Training like a Warrior
I must apologize.
I have not been up-to-date on anything. As you have probably noticed, I haven’t written in a while and I haven’t written consistently when I manage to sit down with a keyboard and get things out on the screen. You probably don’t care as much, but I care a whole lot. I’ve recently let it sink in that I’m a perfectionist. I’m ony of those people who ahs to be “on” all the time. Mediocre is not something I associate myself with. It’s always top-notch quality or go home. I never do anything poorly, and if I feel like I am, I revamp my thinking.
It’s what we creative types do.
It’s been a little more difficult as of late. Things on the professional front have been very, very busy. My personal life? Well, what exists of it has been exciting, but it’s not much. Do not think I’m kidding when I say nothing exciting is happening. Romantically? Eh. Nothing worth noting. Professionally? Up to my nose in projects and frustrations, but I’m really loving every minute of it. Personally? My head is about ready to implode on itself, and my heart is taking all that it can without ripping apart by its heartstrings (no pun intended.)
The universe is either playing a very cruel joke on me, or it’s trying to give me a blatant nudge in a certain direction. My heart literally cannot take anymore of this torment, and my head needs to stop thinking about the ‘what ifs’ of life. Have you ever played the game of ‘If this moment in my life had been different, how might my entire future have changed?’ Yeah, it’s not so much fun playing at 2 in the morning when you have to be up at 5. I like my sleep, especially after 2 weeks of 2-a-day workouts. (To occupy my mind with physical anguish. That is what I’m doing with myself. Ugh.)
I will say it’s nice to feel a nice soreness throughout my biceps these past couple of days, despite all the grumblings. I like looking down at my arms and seeing a small bulge of muscle. It especially makes me feel good when my sister walks into the bathroom while I’m brushing my teeth, she sees my flexed arm and exclaims, “Holy God what have you been doing?”
“I’m a secretary. On a good day, I type ninety-five words a minute. On a bad day, I show up drunk in my pajamas.”
The punchline pro, Mary Beth Cowan, ties up all of my feelings in one short, sweet sentence. Of the past 2 weeks of my life, anyways. I literally cannot keep anything straight.
I wish my excuse was I’m showing up to work drunk. Why? It’s be an easier explanation as to why I’m locking myself out of my office on a daily basis, why I’m found just staring off into oblivion when I should be posting things to my company’s blog, or why I break down crying in the middle of Target because of a couple holding hands too adorably passed by me in the Star Wars toy aisle. (You think I’m kidding. HA! I wish I was. Really, I do.)
Emotions are an ugly, ugly thing and there are many days where I want to flip a switch and it would turn off. For good. Done. Over with. Done-zo! Alas, it will not be so. Good thing I’ve discovered tea, and in heavy doses (possibly mixed with a little bit of antihistamine…so I get drowsy and fall to sleep a little faster than usual.) Sleep is a precious thing.
On top of my mental and emotional anguish these days, I’m over my head in wedding day preparations. OH MY GOD THE WEDDING IS NEXT WEEK. There, I said it. It’s out there, and I can freak out about it some more tomorrow. seriously, though. Holy Shit the wedding is next weekend. Amazing how fast 10 months flies by, and I’m not even the bride of this wedding! I’m the Maid of Honor…a very important job, to be sure, but still. How my sister is keeping it all together so calmly is beyond me. I guess I shouldn’t talk though. Every time I’m asked how my projects are coming along, I simply smile and say, “They’ll get done. No worries.”
Or I kick her out of my room and yell at the bride to stop micromanaging me. I may have been a more than a little irritable that day.
Anyways, good thing I’ve taken a lot of Jedi lessons to heart. not just when it comes to physical road blocks, like working out and I feel like my legs are about to give out if I do one more lunge. Seriously, if you want a good motivation, just keep repeating to yourself, “Jedi Never Quit”, and you’ll be running that extra mile in no time. I’m serious. Try it if you don’t believe me. But the Jedi mentality has also allowed me to take a deep breath when things don’t always go as planned (like with this video…KNOCK ON WOOD before something terrible happens.) I’m going to get everything accomplished and with time to spare. I swear by it. I may only get to be Maid of Honor once in my lifetime, and I’m going to do it right.
That is my Jedi oath…at least for the next 2 weeks 🙂
Struggling with self-image is not a fight about I’m about win. Nor is it one I’m about to lose.
I’m simply sitting on my couch, writing here to you after a lovely and high-spirited Zumba class, and all I can think about is how my hips still look chubby in the mirrors while I’m dancing my ass off.
The first thing you learn when posing for pictures is that you never stand straight-on toward the camera. It makes everything go wider than it actually is. Mirrors don’t add on 10 extra pounds when you look at your reflection, do they? Anyways, I look wide and chubby, but the instant I turn to either one of my sides? I’m as slim and skinny as every woman in that room dreams to be (maybe except my sister, who is smaller than me in every possible respect.)
If I could only look at myself sideways for the rest of my life. I consciously made a decision yesterday while eating my lunch. I’m never going to let myself get fat. I’m going to lose the extra 5-10 pounds I’ve put my mind to losing in the next couple of months, but I am never, ever going to let myself get overweight.
I’m also going to be a kick-ass party thrower. I have lots of books, lots of tips, and tons of ideas. Watch out world. When I make my millions and have many, many friends, I’m going to be the party-throwing queen.
“If we had not been pretty, I think we would have been drowned like little dogs. That’s my mother!”
The fantastic, but alarming, words of Zsa Zsa Gabor, the sassy socialite. Oh yes, who else would have the guts to say such a thing.
It’s a struggle every woman is going to have with herself from the moment she hears the word ‘pretty’ and starts asking herself if this word applies to her. The minute she picks up that first tube of lipstick, she’s getting sucked into the horrible wind tunnel of make-up land. Don’t get me wrong, make-up is so much fun and really is addicting.
It’s when you become a slave to the product is when you have to worry.
If any woman in the world tripped upon a magic lamp containing a genie who would grant one wish upon her, I really, really hope she would not be selfish (because I know I would.) With her selflessness, she would grant the female world freedom of self-judgement. No longer would she look in the mirror and compare herself to every other single woman out there. No teenagers would have eating disorders in the attempt to be “perfect.” We would all discover our strengths and talents, and find our beauty from them.
