Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bidding Farewell to December

I haven't done a monthly recap in awhile. Actually, I can't remember the last time I did one. Maybe sometime this summer?

Whenever my last update might have been, it has been quite sometime. Life is busy. So busy that I can't seem to squeeze everything I want to into my days. On the days that I don't have a demanding schedule I do the things I deem most necessary to get done, and then I relax. On the days a majority of the hours are scheduled, I end my day thinking about everything I didn't get done.

This month has flown by. It's gone by a lot quicker than most typical Decembers do. I thought once the LSAT was over life would slowdown. It hasn't. Since this is the case, I've made a conscious effort to slow myself down. When you've been going, going, going like I have all year there comes a moment when you have to hit the pause button -- even if it's for a brief moment.

In the past, I've typically dreaded December. Maybe I feel differently about this one because we haven't gotten any snow yet. Maybe it's because I'm no longer haunted by the awfulness that December use to represent to me. I'm not exactly sure. All I know is that despite the grey skies and chill in the air the only thing that seems to put me in a mopey mood is lack of sleep -- and that can usually be cured with a caffeine fix.

I hate saying this, but I only remember a few highlights from this month. A few gatherings to celebrate the holidays, a girls day with S, my first Blackhawks game and last minute plans to take the train home with Bostonian. A lot of my weekend plans came together at the last minute this month. As much as I'm all about planning, there is something nice about weekend plans coming together at the last minute.

This month I discovered a new talent - I can turn off my alarm without even waking up. I am quite impressed with myself considering my phone serves as my alarm clock which mean I have to first locate, and unlock, it before I can even attempt to turn it off. (It's about simple things.)

The past couple of days I've treated myself to reading what I call guilty pleasure books. To others these are known as celebrity biographies. In my world, it's a particular celebrity biography. I'm not going to name names right now, but I will say this particular celebrity has published three books, and I am in the process of reading book number three. I've been enjoying these books so much I may actually reveal my dirty little secret of whom it is I'm reading about and write something about them once I'm completely done with this current book.

I have to admit, I'm kind of excited to bid December farewell when I think of all that is coming up over the next months. More fun times with friends, new endeavors and lots of new challenges await.

So here is farewell to December... And, I guess 2011 as well!

May your 2012 be healthy and happy... and be filled with only the best life has to offer!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Take a (Te)Bow?

This week, I asked the ladies of the Thursday blog project to write about their thought regarding Timothy Tebowing and the new phenomenon of "Tebowing."

Before I get into my thoughts on this, here is some background information. Please note, this is the "cliff notes" I can provide, so if something is missing I apologize in advance:

In 2010, the Denver Broncos drafted Tim Tebow, a quarterback from the University of Florida. Tebow, a devout Christian, would wear biblical references such as "John 3:16" on his eye paint during college game. Recently, there has been a lot of talk in the news about Tebow and how he kneels and prays after a game success. "Tebowing" has become a widespread phenomenon to the point it has been accepted as a word in the English language.

When I first heard about Tebow, and "Tebowing" I was taken a back. I don't follow football religiously (no pun intended) like some. I'll watch the Bears game, but not other teams. Sadly, I can't say I've watched my Frogs play this season.

I actually heard about Tebow on a news program that featured him because of the new phenomenon Tebowing. Tebowing, as I understand it, is "To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different." Ever since I've heard about it, I've been split on whether or not Tebow should be praying at his work - otherwise known as Denver Broncos games.

One side of me knows he, just like the rest of us, has the right to express his religious beliefs in public or private. However, the other side of me says this isn't right because he's not your average worker. His fame gives him more influence over those who watch him play. Although he does represent the religious belief of the majority of Americans, he does not represent all of them

Recently, I was watching a commentary about how nice it is to have someone like Tebow in the spotlight because he represents a fresh set of values and moral that aren't found amongst professional athletes. (Or something to that effect.) As I watched the commentary, I my mind went back to this past September when I, briefly, met at one of his appearances Gabe Carimi who is a offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears. Gabe, is also nicknamed "The Bear Jew." I began to wonder if the individual giving the commentary would be doing so if it were Carmini who was expressing his religious views on the field by davoning. Or, would the commentary be completely different? I also wondered what if a Muslim or Buddhist were expressing their religious views. What would be the result of that? I wonder about the fans who are Atheist and Agnostics, what do they think about all this?

The other thing that I think about is about the pop culture phenomenon Tebowing has become. Web sites where people can post pictures of them "Tebowing" have popped up. Other athletes have begun to kneel and pray after a good play. There is one video on YouTube that is captioned something like "So and so beat Tebow to Tebowing." I have to question whether or not that player was sincere in their express, or was it just for the sake of doing it? Is religion value and sincerity of religious expression being diminished as a result Tebowing?

I'm not siting here and say I believe X. I honestly don't have a solid opinion quite yet. (A first, I know!) A lot of my questions might make it seem I think Tebow should stop Tebowing -- I'm not saying that. I'm just doing what I do best, trying to think of this from all points of view.

What I will say is, I don't think Tim Tebow does what he does for the publicity. I believe he is sincere in his express. I just continue to wonder if it is the right place and time for that expression.

Now that I have given you my thoughts on Tebowing, please take a moment to read what my fellow bloggers have to say:


Momarock (Sara)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Monday, December 26, 2011

It had Rhyme & Reason at One Point

• Another "Jewish" Christmas is has come to a close.

This year, there was a lot of talk about Chinese food. A lot of people I know went for Chinese food. I, however, did not. When I look back on the past couple of years, I realize I've this is one "tradition" I rarely participate in. To be exact, I've only done it once - in 2009. Other than that, I've basically been with family or someone elses' family. (To quote Susanna the Short, "Everyone should have to put up with someone's family on Christmas.")

This year was the year of deli food wise. Last week it came to my attention that in the past 365 days I had eaten a little too much Chinese. My gauge for this decision was based upon the number of good fortune cookie fortunes I had saved over the past years. (It was a very fruitful year for good fortune cookie fortunes.) After counting the number of fortunes I have retained as a result of this little thing I do, I added on all the times I got a "just ok fortune". All this leading to the decision that I can go without Chinese food for the next two weeks -- at least. So, instead of Chinese we had deli. Might I say, YUMMY!

• Yesterday, some of us from my knit group decided we would meet to knit. We were so happy to find a place that was open. (Thank you Starbucks!) It was a bit difficult to find a place to meet, but not as difficult as it was finding a place to meet with friends on Christmas Eve. I'm so thankful we not only found a place, but found somewhere that would allow us to linger. We gave our server a really good tip since this was the case.

• One of my favorite holiday past times is to drive around various neighborhoods at night and look at all the lights on the houses. I like looking at pretty lights. Even just looking at city lights from high up places is one of my favorite things to do. The view from the top if the Empire State Building is amazing! I have to admit, one of the many reasons I can't wait to go travel to France is so I can see Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. (It's truly the little things that make me happy.)

• Two people. Two gallons of Garrett's Chicago Mix popcorn. One gallon consumed in two days. Neither person can look at Garrett's popcorn without having an adverse reaction -- and all this for a custom tin lid.

• Over the past couple of months I've talked about jars of worms and elephants in the room. Both of these were my way of talking about big things that were preoccupying my mind.

Last week I finally got rid of the jar of worms for good. I mean the worms are now back in their natural habitat, and the jar they were in has been smashed into such fine pieces that it is impossible to put it back together.

Phew!!!

As for the elephant... I made it a lovely meal for its travel and then kicked it out of my space. I'm not sure what I'll do with all the room I suddenly have, but it's so nice to get it out of my way. I mean, the elephant is still on my mind, but not like it was before because I finally did something about it... this is a good thing!

• In case anyone was interested, there are 17 ways to spell Hanukkah. I figured 3, TOPS, but apparently there are 17... And I thought making sure spelling La Shanah Tova correctly was stressful!

• Thursday was the winter solstice. Friday Festivus. Saturday was Christmas Eve. Today is Boxing Day. All the while it has been Hanukkah. Tomorrow is night 8, and Wednesday the last day.

Whooo... I'm getting tired just thinking about all of this! (I might need a vacation from the past week.)

Thursday and Friday are HOLIDAY (EVENT) FREE. Not that holidays/events are necessarily bad. It's strange that there will be nothing to acknowledge/celebrate . . . at least until Saturday.

• I feel the need to acknowledge my good friends.

One of the best parts of my life are these individuals. They are such a big part of my life. Amongst many things, I love how much they make me laugh. This laughter helps me remember not to take life SO seriously that I forget to have fun and enjoy myself. Everyone should have people like this in their world.

Ok, ok, the sap-fest is over . . .

• It IS a blog post masquerading as an e-mail! (Totally an inside joke!)

