Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Five Minutes

When I was a sophomore in college I used to suffer from a self-induced fatigue. Basically what would happen was during the participation of a physical activity or a game, my mind would completely debilitate my body. For example, I would become either paralyzed with fear that I was going to make a mistake, or brutally punish myself for doing something wrong on the field. As this inner dialogue began, my heart would begin to race, my legs would feel like lead and my body would virtually shut down. I know it sounds crazy, but literally my mind was able to cause so much stress and anxiety that my body didn't know how to react. Many times I walked off the field feeling completely defeated and exhausted, not from any physical exertion, but from my own emotional battle.

At the beginning of the season I talked to my coaches about my unusual problem and they referred me to a sports psychologist. During our sessions he taught me how to calm my mind down and envision myself performing at a stress free level. For awhile this exercise began to help, and my coaches decided to set aside five minutes, everyday at practice and before games, for my team to participate also in these visualizations. Unfortunately, as the season continued my negative thoughts crept back in and the fatigue returned. Therefore, I tried another strategy.

During the allotted five minutes my coaches gave my team, I would pray with my entire heart and soul that my mind would not rob me of another successful practice or game. I can honestly say that I have never prayed with more of a desire to be heard.

The answer to my prayers came in a very unusual way. During my sophomore year our team had a very bad habit of being down at half time. Consequently, I would always go into the second half a little angry and fired up from another expletive filled "pep talk" from my coach. This anger would then spark the opposing team's anger, and inevitably soon after the second half started, I would either be thrown to the ground, pushed or checked in the head. In turn, this would cause me to channel all my anger towards winning the game, or in other words, completely distract me from my overwhelming mind. Game after game the same thing would happen. I would start the game overcome by my fatigue, we would begin losing, I would become angry, I would be fouled and then we would start winning. Ironically enough, I always look at my sophomore year as being my favorite year in college. We won some amazing games and we're able to go to the Final Four.

At the end of the season my coaches asked me what I had visualized each day that had led me to overcome my fatigue. To their surprise, I told them I hadn't visualized at all, but had used that time to pray. As you can imagine, they had a difficult time understanding the simplicity and power behind my spiritual strategy. However, I knew that my humble and sincere prayers had been heard and answered. Therefore, I'll never forget this experience because it taught me the power of a simple prayer.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Darn You Magical Book

It would simply be wrong to not include this next story when speaking of "life-changing moments." I warn you that this story will cause absolute shock and wonderment. Please read at your own risk.

At ten years old, I was slightly "mature" for my age. For example, I was about a foot taller than anyone in my class and definitely out weighed even the fattest kid on the playground. My Mom, always being an astute observer, realized I was on the brink of womanhood and decided one innocent day to inform me of what was about to happen. I'll never forget my Mom turning off my afternoon cartoons and pulling a mysterious book from underneath the couch. I had never seen this book before and I've never seen it since. For all I know it was the greatest magic trick of all time. Anyway, this magical book explained in a very elementary way the tragic experience of a girl's period. I can still hear my Mom's calm voice as she explained what was about to happen to my body. All I heard was "bleeding," and the fact that my life was shortly going to be over. After thirty minutes of the most awkward conversation, my Mom gave me a hug, which sort of felt like a final goodbye, and disappeared with the magical book.

It wasn't two weeks later that, while staying in a hotel in D.C., the magical book's prophecies came to fruition. I'll never forget my Mom taking me into the bathroom and welcoming me, "To becoming a woman." I didn't understand, and really still don't, as to why she was so happy. All I felt was a little man stabbing me in the back and the urge to cry and lash out for no apparent reason. These were the wonderful fruits of becoming a woman? No, thanks.

That next day I went to school absolutely terrified that something embarrassing was going to happen. You know, I pass out because of the loss of blood, someone finds my new accessories in my book bag, that little man returns and stabs me during math class and I cry out in agony...the possibilities were endless. I just wish the magical book had discussed what to do the "next day." So much information - and yet, so incomplete.

The only close call I had to something embarrassing happened right before lunch. As usual, I went to the bathroom with some of my friends and then realized I had to do some "womanly business." I'll never forget one of my friends asking me, while I was nervously sitting in my stall, if I was unwrapping candy and if she could have some. Candy. Sure, that's what I was doing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Mom

When I was about four or five I remember sitting in the den by myself playing a game of Memory. My siblings were running all over the house with other kids from the neighborhood, the TV was on full blast, my Mom was making dinner and my Dad was about to come home. In the middle of all this chaos, I remember I made two successful matches in a row in my solitary game of Memory. I was so proud of myself that I ran into the kitchen to tell my Mom. I remember she was in the middle of peeling potatoes at the sink, but immediately stopped as I began to recount my genius matches. She then waited for me to finish and then, in a very non-patronizing way, told me how smart she thought I was.

