Crumbling Resolutions aka "Being Human"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

As I posted about here, it was my New Years Resolution to run five 5k's in 2013. So, I'm here to offer you an update in case some of you turn to my blog as an inspirational source. (Side note: don't do that. Anyone who thinks that running 15.5 cumulative miles in a calendar year is something to strive for likely shouldn't be your motivational beacon.)

As most resolutions do, mine started off relatively well when I ran the Shamrock Shuffle through the Madison tundra in March.

Then, I ran a "Color Me Pink" 5k in April with Becky through Kings Island outside of Cincy. This one was easy because I'm pretty sure it was actually about 2.5 miles through an amusement park, where most people had strollers. That's my kind of 5k!

Of course, when the people running with strollers pass you, embarrassment ensues.

At that point, I was basically shredding my resolution. Two 5k's in four months!? Had I set the bar entirely too low?! Was it possible I should have aimed to run 30 5k's?! Or maybe 4 marathons!? Or maybe I should have tried out for the US Olympic Track Team!?

Could this be my future!?! (hint: absolutely f*cking not)

It was growing warmer and my 5k numbers were looking promising, so come early May I was feeling mighty accomplished about my fitness goals. I decided to rest on my laurels for a time, and bask in my fitness glory. This was a huge mistake.

In May I ran zero 5k's (basking in the glory of April and March, clearly.)

In June, also zero. Still basking.

July: The weather was too perfectly accommodating to do any of that running business. Plus, there's basking to be done.

August.  At this point basking looks a lot like "eating fro yo three times a week and occasionally considering doing a few crunches" 

And suddenly, in mid-September, I'm looking at a mere 2 of 5 races complete, and, since I live in a climate which is hardly habitable for mankind, I can feel winter rolling in.

I actually did convince my boyfriend to run the Zoo Run Run with me -

I like this picture because it reminds us it wasn't always freezing in Madison.
So now I'm up to three! But that isn't the point of this post. The point of the post is this - in one of my very first posts ever on this blog I posted about how the concept of NY Resolutions are like, the worst.

So here's my question to mankind: Why do we have to have goals? Why does everything need to be firmly planned out in order to be deemed accomplish-able?

This is coming from an extremely goal-oriented girl. But, sometimes, I just think life would be less stressful without them. So, if you have goals that you're not meeting - I just want to let you know: it's okay. We all do. I don't think being human is about putting check marks on a giant list of things to do. Spend a little more time on New Years celebrations and a little less time on New Years resolutions. Focus on people in your life, not things. And always remember to bask.

Happy November :)

p.s. Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Monday, October 21, 2013

No post since August 4?! I have evidently stepped my blogger game down.

Being as high profile as I am, there are naturally several circulating theories about my unexplained absence, my favorite being that once you visit the Mitchell Corn Palace, there isn't much to life after that, and any experience pales in comparison.

(That's actually the only theory I've heard, but it's dead on.)

Nonetheless, I've been able to pick myself up out of my post-corn-palace slump and am back to update you on the happenings of my life. 

Some exciting things actually have happened in the past few months, regardless of my apparent inability to document them. To name a few:

1. I visited my twin sister Becky in Seattle, Washington

2. I attended not one, not two, but THREE weddings.

3. I tried to buy a pair of long jeans at "the buckle" but failed miserably to a find a pair that doesn't look like it was bedazzled by a third grader with ADHD

4. I went on 189 business trips, gaining 30 million Marriott points and experiencing 1400 flight delays.

5. One of these trips included a detour to Branson, Missouri. (Think: the Wisconsin Dells with a Bible belt twist)

6. More than one of these trips included buying bulk candy from the MSP candy store

7. My boyfriend, Stephen, who I had been dating long distance for nearly 2.5 years moved to Madison!!

So, if you feel I've been neglecting you, my fellowship of beloved readers, do not fear, as I have been neglecting many people and responsibilities in my life. I realize this tactic "don't worry it's not just you - I am neglectful all around" likely doesn't make you feel any better about humanity - so here's a kitten:

When I am feeling down about humanity, I find it refreshing to turn to something not-human. Be it googling baby animals, or simply hiking around a lake, sometimes non-human things re-ignite my love for mankind. I also enjoy re-focusing on Church. And sometimes I eat entire bags of sour patch kids.  :) I don't actually have any pets (due to my inability to care for my iPhone, and experience with a demonic kitten in college -- miss ya minnie!) but I did take a recent trip to the UW Arboreteum - here are some snaps showcasing a beautiful Wisconsin fall day:

all photos by Stephen

For whatever reason, these pictures remind me of a quote I recently heard in a TED talk:

"If all the insects on earth became extinct, all life as we know it would come to an end in the next 50 years. If all humans became extinct, all other life would flourish in the next 50 years."

