Monday, October 27, 2008

Simple Things

I've always been a simple girl - or at least one who's easily amused and finds joy in very simple things. Little things make me happy or get me excited and every new experience, and even things I've done before have this amazing effect on me (ok, so side note - for the last 5 min. I've been debating about effect vs. affect and while I think I used the right one here I always have a hard time with that).

50 things (out of many many more) that make me happy (and I promise they won't ALL be food nor will they be in any particular order):

1. Laffy Taffy (banana especially, but I'm an equal opportunity laffy taffy eater) - I also totally crack up at the jokes that are written by grade schoolers.

2. Nerds Ropes - ok, really, an incredible Wonka creation (God bless that man)

3. The crackle of fallen leaves

4. The smell of fall - crisp air and burning leaves

5. New school supplies - I always LOVED this as I kid, new pens and pencils and fresh notebooks, new bottles of glue - I always packed them all in a new backpack the night before the first day.

6. The Apple Hut - Fritz's fresh out of the hopper apple doughnuts are to die for. I love walking through the trees and sneaking an apple and picking out pumpkins...

7. Yoga pants, a sweatshirt and ballet flats make me really happy

8. Flip flops - which is one of the reasons I loved living in Cali so much - I could wear them year round!

9. Canoe trips with lots of friends and even more beer

10. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches - with strawberry jelly

11. Quaint downtowns with fun little shops and old buildings

12. Christmas lights and singing Christmas carols - even more so because they bug my sister

13. Hot Chocolate with peppermint schnapps

14. I can't resist smiling at pandas, dolphins, orangutans, chimps, koalas and wombats. Baby animals of all kinds that look cuddly make me happy.

15. I think pigs are pretty awesome. I would love to play with them in the mud.

16. Travel - by plane, train, or automobile; if I'm going somewhere, I'm happy.

17. Southern Utah - probably my favorite scenic place in the U.S. - Zion National Forrest and Brice Canyon are really incomparable to much - even the Grand Canyon in my book.

18. Running - nothing beats putting on the running shoes - when I run I think - about everything, I day dream, I answer my own questions and am very introspective.

19. Swimming - When I jump in a pool to do laps my brain quiets and I am very meditative like.

20. Yoga

21. My niece - while my entire family makes me happy, my niece is the most amazing person in the world. I can have the worst day ever and I just look at her and nothing matters - she makes me smile and totally cracks me up. She is the coolest kid who continues to blow me away with how smart and funny she is.

22. Chai tea lattes

23. Green tea, especially in late afternoon when it gets really cold in the office

24. Sea shells - I love picking them up and looking at how different each one is from the next. They make me think of my mom, who always collects shells and of my grandpa who was rather creative in using them.

25. Peanut M&M's - yeah, we all knew that would make the list. However, I do love the Yellow M guy - he's quirky and funny.

26. Art - and while not all of it makes me happy, most art can move me - inspire me, make me think, make me smile, sometimes make me a little sad, but that it can move me in any way makes me happy.

27. Getting my hair did - yes, I just wrote that - I love spending time at the salon, it's great downtime and I happen to love my stylist. And, I feel like a whole new woman after I get my hair cut and colored - even if it's the same

28. Big hoop earrings

29. Shoe stores - just being in one brings me sheer delight. But trying them on and buying a new pair makes me giddy!

30. My friends - while they really don't fall below flips flops, peanut m&ms or laffy taffy I should mention them now. I have this amazing, core group of people in my life who I appreciate so much. Some live down the street from me, others across town or in different WI cities, and still others across the country and some in remote areas around the world - I have been able to depend on these people when I need them the most, trust them with secrets and have more fun with them than any normal person should have. They are more than my friends, they are family and without them I could not be the person I am.

31. California - northern, southern, and everything in between. I am truly a "California Girl" and an "LA Woman" at heart

32. The Ocean

33. Movie theater popcorn

34. Packer football at Lambeau Field - I still swear that everyone should try to see a game there sometime - even if you're not a Packer fan! The history is incredible and it's such a fun time.

35. Gossip magazines

36. A good bottle of wine - a cab or a pinot noir - and ok, I'll be honest, even a crappy bottle of wine can make me smile. But the good stuff? It really makes me happy.

37. A baseball game on a perfect summer afternoon with a beer and a hot dog

38. Reading, I love to have my head buried in a book

39. Rainy days with nothing to do but stay in bed and read, nap, and write in my journal

40. My journal - it has become this amazing thing for me over the last year - I love writing and I love finding things to put in it - inspiring quotes, pictures, etc.

41. S'mores - even more so if made over an open fire while camping

42. The beach - I love sand in my toes and playing in the water, having a margarita, reading a book, ahh...the perfect day!

43. REAL Christmas trees - while I haven't had a real one since I was in college, I love the smell of them and putting them up and decorating (I love that about a fake tree too, but there's something that I really enjoy about a REAL one).

