Monday, December 28, 2009

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas...

It's the best time of the year...

I don't know if there'll be snow, but have a cup of cheer...

While this is not my favorite Christmas song it's the first one that came to mind when I sat down to write about my Christmas this year.

The best thing about Christmas this year? It was simple. No frills. Just my immediate family, lots of food, wine, and hanging out.

While I dearly missed spending time with my grandparents and aunts and uncles, it was nice to take a nap when I felt like it, get in some good workouts, and not have to rush off anywhere.

Thusday I got to sleep in - it was SO nice to not have to wake up super early. I went to Ann's Iron Corps class and got a phenomenal workout. I wish that I was able to take it through the week! Kendra and I headed to Starbucks and chatted for 2 hours over coffee - it was a great day followed by wonderful food, a couple bottles of wine, It's A Wonderful Life, and merriment with my family.

Christmas morning we had to wake my niece up to open presents, but once she was up, she was ready to roll! She had a blast opening things, and playing with them, while my nephew really had no interest (I think that comes with being such a little guy!). It was a blast to watch her open gifts!

Santa was VERY good to me, as he always is (it's because I'm such an upstanding person throughout the year...) I got lots of things off of my mile long wish list and money to put towards a new bike so that I can start to take on Triathlons!

I also got to have coffee with a friend on his way out of town, it's always so nice to be able to catch up with people over the holidays!

Saturday morning I ran with Ann, we stayed inside because it was pretty snowy and slippery and did 6 miles on the treadmill. I know the 'mill will get easier as I start to do it more this winter, but I'm not even joking, it almost killed me on Saturday. It's hard to remember that I once did 15 miles (at one time!) on one last winter!!

Sunday I met Kendra at the Y and we got in a good swim and even kicked a little longer so we could chat!

I also managed to read 2 books this weekend (I finished Born to Run by Christopher McDougall earlier in the week too - seriosuly, read this book, even if you're not a runner. Read it.).

I read Push which the movie Precious is based on. WOW. The book was intense. And disturbing. And very thought prevoking. I would highly recommend it and would love to discuss it with anyone who reads it.

I try to follow up intense/more serious books something light hearted or fun! My parents got me the book Shoe Addicts Anonymous for their shoe loving girl and it was super cute.

I hope that everyone had a very enjoyable Christmas and has a happy, healthy New Year! I'm am certainly looking forward to another short work week and to moving in to 2010. I already have big plans for it...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Ain't Saying I'm Perfect, But I Promise I'm Worth It

I have this complex with trying to be “perfect.” Not in the since that I spend 800 hours on my hair or make up or that I am OCD about making sure I have the wrinkles out of my pants, it’s more in my actions.

I want to always do the right thing and say the right thing and when I don’t, or I feel that I don’t I spin in to this crazy tornado of continuing to try and explain myself until I’m exhausted and have to throw up my hands and say, whatever will be, will be.

I got in to a car accident last Wednesday night. I’m fine, my car is barely dented (you can’t tell unless you have your nose to the bumper), and more importantly, the other people are fine. The poorly salted/sanded/plowed roads in Madison were no pleasure to be driving in, BUT, it was MY fault. I get that. And I felt/feel awful.

I apologized profusely to the couple and told my story to the police and then, I got a ticket (well, I didn’t actually receive it, I was told I would get it in the mail…so I’m still waiting…).

I beat the hell out of myself for it. I cried over it and I didn’t sleep over it – mainly because I felt SO bad and SO guilty.

(My mom does say that this is the reason they never had to punish me while growing up, I knew when I screwed up and I would punish myself).

Earlier this week I sent an email to a friend that I felt was maybe misunderstood so, when I received an email back, I immediately called and tried to clarify – you know, just to make sure that everyone was on the same page. Unfortunately, the message I left was STILL not REALLY what I wanted to say and could have been clearer. Normally, I would have followed up with another email or message to further explain but this time I didn’t. I gave in to the “whatever will be, will be” mantra a lot sooner than normal.

I’ve always strived really hard to be very clear with people (I’m a serious over communicator) but to also make sure that people are always happy with me. The being clear part isn’t all that hard, but I want to make sure that people aren’t annoyed with me or mad at me and this is easier said than done, my friends.

Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I am a people pleaser.

The people pleasing business is not often easy nor is it a good way to go through life. I’m realizing that and I’m working on it. But it’s hard to up root 28 years of a particular behavior in a matter of months.

I also think I just care way too much. Yes, about how people perceive me, but also how people FEEL. I legitimately care about people – very deeply. This often leads me in to a world of hurt, but I can’t go about living my life not caring how people are feeling or wanting to make sure that they are happy.

I was talking about this with a good friend last night and Kevin got mentioned and after thinking about him and the mess that he was, I said “you know, I really hope that he’s happy.” Bridget could have decked me at that point (which I appreciate since it means she cares since he is a total jackbag). But I do. I really hope that he’s happy.

It’s just me. I throw caution to the wind when it comes to people. I love without abandon. I always want to make sure that people are happy with me and that they know that they can count on me. I want people to know that I truly care about them and the things that are going on in their life and most of all, I just want my friends and loved ones to be happy. And I don't think that this is a bad thing.

This is all great and lovey dovey and touchy feely but when I don’t know that people know that, I can drive myself (and others) a tad bit crazy trying to explain.

I need to be better at thinking before I speak. I maybe need to be LESS of a communicator. I need to take a step back and make sure that I am truly happy before I work so hard to appease others. But, I won’t stop loving without abandon. I won’t stop giving my all to people. I just need to be a little smarter about it and not beat myself up so much in trying to get there.

I’m working on it…because as much as I aim at perfection, I am far from perfect.

In quoting one of my favorite “yay me” songs “I'm slow to trust but I'm quick to love…I push too hard and I give too much…I ain't saying I'm perfect, but I promise I'm worth it”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Giving Thanks...

Every year at Thanksgiving, my dad’s side of the family gathers at my parent’s house and as the turkey and mashed potatoes (and you know, all of the delicious things that go along with Thanksgiving dinner) are passed around the table we all mention what we are thankful for.

Some people have had big events happen this year, surgeries, illnesses, etc. and got a bit chocked up being thankful for family and for being able to be seated at the table again this year. My cousin Adam was thankful for my mom giving up her Packer ticket and for my dad for taking him to the game. My niece (who’s 3) was thankful for her whole family (asked earlier that morning she was thankful for cartoons and her whole family, but she dropped the cartoons when it came to show time). People were thankful for their kids and spouses. My dad gave the nicest thankful speech to my mom.

Me? I kept it short this year because had I really talked about what I was thankful for the speech would have lasted about 8 days and I would have cried. I simply said that I was thankful for my family and everyone’s health and for people supporting my crazy ass endeavors (you know, coming to watch me run marathons and taking random trips with me, etc.)

And I am thankful for those things.

But here, on my blog, in an untimely fashion, I’ll lay it all out…

I’m thankful that I made it to Thanksgiving. I went through a rough time last year – a time that I don’t think most people understand. I was a mess. I was at the lowest point I have ever been and it was scary. There were plenty of times when I wasn’t sure that I would make it out of the hole I was sinking in to alive. But, I dug my feet in and I slowly climbed out. I am stronger, smarter, and a whole lot better for it today.

I am thankful for my family. They are truly amazing.

My mom who can piss me off and be my best friend in the same sentence. She is an incredible person, someone who I’m so proud of. She works her ass off and doesn’t take enough credit for it. She’s smart and fun and it’s easy to forget she’s my mom because I tell her EVERYTHING, until I say something that strikes a chord and she lays it all out for me. Or when I don’t clean hard enough. I love when she feels to see if I have a temperature, still with a kiss on the forehead. I cherish our date nights and spending time together.

My dad who is one of the funniest people I know and can never fail to make me laugh – even when I don’t want to. His hugs are my favorite (besides those from my grandpa). He asks me when I’m going to stop running marathons, deep down I know it’s because he gets nervous for me and I love him for that. He works his ass off and doesn’t take enough credit for it. He is really smart and can debate a point like nobody. I love when he’ll agree to a dance with me. When he sings karaoke, it’s impressive.

My sister. I called her last night, as she was driving home behind me from a dinner that we had together. I called to tell her that I am really thankful that she’s my sister. We don’t always agree, but she is one of my very favorite people. She never ceases to amaze me. She has a good heart. We have fun together – whether it be a night on the town dancing or a dinner with friends. I like that she can easily be part of my group of friends now that we’re adults. She’s supportive and always tells me what she thinks (see the part where we don’t always agree…) and I appreciate her feedback whether it be about an outfit choice or a boy or the hot topic of the day.

My niece who I seriously don’t know what I do without. I can be having the worst day ever and just seeing her perks me up. She is insanely smart. Her vocabulary is out of control and she’s really funny. She’s a sassy little thing and I adore that. She is 3 going on 19 and I love spending time with her. Our dates are a blast and will only get more fun as she gets older.

