100 Reasons Why My Mom is Awesome

It’s been a tough week. My mom is in the hospital and that’s never easy. I hate it when she isn’t well. So this week, in her honor I put together 100 reasons of why my mom is awesome because my mom is truly the best. I love you mom!

  1. She always puts other first.
  2. She makes amazing pancakes.
  3. She sends me mail because simply because she knows I love it.
  4. When I started college she sent me a letter every week so I would always have mail.
  5. She always knows how to make me smile.
  6. Her laugh is fantastic.
  7. She never complains.
  8. She learned to make jewelry to be a camp chaperone so my sister and I could go.
  9. She used to leave her van at teh high school for me and walk  home so I could drive home from practice.
  10. She let us use her clothes for Halloween costumes.
  11. She made the best Halloween costumes.
  12. She made me breakfast me every morning when I was a kid and still does when I’m home.
  13. She sends killer care packages.
  14. She packed my lunch every day when I was in school and continued to when I was working summers in college even though I told her I could do it.
  15. She took my sister and I to every event imaginable when we were growing up.
  16. She always let us brings friends along and host sleepovers.
  17. She learned to text because it was cheaper on the Tracfones we owned.
  18. She’s the best listener I know.
  19. She once jumped into a dumpster and searched through it when someone stole my wallet.
  20. When I was in college she regularly drove at least an hour to watch me run for two minutes or less.
  21. If I forgot anything in High School I could count on her bringing it to me.
  22. She used to pick me up for lunch once a week when I did want to stay at school.
  23. In grade school she would occasionally bring us fast food as a treat.
  24. She is the queen of gift giving.
  25.  Because of her I have and will have so many photos of my life to show my kids and cherish the memories.
  26. She leaves the best voicemails.
  27.  She will make whatever cake I want for my birthday, even if that means two cakes since my sister has the same birthday.
  28.  She taught me how to sew.
  29.  She knows how to make me laugh even when I’m at my lowest.
  30.  She always has my back.
  31.  She took over as Pioneer leader so the program wouldn’t have to end.
  32.  She is the best role model anyone could ask for.
  33.  She always understands.
  34.  She once shoveled show with a broken arm…for two weeks.
  35.  She’s one of the strongest women I’ve ever known.
  36.  She has a never-ending store of support for me.
  37.  She let us use her old clothes for dress up.
  38. She’s always there for me when I am sick. Even it it’s just to tell me to feel better over the phone.
  39. She always lets me ask dumb questions.
  40. She shares good books and authors with me.
  41. She has good taste in TV shows.
  42. She sends cards for every holiday.
  43. She makes everything look easy.
  44.  She never gives up.
  45.  She can always find something that I’ve lost. Even when I’ve been looking for hours.
  46. Just hearing her voice can make me feel better.
  47. She shares my love for Disney.
  48. She has a very green thumb.
  49.  She is a dog whisperer.
  50.  She is my #1 fan.
  51.  She taught me to be grateful for what I have.
  52.  She introduced me to all the good older movies.
  53.  She used to have a Camaro and a motorcycle…..she was clearly a badass.
  54.  She is the queen of bargain shopping. I can stand back and watch in awe.
  55.  She taught me how to plan ahead.
  56.  She taught me how to be prepared.
  57.  She never let me win when I was a kid.
  58.  One time she threw herself in front of me so I would puke on her and not on the new white carpet at her friends’ house.
  59.  She can type at a superhuman speed.
  60.  She the first person I call with good news or bad news.
  61.  She has the patience of a saint.
  62.  She taught me how to roller skate.
  63.  She makes the best cookies.
  64.  She once walked closed to a mile on a hip that needed replacing to watch my sister and I finish a half marathon.
  65.  She has the highest pain tolerance I’ve ever seen.
  66.  She spoils my dog when she watches him.
  67.  She always makes my favorite food when I visit.
  68.  My birthday is six days before Christmas and she always makes sure it feel like a birthday and not like Christmas is swallowing it.
  69.  She used to filling our stockings randomly throughout the year just for fun.
  70.  She once went into Spencer’s for me to buy penis pops for a gag gift I was giving.
  71.  She used to help me clean my room when I was little and by “help” I mean sometimes she cleaned it for me.
  72.  She almost never yelled.
  73.  She is crazy good at math.
  74.  She has a fantastic sense of style.
  75.  She used to run our hot lunches out of the church basement.
  76.  She is the most independent person I know.
  77.  She does a pretty great Donald Duck impression.
  78.  She taught me how to be resourceful.
  79. She always made sure we ate together as family.
  80. She let us have celebrate our half birthdays with our friends inside of our real birthdays so we could do summer activities.
  81.  She’s my best friend.
  82. When we had tea parties she made us bite sized food and refilled our teapot over and over again.
  83. She regularly made Koolaid for me to drink when I was growing up and she still does.
  84.  She dealt with my sister and I in the morning for years and we are NOT morning people.
  85.  She compliments me all the time.
  86.  She let me hard behind her shoulder during scary movies.
  87.  She taught me how to make a quilt.
  88.  I’ve never seen her wear more than mascara and she’s beautiful.
  89.  She has pretty much looked the same as she did when she was 18 her whole life.
  90.  She always proofread any paper I wrote for school and caught all the errors.
  91. She taught me the power of thank you.
  92.  She makes sure everything is fair between my sister and I.
  93.  She feeds my sock collection.
  94. She taught me how to be smart with money.
  95. She taught me my love for board games.
  96. She always shares her wine.
  97. She always wears two braids, people know her for it.
  98. She bikes everywhere, people know her for that too.
  99.  She’s simply the best.
  100. She would move heaven and earth for me.

