Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday Funday

What makes a Sunday awesome:

-Starting it off with a leisurely 2 hour brunch at Summerland Beach Cafe with friends.

-Moving on to a 3 hour session at East Beach, complete with a little bit of softball played with seaweed, swimming, and chocolate milkshakes from the Grill. The perfect breeze was blowing to keep the heat at bay.

-Going straight from the beach with wet bathing suits under our clothes and sand on our feet to a 4 hour-plus meal at Endless Summer Bar Cafe at the harbor...where we enjoy salmon tacos, salty popcorn sprinkled with lime juice, live music, about a half an hour of Myers Briggs discussion with a couple of my best friends- Casey & Christen- both ENFPs, and a cheery smart-ass server who knows some of my friends and therefore brings us an endless supply of margaritas. You know you're having a good time when you get somewhere before 4, don't leave til after 8, and don't think to look at your phone once to see the time or if someone else called.

What makes a Sunday interesting:

-Starting it off realizing I locked my car key in my car the night before, calling for Geico's trusty roadside assistance, and after the mechanic saves the day and opens my door and then takes off, I look and see that my car key wasn't actually in my coin purse that I'd left on the front seat, but in my overnight bag that I'd had with me all along and checked twice.

-After continually giving me crap for taking two hours to finish my first drink, a bit of banter back & forth, and later introducing himself by saying, "I should know your name since I've been flirting with you", the aforementioned server gives me a side hug goodbye and says quietly, "Sorry for giving you a hard time, I've actually developed a crush on you, I wish you didn't have to leave."
And what do I do before he ducks away to get to his next table? Laugh with surprise as I pull the tip of my straw fedora over my eyes...and then leave.

Future related post: Lines I Have Fallen For.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Addiction

I can't think about anything else.

I'm completely obsessed with the Olympics. I can't get enough. I've always loved the games, but I don't remember ever being as glued to them and as vigilant about what's on and when as I have been this Summer of '08. I have the tv schedule for my zip code printed out for the entire two weeks of events, and have everything I wanted to watch highlighted. How J is that. I've been racing home on my lunches to watch water polo and fencing. When I'm not by the tv I'm googling athlete interviews and the medal count and olympic blogs and opinion pages. I've had constant bags under my eyes as I can't help but stay up through the end of live coverage each night. And I'm already sad that the end is in sight.

-Just before I was going to fall asleep I caught the 4x100 men's swimming relay where Jason Lezak swam a superhuman lap to beat the French. I was watching alone, from my bed, and going nuts hollering at the tv and pumping my fists.
-Headquartering at Shane & Anna's, where we have been marveling at Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, staring in disbelief at the male gymnasts on the rings, cheering on Shawn and Nastia, and discussing our frustration with the underage Chinese gymnasts and questionable judging...
-Watching the 100 meter sprint with my dad and sister where Usain Bolt made 9.69 look like child's play. The same night also saw us cheering on Michael Phelp's 8th gold medal win. I knew he'd make it happen.
-Aaron Peirsol.

I think I've historically been more into the Winter games. But this year I've been so attached to the Olympic coverage that I've had the chance to more fully realize the wealth of interesting events the summer games contain, and I'm gaining more of an appreciation for the different types of athleticism each of these different sports take. Have you seen those ladies hurl the shotput? Astounding. Because of these past few days I'm totally inspired to be more focused before and during my soccer games, I've downloaded a new super sweet workout mix for my ipod to pump up my stair running, since it seems to work for Phelps before his races, and I've decided to commit to being a better swimmer. Because I'm sure if Aaron Peirsol saw how lousy I am it wouldn't work out between us.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

Two of my oldest and dearest friends have their 26th birthdays this week. Tara, I'm a bad friend and thought about your birthday in the days before, and forgot to give you good wishes the day of. Kristine, your card is in the mail but coming late. Typical.

Writing Kristine's card today I realized that I've been wishing these friends birthday wishes for so so long, since we were 15 turning 16 (Tara, maybe even before that!). In honor of these seasoned friendships, here are some choice moments from a decade ago as we were turning sixteen and shortly thereafter...If you would humor me with one of yours that would like totally be awesome.