Umm . . . I've lost focus. So, I'm thinking that means I've come to the end of this post. Ta! Ta!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If it's not one thing, it's another

This week for the Thursday blog project, Susanna asked us to write about the following: NTSA says that talking on your cell phone even with a blue tooth, is as dangerous or more dangerous than driving drunk. The recommendation is to ban use of cell phones in car. What do you think about that?

I will admit, I had an adverse reaction when I saw this. I get why texting or e-mailing while driving is bad. Participating in these activities while driving takes your eyes away from where they should be - on the road! However, I don't agree that a ban phone usage while driving would make driving safer.

Since Susanna gave us this topic, I've been reading some articles about the recommendation the NTSA made. I wanted to fully understand what it is they are trying to put into place. As I understand it, this is just a recommendation for state to adopt, and not a mandate. Each state would have to pass individual bills in their legislature to ban the use of cell phone while driving. Furthermore, the ban is only on drivers not using phones that are not connected to the vehicle's internal system (for example On Star or a blue tooth system that is built into the car itself). Also, passengers would not be affected by this ban. They would still be able to talk on their phones while in a moving vehicle. So, if you have a system that allows you to call people through your car's computer than that would be just fine. The recommendation also says it's fine for passengers to use there phones. It is the driver that would be banned from using their phone.

Today, one of my Facebook friends posted this article regarding the psychology of why government should limit our use of cell phones while we drive. The main argument is that it distracts drives from what is going on around them.

This leads me to ask a few questions:

• What makes a conversation conducted via a car's computer less distracting or dangerous than a call placed via an actual cell phone? Especially if your phone has voice controls that allow you to dial your phone without pushing any buttons

• What makes a passenger's conversation less distracting?

• Does this mean we shouldn't talk to our passengers at all while the car in motion?

• What makes talking on the phone more distracting or dangerous than listening to the radio or an audiobook? Or, for that matter taking a sip of a drink we might have in the car with us or taking a bite to eat? (I realize these are not advisable driving habit, but they do happen nonetheless.

I'd like to point out, I am rarely on the phone while I drive so I'm not taking this position because I'm afraid of missing precious talk time. It's really a rare occasion that I'm talking and driving at the same time. Or, for that matter initiate a random call while driving. After the LSAT in June, I did call two different people on my way home. The testing center was an hour away from my home and I was so exhausted that I needed to talk to someone in order to be alert. It's funny to say, but it's true. Most of the time if I do make a call while driving, it's most likely because I'm letting someone know I'm running late and will be there as soon as I can. Otherwise, like I said, I don't really call anyone just to talk, and if someone calls me while I'm driving chances are I will most likely miss since I keep the ringer on vibrate most of the time and my phone either in my purse or on the passenger seat.

I guess my greatest objection to this recommendation is the fact that it fails recognize there are other things in vehicles that can cause drivers to get into accidents. I actually know someone who got into an accident while changing the radio station while they were moving. I don't have the statistics on it how often this happen, but I believe it is safe to say they were one of many that has happened too.

I don't think that people need to be on their phones the whole time they are driving and there is a moderation factor that comes into play as well. However, I also don't think that eliminating phone usage all together will make the roads significantly safer.

Lastly, I'll say this... I was talking about this with a someone I know whose son is a police officer. This individual works in an area where you are required to use a hands free device if you are talking on your phone while driving. The individual I spoke with said, their son never pulls anyone over for the sole purpose of busting them on that offense. They'll only make that citation if they are pulling a driver over for another reason. This makes me wonder if and when this recommendation is adopted by states how strongly it will be enforced.

Now that I have shared my thoughts on the NTSA's recommendation to ban phone usage while driving a car, please take a moment to read what my fellow bloggers have to say about the topic:

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Metra Twins

Someone once told me I look like Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Hmmm . . . I was flattered that this person said that. It was the first time anyone had compared me to a celebrity. Since I typically have a difficult time accepting compliments I didn't say much about it.

This week, for the Thursday blog project Sara (Ms. Momarock) asked us if we ever get the following comment: "You look so much like ________________"? As I mentioned earlier, the Jennifer Love Hewitt comment is the only celebrity anyone has ever said I look like, however it's not the only time someone has told me I had a twin.

It's been awhile since she said anything about it, but there were many knitting group meeting in which BookGirl told me I had a twin that took the same Metra line train that I take when traveling downtown. The first time she told me this I was intrigued, and asked a ton of questions about this person. BookGirl had no answers for me. All she could say is that though she knew there was no way it was me every time she saw this person she thought it was me. At one point she did ask me if there was something I wasn't telling folks, but I assured her that it wasn't me. From that moment on, each week I would ask her if she saw my twin and when I was going to see a picture of this person. I was curious - who wouldn't be? Especially since I had heard so much about this individuals "interesting" work wardrobe. I never did get to see a picture of my twin. Oh well!

I didn't notice the similarities the first couple of times I saw him. Then one day on my way home from the city we introduced ourselves to each other. Our stop was coming up and we were waiting in line. We were bound to speak at some point. It seems reasonable considering we had crossed paths at various law school open house type events and had seen each other at the Metra depot on other occasions. However, it wasn't until he told me his name that it hit me like a brick who he reminded me of...

"OMG! BFF's husband has a twin!" I kept thinking to myself as we chatted about where we were in our exploration of law school.

Ok, so he's a complete replica looks wise of her husband, but pretty close. The part that freaked me out was his voice sounds the same as her husband, they both have the same first name AND work in the same industry. What are the odds??? I was tempted to say something to him about having a twin, but I decided not too. It wasn't prudent to the conversation we were having at the time. Also, I figured should we ever speak/cross paths again I didn't want to have the idea of them seeming to be identical twins stuck in my head and one surefire way to do that was to say something to him. Of course I immediately e-mailed BFF to tell her, and of course a picture was requested. HA! It was just like how I requested a picture of my Metra twin. I told BFF that I didn't know if and when I'd ever see him again so I wasn't sure about getting a picture. Also, it's a little hard to ask a stranger (for all intents and purposes) if they would let you take a picture without having to explain why you want it - especially if you're not planning on telling them they have a twin.

I wonder how many others have found the twin of someone they know on that Metra line. I would think these are two rare cases, but it's fun to consider. Now that I've talked about my experiences with celebrity, and not so celebrity, twins please take a moment to read what my fellow bloggers have to say about their "twin":

Momarock (Sara)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm not a Reader .... Or am I?

Recently I was introduced to a blog called: I am a Reader, Not a Writer. It's a book review site. In the short time I've been aware of this site (just a couple of days), I haven't really pegged-down a particular type of genre this site caters too; I have, however, noticed that the featured authors are female which leads me to believe that it's not necessarily genre driven as it is driven towards highlighting women authors.

Regardless of its target audience, what drew me in from the start was the blog name itself - "I'm A Reader, Not A Writer." I instantly laughed when I read that and said, "You may be a reader, not a writer, but I'm for sure a writer, and NOT a reader."

That was a couple of days ago. Since then I haven't been able to stop thinking about what I proclaimed to myself. I've been questioning what makes someone a reader.

So I did what I do so well... went back to the beginning to figure out why I made this assumption.

First things first, in my mind what makes someone a reader?

Instead of putting a definition around the term reader, I thought of those I see as "readers." The first ones that came to mind were my friends BFF, PT, D, and my brother and sil A-squared. I know for a fact, all of these individuals love to read. It's a passion of theirs which they make time for regardless of what other things are going on in their lives. (For one, it has became part of their "work" as well.)

I can tell you, they ARE readers!

Where does my opinion that I'm not a reader come from?

Unlike my friends and family, I don't read on a regular basis. I write. To be exact, I write almost every day (and I'm not talking about writing e-mails). Even if I don't publish something on one of my blogs, I'm always composing something. You'd be amazed by the number of drafts I have archived just waiting to be sent out into cyberspace.

I think about reading books all the time, and even have a few books that I have started reading, but haven't finished. There are some I've actually finished as well. I've even written a book review on my other blog that actually generated an opportunity to write a tribute post about the author of the book in question on another well-known book review site.

I have had a stack of books BFF has sent me. However, since I wasn't getting around to reading them, and I wasn't sure when and if I would, I gave them back to her. I guess if anything should I figured I really want to read them, I know where I can find a copy.

If I do "read," picking up a physical book (or in this electronic age, an e-reader) is not the way I typically participate in this activity. I'm a fan of audiobooks. More specifically, I prefer books that can be loaded to my iPod. For some reason I don't see this as "reading." Oh, and there is my obsession with reading blogs. I can't tell you how many blogs I subscribe too. I've lost track.

However, since I don't read books frequently I find myself saying: "I'm not a reader, I'm a writer."

What is the literal meaning of being a reader?

By this point, the logical side of my brain is crashing the party. The thought I had goes something like... "Umm... do you not realize that even on the most basic level you are a 'reader' just by the mere act of reading things in general?" Ok, so if you take the definition of the term "reader" literally I am in fact a reader.