But I tend to live in a fantasy world 95% of the time.
I am one girl who loves to eat, and eat well. I have stacks of recipe books I intend to cook my way through. Indeed, each and every one, be it a 100 gourmet dinner or 2000 decadent desserts. Oh yes, I do love my food.
It’s long overdue, but here is my New Day Sunday for the month of September. There were great discoveries last month at the grocery store, and if you haven’t tried them already, next time you’re in the grocery store, add an item or two to your shopping list. Life is worth living. Don’t let a few bucks set you back from delighting your taste buds.
Seriously, don’t hold back. Ever.
Before Anakin turned to the dark side, he was labeled a lot of things. Reckless, brave, a witty combatant, fearless behind the controls of a fighter spacecraft. Regardless of what they said about him, he grabbed life by the horns and let the ride happen.
It might also be the reason why he let his emotions get the best of him, which turned into his downfall…but that’s not what we’re focusing on here.
Get out there and try something new. Even if all it happens to be is a new flavor of ice cream.
This morning has been just full of surprises…and it’s not even an hour into the work day yet.
Good gravy, how is this all possible! I have hit a shockingly new high number of views in the past 24 hours, so thank you readers for checking in and sharing with others my sometimes insane, but mostly from the heart feelings generally concerning this thing called Life. I try to delve into what it means to be a Jedi in the modern age, but sometimes I fail. And sometimes I feel you decipher for yourself what it means to be a Jedi on your own terms through reflection on the day.
Seeing the numbers of my views yesterday only caused the second eye-bulging moment of the day (so far!) I think everybody and their mother decided to head in the same exact direction I was headed this morning. I didn’t leave my house any later than usual, I didn’t speed or go grandma-pace on the highway. I stuck to my schedule quite rigidly.
So why is the universe messing with me? Good question.
I get stuck behind this enormous road construction vehicle (its function, I have no freaking clue), but it takes him forever to merge onto the freeway so I can get on my own way to the office. Then, when usually my off-ramp is free and clear and I’m in good spirits, there’s a twelve-car pile up to get on my street and it’s just a whole cluster of madness. Then, I realized I forgot my water bottle at my part-time job last night and I was just silly with remorse. How else was I going to be able to whip up a dose of Iced Coffee when my afternoon slump hit? (Good thing I’m great at improvising!)
I sign onto my social media sites to check in for work purposes, and a guy I went out with a few nights ago instantly starts talking to me. Not about anything in particular, just friendly banter…and this went on ALL day long. ALL DAY LONG! There are few people I can banter with 24 hours a day, and neither of us got bored with the other. We’ve since stopped talking now. I’ll soon be on my way out the door, and he has a list of things to do with his evening. What can we say? We’re busy, on-the-go, important people.
Once I settled into my regular routine, the day went swimmingly. Jumped into a meeting about an 8-week fitness course I’ve signed up for. Starting next week, I’ll be working out at two different sessions a day. Come November 3 for this infamous wedding, I’m going to look so wonderful. My dress is going to look simply stunning on me! (Or it won’t fit from all the working out I’ll be doing in the coming weeks. Wouldn’t that just suck? Pay all that money for alterations and then they would be for nothing anyways. Fingers crossed I maintain a svelte figure, everyone!)
“I’ll have the best boobs in the nursing home. I’ll be the envy of all the ladies around the bridge table.”
I love these words and the self-confidence they portray from Christina Applegate, an actress commenting on her mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries.
A woman should feel great about herself, especially if she’s struggling through some sort of awful disease, like cancer. She should feel great and beautiful all the time. If you’re going through the hell of losing all your hair and possibly the parts of you that make you (biologically) a woman, than hell, you do whatever you want…as long as it makes you feel like “you” again.
That;s why I’m choosing outlets that get me physically active. I miss the athlete side of me. I miss everything about being a hard-hitting tomboy who could run, hit, throw, and be tough just as much as the boys. I was as good as the boys, if not better. If I hadn’t of discovered tennis when I did, I would have been “the girl who played football.” (At least through middle school…I was bigger than all of them pip squeaks anyways.) I would have wanted to continue onwards into the varsity level. Serious props to the girls who do play on the varsity level kick the male counterparts asses. I’m with you every step of the way.
Anyways, I choose to let loose in a positive, physical way. Not only does it keep me healthy and motivated, but there’s nothing like the surge of pride you feel when you cross your arms and actually realize how strong your arms have become. Or pull on a pair of pants, let your hands rest on your hips and feel how slim you are down your front. Or slipping on that pair of heels with a skirt and seeing your calf muscles flex as you turn to check yourself out.
Plus, in the end, a Jedi needs to be tough and sexy in her own skin. Working up a sweat makes me feel sexy. It might be slightly gross, but you know how many guys say they are more attracted to their significant other right when they get home from the gym and see their foreheads glistening in the late afternoon sunlight? Let me tell you. A LOT. There’s some truth to that I-Just-Worked-Out cheek flush. I’ve experienced it. You should, too.
At the end of the day, you have to be happy with yourself. Being happy, feeling sexy in my own skin, and family and friends make me pretty darn happy. Want to know what else makes this Jedi happy? Read on to find out:
– Breakfast in Bed
– Homemade Cards
– Being Pampered
– No Cooking Night
– Feeling Special
– No Cleaning
– Unexpected Phone Calls
– Bubbles Baths
– Children Laughing
– Family Time
What makes you feel happy and sexy in this world? Every Jedi needs to know where her heart lies, because when you’re feeling down and alone (especially when you’re out fighting the Dark Side of the Force ,which is a continuous battle in itself), you and only you, can bring yourself back up to that Kick-Ass state of mind we all need to have at the ready.
Figure out what makes you feel invincible, and once you do, let yourself indulge in it every once in a while.
We Jedi need to stay disciplined. But when we let ourselves enjoy, even for the briefest moment, it makes all the hard work and sweat worth it.But if you feel sexiest when you’re sweating up a storm (like I do), you’re in a great mood almost all the time!
Sexy is what you make it. I make it work for me.
It’s just going to be one of those work days.
