Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not like I faint every time we touch

There is a fine line between the "it's exciting to have a crush on someone and look forward to seeing them every day/week/month and pretending like you have a future together and dreaming up future conversations and waiting for that moment they realize that you are amazing" kind of crush and the "I can't wait any longer and I've worked myself into such a ridiculous agony second-guessing myself and overanalyzing everything I do and say and wishing for something to happen" kind of crush. Riding that fine line takes a little bit of the fun out of the crush. I'll try to back off the line a bit, back into the fun. And come what may, I'll just enjoy it.

In the meantime, it's nice to know that I have coworker/friends who want to set me up with people. Like the guy who "has an 8-pack and would be the best boyfriend ever and treat you like a princess." Yup, he'll do.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Wisdom of the Church

Periodically, I'm reminded that not everyone loves the Catholic Church the way I do. Not everyone sees her doctrines and teachings as labors of love. Not everyone agrees with Chesterton when he says "Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground." There are many issues that are met by our society with anger, misunderstanding, resentment, and disbelief. How could the Church be so backward as to outlaw contraception? How could she be so sexist as to deny women the right to be priests? (These are the words of my misled contemporaries. I don't see the Church's position on contraception as "outlaw" and I certainly don't think that being a priest is a "right".)

But one of the most commonly fought beliefs of orthodox Catholics is that of homosexuality. I want to share this blog post that a classmate of mine found because I think it beautifully and truthfully addresses what it means to be gay and Catholic. I've often pondered my own thoughts on homosexuality, especially having had friends who are gay or have gay relatives, and I've struggled with how to put my beliefs into words that speak of the love that the Church has for homosexuals, without overlooking or minimizing the significance of their struggle. I think every Catholic should read this so that we can compassionately share our Mother Church's love and wisdom.

Read it here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Because I can't leave it unfinished...

Some extra thoughts to finish out the previous post:

8. I wish it was more socially acceptable for girls to shake hands. I'm not talking about an introductory handshake. Yesterday as I was walking into Mass, two young teenage boys (probably 13 or so) greeted each other with a handshake. A "we're clearly friends who haven't seen each other in a while" handshake. Girls don't get to do that. We either hug or stand there awkwardly or potentially if you are still in high school and passing someone in the hall, you can high-five. I have a weird thing about liking handshakes anyway, but more so if it were a common way to greet just about anyone. Don't get me wrong, I love hugs, but have a hard time in situations where they are so not appropriate.

9. You know it's bad when your coworkers start petitioning for you to have days off because you are cranky. They have my best interests at heart, really, but it's a sign that work has been a little too stressful lately.

10. We diagnosed myself with a gastric ulcer tonight. Probably from work stress. Good thing I have a lifetime supply of Zantac at my fingertips. (But really, a coworker bought me some, so I didn't really steal)

11. Speaking of stealing meds, a resident called down to the pharmacy last week to ask if we could send her nauseated intern some zofran. I said no, it's prescription-only, and being that we don't have an outpatient license to dispense, it's illegal. Her response was "can't we just say a patient's dose was dropped and you can send another tablet?" Really?!? Seriously?!? Sometimes I question the qualifications required to work at the hospital.

Friday, November 11, 2011


In honor of 11-11-11, here are 11 random thoughts occupying my head this beautiful Friday morning:

1. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.
2. I love Barnes and Noble. Really any bookstore, it just happens that the South Denver area is a little more lacking in the mom-and-pop arena. Walking around with my tall, light-room, one-pump-pumpkin-spice americano, just looking ("look at all the pretty!"). Planning Christmas gifts in my head. Resisting splurges for myself. Jotting down ideas for my next library visit. It all takes all the worries right outta my head.
3. I'm going to make it outside today to enjoy this gorgeous fall weather. I know some people are ready for the snow. And others are mourning the disappearance of the truly warm temps. But Fall days in the upper 60's with the sunshine and the crunch of leaves underfoot...I'll take those any day of the week. Bring on the jeans and hoodies. Or, since I have to go to work, scrubs and fleeces.
4. I hearby make a pact with myself to get to know the Saints. Not the New Orleans variety, although they have pulled out a couple big wins in my loser pool (see next post). Whenever I'm at Mass and it happens to be a Feast or Memorial, I find myself more often than not in complete ignorance of the day's patron. Granted, whenever possible, I try to plan my Mass days around Saints I like. Cosmos and Damian, Luke, etc. But there are so many. And they are such gifts to us who struggle in our faith life, holy examples of excellence in a world that encourages mediocrity.
5. Go Raiders!! I never thought I'd utter that statement. But my friends, if Philly wins on Sunday, I am crowned the winner of the loser pool. Pick a team to lose, any team, so long as you only pick them once all season. If they win, you're out. And thank goodness I don't trust the AFC West madness occurring this season because I stayed far away from picking those Raiders to lose. My coworker, and head-to-head opponent these last couple weeks, was not so wise. As long as Arizona comes through for me and botches the game, I'm the champion!
6. When a phone was just a phone, it was a lot easier to pick one.
7. I'm out of thoughts and out of time. Too bad today wasn't 7-7-07.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fire on the Mountain

A day off in the midst of a gorgeous fall inspired me to head west and see what I could see. I'll skip over the part where, despite two sets of directions and a GPS-capable phone, I got lost three times (one I blame on construction) and therefore didn't make it to Evergreen Lake in anything remotely resembling record time. However, the weather was perfect and Kolbe enjoyed the new smells and sights. I brought my camera with the hope of capturing the aspens changing. There weren't many aspens to be found, but I think I got pictures of all of them, including some on the side of the road that required an impromptu stop. Happy Fall!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's the bulls and blood, it's the dust and mud...

