Thursday, December 1, 2011

November 29th and 30th: Thanksgiving Project

Well, I've definitely been slacking for the last couple days of my November Thanksgiving Project. Our family dog Moses was getting sicker and I was spending a lot of time and energy fixating on that. Yesterday, he left us and it broke our hearts, but we know he was suffering and for the best. 

So for November 29th:

I am thankful for being lucky enough to have shared our lives with Smokey (Mody Martokomous), Scooter (Scootie Doo), Moses (Moshe Peepers), Radar (Tater), Meena (Beana Jeallybeana), (baby) Enid and our current furry family of Ceasar and Lady Ruby Babushkah. 

Having pets in our family is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave us. It taught us to repect beings, other than humans and to know what it's like to experience unconditional love, which few humans would ever give.

November 30th:

I'm so very thankful for my facebook and twitter friends and family. You have provided me with support and entertainment, particularly during some tough times this past 6 months. I know I'm better for having you in my life.

Thank You! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 27th and 28th: Thanksgiving Project

November 27th:
Today, I am thankful for my Dickash cousins!

Game nights with Lukas will always be some of my favorite memories of all time and although I don't get to see Moni or Erik very often, they're some of the most awesome people I know! ♥
November 28th:

Today, I am thankful for my Secchiaroli cousins! They have chosen very different paths in life, but Joe, Gina and Michael have each become an awesome adult and a great friend of mine. I always know that when we hang out, we will be having a blast!

Thank you to Aunt Camille for doing such a good job raising them.

(I'm so glad I didn't smack any of you around too much. ;)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26th: Thanksgiving Project

November 26th:

Today's Thanksgiving post is brought to you by the letter M!

I'm so thankful for my cousin Melanie who is one of the most focused and well-adjusted (almost) adults I know. I'm so happy we get to hang out all day today and have lots of laughs, particularly while we're seeing the Muppets!

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25th: Thanksgiving Project

Is your house on fire, Clark?

November 25th:

Today, I am thankful I no longer work retail. I know Black Friday is part of the deal when you have that kind of job and I usually prefered to be busy, but the customers could be particularly evil this day.

I urge you to remember what is important this holiday season and to treat the retail employees with repect. They often work very long hours, usually make minimum wage, do not get holiday pay, don't have control over store prices or policies and are usually treated pretty rudely by people looking to save $2.

That said, let the holiday season officially begin!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24th: Thanksgiving Project

"Life's like a movie, write your own ending..."
Just a Couple o' Turkeys 2011

November 24th:

Today, I am thankful for the memories of the kick-ass wedding Mikey and I celebrated 5 years ago today! Feel free to browse through my fb album to see some of the good times. I like to think that the fun and laughs had that day were indicative of the marriage Mikey and I have shared.

I am also incredibly thankful for the time I was able to spend this week with newlyweds Misha and Don while they were here and for a comfy happy weekend with my awesome nephews Elijah, Anthony and my niece Elizabeth.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 21st, 22nd and 23rd: Thanksgiving Project

I've been crazy busy for a few days, so I'm playing catch up on my Thanksgiving Project. Here we go...

November 21st:

I'm thankful I can drive almost anywhere and not have to worry about finding parking OR having to take the Fn train during weekend construction! I have so much less stress and can accept any meetings when I'm available and even have time to get to the gym because I don't have to worry about the hours spent frustrated by the MTA! I am the boss of my travels!

November 22nd:

I'm thankful for unseasonable warm weather which will has allowed me to continue to run outside well into November!

November 23rd:

I'm thankful for the birth of my OLDER cousin John AKA Gus, who was always like the OLDER brother I never had (to my knowledge...)

Some of my fav Gus Moments:
1. Demolishing our living room and John wrote his auto-biography (I'm sure it was quite extensive at the age of 16) and stuck it in the wall. I'm still dying to know what it said because he refused to tell us.
2. Running around Nana's house like a lunatic with Mike while he calmly read the Sports section of the paper and watched Football.
3. Doing the Nestea Plunge into Nana's pool and singing "Coke is SHIT!"
4. When he stood up for me when I most needed him.
5. Watching him interact with CJ and seeing him as a full-fledged grown-up and awesome dad.
6. Laughing, laughing, laughing...even when we're disagreeing or complaining about something.

I'm so proud of John for following his passion for sports into a career where his opinions and creepy-ass OCD sports knowledge has come in handy, while at the same time actually earning a decent enough living to support his growing family!

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 20th: Thanksgiving Project

Loved my co-workers, but hated the disrespectful way we were treated. 
November 20th:

Today, I'm thankful for laughter. Spending time with friends and family tonight makes me realize how important it is to surround yourself with positive happy people.

I'm starting to accept and believe in the Law of Attraction :

"The law of attraction is a metaphysical belief that 'like attracts like', that positive and negative thinking bring about positive and negative physical results, respectively."

I've wasted so much time in jobs and with negative people in negative situations. I always wondered why I was so miserable & was being treated so poorly. More and more I have begun to realize that my bad attitude was drawing other cranky bastards to me, making me even more unhappy.

