Archive for July, 2010

We sat my stepdaughter down recently and introduced her to the first season of Friday Night Lights.

If you don’t watch this show, go. Go RIGHT NOW. It’s so lovely, so well done. You won’t be sorry, go get the first season and watch it now.

(I’m going to throw a shout out to my brother right now; I came home on a random Tuesday to see that Amazon had shipped me the first season of FNL. Mike loved the show so much he thought I needed it immediately, and sent it right over. It sat on my coffee table for a few weeks, at which point my dog decided to try to open it, which, given his absence of thumbs and abundance of teeth, didn’t actually work out so well. Ashamed to tell my brother we had not actually watched it, I quickly ordered a NEW season 1, which also sat on the table, unwatched. It came out later that Moose had destroyed the first copy, at which point, for Christmas, my brother bought us YET ANOTHER copy of season 1. So, to count: that’s three copies of the same TV show, and I still didn’t take the initiative to watch it. I’M A MORON. This show was worth the insistence and glut of opportunities to watch.

My point is: don’t make me send you three copies of season 1. Hook yourself up and just start watching).

ANYWAY. Sammy, at age 13, I figured was ready for Friday Night Lights.

There’s two male leads that are important for this story: Tim Riggins and Matt Saracen.

Tim Riggins: Hard drinking, male slutting, bad boy who would have been kicked off the team long, long ago if not for his natural talent and amazing hair. He responds to his girlfriend breaking up with him with a beer swig and a “See ya around, then” needs a hug so badly that it makes me want to cry. To quote my cousin Sara, who has done A LOT of thinking about this, points out that “The tragedy of Tim Riggins is that he acts like he cares about the team the least, but really, he needs it the most.” Tim Riggins is the type of guy who (and I’m quoting from Wikipedia here) “copes with many of his problems through promiscuous sex and heavy drinking.”

Matt Saracen: Oh, Matty Saracen. He makes my heart hurt. The sophomore quarterback brought into first string through a random series of events, coming from behind, brimming with possibility, he can barely complete a sentence around a girl, loves art, and lives at home with his grandmother, in charge of taking care of her as she descends into dementia. A good guy who just wants to play football and date a nice girl, and make his dad/coach/team think he’s worth something, and not always succeeding in that, he ALSO needs a hug so badly it makes me want to cry.

Now, I love me some Matty Saracen, however, of course, Sara and I are in love with Tim Riggins. How can you not be? His tussled hair of angst just calls to us:

However, just as Sara and I were commenting on our love for Tim Riggins, I began to think that maybe that’s not the role modeling the teenager next to me needed from us, right? I mean, shouldn’t I NOT encourage a crush on the Tim Riggins of the world? So, I was chewing this around in my mind when the 13 year old pipes up with: “EW. Tim Riggins is gross, Matt Saracen is SUCH a nice guy. THIS is why you dated poorly through your twenties”

BOOM goes the dynamite on that one. From the mouths of babes, y’all. This girl is going to be OK, despite the best intentions of her parents.

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My parents got season tickets to the Twins when we moved to Minnesota. I appreciate why they did it – new city, lots of young kids (“lots” = 3), seems like a fun family outing. Now that I’m older and on the cusp of starting to understand the logistics and expense involved with carting around young children, I have a new appreciation for the time, effort and money involved with these family outings, and enjoy the act of going to see baseball games as a family even more so in restrospect.

Baseball was never a sport I took to, however, a healthy respect for the movie “Major League” notwithstanding. Two of our good friends – now married, two kids in- had their first date at a baseball game, and all I could think was “What a HORRIBLE idea” What if the date sucks? Then you’re stuck there for approximately eight hours with nothing to talk about. Terrible, terrible first date idea. Terrible.

(As I was writing that, I was reminded that the best first date I ever went on was a hike in the woods. If we follow my logic from the above paragraph, that is also a terrible, terrible first date idea – what if the date sucks? Then you’re stuck there for hours. It is at this point that my good friend chimed in with: “Well, at least in that scenario, you can hide your date’s body in the woods. So, you know, you’re not completely out of options like you are with baseball.”

