2016.

I haven’t written in a while. Sure, I have sat down to write many times, but just couldn’t formulate my thoughts enough to do them justice. Until today.

If you could put a medical diagnosis on a period of time I would classify 2016 as bioplar.

bi·po·lar adjective
1.having or relating to two poles or extremities. “a sharply bipolar division of affluent and underclass”
2. (of psychiatric illness) characterized by both manic and depressive episodes, or manic ones only.

 

Seriously. You. Have. No. Idea. Or perhaps you do in your own world. If so, you are not alone in thinking that 2016 was bipolar.

I’ll begin with a bit of history, 2015.

2015 Seemed like the upswing of amazingness; bought a house, went on an amazing and romantic West Coast trip, got engaged, work was successful, my father was seemingly feeling better from his treatments, and I can actually remember being in the car smiling- thinking THIS IS AWESOME.

I remember immediately thinking after that- this will all come to an end soon. Well, then we welcomed 2016. Oh hello.

Here are some of the lows and highs of the year from my imperfect point-of-view.

Low: Terrorism is at an all-time high to where I am actually afraid to go anywhere.

High: I started planning our wedding! Date, venues, vendors, priests, wedding party, favors and dress. Check.

Low: Our political system went from stupid to something Cypress Hill would sing about- and now the writers of SNL have fallen into a deep hole of the same boring shit every week. We get it. You are bummed Hillary lost and you like mocking Trump. Can you please move the fuck on and bring back Justin Timberlake or Andy Samberg? Or both? Thanks. 

High: The Ice Bucket Challenge actually made a breakthrough in ALS research!

Low: We lost so many people in 2016 that TIME MAGAZINE’s Person of the Year is the Grim fucking Reaper! I mean we lost the ultimate creator of the chick-flick, Willy Wonka, the crazy heiress who slapped a cop and married nine men, Professor Snape, the guy who invented that ice tea & lemonade drink that Gunnar and my father loves, the boxer who makes the argument in Coming to America’s barbershop scene come to a close, Dr. Jason Seaver, the Russian dude from the new Star Trek movies, an astronaut, “The Artist,” Patty Duke, Scrooge McDuck, Janet Reno, Natalie Cole, Grizzly Adams, Miss Cleo, Punky Brewster’s dad (on the show), the mayor who famously says “Bring me the Ghostbusters!”, the man who wrote Hallelujah, the guy who wrote Hotel California, Mr. Hockey, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Larry Sanders, R2-D2, Mrs. Brady, Bowie, the man who made the sentence “I want your sex” actually make sense, Princess Leia AND her mother, and SO MANY MORE. We have been depleted of so much talent. I fear for the tasteless and vulgar “comedy” stylings of the Amy Schumers of the world that we are left with.. I miss the time when there was a little mystery and grace. 

Side note: yes, I know I swear a lot, so I’m not saying that I am graceful. At all. I digress.

trust me, I know.
trust me, I know.

Moving on.

High: I got accepted into the MBA program at UNH for Spring 2017 and Brad got commended for saving a man’s life!

Low: Hatred of EVERYBODY is at an all-time high. I have never before seen anything like this and it scares me every day my husband puts on his uniform. People are being killed for the sake of being killed every single day. In America! I understand that comment might come off ignorant, as people have always died every single day, and now because of social media we are more aware of it, but it feels like its gratuitous sport at this rate. IT NEEDS TO STOP. 

High: We got 10 chickens! I was told not to name them, but I did. I mean, I had to have a Cocky. Don’t worry- I kept Brad in mind as I named the biggest yellow one Clay Matthews. 

Low: We lost all but one of our chickens to a jerkface fox.  You don’t know sad until you see 9 piles of feathers all over your yard. 🙁  RIP Chicken Cocky and Chicken Clay Matthews. That one remaining chicken now lives with our neighbors- who also have chickens. I suggested bringing him in the house to be domesticated, but I guess that isn’t a thing. I tried.

High: Brad finished our beautiful home inside and out. We bought a house, but Brad made it a home with his talent and craftsmanship. Work was good for us and our relationship has been stronger than ever.

Low: Brad lost the two women in his life who raised him. First his mother, Barb. Her failing health just overcame her very slim frame and she took her last breath in February. Then, in July, her younger sister Joanie followed. I don’t know exactly what took her from this life, but I truly believe it was a broken heart. They were best of friends. They were crazy, silly, Wisconsin-salt-of-the-earth women, with good hearts and bright red hair. They raised one of the most amazing men I have ever met in my entire life. Celebrities had nothing on these two women.

red and barb.
red and barb.

High: I got a job offer from an amazing company, Lindt & Sprungli. It was a hard decision to leave the Boston Globe, but the close proximity to home (for my father) and dream position of finally being able to create something had me hooked.

