Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Was I Brave in 2008?

As I've noted before I don't tend to make resolutions to start the New Year, however, this year I did. I made one and that was to be more brave and take chances that I normally wouldn't.

I traveled a lot in 2008. From Vietnam and Thailand to LA to NYC, St. Louis, D.C. and Las Vegas. I traveled with many differnet people and to places in which I was out of my comfort zone be it because it was a foriegn country or because I was traveling with people I had never traveled with before, which I think is brave. It's not always easy to travel alone across seas or with others and I learned a lot about myself and my travel companions on each trip.

In 2008 I ran. A lot. I signed up for a marathon which took more guts than I can even explain - and that was just clicking "register" on the online form. Little did I know that the training that was going to follow took a lot of bravery. I ran on my own, for hours and hours at a time and I logged several miles out on the roads of Beloit. Each morning that I got out of bed and put my running shoes on required me to be brave. To push my body to go distances I dread driving let alone running. To do something that I never, in my wildest dreams could have imagined.

Running the actual marathon scared the hell out of me. Would I finish? Would I die? Could I handle this huge task on my own? Would I make it to the start line in time because the lines for the bathrooms were so long? I was nervous. Running over the Mississippi for the first time (of 4 that I would cross it) I took a deep breath and told myself to be brave. I was, and I finished and I didn't die and I can't wait to do another.

I moved out of my lovely apartment and back in with the 'rents. Now, while I love my parents (Hi mom and dad!) it was a very hard, brave adjustment to pack up my boxes and move back home. I'm saving some money and this is allowing me to figure things out - what I want to do and where I want to go and for that I'm thankful, however, leaving my comfort zone took a lot of bravery.

I met a lot of interesting people in 2008. People who have had a major impact on my life and with all of them, I had to be a little bit brave - be it slipping someone my phone number or saying hello, or just letting my guard down; it took some bravery on my part and with all the people that have come into my life this year, it was worth it. I learned from all of them and the relationships and friendships I've had with them all mean so very much to me.

I took my niece on a day long outing - to work. That was VERY brave of me. Now granted, she's like the best kid in the world, but one never knows how the day of a two year old is going to go. However, she hung out at the capitol and saw the Christmas tree and even took a nap! She was amazing, and it was well worth being brave.

While I haven't jumped out of a plane or climbed a mountain or went running with the bulls I think I stuck to my resolution and was pretty brave this year...

Did anyone else make New Years resolutions? Did you keep them? Any thoughts for 2009?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

If Not Interesting, at Least Entertaining!

So I was tagged by my friend Ann to write 6 "interesting" things about me, thanks to her for thinking I have good stories!!

On my way to work this morning I was thinking about this as I listened to the XM Jazz channel and drank Starbucks from a RED cup (which, if you don't know, I love the red cups, they make me happy). Anyway, my diagnosis was that while I may not be overly interesting, I do put myself into interesting situations that give me some entertaining stories. So, here we go (oh, and since I don't really have anyone to "tag" I'm going to do more than 6 things...).

  • I broke my toe while swimming in a waterfall in Australia. We were camping in the Outback which was just like "Survivor" except we had really yummy food, a guide, tents and sleeping bags, so you know...it was really nothing like "Survivor" it's just fun to pretend.

  • I have a weird fear of wax people. When I was 5 we lived in Texas for the summer and on our way back to WI we stopped at a wax museum, which I thought (at the time) was super cool. Until, I had a reoccurring nightmare (seriously, I had it as recently as a couple years ago) that I was locked behind glass at a wax museum and my parents walk by saying "we used to have a daughter that looked like that. I wonder what happened to her" - I then proceed to bang on the glass and cry for my parents and they leave and I'm left with the creepy wax people, who if I am real they could be too. Yes, the wax people are not my friends.

  • I was once offered cocaine by a porn "star" while she was peeing in the bathroom of the Hollywood "IT" bar of the moment. For the record, I politely declined. That was probably one of the weirdest nights I had while in LA.

  • In college Ryan Longwell (when he was a Green Bay Packer) was gracious enough to let me interview him about Leadership for a paper I had to write. He was fantastic and let me have some time with him for a really nice chat, took a picture with me, signed an autograph and a few months later, he came into Office Depot (where I worked through college) and asked me how I did on my paper, I then sold him a fax machine and a couple years later he sold out on the Packers to go to the Vikings.

  • I saved William Shatner's seat at Comedy Central's Last Laugh 2004. We had amazing free seats but 2 of us from our group had to move because that's where Shatner was sitting after he was done with his opening routine. I said I would go, but, got to stay for awhile and sit next to his lovely wife (not the one who drowned) and when he was done, he thanked me for saving it. When he and his wife left at intermission, he walked passed me and told me to go take my seat back. So now I'm a Treky - just kidding. But, I am a huge fan of Priceline.

