Wednesday, October 30, 2013

this is for when you don't know what to write about

Some days I just don't got it.  I want to write about my weekend but I just can't find my flow.  I'll sit there for half an hour and come up with...

Saturday morning, I woke up.

I just can't get my groove.  But you know what they say: if you can't beat em', write in pretty fonts.  Or something like that.


Where I'm going with this: when I don't have something pretty to say, I make it look pretty with some cool fonts and bright pictures.  It's my groove when I don't have one.  And these babies, these are my jams:

That's all I got.  Get your hump day groove on!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Blog Reader Appreciation Day Part 2

I did this a couple of weeks ago and people seemed to like it.  Or maybe they just really liked those cats.  

Doesn't matter... point is, I decided to do it again. So no matter why you're here, hopefully you'll find your cup of tea.
Cheer up.  Your day can't be worse than these people's:

People Who are Having a Really Rough Day

Well, that's weird.  I don't have kids and maybe you shouldn't either:

27 Reasons Why Kids are Actually the Worst

And in the name of fall, pumpkin everything.

1. Cinnamon Raisin Pumpkin Bread via Taylor Made it Paleo
2. Salted Caramel Pumpkin Seeds via The Comfort of Cooking
3. Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Quinoa via Once Upon a Cutting Board

Here is what the experts say:

How Much does Mental Toughness Affect Race Times?

And here is what everyone else says:

8 Stages of Running a Marathon

I'm not sure why you came here but luckily, I've got you covered:

Ways to Get Scary Drunk on Halloween

DIY Halloween Jars

Funny and Creative Halloween Costumes

That's probably because you're the only one who throws a Thanksgiving party.  But for you lone overachiever out there, I've got you covered too:

21 Big-Batch Thanksgiving Cocktails

Let's start here: if you're thinking about painting a picture with your child's butt, put the baby down now; it's already been patented.

Seriously.  Last week at work I found a patent for a method of "painting with the posterior of an infant."  And you thought our government wasn't good at handling important issues...

This weekend, Chicago was the picture perfect fall scene for Halloween activities...

... so we spent it as I'm sure many did: Saturday evening started with sushi and fried rice at a Japanese steak house, continued on to a few O-bombs alongside the Little Mermaid and Batman, and ended with this:

On Sunday, we tried Rockit Bar and Grill's legendary brunch, which has been on my to-do list since the ladies at the Bloody Best introduced it in September.

Before I moved to Chicago, brunch was just a way to say "I'm eating Cheerios at noon because I slept in too late."  Now, brunching is a serious and professional hobby of mine... and Rockit certainly made it on the short list with its elaborate five dollar Bloody Mary bar (for me) and humungo omelettes (for Derrick).

We just spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the weather and being touristy in our own city.

And what a wonderful city Chicago is.

That's all I've got... no costumes, no pumpkins, just some fall weather and mid morning indulgence. Does this mean we're getting old?

Hope you have a spook-tacular week!
Anyone being anything good this for Halloween this year?

Also, linking up with Sami because even though I didn't get into any shenanigans, I did have a weekend.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

You can really measure a person's success by their blog.

For example, you know someone's "made it" when there's a FAQ tab on their site.  I mean, if people are not only asking questions but asking them frequently... you've gotta be pretty important.  In fact, right under "afford a full-sized ironing board" on my 30 before 30 list is "have a FAQ page on my blog."

The thing is, 30 is coming faster than I’d like so unless the ironing board market takes a turn soon, I need to start getting to work on other items on the list.  And based on Bed Bath and Beyond's latest shipment, I'm going to work on #2...

How far are you running today?
(This question is only really frequently asked by Derrick, and only so he can prepare himself for which degree of hangry Nikki will come home from work that night.)

It depends on why I’m running.  If I’m training for a marathon, anywhere between 7-20 miles.  If I’m training for a moderately sized butt, probably around 5.

Where did you get that shirt?
(Frequently asked by people who either like my style or don’t know what else to say to me.)

Target.  The answer is almost always Target.

