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!