The life and times of me. Also known as: My quest to become more awesome.

Monthly Archives: February 2013

You know, I just don’t have fun like I used to. I’m not saying I never have fun. I do. I definitely do. I’m not some prude, you know. But I definitely don’t pull the shit I used to pull. And actually, in this story, it wasn’t even me who was the instigator. But oh, man. I’ll never forget this night.

It was 2002 (or something like that – I honestly can’t be entirely sure). Some friends and I went out to get some beers and wings at a local bar. It was me, my BFF, S, her boyfriend, A, and our other friend, T. T, at the time, had super long hair which she had pulled up on top of her head and was wearing a super fuzzy sweater that night (remember this fuzzy sweater thing).

Side note: Have you guys ever lit your socks on fire? Like if they’re a little fuzzy, and you just hold lighter near your heel and then your whole sock goes up in flames just for a second and then goes out? No? Well. My friends and I did. All the time. It was such common practice, in fact, that no one even lifted an eyebrow at it. And it was nothing to worry about because the fire was out in less than a second.

Anyway, like I said, we’re all sitting there at this table – I’m sitting directly across from A and T and S and sitting across from each other. We were a few beers deep each and having an awesome time. Laughing, getting buzzed up, you know, being young and hanging out.

S had been fidgeting with a lighter all night. Then (and I’ll never forget this – when I think of it now, it plays in my head in slow motion), for reasons still unknown, S reached across the table and lit the lighter under the sleeve of T’s sweater. Oh my god, you guys. It went up so fast. T’s eyes got huge as we watched the flames encircle her arm, travel up to her shoulder, and then travel around the front and back of her sweater AT THE SAME TIME.

T was standing at this point. And flipping the eff out. A girl from the table next to her gets up and starts hitting her over and over with her purse. S, A, and I, being the wonderful friends that we are, sat in utter amazement at the flames that briefly engulfed our friend entirely, wide-eyed and slack-jawed. This is, until the girl started hitting T. That was too much. All of us erupted in laughter. A and I were laughing so hard we were literally crying. The flames were long gone, mind you. The whole episode, up one arm, across her whole torso, then back down the other arm was probably over in five seconds or less. T started crying too. Although hers were not tears of joy. She ran off to the bathroom, stinking of burned wool and singed hair. S took off after her (it was her doing, after all).

A and I stayed at the table and continued to laugh, all the while getting the stink eye from the girl who tried to snuff out the flames with her purse. I guess we were jerks. I don’t care. I’ve never seen anything so funny. T and S came back, and T was pissed! She wanted to go. Now. But we still had pretty much full beers left! So we stayed to finish. And she was stuck there because she rode with me (I told you, we were kind of jerks – but really, how many 22-year-olds do you know who aren’t?).

We finally left and I took T home. She threw out the sweater. It stunk. Like burned hair. She stayed mad at S for a while after that. After it all blew over, I tried to nickname T “Michael Jackson” (MJ for short). She wasn’t having it. Such a shame. That really was a sweet nickname to go to waste like that.

Now, S and A and I really aren’t heartless buttholes. If T had actually gotten hurt, I would not be telling this story like this. Or probably at all. But like I said before, lighting our socks on fire was something we did all the time and we knew her sweater wasn’t going to catch on fire and stay on fire. And anyway, how many of you can say that you watched one of your friends light another friend on fire at a busy bar only to watch some random slap her around with her purse to try to extinguish the flames? Probably not very many. Like I said before, the fire was out in five seconds or less and no one was hurt except for maybe T’s ego. And holy crap, was it funny. Ah, the glory days. You can’t ever go back, you know.


I think the terms “television withdrawal” and “cabin fever” might be oxymorons but I think I’m experiencing both simultaneously. I would just be over the moon if I could get this damn thing to turn on. Really I’m just bored. And kinda grumpy.

I really would like to get out of town but that’s probably not going to happen anytime too soon. I sent my little brother a text yesterday that said something about me not being fit to be around other humans. It was true. I was pretty much a grumpy wretch. Everything (and nearly everyone) I encountered just drove me nuts. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault. I can be a jerk sometimes. It went away after running the last couple of days but I didn’t have a run today (and thanks to my genius idea of doing nearly 50 pushups yesterday, I didn’t have a workout this morning either).

