Sunday, February 19, 2012

To My Guineveres

This is a girl power post. 

This is for all of the amazing women in my life that continue to inspire me, encourage me, and provide so much love every day. I can't express how truly awesome the women around me are--they manage to keep their heads held high, live happy lives, and give much of their wonderful hearts to others no matter what is facing them. 

Women are the generous, strongest, and most courageous people I know. 

Especially these women. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Dangerous Out There

Happy freaking Valentine's Day. Needless to say, this day was a roller coaster for me. But I must admit it has finally leveled off on a high point and I have learned a thing or two about Valentine's day. I can state, with absolute confidence, this holiday is not (just) a commercial ploy to get people to buy flowers and chocolates, but instead it is a day where the littlest things can mean so much.

Coming into Valentine's day with the knowledge that I probably wouldn't get my Valentine, wouldn't get to share a romantic dinner with someone special, or in general celebrate a romantic bond with (okay, okay I'll say it) a hunk of a boyfriend/lover/romantic interest, had me in all sorts of low places today. I am a hopeless romantic and I am not going to try to cover that up. Anyone who knows me would say I wear my heart on my sleeve and fall victim to the slightest bit of mushy-gushy-ness. So I was afraid this holiday was going to be wasted on me. 

And it turns out that was not the case at all. 

My morning started with a text at 5:30 am from my friend Zach, wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day. He was thoughtful to send that text, and it made me smile, but at that point only reminded me of the day to come. 

At 5:45am, I started my body-pump-up-your-muscles class with a mixed version an always-classic love song remix by O-Town. Great. Figures. 

I get to work and open my email and see this little Valentine from my dearest Regina. She certainly knows how to warm my heart :)

After that, work starts to drag and a co-worker notices I'm a little down. We begin to chat about Valentine's day and it becomes apparent to him that my spirits could be lifted. He suggests going out to lunch, getting out of the office and asks me where I'd like to go. He rounds up some people and out we went into the rain and wind (yes, perfect Valentine's Day weather) to get some sandwiches. While at lunch, I mention my sandwich is salty and my friend Ted (after exclaiming his love for his Turkey-Dinner-in-a-sandwich sandwich and how absolutely mind blowingly delicious it is) trades me my second half sandwich for his. He wouldn't take no for an answer.

Some of my other friends offer to hang out with me tonight so we don't have to be alone and can promptly forget it is even Valentine's day. 

But the ultimate kicker of my day and the point that pulled me out of my storm cloud was Ted. As I walked to my car after work, he stopped me in the parking lot to give me a card he made me. It started off as just a scrap of paper he had found at lunch, but then he turned it into a legit, 3-D hand made pop up card 4 hours later! 

The reference is from one of his favorite video games as a kid. Totally nerdy, totally true, and totally sweet. 

And now I'm about to spend the night with my sister, getting lost in one of our favorite TV shows together. 

By the end of this day, I could have felt pretty down in the dumps for not having someone special on one of my favorite holidays... But when I took a step back as I held my hand-made Valentine's day card, I realized I had so many special people I had "spent" today with. 

Rather than one Valentine, I had multiple Valentines. 

So really, I should be saying Happy wonderful Valentine's Day. I'm lucky to have so many good friends in my life. Maybe next year boyfriend/lover/romantic interest.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Life Under Our Wheels

There is no better feeling of accomplishment than riding up a mountain, pushing yourself to your goal, and celebrating at 30 mph all the way back down. 

I grabbed a couple of my best pals and went for a ride this beautiful morning. During my climb, I thought a lot about how riding up Mt. Lemmon is a lot like overcoming life's challenges. In the moment, things are looking rough: your muscles burn, you can't catch a full breath, the sun feels a little too hot, you're thinking "is my back supposed to hurt like that?", "I'd die for some cold water right now", "what do you mean it never flattens out!?". But in that moment, you just have to say "SHUT UP LEGS!" and keep pushing on. 

Huffing and puffing away next to Lauren as we blabbed about some tidbit of gossip, a group of studly bikers pushed passed us on their fancy 'too-many-thousands-of-dollars' bikes. We both tuned into our leg muscles, drew some great power from them and rode behind the pack for a short while. We realized we could probably always push ourselves a little harder and go a little faster. You can forget your capabilities for a while and fall into a comfortable groove. 

Sometimes, we must remind ourselves that we can push ourselves harder and we will survive. The road may look steep ahead and you sure might not be moving very fast, but you're still moving and somehow, your muscles still have the will to keep flexing. Challenges we face are rough and we all have many of them. But when you can reach that goal, big or small, and look back, it really can feel awesome. 

As I rode down the mountain, I got the greatest feeling of serenity. The smooth road whizzed by under my two thin tires, my wind breaker flapped at its own frequency in my ears, and the curves were smooth and road was empty. Going 30 mph on your bike down a mountain might seem scary and anxiety inducing (I cannot deny that it it's not!), but my goodness, there is no feeling quite like it. 

And is if the ride down wasn't awesome enough, the food awaiting me at the bottom only added to my perfect ride.

As we sat in the sun devouring delicious grub and laughing and talking about nothing in particular while the "hurt-so-good" feeling overcame our legs, I was not wanting to be anywhere else. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Grillin' Sisters

It's supposed to still be cold is still winter, right? But it was just simply a beautiful, cool evening. Perfect for grilling out on my quaint back porch. 

My sister and I tried our hands at grilling for the second night in a row. Last night we grilled a tasty Mexican-spice infused chicken and mixed it in with a ton of fajita style veggies and homemade salsa. 

Tonight, Rebecca crafted some delicious, Italian inspired turkey burgers. 

We grilled them. They had grill marks and everything. (We're basically professionals.)

The spicy, oven crisped fries were the perfect finger-licking accompaniment. 

I may never go back to stove-top cooking again....

Now if only I had some s'more fixings.