Is There an Age Limit on Halloween?

Halloween is easily my favorite holiday and not because of all the delicious candy. I love dressing up and carving pumpkins and dressing up again. This year, not for the first time, I was asked if I was too old for Halloween.

No. The answer is no. When I was a kid a large part of the reason I loved Halloween was the candy, but it was more than that. It was being given a day to dress however I wanted and no one would stare. It was a day to show the world what characters mean something to me.

Now it means more. Now I associate Halloween, not only with the opportunity to dress goofy and not be gawked at, but also as time to spend with my friends. I think of it as a time to appreciate the creativity of the people around me because as an adult you can take your costume to another level, throwback to your childhood and just be goofy.

For first time ever I handed out candy to trick or treaters and it added yet another layer to the fantastic holiday. This year I got to be the reason kids walked away smiling. I got to be the person who put that happy feeling in the stomach of trick or treaters when I complimented their costumes. I got to enjoy the costumes kids came up with.

This year I was the Rainbow Fish. The costume wasn’t topnotch, but it was the best I could create. I got to wear metallic fish leggings without a single stare. It was fantastic. On Halloween I dressed as Wonder Woman when I handed out candy. Again, it was wonderful. In my opinion Halloween is ageless. It mean more than candy and it always will.

Thanks for reading!

Eight FAQs Young Adults Receive and their Honest Answers

Alight. I have been up most of the night with a puppy constantly needing to go out. I am most definitely in a no nonsense mood. It’s to the point where I am biting my tongue most of the time to avoid saying something too honest.

But don’t you wish you could answer every question with brutal honesty? I’m not saying you can’t. But if you do, you may step on a few toes and hurt a few feelings along the way. Take, for example, the curious aunt on holidays. Wouldn’t it be great to tell her like it is instead of politely answering her questions? Well, let’s pretend you can. I put together a short list of those frequently asked questions and their honest answers. Enjoy!

Q: How have you been?

A:  Overtired, wishing I was a better cook, and I’m super overwhelmed by all my bills, rent and loans. How have you been?

Q: What do you plan on doing with your degree?

A: Honestly, something that will help pay off my loans and it would be fantastic if I enjoyed it.

Q: Do you like your job?

A: Do you think I would tell you if I didn’t?

Q: When are you getting married?

A: When we can afford it. So probably never.

Q: Don’t you live together though?

A: Yes, because if we were to pay for two separate apartments we would never be able to afford anything.

Q: Have you gained some weight?

A: Yes, but quite frankly do you know anyone who stayed the same size they were in high school? They’re called hips my friend.

Q: Have you heard how successful so and so is?