I can't find the accredited author, but I find the quote both sad and inspiring. In the same way that I imagine determining that the universe does not, in fact, revolve around the earth must have been a simultaneously disappointing and freeing discovery.

Welp, that's it for a pathetic blog post. Consider this a rebound-post (like a rebound-boyfriend), one that comes between a real post and another real post, but isn't in itself super great - just a transitional way to get me back in the blogosphere.

I am coincidentally about to board a plane to South Dakota - but will be sure to update you guys again soon :) Happy October!

Royal Happenings

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Note: I wrote this a couple of weeks ago - but was too lazy to put the pictures in it. So, this counts as my "July post" even though I didn't get my act together until August :) Also, all the time references (e.g. "today" isn't actually today) are wrong, but I'm not going to fix them or that would take another 2 weeks.

Being always in the know (read: on twitter), I obviously am aware that a little heir was just born across the pond. While the Brits may be celebrating a royal milestone, I recently had a royal experience myself: I went to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Or, as I like to call it "The Taj Mahal of the Midwest."

It's obviously hard to talk about anything except for the corn palace since my visit there, but I don't get why people think it's such a big deal that other people are making a big deal about the royal baby. You follow? It's a baby! It's exciting! I found out a co-worker's wife was having a baby today and I got visibly excited! I haven't even seen the co-worker in 8 months.

Also, every time I hear of someone having a baby I get excited that it's one more female going to be a mom who isn't me. Not that I don't want to reproduce in the future,  I am just not to the point where I think to myself - "Hey, I've totally mastered this whole 'life' thing. I should teach someone else how to do it!"

For example, I can't keep my cell phone charged. So I'm not sure how that speaks to my ability to raise a living, breathing, contributing member of society.

Also, the thought of paying my electricity bill drives me into a state of panic. This state of panic occurs monthly, but no matter how many times I try, I can't get auto-pay to work.

So, I think, before you decide that you should be another human's guide in life - ask yourself a couple of key questions: Is your car registration up to date? Have you ever independently gone to the dentist without your mom scheduling the appointment? Did you just eat Wheat Thins, cream cheese, and 6 packs of fruitsnacks for dinner?

And if you answer "no" "no" "yes" maybe you should give it a couple years. This 3-question method could drastically improve our overpopulation issue.

Back to the corn palace - a place I aspire to some day return to. For those of you who don't know what the Mitchell Corn Palace is, first of all, do you actually live in a cave with no wireless? Second off, it's exactly what it sounds like.

A physical monument of hope in central South Dakota covered in murals made entirely out of corn.

Example A: Mount Rushmore Made Out of Corn

Begging the question, why see the stone version?

They change these murals annually - so this might have to be a perennial trip! (If not more frequent)

Exhibit B: Corn Athletes

for you, Fran!

for you, Stephen!

Exhibit C: Nativity Scene, corn style

The best part of the Corn Palace is they keep reminded you that it was one of a kind. Lots of the corn-cessories boasted that it was the "World's Only Corn Palace." Truly, it's a shame their aren't more man-made corn-dedicated tributes.

Adventures in South Dakota

Monday, June 24, 2013

All weekends go by too quickly, and all Mondays generally suck. However, one could convincingly argue that weekends when your long distance boyfriend is in town fly by extra quickly and Mondays when you're traveling to Sioux Falls, South Dakota extra suck. And by "one" I mean "I."

So, at about 7:30pm today I found myself in the Courtyard Marriott of Sioux Falls, SD....which looks strikingly similar to the Courtyard Marriott in Peoria, IL. Fun fact: both are located in mall parking lots. Once checking into my hotel, I decided to get wild in South Dakota. Aka get a pedicure.

I usually don't get mani/pedis because I think they're a waste of time - but it turns out, when I'm in South Dakota, wasting time is exactly what I'm going for.

I wandered into the Sioux Falls mall and immediately saw the aptly named "Nails Time" storefront -- as if God himself was thinking of me when he laid out this generic middle-American suburban shopping center.

Thirty seconds into my Nails Time adventure, I remembered another reason I don't like getting my nails did on the reg -- all the workers are chatting it up in a foreign tongue and I have no idea what they're saying. Since I'm both self-absorbed and paranoid, I usually imagine they're discussing how ugly my feet are, which makes me want to drink acetone.

