Monday, September 27, 2010

A Note to Adoring Fans

Dear Blog Readers:

Sorry I have been neglecting you. I didn't intend to leave you all alone this last week. Really, I didn't. I don't know what happened. I just blinked and all of a sudden, last week was over!

I've also been spending my free time furiously making jewelry. I decided to have a little show at work, since my coworkers tend to like my designs. At least they say they do. We'll find out for sure if they're willing to pay for any of it, I guess. Anyway, I scheduled the show for October 1. "That's plenty of time - a whole month away!" I told myself. It's also a Friday. And a payday.

See, I was thinking ahead.

Except... I wasn't thinking as far ahead as I thought. October 1? That's this Friday. Mere days away.

Did you catch that? October starts this week.

There's so much I need to do before Friday, including (but not limited to): building up my stock so my adoring fans have plenty to choose from, figuring out how to get everything to work on the bus, figuring out how to display everything so it looks pretty and inviting, and I need to price everything and get it ready for sale.

Yowza. It's going to be a busy week.

So, dear readers, I will probably be neglecting you again this week. And I'm sorry for that.

Love, Me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

30 Miles to 30

I realized this morning that in 30 days, I'll be 30 years old.

30 days until 30. Huh. That sounds significant. Something like this should be chronicled. But how should I celebrate? How should I count down the last few days of my 20s?

I made a post on Facebook. Should I watch 30 movies? Eat 30 hamburgers? Write 30 short stories?

Then it hit me. I'm working on walking a lot. Eventually I'm going to run a half marathon. I decided that I will walk 30 miles over the next 30 days. I can do that. That's not far off from my current training schedule.

Yes, in 30 days I will be 30. Now I can also say in 30 miles I'll be 30. 30 miles to 30.

Today was the first part of the "30 Miles to 30" workout. My schedule told me I was supposed to walk 1.5 miles. Not bad. Even better? The sun came out just in time for me to go outside. It had been dark, gloomy, and drizzling all day long. I had a headache. I didn't want to go for this walk. But I did, and the sun came out. It was warm. I got sweaty.

I also learned something new: I am Becky, the Gnat Killer. Yes. There are a lot of bugs out there. Most of them are tiny. Many of them ended up dead on the front of my shirt. Seriously. It looked like the front grill of a car after a long road trip. Completely gross.

I walked 1.5 miles. It took me 29 minutes and 14 seconds. This was my longest workout so far using the Nike+ add-on for my iPod. Celebrating the milestone, Lance Armstrong's voice came on the iPod and congratulated me on the achievement. It would have felt really awesome, but the same thing had already happened on Saturday. I have a feeling that Lance and I are going to become good friends through this. I can't wait to find out who the other celebrity voices they have to cheer me on.

Hey. My headache is gone! Awesome. Though that might be a result of the ibuprofen I took before my walk.

30 Miles to 30: 1.5 miles down, 28.5 miles to go.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


For once, I am not talking about a TV show. Though, for the record, I hear "Community" is a great and hilarious show. I saw an episode on an airplane last winter and it was pretty funny.

No. This time I'm talking about the actual word "community." Not a proper noun. Just a regular, everyday, run-of-the-mill noun. has many definitions for the word "community," including:
  • "a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists"
  • "similar character; agreement; identity"
  • "the community, the public; society"

Now, aside from my annoyance over the use of a word to define itself, I think those are pretty clear. Generally, these three definitions are what I have in mind when I talk about community below.

Good, that business is out of the way. Time for the meat of the post!

I graduated from college in 2002. I went to a Lutheran school, and while I was there, I felt I had a church community to which I belonged. I also had my school community, and many of both of those groups remain my friends today.

However, shortly after graduation, I realized that the whole church thing just wasn't for me. I no longer identify myself as a Christian, and most often refer to myself as an atheist. (We can save the religious debates for another time - I have given a lot of thought to this issue over the years, and it's not what this topic is ultimately about).

