Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicken Wings and Weiners

Now that the Olympics are over I can finally dedicate my time to the blog. So on Saturday instead of tuning into the closing ceremonies (let's be honest, I probably would have cried) I attended a BBQ at Penny and Loree's beautiful home. Jessica and I arrived around 2:30pm and met Penny on the driveway, busy frying up some wings in her outdoor deep fryer. As soon as I smelled the grease I basically decided to undo my belt buckle a notch, forget any food restrictions I had set prior and EAT AWAY!!! After a quick lift up the steps from the muscles of the group, Kayla and Emily I posted myself in the kitchen waiting patiently to taste the first round of wings. WAY BETTER then they even smelled! We continued to chat away until the guests arrived.

Soon enough people started to trickle in and Kayla began displaying her culinary skills. Yes, not only is she the muscles but she doubles as Chief Grillmaster. After a few heckles from the peanut gallery, the hot dogs were complete and it was time to enjoy the food. Loree and Penny had a beautiful spread of food and everyone must have smelled it because the backyard filled up fast. I enjoyed catching up with everyone and hearing stories of this summer's happenings. We ate and talked into the evening before we were rushed inside by darkness. The party continued with beer pong and music. I am not sure how much of the keg was drank but I am pretty sure we didn't leave much. A few of us decided that the night could definitely not end so we headed out to a bar on Capitol Hill. We basically closed it down and wrapped up an amazing night.

So I need to throw out some special thanks:

Penny and Loree- Huge thanks for opening up your home, cooking, being amazing hosts and just being awesome. I can't wait until we can do it again....even if it is on a much smaller scale. I owe you guys dinner. Name the date and we will do it!!!

Kayla, Emily, Sarah and Jessica--Thank you guys too...you are basically house guests of L and P's so I am sure you all did a lot to help them get this together.

Ty and Tootsie-- Thanks for being the life of the party ;)

RB, Kit, Janet, Mom, Dad, Larry and Judy--Thanks for putting up with all the loud and craziness, I am so happy you guys came.

Besties--I always thank you and I always love you.

Bethany--Gets the longest traveled award. All the way from NYC via Chicago.

Kyle--Being one of the only guys amongst all the ladies, I am sure it wasn't that hard ;)

HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CAME, SUPPORTED AND DONATED!!!! Because of you guys, the foundation raised a little over $1,000!!!! That is huge!

I love you all and I thank you more than I possibly can.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Simply Obsessed

Ok, ok....so I have been meaning to do my weekly blog for some time now. However, I am a woman possessed. Ever since I was a wee little thing, I can remember planting myself in front of the TV and watching every minute of the Olympics that I possibly can. The theme song gives me goose bumps every time. My favorite sport to watch as a kid: GYMNASTICS. Mary Lou Retton was the Alpha. She was simply amazing. Not to mention Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Flo Jo with her fierce nails.

Many years later, I begged my mom to let me be a gymnast like the Dominiques (Dawes and Moceanu). But she said...no go...you are going to be too tall and there are no gymnastic gyms in rural South Dakota. So I had to put my dream off another 4 years. By that time, my mom was right, even though we moved to Denver where there were plenty of gyms, I was too tall. Besides, I had another thing on my mind. HOOPS. By the time the next Olympics rolled around, Teresa Edwards was the main poster on my wall. I was usually too busy playing my own ball to actually watch as much as I wanted, but I definitely was able to squeeze in a few games. As well as keep dreaming about the perfect beam routine :) I can actually remember sitting in my camp dorm room in '96 at a bball camp in Pennsylvania and watching Kerri Strug complete her vault despite a fractured ankle. Ironically, the next day at camp I sprained my ankle. Her performance must have left a lasting impression on me because despite a fatty cankle, I taped up and hobbled up and down the court.

The next 2 Olympics were watched as much as possible but again, too much sport for me to actually pay close attention. So that brings me to 2008. I have been watching so much Olympics that when I finally was able to pull myself away from the TV to eat, I was craving Chinese food. Thanks to Jessica for running out to House of Hong for some yummy Kung Pao Chicken :)

So, which sports have kept me sleepless??? Well, it of course started out with the opening ceremonies. You have to start it out right. Just hearing the music and watching the presentation brought me to tears. The tears continued for a different reason as the camara kept glancing at George W, probably wishing he had a hot dog and some nachos. Despite that, the ceremony was amazing. First up, fencing. I think I would definitely take that sport up. You get to wear a sweet Tin Man suit that lights up while tagging your opponent with a sabre (I think that is what the sword is called). And to top it off, you get to yell and taunt after you hit them. One match to 15...nice, quick and sweet.

