Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

What happens when you let the parents play with the Wii......

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Like Coming Home...

I watched my first UK game at Freedom Hall when I was 11. My first trip to Rupp came a year later. I don’t remember who we played, although I am pretty sure that UK won. What I do remember is the sense of awe I felt as I came out the tunnel and saw the arena for the first time--the floor, the benches, the National Championship Banners, the retired jerseys. It was everything I had seen on TV my whole life, and more. I many ways, it was like coming home.

Our seats were not nearly as good as they had been the year before--think nosebleed, above the banners--but I didn’t care. I was in Rupp. If watching the team play live in Freedom Hall had made me a UK fan for life, watching them play in Rupp was my indoctrination to the religion that is UK basketball.

A few years ago, there was a fabulous article written by a reporter from South Carolina who came to Rupp for a USC game against UK. He likened visiting Rupp Arena to going to church. He talks about how those to get to attend the games feel privileged to do so. He talks about how the fans worship the program. He talks about the fanaticism that leads thousands of people to worship this team when they may never get to see them play, never get to attend the university they represent, never get to meet a player or a coach.

I read that article a few years ago. By that time, I had been a student at UK, I had seen countless games from the stands, I had even been on the floor during pre-game warm ups. But when I read about his experience at Rupp, it took me back to that first game. It took me back to the sense of awe I felt looking up at the (then) 5 National Title Banners and the retired jerseys bearing names like Beard, Groza, Mashburn, and Issel. It took me back and made me feel like that 12 year old again.

I keep that article bookmarked and whenever I start to lose the feeling of wonder that should accompany watching UK play, I pull it up and read it again. It reminds me what I love about coming to Rupp. Coming to Rupp is like coming home.

Here is a link to the Article I was talking about: Rupp Arena Like Going to Church

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In the Beginning....

I can honestly say that I don’t remember a time when Kentucky basketball wasn’t a part of my life. I was born into a family that was (and still is) crazy about UK basketball. I grew up watching the Cats play.

Winters were spent sprawled on the living room floor either watching or listening to games with my Dad. You knew to settle in about 10 minutes before tip off and there was to be no moving around during the game. No walking in front of the TV. No talking. Games were serious business.

As I got older and started to play basketball myself, games were a chance for Dad to teach me. I learned about zone defenses, pick and rolls, and full court pressure by watching Kentucky. The proper techniques for bounce passes, free throws, and setting screens were demonstrated by players like Ford, Delk, Mashburn, and Rhodes.

And then, some time around the start of 6th grade I fell in love. Most girls that age were pouring over Tiger Beat magazine. They had posters of the New Kids on the Block on their walls. I read the Kentucky Basketball Yearbook and had a UK basketball poster hanging over my bed. My love? Travis Ford.

Now, don’t get wrong, I loved all my UK basketball players, but Ford was by far my favorite. I read his section of the yearbook so often I could recite it by heart. I knew his height, his weight, all his stats from the year before, and more non-traditional things like his favorite ice cream and his favorite movie. During games, I watched him all more than anyone else. I talked about him with my friends. The highlight of my life was when my Dad went to a game and brought me back a 3 point card signed by Traivs Ford. At one point I was going to marry him.

That season (1993-94) was his senior year. It was the year of Jeff Brassow’s last second tip in to win the Maui Invitational. It was the year Ford hit a record 50 free throws in a row. It was the year of the Mardi Gras Miracle down at LSU. But most importantly, it was the year that I got to see my first UK game--Live.

It was UK vs Mississippi at Freedom Hall in Louisville on Wednesday January 12. My Dad, my best friend Melissa, and I sat mid court in the balcony row B (yes, I remember all that). The minutes leading up to the team coming out for warm up were some of the longest of my life. (We were in our seats as soon as the doors opened.) And, when they ran out, I got my first glimpse of the guys who were rock stars in my world. I’m kind of surprised that I didn’t pass out.

What I did do was take about 3 rolls of film worth of pictures (remember film?) on a camera with no zoom and a flash that you had to attach externally. Not one of them was any good--all the players were about the size of ants--but to me they would be priceless. We all cheered for the whole game, me so loudly that I couldn’t talk the next day. And, while I don’t remember much about the game itself (UK won 98-64) I do know that it was one of the best days of my life. And I’m pretty sure that my mom and my sister got tired of hearing me talk about the game in the weeks and months that followed.

After that point, there was no going back. I had been fully initiated into the Big Blue Nation and I was destined to bleed blue for life.

Here's video highlights from the Mardi Gras Miracle game (incidentally I went to bed before the miracle come back, it was the last time I ever didn't watch the end of a game, no matter how horrible things were going.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Basketball Time in the Bluegrass!!!

With basketball season nearly upon us, everyone is talking about our new coach and what he is going to bring to (or should I say bring back to) Kentucky basketball. Excitement is at an all time high. Rumors and speculation are running wild.

The coach himself, however, cautions that we need to keep in mind that we have a young team full of new players who have to learn a whole new system of basketball and things will be shaky at the start. I contend, however, that the learning curve doesn’t just apply to the players (and the fans) as they learn the dribble drive offense, but to the coach as well. There is nothing quite like Kentucky basketball and it can take an outsider a little while to learn to ropes.

Over the years I’ve had the task of trying to explain what Kentucky basketball is and what it means to several people. What I’ve found is that UK basketball is one of those things that defies description.