I'll never forget that simple exchange because it set the standard for the kind of mother I want to be. My Mom could have told me she was in the middle of making dinner, or just nodded absently as I retold my insignificant game of Memory. But she didn't. Instead, my Mom chose to express a simple phrase to show an unforgettable moment of love. And that's how she has always been. She's always mothered in a simple way. She always took the time to stop and build us up, teach us and love us along the way. I hope one day I too can be that kind of mother.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Ensign Moment

About six months into my mission I was transferred to a city called Darkhan. My companion, or the individual I had to live and work with, was a native Mongolian. Her name was Bat-Uyanga and she one of the meanest Mongolians I had ever met. When I first came to the country she was companions with a friend of mine. After being together two weeks, Bat-Uyanga stood up at a conference and announced she hated her companion and thought she was an idiot. (By the way that girl ended up going home early and Bat-Uyanga got sent to Darkhan.) Anyway, needless to say, I wasn't very excited about the transfer and the prospect of being ridiculed and bullied.

However, when we met at the train station I immediately recognized how much she had changed. She gave me a real hug and welcomed me to Darkhan. At first, I thought it was a joke, but as we continued talking, I realized she was completely different.

One night, about two weeks after arriving in Darkhan, I became violently ill. I don't remember if it was the cow heart or the horse intestine that did it to me, but I could not stop throwing up. At about two in the morning I remember throwing up one more time, and then passing out next to the toilet. When I woke up a few hours later I saw Bat-Uyanga asleep next to me on the floor. I quietly woke her and asked what she was doing. She replied that she was worried about me and didn’t want me to be alone. I had never experienced such charity in my life.

The next morning I asked her what happened when she left the capital and came to Darkhan. She told me she was raised in a communist home where Americans were the enemies. When she was 22 she was converted to Mormonism and decided to serve a mission. Up to that point, her experience with Mormonism had been completely Mongolian. She was taught by Mongolian women and her branch, where she went to church, was all Mongolians. Then she got called to serve a mission in Mongolia and, as crazy as it may sound, she felt like she had been thrown into a foreign country. All the missionaries and the mission president spoke English, and outside of six foreign missionaries, everyone was American. She didn’t know what to do. Since she could remember she had been taught to hate Americans and now she was being asked to live and work with them.

When she got sent to Darkhan, four months into her mission, she decided to make a change. She said every time she wanted to lash out at an American she would read the scriptures and pray. She told me how this exercise began to fill her heart with love and not anger. Eventually, she began to see us Americans as normal people, and fell in love with missionary work.

I will never forget how much she had changed at the train station, how she was asleep next to me on the floor or when she told me about how her heart became softened. When I become angry or impatient with people I think about her. I think about the daily choice she had to make to suppress her hatred for everyone around her and finally find genuine love. I was only with her a short two months, but during that time she taught me things I will never forget.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sh*t...We Had A Good Run

The following contains minor bad language...

When I was in first grade I became obsessed with the swear word “sh*t.” I don’t remember how I first learned it or why I decided it sounded so cool to say (maybe it was all those times I heard my mom say it…I kid.) But, I remember at six years old I tried to say the word as much as possible – even if it didn’t make a bit of sense. For example, I remember one hot day at recess I was lying in the grass with my friend Tim Epp, and for no apparent reason, I said, “Sh*t, Tim, this hot weather is sh*t. I’m going inside, sh*t.” I can explain and justify the first “sh*t,” but the others…like I said, sometimes my obsession made no sense. Anyway, I remember as I got up I felt a little guilty for my potty mouth, but I couldn’t shake the habit. I was an out of control first grader.

Finally, some inspired Sunday school teacher taught me that swearing was wrong and not something a little six year old should be doing. It took a little while, but I was eventually able to curb the language. Fortunately, I found cooler words than shit. Like crap. Love that word.

No, but seriously, I have to admit I still miss a good use of “Holy Sh*t,” or “No Sh*t Sherlock,” or “That guy has sh*t for brains.” There’s just something about that word. Oh well, life is about sacrifices, and at six years old I learned that lesson.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Don't Mess With a Bunch of Chicks

Next to me would be the infamous hero of this story.

Generally, I don’t believe in retaliation. If you mess with me, typically, I’m such a weenie, that I’ll either end up apologizing for something you did or just run away. Therefore, this story is noteworthy because it is so drastically out of character for me.

In college my roommate started dating a guy named Hunter. (And yes, if you’ve been following these fun stories, this would be the same Hunter we terrorized over email.) Anyway, I love my roommate, but she somehow forgot Hunter was a serial womanizer. After dating a semester, Hunter began to cheat on my roommate with my other teammate. We all tried to tell my roommate to dump Hunter, but each time he was caught he somehow convinced her to stay.

