Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Friday fire, country in Kinnick and my boys!

One of the many things I love about my friends, and the list is long, is that we don’t let anything dampen our fun.  We planned to fire pit at the Beaver Den Friday night and we weren’t going to let a stupid thunderstorm stop us! Mel, Lukas, Ryan, Misty, Maria, Summer, Brian and I enjoyed fire, darts, people dancing in a Michael Jackson red leather jacket and even piercing Brian’s ear.  Next up, belly button ring.  But it may take a lot of Jack to talk him into letting Maria do that. 

Saturday Maria, Audra, Molly, Danyelle and I headed to Iowa City for the first ever concert in Kinnick Stadium.  We met up with brother and his crew for some preconcert tailgating first.

The concert was wonderful.  It was hot as hell but it was worth every drop of sweat.  We saw Tucker Beathard, Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy, Thomas Rhett and Blake Shelton.  We were amused between acts by Dallas Clark and Ashton Kutcher.  We had a lady next to us vomit her strawber-itas out and spend the entire performance of Blake Shelton passed out.  Never a dull moment.  Tucker was good.  Big & Rich was creepy and terrible and quite honestly, made me feel really uncomfortable.  I absolutely adore Thomas Rhett and it was so fun to see him live again.  Blake Shelton wasn’t too bad either!

I stayed at brothers house and in the morning got to wake up and play with my sweetie pies, Kirk and Gable.  Not sure how I got so lucky to blessed with three amazing nephews but they sure beat the heck out of getting a pet rock or cactus for entertainment. It amazes me how fast they grow between my visits. And how sad I am when I have to leave them. 
Monday night was training with Trainer Ben and Molly.  I love that guy but my thighs would like to see him enduring Chinese water torture for all the squats, mountain climbers and planks we did.  Every time I have to sit or go down stairs today they scream in pain. On the plus side, by the time we’re done with training I’m pretty sure I will be able to crack walnuts in my butt cheeks.  Buns of Steel won’t have nothing on us!

Taco Tuesday with Summer, Mel, Misty, Nick, Brian and Ben at the Beaver Tap. Although, they ran out of tacos after Summer ordered so we went with pizza instead. Pepperoni Tuesday just doesn’t have the same ring to it. 

Fall Volleyball leagues begins tonight with a double header and I am officially on vacation for the next 5 days.  Like, not checking email or taking my laptop with me, vacation.  I will be spending Thursday-Monday on a yacht sailing around Sturgeon Bay, WI.  Another new adventure and I couldn’t be more excited to be doing it with some of my favorite peeps.  Watch out Wisconsin and Lake Michigan; Mel, Ryan, Misty, Brian and Lyndee are about to bring the thunder.  #fearless40 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

¾ of a million people can’t be wrong, Top Gun and ChiliFest

I realize my weekly wrap up is running a bit late this week.  So many things to wrap my head around! I have some pretty exciting news as I write this but you’re going to have to wait until the end because I’m an OCD girl that’s all about chronological order. 

You know those friends that you don’t get to see often enough? You’ve been through everything together over the last 20 years including college, boys, friendships, hardships, deaths, laughter and some of the best memories in the world.  And then life happens.  People move, get married, have babies, careers, you name it.  But it doesn’t matter if you see each other once a year or once a week.  They will always be a VIP in your heart.  Friday night I was blessed to have dinner with two of my “oldies but goodies” and a new addition.  It wasn’t the O.P. on the hill in Cedar Falls but I did get to meet up with Molly and Sara at Saints Jordan Creek.  As well as Sara’s beautiful daughter Ava.  I mean, seriously, how cute is this kid? She melted my cold, black heart all over the place.  I could’ve spent hours watching  her and dancing with my little pumpkin. Please ignore my wrinkles and focus on the ponytailed darling on my lap. 
 Saturday was a straight riot. I don’t have any better words for it than that.  Volley’s hosted an 80’s themed sand volleyball tournament.  Although I wasn’t released by the doctor to play, I was there watching, cheering as “Coach Hollywood”.  Oh yes, our team went as Top Gun.  Wife beaters, cutoff jeans, aviators, dog tags and all.  Even though we didn’t take 1st place, it was a great day with Viper, Slider, Maverick, Iceman, Goose and Charlie, AKA Mel, Lukas, Drew, Brian, Tom and Misty.  We scored extra points when we serenaded the bar manager with an epic rendition of "You've lost that loving feeling". After the tourney we were joined by more friends and had a wonderful BBQ at Lukas’s casa.  I laughed, I cried, I’m proud that I didn’t hurl after 20 hours of partying with the BeaverCrew.  You know it’s an epic night when your BFF is trying to climb into your attic at 4 in the morning because he’s SURE there is a hobo living up there.  What the hell, right?
Needless to say Sunday was pretty much a total loss of productivity.  But I did cap off the night grilling and chilling around the firepit with Ben after he made me dinner.  Does anyone else go into what I like to call the “fire trance”? I swear when I’m staring at a fire I lose all functions and just sit there in a trance, possibly drooling and sleeping with my eyes open.  It was relaxation at its finest to end my weekend. 

