An Injury
... and an Embarrassing Story.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You may be wondering why, in the middle of an 105 degree summer day, I have chosen to post a (very, very cheesy) photo of myself dressed as a saucy Santa surrounded by snow.

Oh, okay. Twist my arm. (Well, not too hard, I'm hurting as it is.)

Once upon a time, in the winter of 2008, Seattle had the snow storm to end all snow storms. Well, at least for Seattle. Typically, we get a day or two of snow each year and it's very exciting. Then 2008 happened and we got a week of unrelenting snow. The city shut down, the buses stopped running and my mother couldn't make it to Christmas. I got so stir crazy that I started this blog just to keep from hanging myself with tinsel.

The photo above, however, was taken on the very first night of that long week. You know, when it was still new and wonderful. Never one to lose an opportunity for a photo shoot, my friend and I hauled her Christmas themed costumes out of the closet, filled our glasses with Frangelico and headed outside.

All was fine and well until - literally moments after this photo was taken - I tried to make it back up the stairs and into our house. I like to think it was the combination of ice and heels rather than Frangelico and clumsiness, but I turned my knee wrong and it basically popped out of place. I fell to the ground howling in pain and then uncontrollably giggling and then howling some more. I mean, what an embarrassing way to hurt yourself.

Long story short, the docs told me I had likely torn my meniscus. I was advised to get an MRI to determine whether or not I needed to have surgery. Well, I put it off because I didn't have health insurance at the time. Unfortunately, that time stretched out far longer than I would have liked. Most of the time, it has just been a nuisance. However, that was the Christmas I used a cane, so that's gotta be worth something.

Well, folks, all of my exercising of late has put extra stress on my knee and now I'm here. With this super sexy knee brace. If anybody asks, I'm definitely going to make up a far cooler reason why I hurt myself. Can you think of one?

Point of my story? Never take saucy Santa pics in the snow. Trust me on this one. ;)

The Journey Continues.
{... and a letter to, yes, my body.}

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

{image via}

* A mini intro and a little disclaimer: This post is not for everyone and writing it makes me feel pretty vulnerable. As my friend Todd and I like to say, "I'm keeping it extremely real" on this one. You see, I am on a vacation of sorts. I quit my job recently because I felt disrespected and uninspired. Although I have a new job, it hasn't started yet and the little gal I nanny for is away for the week. So, yeah, I'm kind of on vacation and this little break is giving me the opportunity to truly be with myself and think about some of the changes I want to make in my life. That said, pop culture isn't - for once - on the forefront of my mind. So, I'll return to blogging about Bachelor breakups and the like soon, but for now...

On May 10th of this year, I started a journey. A long, arduous, painful trip. Initially the intended destination of said trip was a county called "Weight Loss" with many stops along the way in unknown areas called "Get Stronger" and "Increase Energy" and "Firm the Eff Up." I started working with these great folks, rethinking everything I put in my mouth and working my body in ways I never have before. During the first month, I ate no cheese, no bread, drank very minimally (although I pretty much do that already), limited my carbs, increased my veggies and attempted to work out six days a week. Some days were better than others, but I stayed pretty damned consistent and I was proud of myself. Now, well into my second month, I've started eating whole grain bread once a day and having a cheat meal or meal and a half (let's be honest) once a week. It feels a lot more sane and has left me considerably less angry. (Although I'm still almost entirely off dairy for now.) Oh, and I've amped up my cardio (on top of meeting with my trainer three times a week) big time.

So, that's where I'm at... on paper. I can see some changes that my body is making, but the scale is not necessarily reflecting that yet. Most days, that has been really hard on me. You see, I know how to lose weight (and, oh boy, do I know how to gain it). I've been very successful in the past and know I can do that again, but I'm tired of yo-yo-ing. It's not good for your body (especially your metabolism) and it's not good for your spirit. (Yeah, I clearly think I'm Oprah in this post.)

