleck” The story itself is a wild ride with some crazy people that you would never want as friends.

Melissa’s unsolicited advice column 1: Where to eat in Arkansas

So this week, Hillcrest Artisan Meats (or as known to the locals as “HAM”) won its Ham Independence for the second year in a row. Thousands of fans of Hillcrest Artisan meats clicked on a ballot showing their HAM love and as a result HAM gets a fancy acorn fed piece of pork. This year, Arkansans received spirited competition from the fans of The Cheese Shop of Des Moines with Jennifer Miller, the Food writer at the Des Moines Register, as their head cheerleader and smacktalker. After everything was said and done, several people invited Ms. Miller to come to Arkansas.

Well.. Jennifer, oh foodie writer, here’s where I would suggest you go. This is not an extensive list and others will disagree. As a member of the Little Rock Burger Caucus, I must give you a plethora of burger options. This is my list.

Driving from Iowa, I would suggest you take a stop in Bentonville and tour Crystal Bridges and the Walmart Museum. Foodwise. It’s
Crepes Paulette. Yes it’s a food truck. Yes it’s worth it. There are sweet and savory crepes and crepes that are both sweet and savory at the same time.

I don’t have much experience with Bentonville dining but I have heard great things about Tusk and Trotter, The Hive, and Table Mesa but I haven’t eaten at any of those myself.

Keep on driving THEN

Feltner’s Whattaburger in Russellville Arkansas. This place has been making burgers for over 40 years. The menu is simple but good: burgers, fries, shakes, onion rings, chicken stripes. As you walk through you can see the staff assemble your burger. I recommend a burger and a small order of fries. The large is enough to eat for a week.

When you get to Little Rock:

Of course, you have to stop by Hillcrest Artisan Meats. This artisan butcher serves a wide variety of yummy sandwiches during lunch. My favorite is the Georgie which is ham and butter on bread. You can add truffles for $2.00 more. It doesn’t need anything else. If you want to celebrate the beauty of Iowa, you can order the Brick-Pressed Prosciutto (La Quercia’s Prosciutto Americano, provolone, red onion, tomato, arugula, aioli). You can get it with chips or lentil salad. (lentil salad)

For Barbeque, I say Sims. I am a fan of the ribs myself. Just go with it.

Capital Bar and Grill is the hotspot for political movers and shakers. It has beautiful wood interior and a wide variety of cocktails. They serve fried black eyed peas as a free appetizer. I have yet to have a bad meal here. My recommendations: The country fried steak. The burger is a contender for one of the best in Little Rock. The pimento and cheese is slap your Mama good. Also, get the spiced pecans.

Find the Southern Gourmasian (it’s a food truck and it doesn’t have a set location) and get the chicken and dumplings. It is the best cheap dish in Arkansas. Yes BEST DISH IN ARKANSAS.. It comes from a truck. I told you. TRUST!

Mylo Coffee for breakfast is the way to go. They serve a whole host of pastries but foodies have been getting in fights over the Kouign Amann since Mylo first started peddling his wares at farmer’s markets. Okay that link was satire but I do recommend you try a treat with a drink of pour over coffee. You won’t be disappointed.

Benton 2 Miler

Last Saturday was the Arkansas Runner 2 Mile. It is the 11th Grand Prix race and my fifth race of the year. Oooh I got my minimum to qualify for an award. WOO HOO! No America I am not expecting an award but my goal at the beginning of this year was to complete the minimum Grand Prix races so SCORE FOR COMPLETING A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION!Happy-New-Years-Eve-From-Paris-Frace-


For this race, I wore my trusty non slipping racing skirt. I, unfortunately, left my water bottle at home. I usually run with a water bottle in my hand. This got in my head.

This was a smaller race that had maybe 300 people registered. This race was a two mile loop that started and finished near the Saline County Courthouse in Benton. There were some rolling hills which weren’t necessarily steep but were plentiful enough to affect the time of someone who hadn’t completed hill training. The route went through parts of downtown and then meandered through a residential neighborhood until it looped back to the courthouse. There were no water stops during this race and the helper people/guides were spaced pretty far apart. I was expecting a water stop around mile 1. Many helpers weren’t needed because the race route was pretty self explanatory for the most part. Guides were at the proper places to help runners.

This race was okay for me. In light of last week, I didn’t use runkeeper and decided to run until I was tired and walk until I was bored. I did find myself slowing down when I realized there was no water stop since I didn’t have water with me. I didn’t want to pass out in the heat and the helpers were spaced far enough apart that the thought of falling down on the road and busting my head did enter my mind. They were just too far for me to feel 100 percent safe mentally to just “go for it.” When I turned the final curve, I realized that I could potentially finish in less than 32 minutes (or a 16 minute mile pace) and so I did go for it then. There was a crowd of people.


16:02 pace 32:03.30 total

I didn’t make it. oops. But I did have the energy to actually run in.

My friend Katie was also helping with this race. She said I looked like I came back from a spa instead of running a race. That was probably true. While I got a workout, I can’t say that I “pushed” myself pace wise. With only two miles, the distance wasn’t enough to wear me out either.

It was a nice race and the fault of not bringing water was my own. Even though a water stop wasn’t required, I think they should have had one. Running in June in Arkansas is a dangerous thing.

I look forward to more races and seeing how I progress.

Go! Mile round up.

In my quest to run more, I have signed up for the 3 bridges marathon that will take place on December 27, 2014. Coincidentally, I found a 30 week training program while I was pondering whether or not to enter. I took this as a “SIGN”.

On my journey to complete Arkansas RRCA Grand Prix requirements for the Hot Legs running club, I “competed” (har har harrrr) in the GO MILE sponspored by Go! Running. Go! Running is an awesome running store filled with a staff of runners. They are knowledgeable about shoes and will make sure you buy the right type for your arch and pronation. The store also has other running gear such as moisture wicking shorts and shirts, sports bras, race nutrition (Gus, Honeystinger waffles, et. al), and Body Glide. The race itself is exactly what its title says. It’s a one mile loop. One mile as fast as you can. The race was divided into heats with a first timer race for people who had never run a race. The rest of the heats were Under 40 men, Under 40 women, 40 and over men, 40 and over women, Elite runners, and kids.

This was my race number. 666


So after spending the night thinking of all the Faustian jokes about trading souls for fast times, I trudged my way over to Burns Park. . I got there around 7:30 and I watched the first runners make their way to the finish line. I watched my friend Mindy come in with about an 8 minute mile and then she served as a guide for a blind person in the next heat.

I discovered during this race that my pants would fall down if I ran faster than a certain pace. This certainly put a damper on my “fast mile” I had thoughts of running out of my pants and just letting all the folks see my wondrous granny panties and then thought better of it. You’re welcome Arkansas. The other thing I learned is that I have a mental block about my speed. I use Runkeeper and it tells me my pace every five minutes. When it popped in with my page at minute 5, I distinctly remember thinking, “I don’t run that fast” and slowed down. I wasn’t feeling sick or anything. It was simply my own mental head game. Now the pants falling wasn’t in my head but I do wonder what my time would have been if I hadn’t gotten in my own way.

I was fortunate that my friend Katie was a “helper” person for this race and she ran with me the last little bit. We catched up a little bit before I made the last little “sprint” to the finish line. It was crazy hot and I am glad I bought my water with me.


14:07.42 14:07/M


Not a bad time. I look forward to cutting this down over the year during several “magic miles” over the course of the year.

After my race, I watched the elite runners. These people were running 5 minute miles. It was amazing to watch.

This was a well run, well staffed course with a flat course made for people who feel the need for speed. You can see the finish line from the beginning. I advise you join me next year.

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