  • I have an uncanny sense of direction. This was proved when a certain someone left me in a super sketch outdoor bar in Pattaya, Thailand at 3 am and I had to walk back to our hotel without knowing where I was to start, or which direction the hotel was, oh and I may or may not have had a few alcoholic beverages it was FUN and INTERESTING. However, like always I found my way. Needless to say, he got yelled at for that one, big time.

  • I've been able to do a lot of interesting travel: Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, a good chunk of the 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Grand Cayman, Jamacia...All of which come with great fun and some pretty good stories...I also have a list of places I want to go and it's quite extensive. Some of my favorite trips though were driving to and from LA with my grandpa, amazing scenery, lots of stories and really special times with him! I'm dying to do something like that again soon!

  • I have a "bucket list" of things to do before I'm 30 - the list includes sky diving, canoeing the boundary waters, learn french, and become adept at some form of dancing. These are some of the things that are not yet checked of. I need to kick some butt in the next year and a half!

  • When I was 13, the Beloit YMCA sent me to "World Camp" in Michigan with a group from Milwaukee. I was the youngest one in the group by about 3 years but managed to fit right in and have an amazing 2 week adventure, camping, canoeing, hiking, hanging out on Mackinac Island, and meeting really cool people from all over the world. As a side note, the night before I left, I had friends over and we made pizza and because I'm kind of a slob I dropped a glop of piping hot cheese on my chin and got a nasty burn - what a great first impression!

  • In grad school I won a grant to travel to Portland, OR (which is an amazing city) for the Western Political Science Conference. I was also a TA and that yielded some great stories.
So how it's supposed to go is I'm supposed to "tag" people to be "it" so that they can share interesting stories about them. However, my loyal readers have I think already been tagged, unless Chris hasn't - and if not, I'm tagging you Hankins! However, as much as I stalk blogs I don't really have anyone else to tag (because I'm a STALKER, I don't really KNOW them!). So, if you blog stalk me and have one of your own, feel free to do this - it's kind of fun!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


So, I'm kind of a blog stalker. I love reading blogs, in fact, it's my morning routine to check all kinds of blogs, mostly of people I don't know.

A few of my friends write blogs and I so enjoy catching up what's going on in their lives, but I've branched out to blogs they read, written by people they know and I don't, and from there I continue. It's interesting to read about what kind of daily lives other people lead.

I've found lots of runner blogs and blogs about yoga, and blogs just about every day life and I love reading what these people have to say. They all seem to lead more interesting lives than I do - or at least have more to write about than I do lately.

Maybe it's a little weird that I take the time to see what people who I don't know are saying, but I think it's fun to read something different or come across a really fantastic writer. Amen for the internets (ha ha).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nothing Better Than a New Pair of Shoes

I got a new pair of shoes yesterday - Asics 2140's and they're lovely. They're grey and blue and green and they even have a super cute, funky design on the inside. They make me motivated to get off my butt (which has been getting a lot of use in the sitting position lately).

Although I have yet to take them out for a run, I wore them for a work out (where we ran lots of stair laps) and they were delightful. It's fun to get a new pair of running shoes - and it's pretty routine about every three months for me.

I officially retired the latest pair, the pair that got me through the marathon and had a whole lot of miles on them. I know I'm a big dork, but it's kind of sad retiring an old pair of shoes. Especially ones that got me through such a huge event in my life. But, like my new car, I'm ready for new adventure and lots more miles on the new pair.

The Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis is on Saturday in Janesville. Last year Paula, Melinda and I ran it and it's a nice run but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to bear the cold and potential snow this year - and that makes me a total wuss, but whatever. Anyone game to run it with me?? I need a little motivation!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas in the Capitol

The capitol smells like pine today and this morning when I walked in, there was a huge tree laying on the rotunda floor ready to be put up.

The dragging in of the capitol Christmas tree is one of my favorite events and I missed it this year. It takes several people and a lot of rigging to get the thing through the door and is usually pretty entertaining.
It's up now though, and over the next several days it will be decorated with ornaments made from kids around the state. Last year Beloit kids had their handiwork displayed. It's always fun to see what they come up with. Cheeseheads, badgers, Packer helmets, and all things Wisconsin usually fill the branches.

Christmas is such a fun time of year in the building. Bands and choirs come in over the lunch hour and preform fun holiday music, the tree is always beautiful and there's lots of merriment around before we have to buckle down and start a new session in January.

If anyone is in Madison anytime soon, stop in and see the tree and come say hi!