Sure, you can list the stats--7 NCAA Championships, 13 Final Fours, 48 Tournament appearances, 43 SEC regular season titles, 25 SEC tournament Championships, 1988 games won--but there is so much more to it than the numbers.

It’s about the love that the people of Kentucky have for their team. It’s about the pride we feel when we watch them play. It’s about the heart ache we feel when they lose and the glee we feel when they win. It’s about people who pass season tickets down to their grandchildren and drive 3 hours both ways for every home game.

It’s about the people who show up for every game and those that never see them play. The ones who fly to Maui and Alaska for pre-season Invitationals. The people who throw game day parties to watch on HD TVs, those that watch in bars with 300 of their closest friends, and those that spent years crouching around radios to listen to Caywood.

It’s about kids that grow up playing ball in driveways and backyards, on courts made of dirt, concrete, shingles, and grass with backboards tacked to the sides of houses and barns and stuck up on light poles. It’s about kids who take thousands of last second shots to beat teams like Louisville, Duke, and Florida. Kids who grow up idolizing people like Macy, Issel, Givens, Delk, Mashburn, Rondo, and Patterson.

How do you put all of that into words? What can you say that encapsulates everything that this team is to everyone? You can’t. You can’t possibly understand Kentucky basketball unless you have lived Kentucky basketball.

But I would like to try. I would like to try and explain what Kentucky basketball is, at least to me. So, what I’m going to do is, in a series of posts, try to highlight different aspects of my relationship with the Wildcats. It may not work, but hey, why not at least play the game?

Monday, October 5, 2009

An Open Letter to Lexington

Dear Lexington,

You know I love you. I must. I’ve lived here for 9 years now and for the most part I can’t complain. I love your horses and your fences--both the wooden ones and the stone ones. I love your downtown with the fun bars (putting in one named the penguin was a big plus). I thoroughly enjoy living in a town where I can buy booze, eat at a nice restaurant, and go to the mall.

But, don’t get a big head. You’re not perfect. Your super pollen kills me in the spring and fall. You have a decided lack of good live music venues. And don’t get me started on your traffic problems. Scratch that. Someone needs to point this stuff out and, like any good friend, I’m going to volunteer.

First, let me say that I feel I’ve been very patient with your wonky traffic. I’ve put up with streets that change names three (or four) times. I’ve dealt with the funky light system on Nicholasville Road. And I’ve never said a word about the fact that New Circle can’t seem to decide if it wants to be an expressway or main street. But these days you are really testing my patience.

We all knew that the new hospital was going to require some road work--after all, everything UK does requires digging up some portion of road somewhere--and the randomly changing lane closures on South Limestone during rush hour and basketball game traffic do keep things interesting, but that schtick is getting old. Please finish that stuff up so that I drive over asphalt again and not the giant metal plates you insist on putting down every time you dig a giant hole in the road. It’s killing my shocks and suspension.

Also, I thought you were crazy when you decided to close portions of South Limestone (aka Nicholasville road, aka US 27) for a year. Really? An entire year!?! Is that necessary? Especially when you didn’t start this project bak in May after all the students left, but decided to wait until August, just before they all came back (and just before football season).

I won’t harp on you too much for the Old Frankfort Pike closure, since I’m rarely on that side of town, but it does seem to be a pretty major hassle for those who live up that way (I’m told that people do live on the North side).

And it seems in poor taste to close a large section of Main Street at the same time as both S. Limestone and Old Frankfort Pike/Newtown Pike are closed. Remember when I said one of the things I loved about you was downtown? You are making it really hard for me to get there theses days.

I’ve managed to do okay so far, navigating the continually shifting maze of open/closed intersections and road. Sure, it now takes me 30 minutes to go the 1.5 miles between work and church and getting downtown from Nicholasville road requires an advanced degree in geometry and navigation. But those are minor nuisances compared to what is coming.

Must you really insist on closing Limestone between Cooper and Virginia? That stretch of road is really hard to navigate around, since Cooper is not set up to handle a large volume of traffic and the back roads between Virginia and Cooper are even worse. I will commend you on deciding to do this work over a weekend and not during the week (or on a football game weekend). But, really this is crazy talk. If you insist on doing this, I will have to break up with you. It’s been a good run, but I’m starting to feel like you are pushing me away. Let me know when you decide to let me back in. Until then.....

Your Friend,


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Amazing Thoughts on the Amazing Race Week 2

Week 2: Vietnam
  • A Moving Pit Stop is the best idea ever! Although with some of these teams, I'm not sure they ever know where they are, so this may have been overkill.
  • One of the Gay Brothers has the prettiest eyes ever. Too bad he bats for the other team.
  • Race Rule #1: Read your clue people! All the way through--twice if you have too.
  • I still love the Globetrotters and we need more water dragon puppet theaters in the US.
  • Why in the world would you think that making sexy eyes at a puppet would make the puppet come to you? Or dancing for that matter?
  • Race Rule #2: Yelling at your partner doesn't solve anything. It just makes them mad and may lead to a failure to comply with Race Rule #1 (which is probably what lead to the yelling in the first place). Also, screaming at random people on the street will not make them inclined to help you. Do what your mother always said and ask nicely. Please is a magic word in any language.
  • There is nothing better than seeing a team that encourages each other in a positive way. I love Zev and Justin You can tell Justin knows just how to get the most out of Zev without being mean, hateful, or counter productive.
  • You never ever want to be the only team that chooses a particular detour unless you know it is something that you can do very well and very quickly.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.

