Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I lost my voice...but I think it's back!

At GBP practice on August 12th, 2010

Yes, I lost my voice in 2010. And many of you know why. Sitting in my file, I have a half-baked blog re: my trip to Paris and Belgium in May. Then all of a sudden, triathlon/race season came up (with a blog sitting in my memory bank for Walleye Weekend and High Cliff and the Mighty Wolf)...and then our annual trip to Canada in July. And then, literally, the rug was ripped out from under me. And a violent tug to say the least. All those blogs I had wanted to write all came to a screeching halt and it was all I could do to email my friends and family updates regarding something that one never ever wishes to experience.

On July 22, 2010 - my mom, Marge Krug, was diagnosed with brain cancer. A type that takes hold in your spinal and brain fluid...an ever moving cancer. It was her breast cancer from 2002 that had come back and taken hold of her in a different part of her body. And it was a very fast moving, sinister cancer that takes no prisoners.

She lost her hearing, in both ears, within a week of being diagnosed so she spent the last weeks of her life in silence. So, you do what you need to do, we wrote in notebooks and paper and typed on laptops to communicate with her. We had people call - we would type - she would talk back to them. You do what you have to do and you find strength and resillience that you didn't know you had. We all do it. And we all will be called to do it at some point in our lives.

My mom died seven weeks after her diagnosis. In that time, that precious time, my family and I were able to say our good-byes and spend as much time with her as possible. We were there with her when she died...in her house...in the same room that my dad died in 24 years ago. It was peaceful. We don't fear death because we have come to know it so well. It is part of life...not the end of it...and my hope is that I can somehow help others when they are thrown into this Class IV rapids of life. We were given so many gifts in that 7 weeks. Amazing gifts!! And I'm not talking gifts that cost a thing. Someday, you will experience these gifts. They are thing things that helped us get thru!!

It has been almost five months since she passed. We still miss her so much. Christmas was ok. But there was a void...a BIG void. And the only reason we did so well and made it through is because ALL of our friends and family were 'thinking' of us or 'praying' for us. I know it made all the difference in the world. Without that energy, it would have been a very harsh time.

So now, so much to catch up on and I will probably go back and do a few blogs that need to be done. But not right now, right now, it's time to talk about what is right ahead of me and my sister.

We are heading to Dallas in less than two days. We are going to the Super Bowl. And we are going to celebrate a great Packer fan who is no longer here. If you don't think she'll be toasted many times down there, then you don't know Barb and I. Thank you, Mom!! We will be thinking of you often and throwing back a few cocktails in your honor. Maybe we'll even pull out the Brandy Manhattans (bleck!!).

So here's to the REAL America's team...the Green Bay Packers!! It's gonna be a great time!! Stand back and let it all happen!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Green Bay 1/2 Marathon - 5/16/10

No, I'm not going to hurl here!! This is Kevin's 'inflatable hand' that he carried around the whole course so I could find him...which amounted to a total of one time.

How am I going to do this? Blog about my trip to Paris/Belgium and write about running the Green Bay ½ marathon – so much, so close together. Let’s start with the run and then I’ll go backwards to Europe in a few days, ok?

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday – May 16th. I signed up to run the Green Bay ½ marathon on 12/31/09 – yup, first goal for the 2010 year. I did it last year so I thought this would be EZ! I knew what was involved – the training that was required – all I needed to do was do it. And I did the training and had no injuries (knock wood) as opposed to last year. Just slow and steady – adding miles – week by week. But I also noticed that I was adding a few pounds with the miles. Hmmmm, how was that happening? As many of you know, I don’t eat meat and have no desire to so I took a look at what I was eating and my, oh my, do I love my carbs! I just do! And I started liking wine a little too much too over the winter but you know what? Who cares? After a few years of not really enjoying what I was eating, I was now. So when you add on a few LBS, you also slow down a bit – I think the ratio is for every added lb. you slow down ½ a mile per hour? Does that sound right? Maybe I dreamt it? So the point of this is despite all my good training, I was comparing my times to last year and I was slower. Not a ton, but still. And then add to this the fact that I would be in Paris and Belgium a week prior to the race – eating and drinking my way thru. It did NOT look good to set a personal best or break a land/speed record (well, that was never in the books anyhow). But oh well, was I not going to go to Europe? Heck no!!

This year, as opposed to last, Kevin was able to come along to watch me. His annual BARRIZ Open Golf outing was pushed back a week so he could follow me along the course and cheer me on. Now, I’m not a big fan of people I know cheering me on – no idea why, but I’m not. Just don’t like the hoo haa – happier tackling the task at hand myself and then writing about it. Besides, have you watched people run any long distances? It ain’t pretty – and they ain’t pretty – no matter how you slice it! But we agreed that he’d come along but the rule was I only wanted to see him 4 times along the course – otherwise I figured I’d get more nervous. In hindsight, I think I was just being an idiot. Yup. I admit it.

So Sunday, 4:30 am. Up and at ‘em! Don my color coordinated outfit (you should all know by now that I spend a LOT of time trying to decide what to wear to these events – it’s all about how you look, baby…it is). Grab copious amounts of allergy medication – a little coffee – 1/3 of a banana – eat little bites of toast with peanut/almond butter and we are on the road. Sunglasses; timing chip; bib; GU packet; GU bottle to run with; ipod; Garmin doo daa – all checked off and ready to rumble!

Of course, Kevin is driving slow. So that puts me on red alert. ‘I need to be there by 6:15…no later.’ Rag, rag, rag. Oh, the race starts at 7 but you need to feel the vibe and just kinda take it all in and all that jazz. Plus, you need to allow for time…LOTS of time…to use the restrooms because the other 6,999 people are also trying to do the same.