I have a group of friends - fantastic friends, the best a girl could ask for - who are probably best described as the "Becky Community," at least from my point of view. They're my community, but it's a small one. My family, smaller than my group of friends, also fits into this group, as I share a lot of friends with my family members.

I have a job, and with that job comes a number of coworkers (hello, coworkers!) who I consider to be my work community.

Aside from that, I have nobody. No more communities from which to meet new people. No outreach beyond the limitations of Facebook. Since I no longer belong to any church, I don't have that group to draw from.

I suppose, geographically, I have the city of Minneapolis as a community. But these days, no one goes out and talks to their neighbors. I talk to the people who live in the other side of my duplex because we share a garage and a front door. I've spoken to the neighbors in the next house over because their dog will sometimes run over to our yard. But that hardly makes it a community. Generally, we're a society of loners. Loners who don't trust other people with their names, let alone open themselves up to the vulnerabilities of friendship.

Where the hell am I supposed to meet new people? I can't just go knocking on people's doors - they'll think I'm trying to sell them something!

"But wait!" you readers yell, "There's one community left! The Internet!"

Right! How could I forget about you, my beloved interwebs?

You see, everyone who reads this blog becomes part of this online community. We share our stories and our thoughts. That's one of the things I learned at the Minnesota Blogger Conference, after further reflection. There is a strong blogger community here in Minnesota. In the last week I've met a lot of new people, and even more people have stopped by here at Things You Really Didn't Want to Know.

(Hmm. Just realized how wordy my blog title is. Might need to think up a new one and make "tyrdwtk" the subtitle.)

So I want to thank all of you. Thank you for reading my blog and sharing your blogs and your thoughts with me. Thank you for being my community.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Athletics - Both Personal and Professional

Lots of topics to cover in today's post.

If you didn't know already, I'm currently training for a half marathon. Thankfully, it's over a year away. Today in my training schedule, I was supposed to walk for twenty minutes. That's it. A mere 20 minutes. Not much, right? For me, it's quite a bit. I managed to go a whole mile today, and I'm happy about that. I have 13.1 miles to conquer before next November, and I'm getting close on that first one.

As for professional athletics, my heart belongs to baseball. And as long as it's still baseball season, I'll watch baseball if the Twins are playing. The Twins have been having a great year, and I look forward to watching them until the bitter end. This week, starting tomorrow, the Twins have a three-game series with their rival team, the Chicago White Sox. I'm insanely excited about this series. It should be fantastic.

Being the geek girl that I am, it's a bit surprising how much I enjoy sports - at least baseball and football. I'm in two fantasy football leagues this year (and, being the total nerd that I am, I want to add the word "final" before the word "fantasy" any time I talk about fantasy football - I've played too many video games). My teams haven't been so great. But I think I figured out why I enjoy fantasy football - it's all about the stats. The way your team scores points is purely based on individual stats from the game itself. I love it.

Though, I must say - I'm starting to question my choice of Joe Flacco (of the Baltimore Ravens) for my quarterback. I'm watching him play tonight and he was sacked and fumbled the ball on his first play, and just now threw a massive interception. I hope this game is a fluke.

Another reason I like football: it includes terms like "sack" and "tight end," and my personal favorite "long snapper." I don't know why that last one amuses me so much, but it always makes me giggle.

Side note: I'm watching Monday Night Football on ESPN, and I keep seeing commercials for a movie called "Devil" about people trapped in an elevator where horrific things happen. Yes. This will surely cure my fear of elevators.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Unbridled Narcissism

In the immortal words of James Lileks, writing a blog is "unbridled narcissism."

That's just one of the things that I learned at the Minnesota Blogger Conference today. I learned a lot.

I learned that it's not unusual that I write about myself. Apparently a lot of bloggers do. Really, looking back, I shouldn't be surprised. I read a lot of personal blogs, and I know that others write them. I guess it was just reassuring to see and meet a bunch of other people who basically keep a journal as a blog, like me.

I learned all about Google Analytics. I already have it set up on this blog, but it was really great to learn how to use it better and learn more about the visitors to my site.