I have a list packed full of exciting and interesting projects for myself to work on, the air holds a certain buzz to it, I have the office completely to myself so no impending click-clacking of heels interrupting my thoughts every other minute, and I have a cup of Starbucks coffee steaming next to me. (I tend to be a Caribou girl, but it’s good to shake things up a little bit every now and then.)
So what’s my problem? Why can’t I focus on a single thing, other than that the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ score is absolutely amazing?
Do I seriously hate my life this much already? Naw, that can’t be it. I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday, had a great hour of browsing and dreaming and thinking and planning, flirted with the cashier (who my sister insisted I go back and get his number, but I just wasn’t feeling it while still wearing my gym running pants…although my hair looked absolutely beachy-keen), bought my new Book of the Month (have I told you about that?), tried out Noodles and Company for the first time and LOVED it, and then I went home and got myself sorted out in my room to the point where I sat on my bed staring at the movie I was playing, asking myself, “Now what?”
So many things to do, and I can never nail down an order in which to get them done. When I reach that calm of crossing a dozen things off my list, then I just feel lost. May the heavens above help me whenever I decide to have kids….I’ll be in an absolutely chaotic heaven.
I just need to face it. It’s not going to be a very productive work day. I’ve been here for maybe 4 hours already, and my eyes are glazing over as I stare at this screen. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the work I’m doing, or the things I have staring me down from the yellow memo pad off to my left-hand side. I just don’t feel the burning motivation. Add on top of that the burning, disgusting thought of getting back on that treadmill for another 30 minutes at the end of the day, and I’m ready to crawl under my desk and call out I have the swine flu so everyone should just STAY AWAY.
Happy Thursday, all 🙂
“I’m lazy. At work my favorite part of the day is being on hold.”
You have summed up my feelings entirely, Janet Rosen, who is quite the jokesmith. I just want to stare at my computer screen and see if I can cause it to explode instantaneously. Maybe I’m not happy with my job? But how can I say that when I’ve only been working at it for little over a month now. Most say you need to give it a year before you find a foothold in a new place of employment.
Like yesterday? Totally rocked the office. I wore a great outfit (scoff all you want, but it really does help your mindset for the entire day if you take time to pick out your clothes and then acknowledge how good you look in it.) What’s this outfit I’m raving about? I actually took advice from Cosmo, and kept things simple. I paired a plain, V-neck black T-shirt with a black pencil skirt (you have to be careful with blacks to make sure they match, and in this case, they blended together perfectly.) Over the shirt, I pulled on an olive-green jacket that carried a semi-business vibe to it. Very much an Take-Me-Seriously-But-Also-Sit-Down-And-Talk-With-Me look to it. Put on my fave pair of black pumps with a silver buckle on the front, slip a black and white patterned belt around my waist to highlight my little middle, and a eye-catching pair of dangling earrings, and I was set to go.
I know my workouts are working, too, because I caught a side view of myself and my butt is looking a touch perkier than a week ago…Heck yes to progress!
Anyways, the thing is, I came into work primed and ready to see what the heck was up, and within the first two hours of stepping foot into the office, I fired off two really great ideas for our office, my boss loved them both, and before you know it, plans are being set to put them both into motion. I mean, how great does that make me feel? Makes me feel like I’m doing my job above and beyond, that’s for sure. Granted, my morning was then shot to hell when the project I worked on all morning got tossed by 2:00 in the afternoon, and I was told to start over with a new idea. But, eh, what can you do?
It’s going to take more than coffee and chocolate to pick me up this afternoon, so maybe a few words of encouragement will help. Here are a few pick-me-ups for us to share:
– You make life better just by being you.
– Disappointments pass. Successes last.
– Encourage yourself, too.
– Counting blessings makes them multiply.
– All the good things in life are waiting to be claimed by you.
– Your efforts will pay off.
– Choose happiness!
As a famous Jack Dawson once said in a little known film called “Titanic” once said, “Life is a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it.” I’m leaning in your direction, Jack, and trying to be optimistic about everything and making every moment count. Working out? I’m not going to stop…I’m going to push and run those extra 5 minutes. Writing? Stop fighting it and jot everything down a little bit a day, and things will work out on paper. Love? Keep the doors open, and be open to possibilities.
However, as a Jedi, duty always comes first, and that may be why I’m putting love on the back burner for the time being. I’m focusing on me, and what I need to do in order to choose happiness and live to smile after the choice has been made.
So far so good.
That also doesn’t mean I can’t have my fun along the way, too 😉
I mean, the work week is THISCLOSE to being over, I put extra effort into my overall look this morning when I crawled out of bed, I let myself splurge on lunch a little bit, I don’t have to work at my part-time “fun job” when I walk out of here in a few hours, and I have a few of my fave movie scores playing in the background all while i work the afternoon away. (Did I mention I spent about an hour on Pinterest, and it was all for work-related purposes?)
Yet, everything seems to point in the direction of “an awful day” when I shake the magical What-Will-My-Day-Be-Like 8-Ball.
“All of humanity is living in a dream world, but suffering real consequences.”
Lauren Hill, a lovely Grammy girl, has hit me on the nose. I’ll admit most days, I live in my own fantasy world. But when the real world hits…watch out.
First things first. I could barely open my eyes this morning. Maybe it was because I spent an hour at the gym waaaay beyond my normal work-out schedule. The gym closed 15 minutes after my departure. Yeah, I was there that late because my schedule ended up needing me to be more flexible than I was almost ready to give. Anyways…
I managed to throw a few pieces of bread into a container along with my jar of Nutella, so I wasn’t starving halfway through the morning. I’ve been experiencing small fits of nausea every morning for the past couple of weeks, and I honestly don’t know why. It’s actually very obnoxious.
Before trudging up the stairs, I decided to put a little more effort into my appearance. Not the usual Friday style of jeans and maroon/gold fitted T-shirt. I put on a polka-dotted, flirty dress and paired it with my fave black boots. You know, putting a little more rock n’ roll into the feminine side of things. It’s like me. I can be a sensitive case of tears one minute, and then totally all about kicking your ass the next,. In other words, don’t cross me. (An old friend of mine once told I’m crazy…he may be right. Or I’m a Cancer…I’ll let you decide.)