One night we all were out at a bar and spied Hunter hooking up with my teammate while my roommate sat across the room. At this point we decided to take the matter into our own hands. As we were leaving the bar, three teammates of mine and me spotted Hunter’s beautiful new green truck. Facetiously, I handed my keys to my teammate, Foster, and ordered her to go key Hunter’s car. Foster, quickly refused and before I could pull away my keys, my other teammate Byrd grabbed them and ran for the truck. In quick and fluid motions Byrd began to make gigantic circles on Hunter’s car door. As you can imagine, we all were in absolute disbelief and it took us a couple of seconds to stop Byrd. By the time I grabbed my keys from her hand, the damage had been done. After surveying the scratches we all made a pact not to tell anyone of what we had done. It wasn’t until my roommate was really finished with Hunter did I tell her of the night.

Moral of the story: Don’t mess with a bunch of chicks. Especially drunk ones.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Real Leader

My senior year in college I was selected to join a senior seminar called “Leadership in America.” Fifteen other students had been chosen for the class because of the different groups they represented on campus. For example, in our class we had the student body president, the founder of the Feminist Group, an individual who wrote a much ridiculed conservative column for the school newspaper, a cheerleader and a guy in ROTC. As you can imagine this eclectic group of people were never scared of voicing their opinions and each class led to a heated debate.

One day our professor asked us to name individuals we deemed as great leaders. Instantly, obvious names like, “Kennedy, FDR, and Churchill” were named. Then one guy, who usually didn’t say much, meekly said, “Jesus Christ.” Without missing a beat, the majority of the class stopped and argued that Jesus Christ was not a great leader. I remember sitting there in disbelief as I listened to some of my classmates simplify Christ’s life and call him nothing but a mystical figure or common teacher. While others simply laughed at the idea of Christ even being mentioned along with real gods like Kennedy and Churchill.

Now, I wish I could tell you that at this point, I stood up and rebuked my classmates and testified of the divinity of Christ. Unfortunately, instead of standing up, I hid. I had grown up learning about Christ, I attended church and tried to follow what He taught, but I couldn’t proclaim a sentence of belief. It wasn’t that I was afraid of my classmates, but more that I had nothing to say.

I’ll never forget this small test God put before me and how miserably I failed that day. Fortunately, my failure drove me to find an answer, and after college, I found my voice and testimony. I will always be grateful to that quiet boy who had the courage to speak the truth.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Hardest Number One

When I was a sophomore in college I learned that the Universe has a fantastic sense of humor. Picture this: It’s the Final Four and our team is about to play Virginia in the semi-finals at Johns Hopkins University. Before the game we are informed that four of us will be picked at random to perform a drug test. I, being the most sober person to ever walk on a college campus, didn’t think much of their request and headed out to warm-up. We then played the game. Lost the game. And while we are crying in the locker room two NCAA officials came in and called out four names. One of those names was mine. This would be the first part where the Universe is showing its keen wit.

Now, I have gone number 1 millions of times. I mean I’m a girl and therefore I have the bladder the size of a pea (pun intended). Therefore, I didn’t think this was going to be a difficult task. However, factor in playing an entire game, being watched by two middle-aged NCAA officials as you go, knowing your team is waiting on the bus for you to do your business and listening to your teammates in the next stall cry out that they are having stage fright, and well, the task becomes a little harder.

Honestly, after two hours of drinking water and Gatorade, listening to rushing water and everyone telling me, including my parents, that I could do it, I was convinced I was in hell. I must have tried ten times, and nothing.

So, there I sat at about midnight cursing the Universe and its perverse sense of humor. I mean seriously, me, the one person who never did drugs in her life was called upon to participate in a drug test? And, not only did I have to endure a mouse in my hotel room the night before (another story) and the end of my season, but I also had to deal with the defeat of not being able to pee at will? I mean, come on, the Universe is hilarious?!

Side note: I did eventually pee, and then on the hour for the rest of the night.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vomit Monster

I'm sorry I couldn't use a real person's picture for this entry.

Again, two entries for the price of one. I was way too tired last night to post anything. Don't worry I head back tomorrow and then back to the day to day grind.

There have been only a few times I have been utterly embarrassed. Typically, I can walk across a stage without falling, I don’t make inappropriate sounds when talking to people and I haven’t been caught telling a racist joke in front of a group of minorities. (Okay, once that happened, but I was in sixth grade so I don’t think it counts).