One time I was getting a pedi in Dayton with my also-tall twin sister, and the lady kept holding up her hand high in the air making the "tall" motion, if you will, while yipping away to her co-worker in an unidentified language. To which I responded "Yep, we're tall." They both seemed shocked! Um, hello. I am fluent in hand gestures. And notably not blind.

Back to Sioux Falls. I was happy to find that Nails Time had time for me. As I was sitting in the massaging chair, I came to the realization that not only was I the only customer in the nail salon under 50, but also the only one not getting something "Red, white, and for the 4th of July!"

This made me feel oddly mature. Not a sensation I'm accustomed to.

One special touch about Nails Time was that I was always seated near the entrance so I experienced the joy of listening to two different radios simultaneously. The mall hallway random-90's radio (think: Fergie and the Pussy Cat Dolls) combined with the Nails Time John Tesh radio show. (think: Elton John and "how you can control your road rage by thinking positively.")

So...when do they tour together, P-Diddy?
In addition to the double dose of glorious music and real-life advice ("remember, sometimes you forget to turn off your high beams too."), X-Men was playing on the TV, muted. So I kept trying to read the subtitles, listen to two songs at once, and understand Kevin's thick accent as he told me to "relax my hands" 30 times in a row. He apparently didn't notice how distracting the Fergie, Elton John, and Hugh Jackman combination was. 

Overall, a fairly successful SD night. I don't think I caught any diseases from the tools used at Nails Time (bonus!), and Kevin, my manicurist with disturbingly long fingernails, told me I have really nice nail beds. There's one for the resume!

I know what you're thinking "OMG Joyce why don't you post a filtered instagram pic of you're new mani and pedi!!" The answer is simple - I would rather bathe in a pool of rubbing alcohol and razor blades than post a picture of my feet on here. So I'm going to go with baby otters instead:

I want to propose this solution: any girl, in any state, when you're considering posting a pedicure picture to any form of social media, instead, post a baby otter picture.

Happy Monday, happier Tuesday, homies.

Hosting poorly-themed parties and near death experiences

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Last night I may or may not have had a "Red Wedding" themed party, and if you don't know what that means you need to either:

a. Start reading Game of Thrones
b. Start watching Game of Thrones
c. Stop reading my blog if you're annoyed about all the GoT references
d. Keep reading my blog in ignorance.

If I were you, I'd choose "d." because it requires no effort and doesn't deprive you from reading the second greatest writer ever published (The first being George R.R. Martin. If you don't know who that is, do option a.)

Also, I'm not published.


Moving on, in preparation for the party, I did what all good party hostesses do.

1. Cleaned (boring).
2. Bought drinks (boring).
3. Made Sangria (Kind of exciting because I realized I actually have no freaking idea how to slice apples. Reason #72 I feel bad for my future husband.)
4. Bought chips and salsa, sour gummy worms, starburst jelly beans, and gummy lifesavers.
5. Didn't think we had enough sour or gummy things, so I bought these Jolly Rancher two-somes sour gummy combo things. They're ok. Below par of sour gummy candies, but the par of sour gummy candies is every other food group's "way below par" so yeah.

The reason I said I may or may not have had a "Red Wedding" themed party is because four guests came dressed like lumberjacks due to one enthusiastic party attender who decided it should be lumberjack themed and emphasized this with three other people. Everyone else, including me, wore normal clothes.

But, I was telling everyone it was a "Red Wedding" theme because I never don't make a GoT reference when given the option. So I did draw up my House sigil and words. Here's the electronic form:

I can't draw trees or cupcakes, and I sure as hell don't own a functioning printer, so I ripped out a sheet of notebook paper and drew a dog made out of circles that my friend taught me to draw in 7th grade and I've been drawing ever since. Thanks, Alli!

Anywayyyyyy - as you do before any party, I was sitting alone on my couch wondering if anyone was going to show up and betting myself that I could, in fact, finish all the candy tonight single-handedly regardless of if any guests attend,when suddenly, I wasn't alone at all. Rather, I was staring death in the eye.

A f*cking centipede was on the wall above my TV.

Excuse my edited expletive, but am I allowed to start a campaign to make an animal extinct? Because I am guessing more people care about obliterating centipedes entirely from our planet than saving some obscure species of bird. Unless the obscure species of bird only eats centipedes.

Do you guys remember when I had a panic attack over the cricket in my hotel room? 

Well, it was a similar situation and I handled it with the same amount of calmness. Aka none. Tried to kill it with my flip flop, it fell but didn't get squished, I screamed, never found the body, and will never sleep again.