A: What you really mean to say is I’m not that successful, right? Thanks, that makes me feel great.

Q: Have you thought about having children?

A: Yes, and then I remember how hard it is to afford to pay for me to be alive. Not to mention, I would like to be married and have a better handle on my responsibilities first. So yeah, usually I ignore that thought.

Wow, that felt great. It was almost like some sort of strange therapy thing for my exhausted, grumpy brain. Here’s to figuring things out little by little. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

How not to #adult in Door County

I’m compelled to write this blog post as an “in addition to” piece posted a few weeks ago on OnMilwaukee.com entitled “#Adulting our way through Door County” by Andy Tarnoff. Thanks Andy for showing me the ways of Door County for when I officially become an adult.  Your article is fantastic, find it here.

I want to write about a few Door County options for those of us who haven’t quite made it yet.  Maybe we will join you in the ranks of parenthood, owning homes, paying MORE bills, but until then our paychecks simply don’t allow us to fully #adult. And personally, I’m OK with that.

For a glorious and beautiful summer I worked at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek.   Perks included living in the park and limitless hiking out of my back door. The not so great part: the job didn’t pay an #adult salary. Above minimum wage but also not quite enough to be rolling in dough while paying the tourist tax on everything in Door County and trying to start on those student loans.  As a group of relatively young college students/recent grads, we found ourselves making our own kind of fun.

So here are a few things to check out in Door County if you are not quite yet #adulting or just don’t have a bunch of disposable income. 

During the Day:

Hike at the state parks or county parks

Buy an annual state park pass! Or a daily, but really think about that annual and support our parks. It gives you access to all state parks and forest areas, all year – it’s the most economical option. Check out Peninsula, Potawatomi, Whitefish Sand Dunes, or Newport State Parks. The county parks are great too, specifically Cave Point. You could spend the whole weekend outside hiking if you wanted to.

Looking for a specific hiking suggestion? Eagle Trail in Peninsula State Park is my personal favorite, it is rated as difficult but it is so worth it. Don’t bring the actual adults in your life with terrible knees… that’s all. That’s a lie my mom did it. Bring the people with a little bit of grit in your life. The towering rock bluffs are awe-inspiring.

8.16.15 102

EAT ALL THE ICE CREAM

Ice cream is the best food of all time and cost about the same as a craft beer. Check out Door County Ice Cream Factory, the classic and delicious Wilson’s, or Dairy View Country Store.

Pro tip: If you have a large group and are choosing to get ice cream at Dairy View Country Store buy a half-gallon, ask for 8 spoons. They got pissed at us and charged us 2 dollars for plastic spoons…….. Yup. We each pitched in a $1 and split our half-gallon versus each paying $5 per scoop. Who said millennials weren’t smart with their money? 

Screenshot 2017-10-22 at 4.04.15 PM

Also feel free to make a late night ice cream run after a few beers. You have no reason not to, you’re not an adult yet.

Screenshot 2017-10-22 at 4.05.02 PMThis is my birthday night- trying to convince everyone we should get the cornucopia which is enough ice cream for 12 people. We would have got our picture on the wall! 

Look at the goats on the roof of Al Johnson’s

Just look at them! You can go in and eat, it’s delicious but a little overpriced but the wait time is high and you don’t even get to hear the goats hoof-ing around up there. I would say spend your time doing other things that don’t cost as much. The coolest part is definitely the goats on the roof which you can see from… outside at the new outdoor beer garden. 

Free wine samples all over

Don’t waste money on alcohol during the day. Search out free wine samples, buy a bottle to split around the campfire later.  Since you are not an adult yet, buy the cheapest/biggest/highest alcohol content bottle. Don’t be concerned about finding the highest quality wine just yet, it all tastes the same after a few coffee cups full… because who remembers wine glasses camping?

At Night:

The Red Putter

The Red Putter is a homemade, wonky mini golf course that is perfection. Complete with moving parts (sometimes they are human powered, swinging log I’m looking at you). This mini golf course is the best. Go late when there aren’t tons of families and bring your own adult beverages (alright I guess we are adult enough for that). I’m not exactly sure if this is technically allowed but we heard it from a co-worker and we didn’t get yelled at so choose your own adventure. 18 holes of pure fun especially when you’re in a few beers.