Anyway, enough of this Debbie Downer bullshit. I get like this once in a while and I know it. I also know I need to stimulate myself by giving myself a project. I’m going to do something creative this weekend. Something that I’ve never attempted successfully before. Remember last weekend when I said I went thrifting? Well, I bought an ugly sack of a dress for $1.99 and a belt for $0.49. So this weekend I am going make the dress into something wearable. I’ll be re-hemming it and making it shorter, shortening the sleeves, fixing the neckline, adding an interesting back, and sewing elastic into the waist to give it shape. It will be my first DIY post! Aren’t you excited?!

Well. I am. And that’s enough for me. I also think I want to make some sort of delicious dessert that I’ve never made before. That will make JW happy too.

And just like that, I am feeling better. Making plans and giving myself stuff to look forward to this weekend was just what I needed.

So, anyone have any suggestions or ideas for the dessert? Comment and let me know!

So, before I start, I did get up and workout this morning. It was more like 5:20, but hey, I did it.

Now, for what I really wanted to talk about. I know I’ve mentioned writing a business plan to you guys already. I’m still not ready to talk about the specific details of the business I am currently planning yet (don’t you worry your pretty little heads – when I’m ready, I’ll be shouting it from rooftops and shamelessly promoting it). Some of you who know me already know what I’m doing and most of you have been supremely supportive and I can’t even tell you how much that means to me.

But, as always, I have managed to get into my own head about all of this and freak myself out. When I first came up with the idea, I was completely obsessed with it. It’s all I thought about, read about, and sometimes talked about. I started writing the business plan and felt awesome about it. But then something happened in my brain and all of the what-ifs started popping up and scaring the crap out of me. I started thinking that I was romanticizing the entire idea in my head and that it was going to be way more work than I was admitting to myself. I nearly ditched the idea all together.

I talked to JW about it and he said that if my heart wasn’t really in it then he wouldn’t try to stop me from letting it go. But he added that he’d hate to see me throw away a really good idea just because I got cold feet over what-ifs. I had a lot of soul-searching and thinking to do. I have been making some sweeping changes to my life lately and gotten serious about some goals. And this is one of them. I decided I need to move forward. My little brother told me he was happy that I’m not letting it go because he tends to change his mind a lot (we’re a lot alike) and it makes him glad to see me not giving up. My BFF told me not to quit too.

I am still scared about a lot of things. I’m scared of the debt that will be associated with this venture (although startup costs for this particular business aren’t as overwhelming as some) and I’m scared of all of the unknowns. I feel like I want someone to hold my hand and tell me what do do next. I’m scared of actually acquiring the financing for it (because if I actually do all the work and start planning for it only to get told no, I’ll be heart-broken). There is a lot I be scared about.

But there is also a lot to be over-the-moon excited for. All of the what-ifs that have been popping into my head are scary. What if I can’t get financed? What if business is slow? What if I fail? But there are awesome what-ifs too. What if this is my dream job? What if I am a run-away success? What if this could be the most rewarding experience ever?

Here’s the thing: I really believe that we can make this a success. I am under no delusions that it won’t be hard work. I’m even anticipating it to be harder than I am aware of at this point. But I also think that if I am able to make it a success, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And how can I turn down a chance like that? And really, how many things that are really worth doing aren’t just a little scary?

5 AM fail you guys, 5 AM fail. I thought I had set my alarm for 5 AM this morning. Then I woke up to go to the bathroom and looked at my phone and it was 5:38. Whoops. Who am I kidding anyway? For some reason I couldn’t get to sleep last night and laid in bed, wide awake, until like 2:40. So even if my alarm had gone off at 5:00, I wasn’t getting up. Excuses, excuses, I know. That’s what’s so awesome about tomorrow though. You always get a chance to try again.