My whole life I've struggled with a learning disability that makes reading difficult to me. (I believe this to be the reason I don't run to pick up a book for enjoyment.) Even though this is the case, over the past couple of years I have grown to be quite thankful for the fact that despite this disability, I can in fact read and comprehend what I am reading fairly decently. I sometime forget there are those that can't even read at a basic level.

So, all this boils down to the fact that in the literal sense of things, I am in fact a reader.

What's the final verdict?

Today I was thinking about the birthday celebration I attended for my middle brother back in 2010. Besides the fact that I gave him a book for his birthday that year, one of the gift's he received from my older nephew was to form a book club of sorts with A-squared (his dad and mom). They were all sitting around discussing which book they were going to read first and all I could think was how I wanted to join them. Then I stopped myself and questioned why I felt the way I did - I'm not a reader.

That following September, after I published my book review BFF and I got into an intense e-mail discussion about the book in question. After telling her how it wasn't only the story, but how it was told that kept me reading, I began to discuss some of the central themes of the book. She replied with her thought. I then responded with mine. Eventually all the back and forth came to a stop, but while it was going on we definitely fed off of each others thoughts and opinions about the story. There was one point of contention, but it was a friendly disagreement. This is when I began to wonder if this is what it was like to be in a book club. If so, I really liked it. However, once again, I've never actually taken the plunge and joined a group because I didn't really think I was the type of person for such a group.

In the end, I guess I am in fact a reader masquerading as a non-reader. I mean, it would only make sense given my love of writing and storytelling that I would seek-out things to read - books, articles, blog, etc. If not only for the enjoyment of such an activity itself, but to see how other writers approach the the craft. Reading and writing surely do compliment each other nicely. Additionally, after all my so-called-reasons for saying I'm not a reader, I've realized that I don't need to be holding an actual book, or e-reader, to make me a reader. Reading blogs, articles and listening to audiobooks does in fact make me a reader.

Hopefully, as time goes on I will try out a book club - or something of that sort. Maybe this should be one of the (formerly known as) the can't do list items I tackle in 2012. I guess only time will tell.

Until then, I proudly proclaim... "I am a writer AND a reader."

Friday, December 9, 2011

All this just adds to my ongoing identity crisis

The other night at derby practice we had a new ref join us. When I introduced myself to this individual, I told him my name was Tracey. His reply to me went something like, "Hi Tracey... Ruthie?, I'm Wes." Though I had told him my "real" name he questioned me as the track jacket I was wearing declared I was someone else - "Ruthie RibIt."

As we took our places for the scrimmage portion of practice, I thought about the pause, and name correction, the new had made during our introduction. Though I'm use to hearing people call me by my derby name at practice I am not use to introducing myself by that name.

This incident has since found a home in the back of my brain. I can't help but think about my inability to remember who I am when I'm around my derby dames. I blame it my absenteeism over the past couple of weeks (some circumstances in my life have prevented me from getting on skates recently). I mean if I'm not around it on a frequent basis how am I suppose to know who I am there, right?! It's not like my friends and family call me by my derby name when we're hanging out.

Long before I started blogging, I've been known as Froggie. I took on the idenity when I first joined a HR networking community many, many, years ago. I didn't want my user name to anything associated with my real name and knew something frog related would be most appropriate as I've loved frog stuff for as long as I could remember. I always thought Froggie was a cute name and spelled it with an "ie" because it was unique, just like I am in real life. When I began to blog, I decided to hide behind the name as a way to protect my identity. Not that I had anything to hide, but it was a way to keep my real life and blogging life separate - only to be connected by the stories I share.

However, somehow being Froggie has become a part of who I am in real life. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I failed at my initial intent to keep my first blog strictly knitting related. Slowly, but surely, overtime it became more and more about me and my life in general. So, I guess in some way it only makes sense that what followed this transformation of my blog was having my friends call me Froggie in real life. Not many people do this, but it isn't totally unheard of. It took some getting use to, but overtime I got use to it. Actually, in some odd way, it's become my mascot.

I guess the same will happen with my derby identity as well. One day, without hesitation or giving it a second thought, I will introduce myself as Ruthie at a bout or derby related event. Who knows, maybe I will even introduce myself that way outside of derby one day as well.

Until that day comes, I'll definitely have to keep my track jacket, and other derby gear advertising my derby awesomeness, close by so I don't let the identity crisis I appear to be having get the better of me.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Momarock

This week, for the Thursday blog project, Melissa picked the topic: Interview your partner from last week's post. Ask 10 questions, including the one you're dying to know the answer to.

Last week, I wrote about what I had learned about my partner, Sara (Momarock). This week, I sent her the following 10 questions to answer:


Why "Momarock"?

Kevin coined the nickname. He's convinced there's nothing I can't accomplish or do. I know that's not the case, but I appreciate that he feels I am super strong and tough.

If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Honestly? A cat. I am so envious of mine. He's always sleeping. And eating. And then sleeps some more. Who wouldn't love that kind of life?

They say life is about simple pleasures, what is your simplest pleasure, and how does it make you feel?

Getting to just sit down on the couch, go on the laptop, or watch some tv is a very simple pleasure. I have this habit of overdoing it, and not getting much time to relax. So, when I take the time to do it, there's nothing better. Reading does that for me, too. I love to cuddle under a blanket, drink some hot cocoa, and read a good book.

What do you wish people would notice more about you?

That I'm still me. When you have kids, people so often identify you by being a parent, a mother. Kids also drain the life out of you at times, and people don't get to see who I am beneath the surface. I still love to goof around, I still love to go dancing, I'm still young at heart.

Do you have a particular routine when you write? For example, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? Is there a particular place you go to write? Etc..

It all depends on my mood. If it's a thought provoking topic, I need silence. If it's not, I can get by with the tv in the background or something. What I need for sure, is no kids around. Nolan has to be napping. I can't write with him around. It's just too difficult.

If there was one thing you knew for sure you wouldn't fail at, what would you want it to be?

A dancer. I love watching Dancing With The Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance. I love these shows, and I love dancing, but I'm no where near close to professional. I really wish I had the skill and talent to dance that well!

If you couldn't run (for whatever reason) then what activity would you participate in to keep fit and why?

I'd probably lean towards doing pilates, or yoga. It's amazing how much you feel the work outs, just by doing simple movements or poses.

Who do you admire the most?

My dad. He's in his mid 50's, and teaches a spin class 3 times a week, and races in bike marathons. He is such an inspiration. If he can keep doing it, I know I can.

What three words describe you best?

Optimistic/Emotional/Stubborn

Complete this sentence: Don't tell anyone else, but ....

I'd love to be able to do backflips. I am too old to be entertaining the idea of gymnastics, but I would love to learn backflips, and then do them as a surprise to my friends and family.

It's been a pleasure getting to know Sara. It has actually given us the opportunity to discover many more similarities than we initially knew were there.

Now that I have shared with you my interview with Sara, please take a moment to read the other interviews that took place this week:

Mom of Many (Susanna) - interviewed Merryland Girl Melissa

Merryland Girl (Melissa) - interviewed Mom of Many Susanna

Momarock (Sara) - interviewed little ol' me, Froggie a.k.a. Tracey

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reaching for the Stars - and Beyond

I actually have a lot topics I want to write about. Things that can't be broken up in to bullet points. However, my mind is kind of all over the place tonight, so I'll save the other stuff for another time...

• For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed big. On occasion, I didn't realize I was dreaming big until others pointed out to me. Either way, my dreams have never been close to the ground. I've never seen a reason for them to be.

Every time I have a new idea I call it silly or crazy. It's not that I actually think it's silly or crazy, but it just feels that way because it appears to me to be so out of reach sometimes. I think the craziest part of all is when things really do fall into place and begin to happen. It is surreal.

• If it didn't go in the right direction, that is fine. If I've learned anything this year it's that there are so many more possibilities.

• There is never a bad time to randomly tell someone thank you.

• I have a Magic 8 Ball app on my phone. (Ok, it's really called Fortune Ball.) It's fun to play with it. It predicted that BFF's baby was going to be a girl. (Seriously, it did.) I don't live and die by the answers I get from the Magic 8 ball, but periodically it is right. Recently, I went on a question asking spree and wrote down all the answers to the questions I asked. Some of the answers I got I like; others, not so much. All this leads me to waiting and seeing how much the Magic 8 Ball, Fortune Ball.... whatever you want to call it... really knows.

• I really wish that some people would respect my position on certain matters rather than pushing me with the hope that I will change how I live my life all together.

• Mani/Pedi, yummy breakfast, possibly a movie and latkes for dinner... How do I fast forward this program to Saturday?

• Apparently the game Words with Friends does not like you to have more than 21 games going at any given time.

• I'm no longer counting the days until the LSAT. Now I'm counting the days until I go to my first Blackhawks game. Yay!!!