My nephew is awesome. He is such a happy guy who is so snuggly and cuddly. I love walking in a room and seeing him light up and crawl over to me. I can’t wait until he starts to talk, he’s going to have quite the personality!

My grandparents are so supportive. My grandpa has driven out and back to Cali with me, hauling my junk up to an apartment I would move out of the next day. My grandma will talk politics with me and she’s so cute when she does. She gets so fired up and I love that. They both tell great stories about growing up and about their younger days. I really love spending time with them. They have also braved 2 marathons – standing around watching runners for several hours. I am so thankful for them. And, nothing beats a polka with my grandpa.

My aunts and uncles have always been interested in what I’m doing and who I am and where I’m going. I love that my family is so close. They all have very special places in my heart. They are always supportive and that makes doing hard things a lot easier when you know that people are cheering you on.

I have a great group of cousins that I’m thankful for. Watching us all grow up and come in to our own is fun.

I have an amazing group of friends – a group that if I went in to detail about each one this would be 500 pages long. I have these amazing people in my life who are kind and generous and supportive and who have loved me even when I didn’t love myself. They are smart and fun and always make me smile. They are people who I don’t feel ashamed to cry in front of. People who I can be goofy around and not feel weird about that. People who I can have serious conversations with and I am never judged. People who I turn to because I genuinely want their opinions and they will give them to me without holding back. People who make me laugh, hard. People who although we live thousands of miles away I keep in touch with and it feels like we’re right next door. I’m truly thankful for the people I get to call my friends.

I am thankful for being able to travel and see the world.

To have amazing learning experiences at every corner – despite some of them coming from unfortunate situations.

To be healthy and active. To be able to push myself physically and mentally further than I ever thought was possible and when I get to the extreme WANT to push a little more.

I'm thankful that I've found a calm in my life - that I'm at a place where I'm doing really well.

I'm thankful that I can be proud of myself and the person that I'm still becoming.

There's so much in my life to be thankful for - not just on Thanksgiving but all year long...

And, you know, I’m thankful for my blackberry.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hello? Hello? YES! I'm alive!!

I’ve been absent – I know. It’s not that I don’t THINK about writing, I just really haven’t felt the urge to sit down and type. I think that not writing was part of my end of summer burn out. So…here’s an update about what’s going on…

**I continued to train for the Milwaukee Marathon, although, I’ll be honest, I slacked. I felt tired and burnt out on the process. I did every single one of my long runs (without too much complaining I may add) but chose staying in bed over cross training more often than not.
I would not have survived my long runs without Ann. First, she totally rules as a running partner, we have a good pace and even though she’s training for life, not a marathon currently (she’s super bad ass though and did one in March, does Tri’s and duathlons…) she’ll stick it out for at least 8 miles with me. That cut out a HUGE chunk of what I had to do on my own. Second, she’s just plain fun to talk to for that long. It’s fun to catch up on what’s going on in our lives and distress and vent and laugh.

This time around, I experienced the scariest thing EVER in my running career – you know, all of 2 whole years. I set out to do a 17 mile run with Krista (who is bad ass marathoner too!!) and it was a huge FAIL. It was a VERY stormy day and super humid. The run sucked hard for me and on the walk back BOTH of my calves cramped up. But not the kind of cramp that you can just walk off, I’m talking full on locked up legs. My calves contracted and pushed me up on to my toes and I couldn’t walk. Now, I know you’re all thinking that I just toughed it out and bit my tongue and kept moving – thank you, but, you’re wrong. I let out a huge scream, in fact I think it was “OH MY GOD KRISTA, HELP ME!” where in turn, my running partner for the day looked at me with fear in her eyes that I was both crazy and going to die (which I am and felt like I was).

Here I was lying on the street corner in Middleton, screaming (although I didn’t have any tears, that was good!) – right across the street from a fire station and NO hot fire guys came to assist, I think I’m going to write a letter. Krista and I worked out my cramps (she earns MAJOR friend points for this as I was sweaty and gross) and I went right to Endurance House, bought compression socks, and sulked in my bed for the rest of the day. Worst. Run. Ever.

**September 6th I turned 29. Yep. The BIG 2-9. I am excited about entering my last year as a 20 something. I think it’s going to be fun…the first month and a half certainly have been!
My birthday was over Labor Day weekend (You’re welcome. You get a day off because my mother was in labor with me! Ha?)…I had a blast, did some karaoke singing with Kendra, my sister threw me a BBQ and we went to a Snapper Game, and I had like 5 cakes over the course of a couple of weeks! Awesome? Yes.

**September 19th I celebrated officially with an amazing group of friends in Milwaukee. We ate at The Rock Bottom and went to a couple of bars. We got our drink on and our dance on and had a wonderful time! And, although my shoes were amazing (you know that shoes are my signature accessory), they were not stellar for walking in though and I walked all the way back to the hotel barefoot. Who knows why we didn’t take a cab!

**On October 4, 2009 I ran the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee. And even though I was totally burnt out and slacked during training, I was hell bent on running a 4:30 race. It was a freezing, windy day and thankfully the High School in Grafton (where we started) was open for us to warm up in. I ran in to or saw everyone I knew that was running, which was awesome and I was psyched at the start.

I ran with the 4:30 pacer for the first 21 miles. Yep. 21. Then, my body said, “screw you Jen” and I ended the race with a 4:38. Ok, ok, it’s only 8 min off my goal time you say, but 8 min in running is a LOT of time to make up. The most embarrassing thing of it is that both of my calves cramped right in front of the finish line – I had to walk it off before I could run across the line. That hasn’t happened before. The other two marathons I have been able to run in. So of course, I had a couple tears – not for my time really but for my bruised ego.

Oh well, spring will be here before you know it and I’ll try again.

I am of course, as always, so thankful that my family was there to cheer me on! I saw them at a few different points in the race – it’s so nice to see a familiar face! My good friends Rachel and her boyfriend Brian were also between mile 21 and 22 and Buddy was hanging out between 23 and 24. I cannot begin to thank them enough for being on the course, especially after mile 20!! I am also sad that I missed Charmian and Heather and her boys at the end, lots of chaos coupled with a crabby runner don’t bode well for trying to find people in a crowd. It takes a lot of effort for people to come out to a marathon, never knowing where the runner is really going to be and putting up with an insane, pretty poorly laid out finish line, I do appreciate them coming out and know that Charmian stayed to cheer on other runners which is so appreciated too!

Even though the marathon didn’t go as I had planned, I finished and didn’t die and really, deep down, it was fun. And, the best way to recover from a marathon? Head to Vegas, of course!!

**October 10th, Mary, Angie, Stephanie and I headed to Vegas to celebrate Mary’s 30th birthday – and boy did we celebrate! Without giving away too many details, because you know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, I will say that we never got in before 4 am (two of the days it was 5!), I had a husband for about an hour, got a phone number and a room number of which only the phone number was used (don’t worry!) and had an incredible time – did a ton of dancing, drinking, and hanging out! Angie even won a $250 gift certificate to a spa where the 4 of us all got ½ hour massages!

**I have a busy week ahead next week – I promise to recount all of my activity – (ok, minus the boring stuff!). Monday night I’m throwing a “Martinis and Makeover” party and catching up with some old friends for dinner a couple of the nights. I’m also toasting Andy’s 30th birthday/new house on the 30th and celebrating Pat’s 60th birthday on the 31st (both in costume of course!!).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Marathon Training Round 3 - Update and Chicago Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon

Marathon training this time around seems hard. It’s hard to focus. My cross training has gone out the window. After the Green Bay Marathon I was all on track and ready to roll – completing what seemed like the perfect recovery plan – lots of swimming for a week and then starting to add runs back in and finally getting started on “Round 3.”

I’ve been getting all of my runs in, but they’re tough. My SI joint has been sucking lately and I’m feeling sluggish and slow. This could be due to the fact that I’ve gained a few pounds this summer and that I’ve spent a lot of time drinking and apparently, I’ve completely forgotten how to get to the Y.

I’ve been trying harder in the last couple of weeks though and have gotten in the pool and have done a little lifting here and there.

This past weekend I did the Inaugural Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll ½ Marathon as a part of my training schedule.

I went down to Chicago on Friday night and spent most of the rainy Saturday hanging out with Mary in Lincoln Square – there was a “garden walk” which would have been better had it not been raining. We popped into some fun little shops and had a great lunch at Costello’s Sandwich and Sides I had an amazing turkey sandwich and a HUGE pickle…and let’s be honest, nothing gets me more excited than a big pickle (and get your mind out of the gutters, I’m talking Kosher here!).

We met up with Kendra and Jared and went down to get our race packets. We spent some time looking around the expo and I bought a “Stick” which is amazing. And tested out the Power Balance Bracelet which was the most crazy cool thing ever – a guy pushed down on your arm while you were on one foot and I (along with everyone else) fell over but then he handed you the bracelet and you stayed put. It has something to do with a computer chip that works with your electrons or something like that – as he was talking the only thing I heard was “you’ll get a big tumor” – but what do I know?