Probably, my first moment of real embarrassment had to have happened when I was in first grade. Picture a little tom boy with wild blonde hair, wearing Michael Jordan high tops and a t-shirt she stole from her brothers. That was me in first grade. Now, you might think this appearance embarrassed me, but you would be wrong. Actually, the embarrassing moment happened one fateful day in the cafeteria. I remember I started to feel sick after making my usual trade of homemade cookies for my friend’s fruit roll up. It wasn’t that I was feeling guilty for trading my mom’s cookies, but something else. All of the sudden I started to throw up and couldn’t stop. I got up from the table and continued to ralph all the way to the exit of the cafeteria. There I was met by my principal’s horrified face. He took one look at me, and while I continued to throw up everything I had eaten in my life, pushed me towards the nurse’s office. I remember as I vomited and walked, my principal trailed behind me trying not to step in my trail of (insert something that would properly describe a path of vomit). I’ll never forget this poor, slightly over weight man, desperately trying to hand me off to the nurse while dancing around my toxic path.

To this day I have no idea who poisoned me. I suspect the lunch lady who thought a hard boiled egg, tater tots and pudding was a good lunch for 75 cents, but I don’t have any hard evidence. I did eventually grow out of my infamous title of “Vomit Monster,” but the permanent damage continues. I still fear fruit roll-ups and my elementary school.

And the Magic Word Would be...Bronco

During the first week of college I met a guy named Hunter. He was a freshmen lacrosse player and a complete southern boy. During the first few weeks we “dated” he used to tell me he wanted to buy a ranch and have some kids with me when we graduated from college. Of course, at 18, I thought his southern accent was irresistible and his dream of a ranch down right adorable. However, things came to an abrupt stop when I found out he was also dating one of my teammates. We started to compare notes and found out our little Hunter was using the same lines. She too was moving to our ranch after graduation.

When we both broke up with Hunter he started to date a few more girls at the same time. Out of duty to the female race, we found the girls and learned he was still using the “ranch” line. At this point we decided Hunter needed to be taught a lesson.

I know I’m dating myself, but freshmen year was the first year I used email. All of us freshmen were pretty excited about this new development and told each other our passwords. (We were young and dumb. Okay?) Anyway, I remember Hunter telling me his password was “Bronco.” I don’t know why I stored that in my memory, but a few months later it became very useful.

One Saturday after morning practice, my teammates and I went to Hunter’s dorm computer lab and wrote an email from his account. We addressed the email to all the girls Hunter had hooked up with during the first semester, and wrote: “Hey girls, who wants to buy a ranch and have some kids with me after graduation? Let me know who’s interested. Hunter.”

The next day I saw Hunter in the cafeteria and he looked completely disheveled. He asked me if I had received that bizarre email and I responded, “Yeah, what was up with that?” He then told me how all these girls were mad at him and demanding to know why he had written the email. I pretended to be concerned and asked if he had called IT Support to find out the origin of the email. His face then dropped and he said, “I called and they told me that the email had come from my account and from my dorm.” Wow, was all I said.

For the next couple of days we continued to send emails out and even started to check his account. It was pretty funny to read some of the responses and his denials. Eventually, the genius wised up and changed his password.

I guess this experience sticks out because it was the first time I blatantly broke the law, and the first time I openly participated in a game of retribution. Don’t worry committing mail fraud was only a phase.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Almost Retirement

I am out of town and was unable to get to a computer to make a post yesterday...to be honest I don't know who I'm talking to...I guess I should say: Emily, sorry I didn't post yesterday. Anyway, here's yesterday's post:

During my sophomore year in high school I was convinced my athletic career was over. In the summer before sophomore year I attended a field hockey camp at Old Dominion University in Virginia. The third night of the camp a girl ran directly into the side of my head during one of the scrimmages. I didn’t pass out from the hit, but when I stood up every thing looked a little fuzzy. With the help of my team I made it back to the dorms, but I didn’t last long. (The rest is what I have been told). Within a few minutes of returning to my dorm I proceeded to pass out and couldn’t be awakened. 911 was called and I was taken to the local hospital. Over the next three hours, I remember waking up at different intervals, but not really being full awake. I vaguely remember throwing up against a wall, being examined in the ER and getting x-rays. Eventually, I woke up and found myself in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV, and wearing a neck brace. Apparently, I had suffered a massive concussion and was unable to deal with it because I was completely dehydrated from playing three days straight.

A few months later, while we were at a basketball game near Penn State, I decided to drive to the basket and draw a foul on a rather large girl sitting in the middle of the paint. Unfortunately, instead of drawing a foul, my body hit against hers and completely bounced back. Instantly, my head cracked against the floor and my intended assailant walked away unscathed. I realized this hit caused another concussion when I shot the ball into the crowd. (I really could have sworn the basket was to the left of me.) After this episode my parents started to think about helmets.

Yep it gets worst. Once I recovered from my second concussion I was playing a pick up basketball game in our gym. The bleachers had recently been replaced and were now two feet farther from the wall. I didn’t realize what a difference a couple of feet could make until I went up for a lay up and then ran directly into them. This act of athletic genius split open my chin and caused me to get a couple of stitches. Again, my parents contemplated not only helmets, but now full body suits.