I learned about blogging tools, like Posterous, Tumblr, and SquareSpace. I'm contemplating moving my blog to a new place, but I have a lot of research to do on the subject. If I really am serious about this blog thing, though, I really should consider something more serious than Blogspot.

Perhaps most importantly, I learned that I'm shy. Of course, I already knew that I was shy. I've been shy my whole life. But this is the first time in quite a while that I've been thrown into a situation where I don't know anybody. I'm not good at talking to people I don't know. I'm not good at introducing myself. It kind of felt like the first day of school or the first day at a new job. Also, there was no booze. I'm way more outgoing when booze is involved (just asked the folks who shared a table with me at the Bulldog after the conference... it doesn't even take much to get me talking).

Wow, I just realized how sad that sounds. I don't need alcohol to meet people. It just makes things easier for me. I think I was just intimidated by the number of people there - over a hundred bloggers in one room. And a lot of these people were successful, making lives and careers out of their blogs. Mine is just a lark, really, something I do for fun.

Of course, that gets me thinking, too - was this conference even for someone like me? A casual blogger who sporadically posts about her life? I don't know. I enjoyed it, so that has to count for something. I did take something home from it, too (and I'm talking about more than just the notebooks they gave to every attendee). But I doubt I'll ever achieve the kind of success through blogging that many at this conference have gotten.

Well, whether I belong or not, I still believe James Lileks with the whole unbridled narcissism thing. I started keeping this blog because I like talking about myself and the things on my mind. Is that so wrong?

(Side note: the spell check on the Blogger web interface does not think that "bloggers" is a word, nor does it think "Blogspot" is a word. However, "blogger" singular is a word, as is "blogging" and "blogs." I think they might need to expand their dictionary to encompass more words related to their subject matter.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quick Update

No time for a full-length post today.

I just finished watching my DVR-ed episode of Master Chef from last night. There was a little ad in the corner of the screen that announced the auditions for Season 2 of the show.

Of course, I went to the website after I was done watching the show. Not a lot of info up yet, but there's a spot where you can submit an application. You have to include a picture of yourself and a paragraph about why you think you should be the next Master Chef.

A picture? Really? I mean, I know it's ultimately a TV show. If you're on the show, your face is going to be broadcast across America on television. But I don't think how you look should play a part in whether or not you get to audition for the show. I mean, it's about cooking, right? Food? Not how well I photograph.

Whatever. I don't know if my half-marathon training will get in the way of this. I might postpone the Master Chef auditioning until after the Valley of Fire trip. It might be too much to handle if I were to get anywhere in the audition process - because I'm certainly not going to abandon the half marathon.

I don't know. Need to think about it. I'm also waiting for more info to be posted on the Master Chef auditions. For example, if they're going to come to the Twin Cities, I might have to go for it. But I don't know...

... yeah. Not sure.

Ok, I guess that post wasn't so short after all.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

American Cuisine and the Stairway of Death

Today's topics are completely unrelated. Mostly.

Since I'm trying to make better decisions about what I'm putting in my body (to coincide with the whole getting-fit thing I'm trying out), I decided to have a salad instead of the four-cheese chicken penne pasta. Of course, being the fat-addict that I am, I choose one of the least healthy salad options: the Caesar Salad. One of my favorites, too. From the restaurant downstairs from my office, the salads typically come with a piece of bread. I told the guy behind the counter to skip the bread.

"Do you still want croutons?"

"Of course," I replied. I love the croutons in this salad. Of course, that just means that it's even worse for me, health-wise.

It's also, in true American fashion, large enough to feed a family of four. I will probably eat the whole thing, too.

However, I feel like I deserve it today. We had a fire drill at work. In our old building, that meant that we gathered around the entrance to the stairwell and talked about what we would if there were a real fire. In this building, it meant we actually had to evacuate the building. Oh, and the elevators were turned off.

