Sunday, January 29, 2012

How 'Bout A Little Pick-Me-Up?

Sometimes after you've had a bad day, you just need a little pick-me-up...quite LITERALLY.

For me, pounding the pavement, running as fast as my legs will carry me helps get over a bad day. When I run, I get in this zone that NOTHING can penetrate through. NOTHING. In fact, I was once running directly past a friend yelling my name at the top of her lungs directly in front of me to catch my attention and I didn't even notice she was there. Oops!

Mostly an irrelevant picture other than the fact I feel this post needed a visual and it's proof that I run.  Humble brag moment: Lance Armstrong also ran this race with  me. Bucket list win!

So, this story takes place on one of those types of days.

It was my freshman year of high school and because my stepsister was a personal trainer I worked out at this small, private gym that was mostly used by office tenants in the building. In other words, there was NEVER anyone there. It was my own perfect, private little space to be alone in my workout. 

And the best part, there was a TV and DVD player so I could watch movies or episodes of Friends while I worked out. PERFECTION.

Well, there I am, minding my own business and running my little heart out...when all of a sudden...I hear a key turn in the gym door.  Curious and confused as to who in the WORLD would be coming in I stepped onto the sides of the treadmill (while the treadmill is still in motion mind you...) 

I turn my head toward the long mirror opposite the door to catch a glimpse of who is walking in.  Much to my shock some attractive man walks through the door.  Naturally, I go to take a second glance.

Unfortunately for me though, this second glance led to injury.

I never really mastered that whole concept of if-one-part-of-your-body-moves-the-rest-of-your-body-DOESN'T-HAVE-TO-FOLLOW.  It's just like when you are a kid playing Super Nintendo (and listening to The Cranberries cd cause it is the early 90's after all)  and  in order to get Mario to jump you feel like you actually have to jump up with the control. Or to get him to turn back around to the left I'd have to also yank the controller to the left...pushing the left button just didn't seem to do enough.

This was just like that.

I craned my neck to get a better look AND that's when my body followed...ONTO the moving treadmill.

I don't really remember what happened next. Only what I imagine must have happened. 

The treadmill catapults me against the wall where my body leaves a sizable dent in the wall and I wake up to Mr. Mystery Man picking me up off the ground to wake me.

I went running that day for a little pick-me-up and quite literally got picked up instead.

*(Truth be told, I was so embarrassed I started working out at a different time afraid I'd run into him again.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sweetest Ambrosia

Today is the birthday of my "Sweetest Ambrosia." That was my family's nickname for her. She didn't like it very much, but she put up with it because that's what you do when you love people.

It's been almost 2 years that she's been gone and I still think about her and her wonderful example each day.  Now, however, it's usually because I'm laughing at some memory or some crazy thing we did and less because I don't know how to move on without her because I learned that I don't really have to. She will always be a part of me. 

You see, last time I was home, I found myself going to speak with her at her graveside, as I do each time I go home. This time was different though. What started out as my usual tears of sadness quickly turned into tears of joy.

There was so much I wanted to tell her about my life that she had missed out on sharing with me - boys, a new job, hopes for the future, new experiences, etc. I was used to sharing everything with my best friend and I hated not having her a phone call away. And that's when I realized that just because she wasn't necessarily here with me anymore for this moment she was still living my life with me and a major part of my life.

In the past year and a half so much of who I have become is in large part because she passed away, which in large part continues to make her a significant part of my life.

I've always worked out and danced growing up, but I've never been a runner. I've never had an interest, nor did I think I would be very good at it.  This past year, I knew I needed to pick up a hobby that cleared my mind. Something that made me focus so hard that I forgot about things that hurt me.  So, I started to run.  On March 24, 2011, the day before my 25th birthday, I ran my first half-marathon. NEVER in my life did I think I would do something that. I ran it because of her. Once again she was still a large part of my life.

There have been other aspects of my character that she has also helped shape over this past year, although I won't get it into them right now.  Suffice it to say she has helped me to become braver and to remember that we will feel pain at times, but that pain can heal through the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That we are capable of overcoming things we never imagined we would be capable of.  That makes me braver.  And so, she is still a very real, influential part of me.

