Wednesday, April 29, 2009

tips and tricks

I won’t say much. In fact, if you have really paid attention over the last year and a half, you realize that I never do…talk about men, that is. Well…men I have feelings for. Not in a serious way. I will lament about being single, bash on guys who don’t pay for first dates, and share stories about the hideous pick-up lines I hear at the bookstore, but I don’t ever delve into anything that is serious or close to my heart. There are times when I’d like to, but I’d have to be anonymous to be comfortable with that, and we all know I have far too many pictures and revealing information for that to be possible!

So I keep quiet. And fortunately it does not take away from the authentic portrayal of my life on too many occasions because I often am just as dateless as I claim to be…by choice of course. But right now I find myself in a bit of a heart dilemma. I asked for my heart back because I thought that’s what I needed to do. I was sure that I was supposed to move on once it was clear to me that it was becoming more about settling for what I was getting, rather than getting what I deserved…and wanted. I moved on and I was content as could be expected with the belief that something bigger and better was in store for me. Or so I thought. But the difference this time around is that nothing significant happened and I’ve never dealt with a breakup like that before. I’m used to there being an incident or for my feelings to not be there anymore and that wasn’t the case this time around.

All of this sounds serious and deep, right? Well that’s not the road I’m trying to go down. The only thing I really want is to pick your brain for a suggestion or two. Everybody out there should have some kind of insight. If you’ve never dealt with a break-up in your entire life then you’re either the Pope or my best friend Jasmine who married the only guy she ever dated. I’m good with the tough girl act for the most part, but I’d like for it not to be an act. And if that’s not possible, I want to be such a good actress that I might just win an Oscar if someone was handing them out. Because I believe in the idea that you should fake it til’ you make it. But I also want to know the fastest way to making it, if that makes any sense. I know there is a wealth of knowledge between us and since they say it takes a village, I am hoping you will share some.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Only a mother could love

I like taking pictures. Duh. And I suppose if we were talking about my preferences, I would say that I prefer them to be complimentary. Everyone wants to look good for the camera. I've learned, through trial and error and the wonderful development of digital cameras, the art of posing and what angles and looks are the most flattering. If you know me at all, you can duplicate my signature pose. But the one thing I have not mastered and will never be able to overcome, is face control in the heat of competition. Of course I should never even try to master such a thing, but when I am presented with photos of myself while I am running and jumping, they make me want to scream...into a pillow. I decided recently to add some more action shots to my website and facebook, and as I'm perusing through my available photos, I simply had to just stop and chuckle to myself. I look ridiculous. So much so that I thought what better way to enjoy these masterpieces than sharing them with the whole world. So here you go's me caught in action without the benefit of a delete button. Mom, I still hope you love me!

*jumping pics will always get you

*seriously...they say you're supposed to keep your face relaxed

*I guess i wasn't quite ready for the sand.

*Ok, I'm buff but not THAT buff.

*Can it get any worse?

*Oh wait...

*Apparently so!

Go ahead and pick the best...or the worst...depending how you look at it!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


So I have a new phone. Still a blackberry…and I’m still an addict. But can I tell you that there is nothing that frustrates me more than dealing with phone companies? For weeks I have been trying to fix my phone and breathe new life into it so that I wouldn’t have to take the hit by buying a new one. Blackberries are a lot of money and it could be used for… oh, I don’t know, food. But after hours of my life were wasted, talking with customer support, being transferred to different levels of customer support, and having them falsely claim they fixed the problem only to have it not working properly again the next week, I knew I was going to have to bite the bullet. Let me pause for just one second though and mention that perhaps you should have more than a G.E.D. to be tech support for a company. And once I get to someone that does have a diploma, I just want them to speak English because I happen to communicate better that way. And I realize that companies train their employees to deal with customers in a certain way, but the least you can do is put your own twist on that script your reading because by now I’ve heard it 2,843 times and I don’t quite believe that you really are sorry that my blackberry isn’t working and you realize how frustrating that is, and want to get this problem fixed as soon as possible because you value me and am grateful I have been a loyal T-mobile customer since 2005.