AC Tap

Good and cheap freakin’ wings, good freakin’ people. Booze for days. Wander off the main drags a little and you will be rewarded with cheaper drinks and a solid townie feel.

Screenshot 2017-10-22 at 4.05.28 PMSpotted in their natural habitat, a bunch of not quite adults at AC Tap.

Door County Brewing Company

This brewing company not only has some really awesome brews, but they also book a great variety of  music you aren’t able to see anywhere else on the peninsula.  From bluegrass to jazz to latin or Cajun inspired tunes – you can catch it all here. They also recently opened up a new location that is the right amount of rustic and a little tiny bit hipster -there’s a deer head with a flower crown and a food truck.  #keepwisconsinbeerd

Have a campfire at your campsite

Pick a campsite, any campsite! They are way cheaper than any hotel you will find. Consider #adulting for a tiny bit and make an advanced reservation. Or don’t and see if you’re lucky but also expect you might have to turn around and head home at the end of the day.

Campfires are the perfect end after a long day spent #notadulting. Crack open that bottle of wine, get a little irresponsibly drunk, hang with friends and talk about how someday you will be an adult. Or don’t. Laugh at how lucky you are you didn’t break anything at the expensive art gallery you accidentally walked into after a few too many free wine samples.

Look up at the sky, you might catch the northern lights. We did. Sit back and drink it all in just like the bottle in your #notadult hand.

 

Tomorrow is a Brand New Day

I am suffering from a serious case of writers block and self doubt today. So instead of a blog post I have written a poem for you. It’s darker than I intended but I hope you like it!

Tomorrow is a Brand New Day

My thoughts swirl like a vat of misdirection,
bubbling and festering with clouds of exhaustion.
Jolts of anxiety and terror bombarde me
creating a toxic, twisting concoction.

Hopelessness builds around me,
negativity overwhelms me until it is all I see
I gasp, beginning to sputter and choke
and then, suddenly, I’m free.

My breath returns and air reaches my lungs
and the fog around my brain begins to dissipate.
Relief floods in and I feel peace settle in
as the balloon of anxiety starts to deflate.

A smile plays across my lips
and I know it’s going to be okay.
Life can knock you down, but
tomorrow is brand new day.

Tips for Brand New Cooks

Now, let me start by saying I am no Martha Stewart. I’m far from it. There are a few recipes I can rock every time, but there are also a lot of recipes I have messed up and will never try to make again. I’m working on it though. Baby steps. If this sounds familiar here are some, obvious I admit, tips to help you become a better cook.

Do not buy “easy” meals.
If you buy pizza rolls, hot pockets and simple, easy meals, you will make those simple, easy meals. Don’t do it! You are setting yourself up for failure. If those options aren’t available them you cannot utilize them. Be a winner!

Do not buy fast food.
There is almost always a better option than fast food. Yes, is is easier than cooking yourself. However, it is considerably harder on your health, waistline and wallet. The easiest road is not always the best choice.

Do not forget to thaw necessary ingredients.
There is nothing more frustrating than when you plan to make tacos and the meat is still frozen. This is a place where you want that easy road. Do not give yourself an excuse not to make what you planned.

Do not forget to buy necessary ingredients. 
Work smarter, not harder. Have all the ingredients. Don’t make yourself stop mid-recipe to purchase an ingredient you forgot. Don’t throw off your groove!

Do not forget it’s okay to eat leftovers. 
Leftovers are like fast food, except from your own kitchen! Win!

If you are already a good cook. You probably stopped reading already and that’s okay. If you’re like me and you are still figuring things out I hope these tips helped. Good luck to you in all your cooking endeavors!

Five lessons I have learned since joining roller derby

Well, it’s official. As of yesterday I have been skating for one year. I just celebrated my first derbyversary. Wow. It is hard for me to believe I have already been skating for that long! I still feel like a brand new skater, however, the calendar says otherwise.

It has been a fast year, but it has been a great one. I feel like I still have so much to learn, and I do, but I have also learned SO much and not just on the track. I just wanted to share a few things I learned with you.