She has helped me to remember to express my love for my family and friends more fully and to forgive them and serve them more quickly...although I have a lot of work to go.

This post may be more for me than anyone else who may read it. It may seem strange to some to write about something so personal and yet, here I am writing.

Why? Because I think that we learn from each other and from the experiences of others and so...I share my story.  I know I'm not the only one who has ever had something difficult happen in their life. We all have. So, how do we deal with these things? For me, it was the strength of my faith, the amazing people in my life, and honoring her name. I write this because I feel like it allows her example and the impact she had on many people to be remembered and carried on.

Amber had this drive that showed in everything she did from playing volleyball to receiving her Master's degree. She could walk into a room and make friends with anyone there because of her friendly, bubbly personality. She cared about her friends and family and was constantly doing heartfelt things for them. Whether it was making a blanket for me with all our inside jokes on it, or staying up for 24 hours straight to help me write my final 60 page paper for college, she took the time to really understand, care for and love her friends. I want to cultivate more of those traits in my life.

Looking back, I am overwhelmed by the number of people and opportunities I have had that have helped me realize that life is difficult, but we can work through the difficult things together to become stronger. Thank you. All of you.  Friends, Family, and Strangers. I am thankful for each of you and the part you play in my life.

As for Amber, here's to all our memories: T&T runs at Midnight * Driving around blasting rap music with your subwoofers * Toilet papering houses in high school...and maybe once more after that * My 21st birthday in NYC * graduation dinners* Skiing in Snowmass * The Miley Cyrus Concert * Sundance Film Festival * Celeb stalking* The "Seven Peaks-a-boob" incident * Mamma Mia * Graduation trip to NYC * Rosa's lunches * Sonic runs * Laying out poolside * hot-tubbing * Summer of '08 * Freedom * Mixed CD's * volleyball games * "drive-by's" * Christmas Tradeshows * Bunco *  Dominos and Phase 10 gamenights * dances * and so much more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I hate it when I a dog.

No one really likes to lose...especially when you lose to a dog. Here's how it happened:

I walk into my dad's room, having been away from home for 4 months, and hear my dad say "I love you so much little girl."

Naturally, I respond. "Well, thanks dad. I love you too"

That's when I notice the look on his face.  It was a look of TOTAL surprise.  As in, he had no clue I was standing there and he says, "Oh, I wasn't talking to you. Sorry."

  So...if he wasn't talking to me...who was he talking to?

Yep...that's right...he was talking to this little girl - our Chihuahua:

Slightly offended, I may have let out an audible gasp and asked who he loved more.  Clearly, I expected the response to be me...WITHOUT hesitation.  Instead, here's what I get:

"Katherine G (short for Katherine the Great) let me ask you a question:  "If I were to lock you and Callie (our chihuahua) in the trunk of a car for a couple of hours and then come back and open the trunk which one of you would still be excited to see me?"

Clearly I wouldn't. The Dog wins.

So far it's Chihuahua 1, Katie O

Monday, January 9, 2012

Purple Cookies and Parental Advice...

Parental Advice. 

We've all received it. 

Some of us have listened to it.

Some of us haven't. 

I usually listen when my parents give advice. They are kind of brilliant and I've learned that when I haven't listened to their the end, they were usually right, so I should have just listened to them in the beginning.

Here's some quick advice Mama Y and Papa C have instilled in me over the years:
  •  Never play leap frog with a unicorn.
  • Never eat yellow snow.
  • Eat your dessert first. Or sometimes, just eat dessert for dinner.
  • It's always good to be in the catbird seat. (I still don't really understand what that one means...)
  • Run in a zig zag motion when running away from a crocodile.
But perhaps the most UNIQUE advice I've yet to receive comes in the analogy of...


Looks delicious, right? You know you want it. mmmm...yummy.

The story of the PURPLE COOKIE begins several, several months ago when my mother and I were having a discussion about the complexities of dating.

Mama Y: "Let me ask you a question."

Me: "Yes?!?!?!"

