Where Football is King

If I’ve learned anything from living in the south, it’s you don’t kid when it comes to football.  Want to know where people are on a Friday night between September and November?  Check the high school football field (they even made an entire TV show about a southern high school football team for crying out loud).  When I was in high school I think the team was made up of about 400 guys out of oh, I don’t know 401.  I think the requirements to be on the team were (1) that you had to be male and (2) at least partially breathing.

For a while the high school stadium was bigger and better than the university’s and they seemed to always be expanding and adding on.  Plus the football team got new uniforms every year and were taken out for steak dinners at the end of season regardless of their record for the year.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Bitter, party of one?”  And you know what?  I am bitter.  We girls on the track team were wearing outfits circa 1982 and had about 15 min to run in, grab some dinner from McDonalds and then head back on the short bus to eat it.  And when I graduated girls track had been conference champions every year since the early 80s and had taken state more times than not.  The football team?  Not even close.

A week from today I’ll be starting grad school and to be honest, if I think about it I get nervous.  So I prefer not to.  A little denial never hurt anyone right?  But I have had to go the rounds with the financial aid office because it became apparent communication wasn’t their strong suit.  Going over fees I came across this:  Mandatory Registration Fees – $405.50.  Er, I’m sorry how much was that?  For a second I thought I read over four hundred dollars in fees.  Oh wait, I did??  So I continue reading to see what these mandatory fees include.  Stuff like campus radio (uh, ok), student health center, student center, blah blah blah.  None of these are more than $15 so where is my money going?  And then I read it:

“For this fiscal year, certain of the mandatory fees have an

administrative charge assessed on them.  This administrative

charge will be used this fiscal year to support UCA’s transition

to NCAA Division 1.”

Translation:  You have to pay $400 more dollars so UCA football can compete in a higher division.

WHAT???  AGHHH!!!!! Are you KIDDING me right now?  (Nope, remember they don’t kid about football)  And the real kicker is that they used to have this money.  But a few years ago they hired a new president who ended up embezzling hundreds of thousands of the university’s money and despite that, they still gave him a 6 figure pay out because he stepped down before his contract was up.  Smooth. Real smooth.

So it looks like things haven’t changed much from where they were 13 years ago.  Football apparently still rules, only now I’m out an additional $405.50 because of it.

More on Charleston

But not in this post.  Oh how I tease.  I realize I just disappointed all one of you that’s looking forward to my Illinois updates, but I’m just too lazy to go get my camera so I can post the pictures.  Instead, welcome to my past week.

I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember much before Thursday but I’m sure those days included watching a lot of TV.  I do know I started feeling the oncoming of a cold Tuesday night or Wednesday which sucked.  I hate being sick.  I’m a terrible sick person.  On the outside I’m pretty controlled, I don’t really complain and I stay away from people.  Mostly because I get really peeved at people that whine and bellyache when they’re sick.  And especially those that come out of their rooms and infect everyone else around them.  Jerks.

But in my mind I feel like I’m going crazy.  The same thing happens when my arms get trapped inside an article of clothing and I cant’ get it off and I’m stuck.  Yes, this happens ok.  I start to panic and just want to be released.  Just thinking about it makes me squeamish…ok, I had to flail my arms around just now.  Anyway, when I’m sick all I can think about it how much longer I have to be sick.  It’s miserable.

I do remember going to the batting cages with my dad Thursday afternoon.  That was fun and it might have been the best day I’ve had at the cages to date.  Except I know I’m not still a seasoned player because I get winded and break out in a sweat when I’m there.  Like that’s some sort of strenuous exercise.  I blame the cold.

Friday afternoon I get a mass email from our church asking for people to go help this family clean their new duplex.  Long story short, their house burned down Sunday in the middle of the night and they’re moving into this duplex.  I head over there, above all else because their house burned down for heaven’s sake and they need help.  Plus two of the girls are in my church group I’m over.  Also, I’m a saint.

