Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Single Black Female

This must be a sign. I have had multiple people forward me a Nightline special from a couple days ago that talks about why it’s so difficult for Black women to get married and find a suitable mate. You know what this means? When they saw this special, they thought of me. Poor little Brianna, single at 29, with just a few of her best procreating years left. People, my friends and family are worried. Should they be?!! After I watched the clip, I must say it certainly didn’t make me feel any better about the situation.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I really could give two rips about being single. Don’t get me wrong…I date. On occasion I find people to crush on and it’s usually not too hard to get them to return the favor. But getting to the point where you seriously consider marriage and begin to talk about what you will name your firstborn child? Well, let’s just say I’ve yet to tell anyone I really like the name Madison.

So, the question is basically this… Are our (black women) standards too high, or are the pickings too slim? Watch the video and tell me what you think. Here are a few things I got from it…

*Don’t overlook good men who may not fit the “criteria” you think you need/want.

*Date the rainbow.

*Go for the older guy

*Don’t settle. At the end of the day, you didn’t wait this long for nuthin’!






Thoughts???

Monday, December 28, 2009

Whereabouts

Have you ever been in one of those relationships where the other person expects you to update them of your plans every second of every day? You’re constantly calling to check in and let them know what’s going on, and if plans change you better let them know that as well, lest they freak out on you and start becoming suspicious! Being the independent, free spirit that I am, I tend to avoid relationships like that at all costs. If you call to see what I’m doing just to be nosey, or ring my house phone at 9pm to see if I answer it, I’ll ignore it at continue watching Grey’s Anatomy in my PJ’s. Just on principal. But being a professional athlete, I am also obligated to put myself in that type of relationship as long as I want to be in this sport. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is my clingy, needy, dependent boyfriend and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

I just spent the last hour or so of my life completing an online tutorial to ensure that I am updated and aware of all the changes made to our testing procedures for the upcoming year. Not only did I watch the tutorial, I completed multiple games of Hangman and Jeopardy at the end of each module to make sure I was absorbing all the pertinent information. Hangman at this age? Whatever it takes, I guess. These people know that if they just ask nicely for us to read and process the information on our own, it may or may not get done. But forcing us to input the right answer before the left arm is drawn, at least ensures we put in a little effort.

After that fun-filled start to my morning, I proceeded to fill in what I will be doing at every waking hour from the start of the year til March 31st. Do you know what you will be doing on February 11th at 8 am in the morning? You might have a good idea, but I am contractually obligated to be where I say I’m going to be and be ready to hand over urine and blood on demand. And if I say on December 27th that I will be at home sipping my coffee looking over my Facebook status updates, I better be there. If I decide I would rather sip my coffee at Starbucks, I must pass that information along to the powers that be…or else. The only time they don’t want to know where I’m at is between 11pm and 6am. I suppose that’s a tad better than that one guy I dated in college who drove to my apartment at 1am to see if my car was there when I didn’t answer my phone.

At the end of the day though, we accept this relationship willingly and gladly. Sure, it’s a tad bit annoying and difficult to remember at all times that there is someone out there that needs to know your every move. But it will never be more bothersome than the people who chose to be cheaters. I loathe them far more than I could any clingy boyfriend.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Crayons


When you’re a child, there aren’t many things you get excited for that compare to opening gifts at Christmastime. You wait all year long for the chance to get ready for bed, set out some milk and cookies, and sleep as little as possible so you can wake up and see all your new gifts that Santa brought you. When I think back to when I was young, I can hardly recall the actual gifts, even though I know I must have been thrilled the Christmases I got my pink Barbie Corvette, my Nintendo, or my shiny new bike. What I do remember though, is the emotion of it all. The enthusiasm.

I also remember periods during my childhood when times were really tough and Santa seemed to be experiencing some of the financial struggles we were. Toys and presents were not a necessity and we were functioning on need alone. There were years where the best my mother could manage was to make sure we had a roof over our heads and shoes on our feet. (Payless of course, there was none of those fancy L.A. gear high-tops in our household). Christmas gifts were a luxury that really didn’t fit into the budget. Of course that’s a hard thing to try and explain to kids. Not only did I not fully comprehend what living paycheck to paycheck really meant, I certainly didn’t grasp how that could effect my gift getting. I was okay with not having much, but a Christmas with no presents seemed devastating.

During one of these particularly hard years, our Church stepped in and played Santa. I don’t remember many of the details, just that I had a gift wrapped in shiny paper with my name on it. My gift was this fantastic tray of crayons that included just about every color imaginable. I'd never seen so many crayons in one place in my lifetime. I could now draw flowers in Dandelion, instead of just simply yellow. The memory of that gift has stuck with me for over 20 years. Recognizing how bad my memory is, this is testament to the importance of that gift in my life. Maybe it wasn't something I fully grasped as a young child, but on some level I knew enough to appreciate people I didn't know personally making sure my family had a holiday meal and gifts under our tree. That feeling of gratefulness has stuck with me all these years.

Of course I know that Christmas is not about giving and receiving gifts. Jesus wasn’t particularly concerned with my ability to take my coloring books to a whole other level. But I do know that people being loving and compassionate and choosing to help others out of the kindness of your heart is something that Jesus is quite fond of. This display of love goes a long way. I know this because I still remember those crayons. And so for those of you who take the time during the holiday season to drop off a toy at the toy drive, give a family a holiday meal, donate your time or your money, or whatever it is that you do, I just want to say thank you.

If you have the ability to go outside your inner circle just a little this holiday season, just know that what little you do, has the capacity to have a far greater impact. It can be a blessing that lasts far beyond Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Spirit of the Season

There is nothing that will put you in the holiday spirit quite like going to the DMV. I should know,.. I was blessed to spend time there yesterday afternoon. I walked away with feelings of joy and happiness. Where else could I spend hours of my life standing around waiting with my fellow Americans, listening to the beautiful sounds of “G201 to window 17, melodically coming through the speakers? It’s nice of them to also have the numbers flashing up on the screen as well. I know I really appreciated it, it was like an added awareness of what was going on, lest you start to let your mind wander unknowingly or you began to be captivated on what was going on around you.

What was going on around me? Perhaps just the most interesting display of social interaction I’ve been privy to in quite a while is all. Take for instance, the lady sitting next to me. She had no desire to wait til her number was called, so she took to rushing a window every time she saw someone leave it, before the next customer was called. The lady on the other side of me thought it would be a great idea to talk on speaker to her boyfriend the whole time while her 2-year-old daughter made a playground out of her surroundings. In all fairness, she’s probably worried about getting cancer by holding her phone directly to her ear. And controlling your child is totally overrated. They’re children for chrissake! Let them run free.

I also got some great styling tips from my fellow DMV’ers. More than likely I won’t get the opportunity to try them out until some time around October 31st, but very unique ideas nonetheless. In addition to learning about fashion, I was also able to practice my Spanish. Boy, am I rusty! In the end, it was all worth it though by the time I had my number called and made my way to window 23. It truly allowed me to be more like Jesus and treat others how he would. Jesus showed everyone love and treated them with respect and compassion, regardless of how they felt about him. In my small way, I did the same. This lady was rude and inconsiderate, but I smiled just the same, thanked her for her help and time, and wished her a very Merry Christmas.

So, yes, the DMV, with their discourteous employees, ridiculously long lines and crowded waiting room, and interesting characters everywhere you turned, was the perfect way to get into the spirit. Now I think I’ll wait til the 24th to go to the Mall.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pain, Pain, Go Away...

I despise going to the dentist. In fact, there is probably nothing in life that terrifies me more. It starts the moment you sit in the chair and they tell you they’re just going to give you a quick shot that will numb your mouth. They make you believe that this little shot is no big deal, and it’s really all downhill from there. For starters, I don’t know about you but that shot hurts! So you’re already starting off in a bad place. After that, you aren’t supposed to feel any pain and everything is supposed to be easy as pie. Well, years and years ago I had an experience where that wasn’t the case and it has fueled my fear of Novocain and it’s abilities ever since.