It was then, when I was recovering from my imminent fear and wondering if I could avoid my living room for the rest of my lease (aka through August of 2014) when I thought about it. I thought about canceling the party, booking the nearest hotel room, and sleeping far, far, away from that demonic insect.

But then I remembered my house words.

Never before had I related to Neddard Stark on such a personal level. (I notably have no bastard children.)

Now, when people started rolling in (the pro: people came! the con: less candy for me), some would venture occasionally to the balcony. This was problematic because when they opened the sliding glass door, hoards and hoards of insects flew in, attracted to my lamp. I'm talking probably hundreds over the course of the night.

It's like the centipede was foreshadowing terrible things to come.

Pointless little gnat things that chilled on the wall until I sprayed them all with hairspray or pounded them with my fist in rage. Some party, I know.

My fear of bugs has been getting worse with each year I get older. Which makes 0 sense. My plan is to have kids and teach them to kill bugs for me before I teach them the English language. (Husband could do this but he'll be too busy slicing apples.)

And also to never go camping. My family's version of camping is making s'mores in our portable fire pit in our driveway and then going back into the house after consuming between 3 and 8 s'mores each.

back up family words
Regardless, I will report that, despite the apparent spontaneous bug-theme, the party was successful, the candy is gone, the sangria was a hit, and I am looking to hire an exterminator or move. I'll keep ya posted!

Globe Trotting

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sorry for the unintentional blogging hiatus!

Since my last post, I've spent time in Chicago, Peoria, New York City, St. Louis, Houston, and Westeros.

So, as you could imagine, most of my time been consumed with fighting with airline agents, and distressing about the future prospects for the residents of the seven kingdoms. And people think the current American economy sucks. At least America's most prevalent landmark isn't "burned villages."

If you don't watch Game of Thrones, it better be because you're reading them as I currently am (almost done with Book 3). While typing this, another reading friend (who is slightly behind me in the book) just texted me woefully after reaching a traumatic scene, to which I maturely responded:

So yes, begin reading if you want to essentially torture yourself for thousands of pages and live in a sea of helpless despair. And totes text me about it!

Speaking of a sea of helpless despair, yesterday was my weekly dose of being mentally and physically abused by the commercial airlines.{More proof of airline torment here and here}

Took this terrible shot in the ridiculous cluster that was allegedly the boarding area in the Houston airport yesterday.
Or as I now like to call it,  "hell."

Yesterday's voyage marked my second trip in a month where I technically landed the day after I was originally supposed to get home. In yesterday's case, I landed at 12:10am. Earlier in May, I was supposed to get home at 9pm on Thursday, and didn't get back until 6:30PM on FRIDAY. And yes, driving from New York City to Madison, WI would have been a faster, cheaper, and an all around more enjoyable experience. 

Real conversation with Delta during that tumultuous journey:

Me: Hi, I just want to know if I can get Delta miles for my huge inconvenience.
Her: We don’t award miles until you reach your final destination.
Me: Well I’m not sure if that will ever happen.
Her: Oh, but what if you suffer more inconvenience? We can’t give you miles now in case you suffer more inconvenience.
Me: Well, my flight is already delayed today but at this point I consider flight delays as a part of your business model. So although I agree that more inconvenience is highly likely, I would like miles for my incremental inconvenience, why must I wait for my maximum accumulated inconvenience?
Her: Just call as soon as you land in Madison.
Me: That’s exactly how I want to spend my Friday night.

Obviously, I got 0 miles from her. :)

I am in the office this week (YAY) so hopefully I will have a little more time to catch up on blogging :) Happy June, you guys!

Whattup, Mom

Monday, May 13, 2013

Yesterday was national post "My mom is the best ever" on facebook, so you guys, let's talk statistics.

I wish some honest child had posted, "My mom is the 900th best mom ever" because, considering there's billions of moms in the world, we're still talking better than top 0.001% and that's legitimately impressive. I'm going to assume the 900th best mom in the world packages chips into individual zip lock bags for daily school lunches and never misses a sporting event.

I spent my Mother's Day hanging out with my boyfriend in Arkansas. I know what you're thinking "Worst child ever" but, I did send a card and gave my mom a call, so let's talk statistics...

Also, notably, my mom spent her Mother's Day moving my middle sister out of her college house. So, suddenly I'm at least above one other child out there on the child charts. :) kidding, Grace.

I decided against posting a status yesterday because everyone was doing it and I'm a total free spirit ;) But, if we're being honest, my mom is giving the number one mom in the world a run for her money, and I can mathematically prove that through examples. I was a statistics TA in college, so don't question me.