Lastly, during my first game of the lacrosse season I was hit on top of my nose, which caused some awesome black eyes, and sprained my ankle. I remember sitting on the bench, and while icing my face and ankle, thinking about an early retirement. Fortunately, I decided to continue in sports, but that year always reminded me of two things. 1. I’m not invincible. 2. Remember to leave a big girl alone in the paint.

Me and Blagojevich

In 1993, I was almost impeached as Student Council President. No, I didn’t steal money from our book fair drive, or make deals with the cafeteria union to get elected, or was I involved in anything inappropriate with interns. Instead, my almost impeachment was the result of me doing three things: 1. Writing on a pole “Kate + Brad,” (and that relationship didn’t even last through 8th grade.) 2. Chewing gum in art class AND 3. I was “rowdy” in music class. I know what you are thinking, and yes, I was drunk on all the power of being president. I was basically out of control the entire year.

Now as if my minor transgressions weren’t absurd enough the hoops I had to jump through after were absolutely ridiculous.

For example, along with the real delinquents of our school – you know, ones who smoked pot in the bathroom, slashed the tires of the buses and killed teachers – I was put on camping probation and once a week I had to endure a mandatory evaluation. These evaluations would consist of me sitting in front of all my teachers and listening to them say things like, “Well, Kate was pretty good this week. She got all her homework done and even participated in class.” (That was a good evaluation). And then sometimes I would make a major slip up and my evaluation would sound like this, “Kate, is not finished her art project yet, and she didn’t feed the class fish.” Damn, how could I be so cavalier in such a tenuous time?

Outside of the idiotic evaluations, I had to clean numerous black boards, clean up the cafeteria and wear an orange suit along the highway. (Okay, I made the last part up). Eventually, I was “cleared” to go on our annual camping trip (pre-teen overnight orgy), but had to drive with a teacher and another student, who smoked pot every day at school. I also was allowed to finish out my term as president.

What makes this experience memorable? Hmm…probably because this was the year I really rebelled and went off the beaten path. Fortunately, once I got to high school I straighten out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


During the 1992 election our middle school held a mock election of Bill Clinton and George Bush. Before we voted we were handed a sheet of each candidates’ policies and platforms. I remember reading over Clinton’s policies and agreeing with the majority of things he supported. I mean, at 12 how could I disagree with giving money to the poor and healthcare for everyone in need? How was I supposed to know that these things would raise my parents’ taxes?

Anyway, without a second thought I voted for Clinton and handed in my mock ballot. That night my sister and I told our parents about the mock election and how we learned about the candidates. My mom, who is very political, asked nonchalantly who we ended up voting for. My sister declared that she voted for Bush and was instantly met with congratulations from my parents. Then the table turned to me and I quietly muttered, “I voted for the other guy.” Unlike my sister, my response wasn’t met with a big pat on the back. Instead, my mom began a diatribe, I have heard many times since, about the wild Democratic Party and their policies.

It wasn’t that this experience pressured me to become a Republican in order to seek the approval of my mom. Instead, it taught me that each time I cast a vote I really need to see the whole picture. It’s easy to get caught up in campaign promises and over-hyped candidates, but it’s another thing to really decide what you will support and what you will fight for. Every time I have voted since I have thought about that mock election almost 17 years ago and remind myself to make my vote count.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

She Had It Comin'

Just a reminder if you are just tuning in...it's 30 stories from my life until I turn the big 3-0.

Today's Story:

My freshmen year in college our team played Temple University in Philadelphia for the first round of the NCAA tournament. For the entire week before the game our coach told us about how aggressive and dirty Temple players typically were, and made us promise we would not follow their example and retaliate.

At half time none of us discussed how we were going to pull out of a11-3 deficit, but only complained about being cussed out, pushed, knocked over and virtually beaten by the Temple players. Again, my coach implored us not to retaliate, and if we did, she declared we were finished for the game.

At the beginning of the second half I was guarding my player after a saved shot. Out of frustration I sort of gave her a small push as we were running down the field. In retaliation she lowered her shoulder and lifted me up and threw me to the ground. I remember looking towards the sideline and seeing the Temple fans laughing, while my dad screamed, “Get Up!” I then found my player and saw her running across the field wide open. Without thinking I got up and ran full speed towards her. She turned around and saw me coming for her so she stopped running away and starting running towards me. It then became a game of chicken. When I reached her I held out my arm and completely clothes lined the chick. As soon as she hit the ground the ref came running over and handed us both yellow cards. At that moment I knew I was out of the game. I ran to the bench and threw my stick into the bin. As I walked by my coach, expecting a good tongue lashing, she muttered, “Nice hit. You are going back in in two minutes.” When I got back into the game we went on a 7-0 run. We ended up losing the game, but I will never forget that hit. I have never hit anyone since, well, not as purposefully, and to this day I don’t know where that came from.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The 13 Year Old Chauffeur

When I was a freshman in high school I made the varsity basketball team. This was one of the funniest times of my high school experience. Not because I was the star of the team. (Well, if you count in-bounding the ball at the last 10 seconds of every game, and getting my fellow bench warmers to laugh during the entire game, then yes, I was a star.) No, it was more the perks that came from being friends with upperclassmen. For example, I got set up with seniors, my lunch money no longer got stolen and I was taught how to drive – this was my favorite.