*** Tara and I went to Japan and performed for their Prince and thousands of others in a handbell choir, along with a hundred other choirs from around the world. Yes, handbells. We were good. And we got to tour Japan and see Mount Fuji. Tara and I rang bells for all four years of high school. You should hear our CD. And yes, we've heard each and every way you can make fun of us.

Tara & I at a lookout point right by Mt. Fuji

***Kristine and another friend put together a surprise party for my 16th birthday. I have never been more surprised in my life. I mean I was shaking from the shock for the next hour. There were so many friends there despite it being a weeknight, and I had had no clue. I've hardly ever felt so special. I was given a surprise party for my 19th birthday too, but after my roommate left the guest list and location on my desk accidentally days before, along with other numerous obvious clues from indiscreet but lovely friends, there was unfortunately not a single element of surprise in that party. I put on a good act though. Anyhow, a day after my sixteenth birthday I had my first kiss. A sweet sixteen in every sense of the word.

Kristine & Lisa, the planners, and a still stunned me, who looked awkward in many of the first photos of the party as I took it all in.

***On New Years Eve Kristine and I were really frustrated with our boyfriends, who were also best friends. Once the boys took off we decided to have a sort of psychological cleansing ritual to get us back in a more positive mindset towards them. We, along with our friend Kelli who was dating the third leg of the trio of boys, wrote out a list of the things that our boyfriends did that annoyed us. Then, we went out to the backyard and took turns yelling to the moon a few of our frustrations. And then, we got a fire going and burned the lists of grievances. To get rid of the negative energy, obviously. And then we each wrote a list of things we liked about our boyfriends. By that point we had smiles on our faces. I laugh at this story, it's hilarious to me really, but maybe there was something to our dramatic teenage method of self-help. Did any of you do anything like this... anyone... no?

And there we are, the boyfriends and us at our prom. You know you love our gloves.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why 8 is great.

I have loved the number 8 since, well, I was 8.

My mom told me around that time how much she had loved being 8 years old. For some reason she remembered it being a particularly good year. I remember thinking that of course the same should be true for me, being her daughter and all. I was in third grade and then fourth during the time I was 8, and I really lived it up. I think that summer was the first time I ever went to summer camp. The first time a boy ever told me he liked me was also while I was 8... Jacob held his notebook up in front of his face while sitting across the table from me with his elementary school handwriting saying, "It is true. I like you." I was horribly embarrassed, of course, and even though I thought he was cute, I ignored him (some things never change, I suppose!). Besides, I really had my eye on the older brother of a friend in my neighborhood anyway, who was in sixth grade. Jacob eventually moved on to Bianca who was in a different class and wore very short jean skirts. I digress.

One time in Sunday School when I was 8 I brought up a serious concern with my teacher. I wanted to know what age we were going to be in heaven. I said that if I could choose, I would for sure choose to be 8, because I couldn't imagine having any more fun at any other age. To be younger was nonsense. If I were older, I'd be boring and have less energy. I would be laying out by the Heavenly pool instead of jumping in and playing Marco Polo. My teacher said something like, "I don't know that we'll be any age in heaven, I don't think it will matter there." But I knew better. If God knew what He was doing, He'd make me 8 again the second I got there.

I have worn the number 8 on my sports jerseys since I was allowed to choose, I think since I started high school. My current soccer team knows that I always grab that number, but once in awhile a new girl joins the team and beats me to the punch. I wear #18 rather forlornly and commit to beating her to the field the next weekend to reclaim my shirt.

Earlier this year I had wanted to plan a party or something for this greatest of dates, 08-08-08. Then I realized that today would be the first day of the Summer Olympics. You can hardly ask for more than that. I love the Olympics, and I can't tell you how many times growing up these games inspired me, my siblings, and friends to create our own versions. We were especially obsessed, as little girls are, with gymnastics and figure skating. I'm sorry to say that there's no video recording of our choreographed rollerskating routine to Phantom of the Opera music on our neighbor's smoothly paved driveway. We did triple axels and everything.