First example: pie.

Julie C. makes baking look as easy as sweeping the kitchen floor. So my whole life I thought baking must be a breeze. Then I tried baking and may have ended up sobbing on my flour-coated kitchen floor. Homemade pie crust is HARDER THAN MOST THINGS. And my mom will do it while helping one of my sisters do algebra, another apply to college, all the while teaching me how this whole credit-card thing works.

If I inherit a quarter of her kitchen skills I will consider my future family lucky. My mom's chocolate chip cookies are legendary on any team that I (or any of my sisters) have ever played on. Even throughout college, she'd always mail me an entire tuppeware container of fresh-baked tollhouses and tell me to "share them with the team!" (which I usually did, if they made it out of my dorm room.) Which brings me to my second example...

Example 2: taking "soccer mom" to a whole new level.

One of the funniest part of the whole 2008 "Sarah Palin should maybe be Vice President of our country" pitch was how they branded her as a soccer mom. I would always just look at her and think not impressed. My mom was a basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, track and field, cross country, and softball mom. Three sports at the collegiate level. Driving hours (and hours and hours) to support each of her daughters from one weekend to the next for years (and years!)

Oh, and she was a cheerleading mom for one year. But we try not to mention that in public, and hide it as one of our dark family secrets. Thanks, Becky.

Example 3: everything else

This is the part in my blog where I realize perhaps arguing about how great my mom is should have been a Masters' Thesis, rather than a blog post, which is made to be read in one sitting.

So, before I make everyone else in the world jealous, I'll wrap things up. Thanks for everything, Mom! I've learned so much from you over the years, and can't thank you enough. Happy Belated Mother's Day! I love you!

the worst part of Biz Cas / a challenge to fashion bloggers

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I pretend to be a lot of things, but fashionable is not one of them. I'm all about comfort and dropping big bucks on the occasional pair of lululemon pants, but thus far I haven't been featured in any fashion blogs as an inspiration for others. And trust me, I would know. I Read. Them.Constantly.

I appreciate fashion in a weird way considering how little I show it in my wardrobe (I think Meryl's legendary monologue about cerulean in The Devil Wears Prada is where my respect for fashion stemmed.) But there's one piece of clothing I just don't understand. It's mere existence baffles me.

Pantyhose. Aka Nylons. Aka the single worse thing to ever happen to the business casual dress code since padded shoulders.

So, I challenge you fashion bloggers with this question: WHY? 

Just thinking about putting them on makes me want to put in my notice and start training to become an astronaut. Because a SPACE SUIT looks SIGNIFICANTLY MORE COMFORTABLE.

I recently had to wear some for a work trip, and have you guys ever seen the sizing charts on nylons?

Oh, that's right. They actually assume that no woman would ever be above 6 feet tall. That's not just the one off "I still live in the 1920's and have never heard that girls can now dunk" brand. It's. Every. Single. Brand. Are the makers of pantyhose not familiar in anyway with the modeling industry?

Due to these sizing limitations and being six feet and two inches of solid joy, I get to pick my flavor of discomfort. Should I get the tights made for people who weigh twice as much as I do and try to stretch them vertically, all the while knowing they'll likely fall off my waist at any second OR the ones that fit my waist but  the crotch threatens to be dangerously near to my knees and restricts my range of motion so much that I have to significantly shorten my naturally long strides when walking and hobble around like a penguin?

OR, start wearing space suits on the reg?

so. me.
Regardless of my unique height scenario, let's now operate under the false assumption that I have the option of buying a pair of "hose" that fit. What is the purpose? Considering that we now live and work in climate-controlled buildings, the "warmth" argument is out.

As far as business dress code, I'm not buying it. Do my legs look drastically more professional when covered in an arguably imperceptible sheer layer that is the same color as my skin? 

Also: let's talk quality of product. Pantyhose are like the plastic spoons of the closet. In theory, you could reuse them if you washed them but they're just going to break soon anyway and clearly weren't made to last. Is there a world record holder somewhere who once wore the same pair twice in a row without getting a run in them? 

In sum, due to the fact that wearing a three-piece suit made of exclusively pine needles would be more comfortable, the overall poor quality of the product, and the fact that the manufacturer's do not acknowledge that any woman over 6 feet tall exists, unless a astute fashion blogger can prove me otherwise, I say: let's get rid of them. Remove them from your wardrobe, burn them in the streets. Improve your work environment ever so slightly by either wearing pants or (gasp) bare legs to work. And, if presented the option, lululemon yoga pants are the answer for the most appropriate workplace attire.

twice the chipmunks, half the fun.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I've really had my act together this week.