I'm so glad I had the courage to realize I deserved better and to move on and find more positive influences!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19th: Thanksgiving Project

November 19th:

I'm thankful for my cousin Mike Gworek! Some of my favorite memories:

-Playing with my Jabba the Hutt playset after Christmas and he was still bitter he had R5D4.
... -Watching old skool Batman w Adam West on a tiny black&white tv.
-Playing rock em sock em robots and breaking open stretch armstrong's arms to reveal that weird goo.
-Making fake newspapers and writing letters to Michael Jackson.
-Drinking red rose tea at Nana's.
-Going to see Weird Al and the Monkees at Melody Fair w Misha Gatto Beeler and getting in trouble because he held out his drumsticks and touched Mickey Dolenz (not as dirty as it sounds).
- Picking fights with the girlfriends of his and John Gworek's "rivals" at Gus Macker (sorry about that!).
-Singing Living on a Prayer with him and Mikey the first night they met and knowing that the fact that he approved, meant Mikey was a keeper.

November 18th: Thanksgiving Project

November 18th:

Today, I am thankful for my goddaughter Mariangela. We went to see her perform in Godspell at Mount St Mary's tonight and she rocked it! She is an awesome dancer and looks so comfortable on stage.

I'm so proud of her!

Also, she won "Best Costume" because they had to provide their own and the description she was given was "hipster", so she wore fitted jeans, chucks, button down, tie, vest and fedora. It was like being back in Brooklyn!

(I'll have to add a pic later, but she's in previous posts...)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17th: Thanksgiving Project

Dear George:-

Remember no man is a failure who has friends.

Thanks for the wings!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16th: Thanksgiving Project

My cousin Melanie and I at the Harry Potter Exhibit in Toronto

At the WWoHP

Mischief Managed

Zooooooming on a speederbike at Disneyworld
Posing with Melanie and Mariangela in front of the new Muppets display

November 16th:

Today, I am thankful for Geek Pride! Gone are the days of Susan DiNatale and Myself hiding our Star Wars love while we pretend to have Luke Skywalker and Han Solo over for lunch in her kitchen. 

No need to be ashamed of my Harry Potter fixation or my obsession with the Muppets. 

Thanks to sites like ThinkGeek and successful tv shows like The Big Bang Theory, we can easily embrace our geekiness and we now know we are not alone. There are many other proud geek girls respectfully representing us all over the world and I could not be happier about it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15th: Thanksgiving Project

November 15th:

Today, I am thankful for free time, construction paper and occasionally functioning right brain activity.

I may be challenged when it comes to useful craftiness, but at least I am able to festively decorate our home!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14th: Thanksgiving Project

November 14th:

Today, I'm thankful for my sense of humor. As I sit here watching Uncle Buck & laughing way too loud, I realize that nothing makes me happier than enjoying a great comedy or helping other people laugh. If not for humor, life would be way too overwhelming.

I now feel pressure to post something funny here. Unfortunately, I'm way too distracted by Buck Melanoma, Moley Russell's wart.

Next up: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 Dash for Dad

November 13th:

Today, I am thankful for the ideal conditions that made my run a possibility:

1. My health (Word.)
2. Decent weather (Did it really hit 60 today?!?)
3. Respectful drivers (Yes, there actually are a few)
4. Wegman's Mistletoe coffee (SPoT visit later)
5. Well-kept sidewalks (Thankfully, North Buffalo has decent ones)
6. Great Fn music. 

Just to expand a bit on #6, I'd like to encourage drivers who may see me dancing at corners while waiting for traffic to pass to quit staring and either join me or hand over $1. Either choice will make me very happy.

Also sidenote: Does anyone around here go dancing anymore? I need to shake my booty soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12th : Thanksgiving Project

Ruby and I laughing at something (or someone) in Coney Island

November 12th:

Today, I am thankful for Lady Ruby Babushkah, the Bitch of Buffalo. She can always make me laugh, has adapted well to our moving situations and can pull off a green mohawk better than anyone else I know. 

She may currently have an unhealthy fixation on running through her doggy door and treats Mikey and I (and anyone else who visits) like we are furniture, but she's my baby girl and I couldn't have chosen us a better furbaby.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11th : Thanksgiving Project

My dad and Uncle Tony checking out 1950' car (?) at the last car show of the year

November 11th:

Today, I'm thankful for all those who have served our country in the military services, especially my dad and uncle Tony!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10th: Thanksgiving Project

November 10th:

Today, I'm thankful for my nephews Elijah and Anthony and my niece Elizabeth.

I've always been awkward around children and they "broke me in" by simply not accepting it. They force my cold heart to thaw a little every time I see them...which is simply not often enough.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 9th : Thanksgiving Project

Suzie, My mom, myself and Lisa watching the Queen City Roller Girls

My mom's family at my cousin Mike's wedding.
Strangely enough, my cousin and his wife aren't in the pic. Oops.

My dad's family. This one may explain a lot about me.
Kellie. Nuff said.
November 9th:

Today, I'm thankful for my Buffalo friends and family. After a stressful few months of moving and readjusting, Mikey and I have been embraced and welcomed home with open arms. Thank you for the happy wishes and endless laughs!

Sidenote: Happy Birthday to Kellie, who has played a big role in the warm welcoming we have received here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8th : Thanksgiving Project

November 8th:

Today I am thankful for having the right to vote and actually utilizing it, which sadly, is something that women are still fighting for in other parts of the world.'s_suffrage

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7th : Thanksgiving Project

SRL Represent!