And now for the finale:

Lowest Low: My father’s seemingly dormant prostate cancer came alive and his failing health took an evil turn for the worst as it hit his liver. This was an extremely rare cancer, as apparently prostate cancer metastasizing to the liver doesn’t happen often (so I was told). The real hit was that he kept the actual state of his health from me- so I wasn’t prepared. I never really knew the whole truth. “All you get to know is that I am sick” was what he said to me. Finally, without wanting to be a burden on anyone, and with the full knowledge that he was losing his freedoms with every moment, he took his own life on June 16th. He was only 68. What I do know from this horrible loss is that my father loved Brad and Gunnar. He blessed our upcoming marriage. He blessed Brad as a son. He let me know how proud he was of me and that he loved me very much. He taught me to be confident within myself vs. seek approval. What I wouldn’t give to have him randomly show up, too early in the morning, for pancakes, bacon and orange juice- with pulp. We miss him every single day. I have now made steps to join the Death with Dignity movement. You should too because you never know what hand you’ll be dealt later. 

my father's first (and only) selfie.
my father’s first (and only) selfie.

Highest High: Brad and I got married in the most wonderful celebration I have ever known in Portsmouth, NH. Aside from the lows of the year, we were able to put it aside for one day and celebrate our love. We had friends and family come from all over the country to join us on this champagne and blush, with a touch of Tiffany blue day. We marched down the isle to the most beautiful music of Craig Armstrong (I walked in around the 6 min mark). Gunnar gave the most amazing best man speech on the planet. The music was fun and lively, by the talented Julie Kramer of RadioBDC. The event planner Casey at our reception space  managed our small group of 100 like a pro. Holy good food! Just go there for dinner and imagine that quality of food-multiplied. Nicole Friedler couldn’t have taken better pictures. Everyone got along and laughed the whole day. This might have had something to do with the open bar, but I’m going to take it. And sure, our wedding party was of comical size, and the flower girl refused to turn around for pictures, but we got it done….in a blue 488 Ferrari (Thank you, Ezra!). Our honeymoon on Key West and Little Palm Island was warm and offered the spoils we needed to congratulate us on our nuptials. We did it!

my favorite kiss.
my favorite kiss.

If you can believe it, there are some more lows and highs that have happened this year, but I’m a little spent rehashing all of it. I’ll leave it with what I have recorded and save the rest for another time. You get the picture anyway.

OH! Almost forgot- did I forget to mention today Brad and I have been together five years? Yep! Five years since that first day he opened the gate in my Chicago apartment, touched my hand and changed my life. We are spending the evening at a resort in Maine, and then back home to celebrate our first Christmas as husband and wife.

Mr. & Mrs. Von Haden
introducing the Von Hadens.

2016: So much loss, but so much love. 

 

social insanity.

Fun Fact: A third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word “Facebook,” according to Divorce Online. And more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say social networking in divorce proceedings is on the rise, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. May 24, 2012

Here is a Forbes article linking Facebook to depression.

Don’t take social media so damn personally! Seriously.

I write this note with so many stories to back up my feelings on it, yet am a hypocrite, as I have been subject to falling for the craziness that sets in resulting from over sensitivity to social media interactions. I’ll admit it. (insert brave face) I’m not ashamed. Side note: totally ashamed to have acted as such. I vow moving forward not to just bitch and give advice, but to practice what I preach.

This morning I wrote up some advice for a friend and I felt I would share. I’m not saying I channeled Hesse, circa 1922 Siddhartha, but I felt inspired. 

Words of advice I learned along the way regarding social media:

  • If people are heated about a topic on a public forum (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc), it’s probably best to keep your opinion to yourself- unless you are prepared for the heat to be directed at you.
  • If you don’t understand a conversation, stay out of it. Not your problem.
  • If the conversation is not directed at you, stay out of it.  Not your problem.
  • If something is posted on social media that you don’t agree with- ignore it. Not your problem. Do you really want the drama?
  • If you insert yourself into someone else’s conversation- you are actually making the reaction your problem. It is 100% your fault if someone doesn’t agree with your engagement. You should have stayed out of it in the first place. (All together now) It wasn’t your problem.
  • If you do commit to putting it out there for all the world to read, own it.
  • If someone unfriends you on social media, or blocks you from a group or discussion- they were not your friend to begin with and you shouldn’t let it bother you. Have you had lunch with this person? Would you invite them to your Christmas party? No. Then why are yo so upset? They are not as wonderful as you anyway. Move on.
  • Don’t humble brag; It’s REALLY annoying.

I support the friends, colleagues, family and business portion of social media; Sharing life’s happenings, new developments, homes, babies, break ups, work news, pets, relationship happiness and promotions for brands (obviously). I do not support the part that causes drama. Anymore.

For those of you who know me well, will smile at that last word. For those of you who don’t, probably are not meeting me for lunch anytime soon- and can consider themselves unfriended. Don’t take it personally, I know I won’t.  🙂

Keep it simple. I find that when life is boring, I smile a hell of a lot more. Try it. 

the fact this picture existed online when i searched "facebook depression" is just awesome. enjoy.
the fact this picture existed online when i searched “facebook depression” is just awesome. enjoy.

enough!

I’m in an “accident prone phase” and I don’t like it one bit. Sigh.

I won’t deny that clumsiness runs in my family because it totally does. My father has had fireworks blow up in his face, my mom face-planted onto a sidewalk and my sister used to get into her own bits of accidents. I have done a damn good job of avoiding it, until recently. I have always believed that things come in 3s- and in this instance I REALLY need to believe that the third annoying, painful, frustrating and downright stupid third thing has already occurred. Meaning: I am safe now. Nothing else can go wrong.