But now I have my new updated and upgraded Blackberry and I am happy. All I had to give them in return is my life savings, $100 of which they will give back in the next six months after I mail in my rebate, and my firstborn child, otherwise known as a contract extension. But that’s ok, because I’ve been a loyal customer since 2005 and there is no reason to believe that I will become un-loyal in the next two years…unless I decide I’ve had enough of Blackberries and make my way over to the dark side. I’ll give you a hint—it starts with I and ends with phone. Dun dun dun.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

small things, big lessons

You know what makes competing overseas such an enjoyable experience? Having fans. It is such a different experience from the meets we have in the states where track and field is not such a popular sport and where the athletes aren’t really admired in the same way. I remember my first encounter in Europe after a meet where people came up to me asking for autographs and pictures. So this is what Kobe feels like! Wow. I loved it…loved the idea of people being so interested and captivated by us and what we do. I can’t imagine ever not wanting to put my name on piece of paper or the back of someone’s shirt if they wanted it. If that means something to you, I’m honored.

This past weekend in Africa, the people were great. They cheered loudly and had the most infectious energy. Many of them wanted to take pictures with us, albeit with our cameras. They don’t have cameras of their own, but they would ask for pictures to be taken on our personal cameras with them. It was quite endearing. Not many asked for autographs but one adorable little boy did ask for my flowers after I won the 200 and I was happy to hand them over, thinking in my head that perhaps he would present them to his mother later that evening or maybe even to a special young lady he fancied.

But these kids surprised many of us by asking for something we hardly ever get requests for. They wanted our water bottles. And in a few cases, our power bars that were half eaten. Even typing that now brings tears to my eyes. I go through water bottles at track meets like they are going out of style. If I have one and set it down somewhere, it’s probably easier to just pick up a new one because who knows which one is actually mine. After our race they handed out liter bottles and I would take a few sips and get annoyed they had such large bottles for us to carry around. That is, until a little boy asked for some of my water, took a sip, passed it to his friend to have some, and then tried to hand it back to me. I tried to tell him he could have it but my English and his French were not matching up. Finally he understood and skipped off happily with my partly used water bottle. I then went over to where they were storing the water for the athletes and stuffed as many as I could in my bag and just kept one out to walk around with until someone would ask me for one.

Sometimes life teaches you important lessons in the smallest of ways.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sometimes plans change.

If I was being completely honest, before I left for Africa I was telling myself that I wish I wasn’t going. Nothing was going according to plan. Nothing. First, it was the event I was going to be competing in. The schedule said they had the long jump, they confirmed me as a long jumper, and then, after my $2000 plane ticket had been purchased, the meet director decides to have the triple jump instead. If other jumpers had been confirmed and had tickets bought already, this would have been a huge problem, but since it was just little ol’ me, I guess he assumed he could just throw me in another event and it would be no problem. But MY plan was to jump, whether it was there or at Mt. Sac, and I don’t like people messing with my plans.

I had also decided that I was going to take 50,000 of my Delta miles and upgrade my ticket to business class for this trip since it was a long way to travel and a short turnaround. This would be my birthday present to myself and wouldn’t really cost me anything since I have a ton of miles that I don’t need and Delta doesn’t fly anywhere that I buy my own tickets to. Well it turned out my fare class was not upgradeable and the only way I could change it was to pay the increase in fare of $1000 and then use my 50,000 miles. Umm, no.

All I could do was make the best out of running the 100 and 200 and try and make some money. Starting my preparation in the 100 a few weeks early is not the end of the world. Except then I found out, the day before I left mind you, that I wasn’t even in the 100, I was only confirmed in the 200. This was starting to give me a headache. So now I’m flying halfway across the world to do an event that is not even my specialty? I get to Dakar and I’m trying to get my agent to fix this problem. I want to double, and I really need to run the 100 so that I can at least be over here doing my main event. By the day of the meet, it’s changed. I’m running the 100. But because my life is never that easy, they’ve taken me out of the 200. I won’t get into all the politics of it all, but suffice to say that I was not happy. I was trying to run the 200 for extra cash and now I wasn’t going to have that opportunity.