The title quote has nothing to do with anything today, but I thought it was fun.

Today, I just wanted to share with you a few links to other blogs that I found via a Newsweek article about some of the best photo blogs on the Internet. So, without further ado:

Awkward Family Photos--Who doesn't look at some old family pictures and think "Oh my God...I hope no one ever sees these!" This is where you can find them. I haven't found any of my family on there, but that doesn't keep me from checking every so often. (And laughing really hard at other people's families.)

Cake Wrecks--We've all seen the photo circulating with the cake from Wal Mart where the baker has written out something along the lines of "Congratulations Mary! Under Neat That Best Wishes" This is an entire website of baking mishaps and misfortunes like that. I laughed so hard at some of these photos, and even harder at some of the author's captions.

Engrish--A very funny site where people take pictures of signs/packaging in English that just doesn't quite add up. It may not be totally politically correct, but I sure laughed hard. Especially since I see some of this stuff on a daily basis at work. I especially like the "Paper Urine Trousers" sign.

Item Not As Described--Ever wanted to buy a leaky door refrigerator? How about some free fish heads? A used coffin? All the random stuff for sale (or free) on the web. Who wants this stuff anyway?

And the All Time Best: People of WalMart--This is why I don't shop at WalMart. But it sure is funny (probably because it's true).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Amazing Race....Again

Some thoughts from watching tonight's Amazing Race premier:

  • Every reality TV show should have a pair of Harlem Globetrotters on it. They make things so much more entertaining. Plus hearing Phil say Flight Time and Big Easy makes me laugh.
  • Eliminating one team at the start weeds out the most stupid team. Thank you PTB for not making me watch the Yoga teachers for an entire hour.
  • US games shows need to be more like Japanese games shows......Eaaaaaat Wasabiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!
  • Why do people think that they can lie their way through the race? The other teams are stupid. They will know that you don't work with homeless kids in LA.
  • How do the girls not know that the brothers teams is gay? Those guys are two of the most gay men I've ever seen....they even have matching orange passport holders.
  • Everyone needs to shovel mud at some point in their lives. Spreading it on fruit trees is optional.
  • Yelling at animals has never made them do what you want. Come to think of it, yelling at people doesn't work either.
  • I could watch angry, frustrated people herd ducks all day.
  • I love that the Asberger's guy handled the challenges so much better than most of the people on the race.
  • People, if you are going to run the Amazing Race, please learn to read a map. And to drive a stick. And also to look at the details. Those are skills you will need at some point during the race.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.

With all the publicity surrounding the release of the Where the Wild Things Are movie, I've been thinking about some of the books I read (and loved) as a child.

Now, I can't say that I really got all that attached to many so called "Children's Books." I of course read Where the Wild Things Are, as well as others like Goodnight Moon, the Madeline series of books, and, if you talk to my Dad, What Do Smurfs Do All Day.

But the books that perhaps made the biggest difference to me growing up were the books I read as I got slightly older--the chapter books that I read early in life. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell--I loved this book. In fact, if I'm being honest, I still do. I'm pretty sure this is the book that is responsible for starting my love affair with horses. I remember that after reading this, I spent months giving anyone who would listen a lecture on the evils of the bearing reign. I'm sure my parents were thrilled.
  2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott--Another of my favorites. I still read this one about every two years or so. As a kid, something about these girls struck a chord in me. I loved spunky Jo, gentle Beth, prim Meg, and pretty Amy. (But I loved Jo the best and wanted to be just like her.) And I still want Laurie to end up with Jo every time.
  3. The Babysitter's Club books by Ann M. Martin--I have no idea how many books there are in the series now, but I know for a fact that I read (and owned) at least the first 25 or 30 books and a few of the "Super Special Editions." They may not have been high quality literature, but they certainly gave me plenty of ideas for when I started baby-sitting on my own a few years later. I owe many a saved evening to the girls of the Baby-sitter's Club.
  4. The Thoroughbred Series by Joanna Campbell--Another series of books that has continued to expand. I loved horses as a kid and these books fed that love. It also made me want to be a jockey, that is until I had my growth spurt at 10 and ended up being 5'8". Still, little did I know that 15 years later I would be living in Lexington and seeing the places mentioned in the books every day.
  5. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume--This book is responsible for me having a turtle. The little boy in this book wins a turtle at a birthday party and I always thought that was the coolest thing. I wanted a turtle too and when I mentioned this to my sister a decade (and a half) later, she went out and found me one. And now I have Dean.
  6. Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O'Dell--I loved this book about an eskimo girl who races in the Iditarod with her father's dog sled team. I loved the sense of adventure that this book had and the information it gave me about dog sled racing. In fact, for awhile I wanted to move to Alaska and race dog sleds. That phase passed as soon as I figured out that it was dark for 6 months up there.
  7. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George-There was something about orphan books or books where the parents were absent that I loved as a kid. I loved this one and dreamed of running off to the wilderness and living off the land. The only problem was finding a falcon to hunt for me. And I wasn't sure I could find a hollow tree big enough (and I looked).
  8. Where the Red Fern Grown by Wilson Rawls--There are only 2 books I've ever read that made my cry. This is one of them. The ending gets me every time. This was also one of the first books I read for school that I really really loved. Sadly, there were not that many more in the future.
  9. A Wind in the Door by Madeline L'Engle--I'll admit, I never read A Wrinkle in Time. But I did read this sequel and loved it. It was a perfect mix of fantasy (which I still love) and science (which is now my career). It also introduced me to mitochondria, and I still can't help but think of this book every time I sit through a lecture on mitochondrial dysfunction.
  10. The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter--Possibly the only books that held my attention as well as books about horses were books about Native Americans. There weren't many of them for kids to read, but this was one of them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Great Man

The world lost a great man today. He was not rich, unless you count the lives he touched. He was not famous, although almost everyone in Glasgow knew his name. He was not a powerful man, but he influenced more lives than most people could ever hope to do.