Today I’m headed to the doctor to get a Novocain shot and I’m not feeling all that great about it. In fact, I’m a little bit fearful that after it’s all said and done, I’m still going to feel pain. But instead of the shot being in my mouth, this time it will be in my ankle. The doctor felt that something he saw on the MRI might be causing me pain, but he’s not very certain. So he will numb it, I’ll go jump at practice, and hope I don’t feel any pain. If I don’t, that means I have at least figured out where the pain is originating from and that is half the battle. If I do though, it’s going to be just like the dentists visit all over again

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What I do for a living

Today I was almost going to blog about the horrific day of travel I had yesterday, spanning 14 hours, with nothing to eat but a biscoff cookie and some peanuts (due to the absence of any type of money), and landing in a city that was not my destination. But since my last blog was already a bit of a rant, I wanted to make sure I didn’t start to sound like the bitter black woman. You know the one…

So instead, I am choosing to write about a subject that was brought up by the person I spent the majority of my day with, the guy sitting next to me on the plane. Now, this person had the potential to make me write a rant as well, seeing as how he didn’t spend much of the time in solitude, the way I like to spend my time flying. I board a plane ready to enjoy my solo time and sometimes that can be severely interrupted by one simple question.

"So, what do you do for a living?"

There are two reasons I normally shy away from this question. For starters, it is not a short answer. I can’t simply say “I work in Marketing” or “I’m a personal trainer” (if my muscle definition is obvious that day), and let that be that. Saying you’re a professional track and field athlete comes with loads and loads of follow up questions. What does that mean…how do you make a living…when do you compete…who do you run for…how fast can you run a mile…what school do you go to (they missed the ‘professional’ part)…did you ever run the 440 yard dash…what do you think of Marion Jones…how do you train… and then the question that always gets thrown in there that is my other reason for hesitation, have you ever been to the Olympics?

Because people associate track and field with the Olympics, they figure all of us have been. I feel like it’s a lightweight disappointment to them. Or maybe that’s just my own insecurities. I don’t know. But after a conversation I took part in this weekend, I learned about the importance of talking openly and freely with strangers about what we do for a living, and being excited about it. I know that I need to be better at networking and chit chatting with folks I don’t know. All my friends will tell you this is not my strong point. But you never know whom you might be speaking with and how they might be a great contact now or somewhere down the road.

I also just need to appreciate the fact that people care at all. 10 years from now when people ask what I do and I tell them I do market research for company X, they’ll simply nod politely and go back to their magazine. At that point I’ll want to add that in my past I use to be so good at something, there were only a handful of people in the world who were better. I’ll want to explain in great detail what I do on a daily basis and how that talent has allowed me to travel all over the world. I’ll surely be flying in coach, as I will no longer be flying over 100,000 miles a year. So I should definitely be grateful for those individuals who seem interested in what I do for a living and want to know more. These people could become fans of our sport, and perhaps even a fan of me! Shoot, some might even become a loyal blog reader…you just never know.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An Open Letter...

Dear Purse Thief,

I’m writing this letter for two reasons. One, there is a very good chance you might read it. Once you look through my belongings and type my name in Google, this blog will come up as the second entry. (Yes, I google myself. Don’t judge.) Second, I feel the need to vent and my doing so here just may prevent the next person from being careless with their belongings and ending up in my same predicament. I would like to start off by saying that I am very angry with you. You ruined a perfectly good evening out with friends and colleagues. I was having a fantastic time until you decided it would be a good idea to take what wasn’t yours and leave me high and dry. Let’s take inventory on the stuff you walked away with.

First is the purse itself. Thank God I left my Michael Kors back in the hotel room! I have no idea if you’re a man or a women but you definitely got nothing in the handbag department as that little clutch can be replaced without breaking the bank. I breathed a sigh of relief on that one. But I’m guessing that’s not really what you were after anyway.

The cold hard cash. Bummer for you, as it was less than $50 bucks, but bigger bummer for me as it was the only cash I had and I was stuck all the way in Indianapolis for 3 more days. Something told me not to even bother bringing cash as I would be surrounded by plenty of male friends, but I stuck it in there anyway at the last minute. You made me beg and plead for each cup of Starbucks coffee and meal I needed to consume for the remainder of the conference.

Driver’s License. In case you were wondering, it’s not my current address but you live in Indy so I would assume you aren’t planning to visit anyway. It’s been less than a year since I lost my last one but I suppose it’s not that big a deal unless I’m forced to visit the DMV in person. What really makes my blood boil is that shiny highway patrol sticker I have on there and one can only hope that their kind, caring uncle reads this and finds it in his heart to replace that.

Credit Cards. I have no idea what you were trying to purchase at Wal-Mart for $400 dollars, but you probably didn’t realize I make a living being speedy, so I had those cards canceled before you even thought of all the cool things you could buy on my dime.

Passport. The good news is it wasn’t mine but the bad news is it wasn’t mine and so I had to feel extra guilty for losing a friends passport, not to mention only form of identification. I suppose this frees me from being asked in the future to carry belongings for other people in my purse so that their pockets aren’t bulging, but in the meantime I have to also deal with someone else’s disappointment while dealing with my own. Not good.

Blackberry. A good businessman might realize that people will pay you not to steal their blackberry. I tried calling all the people you called on my phone before I turned it off to have them relay that message to you, but to no avail. And let’s talk about that for a second, shall we? You’re a dumb thief. Obviously I can easily look up phone activity and see the numbers you’ve called. I even think the older gentleman I got a hold of was willing to help me out, he just couldn’t remember who it had been on the phone from that phone number by the time I called him. He even tried calling it again to see who answered but by that time I had shut the phone down so you got lucky there. I now see the importance of keeping your phone locked, even if you don’t have a nosey significant other who might want to snoop. A blackberry contains far too much personal information that you may or may not be interested in. Luckily for me, you won’t be able to run to the tabloids with the pictures I have stored, but that doesn’t make me feel any less violated.

So basically, you suck. I learned a valuable lesson and will never again make it that easy for a punk like you to disrupt my life like that. But the offer still stands… I will pay you to give my Blackberry back. No questions asked.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obligations

So…Tiger. I’m pretty sure I don’t really need to say more than that as everybody should be able to ascertain what I’m referring to. This isn’t a gossip site. I prefer to leave that drama to Perez Hilton. What I’m most interested in discussing on this blog, is the aftermath of the whole situation and what we as a society have come to expect, and even demand from our celebrities, namely athletes.

To me, this is what’s most fascinating. I’m not gasping in shock over “transgressions”, but I am slightly stunned by the majority of people who seem to believe that they’re owed an explanation of some sort as well as a personal account of details so that they can fully judge and come to their own conclusions. Because of his status as the world’s top athlete, he is obligated to make private matters public and let us all ascertain the severity of the situation and how he should now be viewed.

I’m no celebrity. There are probably a few thousand people in this world that know who I am that I have not personally met. Next to Tiger that’s like a backyard swimming pool compared to the Pacific Ocean. But yet even on that extremely small scale, I’m sometimes amazed at the ability of some to critique and analyze portions of my life that don’t involve them. So, I personally feel that in Tiger’s case, being an “alleged” adulterer should only matter to his wife and to his family. Why should it matter to me? Why would I want it to?

Is he supposed to apologize to us because we made the choice to look up to and admire him? Perhaps if his chosen profession was a priest, but as far as I know, he’s just a really good golfer. He hits small white balls into a hole with enormous success. I fail to see the correlation with moral perfection in that line of work. Granted, I see how his “image” has helped to amass most of his billion-dollar fortune. But that is also the work of large corporations creating an ideal so that they can get us to buy more Gatorade and Air Max sneakers. I must be honest with you. No matter what happened, I’m still going to drink Gatorade on occasion and I’m not giving up my Mach 3 Turbo. I’ll even wear Nike…if they pay me. And just because I choose to purchase those products, I don’t feel like Tiger Woods owes me an explanation for anything. I’m not going to believe that asinine story about his helpful wife beating out the back window with a golf club to save him because he was trapped in his car after he inadvertently hit a tree for no reason…but I have no problem with that fabrication if it’s what he chooses to put out there.

Personally I just think we should let him be. If you want to be a fan of his golf game, do so. If you want to nominate him for husband of the year, think twice. I just don’t think we should have expectations of perfection, nor should we think he has an obligation to explain in detail each and every mistake he makes. Would you like to tell millions of strangers all about the biggest mistakes you’ve made in life? Probably not.

If you think differently, I want to know why.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas came early

The older I get, the more I feel like the commercialization of Christmas just seems to add more stress and anxiety to something that shouldn’t be stressful at all. At holidays like Thanksgiving, all I’m required to do is show up, eat all the wonderful food that has been prepared, and take the time to think about and express what I am truly thankful for. I get to be around all my friends and family without worrying if they’re going to like the random scarf I spent hours at the crowded mall for and really just ended up purchasing because I couldn’t find anything else. I don’t have to feel guilty when so and so hands me a gift and I don’t have any gift to give in return so I make up some lame excuse about how I forgot it at home and will get it to them asap. There is no reason to put unneeded charges on my credit card for a bunch of things for other people that are unneeded to begin with. Where is the joy in that?!