We had a great pasta dinner at Mary’s – it’s always such a pleasure to carbo load. I don’t eat enough pasta and bread, so it’s fun when you can really go to town!

Race morning we were up by 4:15 am and on the platform for the train a little before 5 heading down to Grant Park. The L got PACKED with people which was strangely fun because almost all of us were going to the same place. And the people who weren’t going to run were oddly fascinated (or totally annoyed) by all of us who were about to run 13.1 miles.

We hadn’t made plans to meet with Kendra and Jared before the race but we ran into them walking into the park! It was a great surprise! We checked our gear at Mary’s running group tent – which made life SO much easier.

The run went by pretty quickly, even though I was 5 minutes slower than I was in Kenosha. It was fun running downtown Chicago and as we came back north on the bike path, running towards the Chicago skyline was breathtaking. The 13 bands that lined the route were all really fun and the people were out in droves. It’s always great to have a big crowd to help you tackle the miles!

After the race I met up with Jared who finished in 1:39 and Brenna who was volunteering at a water station it was nice that they were there holding down a spot for us all to meet! Mary and Kendra joined us and we just hung out in Grant Park – Mary and I changed into new clothes (all a girl really needs after a race is a wet wash cloth and a change of clothes J - who needs a shower?!?), grabbed our beers and laid in the grass listening to Susan Tedeschi . Kendra and Jared joined us after they showered and we then headed through Millennium Park and on to Giordano's for “World Famous” Chicago deep dish pizza. It was truly a delightful afternoon!

I have a 17 miler looming over me this weekend, I am however, running all 17 with my friend Krista so at least I’ll have someone trudging along with me and I’m actually looking forward to it. We’ll see how it goes!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

T. M. I.

In today’s computer based society filled with social networking tools like Facebook and MySpace, Twitter and blogs, are we giving away too much information about ourselves without leaving any mystery?

I will be the first one to admit, I love Facebook. I update my “status” constantly and I often feel like people really do care about the mundane details of my life. I mean really? I updated that I was getting my hair cut and colored and I got to learn that L really likes to get her scalp massaged when they’re washing her hair and seriously? That’s important stuff.

With this blog I put out tons of information about myself and my experiences - my likes and dislikes - allowing all of my millions of readers (ha!) to really know me. While there is some fun to that; I often wonder - when you’re getting so much constant information do you really need to spend any time with a person, or are snippets of status updates and blog posts good enough?

I always talk about how I’m an over communicator. And this blog really proves it. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter and you could really know what I’m doing and how I’m feeling on a constant reel all day every day. Which means, someone who may be apt to call every once and awhile or text and ask how you’re doing doesn’t have to because they already know that I’m headed to do yoga in my back yard or eating a delicious meal at The Rock with my favorite B-Town girls. This means, you lose human connection and that could lead to dangerous results.

I am sometimes hesitant about becoming friends with people on Facebook that I have recently met because it gives me all away. There is no need to call me and ask what I’m up to because they can see the pictures and read the comments. I’m raw and exposed and sometimes I don’t want to be. Sometimes I WANT a person to want to get to know me through long phone calls or heaven forbid actually spending time with me.

I am even more hesitant to give out the link to this blog (even though you can access it from my Facebook page) because here, in what I consider my own little world, I am letting the people in cyber space see me for who I really am thus allowing for a lot of judgment and criticism and for any mystery to be thrown out the window.

Some will say that I’m an open book anyway and even talking to me for 7 minuets will yield you a wealth of useless information about me, and they’re right. I ALWAYS have SOMETHING to say – whether it’s useful or not is another question – but isn’t it more fun to have that conversation in person rather than to read it in a blog? I myself am WAY more entertaining to spend time with than just read about - ha ha...

All of this means, I should just limit my status updating and my blogging but I’m sucked in. I enjoy it. I really do like reading (most of the time) about what people are up to. I like checking out their pictures and having a little window into their worlds. So I guess it’s a game of balance in trying to put things out there while maintaining a bit of the mystery which can be really intriguing…I will now become mysterious and leave you with that…

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Honesty is the best policy

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how important honesty is. I truly believe that it’s good to be honest – especially when dealing with matters of the heart. I think that being able to express what you’re feeling is a good thing. It means that you’re figuring yourself out – who you are, what you want, and knowing where you are at this point in your life are all really important. And being able to communicate those things with people is really important.

I was 23 the first time someone was really honest with me and he looked me in the eyes and said those words that no one ever likes to hear. “I don’t think that we can be in a relationship” - - I like to twist those words around when I’m mad at him and say he told me that he didn’t like me but in reality, it was firm but gentle and he told me that he had no interest in me.

I was so disheartened. I thought that this person and I would be great together and that we would work well. He was the first person in LA that I really liked and the first person in general that I had been in to in a really long time and I felt broken. I felt like I had done something wrong. That if I could only be skinnier or prettier or funnier or smarter he would want me and we would work. I cried over him…big time.

However, in days after that conversation we talked and we started to hang out and I started to realize that although we may not work in a relationship, we had a really strong bond as friends. And, as heartbroken as I was over the situation I appreciated his honesty and I figured if he could be that honest with me about this and not just pretend that I didn’t exist or never talk to me again, I felt like I could grow up and learn that not all things that don’t work in one capacity won’t work in another.

Fast forward 6 years and he remains one of my very best friends. He’s the first one I call for everything – and since he’s old(er) – he usually has great words of advice for me. We’ve traveled together, we’ve stayed in each other’s home towns, and we have a great time together. I love him dearly and am so glad that he is in my life.

Since then, I have come to appreciate honesty and I expect it from people. I know that sometimes it’s hard to be honest about your feelings and emotions – especially with people that you don’t know all that well – but if you can do it – and you want to do it - it means a lot.

I always say that I would rather have someone tell me straight out that they’re just not that in to me than to lie or make up excuses or just go away. I think maybe it’s because I’d rather be friends with someone if possible than to not have a really great person in my life. Now don’t get me wrong, there are A LOT of people that I’m totally fine with saying “peace out” to and never seeing again. But there are rare occasions when I see something great in a person that I want to know them and even if nothing happens on the romantic end of things, I want them in my life because of what they could add to it.

I am an over communicator. I talk – a lot. When something upsets me or frustrates me or makes me incredibly happy, I talk about it (this also means that my friends are the greatest people ever because they continue to listen). I am not one to shy away from finding words to express how I’m feeling about something and sometimes I see that as a big vulnerability. Sometimes I feel that if I could just shut my mouth that maybe things would be better off – but ultimately, I know that they won’t.

And, in the way that I can communicate my own feelings, I think it’s really important to communicate how I feel about others. I hate to miss an opportunity to tell someone that I think they’re really great or to say I love you. I sometimes wonder if because I say these things a lot they may come off as trite – but every time I give out an appreciation, I mean it, from the bottom of my heart. I know that these things aren’t as easy for others as they are for me and I am also sometimes concerned that my expression of emotion and my communicating EVERYTHING is overbearing for some. But, it’s who I am and what I do and although I’ve thought about working on that, I just can’t change.

I recently had a very honest conversation with someone who I think is really great and during that conversation I said that anything I said would not change the way that they’re feeling. I believe that someone should feel how they feel and not be told to feel anything different. I don’t think that you move on from loss or hurt or frustration without working through your emotions. You need to feel what you are feeling, recognize it, accept it, address it and eventually there will come a time where you will feel different. You’ll move on, you’ll remember the good times but you won’t long for them, you’ll see that your past is an incredibly useful learning experience and proceed in a manner that is good for YOU – and not anyone else.

I sometimes think that I should have become a shrink, but all of them that I know (and I apologize to anyone I offend here) are pretty nuts themselves, so I’ll just play one on TV.

Additionally, I will always be the person that opens up to someone and hopefully makes them feel safe and secure and because of that, they’ll be really honest with me because I really do believe that honesty is the best policy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's so bad I can't even come up with a title...

I've been having writer's block lately. It's not that I don't have things going on that I could write about - believe me I do and it's probably more than anyone ever wants to read about - and maybe that's why I'm not writing. I just can't bear to write a blog or write in my journal or sometimes to even write a press release.

I want to write. Like I said, I have things to write about, just when I go to put it all down somewhere I find myself stopping short of saying the things that I really want to say. Like writing about being pissed off about not getting responses from people - I put things out into cyber space and I typically think it's the polite, even responsible thing to do to send a frickin email back - even if all it says is "I just don't want to." Something is better than nothing right? (And I guess with the nothing, the inference can be made that the answer is "I just don't want to" but I feel things like that should be said not just left out there - but I'm an over communicator).

So, since I'm finding myself not able to write - I'm stealing this idea off of another blog so that I can at least get some things down in writing...