Mr. Foster (for that is how I will always think of him) came into my life when I was 7 years old. I was in 3rd grade he was my new Principal. Now, the man who held that position before him was a mythic person. Like Sauron in The Lord of the Rings he was a presence often felt, but rarely seen. I’m not sure that, had I been forced to, I could have picked him out of a lineup and I’m almost positive that he had no idea who I was.

Mr. Foster, on the other hand, greeted me by name (first, middle, and last) out in front of the school that first morning and every morning after. Rain or shine he was there to open the car door and start my morning with a hearty “Good Morning Kimberly Marie Carrico, my neighbor!” I had lived down the street from him almost my entire life, but until that first morning I had never spoken to him and the fact that this very important adult knew my name (my name!) made me feel important too.

By the time I left his school I had read almost every book in the school library, I could multiply (sort of anyway) and divide, I knew the basics of US and World History, and my life long love affair of science had begun. I had learned a great deal about a lot of things, but the most important lessons I learned didn’t come from a book. He taught me about respect by showing respect to everyone. He taught me about responsibility by always taking responsibility for his actions. He even taught me to work hard by constantly being the hardest working person I knew (and the best whistler too).

But the most important thing I learned from him in my 3 years under his care was that, despite my young age, I was important. He was the first adult that spoke to me like I was his equal. He was the first adult to treat me like my opinions were just as valid as his. He was the first adult to make me feel like a person.

Over the years he was always there with a smile and a hand when I arrived at school. He never failed to buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies when I (or any other girl) came knocking. Every Saturday morning I knew to look for him washing his Corvette in his driveway and whistling away. And no matter when or where I saw him, he always spoke to me and called me by name. Always.

My favorite Mr. Foster story is from the summer after my Freshman year in college. A few of my new friends from school had come down for the weekend and I was taking them over to Mammoth Cave. I knew, due to the last minute nature of our trip and the fact that it was high summer, there was no way we were going to get tickets for a cave tour, but I figured we could at least walk down and look at the entrance to the cave. But first, we went into the Visitor’s Center to grab a couple of maps. Who did I find behind behind the information desk but Mr. Foster.

He, of course, greeted me by name, asked after my family, and then proceeded to question me about my first year at school. When he found out who my friends were, he insisted that they see the cave. After I explained that we didn’t have any tickets and all the tours for the day were sold out, he leaned over the counter and smiled. That was no problem he assured me, he was giving a tour in a few hours and if we met him outside then, he would take care of us.

And take care of us he did. We met him outside at the appointed time and he folded us into his tour group. We walked with the group down to the entrance to the cave and stood in line at the gate as the other guide took up tickets. When our turn came, Mr. Foster simply smiled at the guide (who was probably not much older than we were), patter his chest pocket, and said “I have these ladies’ tickets right here.” The other guide nodded his head and we walked in.

I have been to the Cave enough times to recite every tour along with the guide, but I had never been on a tour like that one. He picked on me, of course, because that’s what he did, but I didn’t mind. And my friends left the cave that day as much in love with it as he was. Once again he had made me feel special.

That was his gift. He made everyone he met feel special. Important. Loved. He was one of those rare people who seemed to have an infinite ability to love. And to know him was to be loved by him. Every child who passed through the door to his school (and their siblings and parents) became important to him. He learned their names. He learned their likes and dislikes. He took the time to get to know them. And by doing so, he made each and every one of them feel special.

Yes, the world lost a great man today. He wasn’t rich or famous, but the wealth he left behind him is priceless. Because he lived, an entire generation of children learned to see themselves as important. Because he lived, the world is a better place. And that is worth more than all the money in world.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


So, unless you have been living under a rock for the last few days, you know that UK fired Billy G on Friday and that yesterday they announced John Calipari was the new coach. Now, I'll admit that I liked Billy G when they first hired him, but the honeymoon ended and things went south pretty swiftly, so I'm pretty happy with this hire.

In fact, Coach Cal coming to Kentucky has me more excited about Kentucky Basketball than I have been sine 1998 when Tubby and the Comeback Cats won the title. I can't wait for next year!

He is an experienced coach who has taken two different teams to the final four. He has proven to be a great recruiter. He is charismatic. He loves the spotlight. He is saying all the right things.

Am I concerned about some of the issues with the NCAA in the past? Yeah. But from everything I've read and heard, his name is clean. And I imagine that Barnhart and Todd will keep a close eye on things. So, no one is perfect, and we have to accept that.

But this guy seems like a pretty darn good fit for us. Let's just hope he lives up to all the hype.

Ryan Parker did a pretty good job with this video:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Updated Master List

Completed tasks are in blue (because I like blue). Tasks in progress are in red.