After fencing, I watched a little air rifle before I set the Tivo and went to sleep. The next morning brought 8 hours of recorded bliss. A little women's soccer and some women's hoops (Go Sue!!!) for breakfast. That was a quick meal as they worked the Czechs. Some women's volleyball, Logan Tom is an animal. A little bit of women's beach volleyball. Not my favorite team of Misty and Karri, yet still dominating. And of course, men's hoops. I am really hoping the guys live up to their name, The Redeem Team.

As you can see, I could go on and on about my two week sport-a-thon but I am thinking I should go ahead and wrap it up. If you need me, I will either be at work or in front of the TV watching the Americans' work. I am still trying to figure out a way to get a TV into my office at work so I can watch Phelps continue his Olympic run for 8 gold medals!!!! So, that is all for now....gotta direct my attention to Beijing.


Friday, August 1, 2008

85 miles of pure joy

So when does pain = joy? In my life....finishing the last 300 hundred test the beginning of your senior year, getting a deep tissue massage, brain freezes from sno cones, getting a tattoo and exerting your body for a good cause, just to name a few. Although, I didn't really feel the pain of the last one, I know some pretty sweet people that did. Last weekend I attended, and some of my best friends rode, in the 85 mile Double Day Bike Ride for ALS. I really didn't know what to think when I first arrived Saturday morning at the crack of dawn. Jessica, Enji, Kimmie, Cori, Carly and I road tripped an hour north to the Skagit Valley to embark on this adventure. We reached Conway School, set up our little tent city on the soccer field and started to get registered for the ride. Soon to follow were Heather, Jennie and Takiyah. As over 200 riders showed up, I was amazed to see so many people gathered for one cause. I mean, I guess I wasn't surprised but it was a little overwhelming to know that all of these people were affected in one way or another by the same thing, that damn 3 letter acronym.

As the crew took off into the morning I was greeted by a long lost friend, Miss PB herself. I was so overjoyed to see my good friend from high school, Anna Peters. To be honest, it has been so long since I was connected to my high school years. Once I left Littleton I guess unintentionally I became disconnected from that world. Anyways, Anna and I caught up on old times, places and faces and waited for my parents to show up. Once they did, the four of us took off to catch up with the biker beauties. After a few wrong turns and some much needed gas we caught them in the town of La Conner. The bikers were about halfway finished with the ride and most of my team was in good spirits and ready to get going. Jessica seemed a little pooped and by the look of her smile, probably wanted to stick around with us and eat lunch. But I know her well and I know there was no giving up. She continued on and my parents, Anna and I went to lunch. The food was good, the wine better....you can even ask my shoes, right mom :) We walked around a little more and then set off to catch the bikers.

After passing a few we finally made it to the finish line to welcome everyone home. Well except Heather, she is an iron woman and beat us all. She quickly packed up and headed back to Seattle so she could make it to church the next morning. After some R&R and a couple of beers, courtesy of Alex, we all headed to the school where a huge pasta dinner was awaiting us. I was wishing that I had burned enough calories to actually gorge myself with pasta but obviously not. I decided to splurge anyways....I figured the calories wouldn't count this weekend. The food was great as well as the banquet and presentations. There were prizes, like the Almond Roca that Kimmie won and the prizes that Boline and Alex missed because they were not there to claim them...next year guys. And there was also tears. To hear the stories of the brave people that ALS has overcome and their unstoppable family members that ride to keep their memories alive, were enough to fill the room with tears and tissues. There was obviously not a dry eye in the place and it didn't help when Jessica stood up and spoke for me. Every time I know that my story is going to be told, by me or others, I think this is going to be the time that my emotions do not spill over. Welp, it wasn't this one....I was boohooing just like everyone else. The night ended with dessert and laughter but emotions definitely ran wild throughout the weekend.

We finished off the night with a campfire, smores, big booty and a couple safety meetings had by the pres, vice pres and secretary ;) The next morning was wet and cold but the pancakes and rubber eggs filled Enj, Cori, Carly and Kimmie's stomachs and prepared them for day 2 of the ride. 45 more miles through rain, hills all on top of already aching butts. The crew made it, a couple of them with police escorts. Despite the rain and cold, the second day's scenery was beautiful. I found a couple of vacation homes on the lake that I will be buying once I nab the winning lotto ticket.

The ALS double day was incredible. My friends and everyone that I met there are AMAZING! The acceptance I gained over my disability and illness are unparalleled. Thank you to everyone that attended, donated, prayed and supported myself, the riders and the families. Can't wait to see everyone at the next event...whether it be next year or in the near future. HUGE THANKS!!!

So a few days after the ride, I talked with my friends who sacrificed their butts and asked how they felt. A few of them said that their legs or rears were sore. A couple had a little bit of a sun burn. And all of them said that they had a lot of joy. Joy that wasn't found artificially in front of a TV or by the greatness of retail therapy. Joy that was found when people sacrificed their body for someone who is no longer able to do if for themselves. Joy that definitely derived from pain.