Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas

Ok I know, it's probably not politically correct to even say Christmas, but don't read this out loud and you'll be fine. Tonight (actually the entire day) is Christmas Adam. Get it? The day before Christmas Eve? It's a religious joke. Anyway, I'm not a religious person (although I did have the fear of god struck into me recently) so the historical meaning of Christmas is somewhat lost on me. We don't sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, we don't even go to church anymore.

To me, Christmas has become something other than a religious day. In my mind Christmas is similar to Thanksgiving, only colder and with presents. (Sidenote, I've always felt that people with birthdays on or near Christmas get gypped out of one or the other. It's just easier to combine them and give just one gift to the kid.) It's a time to be spent with family, and appreciate what you have, and the things you have to give and share. The past year and a half has not been easy for our family, and when things seemed to be looking up, they took a downturn. Our misfortune has made me realize (again) who and what are really important in my life. Although they can be irritating at times, my family tops the list (Whose isn't at some point). As much as we hate to say it, it's true, we need each other. Last Christmas was the first year I felt the true values and ideals of Christmas were apparent to us. It was also the most enjoyable in my book. I have a feeling this year will be the same.

Something exciting is in store for Christmas day, and I can't wait for a reaction. No deets now, but I'm super excited to finally give an awesome gift to a totally deserving person.

In addition to my sappy family Christmas blog, here's a bit of a "Hot and Not" Christmas list.

Hot:
- Augusteen Burrough's You Better Not Cry Christmas book. Read it, you'll laugh out loud even if you're alone in your dark bedroom... Not that I know from experience or anything.
- Real Christmas trees. No it's not "green" to support deforestation one tree at a time, but they look and smell SO much nicer than a fake one. After the season you can take it to the tree recycling station in your neighborhood.
-Ugly holiday sweaters. Please send me photos, I hope yours lights up.
- Casual Christmas dinner. Nice jeans and a collared shirt and sweater are sufficient. The days of the suit or dress are over. Get with the times people.
-The Grinch themed gingerbread cookies.
-Instrumental Christmas music so long as it is played within the three day window.
Not:
- Christmas music played before Christmas Adam. In my opinion, Christmas music has a three day window- Adam, Eve, and Day- and should only be played on those days. It is then acceptable as it reminds me Christmas is coming and I should think about gifts for people.
- Gingerbread cookies with boobs. Real nice mom. (To her credit, they are edible sprinkles this time, not crack-your-teeth ball bearings like years past.)
- Children singing carols/Christmas music in person or on the radio/CD's etc. Most kids freak me out, and when they're singing Christmas music dressed as angels or the dudes in the Jesus barn, I don't like it.
- "Winter Wonderland" Whoever thought that Christmas needed to be white is an idiot. It's like the frozen apocalypse outside. People are going to crash their cars going to family dinner, and that's never a good thing because people get cranky.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Standing Start- Odysseus

I can't embed this video, but you can click on the link. Check out Standing Start, it's really well shot and I think it's a good look into the cycling world for people that don't know much about it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Real Life?


I’m intrigued by people's relationships with a little thing called "real life." Now, I'm real and alive, so I suppose technically, I'm part of this real life business. But not really. Essentially, I live the life of a retiree… at 21, and without any money. By no means am I complaining, no, I love my life, but real life is something I’d like to understand a little better. My reality is much different than most people’s and I’m just curious.

Almost all of my friends went the traditional college route after high school. I did not, and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything at all. (Read my post about The Gypsy Life for more deets.) Now though, they’re all thinking about internships, salaries, grad school and higher higher education. I go to fake school. Mobile school. Community college. School of convenience. Instead of a focus on pursuing education or being able to support myself, I chose to dress in stretchy shorts and ride a bicycle everyday. Let me say, it was a phenomenal decision.

This alternate reality that I live in started when I decided to be an athlete, move to the OTC and live in a fish bowl. In early January, I’ll reach my three year anniversary at the training center. They’ve been the best three years of my life. Of course there’s sucky parts to being an athlete like wanting to cry or throw up in training, and the countless hours spent in airports around the world with the sickest, smelliest people imaginable, but there are far more positives. I get to do what I love, and while I don’t make much money at all, it’s what I love to do. We meet tons of people, travel the world on someone else’s dime, push our bodies and minds to the limit, and get to represent the United States of America.

Each day I wake up on my own, eat breakfast, train, eat lunch, tune in to mobile school, train, eat dinner, a little more mobile school, go to sleep. I never watch the news, rarely read the paper, and change the station in search of music when the radio goes to the news segments. I don’t have to take care of anything other than a few plants, and even that has proved difficult at times. All my financial stuff is set up to go automatically, and the only bill I have is for my cell phone.

Now though, I’m visiting family in Chicago where I’m as close to “real life” as I’ve been in a while. I’m using my sister’s car which means I drop her off at school in the morning and pick her up. The dog needs to be walked, dishes washed, floors vacuumed and groceries purchased. What is this?! It’s about as foreign to me as dentists are to the British (I kid, I love the Brits!). The past week has been a real eye opener, and actually it’s been quite nice. Finally I get a taste of what everyone else does during the day, well, beside that four letter word “work.” Reading the paper with a glass of apple juice, eating an eggo waffle made me feel the slightest bit sophisticated. Then I got bored. But they say it’s the effort that counts right? Sure. While real life is nice, it’s like New York City: good for a visit, but not forever. My alternate reality will be nice to go back to.