Mama Y: "What is one of your favorite desserts?"

Me: "Duh. A chocolate chip cookie."

Mama Y: "Ok. I want you to imagine the BEST choco chip cookie you've ever tasted. Got it?"

Me: "Yeah."

Mama Y: "Ok. Now, imagine your FAVORITE chocolate chip cookie was sitting on the counter in front of you.  The only catch's a purple chocolate chip cookie. So you don't know that it's the BEST you've ever had.  Do you pick it up and try it? Or do you leave it on the table?"

Me: "No. I leave it on the table. It's a purple cookie. That's weird. Who trusts a purple cookie?"

Mama Y: "Exactly. I think you understand what I'm saying."

Me: {pausing for a moment to ponder on the analogy...} "OOOOOh. I get it. So, you're saying there are a lot of guys out there that I should be interested in or give a chance, right? Cause on the outside they may not look or seem like the kind of guy I'd be interested in, but on the inside they are exactly what I'm looking for, right?"

Mama Y: {awkward pause.} "No. I'm telling you not to be a purple cookie. You need to always present your best self so people don't pass you by and mistake you for a purple cookie."

Hmmm....not AT ALL where I saw this conversation leading.

I'm pretty sure my immediate response was, "I have to hang up the phone and go call my sister right now so we can discuss this."

Since this conversation, all I have to ask people is, "Do I look like a purple cookie?" If they say yes. I know I should probably go inside and change.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

5th Grade...Driving...

Summer of '08.

There is no way to describe it really. I mean, we would all wake up. Go to school until noon. Come home. Eat lunch. Play a round or two of the card game Egyptian rat screw. Lay at the pool for 3 hours.  Take a break at 4:00 for Happy Hour Sonic drinks.  Commence laying at the pool for a couple more hours.  Eat dinner.  Have dance parties or make up dances until 2 am. Go to bed. And do it all over again the next day. It was bliss. Pure bliss. But definitely not reality.

Perfect Example:

Apple Bottom Jeans. We did this at every dance that Summer. Don't judge us. It was college.

Ok, well on with the point of this post.

During Summer of '08, the girls would ALWAYS ask me to tell this story at LEAST once a day.  I'm not really sure why. It's not even that it's that funny. But, in their honor and in memory of Summer of '08 here goes...

5th Grade. Driving.  Well, not really driving. I mean, I was in 5th grade and all. Really, I was sitting in the back of a suburban minding my own business. Not the normal back though, but the WAY, WAY back - you know, the trunk where people throw all their camping gear. We were on a school camping trip on the way to Big Bend playing a seemingly innocent game of truth or dare. I should have realized then that playing Truth or Dare ALWAYS leads to something stupid, ALWAYS.

And so, there I was...trying to make a good impression with my peers and not wanting to chicken out.  I chose dare because let's be honest, who chooses truth?! If you chose truth you were either called a wuss OR had to divulge all your secret crushes. No, trust me, dare was the way to go. Or so I thought...

I was dared to "moon" the next car that drove by. Seemed simple enough. (As a side note children I don't condone this type of behavior.) I would never see the car again AND I would save face in front of my friends. Win/Win.  So...the next car drives by and my little bum cheeks are exposed.

UNBEKNOWNST to me the car driving by was another suburban full of 5th grade boys from my class. You can imagine I am PERISHING when I realize.  But, I remain mostly calm hoping that none of them would ever know it was me!  After all, there were 6 other girls in the car. It could have been any of us.

Except, I forgot one little detail...I had a very specific body type. You see, my thighs were as wide as my ankles which were both smaller than me knee cap combined...see.

No. They would definitely know it was me.  Therefore, my only hope was that they hadn't seen.

Upon arriving at Big Bend, I gained my composure and stepped out of the suburban acting like nothing happened...assuming no one saw.  Scratch that...PRAYING no one saw.  When first thing, my teacher, Mr. Mays, approaches me and says, "Katie, I hear it's going to be a full mooooon tonight, but then again, you already know that." And walks off. I was HUMILIATED. Let me repeat that. HUMILIATED.