Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shift Happens

This is really interesting - and should give you a lot to think about. I saw this awhile ago off of a suggestion from a fellow County Board Supervisor and it's really worth taking a look at.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Perfect Something

Trying to come up with the perfect something for everyone at Christmas is potentially the hardest thing ever.

I am a seasoned shopper - one who loves digging through the racks for hours and getting a good deal, and enjoys trying on countless pairs of shoes before settling on the perfect pair. However, when it comes to finding the perfect something for someone who is not me, we have problems.

Is it amazing to anyone else who is childless the way they label kid clothes? I needed to find the perfect trendsetting outfit for my fabulous niece, but who knows what's really going to fit her - I seriously stood in the kid's section of about 10 different stores trying to figure out if there's really a difference between the 18-24 month size and the 2T - I don't believe there is by the way - while my mom and my sister laughed at me every time I called them to question what size does she really wear, or how many pounds is she or how tall? It's amazing how much work toddler clothes shopping is! Kudos to those of you who have to do it more often than me.

And then there's my sister - my wonderful little sister who is so awesome that I really want to find something perfect for - not just a box set DVD of some tragic MTV reality show. However, I don't think that the perfect little something for her exists. I have literally spent over three hours looking for a gift for her - not counting the time I've spent trying to THINK of something - and she's not much help in the idea department.

Where I am super organized and have my wish list written down and actually have a plethora of things on it, she comes up with nothing every time you ask. Maybe she feels funny asking for things - but it's a WISH list - you'd think the girl would have something in mind!!

My main annoyance with trying to find the perfect something for everyone really stems from I feel like we loose the meaning of Christmas when we're all stressed out doing last second shopping.

Christmas time is supposed to be a celebration - not only of the birth of Christ - but of family. Spending time with loved ones should be what the focus is and instead, we rack our brains trying to come up with the perfect something that really may not be obtainable.

So - while my neice may not be the most trendsetting almost 2 year old this Christmas and my sister may wind up with a tragic MTV reality series, it's the time spent with them while unwrapping gifts or going around town looking at Christmas lights, or annoying my sister by belting Christmas songs for hours on end that really counts.

Next year, I'm vowing to spend less time in the stores trying to get the perfect something so I can spend more time enjoying my family.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Time in the City

I was fortunate enough to be able to hop on a plane last Thursday and head to Los Angeles - my home away from home for some much needed time with my SoCal friends.

Despite snowstorms and freezing rain I was able to make it out of the Midwest and while I didn't arrive in time for a beer at my favorite Pasadena bar, I at least got there!

While I love LA all year round, Christmas time is pretty special - it's so festive and the best part is that it didn't have the 20 + inches of snow we had back here in Wisconsin!

The Grove in Beverly Hills is always decked out to the max - we caught a show of girls dancing to Christmas music and afterwards fake snow was shot out of all the roof tops of the shops, and while I didn't want to see snow at that moment, it was really fun to watch the little kids get so excited about it.

It was also so nice to be able to spend time with Betty, Mike, Alby, and Stanton for the weekend - they're all such fabulous people and I'm so blessed to have them in my life.

I got to do a little shoe shopping in Hollywood, drink at the 35er, drink martinis at the Olive Garden, go to Venice Beach and the Grove, and have a leisurely breakfast with Eliza my wonderful friend from my Grad school program.

While it was pretty much freezing (ok, not Wisconsin freezing, but LA freezing which means it was in the 40s) Mike, Betty, and I headed to Venice - which is one of my favorite places in the world.

After we walked along the beach, ate our $1 pizza (that's now $1.50), and looked in some of the shops, Venice was finally complete for me when I saw the crazy speedo guy walking the boardwalk (he was in his speedo but unfortunately, he was missing the ginormous boa constrictor that he usually carries with him).

It's always sad to leave LA and since this was the shortest trip in history it was even harder, but as their Governor likes to say: "I'll be back!" :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Getting a "runner's high" was something I thought was absolutely crazy - - I mean really, who gets a thrill from running?!?

However, once I experienced it, I was hooked.