I let it go as best I could and tried to focus on the 100. There really isn’t much to say about the race…it wasn’t horrible, and it certainly wasn’t great. But now I’m wishing I really had another race to do. A friend of mine tells me she’s pulling out of the 200 meter race but the meet director is telling me I still can’t run it. I go over to the call room anyway, finagle my way to the start line, and manage to run the race without anyone really giving me permission. And I win. It doesn’t really matter that the announcer is calling out someone else’s name or that in the post-race interviews I am correcting the people as to what my name really is, at the end of the day it’s going to be my prize money and all the other stuff can be figured out later.

Needless to say, I was happy. Elated actually. I had been directing so much energy and was stressing out over things not going according to plan, and in the end I just had to get down on my knees and thank Him for having things work out just perfectly. I needed that money in a way I don’t even like to admit. Not to mention that it just felt good to cross the line first because that hasn’t happened for me in a pretty long time. And hellllooo…what an awesome Birthday present!

I had to catch a 3am flight out of Dakar that night so I ate, packed my bags, and headed to the airport. And wouldn’t you know, that because our flight was oversold and they needed to clear up some more coach seats, I got bumped up to business class because I have medallion status on Delta. I sat down in my big comfy seat, sipped on my chilled glass of champagne that was offered to me, and smiled. Sometimes plans change…and that’s a good thing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things I've Learned...

In honor of me celebrating being 29 years young today, I figured it would be appropriate to share a few things I’ve learned on this journey called life. There have been many points when I thought I knew sooooo much, only to have lived a few years longer and realize I had so much more to learn. So here I am, entering my last year of my 20’s with a wealth of knowledge under my belt but realizing that there is probably still a ton more to find out. For now though, I’m going to focus on what I do know and be grateful that I’ve lived long enough to gain these valuable experiences.

1. Friends are the family you get to choose. Make sure you choose wisely. These people will help shape you into the person you are to become. Luckily for me, I am a good person and I know just who to thank.

2. Always travel with a clean pair of underwear and a toothbrush. There is nothing worse then having unexpected travel delays or lost luggage and you are without these two things. Trust me.

3. Buy a MAC computer. Once you go mac, you never go back.

4. When a person shows you who they really are, believe them. Don’t go by their words, or what kind of person you want them to be, or think you can change them into…believe what you see.

5. If you have an athletic kid, see if they are any good at tennis. They might as well be paid well for their superb athletic ability.

6. Understand that it’s cool to have your own sense of style, but still try and think ahead…to what it will look like in pictures a few years later.

7. Don’t ever put sun-in in your hair…at least if your hair is like mine and you have my skin color. Orange, fried hair is not the business.

8. No matter how much you like the spotlight, don’t sing solo’s in the church play or the school talent show if you CAN’T sing.

9. If at all possible, make sure you have health insurance and dental insurance.

10. Sometimes the people you love so dearly will not be here as long as you expect them to be. Make sure you cherish people in the present.

11. Understand that he more than likely has his phone with him, and he didn’t accidentally leave it at home.

12. Designer jeans are worth every penny.

13. Always make time for your friends. Make the time, don’t just find it or squeeze it in.

14. Wear undergarments underneath your sweats at all times.

15. Date the kind of people you would want to marry. (I know this even if I may not practice it 100%)

16. Figure out early on if you are lactose intolerant. This will be helpful information at pizza parties and dessert time.

17. Read a lot of books. It increases your vocabulary and is a ton of fun.

18. Don’t give yourself highlights at home the day before high school starts. You just might resemble a lion…or a cheetah. Neither one is very desirable.

19. Control your obsessions with people who play characters on a T.V. show. For example, you might not be very proud of yourself for wearing heart shaped earrings with a picture of Dylan McKay after you’ve graduated middle school.

20. Know that your heart won’t stay broken.

21. Don’t stuff your bra…not with tissue paper anyway.

22. Find a church that you really like and enjoy so that it is something you look forward to every week.

23. Put your energy where your heart is. No matter what other people may think you should do with your life, at the end of the day do what makes you happy.