So, my New Year's resolution is now complete. One new place and three new things. Got the place out of the way, and so much more, on my cruise in April. Speed dating and motorcycle classes certainly qualified for new things. The point of the resolution was to break out of my comfort zone and those two things certainly fit the bill. Thing number 3 was elusive for a little while because I didn't want to include something that was a first, but not a stretch. Examples include my first Broncos game (yay!), getting published (double yay!), hitting halfway on my beer tour (ok, that might be a stretch), or a certain concert (see previous blog post), etc. Number 3 was going to have to be karaoke or dancing in public or something equally nerve-wracking, given the weight of the first two firsts.

Well, give me a couple beers and leave me temporarily insane from two hours of screaming along with the Pid Army--enough material for a whole other blog post that probably won't get written, but let's just say that it is an experience better tolerated by the inebriated and or those lacking a sense of smell--and I just might climb up on a mechanical bull. It's been on my bucket list for a few years, but I never thought I would actually do it in front of other people. I think I did pretty well, given the Blue Moon buzz, although my exit from the ring was a little less than graceful since I was dizzy and tipsy. Those several seconds of one-handed craziness were enough to successfully fulfill the resolution. I still wasn't brave enough to give Allyson a run for her money talking to total strangers and trying to pick up guys, but maybe one day after enough firsts, I'll have stretched my comfort zone to epic proportions. Until then, I'll settle for the small victories.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Give a Little Heart and Soul

Well folks, the moment was 13 years in the making, ever since that fateful summer of '98 when Mimi and Grandad scheduled a family reunion for the same weekend as a very important Red Rocks concert. It took several months to get over the massive injustice (appropriately, the immensity of the injustice has diminished significantly over the years), and I spent the next decade making up for it by buying every CD, watching every youtube video, possibly spending hours looking through fanart and teen magazines.

Courtesy of Alice 105.9, I finally got to see them live, and am old enough now to appreciate the musical talent, and still young enough at heart to jam out to a little Mmmbop. (Hey, when they played it on the 80's throwback station at work, I turned it up and endured the ridicule.) It was a little surreal, I'll be honest. There were moments that I couldn't quite believe that I was there. Like, maybe, the moment that Hilary caught a guitar pick that Ike threw into the crowd. Yes, people, that does happen to anyone and everyone who is NOT ME.

One of the best parts of the night was talking to other fans in line. Three other women who had all made the journey solo, brave souls, who had of course followed the band through the last 13 years like we had. We swapped "coming out of the closet" stories, because this is in fact one of those embarrassing things that you hide from everyone but the most trusted confidantes. We talked about how we came across Middle of Nowhere (my neighbor gave it to me saying, "I thought they were girls, now I don't like it), and which brother we crushed on. The three 27-year-olds were naturally in agreement, and the other two girls were younger and therefore had both defaulted to Zac. Anyway, the fans were super fun and funny and very excited.

I'm going to skip over Meiko, the opening act, except to say that she was funny, and enjoying her contraband wine on stage, and a typical singer-songwriter. She did have some funny intros to her songs--like after a break-up with a boyfriend, he asked her to sing him one last song, and she said he wouldn't like it and he didn't care; so she sang him a song with a chorus that went something like "you're a good looking loser and I'm the one that got away." Literally, those were the words.

On to the main event. The Musical Ride Tour operates on the premise of giving fans the option of choosing one of three full albums for the band to play during the concert. Each city has three of the five studio albums as options, and then fan voting decides the rest. Boulder (and myself) chose This Time Around. Two of my favorite songs from TTA are slow songs that otherwise would have been left off a set list, guaranteed. And two other songs from TTA are two of my favorite Hanson songs anyway, so I wasn't disappointed. I spent large portions of certain songs trying to figure out how to get my pictures to focus when I was zoomed in so far. But the energy was high, the fans thrilled, and everyone was having a great time.

You know the concert is a rousing success when you get done and don't even notice they haven't played your favorite song until they start the opening chords during the encore. (Don't worry Laura, every person there knew every word to Penny and Me.) It was equal parts throwback and new stuff. They played my three favorite songs from their latest album, all of which are big-band-style dance-inspiring pop songs. It was easy in the throes of it all to forget that later I'll have to go back to being slightly embarrassed. Everyone in there was unabashedly enjoying themselves.