In August this year, I could run about a mile without wanting to die - in fact, I thought I was going to die.

Throughout the next two months I worked out more and trained a little harder so that by October 21st I could actually run 3.1 miles - so I knew that while I may finish last, I could at least do it.

I completed my first 5K race in 33 min. and 16 sec. - not bad for a girl who could barely run a mile in August (and, I didn't finish last!!). Finishing that race was amazing - passing people towards the end and running as hard as I could across the finish line was overwhelming - and, to get 2nd place in my age group and to get a trophy was actually quite amusing.

While my legs felt like jello and I was a little emotional (this was a really big deal for me!), I felt amazing. Like I could do it again right then (I was SO not going to, but the thought was there!).

I did my second race this weekend and I know my runner's high isn't just a one time thing. Some friends and I ran the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis on Saturday morning. With winter storm watches and warnings out we were set to run and I was set to beat my October time.

Just as we made our way to the starting line it started to snow - rather hard. It was icy cold and I was praying that I'd be able to make my feet move!

I kept up with my friend Melinda (who is such an awesome encourager and a great runner) for the entire race - and came in at 27 min. and 58 sec. - -knocking more than 5 min. off of my October time - and again, snow covered and freezing, I felt incredible!

I'm not so sure if I'm going to be game for any more outdoor races this winter (mainly because I'm still a California girl and I FREEZE!), but I'm gearing up for the Spring already - aiming to cut more time off and do longer races!

My ultimate goal is to do a marathon when I'm 30 - so for the next three years I'll be challenging myself as much as possible and even throwing in some biathlons and would love to do a triathlon to! If anyone knows of good events, I'm all ears!

Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm the first one to admit - I don't mind guns. I'm a big hunting advocate and I've shot rifles and hand guns before and think it's kind of fun, but I'm also an advocate of keeping them locked up and unloaded while they're in your home.

While I understand the argument that people keep loaded guns within reach at their home or on their person for safety, I would argue that doing so is going to put you and your loved ones in MORE danger - especially for an accidental shooting to occur.

The following was in the Kenosha News today:

Publication:Kenosha News; Date:Nov 30, 2007

Boy, 3, finds gun, then kills himself; Weapon reportedly taken from nightstand

A 3-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself Thursday morning after apparently finding a gun in a nightstand. Kenosha police were called about 9:23 a.m. to the home of Michael and Jessica Lesnick, 6019 55th St., where the boy had suffered a single gunshot wound to his chest. He was taken to St. Catherine’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police Sgt. Eric Larsen said. Police identified the boy as Joshua Lesnick. Larsen said Joshua was at the single-family, two-story home with his 33-year-old mother and 5-year-old brother. Joshua’s father was at work. The mother reportedly was in a second-floor bathroom when she heard a single gunshot, Larsen said. She then went to the couple’s bedroom and saw Joshua lying on the floor.

Police said Joshua had found the family-owned .40-caliber semi-automatic gun in a nightstand in the bedroom. The 5-year-old was on the home’s first floor at the time, Larsen said. Larsen said the shooting remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed. Larsen urged parents and gun owners to be sure their guns are always locked and hidden from children.

“Any time there’s a gun in the house, parents should be aware that they should be kept locked up, separate from ammunition,” he said. “Ammunition should be locked up and the key should be kept where children cannot find it.”

A review of Kenosha News archives showed the last accidental shooting involving children in Kenosha County occurred in May 1999. According to Kenosha News stories a 13-year-old boy shot his 12-yearold classmate in the chest with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun inside the suspect’s Pleasant Prairie home. The suspect reportedly told officers he thought the handgun was unloaded because the magazine had been removed. However, there was a bullet in the chamber. The suspect also said he had played with the guns during the previous four months and showed the guns to friends. He was later sentenced to one year of probation.

While my heart goes out to the family, the question begs to be asked: why is a loaded handgun accessible to a child? Kids are curious - they open things, they touch things, they play with things they're not supposed to...and while I don't want to go all typical Democrat here and say take away the guns I have to wonder what the need is to have a loaded hand gun in your home.

