Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It’s Getting Hot in Here

My latest challenge was forced on me when my apartment air conditioner unit broke. My slum lords were in no hurry and made me wait for a new AC window unit for six days…in August…in Florida!

Although I hate the fact that my apartment charges a high rent and then makes me live in squalor, this no AC challenge wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I kept the lights to a minimum to keep heat down, used the ceiling fan and then finally borrowed a window fan. This made it bearable even though it was probably over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Even the hallway was a good 10 degrees cooler so I left my door open whenever I could.

The biggest negative was I didn’t like having air blowing on me and it made me feel sickish when I woke up in the mornings. Also I went shopping just to get out of the heat and that caused a small drop in my savings account. But overall I feel I handled it pretty well and enjoyed learning I could survive without AC. Perhaps that was due to my ‘training’ in heated yoga every week.

Cat “Feeling Hot Hot Hot”Cathy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dressed to Impress

My latest resolution bowl challenge was to wear dresses. I’m a wee bit of a tom boy and even though I have no problem hanging out at the beach or lake all day in my bikini while I Jet Ski or kite board, for some reason I feel self conscious about wearing dresses. This makes no sense I know, which is why I added it to my challenges this year so I could step outside my comfy zone and improve myself.

My ‘wear a dress’ challenge was made even more fun by having a pact with a coworker. I told her about meetup.com social events as a way for her to meet new people and expand her horizons. She was a little shy about going so we decided I would wear a dress for each event she attended…up to five that is.

Wearing dresses has never been high on my ‘to do’ list. Personally I feel like they just limit you. There’s no running, jumping and piggy backing when you are in a dress so what fun is that? But a pact is a pact and I was going to keep up my part of it.

My first dress was a pink sun dress. Only the finest dining for me and my fancy new dress would do so I wore it to Taco Bell after a day at the beach. I wore it over my bikini so it was maybe a bit of a cheat but it’s a start.

Next up I wore a skin tight stretchy dress to the farmers market but I spent most of my time putting the dress in place since it kept riding up and was quite annoying. So I Googled ‘how to keep a dress from riding up’ and saw a suggestion to use butt glue. I’d never heard of butt glue before but I decided I’d rather just not wear the dress again than glue my butt.

‘Dress’ three was actually a long work skirt suit that I’d had for years but hardly wore. My friend and I decided dress or skirt is ok as I never wear either. Seeing as it went to my knees it wasn’t too bad but I couldn’t do the morning stretches I normally do and I found the high heels annoying so I was barefoot most of the day which may have taken away some from the whole ‘dressed up’ look.

‘Dress’ four was my superhero balloon girl skirt. This may be cheating a bit but my friend cheated on her end too and she allowed it.

‘Dress’ five was a denim mini skirt. I wore it with bandages all over my knee due to road rash so that may have taken a little away from it. But I still got some compliments.

Dress six was a bonus to my five dress challenge. I have a LBD that’s been hanging around for over a year. I wore it to a girls night dinner and out to a bar. It was cute but I didn’t feel as comfy as I would have in jeans. And since no one seemed overly impressed with my legs I should have just worn the jeans.

This challenge which was supposed to take a week ended up taking over three months. It’s hard to fit in dresses with jet skiing, mountain biking and inline skating. The few times I was going out to a party or concert I wanted jeans so I could enjoy myself instead of having to act girly all night.

With this challenge thankfully over I wonder if I will keep wearing dresses at least on occasion. That’s hard to say. I own dresses now and if there’s one thing as important to me as being a tom boy it would be getting my monies’ worth from my purchases so we’ll see.

As a side note, my coworker’s results were pretty good. She enjoyed a few meetups, made some new friends and plans to continue attending events. I’m happy this challenge was good growing experience for both of us.

Take a chance and try something out of your comfort zone. It can only help you grow as a person. Try the buddy system like I did to make it even more fun and ensure you actually stick with it.