I head over there and get to work cleaning the bathroom.  As a side note, I hate cleaning bathrooms.  I would rather clean almost anything else before touching the bathroom.  But whatever, their house burned.  There’s no way of getting around it, this duplex is disgusting.  I completely understand the emergency of the situation and the fact this family is financially strapped.  But I can’t believe the landlords would actually rent this place out in the condition it’s in.  AND they apparently told this family that it had been professionally cleaned which was a blatant lie.  We’re talking mold, animal droppings, repairs needed, rust, etc. and that was just the kitchen area.

I know bleach containers list certain areas that are safe for product use but everything in that bathroom got hosed down.  I could actually feel the fumes rising in the air which couldn’t have been the best on my lungs and cough.  At one point the lady asked if I was “dying in there”.  It didn’t look that much better when I left and I ironically thought the best thing for that duplex was to burn it down and start over.

Saturday my cold moved into my sinuses and my nose.  Oh, balls.  I was really wanting to avoid that.  In my opinion this is the worst of the worst of having a cold.  I did luck out because it’s now Monday, I’m on the mend, and it never developed into a full blown sinus infection.  Phew.  Sinus infection + no insurance + no money = a life of crime, I’m sure of it.  No doubt I would have gone crazy and ended up on the evening news and in jail.  My cellmates would’ve had to pay me off with Mucinex, which of course at that point wouldn’t work.  I’d be the one true nut job in the slammer and everyone would know not to mess with the girl with clogged ears.  Don’t even get me started on clogged ears, you know what I’m talking about.  Or more likely, I would’ve had to borrow money from the parentals and go to the doctor.  Either way, not getting it worked out for the best.

Sunday night I watched the Oscars and I noticed a couple of things.  Everyone being interviewed before the show was chewing gum and it really bugged me.  Spit it out already.  Isn’t that a rule in public speaking/drama classes 101 to spit out your gum before performing or addressing an audience?  If it’s not it should be.  Also, there are a lot of celebrities that actually make me mad.  Like I want to punch you in the face mad.  Some of them weren’t at the Oscars but all include:

Oprah Winfrey

Barbara Streisand

Barbara Walters

Adam Lambert

Aretha Franklin

Mariah Carey

To name just a small few.  So that brings me up to today.  Did the usual, Walmart, library, watched some movie, yadda yadda.  I did go out and mow the lawn.  On the bright side, the weather was PERFECT.  High 60s with little to no humidity, sun out.  I even went out in capris which reminded me that I’m going to need to scrape up the money to hit the tanning bed soon.  Gotta keep my priorities straight, ya know.  I kind of like yard work, I do.  And mowing is probably my favorite yard chore if I had to name one.  But the grass is still dead.  I’m not understanding why it needs to be mowed so soon.  Plus, because of two great, big trees in our yard, it was more like mowing dirt.  I looked an awful lot like this:

This week’s off to a great start.

Football’s Holy Week

Forget what you’ve learned in school about the crusades and wars all in the name of God, the real holy war is between BYU and Utah and tomorrow they come to blows on the battlefield.  There are two things I’ve learned that people here in Utah don’t mess around with: religion and football.  And I’m not quite sure of the order of importance either.  Each team’s fans seethe hostility and disdain for the other with such force that it’s a bit alarming and disturbing.  I mean these guys HATE each other.  BYU fans joke about themselves being God’s football team (BYU is a religious school if you didn’t know) and Utah being the team of the devil (their uniforms are red).  And since Utah is ranked higher they joke that even God can’t save BYU football.  A phrase used a lot by Utah is “Do you bleed red?”  Of course indicating their absolute devotion to their team with the illusion that they would die for them.  But I playing the devil’s advocate once said to someone “But your blood is naturally blue (BYU’s team color).”  The response back? “Yeah but when it’s spilt it turns red.  That’s the important part – it turns red.”  Whoa, buddy!  The taunting can actually get down right nasty and personal and in some cases, has turned violent.