I've decided that I'll save my rant about how easily accessible guns are and how I do believe we need to have better gun control laws (especially with the recent decision by the Supreme Court to hear Heller V. District of Columbia which deals with local gun control laws being deemed unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit).

What I do want to make clear is that, having a loaded gun readily accessible makes it easier for death or severe injury to occur in domestic violence situations or accidentally - it's scary to think about what people can do acting on impulse without a weapon - mixing a loaded gun into an already unstable situation is nothing but trouble. And, it's even more concerning when children are involved.

Domestic Violence situations aside (something else I can talk about for days), ensuring that people know how to store their guns safely so that there are less accidents is something that I feel very strongly about.

Organizations like the Million Mom March are to be congratulated for their efforts to educate parents and the public about the dangers of keeping firearms in the home and encouraging people to take steps to ensure that guns are safely stored locked and unloaded with ammunition stored separately so that accidents such as the one mentioned don't happen - or at least happen less frequently. But they should not be the only ones out there talking about how important this is.

One of the missions the Million Mom March has in coordination with the Brady Campaign is to ensure that all new handguns are childproof by 2015. While the Million Mom March is looking at federal legislation, in the state of Wisconsin, there is currently no requirement that guns be sold with child-safety locks - which could have prevented an accident like the above mentioned.

When these child-safety locks can cost as little as $10 why wouldn't people want to put that on their guns - and further more, why shouldn't it be mandatory? Hmm...legislation to think about....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The first time is always something isn't it?

So here I am - entering the blogosphere - something I've always wanted to do but never knew what to say...I figured I'd give it a shot and see if I could amuse (at least myself) with the journey that I am on in my life.

I also thought this would be a fantastic way for my friends and family to see what's going on with know, if you're not checking myspace or facebook constantly! And, to have a place to reflect on the important things in the world - you know, like Britney Spears (I'm only joking a little here).

I was talking to a girlfriend this morning about New Years Resolutions - things I've always made and never ever followed through, I don't make them anymore - at least not on New Years. Does anyone? And, if they are being made, what are they and do you really follow through? Or do you try to make a change and then fall back into an old routine within a month or two?

I myself don't start the year with January 1. The new year for me starts on my birthday which I think is more fitting - you get to take a look back on your year as a certain age and look ahead to an older, wiser you - who will learn and grow and be more fabulous than the year before.

So, since my new year started in September, I am able to reflect on a couple of months of being 27...and how my "resolutions" for this year are coming along.

I've made lifestyle changes - in more ways than one and on December 6th it will be three months into my new year and here are some of the things I've done:

~Celebrated the start of my new year with close friends and family - several times (Virgos get a whole month for our birthdays)
~Ran two 5K road races (one is tomorrow-here's hoping it's not sleeting!!)
~Lost 62 pounds and counting
~Have not frequented a McDonalds, Burger King, or other fast food eatery (and I don't even missed it)
~Earned a really big raise (thank you, THANK YOU to my boss!)
~Joined the Beloit Breakfast Optimist Club (where I get a little teary eyed every time I read the creed-it's a good one!)
~Appreciated the fabulousness of fall at the Apple Hut, the Pumpkin Patch and a glorious run/walk through Big Hills with my family
~Passed a County Budget that actually REDUCED property taxes!
~Started taking an AM class at the Y that I was previously a little afraid of (and not only am I no longer afraid, I'm keeping up with the "hardcore" guys!)
~Found a love for yoga and all things that bring quiet into my busy life.
~Enjoyed a VERY thankful Thanksgiving weekend getting to spend time with some of my very favorite people in the world and of course with my family. I'm sure I'll spout on about Thanksgiving being one of my favorite holidays in the future, but I really do love it!
~Declared my candidacy for the 14th Supervisory district for the Rock County Board of Supervisors

So, if you're making a resolution this year, I'd love to know what it is and how you plan on reaching for your goal - I encourage all of you to find something to work on in your life and actually do it - the rewards of doing something for yourself, to better yourself are measureless.