Thursday, January 5, 2017

UMKC Basketball

Tonight was my first night of exploring more of Kansas City. A friend is a New Mexico State graduate and the UMKC men's basketball team was playing them tonight at Municipal Auditorium. I've never been to a UMKC game before, so it was a great chance to check them out. Tickets were only $10 for general admission and sadly, the place wasn't super full. They did do a good job of trying to make the atmosphere exciting, even with the meager crowd. I'll give KC that it is a bitter cold night and kind of snowy, but I sure hope more people go to games regularly. I really enjoyed the intro video the school showed. It featured all kinds of KC landmarks. The game was pretty sloppy, but pretty fast paced. Unfortunately for me, UMKC lost, but at least my friend left happy! A night cap of lobster rolls at Bristol rounded out the night.

Also tonight I added two more KC adventures to my list: the College Basketball Experience & going to a show at the Folly Theater. Now off to determine what next week's adventure will be! Also, a note of reminder to myself that I should take pictures of future adventures.

Monday, January 2, 2017


I think I do this every year. I go through the year thinking about how much I should blog, then I do a few posts and quit. I can't promise this year will be any different, but I'm thinking it might be. Part of it is I like knowing what I did each day.

Today I pretty much finished my 2016 travels book. 2016 was all about domestic travel. I visited my brother on both coasts, saw SportingKC play in three different cities away from KC, went to a wedding of a friend I haven't seen in forever, visited another friend at school and went to wine country again. Somehow in 2016 I broke my own rule of not using all my vacation days. I ended up with extras at the end. I resolve not to do that in 2017.

My word in 2017 is going to be EXPLORE.

I get out and about pretty often and have eaten at most of the new restaurants around town, but there are more things I want to do. I'm making 2017's resolution to be a tourist in Kansas City. The list needs to be drawn of the places to go, things to see, but I'm resolving to do one thing new each week. That may be aggressive, we'll see, but I'm up for the challenge.

Somehow in 2016 I got complacent with myself when it comes to working out. It's hard to think I did that since this year I ran more long races than I've run ever. I did multiple 10Ks, Brew to Brew, a few 5Ks and was going along pretty well until half way through the year. Then I mailed it in. I'm paying for it now. I resolve in 2017 to eat better and get back to feeling strong and happy with my own body. I resolve to feel comfortable in my skin and sleep better.

Part of the feeling better is drinking less and eating at home more. I need to harness my creativity in the kitchen more, make an effort to make myself meals and have leftovers to have at home instead of default going out all the time. It will save me money, but it will also just help me feel better and eat better. Part of that is just planning what to eat and when to make it. I'll have to focus on it and make sure I'm paying attention to it.

Somewhere I lost my creativity in 2016. I constantly felt like I had writer's block and couldn't put together sentences. My brain was distracted and full. I resolve to work harder at releasing it in 2017. That can be through my goal of reading 22 books, writing blog posts more often, practicing the piano, or just taking more pictures and seeing the beauty each day. There are walls to fill and photo books still to build.

I'm encouraged by all these things because they aren't drastic changes in my life. In fact, at one point I already did all these things, I just need to get back to it. 2017 better be the year, but it better continue on well into the future.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Boo hoo for the I Do

I'm at a wedding this weekend in the Boston area. I haven't seen the person getting married for years, but was quite excited when I got the invite. This is my third wedding of the year and I love weddings. I think. Let's say I love them in theory. I love them for the people getting married. I love the pomp, the circumstance and I love them for the intention of it all. They usually don't disappoint with good food, good booze and good desserts. The dancing is usually fun and I haven't been to one yeat that disappointed.
But, while I was sitting in church today watching the exchange of vows, I also was sad. Sad for me. I caught myself wondering how I'd do things when I get married. Then the doubt slipped in. I used to always say "when I get married." Now, at the age of 34 the saying has gone "If I get married". Today through I caught myself thinking that might never happen. It's sad really. It would be such a good time. Not just for the wedding of course, but for all that follows.
When the priest was talking about love today, he was talking about how much of it is around. I have that in my life, sure. It is a different love though. It'd be great to have the kind of love people have to decide to get married. I haven't completely lost hope, but the older I get, the more the doubt of it ever happening is triggered. I remind myself often not to wallow in it. Life can be lived many different ways and I can still show love, I just have to look for it returned in different ways. In the meantime, I'll be happy in the love others have found and remain optimistic that someday others will be happy for me in the same way.

