inside the asylum walls

So ID-10023154this conversation just happened. I can not make this shit up:

Coworker 1: Do you want to hear an awesome story?

Coworker 2: Sure

Coworker1 : So I was out walking my dog yesterday and I looked down and I thought “is that money?” And it was! It was a $5.00 bill.

Coworker 2: Wow! (with what I can only assume was fake enthusiasm)

Coworker 1: But then, I lost it. It fell out of my pocket.

Coworker 2: Oh. Bummer! (with even more fake enthusiasm)

Coworker1: But then I was in my back yard watering (note: it was 18 degrees out yesterday) and I found it again!

Coworker 2: Whoaaa! (not sincere at all)

everything is awesome

If you have worked in an office long enough and been forced to listen to the same people talk day in and day out, you begin to notice words and phrases they use over and over. My current cube mate, Thing 1, likes to annoy me with the over use of the word awesome! And yes, it has an exclamation point every god damn time.

Most days I try to ignore the fact that if everything is awesome, then really nothing is awesome. But today during an interaction with IT guy, I started tallying how many times she used the word.

IT guy had apparently produced some report for her, and she thought it was so awesome! that I think she may have peed herself. She called two other people on the phone to come share in the amazement of the report. The celebration lasted for 10 minutes and during this time she said awesome! 11 times, used the phrase “so cool” 6 times and told IT guy it was perfect twice.

Somewhere in the middle, she suggested they high five and a GROUP high five ensued. I’m not positive tell but I’m pretty sure IT guy was thinking what the f**k?

My last thought on the matter before I plugged back in and tuned out was this…if she gets that excited over a report produced by IT, her head must explode every time she has sex.

kansas city’s boys in blue

By now, regardless of where you live or what baseball team you support, you know the Kansas City Royals did NOT win the World Series. You also probably know the story they created while chasing the ever elusive title. And you can’t help assume how bone crushing the loss of game 7 was to Kansas City, only one run down a with a player standing on third base for the tying run. But what you don’t know if you don’t live in Kansas City, is how this team transformed a city.

For 29 years, Kansas City existed as a town who, when it comes to baseball, was a town who only “remembered when.” For the older generations, we remembered 29 years ago when we had players like George Brett and Brett Saberhagen who produced a World Series win. Those younger than me lived in a land where they had only heard stories about how great it was to live in a town with a winning baseball franchise.

But this year changed everything. I’m the first to admit that I’m not a baseball fan. I find the sport boring, and I understand very little about the rules and philosophies of the game. Then we approached the end of the season, and we were actually still in the chase. And the city started to get excited. So did I. And then the Wild Card game happened. And suddenly a nation sat up and took notice.

The story is great…the wins, the sweeps, the records, the firsts. But what was even greater was what winning and playing great baseball did to the city. The city turned blue…figuratively and literally. Kids who were never excited about baseball suddenly realized what it all meant to love the game. Families spent more time together on couches and at games supporting this scruffy team who knew how to generate runs and ultimately wins. Neighborhoods congregated in driveways for watch parties. Non-baseball watchers, like me, were introduced to a new way of playing that made me sit up and ask questions. Companies released workers to watch the final game of the series the Royals swept to advance to the World Series.

I spent October in my kitchen, with my husband cheering for plays and players I didn’t even know about a year ago. I rushed home from work to squeeze in runs before games. I discovered what it meant to love the game and the players. And what it meant to win and lose as a city.

The World Series brought the nation into Kansas City, a town of great people who welcomed all fans with open arms and showed everyone what it meant to be a native of Kansas City. Our players gave away tickets to fans and drinks to the partiers. The fans gave their October to the players.

We always believed the Boys in Blue could win it all. And even when they fell short, 90 feet away from possibly winning it all, it didn’t matter. We got to watch baseball. In October. We got to see our players win…a lot. We got to see what playing with heart meant. And a whole new generation of kids discovered what it means to love baseball.

So to all those out there who still believe it’s all about the win…come to Kansas City sometime. We know what’s its like to win AND lose (a lot). And in the end …it’s all about the heart of the game.