For example, one day, I packed my own lunch. Amazing, right!? The chances that my future children go to school every single day with Pizza Lunchables just decreased to 89%.

My parents were lunch-making professionals. They had making 4 lunches an evening down to a science. Probably should have started a business. My mom also always went the extra mile in assembling the side-dishes of our lunches. For example, she used to buy big bags of chips and then put them into little individual zip lock bags for me and my 3 sisters.

I distinctly remember sitting by a girl in my 5th grade class who enviously eyed my individually-bagged Doritos and said "Wow. Your mom must really care about you." I didn't get it at the time, but now?! THE EFFORT. I won't even do that for me.

Back to my lunch this week - packed it!!! And then got to my second-floor office in the morning and thought Dang it! I left my lunch in the car. Then walked all the way down to the parking garage and, alas! No lunch.

It was on my kitchen counter.

I also started doing this really cool new thing where I walk to my car at the end of the day (all the way down in the underground parking garage) and realize: I don't have my keys. They're in my office.

It's actually really nice because it forces me to reflect on what I really need in life to get form Point A to Point B. Just kidding, it actually just makes me pissed off. I did it twice this week. Which has to be some sort of record. Or a sign of early stages of dementia.

Despite the above examples suggesting otherwise, this week wasn't exclusively me being the embodiment of a dumpster fire: I also celebrated my half birthday! Had a little family-style dinner with some friends, which as awesome because everyone brought something home made and I brought a cookie cake that said "Thanks!" on it. (Since apparently my half birthday = secretary appreciation day. Which is totally legit, but it reduced the number of pre-made half birthday cookie cakes that were on the shelf.)

In other exciting news, I bought a new bike this week :) And by "new" I mean it's one of my friend's used bikes. I took it for a ride yesterday, and now can't wait to bike around Madison this summer. My instant realization was I should have bought a bike a long time ago.

Well, those are the quick updates from my life - sorry this is only my second April post! Goals for May: more blogging, warmer temperatures, and Pizza Lunchables at least once a week.

Since I apparently can't apparate

Sunday, April 7, 2013

You're in luck - my recent flight home has given me some new  complaints to post here! Don't get me wrong, Easter is one of my favorite holidays. It's so much less commercial than Christmas, and I just love this time of year, when the frozen earth finally surrenders to warmth and the world comes alive again.

frozen solid lake: MELTING! (pretty Madison skyline behind)
It's the flying part that always gets me.

As I consider every single aspect of commercial flying my pet peeve, I'm going to narrow this post down to two topics so it isn't longer than the 7th Harry Potter book: children and luggage.

As a side note, does anyone else think re-writing Harry Potter through a "realistic" modern-day lens is a good idea?

Example, 5th book:

Harry (wakes up, alarmed, scar burning), "Oh no! I just had  dream - Sirius is in danger! We must go NOW."

Ron (disheveled, as always): "Bloody Hell, Harry, why don't you just calm down and text him?"

Harry to Sirius: Yo man, you ok?
Sirius to Harry: Ya, just petting Buckbeak and making Kreacher get me butter beer. Why?
Harry to Sirius: No Reason. Go Chudley Cannons!

Ron: "Good. Let's play some Mario Smash Brothers."

Back to the terminal. I always tweet a lot when I'm in airports because I'm pretty sure that's why twitter was invented. A few gems from my Easter excursion:

These obviously make me sound like a heartless bitch which is good because I'm all about transparency. But, seriously, would you pay an upcharge to be on a child-less flight?

I mean, U.S. Airlines collected 3.36 Billion Dollars from Baggage Fees in 2011 might as well make us pay for something that is actually a perk and not just a necessary piece of travel.

Since the cost of checking bags makes me question capitalism as a whole, every one carries on everything. 

There aren't too many downsides of carrying things on. Well, except I have to regularly participate in mortal combat for a space in the overhead bin. And, of course, this:

It's getting to the point that flying commercial is more comical than anything else. I like to imagine that humans weren't actually trying hard when they made the system. Maybe our airline industry is a result of a poorly managed 9th grade group project?

Regardless, warmer weather means one thing that will help us frequent travelers: less chance of flight delays. Just another reason spring coming (albeit late) is really brightening my overall mood :)

everyday i'm shufflin'

Friday, March 22, 2013

Remember my resolution is to run five 5k's this year? Well, I did one! So, come December 31 at most I can be an 80% failure. Holler!