The fact of the matter is I actually like gift giving. And of course… I LOVE gift getting. ☺ I think it’s the pressure that usually ends up getting to me and ruining the beauty of it. Sometimes I think it would be nice if you could just give a friend a gift the third Saturday of July and say MERRY CHRISTMAS! Or, be walking through the mall and grab something small for your Mom just because you know she would like it, and not still feel obligated to find something she may or may not like by December 25th. Nobody has to pretend they love the new flannel pajamas from Grandma.

So, out of all the “gifts” I might get this year, I think I may have already received my favorite one. I just finished slathering my lips with my new Burt’s Bees chapstick, bought for me by my best friend this weekend while we were out enjoying life and being thankful for the amazing friendships we’ve kept alive the last 15 years. (In case you aren’t aware, Burt’s Bee’s is the fancy schmancy stuff, not just the regular, plain kind I usually purchase for myself. It’s easily four bucks at least.) Hours earlier I had complained of chapped lips and while she was at the register purchasing a book at Border’s, she saw the chapstick and thought of me. When she got back to the table she told me to close my eyes and hold out my palm, then proceeded to drop this little gem into my outstretched hand. I squealed in delight. No, really…I did. Hopefully she realizes that it’s probably the best Christmas gift I’ll get this year and that she is totally off the hook a month from now. Because to me, that simple act of kindness was indicative of how I want all my gifts to be given. Simple...from the heart…and given just because. If it happens in December that’s fine, but it’s not necessary. Every time I use my chapstick I will think of her and the amazing, thoughtful friend that she is. Merry Christmas to me… on November 28th.

And here are some pics of the people I love and are thankful for that I got to spend some quality time with this weekend...

My beautiful cousins,sis, and I



My best friends (the chapstick giver is 2nd from right!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things to be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is a day that you remember all the things you are thankful for. The premise might be a little flawed, seeing as how it originated from a day where we kicked Native Americans off their own land and claimed it for our own—just cuz we could—but why we celebrate it today and what it means in our hearts is something totally different. We give thanks for what we have been blessed with, and hopefully we thank the Man who has given us all those blessings. Of course this could and should be done last Monday or three Fridays from now, but today is the day we make a big hoopla about it. So I decided to start going over what I’m thankful for. First and foremost, my eyes are open. I woke up today a healthy human being and so I might as well start there. After that, the list is endless. Being able to travel and see the world…The Twilight series…the most amazing friends a girl could ask for… ‘animal style’ at In n Out…a family who continuously loves and supports me…matinee movies with snacks snuck in…Church on Sunday morning…my amazing lasagna recipe…being able to spend every day focusing on something I am truly passionate about…having a car that gets really good gas mileage…meeting new people who bless and enrich my life…never having to live somewhere where it snows…being an American…still being in my 20’s…the list can literally go on and on. I know we all have numerous things we are able to put in the “and thank you for that” column. If you’d like to add a thing or two here, please be my guest!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Annoyed...and slightly envious

A while back I mentioned that I had started attending spin class to help me get back in shape. I’m not able to go all that frequently now that I must be on the track five days a week, but every once in a while I try to sneak a class in. Like today. Today I went, and my favorite whooper and hollerer was there, three bikes down. He was in full effect today, and I have come to expect nothing less. Of course he has the knee length professional biker shorts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a special Lance Armstrong signature on the tag. His shirt was bright orange—tucked in with the sleeves rolled up, a la 1991. His head is shaved, he wears two diamond stud earrings, and he wouldn’t dream of cycling with just regular old tennis shoes. He’s a professional spinner with those special shoes to prove it.

I don’t know, maybe it’s a slight case of envy that keeps me rolling my eyes at his every whistle and upbeat clap. Personally, I have only learned to manage to get through the class by keeping silent and conserving every last breath, but he has so much extra energy he’s the only one who responds every time the instructor asks anything.

You guys warmed up and ready to go?
YEAH! Woop woop!

How you feeling out there?
Awesome! clap. Clap. Clap. Clap.

Are we working hard?
Oh yeah! Go. Go. Go. Go.

It never stops. And then today I noticed something else that was just the icing on the cake. On the rare occasions we do get about 30 seconds to catch our breath and recover, he sits there and does mini choreographed dance routines in his seat. I get it. You love Rihanna, Britney is your idol, and you die for Lady Gaga…but this is recovery. Sit there and huff and puff like the rest of us. This is spin class, not rehearsals for a music video. But like I said…I’m probably just envious.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Eternal Optimist (I wish)

I like to consider myself an eternal optimist. But the only truth in that statement is the “like to”. In practice, I am usually anything but. I prefer to take a situation, think of the very worse outcome, and then react (in my head) as if that is what will happen. In my twisted way of thinking this prepares me for the worst, while letting me breathe of sigh of relief when things end up not turning out so bad. For example: If I’m at the airport getting ready to fly overseas for a meet and my plane is 30 minutes delayed, within a span of maybe 10 seconds I have already assumed that the plane will be more than 30 minutes late, I will miss my connection, have to stay overnight in another city, arrive the day before my competition with dead legs, and have to really dig deep to find the energy to compete well. And what happens when the plane is really only 30 minutes late and everything goes smoothly? ”Whew!” Bullet dodged.


This warped way of thinking shows up in other areas of my life as well. Most people who know me (read: exes) can probably attest to my argumentative skills. It makes sense that I would have multiple, thought out, thoroughly exhaustive points to prove…I have already had these conversations in my head, many times over. This is one of my favorite pastimes before bed -- conversations with other people where I not only play out my side of the discussion, but theirs as well. I can literally become teary-eyed because of a make-believe conversation.

But the whole point in sharing these slightly neurotic parts of my personality with you is to have you help me calm down just a little. I am dealing with something right now that could possibly be a huge misfortune, but it could also turn out to be not such a big deal after all. I will find out soon enough, but in the meantime I’m trying to keep my desire to panic and prepare for catastrophe to a minimum. It’s the planner in me that wants to jump ahead and make sure I have strategies in place in case I do have to deal with some unfortunate news but I feel like what I’m doing to myself in the meantime is adding premature wrinkles and grey hairs that I will regret 10 years from now when I’m forced to get botox and dye my hair every 6 weeks.

So much of what we worry about is unimportant. We see things with such a narrow focus when the big picture is being taken care of in the way that is always best for us. Please remind me of that. Or…just let me know that you are as neurotic as I am and maybe I won’t feel so bad.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fan Club President

As most of my blog readers know, I train down in San Diego at the Olympic Training Center. What some of you may not know is that I also trained down here in 2006, left for a couple years, and then moved back last year. A lot of athletes who train down here are resident athletes, meaning they live and train onsite. In 2006 I was one of those resident athletes, until they kicked me offsite and I could only use the facilities for training. The reason I was no longer able to be a resident athlete, was because I didn’t fit the criteria in place that determined which athletes possessed the potential to make teams and win medals.

During the years in between when I was elsewhere training, I didn’t have any major improvements that would blow the socks off anybody. In fact, I spent 2008 away from competition with a bad knee and a dismal outlook for the future. When I asked to be re-admitted to the resident program last year, it was only by luck (aka the grace of God) that they even took me. I still didn’t fit any of the “criteria” that was in place for athletes to be there and my age was against me. But luckily the USOC, who was in charge of the program last year, was not as strict as USATF in following the criteria from three years earlier and I was given another chance to prove myself.

Today I happened to be reminded of the improbable circumstances that brought me back to San Diego to train again. The program is being given back to USATF, and more than likely new “criteria” will be put in place. As a finalist at the last World Championships, I hope that I have proven myself and that my spot is no longer in jeopardy. I trust that they will see me as an athlete with the potential to make the medal stand the next time around. After all, this is the ultimate goal of a program such as this. They pour money into our development, and they want to see results. A few years back, I was deemed an athlete that wasn’t worth of the money because I more than likely was not ever going to produce results capable of earning a spot on a team and a medal. At that point it seemed as if my best years were behind me.