Where did things go wrong with my outfit? I noticed too late that if I stand in a well-lit area, you could clearly see right through the skirt of my dress and there was a small possibility the color of my underwear became noticeable to anyone who caught a glance. Throw in a large case of static cling with my skirt, and I’m suddenly wearing very flowy, polka-dotted shorts.
Yeah…wardrobe malfunction in the professional setting. I’m learning my Big Girl Lessons fast.
This is all before I even get to work. Once I’m at my office, I get my computer booted, check my personal and work email (as is my usual routine) and I immediately find three emails showing comments on a work new blog post made the day before. One of them was great feedback. The other two? Not so nice.
The rest of the morning was spent in crisis mode. How do we respond, do we even respond? If we do, what do we say? How do we say that?
Just a mess of stuff.
Chicken strips and onion rings suited me for lunch, and I let myself have an extra dipping cup of mayonnaise. Terrible, I know, but it’s so nummy and after the morning I had, it was deserved. Plus it’s Friday!
Rest of the afternoon went fine, and I actually was told to go home 15 minutes early. I was able to go to the grocery store! I haven’t actually shopped for food in a long, long time. I was able to take my time, go from one end of the store to the other, and back again.
It was halfway through shopping when my stomach suddenly took a lurch. It kept up until I got home, where it seemed to tighten and churn more. Probably against my better judgement, I head to the gym and did a ‘Walk for 5, Run for 10, Walk for 5, Run for 10’ type of routine. I actually felt really good running, but when the cramps set back in, I was toast. I couldn’t do it. I kept telling myself “Jedi Don’t Quit,” and they especially don’t quit because they feel sick. So…I kept pushing.
Bad idea. I got home, and just about died. Stomach cramps, womanly area cramps, showering didn’t make me feel better…nothing felt good. I ate some soup, but my stomach didn’t like it. Little did I know, , my sister ordered a ton of Chinese food and she told me to help myself. Another bad idea: I did. I ate cream cheese wontons, sweet and sour chicken, general tsao chicken, rice…all of it.
I’ll be spending a lot of time in the bathroom in the next 24 hours, that’s for sure.
After I ate, I passed out on the couch. Cold. The only time i do that is when I’m not feeling well. Off to bed I go.
But before I pass out entirely, here are the Fabulous things that made this Friday, and the prior work days, awesomely bearable.
Fabulous Fall Combination:
Fabulous Make-Up Moment:
Fabulous Disney Remix:
Fabulous Autumn Day:
Fabulous Fall Blazer:
Fabulous Fall Salad:
Fabulous Movie Theater:
A best friend is coming into town, and I better not be sick to see and hang out with her manana. I need a few beers, and gal pal time.
Heading to the gym, I have one thing on my mind and one thing only: I’m going to work up a sweat and no one better get in my way.
What did everyone else at the gym decide to do today? Piss me off.
Seeing a line of runners already taking up the first four treadmills, I keep walking to the opposite end of the treadmill line to take one where I can run on my own, or at least give my mind the illusion that I was running on my own. There were at least 3 treadmills between me and the next guy, and in wanders Miss Ditz-A-Fritz. Where does she head? For the treadmill to my left.
Now, this is going to sound neurotic, but if you’re going to be stupid and choose a treadmill by me when I am obviously making a point to not run next to another human being, go on my right side and not my left. My left eye is my dominant eye. I have a better peripheral sight range on my left side, and the stupid little girl takes a spot on the treadmill directly on my left.
Not a big enough bitch to stand there, glare and tell her to move to another machine, I took it in stride. As much as I tried to ignore her, it threw off my entire stride for the next 20 minutes. On top of everything else, it was unusually hot in that workout room and the air was incredibly dry. Within five minutes, I was breathing harder than the day I just took up running again without a glance back over my shoulder.
To my further irritation, Ms. Ditz-A-Fritz only ran for, like, 6 minutes. What the hell is the point of being on a treadmill when you’re barely doing anything? I don’t even think she actually started running.
Finally, she left and I was able to find my stride, but I was still having trouble breathing, so I let myself slow down to a fast walk…and that’s when idiot Number 2 walked in.
I just slowed down to my fast walk when this tall, lanky kid in a fluorescent yellow cut-off gets on the treadmill on my right (at least he figured that much out on his own.) If the shirt color wasn’t annoying enough, but the heavy wave of cologne that overtook me within the first few seconds of his starting to run was enough to knock me off my feet.
As if I wasn’t having enough trouble breathing the way it was, but Mr. Giorgio Armani was about to make me vomit all over both our treadmills.
“No man knows his true character until he had run out of gas, purchased something on the installment plan, and raised an adolescent.”
According to our phrase turner, Marcelene Cox, Mr. Bright Shirt has quote a way to go. If you don’t understand the “3 spritzes is more than enough” cologne rule at your age, how are you going to teach your own teenage son? Answer: You aren’t having offspring pop out of any females lower body parts until you are at least 40 years of age.
To further prove how much of an idiot he was, he only ran for like 5 minutes, much like Ms. Ditz. What was everyone’s deal? Running for 5 minutes is not going to save you from years of heart disease.
Later when I went to work on my arms and abs, there was Mr. Bright Shirt and his just as dull friend. Again, they did maybe two lifts of each weight, then went on each machine for about 2 seconds, and then quite loudly, they start talking about how they should try out the facilities hot tub. To add to their stupidity, they kept glancing over at me as they talked about it.
Smooth, boys. Real smooth. Along with your stench of nasty-ass cologne, any possible sweat you might have produced, and now trying to “convince” me to head to the hot tub, too. Please tell me you’re kidding.
Seriously. Be kidding.
To further add to everything, when I didn’t follow them, they came back to the area I was still working out in. Just back and forth, back and forth. For no reason, as far as I could see, either. Each time they came back, I smelled them before they turned the corner.
Just what I needed to finish out my workout in style.
On top of this wonderful gym experience, it was a rather unpleasant day at work and, in case you’re experiencing the way midweek hump that I am, here are a few words to life your spirits:
– You are needed.
– There’s no better investment than yourself.
– Dream it. Plan it. Live it.
– Today could be your best one yet.
– Beautiful is part of who you are.
– Why make the world wait? You’re ready to shine now!
Gotta love the Fall season in this city.