We get to Lambeau after even stopping at a gas station for a restroom break around 6:20. It’s a madhouse trying to park – we do a sneak and end up parking right near our favorite tailgating spot (coincidence, I think not – good karma). Kevin has his coffee and is moving like a turtle and I decide I just need to leave him in the dust. I need to calm myself and get my game on. And seriously, it really hasn’t hit what I’m going to be undertaking shortly. Maybe because I knew what to expect – the weather was very similar to last year – the course was the same. But on the other hand, then you remember the icky stuff…mile 9 and 10 were dreadful last year; the headgames; maybe some wind; lots of sun – just wanting to be done. Anyhow, none of that had registered yet. Maybe because I didn’t give myself the window to dwell on it too much? Besides, what was I going to do now – not do it? Whatever was going to happen, was going to happen. So let’s just start running!!

I found my place at the start line and then remembered to turn on my new high tech Garmin bday gift from Kevin…which I used for the first time on Saturday morning. Yes, you read right. I’m not good with technology and this thing seemed to fit me well – just turn it on; hit start/stop and go. Sweet! So I click on the on button during the National Anthem. I look down 30 seconds later and I get ‘locating satellite.’ Hmmmm? What’s this? Another 30 seconds. Still ‘locating satellite.’ Another minute and they are counting down to 7 am…still ‘locating satellite.’ You’ve got to be kidding me – I’m a minute away from starting this and now this dumb*ss thing isn’t going to register. The gun goes off..still ‘locating satellite.’ Well, I decide, I’ve come this far without it so if it works; great; if not, I’ll just do my best and try to figure out my pace because deep down, I do want to do better than last year. I just do. That’s gotta be a runner thing that you always want but of course, I’m not going to toot my horn too loud because what if I don’t? I’m pulling those few extra L B S’s and I’ve been eating and drinking like a king in Europe so I can use those excuses if I don’t beat my time. That’s so lame!!

I give up on my GPS piece of dung and start to walk because there are 6,999 of my closest friends also doing the full or half marathon. Then I start to jog and then I hit the start mat. It’s so slow to begin – seriously, if you’re going to walk or lightly jog something like this, stay in the back – it’s just common courtesy. But no – you have lots of walkers right up at the front and you’re jockeying to get around them – you’re trying to get a rhythm. I’m trying to get this freakin Garmin to work – it’s mass hysteria! Ok, it really isn’t that bad.

So now, let me give you a rundown on the ensemble. Tomato red running tshirt (www.lucy.com); CUTE black running skirt/skort…with pleats in the back…seriously, it was just so flippin cute…it really was (www.lululemon.com); red hair band (ok, that SOB fell out within a half mile – grade F); bright yellow Newton running shoes…they are awesome (www.newtonrunning.com). There’s your visual until you see pics.

We get moving. I have tunes going. The hair band is now a coiled up wrist band (I think a nice accent to the wardrobe). But then, the stupid race bib keeps moving around to my butt. My goofy Fuel Belt wouldn’t keep it in the front of me – all throughout the race it would move around to the back. So I messed with that continually. Then the earbuds kept popping out and that was a pain in the rump. And then I looked down and saw that the Garmin was working. Allelujah! Mind you, it was almost a mile into the race so it really didn’t matter, but I thought I might as well hit start so I could follow pace. Truth be told, I looked at it one more time at mile 11.5 to see if there was a snowball’s chance in hell of breaking two hours…it felt like a day to just ‘Run, Forrest, Run!’

Now, Kevin and I never agreed to ‘where’ he’d be along the course. And for whatever reason, I spent a LOAD of time looking for him along the route. I have to say, this GB race is awesome! There are people everywhere and they are cheering. I mean EVERYWHERE! It’s a great course for the ½ marathon because you can meet up with your people almost every mile if you wanted to. Which is very cool! So I kept looking for Kevin and his GOLD blow-up, $2 #1 hand that he bought so I could find him. Hmmm, no hand at mile 1 or 2 or 3 or 4. But then again, it was just a sea of people and if you didn’t have an exact location to find each other, there’s no way you would…if only by chance.

So I just ran and smiled and listened to my music and ran and ran and ran. Then, I have no idea where, I saw Kevin…’hey Spanky!’ he yelled. I blew a kiss to the camera and just kept running. Shortly after that, I saw my friend Shelley and her mom at Mesa and Shady Lane – merci beau coup for coming out and giving me a high five!! Then I saw Kim and Becky at the KI water station. Woooo woooo! Then I knew it was coming into that icky residential section that is just very boring…and long. But for whatever reason, it wasn’t that bad this year – it just wasn’t. I figured if I made it thru that, the rest was going to be a-ok. Looked for the blow-up hand. No sign of it anywhere. Mile 8. No sign of it. Mile 9. No sign of it. Maybe he was inside Lambeau waiting to get some AWESOME pics of me??

Since Kevin could not find me, he decided to start taking pics of ANYONE in red and black - thinking that in one of those shots, he'd find me. Well, there were a million photos of people in black and red on my camera...and I'm not in any of them!! This...is not me!

Nope, this isn't me either.

Not me again.

This is pink for pete's sake. Nope, not me, not me, not me, not me.

I got to the corner of Morris and Ridge Road, which is like mile 10. This section of the course ended up being extremely emotional for me. The amount of PEOPLE here was staggering. So many, that they kinda form a gauntlet for you to run thru – people are just spilling out onto the street from both sides. And they are yelling and screaming for you!! And it’s loud. And you make eye contact and you can just FEEL how badly they want you to finish this. It is just oh so cool. Crazy energy!

Remember, I’m only doing the ½ marathon. There are a boatload of fools that are doing a full marathon…26.2 miles. That is just nuts! It is! No way…no how…ever…for me. So for them, they aren’t even halfway done yet! This is an amazing group. I’m in awe of them! I’m already savoring that 26.2 brew that is waiting at the finish line for me. They can’t even taste it yet.