It’s ok that they didn’t believe. Perhaps, statistically speaking, they shouldn’t have. But I wanted to share this with all of you to show that there will be times in life when “others” might not think you have what it takes. They might consider your dreams to be too big and your aspirations just a tad too lofty. And that’s ok. Because at the end of the day, it really boils down to what you believe and what you have decided you are capable of. I never came back to the training center to just play in sand for a few more years and put off getting a real job. I knew there was more. And today, I still know there is more. And even if I am the only member of my fan club, I will continue to be my #1 fan and biggest believer. It’s not up to anyone else to take that position and I can’t rely on what others may think I am capable of. Sometimes you have to believe when no one else does.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Loner or Loser?

I have about 2000 “friends” on facebook. But you know how I spent my Friday night? Alone. It was just me and my newest Netflix delivery to keep me company. But before you think I’m going down that road again, let me assure you that this is not a ‘woe is me and my singleness’ post. We will put that one off until next month. It’s just the older I get, the more I realize I’m a loner.

I like people. I really do. The only problem is I only like some people enough to spend time with them. And the bigger problem is, I have no idea how you’re supposed to make friends at this age. After you aren’t in school anymore and don’t live by all your close friends, you can’t just ask someone to go get ice cream with you for the heck of it on Friday night. So if you haven’t guessed by now, I went by myself. And I’m totally fine with that. Every once in a while though, I’m not. And the older I get and have friends move away, get married, and have kiddies, the more alone time I have to deal with.

So if any of you want to be my friend maybe once or twice a month and go get ice cream, or watch cool shows on DVD, holla at me!


**This concludes my “blogging for a week” challenge. Obviously not the most scintillating of topics every day, but I tried my best. Yes, there is still tomorrow, but God rested on the 7th day and so will I. Nobody reads blogs on Sunday anyway.**

Friday, November 13, 2009

Check, Please!

How many of you have friends? How many go out to eat with those friends on occasion? How many of you still cringe when the bill comes and it’s time to split the bill 12 ways? I have no idea why it becomes so hard to do simple math when friends and food are involved. But it sometimes is. And depending on who your friends are, that sometimes ends up being most of the time.

I remember in college I had friends I had to virtually stop going out to eat with because of their inability to remember to include tax and tip more than a quarter. And then they still had the nerve to complain…loudly. It would be about anything and everything…they’re ice water wasn’t re-filled quickly enough, the seemed a little more medium than medium well, the appetizers took too long to reach the table…but honestly I think it would all be about building excuses not to tip. This is a former server’s worst nightmare.

I am a former server. I love a good meal with friends but it still makes me cringe when the bill is set on the table and people start forgetting they ordered a coke. I get really nervous and I instantly want to be the ringleader at the table and tell people how much they should pay. But that’s not always welcomed. Luckily at this age I have friends who make the process practically painless. Most of the time. But in the rare case you aren’t so lucky, here are a few guidelines you might be interested in.

*Whenever possible, split the bill evenly within your party. If someone had a side salad and water and someone else ordered lobster and a nice chardonnay, this may not be the best option. But if all your meals were in the same ballpark, I think this is the best option. So you might pay an extra couple dollars this time. The next time you’ll pay a couple less. It’s one of those things that end up all working out over time.

*Try to have everyone pay with cards or everyone pay with cash. Less headache.

*Make yourself the ringleader and be in charge of collecting from everyone. YOU tell THEM what they owe. (Good for math geeks)

*Go out with someone who thinks they’re a big time baller and likes to pick up the tab for everyone. Score!

*Stay home.

If you’ve never experienced these issues with your friends when you go out to eat, chances are you’re the cheapskate! If anyone has any tips to add, please feel free.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Look-a-like

Yesterday I was at Rite Aid getting an assortment of random things I realized I needed once I actually arrived. It was supposed to be just trash bags, but then I saw Maybelline was having a buy one get one free sale and, well, you know the end of that story! When I finally made my way to the checkout counter the guy took an extra long look at me before asking what he assumed was a rhetorical question. “You know who you look like, right?” Of course this is said as if the answer is obvious. But as any person of color will tell you, the answer could be any number of celebrities that have a little color to them. For some reason, non-black folks just don’t have the best judgment when it comes to who black folks might look like.

So today I decided to not even take a guess and just have him tell me who I look like. I would hate to be wrong and make the guy feel like I had no clue as to who my universal twin was... because he was so positive. Obviously I look like Jada Pinkett Smith. Obviously. I just shook my head and smiled as if I hear that every day. It’s really only as often as I hear any other brown-skinned starlet, save a few who happen to be a little more frequent. So I figured I would ask your esteemed opinion. Do I look like I could be Will’s wife?



In the past few years, I’ve also been hearing Alicia Keyes an awful lot. I don’t quite see it…not really. But I figured I would get your opinion on that as well. I chose a black/white pic of myself because let’s be honest, I have a far better tan that she does.




And the one I really do get more than any other is Holly Robinson-Peete. If I had to say I resembled anyone at all, I would probably pick her. And if I do end up resembling her even more in the next 10 or 15 years, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.





I’ve actually heard this all the way back from 21 jumpstreet days, which gives it a little more credence. But I don’t know, maybe it’s because I copied her hairstyle when I was younger.



So what do you think? Any of these people? Someone else? Let me hear your thoughts, no matter what your ethnicity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring our Veterans: Two Heros I Know

Veterans Day is probably one of the most important days we have to celebrate and I almost didn’t even realize it was today. Of course a holiday to me in the middle of the week means nothing to my work schedule and I don’t get the opportunity to take a day off in remembrance, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t pay tribute. I have mentioned this before on here, but the US Olympic Training Center is also a home training base for many of the Paralympic athletes and a few of them that I have gotten to know personally are some of the most admirable Veterans I can think of. So today I just want to take a moment to say a special thank you to them personally in this public forum, as well as put a mini spotlight on the incredible people they are and the amazing way they have served our country.

Kortney Clemens

While serving in the U.S. Army as a combat medic in Iraq, Kortney Clemons and three other service members were helping soldiers in an overturned vehicle when enemy forces detonated an explosive device. The explosion killed the other three service members, but Clemons' life was spared. As a result of the blast, he lost his right leg above-the-knee.










Jerrod Fields

In 2005, Sgt. Jerrod Fields lost his lower left leg after an IED exploded during a patrol in Iraq while deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division. Fields recovered from his wounds and passed all of his physical requirements with his prosthetic leg to continue on active duty with the 3rd ID at Fort Stewart in an ambitious six months instead of the doctor-predicted nine. Re-enlisted by Vice President Dick Cheney, Fields is now a Bradley Fighting Vehicle Gunner with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Squadron.
For his service, Fields was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.









Seeing these athletes compete and train on a day-to-day basis just like I do is already inspiring enough. But once you have the chance to hear their story and understand exactly what they’ve been through, you realize that you’re training next to real-life heros. These men are the most brave and courageous people I personally know and I should probably tell them thank you every single day, but today I just wanted to make sure I said it extra loud. THANK YOU.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting in Shape

Officially I have one week of practice under my belt. But this year I actually cheated a little bit. I started working out to get ready to start working out. Sheer stupidity or utter brilliance? The jury is still out. On the one hand I cut back on my time of being a professional couch potato, but on the other hand I’ve become a professional spinner. Didn’t I tell you?? I now spin with the best of them. For those of you considering spin class but have thus far been too scared to take the plunge, believe me when I tell you that going consistently for about a month will make the experience a lot more bearable and it actually is a great workout. I actually consider myself one of the best in my small class (I find that most people do not increase half a turn when the teacher says so—they’re only cheating themselves!)…well besides the over-excited guy across the room who must consider himself a spinning guru and feels the need to whoop and holler the whole darn class. Who has the energy for all of that? I must admit though…I do appreciate his encouraging clap while we do the sprint portion. It always adds a little boost.

I’ve also picked up a new workout phenomenon called CrossFit. I don’t know, perhaps it’s just new to me and my world of running around in circles and jumping in sand, but this stuff is legit. In fact, if you live in San Diego you should come join me at CrossFitInvictus. I promise you will sweat buckets and get strong like nobody’s business. What I love about it is that it’s a bunch of random Joe’s and Jane’s but they work out like some G’s. How many soccer moms’ do you know that can do pull-ups?!

So basically, I’ve chosen to broaden my horizons. Of course I can’t incorporate these workouts all year due to the specificity of my sport, but it feels nice to switch it up a bit. It gives me an appreciation for other types of workouts and the people who do them for the sheer joy of being in shape. Pretty soon I will be one of those people. And once I become a soccer mom, I want to be able to hang with the best of them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Challenge!