Side note: I use to think that if you get pulled over by police for speeding, that you are solid for a while because you had your turn. I thought that, until I was pulled over 3 times, 3 weeks in a row. You might remember my letter (Well, okay, Laura’s letter) to the great state of Maine? 

I bring you to the phase: I have sciatic pain in my legs. It gets really annoying when trying to sleep, sit still at all, go to the movies, work, drive, etc. Sometimes it’s downright unbearable. I know, I know “stretch more, Katie.” Yeah, no. Won’t happen. I can lie to you and say I will, but we all know I won’t.  Anyway, my father told me to buy this cream: Capsaicin. I have used it and while it burns like hell, typically it’s no issue for me. That is- until the phase started. I took a bath one night after work and applied the cream. No big deal. 15 minutes passed and I found myself standing over the freezer, putting ice on my legs. 20 minutes later- I find myself in the bathtub, with freezing water. All of a sudden, my face is equally burning. Brad walks upstairs because it has been a while since I have been seen. Where does he find me? Butt-ass naked in front of the fan in the bedroom- trying to get the air to blow on my legs that felt as if the skin was burning off of them, bawling. Awesome. And hot. (note sarcasm and the tricky pun I used there) “Did you get it on your face too?”  Yes, Brad. I did. Next thing we have Brad on the phone with poison control, trying to figure out how to make it stop. Note: there is no cure. You have to wait it out. Fanfuckingtastic.

Next portion of my phase was this past weekend. This is about 4 days after the Capsaicin incident. I was not feeling well at all, in fact, I even stopped at an urgent care on the way home from work Friday. Well, carry that feeling into the weekend. You with me this far? Okay, so Sundays are Brad’s “Officer Von Haden” days- leaving me home alone. Typically I will go grocery shopping, clean, do laundry, meanwhile binge-watching Netflix. Usually, I like my Sundays. Usually is over; I did not like this Sunday. 

Gunnar needed to leave for work and he asked me to move my car, as I was blocking him in the driveway. Sure. No problem! Well, my stomach had started to really hurt me. Like stabbing pain. I tried ignoring it, and decided that instead of moving my car, I would go grocery shopping. That made it worse. I got home and found myself laying down, trying to get it to pass. UGH.  My leg pain was making it hard to lay down. I shall wash the dog! This would help.

deep down, i know she loves baths.
deep down, i know she loves baths, despite the face i always get from her.
Washing the dog went fine, but she left a trail of water all over the house- that I could not see. Think black ice on a winter morning, but worse. 

black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways or the surface below to be seen through it—hence the term "black ice".
black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways or the surface below to be seen through it—hence the term “black ice”.
Fast forward to me, walking down the stairs, in flip flops… that hit the water, causing my feet to slide out from under me. The entire weight of my back SLAMMED on the stairs, and proceed to fall fast, SLAMMING me against the front door, one stair at a time.

Julius Caesar would have been disgusted, as I did exactly the opposite of him: I paused. I felt. I CRIED. I think I was hyperventilating by the time I was able to crawl over to the phone and call Brad.  You know that ugly 2 year old cry you never thought was possible past that age? Well, it is. As I am typing this, I feel the pain of my back, butt and the bruising all up my arms.

Feel bad for me yet? It gets worse.

Last night we got home from back-to-school shopping and dinner, and were all watching TV. I decided to get my bunny to snuggle with me before bed.  (yes, an actually pet bunny, this is not a strange nickname I have for Brad). Well, as bunny is being sweet, licking my neck, being the cute little woodland creature he was meant to be, I decide to give him a kiss on his belly. Well, before you think I am giving TMI of my snuggle-session, out of NOWHERE, Mr. Bunny decided to KICK. My face. My eye. I saw stars. Not wanting to draw attention to what just happened- I slowly get up and put bunny back in his enclosure. I then walk upstairs, and proceed to see blood and scratch marks dripping down my face.

Brad had no words when I called him into the bathroom other than, “you want me to take care of the bunny for you?” Nice. And no.

I’m going to go ahead and be more careful for the next few days. You know, until the phase passes.  Scarlet O’Hara said it best: After all, tomorrow is another day. 

that's all folks.
that’s all folks.

UPDATE: 2 days post attack.

#selfie #streetcred #aintnoshameinabunnybeatdown
#selfie #seriousface #streetcred #aintnoshameinabunnybeatdown

the first 24 hours.

The first 24 hours of owning a home were certainly not boring. I’ll explain in 6 instances.

1. It rained the morning of the close. I had this theory, like some people do with weddings, that if it rains, that must be good luck! Well, it rained. It eventually cleared up, but it was a wet start to the day- which ruined my “really good hair” I had planned on sporting when signing the dotted line 50 times- and also put a little damper in not getting our stuff wet. Bring on the good luck!

2. Most the documents had “Kathleen Schmidt” on them. I pointed out that it wasn’t my name, and I guess this was a big deal. So, other than the fact the closing went smoothly, there was a small delay as they fixed the name. Apparently, Siri has a cousin in PC computers, making typos for all the world to enjoy. 