The List:

1. Take a daily multivitamin for 1 month
2. Take a daily calcium supplement for 1 month
3. Get my weight down to 140lbs
4. Run 3 times a week for 1 month
5. Lift weights 3 times a week for 1 month
6. Go 1 month without fast food
7. Run a 5K in under 29.00min (Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 28.39 on 9/26/08)
8. Run a 10K
9. Be able to run 6 miles without stopping
10. Run the Run Like Hell 5K in Cincinnati
11. Finish a Half Marathon--Flying Pig, Cincy, May 2009
12. Go hiking (10/4/08 Mammoth Cave)
13. Swim in the Bluegrass State Games
14. Visit Europe
15. Visit the Newport Aquarium
16. Visit a Haunted House
17. Visit Waverly Sanatorium
18. Visit a State I’ve never been to before
19. Take Ballroom Dance Lessons
20. Go to the Drive in Movies
21. Go to King’s Island for Fearfest
22. Go to Needles and Angles
23. Go ice skating
24. Go to a midnight Hockey game
25. Take a cooking class
26. Try 5 restaurants I’ve never been to before (5/5) (Bonefish Grill 9/16/08) (Bar Louie's 12/5/08) (Saul Good's 3/7/09) (Old Chicago Pizza 2/28/09) (Tin Roof 3/12/09)
27. Learn to Quilt
28. Learn to make Grandmother Russell’s Special Occasion Rolls
29. Take a Personal/Family Finance Class
30. Read The Greatest Generation
31. Read Jane Eyre
32. Buy the 7th Harry Potter Book
33. Reread the entire Harry Potter series start to finish (0/7)
34. Read 5 books from the Booker Prize Winners List (1/5) (The Life of Pi)
35. Read 5 books from the 50 Essential Reads List (0/5) (Girl with a Perl Earring)
36. Read 4 nonfiction books (3/4) (Reading Lolita in Tehran) (In the Land of Invisible Women) (Dreams From my Father)
37. Read the entire New Testament
38. Read 1984
39. Watch Casablanca
40. Watch Gone with the Wind
41. Watch 10 Best Picture Oscar Winners (0/10)
42. Watch the Godfather Trilogy
43. Watch Schindler’s List
44. Watch all 3 Lord of the Rings Movies (extended editions) in one weekend
45. Put together a family tree (as far back as I can go)
46. Take Dad to see the Eagles in Concert
47. Go deer hunting with Dad (11/8/08 9 point buck)
48. Visit Granddad Russell in Oak Ridge 3 times (0/3)
49. Go sailing with Granddad Russell
50. Do something special with just my sister
51. Go on 3 dates (0/3)
52. See Kenney Chesney in Concert (again)
53. See a play
54. See a musical (Wicked, Louisville, KY 1/31/09)
55. Knit a sweater for me
56. Get a pedicure 4 times (1/4) (12/1/08)
57. Write in my journal at least once a week for 3 months
58. Blog at least once a week for the 1001 days
59. Sew something for myself
60. Go camping
61. Get into UK’s Ovarian Cancer Screening Program
62. Get a massage
63. Go to a UK swim meet (1/17/09)
64. Write a short story
65. Be 1st Author on a Manuscript
66. Take the GRE
67. Make a decision about going back to school
68. Learn to do Western Blot
69. Learn to do Slot Blots
70. Create a budget
71. Stick to my budget for 6 months (2/6)
72. Put $250 a month in savings for 1 year
73. Give blood as often as I can (every 56 days)
74. Clean out my old clothes and donate them to Goodwill
75. Volunteer for the Thursday night meal at church (2/19/09)
76. Become an organ donor
77. Bake Cookies for someone just because
78. Knit something for charity
79. Renew my CPR certification
80. Get on the Bone Marrow Donor Registry
81. Knit a sweater for someone else
82. Cook a special dinner for some of my friends
83. Organize and Sort my Photos
84. Organize/Update/Sort the Music Collection on my Computer
85. Clean out my craft supplies
86. Clean out the closet on my balcony
87. Sort and Catalog my book collection
88. Clean Dean’s tank at once a month for 6 months (0/6)
89. Buy a new couch (9/18/08)
90. Buy reusable grocery bags
91. Use reusable grocery bags
92. Kiss Under the Mistletoe
93. Get a new coffee table
94. Join a Gym (Johnson Center 2/2009)
95. Bake a cake from scratch
96. Finish my Dragon Cross Stitch
97. Eat out for lunch only once a week for 1 month
98. Send a secret to Post Secret
99. Reconnect with 1 person I’ve lost touch with
100.Make 1 new friend
101. Update my blog with the list and progress

101 Things Updates....

I realized that I haven't updated my list in awhile, so I thought now was as good a time as any. First, a few lose ends to tie up:

#1 Take a multivitamin every day for a month: I started this the first of January and did pretty good for most of the month, but I don't think I managed to hit every day. I'll have to try again.

#57 Write in my journal once a week for 3 months: This one failed spectacularly. I did okay for a few weeks, but things have fallen off since. (Not surprising since I haven't had time to do much of anything lately).

#58 Blog once a week for the 1001 Days: Obviously I haven't done well with this one, but I'm trying to do better. Sometimes life just gets busy and blogging isn't high on the list.

#61 Get into UK's Ovarian Cancer Screening Program: I called, made my appointment, and kept my appointment so I'm calling this one Done! I even have my next exam set up.

Now, a few things that are In Progress or Completed:

#11 Finish a Half Marathon: I am planning on doing the Flying Pig Half Marathon up in Cincy in May with my cousins Gerrie Anne and Jean. I've been training and going to the gym more theses days (although this week hasn't been so good for the gym). And my goal isn't to run the whole thing, it's to just finish it, so I think this one is within reach.