I’ve been a bad blogger. Horrible actually. And it probably wouldn’t really matter except that I know people expect me to be writing things. Each day I check to see how many folks have stopped by to be let down and it makes me feel a little worse each day. Of course this isn’t my job and I don’t get paid to write about my sometimes boring and not so fabulous life, but I do feel a responsibility to fulfill expectations, however small they may be. The problem at times is that my life can be reaaaalllly boring. Like, majorly so. During those times, it takes effort to write something I could feel ok with people wasting 2 minutes of their life on.

I happen to be experiencing many of those days now. Just ho hum life void of any creative juices to inspire me. In an effort to get myself out of this funk, I’m challenging myself to be better…or at the very least write a bunch of crap. For the next week I will vow to blog each and every day. I don’t know what exactly I will blog, but if nothing else I’ll share what I ate for lunch and how I get really mad when I accidentally step in the poop my neighbor failed to pick up. Yea…that happened earlier today. What I have found lately, is that people seem to respond far more to dating/relationship blogs then they do to anything related to athletics. There is only one problem with that…the lack of useful data to write such a blog. So for now I am open to any ideas and suggestions as to what to write about, and in the meantime check back daily if you have a couple minutes to waste!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 1

They say that all good things must come to an end. That sentiment must also apply to laziness…otherwise known as my off-season. Today marks the first official day of practice for many of my professional counterparts and I. It’s time to lace back up the shoes, pull out the spandex, and start eating as if we are going to be seen in said spandex. Last I heard it’s not a good idea to sport a muffin top in a sports bra and boy shorts.

To say that I kind of let myself go during this time would be an understatement. Eating and behaving the way I do for 4 to 6 weeks out of the year is not something I would ever recommend for someone leading a healthy lifestyle. You hear of cheat days, but who really justifies a cheat month??? We do. I speak for others in my same boat only because I know I’m not alone during this time. For some of us, we show our six-packs in the summer and by November it’s just one big keg.

Peaking your body is quite different than just being fit and staying in shape. Track and field athletes probably exhibit this more than any other sport. Each part of the year requires a different type of fitness and because of that, its ok to basically start from scratch. After you climb the mountain, so to speak, and peak for your Championship, the aftermath is a slow descent down the other side of that mountain until you find yourself at the end of the season completely and utterly depleted. Sometimes you even hit that point before the season is actually over, but whatever the case may be, you still allow yourself the opportunity to hang out at the bottom for a little while before it’s time to turn around and take that first step in tackling that mountain again. I’m not quite sure if it’s as much of a physical necessity as it is a mental one, but I definitely need the downtime to reenergize myself to the task in front of me.

Day 1 of my year starts today. I don’t need a calendar to tell me that my 2010 season has officially begun. For the most part, I feel like I’m ready. And even if I’m not all the way there, I need to get going before none of my jeans fit me anymore and I’m forced to wear sweats at all times. It’s that darn muffin top trying to rear it’s ugly head.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Single Life

This past weekend, I celebrated a friend’s imminent passing from the life of single and sometimes fabulous, to a life of wedded bliss. At this age, bachelorette parties are becoming more and more frequent and every time I get the chance to attend one of these events, I secretly sing under my breath…
…Another one bites the dust. And another one bites, and another one bites, another one bites the dust.

I kid. While the fact remains that I myself am still single and fabulous, I have yet to feel like I’m missing out on something, even though I’m getting up there in years and those around me are falling like flies. In fact, I may not ever even bother to think twice about it except that probably the most common question I get is the dreaded, ‘why are you single’???

What, may I ask, would be an appropriate answer to such a question? I honestly think it’s probably the most asinine question one could ask. It’s quite obvious I’m not a nun so I have not dedicated my life to religious devotion and given up my right to marry. Either I throw myself under the bus and claim to be totally un-dateable and un-loveable (in which case I might as well become a nun), or… I throw them under the bus and claim there are just none out there that measure up to my awesomeness. Well I won’t tell you what side of the scale I believe the truth to be found on, but if you know me you could probably take a wild guess.

I kid. The truth remains that there are a lot of fabulous single people in this world of both sexes, and for some reason they haven’t met each other yet. I believe I’m in that group and I truly believe that my future husband is as well. So I wait patiently for him and in the meantime I don’t worry about the fact that I haven’t found him yet. There is no reason for me not to be single right now and that is the most honest answer I can come up with. Besides, as fabulous as I might be, perhaps God is still working on me and preparing me for the more fabulous version that will exist in the future and knock the socks off my future hubby. If that’s the case…patience is a virtue.

In the meantime, anyone have a clever answer I could add to my arsenal?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Angels Game: Two Perspectives.

Many of my friends know that I blog. They always wonder if whatever we are doing at that particular moment will end up on the blog and what my spin on it will actually be. Yesterday I went to the Angels and Yankees game with a friend and he asked if I was going to blog about it. “Maybe”, I replied. And then he said he could probably blog it for me because he knew what I was going to say. So I told him to give it his best shot. Tell my story, in my voice, the way you think I experienced it. Even though it wasn’t as easy as he thought, he did give it his best shot. And since I had already blogged it too, I’m giving you my real version. How close did he get? (I know…it’s hard to nail down my biting sarcasm).

HIS VERSION

I decided to take the train to the Angel Yankee game last night. It's a two hour train ride, but its better than dealing with traffic, and the train arrives exactly at game time 5:00. I'm supposed to meet someone there at 5. However, he didn't show up till 6. Obviously I am annoyed by this, I can be understanding when it comes to traffic, but an hour, come on buddy. Not to mention this isn't the first time this person has made me wait before. I'm debating whether or not to turn around and go home and delete this person from my phone. Needless to say, he finally arrives and although a little annoyed we proceed to go into the game.

When going to a baseball game one of the many traditions is to experience stadium food. You can't go to a baseball game and not experience the fine cuisine. Being a bud girl, I had to partake in a couple bud lights and some sliders from Ruby's Diner. Being that it is a baseball game I also had to have a hot dog. You can't go to a game and not have a hot dog right? It would be Un-American.

The game was very entertaining, from the action on the field to the drunk yankee fans that proceeded to high five me on his way out. Even though I wasn't rooting for the yankees, I wasn't wearing my Angels red and neither was the person I was with. I can see how I can be easily confused with being a yankees fan.

All and all I had a great time at the game, and the person I was with completely made up for being late and I enjoyed his company tremendously. He walked me back to the train station, saw that I got off safely and I proceeded to enjoy my train ride home.


MY VERSION

I like going to sporting events even when I’m not a particularly big fan of the sport. Like Baseball for instance…I never watch a game on T.V. during the regular season. I’m going to need a little more action and a little more signifcance if I’m going to shell out 3 hours of my life like that. But I will go to a baseball game, and I’ll even be excited to go if it’s the playoffs. So when my friend called me up to ask me if I’d like to go to the Angel game at 5pm, when it was already 2pm and I was sitting in San Diego, I did my best to make it happen.

Not only did I make it, I made it on time. What is the implication here? The fact that he did not. If I hadn’t already traveled 2 hours by train, I would not have still been sitting there almost an hour later when he finally showed up!! I don’t appreciate waiting on people, especially when the excuse is bad traffic. This ain’t Kansas buddy, this is the 5 Freeway in Southern California at 5 pm on a workday en route to a major sporting event. You may not live here, but our traffic has a reputation, so there can be no cop out. So I did what I do best, and failed miserably at hiding my irritation.

We managed to make it into the game before either team had scored (big shocker there), so my experience wasn’t totally ruined. I then proceeded to eat 3 days worth of calories in the next 3 hours. If you can’t watch a baseball game eating and drinking the whole time, I really don’t even see the point.

The Angels ended up losing and I pretended to care but it was all for naught as I was accidentally dressed in Yankee colors and I got more hi fives than sad looks anyway. In fact, the buddies I met on the train ride home invited me to join them in their celebration. Who am I to ruin a good time? So yes, I ended up enjoying myself. And next time, he probably knows if he is going to be late to just turn around and go home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The (HOT) Body Issue

I know I may be a little late on this, as tons of pictures have leaked on the Internet and people with subscriptions have been drooling for over a week, but can we all just take a moment and applaud ESPN’s Body Issue?! Don’t worry…if you aren’t sure yet if this is something to be celebrated, I will do my best to convince you that it is. In my opinion, if people are going to disrobe, this is the best possible way to do it. In a way that celebrates and admires the hard work that athlete’s put in to making their bodies the finely tuned machines that they are, and showing the beauty that can be found in the broad spectrum of physical form that exists in sport. But of course, if you show pictures of people with little to no clothes on, there is bound to be controversy. But I encourage people to truly see the positive messages in these pictures.