Anyway, today is a great day: it's Friday, it's very sunny out, we'll watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics tonight, and... my good friends and old neighbors Karen and Darren just welcomed their baby girl, Carly Skye, to the world this morning. Her birthday is 08-08-08. I'm jealous of her... but mostly just excited to meet her. I'm heading to the hospital this very minute to hold my very first newborn.

8 is great.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

what's in my head

Random thoughts while reading the following quotes from Olympic athletes...

"It's the Olympics. If you can't get up to swim in the morning, don't go."
- Swimmer Michael Phelps, on finals being scheduled for the morning, Beijing time.
(makes sense to me. hmm he's matter-of-fact, no nonsense, dedicated and successful. i bet he's an SJ.)

"It's very awkward and weird. I train six to eight hours a day to be the best athlete that I can be for my team and my country, and then people want to talk about my looks...I don't feel like a celebrity. I'm still just a little dork."
- Softball player Jennie Finch, on her off-field fame.
(okay, i can see how that's frustrating, but come on, you know what you're doing, Jennie... bleach blonde highlights and posing for the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated.)

"I would compare myself to those sprinters that do a lot of chest pumping or yelling, who are pretty intense or get pretty hyped. I would consider myself exactly like them, except I keep it all inside instead. I'm nervous before the race but I'm like a quiet hyped person. I don't really let it out or say explode until the gun is shot and that's when I really want to show all my excitement. But during the race, I kind of keep it all to myself."
- Sprinter Tyson Gay, on bottling his emotions until the start of a race.
(no doubt he's introverted. that he even uses the phrase 'keep it all to myself' outs him. outward expressions like chest pumping or yelling to express emotion or hype yourself up are totally more (but not exclusive to, of course) in the realm of extroverts... like that loud softball pitcher we played against in high school who grunted and yelled all the time.)

"I think with her own family she's competitive, everybody. Like if she was racing for an ice cream cone with a little kid, she'd probably push the kid out of the way."
- Beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, on her teammate Kerri Walsh.
(well i guess that's how you become a world champion. anna q, you acknowledge that you're super competitive, would you push a little kid out of the way if you were both racing towards a bowl of mac n cheese as big as your pool table?)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Page from the Past

Something reminded me today of an experience we had on Europe Semester, and I felt like putting down this excerpt (slightly expounded upon) from my email to friends and family describing it...

October 2003

The last day in Greece, by the way, can't go without mentioning...we traveled by bus from Athens out to Mycenae and Corinth. We stood right where Paul was judged by the council of Corinth, and we read some of his letters to the Corinthians from the New Testament there too. Where we were standing, upon these ruins of stone that have since comingled with grass and trees, ancient civilization played out; merchants sold, prisoners were sentenced, prostitutes persuaded, and children played. It was really too much to grasp. My name is Greek, and essentially was born of this place. Magnificent.

Then we went to this ancient amphitheatre in Epidaurus. As we hiked up through a landscape that was by far more green than any we had yet seen in Greece, we started to feel large drops of rain fall upon us. Once we reached the half-circle outdoor amphitheatre the drops had officially become a downpour. We had been traveling all day, and often confined to stand in one area as our guide shared detail after detail of these places we were visiting, and with the rain I believe came a sensation throughout the group that there was no more room for confinement and structure. Not many moments had passed until all of us had thrown concern for keeping dry to the wind, and were climbing up the marble steps, having left both our bags and our dumbfounded tour guide under a tree. Then there was thunder and lightening, and we just stood with hands outstretched, looking out over the forest, getting drenched, and laughing all the while. I believe I will remember this moment for all of my life.

Professor Vandermey began to read some pieces from the play Beowulf to us, standing in the center of the stage, rain pelting his glasses, but arms dramatically gesticulating and voice raised to compete with the thunder. He was determined not to let the rain keep him from taking full advantage of the opportunity to read aloud this ancient bit of literature that was likely performed in that amphitheatre so many centuries ago. And again, like so many times on this trip, my mind is doing backbends attempting to juxtapose the modern scene that we are creating in a setting so ancient, with so many scenes played out before us.