Mile 11. Kinda quiet. Kinda alone here. Then you make a turn and you’re facing west towards the finish line. And here is where you see the Mecca…the most sacred place I know of…Lambeau Field. It’s here that you realize you are gonna finish this sucka! You are! Even if you have to crawl there (I think I’ve crawled away from Lambeau Field, but not to it…go figure?).

The pace picks up a little bit. You run past the Resch Center and the GBP practice field and then across Oneida to the parking lot. I added a little burst of speed here so I could SAVOR the time while in Lambeau. You go into the lower level parking/maintenance area and, as last year, they have the HEAT ON! WHAT THE?? Seriously, why do you need heat on in this lower level of Lambeau Field? Someone? Anyone? Please answer this. As a runner, you’re all sweaty and salty and delirious anyhow, but then add 30 seconds of being in a blast furnace and that will turn your tummy full of Gatorade and GU Chomps and GU liquid into an instant canon. It’s not good. But I figured those fools would have it turned up to 90 degrees, as last year, and they didn’t disappoint.

I focus on the player tunnel and be sure to ‘touch’ the championship plaque that sits at the end of the tunnel before you enter the field and tap the bricks from the old stadium. Ahhhh, cool air! Salvation! Music! It’s La, La, La, Lambeau. I high five the volunteers that are there to make sure you don’t even think of touching the field (or you will be tasered – kidding). I make my way around and then do my ‘jump around’ arm pump and ask the crowd to ‘give me some love’ as lots of hands come down to high five me at the spectator section. Then it’s back into the blast furnace – really, it was dreadful and I was feeling like I had just had a few shots of ‘bar rag juice’ at Bayside Tavern in Fish Creek. But I made it out of there unscathed and then it’s just .1 miles. I look up as I see the finish clock and it’s only 2:00:25 and I KNOW that I didn’t cross the start line anywhere near 7 am so I pick those legs up and we RAN that last 30 yards as fast as we could go. WOOO WOOOO!!! I stop my Garmin and don’t bother looking. It’s over now. I’m thinking I broke 2 hours. We’ll see.

I get my medal; two bottles of water and my legs just want to keep moving. Seriously, the worst thing you can do is STOP moving. So I walked to the family reunion area and looked for Kevin and his blow up hand. Nope. I walk around some more. Come back to the A-C area. Still no Kevin. I go and walk some more and chug water. Go get a bagel. Come back and still no Kevin. It’s 10 – 15 minutes since I crossed the finish line – where is he? Finally, he surfaces and tells me my time. 1:58:03!! HOLY SH*T – I not only beat my 2 hour goal but I beat last year’s time as well. SWEET! I start jumping around like a little kid on Xmas morning! Yeee haaaa!

I then ask Kevin where he was along the course. He said ‘I was around mile 10 and I think I was blowing up the hand and you went by because I was watching the 4 hour pace group and you were with them at mile 6.5 but NOT with them at mile 10…I realized either you picked it up…or you wiped out, so I just waited and waited for you.’ Needless to say, Kevin was no where near Lambeau when I came thru. He realized I was done when the text message went off on his phone that I had finished. Hahaha!! Oh well!

This is me! And Kevin. And the 'hand.' He said it was a big hit. I would not know. Though whenever a person in Viking garb went by, he turned it around. hahaha!

This is me, at the players parking pen...waiting for you know who. I thought for sure he'd be there to congratulate me on a personal best??

So we watched the first place finishes of the FULL marathon come thru 15 minutes after I finished the half (huh??) – went into Lambeau so Kevin could at least see some runners go thru the field then we headed back for the piece de resistance…BEER!!! Wooo hoooo!! I don’t care if I would have been on a stretcher, I was going to drink some beer. It would have been sacrilegious NOT to drink beer at Lambeau, if you ask me. And they always say to carb up after a run so I was doing what I read about. Soon Kim and Becky arrived and we found them. They told us of how much fun the water station was and how they are locked and loaded to do it again next year. Then we started to discuss GU - for those non-runners out there, GU is an energy aid that runners and endurance athletes will use during an event to give them a little pick me up. Becky had never tried GU so I was happy to open a pack of mine for her to try...

Becky was especially eager to try GU. This flavor is called 'Espresso Love.' Ok, in hindsight, Becky doesn't really look too eager, but in keeping with the theme of the day, EVERYONE had to have a little GU to keep them going. Good job Becky!!

Now Kim - Kim has had GU before and she LOVES it! We need to be sure we tell Kim's husband, Tim, how much she LOVES GU! The gentleman behind her does not look too pleased with her over-zealousness. Buzzkill.

The finish area was so congested – I mean really congested. But after a few beers, it became bearable.

This is the 3rd place women's finisher for the FULL marathon. She finished in some ungodly time like 2:45...the whole thing. And now she's lifting her daughter on her shoulders. They would have been lifting me onto a stretcher had I done the full...

Big Mouth was NOT there this year but a different band that was playing LOTS of AC/DC and Ozzy and music of that genre. After a few barley pops, I asked Kim and Becky to come over to the stage for a few photos….

Rock n Roll, baby!! Rock n Roll!!

In keeping with the moment, I decided to throw caution to the wind and flash my pleated skirt for the camera…and the throngs of people in front of the stage.

Of course it's always funny when someone sticks their butt out...the kid onstage seems to find some humor in it. Note...I did NOT spill a drop of beer! Amazing!

Though a good idea and worth plenty of laughs from Kevin and Becky and Kim and I, probably NOT the smartest thing to do in front of a crowd of strangers.

This is back with our group of merry-makers. Kim is always making out with men. Here she's with Ken.

...now she's onto Kevin.

Doesn't it look like this dog could eat this young girl in one bite? Screw the brat, kid - I'd be in fear for my life. Really, this dog was so gentle. I just love him - a big, old Marmaduke!