Now it's just time to wade through the hundred pictures to find the best of the bunch. And for those of you out there who are skeptical that this trio can offer something other than 90's bubblegum pop, go find "Give a Little" or "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'" or "Been There Before" and give it a listen before you judge.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Feeling like a Denverite

It's now August 21st, and I have no idea where summer has gone. Most schools have started back up again, I see the bus swinging through our neighborhood to pick up swarms of unhappy kids. And despite the fact that it's been 4 years since I've had a summer break, I still cling to the ideal of relaxation, vacation, sleeping in (who am I kidding, I always sleep in), and generally having as much fun as possible until Labor Day.

Two things have made it ok for fall to arrive. First of all, hello heat. I don't know if summer is always this hot, but I think the last time we had this streak of 90-degree days, I was mowing lawns and making up songs to Veggie Tales tunes. I would love for fall weather to arrive even if I'm not quite ready to greet the fall months. Remember, I am a jacket girl, like other girls are shoe girls or purse girls. And I love to wear me some jackets.

The second thing is that the last month or so, I really feel like I've taken advantage of Colorado in the summertime. With the exception of a brief stint at Lake Monroe which felt more summery than my June and July combined, I've gotten my fill of summer right here at home, without a vacation. Two Film on the Rocks, including my first viewing of The Goonies, a rocking tailgate party and a Marc Broussard concert. Two indulgent Tuesday nights at the James Bond Film Fest at The Mayan followed by some Sweet Action Ice Cream. A bike ride to Wash Park, frisbee, and dinner and drinks at Wash Park Grille (still on the bikes). A successful summit of Mt. Evans. My first organized Ultimate Frisbee game. A Rockies game (victory). My first Broncos game (also a victory, thanks to ABC for the tickets). Fresh tomatoes from my garden.

While I haven't gotten to enjoy the perfect summer nights as much as I'd like, now that the temperature is finally falling below 85 in the evenings, I still think I've packed it in pretty well. Here's hoping I can keep the streak going with nice fall things as the weather turns more tolerable. Yay for feeling like a native!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Sting of Defeat, The Promise of Continued Greatness

I have to get at least some words on the page if I have any hope of sleeping tonight. I still haven't progressed past the point of shock. I am utterly stunned to have witnessed the end of our world championship run. I'm not upset, I'm no longer worked up. I'm just speechless and dumbfounded. You look at the team that created miracles where none were to be had against Brazil. You look at the iron will of Abby Wambach, the steel resolve of Hope Solo, the composure and speed of Christie Rampone, the spark of Megan Rapinoe, the consistency of Lauren Cheney, and you have to wonder how this team could have walked away without the World Cup trophy. I just don't understand. There were the skeptics who said it would harm American soccer if we won, questioning the wisdom of reinforcing the smash-and-grab style of power and fitness futbol that the U.S. have relied on to this point. But the irony is, we didn't play that game. We outpossessed an incredibly technical, talented, precise Japanese side, and we controlled the flow of the game. We just couldn't find the back of the net. And in a game of inches, of seconds, of half-chances, of guts and glory, that proved to be the difference. Too many posts hit, too many just wide, too many over the crossbar. Too many chances wasted.

As I struggle to process the reality of today's loss, and wonder how the players are attempting the same, I look for the silver lining. Regardless of the outcome, our girls put on a show. It was an exciting game to watch, a thrilling tournament to witness. I hope that the bandwagon fans recognize greatness when they see it. Abby's rocket of a shot off the crossbar. Christie's goal-line clear. Alex Morgan's beautifully threaded cross finding Wambach's head, and her even more phenomenal finish on the first goal. Hope coming up big again despite the weight of impending loss. LePeilbet's flying deflection of a through ball. A guitar-playing, Simon-and-Garfunkel-singing, fearlessly positive coach. There is hope for U.S. soccer. This will sting for a while. And for some, the chance for a world championship will not come again.

But I still get chills when I watch Rapinoe's cross just out-distancing Brazil's keeper and "that beast" getting ahold of it for one of the most exciting plays in sports history. I still pump my fist when I see Solo denying Daiane's PK. I still hold my breath when Carli Lloyd strikes one from distance. I still put my faith in a 36-year-old soccer mom's legs when she chases down a breakaway. And for another four years, and for life, I will bleed red, white and blue with these incredible women, these amazing athletes, these unwavering role models. They are still my heroes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

American Splendor.

I stole the headline, but it fits appropriately, because even though I liked the "Hope Springs Eternal" headline more, today really was about the splendor of a full 21-(wo)man team of Americans with indefatigable spirit. I've always wanted to use indefatigable in a sentence ever since a Groundhog-Day-esque episode of cheesy 7 Days, a la old-school UPN.

(brief side-note before I get into this- just saw a headline on that said "A-Rod will have knee surgery" and I freaked out because I thought Amy Rodriguez was done for the WWC. Turns out the rest of the world is concerned with a different A-Rod.)