I decided to partake in the "Shamrock Shuffle" on St. Patty's Day - and let me take this opportunity to remind you that I live in Antarctica. The tundra. The North. Within a glacier. Beyond the Wall. Azkaban.

Bottom line: brrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Rather than train, I prepared for said race by purchasing super expensive running pants from Lu Lu Lemon (I don't think they're see through) and downloading 3 new jams.

Trying to stay warm in the 18 degree weather before the race began, I took comfort in a previous frigid 5k adventure.

lining up on state street!
 Last winter, I agreed to run a Valentine’s Day 5k with one of my friends. It was 9 degrees outside. I write it off as one of the worst (sober) decisions of my life.

In the frigid chill of the top of the morning Saturday, I kept holding on to that day. Surprisingly, repeating It’s twice as warm as it was then over and over did not keep my fingers from feeling like they were going to fall off.  Life conclusion #1: the theory of relativity only relatively works.

Life conclusion #2:  I need to start celebrating holidays by doing something other than exercising.

Regardless, I started the race strong. In typical “I used to play basketball” fashion, my first mile was decently fast, and my second only slightly slower.

It was almost as if my muscles haven’t been atrophying every day since graduation. Almost.

Since running at a decent pace was getting kind of old, I decided that, rather than run the third mile, I would crawl backwards to the finish line. It was truly a joy, because I got to watch everyone that I passed during the first two miles pass me. It was almost like we were becoming friends. Almost.

Life conclusion #3: next time, buy more new songs. Turns out I can’t run a 5k in the time it takes to play “Gold Digger” “Thrift Shop” and “Call Me Maybe.”

One little girl was friendly to me, though. As I was running up a huge hill (side note: there are ZERO hills in Madison. I think they had them man-made just to torture me in this race), I began to walk, and she grabbed my hand briefly as she ran by and said "you can do it." I found the gesture really sweet, and surprisingly inspirational. I followed her to the finish line, and thanked her after the race. If you've never run a 5k, you should. The atmosphere is overall so positive! Everyone is encouraging and cheering one another on. 4,500 people were racing on Saturday, and the culture was nothing but upbeat and supportive, despite the frigid temperatures. It's like being on a team sport with 4,500 people where no one loses :)

I also found it motivating when the guy in the hot dog costume almost passed me in the last half mile. I may have no endurance, but I have dignity! Hope you all enjoyed your St. Patrick's Days!

No Pope, No Rules

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I am Christian, but even though I've never practiced Catholicism, I am still wholeheartedly participating in this tumultuous time in the religious world. I know what you're thinking: Joyce, I can't even tell there's no Pope. But then you'd be missing out on the most socially acceptable time in history to explicitly take oral contraceptives. Also, if there's ever been a time to eat meat on Fridays during Lent: this is it! Because it's a proven fact that everyone likes pepperoni pizzas better than fish, especially on Fridays.

let's be honest
How can I make such a blanket statement when there are hundreds of vegetarians (and even pescetarians) out there running a muck? Proof of my point is, if everyone didn't like meat more, vegetarians wouldn't have to make such a big deal about their vegetarianism. There would just exist these people who didn't eat meat but also didn't label it. Catch my drift? I don't eat croutons. But you don't hear me screaming it from the roof tops.

I'd like to see a reality TV show that attempts to hunt down secret vegetarians and vegans who don't remind you about it at every breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

But now I'm making fun of people with unusual eating habits and I've strayed from mocking Catholicism - back to our Pope conundrum!

I was watching the news this weekend (not on purpose, came on right after basketball ), and they were talking about how the Vatican is trying to get a new Pope because they must be under the impression that someone cares about this. I mean I totally volunteered and stuff, but apparently they found out about the one time I stole Skittles in third grade. 

Anyway, there was an awesome quote that went something like "These religious leaders will be meeting in the next few days to have what they like to call discussions."

I like that our religious leaders aren't having just plain "discussions" but are holding "what they like to call discussions." So. Much. More. Devout. Therefore, I'm determined to use this tactic to increase the perception of my overall importance in life.

Example A: "Regarding that issue, I will send you what I like to call an email."

Additionally, I saw this baller tweet from Steve Martin:

Moral of the story: using the above strategies, my life anecdotes are becoming exponentially more fascinating.

Example B: In my highly anticipated trip to the hotel's fitness center, I ran what I like to call a mile.

Example C: In my highly anticipated first blog post of March, this is what I like to call the end.

Light at the end

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I don't want to jump the gun, but I think I'm going to make it through February again this year. Accomplishments of the month include going to the gym two consecutive days, almost filing my taxes correctly, and getting a haircut. I don't like bragging on the internet, but, look at that list! I'm now convinced that I'm at least partially divine.