About a half hour later, I went to get another bagel (to soak up the liquid carbs that were now messing with my head) and two gentlemen approached me. ‘Ma’am, did we see your *ss about a half hour ago?’ I put my index finger to my chin and said ‘noooooooooooooo! Absolutely not.’ They then said ‘oh, we think we did and in fact, we have it on youtube already…see you’re wearing the same YELLOW shoes that the flasher was wearing – you need to get rid of those.’ SOB!! I was caught bare handed…or yellow shoe-d! So we laughed about that and I had to get my pic with these voyeurs as well. They were kind enough to say they liked what they saw and hoped they would see it again back here next year. I told them ‘no need to wait until next year, this *ss is here every Packer Sunday in the fall.’

One more flash - why not? Who says endurance athletes are serious. HA!

All in good fun - but what the heck is that guy drinking? It looks like a GU milkshake. Ok, now I do want to hurl.

Back to more beer and hooking up with more friends who had run...

These are the TRUE athletes - Stacy and John - both ran the FULL marathon and both finished well under four hours. Wow! Congrats!

These are part time athletes...Brian, to the left of me, was in Boston all week for work and was EXTREMELY hung over 24 hours prior to the race; then there's me (Kevin made me take my number off at this time so people couldn't look me up to see who the flasher was...good call, Kevin) and then there is Ken, he's done the full so I guess he is definitely a TRUE athlete. This year, we all did the half marathon so we were able to party like rockstars after. Wooo wooo!!

Sooon, it became clear that we all needed to get home as it it was not even noon yet and everyone had a buzz on. But I guess we had been going strong since 6 am (in some way, shape or form) and that’s 6 hours of craziness so indeed, we all bid adieu and made our way back to yard work and chores and post race activities.

If you ever get the urge to do a half marathon, then do GB! It is such a fun race! You will love it! You will! Trust me – have I ever steered you wrong? And if you do it, I will be there to cheer you on! You have my word!

So until next year, I’m hanging up the ‘yellow shoes’ for a few weeks and switching over to bike shoes. That Race the Lake is looming and is only 13.5 weeks away. Holy waaaaaaaaaaaa! Time to get peddling!

Next up, a recap of Paris in mid-January…err, I mean May!!

Yup, me again. Waiting by the parking pen. How long until GBP season???

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I will not puke in front of the Lion's Den, nor will I end up naked on our back deck...

Tonight, at 6 pm, the UW Badger Hockey Team will play in the NCAA championship game...against Boston College...just like they did four years ago. That game, four years ago, went down in infamy for me. It was NOT one of my shining moments. But the story is one that is just too damn funny to not bring back from the vault so here we go...

Four years ago, I was on a smoothie diet. Loved those smoothies! So I had a smoothie for breakfast - went to the Y to swim and then forgot to eat lunch (first red flag). It was a cold but sunny April day - too cold to do too much outside. So Kevin and I decided to do some shopping and then watch The Master's at a local establishment - someplace new that we had never been - we went to Brooklyn's. The goal was to watch a little golf and then get home for the hockey game. Well, plans went a little south. After a tasty Blue Moon, I decided to honor the Badger hockey team by switching to 'something red'...like a cosmo (second red flag - no pun intended). Well, The Master's came and went and before you knew it, the hockey game was on...time for a second 'red drink' and at this point, I just told the bartender to 'make me something red' (third red flag). I think about halfway thru this second red drink, Kevin decided I needed to get home (I was loud - talking in tongues - let's face it, just loaded!). And the minute I got outside, that fresh air/oxygen set me on my *ss. I couldn't see (how does that happen?); I had problems walking to the truck (??) and I then realized I needed to get home. He poured me into the truck and I begged for him to drive fast. I laid back in the seat - closed my eyes and could visualize every turn and stop sign until I got home. Unfortunately, my liquor combo and lack of ANY solid food all day decided to play 'games' with me and my head...and my stomach. There was no way to get safely home - Kevin had to pull off in front of the Lion's Den so I could retch my guts out. There I stood - hanging onto the seatbelt strap so I didn't fall into the ditch - hurling. NICE!! And people, it's like 6 pm - broad daylight!! Pretty to boot! But it gets better...much better...

I fell back into the truck and then began to disrobe because my aim was a little bit off. I decided that a load of laundry HAD to be done the millisecond I got home...I mean IMMEDIATELY. So there I sat in the truck - pants and shirt and UW jacket in hand...riding around in my bra and panties. I know right now you're thinking 'geez, that Kevin is a lucky guy.' I'm glad he didn't dump my rump out on Hwy. 26 somewhere.

So, we get home, Kevin has to HELP ME get into the house. As determined, I fire up the wash machine and start chores - still not being able to see or talk intelligently or with purpose. Go figure? He literally has to steer me and guide me up the stairs - I am like a pinball - bouncing off walls and furniture. I am pretty sure SOMEONE slipped something into my drink!! I mean , come on - that is not much alcohol and I don't think I've ever been that sh*tfaced. But it gets better...

My wonderful husband grabs a bucket and points me in the direction of the bedroom, and I decide to take a little nap...ok, I passed out. And again people, it's like 6:15 now - BROAD DAYLIGHT YET!