Now me, I don’t care one way or another.  I have no real ties to either university except that I happen to live in the heart of the Cougars (BYU).  I wore a BYU sweatshirt to work a few weeks ago not realizing that I had.  It was the first sweatshirt I caught as I pulled at a mountain of them in my closet.  My boss, who is a BYU fan, pointed it out during our meeting and jokingly thanked me for lending my support to the cause.  Ironically, the other girl in our lab was wearing her Utah shirt that same day.  Just to show I’m impartial I wore a red sweatshirt the next day.

As for my family, I would say we’re pretty split down the middle between the two teams.  For team Utah I have an uncle that was the girl’s track coach for the university, an aunt and uncle that are members of the Crimson Club, and both my dad and uncle graduated from the U.  For team BYU I have an uncle who has life passes to all the games, brother – in – law who graduated there, sister who graduated from there (though she also attended the U – traitor.  Just kidding), and my grandpa worked on campus for 30+ years or something like that.  I attended an off shoot of BYU in Hawaii but our colors were red…hmm, curious.

A few years ago a friend came across tickets to the big game and the seats were awesome.  High enough to see everything but not too high and right on the 50 yard line.  The energy in the stadium was out of control and I believe the game had to go into overtime with BYU coming out as the victors, which was exciting because the game was held in BYU’s stadium.  Even for a non football fan it was electric.  This year however, I’m thrilled the game will be held up in Salt Lake at the Utes’ stadium. I live about 10-15 minutes from the Cougar stadium and unless you’re going to the game, the best thing for you to do is to not venture out of your house unless it’s to leave town.  Traffic is insane and you’ll be in your car for almost the same amount of time as the game itself.

No matter which team you’re rooting for, the game won’t be a let down with stakes riding high for each side.  BYU has a shot at a share of the Mountain West Conference Title IF they can beat Utah.  And while Utah already has a share of the MWC Title they have a chance to go to a BCS Bowl game IF they can beat BYU.  For fans on either side, this should be a good game.

*cripes!  I just remembered that one year we took a family picture completely divided in wearing BYU or U of U sweatshirts.  I’m going to have to dig around for that!

5 Miles Baby!

Yesterday I accomplished a big goal of mine that quite honestly I never thought would actually ever happen.  I ran for 5 miles!!!  For me personally this is huge.  I knew it was going to be a good running day because I still felt great at 2.5 miles so I thought my goal of 3.5 miles that day would be easy and could probably push to 4.  When I got to 4 I figured why not go to 4.25?  As I was almost at that distance I flirted with the idea of 5 miles but thought I should just try for 4.5 instead.  At 4.35 my knee started to hurt a little but not so much that I couldn’t keep going.  I finally just decided that I would push to 5.  I mean, I’ve always wanted to and why not let that be the day right?  So, I keep going and at 4.65 my knee starts to really throb and I begin thinking, “What if my legs give out from under me while I’m running?  Maybe I should stop.”  “NO!  If your legs give out at least you will go out running as far as you can without quitting.  If you just stop you’ll always wonder if you could have really run the whole thing.”  “Hmm, good point self.  Carry on.”

At 4.75 my knee is killing me but for heaven’s sake I’m almost there.  “What if by pushing my knee to keep going I damage it permanately?  What if I’m never able to walk again once I get off this treadmill?”  “Well, if that’s the case then at least the last thing your legs did was accomplish one of your goals.”  “Well, what if..” “Shut up already!  Geez, for the love! You have .07 miles to run you’ll be fine for crying out loud you big pansy.”

As I finished I was really surprised that I wasn’t even breathing heavy and aside from my left knee hurting, I felt great.  I mean really good – happy and energetic.  I thought of Legally Blonde when Reese Witherspoon’s character said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. ”  I don’t know about happy people not shooting their husbands but I was definitely feeling happy.

When I first started focusing on running about three months ago I could barely finish one mile and I would be breathing so heavy afterward you would think I was about to hypervenilate.  I don’t know all the technical mumbjo jumbo for the asthma I have but it seems to kick into high gear when I get active.  I know I had severe medical problems when I was born but neither one of my parents ever tried to keep me from playing sports or joining any type of teams.  So I just struggled through it not knowing any better.  I played basketball one year and volleyball the next just to see if I could.  I stuck with track for 6 years running sprints and was actually pretty good and for 11 summers I played softball.  I guess it was my own way of giving asthma the finger.