You guys. I love my friends)

ANYWAY. This is all my way of telling you that for the first time since 1991, I went to see a baseball game, and while I stand steadfastly by my statement that baseball is still, without a doubt, the most boring game in the world, and I still seriously dislike light beer especially when it cost about $15 a drink, but, you know, walking the four blocks (yes, I live four blocks from the stadium and still had never gone. Look, it’s not like they’re playing SOCCER over there , ok?) and getting to spend a nice summer evening with friends, well, I suppose you could do worse.

ESPECIALLY if you get to quote Major League all night

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Started my new (same firm, new role) job Monday. Or, as we like to call it: “Yesterday”

Have I mentioned that it’s a remote team? So I’m free to work from whichever company office I choose, including my home.

So I am at home.

I’ve had flexible working arrangements before – I had a great team for while where, while we were all based out of the same office, it was kind of understood that if the weather sucked, or one person had a lot of conference calls and/or work that could be better done from home, then coming in wasn’t necessary. It wasn’t everyday, but it was enough so that you could make the judgement call that if you could get more done at home, you could stay.

That was really nice. It was a good balance. But with my new gig, when I realized I wasn’t needed to be in at ALL if I didn’t want to be, working all day in my yoga pants suddenly felt…slovenly. Like, I might not ever take them off again, even to shower, because why would I shower? I’M NEVER LEAVING THE HOUSE, EVER.

I read a quote once, and I think it would sum up how I feel about working in my pajamas pretty well:

“Working at home in your pajamas” sounds really nice, but for me it was a black hole where all my self-respect went to die.

Soooooo, new rule: yoga pants to a minimum. Shower is essential.

Guys, it’s been like, one day on the job. ONE DAY. And I want to be clear: I LOVE my job. I am SO excited it worked out. The team seems awesome, the actual job itself is exactly what I want to be doing: I LOVE IT.  And I’m VERY good at remote teams.

But I had this vision, of me. In the same yoga pants. EVERY DAY. And, as Amalah says, that is where your self respect goes to die.

(I am of course making caveats for NICE yoga pants on a SHOWERED body. Obviously.)

So wish me luck. You know, with that showering thing. Because I somehow managed to make it this far in my life with a need to remind myself.

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TheBoss just quit his job. His last day as a big company consultant is Friday, and we’re totally stoked. Well, scared and potentially broke, but stoked. He liked his job enough, but it is the wrong career for him, and this move is long overdue. I want for him more than anything to have a job and career that he loves, and feel a purpose to his day that has been missing in recent years. It’s always scary to walk away from something familiar and known towards the unknown, but we’ll figure it out as a family. (Hat tip to the Marine Corps for our health insurance, a nice little detail that facilitates this greatly.)

(Don’t worry, Mom. We have a plan.)

Randomly, I came across this list today of 11 famous people who were in completely the wrong career at age 30. It is, to say the very least, quite timely.

Since I’m cut and pasting completely, give the authors their due and throw ’em a click through.

  1. Sylvester Stallone, deli counter attendant. After getting no career traction as an actor in his 20s, Stallone attacked his 30s like any 5’3 man should: He wrote a movie where he was an all-American hero with unbelievable success in sports.

    That movie was “Rocky”… he banged out the “Rocky” screenplay in three days, in between working at a deli counter and as a movie theater usher… and it launched his career with an Academy Award for Best Picture.

  2. Andrea Bocelli, lawyer. He’d loved music and singing his whole life… but didn’t really see (no pun intended) it as a career possibility. So, after school, he got a law degree at the University of Pisa. At age 30 he was working as a lawyer and moonlighting in a piano bar for fun and extra cash. He didn’t catch a break as a singer until 1992, at age 34.
  3. Martha Stewart, stockbroker. When she was 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker, no doubt learning all about finance and the ethics involved therein. Two years later she and her husband purchased a beat-down farmhouse in Connecticut… she led the restoration… transitioned into a domestic lifestyle… and parlayed that into her evil, evil career.
  4. Mao Tse-Tung, elementary school principal. At age 30, Mao was involved in communism… he was a young star of the Chinese Communist Party… but didn’t realize it could be a career. (Probably didn’t see communism as being very lucrative…?)