Wow, where to begin? I sit here completely drained emotionally, mentally, and physically, although the latter has more to do with having just finished working the weekend, and day 6 of 8 in a long stretch. And I think about how to put into words the incredible roller coaster of this morning's epic World Cup match. It was epic in every sense of the word. And I could walk through step-by-step and relive the joy, the agony--OH, THE AGONY--the suspense, the frustrations, the celebrations, the tachycardia and dyspnea (mine, not the players') as I watched a superior American side battle the Brazilians, but I am exhausted. And so, here are my lasting impressions in brief:

Pride. I have so much pride in watching this team make their own destiny. It's been a rough road to even get to this tournament, surviving a loss to Mexico and a home-and-home against Italy that I'd rather forget. But even before that, it's been a constant struggle for players as individuals and as a team. Hope's surgery, Abby's inability to find the back of the net (which I would argue speaks to how this team performs as a team), Tarpley's ACL tear, etc. But it has only added to the character of this team. They take pride in themselves, and they inspire pride in their fans. I am not only proud of their athletic prowess, their never-say-die attitude, their will to win, and their general beastliness of the best kind. But after today, I've never been prouder of their positivity and their sportsmanship. Watching Brazil decay into a mess of complaints, derogatory remarks, cheap dives, and an appalling display of what the analysts are calling "gamesmanship"--a euphemism for pretending to be hurt to run the clock because you aren't good enough to seal the game with your play--I am proud to be American. Because while we argued with the reffing (something on which I will not comment because I'm trying to wind down for bed) and allowed emotions to get the best of us at times, we would never stoop so low as to embarrass our fans or elicit boos where cheers recently reigned due to poor sportsmanship. I'm proud of you ladies. For keeping your heads high when playing down a player, or five since the refs were decidedly yellow today, and for playing your game.

Awe. I saw the replay of Abby's goal about 15 times today. I still can't get over it. As Tony DiCicco said, she literally willed the team to win. I can't fathom the perfection with which Rapinoe served that ball across two-thirds of the field, and I can't fathom how Abby, after 122 minutes of play, 54 of which were endured with 10 players, found the energy to find that ball and hit it home. The mental toughness to block everything out but herself and that ball, and the physical prowess to make it happen. In fact, I can't imagine how any of those players played that long a man down. The level of fitness is truly awe-inspiring. But man, that goal.

I was asked once in a speech class to name something beautiful, and I said "an Abby Wambach header." I believe that today, an entire nation agrees with me. And as long as I'm being dumbfounded by perfection, hello bonjour Hope Solo's outstretched hands, denying well-placed PK's, not once, but twice (I liked Abby's little dig in the post-game interview about legitimately stopped penalty kicks).

I've long maintained that she is bar-none the best keeper in the game today, if not ever. If 6 years as the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. and posting two, count them two, losses doesn't speak to her greatness, maybe you could talk about the hundreds of scoreless minutes (within about 50 of the all-time record) she's put up in goal over the dozen games leading up to the Sweden match in group play. Unbelievable.

Amusement. At myself and how worked up I get over this team and this game. I'm passionate about football, and I can get a little heated when the Broncos play the Chargers. But nothing comes close to touching how invested I am in this team and how out of sorts I get when I watch them play. I paced, I screamed, I pumped my fist, I about put my fist through a wall, I cried, I laughed, I screamed some more, I jumped up and down, I paced again, I practiced some deep-breathing exercises. I'd like to have myself on tape during a game like this just so I know what not to do when trying to make a good impression. I can't help it. I try to tell myself that it's just a game, that life goes on, that I have nothing at stake, but it doesn't work. So probably until the day I die, I'll live and breathe the USWNT.

There's so much more I could say. The injustice I felt as I read a poorly-written/poorly-researched article that claimed Marta took the first PK that Hope saved (it was Cristiane), and that Rampone served up the equalizer (Christie, I love you, but it was Rapinoe). The raging heartburn that almost prevented me from keeping down my lunch after the game. The incessant phone calls from Laura at every pivotal moment of the game. The sense of retribution I feel watching Hope be right where she should be in a World Cup match against Brazil. The incredulity that comes with the realization that Christie Rampone is 36 and a mother of two and matched the 25-year-old 5-time FIFA player of the year step for step. Pia playing air guitar and bear-hugging Rachel Buehler. Ali Krieger's composure to put it all away. But I have to go to bed. Because the real world beckons. The world that isn't lived on the soccer pitch. So, until Wednesday, I will bask in the glory of a well-earned victory. USA USA USA!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Well, it's official! I have my motorcycle license. Looking back, I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I embarked on this endeavor, except to say that I was very probably spurred on my the amazing bucket-list-item-completion rate accomplished by my Aunt Carol. She is one of those people who says, I think it'd be cool to fly a plane. So she does. And I think it'd be fun to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. So she does. And I'm (this is me talking now) a little fed up with myself and my comfort zone. So, I think ultimately, I wanted to ride because I could. Why not? And I really wanted the satisfaction that goes along with saying that I did it. It's the same satisfaction that comes from climbing 14ers. Let's be honest, nobody really does that for the journey so much as the destination. There was a lingering thought in the back of my mind that I may just fall in love with riding and buy a bike and a matching helmet and jacket and be that girl. But if I had stopped to think about it, I would have remembered that I'm the kind of person that only likes the adrenaline rush if I'm not in charge of the controls.