MMMmmm...Bonz meat

Too bad Mabel and I were with a few drunk psychos this night...HAHA!
November 7th:

Today I am thankful for social media like facebook and twitter. I have been able to reconnect with many old friends and make all kinds of new online friends, some of whom I've never met IRL, yet prove to be some of the most supportive people I've ever known (particularly, my Bitchin' Broads).

I've been able to watch so many of my friends across the world, as their lives changed and their families have grown. I'm so glad I have my "invisible" friends!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6th : Thanksgiving Project

November 6th:

As I "virtually" followed the NYC marathon this morning and afternoon, I thought about how I will be running it next year, along with my awesome friend and inspiration Sheryl and we are going to rock it!

So today, I am thankful for my health, my ability to realize how much my body is capable of and my strength, which increases every day. I am also thankful for friends who constantly remind me of this.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 5th : Thanksgiving Project

<3 Thursday Dream Team and Friends <3
November 5th:

This morning, I had my first meetings, since I transferred as a Receptionist for Weight Watchers here in Buffalo. I miss my co-workers in Manhattan terribly, but I'm hopeful my new territory will provide me with even more friends and success.

I'm thankful for the experience of working for a company that has treated me with respect, provided me with a program that helped change my life and has introduced me to some of the most amazing people I've ever known.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4th : Thanksgiving Project

My brother and I at the Buffalo Marathon relay point
November 4th:

Today, I am thankful for my brother Jeffrey aka Freffer aka Frappy McGee. He has taken a really crappy situation this past week and completely turned it around in just a couple days.

He was brave, faced his fears and is really rocking it! I am lucky to have him in my life and hope to follow his lead...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3rd : Thanksgiving Project

November 3rd:

I'm thankful for Mikey. I honestly could not have asked for a more supportive and understanding husband. He's there for my good days, still sticks around for the rough ones and can always make me laugh through it all.

Added Bonuses:
He makes a great piece of furniture for Ruby.
He joined WW and is a runner again, so he appreciates my interests.
He saves me the cookie dough pieces in his ice cream.
He only had stinky feet once in all the years I've known him.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2nd : Thanksgiving Project

My parents came out to support me for the Turkey Trot in Buffalo, despite the frigid cold last year!
November 2nd:

I am thankful for how lucky I am to have parents who love and support me and Mikey. After all the craziness this summer, they helped us without even thinking twice about it.
They have never treated us as a burden or bother in any way. 
Love. Love. Love.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Thanksgiving Project 2011

This year, I will again do my November, Month of Thanksgiving project (inspired by my Aunt Camille in 2009) .  See my post from last year here: 
November Thanks 2010

So please forgive my dramatics and schmaltziness for the next couple weeks. I have had a mind-blowing year and I suspect that my emotions will get the best of me several days this month. I struggle to be comfortable expressing myself so freely, as I'm not a fan of being this exposed, but I also believe it is very important for me to face those fears. It is the only way I will change and grow. 
That said, here is my Thankful post for November 1st:

Today, I am thankful that I have the ability and drive to fight for myself and what I believe. Some unfortunate things have happened to me in my life and I cannot control that, but I realize that if those events continue to affect me, it's my own fault. I am not a victim. I am a survivor.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Real Pain in the Neck

So I know there's been some confusion re: Mikey's and my move back to Buffalo and some vague references I've made to "health issues" so I guess I'll come clean. I'm realizing recently that I am surrounded by amazing friends and family who care about me and I should be honest about what has been going on. Please know that I didn't tell many people because I didn't want to upset anyone else, so I was waiting until I finally had some good news.

The day before Mikey's last day at Tekserve, my doctor found a lump in my neck and recommended I see an endocrinologist.

After over a month of tests and biopsies, she discovered that I had thyroid cancer. It seems that my levels had been low for years, but my doctor never questioned it because I was losing weight (I have conflicting feelings about this, but I won't get into that now). My endocrinologist was shocked that I had lost over 100lbs with levels so low. I guess that shows what determination and a good weight loss program can do (you know I had to get a WW plug in there).

Anyway, on August 10th, I had surgery to remove my thyroid. The recovery has been physically pretty painless, but the emotional effects have been rough.

Thankfully, my mom was with me for the first week because Mikey had to start working, so we could get health insurance.

Unfortunately, we had to give up our apartment because we couldn't afford rent while paying for cobra. This is why I've been staying on Justin's couch in Brooklyn. Since Ruby has gone ahead to Buffalo to stay with my parents while I deal with all of this, Dr. Donuts PhD (shown in my picture above) has been counseling me through these rough times.

Aaaaanyway, on Friday, my endocrinologist gave me the news that the cancer has not spread and this should not even affect my quality of life!

I guess that if Tony Bennett can leave his heart in San Francisco, I can leave my thyroid in New York. I'm just growing concerned that being hit by a car (1990), standing a block & a half away from wtc on 9/11 (2001), going into anaphylactic shock randomly from eating pistachios (2003), escaping an apartment building fire (2006) and now surviving thyroid cancer, I'm thinking that I'm probably running short on lives at this point.