What do you want as your side?
(Frequently asked by TGI Friday's waiters)

I would like a baked potato with sour cream on the side.  And if my potato comes back with 2 lbs of Land O’ Lakes on it, so help me God, Nikki will not be pleased.

What are you doing for dinner?
(Again, only frequently asked by Derrick.)

I’m eating a fried egg sandwich and microwave-in-the-bag Brussels sprouts for every dinner in the foreseeable future unless you make me something, we go out, or the going rate for in-house chefs decreases significantly (to nothing).

Do you want to donate a dollar to the Feed the Hungry, Needy Children/Puppies in the World Foundation or is your heart made of ice, tears, and giftless Christmases?
(Asked frequently by cashiers, almost always accompanied by a judgmental glance.)

No, thank you, unless there’s someone in line behind me.  Or you've got pictures of hungry children/puppies hanging up.

What do you do?
(Frequently asked by new acquaintances.  This is the real-world equivalent of the “so what’s your major?” question you ask the girl you’re awkwardly waiting in line with for the bathroom at a college party.)

I’m a patent prosecution paralegal.

How do you become a patent prosecution paralegal?
(Frequently asked by the people who actually care about the answer to the previous question.)

Well, I became one by responding to an online job listing.

(And to preemptively avoid twenty more confused questions on why someone with a biochemistry degree would look for paralegal jobs...)

I work at a firm whose clients often file chemical patents.

Would you like some money in appreciation for you exceptional written wit?
(Ok, no one has ever asked me that.  But the answer would be yes.)

Would you like something to drink?
(Asked every time we go out to eat.)

Yes, a Bloody Mary please.

That’s about it.

It feels really good getting that out of the way.  Now I am not only one step closer to becoming my ideal middle aged self, but I can also legitimately direct people to my FAQ page next time they want to know if I want a soup or salad.

Happy Friday!  Congratulations to us all; we've made it here once again.

Also, I'm linking up with Sarah yet again because I'm a fan of... myself?  Plus, I referenced football on Wednesday and that's gotta count for something.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

not everyone's going to think you're funny

We live in a strange, strange world.  I mean, the Browns are ahead of the Steelers in the AFC North and the Giants just got their first win... in Week 7.

We also live in an age when, thanks to the internet, more than 7,500 people can see your face on any given Saturday without you leaving your room.

I guess I should have considered that possibility when I started broadcasting my life over the world wide web.  But I didn't.  Or at least I didn't until  I went and put one of my blog posts about running on Reddit.  I don't know what I was expecting... An online version of a high-five?  A gold star?  A virtual "attagirl"?

What I know is that I wasn't expecting this...

And from that day forth, October 12 will be forever known as the day that, for however briefly, more than 7,000 people saw me checking to make sure I remembered deodorant.

At first I didn't realize that a lot of people had actually looked at my post.  But after checking Reddit a few hours after I posted it, I saw that there were almost 100 comments.  And to be honest, I got pretty nervous.  

What was I going to do if someone didn't like it?  I had only ever gotten positive feedback before, but most of it was from people I knew in real life.  I didn't know these people on Reddit and they didn't know me.

It brought me back to fifth grade when some boys once teased me about my pointy nose.  (I know, they had so much to work with...

... and they chose my nose.  Unimpressive.)  

I started to panic.  What if people start making fun of me?  What if they say mean things?  Oh god, what if they start talking about my nose?  Will I be able to handle it?

I didn't want to look at what they wrote but as a wise man once said, “A baby’s gotta do what a baby’s gotta do.”

But it turned out not to be so bad.  I mean, there were some rude comments, like this guy's:

But I was surprised to see that people shot right back at this grumpster.  And I was even more surprised to discover that reading a random, nasty comment didn't make me want to listen to Taking Back Sunday and look morosely out of windows like my fifth grade self would have done.

I mean, I would rather people keep quiet about the state of my “casual” but on the other hand, he doesn't know anything about me.  I know what kind of runner I am and that isn't going to change based on the comment of a stranger.  Hatas gonna hate.  Or something.

Then there was this guy who meant to be snarky but actually came up with a pretty good idea.  How’s that for irony?