Friday, April 1, 2016


Here's the thing about what I did tonight. I went to a fundraiser for women who have survived breast cancer. Let me repeat. I went to a fundraiser for women who have survived breast cancer. I went as the invite of my parents' neighbor and my childhood neighbor who fought and beat breast cancer a year ago. It was scary the day my mom called me and told me our neighbor had cancer. Scarier more when my mom called later and told me my aunt did too. Cancer sucks. We all know that. It isn't a mystery. It isn't something only some of us care about fighting. But sometimes I forget that my problem of not getting paid enough, or not having a program go exactly how I want it to, or getting yelled at because someone's wrong ad got posted on the wrong day, isn't that big of an issue.
I know based on a TED talk I've watched in the past year, that comparing your pain or suffering or grief to someone else's doesn't really make sense. No one gets to say that some pain is more difficult to go through than others. No one gets to claim hardship as their own. No one gets to be "more sad" than someone else. Everyone is going through their own thing.
But here's the thing about sitting through a night where people with breast cancer talk about their struggle or their survival: Life has a different perspective if you could possibly die.
In my every day life things go wrong. Things are annoying. Things are frustrating. I'm not going to die. I tell my team all the time when they get fired up: We're not curing cancer. We aren't. These women tonight, they were fighting it.
Nights like tonight put that in perspective. They also remind me that I at least have emotions. Sometimes I forget they are there. I have to hold them back. I have to be strong because there's no one to catch me. I have to make sure I'm good on my own. Tonight, I couldn't help it.
Our family friend started strutting down that runway and my eyes welled up. I was both proud of her for beating cancer and terrified that she might not have. I'm not sure where those tears came from, and boy, did I try and fight them, but they were still there. A reminder that I still feel, even when I try not to. A reminder that nothing, no matter what I'm going through, is as bad as it could be, no matter what perspective you look at it from.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Do or I Don't?

This year I'm making goals for each month. January was run a mile each day. February was drink no alcohol. March was get up before 6am every day. I failed miserably in March for that goal. Thankfully I made it through my Lenten goal of not eating virtually anything, so I'm counting that one as my March goal. Plus, I read 2 books, which was way more than I have read in a while, so I'm counting that as well.
I think April is going to be go on a date. That seems so stupid to me. Most people have no problems meeting people and going on dates. For some reason I do. It might be because people think I'm judgy. It might be because people think I'm super independent and good on my own and don't need anyone. In reality, I'm neither of those. I've been watching Lifetime movies recently, which seems like something I shouldn't admit in a public space, but I'm not sure why I feel so skiddish about telling people. Is it because they are hokey? Yep, sure. Is it because they are all the exact same and follow the same story line? Yep, also that. But why does it matter? People do stuff that's pointless all the time. The movies are entertaining, who cares if they are intellectual or making me smarter. I'm guessing no one cares...except for those who want to tease me about it for about 5 seconds, then they are over it.
I like the movies because they have a conflict and resolution, all in 90 minutes. They are sometimes romantic, sometimes just plain unrealistic, but as a hopeful romantic myself, I also sometimes just hope they happen. Although, the likelihood I fall in love in 3 days like they do in those movies, is probably unlikely. The way things are going right now, the likelihood I talk to anyone interesting in 3 days is unlikely as well. I need a shot of intrigue. Maybe the April goal of going on a date will provide that. Sadly, no one I know seems to know anyone who is single and somewhat interested, so I'm likely going to have to go back to online dating. In real life I just can't seem to be approachable enough for people to be interested. I'm not sure if in the online world I will be either since it didn't really go swimmingly last time, either, but can't really pout about it if I'm not going to accept the challenge.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Four Words