Tuesday night was the first edition of BeaverCrew Chili Fest 2016. The name pretty much speaks for itself.  Chili with all the fixings with Mel, Misty, Lukas, Ryan, Brian, Summer and Ben.  Recipes for the baked grill cheese and chili bar can be found on my Testing Trendy 1, 2, 3 blog.  We stuffed our faces, partook in some adult beverages and played Cards Against Humanity.    
Speaking of that other little blog I write…let me start with my day. I would say it’s safe to say my face at work today was reminiscent of the now famous Michael Phelps picture from the Olympics.  99% of the time I love my job.  Today was not one of those days. I had to keep reminding myself to stop scowling or I was going to get more wrinkles. 
I was cleared to go back to training tonight which was wonderful! It was so great to sweat with Trainer Ben and Molly.  Well, Trainer Ben couldn’t do much with us as he flipped his bike Sunday night and has something like 36 stitches all over his body.  Dudes a champ though. I would still be in the fetal position on the trail crying.  Anyway, I get home from training after working out some much needed aggression and frustration and see that Testing Trendy has hit a major milestone.  This blog I started awhile back with Pinterest Experiments hit 750,000 VIEWS TONIGHT! That’s right, people.  Three quarter of a MILLION views. Not gonna lie, I teared up a bit with pride at the accomplishment of this labor of love and passion of mine.  I want to give a very special and heartfelt thank you to anyone that has followed the blog, put up with tasting my experiments and supported my crazy ideas. I realize that Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray are not shaking in their boots fearing I’m going to take over their world but for a lady from small town Iowa that just loves to write and cook and share with friends, it’s a pretty big deal to me.  Next stop? A cool ONE MILLION (said in a terrible Austin Powers voice).  #fearless40


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Please keep your hands inside the ride at all times

It has been one helluva week! Life sometimes resembles a scary yet thrilling rollercoaster and I rode that beast all week long. 

Monday night Molly and I started back with our personal training.  That was very scary after a few years without having someone boss me around for workouts.  And it wasn’t Scott we were training with which also led to some fear.  But I am happy to report that it was awesome and we love our new trainer, Ben.  There’s nothing quite like the endorphins of a great sweat fest.  I’m looking forward to my Monday and Thursday nights in the gym with Ben and Molly the next 25 weeks.  Like we always say, Motivate, Dominate, Destroy! MDD, baby!

Tuesday night Ben and I went to the I-Cubs game to enjoy some baseball.  It was so hot I thought my face was gonna melt off.  Although they got their butts handed to them by OKC, the company was great and it was nice to be outside enjoying some baseball. 

Wednesday I found out my celebrity love, Eric Church, will be doing a show in Des Moines in January.  Can you say so excited I almost piddled my pants? Also on Wednesday, my new tripod and remote came in for my ipad.  I can't wait to start filming some videos! 
Monday and Tuesday were the top of the rollercoaster.  What goes up, must come down.  And that it did.  Thursday morning I was at the office talking to Ashley when suddenly it felt like a Paul Bunyon size lumberjack had just buried an ax into my back.  I’ve never felt pain like that.  I thought if I could catch my breath it the pain would stop shooting down my body in a few moments.  But it did not. The pain continued to surge from my shoulder blades to my lower back.  It was terrible and terrifying.  I was trying to keep calm and wish the pain away but it was only getting worse.  Through my tears I told Ashley I needed help.  My amazing co-workers jumped into action and soon I was surrounded by Principal security, EMT’s and firefighters.  My blood pressure, which is usually perfect had seared to 180/120. The pain wasn’t subsiding. They strapped me to a gurney and took me out.  I have never been so embarrassed in my life as my friends and people in my department watched the drama unfold.  This was to be my first ambulance ride.  And hopefully my last!! The first EMT tried putting in an IV and blew right through the vein in my left arm.  The second EMT came through like a champ.  Soon I was being poked, prodded, covered in stickers and cords and shot full of pain killers.  Even through my pain killer fog, panic started setting in at the hospital as the doctor, nurses and EMT’s were using phrases like heart attack, blood clot, collapsed lung…