What I don't know how to do is sustain a healthy and balanced life. When I'm on, I'm on and when I'm off, I'm off. There's no in between for me and it's taken a toll physically and emotionally. Luckily, my trainer Nancy the rockstar (third down) has helped me stay sane throughout this process and reminds me to look at this as a change I am making for the rest of my life rather than a sprint to my weight loss goal. Yes, my trainer actually reminds me to make these changes with integrity. How lucky am I?

So, during this little vacation of mine, while floating outside in the pool after my workout, I've had a lot of time to think about the kind of relationship I want to have with my body. I put so much work into the relationship I have with my family, my friends, my boyfriend, but never stopped to think about the relationship I have to the vehicle that carries me through my life.

Seriously, this is my Oprah post, isn't it?

My point is that there must be a healthy balance between wanting to see and feel change in your body and still love it. For women especially, the act of trying to love your body - with all it's imperfections and beauty - in this culture is almost revolutionary. And I am so on board with this revolution.

All of this reorganizing of my brain around these issues has led to some heartfelt realizations. And so, I decided to write this letter to my body and I'm going to re-read it as often as I need to and revise it whenever necessary. I encourage you to think about doing something similar. What could it hurt?

Dear Body,

First of all, I want to do something I have never done. I want to apologize to you. I have not always been good to you, body. I have hated you. I have thought you were too skinny, too chubby, too busty, too flat, etc., etc. I've tried to make you conform to society's fickle standards and for that I am terribly sorry. I can now look back on that skinny little teen I used to be and think how beautiful you were in your awkwardness. I can look at the girl who finally started gaining weight after college and think how healthy and lovely and alive you were. And I know that someday, I will look back on this time in my life and be so sad that I didn't realize how truly lucky I was to have you. As you are. Perfectly imperfect. Ever changing. Always mine.

I want to do another thing I never do. I want to thank you. You have been by me through so much. You have taken me to Europe and to Africa and back home again. You've taken me to places so torn apart by poverty, hunger and disease, places where a person has never uttered the words diet or cardio, where the act of trying to lose weight is nothing short of an amazing privilege. You've carried me through heartbreak and grief and loss and love. You've been by me when I didn't eat enough to nurture you and when I turned to food for comfort and overwhelmed you.

I've treated you badly and I'm sorry. I am trying to make it up to you now. Better late than never, right?

So, here's the deal. I've been pushing you really hard lately. I've been burning as many calories a day as I used to eat in a sitting eating barbecue chips (and we both know that's a lot). I've made you do things recently that have probably really confused you. I promise that this time - like my trainer said - I'm doing it with integrity. I know I've gotten frustrated lately that the scale isn't moving as quickly as I would like, but I promise to keep that sh*t under control and only let it out to play every once in a while. I also hope you understand when I embarrass you and cry at the gym like I did today. I'll keep that to a minimum too. Okay?

Last, but not least, I promise to start treating you with the respect you deserve. I'm going to keep moving you more and pushing you harder, but I'm going to be kinder with my expectations of you. I'm going to give you the fuel you need, eat those veggies even when I don't want to and let you indulge every so often. Oh, you want to know what I'm going to do the rest of the time? I'm glad you asked.

The rest of the time I'm going to love you. I'm going to have faith that you will do things in your own time and I'm going to try and be okay with that and get off the f*cking scale. Because you - and I - are better and more than that.

Again, thanks so much for everything. I look forward to spending the rest of my days with you.

Love, Kathleen

{image via}

A Different Kind of Documentation.

Friday, June 18, 2010

When you work as a therapist (oh, and on that note, I got an amazing job offer and very happily accepted!), there is a lot of documenting to do. Paperwork, notes, treatment plans, assessments, you name it. This, however, is a different - and equally important - kind of documentation.

This is the documentation of happy.

I had a hard time coming back from Seattle this week, let's just be honest. It was incredibly difficult to leave my family and friends (and especially those painfully cute nephews of mine) and I was not looking forward to being without a steady job (I still hang out with my little friend, thank goodness) and having to look for one. Then yesterday, there was a moment, a small moment, where I was perfectly happy. Simply and completely content. It was perfection and made me think about all the lovely, happy, perfect moments I've gotten to experience since my move to Las Vegas.