Thanks to the Kansas City Royals for making this non-baseball fan’s October a great one.

america’s lost boys

Confession of the week: I am a closet Bachelorette watcher.  I don’t watch The Bachelor. Way too many crazies full of estrogen and alcohol for me. And I don’t really even routinely watch The Bachelorette.  But as this recent season started, I made the mistake of checking out the first episode and now I am hooked.
This time around though, it wasn’t just the draw of watching a group of very nice looking men lounge around or, better yet, run around half clothed. While watching the first episode, I realized the show has been on long enough now that the men courting this woman are the age group that fascinates and confuses me. And the house is full of them.
They are a generation of men who desperately want to fall in love. Want to have a great job so they can take care of THE girl. Want to drive a nice car…have kids. Did I mention fall in love?  But yet, none of them can figure out how the hell to do any of this.
The men on the show…and some men I actually know in real life…flounder around trying to figure out how to make a living.  Many still live at home even after finding a job because the economy sucks and just because you have a job doesn’t mean you can afford a place to live. They also seem to think they deserve lots of nice things regardless of how hard they work. But they accumulate these things too fast only to lose them in the end.  And, if they are at all like the men on The Bachelorette, they cry…. a lot.  Over anything and everything.
The thing they seem to be the worst at though is dating. Which is sad because they seem so desperate to find love. And I think some of them would make really great boyfriends and ultimately husbands. But I listen to the guys I know of this generation talk about what I refer to as dating and half the time they don’t even know what to call it. I hear phrases like hanging out, talking, snuggling, hooking up and texting, and I don’t even know what the  hell any of that means. So I’m pretty sure they don’t either…which is part of the problem. What ever happened to taking a girl out on an actual date?  And making your intentions known somewhere along the line? How do they expect to get anywhere with girls if they don’t have a plan?
It doesn’t help that somewhere along the way, they all stopped talking to anyone face to face.  Hell, some of these guys actually meet a girl, fall in love and break up within 3 weeks all through just texting.
And while this new generation of men in salmon capris who wear scarves with their t-shirts and groom more than I do confuse the hell out of me, I genuinely feel bad for them. Somewhere along the way, society changed and the “American Dream” became unattainable by no fault of their own. And in the end, very few enjoy the path of college, great job, nice car, big house, wife and kids.
So they wind up on reality tv shows or living in mom and dad’s basement or working two jobs they hate all while trying to figure out what the hell their “American  Dream” is supposed to look like.
America has created a generation of lost boys, and I hope they one day find what and who they are looking for.

suck it cancer

IMAG1544-1It’s 2:00 pm on Saturday afternoon, and I am just rolling out of bed. I’m moving pretty slow and my feet feel like I have walked for days…on rocks. Last night was a friend’s Relay for Life event, and I spent the night walking the Lee’s Summit High School track to honor and support all those who are battling cancer, those who won their fights and most importantly, those who lost their battles.

Before my friend was diagnosed, the only people I had known with cancer were grandparents.  And for whatever reason, it’s easier to wrap your head around older people getting sick. I suspect it’s also because I’ve quietly accepted the fact that we will all die of cancer. But when my friend, who is only a few years older than me, told us she had been diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t even know how to process that information. Suddenly, instead of it being someone old or someone who knows someone who knows someone, it was someone just like me. And it brought cancer front and center.

I didn’t know what to expect last night but figured as a runner I had the legs and stamina to offer some solid time on the track. What I fell into was an emotional and inspirational night.

I met the 4 girls who are part of my friend’s blended family. Ranging in age from 9-17, I cannot imagine wrangling that much estrogen all at once.But they are beautiful, caring girls who were all out there for the long haul to support my friend.

I learned more than I ever thought I would about the world of Minecraft courtesy of my friend’s completely wacky, energy filled little boy. He took a break from his hours of solo dancing midfield to read Minecraft game strategy to me. His energy has been deemed ADHD, but I believe he will use that energy to do something great one day.

I got the chance to meet and walk with a woman my friend has known since grade school.  She has spent the past few years dealing with her own medical and health challenges but, despite her struggles, she was my walking partner for three miles and provided great company and fantastic conversation. I was also honored to walk the laps of silence with her as the luminaries were lit. Thanks for the three miles!

I walked lap after lap behind an elderly man making his way around the track with a cane. Him and his family moved at a snail’s pace whenever he took the track, but he was out there walking for someone. In the middle of one lap, as me and my friend rounded the track behind him, he literally stopped and got down with his bad ass as he passed the DJ.  I later had a conversation with him as I helped him at the coffee stand and discovered he walked with the cane due to a stroke. His goal is to be off the cane by the end of the year. That was enough for me drag myself out of my chair for yet another lap.