They drew more blood. Did an EKG. Chest x-rays.  Took more blood.  I was hooked up to more machines with stickers and human jumper cables.  More pain meds.  I couldn’t stop crying.  The pain was unbearable and I was scared out of my mind.  Soon Ashley and my leader Lucy showed up in my room. It helped calm me down to see their faces.  They were a wonderful distraction.  Bob and Ben came as well. Even in a hospital gown with tears streaming down my face and drugs racing through my veins, I was grateful for my absolutely amazing support system.  I simply could not ask for better people in my life.  Even my EMT buddy stopped by to check on me and give me a fist bump. 

I am happy to report that it was not a heart attack, stroke, blood clot or collapsed lung.  They aren’t sure what caused three hours of the pain in my back but at least we ruled out the scary words.  Eventually they released me from the hospital high on flexoral and hydrocodone.  I could hardly keep my eyes open as Bob drove me to get prescriptions, lunch and then took me home to rest.  I slept for nearly 20 hours off and on.  I don’t know if it was exhaustion or the drugs but my bed was my best friend until Friday afternoon. 

Friday, August 12th.  Every year the 12th is an emotional day for me and my family.  The anniversary of Kirk’s death. Hard to believe it’s been seven years.  I still think about him almost every day.  

I had made plans to go to dinner with my aunt, uncle, cousin and some friends that night.  We were going to my favorite restaurant, O’Hanas.  I knew that it was right where I needed to be on a day like this.  And the best part was that Brian had returned to Des Moines.  It’s hard to go a month without seeing your best friend.  He joined us for dinner and all was right in the world again as we caught up on the last few weeks and his trip to Alaska. 
 Saturday I skipped my plans to go to Lake Rathbun. Wasn’t sure I should be two hours from home with how I had been feeling the last few days.  Instead, I hungout with Ben and a buddy of his that was visiting from out of town.  We watched the cubs, enjoyed some OP pizza, talked and laughed for hours.  Brian joined us and we all relaxed in the hot tub.  Should I have gone to bed before the sun came up? Of course.  Does my body do well on three hours of sleep? Not so much.  Was it worth it? Absolutely. 

This morning was brunch with the Beavercrew on a patio in the sunshine. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up the week than laughing with those hooligans.  

To everyone that called, text or messaged me their prayers and concern, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I am one lucky girl to have so much love around me.  #fearless40 #inittowinit #IVsarethedevil #whydoibruiselikethis? 

Monday, August 8, 2016

The little things

It would be easy in this current environment and society to become bleak and bitter.  I don’t even turn on the news anymore and my social media feeds are clogged with political agendas and arguments on whose lives matter.  Just my humble opinion but ALL lives matter, no more or no less than any others.  Maybe it’s a pipe dream but I want to live in a world full of love and peace.  I don’t think it’s that crazy to believe it’s possible.  I may not be a big church goer but I do believe in basic commandments of loving and respecting each other.  Get it together, humanity!

So what can one human do? Simply love and respect the people around them.  And appreciate the little things.  That was my theme for the week. Little things that bring me joy.  Cheering on my friends at sand volleyball and feeling the warm sun upon my face.  Remembering how much I love the sport.  Sharing laughs on a patio with people I cherish.  Pictures of my nephews being goofy.  A dinner with friends, old and new, that turned into a full night of shenanigans, margaritas, dancing with the wait staff and entertaining the people at tables around us with our contagious energy.  Dancing with a stranger to a country song.  Facing my fear of pushing my limits and signing up for personal training again with Molly for the first time in 3 years with a new trainer at a different gym.  Sitting in a driveway staring at the stars and getting to know someone as the aroma of ribeye wafts off the grill.  Making dinner for my friends on a Saturday night.  Taking a day off of work to do nothing but focus on me.

Do you get the theme here? Laughter.  Good people. Small moments that make beautiful memories.  This is what life should be about, in my opinion.  If people spent half their energy focusing on themselves and happiness and less about what Joe Bob down the street is doing or saying, maybe we all could find a little more peace at night.  I know I’ve been going to bed with a smile on my face. 

That’s enough for my soap box.  Another great week in the books.  I must admit this #fearless40 thing is right up my alley. Of course we will see how #fearless I feel after my first night back at training which starts in about an hour.  Gulp.  I kid.  Although slightly terrified, I’m excited for another step towards my goals and making myself a better person today than I was yesterday.  That’s really all we can do. Be better.  Be happy.  Every day.