I do have good news though. Remember yesterday when I said I was down 15 pounds? Well, Monday is my weigh-in day and I dropped five pounds this week. Boom! Goodbye plateau! So I’ve been feeling pretty good about myself today.

I got in a six mile run that felt great too. And my running buddy had a good run today so that too, was awesome.

So that’s about all I have to report today. Sorry for the short post. I’m going to go to bed early and try this 5 AM thing again.

I’m definitely one I those people who has a problem sticking to a fitness regimen unless I have something to work towards or people who would be let down if I didn’t follow through. My first sports love (and probably my one true love) is swimming. I swam competitively for nine years. Year-round for the most part. I quit when I dropped out of college that first time. I’ve gotten back in the water several times since then but I haven’t been able to stick with it (it was never a team atmosphere where we were working towards meets or anything like that). I’ve looked around here and there are a couple of teams but they are too far away/not in the current budget. I miss it. I dream about it. I know I need to keep myself active even if I’m unable to swim. Enter: running.

I started running because in my second time around in college, during my senior year, I had some credits to burn. So I took a distance running course. I don’t really know what possessed me to take it. I hated running. Loathed it. I was unable to to get into the zone when running. I could run alright but I was weak-minded and if the thought of taking a break and walking a little entered my head, I couldn’t not do it. With swimming, if I’m in the water, I’m instantly in my own little world and can just go. Running took a lot more concentration. The furthest I went in that class was 6.2 miles (a 10k). When I finished, I remember thinking, “Welp, never wanna do that again!” I continued to run for about the next six months or so, but never more than three miles at a time. Then I fell off the horse.

Fast forward a little more than two years: I’ve moved to Cincinnati. I am out of shape and I’ve put on a few pounds. I know I need to do something but a monthly gym membership is not in our budget. I tried that running group and decided it wasn’t really for me but it did inspire me to get off my ass. There were ladies there who were twice my age talking about running half marathons and marathons. There were ladies of all shapes and sizes running miles and miles. I had no excuse. So I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. I picked one about four months in the future, found a six weeks to 5k training program, followed by a ten week to half marathon program and signed up.

The day I paid for that registration, I felt sick. I had to do it now. The furthest I’d ever run was six miles and I hated it! What in the hell did I sign up for?! But I continued with my training and each week I surprised myself with more miles than I had ever run before. And I felt better and better the further I went. That was a year and a half ago. I’m currently training for my fifth half.

This time, I have a training buddy. My neighbor once told me she always wanted to run a half so I offered to train with her. This is her first one. So now I’m finding myself being the voice of reason. When she’s having a bad day and her runs aren’t feeling good, I reassure her that running doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes you have a week or two straight where it’s torture. But then you have that break-through run and it is SO WORTH IT. And it’s so fun to see her surprise herself every week by going further than she ever has before. This is going to be a fun race.

This is the first time that I’ve been actively trying to lose weight while training for a race. When I first started, I figured the weight would just fall off of me. That was before I knew that running long distances would turn me into a gluttonous, ravenous beast with a seemingly endless appetite. Sure, I toned up a little but I didn’t lose any weight. I write down everything I eat now. The plan I’m on allows for extra food on days of strenuous working out but it’s certainly not a free-for-all now. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough energy but that hasn’t been the case at all. Truthfully, I feel great!

So in order to up my game this year, here’s the plan:
1. Half marathon in Lexington on March 30.
2. 25k in Grand Rapids on May 11.
3. Full marathon in Detroit on October 20.

I also have a goal of losing around 50 pounds (I’m down 15 already so 35-ish to go) and I want to improve my overall body tone and strength. I started doing an ab workout three times a week after my runs and two weeks ago, I said I was going to start getting up at 5 AM to do strength training. I have yet to do that. JW is loving giving crap about it. It infuriates me. Which brings me back to the first statement of this post: I have a hard time sticking with things if I’m not being held accountable (for some reason, JW saying things to me does not light the fire under my ass that he intends for it to do). I know that you, dear reader, really have no way of knowing if I get up at 5 and workout or not. But for me, it helps me to feel a little more accountable.

I’ll let you know tomorrow how it goes.