• One of the things I love about birthdays is that it bring people out of the woodwork. I heard from several people I know that I rarely talk too for whatever reason. It's been so nice catching up with everyone.

• The other day I saw the numbers "36" next to my name. I had to do a double take - I thought it was a typo, however it wasn't. Oh well, it is what it is... It was just odd.

• More races have been added to the 2012 race schedule - seriously, where is this addiction coming from?

• My goal is to get rid of the elephant before the year ends, however I'm not sure if that will be possible as there is so much I can do to move along this process.

• I can never look at a whistle the same way again.

• I started out the year still caring, and it looks like I will end the year the same way.

• Sleep is a good thing, I think it's time to get some.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It is G-d's Party Now

This past Spring, while trying to decide whether or not to take the June LSAT I asked D when you know it's time to give up on something. (I knew the answer already, but I had to hear it from someone else.)

"You just know when it's time." he said.

"Yep, that's what I thought." I said to myself in a soft voice.


A few days later I registered for the June LSAT. In my heart, I knew I wasn't ready to throw in the towel. It was this same feeling that motivated me to sign-up for the December LSAT as well. (Determination has never been an issue for me. When I really want something I do everything that is in my control to get to where I need to be.)

Per the council that governs the law school application process, a prospective JD student can only take the LSAT three times in a two year period. For me this means tomorrow's test is my last shot. Not only because a governing body has said so, but also because in my heart I just know it's time.

A year ago when I embarked on this journey I wouldn't have been ok knowing this mindset. Actually it probably would have upset me quite a bit; however, over the past couple of days I've come to this realization where I'm good with this fact. Regardless of what the results of tomorrow's test bring, I will not be upset like I might have once been several months back.

Disappointed, sure. Upset, no.

I've kicked the balled around once, twice . . . many times over. I didn't let any setbacks stop me from trying to move forward. That said, after all the practice I do not have any idea if my score will land at, or close to, the goal box.

Walking into an exam like this with such uncertainty is hard, but yet I remain hopeful and determined. Most importantly, I remain calm as I know that I have done, and will, do my part.

Tomorrow when I walk into the testing facility I walk in knowing it is G-d's party now. I walk in knowing that I am heading in the direction I am meant to go - regardless of wherever that may be.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Soulmates with Sara?

Back in March when I purposed to Mel (Merryland Girl) that we resurrect the Thursday blog project group we struggled with the question of whom we should invite to join us for this chapter of project. The original group had disbanded in mid-2010 and we weren't really sure if the other two members of the group would be interested in giving it another go. After a bit of discussion, Mel and I agreed that I would invite someone one to join the group and she would invite someone to join the group. The person I invited to the group was Susanna (Mom of Many). Susanna is another good friend of mine and was familiar with what the group was about. Mel invited Sara (Momarock).

This week for the Thursday blog project I asked my fellow bloggers to pair up and write about what they have learned about their partner through the past several months. What were they surprised to learn through this individual's posts? What didn't surprise them? Also, I asked them to come up with a question that they've always wanted to ask that individual.

The pairs are as follows:

• Mel and Susanna

• Sara and Tracey


As I mentioned above, I am good friends with Mel and Susanna so we I was deciding whom should be paired with whom didn't think it was right for me to be paired with either one of them. Mel and Susanna have met before and conversed via electronic mean, but they still don't know each other as well as I know them respectively. Also, when I thought of this "topic" I already had in mind that I wanted to write about Sara.

Unlike Mel and Susanna, Sara and I had never met or communicated with one another prior to the first set of messages that went back and forth amongst the group. I was a bit nervous about letting her join because of bad experiences I've had in the past with people not meshing with me. (I'd love to say that I'm besties with everyone, but that isn't the case. There are people who in I don't particularly get along with.) It did help that she was friends with Mel, but still, you never know. Also, I was nervous because I wasn't sure what I had in common with her. See, I'm the only one in the group who isn't married and doesn't have children. I already knew what I had in common with Mel and Susana, but Sara was the unknown. With all my concerns out there, Mel assured me we'd get along and that we had a lot more in common that I could ever imagine.

I can't remember what post it was, but there was one post that Sara wrote that just made me jaw drop. Seriously, I tried closing my mouth while reading it, but my jaw kept dropping. See, what had written about was similar to an experience that I have had in my life. I remember just starting at the screen in disbelief. I immediately e-mailed Mel about it. "See, I told you you two had more stuff in common," Mel said. Of course I didn't e-mail Sara because that would make sense.

In the months that followed, I began to read Sara's blog on a regular basis. Through that I learned she loves to run, adores her family and is headstrong. I appreciate that she has a distinct point of view and isn't forthright with when sharing her stories. Actually, this is something I admire about her... not because I'm not honest in my write. I admire her candidness as this is something that is difficult for me to do sometimes.

All that said, I still keep coming back to the fact that we have so many similar experiences. When we wrote about the worst physical trauma or pain we had every experience I decided to write about an abusive relationship I was involved in and the effect it had on me. After reading that entry, Sara commented on it - her words moved me and once again made me realize I wasn't the only one.

Lastly, through this project I have learned what an excellent writer Sara is. (I highly recommend you follow her blog.)


Oh, and as for the question I would ask Sara... If you couldn't run (for whatever reason) then what activity would you participate in to keep fit and why?


Now that you have read my thoughts on the blog project's resident Momarock, Sara, please take a moment to read what my fellow bloggers have to say about their partners:

Merryland Girl (Melissa) - writing about Mom of Many Susanna

Momarock (Sara) - writing about little ol' me, Froggie a.k.a. Tracey

Mom of Many (Susanna) - writing about Merryland Girl Melissa

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Froggie - v. 36

What a day! I mean, I didn't party like a the rock star that I obviously am, or get all wild and crazy. Aside from the fact that it was my birthday it was pretty much your typical day and oddly enough I found myself basking in a calm this evening as I walked around one of my favorite places in the city with only one person keeping me company, myself.

So what made it so special? There are a few simple answers to that question.

First and foremost, the many texts, emails and facebook messages I received. It was so nice to hear from people I rarely talk to and get the opportunity to catch-up with them.

Also, as I stated in my post yesterday, so much has changed for me in twelve months. No, things in my life aren't exactly where I wish for them to be, but I recognize all that I do have in my life and all that I have achieved this year. I've worked really hard to get to where I am, and have a lot to show for it. This past year I have truly learned what it means to create opportunities vs. waiting for them to come to you. All this only motivates me to work just as hard, if not harder, this coming year.

During the past several weeks I've thought a lot about this next year, what I want to accomplish and the things I want to experience. Just like last year, there is a list of goals in mind. Unlike last year, it's not a map guiding me. Instead, I am leading the way.

There are some exciting things coming down the pipeline... Somewhere around the Fall I will be writing a tribute piece on my favorite author to be featured on a well-known ChickLit blog. Additionally, my BFF and I will be collaborating on a project that is currently in the development stage. I have a lot of personal goals. Goals that are so personal that not even my closest of friends know about them. It's all part of my on-going effort to be a better me - something I have always worked towards. There are professional decisions that have been made. I'm going to stop swimming up stream... or in other words it's time to take a new path when it comes to my career. I haven't been fulfilled professionally for a long time and staying on this road just weighs me down more than it lifts me up. It's time to take the road less traveled and see what that has in store for me.

It's also time for me to run away for a bit. I'm not sure when, but I do know where I want to go. It is my intention to take the dream trip I've been talking about forever and a day this year.

This year, I'm done waiting.

I have many, many more thoughts on all this, however this frog is tired so it is time for me to say good night!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Froggie - v. 35.12

It all started because of Facebook.

I had received a notification from them on November 29, 2008 that it was my birthday and they hoped it was a great one (or something to that effect). I found this to be interesting considering up until that point I had always celebrated my birthday on November 30th. "Were my parents lying to me this whole time about when my birthday was?" I wondered.

As a result, that evening I posted this entry on my blog. It was a short post where I rambled on about how I could have missed my birthday. In 2009, the pre-birthday post evolved a bit more. I had a bit more depth to the entry, but still keeping it fluffy. When I look back at this post what stands out most to me is a statement I made about material gifts vs. intangibles gifts. I wondered if I was heading in a direction where the intangibles would be more of a gift to me than a tangible gift.

Last year, any and all birthday talk on my blog fell off the radar all together. Aside from the "awesomeness" that was October that year, I was about two weeks post-breakup and had just had a craptastic job interview. (Ok, so the job interview wasn't the main things that got me, but it just felt like the icing on a cake that had been in the oven for a really long time.) The long and the short of all this was, I was not in the mood to talk birthday - so I didn't.

This year, however, I am resurrecting my traditional birthday blogging and putting a new spin on it....

About a month ago I was having dinner at a friend's house and talking about the fun I had playing with yarn at a local yarn dying studio. That's when she said, "You realized, don't you, you've done a lot this year and had some pretty cool and unique experiences?" She must be a mind reader because I had been thinking about all this on my way to her place. "Oh yeah, totally!" I replied.