So I apologize for not telling everyone or explaining why we never had a big "going away gathering". I was scared and angry and definitely not feeling very sociable. Moving away from NYC is difficult enough, but not knowing if I'd ever see some friends again was overwhelming.

Now I know that I'm ok and can see everyone, Mikey and I hope to see more of you when we visit. Is it bad that I'm glad to have follow up appointments, so I have an extra excuse to come back?

So that is my story.

Until we're back for a visit, you can always find me on fb, twitter, email or by phone. I'm keeping my 212 phone number, btw. I find it quite appropriate that you have to dial a NYC area code to contact me in Buffalo.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lucky Duckys

Okay, kids. It's that time of year and we really need your help again!

Thanks to my extensive attention whoring over the past year, I'm sure
you are all aware of my 100lb weight loss journey with Weight Watchers
and the role that running has played in my maintenance, both
physically and psychologically.

Last year, The Susan G Komen 5K in Buffalo was the first race I had
ever run. One year later, I have run 10 (5k to 5mile) races and 3
Half-Marathons. By the end of the year, I will be qualified to run the
2012 NYC Marathon!

On that note, I do need to get down to some business.

The WNY Susan G Komen 5k for Breast Cancer will always have a special
place close to my heart (pun intended) for many reasons, but most of
all because so many of the women in my family have been killed by this
disease and if we can just get you guys to donate $10 each, we can
exceed our goal!

Chances are, you've spent $10 on:

*A soda pop from a movie theatre and although the cup may be as big as
your torso, you will spend half the night in the bathroom line,
thereby missing the movie you paid to see and wasting the $13 you
spent on the ticket. Donating $10 will actually save you money!
*Your ever-growing fund to purchase those Broadway tickets for
Spiderman. Save your money because the next stunt man face-plant into
the audience will be free on youtube.
*A framed and autographed copy of THE Anthony "Weiner"
*A honey badger, because he don't care (SEE:
* A year's subscription to Canadian Curling Digest.
*A  hipster-approved beer, formerly considered worthless white trash
piss water, but now considered "cool" in any bar off the first 3 or 4
stops on the MTA into Brooklyn.
*An iTunes season pass for The Real Housewives of Sheboygan.

Ok. Ok. I admit that I made that last one up, but really, can I be that far off?

Seriously, we really need your help! This is a cause that is very
important to our team. My Nana passed away from breast cancer in 1996
and sadly, the chances are staggering that more women in my family
will be diagnosed with the disease including my mom, my aunts, my
cousins and even my niece and myself. We need to conquer breast cancer
before it conquers more of us!

On a sidenote, I would like to take this opportunity to give a great
big THANK YOU to all my friends and family who have supported me and
cheered me on through Facebook and Twitter and in real life! Your
presense in my life means more to me than you could know.

Christina aka Trixie

Donate here:
Lucky Duckys Team Page

If you cannot donate, come on out and join our team! We're looking for more members and right under our names on our team page, you can see a "join team" link. You can walk the 1 mile "Family fun walk" or join me and Mikey for the 5k and walk, run, skip to your loo...whatever you wish.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"A magic far beyond all we do here!"

I decided last week that I really needed to update my running playlist because I was really dragging on my runs.

When I was able to run outside, I liked to listen to something, but I wasn't as picky about it. I could listen to podcasts or audiobooks, my favorite being the Harry Potter series, of course. I once listened to Judy Blume's Blubber and became nostalgic for a couple hours, because I had enough visual stimuli to keep me occupied.

Unfortunately, with this crummy weather, I've been forced onto a dreadmill at the gym. Even more annoying, the ridiculous amount of money we spend on our membership at NYHRC apparently does not include working ipod connections, so I can't watch my usual Golden Girls episodes or fun Disney Films. I'm usually forced to listen to music, in an attempt to distract myself.

I found that I'm far more open-minded when it comes to running music. I really just need a good beat. Bands and singers (see: Avril "I try too hard" Lavigne and Gwen "I use japanese women as accessories" Stefani) that I wouldn't necessarily listen to on a normal day, have made prime spots in my running playlist.

In fact, now that I've heard some of these songs several times and figured out what they are actually saying, I'm pretty disturbed. This, however, does not mean they are no longer on my playlist.

So here is one of my most recent ones. I just switched a couple things around, but it's pretty much what I ran to during the Gridiron race today:

As you can see, I have varied tastes in music and I really have no shame. It goes from Andrew Lloyd Webber to Lords of the Underground, to Depeche Mode, to Lady GaGa, to the Beatles and Weird Al Yankovic....etc etc etc

Btw, you will notice a band called Reign of Kindo on there and if you are unfamiliar, it's my cousin Joe's band and they're awesome! They have a jazzy rock thing going on. Check them out!

Anyway, I would LOVE to see what's on your workout playlist, so don't be shy! I am always looking to add something new to mine.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forgive me, for I have sinned...

The majority of us struggling with our weight do not have underlying physical issues causing problems. The bottom line is really not about an empty belly, but about an empty heart or an over-flowing brain. Sad, but true.

For me, it's mostly anxiety-induced. I eat when I'm anxious. Part of it is because I use it as a way to try to force myself to relax when there's an overwhelming task, like "I'll sit down, have a couple cookies and come up with a plan of attack". The problem comes when instead of taking those moments to make lists or charts to deal with my task, I attack the cookies instead...with my mouth.