For starters, we have almost an equal number of beautiful men and women showcased. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other huge publication that has done this. Personally, I am grateful for the ability to get my fair share of drool on. (Thank you “Gooch”.) From my understanding, people posed in as little as they could be comfortable in. So often, when it’s time to bare skin it’s the women carrying far too much of the load, but in this instance, because the focus was on athletes we were able to see both sexes represented equally. And while there still is some obvious sex appeal, that most certainly isn’t all there is. All these different body types have one thing in common—they are used to compete at the highest level of competition. That is something we all can admire, and if a little drool slips out in the process--so be it.



I have probably heard the most criticism of Serena Williams cover and I think the majority of it is ridiculous. She is definitely the biggest named athlete to appear totally nude (thumbs down to Adrian Peterson and Dwight Howard for not following in her footsteps), and her cover is supposedly a bit too provocative for some. Yes, she looks sexy. Good for her. Serena is workin’ with a whole lotta body, and in my opinion she works it well. I take issue with people who believe that athletes should be one-dimensional. Being a badass on the court should not diminish your femininity or your ability to put on lip-gloss and heels (or nothing) and pout your lips with the best of them—if that’s what you so choose. Taking a hot picture doesn't diminish or marginalize one's abilities or attributes in another area, and when people make it out to be so, I think the problem lies with them. Maybe it can work both ways and we can start making the Kim Kardashians of the world famous for something more than a good pout.



For me personally, what I find most refreshing about this issue is allowing each and every body to be showcased how it truly is, and in turn sending a message that if you want to work hard towards something, work towards what you see here. Pick up any other magazine, and you’ll see models who are 5’10 and weigh 110 pounds soaking wet, and that is supposed to be what a beautiful body looks like. Sure, that might be beauty to some, but it shouldn’t be what we strive for, especially when it’s darn near unattainable. Most people can only be that thin by eating crackers for dinner. What we do as athletes to be at our best on the field, court, or track, is treat our bodies like the temples they are. We eat healthy (most of the time), and we exercise and getting more people to do that would certainly be a good thing for our society. A lot of times the byproduct of that is muscles and for women that is perceived as unfeminine but every picture I saw in this magazine showed women who were feminine while being athletic. That’s a strong message and a realistic one. When I did the SI swimsuit issue last year, I was chosen as an athlete, but by the time they were done with me in Photoshop, I had my muscle mass significantly reduced and an automatic boob job. That was their standard of beauty, not what I brought to the table on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind the cleavage, but I respect these pictures a lot more.

So if you haven’t picked up your copy yet, I strongly suggest you do. It’s definitely different than what you might expect…and in a good way. The Sumo wrestler is pretty darn impressive… let me tell you. I also am curious as to what others think of it. I want to hear your honest opinions and I welcome your feedback on mine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spinning

I am an athlete. I don’t just mean a track and field athlete, I mean an athlete. Period. If there is something athletic to be done, I will more than likely be good at it. It’s in my blood and part of my genetic makeup. And while there are some things that I am better at than others, I always believe I will be at least above average when it comes to the general population. Well…until now.

Monday I attended spin class. They offer it at the 24 hour fitness and I walked in and was greeted by a random slice of the general population. These weren’t fitness buffs or cycling gurus, just your regular joe’s and jane’s stopping by for a good sweat. I needed to start being active and this seemed like a good place to start. Well, if I learned anything, it was to never step into a spinning class after sitting for almost a month. Many of these gen pops kicked my butt and it kind of embarrassed me. Even when I’m not in shape I still look athletic and I look like I shouldn’t be huffing and puffing after 5 minutes. But I was. And I don’t quit anything so I knew I was in this for the long haul no matter what. And long haul it was. But the important thing was that I finished. I got off that bike looking like I stepped out of the shower fully clothed and with my legs still shaking and discreetly thanked God for keeping me alive through that torture.

And because I secretly like inflicting pain on myself, I’m going back today. Well, really it’s because I’m so darn competitive I at least have to go enough to be better than average. I simply cannot let the soccer mom out spin me.

Have you guys ever tried Spinning? I need some confirmations that it’s as hard as I believe it to be! If you don’t agree…keep it to yourself. ☺

Monday, October 12, 2009

Off-Season

You know what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis? Nothing. Well, that’s not exactly true. I get up around 10 or so and read books…go to coffee shops…watch movies…eat every fattening food I can think of…stuff like that. It’s basically what you’d call the life of a socialite. Well…the life of a broke socialite. Which if you think about it, takes all the fun out of the experience. It’s funny, because I used to think that doing basically nothing would be the life. And even now, when I explain my day to my friends they’ll claim how they wish they had my life. But guess what? They don’t really mean it just like I don’t really want it. Don’t get me wrong…I like a vacation just as much as the next person. But then after you have sat around and done nothing for too many days, you get veeeery tired of it. You shouldn’t have to put your trip to the bank on your schedule just to give your day some structure. Even eating dessert twice a day gets old. (I know. Crazy!)

I plan on beefing up my volunteering in the next few weeks, and even though it’s not time for me to get back on the track yet, I do think I will start being active. Working out 5 hours a day down to 0 is hard on the body, even though it sounds backwards, so I’ll get moving in some civilian type of ways. Perhaps a spin class or two and maybe I’ll jog by the marina and let all the people pass me as I huff and puff. The thing about our off-season is that it’s crucial that we do let our bodies truly rest and our nagging injuries that we’ve been ignoring get a chance to heal. So I know I have to respect my body enough to give it that time. But I guess that doesn’t mean I need to be a bum. So I plan on being a more productive member of society for the rest of my time until work starts back up. And perhaps I’ll cut the desserts back to one a day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Adventures in Babysitting

You know what I love the most about babysitting? The fact that it ends. You are able to return the lovely kiddos to their rightful owners and be done with them. I’m kidding…kind of. Truth be told, there are only a few kids on Earth I will even agree to babysit period. It lies in the fact that I love them and their parents and so in my heart I feel a sense of duty that I should at one point in their years of childhood be responsible for them. If not for this strong emotion you would probably never see me alone with kids until the day I am blessed with my own. (If that day ever even comes).

This weekend my lovely sister took advantage of said emotion and coerced me into being not only Aunt B, but also babysitter Bri. Yes, I wanted to spend time with my lovely niece and nephew because it’s been months and they grow so fast you end up barely recognizing them when you let that much time go by. But I always prefer a chaperone if I can help it. She somehow took advantage of my guilty conscience though and convinced me that after a whole day spent together, she should be allowed to slip out and I should be in charge on my own. I realize it’s not too much of a sacrifice, being that I have every night to myself free of diaper duty and endless cartoons, so I “happily” obliged. I’m happy to report that everyone made it out ok. I’m sure it’s a well known fact between the two of them that Aunt B really has no rules and that I will pretty much let whatever go as long as we keep the fussing and crying to a minimum, so they did their part and I did mine. Ty is grown up enough that he has decided he actually likes me and wants to be my buddy, but Tristin still has a bit of uncertainty. This is understandable…shoot, last time I saw her she could barely utter a word and now she’s a chatterbox. Plus, she’s still in diapers. I think she can sense I’m not that diaper friendly. All in all, I think we had a good time together. They both stayed awake until their bodies naturally fell asleep, and Tristin and I ate pizza at 10pm. What are Aunt’s for??!

Here are some pics from the weekend…

-The four of us at the L.A. county fair (next time it's going to be the L.A. county park!!)


-Can you tell the kid is related to me? I teach him well!




-Of course I buy them their own! (I just forgot I was responsible for them the rest of the night.)


-I like being an AUNT! :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Country Music??


It’s hard to tell that my mother and I are related. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve seen the pictures of us together in the hospital the day I was born, I would probably have my doubts. And it goes far beyond our physical differences. Yes, she’s 5’2 and extremely Caucasian, but the differences go far beyond appearances. Take for example what she’s doing for fun this weekend. She’s up in the mountains somewhere…camping in a tent. I think it’s something like 20 degrees at night so anything less than a nice, cozy cabin with a blazing fireplace just seems like unnecessary torture. And why is she up in the mountains? Well, because it’s hunting season. That’s right…my mother goes hunting. Well, she doesn’t exactly hunt herself but she accompanies those that do, which is mind-boggling to me—the fact that I know someone that knows someone who likes to go out in the wilderness and walk around all day in camouflage in the hopes of shooting something. And that’s the fun.

