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.
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. Next. I’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.
I have been asked why I love advertising so much, and where this love was rooted. Well, I remember the moments exactly, actually.
Back story: My mother’s side of the family lives in Milton, MA, so I spent my childhood in the way back of a station wagon (or whatever the car was of the moment), staring at the sites from NH to Boston. If you know the drive (and did it in the 1980s-1990s), then you might remember how long it was to a kid. Well, I remember something else. I remember the ads and billboards I passed along the way. Saugus, Route 1: the plastic cows and giant cactus at the Hilltop Steakhouse and the orange dinosaur, just at the road splits, at the mini golf place (that I swear use to be purple). As you enter the city and see the buildings, there was a giant inflated Pink Panther that sat on top of a building, and the multi-colored water towers, just as you pass the city behind. An ad with a model in a pair of jeans on the side of a building. My memory tells me it was Marilyn Monroe in Lee jeans, but I have Googled the thought to death and I can find no proof. My memory is that the ad read something along the lines of “Our models can beat up your models.” but as I said, I can’t actually prove that, and it may just be the memory of a six year old. However- whatever that ad said, and whoever was in it, it stuck. I loved everything about those bright shining images, and looked forward to them every holiday.
Fast forward to my sixteenth birthday. My mom, aunt and uncle took me to New York City. We did the whole “tourist” thing, and I feel like I saw everything. From our waitress in Planet Hollywood telling us a story about how this guy, who plays Opera man on SNL, won’t stop calling/bugging her roommate, FAO Schwartz, The Plaza, Central Park, getting my make-up done by a make-up artists of the stars (or so she claimed), and seeing a very nervous Steven Spielberg inside Saks Fifth Avenue (with a woman trying on shoes, who was NOT Kate Capshaw). And then: Times Square. At the time, Calvin Klein was making it’s mark, once again, with a scantily clad model. You might remember him:
It was amazing and I was captivated by it all.
When I was in college, one of my favorite classes talked about the history of advertising. It’s origin, the greats, the icons, the moment makers. I loved every bit of it. I didn’t know what I loved most about it, so I made a point to have an internship in every angle of it. Television, radio, newspaper, media buying, creative, etc. I majored in it. I LOVED it. This will add a little more merit to the reference I made one post back, regarding me falling asleep in the front row of a lecture, by a major agency CEO. I tried writing a letter of apology, it was ignored. Life lesson? I have no idea, but it’s probably best not to have a narcolepsy phase.
Outcome: my resume was awesome upon graduation, and I had a broad knowledge of the ins and outs of the field, but I wasn’t necessarily amazing at any one aspect of it. Most people focus on a specific thing, well I wanted it all. I guess it doesn’t really work that way, unless you are a savant, but I have never stopped loving it.
When I lived in Chicago, one of the most memorable moments of that time was in an elevator. I was in a building in River North, heading to a top floor for a meeting. The elevator stopped on a floor. The door opened and I saw this:
Tears started streaming down my face like a girl at a One Direction concert. It was not only bad timing, as I was on my way to a meeting, but it was unexpected. Quit crying like a baby, Katie! I had the same experience upon looking at the Leo Burnett building for the first time. I can honestly say that aside from the view in my apartment on Lake Shore Drive, the thing I loved most about Chicago was the cluster of amazing advertising icons who graced it’s streets throughout history.
As of today, I have been in the “marketing” field for over 15 years. Yes, I count the time spent in college because I was working my ass off! I still love it. It’s certainly changed, and I can’t say the greats of today have hit the mark with every ad, I can say that the people making it should know there is a girl in Maine alwaysappreciating the people who founded it for us to love.
A common question people ask is “if you could have (fill in the activity- drink, dinner, etc) with one person, living or dead, who would it be?” Well, I think you know my answer: Leo, of course.
I might have to bring some tissues though, for he doesn’t strike me as the type who appreciates a good cry.
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.
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.
End result: an hour lost of sleep, is an hour of snuggling gained. Either way, I’m smiling.
Holidays are coming up. Makes you think about everything that happened the year leading up to it. As I reflect, it occurs to me just how much I am thankful for the good things in my life. Studies show that people respond to a list, so I thought I would simply be a good student and blog accordingly. I’ll keep it to five things, but know there are hundreds more. Unfortunately, I am long-winded, but you probably knew that already.
1. I am thankful for the times I had with my grandmother, Lois, who passed just a few weeks ago. She was southern and cheery and perverted and creative. How many people can admit that their grandmother was perverted? Oh, I can. I will not go into details, out of respect, but let’s just say I’m accurate. She was married 3 times and even after her last husband passed, was on the prowl. She was fabulous.
The story goes: Lois Rose was a beautiful woman, and when all the men went off to war- they would propose she wait for them for when they came back. “Of course” she would say to them. Well, once the war ended, one handsome Colonel by the name of Earl Schmidt came to collect on his woman. And the rest is history.