1. You should always try new things
It is easy to make excuses. There will be always be a reason not to try something new. Don’t let those reasons stand in the way. I realize it’s different when you have a family to think about and there are a whole slew of valid reasons not to try something new, but if you are at all able, branch out. Step outside your comfort zone because you might just encounter something awesome. Last year I gathered up the courage to attend my first roller derby practice and I am so happy I did. Roller derby is more of a lifestyle than an athletic commitment and I LOVE my new lifestyle.

2. My body is amazing
I realize I am relatively young, but I am still impressed by my body. I regularly force it to take hits and push its limits and it keeps letting me get back up. I found a few new muscles that I never knew I had until they were sore. I feel like I am astill constantly surprised by what my body is capable of.

3. Attitude is everything
It’s harder to learn when you have a bad attitude and, frankly, you aren’t any fun to skate with. For most skaters roller skating is a completely foreign concept and it takes time to learn. You cannot get down on yourself when you a skill or drill doesn’t come easily. Most importantly, don’t compare yourself to others. Unless you have the exact some body type, background, experience and endurance than someone else you will not see the same results. I am 5’12” and I know there are spaces smaller skaters can fit through that will just not work for me and they never will. That being said I probably have longer legs than most shorter skaters and can take advantage of that when they can’t. Just keep smiling and keep skating, the rest will come.

4. Embrace the community
The derby community is so welcoming. The Circus City Derby Dames are a newer league and the support and love we have felt from leagues and officials all over the state is amazing! I love it. I try to say thank you to officials as often as I can and I LOVE getting tips and feedback from experienced skaters. I am honored to be a part of the community.

5. Trust is everything
You cannot successful play roller derby without trusting your team. It is not a sport where you can play “lone wolf” or do everything yourself. You are nothing without your team. Even if you are a jammer, you need your blockers to hold the other jammer back and, if you lucky, help you though the pack. The bonds you will forge with your teammates are priceless. Which is great because gear can be expensive.

I am super excited to see what the next year has in store. It’s crazy to think about what I accomplished in six short months. As I was mentally preparing for our home bout a few weeks ago, I thought back to my first bout. It was in March. I was in one line and I could barely stay up on my skates. I remembering leaving the track that night stoked about the bout and the sport and all the things! Now, looking back, I’m pretty sure the only thing I did that night was clean Beloit’s track. Since then, I learned how to stay on my feet when I block and how much I love jamming. I have learned zip blocking, juking and so much more. Plus, I found a second family.

Bring it on year two! I’m ready!

PHOTO BY BOB GOOD

Removing the Beer Goggles

Perspective is important. For, what was probably, the first time last weekend I went “out” to a bar on a Saturday night and I stayed sober. At first all I could think about was my stomach because it was so full from gorging myself all day, but when that subsided I realized something.

Now before you start judging me, no I am not an alcoholic. I don’t drink super often and I’m not always out on weekends. I was actually pretty lame. I didn’t drink until I hit 21 and because of that had zero tolerance so it took very little for me to start feeling intoxicated. Since college I have virtually stopped drinking and I rarely go out to bars so it’s not that strange for me to experience my first sober night out at 24. So there.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain my realization. I’m sort of a grown up. I feel like a large portion of the posts I have written so far explain my shortcomings as a young adult and fail to examine my successes.

As I watched the drunken goofballs out on the dance floor, first I wished I was one of the so I could dully enjoy their dance moves. But then I felt like I was too old for it.

No, I am not saying I don’t enjoy a night out now and then and I don’t condemn anyone for being drunk. I’ve been there and will be again in the future. I have a sleep schedule now though. At 10:30 p.m. when it becomes “primetime” to go out I’m ready for bed. I no longer sleep in past 9 a.m. and I’m okay with it. Things are going okay for me.

I graduated college in four years. I am in my second position in career field. I have a fantastic boyfriend. I discovered my love for roller derby and became a Circus City Derby Dame. I have a 401K. I have paid off my student debt. I’m going to be okay. I’m sort of a grown up.

Don’t dwell on your hardships and failures. Be proud of the things you’ve accomplished. It took a night out without beer googles for me to understand. Don’t make my mistake.