Some people believe that's a way to "shove down" your feelings. That may be, but at that point, I have no conscious thoughts other than "nummy". Sometimes I even do a full blown happy dance when I'm really enjoying my indulgences, but that's another post in itself.

Regardless of my emotional state, I decided a while back to still make tracking my food a priority and thanks to technological advances like having WW eTools on my iPhone (or one of many other apps at this point), it's super-easy. I tell members almost every day that having the app on my phone played an integral part in my success. It needed to be quick and easy or I wasn't going to do it. Now, I can't imagine NOT doing it. Sometimes it feels like a badge of honor, almost like a, "Oh! Look! I hit all my good health guidelines" and other times it is more like a, "Whoa. I ate half my points in malomars today. No wonder I want a nap." Either way, I am honest. I own up to my choices, good and bad and then, when I face the scale each Friday, I have some idea of the result I will see. I will admit that it's not always an immediate result, but it usually shows up by the following week, one way or another.

Now, when i looked myself up in the WW database recently, I had joined at least 4 times and that's not counting the previous 4 or 5 times before they had computer systems in the centers. The first time was actually in the early 1990's when they sold meal plans!

Each time I joined, I ate smaller portions than I normally would have eaten and I walked on a treadmill for exercise. I generally lost around 30lbs before I hit a "plateau" and quit.  What was the real difference this time? I tracked. Not in my head because as much as I thought I was remembering items I ate, I really was not. I never added up the BLTs (bites, licks & tastes) and as a certified snacker, I now realize that I could easily eat 10-20pts a day in just nibbles of things. No wonder I couldn't continue losing weight!

Anyway, once I owned up to my ACTUAL eating habits, I knew what to expect at the scale. When I was particularly off track and over my points in a week, I viewed stepping on the scale in a new way this time as well. I saw it more like wiping the slate clean. I made some choices that I'm owning up to and now it's time to move on.

Was it my Catholic upbringing? Almost like penance? "Repent thy sins!"


Was it that, as one member in my meeting pointed out a while back, my weekly points reset, so when I woke up on Friday and headed into my meeting, I already had a fresh start? That probably helped too.

Either way, I think it's imperative that we all learn to forgive ourselves when we make choices we regret.

I have said this before, but not setting a timeline for hitting goal definitely helped with this. If I had a meal or day (or week etc) where I went a little overboard, I didn't flip out because I had some self-imposed pressure and now it derailed me and I can only eat celery for the next week to make that unreasonable number. By doing this, I would beat myself up, feel guilty aaaaand eat even more. Just a little counter-productive...

This time, moving along without obsessing over weights and dates, I was able to forgive myself and move on much more easily.

FTR, I also found that tracking helped me to focus on smaller goals because I  was concentrating on hitting daily and weekly numbers, instead of looking months ahead at an overwhelming and looming number.

So bottom line: when asked for a quick answer regarding weight loss advice, I always say:

Physically, tracking is imperative.

Emotionally, forgiveness. Would you allow someone to speak to your mother, best friend, dog (or other favorite being) the way you speak to yourself? Probably not, so cut it out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Too Content to Be Mediocre."

Knowing I'm a big Beatles fan (and John Lennon, in particular), my friend Bonz sent me this article talking about the publication of John Lennon's previously unseen letters.

While reading it, I remembered Mikey's, his cousins' and my visit to the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame about 10 yrs ago, when they had a whole John Lennon Exhibit. Yoko had donated a bunch of personal items, including report cards from elementary school.  Now, as I watched, most people just skimmed past the boards where they were posted, but I was way too nosy for that. I scanned every word I could get my eyeballs over. I found a couple pix online. See if you can read any of the remarks.

I couldn't find the actual note I was looking for, but I found one of my favorite quotes of all time by reading through these comments that day. You may have noticed that most of their remarks are pretty negative. It was from one of John's teachers, who wrote, "John is too content to be mediocre..." and she went on to talk about how he never worked to his potential etc.

It was an awesome reminder that:

1. Just because someone is a teacher, a mentor, an employer or even a parent, it doesn't mean they know everything. They can be wrong too. It's important not to let anyone else define you, particularly when their view is negative.

2. Just because someone is extraordinarily successful in one aspect, doesn't mean they succeeded at everything they ever tried. Everyone has their "niche" and it's imparative to always keep trying.

With all due respect to my other idol, Yoda (yes, I'm a big Star Wars geek as well), who said, "Do or do not. There is no try.", I disagree and think there can be both a "do" and a "try". Let's be honest: trying is often the most difficult part.  If you are lucky enough to then succeed in whatever you may have tried, combining them is really much more fulfilling (Thank you for that point, Melanie K).  If you don't find success, the fact that you even tried is a HUGE accomplishment on it's own and not to be discounted in any way. At least you won't have any regrets! 

That said, John Lennon has several songs that have really made an impact on my thinking, including the often referenced "Imagine" and one of my favorites, "Instant Karma". If you're unfamiliar with this song, but would like to hear it and see a couple John pix, I found this video on YouTube.

Anyway, bottom line: I think many of us beat ourselves up and waste time stressing about bs and not REALLY living or even trying to live.