3. There is a random sheet you have to sign that lists your public aliases on it. Interesting. I signed, but I am pretty sure that I am not the only “K Schmidt” out there, nor did I know I went by “K.” Guess my Men in Black career is done. They know who I am. 

Okay, I will stop boring you and get to the good stuff:

4. The oops I made. We ALL have dealt with service providers before and the complete road-rage-esque feeling when you have to get an actual human on the phone, a bill to be correct or an appointment to be on time. I’m always the one to set up utilities, so let’s call me a pro at dealing with these people and getting a desired result. OR I just yell until they fold. I was on the phone with 3 different people, 2 different times to get my wifi/cable/landline set up, initially. I thought it was set. Done and done- got an appointment for the next day between 8-10am. I was mistaken (kinda).

Fast-forward to next morning. I decide to call and make sure that we were on schedule. I call and get some guy who can’t pronounce my name, barely speaks English, and has no clue where New Hampshire is on a map.  He couldn’t find my phone number in their records, so I gave him the address- while also going up one side of him and down the other with frustration. I’m right, dammit! This is preposterous! There is a pause and the man on the phone gently states, “ma’am Time Warner Cable actually does not service that part of New Hampshire.”  Oops.

I’m quiet. “oh. Time Warner Cable, you say? Ha! I have the wrong number.”  I hang up, feeling like an asshole. Why, you ask? My appointment was with Comcast.

oops o͝ops,o͞ops/ exclamation informal
  1. used to show recognition of a mistake or minor accident, often as part of an apology.
    ““Oops! I’m sorry. I just made you miss your bus.””

5. Karma in the form of the totally paranoid and insulting Cable guy. Now, while I will forever and always immediately say the title “cable guy” in my head exactly as Jim Carrey says it in the movie, I don’t ever expect Chip Douglas to be standing at my door. That being said, I also don’t expect the super insulting, paranoid Comcast man either. Where do I begin? Well, he walks in and only actually seeing the staircase and one room states “Well, this house looks a lot bigger from the outside.” Thanks, jackass. You have seen one whole room, but I appreciate the judgement. He said some other comments while he was there, but I am withholding those, as I am still wounded. Bottom line: he was rude.

“Joe” goes to install the cable, wifi and phone. When he is done, he gave me this very long and angry nervous schpeel about how if I have an issue PLEASE call him and not Comcast. Something about how they dock his pay and black marks on his file. I got the feeling this guy gets more than a few complaints about him. He went on and on and on and on about it for a good 15 minutes. “Put my number in your cell phone” he commanded. “Uh, sure…” I put it in the “notes” section and not the address book. Take that, JOE. 

this concludes our broadcast day. click
this concludes our broadcast day. click

6. The million dollar dog strikes again.  This is how it went: I got home from bringing Brad a snack and running at the gym. All good. I let the dogs go out to pee. All good. I let the dogs in. All good. I fixed the dogs dinner. All good. I poor myself a well-deserved glass of champagne. Alllllllll good. Buddy starts doing the throw-up dance. Not good. I open the door to let him out. Not good. He comes back in. Better. He starts scratching something on his person. Not bad, but not better. I check him out, nothing. Better. I look at his face. Shocked. HOLY SHIT WHAT HAPPENED TO BUDDY! REALLY BAD. His face looked like he was the victim of getting hit in the face during a baseball game.

his modeling days are over.
his modeling days are over.

I race to the store to get Benedryl because Brad thought he must have been stung by something. I look like I’m abusing him in the parking lot, as I am not only trying to hold him down, hold his VERY swollen head, but also open his clenched jaw to put pills down his throat. Took me about 10 minutes, but I was successful. Poor Little Buddy.

In conclusion: I’m having friends over for dinner tonight to show them the new house. Let’s hope the next 24 hours go a lot smoother. Can I please have a glass of champagne now?!

By the way, does anyone remember which boxes I put my clothing in? 🙂 

buy local.

well, sorta.
well, sorta.

Although the title of this post typically would apply to patronizing boutique mom-and-pop retail store locations and farms, I am going to apply it to a world I deal with daily: advertising media.

I work mostly with the advertising of national luxury retail brands in digital, print and event sponsorships. These brands target the fashion savvy, affluent, educated and classy in a given geographic region. Not to be a traitor to the national media agencies of the world (Leo, earmuffs), and this has NOTHING to do with the creative side of the house, but when a brand is trying to reach a particular regional market, here is my advice: invest in a media planning team who is LOCAL to the region where you are buying the media.  Oh, and while I have your attention: QUIT CUTTING REGIONAL BUDGETS!

It makes sense if you think about it. Which I do. All. The Time. 

being a planner ain't easy, that's for certain.
being a planner ain’t easy, that’s for certain.

Why? Because when you hire a NYC/SF based media agency, 95% of the time, the person planning the media is only looking at demos, numbers, stats and $ (basically a spreadsheet) and has NEVER actually been to the city. They don’t have an emotional understanding of the people. It makes for a very frustrating call for me, the regional media.  That team wants to spread the money nationally- ignoring the small unique markets that make this country a pretty wonderful place.  This causes the regional locations of those retail establishments to lose that local support.

Sales go down, people lose jobs, corporate is forced to “rearrange” internal staff. Boo.