I've been on a bit of a blogging  hiatus, as I met two of my sisters in San Juan, Puerto Rico for a long weekend. It was a wonderful time and I'm grateful that I had the chance to go. We saw Old San Juan (including Castillo de San Cristobal and El Morrro) and El Yunque (the national rain forest) as well as spending a lot of quality R&R time on the beach.

Also, amazingly, all 12 of the flights the 3 of us had to take to get to and from PR worked out smothly. To say I constantly stress about missing my connecting flights is like saying I kind of like Harry Potter. Hello, understatements. I'm totally nonchalant about actually flying but SERIOUSLY the anxiety I have about tight connections stays on my mind for days prior to the flight, and in the hours leading up to flight one I chew my finger nails down like a rabbit with ADD. On the way there, I had myself convinced I'd be stuck in Atlanta and have to sail to Puerto Rico after hitch hiking to Florida.
so green! 

El Yunque via windows up to the Observation Tower

Anyone else wish hitch hiking was still a thing? I once did pick up hitch hikers - they were two boys from my high school, it was summertime, and I was driving down a road in my township, probably a junior in high school. They looked absolutely shocked when I pulled over to pick them up. I knew them, we weren't friends, but I drove them home. Because, why not? They wanted to go home.
Old San Juan
I understand safety is important so hitch hiking is a thing of the past, to only live on when my grandma talks about her childhood - but I think helping people get home is important too. At some point, all the walls we build to protect ourselves block out everyone else. Coming home is always a refreshing part of vacation, and I was happy to sleep in my own bed last night.

I'm hoping these photos are a reminder to assure you that MARCH IS COMING  :) I'm sure none of you have calendars to let you know when dates change and stuff, so thank goodness I'm here to fill you in on the seasons. If they had an Oscar for "the must useful blog of the year" we all know who the winner would be and anyone who's ever walked next to me knows I'm better at falling up stairs than Jennifer Lawrence.

I came to the conclusion that I'd like to vacation in February every year for the rest of my life. Not sure if that will be possible but I'll give it a shot. It was a nice way to end the month I dread....I can smell the Shamrock Shakes and imagine the green grass patches of March, and I'm already fantasizing about my March Madness bracket! Happy Tuesday! :)

"Don't be a defeatist, it's very middle class"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Is anyone else obsessed with Downton Abbey?

If you took my advice and started following me on twitter, then you'll know that most of my free time is spent oscillating between Downton in the 1920's, and the seven Kingdoms of Game of Thrones.

I care about Matthew and Mary's relationship more than I care about most of my personal relationships. Also, I'm only on the first episode of season 3 so NO ONE TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS OR GIRL I WILL CUTTTTT YOU.

Obvious statement: Bon Qui Qui is my role model.

I've actually had to monitor my twitter to avoid Downton spoilers. I still remember who told me about the heartbreaking death of HP book 5 before I got to it, and will hold that grudge to my grave. Same goes for Thrones, I finally finished book 1 after recovering from THE WORST THING TO HAPPEN TO A CHARACTER SINCE DUMBLEDORE and, no, I'm not going to spoil it for people here who haven't read it yet, but, you guys, I wore black for a while.

Everyone (co-workers, friends, my officemate, my boyfriend) warned me not to get attached to the characters when I started reading Game of Thrones. And they all said it like they were not suggesting I betray the very core of my being. Me? Not get attached? I get attached to bloggers I don't even know. (e.g. totally cried when dooce got a divorce.)

I consider myself empathetic to a fault. Not being able to have a good time unless everyone else at the party is having a good time really decreases your chances of being able to have a good time (take that, probability.) I've definitely gotten much better over the years with handling it in social situations, but, seriously, asking me not to get attached to fictional characters is going to have the same impact as asking Hermione not to raise her hand in class. Aka none.

But seriously? J.K., we do care about Harry's kids, I promise. I'll read about Dudley's sex life at this point.

Back to Downton: best thing that's happened on PBS since Arthur. Bar none. How can you not be captivated by dowries, daughters, suitors, servants, dinners, weddings, fortunes, and more? All with the absolute best quips coming from Professor McGonogall Violet Crawley.

And, in honor of a post dedicated my favorite books and a splendid show, I leave you with a thought-provoking quote from Downton to mull over during your most likely miserable Monday morning meetings:

P.s. I had no intention of writing about HP at all in this post and just counted five references. Those who hate the wizarding world should likely never visit this site again, but hopefully all the haters figured that one out a while ago. :)