I may need to buy myself those Golden Apple Orchard votive candles after all.
Where to even begin in telling you about this Jedi’s adventures in the past few days?
Honestly, a whirlwind of event, and I can only hope life continues to be this interesting. If it does, I shall never be bored, alone, or unhappy with any I am doing. Only possibilities, people. Only possibilities!
You may have gathered from my last post, I headed to the great Minnesota Get-Together (otherwise known as the State Fair) with my best friend and her family. As some would call it, it was a family affair. I’m pretty sure I consumed around 3,000 calories worth of grease and shed about half of that with pounding the pavement from one end of the grounds to the next. Also, sweat. It was a doozy of a day if you were caught in the sunshine for a little too long. (Thank goodness I didn’t get any tan lines, though. A circle across my back wouldn’t be the least bit attractive, especially in a bridesmaids’ dress in a few short months.)
The foods I consumed! A deep-fried candy bar, a blooming onion, 8 different samplings of beer, a cannoli, bacon-flavored ice cream, a beef sundae (mashed potatoes, shredded pot roast, corn, and a cherry tomato = perfection in a bowl), cheese curds, some Canadian dish consisting of french fries, gravy, cheese curds, and more gravy (I can’t recall the name right now), Sweet Martha’s cookies, cheese on a stick, a chocolate malt, and several glasses of lemonade.
“Just because something happens in nature doesn’t make it natural.”
Aw, the words of Samantha Bee, a Canadian-born comic. She probably would have a word or two about my so-not-natural eating habits when it comes to the State Fair.
The best part? My stomach didn’t put up a fight at all. In fact, I went out with my BFF’s family the next morning and had Dim Sum with them (something I’ve never done or tried) and survived, and dare I say it, liked a lot of what I ate!
Let’s face it: The State Fair is the one time of year I truly pig out and I don’t care who sees me do it. It’s all delicious, and hey, it’s only once a year. At least until Christmas….
But all in all, it was quite an amazing day. Highlights included:
– Butterhead sculpting
– Witnessing the Roadkill blanket
– Walking through the cattle barn and seeing old friends
– Seeing the largest boar in Minnesota actually stand up (he weighed a solid 1200 pounds!)
– Sampling 8 different kinds of beer and all before noon
– Trying a chilled slushie wine sample on a whim
– Diving into a giant-sized pool of Mr. Bubbles bubbles (just purely for the hell of it!)
– Visiting the Farm Boy stand for a new T-shirt and baseball cap
And the highlight of the highlights??
Seeing Journey in concert!!! We also saw Loverboys and Pat Benataur (whose songs I knew way better than I thought I did), but it was just an amazing night of music. There is nothing than singing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ at the top of your lungs in a crowded stadium. I’m telling, you, it’s in my current list of life’s Top 10 moments.
Along with the fantastic music blasting through my eardrums, we also met a couple of cute strangers from the likes of Georgia and Mississippi (yea, yeah, yeah, I know. How could they possibly be cute?) Both are actually from the area originally and moved away for various reasons. Needless to say, numbers were exchanged along with the promise of getting in touch with each other next year when the Great Minnesota Get-Together rolls around yet again.
Is it bad that I’m already dreaming of my next deep-fried candy bar?
I think next year I’m really going to go full-bore with trying the new foods making an appearance at the fair. I mean, bacon flavored ice cream was one of 25 new foods debuting at this year’s fair and while i probably would never eat again in my life, it was fun trying it. The 8 different kinds of beer? I’d do that again in a heart beat….except maybe wait until after the noon hour has struck on that one.
The cannoli was new, and you know what? Utterly delicious! All of it was made fresh, right there, so the dough and filling didn’t have time to harden due to being left out for longer than an hour.
One thing I don’t think I could have swung this year? Deceptively named Lamb Fries, they were really deep-fried lamb testicles. I wonder how many people they fooled with that one? With the name of ‘fries’ I’m sure not too many people questioned what they were eating (unless it was stated quite clearly on the sign as they bought it…they eat at your own risk!)
Regardless, there were quite a few other things I would have tried, but money and time just don’t allow it. Gosh darn, I guess I’ll just have to spend an entire weekend at the fair next year! (Before you think I’m complaining, I just want it out there that I absolutely LOVE the State Fair and have since the age of 5. A whole weekend there wouldn’t be tortured for me. Not in the least.)
Along with eating to my heart’s (and arteries) content, I really want to catch the Rascal Flatts concert next year if they make another Minnesota appearance. I missed them this time AGAIN and would love, love, LOVE to see them in action. They would be one band whose songs I’d know hands-down perfectly. With Journey, it was slightly a different story. I knew most of them. Not all….but most.
However, most is not enough.
Once again I have slacked on the Fabulous Friday sharing, so I’m thinking Thursday will be a lead-up to Friday’s Fabulousness. A preemptive strike, if you will.
Hope you survived your Labor Day weekend, and it was helluva relaxing time. What am I going to go do now, because get back to work?
I’m going to hit up the gym! New member, baby!
Let me rattle off a few names here:
What do they all have in common? All of them are gold medalists of this go-around of the Olympic games. London 2012 has been kind to them, and they have walked way victorious in a variety of ways, and not just with a circle of medal around their necks. Although, I will admit, that alone is pretty damn cool.
As I’ve described in the last how many posts, I’ve become quite the Olympics junkie. When the games end, I’m going to be incredibly distraught. What will I do with myself? What am I going to watch on TV? How can I have a reason to scan the swimming crowds for Ryan Lochte’s face without looking and feeling like a complete idiot? When I’m caught Googling him for the 50th time, I will no longer have an excuse as to why I’m staring at his beautiful, cool blue eyes.
But this is not my personal crisis at the moment.
What has been equally rewarding of watching these Olympics is not just finding new eye candy to drool over. It’s seeing others openly bare their pride for their country. They’re up on those podiums, accepting the highest honor their sport can offer, and all in the name of their country. Talk about patriotism! It’s not just proving you’re the best in any given event. The World championship is slightly different from the Olympics when it comes down to what winning means to an athlete. Just like when I played tennis; winning the conference has a whole new feeling compared to winning a home meet. Or winning on Parent’s Night held a different significance than winning during any regular home match.