On my way home that evening I started to quantity everything I had done over the past year and felt it was important to write it all down somewhere so I could have record of it all. It was this dinner conversation that made helped me decide the format this year's pre-birthday post would adapt. I wanted to see for myself what I accomplished, and the awesome experiences/happenings that have taken place over the past twelve months.

The list below is the result...

2010

December

During this month, I took my first steps at exploring whether or not Plan B was something I wanted to legitimately consider. After attending an open house, I was sure that this was something I wanted to dig deeper into.

2011

January

Before I go on with stuff that happened to me during this month, I have to mention that TCU won the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day 2011. I was uber thrilled!!!

The beginning of the year was kind of slow which in some ways was a good thing. Five weeks before it was suppose to take place, I decided to take the LSAT. Up to that point I hadn't prepped for it - AT ALL, but I jumped right in head-first anyhow. Getting ready for the test was a lot more work then I had anticipated.

I also began to spend time at a photography studio learning about the business. Unfortunately, there were other things going on in my life that needed more attention and as result the amount of time I could spend at the studio was limited.

I went ice skating for the first time since I was a kid. It was a blast!!!

The last weekend of January I slipped and fell on ice while walking to my car. I hurt my wrist and lower arm. What I remember most about this incident, aside from the pain, is that after it happened I only took a brief moment to go "oh crap" and then kept on going. I didn't let it stop me from doing what needed to get done.

Oh, and how can I forget going sledding? I got an AWESOME shot of Simba "taking the bump." It was a blast and a good time was had by all.

(Ok, so maybe January wasn't as slow as I thought.)

February

Snowmaggedan and my car getting complete buried in a snow drift are the first things that come to mind when I think of February 2011. I only mention this because I actually enjoyed walking my neighborhood that day. I had my camera with me and got some really great shots.

Once the LSAT was over it was time to focus on school applications. Fun was had by all!

Oh, yeah... there was the trip to the ER this month as well because I cut my toe and it wouldn't stop bleeding. Thankfully it wasn't serious and I ended up not having to see a doctor after all.

March

One of the first thing that happened in March was that I made a new friend. While visiting NIU, I was introduced to Bostonian's best law school friend. Alex and I got along immediately and I we became good friends as well.

However, that is not the main reason I remember the month of March. The main reason I will always remember this past March has to do with the second personal statement I wrote. I'm still very proud of what I wrote, and even if I don't get into law school I will always have that statement to call mine.

And who can forget the iPhone acquisition that was made this month. I find it H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S that this is a notable event. I don't know what I did before I had this phone.

Ok, one other really notable things that happen this month... The Thursday blogging group was resurrected. I was a little nervous at first because of what happened last year with it, but I'm happy to say we're going strong 8 months later.


April

Hmmm . . . I think life settled down a bit in April. I did a lot of .... w-a-i-t-i-n-g .... I mean A LOT..... of..... w-a-i-t-i-n-g... during the month of April.

I also decided to take another shot at the LSAT this month... all that w-a-i---t-i-n-g must have made me really bored and in search of a way to fill the time...

While I was doing all this w-a-i-t-i-n-g, I met my friend Ashley. (More on that in a bit.)


May

I did some wai-ting in May as well, but it didn't seem like it was as much as April.

I did get to see M this month which was extremely exciting since it had been over six months since she moved away.

During this visit I had a project inspiration which I have since asked BFF to work on with me. She was all for it. I really haven't talked about this project with many because it's still in the development stages.

June

Back to Ashley.... Commuting back and forth via the train is not the most thrilling thing in the world. I mean, it is what it is. So it's rare to randomly meet someone that you get along with so well. I was fortunate enough to make a friend on the train. It made all the difference with my commute - and I got a good friend out of it as well.

After the June LSAT I started training for my first 5k run. This is definitely on the "best things I did this year" list.

July

The most notable thing that happened in July is that I was given the opportunity to be a Project Manager for a new volunteer project I was asked to join. The cause fit my interests and passions perfectly so the fact that I was being given opportunity to really learn to manage people was a huge bonus for me.

Also, I recruited S to the project because I needed a rock star Marketing Manager and I knew she would fit the bill perfectly. Additionally, S and I have worked professionally in the past and we collaborate very well together.

This was also the month S signed on for project 5k race. The person I was going to originally do this with stepped-back due to health issues. It was nice to have someone to go through the training process with -especially since we were both newbies to running races.

I also started to consider roller derby, but didn't do anything with it until August.

August

One thing I haven't mentioned specifically, but alluded to a bit, is that I spent a lot of time in the city this year. (Thus the whole commuting on the train.) I had so much fun that I was taking the train down on the weekends as well.

Stepping out of my comfort zone a bit, I experienced an observant Shabbos. It was an interesting experience and helped me confirm a lot of things in terms of my what I'm comfortable with from a religious observance perspective.

In August I reconnected with someone who I . . . . . well. . . . . I'll just say someone I really care about. Someone I wish I could have a second chance with. It was really nice to see them again...

The biggest thing that happened this month was that someone close to me had a health scare. It really had a huge impact on me. It was the first time I really recognized that my friends and I aren't invincible superheros. I mean, don't get me wrong, I knew that are mere mortals and not invincible superheros, but a part of me just assumes we're all going to grow old together and that there is no other option. It was the first time someone in my inner circle had had a scare like this. It was the first time in over 20 years that the potential to lose a family member existed.

September

Life got interesting at the end of August and by September I was starting a short, but new adventure. The experience turned out a lot better than I thought it would and I made some great friends along the way.

During all this I continued to train for my 5k run.

Additionally, the organization whose run I was participating in asked me if they could do human interest story on me. I said yes - you can read it here.

Some other items of note...

• I added another pro bono Social Media client.
• I joined the Marketing Committee of an organization I have been doing Social Media for over the past year. This is unique in that it is one of the sub-committees for the organization's Board of Directors, however I do not belong to this organization's board. I was flattered that they wanted me on the this committee even though I don't belong to the board.

October

October... October... October ... what a month!

Do I even need to mention that I ran my first 5k in October? Ok, I will! So, the 5k finally arrived. It was rainy and cold. S and I questioned our sanity. We questions if we should just skip the run and just go straight to the yummy breakfast we planned to have afterwards, however we stayed strong and ran the race.

About mid-October, I got to play with yarn for two days at Lorna's Laces. It was a lot of fun (I mean, a lot of fun!) and everyone there is awesome.

November

When one door closes, another one opens. That was the beginning of November.

Someone I had been doing social media work for offered me a job. It's something we had talked about for some time, and I always knew would happen, but wasn't sure when... It was a lot sooner than I had anticipated.

I faced some conflict this month. It bothered me so much that it interrupted the flow of how things seemed to be going for me. It upset me, but in the end I got through it.

One thing I did this month that I didn't think I'd do so soon was run a 5 mile race. How I found out about it was random and I wasn't totally on board with participating, however I had faith in my ability to do it so I decided to participate. It was an awesome experience and I'm proud of myself for not letting the naysayer side of my brain get the better of me.


So here I am... 36 is right around the corner - literally. The official time of my birth is 6:08 PM so really I won't be 36 until then, but still . . . :) Everything I listed above is everything I can recollect doing this year. I'm sure there is plenty more that took place that I haven't mentioned.

I've said this a million times, in recent weeks, the past year has been amazing. I'm incredibly thankful for every I was given and if this upcoming year is even half as good as this past year has been I'm in for a lot of greatness.

With that said, I'm ready to put Froggie v. 35 in the archives and I'm ready to unwrap the next year of being me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Hole With A Pigeon In It

A few months back I was at a small networking meeting where I was discussing all my various areas of interest. After finishing one of the group members who had been in HR for sometime said to me, "You know, one day you're gonna have to make a choice on what you want to focus on." I gave them a funny look and they continued to say that though I enjoy these various areas of interest I would one day have to pick one to focus one.

I have to admit that didn't sit well with me. I wasn't quite sure why I HAD to pick just one area of focus. Though out my career one of my greatest fears professionally is getting pigeon-holed and not have the option to explore other areas down the road because of it. I've seen this happen to many people. They get stuck in one area of a given field and years down the road can't move into another because all they know is this one area.

It's that same fear that makes me reluctant to define myself by what I do for work outside of work. It's not whom I am, yet if I don't it's as if I'm no one.

The same goes for defining myself by the types of activities I participate in outside of work. If there was ever a time that this has become apparent to me it's been since I started participating in roller derby. People have really embraced my derby girl identity and are fascinated by it; however, when I tell them I knit their reaction isn't quite the same.

I guess it's natural to latch on to a part of a person's world and use that to identify them by that all together. I don't know, that is not how I view others. The catalyst for all this thought about how I identify myself, etc. started when I, once again, decided that I wanted to add an "About Me" section to this blog. The first thing I did was to go to other blogs and see how others wrote their "About Me" section. However, each and everyone I read started by either identifying themselves by their job, their family or their hobby or special talent.