Our taste in music is no more closely related than our hobbies. Which is why she was the first person I thought of when I came across some tickets to a Brad Paisley concert. I wasn’t aware of any of his songs, but I knew he wore a cowboy hat, and therefore I knew my mother would be a fan. I, of course, would not be a fan. Of cowboy hats, boots, and plaid shirts—yes. Those things happen to be in style anyway and I have no problem with the trends. The music just isn’t something I’ve ever been able to jam to. But since our hobbies seem to have such wide degrees of separation, I figured it’s necessary to go outside my comfort zone every once in a while and this would be a lot less painful than hunting. So I called her up and invited her down to the concert. And guess what??! It wasn’t half bad. Granted, it’s not my type of music but it’s really not bad to listen to, and it’s nothing if not catchy. The guy sings the hook once and you’re ready to sing along the next time around. Not to mention the whole atmosphere was fun. Country music folks really enjoy themselves.

I’m not ready to change my presets but I am glad that I went. It was bonding time for my mother and I, and if I do say so myself…I look pretty darn cute in a Cowboy hat.



(Note: This hat had to be borrowed in the interest of picture taking but I'm thinking of investing)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Picture of the Week: Daddy's Girl


Today is just one of those days that I miss my dad. So much. It's not a holiday, or a birthday, or any other significant day in my life that is sure to bring forth overwhelming emotions. It's simply Tuesday. Sometimes it doesn't take anything out of the ordinary for you to remember all the things that made someone extraordinary and have you truly wish you could have just one more day to spend with them.

I was looking at pictures of my dad and the above one made me smile. My dad was oh so cool, and it seems as if I have followed in his footsteps. I knew there was a reason I loved my tube socks so much. I got my inspiration years ago and it obviously stuck with me. I just wish he was around to see his trend come full circle.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Home Sweet...Home?

Just one week ago, I traveled for 23 hours, on 4 flights, all the way from Greece to California, so that I could sleep in my own bed and start the wonderful process of rest and recovery. After a jam-packed summer full of ups and downs, there is nothing I looked forward to more than finally coming home. No more living out of a over packed suitcase, no more horse meet for dinner, and no more forcing my body to give me one more decent performance when it clearly was trying to tell me it was tired.

So why am I getting on a plane today to fly all the way to South Korea? Well the short answer is greediness. Sometimes it’s hard to just leave money on the table, especially when every extra dollar seems to go towards things I really need…like food, a roof over my head, etc. I can stay home and just say I’m tired and I’ve had a long season, but 6 months from now when I’m forced to eat Top Ramen for dinner, I would really kick myself for such a short-sighted decision. We’ve all read about how I got royally screwed on what I thought would be my last meet and lost out on a good bit of money, so anything I do to earn a few pennies of that money I thought I would have back, is probably a smart decision. But I assure you, this will definitely be the last one. That’s because there are absolutely no more meets anywhere on the planet, thank God. My body and my mind are more than ready for that rest and relaxation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spare Change and a Big Lesson

My favorite way to spend time is outside a coffee shop, with a delicious cappuccino, a good book, and some sunshine. This is my ideal me time, and the less interruptions, the better. In fact, I’m known to even put my Blackberry away, with the ringer turned off no less. Yesterday morning was the perfect sunny day in San Diego and I had settled down with my book in front of the most perfect coffee shop. (well, the closest I could find outside of Italy at least.) I was happy. I was content. I was looking forward to losing myself in the pages of the one John Grisham thriller I have somehow seemed to miss in my 3458 trips to the airport bookstore. Which is why I was probably less thrilled than normal when a man perched himself on a chair the next table over and proceeded to interrupt my perfect morning.

He started off by telling me how beautiful I was and I graciously thanked him and then quickly diverted my eyes back to my book. But I knew he wasn’t done and in my head I was expecting the next question that followed.

“Could you spare some money so that I could get something to eat?

He was homeless. San Diego has an extremely large population of homeless and any time you are in the downtown vicinity you will surely be asked on numerous occasions for any change you can spare. I have no set rule on whether or not I fork something over…sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. But this was my time, and the last thing I wanted to be was bothered. So I smiled politely and said I didn’t have any cash, just credit cards on me.

“Do you think you could buy me some food with your credit card?

I smiled politely again. “Sorry…”. And again I tried to look back down at my book. I didn’t bother to finish the sentence. Obviously I could buy food with my credit card, I just wasn’t going to. I had barely been sitting there for 10 minutes. My coffee was still hot, I was just getting into my book, and my relaxing morning was not going to be interrupted. Truth be told, I had cash. But I use this line the same way I eagerly throw out that I have a boyfriend. It’s not quite the truth, it just makes the interaction a little less painful for both of us.

He looked me in the eye and sighed, thanked me, and then got up and walked away. A few minutes passed and my eyes started to well up. He wanted food for goodness sakes. Lord knows I don’t have much, but I am beyond capable of buying somebody lunch. But I continued to sit there, tried to loose myself in the pages of my legal thriller, and failed miserably. After about 15 minutes had passed, I gathered up my stuff and set out in the direction I thought he had gone.

I found him about 4 blocks away, still unsuccessful in finding himself lunch to eat. I tapped him on the shoulder and said hello, and from his reaction I’m not even sure he remembered he had just talked to me or just thought it was cool someone was making conversation. He didn’t bring up money at all, he just started chatting about random stuff… the fact that he was from Detroit (had I ever been there and what did I think of it), his father and brothers who have a lot of money (did I have siblings), that he can ride the bus all over town for free (I saw the card)…just on and on. After about 10 minutes I said I had to get going and asked if he was still wanted something to eat.

Yea, I am hungry.

I quickly handed over the cash I did have so that he could buy what he wanted, and wished him a good day. Before I left though, he wanted to give me something in return. It was a purple and yellow key holder you wear around your neck from the local bail bondsman and while I tried to say it was ok and I didn’t need anything, he wouldn’t take it back. He assured me he could get more. I hurried away before the tears started overflowing.

I am blessed. Blessed to have a roof over my head, food always in my cupboard, and friends and family who care enough to ensure that I don’t ever have to beg someone for a meal. Not everyone does. People bless me all the time for no other reason than it was put on their heart to do so. I am thankful beyond belief and constantly feel like my thank you’s don’t do much in the way of showing my gratitude. But I was reminded that what is also important is to make sure you bless others. And while I certainly can’t empty my wallet every time a homeless person in San Diego asks for money, I believe this particular man was there to give me something. What I received from our interaction will last far beyond that afternoon. Even the tacky keychain, that is capable of holding the key to my apartment, my car key, and the storage area with all my extra stuff, is a reminder that I am blessed to have keys of things that belong to me. That is what's important.

(I am not necessarily proud in recounting how I reacted to this man at first and how I treated him, but I thought the lesson it showed me was important and so I shared anyway.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Being a Girl Sucks

I’m an independent woman for the most part. Beyonce was totally singing about me when she sang for all her Independent gals to throw your hands up at me. I can do pretty much anything on my own…anything except kill bugs and fix cars. Which is why I am totally frustrated and helpless now that my car is sitting down in the garage totally dead. Yesterday, when I found it that way after over two months of sitting idle, (probably not smart, I know) I had plenty of help around to get me back on my way. I found someone with cables, someone to hook them up, and someone to open my hood and be the first to encounter the rabbits who had taken up residence. But that was yesterday.

Today, I again have a dead car and nobody around to help. I am far away from friends, I didn’t pass a helpful looking soul that wasn’t rushing out to the office, and I can’t locate my insurance card to see if I even have roadside assistance. I guess I’m supposed to buy a battery but who knows if you are forced to install it yourself. That would sure be scary and pretty much impossible so I’m sure they have someone who does it for you. But first comes the problem of finding someone to start my car so I can get to some sort of place that does that.

In the meantime, I’m just sitting here pouting. This is yet another reason why I really need to speed up the search for a husband because I’d prefer for this to be someone else’s problem. Oh…and did I mention I had to kill a bug this morning with nothing but a paper towel?! Sheer madness.