#26 Try 5 Restaurants I've never been to before: This one is actually going quite well. I have already mentioned my trip to Bar Louie's (actually now it's been like 5 trips, but whatever). I've also eaten at Saul Good's a couple of times (most recently on Saturday with Jenny) and Jenny, Jenny, AJ, Brent, Ashely and I went to Old Chicago Pizza the the Saturday before which was good, but kind of disappointing since I didn't get my Chicago style crust like I wanted (they ran out apparently). So, now I've completed 3/5. Only 2 more to go.

#34 Read 5 books off the Booker Prize Winner's List: I finished The Life of Pi by Yann Martel just last week. I enjoyed it, but I also found the beginning to be very slow. Still, overall it was a good book and I'm glad I read it.

#35 Read 5 books off the 50 Essential Reads by Contemporary Authors List: I nearly forgot, but I did read Girl with a Perl Earring by Tracy Chevalier and enjoyed it very much. It reminded me a lot of another book I had read, the name of which escapes me now, but it was very good.

#36 Read 4 Non fiction books: This one is another place where I've made significant progress. In fact, I read 3 non fiction books in a row (although not by design).

The first was Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi which was a really interesting look at the life of an English Literature professor in Afghanistan during the revolution and how she, and her female students, felt about the new restrictions placed on them. If you want to know what dose on underneath all those veils you see on the news, I highly recommend this book.

The second was a very similar book called In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A. Ahmed. As you might guess, it is about a female doctor raised in the UK, trained in the US that takes a job at a hospital in Saudi Arabia. Her perspective is very unique in that she is a Muslim woman, but also very western. Hearing about her journey to find her faith and try to fit it among people that are both similar to her and very different, was fascinating. Another book I highly recommend if you want to try and understand a little bit more about the women in fundamentalist Muslim countries.

The third book was Dreams from my Father by Barak Obama. I picked this one up on inauguration day, mostly because I was curious about the man who was now our President. Parts of it I found interesting. Parts of it I found dull. Parts of it I wish everyone had to read because I think it would put to rest the idea that Obama is some kind of closet Muslim terrorist. I did find the honesty about certain things very refreshing, and thought that learning a little more about his childhood made certain things about him make more sense. Still, by this point I was a bit burnt out on non-fiction reads and wanted something with a little more plot. (My next book was Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich--it's not on any list, but boy was it fun!)

#54 See a Musical: Jenny, AJ, and I went to see Wicked in Louisville January 31st, and yes, it was just as good the second time around. I'm also excited to go see In the Heights on Broadway next week when I'm in NYC!!

#63 Go to a UK swim meet: Jenny, Jenny, and I went to watch UK swim against Alabama on January 17th. It was fun, although I had forgotten how long meets can be. Still, I'll try to go to another meet next year.

#70/71: Create and stick to the Budget: This I did back in January and so far so good this year (2 for 2) We'll see how it goes.

#75 Volunteer for the Thursday Night Meal at Church: Did this on February 19th. Technically, I had to since it was my month to serve the meal as an elder, but I did go and it was nice. I'll have to do it more often.

#93 Get a new coffee table: This is did back in January as well--we technically I had the coffee table before January, but it wasn't at my house. Now it is and I love it. I'll try to get a pic of it sometime. It is pretty.

#97 Join a gym: And this is now done. I joined the Johnson Center in February so I could get ready for the Flying Pig and it has been good. I've been going at least 2 times a week so far (although this week hasn't been good).

So, I think that's all for the update. It's a long list right now, I know, but I hadn't updated in over a month, so a lot of stuff had happened. I'll post an updated master list soon.

PS. So, before I could get this post finished, I finished up #26 by eating at the Tin Roof. I went there for lunch and to watch the CATS play today (Go CATS!) so I guess that means I'm done with that. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

I Saw God Today...

Well, actually it was yesterday, but hey, who's counting.

It's been a long, rough couple of weeks and I'll be the first to admit that this week I've just been tried and pretty much given up on everything. And, yes, I've been feeling sorry for myself. But I've found that generally when things get to that point, something comes along that turns your head and makes you realize that things aren't always as bad as they seem.

Yesterday for lunch I walked down to the Penn Station that isn't too far from work. The weather was nice and I just needed to get out of the building for awhile. I went by myself because I haven't been in the most social mood lately (see previous comment about feeling sorry for myself). As I was going in, I noticed a homeless man standing on the sidewalk outside the strip of stores/restaurants.

Now, I've seen this guy around before, and I'll admit that he kind of creeps me out. He tends to stare. And in the past when I've been eating outside at Gumbo YaYa's, he'll come sit down at on of the other tables and just sit there and watch me eat. I know that he's probably okay, but still, it creeps me out.

Well, yesterday when I saw him, I made a point to avoid him. I'll admit to that. But later I noticed that he was outside Penn Station and I started thinking about how much it must suck to be a homeless person dependent on other people during a recession (not that it's ever a good thing to be homeless). I was pondering all this stuff when a nice normal looking college guy walks into the restaurant. I'm assuming he was in college anyway. He looked to be in his early 20s and was dressed all in UK gear, which at lunch time generally means you don't have a real job anywhere.

Anyway, so this kid comes in and gets in line to place his order, but he keeps looking back out the window at the homeless guy. Finally, he gets out of line, goes outside and starts talking to this guy. Now, as I was inside, I couldn't hear what they were saying, but after a few minutes, the college guy comes back in with the homeless man. They both get in line and when it comes time for them to order, college boy tells the homeless guy to "Order whatever you want."