I Can't - -
  • stand getting my oil changed. There's just something about pulling into that garage and talking with the mechanics that just makes me feel weird and uneasy. I do it because I have to, not because I want to.
  • live without my blackberry, coffee, and spell check.
  • stand being late - and 5 min. early is late to me. It puts me into a panic. HATE IT.
  • wear shorts while running.
  • take a compliment

I Can - -

  • Camp without an air mattress
  • drink water from the tap - in fact I prefer it
  • whistle by sucking in instead of blowing out - in fact, it's the only way I can do it.
  • do a headstand (finally!)
  • be strong and independent and still need my parents
  • play the right hand part of any piano music you put in front of me - it's that damn left hand that I can't get down.
  • cook - which may surprise some of you since I always claim that I'm not very domestic.

I Won't - -

  • ever apologize for my politics
  • stop dancing in the living room, singing loudly, or being silly just because I'm growing up
  • give less than 100% of myself to people - be it my family, friends, or a person I meet on the street.
  • stop running until my body physically cannot do it anymore - and I hope that's a long time from now.
  • Think it's ever ok pretend someone is invisible.

I Will - -

  • Bend over backwards to help a friend.
  • Always give advice, even if it's not wanted.
  • Be loud and sometimes funny.
  • swear like a trucker even though I know it's not very lady like.
  • Always find time to read to my niece and nephew - and find time for them in general

I Shouldn't - -

  • Care so much about what other people think.
  • Apologize for my feelings. It is what it is...
  • Be so hard on myself
  • waste so much time and energy on things that I can't control. Whatever will be, will be

I Should - -

  • Say no more often
  • Do more yoga
  • Be proud of myself
  • Spend more time writing, taking pictures, and creating in general
  • wash my car more often

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon - May 17, 2009

All week last week I dreaded the marathon day because I just didn't feel "right." I didn't want to get on the course and throw up or pass out - you know, those fun feelings I had felt all week coming to the surface and actually happening during the race scared the hell out of me. I just wanted to finish - and of course, not die.

I took off for Green Bay early Saturday morning and had a delightful pit stop in Milwaukee, where I hung out with HR guy and his awesome dog for a couple of hours, slowly walking up and down the shore line of lake Michigan. It felt good to be outside, and it felt good to move around a little since I didn't do much all week.

I got to Green Bay and met Mary at Lambeau Field around 3:30. We hung out at the Expo for a few hours, scouring for free stuff, which was pretty slim. I did manage to find some great new running shirts. It was fun running into Justin, my favorite Packer partner (we went to several games together over our years at UW-GB) and Steph who also went to school at GB (and is part of the NKOTB clan!).

We got the low down about the course from the race director, which was really nice. It was good to know what to expect and to find out where the best bathrooms were on race day!

Krista met up with us and we proceeded to carb load with a great (FREE) dinner. I don't know how many breadsticks I ended up eating but seriously, they were amazing (everything was good, but these breadsticks...really...).

I joined my family back at the hotel for a quick chat - - I am a REALLY lucky girl - - mom, dad, Amanda, Ches, Grandma & Grandpa, Beth, and Ann & Jim all joined me in this adventure - - it is so nice to have such great support from my family (and friends!)!!

I didn't sleep at all on Saturday night. I felt awful, I had weird dreams, and I tossed and turned all night. So, needless to say, I was feeling really ill prepared for Sunday.

But, Sunday morning I was up at 5 am, got a bagel with peanut butter and honey down, drank some coffee and got to the start line...

  • Green Bay had an appropriate amount of bathrooms. Granted, the race started at Lambeau which HAS to have quality (and quantity) bathroom facilities but there were also tons of port-o-potties and I didn't feel that I waited too long in line (the 2 times within 15 min that I went). Some races are AWFUL.
  • I missed saying good luck to Mary at the very start (because you know, I was in the bathroom) but she caught me around mile 3 and we chatted for a bit before she rocked her way to a 2:04 1/2 Marathon time.
  • I had a tear in my eye during the National Anthem - yes, I'm sappy.
  • I found my fam along the start line and was able to wave to them as we took off. That was neat.
  • I didn't like the 4:30 pacer's plan of attack. I hate walk breaks that do not include water at the start of the race. So, I left them. You know for the first 23 miles.
  • I saw someone texting while running. Seriously, even I'M not that addicted to the Crackberry!
  • Every mile marker in the Quad Cities tore me up. It was SO emotional for me to undertake such a huge task. But this time was different. Not emotional. Not overwhelming. I didn't even think about the miles.
  • My stomach hurt for the first 5 miles. Then I told myself to get over it.
  • I listened to Jason Mraz, Saving Abel, Fergie, Lady Gaga, The Wreckers, and Kelly Clarkson
  • I saw my family at miles 11, twice on the bike path (somewhere between 15 and 19), in Lambeau (I totally picked my sister out of the crowd!)!
  • I missed my family at the finish - even though they were there and saw me!
  • My 8th grade social studies teacher (who ran the 5k) found me along the route and ran a little with me around mile 14- it was SO nice!
  • Mary was at the entrance to the Lambeau parking lot cheering me on and right around the corner from the finish!
  • I wasn't annoyed with ANYONE during the WHOLE 26.2 miles. That's insanity my friends.
  • I was seriously in my own little world and really didn't think, I just ran.
  • I only talked to two people during the race - Mary at the very beginning and some guy while in downtown GB (around mile 22 ish) and that was for about two seconds during a walk break - we had been pacing with each other and we both asked how the other was doing). During the Quad Cities, I would have DIED without 3.2 mile dude. I seriously would not have made it to the end with out his support and conversation. It makes me sad I didn't ever get his name.
  • I'm going to sound like a MAJOR jackbag right now but I didn't feel like it was a big deal. I felt like the Quad Cities was HUGE. And THIS is HUGE. I think playing it down helped me get through it.
  • Although I didn't feel this one was HUGE, my colleagues and boss did - Paula got me a marathon cake that was AWESOME!
  • I hit my wall about mile 23. I told myself there would be no wall. But there was. HOWEVER, I did not allow myself to cramp up like I did in the Quad Cities. I pushed it too hard the first time around and had to stop and stretch and was hurting as I crossed the finish line. This time I was able to back off a bit when I felt like my calves were going to cramp and they never did. I was also able to finish really strong.
  • I hit the infamous sign that all the players hit on their way out to the field - it was awesome running through that tunnel and really really special to run around the field.
  • For not being a huge thing, I teared up as I came to the finish line.
  • It is a HUGE thing. Have I mentioned that?
  • I got one kick ass medal!
  • My dad told me he'd run with me some day...I'm going to hold him to that.

My recovery process is going REALLY well. Last time around was not so good and I ended up with SI Joint issues and physical therapy. This time around my SI Joint is AWESOME, the only things that are sore are my quads and my big toe nails (I didn't get a single blister though!). I've been in the pool for the last couple of days and I'm able to walk down stairs without feeling like I'm 185 years old.

All in all - this was a REALLY good race. Now, I'm "off" for a couple of weeks and then it's full steam ahead to start training for the Lakefront Milwaukee Marathon on October 4, 2009.

Friday, May 15, 2009

T minus 48 ish hours

On Sunday I will be running in Green Bay - I have been so ready to rock this marathon for weeks now. However, I was side lined this weekend when I could not get out of my bed on Sunday and Monday with a fever.

I hate when my training is thrown off for some reason - especially when it's coming down to the end of the line. It kills me to not be able to get in a scheduled run, however, for the most part I have felt stronger and faster this time around.

In the last couple days my head has transitioned from "freak out about not getting in my final 8 miler" mode to "back in the game" mode.

I can do this. I can run 26.2 miles. I've done it before, I know what it feels like. I am ready. My legs are strong, my heart is in it, and so is my head.

My goals as always are to finish and not die. I can do that.

Thank you to all of my friends and family who constantly support me - especially to Ann who logged lots of miles with me! I'll keep you all posted on the outcome! Here's hoping for perfect weather!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wisconsin 1/2 Marathon

Considering the fact that I have run 13.1 miles some 12 ish times over the last year, I have never run in a 1/2 marathon race...until Saturday.

Mary, one of my very dear friends from college, and I signed up to run the inaguaral "Wisconsin Marathon and Half Marathon" to be held in Kensoha - where Mary's parents live and where my boss is the State Senator.

I went down to "K-Town" on Friday night and Mary, her family and I ate at Luigi's - this hole in the wall Italian place that was amazing. I had homemade pasta with a big ol' meat ball on top. Homemade pasta in Kenosha is always amazing. Always.

Feeling carbed up and ready to roll on Saturday morning, I got a good night sleep and was up bright and early at 5:00 am (which is sleeping in for me!).

Earlier on in marathon training, my long run routine was to eat a peanut butter power bar and drink some coffee. For my 18, 19, and 20 milers however, I have switched to these awesome bagels that are whole grain and have 10 grams of protien in them...but I digress...anyway, I ate my bagel with peanut butter and honey and headed out.