Over the last few months of being in a fulfilling job that I actually enjoy for once in my life, I've spent a lot of time analyzing myself and wondering why I had previously been allowing myself to stay in a job where I was miserable and not being treated with the respect that a 6-year employee should have been given at that point. They completely changed my job and my environment, removed us from our boss whom we knew and loved, dumped 5+ more responsibilities on us, took away any privileges we had and all without any prior notice. When we complained and expressed our legitimate concerns, we were told, "If you don't like it, get out."  It was like being betrayed while already being in an abusive relationship. Between the actual job itself and the way I was being treated by my employers, I had become an emotional punching bag.

I had lost weight while working there and gotten healthy physically, but I was clearly still having self-esteem issues if I was willing to work in an environment where I was being treated that way. Of course, I had bills, but there was something else. There was something that made me think that I couldn't do any better.

Thankfully, I was very wrong and even more importantly, Mikey, my family, my friends (and yes, even my WW leader and group at times) let me know what they thought. They put up with my endless complaining and depression, trying to sort it all out and let me know they were there for me. I eventually found a job with Apple last summer, where I was respected and appreciated. I really only left the company because I was hired by Weight Watchers, where I could start to fulfill my goal of helping other people to realize that they are also worthy of health AND happiness!

So fwiw, please read through these lyrics and even if you're feeling unsure about yourself today, know that honestly, if you can read this, I can verify that you are better than that.

"Instant Karma"

Instant Karma's gonna get you, 
Gonna knock you right on the head, 
You better get yourself together, 
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead, 

What in the world you thinking of,  
Laughing in the face of love, 
What on earth you tryin' to do, 
It's up to you, yeah you.  

Instant Karma's gonna get you, 
Gonna look you right in the face, 
Better get yourself together darlin', 
Join the human race, 

How in the world you gonna see, 
Laughin' at fools like me, 
Who on earth d'you think you are, 
A super star, 
Well, right you are.  

Well we all shine on, 
Like the moon and the stars and the sun,  
Well we all shine on, 
Ev'ryone come on.  

Instant Karma's gonna get you, 
Gonna knock you off your feet, 
Better recognize your brothers, 
Ev'ryone you meet, 

Why in the world are we here, 
Surely not to live in pain and fear, 
Why on earth are you there, 
When you're ev'rywhere, 
Come and get your share.  

Well we all shine on, 
Like the moon and the stars and the sun,  
Yeah we all shine on, 
Come on and on and on on on, 
Yeah yeah, alright, uh huh, ah-.  

Well we all shine on, 
Like the moon and the stars and the sun,  
Yeah we all shine on, 
On and on and on on and on.  

Well we all shine on,  Like the moon and the stars and the sun.  
Well we all shine on,  Like the moon and the stars and the sun.  
Well we all shine on,  Like the moon and the stars and the sun.  
Yeah we all shine on, 
Like the moon and the stars and the sun. 


Monday, January 17, 2011

When you wish upon a star...

So I thought I'd "celebrate" my new blogging location with my biggest post ever. Relax, grab a cup of tea (or coffee or cocoa) and read:

My Disney Vacation and Half-Marathon Recap!

WARNING: Many links are being posted here, in an attempt to pimp out my previous posts as well. Although, my old blog and full site are still up (, technical difficulties have forced me to move over here and I essentially lost my previous comments from friends who responded. 

Now, as I have stated before here, on twitter and on fb, this was my first half-marathon, or "half-mary", as the kids say.

I went back and forth between splitting this into 2 posts, but decided against it.  If you'd prefer to skip past the vacation-y Disney World and Wizarding World of Harry Potter stuff, feel free to start reading where I wrote "HALF-MARATHON RECAP".

When I started running, I wanted to do it to reach my goal weight and raise money for breast cancer research, as I stated in my success story and then I elaborated in my running progression post.  I didn't have a distinct idea of what my ultimate running goal would be. Would I just keep doing it to stay in shape and do some 5k's for charity here and there or did I want to go further?

While cruising through my friend and former co-worker Mikey Trisket's facebook and reading all of his running and Disney posts over the last year or so, I became fixated on doing the Disney half-marathon. Having recently quit my lousy FT job to do a PT retail job with Apple at that point, I could not justify the expense. I felt way too selfish to even try to talk my husband Mikey into it. I went a little further into the story and my Disney fixation in Cost vs Value post. Basically, once I hit my goal weight, achieved Lifetime Status and then was hired by Weight Watchers, Mikey decided that I deserved a big reward. Is there anything better than going to Disney World and achieving even another goal AND being able to play at both Disney and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Not in my opinion.

We booked the trip through Orbitz and found a pretty sweet deal, staying at Pop Century, which may be the tackiest resort in Disney, but that is exactly why I LOVED it! There are ginormous bowling pins outside the entrance and every group of buildings is modeled after a different time period. We were booked in the 1970's and had disco music playing outside and random oversized toys we used to have when we were little, including this Big Wheel that I am pretending to run away from:

I am easily amused.

On Friday, Mikey and I ran the Buzz and Woody Best Friends 5k and we had a blast! It  takes you around Epcot and past all the countries. I really loved the view!