Cat “She’s got legs” Cathy

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It’s Raining Gifts – Alajuela

My friend recently received an invite to a restaurant lunch for her friend’s bridal shower and of course it included where she was registered. Why is it you are supposed to give a gift for someone who is getting married anyway? I can picture back in the day when a couple got married they were young and it was probably their first time living on their own. A nice toaster or dish set probably went a long way to help the couple get established and have a happy relationship. In my friend’s recent case the ‘blushing bride’ is on her third marriage and she is in her 50’s. She has plenty of money and to me it just seems rude to ask for gifts especially when all you did was meet at a public restaurant. I’m no Miss Manners and I’m sure there’s some protocol here but I’m just glad she wasn’t my friend so I didn’t have to make the call as to whether or not to attend and provide a gift. I am of course always happy when my friends have good things in their lives but I sorta feel like this girl was more using her friends than being a good friend.

I’m not cheap but I’m also not materialistic. My celebrations are about spending time with my friends not what they can buy for me. Normally when I throw a party food and drink is included and I use the phrase ‘your presence is my present’. I just like their company and want to do something nice for them since they are important to me. Not use them to buy me gifts. So what do you think? What’s the rule for second, third and 100th marriages? If gifts are mandatory then I need to start having some weddings!

Cat “Cloudy With a Chance of Gifts” Cathy

Monday, August 1, 2011

Urban Crit

I’m not a big fan of competing in sports. My job is stressful enough so the last thing I need to do on the weekend is stress more. But still on occasion I’m convinced to compete. The most recent example was the urban criterium mountain bike race in Lakeland Florida.

The race involves riding up a parking garage, down said parking garage, down stairs, around part of a lake with a hill, down more stairs, some tight turns and then you do it all again for several laps for a total-hard core-pushing it workout of close to 50 minutes. I’ve actually wanted to do this race for a while since it sounded so cool being able to bike down steps in the middle of town and not be kicked out by the security guards.

So I carbed up with the largest pasta meal ever and headed out on the short road trip with ‘Super Estonia Girl’ and my biking and utility buddy ‘Knobber’. Both of them decided not to race so essentially they were my pit crew. They helped tune up my bike, take pictures, cheer me on and more as you will read later. I felt like I was at Tour De France with all their support.

I was nervous. I always get that way before a race and hence the reason I don’t like to race often. My friend ‘Goldi’ was also nervous and we seemed to feed off each other and make it worse. Thankfully the nervousness goes away the moment the race starts and my competitive nature kicks in. I took off fast and was in first place for women the first lap. I couldn’t believe this as I hadn’t trained and I thought I would do much worse. Then I was passed going up the parking garage and figured she would disappear and that I’d definitely gone out too fast and furious. But she didn’t sprint off and I was able to stay close behind.

Between huffing and puffing my engineering mind kicked in and I realized she had more endurance but possibly less technical skills. So my plan was to make time on the downhill and try to find a good place to pass on the last lap. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as I hoped and going as fast as I could on skinny and high pressure race tires turned out to be a bad idea. I skidded out on the lowest level of the parking garage. I quickly got up and jumped on my bike to continue my race. My brakes were rubbing so my dreams of first were gone and I was just hoping I could hold on to second or third.

Luckily the breaks stopped rubbing when I used my mad engineering skills (I kicked them) and I managed to hold on for second place. The adrenaline was still pumping and I didn’t really feel any pain even though my whole right side was dirty, bruised and battered including a huge strawberry on my hip/butt. Goldi was nice enough to shout out “cute girl needs help with her butt”. Sadly there were no takers on this tidbit of information but my awesome pit crew was there for me with peroxide and bandages for my injuries. I did somehow manage to make it fun by asking if the huge welt made my butt look big. When we put the peroxide on and it turned white everyone went “oooohhhh”. So I said it sounded just like Fourth of July fireworks again.

In the end there were four women on the podium ranging in age from around 15 to 50 something. I thought it was way cool to have such a wide age range which included us ‘established’ women and the next generation too.

Even though I’m currently still nursing my wounds, I still had fun and hope to do it again next year. I’m not a big fan of competition but I guess doing it from time to time can be exciting and gives me something to look forward to. But next year I will just train harder so I can do better on the up hills instead of trying to make up time in the down hills and leaving half my skin on the parking garage first floor.

Cat “I’m All Right Now” Cathy