She was great at Bridge, and played competitively. Lois (not grandma, just Lois) baked me FOUR birthday cakes my freshman year of college. Good Lord could that woman bake. For years I have tried to mimic her methods, but I can assure you I am only mildly close (and I make a damn good cake). She was very into quilting. In fact, she could sew anything. She use to make my Christmas presents (along with her checks for $5)- and at any age would insist I was an adult size extra large. That means in the 6th grade, when I was a whooping 78 pounds at 5’3″- XL. It was amusing, but I wore everything, every time. I am thankful for all the memories I had with her, good and bad. I will remember the giant trampoline in her yard that I use to get my head caught in the springs after my sister would convince me that a front flip was safe. Every grandchild was her “favorite,” to which she would say on the phone, as if on cue, “is this my favorite granddaughter?” I will miss traveling to North Carolina to visit, and I will miss her never quite knowing my name (I have 5 girl cousins and a sister, so I was any mixture of the names Caroline, Jennifer, Robyn, Jessica, Stephanie, or Erica. If I was lucky, Katie would get a shout out). Rest in peace, Lois, you lived a long life with many people who loved you very much.
Update 11/9/2012: My cousin Caroline mailed me the program from the funeral. She wrote sweet words to speak in her honor, that she also mailed me. She actually reminded me of the fireflies we use to catch in her yard. I loved those little flicks of light and can remember chasing them until my mother would yell for me to come inside. Anyway, the program was filled with many pictures of my grandmother’s life:
You will notice the above pictures are filled with smiling faces. Except one. One person has their tongue sticking out, inappropriately. I will let you guess which member of the family that would be. Okay, I will give you a little help.
Sweet dreams, Lois.
2. I am thankful for Brad and Gunnar. I have a boyfriend who is the most amazing man I have ever known. He has integrity and warmth and loves completely and without thought. He is one of the hardest working men I have ever known, and makes me want to be a better person every single day. His son is 14 and lives with us half the time. Gunnar is considerate, sensitive and so smart it’s crazy. I have no doubt that this young man will grow up to change the world. But hell, with a dad like that: how could he not? I love spoiling them, cooking for them and living life with them. Most of all, I love stories of them together growing up, and am thankful they have allowed me into their world.
3. I am thankful for my friends. Okay, I realize this is over-the-top cheesy, but I hope I have kept your attention this far. If not, I’ll just consider this self therapy. After all, it’s good to appreciate things, even better to appreciate it out loud. I love my friends for everything they are and everything they are not. I love how they stand by my side when I’m just being a girl (you know: too sensitive, emotional, analytical of everything) . I love that no matter how many times we call each other, it’s not annoying. I love that no topic is off limits. Nothing brightens my days more than a really good conversation to get something off my chest- or to help my friends with whatever they are going through. I love that 7am is not too early to chat. Most of all I love that there is no judgement on either side, ever. I would give my last dollar in the bank to any one of my friends, and they know it. I use to think that longevity was the key to a good friendship, but I now know that it’s loyalty and understanding. Just because you’ve known someone your whole life, doesn’t mean they will stand up for you or do what’s right, and it doesn’t mean they won’t use you. The people in my life who I call friends, I know I call them that with 100% accuracy.
4. I am thankful for something so many people take for granted, health. We complain about the little things we would like to change about ourselves (breast size, wrinkles, nose shape, weight, etc), without really appreciating the fact that we are living, breathing humans on this earth. People talk about so many things that just don’t matter in the grand scheme of life, and they don’t even realize the amount of people living in pain. Appreciate your health! Take care of yourself! Eat your veggies and put that damn cigarette/cigar out! Don’t do drugs! It’s really quite simple if you think about it. I am done preaching. You will note that I didn’t comment on putting down that glass of wine, well- a little grape juice never hurt anyone, did it?
I also checked with WebMD: “The French diet is often used as an example of how wine can improve heart health. The French have a fairly high-fat diet but their heart disease risk is relatively low. And some have attributed this to red wine.”
5. I am thankful for South Carolina football. This one may seem far fetched from items 1-4, but it’s honest. As a new student at USC- I was miserable. I didn’t know many people, and couldn’t stand being called “yankee” all the time. A friend of mine in my Eastern Asian Civilization class said to me one day, “wait until football starts, you’ll see it all change and you’ll love it.” This was also the same friend who taught me about Krispy Kreme donuts (jerk), and how if you go right when they make them on the belt, they will be warm, gooey, and melting on your tongue, so I took his advice with a grain of salt. Well, he could not have been more on par. South Carolina football changed everything for me. Being from NH, I didn’t know what the hell “tailgating” was, nor had I done it; Neither of my parents are into sports. I was a cheerleader in junior high, but had no idea what it meant when I was yelling “First and Ten!” What do I love about it? The lights of Williams Brice stadium in all it’s glory, the 80,000 person-filled stadium all cheering in unison, the passion of a Carolina/Clemson game, the paupers drinking moonshine with the millionaires, the crowing Gamecock and fireworks- it was magnificent. Is magnificent. I started really watching and really understanding the game. I became addicted. It’s been 11 years since I graduated, and I still watch the games every weekend during season- even if by myself. Most years, I try to make it to a game with my friends. I watch the annual draft with pride, as the players I have followed for the past 4 years go on to the NFL. Recently, one of my favorite players was seriously injured. It broke my heart- so I mailed him a card and pitched to The Ellen Show that he be featured! 15 years I have been a loyal fan of this team, and it’s only the beginning.
So that’s five things I am thankful for, and as I said, it’s only five out of hundreds. What are you thankful for as the holiday season begins?