So, without further adieu, here is my documentation of the last few weeks of happy.

My girl, and chosen little sister, Kim and her boyfriend Andre came to visit a few weeks ago to celebrate her 25th birthday. As we always do when she comes to town, we had an amazing time. The Artisan. The Griffin. CityCenter. Ghostbar. The Playboy Club.

Then, the one and only, Autumn Vegas and I had to make a big damned deal out of going to see Sex and the City 2. (More on my thoughts about this next Tuesday. I'm bringing pop culture back to these neck of the woods after a little hiatus.)

There was fun - and a new dress - on a Saturday night at the Beauty Bar. Professional photo booth included.

A film festival party at the Palms. (Any party that involves me putting at least part of my body into a fabulous pool is my kind of party, fyi.)

Making new friends at the pool at the Artisan. (Maybe you've noticed, pools play a large role in my production of happy.)

First Fridays, and friends, downtown.

And last, but certainly not least, was a much needed (and loved) visit with my Gabby and her John.

There you have it. Little moments of joy captured on film. I have a feeling, there's a lot more to come. So, stay tuned.

Oh, and happy, happy weekend!

Hard to Leave.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm leaving Seattle to go back home to Vegas in the morning. As much as I'm looking forward to seeing my very handsome feller tomorrow and starting a new chapter in my life with a new job and outlook, it's hard to leave. Let me be honest, it's really hard to leave.

The photo above is from Saturday night. My two sisters, my brother-in-law, one of my favorite restaurants, a beautiful Seattle night on the lake and a lot of laughs. Like this trip, it was lovely.

Bloggers In Sin City.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, a little thing called Bloggers in Sin City rolled into town. At first, I wasn't really sure I would participate because I had a family wedding to attend that weekend, but then I thought, well, if all these crazy, fun bloggers are in my new city... Why the heck not? And so I emailed this amazing lady who organized the whole shebang and signed right up. Before you knew it, there were 69 of us and we all started introducing ourselves on Twitter and getting as excited and giddy as a bunch of wild sixteen year olds (which, in a lot of ways, we all became in each other's presence).

As soon as the ladies started arriving in Vegas, the fun began. Now, keep in mind, it was a little different for me. When we first met up for the happiest of hours at The Venetian's Zefferino, I rolled in straight from work... to a group that had already met one another and were knee high in Vegas shenanigans and a fantastic boozy, bloggy love fest. I, on the other hand, knew no one and was very busy trying to convince myself that I could walk into a group of almost 70, all the while attempting to quiet the voice inside screaming out, "Dear lord, I feel like an idiot. I don't know a soul, I should just go home. I really wish I was in my pajamas watching 30 Rock..." Well, folks, I sucked it up, played my favorite game of let's pretend to be the most confident person in the room and marched on in. Good thing I did because I got to walk around with my Twitter handle written in black sharpie on my arm and meet some amazingly nice women. Like her. And her. And her. And about 66 others. After about two hours of hugs and drinks and laughs, I excused myself right before the group went on a, and this actually hurts to type, cheese tour. (Damn you, new found eating habits. I gave in and had the vodka tonic, but had to gracefully bow out before the group met up with my ex boyfriend, cheese.)

On Friday night, after a very long day of work and family wedding festivities, I met up with the group at the Heart Bar in Planet Hollywood for an "I Just Came From a Theme Party Bar Crawl." {Before I go any further, can I just ask something? What exactly has happened to Planet Hollywood? I go there expecting photos of Bruce and Demi wearing letterman jackets and instead walk into a really cool, hip casino. I kind of love it there. It's true. Moving on...} Anyway, I decided to walk into the bar sporting a mustache. You know, because that's not awkward or anything. At the Heart Bar, our group had several bottles of vodka comped and we were treated like the rockstars we really are. Oh, and did I mention that I finally go to meet my blog love, Ali? We have been blog buddies for well over a year and I felt like I already knew her. When she walked into the bar, the room turned black and white, romantic music started playing and we fell into each other's arms. And the love affair began. In real life.