Krista, (a friend from high school, who met us at Mary's house) Mary and I grabbed a ride from one of Mary's Chicago friends and we headed down to Harbor Park, got our gear checked, and stood around for awhile. We decided to head to the bathroom - this is where I digress again. Seriously folks, how hard is it to use a bathroom in a timely manner? There were a few men who hopped out of line because people were being so slow (mainly women - yes, I'll totally blame my gender for being slow, thankfully, I am not). I appreciated these men who found an alternative place to dispose of their morning coffee. I would have joined them had it not been completely socially inappropriate. I'm not THAT girl.

Anyway, we got to the start line and I managed to bump into my boss who had come to wish me luck and send me off.

The weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was shining, there was a bit of a breeze and it was probably in the low 60's.

The route was beautiful. We ran through downtown Kenosha and then out through some really great houses and north along Lake Michigan. The scenery was lovely.

I was feeling pretty good. My first mile was done in 9:50 and I was ok with that since there were so many people to weave in and out of. After the first 4 or 5 miles I started to feel like I could push it up a little faster so I put some Fergie on the MP3 player and took off.

Kendra and her boyfriend Jared were there to watch one of Jared's friends (and ME too!!) - Kendra is an excellent photographer and caught lots of pictures along the route, I'll post some as soon as I see them! Mary's parents, sister and cousin were all out cheering too, and some people I met while campaigning in November even came out - it was nice to have supporters along the route!

My only goal for this run was to do it in at least 2 hours and 15 minutes. This was my split for the 1/2 at the Quad Cities Marathon. At mile 12 I realized that I was in a prime position to run this in 2 hours. I had stayed strong the whole race and felt good - stradling the line between pushing it too hard and pushing just enough as to not kill myself - I kicked around mile 12.5 as I knew I had it in me.

I have been doing my Monday training runs as "speed" days and while I'm not very fast, towards the end of the run I spend a good chunk of time increasing the speed. So I know, that even on tired legs, I can always give it a little more.

I finished in 2 hours and 36 seconds. An average 9:13/mile. I was VERY proud of that. Being a steady 10 minute miler may be changing soon!

After the race we ate brats and drank beer by the lake - a perfect way to end the race!

I really enjoyed the 1/2 and while I still love the marathon (we'll see if that changes after May 17th, but I doubt it!!), I can't wait to do another 1/2 - - and, I registered today to do the Chicago Rock and Roll 1/2 on August 2nd - which will be followed by the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon on October 3rd. (yes, I know, I'm a bit insane!).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome to Taper Mode

Today is the first day of tapering for the Green Bay Marathon and I'm realizing that I haven't really written about the process of training as much this time around.

What I've learned about spring marathon training is that it makes you one tough cookie - running for hours and miles and miles on a treadmill is mentally challenging. Running through fresh snow is tough and pounding out miles during rain and getting coated in mud is tiring. But, through it all, I've learned that I can hack it.

Last summer, while training for the quad cities I had a scheduled 13 mile run (during tapering) that I completely complained about because it was raining out. However, it was in the 60's, and while it was coming down pretty steadily, there was no wind.

This weekend, not only did I run in the rain but it was cold and windy.

I ran the Crazy Legs Classic race in Madison (it's an 8k, just shy of 5 miles) on Saturday and as I drove to Madison through a torrenchial down pour I was a little concerned about running but hell bent on doing it. The race went well and I finished in 44:29 finishing 1 min and 3 seconds faster than last year. I've heard that the race was a little over 5 due to having to reroute it because of flooding on the bike path, but regardless, I'm happy with my time. I got done and while I was wet, I had a blast.

Sunday I ran my 20 miler. Thankfully, I procrastinated long enough that I got through most of it with light to moderate rain and there were times when it stopped completely! However, on my last mile, I got pounded on. I thought it was sleet, but nope, just really really big rain drops - coming down in buckets! But, I finished and while I was a little slower than I had hoped, I got the miles in and am feeling pretty good.

Today, I allowed myself to sleep in! I got a glorious 10.5 hours of sleep (I didn't get a nap on Sunday so I was in bed at 8:30!! Loved it!!), and I'm off for a massage in a couple of hours. And, tomorrow, I only have to run 5 miles!

One more thing about spring training - you see LOTS of dead things. I've "ran over" snakes, deer, skunks, squirrels, and birds. And, while I wasn't the one to bring them to their demise, I was sure happy to not have crossed any of them while they were alive (especially the snakes!!). Once fall training starts I know there will be lots of live things to run from - turkeys and deer mostly, I'm hoping to stay away from the snakes!!

"Match" Date #1 & an in between meet and greet

Well, I finally went on a date with someone I met on Match. It was well, just ok in the grand scheme of things. I didn't want to poke my eyes out with a stick but I didn't get that "this is awesome" feeling either.

I met the cop at Buffalo Wild Wings because I'm always up for wings and beer and while others may think that's a totally lame date, I think that for a first meeting it was fine. It was casual and brightly lit and there were lots of people in case I needed protection from strangers.

Anyway, the conversation was easy and we ended up going for ice cream after and we set up another date for a Sunday afternoon cook out.

In between dates with the cop, I went to visit my BFF Heather in Cedarburg and as I walked through her door she told me that she had "exciting news" - I immediately asked her if she was pregnant. When she informed me that she wasn't and that it was for me, I was more than curious.

Turns out, her neighbor down the street, HR guy, was single and our age and meeting us out for dinner and drinks if I was ok with it. I'm never one to shy away from meeting new people so we walked down to HR guys house and walked to downtown Cedarburg, which is a really cute little place.

HR guy turns out to be pretty awesome and hanging with him until bar close allows me to list all of the reason why the cop is so not me. First and foremost, HR guy can get through a sentence, nay, an entire 6 hours without mentioning boobs - serious bonus points.

Bonus points for interesting travel, life experience, and things to talk about other than sports (which is TOTALLY fine, but come on, are the Cubs ALL you've got?)...MORE bonus points for being incredibly educated (meaning you didn't graduate because you were a football player who got by on the skin of your teeth), well spoken, and polite (aka, not mentioning boobs constantly).

It was an interesting weekend for sure and while it was lots of fun, not a match was made...totally fine though as it was a good, clarifying learning experience!

Friday, April 17, 2009

You Never Know What's Next


What you are about to read actually happened. If you are reading and you know this person, it's OK, you do not have to be angry at him - AND, if you'd like to be angry at me, wait until you get to the bottom of the page and then we can talk. As always, I thank you for your over protective anger. If you are this person, I do care and this is not meant to hurt you - or me - but it's a story I feel needs to be told. If you are someone who doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about, then just read and draw your own conclusions.


For six months he had this strange power over me - a power that always made me go to him whenever it was convenient for him and one that, towards the end, always made me leave feeling bad about myself.

At the beginning I felt wanted, which was nice because he was attractive and had that cool California surfer look to him that always makes me swoon. We would spend hours talking about life and everything and nothing all at once and it was nice. We had an easy, comfortable rapport between us. He made me feel sexy and smart and special.

It didn't take me long to figure out though, that I was being used to fill a void and I'm sure it didn't take him long to figure out that he could call or text me and, without thinking, I'd toss everything aside and run to him, be there for him, with no regard to myself. But I let it continue.

I lived that way for a long time, letting late night phone calls followed by 15 minute drives rule my life for the thrill of spending a couple of hours with him. Often getting there to find and empty bed; one that I would shamefully crawl into and no matter how pissed off I was about it I stayed. I listened to the apologies when he'd come in at 2 am but I knew he never meant them. And in the morning I'd drive back to my apartment almost always in tears about the whole thing, cursing myself for staying and cursing him for treating me this way. I my friends was the definition of doormat.

And although I realized my doormat status long before I could ever get my wits about me, I finally came to. Almost two years ago, I marched into his house (I had really cute pink high heels on), dropped off stuff I had of his and said I couldn't do it anymore. He didn't argue (ok, well, he really couldn't - in his defense he was recovering from an emergency appendectomy, but still, he didn't argue). He only said "can we talk about this later?" (meaning it was inconvenient for him because he was drugged up, um hi? no excuse). And then, I walked out and it was done.

I moved around like a zombie for awhile after that. Crying constantly, holing up in my apartment, not wanting to do anything. I was sad. Mostly I was sad that I was so stupid to think or believe for one second that this person actually cared about me or how I felt.

The good news is, something snapped in me that May. I realized that I did have worth and that I needed to put myself first and make sure that I was taken care of which meant getting off of my ass and getting to the gym. It meant changing my eating habits. It meant reassessing things in my life from food to friends. It meant taking a good, scary look at myself in the mirror and confronting things I hadn't wanted to before.

I saw him a year later - 75 pounds later - and it was a polite run in with each other. Kind words were exchanged and he apologized for the way that things ended with us. I took his apology, smiled politely and rejoined my friends. I then ran into him a couple more times at a local watering hole where it was always the same, a kind smile, a nod of hello, but nothing more and I was ok with it, I was really good with it. It was always friendly and deep down I knew he really meant his apology.