I never thought running anything longer than 400 yards was ever going to be possible but a few months ago I thought “Why not?  According to the doctors you’re not even supposed to be able to walk and look at how active you’ve been.  Stop telling yourself that you can’t and just do it.”  So I did.  Sure my knee is still a little sore today but I’ll get over it.

Do I think I’ll run another 5 miles today?  Heck no!  Do I think I’ll run it again this week?  Not likely.  But it doesn’t matter if I ever do it again because I did it once and honestly, that’s good enough for me.

My Knees Need You

Attention runners, athletic gurus, doctors, and anyone with common sense.  You all know that I’ve been running consistantly for the past couple of months, increasing the distance little by little.  Well, for the past few weeks I’ve noticed my knees getting kind of sore once I reach a couple miles into the run and then for about 3 minutes or so after I finish I’m convinced they’re plotting my death.  What is the deal???  I have no other problems with my knees during the day or night once these few minutes are over.  None.  No popping, soreness, creaking, or whatever.  So am I experiencing some sort of  vitamin deficiency?  Need more calcium?  Is the top of my body too heavy for my knees to hold up while running?  I’m only 29 so I can’t imagine that it’s old age yet.  Is it just growing pains (whatever that means)?  Will they get over it on their own with time?  Or should I be concerned that they may slowly be turning into powdered chalk?  I’m rather found of them so I would be quite put out if this were to happen.  Not running is not an option.  So I’m petitioning all of you if you have any experience with this and what you did for it.  My knees thank you in advance.

No Plans but Busy Weekend

I hardly ever have plans for the weekend and this past one was no different.  But where that usually means I spend my time reading, walking, grocery shopping or cleaning, this weekend I actually had a real life!  Friday night I was a sub for a girl on a softball team.  I played with them a few weeks ago and while it was fun then I didn’t really contribute other than being a body on the field.  Which made me feel a little bad because I played softball for 11 years.  I know how to play but was nervous about it.  This past Friday however, I was one of the only girls that not only hit the ball but managed to score a couple of runs for the team.  We still lost 16-11 but on the bright side I did not totally suck.  Yeah me!

Saturday afternoon I went to a friend’s house and hung out.  Nothing real special about that just something to do.  As I was getting ready to leave her place I got a text message inviting me to go to dinner with some people in my complex.  Here was my dilema – I am always saying I want to get to know more people in my complex and expand  my social circle so I feel like I should be inclined to say yes.  However, I had been running/walking that morning and afternoon and needed to shower.  I was 20 from my apartment and they were leaving in 35 min from the time I received the text.  Could I make it?  Should I try?  I sent her a text back saying maybe next time but then drove like mad home to see if I could pull it off.  I got home with 10 min to spare and jumped in the shower.  There was no way I could wash my hair and be ready in 10 min but I figured I could just pile it on my head and get by for the night.  I was actually semi-ready to go in the 10 min. so I called the girl back and was able to meet up with them.  Her text had said “a bunch of us are getting together for dinner” but when everyone showed up, besides myself there were two guys and two girls.  Um, was this supposed to be a double date and I’m now the fifth wheel??  Lovely.  No one was paired off so I don’t think it was an actual double date but talk about awkward.  As we were eating I kept thinking of how I should have stayed home and taken a real shower instead of sitting there as the fifth wheel kind-of grimy.  But no one can say I don’t try and make an effort I guess.