24. Own a Blackberry. They’re awesome.

25. Know that you can’t trick your mother by putting another 6th grader on the phone pretending to be an adult.

26. Trust that owning high quality, expensive purses, is an investment…a good one at that!

27. Pick two physical qualities in a man (or woman) that are desirable and forget about the rest. Yes, a perfect 10 would be nice but, a. they don’t really exist, and b. they are probably entirely too full of themselves if they do.

28. To have good friends you must be one.

29. Always be your own #1 fan. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself and if you don’t think you’re fabulous, why should anybody else?

Happy Birthday to me...and may I keep getting wiser as the years go by!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Greetings from Africa

If you haven’t realized by now, I decided to make the trip to the Motherland. So that means that all of you who voted for that decision and said that was the best way to go, kudos to you for having such amazing insight and opinions. For the rest of you… I still appreciate the effort.

Anyway, I’m here and have so far managed to sleep away most of the day and make it to the track for a quick warm-up and that’s about it. I slept a total of about 15 minutes on the plane ride over so I was exhausted and have decided to just keep on my normal schedule and time zone and be a night owl. That means less sightseeing for me but I’ve been here before so I feel ok making rest and preparation a priority this time and my pictures from 2007 will unfortunately probably not be too updated.

I have never been anywhere else in Africa so I can’t say whether or not Dakar is similar to other parts of the continent or not, but what I have noticed here is that there really is no middle. There seems to be relative poverty which most people exist in and go about their day without most of the unneeded luxuries we take for granted, and then an area of town that has huge mansions with a guard at the front gate and unbelievable ocean views. Our hotel is in one such neighborhood and it kind of stands in stark contrast to everything else you see outside of this little area. To better understand, here are a few pictures…

Our hotel…

A few snapshots on the way to the track…

At the track…

I would love to be able to take photos of the people here but I fear that it seems entirely too “American tourist tacky” to get out my digital camera and start snapping away at people who are just merely living their life. Anyway, I will share more if I happen to do anything besides sleep and eat tomorrow but until then I’d just like to remind you that it’s less than 48 hours before my birthday!!!

***If there are any of you out there who read my blog but have never met me in person and are just dying to know what my voice sounds like so that you can get a more realistic picture when I blog, listen to this preracejitters radio show I did a couple of days ago. Basically it’s just me talking with the host about track stuff.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Dog Ate It

I don’t think anyone would actually call me a dog lover. If anything, I’m a dog tolerator. Some dogs I like more than others, and those usually fall under the category of small, cute, and well behaved. For the most part, my best friend’s dog falls into this category. He’s a little bundle of joy and she loves him beyond reason, and because he’s never done anything to me except lick me a little and jump up and down when I walk in the door, I have always thought he was pretty cool too.

This weekend, I stayed over on Saturday night and Polo greeted me with the same excitement that he always does. When we got back to the house after dinner I had noticed my sweats in the middle of the hallway and figured he was the culprit. No worries… I just picked them back up and was grateful it wasn’t a pair of undies. Now, I should mention that these are no ordinary pair of sweats. They happen to be my fancy pair. What I mean by this is that they were ridiculously expensive for sweats, especially considering I have a closet full that were free, but these particular ones are cute enough to wear in public and not look frumpy. I rock them endlessly and shamelessly and had no plans on stopping any time in the near future.

In fact, after I had worn my Easter dress for the appropriate amount of time over at our family get together the next day and had decided that it was time to change into comfy clothes, I instantly went for my trusted sweatpants. I headed back into the dining room, decked in my finest cotton and proceeded to chat with the room full of people gathered in the kitchen as I leaned on the island that separated the two rooms. And then I heard it. Laughing. Loud, uncontrollable, can’t catch your breath laughing coming from behind me. I didn’t bother to turn around as I was engaged in another conversation but after some time my cousin was behind me whispering in my ear. Your pants are split in the back Bri. Bummer, a small tear in the seam of my pants and I am horrible with a thread and needle. But then I felt it…her fingers touching the flesh on my bum without any wiggling to get them in there. I immediately froze. Oh.Dear.God. This is no sliver. There I was, leaning on a counter with my butt stuck out to the room, with a HUGE unwanted cooling system I was unaware of. And they were not looking at my undergarments... unfortunately, they saw pure flesh. I happen to think undergarments are not necessary with sweats and this was a time when I really wanted to re-think this theory.