This didn't sit well with me.

"Maybe one of the reasons I need to focus has to do with the fact that way I'll know how to properly identify myself when asked by another," I thought to myself as I stared at the blank screen, "Nah... that isn't it."

So, instead of writing an "About Me" section I started a list of the thing I am in this crazy world I function in - this is what I've come up with so far:

On the simplest level, I am -

• A daughter • a sister • a friend • a best friend • a niece • an auntie

Taking it up a notch, I am -

• A college educated individual with a Masters degree • a colleague • an employee

Personally, I am -

• An athlete (runner and derby girl) • a writer • a knitter • a philanthropist

And still, I refuse to specifically define myself by any of the titles with the fear that I will pigeon-hole myself into one thing rather than be able to express the many things that make-up me.

I'm not sure where all this is going. If anything this is definitely the best example of my random thoughts.

I guess at the end of the day the reason I greatly refuse to latch on to just one component of my life has to do with the fact that I don't feel any one of these things mean more to me than the other. All the components of my life are important to me; all of them are special to me, and in turn it is these components that ultimately make me special and unique.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

(formerly known as) The Can't List

For as long as I can remember I've mostly been told what I wasn't capable of doing.

If I had to guess why this was the case I'd say it had to do with the fact that I did a lot of things later than my peers - I started walking late, talking late (which at this point I think I've made up for many times over), etc. Additionally, I think my learning disability made some around me feel that it was better to limit me than to push me with the chance that I might fail. Whatever the reason, I don't remember many times that I was told "you can."

Despite my tenacious nature, and unwillingness to settle for just anything I'm handed, I still to some degree carry around with me the voices of those naysayers, and their influence on me periodically is visible in the actions I take - or should I say don't take.

If there is any lesson that I've taken away from this year it's that for me establishing goals is important. Wait . . . let me back-up here a minute... It's not necessarily a lesson I just learned, but more one I put away for in a closet for awhile. Nonetheless, it is part of what makes me, me.

I recognize I've said this time and time again in my posts (and am beginning to sound like a broken record), but around this time of year especially it is something that is on my mind - a lot. As the end of 2011 lingers, my thoughts have turned to thinking about all the things I'd like to accomplish in 2012.

Oh, all the possibilities!!!

Yesterday, while I was texting with S, we began to discuss our respective Turkey Trot runs we had just completed on Thanksgiving and our goals for next year's trot. (Yes, this is the same race that just two weeks ago I hemmed and hawed over joining because I told myself I couldn't do it as I hadn't been running that much recently due to a bad cold.) That's when the conversation turned to how amazing it is that we've only been at this for less than six months as we have both come so far in a short period of time. It's seems so unreal as just completing one race was always one of those things that was on the "Can't List" for both of us.

Ah, yes... the Can't List. For anyone who might not know what this is, the "Can't List" is a list of thing that have been talked about time and time and time again, but is never really serious considered because surely it "can't" be accomplished. Sadly, this list is not a stranger to me. I've carried around this list for some time, and I'm afraid is longer than I'd prefer it to be. However, when S asked me what "can't" goal I planned to work towards in 2012 it took me awhile to think of one. I don't know why, but after taking action on seriously considering law school and running in a 5k race (my two biggest "can'ts) I seriously couldn't think of what other goals took up residence on the list. After giving it some further thought, I have since come up with a few ideas of what is on the agenda for 2012... Actually, I can't stop myself from getting excited about what is ahead for me in this coming year. (More on this coming Wednesday.)

My last thought on all this is that I think I need to rename this list all together. The word "can't," in this context, leaves such a yucky, blah feeling and doesn't reflect the excitement I feel when I think of all the experiences to come.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Breaking Bread with a Racist

Before I start this entry, I'd like to apologize in advance in the event that I use language that I wouldn't otherwise use, however do to the nature of the situation, and the emotion wrapped-around, my ability to filter get a little bit out of wack when I speak about this particular matter.

Part of me is surprised that this is the first time I've encountered racism. Maybe it's the bubble I seem to periodically function in that prevents me from really seeing it around me, or maybe I'm more naive than I'd like to believe I am. Whatever the case is, the events that I'm about to relay to you is the first time I have ever encountered racism in my immediate world ...

Several weeks ago I invited a friend of mine to a dinner that I was going to be attending. Before extending an invitation to my friend, I contacted one of the individuals whose home the dinner party was going to be at to find out if I could do so. Without any hesitation I was told my friend was more then welcome at the dinner and they looked forward to having them join everyone. So, I extended the invitation and it was happily accepted. I informed my hosts that my friend would be joining; however, this time I gave my hosts my friends name - I thought it might be a good idea for them to know who was joining the fun just in case I didn't make it to the dinner before them (we were driving separately).

Two hours later I received a call from someone else attending the dinner. Another person going to the dinner was looking for me and I was suppose to give them a call. (Now, I feel the need to digress a bit and say that there are certain people who only call me when something is wrong. It's a horrible thing to assume, but the truth of the matter is that that is the nature of my relationship with this particular individual. So, when I heard they were looking for me . . .) I asked the person I was talking to what was wrong. After some hesitation I was told why. It turns out that the hostess had gone onto facebook and looked my friend up so they would have a face with the name. Upon looking my friend up on facebook, the hostess saw my friend is African American which she knew would be a problem for her family that would be attending this dinner as well.

"Not as open minded" is the phrase that was used when I was told all this... I don't exactly remember because I had to have it repeated to me because I was sure my hearing was out of whack and heard what was said incorrectly.

Unfortunately, I had heard everything LOUD and CLEAR. My reaction to this news was... well... let's just say I still have to take deep breaths when I recollect this conversation. After getting off this conversation I called one of my friends to figure out how I was suppose to tell my friend the new. Typically, people come to me asking how they should phrase difficult messages as I possess the ability to phrase things in a diplomatic manner, however this was one time I was the one who was stumped. While relaying the details I found saying "racist" difficult and quite uncomfortable. (I wasn't about to sugar-coat the situation my using the phrase "not as open minded".) There was silence on the other end after I shared the events that had just transpired. My friend, like me, was at a loss. Even after speaking with their spouse and kids about it they still had nothing to me other than saying what had to be said in the rawest way possible. I knew what I had to say, I just wasn't ready to say it. It took me over 24 hours to call my friend. I was sure they'd handle the situation just fine, but it was still a conversation I was ready to initiate as I still felt deeply about what was transpiring.

As expected, my friend received the news just fine. This wasn't the first time something like this happened and it probably wouldn't be the last time. I informed them I had e-mailed the host and hostess that I would not be attending the dinner as well. My friend told me that I shouldn't miss out and that they would understand if I went... "We're cool," they said.

Despite it being cool with my friend, I couldn't see how I was suppose to look at these people knowing what I knew about them. It wouldn't be the first time I kept company with them, but it would be the first time I would see them in this light. I struggled with this decision. Ultimately, my decision to attend the dinner was a last-minute one (less than 24 hours beforehand). I stilled worried about encountering these individual, but I figured I was mature enough to figure out a way to be at the dinner with them and not let this ruin my evening.

My game plan was simple - interact as little as possible to the hostesses' family. At one point during the evening, one of them invited me to sit next to them as we conversed about football and the NBA lockout. I politely declined and kept my thoughts on both topics short and simple. When it came to the actual meal I strategically chose which table I sat at so I wouldn't have to be at "their" table. (Thankfully there were enough of us to warrant two tables.)

I won't lie and say I didn't see the ginormous, rainbow-striped elephant in the room that evening. (As far as I was concerned we might as well have set a place at the table for it and served up an extra plate of food.) I'm just not sure if anyone else saw it as well. Part of me wanted to say something, but it wasn't the place nor the time to ask.

Even though the dinner has come and gone I know I'll probably still think about this situation for awhile to come. It has been an eye-opening experience. If any good could come from this situation it's that it put a well-needed hole in the bubble that seems to shelter me from these types of realities. Additionally, it has further affirmed and made me more appreciative of who I am, the life I lead and the things I stand for.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Magnificent Memories

This evening I took a leisurely stroll down Michigan Ave, a.k.a The Magnificent Mile, "Mag Mile".

As I made my way north from Millennium Park (South Michigan Ave) towards the many shops that occupied North Michigan Ave a flurry of memories began to rush through my mind.

It all started when I saw Sweetwater Restaurant. I've never actually been to this restaurant when it was Sweetwater. I did, however, go to the Bennigan's the once occupied the space when I was back in high school. I'll actually never forget that night because it was just a random decision amongst the group to head into the city. I figured if anything we'd find a place unique to the city to dine at - not Bennigan's. This was just one of several trip into the city with this group of friends on a weekend evening.