Then, out of the blue, I texted him a question that I knew he'd know the answer to right away, it was something stupid about a band. I still have no idea why I did it. Did I really just have a question or did I want to be friends? I thought so. And then, I felt sorry for him when he lost his job and I genuinely wanted to do something to help, if I could, and began to reach out periodically. I genuinely gave a crap about him because he's a person and it's what I do and more importantly, I knew that he had been through a lot and I have a hard time not caring about people who have been in my life.

And then, I did it. I threw the "we should catch up some time" out there. But I really meant it, I really wanted to see how he was doing and see what was new. And, after months went by, we eventually set up a time and a place, at a location that I knew would be comfortable for me to be in and not get drunk and let emotions take over and either yell at him or swoon again.

There was no dinner.

There were drinks.

The night before our scheduled dinner.

I knew that at 10 pm, which is when I finally was available to go (in his defense, he wanted to meet at 6), it would leave me feeling funny in some way, shape or form. I knew I shouldn't go, but I did.

I met him on his turf, at a bar that he knew. We immediately fell into conversation that was easy and fun. And although easy and fun, it turned flirty way too quickly. He again apologized for the way things once were and I again accepted. We danced to the juke box, laughed and talked, had some beer and before I knew it, the bar was closing and we were the last ones standing.

He asked if I wanted to continue at his place and I rambled on about how I wanted it to be different this time, I wanted him to respect me and I bought that it would be.

So I went, and it was fun. He stated, more than once not to leave him. We talked about things in a "to be continued" way and as I left early Thursday morning, although I knew that would never happen.

I drug my ass to work on Thursday with an hour or two of sleep, no work out and a feeling of disappointment in my gut (mainly because I knew I couldn't actually TELL anyone about this because my friends would murder me if they knew, and I love them for that).

The thing of it is, I like him. I really think that he is a good person. I enjoy his company and I really did have a great time with him. That's always the kicker. I always think that part fits and something will change and make everything different, but it doesn't.

The one thing that is different though is that I let him off the hook when he asked for a raincheck on dinner. I told him that it would be ok if he really didn't feel like making a rain date. And I meant it. I'm not mad. I'm not bitter. I'm not even sad about it. The thing is, I still care about him and I have a funny feeling that somewhere, deep down inside, he appreciates something about me and probably even cares a tiny little bit.

Maybe I did it because I wanted to know that I could. Maybe I did it because I wanted the perfect ending to his chapter. And, strangely, in some way, maybe I got it. We had fun and I made the best out of the moment. And, while his chapter in my book of life may not even be over yet, I've learned from him, from our prior relationship and from our last night together.

Gilda Radner sums it up perfectly when she said "I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. "

Here's to lessons learned and whatever happens next...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Most Myself - and Figuring That Out

So I've been spending a lot of time thinking about who I'm most myself around, or what situations I may be in when I'm most me - and sadly, I'm still pondering.

However, I have come to a couple of conclusions:

  • I'm most comfortable with people who knew me pre May 2007 - these people knew me when I was 75 pounds heavier and liked me anyway. I sometimes (a lot of times) feel really weird about exposing the old me to people. I'm embarrassed about it - ashamed even - but I never ever felt that way then. There are pictures from college that people have uploaded onto their facebook pages that I am "tagged" in and I find myself always wanting to untag me in them so that any "new" friends that come along don't see what I used to look like. But I don't untag myself, because it's part of who I was - of who I still am. People I have known for awhile get that; they get that I have been through a major overhaul, but I'm still me.
  • I am so lucky to have people in my life where I feel like I can say anything and not be judged and where I can be a little crazy and not care, I can "dance like no body's watching" because they're right there next to me. I don't have to sugar coat anything with these people; I don't have to always have a sunny disposition; and I can share anything and everything with them.

I'm still working on this - it's harder than I thought it would be for some reason - maybe because I'm still trying to figure out what being "most myself" really means. Who am I and what am I all about? I have a good idea but I'm still working on that.

In the effort of still working on figuring that out - I think that this Match thing may be helping - but only slightly.

I've been at this for 2 weeks; my profile has been looked at 1110 times; The return has not been so good. I've had some people contact me or note that they may be interested and I've made an effort to send out emails but so far, nothing all that exciting has come my way. Which is ok, I mean, I've only been at this for 2 weeks.

However, I did go on a date with a guy that one of my friends knows - not through Match. And while he was nice enough, there was no chemistry on my part.

Here's what I learned:

  • I absolutely need someone who has an interest in traveling and has the ability to do so.
  • Yes my friends, I love the big cities, so if you tell me you never want to step foot in NYC and that you hated LA, it's probably not a match.
  • Furthermore, I adore Washington DC - for oh so many reasons. Love it or hate it, one should appreciate it - and if you don't, well, again, probably not a match.
  • I get embarrassed really easily. Not so much from things that I'm doing but from things that people I'm with are doing. You'd think that after 28 years of knowing my dad, nothing anyone did would ever be embarrassing, but...not the case.
  • I love food and am not shy about it - I am never "that girl" on a date - you know, the one who orders a side salad and a diet coke? However, when it gets pointed out to me that I eat like a normal person, again, I get embarrassed.
  • I like alcohol. I know that may make me sound like a lush, but I enjoy going out and having drinks and going to wine tastings and I would really like to do that with someone who's going to join me. It's awkward to be drinking alone.
  • I'm more passionate about knowing something about things that are going on in the world than I thought I was. I have a hard time when people tell me that they really just don't care about current events because, no matter what your position on those events is, they do matter.

So, I'm getting somewhere. I'm figuring it out. It was kind of fun to go on a date seeing as I haven't been on one since November and boy was THAT a learning process (fun overall...but I learned a lot of hard life lessons in November)...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Something I'm Pondering

Remember I blog stalk? Well, Chris's sister Meg (whom I've never met, but have heard lots of great things about!) just posted something that got me thinking - when do you feel most yourself? And further more, when I'm feeling most myself, what is that person like? I'm off to do some thinking - be prepared for deep thoughts by Jen soon...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"What I Learned from Dating 100 Men"

Ok, I haven't dated 100 men, at least not with in the last 6 months and there are some shady instances that certainly don't count as dates in my eyes, but I digress...

My sister sent me a message about this article:

The tag line? "She was 34 and she meant business, so she placed an ad with an online dating service and let the e-mails roll in. By the end of her dating experiment she found someone, but she also found herself."

That's the ultimate goal right people? Finding yourself? Who you are, what you want, what you will and will not tolerate...and to be able to communicate that without hesitation or question...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Single in the City

Reene Zelleweger recently had this quote on a magazing cover - "I'm not single, I'm busy" I immediately loved it, but after thinking about it a little more, I wondered if busy was an excuse. Just because you're busy doesn't mean that you can't put yourself out there and date and have a good time, you know, if you want to.

I'm single. And for the most part, I'm ok with that. I'm busy and have great friends and certainly don't need someone to complete me. However, certain times of the year, summer especially, I'd like to be dating someone. While I don't ever mind being the 3rd, 5th, or 17th wheel, when it comes to doing things with my friends, it does get a little old and I feel more often now than ever before, my "coupled up" friends are busy doing their coupley things and I don't get included....and I don't blame them for that nor do I think it's being done intentionally, it's just easier to go to dinner with another couple versus another couple and Jen.

The other reality is, I'm 28, an age that yields a most of my girlfriends being or getting married, or seriously dating someone. That leaves me often home, on a Friday night, blogging.

It's not like I don't try - or don't put myself out there and while I guess I could do more and get involved in different groups and organizations and whatnot, I don't have a great deal of time in my life with a two hour drive every day, county board, and lots of running. (excuses, I know).

Where am I going with all of this? Well, I've decided to try online dating. I'll be honest, I've done it before and I've never had good results, however, I am at a different point in my life and I figured I'd give it a shot. And, I figured I'd chronicle my adventures here on my blog, promising to change the names of the unfortunate, the lucky, and the jackbags because I've decided that while I may not even meet anyone who I actually like, it may provide lots of entertaining stories, and who doesn't love a good story?

I signed up for on Tuesday. The good news? 652 people have looked at my profile. The bad news? Out of that many people, I haven't recieved much contact. And while I'm not a math major, I can tell you that those odds don't seem very good.

I also don't know how to go about doing this - when do you email someone? When do you "wink" at them? How long do you wait to reply to their email? How do you write a profile that says how awesome you are without seeming too cocky? How do you pick your pictures? Do you have to tell people who contact you that you don't like do you have to tell them? Or do you just ignore?

So, here I go. This will be an interesting learning experience, one that if nothing else, will provide some good stories, and I promise I'll share!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Heart Marathon Training

I climbed onto the treadmill this morning at 4:45 and started an 8 mile run. During the first couple of miles I started to think about training and the fact that I REALLY enjoy it - which I know, I know, makes me weird (we've ALL got that figured out now!).