Now, of all the research and preparation I did re: the running, I did not realize 2 things:

1. The damn shuttle to the races picked us up at 4am for the 5k and 3am for the half! GAH!
2. The temperature at that time and during this time of year is not exactly what we had planned for, thinking Florida was far warmer than New York. It was in the low 30's and we did not bring proper attire.

Here we are bundled before the race:

and here is the adorable "medal" from the 5K:
I love how Mikey's holding it as if it's a fine jewel. HAHA!

After the 5k, we joined Mikey Trisket, his bf Wil and his sister Karen for a day at the WWoHP. Before ordering the tickets, I had asked around to a few friends I knew who had been to the park already. They told me that 2 days there would be ideal and that the lines are ridiculous. I did not fully understand this until we actually arrived there. 

When I first saw Hogwarts Castle in the distance, I became immediately psyched!

My first steps through Hogsmeade were really exciting...until I realized that the entire crowd packed into the tiny area were in one line or another.

Each ride had lines outside their designated space and even the shops had lines several hours long! Mikey Trisket called our experience waiting to ride the Forbidden Journey, "Harry Potter and the Never Ending Line" and he nailed it. We actually became so frustrated after spending over 20 minutes just trying to lock up our bags (after hours waiting in the damn line), that we ended up going through the "single-riders" line, just so we could finally get to the friggin ride.

I will say this though: I really enjoyed that ride! It was nothing like what I had expected.

While there that day, we had butterbeer, which is essentially cream soda with a frothy angelfood cake batter-flavored topping. It was tasty, but I wanted it to be more buttery, as if Paula Deen made it herself.

Mikey and I ended up going back to WWoHP a few days later and it was cold and rainy that day, so the crowds were much smaller and the wait times were much less. The wait was STILL around an hour long each and the Hippogriff ride was not running, so I'm still a little bitter about that. At least I did get into Ollivander's and a hazel wand "chose me".

Yes, I'm a geek and I have no shame.

Bottom line: Everything was so poorly designed and the crowd control was non-existant. It's as if they never planned for it to be that busy. I honestly think Disney would have done a way better job with this.

That said, I'd totally go back. HAHA!

Anyway, we left Universal relatively early because I was already falling asleep, having been exhausted from working so much the week before, waking up at 3am for the 5k and then literally running around.

I went to bed almost immediately, so I could actually make it to the shuttle for the half mary at 3am.


FTR, I am not a morning person. If you know me IRL, are a facebook friend or follow me on twitter, I make this abundantly clear. As much as I try to force myself to get up and accomplish things in the morning, I just cannot seem to do it. Knowing the shuttle was picking me up hours before the restaurant at Pop Century would open, I actually picked up 2 coffees in travel mugs before heading to bed.  I was NOT going to be improperly caffeinated that morning.

Thankfully, I also had the presence of mind to bundle like a crazy woman. I had a tank top, my Wonder Woman Underoos, a thermal top, running shirt my mom gave me, the official half-marathon shirt, a red mickey mouse sweatshirt, my Lose for Good sweatshirt, My Slytherin scarf, my owl hat and a pair of gloves. I felt a little like Ralphie's brother Randy from A Christmas Story:

"I can't put my arms down!"

At this point, I actually have to rely pretty heavily on my twitter and facebook feeds because I was so excited that a lot of it is a blur.

Our driver was hysterical and helped wake me up by making jokes and getting us to laugh a little about those huge turkey legs at the parks and how people eat them etc. Clearly, you had to be there...

Once we got to the Epcot parking lot, I started to see the crowds beginning to gather and was getting uber-psyched:

There was a DJ playing *usually* decent music, but I started to get annoyed:

While waiting for the action to start (and probably an attempt to block out that damn song), I began to feel a little emotional and excited and began replying to friends who wished me good luck, so they knew that I was thinking of them throughout this HUGE event in my life and I appreciated their words of encouragement:

They started making announcements and I thought we'd be going soon. I had been struggling to get a decent signal since we had arrived in the area (it was waaaay worse than even NYC) and I didn't have a lot of faith that I'd be able to communicate throughout the race:

Yeah...not so much...

The MC's spoke about a couple who had planned to attend the race together, but the husband was deployed, so he was running a half marathon overseas and was starting at the exact same time. The best part was when they had a video chat going and their toddler daughter was trying to talk to him.

Anyway, they started introducing random celebrities like Al Roker who were there and asked about 147 times, "Who is doing this Half-marathon for the first time?" I hooted and hollered every time. I'm a dork.

I was starting to feel properly bundled, unlike most people around me, which helped keep me in a decent mood. I am not nice when I am cold:

"extra bundled" was putting it lightly

more like 4 or 5 layers...

FINALLY, after 5:30, they started the wheelchair competitors and were playing actual Disney music, which was awesome, but made me even more antsy!

They started going through the corrals one by one and each batch had a big announcement and fireworks! 

I was in Corral E, so I still had some time to wait. It was after 6am when they finally "released" us (read from bottom up):

I know it may seem ridiculous, considering I was standing there in my running gear on a trip planned entirely around running this half-marathon, but I literally started tearing up when I had that "athlete" realization. I have never heard myself referred to as an "athlete" before. I had just accepted and started identifying myself as a runner, but "athlete" seems so much more intense. 