On Tuesday nights, a friend of mine hosts a twitter chat which consists of five random questions thrown on to his followers. Anyone and everyone can join and the questions are usually completely random. Sometimes, the questions are light-hearted and fun, like "What's your favorite under-the-radar Netflix show? Other times, they are a little more thought-provoking like "Give four words that you'd like to have describe you by a good friend at your eulogy."
What I like about these questions is I never know what's coming. What I don't like about these questions is I never know what's coming. In a public forum like Twitter, I'm constantly hyper-aware of how I'm portraying myself. I don't tweet a lot because I often question whether what I have to say makes any impact or adds any value in that forum. Yet I generally try to answer all five of the weekly questions. In some cases I don't because I don't have an answer. (I'm horrible at movie questions because I don't know actors or movies very well.) But some, like the four words at my eulogy question, are harder than others. 
I went through a ton of words. I had a moment of, holy crap, who am I trying to be? I thought, oh man, I'd love to describe myself as compassionate, but I don't think others see me that way. I wanted to say smart, decided clever might be more descriptive, but then evolved to intelligent. In the end I didn't use any of those because I thought that was too pompous of me. It is easier to say I'm loyal or honest because I know that about myself, it is harder to say smart because that's someone else's judgement about me compared to others. 
Then, reading through other responses, I realize there were words out there that other people used that I really wish I would have used. Open minded, dependable, generous, thoughtful were just a few. Why didn't I think of those? 
I pondered writing down what words I wanted to describe me to other people and looking at them each day to see if I was living up to their intention. It seems like a good goal to strive for, this accountability to the idea of what friends want, or at least what I want in my friends and all of it came from a twitter chat. A reminder that as insignificant as some people deem social media to be, it sometimes at least makes an impact.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Deciding to Judge

Are the decisions we make about how we want to live our own lives judgments on the ways others live theirs? For example, I don't drink soda. I haven't in 5 years. I gave it up one year for a New Year's resolution and never went back. Does that mean I think everyone who drinks soda is dumb? Or, for example, I don't generally eat meat. I do sometimes, when I feel like it is worth it or when it would be rude not to. Does that mean I think everyone who eats meat is making the wrong decision to have chicken tacos or a burger for lunch? More significantly, I'm Catholic. Does that mean everyone who isn't is just plain wrong about their religion?
With the state of American politics these days, the easy way to answer that question is: Yes, if you make a decision about how to live your life, you are making a judgment on the way other people live theirs. For me though, that's just not true.
Take potato chips. They were another New Year's resolution a few years ago. I haven't eaten them since. Not bagged and not fresh from restaurants who make their own. Why'd I make that decision? Mostly because when I eat potato chips I eat tons of them. They are salty goodness that I just can't resist. I try to have one, then I see the French onion dip and everything goes down hill. Pretty soon, I've consumed the whole bag. But, do I tell people at parties that I don't eat potato chips because they are bad for them and will make them fat? No way. Eat away on those potato chips. Potato chips make people happy. They have tons of delicious flavors (although I don't understand the salt & vinegar choice). It is your right in life to eat potato chips. Do what you like, it is your body.
While that's an inconsequential example, it is really how I feel about all choices people make, superfluous or more significant. I think we've evolved to a place, whether via social media or the general desire to be liked, that we all think others are judging us all the time. For me, I absolutely believe people get to decide to make their own decisions in life, especially when they don't impact me. When they do, I also get a vote in the decision.
Take smoking. I have a significant problem with smoking. But, while I choose not to do it, I don't care if you a point. That point is 1. if you are in my presence because no longer is it just about you, it is about me too and 2. if you do so, and then need my money to pay for your medical costs later in life. In that specific case, I'm not judging you necessarily for smoking, I'm disgruntled by the fact that I may be impacted by it.
I realize whole completely that the smoking example may be equated to excessive sugar consumption or eating lots of meat, so in some ways those are equitable, but generally, there isn't necessarily a judgment on my part. I only have one set of decisions to make and those revolve around the way I want to live my life and the biggest decision I make every day is not to judge anyone else for living the way they want to live theirs.