There’s a difference in pride, and there’s a difference in who’s watching you compete.
The Olympics? It’s the equivalent to the Hunger Games of Panem (minus the children killing children part.) The whole world is watching. Every play, every move, and every word you speak, is heard by everyone around the globe. You’re representing yourself, yes, along with your athletic capabilities. But you’re also representing your country. That is a huge responsibility and not one to be taken lightly. It’s an even bigger deal when the whole world is ready to criticise something, anything.
It doesn’t matter from what country you hail. Somebody is going to have a negative comment or two, whether you were pitch perfect or not. The United States is a prime example, and it’s a bit tricky when it comes to the US of A. I can’t say we’re hugely popular with many people in the world right now. A foreigner might not have a problem with me until I mention the small detail that I’m an American. Not everyone is like this, but many countries and their people are not too fond of us.
Regardless, I am proud to call myself an American. I don’t care what other countries say. What my government doesn’t isn’t necessarily a reflection of my personal beliefs, or what I feel is the right thing to do. Convincing many of that idea is a battle royale of its own, but we’ll leave that topic of conversation for another time and place.
“The harder they hit, the more encouraged I get.”
The wonderful words of Hillary Clinton, our current U.S. Secretary of State. Could we change her words up a tiny bit to make it relevant to the Olympics? Can we say the more medals we win, the bigger the target on our backs? So why add fuel to the fire by not showing appreciation for the country you stand there and represent?
Here’s what I’m getting at. There are countries competing in the Olympics who do not like us as a nation for many, many reasons, whatever they may be. If I were competing in the Olympics, I honestly would want to work as an ambassador for my country, not just for my sporting event and my accomplishments. Winning the gold is a huge deal, and when I’m standing on that podium (this is my fantasy, so back off!), I want others to see not only the pride and hard work I have invested in this sport, but I also want the world to see how happy I am to represent my country in these world games.
With that in mind, here’s my personal crisis of the day: Why are our athletes not showing that pride on the podium? How can they show it, you might ask. For starters, you might want to smile and actually look at the flag of your nation being raised in your honor. Maybe, just maybe, you could mouth the words to your national anthem. If for some reason you have no clue what the words are, try mouthing the same thing over and over again. I don’t even care if its Old McDonald Had a Farm. Just make your lips move so we think you’re singing along! It has become my biggest pet peeve to see our elite athletes not even attempt to show their appreciation for their nation or the support of their fellow countrymen. I know for a fact A LOT of us are cheering you on from across the Atlantic. The least you can do is smile and let us know you’re grateful.
As much as I rag on Michael Phelps for being slightly an ogre and how Ryan Lochte beats him hands down in the body department, he still stood with his eyes fixed on the American flag as he received his 20th medal the other night, and, dare I mention it, he smiled so broadly and so happily when the final notes rang out, I just know he was feeling a rush of emotions only he could understand. Even his mother stood in the audience singing her heart out.
Ryan Lochte. You already know I love him, but my respect for him leaped meters when I saw him singing to the national anthem when he beat Phelps in what already seems like ages ago earlier in the Olympic games this past week.
Serena Williams. She stood proudly with the American flag behind her this morning as she won her first gold medal in the singles’ division for tennis. As for how she spoke and acted during her first interview right after the win, that’s a whole other story. What I’ll say now is this: You’ve been playing this game for a long, long time. Since you were a teenager and you are now in your 30s. When you win a major title or competition, I don’t think you should be acting like a 13-year-old still. Accept the win with pride, grace, and dignity. Don’t stand there and say, “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG THE GOOOOOOLD” the whole time. Anyways, I’ll rant about her later.
The one I do want to rant about is Gabby Douglas. I am incredibly happy she won the women’s all-around gymnastics competition. I think it’s great, especially with how difficult the sport is. I would certainly fall off that balance beam if I tried doing flips and kicks like that. But when it came to the medal stand, she looked anything but enthused. When the national anthem played? Her eyes were everywhere BUT on the American flag. While I understand how enormous that moment would feel, I’d like to compare Douglas to Missy Franklin. Both were first time Olympians and both girls are incredibly young (Douglas is 16 and Franklin is 17), but yet Franklin glued her eyes that flag and she sang her little winning heart out. When the anthem ended, she wiped away a few tears that managed to escape. You can’t tell me Douglas was too distracted because of her age to pay attention to what was happening. Her eyes were everywhere, she didn’t smile once during the entire 2 minute song, and don’t even ask if she sang.
She didn’t. If I had to put a word on her, it would be stoic, but not really in a good way. Honestly? She almost looked bored.
Her teammate who didn’t qualify for the all-around competition looked far more excited for Douglas’ win than Douglas herself. And let me also add that she stood out like a sore thumb at the team competition when the U.S. took gold, and all of her teammates are staring at the flag, singing to glory to their nation. Just sayin’…
To be fair, Douglas isn’t the only one who has done this. There are other athletes I’ve watching, and not just ones hailing from the USA, but from other countries, too. And while I might not like these other counties as much as my own, I still think they should put in the effort to at least pretend to acknowledge who and what they represent while standing with an honoring medal around their neck.
Enough of the serious chatter. I’m ready to share my Fabulous Friday with you, and here is what made my day better than average to start off my weekend:
Fabulous Baby Gear:
Fabulous Sweat Top:
Fabulous Sexy Time:
Fabulous Kick-Ass Lady:
Fabulous Adult Living:
Fabulous Themed Wedding:
I hope your weekend is finding you well and putting you into new adventures like never before. Me? I’ve been working like a dog. I’ve been putting in more hours now that I have a full-time job about to start versus when I was simply looking. Funny how the worlds works.
Happy Olympics Weekend: Take 2!
Raise your hand if you’ve turned into a snarling, drooling, foaming at the mouth addict to the Summer 2012 Olympics taking place in London at this exact moment in time?
No one? Anyone? Are you sure?
No, my hand isn’t in the air, either.
BUT…I have become a total Olympics Junkie since the opening ceremony took place last Friday evening. And, yes, I didn’t capitalize the word ‘junkie.’ It’s only fair I pay my dues to what I have become and wear it like a patch on my sleeve with pride.