Here is a portion my list of things I love about training for a marathon ( yes, most of them have to do with food):

1. Smore's Luna Bars - LOVE these things - a great pre run snack!
2. Peanut Butter Power Bars - I eat these before long runs and like the peanut butter more than any other flavor - and I don't love the fruity ones!
3. Espresso GU - has a little caffeine to give me a kick during a run and strangely, I find it tasty.
4. Luna Moons - yummy little chewy "fruit snacks"
5. Chocolate Milk - such a fantastic recovery drink
6. Peanut M&Ms - while I've scaled back on these this time around, I still love them dearly
7. Pasta, bread, and all things carby and delicious - I love any excuse to eat an abundance of carbs!
8. A fab play list - last time around I ran to country - this time I'm going a little pop with lots of Natasha Bedingfield, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Colby O'donis, Jason Mraz, and I really add some fun with a little NKOTB!
9. Having the mental focus to do this. I'm a true believer that marathon training is 80% mental and 20% physical.
10. killer quads, hamstrings, and calves - my legs shape up nicely during training and I love them for that.
11. My feet. They're not the best looking feet I've ever seen and they have some callouses and bruised toe nails, but they're awesome. They carry me through lots and lots of miles and I love them.
12. A stronger core. Which in turn makes my SI joint oh so happy.
13. Oh yeah, I can't forget bananas - I heart them all the time, but even more so while I'm running!
14. I sleep REALLY well while training.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Who Knew...

So I know that I haven't blogged in awhile but wow - not at all in March?!? Hi! I'm still alive!

I don't really have any big thing to blog about so I figure I'll do some random musings...

**I really hate lifting weights. I know that I should do it. I know that I have to do it. I just really don't enjoy doing it. I would rather run or bike or swim. However, I lifted yesterday and then the crazy lady subbing in my class made us lift again today. So, while I hate it, I do think my arms will be in good shape for tank tops this summer.

**I really love fondue and especially enjoy the Melting Pot where someone mixes all the right things together and makes it delicious. Last night I enjoyed a great night of fiesta cheese (so fantastic with a beer base), lots o' meat with amazing dipping sauces and some original chocolate (mixed with crunchy peanut butter) - all with my great friend Bridget. A great meal with fantastic company is always appreciated.

**I'm finally feeling back to "normal" - I went through about three weeks of a sinus infection, TMJ dysfunction, an abscessed tooth, a root canal and a killer cold and now my head is feeling clear and I can sleep at night with out the aide of vicodin or Nyquil.

**While I don't know if I REALLY like the new look of Facebook it's not bothering me that much. It's funny how change can really rock people's worlds, I like to try to take it in stride.

**I can't, for the life of me, get into the book "Marley and Me" - I want to LOVE this book. I LOVED the movie and my mom keeps telling me the book is WAY better and I want to love it, I'm just having a hard time.

**My final homework for my creativity class is due next Monday, it feels like I just started the class. I'll sum it up on here at some point after we're done - I will say that I have really enjoyed it and think that I have great tools to move forward in my creative life.

**I REALLY could use a yoga class - it's been WAY too long and doing it at home here and there is beneficial but I really love going to class.

**I went to the mall in Madison last night before dinner and I was not inspired at all. Usually the mall is where I find a lot of inspiration to be creative and nothing was doing it for me last night. I think it's that I'm not in love with any of the spring trends - it may have something to do with too much color. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy color but as an accent, not as an all over whatever.

**I have really been on a fashion kick lately, which is why the above statement really made me disappointed. I've been reading a lot of blogs that have to do with fashion but did you know that some people take pictures of themselves every day and blog about their look of the day? Who knew?! And by the way, I totally enjoy them.

**The nice weather that we've had over the weekend and the last couple of days has made me want to party plan. I love throwing parties and would love to have one on the patio with the grill going, summery drinks flowing and people sitting around a fire until all hours of the evening, talking, laughing, eating, drinking...

Monday, February 23, 2009

I tri'd and will tri again....

Sunday I did my very first triathlon - and I get to tick it off of the "To Do Before I'm 30 List" which is always so much fun!

The Y holds a mini indoor triathlon every year and after much deliberation, I decided to sign up. It was a 1/4 mile swim, a 5 mile bike and a 3 mile run. I knew I could do it in under an hour - which is generally about half of the time I spend working out on an average Sunday. My fear was the transitioning from swim to bike to run.

I started off in the pool too fast with free style - had I started with breaststroke (what I swam in High School) I probably could have had a better swim time. I was also between some pretty rockstar swimmers which made me want to go as fast as possible, which can both be good and bad!

I had laid out my running capris, socks, shoes and extra towels on the deck to be ready as soon as I got out and it worked pretty well. I whipped them on and flew up to the spin bikes.

The hardest part for me was the 5 mile bike. Mainly because I was on a spin bike and not going anywhere. During a workout I can do the spin bike for about an hour and get a good 20 + miles in and it doesn't bother me. However, since I was "racing" the 5 miles couldn't be over fast enough.

The first few laps around the track felt pretty weird, my legs felt a little jello-ish but not too bad and I quickly got into a groove and the running was by far the easiest of the three.

I completed the whole thing in 54:53 which I was comfortable with. My only goal was to finish in under an hour, which thankfully I did. And, while it was pretty hard, I really enjoyed it.

The best part of the whole thing though was my cheering section! My cousin Jamie and her kiddo, my sister, Greg, the kids and one of Greg's friends, and my parents were all there to cheer me along - and I recruited my aunt Jane as my timer! I had the biggest crowd there and it was so fun to have them all watching and helping me along! The moral support that I have for doing these events is outstanding! I am REALLY lucky!

My mom asked me this morning which I liked better - the tri or the marathon and my quick answer was the marathon. I would love to do another tri - outside - and could really love find myself loving it. But there's something about running for hours at a time that just makes me happy (thanks for the tee shirt mom!) - weird I know!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"I Could Live for 2 Months on a Good Compliment" - Mark Twain

Taking the time to compliment someone - or thank them for doing something - doesn't take a lot of time or effort. So why is it that it's sometimes so hard to do?

I used to be really good at thank you notes. I would sit down immediately after my birthday and Christmas and get them written and sent out. Now, it takes me a month or more to get them written and in the mail and it's really unacceptable.

I decided last night that I'm going to start thanking people more - for little things, for big things, for just being who they are. Telling someone that I appreciate them needs to be something I do more often. I think that I often get so bogged down in the day to day minutiae that I often don't take the time to tell people thank you for things that they do to get me through my day, or for just being someone in my life who I really appreciate.

I've also decided that it's important to compliment people more. More often than not, throughout my day I see people doing things that really deserve a compliment - an "I'm really proud of you for doing ___" goes a long way. Or a "that top looks really great on you" can do a lot for people and it's not a hard thing to do.

In the last couple of weeks I've received several thank yous and some really great compliments that have made my day. Things that I can use when I'm having a bad day.

I was recently asked to be a representative of Political Science and Public Administration majors for a website and brochure that UW-Green Bay is putting together for their current students. I was to submit information about my job and what I find exciting about it and why my degrees helped me.

I of course was honored to do this - as my time at UWGB was so rewarding - both in and out of the classroom. I submitted the information and received the following email that was totally unexpected and so appreciated:

Good morning, Jennifer,
Thank you so much!! Even though we never met (I just started my work here 2 years ago), I know the department is extremely proud of you and we are all so happy to see our alumni do so well. Your statement is very much appreciated. I will send you a copy of the brochure and a link to the website once we finish putting together both.

Thank You!


Katia Levintova
Assistant Professor
Public and Environmental Affairs (Political Science)

This professor, who doesn't know who I am, totally made my day - or, as Mark Twain would say, a whole 2 months for me.

It was followed up by a thank you here from one of my dearest college friends - whom I miss having in my life on a routine basis so much. I know he's around if I need him and I know he checks in with me here pretty regularly (he's one of my dozens of loyal readers you know), but I haven't talked to him in awhile and I haven't seen him in a long time, so that note of thanks - and the others that he sends from time to time mean a lot to me. He knows who he is and I hope he knows how important he is - to this day - to me. His initial hatred of me that over time turned into such a wonderful friendship is still treasured - all of it - even the not so nice parts. (As I continue to write this paragraph I'm realizing that an entire entry - a really long one could be devoted to you Jacob...)

Furthermore - this morning as I was not so sure about my outfit choice as the dress I'm wearing is pretty fitted and I'm still self conscious about what I wear - a woman told me that I looked wonderful and followed it up with "but with your figure, you could make anything look good" - yeah, HI, this is ME - I've NEVER EVER been told THAT one. And as I caught myself from falling over, and contemplated that she was going to say "psych" at the end, I realized she meant it and it was the nicest thing ever. It gave me oodles of confidence to walk out of the Y and face my day.