UPDATE:

People keep asking me what ended up happening with my car…so I suppose I’ll finish the story.

First, let me start with the moral of the story: Listen to your instinct.

I would never attempt anything grander than putting gas in my own car. But thanks to some well-intentioned friends and strangers who convinced me of the problem… and the obvious simplicity of how to fix it… I tried to be superwoman. Changing your own battery is easy!”, they claimed. So off I went to Wal-Mart to purchase a new battery. This is where the story takes an unpromising turn. I could just blame it on the Wal-Mart employee but maybe it was my bad for assuming he was an auto expert and chose to work at Wal-Mart for the unbelievable benefits. Long story short…I bought the battery, relied on the expertise of my girlfriend who had saw someone put in her battery months earlier and swore it was a piece of cake, and ended up with a car that wouldn’t spit, sputter, or click if it’s life depended on it. So, I have it towed, and then wait almost 24 hours for them to tell me that the problem was a blown fuse, caused by the purchase of the wrong type of battery that made this one part touch this other part that it wasn’t supposed to. Their “expertise” cost me the big bucks and the silly little fuse was only $12 dollars.

So yes, it was my battery, but no, a person like me should not try and pretend they’re someone they’re not. When it comes to cars, DIY might as well stand for screw it up and pay even more.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A lot of Lemons

Ask any athlete, and they will tell you that the most important meet after the Championships is the World Athletic Final. You make it into this meet by competing all year long at the highest tiered meets and earning points based on your finish. By the end of the year, 8 people are awarded entry into the meet…the first 7 are guaranteed their spot, and the 8th can be a wildcard if they (meet promoter) so choose and have a good reason to not just take the 8th place finisher. I struggled a little towards the latter part of my season, but thanks to my early competing on 6 different continents, I still was able to secure 7th place. Well, actually I tied for 7th place when it was all said and done. But how you get here doesn’t really matter because once you’re here, it’s anybody’s ball game. And I truly needed for it to be my day to play ball. This meet pays well and everybody makes money…better than any other meet I could possibly go to and I need that more than anything when I am about to cease making money until next season rolls around. I have no guaranteed base salary, I finished 9th when they pay top 8 at World Championships, and my bank account is in some serious need of a little security. I don’t do this for the money (obviously), but I can’t survive without it either.

Which is why I almost did a low scale freak out when I found out yesterday, the day I was flying to Greece, that I wasn’t on the start list. I have planned for this meet all year long, adjusted my schedule and competed all over the world so that I could give myself the best opportunity to make it here, and now, 48 hours before I’m supposed to compete, I’m told I might as well be flying home. Meets are fickle, that’s just part of the business, but this meet is supposed to purely be based on your performance throughout the year, and by performing well you are rewarded with the opportunity to end your season with a bang. But instead, my season will now end with a whimper, and a fairly broke whimper at that. Somehow they found a way to take the other top 7, leave me out, and use the wildcard on the girl in 9th, a well-deserving silver medalist and one of the top jumpers in the world for many years. Still…it’s not my fault she wasn’t top 8.

I try very hard not to complain because at the end of the day, I know I’m still blessed. But for so long I’ve been waiting to feel like I’ve made it far enough so that it seems like I’m not gasping for air, barely able to hold my head above water. But yet, here I am at the end of the season…without a coach, without a contract, and without this last big meet to try and make next year just a little bit more comfortable. I know it doesn’t overshadow all the bright spots, but right now the immediate future looks a little bleak. No matter what I do, I seem to be a day late and a dollar short. But sometimes that’s life, right? You just have to constantly find new ways to make lemonade.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Jumper who Sprints

For my whole track and field career, I have never done just one event. As I got older, I specialized a little…slowly fading out the triple jump once I got to college, no taking the 200 seriously once I was a pro…but I have remained both a sprinter and a jumper regardless. This is what feels right to me, and even though people have told me otherwise, I have never made the decision to fully specialize in just one event. I can’t tell you my favorite, merely that I prefer whichever event is yielding better results at the time. I’d like to be great at both, and in doing so I would appreciate the different ways of being a competitor they both offer.

But I will say this…for most of my career I would definitely describe myself as a sprinter who jumps…until now. Now, I have become a jumper who sprints. And there is a difference—most notably that it has made me into a very sub par sprinter. I made a decision early on this season to put sprinting on the backburner and focus on the long jump. That basically meant that I would prepare as best as possible for Nationals to be a Long Jumper, and my competitions would be jumping instead of sprinting or doing both. My workouts didn’t change drastically but there were subtle differences. Basically, my plan worked and I got what I wanted. And I was still fast…I’m pretty sure I am faster on the runway then I have ever been and definitely the fastest jumper in the World from the data I’ve seen.

But after my last couple attempts at actually trying to run a race this past week, I’ve realized that being solely in Long Jump mode has made me lose my ability to truly sprint. It is frustrating to say the least. I cannot come out of blocks, my turnover seems stuck on my runway pace, and a whole 100 meters seems sooooo long! I know that there must be a way to be good at both. There have been athletes who are great examples of that… most notably King Carl, but that's not to say it's easy. Perhaps the formula is different for every person but for me, it seems that being a jumper who sprints instead of a sprinter who jumps is not going to cut it.

It’s not that I’m greedy. I realize being good at one event is more than many can even hope for. I have so much room to be a better jumper that some might think it’s crazy for me not to just focus on that. But in my infinite wisdom there are a few things I’ve realized. For starters, you can make money being a sprinter that you can never make by doing the long jump. This is my job, after all. And secondly, if at all possible, you should stick as close to possible to what makes you happy and doing what you love. I happen to love both. If there is a way for me to figure out how to be successful at both simultaneously then I’m going to give it my best shot.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Laundry

It’s been two months…two whole months of living out of one suitcase. That’s hard for any normal person to work with such a limited wardrobe, but as an athlete I sweat and roll around in sand in half those clothes so the opportunity to reuse that stuff is impossible. In fact, the laundry bag I keep all those clothes in is lethal. I feel sorry for any unsuspecting airport worker who goes rifling through my bag on a random check. Needless to say I must do laundry every so often. And that’s not always so easy. Finding an actual Laundromat is a goldmine. The opportunity to wash all your clothes at the same time with real detergent seems like one of life’s major blessings. But in the short amount of time we usually stay in a city, that isn’t always an option. So far this summer, here have been some of my alternative options…

*In Germany I stayed in an apartment that had a washer/dryer but with German instructions and no interpreter. Nobody could figure out how to get the thing to work properly and once you put your clothes in the dryer it would stop every 6 minutes or so and start beeping. The smell in the basement prevented you from actually staying down there while your clothes washed, so I would go down 3 flights of stairs about 7 or 8 times during a cycle to re-start it. The day before I left, the neighbor finally told me the simple problem and how to fix it.

*In Berlin I took two trains across town to use the Laundromat but was an idiot and all my whites came out with a blue tint. So the next day I trekked back with a bottle of bleach to try and salvage them. Some are passable.

*I was getting ready for a meet a few weeks ago and realized I had no more undies. So I quickly washed a pair in the sink and dryed them with a blowdryer while I brushed my teeth and finished getting ready.

*Speaking of washing in the sink…I do that often. If you have detergent...good for you. If not, regular soap or shampoo (anything in the soap family), will do. The point here is to try and get them clean enough. It also works best if you can set the stuff outside to dry. It will be a little crispy but that’s ok. Although I have had a few items blow away, so it’s best to secure them if possible.

*My last stop in Italy I was determined to do a good washing because I was pretty much out of everything. I finally set out with sketchy directions and a map from the front desk. I walked in the blistering heat, made a few wrong turns, asked directions from a multitude of people who spoke no English, and finally found what I was looking for: the Laverderia (Italian for Laundromat). It was 2:30 in the afternoon and the place was of course closed for siesta. So I left and came back at 5. I thought I was being sent to the Laundromat but this was in fact the Drycleaner. At this point I was desperate but she would not help me. She said a lot of stuff…I understood none of it. But she wouldn’t take my clothes so it meant no. I ended up paying the hotel to wash 3 things for about 20 bucks.

Right now I can make it another 2 days before I must deal with this problem again. I’m not going to bother with Italy today because it’s Sunday, and if you aren’t aware, Italians do nothing on Sunday and everything is closed. This seems a bit excessive seeing as how they already close down 3 hours a day, but maybe that’s just me. So wish me luck in Paris. If anyone knows the French word for Laundromat please pass it