At least it's down and not up. But even down is more work than I ever would have expected. I started getting dizzy after only about five floors. By the halfway point, I had peeled off my fleece jacket (it's cold in the office) and was starting to sweat. At about the 8th floor, my ankle started to hurt and my calves were feeling sore. By the time we walked a block away from the building, I'm surprised I was still standing. My legs were shaking. Every time I shifted my weight, I thought I was going to fall over.

Thankfully we got to take the elevators back up. My legs are still a little sore, but I think I'll be fine in the end. What I learned about this experience is that in the event of a fire, I better get a five-minute head start - because I took those stairs slowly. I didn't want to fall!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Not Feeling it...

You name it, I'm not feeling it. I'm not in the mood to write a post today.

I'm not in the mood to be at work.

I'm not in the mood to go to Pub Quiz tonight.

I'm not in the mood to do laundry or make dinner.

I'm not in the mood for anything other than sleep.

Except maybe watch some TV. I could probably do that.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Growing Up and Moving On

Today I went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

When I was a teenager, I absolutely loved Fest. It was my favorite time of year. My first job was out there, and I started working there when I was only 14 years old. I sold disgusting potato skins with cheese sauce and bacon bits. I counted out change and shouted "Huzzah! Twenty pounds for the king!" any time someone handed me a $20 bill. I spoke in a bad English accent. I loved it. I lived for it.

It was hard work - that I can't deny. I learned a lot about life (though not much at all about the actual Renaissance period) and even more about working for a living.

But, to be honest, it was more fun than anything. I got to hang out with other Fest devotees. I got to see all the acts. I learned how to juggle (and I still can). I watched the glass blower and the falconer and the jousting. I rode an elephant and ate a turkey leg. Maybe the best part was that i got to wear a costume - one of those bodices that squished up my boobs and displayed them prominently (though I didn't wear one of those when I was 14 - that came when I was older).

Today was my first trip out to Fest in a few years. Increasing admission cost and just a general lack of time has kept me home. I was kind of excited to get back there.

But once I was there, it just wasn't as exciting as it once was. I wasn't even interested in most of the food. I looked at a lot of jewelry, and other hand-crafted items. They're all very nice, but most of it just isn't my taste anymore. I guess I've grown out of dragons and fairies and swords and amethyst. I did find a few pendants and stones and a pair of earrings, though.

I also enjoyed a couple comedy and juggling shows. I ate beer cheese soup in a bread bowl. That was tasty.

In the end, though, I think I'm done with the Renaissance Festival. It just isn't for me anymore. Those days are behind me.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Team Becky

I'm completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for my decision to run the Valley of Fire half marathon.

I had comments on the post here, tons of comments on Facebook where I posted a link to the post. I got emails and private messages and text messages. All messages and comments of support and encouragement. I even had a friend offer to train for the same half if it keeps me motivated.

Go Team Becky! We're running a half marathon!

Training starts tomorrow, where I'll get in a few hours of walking around the Renaissance Festival. The real training starts Tuesday.

In other news, I'm watching the Twins Legends Game on TV right now. I'm beyond entertained seeing these Twins greats playing at Target Field. A lot of them are not in baseball shape anymore. Someone just threw his glove at a line drive that he had no chance at catching.

I'm so amused. The game just ended. Everyday Eddie Guardado got the save. It was very strange to see Bert Blyleven in a Twins uniform again (and a bunch of other guys, but especially Bert since I see him on TV all the time). Very fun to watch.

But now it's time for real baseball. Go Twins!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Adventures in Fitness

I am not in shape. Not by any means. Going up a flight of stairs leaves me winded. Walking more than a couple blocks makes my lower back hurt. My feet are constantly swollen, and I can't fit into most of my shoes. I'm not in shape.

This is a fact.

I want to change myself. I want to be in shape. But it has become such a daunting task that I'm afraid to even begin. Also, I'm so stubborn and set in my daily routine that I don't want to devote the time to working out.

This needs to change.

In my life, I have done (I believe) five 5k races. I walked all of them, a few of them with some running thrown in. My best time was 52 minutes. My last 5k was Thanksgiving last year, where I finished in an hour. It was hard work.