I experienced the full moon that night which just so happened to be Friday the 13th. According to the husband, that won’t happen again for another 50 some odd years. I got to see it, big and yellow on the horizon and then watch it move across the sky the entire night. It was like a spotlight shining down on us, and it was fantastic.

My favorite part of the evening was getting to witness my friend’s husband systematically (and quite stealthily) break down and pack up their two areas without anyone even realizing what he was doing. I turned around at one point and three tables were just gone. The next time I turned around all the chairs were missing. And I had been standing there the whole time. He’s so efficient he packed half of my stuff into their car before I could even realize he had picked my stuff up. The highlight was when he broke their tent down around sleeping children. It was awesome.

It was a beautiful night to spend outside, with some amazing people donating my time to a great cause. When all was said and done, I walked 6 & ¼ miles. And yes, I was tired and exhausted and sore for the rest of the weekend. But I still have the breath in me to go and do something like that and have never had to fight and recover from such a horrible disease. So a little sore is no skin off my back.

Thanks Traci for letting me share in the evening. You are a far stronger woman than I am, and I am honored to call you my friend. I will gladly give you miles any day, any year!

mother’s day – outside the box

Today was Mother’s Day and as most of you know, I’m not a mom. At this point in my life, I am very aware that this is an anomaly and it took me years to be okay with that. As much as this is an anomaly though, the weird thing is I have actually wound  up with lots of women in my close circle of family and friends who, due too varying reasons and circumstances, also do not have children. So by all conventional rules, none of us were deemed worthy of celebration on a day like today.

However, the interesting thing about this group of women I know, myself included, is that we have actually found ourselves involved in caring for and helping raise other people’s children. We help raise spouses grandchildren and accept a spouses already grown children. We have fostered kids with parents struggling to rebuild and helped sisters and nieces raise their kids.  And we spend time being a much needed arm of support for a newly adopted kiddo. Those of us who never wanted kids or couldn’t have kids of our own have actually found that we were needed in other kids and families lives.  And oddly enough discovered that this may be exactly what we were meant to do.
So while many of us spent today celebrating and honoring all the mothers we know, we never once thought twice about not being part of that celebration. But while you can’t call us mothers, we have all willingly taken on the struggles of those in great need of a mother figure, figured out ways to help these kids grow and overcome their struggles and learned to become the mother figure to kids not technically ours.
So to all those non-mothers out there…Happy Being a Mother to Others’ Kids Day!

brew to brew 2014 – we run because we can

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Us at the start, with our free beer

I spent last Sunday running in my second Brew to Brew relay run, and this year I recruited two of my favorite people to join our team.  This also wound up being my first organized run since I turned 40.  And I have to say, for a bunch of old people, we held our own.

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Mad  man #1 who held a 8:30 pace for 4.7 miles

I’ve run a lot of races at this point in my running career, but the Brew to Brew from The Boulevard Brewing Company in downtown Kansas City out to Free State Brewery in Lawrence, Kansas is one of my favorites.  I know I talk about what a great group runners are…but this run really does back up that statement.  This race is also a true testament that no matter what kind of runner you are, just getting out there and doing it is all that matters.

We were definitely a team of runners of many different levels, from the slow to my two ringers who crushed 8 minute miles, up hill no less.  But we all put our feet to the pavement and got each of our legs done whether it was 2.3 miles or almost 10 miles for our two female warriors who ran two legs each.  I told you we got at it.

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Mad man #2 who held a 8:30 pace for 3.2 miles, 2 of which were monster hills.

This year I ran a 4.7 mile leg which included the following:

  • 1 dead opossum

    Me after 4.7 miles
  • Briefly running along side some of the ladies run/walking all 44 miles on their own.  And trust me when I say it doesn’t take a super fit, lifelong athlete to get 44 miles done. It may have taken them 11 hours, but they finished.
  • Being passed by too many boys to remember.  But I did manage to pull off passing 7 people myself, one of which was a boy!
  • 1 really cool house that I think was completely abandoned and possibly haunted.
  • 1 cemetery
  • 1 house with some very Duck Dynasty action happening.
  • Climbing down a very steep embankment and getting in a boat to cross Stranger Creek and then climbing back up the other mud covered side.  Thanks to the water rescue unit of Leavenworth county for spending your Sunday getting us crazies to the other side.
  • A husband and good friend at my finish point.
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Our two crazy finishers. This was their second leg each.