You guys have heard all about JW. Today’s post is to introduce you to the OTHER love of my life. Her name is Bella (I named her before I ever even knew what Twilight was. I’d never name my dog after a sniveling anti-feminist character like that). She is a seven-year-old super mutt. She is also most likely the cutest dog to ever walk this green earth, if I do say so myself. See?


I thought I’d just go over all the reasons she is just the best. So here goes.

1. She pretends to be other animals. She has been a squirrel:


She has been a bat:


She can perch on a rock like a mountain goat without even putting on a costume:


2. She is patriotic.


3. She is extremely tolerant of our human shenanigans.


4. She is just the best cuddler. And she allows our total man-handling of her.



5. She knows when it is time to be serious.


6. But she totally knows how to chill out when the weather is nice too.



7. I’m pretty sure she understands me when I talk to her. For realz, guys.


8. She is able to manipulate people to do her bidding with pure cuteness. Just ask my dad.

Looook into my eyes.

This list doesn’t even cover it. She is just the best. She’s funny and sweet and gets excited for just about everything. She’s happy just to be around us. She is an unapologetic beggar. JW says that when I go running she watches out the window for me to come back the whole time I’m gone. And sometimes when JW has to pick me up from work, he brings her along. And I’m telling you, no matter how crappy and soul-sucking my day was, that wagging tail and happy face is enough to make me forget all about it.

So here’s to you, Bella. Even though you have the worst breath ever and you have been known to eat cupcakes, cookies, and trash that has been left unattended, our lives would be emptier and more smile-less without you in it. So you just keep doing what you do.

If you hadn’t figured it out (or if I haven’t specifically said), I live in Cincinnati now but I grew up and spent most of my life in Michigan. Most of my family and my two best friends (and lots of other friends too) are all still in Michigan. I get pretty homesick sometimes. It is much better now than it was. Luckily, depending on where I’m going, it’s only a 4-6 hour drive to go visit. Totally drivable.

But when I first moved here a little over two years ago, I had a rough time. I had a hard time making friends. I think it’s generally harder to make friends the older you get. Either that or my thirties have somehow made me even more socially awkward than I already was. Yikes.

I tried all sorts of things. I joined this group that pairs veterans of the city with new-to-town people like me. I went to a mixer for it and my mentor wasn’t there. And when she emailed me two weeks later saying she had been out of the country, I didn’t email her back. I also went to a local running store to check out their running group. I did that once and then decided to train alone. So I suppose I didn’t really help myself. I don’t know what my problem was. I think I was trying to find friends that compared with my two besties (lookin’ at you S and E) from back home. And that is completely unrealistic. I’ve known both of them since I was 19 and while I don’t think it is impossible to meet new people who can become dear friends, it will never be the same as the friends I made during my twenties. It would be foolish to try to recreate that. And I would never want to replace that anyway. I can’t even think about it. THAT would be impossible. I’ve managed to overcome (or at least mask) enough of my quirks to become, for the most part, socially acceptable and I’m happy to report that I have quite a few wonderful friends here now.

Last week when I talked about my goals and whatnot, I left one out. I’m a little shocked that I did because it’s sort of a big one. It encapsulates all of them. My biggest goal (forever – not just this year) is to take charge of my own happiness. I wasn’t really giving Cincinnati the chance it deserved when I first moved here. It really is a great town. And I finally came to the conclusion that I’m NOT going to be happy here (or anywhere for that matter) if I don’t just decide to be happy. So I have. I’m the one who made the decision to move here. I’d better make the most of it. I’ve decided to embrace this city and try to experience it for everything that I can.

Michigan will always be home in my heart. My soul feels at rest there (you can call me a hippie – I don’t care – I really do feel peaceful when I’m there). I love the lakes. I love the UP. I love the Tigers and the Lions and the Redwings. I love the cities of Lansing and Detroit. I love my family and friends. But Cincinnati is my home now too. And it would be truly foolish of me to sit around pining for a place that is not possible for me to live in right now. So I am making my own place and happiness in this world. Welcome home, Courtney.