After the first hour of riding, my nerves were definitely running amok. I was picturing myself handing in my helmet and calling it quits. You have never seen such a blatantly awful motorcycle rider. It wasn't fun, it wasn't freeing, it wasn't really much of anything positive. And so, regardless of what my intentions were to begin the class, my intention after that first hour was to see it through if only to prove to myself that I could do it. Forget any thought of buying a motorcycle. Forget the matching helmet and jacket. I just wanted to make it through the 16 range exercises and the riding exam without dropping the bike. I wanted outside of my comfort zone and I sure got it. And then some.

I was granted a short reprieve when day two was rained out and rescheduled for a week later. That gave me a whole week to psych myself up for the riding exam (the written exam was a piece of cake, by the way, and was finished on day 1). Perfect weather greeted myself and my seven classmates as we got to the range on Saturday morning. One guy had gotten off work an hour before, so despite my sleepless night, I felt like I was in better shape than him. I won't take you through all the remaining exercises, except to tell you that accelerating out of turns is definitely the reason people ride. It's a rush, even at 15-20 mph. And I will admit to being the only rider who hit the "car" during the swerve exercises. Did I mention I was awful? Don't worry, it wasn't an actual car.

The time for the exam came, and I knew the hardest part would be my U-turns, performed to the left, then the right, in a box the size of a closet. Left turn, no problem, right turn...let's just say it's a good thing the box boundaries were paint lines and not brick walls. I blasted right through it. +3 points. (The riding exam is scored from a zero. Each infringement is worth positive points and you have to score less than a 20 to pass). The swerve part of the exam went just fine, thank you very much. In fact, everything else on the exam went just fine. I ended with a 3rd-best 3 points. I won't tell you how my coworker scored, but everyone in the class passed.

After a short (ha!) trip to the DMV, I'm now official. Although, I could kick myself for taking my camera on day two and not getting any pictures. So, the only one I have to give you is a sample of the motorcycle I rode on day two. That's pretty much it, correct color and all, except mine didn't have a sideview mirror. I'm gonna try to go back to the range and catch the class on a riding day and ask to borrow a bike for a pic. Otherwise, my mom will leave me out of the Christmas letter.

So, bottom line, face your fears and knock something off that bucket list!

Monday, June 13, 2011

For Hilary, who needs a distraction from productivity

Ok, so it's apparently been a while since I've graced the internet world with my presence. So, before I fall asleep at the keyboard (I need a nap), I'll try to write something worthwhile. Here are some random musings for a Monday afternoon:

*New Year's Resolution update: my resolution was to go one place I'd never been and try three new things (preferably things that stretch my comfort zone). I've been to several new places, courtesy of Peter and Jenny's wedding (see previous blog on Minneapolis) and mostly a kick-butt European cruise. Morocco, the Canary Islands, Madeira, and Spain (Granada and Barcelona) have been knocked off the list.

And, as far as me trying new things go, I'm well on my way to knocking out that goal. I'm shooting for major firsts here, so I won't count trying escargot or logging my first Bud Light at age 26. But Speed Dating in February and my upcoming Motorcycle Classes definitely count. The 3rd item is TBD, but I promise, I'll deserve a pat on the back when it's done.

*I'm super-stoked for summer movies. Notably, the last installment of the brilliant HP franchise which will hopefully portray the end of the series with due diligence. And of course, in a million years I couldn't dream up the genius of James Bond and Indiana Jones in a Firefly-esque Cowboys and Aliens. It may tide me over until the next Bond movie. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they figure out how to salvage the winning Bond formula and overcome the fiasco of Quantum of Solace. For those who liked QoS, it wasn't a bad movie, just a terrible Bond movie, especially on the heels of Casino Royale.

*The Bashin' Bastians continue the dominance. My kickball team is the biggest mess of hodge-podge players I've ever met. No offense to my team, I think you all are great. I'm just referring to the fact that I never thought I'd end up captaining what is essentially the free-agent team. Especially after playing on the free-agent team last year and suffering the biggest absence of team unity that I have ever endured in my 22 years of team sports. I was so certain I could come up with my own rag-tag team to play, and instead fell about 7 players short. Thanks to 5 free agents and some nice recruiting on the part of my teammates, we now have a solid 14 who have contributed to a league-leading 6-1 record. And a couple fun happy hour outings. Still probably not enough positives to convince me to captain again in the near future. On a sports-related side note- props to Organized Chaos for a well-deserved championship in flag football! That's three championships in 8 leagues for me since I moved back from Omaha.