I spent the next couple of hours sweating my mustache off, putting it back on, coming up with another costume (luckily, I come to these events prepared with a bag full of backup options), meeting this absolute sweetheart, buying far too expensive of drinks at Diablo's and walking the strip with my new found soulmates.

The next day, I had to skip out on the blogfest to go to my cousin's wedding, but thanks to my girl, Ali, I have a few photos to share of some of the things I missed.

The next morning, we all met up for a champagne brunch to toast our new friendships, hang out at the pool and say goodbye. I can't tell you how much this weekend meant to me and how very glad I am that I put myself out there to meet some incredible new people. When I was trying to talk myself out of going initially, I told my best friend, "So, we all have a blog. Who cares? That doesn't mean we have anything in common. It's like meeting up for a convention with people because they have a Facebook page! How crazy is that?!" Well, dear readers, I am happy to report that I was wrong. When Jenner later asked me if I met anyone I liked, I said, "No, I met some new people I love." He said, "Wait a second, you just met some people you love?" My response? "Yep."

I can't wait until Bloggers in Sin City 2011... Until then, BiSC ladies, let me know when you're in town. You will always have a friend in Vegas! To the rest of you, I hope you make it next year. Xoxo!

My One Year Anniversary...
with Las Vegas.

Monday, June 7, 2010

{image via}

Last week, I had my one year anniversary with my new city, Vegas.

And they said we wouldn't last.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure we'd make it either, but - through good times and bad - we've been there for one another and I like to think that both Vegas and I have put a lot of work into this relationship.

After a year together, there is still no question (and I really mean that) I get asked more than, "So, what's it like to live in Las Vegas?" I always answer it with the same rehearsed response, "Well, it's a big change. I love the weather and all the city has to offer, but it's quite an adjustment." And you know what? That answer is as true today as the first time I uttered it.

It remains a big, big change, but more than anything, it's pretty damned surreal. On a trip here in 2006, I vowed to never return... and now I live here. And I actually love it. If that's not surreal, I don't know what is.

I'm going to Seattle tomorrow for a week with my family (and hopefully a little rain). When I asked my sister what the weather would be like, she said, "Well, yesterday was really nice. You could have worn your bikini and got a little tan." There was a long silence before I asked her, "Monica, what does that mean?" Her response? "Oh, it was like 67 degrees." I had to smile as I said, "Sis, it's 110 here today." How fast we change...

Since I moved to Sin City for love, I didn't necessarily have high expectations of my new home. Honestly, it was an afterthought. After a year, however, I can honestly tell you that I'm really, really happy here. My soul has been reborn in the sunlight and I still get as excited as a little girl to go hang out at one of my new love's best pools.

I don't know if you know this about me, but hotels and pools (and certainly hotel pools) are kind of my favorite thing on earth. How lucky am I that I get to live in a city that excels in the art of both? Throw in some amazing food, a generous (sometimes to a fault) supply of sunshine and the love of a sweet man and I am one happy Las Vegan.

So, to my love - Las Vegas - thank you for an amazing year. As hard as it's been (and we both know it has been), you've stuck by me and made me happier than I've ever been before. Cheers to us!

... but today is only for him.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

There is a lot going on in my neck of the woods, a lot I would like to blog about and eventually will, but not today... You see, I have quit my job and am looking for a new one. I am planning a trip to Seattle in a few days. I had a lovely friend in town last week and we had the most fun, silly adventures together (many, many photos to come). I also had my one year anniversary with Las Vegas and that has given me a lot to think about... and a lot to celebrate. I'm still cheese-less and rather put off by the whole concept of diet and exercise at the moment, but I'm keeping at it, albeit angrily. Oh, and last but not least, a very overdue post dedicated to the amazing experience that was Bloggers in Sin City is coming.

... but again, not today.

Today is only for him.

Nine years ago today, we lost him... My father left our lives, and this world, on June 3rd, 2001. And none of us have been the same since. We are better and we are worse, we are more and less joyful, we cry more and we laugh harder, but we are not the same.

