A New Journey

I’m baaaack! I apologize for the short hiatus, but there has been a LOT going on lately. In addition to all the regular December things, plus a few birthdays, I got a new job!

So far I LOVE it. Tomorrow will be the last day of my second week and for the first time in a long time I am excited to go to work every morning. Where is this magical place you ask? Well, as of last Monday, I am the new Communications Specialist at the Baraboo location.

The position is similar in a lot of ways to my old position, but also different. My audience has changed from a a vacationing consumer to my colleagues. I still run two social media platforms, Facebook and LinkedIn, but I also run a ton of internal communication channels.

I think it was time for me to so something new. I wasn’t adamantly searching for a new position but when this opportunity fell into my lap I couldn’t pass it up. I am still working part-time in my old position until a replacement is found but on significantly cut down hours.

Things are a bit crazy with the extra part-time hours, but from what I can tell so far 2018 is going to be a great year for my career. I’m so excited!




Fending Off Shadows

Starting today the first Thursday of every month is going to be dedicated to poetry. Here’s is my first poem. I hope you enjoy it!

Fending Off Shadows

Thorns of pain and pinpricks of terror
bombard me from both sides.
I stagger through the chaos,
tension filling my strides.

As I attempt to navigate the hotbed of confusion
and ride constant ups and downs
I feel every possible emotion and
toss handfuls of glares, smiles  and frowns.

I fiercely try to fend for myself
even as desperation fogs my mind
seeking fun and laughter
in every corner I can find.

Even on the darkest days
when I’ve been beaten to the ground
I fight for happiness and freedom
so that it can always be found.

Because as bad as it gets
there’s always a reason to smile.
The most precious moments
make everything worthwhile.

That One Time I Led Derby Practice

First, I would like to apologize for not posting last week. I had a standard cliche post half written and I never finished it. My mom moved into a rehabilitation center last Wednesday and I was focused on making her comfortable. Anyway! Last week I led the final roller derby practice of the year and I think it went okay.

Up until this practice the only things I coached were little dribblers and a few short running clinics. In both instances the participants were quite a few years younger than me and were amazed by everything I did. This was not the case for roller derby practice.

The skaters who made it to practice had been skating for a few years longer than me and were not amazed merely by my existence. I was so nervous for this practice I was up late planning it and could barely sleep thinking about it. I left my house terrified, but ready for my newbie-structured practice. However, when I showed up at the gym there were no newbies there. Sickness and the holidays left me with four veteran skaters to coach. So I had to wing it.

I adapted the games into skills courses, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Now, don’t get me wrong my derby sisters are super fantastic people and wouldn’t have said anything even if my practice had been a mess, but I did not want them to feel like they had wasted their time by showing up.

I think it went okay. Was it perfect? No. Would I do it again? I think so.

Lessons learned:

  • don’t panic; derby people are awesome
  • be prepared to go off book
  • work on giving adequate feedback
  • learn to recognize mistakes
  • sleep the night before
  • CHILL!

Well I did it. There was no need for all the drama I poured into it either. Not to mention, I think I will coach some day. Will it be derby? I don’t know. But I think I would enjoy coaching a sport, especially after I have experience under my belt.

Thank you to the skaters who put up with my cluelessness. You guys are the best!

Photo credit: Bob Good

To Buy or Not to Buy?

This time of year I tend to get a little out of control with my spending. I wish I could say it was simply because of all the millions of gifts I get for people. But, while that is somewhat true, I also spend a lot on myself. I think once I loosen the purse strings a little I loose control completely.

If you have the same problem I have some advice for you. I have a guideline I try to follow. A friend suggested it to me when I was studying abroad in Australia and I wanted to buy everything in site. I have been trying to follow it ever since. Maybe it will work for you too.

Now, there are those items that you HAVE to have. There is no question about it. I get that. Although try to cut back a little if you can. Then there are quite a few more items that you really like and you are pretty sure you want them but you don’t know if you want to spend the money.

This is what you do. Leave it on the rack or shelf and move on. If you are still thinking about it before you leave the store or mall then you should get it. However, if by the time you are ready to leave you have completely forgotten about it you probably don’t need it. You probably won’t use it if you get it.

So far this method has worked SUPER well for me. I highly recommend it. I hope it works just as well for you and maybe helps keep a few extra dollars in your wallet, especially this time of year.

Thanks for reading!

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!





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!