44. Hockey rinks - the game itself makes me happy, but being in a rink and the smell of the ice and the sound of skates on it really makes me smile.

45. Pictures. My own especially, but I love looking at other people's pictures, hearing about trips or people in them. I love taking pictures so to be able to capture and keep so many memories, and I can look at them over and over.

46. Massages

47. The first heavy snowfall. When the snow sticks to everything and it's a beautiful winter wonderland. (then I'm pretty much done with it!).

48. Thanksgiving - I think that this is my favorite holiday - you get to hang out with the fam, eat yummy food, take naps, watch football and unlike Christmas, you don't have the pressure of trying to find the perfect gift for everyone.

49. Coffee - let me drink it in an adorable little coffee shop and it's even better.

50. Flowers - while I love being the recipient of an awesome bouquet of flowers, I just love looking at them in people's gardens, in parks, etc. The Capitol always has an awesome display of something going on.

I could go on for days, and may continue to add to this list, but it's fun to think about the little things that can make you smile. It doesn't take grand efforts to make me happy and I appreciate that about myself. I like that I can find happiness in the small things...

Monday, October 20, 2008

A year of running coming to a close

A year ago today, October 20th I ran my very first "official" 5K ever - the Y's annual Fall Classic. On Saturday, October 18th I ran it again to close out my first year of running.

As I walked into the crowd to find my place towards the middle of the pack, I started to think about what a whirlwind the last year has been. And I know I've done a lot of reflecting on that (ok, a ton, I know it's all I talk about) but it has been a huge deal for me - a long time (26 ish years) non runner.

So instead of boring you with the details once again on how my life has totally changed and I'm this new/not so new person, blah blah blah...I'll talk about how the runs were different because you know, that will be exciting!

A year ago I had to walk a portion of the race. I couldn't run the whole thing. This year, it was cake (well, not really because I was still pretty sore...but you know, I can run 3.1 miles with ease now).

A year ago I wore really crappy adidas not for running tennis shoes, because it's what I had. This year, I wore my top of the line, super sweet, got me through a marathon asics.

A year ago the hill on Moccisan killed me - it sucked hard. This year I commanded it. It's my hill. It's the hill that I ran several times a week during training and let's be honest, it's not the Bayliss Bitch - that hill is mean.

Last year as I ran I reflected on what it took to get me to that point, and I cried when I finished. This year I reflected on my past year of running and all the things I have accomplished, and I cried when I finished. So, you know, whatever, I'm a baby.

Last year I finished in 33:16 and got 2nd place in my age group. This year I finished in 30:13 (my slowest 5K time since this race last year!!) and I got 2nd place in my age group.

A year ago, a girl threw up in front of me - before she made it to the finish line, so I ran around her and didn't bother to see if she was ok. Which, may make me mean, but I was focused and well...this year, no throwing up - thank goodness!!

So, this week starts a new running year and I am SO looking forward to cool races in fun places! Bring on the running!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Kids on the Block...had a bunch of hits

Chinese food makes me sick, and I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer...
Ok, so I like quoting LFO (one hit wonder) Summer Girls when I start to talk about the New Kids on the Block - I just can't help it.

The second that Mary found out the NKOTB was touring again she was sending out emails to get people to come to the show in Chicago - actually she was pleading to find anyone with an AMEX because they got priority purchasing. Thankfully, she found someone willing to buy and 6 of us were willing to go. Thanks to her SO much for coordinating an AMAZING time!

I saw the NKOTB for the first time when I was in 4th grade in Alpine Valley with my parents and the Davis family. It was a HUGE deal for me. I was in love with Jordan Knight and thought that the NKOTB was the greatest boy band ever - and I still, to this day, believe that. Especially after Saturday night!!

Mary preped us by sending the NKOTB Greatest Hits and their new album The Block (which is actually really amazing). So, for the last few weeks before the concert I had been rocking out to Hangin' Tough and Step by Step and all my other old favorites while learning the words to their new songs.

I went to Chicago on Friday night and got to Mary's and broke out the tee shirts and puffy paint - we were doin' this show up right. Mary, Angie and I decked out shirts for all of us girls and watched the 1990 VHS tape of the kids - a couple of times!

Saturday morning, while drinking coffee, we watched VH1 "episodes" of interviews with the NKOTB talking about their old songs and their new ones and watching all of the music videos - like 30 of them in total. It was all New Kids all the time and it was FUN.

When Leslie, Steph, and Tami showed up the giddy-ness was on and we suddenly transformed into crazy teenagers.

The show was amazing - and I have never seen an arena full of 28 - 35 year old women screaming like they were 4th graders seeing their favorite boy band for the very first time. And man, was that cool.

The Kids - yeah, they're not kids anymore. They've all aged extremely well and are smokin' hot. And even though they're pushing 40, they've absolutely still got the right stuff - they can still sing and most importantly they can still dance!

I lost my voice - screaming and singing - and had the best time! And, I'm still admiting that I heart the NKOTB!