Sunday morning I’m on my way to church when something doesn’t feel right as I’m driving.  I pull over (still in my complex luckily) and wouldn’t you know I have a flat tire.  Awesome.  As I scroll through my tiny roladex in my head, I realize the few people I could call where probably all in church.  So I call a co-worker cringing the whole time because I’m pretty confident he’s working at his other job.  Sure enough, he’s at his other job but says he will be there in about an hour.  His other job is a 30 min. drive from where I live and not only that he was trying to work with some roofers and landscapers at his home and here I call asking for help with my lame tire.  He shows up with his wife and 7 yr. old son and let me just say it was one of the cutest and funniest things I have seen in a while.  His son obviously thinks his dad walks on water and was right there ready to help in any way he could.  I don’t remember what my friend had said but I responded with “Oh I didn’t know that.”  His son turned to me and without any sort of bratiness or attitude of any kind he said, “My dad knows everything.”  It was just a plain and simple fact.  The tire was changed and I got to church with only 15 min. left of the service.  So that was pretty much pointless I guess.

That afternoon I made cookies to bring for my co-worker because the fastest thing I could think of to do for him for his help with the tire.  A couple of friends came over for about an hour and then I was off to dinner at another friend’s house.  It was going alright until they started talking about politics and that’s when I got up and put my dishes in the sink.  I was the odd man out and had complete and total opposite views and opinions from everyone else there.  That and the fact that I don’t like to discuss politics pretty much ever, made it a little awkward.  But the girl hosting the dinner came over and we started talking about photography and have plans to get together next week and work on some photo type stuff and I’m pretty excited about that.  She went to Europe this past summer and took hundreds of pictures and I’m anxious to see them.  I left the dinner and went to a church get together and was taken off guard when one of the girls there made the announcement that I had just had a birthday and suggested everyone sing.  Oh man, I was a little embarrassed but really I loved it.

For not having any plans I had a lot to do these past few days.  And it was awesome!

My Unconventional 4th – and post #100!!

Many of you know that I went to Santa Monica to visit my sister for the 4th this year.  It was tons of fun and the only part that sucked was when I had to leave and go back to work.  So without further adieu here are the pics that make up my weekend:

Sprinkes got the party started with their yummy dose of pure sugar.  I’m actually not sure there was any cupcake involved or if it was just a giant blob of frosting.

That night we went down to the Santa Monica Pier and rode on the Ferris Wheel.  Before this ride I would have told you that I’m not really afraid of heights.  And I still don’t think I am really – as long as I’m strapped in with some sort of bar or belt.  I was not.  We were sitting in an open gondola that swung with every slight movement.  Not so much my favorite!

The next morning we went to the beach.  Walking down there was no big deal.  The weather was perfect and there weren’t a lot of people where we decided to go.  Walking back, however, was terrible and I was prepared to live the remainder of my days on the beach.

If I thought trying to get across the sand was hard, then I was ill prepared for this:

BEAST is an understatement.

That night we headed for the LA Galaxy game.  I know nothing about soccer but it didn’t matter – it was a blast!

Now I can say I’ve had my picture taken with Beckham…one of those white dots on the field is him.  No really…it is…I promise.

On Saturday we decided to do something totally different and visit a ghost town.  In my mind, I imagined it being spooky with stories of how at night you can still see the residents walking around.  Turned out it was just an old abandoned gold mining town.  It was still a lot of fun and I’m glad we went there rather than Knott’s Berry Farm where we were considering going.

So thanks PammyGirl for the adventures this past weekend.  Until next time….

March Madness

My boss sent around an email asking us to link over to a group he created for us concerning the whole March Madness bracket thing.  As you could probably tell, I’m not an over enthusiast and don’t care about basketball…college or professional.  Last year I signed up and to everyone’s shock (including my own) I was doing really well.  Then about half way through, my beginner’s dumb luck faded to non-existence and I think I came in dead last.

This year I may still come in dead last but my name is all about in your face, talk’n smack, yeah you heard me:  Kickn Ur Trash 1 Ball @ a Time…yeah that’s right, there’s a double meaning in that!

I Now Understand…Sort of

Guys seem to have this obsession with video games that I can’t comprehend.  Truth be told, I lost interest after Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt.  This isn’t to say that I haven’t TRIED to play since then but have failed at all attempts.  First comes the slight, dull headache.  Then comes the rapid eye blinking/squinting to keep them focused on the screen.  Next we have slight dizziness which leads to a full on headache.  And if I continue I am directed straight to motion sickness and must close my eyes and lie still for a few minutes.