One of my friends commented the other day about how watching the Olympics makes them feel more patriotic than any other time of their lives. Watching members of our country compete against our rival countries (like those dang French in the swimming competitions who knocked my beloved Ryan Lochte out of medaling yesterday and pushing him into 4th place…just shy of a medal. Dang you, Frenchies!!), it really does lift something in the spirit.
As I watched the women’s gymnastics team achieve gold for the first time since the Magnificent Seven, I felt a different sort of pang resonate through my chest. It was a pang of longing.
I miss competing. Plain and simple. I miss the rush of adrenaline that let me know something exciting was about to happen, and the result totally rested on my shoulders.
At that point, I could only hope I’d trained long enough and hard enough to face my opponent. Tennis, once again, pops into my mind. That sport, for me, will always hold a special place in my heart. My high school was small, and barely had a sports team of any kind. Somehow, we managed to amass enough students every year. Well, upon my entering high school, I knew I wanted to play basketball. Tennis, on the other hand, was something my cousin convinced me to try out the summer before I entered official high school status. It didn’t hurt that my sister also played on the team for a few years prior to my entry into high school, so naturally, I wanted to follow in her footsteps (but discreetly. No one likes to admit they did something because their sister made it look cool!)
A long story short, I was hooked after my first summer lesson. So when “try-outs” for the team came up later in the summer, I got a call from the coach asking if I wanted to see what a couple of practices would be like, and make my decision to be on the team from there.
You should know up front that there as no C-Team or JV squad for this tennis team. When you joined the team, you were playing at the varsity level immediately, and for someone who had never touched a racquet prior to that summer lesson, it was slightly terrifying.
Even more terrifying? Being placed at 3rd singles for my first match ever. I was playing opponents who had been playing for 5+ years, and literally would kill me if I got in the way of the ball without my racquet to deflect its speeding orb-like self.
I won’t lie. It sucked at the time. I knew I wasn’t the best of players, but I also knew I was better than what my scores reflected. I considered it a victory when my side of the score cards shined with a game or two in my favor, and not big fat zeros. 6-0, 6-0. I never hated a score total so much in my life.
Like I said, it sucked at the time. But I was too young and dumb to acknowledge the training and skill sets I was picking up right away from playing opponents way beyond my skill set. As I grew older with the sport and my own personal skills began to expand, the tides were turning. I was suddenly that player other teams hated to play. My years of being pounded into the tennis pavement paid off. I became one of the best players in the conference. It took a lot of patience, a lot of practice, and a lot of beatings to reach the skill set I eventually entered the season with my senior and final year of high school. Now, to say I was undefeated that season would be a total lie. I was beaten a handful of times, but the beautiful part is that it wasn’t by complete shut-out.
I made myself a promise when I advanced to the 2nd singles position: If I was bound to lose, I would win at least 2 games every set and not go down with a shut-out. It kept me swinging, that’s for sure. When I assumed the 1st singles position, it became my goal to shut out players the way I had been shut-out all those years ago.
You know what? I achieved that goal a number of times. My time had come, and I wasn’t about to forget it.
“It’s straight from the horse’s mouth.Not that I’m saying I’m a horse.”
We only like to tell it how it is, don’t we, Victoria Beckham, the erstwhile “Posh Spice”. She may have been talking about her autobiography with those words, and I guess in a way, so am I. Tennis is a part of my life, so consider this a fleeting story in a long, long, not-even-close-to-being-completed autobiography about, well…me!
So, how does this tie in with the Olympics?
Like previously stated, I miss the competition. I miss the mental preparation needed prior to the event. Seeing the athletes sitting and watching/cheering on their teammates with their ear buds tucked safely in their ears…I used to do that. I needed ten minutes of “me” time before stepping out on the court. I miss the routine. I miss the physical and mental discipline.
I need to find myself an adult sports team. Now that I have a Big Girl Job and everything, I have my evenings to train, and a fighting spirit that just don’t quit. I’m always looking to prove myself. Maybe I could be on the national tennis circuit yet.
I think it’s okay for me to hold on to that longing, the want to be a part of a team again, the want to be disciplined enough to take the reins on my own but also have a bigger picture in mind. SO…with that in mind, I realize it’s been awhile, but here’s my latest installment of ‘Hey, It’s Okay’s”
Hey, It’s Okay…
… If all your future baby names come from celebs. Cate? Shia? Adorable, right?
… To know what only four out of the 12 keys on your key chain actually go to.
… To still be forwarding people that ridiculous “Talking Twin Babies” YouTube video. Funny on the first or the dozenth viewing.
… To pretend you’re getting in shape for your wedding even when there’s no ring on your finger. Really, whatever motivates you.
… To make everyone else turn around, walk 10 paces and sing cheesy Bon Jovi songs while you attempt to pee in the woods.
… If one hot dog is pretty much never enough.
… To ask him to kick in for your birth control pills. More than OK!
… To look up, realize you and your significant other are both on your phones and totally feel like those people.
… Not to have the foggiest idea how to talk to a three-year-old.
We still have a lot of summer left ahead of us, and I intend to fully grasp each day with a new fervor. It’s amazing how knowing I have a new job starting in a few weeks has totally changed my perspective on things. I go to and leave work totally smiling, and it’s incredible.
One nice thing? Soon, I’ll be buying myself a new laptop, so when I get home from work, pop a beer and snack a little bit, I can sit down on my porch, open my computer, and blog away, be done in like 1.5 hours, and still have time left in the evening to go out and do a few things yet.
How nice will that be?
Until then, I’m glued to this schedule and to my TV. Every glimpse I can have of Ryan Lochte these days, I’m taking it. Damn, how someone can look so good in a swim cap and swimming trunks is beyond me.
Mr. Lochte, you keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll keep watching and cheering from my living room. You’ve got a fan in me, sir. (And half the country’s female population, I’m sure.)
But they don’t really count 😉
Last night while out to dinner of $5.00 burgers and an extra platter of onion rings with my sister (a rare occurrence, I know, and yes, it was totally delicious. Gotta love the week before Aunt Flow comes for a visit!), we stumbled upon a topic I would have marked in my mind as forgotten except for my sister’s reminder of how much we used obsess over this topic. The topic in question is in regards to a particular athletic endeavor. Which one you might ask?