Not to state the obvious here, but each city and state is unique. The people have different styles to which they enjoy their information, surf the internet, spend their money, speak (hello, Baaahston), share loyalties, spend free time, politically hang their proverbial hat, and pay attention to advertising.

Now, this is notwithstanding the benefit to hiring a national agency: the relationships with the media that are utilized to get better rates. If an agency spends $100mil with NBC and they have a new advertiser, who doesn’t quite have the budget of a McDonald’s, the media agency will be able to leverage the $100mil spend in order to cut a deal with NBC.

I have been on more phone calls with media planners, who have no idea how to pronounce the location of where the store is…nor have they been to Boston to see the store, yet they can tell me that one spot is better than another. Right. How can a brand, who is spending 15% on top of my rates, be confident in the decision that planner has made? Seems silly to me.

I am not saying pull national advertising, nor am I saying fire your big planning agencies for that matter, but what I am saying is be a bit more creative with budgets of every size. Put some in the national hat and put some in the regional hats to where you’d like to show support (i.e. where you have retail locations).  This not only creates jobs (no, I am not running for office here) in the local markets, so everyone who wants to work in media planning doesn’t have to move to the big cities, but it’s smart. Perhaps the big agencies could create more small regional offices for a win/win scenario: You have the relationships and the local insight.

Remember this, planners of the world: Regional media is here to help retail locations grow their business, not annoy you with sales calls. We actually want the advertising to work for the brand. If you don’t win, we don’t win. Oh, and when sales grow, YOU look good too. Just saying.

If you want “local” media planning, invest in the locals.

 

 

 

fifty shades of horrible.

So, as I have divulged previously, I am a reader. I picture the story as a movie in my head and get lost in the words. However, I get nervous when filmmakers decide to cash in on a best seller. Don’t get me wrong, the movies basically raised me. While my parents were working, I was watching movies- yet I just can’t handle a bad adaptation from book to silver screen.

There is one exception: Fifty Shades of Grey.  Now, I know I wrote about my experience reading it, but I never told you my honest opinion on this work of fiction.

Putting all of Stephen King‘s work aside (because there is no need to explain how his cocaine-infused brilliance could never be depicted in film- you all know the films are a shy comparison), and forgetting how most of the fun plot lines in J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter franchise were omitted (where is Peeves?!), I actually put effort into forgetting the horrible prose of E. L. James in the hopes that the movie MIGHT be halfway decent. This would be the ONLY instance where the movie could be better than the book. I was wrong. BOTH are horrible.

It has been a while since I read the books. I read all three of them in a week, with the last book taking the longest. I remember actually wishing it would end, but refused to be a quitter. I read until the end and believe I threw it. Done, I say! Be gone with you forever!

Not quite.

Side note: I have a strange memory, where I remember mundane details that no one else would bother. I’m fantastic as a trivia partner, but it makes it hard to slip anything by me. I know they compare “50” to Twilight, but she literally steals scenes and lines verbatim from the Thomas Crown Affair (circa 1999, not 1968) too. It drove me insane reading it. 

This morning Brad had to work early, so I decided to get up and be productive. What shall I do today? I shall go see a movie! I saw that there was a 10:05am viewing of “the film.” Fuck it, I’ll go. I saw Sex and the City and Pitch Perfect by myself, why couldn’t I see this one? I shot a text to Brad- announcing my plans and off I went!

the evidence.
the evidence.

I walk in to the movie theater and immediately feel like a pervert. Instead of going to the teenagers in the little box to buy my ticket, I go to the kiosk. No shame if no one knows, right? Now the thinking begins: do I get popcorn for a 10am movie? I haven’t had breakfast yet, so this counts? I walked towards the ticket-checking chick, who then lets me know that she doesn’t know if it’s good, to which I finish for her “because you are not 17 yet are you?” Inside thought: ahhh, I’m old. I’m that old 30something chick going to see the mommy-porn movie and I’m not a mom! 

I have to say that the previews were better than this movie. There was no chemistry between characters and about 45 minutes in I wanted to leave. I decided to stay. I waited a little longer- this hurts.  The casting was bad. The acting was “acting” (you know, when you can tell they are acting) and I just wasn’t lost in the movie. I didn’t expect to be running out- grasping for Brad to take me after, but I expected to feel something. Nothing. Watching this made me feel bad that Brad wasn’t staring in this movie! Why would I want to watch this cold, young horribly cast character, when I have the real deal at home?

I finally looked at my phone: 12:05! I had sat here for two whole hours and this flick is nowhere near done! I stood up, grabbed my water and left. I will NOW be a quitter with this franchise. This is two hours of my life I cannot get back.

Lesson learned: When every single one of your friends tells you they have no desire to see a movie, listen to them. There is a reason you are sitting in there alone!

I shall now finish my weekend Fifty Shades mortified, ashamed and appreciative that this book is finally behind me.

The End.

 

not for the faint of heart.

This might be a long one, but if you are a 30-something woman reading this, bear with me because you just might relate.