I have some key friends and family members who are into running. They're runners. They do events. They train for marathons and triathlons and relays. To most of them, a 5k is nothing.

One friend has been researching half-marathons to run in the end of the year this year. She narrowed it down to two races: the Tucson half-marathon and the Valley of Fire half-marathon (that's a state park near Las Vegas). After weighing the pros and cons of both, she said to me "I'll do the Tucson one this year if you do the Valley of Fire one with me next year."

I freaked out.

I can't even walk a mile right now. How on earth would I be able to run thirteen miles in a mere year and a couple months?

I'm very good at talking myself out of things. I need others to help talk me into them.

My friend offers words of wisdom. I talk it over with another friend. My biggest fear at this point is, what if I try and work and think I can do it, then get there and fail? How much will that crush me mentally? How destroyed will I feel? Suddenly the fear of failure is worse than the fear of beginning.

My other friend brings up a good point: "Just think of what kind of shape you'll be in a year from now if you do this. Think of that compared to how you are now."

And that was enough. I haven't told my friend yet (she'll find out by reading this), but I'm going to do it. I'm going to start training next week, and I'll do the Valley of Fire half-marathon in 2011. After a bit of research, I've learned that there's a 10k at the same time as the half. I figure if I work towards the half, but don't feel ready (really don't feel ready - not just insecurity, but actually not ready) for a half, I can do the 10k instead. But that's just a safety net.

I'm training for a half-marathon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Extended Weekend

Today is the first day of my four-day weekend. I slept in until 8 this morning. It felt great. I made coffee this morning, but it didn't taste great. I think my coffee might be bad. But that's all right - I know how to deal with that.

I think I'm already on my way to making myself feel better all-around. I haven't really been myself lately, and I think taking this extra day to relax will be good for me in the end. You know - getting myself back on track and all that.

And what would the real me do right now? Talk about what I watched on TV last night, of course.

If you haven't watched last night's Project Runway yet, do not read any more of this post. There will be spoilers. You have been warned.

I'm totally addicted to Project Runway. I love it. This season is amazing. Not because of the fashion - in fact, I think the fashion has been particularly awful, but I don't "get" fashion. They always love what I hate and they hate what I love. But that's not what the show is really about. It's about the drama surrounding the people and the game - and boy has this year brought drama.

Anyway, even after that lead, I'm not really going to talk about the drama. I'm going to talk about a dress.

I've said season after season (since I started watching - this is only about the 3rd season I've seen) that they need to do a plus-size challenge on Project Runway - where they need to make something fashionable and flattering to women who wear large sizes. Enough with the stick-skinny models already. Bring on the girls with some meat on their bones. These are the women that your viewers can relate to.

This week wasn't exactly what I hoped for. It was a challenge where a bunch of women came out in their bridesmaid's dresses that they had to wear for their friends, and the designers had to take those dresses and turn them into something that the women could actually wear again - therefore, the women who owned these dresses were the models for the challenge. Some of the women were thin enough to be models. Some of these women were average-sized. One woman - the last one picked, in a bright magenta dress, was big. Maybe not as big as me, but she was big. I was excited to see where they were going to go with this.

The designer, Michael D., was ready for the challenge. Unfortunately, he had no experience designing for a plus-sized woman. He took an ugly color, and just tried to cover it up. He shortened the dress, but didn't help its shape. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't much of an improvement. The model was pleased with it, though. The judges, however, were not.

Michael D. was not going to win this challenge. He didn't deserve to win.

But that doesn't mean his look was the worst. I think there were at least two other dresses that were worse. (Gretchen, I'm looking at you).

Naturally, due to the judges' hatred for the look, he ended up in the bottom three.

All I wanted was for him to be safe. I don't particularly like Michael D. - he's not one of my favorites this season, but I also don't hate him. But I didn't want the one person who had to make a plus-sized dress to go home for it. For some reason, that just didn't sit well with me.