I ran to a room to assess the damage and change my clothes once again and it was then that I saw the damage…damage that could not be done on accident. This hole was big enough for my whole fist could fit in if need be. And then I knew. The darn dog. He ate my favorite sweatpants and embarrassed me in front of friends and family. I don’t know how he can repay me, but he sure better try.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I miss her

He asked us if we wanted him to take the picture for us. We declined. You see, we’ve always taken pictures this way. It’s our signature. Something we’ve been doing for 10 years and will most assuredly continue to do for at least another 50. And just like our friendship, these self-portraits have gotten better over time. There are no cut off heads, no unflattering angles, no weird placed limbs. It’s just two friends who love the camera, but who love each other even more.

Nikkie is one of my closest friends who moved to Japan a little over six months ago. I wrote all about it here. These past two weeks she has been stateside to attend her sister-in-law’s wedding and to visit her family and friends. The plan was to come to LA over the weekend where I would get to spend some quality time with her. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, plans changed…but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. If she couldn’t come to me, then I would go to her. So I finagled a day off practice and flew to Phoenix to spend less than 24 hours enjoying my friend. Nikkie tried to tell me that made me a good friend but I beg to differ. I think it shows what a good friend she is. It is never a sacrifice to be able to spend time with people you love; those people who make you a better person, who have continually been there for you to offer a shoulder or a laugh, and who give so much of themselves that you gladly accept the opportunity to reciprocate in the smallest of ways.

I spent the day not only remembering how much I love her, but also how much I miss her. She always has the best stories about nothing. I like that. I like the opportunity to be able to listen about everything going on in her life and feel like I am a part of it. She’s headed back to Japan now but I’ve made a vow to myself that I need to make the effort to talk to her more and make her a part of my everyday life just as if she were here. Because I just don’t feel complete without hearing stories about nothing.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Social Experiment

If you know me then you know that I love pictures…of myself. Call me narcissistic, vain, egotistical, what have you. I’ve heard them all and if you must say it again, please be kind enough to put a new twist on it. Repetitiveness gets old. Anyway, because of this well-known fact, much of my online presence consists of plenty of pictures of yours truly and it would be hard to find someone who is unaware of what I look like in just about any possible setting. For some this is great news and for others it’s annoying. The way I feel though, is that if it’s that annoying you have the choice not to look and that way everybody is happy.

On my facebook site, I have a feeling that there are a few of my 1000+ “friends” who have found their way on my friend list without really knowing me personally or caring too much about the things I have to say. I get friend requests daily from people I don’t know and while I think they may just think I have extremely witty status updates or be super fans of my sport, in reality some find their way based on my profile picture. I change the picture often and I see spikes on occasion but I wondered what would happen if the picture was totally not complimentary. So for four days I had the following picture up…

Four days and I had only one friend request from a person I can’t quite place. Does this mean I’m not as witty as I thought I was?! That’s a hard pill to swallow! I expected something like this, just maybe not so major. So yea, I took that picture down. I’ve always wanted to write an anonymous blog but I wonder what my readership would really look like if nobody knew it was me in all my fabulousness. If it looked anything like the facebook experiment, it might just be crickets over here. Well…maybe not totally. There are some of you who do appreciate my wittiness and would continue to do so sight unseen. But for some I guess it is easier to feel like they know someone when they can see what they look like. I’m not ashamed to lure you in however I can…and keep you coming back once the pictures get old.

There is another part of the social experiment which I will write about later this week…

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Picture of the Week: Caption Contest

I don't know if it's just me, but I saw this picture and laughed out loud. Granted, I know these two little rugrats so maybe that has something to do with it. But either way, it's a cute picture. I think it needs a caption or a funny tag line but I can't think of one so help me out! And yes, I will give you recognition on my facebook once I upload the picture there.