I wake up. The house is quiet. I decide to play that age old game that I know ALL of you have done at some point and time, drink and dial. I call Barb and Marc, my sister and brother in law and leave a message that was a combo of swahili and pig latin (they would later call back and talk to Kevin and ask where I was and if I was alright because it was the most bizarre...and hysterical message they had ever received from me...and they would save this for over a year just because it was so damn funny to listen to - see below for the manuscript). I worship at the plastic bucket and then decide to dump it over the back deck of our house rather than into the bathroom. Still, to this day, I have no clue where that came from. Why? Why? Why? So I walk onto our back deck...in panties (yes, you read right...just panties)...and heave the heave over the deck. I still can't see but realize it is DAYLIGHT yet...and then I hear voices. Kids voices. Neighbor kids voices. SOB!! ALL the neighbors are out in their backyard and I am basically standing buck naked on our deck dumping a pail of urp over the railing. AAAARRRGGG!! I streak (again, no pun intended) back into the house and crawl back into bed and then scream for Kevin to 'look outside - who is out there - I was on the back deck naked.' Kevin is aghast. "I left you for five minutes, what the hell did you all do?" Before I can answer, I pass out again - that's when Barb and Marc call to fill him in on my antics. Seriously, what did someone put in my drink?

I wake up at 10 pm. The Badgers won and are the NCAA champs! I am happy - though feel like someone beat me with a baseball bat. I fall back to sleep...ok, I pass out...again. When I wake on Sunday, little bits and pieces begin to come back to me. I still feel like crap; I am embarassed and I KNOW that someone put something in my drink. I vow to NEVER return to Brooklyn's again.

And I didn't. Until two years later. With Kevin and my friends Susan and Tammy, I decide to exorcise the demons and give this local establishment another try. We all order martinis. It is then that Kevin realizes what was in my drink that night in 2006...21 oz of alcohol. Yes, not a baby martini - these are SUPERSIZED martinis - so throw that into an empty tummy and see what you get. And all this time I thought someone had plotted my demise that night. And with that, I would also like to share a little food for thought from my wonderful friend Susan (you will want to remember this and use it..you will) -
Martinis are like b**bs; one's not enough and three's too many - Susan J.

So, because sometimes you just gotta take one for the team, Kevin and I are heading back to Brooklyn's tonight. To do it all over again! YES! And I'll do whatever I need to, to ensure another Badger victory. Stay tuned for highlights (or lowlights, but hopefully no headlights). GO BUCKY!!!!!

Here's that infamous message that was left on Barb and Marc's answering machine. They gave this to me (along with other items like a bib; barf bags; baby wipes; bucket, etc. at Xmas in a 'UW BADGER HOCKEY OVERINDULGENCE EMERGENCY CLEAN UP KIT - I know, very funny).

Call Kevin and make sure I'm frickin alive. I think they spiked my drink...at Brooklyn's. I am just a mess. He just drove me home and I puked at the Lion's Den -hello? F*CK! I feel like sh*t. I hope the Badgers win. Bye."

Like I said, NOT one of my shining moments.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

dropping the puck and raising the Lombardi

Ben and me - a self portrait before I turned him lose with the camera

I've been very good since GBP season has ended. Ok, kinda good. Well, maybe not the best but starting today (Tuesday after Super Bowl), I'm going to put my best foot forward in 2010 (well at least until September - you can't have it all, right?).

This past Saturday was the outdoor hockey game at Camp Randall in Madison against the Michigan Wolverines. It was on the agenda for a few months now but we hadn't secured tickets until Friday - seriously, who in their right minds wants to sit outside on a February night on metal bleachers and watch hockey? I'll tell you...who 55,000 crazy *ss fans, that's who!! And, just a reminder, no alcohol is served in Camp Randall so yes, these are crazy fans...or fans who get pickled to an acceptable level prior to the puck drop. To give kudos, UW did the right thing and scheduled the women's hockey game at 2 pm; men's hockey at 5 pm. Very PC! Unfortunately, when we flipped a coin to decide if we should go watch hockey at 2 pm or tailgate, you kinda know what won out, don't you? Party on, Garth!

Kevin and I attended this with Barb and Marc - Marge held down the fort in Madison with Ben and Madeline and Sadie and Sophie. Good trade off - we got to to go and drink and freeze and the 'cousins' got to spend quality time with G-Ma. Everybody wins.

This is a picture of Grandma Marge...by Ben.

....another picture of Grandma Marge...

....another picture of Grandma Marge. Ok, cut the kid some slack - he's 2 1/2 years old and his aim isn't spot on (but he's a guy so I'm pretty sure he'll never grow out of that).

While Ben was practicing his photography skills, Madeline took Sadie for a walk around the hood.

Now Barb was the one who suggested we depart for the campus at 2 pm. Being the lemmings we are, the rest of us followed her lead. We had rock star parking, thanks to friends of Barb and Marc, so we were basically cracking open a cold one by 2:20...with puck drop not for another 2 1/2 hours. Definitely on the same timeline as every GBP game this year. In hindsight, probably not good. Again. (How many times have I said that in this blog since I started it in September? Seriously?)

Kevin in his 80s sweater; MixMaster Marc with his 'hammer pants' and Barb enjoying the pre-game festivities. Yes, those are tree stumps in the background. What the?

Here's the thing when you start drinking outside in 20 degree temps...you know you're not gonna last long without a porty potty close by. Unfortunately, the lot we were in did NOT have such a luxury. So, after an hour or so, we decided it was time to beat cheeks and find a bar.

I now know why Marc wasn't b-otching about having to use the rest room - he finally wore that ASTRONAUT diaper that he's been talking about for how many tailgates now. That is some diaper. Impressive.

Unfortunately, the other 54,996 people there for hockey had the same idea. AAARRRGGG!! Long lines - no outdoor beer gardens (Madison city rules - booooo) - and Kevin with his little lady bladder. Thank goodness for the teeny, tiniest Thai restaurant on Regent Street - Vientiane Palace. Lao/Thai food and cold beer...and a warm bathroom. Yeehaaaa!! Did it matter that every beer was $5 per bottle - hell no! Did it matter that you got to hear every guy's bathroom story and the woes with his marriage - again, no! All that mattered is that we were warm; there was a one-holer; we had a place to stand and, we had beer. That is, until the beer ran out. NO??? YES!! They had to make an emergency run to Woodman's (not once, but I think twice) for whatever beer they could get their hands on - in fact, I really have no idea what I was drinking. I know it was Thai or Indian - maybe Elephant? I know I had at least one Singha. Again, does it matter?