I don’t remember how it started, but one day before practice a senior threw her keys at me and told me to go get her car. Along with another freshman, named Nicole, we figured out how to get the car turned on and into drive. For the next couple of weeks we drove any car we could get our hands on. Mostly, we were just glorified valets, who usually drove in the high school parking lot. Then one night a senior offered to drive me home and then decided I would be the one driving. I’ll never forget driving to my house and this trusting senior yelling at me to speed up every time I dipped down to the speed limit. When I pulled into my neighborhood I no longer felt like a small 13 year-old, but a real adult.

This habit of driving illegally continued, and when I finally, went to get my license I felt like it was all a pointless formality. I’ll never forget my mom asking, after we had driven together the first time, if I had driven before. Of course, I lied and said no. She then said, “Oh, I guess you are such a great driver because of your coordination in sports.” Yep, that was exactly it. Sorry Mom.

Two Months...How About Three Lessons?

I'll get to my 30 stories before I turn 30...but I just read this on the Yahoo Homepage:

Believe it or don't: Golfer hits hole-in-one on her first swing ever

Your setting: lovely St. Petersburg, Florida. Your heroine: 62-year-old Norweigan native Unni Haskell, who, after two months' worth of golf lessons, teed up her first-ever shot on a real live golf course.

On the first tee of the nine-hole par-3 Cypress Links in St. Pete, Ms. Haskell pulled out a driver -- this is a hundred-yard hole, but remember, Ms. Haskell had never played before -- and drilled a 75-yard corker that bumped, ran and ended up right in the hole.

That's right ... on the first swing of the first hole of the first course she ever played, Unni Haskell hit a hole-in-one.

Please!! That's it? Where's my article?

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Dad's Words of Wisdom

When I was ten years old I started playing in tennis tournaments around Delaware. After the first year I finished the strenuous season, which consisted of three tournaments, ranked number 1 for the ages 12 and under level. Now, before you think I was the next Venus Williams, I should clarify how I reached the top. For the first year, there were only about four girls my age who played in the tournaments and the most of them were either severely uncoordinated or lacked basic motor skills. (I know those things sound the same, but I didn't know how to say they were "special.") Anyway, needless to say it was quite easy to claim my tennis throne when playing against these girls.

Then during my next year two new girls joined the circuit. One was a wild black girl, who played with a florescent pink racket and had long dreads to her shoulders. I endured countless rallies and sets with her loopy forehands and arguments over my calls. Games with her are times I'm still trying to forget. However, as bad as my Bob Marley look alike was, nothing compared to my Korean arch enemy. She weighed about twice as much as I did, and never said a word. Her parents would sit as close to the fence as possible and just stare at her as she dragged her body from corner to corner. Inevitably, the two of us would meet in the finals and it was rare that the match didn't go into three sets.

I remember one tournament in particular we found ourselves in another three set death match. Things were getting pretty tense and I wasn't sure if I could pull it out. As we changed sides my dad called me over to the fence and asked me what was going on. At eleven, I didn't have any real insight to share with my dad other than, "she is so freaking annoying." My dad then offered some advice that I have never forgotten during my athletic career. He said, "Katherine" (my dad is the only one who is allowed to call me that) "will you just go and kick this girl's fat ass?" I had never really heard my dad swear before and I for a moment I thought I heard him wrong. He then repeated those golden words, "Go kick that fat girl's ass." To which, I did.

My Dad has always been the greatest one to have along the fence. He has always encouraged me to just have fun and play hard. Throughout my athletic career, and even now, whenever I find myself feeling tired or beaten down I'll think of those choice words my father gave me almost 19 years ago.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It All Began With A Kiss

Today is March 15th. In a month I will turn 30. While thinking about this minor milestone I began to reflect on all the experiences that got me to this year. Therefore, I've decided over the next thirty days I will write about one experience that either deeply affected me or changed my life. I would like to claim this was an original idea, but that would be a lie. A girl I grew up with started a blog, that is leading up to her 30th birthday, where she highlights one individual, who affected her, each day...and yes, I made the list. Anyway, I know it's not 365 entries, but I think 30 will do.

The following are in no particular order:

In middle school each month our school would hold a dance. This was an event not to be missed. For three hours, our innocent gym would be turned into a prepubescent heaven. While swaying in a circle to a Poison or Bon Jovi ballad, sixth, seventh and eighth graders would make out like little bunnies.