By this point, I was done with my food and had to get back to work, but that stuck with me all day. Here was this kid, probably in school, probably doesn't have much money, and he takes the time to do something really nice for this person he doesn't even know. This person that I had seen and avoided because he made me uncomfortable.

I like to think that I'm a good person. That I don't judge others based on what they look like or dress like or whatever. But the truth is, I could have done the same thing for that guy, but I didn't. In fact, it never even occurred to me that he might be hungry. And yet, this kid took it upon himself to make sure that he had something to eat that day.

It really makes you think about what you could/should be doing every single day....

Some things Never change....

So this basketball season has been quite the disappointment, but nothing will ever touch "The Shot" and the heart break felt round the Bluegrass that day. Not that we can ever escape it since it get's replayed countless times every March (most notably at the beginning of every CBS broadcast of NCAA tournament games). Now, it's even been parodied into a commercial with Christian Lattner--who really is a total asshole (I saw an interview with him the other day on ESPN while I was at the gym where he said he wants to be an NBA head coach, but he doesn't want to have to fool with paying his dues as an assistant somewhere first) and Rick Pitino for Vitamin Water. While disturbing, it is actually kind of funny, especially Rick's line at the end.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Wheel of Time.....

It's always a good game when UK and Florida get together, although for the past few years it things haven't gone our way very much (hence the reason that I am no longer allowed to watch UK play Florida at Kyle's house with Jenny, Brent, and Ashley.) There are have been some very memorable moments in those games over the years--last season's win comes to mind. But I know that last night's last second shot by Jodie Meeks (yup, Meeks again) will stay at the top of the list.

As it was, I almost didn't go to the game. I have an exam tonight and I needed to study. Plus, after 3 straight losses, one of which was the totally deflating lose at home to Mississippi state last Tuesday, my enthusiasm for the game was pretty low. But it was UK vs Florida, so I went anyway. And boy was I glad that I did. Still, if I hadn't gone, it wouldn't have been the first time I missed a great UK/Florida match up at Rupp.

Probably the greatest UK/Florida game ever played happened 6 years ago, almost to the day. It was February 4, 2003. Another Tuesday night game. Another ESPN game. Florida was #1 in the country. UK was #2. A record 24, 459 people showed up for the game. Rupp was Rockin'. I however, was not there.

I didn't have tickets to that game. My friend who was supposed to go get the tickets, bailed on me and so I was left to watch the game at home. And it was a great game--I think. I actually have very little memory of that game. In fact, I have almost no memory of the game itself. I remember what happened before the game perfectly. In fact, my recollection of the half hour prior to tip off is crystal clear. It was the last time I ever spoke to my Mom.

I had called home to check on things since I hadn't gone home the weekend before (I had to work). Ironically, that was the Sunday of the Space shuttle Columbia disaster. Mom was supposed to come to Lexington that Wednesday for a doctor's appointment and I hadn't heard from them, so I called to see what was going on.

Mom answered the phone and I knew right away that something was wrong. She was confused and wasn't making much sense. When Dad got on the phone, he told me that they had cancelled the appointment since there was nothing they could do and I needed to come home. My instinct was to jump in the car right then and come home, but they wanted me to stay for a formal I had that Saturday, so I did. Mom died early Sunday morning.

While I talked to Dad plenty that week, that Tuesday night, right before the UK/Florida game was the last time I talked to my Mom. My last words to her were "I love you."

I remember sitting down to watch the game and thinking that the Cats just had to win. I couldn't' handle a loss right then. And win they did, by 15. And they kept right on winning, running the table in the SEC that season and winning an SEC tournament title. It wasn't until almost two months later in the Elite Eight that they would finally lose the Marquette.

Did I think about that game last night while I was at Rupp? Yeah. I think about that game a lot. It comes up quite a bit. Every time they talk about the biggest crowds ever at Rupp. Every time they talk about great games at Rupp. Every time Florida plays UK at Rupp. I have always regretted that I didn't get to see that game live. But I am also glad that I got the chance to make that phone call.

So, last night when I had the chance to go to Rupp or stay home, I chose to go. And I'm very glad that I did. Now, at least, I have my own great UK vs Florida memory.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ice Ice Baby

So, thankfully, things here are just about back to normal after all the ice. Not totally, since there is still a fair bit of snow and ice on the ground (even a week later) and a few people without power, but mostly things are back up and running. I never lost power, thank goodness. But then again, in the last ice storm (2003) I was without power for 6 days, so maybe the ice storm gods just decided to cut me some slack.

I was prepared, though. I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. So on Friday last week I went to Meijer to get some supplies. I need to pick up some batteries (D size for my radio) and some windshield washer fluid that wouldn't freeze every time the temperature dropped below freezing (since the geniuses that designed my car decided it was a good idea to put the washer fluid lines in the windshield wipers where they get no heat from the engine.). I also wanted to get another lighter just in case I had to spend the next few days grilling and lighting candles.

But I realized when I got to the store that I had no idea where you look for a lighter. Where exactly does something like that live? (And not a cigarette lighter, one of the long nosed ones that you use for camping and stuff.) I started out by looking in the camping eisle, which was very popular at that point since a good portion of the city was still without power. But they weren't there. Then I looked for one with the candles, since I felt like they would kind of go together. Still no dice. Finally, I gave up and headed back for the checkout, and low and behold, there they were, right next to the checkout lane. Who knew?