SO - I'm living high - for at least 2 months on these great compliments and thank yous and I'm vowing to "pay it forward" and thank and compliment people in my life who do great things, or have something about them that make me smile, as well as thinking more of and saying thank you to old friends who have had such a great impact on my life that I could not be the person I am today without them.

So, THANK YOU for reading. Thank you for stepping into my crazy little world to share a bit of it with me. I appreciate you all for the comments that you leave - and for those that you don't - just seeing that my page has been visited another time is a fun feeling. Thank you for enjoying my journey with me.

(yes, as most of you know, I always go for cheesy - it's sincere I promise - but you know, very "Hallmarky" - it's how I roll...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Marathon Training Update

This time around I feel different. Almost like it's not a big deal...but it is and I have to remember that it is huge.

Today is the start of week 6 of marathon training and I've gotten two double digit runs in already, and I don't feel phased about it like I did last time. Last time around, when week 6 started I hadn't done double digits yet. In fact, it was week 6 that I did a 10 miler for the first time ever. Which, as you may recall was quite entertaining and it was then that I decided officially that I was in fact, a runner.

I think a lot of the difference was that I had never run more than 6 miles before so literally every step over 6 was a HUGE accomplishment for me. Every mile I increased was a HUGE victory, one that was incredibly emotional, pretty scary, quite amazing and fulfilling.

I truly believe that this time around it is just as fulfilling but I'm not amazed anymore that I can run 12 miles which is what my long run was this past Saturday. I've been there before, I've run 12 miles like 8 times - I've done it and I can do it again.

My 11 miler a couple of weekends ago was great, I was able to get outside and that was awesome, but I was sluggish - after being injured for a good chunk of November and all of December and being handcuffed to the treadmill when I could run again, I was slow and I felt it. But, even though I felt a little slow and a little off, and it may not be fun while I'm doing it, when I finish I always feel good.

I have a quote that sits on my desk that says "Life is not about perfection. It's about moving in the right direction," (Eliz Greene) And over time, I've come to realize that I am certainly moving in the right direction every time I put my running shoes on, throw on my suit and goggles and jump in the pool or pull out my yoga mat. I've also realized that I'm GOOD when I'm training for something. I'm focused and I don't really care how long it takes me, I'm going to finish and it's going to be fun.

I've come to the conclusion a long time ago that I'm not a Kenyan; so while I don't ever expect to be leading the pack of marathoners, I know I won't come in last, and honestly, I enjoy the journey. Sure, those last 6.2 miles suck hard, but to run all 26.2 miles and to get that medal put around your neck because you did something AMAZING - totally rules (yes, I invoked my 15 year old slef for that statement) - and it left me with such a great taste in my mouth I really couldn't (can't) wait to do another one!

This past Saturday was the first time that I've ever done a "long run" with someone - minus being supportive and having support on the treadmill. Ann and I went out on Saturday and did between 12 and 12.25 miles. It was sooo nice to have some company AND be outside! The bike path we ran on, that had been free of snow all week, had a nice coating of fresh white but wasn't overly slippery - until we got to the side roads - thankfully we both invoked the balance Gods and were able to stay on our feet the entire time!

It's different running WITH someone, and since I've never really trained that way it was interesting, and fun for sure. I felt like I could go longer - I didn't want to quit because I had someone who was in it with me - someone who "understands my crazy." So, thank you Ann and I look forward to more long runs with you!

In summary - my marathon training is going well. I'm getting in all of my runs and I'm doing lots more biking and swimming than last time and I'm really having fun with it. Sure, days like today 4:15 am comes really early and it's hard to get out of my nice warm bed and scrape my windshield, but I do it and when I'm done, I feel good - about finishing a workout, about my abilities and about myself.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Artist Dates

Ok, so I'm not a professional photographer and I may not even be artsy, but through the Online Creativity Circle, we have to go on artist dates with ourselves. I decided to take some pictures because I enjoy it, it's cheap, and it was a beautiful day on Sunday. I would love to play some with photo shop or something similar and have a little more creative fun, but here's a little bit of the fun I had this weekend!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

So I Write

I'm endulging in an online creativity cirlce with Kimberly Wilson, who is the Author of Hip Tranquil Chick a "guide book" if you will on using yoga on and off of the mat.

We are reading three books, one of which is Kimberly's along with The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. I'm diving into it, starting with The Artist's Way. We are to write "morning pages" that are basically a brain dump for 3 pages in the morning. As I have already concluded through blogging, it's hard to write when you don't really have anything to say. However, it's getting easier and it is why I may, from time to time, just write to write on this blog - without a purpose, without an update, but with random musings (which you know, is not so different than what I normally do).

Through blogging and journaling I have found that I really enjoying writing and somedays, I'm not even half bad at it, and I would like to do more of it.

I need to take myself on an "artist's date" every week as well. This week I think I may hole up in a coffee shop or a book store and do some more writing and see where it takes me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

End of week 3 of training

Despite doing ALL of my activity indoors, my marathon training is off to a good start and I'm still feeling really good - which is awesome - it's amazing how much some different streching really helps!

January numbers (also noted in the right hand column)

Ran - 68.5
Swam - 5
Biked - 100

The numbers are a little lower than I would like them to be - especially in the swim and bike columns but I'm ramping everything up in Feb. My pace runs go from 5 to 6 miles and I have long runs of 11, 12, 9 and 14 this month. I'm so hoping that the weather will warm up and I'll be able to do most - if not all - of those runs outside, because as hellish as 9 miles on a treadmill was, I certainly cannot phathom running 14 on one!!

The thing I tend to neglect while I'm in training is lifting. I know I NEED to do it, I would just much rather jump into the pool after a 4 miler (as I did today) than lift. Maybe it's because I'm pretty weak, but really, I think it's boring. I'm attempting to add a 1/2 hour of lifting in on Fridays and Sundays this month and see how it goes...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I've Been Sucked In...Again

I have been leery of the Twilight books - I'll be honest, I've never been much of a Vampire, weird, Sci-Fi, magical, mystical sort of girl. I tried to be once when Interview with a Vampire was hot (in 1994). I tried to read Anne Rice's book and unfortunately, couldn't get through it. I also fell asleep during the movie I so wanted to like because you know, Brad Pitt is gorgeous and Tom Cruise wasn't crazy - yet. Alas, it wasn't for me.

So, when the Twilight books came out and people started telling me how good they were, I dismissed them. However, over the last several months, SOOO many people were talking about them, and people I have similar reading tastes to kept telling me to try I caved, and let me tell you - the first one is good. It's 498 pages and I read it in 3 days. It's a great love story and the vampire part is actually interesting.

I did the same thing with the Harry Potter series. One of my roommates in college was raving about them and I told her for quite sometime I wasn't interested and then I picked one up and read the first two in a weekend and from then on I was hooked - reading all the books and seeing all the movies, which never disappointed me the way movies from books often do.

One of my goals this year is going to be not dismissing things because they're out of my norm. So far, I haven't been disappointed!

I'm updating my blog with the books I am reading this year in one of the boxes on the right hand side of my page...I always love suggestions to new reading material!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I wanted to write something profound about the election and the inauguration but in the end, all I can say is that I'm finally excited again and my hope is really renewed.

For the last couple years I have been down and out with politics - with all of it - I could take it our leave it and I was tired of the ridiculousness of the system and the players and what was/is going on in the country.

But, as I watched our 44th President being sworn in yesterday, tears started streaming down my face (seriously, I thought maybe I'd have one or two, but I literally couldn't stop them...) and I was excited again. Excited about the energy, and thoughtfulness and intelligence and excited to have a President who can speak in full, coherent sentences - you know, among other things.

My hope in the system has been renewed and more importantly my hope for my country has been renewed.

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." ~President Obama (has a nice ring to it :) ).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baby it's cold outside...

While my lovely SoCal has had temps in the 80's this week, I am stuck in the Arctic weather of Wisconsin, which is, at this time, colder than Alaska (which in some areas is as warm as 45 degrees!!) WTF.

This was the reading on my car this morning - actually it bottomed out at -18 but I was driving at the time and you know, not really safe to snap a picture and drive at the same time. Please note too that I am getting up there in miles considering I've had my lovely little cobalt for a whole 8 and 1/2 weeks!!
The wind is also howling outside the capitol which makes me fear it feels like -50! Being a SoCal girl through and through now, I can't handle this! I'm crabby and cold - bitterly cold - and I want it to be over. It was only an hour ago (about 2 pm) that I crawled out of my hefty winter boots and took my scarf off!
I know that most of you reading this are sharing the pain of this weather with me, but for those of you (whom I love dearly) who dare to tell me (again) that your 40 degree evening is a bit "chilly" I'm going to yell at you. Loudly.
The only upside of this weather is that I recently became the proud owner of a SNUGGIE!! Which, I'll be honest, when I first saw it I thought it was a little ridiculous! However, after a weekend of reading with trying to figure out how to keep my arms warm it became the perfect thing ever. My colleague gave it to me today and I can't wait to try it out tonight (while wearing 4 layers underneath of course!!)!!!