*I found someone at work who has an equally shameful degree of arachnophobia. We spent our lunch break on Sunday swapping spider stories and laughing at our own illogical hysteria. She was arguing with a friend at a bar about the severity of a black widow bite. He said it was fatal, she claimed that if you were healthy enough and large enough to begin with, you would be miserable for many hours, but would likely survive. To boost her argument, she tried to google black widow venom on her phone, not realizing that pictures would likely ensue. When a picture of a black widow filled the screen, she screamed and threw the phone across the bar. Someone else had to retrieve the phone and clear the screen before she would take it back. I think that's right up there with me waking my parents up in the middle of the night sobbing, my mom panicking and asking if there was an intruder, and my dad sitting up calmly and asking if there was a spider. Yup, we're pathetic. Also at work yesterday, my own minor version of "substantial but temporary" damage as I squirt myself in the eye with alcohol (isopropyl, not of the drinking variety). It burns, but washes out ok. Also speaking of alcohol on my face, turns out I'm not the only one who spits out beer at Old Chicago. Several weeks ago, my pizza was rendered inedible when someone next to me said something that was funnier then than it is now and beer came out my nose. Last week, a coworker repeated the offense, only instead of spraying his pizza, he made it all the way across the table onto me. Fun times. See, we don't need drunken sign language to keep us entertained.

Ok, I think that's enough. I'm ready for my nap. Buying a new lawn mower will have to wait until later. And I'll try to update my blog more often for the five people who read it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Welcome Home

While I was cruising around the Mediterranean, Mom and Dad turned Kolbe into a new dog. Apparently the anxiety of being kennel-bound for several hours a day resulted in excessive jumping and trying to crawl into my lap when he wasn't in said kennel. Twelve days of no kennel = calm, sweet dog. We tried for the first time leaving Kolbe free to roam the house while I was at work yesterday. Apparently, his behavior was much improved when the roomies got home, but he also had time to do this...
I didn't know so much trash could fit in that little can. Also, a shredded tea bag is really fun to get out of the carpet. (P.S. all the calendar pages are Bananagrams puzzles so I can rock the Scrabble board next time I play)

Cruise blogging to follow shortly. The laundry is finally done and most of the unpacking complete. But having to work this weekend may put a delay on the process. Until then, I'll leave you with a teaser.

The good:
The bad:
and the really bad picture-taker:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bon Voyage

At least with a plan of blogging about her residency adventures month-by-month, Laura guarantees a regular posting. Me, not so much.

I'm sitting here with my eyes literally blurry from exhaustion, or maybe the horrible drying out they suffer from weird airflow at work, or maybe teary from allergies, and wondering how I could possibly be ready to embark on an 11-day trip to Europe in less than 36 hours. Yikes. The Spanish wine that my roomie picked out is not helping the blurry-eyed-ness. However, it is very tasty, not very heavy, lots of earthiness to the flavor (as opposed to fruitiness), and part of the Wine Trials 2011 book that we as a house are working our way through. So far, all successes in my opinion. (sidenote: I just spelled opinion as "opoinion" so methinks I'm about ready for sleepytime)

Anyway, I have a lot that I could write about in my pre-cruise blog, notably the horrible stress of packing or the straw that broke the camel's back tonight at work that had me nearly in tears or the hopelessness of putting together a functional kickball team so I'm not having to eat the $400+ in team fees that I just forked out. But, mostly I just wanted to check in with the online world to prove I am indeed still here. And to make note of the totally awesome James Bond coffee table book that I splurged on yesterday. It's called "The Art of Bond" and was more than 75% off which is the only way I'd ever buy a coffee table book. It just screamed my name while I was in line at B&N, and I knew that I would be a failure as a Bond aficionado if I didn't pick it up. It looks at the thoughts of producers, art directors, set designers, screenplay writers, etc, as they take on the legend of a spy who has lived and thrived in multiple generations. While I've only just made it through the introductory section on the adaptation of the Ian Fleming novels, the book is already a success by one definition. It has reinforced the idea that I do in fact have hobbies and passions. I love James Bond. I love the idea of an icon that spans time, that I can share with my dad, that is brought to life with a couple of musical notes or an on-screen silhouette. I love that for the bit players and instrumental movers and shakers that have brought each movie to life, being a part of Bond has defined their career. It's bigger than any one movie, actor, director, genre, or decade. And I love having something that I can be passionate about, that I can be knowledgeable about, that I can share with others (even if they do think I'm a nerd).

Ok, the wine is hitting me, and the typing skills are going down the drain. I have a lot of packing to finish up in the morning, and the next time you hear from me will undoubtedly be status post a lot of relaxation and picture-taking and adventure-having. I'm terrified and excited and the excited percentage is increasing to the point that it may soon exceed the terrified percentage. Not there yet. Maybe after some more wine. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hurry Up and Waiting

Maybe it was the Valentine's Day episode of Bones that I finally got around to watching. Maybe it's been listening to Lasso by The Band Perry nonstop for the past week. Maybe it's the cheesy novel about a wedding planner that I checked out from the library. Or the speed dating, or yet another Save the Date that is hanging on my fridge, or the constant teasing I get at work, or the fact that my own mother has hinted at trying to set me up with someone. (I have to draw the line somewhere) But, as you may have guessed by this incredibly lengthy segue, I have been thinking a lot about dating and romance and the extreme lack of it in my life.