But it turned out that I never did lose power, so I didn't need all my supplies anyway, although at least now I have them, just in case. And they finally scrapped the sidewalk to my apartment building yesterday so now I don't have to skate across 8 feet of solid ice to get to the parkinglot, which is nice. But it is supposed to snow again today (1-3 inches) so who knows what things will be like tomorrow.

Is it spring yet?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One for the Ages

I've been a UK basketball fan for almost as long as I can remember. I grew up on the Pitino teams of the early 90's, fell in love with Travis Ford, Jeff Brassow, and Tony Delk in middle school, watched the domination of the late 90s teams make 3 trips to the National Title game in 3 years, and then got to watch Tayshaun Prince, Chuck Hayes, and Rajon Rondo work thorough College. I've been to most of UK's home games over the last 8 years, seen many great UK basketball moment (Brassow's tip-in to win the Maui Invitational, Padgett's 3 to put us up over Duke, Prince's 7 straight 3's to open the game vs North Carolina). But never have I seen an individual put up the kind of performance Jodie Meeks put up last night vs Tennessee. That was something to behold.

The numbers are impressive all on their own:

Points Scored: 54 (15-22 from the field, 14-14 from the line)
Three Point Baskets: 10 (10-15)
Rebounds: 8
Assists: 4
Mins Played: 39

The rest of UK's team
Points Scored: 36 (15-31 from the field, 4-6 from the line)
Three Point Baskets: 2 (2-4)
Rebounds: 31
Assists: 12

But what is even more impressive is the fact that Jodie did all this playing on the road in one of the most hostile environments UK has faced this year over a host of different defenders. He single handedly outscore the top 3 guys for UT (54 to 48). In fact, according to Pat Forde of ESPN (and formerly the Louisville Courier-Journal), Jodie scored more points than 6 of the Division I schools that played Tuesday night. And he did it all while playing stellar defense and not turning the ball over.

Oh, and as a foot note, he broke 3 records last night as well. Dan Issel's almost 30 year old single game scoring record (previously 53 set in 1970). Tony Delk's single game 3 point record (formerly 9). And the Thompson Bowling Arena most points scored by a single player record (previously 49 by Chris Jackson of LSU in 1999).

Sports Guys and Bloggers all over are talking about Meeks today. About how good he is. About how many points he put up. But what many of them over look is the fact that when he was asked after the game about his performance, the first words out of his mouth were "My team mates". So many guys would have touted themselves--talked about how great they were, how bad the defenders were--Meeks simply thanked his team for getting him the ball "when I was open." You gotta love a kid like that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Welcome to 2009

So the holidays are finally over a life has slowed back down to something that resembles a normal pace. I hate how crazy everything seems to get around Christmas time. I feel like I don't get to enjoy the holidays any more since it's always rush rush rush. But in all the rush rush rush, I did manage to get a few more things on my list done. But first, one of several changes that I'm going to be making to the list:

I'm replacing #97: Replace my recliner with a new goal of Join a Gym. First, because I don't really need to replace my recliner and I realized when I was shopping for my couch that I don't have enough room to get the big over sized chair that I want, so I'm just going to live with it for now. Second, I need to join a gym so that I can workout and lift weights while the weather is nasty. (It's snowing right now and it's been raining all week.)

I'll probably be replacing a few more things over the next few weeks, but for right now, that is it.

Now, on to the updates:

#1 Take a Multivitamin every day for 1 month: I started this on Monday (1/5/09) and so far I haven't missed a day. I'm hoping to keep it up for the entire month (and beyond). Maybe by then I'll have made it a habit and I can keep on keeping on.

#57 Write in my Journal once a week for 3 months: I also started this with the first of the year. I figured it was a good time to start something new. Plus, I realized how much I enjoy being able to go back and read about what I was thinking and feeling and doing at various points in my life. I've kept a journal since I was in 8th Grade (Mrs. Nation's English Class) and while I haven't always written in it all that often, I have never not had a journal since then and I tend to take it with me everywhere I go.

#61 Get into UK's Ovarian Cancer Screening Program: I finally looked up the number today and made the call. My appointment is for February 4th (ironically enough since Mom's anniversary is February 9th). It is a great program and I've been meaning to get myself in since I turned 25.

#65 Be 1st Author on a Manuscript: Before the holiday break, I had written up the project I took as a poster to NNTS this summer. My boss helped me edit it and we sent it out just before Christmas. We haven't heard anything back yet (not that I expected we would have) but it is still exciting to know that there is a paper out there in the world with my name listed first.

#70 Create a Budget: This seems all the more important now, in this uncertain economic time, so I sat down just after the first of the year and made up my budget for the year. I had been tracking my spending during all of last year, so I was able to see where my money was going and where I needed to cut back. Now, I just need to stick to the budget and all will be well....

#74 Clean out my Old Clothes and Donate them to Goodwill: I haven't actually made it to Goodwill yet, but I did clean out my closets the other day and got 4 bags of clothes to take away. I got rid of everything that didn't fit right or was old and crappy looking and most everything that I hadn't worn in over a year. I still have tons of clothes, which is kind of scary, but at least I know that everything in my closet fits now.

#86 Clean out the Closet on my Balcony: I took the opportunity while I was putting away all my Christmas stuff (which is the majority of what is out there in that closet) to clean out a bunch of junk. Now it is all neat and organized and I can actually get stuff in and out without starting a land slide.