Through the years, I have always tried to stay fit, but occasionally, I will spice up my routine with a new fitness craze. I’m not trying to channel Patrick Bateman or anything, I just get bored with my usual running/bike/elliptical routine. I’ve tried barre, spin, step, Tae Bo, plyometrics, YouTube videos for problem areas, weights, zumba, and yoga. Well, today I tried something new: bikram yoga.

i mist say i was a little surprised with his choice of the tighy-whitey.
i mist say i was a little surprised with Patrick’s choice of the tighty-whitey.

Note, I will NEVER do the following trends: Cross Fit, Strip-aerobics, jazzercize, aerial yoga, or any kind of a boot camp. This list will probably grow in time.

Barre was awesome in theory. Every article I had read basically told me I would look like a supermodel by the time I was done. So, I went three times, until plantar fasciitis made its home within my foot. Anyone who has had the pleasure of that ailment knows the pleasure it brings. NextI’ll be a supermodel another time.

Spin I love. I began my love affair with spin in Chicago. It was the teacher, really, but I also liked the physical results. Then, I found a teacher here who used weights during, and was equally as fantastic and energetic as my Chicago spin instructor- so I was hooked again. Lately, I have not been because I’m just too damn tired to get up for the 7:30am Saturday class. I attempted to go this weekend, but having just got back from a trip- I opted for laundry instead and hit the gym around 11am. Hi treadmill, I missed you.

Step was a college thing. I used to do the advertising for Campus Recreation, so I took the classes of my friends who were studying to become instructors. It was fun. I fell a lot.

Tae Bo I don’t even remember when I did this, I think also college. Double and triple time killed me. Where is Billy Blanks these days anyway?

Plyometrics was awesome until a friend of mine broke his foot mid-class during one of the jumps. Yep, next.

YouTube I still do sometimes. I’m most recently in some pain because of this inner thigh workout. I did it twice this last week. Try it, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Then try it two days in a row. Ouch. I will probably do it again this week once I stop limping.

Weights are an “every once in a while” thing. I know I should do them more, but I also know that when I do them too much my arms make some smaller men jealous. No, thank you.  But yes, I can probably beat you in an arm wrestling match. Sorry, I’m German- it’s natural.

Zumba: I was laughing at my lanky body in the mirror the whole time. Seriously. I just kept laughing. There are mirrors everywhere! While I did find this fun as hell, I don’t think I would waste another hour of my life humiliating myself with just how white I really am.

Yoga was something I REALLY wanted to get good at. A lifetime of running without stretching has left my body a knotted mess of lactic acid. I have tried with individual instructors, small classes, beginner and advanced teachers- I just don’t think my body was meant to bend that way. I also got really creeped out when they touch your feet. I’m all set with their bendy ways. That is awesome that you can touch your toes- show off.

TODAY was going to be different. Today was the day I was going to do BIKRAM YOGA and be good at it! I would go to the whole 90 minute class, love the heat, sweat and feel amazing. I even convinced my friend Beth to go with me- which is a feat, getting her out of bed early, on her one day to sleep in. Sure, she gave me a few caveats: “Katie, it’s really hot.” “Katie, it will smell.” “Katie, when I pass out, you are carrying me.”

I lasted 34 minutes before starting to see stars and black out.

We left. Fuck you, Bikram Yoga. 

Guess I better update my iPhone with some new songs cause tramps like us, baby, we were born to run.  So true, Bruce, so true.

 

#2.

Derek Jeter: His existence has caused me a couple of frustrations in my lifetime and I should be angry at this guy, but I’m not. Why? I’ll explain it all.

1. For some reason, the University of South Carolina lured many people from the greater New Jersey/New York area.  Many of them were my friends, and all of those friends LOVED baseball.  Side note: I also loved and adored my southern friends, but they were more into Carolina football WHICH ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME KNOWS I APPRECIATE, so watching baseball was reserved for the “yankees” of the school. I digress. Now, there will always be the rivalry within with The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.  This caused for some interesting interactions at Sharky’s (I tried to hyperlink this to the site, but as anyone who has worked, drank or driven by could assume- they don’t have a website). One particular evening, I was feeling saucy and decided to take the bet of “whoever loses has to take a shot of the winner’s choice.” Well, we all know what happened during that game in 1999 (ACLS series): Thanks for the shot of Everclear, Jete. Ouch.

A term and nickname created by Southerners and Confederate Civil War soldiers for a personwho is from the North (Midwest/Northeast). It was especially given to Union soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, usually havingto go into into The South in order to engage the enemy in combat. The Union forces invading Southern territory and also incidents where a few groups of soldiers pillaged and destroyedproperty and people’s lives resulted in making this nickname derogatory by some.
Ex. Northerners and Midwesterners get called “Yankees” a lot by many Southerners.

2. During the summer of 2005, my friend Mardi and I found ourselves in the VIP area of Whiskey Park (I guess it is closed down now). Well, us and the entire starting line-up of the Yankees. Don’t worry, A-Rod didn’t stay, as he was leaving as we walked in the establishment. However, we got to bond with some Yankees, as they drank and made strange conversation. Jeter sat with his K-Swiss sneakers and proceeded to try to hook-up with one of our friends, until he decided he didn’t want to talk to her anymore and my glasses were more amusing to him. Mardi and I had successfully avoided direct contact with any of them, aside from conversation, and merely accepted the free drinks (you know you would have too). He asked if he could try on my glasses. Mind you- the seeing kind, not sunglasses; I’m not that hip. I said no, to which everyone laughed. He had a HUGE head, and they were new, so I wasn’t about to have them ruined. “Like he can’t afford to replace them,” I believe came out of Posada’s mouth, to which I snapped back “LIKE I AM GOING TO SEE HIM AGAIN?!” I finally caved, he tried them on, stretched them- tried to fix them and “snap.” Thanks again, Jete. Those were Prada.

