Thursday, February 27, 2014

- Spring Break 2k14!

Today I drove home at 2:30 and heard on the radio that we had already reached our high for the day at -5 degrees.  Then someone told me that this is the coldest winter in the Twin Cities since 1978.  This is the coldest winter of my life.  And even if I had been born here in 1983 - and lived in Minneapolis all of my life - this would STILL be the coldest winter of my life.  Truth bomb.

They have been brilliantly sunny days though.  There's this beautiful part of the morning - in between 7 and 8 - where the sun shines through the windows and floods my apartment with the most transcendent light.  And then I always leave my sliding glass door a little bit open because back in December when it froze open and I slammed it shut, I slammed it shut on my finger.  And broke it.  So now I just don't bother closing the door all the way.  It keeps the air fresh and crisp in my apartment.  But the sound from highway 100 that drifts in can almost sound like the ocean.  So for the brief moments after I wake in the morning, there's this light and this sound and I can almost convince myself that I am in a Caribbean paradise.  But as soon as I think that I'm there I wake up and realize that I'm not.  And then I realize where I am instead.

But in a month, I won't have to wish myself there.  I will be on St. John and it will be 85-88 degrees and I'll be snorkeling or laying on a white beach or drinking a painkiller or maybe all of the above.  I have never in my life needed 8 days of unadulterated warmth this badly.  

To be fair, there are some things that I've really enjoyed doing in Minnesota lately.  Shopping in record stores.  Cross country skiing that one time.  Heading to the conservatory to listen to aggressive folk music.  Watching the Six Nations while cuddling on the couch with Emma and drinking tea.  But, that's pretty much it, especially when most of those things require driving on slippery anxiety inducing road conditions.

So, am I ridiculously excited that today is one day closer to my Spring Break Getaway?  You betcha.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

- 31

Today I turned 31.  I dislike saying that.  I feel weird about being 31 because that just can't be right...can it?  This year was the first year I've lied about my age.  It was with a wink and a nudge and a joke about how amazing it was that I magically quit aging - but those are all just a bunch of tactics used to avoid the truth.  29 is wrong, but 31 doesn't feel right.

Last night I realized that my birthday and the Winter Olympics overlap.  And I couldn't remember if that has ever happened before.  It's happened EVERY TIME there's been a Winter Olympics.  Okay I lied again, technically the Winter games of '88 in Calgary started on February 13th.  In fact the opening ceremony of Vancouver was ON my birthday, and maybe it's a sign of my age, but I can't even remember how I celebrated that birthday.  How have I never made this connection before?  Two events that I love (well I'm kind of falling out of love with aging) occur at the same time every 4 years.  This realization makes me feel more special than I am probably entitled to feel.

Because I am ALL about the Olympics.  I will watch any event at any time.  I will watch ALL of the events at ALL of the times.  Bob Costas' voice elicits some sort of pavlovian response in me.  (I'm not sold on Matt Lauer, but I also could hardly stand staring at that raging eye infection.)  During the last Summer Olympics I watched the games at work in conference rooms, because I have no shame.  And a nasty habit of becoming an "expert" on said events (shout out to the biathlon) based on what I pick up from the commentary.  Then, I "bestow" this knowledge on anyone who will listen to me talk about it the next day.  I could probably win a gold medal if there was an event for "passing off something that you heard from an announcer as your own smart observation to a coworker".  I'd at least be on the podium.

My love for the Olympics is why I was hit hard when Shaun White didn't podium yesterday.  This seriously affected me all day yesterday and this morning.  I mean what the what? I can hardly believe that I'm 31, but even that seems more plausible than Shaun White NOT getting a medal in a sport that wouldn't be what it is today if he didn't participate.  And let me be just take a minute to be clear - I do not follow Shaun White.  I haven't checked in with him since Vancouver.  He plays in a band that played at Lollapalooza last year; a festival that I almost went to.  I had no idea until I saw a prime time special on him 2 days ago.  Even if I had gone I doubt I would have had any idea that he was there because so was Mumford and Sons and last year they were my everything.  Right now though, Shaun White is my everything.  (I do have a soft spot for redheads.)  My heart broke last night as I watched - even though I had followed the competition during the day and knew the results - I was hoping that somehow I could will a different outcome.

And because I am now an expert on Shaun White I will tell you that I think, for the first time in his career, he is having some confidence issues.  He has had some downright nasty falls trying to land those big tricks.  Haters are talking about how "old" he is and wondering if it's time for him to "pass the torch".  He has a lot of pressure placed on his shoulders to ALWAYS perform, because up until this point, he has.  I mean you guys...sometimes I have a hard time going to my cushy job where I sit at my computer and move from meeting to meeting all day.  Then I come home and I'm all tired and don't have the energy to cook so I end up eating popcorn for dinner.  That was how I spent yesterday...while Shaun White was competing for a gold medal.

So, due to my passion, I got a bit angry when they kept saying that he failed to defend his gold medal.  You don't get to defend a gold medal.  You win it one year and that doesn't mean anything 4 years later.  You either go out there and win it again or you don't.  Yesterday, Shaun White almost won it again.  Almost doesn't count, but there also shouldn't be a "but" in his career.  He won two gold medals.  It's not three but it's more than pretty much everyone who ever drops into a half pipe will ever know.  He's still amazing - and I don't think that this is how it ends for him.

Today I am 31.  In 4 years Shaun White will be 31.  If he chooses to rock out that Olympic half pipe one more time you can bet your ass I will gladly spend my birthday cheering him and everyone else on.  Because I love a come back.  And the underdog.  And the 15 year old phenom.  And the heart wrenching emotional story.  The Olympics are a magical time; as bad as 31 feels right now, it's comforting to know that 35 will happen during South Korea...this is after all, a pretty great way to spend every 4th birthday.