As much as they wanted to cook and serve food, their business was all BAR today. And then when the beer ran out, people switched to wine. There was NO way I was going down that path. That truly is the path to destruction and I think you all would agree with that.

Now, when we entered the restaurant, we made a bee line for the rest room. And then we kinda hunkered down there.

No, that's not steam from the 'workout' that restroom was getting, it's my camera lens fogging up from being in the frigid temps. Really, it is.

Well, more people came in and were kinda milling around and then Barb looked at these two Michigan fans and said 'hey, $5 to use the bathroom.' Nope, they weren't buying. About 10 minutes later, the one kid said 'man, what I wouldn't do for a urinal right now.' Ok, right there, we realized that there was some confusion in the restaurant - all these guys that had come in and were 'milling' around thought we were in line for the restroom. HAHAHA!! In hindsight, we should have let it go, but we didn't. Barb then asked Mr. Michigan again 'do you have to go?' "YES!! Isn't this the line?" Ahhh, that would be a negative.

This is what two Wolverine fans look like when they need to go..really, really bad! Menacing!

So then it was a stampede for the rest room and it was funny! I started kinda monitoring the 'urgency' and tried to jockey dudes in position. How nice was that? And we even let the two Wolverine boys in and didn't make them pay. Mighty white, I know.

This is what two Wolverine fans look like 'after the rapture.' See the difference? Not so frightening now, huh?

Well, after this craziness is when the beer ran out so we were in hold mode. Barb and I decided to go pick on the Michigan boys because, well, that is what we do. Badger (get it) the opposition. They were wonderful kids and took the ribbing (is Ann Arbor really a wh*re?) all in stride.

Scott, Barb, me and Eric. One big happy, Big 10 family!!

We talked hockey (daaaa) and football (double daaaa) and just stupid. Good fun. Eric, my new attorney when I need one and Scott, who can assist with merchandising when this blog takes off, both ventured to Madison just for the game - from Michigan and Minnesota. We also ran into some dude who flew in from Phoenix for this game - he told us this as he was waiting in line for the loo. It's really amazing the things you learn about people while in line for the john?

This is after the beer supply had been replenished. Marc looks like a ravenous vulture, doesn't he?

Anyhow, beer arrived - one more and then it was time to hit the stadium. Man, that restaurant was nice - and warm - and it had beer. Camp Randall was cold and damp and dark and it had no beer. But it had hockey and that's why we were there! Awesome crowd. Lots of energy! So fun to be at Camp Randall again - last time I was here it was Halloween and we all know how that weekend went down (see ‘the importance of underwear at a GBP game’ blog from November 2nd).

Ok, see the 88 Richter sign on the upper deck? Go directly up to the second row from the top - yes, WAAAAAAYYY up there. That's where Barb and I sat with Lance and TJ on Halloween. And you wonder why we bailed at halftime... How the heck did we even get up there is a better question?

This is in between periods - what the hell is he cheering for? The Zamboni?

Badgers scored - then Michigan scored and then it kind of stood still. Too still.

This shot alarms me. Is that Kevin or Nanook of the North cuddling up to Marc? Yes Kevin, we know you were the warmest at this event with your 650 fill down coat - keep it up!

Seriously, has Kevin grown his beard around the hood of his jacket? Take a closer look at this? Someone call Guinness!!

After the second period, our husbands were no where to be found. When they did surface, they had had it and wanted to leave. Huhhhh? It's like we just got there. Barb and I were pretty content. But since Marc was driving and neither Barb or I had money or phones (I know - what were we thinking), we were forced to leave. Booo! Otherwise, had there been money and phones, we're pretty sure we would have been bugging Eric and Scott, our new Michigan friends, to continue the party while we sent the husbands home. Yeaaaa!!

Ok, I am still laughing about this. Of course it is staged but that's because we watched some drunken threesome 'charter' their way thru the unshoveled bleachers on the other side of the stadium prior to this. It took one of the guys 5 minutes to get up after piling it. And then another near digger. And another. And another. Danger kitty!! Barb and I were laughing like hyenas about this for an eternity. And it's still funny today!!!

By then, I was cold. It was like the buzz wore off and it was time to find heat.
Proof that we were indeed at the hockey game.

We then ended up at a restaurant with food and martinis and heat and hockey and all was well. And in the end, the Badgers prevailed and sealed the game with seconds left. What a fun thing to be part of!! I hope they decide to do it again at Lambeau like they did how many years ago - it's a good time!

So Sunday morning we hung out with the kids. Madeline and I taught Ben some new 'words' to add to his vocabulary.

#1 - treadmills and kids do NOT go together; #2 - this has trouble written all over it; #3 - note what is going on here - immediately after I took this, Ben piled it and slowly slid off the treadmill like a frozen pizza on a conveyor belt - it was a RIOT! I'm still laughing about that visual. Yes, I am a mean Aunt, but it was funny - those kids would have been laughing at me had I done it. Relax - no blood, no foul - he was fine. Just a little road rash on his cheek that will clear up in a few weeks. haha!

These two kids are going to be giants - they are. Madeline is all arms and legs and Ben is just a strong little sh(t. They are so fun to be around! Always lots of laughter with them.

Back to Pickett and then onto Appleton to watch the Super Bowl with Brenda and folks. Don't ask me why, but this game just didn't have the draw or the excitement as every other game this year has had (probably because #12 and #4 were no where to be found to stir up the pot of shenanigans). Kinda anticlimactic, perhaps? Wiseguys was not overly populated but Mike treated everyone GREAT with lots of free food. I went to the bar with the goal of not drinking, but could not resist a bloody mary and a few Bud Lite Limes (I'm telling you, I love those beer - they are just plain good!!).