Frustrations and BAD relationship stories aside (Mariah Carey), I have a lot of admiration for the guy. He is an amazing athlete and has loyalty to his team- and seems to be a regular guy from my interactions. Okay, so there was this moment:

ahh, memories.
ahh, memories.

Lately, the news (and his PR team) have done an excellent job at showing the “real” him. I gotta say, I respect it.  In this world of beatings, natural disasters, crazy people with guns and knives, war, and beheadings; I am appreciative of positive/happy and uplifting news. ESPN did a piece on him here.  But the thing that you know warms my heart is the recent Gatorade ad. My eyes watered. I simply LOVE this commercial. Watch it with the volume on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgS1lvqX8I

His last game of his career in Boston is this Sunday. Bittersweet. It won’t be the same watching the Boston/New York games without #2, although now some of our rookie pitchers will have a chance to get better, without being scared as hell to throw to him.

I wish you the best, Jeter, and if you happen to read this post- can I have the money for those glasses?  Thanks.

 

 

snooze.

if only it were this easy.
if only it were this easy.

I have never been a great sleeper.  Even when blessed with mono through high school and into college, I wasn’t a great sleeper.  If I nap, I wake up groggy- and can’t seem to get out of the dazed state.  If I am woken suddenly, then I am in a horrible mood (and might just let you know how much noise you are making through the old fashion way of yelling at you). I’m a light sleeper, so if even the smallest noise should grace my ears- I’m up.  When I wake up, I can NEVER fall back asleep right away, unless medicated. In college, I had a phase where I would fall asleep anytime and anywhere- this includes the following places: while in the front row of a lecture of a CEO from a major NYC ad agency, while studying in the library, during class, sitting straight up (while watching a movie), come to think of it- I fell asleep during every movie I ever tried to watch back then.

Funny story: The first time I saw Braveheart, my college friend Brandon was CONVINCED I was going to watch a movie, without falling asleep.  I was sitting on the floor and he was in his bed, an arms reach away.  Every time I would start to doze off, he would WHACK the top of my head and yell “WAKE UP, SCHMIDT!” Abusive? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely.  End result?  I have seen Braveheart. Thanks, Brandon.

it's all for nothing if you don't have freedom, err, and sleep.
it’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom, err, and sleep.

I think too much, so my mind is never at rest.  I referenced my picky sleeping needs a while back, but needing the perfect comfort is only half my problem to a perfect sleep. Trust me, as annoying as it is to read this (I realize I sound high maintenance), it is more annoying to live through and experience personally.  I need the steady sound of my fan (even in sub zero temps outside), the perfect amount of blankets and my pillow just right: soft, but not flat, cold,  not rough to the touch and cushioned the back of my head into a perfect cup.  Good God, who the hell do I think I am?  It’s frustrating! 

Side note: before all you health nuts go crazy and judge my lifestyle (as I realize that affects sleep), know that I work out almost every day, do not drink coffee, and eat right (by whatever standards “eating right” are these days: no red meat, gluten free, organic, etc). I don’t eat sweets because I gave them up for lent (and slept this way even before giving them up), I haven’t been drinking since Brad gave up alcohol for lent (Okay, I have had some wine a couple of times, but a glass here and there does not make me an abuser of the stuff), and I go to bed reasonably early (8-9pm nightly). It’s probably stress related.  I digress.

Well, I have a new observation/frustration that I thought I would address: the snooze button. We’re all guilty of abusing it. We set our alarms for that perfect time, with our list of what we must accomplish in order to begin the day. However, come morning: birds chirping (don’t even get me started on nature sounds), cue soft music, and then it happens: the ALARM. Immediate response: snooze. You rest and relax as you realize you have more time to sleep, like finding a $20 in your ski parka, then just as your eyes shut again, ALARM. This process goes on and on for the next half-hour or so, completely debunking your original “get up and at ’em” plan from the previous evening. So I ask this: why not just set the alarm for when you know you will get up?  Why put yourself through the pain of the ups and downs of the snooze, alarm, snooze, alarm cycle?  The whole thing seems like torture to me. Then again, we are human and drama is in our nature.

I’m not going to name names, but a certain someone did it for a whole hour this morning. If he were not so damn cute, and if I wasn’t happy about the fact that he was staying in bed longer, I would have complained- or even yelled.

worst invention, indeed.
worst invention, indeed.

End result: an hour lost of sleep, is an hour of snuggling gained.  Either way, I’m smiling.

family.

“fam·i·ly /ˈfam(ə)lē/ Noun. A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.”

Family is a funny thing, isn’t it? This post might be a little bit touchy, but I never write anything touchy, so why not? I think in terms of traditional family, especially from the era, which I was accustomed, you think of a family as the mother, father and kids. Maybe a dog or cat- even a fish. Who defines family? I know what I have seen, what I believe, and what I have experienced. I’ll share.