    Instead, he was working as the principal of an elementary school. Where, no doubt, hall passes were decadent. Four years later he started a communist group that eventually became the Red Army and put him in power.

  5. Julia Child, government spy. Absolutely the wrong career. At age 30, Child wasn’t cooking… she was working for the U.S. government as a spy. She went on clandestine missions to China and Sri Lanka (which, at the time, was called Ceylon) to get intelligence documents to agents in the field. She didn’t enter cooking school until age 36

    How it took until now to make a movie about her life (it comes out in like a week, with Meryl Streep) is mind blowing. They made a movie about the life of MC Hammer. They made a sitcom out of the Geico cavemen. I mean… someone bought the rights to make a movie out of “Where’s Waldo?” You’re telling me Waldo’s more interesting than female spy-turned-TV cooking superstar? It’s “Alias” meets “Top Chef”! Just because Waldo traveled to a bunch of exotic places where he managed to mingle with lots of other people wearing deceptive red-and-white striped shirts doesn’t make him movie-worthy

  6. James Joyce, singing. By 30, Joyce was writing… just not getting published. So to make ends meet he reviewed books, taught and, weirdly, made a lot of money thanks to his gorgeous tenor singing voice. (He was also a raging alcoholic, which isn’t financially lucrative until you become an author and can parlay those drunken antics into stories. Ask Hemingway. Or James Frey, sort of.)

    Joyce finally got his first book, “Dubliners”, published at age 32, which launched his career as, arguably, one of the most successful authors of all time.

    So I’ve decided to co-opt his style and will write the next point on this list completely in the manner of James Joyce..

  7. Colonel Sanders, tons of blue collar jobs. When yes Harland Sanders was turning 30 yes he was still yes switching from one yes career yes to yes another yes: Steamboat pilot (yes!), insurance salesman (yes!), farmer (yes!), railroad fireman (yes!), gigolo (no!). He didn’t yes start cooking chicken until he was 40 yes and yes, yes, yes didn’t start franchising until, yes, age 65.
  8. Michael Jordan, baseball player At age 30, Michael Jordan was the biggest star in the world, had just led the Chicago Bulls to three straight NBA championships… and promptly quit to become a minor league baseball later.

    This remains one of the most suspicious moves any celebrity has made in our lifetimes. If this happened today, the Internet would actually blow up with people debating the real reason why Jordan quit. The NBA secretly suspended him for gambling but couldn’t afford to admit he’d gambled on their games? Scottie Pippen took photos of him having gay sex with Bill Wennington and threatened to blackmail Jordan unless he stepped away? He killed a man? It’s all equally plausible (especially the Wennington thing).

    Anyway, I included this on the list because it shows that even Michael Jordan was still searching for the right career at age 30.

  9. Rodney Dangerfield, aluminum siding salesman. He started doing stand-up at age 19… then gave up on it in his mid-20s.. He started working as an acrobatic diver (true… and wow, I never realized that was the influence for the Triple Lindy)… and then as an aluminum siding salesman. He didn’t start getting back into comedy until he was 40.
  10. Harrison Ford, carpenter. When Ford was 30, he starred in “American Graffiti”… which was a huge hit. But he got paid a pittance for acting in it, decided he was never going to make it as an actor, and quit the business to get back into the more financially dependable world of construction.

    Four years later, he met up with George Lucas again (for those who don’t know, Lucas directed “Graffiti”) and Lucas cast him as Han Solo.

  11. Jesus, carpenter. At age 30, Jesus finally stopped doing carpentry and started performing miracles. See, Harrison Ford and Jesus have more in common than you’d think.

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Where I Am

Someone passed along the following quote from Mark’s Daily Apple:

“The contention I have is the media and corporate influence that have lured the masses to believe that running a marathon or finishing an Ironman is the ultimate endurance achievement. To me this seems backwards – to get persuaded by hype, mystique and peer pressure into an athletic goal and then re-arrange your lifestyle in order to pursue that goal. It makes better sense to make a careful analysis of your life circumstances, responsibilities, obligations and potential impact on your family, career and overall well-being, and then choose an appropriate competitive goal. Aspiring to a less challenging event that requires less training time and less physical stress might be a win/win situation all around.