Patti hates my camera and told me more than a few times were to place it. Huh?

Here, Lance is dissing my boy, Aaron Rodgers - again! It's like a poke to the eye with a stick- it just gets under my skin. I decide to choke the snot out of him.

Brenda tries to call her bookie and change her bet.

Amy and Nate - Amy and I were comparing notes as to the last time we were together at Wiseguys and both agreed that XX amount of shots was just plain wrong!!

Let’s face it, it was a defensive game and those are boring – thank goodness for the commercials. But could the game have ended any better? Good for the Saints! And amazingly enough, most everyone won some sort of $$ on pools that they were on. It was a golden day! NFC win – extra money in the pocket – free food – with lots of the same faces from the rest of the football season – it just seemed fitting to be there to say adieu to the 09/10 season. But let’s face it, does football ever really END in WI?

So now it is time to put away the military fatigues and all the Packer/Badger gear – time to think serious training and put away the can cooler and put down the fork. Easier said than done – but I’m going to try.

But wait, the Olympics start on Friday in the homeland to the north - that's a party in and of itself! So crack open a Molson, settle in and enjoy the gorgeous sights of Vancouver/Whistler/Blackcomb, BC - I'll bet $$ you will want to go there after you see what that area has to offer. Ohhhhhh, Ca - na - daaaaaaaaaa!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ohhhhhhhhhhh noooooooooooo.......

...Mr. Bretttttttt!! What happened to your legs? And your arms? And your head??

Think of these two as members of the Saints linebacker unit. Enuf said.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The return of the Jolly Rodgers in 2010...

Good bye Packer football - hello training season! It's time to get into shape and get motivated and prepped for the upcoming running/biking/swimming season! And it's time for the Jolly Rodgers to rise from the ashes. So, to kick the season off, a 'strategic planning' session/party was decreed.

I was anxious about the Jolly Rodgers party. This is a group of people who have met maybe once or twice before…not at all in some cases. And their significant others. And a smattering of ages. And, these are all serious athletes – bikers; runners; swimmers; triathletes (sprints to IM). Fine tuned – in shape - extreme athletes, in some cases. Or so I thought. Now, after the event, I can say that the majority are drunkards as well! What was there to be anxious about - these are my type of people! I’m afraid Packer tailgate parties have just morphed into Jolly Rodgers ‘strategic’ planning sessions – where nothing gets done and people drink and eat to excess. How did this happen?? Really, I was done with partying and sub par behavior after last week and ta daaaaaaa, here it was again…it’s following me!! Help! Run! Get it off of me!

Rick, Becky, Katie, Mitch, Angie and Kevin. I met Rick at triathlon class two years ago (very serious when he competes and always kicks butt) - Becky is his fiancee and she is an absolute joy (and our team massage therapist now); Katie rode Race the Lake last year and won second place in her age group - wooo wooo; I met Mitch at triathlon class last year and he also rode Race the Lake and is a giant - he's 6'7"...I wonder why my neck always hurts when I'm around him for any length of time; Angie is Mitch's wife - they have the cutest three children who love to go and cheer their daddy on; Kevin - you know him.

Stacy and Sara - I met these two lovely ladies at triathlon class two years ago and they have been in my life ever since. I cannot hold a candle to Stacy, the mayor of Oshkosh. And Sara, kicked our butts in the pool last year while very pregnant - it was that super human baby propulsion edge she had.

My thought process was that we’d chitty chat and kinda go over the business at hand (training; events we were participating in throughout the year; jersey discussion; yoga classes; coaching with Renne, etc.) and then proceed to the party. Unfortunately, the meeting part never seemed to come to fruition. I’d yell over the din and get a few responses. And then I’d ask another question – same thing. Then I mentioned the new waivers that you have to sign before doing any of the triathlons and no one but Rick and Katie took interest. I gave up! The scoundrels were onto drinking and eating and merriment. So much for my ‘strategic planning’ session of the night. But, we are pirates and have our own agendas so I guess nothing surprised me.

Angie and Mitch - absolutely wonderful people. Mitch is the one who asked immediately upon arriving on Saturday night if we were doing Sambuca shots. Well, well, well! Maybe Sambuca is going to be the year-round shot of choice? I think Angie is the real team leader here...as it should be!

Ryan and Suzi - who I met at triathlon class last year and their new baby, Julianna. Ryan did Race the Lake with us last year and partied with us after on Bechaud Beach (post Race the Lake headquarters). More great people!!

Dave and Michelle. I met Michelle two years ago at tri class. She is another one the 'girls' that have become a big part of my life. Sara, Stacy, Michelle and I - like to train; love to have a cocktail. Dave and Michelle have also surfaced at Packer games.

But that was ok because this was just a good, old fashioned party! And everyone knows that I love a party – especially when I get to cook and put it on. So I went all out. There was enough food to feed a small country – or a group of hungry athletes.

Becky, Rick, Stacy, Maurice (who rode with the Jolly Rodgers last year), David (Stacy's better half) and Greg (Maurice's better half who we are going to pester relentlessly until he does Race the Lake with us). I'm just going to say that this end of the kitchen island was definitely partying like rockstars. Maurice was worried about falling over the railing to the living room below. No accidents of any type to report. Whew!

And plenty o’ alcohol. I kinda knew something wasn’t right when I was at Festival Foods on Friday morning and I had not one; not two; not three, but four workers ‘comment’ on my cart contents. “Hmmm, you must be having a party?” “Can I come to your party?” “There aren’t going to be kids at this party?” Now what kind of comment was that last one? Stop looking at my stuff, would you?

The newest member of the Jolly Rodgers - Julianna and me, Captain Jack. Perhaps she'll be riding her big wheel in the kids race the day before Race the Lake this year??