When I was in sixth grade I was “dating” a hot thang named Dave Miltenberger. I know…the last name screams hot. I had pecked him a couple of times at some “boy girl” parties, but had never gone in for the real deal. At a middle school dance in March, Dave and I decided to take the next step in our relationship. I will never forget how incredibly magical this moment was.

I think we were slow dancing to “Something to Believe In” by Poison when Dave’s older brother came dancing up next to us with his girlfriend. Before we could say hi, he started to kiss his girlfriend. Dave took one look at them, then at me and raised one eyebrow. How could I resist the last name AND now such a smooth proposal? I think I just shrugged my shoulders, and before I knew it, Dave went in for the kill. I wish I could say fireworks exploded and chills ran down my spine. Instead, I was more conscious of how disgusting this experience was becoming and that I wanted to get away as soon as possible. After, what seemed like ten minutes, Dave pulled away and before I could say, “Gee, thanks,” my sister and friends pulled me into the girls’ locker room for a de-briefing of the experience.

I include this as a “life-changing” experience because of how different I felt after that moment. No, it wasn’t the awakening of my carnal side, but more an event I can point to where I felt a little older. I remember getting into the car with my mom and actually feeling a little more equal with her because I had kissed a boy. Little did I know that that kiss would probably be my worst, and Dave was only going to be a sixth grade fling.

Happy Sabbath

May those of you who did this lovely deed die of a painful death.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Torture Chamber

My mom always calls the gym the torture chamber, and after today, I think she might be on to something. I've been going to gyms since college and I've never seen such disgusting people as I have at my local gym. Sure, the good ol' YMCA in Kennett Square, PA had it's fair share of gross people. (Although, I went to high school with most of them so that could attribute to my perception of them.) And then there was the gym in Salt Lake, which actually was a gay night club. (Though I have to admit watching grown men hit on each other was sort of entertaining while I was trapped on a treadmill.)

No, the real winner for the most disgusting gym would have to go to the Santa Monica 24 hour Fitness. Why do you ask? Well, for example, today while I was lifting a man wearing (and I'm not kidding) a striped SWEATER and jeans was lifting next to me. When he got up the entire bench was soaked in his sweat, which mind you had to seep through a wool SWEATER and JEANS! That's insane sweat. I just looked at the bench and then looked at him and then looked at the bench and then looked at him. (I want to give you a real play by play.) I thought my best "passive-aggressive evil eye" would be good enough, but he just shrugged his shoulders and moved to the machines upstairs. I felt like I was going to gag. Then as if I couldn't be disturbed more I looked over to the elliptical machine and saw a guy lip syncing to his Ipod while he gyrated his body back and forth. I, being one who was never good at not staring, just watched him in disbelief.

So, Mom I apologize for doubting you. You were right...it is a torture chamber.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Funk

Every once in awhile I get in what I like to call my "What in the Heck am I Doing With My Life" Funk. It basically happens any time my life slows down and I find myself hoping that John (name has been changed to protect the privacy of my husband) has run out of underwear so I can feel somewhat productive by doing laundry.

Today, unfortunately, I am in that funk, and I'm still about three days away from doing the laundry. (Nothing was going right today). It also didn't help that today during a job interview on the phone the owner of the company thought I was too qualified and smart for the job, and wanted to know why I was applying. I wanted to blurt out, "Who the hell knows? Can I have the crappy job or not?" (Don't worry I think I actually said something less abrasive like, "Gee, thanks.")

No, but seriously, I know I should have been flattered, but instead, his comment hit a nerve. The nerve of "What Am I Doing With My Life?" I know I'm over qualified for the glorified babysitting gig at the beach, but I also don't know what else to do. Do I want to go to school and pretend the Masters I receive will turn into a lifelong career? Do I want to get a nine to five job and deal with idiots that talk about synergizing and memos? (That's my office stereotype.) Or do I want to volunteer at the local soup kitchen and become Mother Teresa to all the homeless people in Santa Monica? The answer would be "no" to all the above. So, now we've come full circle to my funk. I feel like I'm literally sitting at a bus stop with no bus in sight.

Sorry, I know I usually try to be funny. It's the funk and it will pass. If anyone has any suggestions for a job let me know. I'm apparently quite qualified and smart.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Me and The Hulk

I have never been a big bragger...well, unless I'm re-telling the story of how I hit a hole in one. (And for those of you who didn't initially believe my amazing feat, I will say again, it was an official Par 3. And, I continue to stick by my story that there was, not only, fire breathing dragons and mean trolls, who tried to stop my ball, but a deafening wind against my face. And yes, through all this, and after three lessons, I still hit the forsaken hole in one. So, stick that in your Master's Green Jacket and move along.)

Anyway, I guess I didn't realize I had all this pent up anger from everyone's comments about my hole in one not counting when it's done on a miniature golf course, or when playing skee ball at Chuckie Cheese. Where's the love people?