I have seen families where there was the single mother, who refused to remarry after a divorce, who seemed to marry the life of her kids (no matter how involved she wanted to be). She controlled the “family” with use of her (tons of inherited) money, guilt and good old-fashioned yelling and judgment. I know she made fun of me on a regular occurrence, but I also understood she couldn’t help herself. Being that lonely must suck. It’s certainly been one of the more entertaining family situations I have seen: The brother who can do no wrong, the other brother who can do no right and the spoiled princess sister who sits on a pedestal. I won’t mention the odd Oedipal instances, but they were present. CREEPY AS HELL AT TIMES, but present nonetheless.

Side note: If only the mother knew how much I know. Oh, and I don’t understand why she used to follow my Twitter feed and mock me, but I know about that too- and you really have to be bored to look at my Twitter feed. I mock my own Twitter feed! It’s social media, not rocket science! I digress.

I have seen the perfect family. Wife, husband and years of faithful and loving marital bliss. Three successful happy daughters, one of who happens to be my best friend, who now have grown into healthy adults with amazing families of their own. I love this family and wish everyone had the luck, love and happiness they do.

I have seen family with a famous relative(s). The family who has coped (or not coped, rather) with loss. The stage family. The active family. The poor family. The military family. The family with a parent who is a drunk (or smoked something that didn’t smell quite right, but being I was a little girl- I didn’t know it probably was an illegal plant). The family that yelled and fought. The super happy and fun family that always had the cool stuff to play with. The super-rich family. The divorced family. The non-traditional family. The southern family. You name it, and I have probably seen it. Regardless of the situation, it will never compare to the strangeness I have encountered, and the resolution that came out of it.

My sister passed away 4 years ago. It was something out of our control (she had addiction issues, which led to her murder in New Orleans. I am the only one in the family who is honest about it and has no problem talking about it, as it is the truth), but the thing I have always found funny is that since it happened- no one in my family talks about it, her life, or anything relating to her. I mean that seriously. Unless someone is crying about it, there is nothing. I bring up a “fun” time, like our pillow fight tournaments (which were epic and I think I won, once), etc and it is dropped as “too hurtful of a topic.” I don’t get it. Shit, I hope I don’t die! I wouldn’t ever want my memory lost with my heartbeat. Aren’t you supposed to talk about the happy times? Not to mention since she died, everyone has changed. My mom is an insane person now, who treats me like a redheaded step child (and speaking as a woman who has a history of being obsessed with pink flamingos, that is hard to beat). I have not spoken to her in almost a month and she has not called me ONCE to find out why. I find this astounding. At this point, it is pretty clear why I am not speaking to her: Family doesn’t act like this.

Members of my family blow my mind. Just to be clear, what I am about to describe isn’t just how I am treated; many people in the “family” treat everyone this way. In my opinion, (I’ll say it again) Family DOESN’T act like this! Family isn’t jealous and angry and picking fights and writing mean emails all the time. Family doesn’t cut people out for making mistakes and blaming and pointing fingers. Family doesn’t hold grudges! It’s insane the amount of drama that can be within one family. A family should TALK! The one thing I can say though: it truly is fantastic to be able to stand on the outside, looking in, and have nothing to do with any of it. I have removed myself from it all- and I have never been healthier in all my life.

Disclaimer:There are very cool members of my extended family who do not fit any of the above description, and they know who they are. To them: I love you!

The one positive change since my sister died is that I am now close with my father, who doesn’t treat anyone poorly. He is simple guy, with no demands or expectations. Jennifer (my sister’s name- and for some reason I feel like I am saying Voldermort’s name when I type it just now) was very close with my father. Because of that I never got to know him- aside from random singular visits when I lived in South Carolina, Boston and Chicago. My dad comes for breakfast almost every weekend. I make pancakes and he talks about boy things with Brad and Gunnar. He even let Brad take his Harley for a spin the other day (gasp!). Please note- THIS DOESN’T EVER HAPPEN! My father never let us walk near his toys growing up, never mind drive one! Regardless, I’m getting to know my father better and I think that is very cool.

I have some step-ish siblings, but in the 20 years that they have been in my life- they have always had their own thing going on, and I am no one to intrude. Would it be cool if we had more of a relationship? Sure. Will I fight it? Probably not.

My family is my Brad, Gunnar, Lucy (pup) and Buddy (pup). We have a beautiful home. We all get along. We don’t have fights or complain about each other. We don’t talk behind each other’s backs (although, it would be kinda funny if one of our dogs talked about us behind our backs). We make decisions as a family. When we do have an issue, we talk it out. Most of all, we love and respect each other. Coming up in 2 weeks, we have a family trip (sans pups) planned to Sanibel Island. I’m very much looking forward to it!

One last little sweet note: Brad made me a wine rack for our home! It’s made from walnut and cherry wood! It goes perfectly with out new living room furniture!

he imagined, he drew, he created.
he imagined, he drew, he created.

Someone said to me recently that Brad and Gunnar were not my family because “we are not married yet.” Well, I don’t know about you, but aside from the amazing friends I have had along the way- it’s the perfect family for me. After all, it’s mine.