Here's part of the entire crew! Aarrrrrrhhhh!!!

So lots of food; lots of beer; lots of wine; rum punch and a special shot.

Maurice was applying the Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel dip as 'cologne' behind his ears. More red wine, Mo?

Think of the last time you had rum punch – you were probably in the islands somewhere and normally, the rum they put in it is swill so you wake up with the WORST stinkin hangover in the world and you vow ‘I will never drink rum punch again.’ How could I not serve rum punch – especially with the loose pirate theme we were playing off. But I used better rum than swill. That would have been just rude.

Renne is our triathlon coach and an amazing athlete. The word 'driven' describes her to a T. Here, she explains to Michelle how rum punch did NOT make her run faster or stronger at High Cliff 1/2 Ironman last year. Michelle is doing Ironman Wisconsin (September 12th and we'll all be there) so she makes a note NOT to use rum punch as her hydration choice for that day. I think rum punch is a good idea for the rest of us though, on September 12th, don't you? I wish we had a team secretary to make notes.

Being the hostess, I also had to dress up. And in hindsight, I should have made it a costume party because most people said ‘why didn’t you tell us to dress up?’once I met them at the door. That’s the spirit I like. So the big old boots came out, white shirt, red sash; bandana; plastic knives (sad as it is, we had all the necessary costume accessories right here – that is sad, huh – but no surprise again). So I was all decked out and loving every minute of it. I like dressing like a pirate. Maybe I’ll start doing it when I begin my sales calls this spring…just to mix it up? Maybe? Maybe not?

Would you buy gourmet food from this woman? Stacy says hell yes!!

Everyone arrived almost together – as if on cue. I was impressed. And everyone brought MORE alcohol. Despite my pleas to bring nothing. So now we have wine and booze for another party down the road – but that one will have an agenda added to it. In fact, no booze will be served until the meeting is adjourned. Someone’s gottta be captain right? Katherine Buzzkill…clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.

Lots of laughs and good stories. Many replays of Race the Lake last year. Discussions on being bigger and better and BADDER this year. And then the ‘magic shot’ that I came up with. There is a new aged rum out there called “Pyrat.” Yup, you pronounce it PIRATE. How could I not get this? Seriously.

Katie and Stacy drool over the Pyrat rum. I told Katie we'd find her a 'pirate mate' for the season so I'm on the lookout for her. She'd like someone who looks like Johnny Depp - as opposed to John Wayne. So noted.

Well, it’s rum. It’s not spiced or coconut-y or anything like that. Just plain old rum. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. That kind of rum. It said to serve it with a twist of lemon. Well, I had lime – close enough.

Angie, Becky, Katie and Mitch - salut!!!

Sara tries to pawn off her 5th shot of Pyrat rum on Maurice. Michelle and Stacy and Greg and Jodi (another Race the Laker from last year) exert peer pressure. Maurice stands his ground and says NO WAY!!

So we distributed the ‘booty’ amongst the pirates and toasted to the Jolly Rodgers in 2010. Here is what people thought of my rum shot…

Sara likes it!! A lot! That's why she did five of these bad boys!

Stacy says 'it tastes like *ss.'

Maurice recalls his days of growing up in Trinidad & Tobago and remembers why he hates rum!

Well, after that shot, did it get LOUD. Really loud. I’m kinda glad it was winter and the windows were shut tight because you can hear people sneeze in our house if you’re standing on the road in front of it. There are no secrets here on Sam Crest Lane – especially at N9470. But loud always means a good time is being had by all.

David is Stacy's husband. He's been known to frequent Jim's County Line to play the now renowned 'fan game.' He likes the prizes as much as I do. Or so I'm told. This is after Stacy was doing handstands on my Bosu ball in my office. Nimble little minx, isn't she?

I was on my best behavior because I was the hostess and captain and all that jazz and I had to be sure everyone had whatever it was they needed.

Renne, our fearless leader, and her pupils. I think she's got her work cut out for her this year. Where did we take a wrong turn?

More rum punch? More food? Water? Another shot? Just tell me what you want, and I’ll do my darndest to get it for you.

Sara, Stacy and Michelle - the bag ladies. Leaving the party with their swag!

The discussion went from biking to running to football to family to Lady GaGa (this was later in the evening – imagine that?) to some folks talking in tongues or some Caribbean dialect as the night progressed. We discussed our places of employment and the oddities that occur there; discussed food; talked about how good my two girls were (Sadie and Sophie - they really are great party-going dogs) - no topic was off limits (except biking - hmmm?)

Boots on the floor! Boots on the floor! Kinda like 'pants on the ground?' Greg had a word with Stacy after this re: etiquette at a pirate party.

What was the best is that everyone kept a designated driver – bravo, bravo. Besides, they were in the middle of nowhere and were freaked out because we have no street lights here in Pickett and it was dark on Saturday night. The only thing that might accost you out here is a feral cat or some dude who looks like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. No wait, that’s Kevin with his beard – you’re all fine. No need to worry.

There are no words....

The last pirates vacated the premises around 11:30. Kevin, my party assistant, had been over-served and had to be at work at 8 am for a project deadline. HAHAHA! I learned the next day that a few other lowly deck hands were also feeling less than spectacular and spent the day on their sofas – getting bed sores. Success! My gauge is always if someone feels crappy, that is the sign of a good party.

So we’ll do it again and this time with a purpose. These are all fun and wonderful people and this group of pirates is going to be one kick *ss team come August 22nd. And we are ALWAYS looking for new recruits so please, spread the word!! But you gotta be fun!! That's our only requirement! Until then, everyone will be off with other activities this winter. Our first tentative event looks like the Paper Discovery Duathlon on May 2nd. Ahoy, the Jolly Rodgers will ride again!!!