There are so many words I could write down here, but they are mine and I know that wherever my dad is, he knows them. He knows my heart. What I will say here is that I miss him with all of my being. And the missing him, while more quiet than it used to be, is always present.

Do you remember the scene in Grey's Anatomy (and, yes, it pains me to quote this show in a post dedicated to my father) when George lost his father? He turned to Christina and said, "I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."

Truth be told, I still don't know how to exist in that world either..., but I'm figuring it out.

So, today, I will say that while I'm sad, I'm also aware of how unbelievably lucky I was to have a father who loved me so very, very much for 23 years. And Dad, wherever you are, I want to thank you for being the most generous, fun, good, loyal man I have ever known. I will miss you all the days of my life.

I loved you the day you left us, I love you today and I will love you forever. And when I someday see you again, I will love you still and finally, on that day, perhaps up in the sky, this incredible ache I have felt since you left will finally cease and we will be together. I hope on that day you will make me your famous chocolate milkshake.

I Heart Pop Culture Tuesdays.
{My night with Huey Lewis.}

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I have talked about my love for Huey Lewis a couple of times on my blog already. You need proof? Okay, mosey over here and here. I hate to say I told you so... So, yeah, I am a card carrying Huey Lewis fan. Always have been, always will be. End of story.

You see, when I was about six years old, I used to put on my costume wedding dress and walk down the upstairs hallway in my childhood home to my mom and dad's bedroom where I would recite my vows to an imaginary Mr. Lewis. What can I say? He did something to my hair-challenged first grade self, something very powerful that still hasn't let go. When he walked past me a few years ago at Barnes and Noble, I immediately started crying. It's like I was a tween and Justin Bieber walked by. Embarrassing, but true.

So, when I heard that Huey Lewis (and the News, no less) was performing at The M here in town, I just about died. There was no way I wasn't going to be at that show. Since Jenner already had other plans and none of my friends here in Vegas are even old enough to know who Huey is, I decided to go on my own. Yep, I got all dolled up and went to my very first concert solo. I gave Jenner a smooch and let him know as lovingly as I could that there was a pretty big chance I might have to leave him for Huey. He looked a little sad, but I think he understood. You can't get in the way of a six year old's dreams, right? Right.

When I showed up at The M, I somehow managed to tell the valet, the people at will-call and the bartender (I needed a vodka soda for my evening) that I've wanted to marry Huey since I was six. Honestly, within my first 20 minutes at the resort, I had told everyone I could about my love for Huey. Um, can you say awkward?

Initially, I was standing in the general admission section and, let me tell you, I was less than pleased. This... this was my view.

Yes, I was happy to be in the same general vicinity as my man, but it wasn't enough. It just wasn't... This in combination with the fact that Huey was only singing his newer songs (and anything post-80's is great, but not the reason I put on fake lashes and dragged myself out alone) made me go sit down for a little bit. Then "I Want A New Drug" came on and I was instantly transformed into the little girl I used to be. I was up on my feet and dancing like crazy next to a couple in their fifties wearing jorts.

After that, still high off of Huey and frantically texting my best friend, I found the courage to walk past security and leave my sorry general admissions area for good. Turns out, if you act like you own the place, people assume you do. So, I strolled right up to the front and stood next to Jimmy Kimmel (who seemed super nice, fyi). By the time Huey started singing "The Power of Love," I was in my childhood heaven. The fact that we later made eye contact and that he waved to me (granted I was 20-30 years younger than the average concert goer and kind of stood out), only sealed the evening as one of my all time favorites.

Oh, and then Carina told me over the phone to ask a young man dismantling Huey's stage if there was an after party where I could meet Huey... and I did. Turns out, I'm the Penny Lane of Huey Lewis and the News. (It also turns out, Huey goes straight to bed after he finishes a show and doesn't have any kind of after party. Even though I didn't get to meet him, this little fact kinda makes me love him even more.)

(Um, this is pretty much my favorite photo. Ever.)

I hope that someday your childhood love dreams come true, too. Happy Tuesday!