But not everyone took offense to my tongue-in-cheek.  Some people liked what I had to say, and were quite nice:

Others even expanded on the joke:

And then there was this guy who mostly missed the point, but was nice anyway:

And then we had this guy who didn't have anything relevant to add but just really had to get this off his chest:

In the end, though, in addition to sparking some heated debate on blackened toenails, that afternoon opened my eyes to the potential that blogging holds.  I couldn't talk to 7,000+ people in a day if I tried (at least not without bathroom breaks) but thanks to my blog, now literally thousands of people were exposed to a bit of my sarcastic mind.

It was also a reality check; if I’m going to put myself out there, I need to accept that everyone isn’t going to like it.  But I guess that’s the same as with anything; if you want to do something worth doing, you have to learn how to deal with the critics.  Because they’ll eat you alive if you don’t.

So what’s the point of this whole post?  Well, I guess it’s my long way of saying that if you like who you are and what you’re doing, own it... regardless of the people who disagree.  (Unless you’re Ben Roethlisberger and you like being a huge creep and even worse, a Steeler.  Then don’t.)

And also, I really wanted to post this picture but couldn't do that without a bunch of words to put in front of it.

Happy Hump Day!  I hope it's filled with good tea, long lunch breaks, and none of those damn audible exhalers.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

dear unsung heroes of the marathon

Marathon runners get a lot of recognition for what they do.  Maybe even too much when you consider that all we’re really doing is training our body so that we can run to the point where it literally starts eating itself.

Don’t get me wrong: as someone who has experienced this entirely self-inflicted self-destruction, I know that it’s no walk in the park.  It takes work.  But I also know that behind every marathon runner is a significant other/parent/friend holding things together when we’re on the verge of meltdown because we can’t find our left sock.

These people are the true heroes of the marathon because without them, we would have self destructed long before our muscles got the chance to do it at mile 20.  So I want to thank you, unsung heroes of the marathon, for letting us destroy ourselves on our own terms.

Dear every significant other/parent/friend of a marathoner,

Thank you for listening to our months of training madness but thank you especially for those final two days before our race.  It takes a level head and a lot of practice to keep your cool as we pace the apartment in near tears because we’re out of dish soap.  Just know that it’s just the taper talking.

Thank you for remaining calm when a minor hitch in plans sends us into crisis mode.  If you weren't able to hold things together when the rental car place runs out of cars, causing us to leave an hour and a half later than expected, we would undoubtedly combust… or at very least, go bald:

Thank you for keeping high spirits as we spend the subsequent two hours glaring meaningfully out the window with our earphones blasting Linkin Park.

Thank you for embracing our roller coaster of emotions that rises and falls with the weather conditions.  A lot of people might resist our goofy “we made it in time for the expo” selfies just as the rain finally stops, but not you.

Thank you for waking up before the sun rises so that you can drive us to the race.  We need that extra thirty minutes to really focus on the details of our “List of Things that Can Go Wrong.”

Thank you for being the most active and dedicated fans on the planet, racing the clock to make it to every viewing point and (don’t kill me, Derrick) even peeing in bottles in the back seats of cars so as to not waste precious viewing time.  And you do it all with our Canon cameras in hand.  Without you, we’d never know what we look like mid-race, or at least without a huge “PROOF” stamped on our torsos.

Thank you for disregarding all race organizers’ directions, sprinting to the finish line when you realize that we’re struggling and thank you for holding us as we sob that we pulled our hamstring at mile 26.  Thank you for not pointing out that we’re acting like the leg is to set to be amputated and instead forcefully ordering the closest race volunteer to bring us some ice, stat.

Thank you for keeping quiet as we tell ourselves to “man up” and pull it together enough to call our anxious mothers.  You could have told us to man up back as we limped dramatically through the bagel line but you didn't, marathon fans, you didn't.

Thank you, most of all, just for dealing with the insanity that surrounds anyone who’s willing to run for 3 hours and 6 minutes without a bathroom break.  We might be the ones peeing our pants but you, marathon fans, are the ones waiting with a dry pair at the finish line.

You truly are the unsung heroes of the marathon and for that, we thank you.


all of us nuts who will be hobbling around for the next 2 weeks

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