While reminiscing about the whole "why did we travel to the city to eat at Bennigan's" memory I walked by stairs that led to a water taxi service. Immediately another memory came to mind...

Yep! That's me striking a pose. This was taken in September 2005, however it seems like it was just yesterday. Even though I've looked at this photo a million time, tonight was the first time I noticed the individual who took the shot did a bit of photoshop work to it. Regardless, it was such a lovely evening. It started out as an impromptu trip into the city to get something from the Apple store. Right before this photo was taken, the strap on my Coach purse had broken just as we passed the Coach store. I was hesitant to go into the store as I had had a bad experience with their staff several months earlier, but alas I went in and ended up leaving with a bran-spankin' new purse which I still have all these years later.


As I passed the water taxi stair, and kept moving north, right in front of me was the WGN Radio station broadcasting booth. Like many media outlets in the Chicagoland area, WGN has glass windows so those passing by can see their favorite broadcasters at work. I've passed this landmark many times, and many times I think about the same thing - my father. My family are die-hard Cubs fans. That being the case, during baseball season, my father would not only have the game on tv, but also have the radio tuned to WGN to listen to the game. I'm not sure why he needed both, but it was just his thing. I've never been lucky enough to see any of the broadcasters at work when I pass by, but I'm always hopeful each time I'm in the area.

As my walk continued, I entered into the part of the trip where different memories from various shopping experiences came rushing back. The Mag Mile has been the site of many meet-ups for my friends and I. I even remember a time I specially went to Water Tower looking for a new outfit for a date I had. As I approached Michigan and Erie I looked up and saw the John Hancock building.
I realize this picture isn't the best, but the site struck me as soon as I saw it. I've only been in the John Hancock building once. The memory is bittersweet. I try to remember the amazing view that particular night and the happiness of that evening instead of focusing on bitter part of the association.

My Mag Mile memories aren't all about shopping trips with friends and sports radio associations, I have also spent time on this stretch of road conducting business. This area has also been home to professional conferences and several interviews. Sometimes it seems like you just can't avoid this area.

Nowadays, anytime I'm on Michigan Ave is mainly on the southern portion of the road - in the financial district referred to as "The Loop." I have some wonderful memories of time spent during the Summers of 2010 and 2011 at Millennium Park. Tonight, my stroll down memory lanes started in this area. I had wandered there are being cooped-up at the library for a majority of the day. I had never really been to the park at night when it was dark and wanted to see what it was like.
Just as I suspected, it was still full of life. The first thing I passed when I arrived there was a long line of people waiting to rent ice skates. I had forgotten about the ice rink at MP and was happy to have received a reminder. It's been put on my list of things to do this winter as I've been wanting to skate there at least once since the beginning of 2010.

As my trip down memory lane came to a close I thought about though it was nice to have so many magnificent memories of the area what made me most happy was thinking all the potential memories to be made there in the years to come.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today's Froggie meets Froggie 10 years from now

I'd imagine setting a time to meet her for lunch would be a tad on the difficult side. She's busy; I'm busy... or at least I would assume she is busy. Why wouldn't she be busy? I mean, she is me 10 years from now. It only makes sense she would be busy.

This week for the Thursday blog project Susanna asked us to write about if we could have lunch with 10 year older self, what we would talk about?

As I mentioned above it would probably be a tad on the challenging side to make plans... Or, maybe it wouldn't. Maybe 10 years from now I've finally slowed down. However, even at 46-years-old I can't imagine that being the case since staying busy is a trait that runs in my family... but you never know. When we met for lunch, I'm sure it would be at a restaurant that serves fabulous breakfast food - we have always loved breakfast foods!

Though I'd probably ask my 10-year-older self some specifics about her life, I believe our conversation would inevitably move away from an interview like conversation, and would mostly focus more on random topics of conversation. She's always felt the best way for people to get to know her is to chat her up about this and that. (It has always been the best way to find out about her likes, dislikes, interests, etc.)

My 10 year older self would share with me what is happening with my family. My youngest niece and nephew would be 16-years-old and 14-years-old respectively and making life even more interesting for their parents then they do right now. My great nephew will be 13-years-old. She'd also share with me what is going on with my mother, brothers, sister-in-laws and other family members.

I wouldn't expect my 46-year old self to tell me everything about her life or things that have taken place over the past 10 years. We both know that life is full of unexpected events and relieving too much might be difficult for me to know. Furthermore, she wouldn't want to ruin any of the awesome things that happen as well.

Before we parted way, we'd hug and tell each other not to forget to take care of ourself as we both have a tendency to put caring for others ahead of our needs.

Now that I've written about lunch with my 10-year-older self, please take some time to read what my fellow bloggers have to say about their visits:


Mom of Many (Susanna)

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

A local coffee shop that I spend time at has a chalkboard where they post questions for patrons to answer. From time-to-time I answer the current question if it happens to inspire me. Not too long ago, the following question inspired me...

"What is the best gift you've ever received?"

I didn't have to think long about this one. My answer: An amazing 2011.

Sure, in my lifetime I've gotten a lot of cool stuff, but none of those items measure of to the intangibles that life has given me this year. I have always had a lot to be thankful for, but this year definitely stands out and that is why my above answer was the only answer I could rightfully place on the coffee shop chalk board.

Sometimes when I am in the thick of things it is difficult for me to step back and recognize all the great things I have in my life. In the weeks, and days, leading up to tomorrow there has been a lot of happening that have put a damper on the spirit of Thanksgiving. I've tried hard to not let this get to me, but sometime I have not been very successful at doing so.

Tonight, I'm letting go of these challenges and focusing on the many wonderful gifts this past year has given me. I am also focusing on all the amazing people I have in my life that I could not imagine life without.

I'll spare y'all the remainder of my sap-fest . . . a lot of what is left to say is directed towards specific people, which I can do one-on-one.

I wish you all a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Off the Grid


• There is only 10 more days left... really, I need more time!

• Can someone please tell me why people put exclamation points inside parentheses?(!) I'm seeing this a lot lately I do not understand what the point of this is... what am I missing?

• I tried completing what I believe will be a trifecta of sorts by calling to find out where things stood for me on an important matter. Instead of getting an answer, I got voice mail.

• The can of worms that I thought I put away came out again yesterday. However this time the can wasn't open, it was thrown away... finally. Or in other words, we finally had the conversation that needed to take place.

• Now that I've taken care of that, I'm wondering what to do with the elephant. I think it needs to find a new home (my place is a bit cramped); however, I don't want to confront this matter in the way I think I'm going to have too.

• Tonight I ran two miles without stopping. This is a first. I also ran half a mile on a slight incline. #improudofmyself

• Some people just want to see what they want to see. #somethingimustremember

• I just discovered the benefits of the Airplane Mode feature on cell phones.

• Thus far this week I've been told twice that I'm tenacious - and it was meant as a compliment. Usually when someone says that they are giving me a difficult time about this quality.

• When I started out this year I was very tight-lipped about what I was up to in terms of what I was up with some things in my life. These day, not so much.

• Today someone told me that they liked that I walked quickly. Random, I know. With that in mind, I've never gotten a compliment for that before - usually people are telling me to slow down.

• So far this new world I'm in has been interesting. There is a lot of opportunity for me to learn, and also the chance to make some good connections.

• I met Benny the Bull (the Chicago Bulls mascot) in an elevator in one of the government buildings last week. I went to go take a picture of him, however he insisted we take a picture together. It was nice to see Benny was still working despite the NBA lockout that seems to persist.

• There is nothing specifically I have to say about the subject of this post - "Off the Grid." I saw the term somewhere and liked how it sounds.

• This coming Thursday it will be a year sicne project "Life Map" was born. It's hard to believe that it's been that long. When I put this together I really didn't know what to make of it. I didn't know if I would actually do anything with it or if it would just become a funny story to tell my friends (like it was in the beginning). December 1st of 2010 was the first day I did something about project life map. Again, I didn't know what to make of it.

These days, I still think of this little experiment; however, I don't do so because it is guiding me through life like it first did in the early days. I think of it because it in some weird way it transformed me this year. It brought me back to the person I've always been, but forgot I was.

Recently, when I was in my kitchen I found myself thinking about how the walls were covered in all the possibilities the map provided. I was also thinking about how bare my walls looked. For the first couple months of this year that map was the prominent decor in my kitchen. Then my mind began to float into all the possibilities for 2012. I began to smile. Though some of them seem uber ambitious, the ideas I have excite me and make me look forward to the new year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life is Circular

It was only three months ago I was commenting to PT how I would do things differently if I found myself back in similar circumstance as I was in during 2010... After all hindsight is 20/20.

Just a matter of days after making those remarks, I found myself back in the situation I had referenced. Since then, I have done things differently. Don't get me wrong, there are some things that are the same, but I have definitely changed my approach as well. During all this, I failed to notice that there was another pattern repeating itself in my life. One I hadn't seen in a decade. It was a significant event that without a doubt goes on the very, very short life regrets list.