Lastnight this all changed.  A few friends got together and we played the Wii.  Holy Crap!  I could very easily become addicted to this.  I had to refrain from the impulse of petting it while repeating “my precious” over and over.  We played tennis, baseball, and bowling and to my surprise I’m actually pretty good.  Of the four of us playing, none of us had ever played on the Wii except the owner but her scores weren’t that much higher than mine (and it wasn’t because she sucked).

Where I was once going to put my tax return straight into the bank to have for emergencies, I may now have to catergorize owning the Wii as a matter of life or death and therefore must purchase immediately.  And Terry, if you’re reading this, I bowled a 193 and that was my first time.  It can only get better.

I’m not cut out for winter fun

As previously mentioned, I don’t do well in the cold.  I don’t like to be cold nor do I like snow.  I don’t like having to put on layer upon layer only to remove all of it when I enter a building just to put it back on again when I leave.  I don’t like how my hands dry out and crack and I don’t like how my lips chap.  And I don’t like how I’m more electrically charged and get shocked everytime I touch anything that remotely resembles metal.  But I really learned I wasn’t cut out for winter years ago when I went snow skiiing for the first time.

It was a beautiful day.  Crystal blue, clear skies.  No wind.  Tons of sun.  I was about 15 years old visiting my sisters in Utah during my spring break.  So the three of us along with my brother in-law, decided to go snow skiing for the day.  I was the only newby of the group and all seemed excited to watch me try it out (they probably weren’t but that’s my version anyway).  We get to the slopes and divided up for the lifts.  I went with my brother in-law because he was the most experienced and my sisters were behind us.  While I’m not completely sure of the details, I do know that one of my sisters somehow missed the lift and I believe had to have the operator stop it so she could get on.  That should have been a sign that what was to come would not be smooth sailing.

We get off the lift and so far I’m doing great.  No problems on or off and I’m thinking there’s nothing to this whole skiing thing.  I would like to insert that at no time did anyone feel the need to teach me anything about the dynamics of skiing or rather the do’s and don’ts.  And I, at 15 years of age and never having been skiing before, had no clue that I should even ask.  So we started off.  To me it seemed like my sister’s couldn’t even go 10 feet before one of them fell over.  I on the other hand had yet to fall and was doing quite well in fact.  We went around the first turn and all continued well.  It was pretty flat so there wasn’t a lot of momentum building at that point.  We got around the first turn and started down the actual slope.  Speed began to increase.  I shot a look of panic at my brother in-law who kept saying, “Don’t worry.  You’re doing great.” 

By now my sister’s were a distant memory and my brother in-law was becoming one.  I was flying.  I might have appreciated the incredible rush of going warp speed down the side of a mountain on two plastic sticks if it weren’t for the fact that I was freaking out!  And to make matters worse, snowboarders kept shooting out from the trees and little five years whizzed past like I was standing still.

I was going so fast that my brother in-law couldn’t catch up with me.  And his encouraging words were becoming more faint as each mili-second went by.  So I did what I thought was the safest thing and I crouched down.  That was stupid.  Naturally, it just made me go faster.  A lot faster.  But I was too terrified to attempt to stand back up and besides I was too busy cursing like a sailor to think straight.  And then I saw it.  The bottom of the mountain where everyone was slowing down.  But not me.  There was nothing slow about what I was doing and I really started to panic.  So I did the only thing I thought I could possibly do and I flung myself on the ground. And while my poles went in different directions and one of the ski’s flew off I was at least stationary and conscious and from what I could tell there was no blood.  And that’s really all I cared about at that point. 

Eventually I reunited with my brother in-law and sisters and guess what?  I went right back up that mountain and tried again.  And you wouldn’t believe that after that experience no one said anything to me about the techniques of skiing.  And wouldn’t you know that I shot down that stupid mountain at warp speed again!  It pretty much ended in the same way with me flinging myself to the ground to stop.  And though my first skiing experience happened 13 years ago I’ve never had the desire to go back and never have.