A little over a year ago, you could have chalked up the absence of romantic possibilities to my own failure. It's true, I was praying for God to land a nice, holy, handsome, funny, charming man in my lap and I was not exactly thrilled at the prospect of having to put forth some effort to meet God halfway. However, a talk with a deacon and long-time friend of the family (at, where else, a wedding) convinced me that I needed to step up to the plate. Complaining only gets me so far. In this case, nowhere. So, for the past 12 months, I have cast aside the skeptics living inside me and have fought my introverted temperament tooth and nail to try to meet some single men. Given my work schedule, I started online. Catholic Match was the cheapest of my options and had the added benefit of including my one "must-have" in every candidate. (side note: I have thought long and hard about the possibility of dating a non-Catholic, and it's not that I don't think that God could have somebody phenomenal out there for me who isn't part of the Church, or that I discriminate against non-Catholics. However, the Church, and my participation in it, is such a huge part of my life and the life I want to lead in the future, that I can't currently fathom wanting to be in a serious relationship with someone who can't share that with me or understand why it is so important.) I will make the long story of my online dating very short by saying that it was full of awkward first dates and not so many second dates. I have maintained two good friends from the process, but have not found it to be a dating style conducive to my personality. I'll get into that more later.

So, a month ago, I bit the bullet and jumped off a cliff that I never thought I would even approach, much less fling myself off of. I went speed dating. And while it was a fun and mostly enjoyable experience, and one I would do again (and again, if necessary), it has led me to a deeper understanding of what I want out of a dating relationship. And it explains why I have found so many failures in a year chock-full of attempts.

Following the speed dating event was a series of emails initiated by the coordinator of the event, mostly revolving around our thoughts on speed dating and dating roles in general. One line of commentary in particular got me thinking. In the present day and age, when women outnumber men in the dating arena, and when women are open-minded forward-thinkers, it has become acceptable for woman to initiate a progression in the relationship. She can ask for his phone number. She can ask him out on a date. On a rare occasion, she might even pay. All this forward thinking has resulted in many people asking me why I haven't asked a guy out. But one gentleman who participated in speed dating had an interesting comment that I'll poorly paraphrase: the man needs to do the pursuing in the relationship or his heart will not develop a stake in the outcome. Essentially, if the woman keeps taking the next step forward, the man loses interest because he doesn't have to capture the elusive prize. And it is the reverse side of this coin that has me up thinking tonight.

Throughout my online dating and the follow-ups to speed dating, I have had to put forth more effort in planning "dates," guessing at the definition of the relationship, figuring out how and when to follow-up, etc. The guy in question has failed to pursue. Sure, a few times, he has expressed interest, but it falls far short of the "pursue" category. And I've been so frustrated because I feel like I'm trying to no avail. And more frustrated because I don't want to have to try. I was a little taken aback when the speed-dating gentleman said the man has to pursue because I felt that the situation would be taken out of my hands. But tonight I realized (not happily) that I want to be pursued. My heart doesn't have a stake in the outcome if I'm not being pursued. Like the game of tag that ends when one person stops running, only this time it ends because one person stops chasing. I want to be wooed. I admit that dreaming big often has resulted in reality seeming cruel, but taking advice from Will Hoge, I'll keep on dreaming even if it breaks my heart.

I want the whole nine yards. I want to be treasured and sought after. I want to know that I'm on his mind when he falls asleep at night. I want to know without a doubt that he will call because he wants to see me again, not just because he feels like a call is the polite next step. I don't want to have to guess as to whether or not he just wants to be friends (or for that matter, whether or not I just want to be friends). I want to be excited about our next date because I know he has something special planned. And it's not about him doing all the work and the planning and the calling. I'm not being lazy. It's just that I've been on too many dates this past year where I had to pay or I had to plan or I had to try so hard to make conversation when it was clear there was no spark. And not once did I feel like the goal of his experience was pursuing my heart. If I had, I would have been more than happy to choose the activity or the location or put forth the money or the effort.

So, men take note. I want to be romanced, and wooed, and pursued, like a pearl of precious value. I think, despite my failure, that I'm a pretty good catch. And so, as much as it pains me to put God back in the driver seat when it felt like I was doing so much to actively help him out, I think I'm going to return to praying for a man who will fulfill the deepest longings of my heart. And God, listen up! I don't want to wait forever.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Drinking and Dining in the Twin Cities (ok, St. Paul wasn't actually on the agenda)

If I were a food critic, my column to close out 2010 and ring in the New Year (by the way, if you add the digits in 2010 you get 3, which is my favorite number...inside joke digression, sorry) would be full of front page finds. And maybe a couple footnotes. Having just returned from a wonderful first trip to Minneapolis for the wedding of some dear friends, I am appalled that in three days, Marijo and I had more fun food finds that I have in a lifetime in Denver. Maybe that's a stretch, but without further ado, here is my Minneapolis recount:

Day 1
The News Room: While I went to the rehearsal dinner, Marijo headed out to find some dinner and a bar willing to show the Husker game. Check and check, mission accomplished at The News Room- a rather large bar/restaurant with each room carrying the theme of a different section of the paper. Giant headlines plaster the walls, including two of my favorites from The Onion, found in the women's bathroom: "Women are smarter than men" and "Miami Police Dept to debut new hot pink and aqua uniforms." But one of the best parts of the bar was the actual bar- a giant ship, complete with sail, rope ladder, mast, etc. Top shelf liquor is literally "top shelf", with access only granted via several steps up the rope ladder.
But, since this is a food blog, let me just mention the highlight: Fried brie curds with blueberry ketchup. Yes, blueberry ketchup. The curds literally melted in my mouth and the ketchup was sweet and tangy, a perfect condiment choice. Best bar food I've ever had. The beer, though pricey since happy hour had ended, was good as well- Bells Amber Ale and Porter, and Schell's Lager. It's a good thing that the bar was such a hit because the Husker game definitely wasn't. Oh, but props to UNC for an exciting comeback finish to their bowl game. Poor Tennessee.

Day 2
The Wienery: Our morning was slow to start since the game ended so late, and we headed out to Midwest Mountaineering, a gem of a store in the east end of the city. Lots of trying on, wishing we had more money. And by the time we were ready to walk back to the train station, we were starving. The plan was to eat downtown because my google maps phone app was not revealing any nearby eatery gems. However, we walked past The Wienery, clearly some sort of hot dog joint. Tiny, hole in the wall, but with a few normal looking people in the window. Since I was ready to gnaw my arm off, we tried it out. This place gave new meaning to the word "dive" but my brat with sauerkraut totally hit the spot. Marijo opted for the "Downtown Dog" polish, with cole slaw, chili and cheese on top. Like a whole picnic in a bun. And of course, let's not forget the giant basket of greasy fries, two whole potatoes worth.
Not a crumb was left. We had a good laugh at the angry customer whose food couldn't be ready fast enough for the poor dog he left out on the sidewalk, and an even better laugh at the poster behind the counter.

The Local: After working out in the fitness center to counteract the two-potato fries, we headed to an Irish pub for dinner before the wedding. The interior was pretty upscale for a pub, done snug style with lots of little rooms offering a more personal feel. Since it was happy hour, I decided to ignore the fact that I was reading in the wedding and had a Boddington's (so smooth), and Marijo enjoyed a wonderful Kilkenny Cream Ale (Yum!). The wild rice and mushroom veggie burger was to die for, and the "better than couscous" quinoa salad was perfect for someone who was still suffering the effects of lunch. We really wanted to stay for the Guinness Mousse, but the only reason they let us have a table was if we promised to be gone in time for a 6:30 reservation. Plus, we had a wedding to get to.

Day 3 (there's that number 3 again)
Hell's Kitchen: highlight of the trip (besides the wedding)! There is no way to convey everything that I loved about this restaurant and our whole dining experience. I only hope that anybody reading this who is inspired to check out the restaurant has half as much fun as we did. First of all, it's in the basement, so you literally descend the stairs into Hell. Second, it's New Year's Day, so everyone is nursing hangovers with Bloody Marys and Mimosas. All of the servers are in pajamas, ranging from flannel pants and a bathrobe to a full red "onesie". We ate at the bar which turned out to offer two important views. Across the bar against the back wall were the "Absolute Worst Seats in the House." On the wall, it described why they were the worst seats in the house, ranging from "You have to deal with the kitchen chaos" (they were right next to the kitchen doors) to "You have no privacy because everyone is reading this." They did offer a free caramel pecan roll (huge and decadent) to anyone who still chose to sit there. Directly behind us, the Jana Nyberg Group took the stage and performed a jazzy brunch set, including a lovely rendition of Santa, Baby and some classics like Fever and What a Wonderful World. They also played some original stuff which you can download for free on their website. Other highlights included Saturday morning cartoons playing on the bar TVs, creepy bathroom hologram portraits that transitioned from normal looking 1800s people into skeletons and creepy creature-of-the-night zombies, meeting a Creighton grad at the bar, and coffee that was described as so strong it is "guaranteed to restore virginity." The place just had a lot of character. Oh, and did I mention the peanut butter?!? Yes, it was phenomenal. Best I've ever had, and a great complement to the toasted sausage bread (yes they put bison sausage in their bread). The potatoes were also noteworthy. I highly recommend this place to anyone.

The rest of the food isn't really worth mentioning. Stuff like mall snacks and hotel restaurant soup because it was too freezing and we were too tired to make any further forays into downtown. But let's be honest, after Hell's Kitchen, everything would have been disappointing anyway.

And, just to sidestep away from food for a second, check out our one-of-a-kind purchase from the Mall of America--Japanese baseball jerseys!
Thanks to Peter and Jenny for a lovely wedding and an excuse to explore the city. Happy New Year!
I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.