I know running doesn’t make sense to a lot of people.  But I’ve got the bug.  And so do all those other runners that were out there Sunday.  We run because it makes us feel like we accomplish something.  It clears the lungs and the brain.  It makes us feel strong.  It makes us feel like we can do anything.  But I think most of all, we run because we can.


but first…let me take a selfie

For those of you who know me, you know social media plays a fairly substantial part in my life as I work in marketing and understand the importance it plays in my industry’s new landscape.  I am also a writer and social media and writing kind of go hand in hand.

But what you probably don’t know is that I struggle daily with what I personally think about social media and the role it plays in everyday life.

My latest struggle is with what is called the “selfie.”  As I scroll through Facebook posts and tweets and images on Instagram, I find the images I see the most of, by far, are these selfies.

  • There’s a girl from high school supposedly at a concert, but I only know this by the comment posted along with the image because the picture itself is of her and her friend’s face.
  • There’s someone I know at opening day of Royals baseball. Or at least I think so, because all I see are her and her friend’s face. She does have on a Royals hat…so I guess I’ll believe it.
  • Wait, there’s the neighbor on vacation in Mexico. I love pictures of Mexico. Oh bummer…instead its just a picture of her face at dinner, her face on the beach, her face in the hotel room.. God could there be more pictures of her face?

I don’t get it.  I don’t understand the fascination of taking picture after picture of your own likeness. And not even including enough of the surrounding landscape in the picture for us to actually verify you went anywhere other than your own living room.

Andy Warhol (one of my favorites and oddly enough a man fascinated with his own self image) once said in the future everyone would have their 15 minutes of fame. I’m convinced these selfies are fulfilling this prophecy. Society has produced an era of celebrity but only a few have the talent and drive and brains to be a celebrity because of something they have done or created. So those who can’t write or draw or create have found there own form of celebrity. Showing the world pictures of their faces over and over and over again.

I can’t help but think these people lead lives that are very much about themselves and no one else. And that makes me sad.  It makes me sad they pay to go to concerts or find an afternoon to attend a baseball game or are one of the lucky few on a beach somewhere and instead of seeing the beautiful around them, all they think about is how they can get the best picture of themselves.

Forty years from now they’ll realize as they were looking into their own camera all those years, life and people were passing them by.  And all they are left with is photo album upon photo album filled with images of their face with no evidence they ever saw or experienced anything.

a brave new world

Time to get back at it…

I was traveling for business and had just landed in Spokane, Washington when I saw the email. The company who laid me off over two years ago had let go another batch of employees.  It made my stomach hurt.  While it seems like forever ago since I was in that position, I can still remember exactly how it felt. Scared, confused and sad that a place I had devoted 7 years of my life to could so easily and quickly discard me.  It’s a bad place to be in and I know this new batch of unemployed have a big hill to climb looming in front of them.  I also know there is a piece of it that will stay with them forever. I am still bitter all these years later and, at this point, I don’t anticipate that feeling will ever dissipate.

But what I know now, and what most who haven’t ever been laid off don’t know, is that this is the new world of business we live in.  A new world where no one will even have the chance to work 30 years for a company because companies no longer keep anyone around that long.  Why would they when they can just bring in the next round of desperate workers for less money.  It’s a world of less workers working longer days for less.  Poor or no insurance.  No pensions.  Few raises.  No fun.

And the best part? This new world is producing a population of apathetic workers.  Trust me…if you work somewhere for 7 years, only to be thanked for all your hard work by being asked to leave…without even a chance to clean out your own desk…you’ll never devote yourself to a company again.  So now these companies have shot themselves in the foot.  They now employ workers who do just enough to get through the day before they go home.  There’s no devotion or hard working or staying late or coming in on weekends.  Why would you when in the end it gets you no where?

I imagine the too many hours to count spent flying from Kansas City to Spokane has been on  planes full of people, just like me.  People trying to do just enough to hold onto jobs, trying to make money where they can, trying to figure out how to navigate this landscape of work in America.  This new landscape where companies don’t give a rats ass about you. They are brand new college graduates looking for work wherever it’s available, salesmen trying to sell whatever they can, the unemployed looking for temporary work and the snowboarders and perpetual skiers just trying to make a few bucks between adventures. But what we all have in common is that we all know how to be brave in this weird new world.