Perhaps it was the excitement, but before I even hit the 3 mile mark, I had started losing layers. So many of us had to do this, that the side of the road look as if it had snowed clothes. I was ok with losing most of the layers, but I was particularly sad about the 2 sweatshirts. The 1st to go was a red Disney sweatshirt I had just bought the night before and the other was my precious Lose for Good sweatshirt that had gone with me on every cold weather run. When I took it off, I gently draped it over a railing, hoping it would be able to still do some "networking".  I did find out later that Disney collects all the clothes and donates them, so at least I know my sweatshirt is again helping those in need. That definitely made me feel better!

I started looking for ways to help us pay off the trip.

Right around the 5 mile mark, We went past the Contemporary resort where Mikey Trisket was staying. He had told me the night before that he was coming out to cheer me on and had subscribed to the service to get texts on my progress. Luckily, I planned ahead and estimated where he would be and lingered around that side of the route because I actually saw him and his mom out there. I screamed and waved like a lunatic and continued on.

Soon, I started making real progress and i seriously started to freak out as I approached the Magic Kingdom and saw the castle:

The course literally takes you around and then through the castle and it's freakin AWESOME!

You can actually see me posting that very tweet in the background of some broad's pic:

This seriously cracks me up. I may have to buy it, along with:

Soon thereafter, I hit the halfway point and started to worry that it was going to be over too soon:

Along the way, there are characters that you can meet. I wasn't particularly interested in any, except for the penguin from Mary Poppins and mainly because the last time we were in Disney, my brother Jeff was stalked by someone in that costume at Epcot:

Mikey, Jeff and hid Penguin Stalker in November 2008
I couldn't resist snapping this picture and thankfully, she obliged and hammed it up a little:

I like to think she's blowing Jeff a kiss
After the Penguin, there wasn't much else to distract me while running along the road and I was struggling a little around the 11 mile mark because my left achilles was getting a little sore. There were bands and DJ's here and there along the entire route, but I really wish they had more entertainment at this point. There was literally nothing to see but road and trees, for the most part.

Thankfully, we started to swing back around to Epcot where I saw that 12 mile mark and the big sphere behind it:

I seriously cannot believe how awesome the view was:

You can actually see how ecstatic and badass I was feeling as we swung around Epcot:

Just as we were leaving Epcot, we hit the 13 mile mark and I was so psyched that I think my pace was doubled at this point:

Since there really was just parking lot ahead of me at this point and I had the finish line in my sight, I bolted before I started getting too choked up and couldn't run.

and I started to gush on Twitter, since Mikey was too far away:

I took off and accepted my medal for finishing the race:

So shiny!

I bolted over to the official race photo area and had my picture taken there:

Part of me thinks I should have taken off my shirt to reveal my Wonder Woman underoos, but it's probably best I don't reveal my secret identity...yet...

I really just wanted to see Mikey and get some free fruit! 

Contrary to the 5 fingers I am holding up out of indescribable excitement, I did not place 5th. Apparently, this picture has confused a few people. It's literally just sort of a virtual high-5 kind of wave of sorts. I didn't really put much thought into it, as I was clearly overwhelmed and over stimulated at this point. I'm just happy it wasn't anything obscene.

We promptly went back to Pop Century, where I had every intention of showering and heading straight out to roam around Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, once I got into the warm shower and the excitement wore off, I was ready for a nap. I called my parents to tell them I finished and my mom said some awesome things to me...or at least I think so because I was already half-conscious at that point and crashed as soon as I hung up.

For the record, I wore that medal the rest of our time in Disney. The employees and random strangers congratulated me and I soaked up every damn minute of it. Right now, it's hanging in our bedroom, but I'll be carrying it around in my bag for a while. It makes an even better anchor than my tattoo.

As for the rest of our trip, we ended up "stranded" in Disney because NYC was hit with another snow storm and jetblue cancelled our Tuesday flight and moved us to Thursday. Thankfully, we had travel insurance and Orbitz ended up being super helpful. Jetblue did set us up, despite a cranky customer service person on the phone. They actually responded to me on twitter and were awesome, which was great because we have always been big Jetblue supporters and that phone broad almost turned us off from the company completely.  Also, our concierge was able to wrangle us some cheap park tix for the extra days we were there. It was the best vacation ever!

Btw, check out my Before and After pix on this page----->

The Before was taken in the Epcot version of Mexico (or Mexico de la Epcot, if you will...) during our last trip to Disney World in 2008 and when we went to recreate it, they had remodeled the whole joint. I was a little disappointed until Mikey pointed out that it was appropriate, since I had also been "remodeled". Anyway, we had fun trying to show changes other than my physical appearance. We put fruit and water on the table instead of fast food wrappers, I'm wearing my roadid bracelet and obviously, my precious half-marathon medal. Unfortunately, the lighting and positioning of my left arm were a little wonky, otherwise you would see my anchor tattoo that I got once i reached goal:

So there you have it. My vacation AND half-marathon recap. Much longer and perhaps less witty than I'd like to post, but by far the most meaningful thing I have ever forced myself to write.

If you've made it this far, I owe you BIG TIME! How do you feel about a personalized construction paper award made with genuine crayola crayons? Act now while supplies last!