I think that is where I am with endurance racing. I had some time to think during the Ironman (…ha), and I was really thinking about what it meant to me to finish that race, and if I didn’t finish, would I feel like I had to do another one to “redeem” myself (answer: resounding NO).

The entire time I was training for that race, I felt this push/pull friction against wanting to jerryrig my whole life around this race. I did that for the first race, and for my lifestyle at the time (husband deployed/flex work schedule/friends training for the same race), it worked. Life is different now, in ways I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I just didn’t want to structure a life that lived in service to Ironman training.

I got lucky – I had a coach and a training plan that Totally Got It, and I could not have asked for a better set up. If I do it again – and hey, I might – I will absolutely do the exact same thing.

I am proud of myself for being an Ironman. I spent a lot of time saying the phrase “I can’t do it” (“it” being defined as strenuous activity) because of my heart problem, and I was really able to retrain my attitude and beliefs out of that cop out. But now I think it’s more important for me to find a way to feel successful and badass while living my life in all arenas that aren’t athletically related.

So. The Plan:

1. Crossfit, baby. I love Crossfit so much, I cannot even tell you. I hesitate to be a complete fitness douche about it, because I know that wears thin, but man, it is such a fun way to get in shape/stay in shape/kick your own ass. So I’m going to focus on that, as much as I can, because it’s awesome. If I could give everyone I know a gift, I would give them the motivation to go check it out and see what it’s about so they could stop rolling their eyes when I talk about it and start seeing how awesome it is.

2. I want to run the Army 10 miler this fall, and I want to do it well. I haven’t really defined what “well” looks like just yet, but in a very abstract way I can say that I want to feel very proud of my time and my effort.

3. Primal/Paleo eating. In addition to not wanting to be a fitness douche, I also super don’t want to be a food douche, but there’s so many good things that come to me from eating well that I’m having a hard time avoiding talking about it. But needless to say, The Boss and I cook a lot at home, and while we generally trend towards a Paleo cooking lifestyle, we got away from it at the end of IM training (we just had to have the carbs. It was too hard without it), but I’m happy to be back to it. (Especially now that I’ve finish the MDot birthday cake.)

So. I think I can do all these things and still be a fully functional participant in my life. Hell, I think these things will aid me in being a fully functional participant in my life.

For now, anyway. Ironman’s a cruel bitch and she almost always gets you to come back.

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Well, Shoot

So, I am transitioning to a new role in my company that is not based in D.C., which means when I don’t have to be elsewhere, I can be at home.

It’s quite lovely. (The role is actually great in many ways, the ability to work in yoga pants frequently is only one of them)

I have been thinking to myself that one of the main benefits is I’ll have better control – or options, anyway – over food during the day, and not subject to the whims of the 4th floor fro yo machine calling my name every day at 3pm, etc. Save money! Eat more healthy! Woo!

And then:

My good friend Jen surprised me last night with an M-Dot (the Ironman symbol) birthday cake. OMG, you guys. It is so good.

And it is huge:

And the leftovers are sitting on my counter, staring at me, begging to be eaten:

Seriously, you guys. I am only so strong.

Anyway, like I said: I’m *transitioning* to this role. I haven’t *started* yet. So clearly this week does not count. Ahem.

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Having a birthday on the Fourth of July is so great. Everyone has the day off, is in the mood to gather and relax and enjoy the day, and there’s fireworks at the end. What’s not to love?

I’m having a wonderfully simple day, and am feeling very lucky to have my life, complete with my family and friends (and dogs!) that make it so lovely.

Speaking of dogs, I was walking Moose earlier this morning, and we sat for about an hour reading (me) and chewing a stick (him), and it reminded me of one of my favorite pictures from the Italy trip:

Truly, I could have sat in that garden and read for weeks.

Anyway, this is turning into a great day filled with both quiet moments (park! moose!) and lively ones (fireworks!) and really, it’s just such a nice life.

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