Maybe it's because I'm sometimes an optimist, and I want to believe that there's a chance that nice, cute clothes can be designed for fat girls. I wanted some sort of confirmation that it can be done. And sending home the designer who tried to make something good for a big girl was the exact opposite of the message I wanted to send.

In the end, Michael D. did not go home. He was safe, but only barely. I was relieved (and sad to see Peach go, because she was entertaining).

I'm still hoping for an entire runway full of plus-sized designs on Project Runway, but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon.

I feel like I had an actual point to this post. But I lost it. Took me too long to write it. Extended writing, like my weekend.

... maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September The Second: the Blog-a-Thon Rolls on

Just in case anyone was wondering, it's still September. Oh, and today might feel like Friday, but it's not. Today is Thursday. You're welcome.

I've been having some trouble sleeping lately. I haven't been tired at my usual bedtime (between 9:30 and 10), so I've been laying awake in bed trying to fall asleep - because of my early work schedule, I don't want to stay up doing other things or else I'll be a total zombie at work the next morning. (Brains... er, I mean coffee. Coffee...). It's been really frustrating - in addition to having trouble falling asleep, I also have been waking up in the middle of the night.

Not cool, body. Not cool.

Last night was particularly awful. I made one of my favorite dinners - chicken and taco rice. I cut up a chicken breast and season it with taco-related seasonings and saute it. The taco rice is just one of those Lipton "Rice Sides" dishes. Super easy to make, and not bad tasting, either. Add some "taco" cheese (you can buy shredded taco cheese at any store) to the mix and it's a delicious meal!

However, around 1:00 AM, disaster struck. I woke up with the worst acid reflux attack I've ever had. I also felt like I was going to be sick. Naturally, I start to panic. Did I not cook the chicken all the way through? Had it gone bad? Everything tasted ok at the time, but this feeling was not good at all. Far from it. I kept telling myself over and over again not to throw up. When something I eat makes me vomit, I can't eat it again for years. (Those of you who went to college with me - remember how much I hated frosting? That incident that brought that on happened when I was about 11, and I only just started eating frosting again a few years ago). I don't want that to happen with chicken and taco rice. I especially don't want it to happen with something I cooked myself, because I don't know if I'd be able to trust my own cooking.

I ate a few saltines to try to calm my stomach. I took deep breaths. I swallowed a lot. I drank some water.

Eventually, things started feeling normal again. Eventually I was able to lie down. After about an hour, I was starting to fall back asleep.

Of course, my alarm starts going off at 5. Duty calls.

Commence zombification...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome to September

Hello. My name is Becky and I am a blogger.

I've recently realized this about myself - that I may not really be a writer, but I am a blogger. And to celebrate this recent discovery, I'm going to write a new blog post every day in the month of September.

Hey, did you know September starts today? Crazy, right? What happened to summer?

Through the blogger grapevine, I learned about the September Blog-a-Thon. I heard it from my friend "Luther Liz", who has been very supportive of me in my adventures in blog-land. (By the way, her blog is great and you might want to check it out!)

Why blog every day? I just need to get into the habit of doing it consistently. Usually I only write here when something happens, but I feel like I need to work on my writing skills for even the non-interesting days. I want to take the boring out of my life and make it into something awesome. Maybe I'm naive for thinking I can do this through writing, but it won't hurt to try, right?

Besides, if I can write a novel in 30 days, there's no reason I can't write blog posts for 30 days. There isn't even a word count goal for blogging!

Bring it on, world!

In other news, I'm debating whether or not I want to go to the Minnesota State Fair on Friday. I'm taking the day off work. I don't really want to spend the money on it, since I'm saving that for Vegas, but I absolutely LOVE the Fair and the thought of missing it this year just makes me sad. But maybe once it's done I won't feel sad anymore. I don't know. I do think it would be good walking practice for Vegas, but eating all the deep-fried food-on-a-stick would really hinder the whole concept of trying to get into shape for Vegas. I guess money has to be the deciding factor. Spend it now or save it for later?