Let me tell you in two words…
I know the exact reason why the sport has fallen off my radar as of recently. There’s no longevity in any of the skaters anymore.
Sure, one wins a major competition, she moves on to the next, maybe comes in second place, and then she’s done. You never hear from her again. Take the case of Sarah Hughes. She placed 2nd or 3rd in a lot of competitions leading up to the Olympics in Salt Lake City. But, then, on a total fluke (this is my opinion and my opinion only, mind you), she wins the gold medal. Next thing you know, she’s declaring herself retired from the sport at 19 years old and she is no longer competitively skating.
What the hell was all those years of early morning training sessions, hardly a social life, a limited diet, and more training sessions for if you are retiring at 19. Hello! Get back out there, skate your ass off, qualify for the next Olympics, and defend your title! The gold medal is the highest honor one can receive in any sport. Yeah, a fluke of a day where the top contenders both have an off day on the ice may be the reason why you won, but still. It’s a freaking gold medal that no one can ever take away from you or the history books.
There is one figure skater who always captured my heart, and she still does to this very day: Michelle Kwan.
Salt Lake City was meant to be her year. After winning the silver at Nagano, she was primed and ready to sweep the ice with her style and grace, only to be caught off-guard by whatever it was on that day. She ended up walking away with the bronze medal. Still without a gold to her name.
Kwan is a lot like me in my current trend of life. Let me explain…she prepared her whole life for one moment, a moment that I’m sure she dreamed about all during her years of skating competitions, training sessions, and sleepless nights in her room. Throughout the triumphs and tears of her skating career, she had an ultimate goal. Something every athlete hopes to achieve, and that is the Olympic gold medal and to be the best of the best. For a few moments, anyways. Winning the gold medal may not have been her prime focus, but at one point or another, it was a goal of hers in which to achieve.
Instead, at both Olympics, she won the silver and the bronze. In 2006, when the Olympics were in Italy, she had the go-ahead to be on the American team after undergoing several physical evaluations and petitioning her rightful spot on the team due to a few untimely injuries. But, it wasn’t meant to be. Right before the Olympics were to start, Kwan withdrew due to the very injury she worked so hard to heal. Shortly after that, she retired herself from the sport of competitive figure skating.
I read the announcement on Yahoo! News of all places, and I just sat there. After screaming at the computer screen, of course.
“People ask me how it feels to lose the gold. I tell them, I didn’t lose the gold; I won the silver.”
Inspiring words I need to remember more often than not, spoken by the Olympic figure skater herself. Michelle Kwan: You brought such grace and beauty and spunk to a sport. She literally oozed passion each and every time she took the ice. I literally held my breath whenever she took the ice, and that’s saying something.
The last time I held my breath for a sporting event? Probably when Melanie Oudin took out Maria Sharapova in the 2009 U.S. Open.
With the summer Olympics taking place in London in the not-so-distant future, it’s hard not to recount all the times you fell in love with an athlete or athletic performance. I’m not going to lie. The winter Olympics tend to get my blood flowing a little faster than the summer events, but they are still thrilling regardless.
While sprinting, high jumping skateboarding, long distance running, and the high bar are all athletic endeavors in their own personal rights, there is only one sport that comes to mind which combines the mastery of gracefulness along with the technical difficulties of jumps, spins, turns, and sometimes (but usually in the men’s division) full-front body flips. That, my friends, is figure skating.
While lightsaber dueling and tennis also bear a trace of mastering technical skills. Not just anyone can pull out a slice serve on the first try, and if they do, they don’t understand what it is they are actually doing. The moment they stop to think about the mechanics of their natural motions, they lose whatever power they had. One doesn’t simply pick up a lightsaber and know how to use the different forms of lightsaber combat, be it the basic form of Shii-Cho or the very advanced and hard to master Form 7 Juyo. The moment you stop to dissect the motions of your lightsaber, you lost the power within, too.
Mental tricks. Killers, I tell you.
The sad realization I’ve come to? I’ve lost interest in figure skating a lot compared to what I used to dedicate in terms of time to the watching of this particular sport. When I was a teenager and my sister and I still lived at home (back on the farm!), entire Saturday afternoons were spent watching both the men’s and women’s programs. Short programs, long programs, free skates, exhibition skates…we watched all of it. We commented on everything. The outfits, the songs, the movements, the jumps, the competition, the scores skater’s received, and the commentary of the commentators themselves.
By the way, one of thee most annoying things of watching figure skating, or any sport for the matter, is when the commentators feel the need to say something about everything little thing. Can we watch the program in silence and appreciate what is happening before us? Even if you’re watching it live, it’s annoying to hear what they have to say duringthe performance. Just shut up already! I don’t care what she had to say three competitions ago about this particular move! Not at the moment she’s executing it, anyways!
I wonder if Scott Hamilton is still commentating these days…It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a full-length figure skating competition on TV. I don’t recognize anybody’s names anymore. My own fault, yes, since I’ve stopped keeping tabs on the sport and its competitors, but at the same time, no one has captured the magic evenly remotely close like Michelle Kwan did. She’s a legend in her own right.
I suppose I could aim to be like her, even if I’m always coming in second place. I can only imagine how she wrestled with herself for weeks, months, years (I’m sure!) following the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Kwan should have taken the gold that year. Hands down. While little Miss Tara Lipinski had a spring to her jumps, she did not hold an artistic candle to Kwan’s performance that night. I will never forget watching Kwan break into tears the moment her music stopped and she struck her final pose of her long program.
I didn’t understand it at the time. I was a youngster myself, and as I watched her burst into tears, I remember asking my sister why Kwan was so sad. She hadn’t fallen once during her program. So, why was she crying? My sister answered me, but what she said, I don’t remember. But, now I know.
It was simply a beautiful performance. One for a lifetime, and she knew just how good she was.
I get chills just thinking about it.
Michelle Kwan has the heart of a champion. She will always be a champion in my heart.
In case you’ve forgotten just how damn good an ice skater she was, I’m leaving you with her Nagano performance. Enjoy, and be reminded of those who find beauty in the world and dedicate their passion to that beauty.
And because I like her so much and can’t resist, here’s her performance from the 2005 National competition.