No, the real reason I sat down to write this blog entry was to address my super hero ability. Now before you get all excited, I'm not going to reveal that I can fly or see through walls. I'm also not going to deny it. No, the only ability I'm prepared to reveal at this time is my gift to spot celebrities.

Since moving to Santa Monica I have spotted celebrities jogging, walking down the street, eating dinner and even coming out of the "lady's doctor" (as my one friend used to call the gynecologist). Now, the amazing part is not spotting and placing random celebrities. Instead, and I'm not kidding, right before I see a celebrity I get this feeling that I'm about to spot one. It's like a sixth sense I'm not even aware of in my brain.

For example, the other day I was riding my bike to the gym and the feeling came over me. (Now, I know how the Hulk felt when his skin used to turn green.) I scanned around the streets and saw nothing. Then when I entered the gym I noticed that Meredith Baxter-Birney, mother from Family Ties, was running on the treadmill. See the feeling never lies. Then later that day I was walking into the bank when, again I had that feeling, and who walks out? Reed Diamond from Dollhouse and Journeyman. (I didn't say the feeling always directs me to A-List celebrities.)

So, I'm not saying I have blades coming out of my hands, or am I able to control the weather...I also not denying it...but, I do think I'm special in that special sort of way. If only I could find a way to fight crime with my ability...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kate, No

I'm almost a month away from my 30th birthday, and I'm realizing I'm just not as "mature" as I thought I would be at this point. Why do I say this? Well, last night I was observing myself, and I realized I sort of walk like a guy, AND I've noticed I still act like a little kid in a lot of situations.

For example:

Last night I was invited to a dinner given by some older ladies in my church to introduce me to some other people. Throughout the entire night I felt like I needed to put duck tape over my mouth to stop all the sarcastic and "Kate" comments from coming out. I mean, how could I not make a joke about the wall (from ceiling to floor) that was covered in dolls? Or the other wall decorated in, oh wait, more dolls. I did mutter sort of to myself, "Do you guys feel like you are being watched?" Hopefully, all the hearing aides were turned down low.

Then as if the dolls weren't hard enough to withstand, after dinner we got to create a crafty St. Patrick's Day bootinere out of different shades of green paper and wire. Crafts? This was torture not to say something sarcastic. Finally, after being told my bows didn't look straight I said, "Really? I did this exact craft last night and it looked great. Even my Valentine's Day bootinere came out awesome."

Maybe it's not that I'm so immature, but more that I need a severe verbal screen. Or maybe just duck tape.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Darker Side of Kate

Lately, every time I get on Facebook one of my "close friends" has tagged me to write, (or drink the massive Facebook kool-aide) and write 25 random things about myself. I have to admit, even after 10 or so people have encouraged me to participate, or divulge some embarrassing details about myself, I have stayed strong and not revealed anything. However, even though I haven't participated in this random exercise, I have to say I'm a huge fan. I feel like I'm the person who suggested jumping into ice cold water, and then when I screamed "go," I actually stood still and got to watch my friend scream out in despair as she came up out of the arctic water. (I know, it's a little sinister, but who hasn't been that person? Who hasn't laughed out loud as your friend looked like the idiot? Come on, you know you've been there.) That's how this Random 25 Things is to me. These people tag you thinking you'll jump into the cold water, or share in their not so interesting idiosyncrasy vomit. And then, what really happens is I accept their tag, scream "go," and then chuckle, as I eat my cereal, at what these people decide to reveal and the no response I give in return. It's one of my favorite things.

Of course, I will probably break down and write the forsaken 25 Random Things about myself. I mean, I love lists. It's almost not fair for me trying to be so stoic in the face of something I love so much. So, to all of you, who I'm friends with on Facebook, go ahead write those lists, reveal your darkest secrets, and maybe I'll play too.

* As a side note: I read an article in the New York Times that said over 5 million people have participated in the 25 Random Things. Figure it takes about 20 minutes to write these lists. Multiply that by 5 million and that's a lot of wasted time at work. Oh, Facebook.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Beginner's Luck?

I read some interesting statistics this morning while eating my breakfast. Here's what I learned:

Average age of a Hole In One golfer: 44.5800 years
Average handicap of Hole In One golfer: 13.6835
Number of years playing golf: 16.9598 years
Percent of Aces by: Male 83% Female 17%

And here's what happened on Saturday:

Age of Hole In One Golfer: 29
Handicap of Hole In One: Way too high to count
Number of years playing golf: 3 months
Gender: Female

Yep, you got it. I had my first hole in one. Three bounces and into the hole. I told John (name has been changed to protect the privacy of my husband) that I only want to hit holes in one from now on...their cooler and involve no putting.

*The picture above is a poor substitute for my amazing feat.