When I was last here, I didn't speak up and let my thoughts and feelings be known - I was too afraid. I kept waiting for "the right moment." That right moment never came. So, when I finally recognized this time what was happening, I once again had a decision to make: 1) Be afraid and say nothing; or 2) Let go of the life "oh shit" bar and see what happens. I mean I have a parachute with me, so no matter what the outcome is, I know I'll land safely.

In life, there are patterns in our life that are repetitive in nature; like circles. Part of our job is to identify those patterns and figure out if they are worth staying the course or deciding to break them and chart a new path.

In my case I have, once again, decided to do things differently. I let go of the oh shit bar and am currently in a free-fall. I've been upfront about my thoughts, and feelings, not leaving anything to question. I don't know what the final outcome of all this will be, but as I wait for the signal to deploy my chute so I can steer myself to the part of the landing field meant for me, I fall knowing that I took ownership of the situation and did something about it instead of sitting back and letting life steer me to my destination.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Out with the Old; In with the New

Sometime I'm amazed how the simplest change can make a huge difference. Today, that change was a decision to get a new shower curtain.

My original purpose for venturing to Bed, Bath and Beyond (B3) was to buy a humidifier. Yeah, of course I am doing this after my cold and I parted way, but better late than never. Strolling through B3 is never a chore for me. I love this place. The wanna be decorator inside of me loves walking down the aisles looking at all the home goods goodness. On this particular trip my eye caught the shower curtain display. There were several designs that I couldn't stop looking at.

The shower curtain I had was a wedding gift, along with a matching bathroom accessory set, given to the ex and I over 5 years ago. It was also part of the stuff I took when I moved after the divorce. I never really thought much about the fact that it was a wedding gift. It was just something that was a part of my bathroom that blended into the repetitiveness of my days.

However, one day, a few months ago, I was fixing my hair and noticed it in the mirror. For some reason on that particular day when I looked at it I was reminded of its origins. It was an arbitrary thought, but a thought I had nonetheless. As I made this observation, I also noticed that it no longer reflected my personal taste in decor. It appeared to me as heavy, cold/dark and boring; however, I wasn't moved to replace it right then and there. I just let it be as it was.

I'm not sure what moved me today to get a new shower curtain. It's kind of the same randomness that moves me to get new clothes or style my hair different. It happens when just ready of a change.
Since I couldn't make up my mind at the store which one I liked best, I bought three with the intention that two would find its way back to the store. As I hung-up the one I choose, I just knew it was the right fit. It opened up the space and made everything feel light, inviting and airy. I actually love it so much I'm even contemplating buying all the matching accessories (trash can, tooth brush holder, etc.), but I don't know how matchy matchy I want to get.

Once the divorce was final, I bought a bunch of new things for my new place. Granted I didn't buy new furniture, but I did manage to find a few pillows for my sofa that made it pop more. I also bought new dishes even though I had half of the ones we got as wedding gifts as well. (Looking at greyish blue and black while I ate was starting to give me the blahs.) I also bought new bedding and linens for the bathroom. It was a renewal sorts and a way of making this new place mine.

Today, I had that same feeling I had back then when I bought all those new items for my new home. It was the fresh new look that reflected who I now am now; not who I was then.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

France or Italy?

There is a list of things I want to do before I die. It was established my Junior year of high school. Back in May I wrote about this list and noted the items I had checked off it. Additionally, I mentioned some things I would add to it at this point in my life. Since rediscovering the list a few years back I have used it as a starting point for my life to do list. As long as I'm alive, I intend to make this a living document as I intend to never stop looking for new goals to achieve and experiences to have.

Every Thursday, myself and three of my friends blog about the same topic. We each take turns on picking the topic. This week, Melissa, our resident Merryland Girl, asked us to write about one thing you've never done but would really like to do at some point in your life?

One of the great things about this year has been that it as the first time in a long time that I got off my butt and started to work towards my goals and seized opportunities to try new and exciting things. Aside for a few "off" years, this is typically how I approach life.

However, there is one things I can't seem to get going on... For ten years I've been talking about taking a trip to France and Italy. I even got a mileage credit with the intention to charge everything I possibly could to the card so I could earn miles towards this trip. Back in June 2008, I was in the process of the early planning stages of this trip when I got bad news and had to post-pone the trip. Since then, I have talked about re-initiating the planning process, but haven't for one main reason. I recognize this obstacle and really want to push myself past it, but I can't seem to do that. I even came-up with "Plan C" which is one of three life plan options I put together for myself last November to kick-start things in my life again. Plan C was simple - get my passport in order, box my stuff and put it in storage, and travel overseas until every last dime I have is spent. Throughout 2011 I've even ask several of my friends where I should start - France or Italy. However, par for the course, I haven't even updated my passport. Well, that is until now ... (but that's another story.)

Since the creation of Plan C, as much as I like the idea of seeing France and Italy, other countries have been added to the agenda. France and Italy are just a starting point for a trip of a lifetime. One thing is for sure, it's not a matter of IF I take this trip, it's a matter of WHEN I take it.

Unrelated to my spectacular European travel plans, I would also like to run the Hood To Coast relay that takes place in Oregon annually. When I lived there it was neat to watch come through town. At the time I didn't think it was something I'd ever do, but now that I'm getting into races and such I can't see why it would be a stretch to think I could do such a thing. Or for that matter, maybe, I'll find races in the European cities on visit on the above mentioned dream trip.

Hmmmm . . .

Now that I've told you about some things I plan to do in my lifetime, please read what my fellow bloggers would like to do in their lifetime...

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Momarock (Sara)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sleep Trumps Blogging

The cold is still reeking havoc in my world.

I'm feeling better, but not 100%. So, tonight I am cheating on this blogging challenge and call this my post.

Nite!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

15 15 15

It's 15 days into National Blog Post Month.

For the past 15 days I've been posting at lest an entry a day. Even within the first week it becomes that posting daily was more of a challenge than it sounds it would be. This has caused me to think of all the different things I could possibly write about, and remember things that have taken place in my life that I would have otherwise potentially forgotten.

There are 15 days left of posting daily. I will be interested to see what I come up with on those days. Honestly, I already have plans for the last two days of the month and the Thursday blog project has means another two days are occupied.

In honor of the past 15 days of this challenge that have passed, and the 15 yet to take place, I am committing to posting 15 thoughts tonight.

• There are only 17 more days left.... I need more time.

• I was blind-sided by the whole situation. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be dealing with such I thing. It went against everything I stand for.

• Part of me wants to make this situation to be a long-term one. The other side of me recognizes my adult responsibilities, and knows that it can't be unless the terms changed significantly.

• I never know how to describe myself for "About Me" sections and this time is no exception.

• This 30 days of posting has been interesting. It's forced me to think about different things I can write about. Thus far, I've enjoyed writing about my Comedy Improv characters the most. It was fun to revisit them and brought back great memories.

• Monday I found out that a local community sponsors a 5 mile Turkey Trot run where instead of being professionally timed, you write your name and the amount of time you "think" it will take you to complete the run. At the end of the run you write down how long it took you and the individuals that come closest win a turkey. There is only one clock participants see and it is at the end of the race.

No timers of any sort are allowed during the run. There is no entry fee and no t-shirt. This is purely for the fun of running in a race and seeing if you can predict how long the run will take you.

I am diggin' this concept so much that I just might participate in the run.

• I didn't realize how spoiled I having a train buddy this summer until I didn't have my train buddy around anymore. It's just not the same now.

• I don't know why, but I still care.

• There are things you come across in life that make you step back and feel thankful for what you have. This is happening a lot lately. A former coworker of mine from when I lived in the Northwest has Cancer. They are a few years younger than me and never did anything, like smoking, to bring this one; however, they have Cancer. Every time I see them post about it on Facebook I think of their bravery and strength.

• Everyone loved the date 11/11/11 because it was suppose to be good luck. I loved it because of it's connection to binary. (I'm such a geek!)

• I put the worms back in the jar and sealed the lid. I was tried of looking at them. If it gets opened up again, so be it. However, it won't be me who opens the jar. I've tried to have the necessary conversation, but have not gotten a response. So for now it is what it is.

• Now if I could only put kick the elephant out of the room.

• Thus far, the new chapter has been interesting. It's relaxed and though it has an element of formality, it's just like hanging out with a friend.

• Waiting for the phone to ring with news is like waiting for a pot of water to boil.

• ***Sigh***... It's definitely been a long time since I've done one a long list of bullet points. It's been difficult to come up with 15 things. Not that there isn't things to talk about, but mainly because this cold I have is making me tired, but keeping me up at the same time. I believe it's almost finished - I hope.

I wish these bullet points were more in-depth like they have been in the past... It's not like there isn't plenty to talk about, I just don't have the energy to put it all together at this moment in time. Oh well, I guess.