Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dream Big, Relay Bigger

Today is the ten year anniversary of my grandmother's death.  On January 27th, 2003 my grandmother lost her third battle with breast cancer.  My grandmother was an amazing person, and as the oldest grandchild I was lucky enough to get 18 years with her.  Not that 18 years was in any way long enough, but it's better than what my siblings and cousins got.  I first learned about what cancer was when my grandfather (her husband) was diagnosed with colon cancer.  I think I was 5 or 6.  Unfortunately, his first battle was also his last.  I was 7 when he died, and I still remember the time when he was sick pretty vividly.  When I was a little older and learned that my grandmother had already had cancer twice before my grandfather did I was just amazed that she was able to beat something like that.  She was definitely my hero for being strong enough to beat something so awful more than once.  She never stopped fighting until the very end.  She was a strong person that very much molded the person I've become. 

My freshman year at NAU opened a door for me that would eventually become one of my life's passions.  One day in the spring, my resident advisor approached my friends and I about creating a team for a charity event.  That event was Relay for Life.  All I knew going in was that it was an all-night event in the Skydome, and the money raised would go to the American Cancer Society.  This came one year after my grandmother's death, and it sounded like a great idea to me.  Needless to say, that event changed my life.  It's such a moving experience, and I immediately wanted to be more involved.

Roommate and I - Relay Year 1

My sophomore year I wanted to get more involved, and that year I had also taken a position as secretary for my honor's society.  I decided to be a Relay Team Captain that year.  It would get me more involved and help me to learn more about the American Cancer Society and Relay itself.  During the year I became friends with the Relay for Life Event Chair.  She's another amazing person that I'm still friends with today, and I owe her a lot for putting her faith in me like she did.

Some of my friends & I - Relay Year 2

At the end of my sophomore year, the aforementioned Event Chair was graduating from NAU, and needed someone to take her place.  She called me up one day and said she couldn't trust her event to just anyone, and so she'd picked me and two other people to take it over from her.  I really wasn't given a choice, and in less than an hour I skipped a few steps and went from Team Captain to Event Chair.  I was unsure as to whether or not I could handle the responsibility, but I had grown to love Relay so much, that I had to trust the prior chair's instinct that it was a good fit and just go with it.  I was then the Event Co-Chair for 2 years until I graduated from NAU.  I was blessed to make some amazing friends and have amazing committees that were as passionate about Relay as I was.  My senior year I convinced my advisor that being an American Cancer Society intern was totally related to my future career goals, and spent 6 months having fun at ACS events, running Relay for Life, and getting the chance to feel like I was making a difference in people's lives.

My Event Co-Chairs & I - AKA The Teal Shirt Squad - Relay Year 3

Me with my Co-Chairs and about half of our Committee - Relay Year 4

After college, when I moved to DC it was hard to stay involved with ACS, but it was always in the back of my mind as something I wanted to go back to someday.  This year, I've been given that opportunity.  I'm part of the inaugural committee for the Relay for Life of Downtown Phoenix.  I'm our Team Development Chair and an unofficial Co-Chair.  It's been challenging for me.  I was so used to the lovely NAU event that was handed to me in college.  The NAU event was well established at both our school and in the community by the time I took over.  This event is brand new and comes with a whole set of challenges I'm not used to.  I love it though, and I'm excited to see it come to life.

The title of my blog today is the motto for Relay this year.  The thought is that if you set goals, and you dream about them big enough, you can often accomplish more than you set out to.  For this year my dream is just to get the word out there and hope someone shows up to our event.  My dream is also to reach out to as many people as I can and get them to Relay.  Whether it be at my event in Phoenix, or another event somewhere in the country, I want people to experience Relay.  We all know someone who has had cancer, or who has cared for someone with cancer.  Cancer touches everyone in some way, shape or form.  I urge everyone to take some time to see what Relay is all about.  If you're in the Phoenix area and would like to get involved, please let me know, or click here to go to our website.  If you aren't in the Phoenix area, you can visit the ACS website to find the Relay event closest to you.  Click here to learn more about Relay.

If you made it to the end of this one, thanks for listening.  I'll leave you with this: "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. " - Dale Carnegie

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hockey's Back!

Hi, my name is Sarah, and I'm addicted to hockey.  I know what you're thinking, "It's just a sport, it's not like she's addicted to meth or booze or something serious."  Well let me tell you, it's a real problem! A real awesome problem, but a problem just the same.  For those of you who aren't avid hockey fans, here's a little about what I've been going through in recent months.

Normally, the hockey season starts in October.  When that happens, I'm a happy camper until the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs in June.  In the off season I take in some baseball games and catch up on the sleep I lost during hockey season.  It all works out perfectly for me.

Last year, my brother and I became season ticket holders for the Phoenix Coyotes.  We only had a partial package last year, so we went to around 20 games by the time our team was done with the playoffs.  I may freeze to my very core sitting at Arena, but that place is definitely one of my happy places.  So you can imagine my excitement, when we decided to upgrade our package to a full season.  I was going to get 40 games!  40 nights sitting in the arena watching men beat the crap out of each other.  At least 2,400 minutes of intense anxiety and nail biting.  It's amazing!

This year is a little different.  Like the other professional sports, the National Hockey League has a collective bargaining agreement between the league/owners and the players.  A set of guidelines and rules for everyone to follow.  A big part of the CBA is money related.  How much teams can spend on players, how much players can make and the max amount of years a player can sign a contract for.  That's a very broad overview and explanation, but you get the picture.  Something I think we can all agree on is that money can make things very difficult.  The CBA expired at the end of last season, which meant a new one needed to be agreed upon by both sides.  That didn't happen, so the league went into a lock out situation.  No hockey could be played until everyone decided to play nice and agree on some things.

Needless to say that didn't happen until about 2 weeks ago.  We lost half of the season, the Winter Classic Game and the All-Star Game.  Now, instead of 40 games, I get 24.  Don't get me wrong, I'll take what I can get and be stoked about it, but it was a rough few months without hockey.  I was okay for a while when college football was still being played.  I really enjoy college football, and didn't mind using it as my replacement sport.  After college football was over, I actually started paying attention to the NFL just to have a sport to watch.  I really don't like the NFL.  I never have.  This year I knew way more about it than I'm comfortable admitting.

It was rough.  Just ask my mom.  She would cringe anytime someone would bring up anything hockey related in my vicinity.  I was angry, and it wasn't pretty.  None of that matters now though, because HOCKEY IS BACK!  We had our first home game this past Sunday night.  The Coyotes upgraded our seats that night to the lower level.  We were 6 rows behind our goalie.  It didn't suck.  Now I'll be spending roughly three nights a week in section 207 at Arena watching our boys play and hoping for another run at the cup.

I am once again a happy camper, but being gone most nights at games may make blogging even more sporadic than it already is.  One of my goals for the year was to post more, so I'm going to try and get my life together this week and get back on track.  Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Brother & I stoked to be back in the arena for a game

Our seats for Opening Night.  6 Rows behind the goal.  Very awesome.


Monday, January 7, 2013

My Views on New Year's Resolutions

They rarely work for anyone.  This much we all know.  Every January 1st, we all make resolutions, and two weeks later they've been shot to hell.  I've been thinking a lot about this in the last month, and have formulated a theory as to why this is.  Maybe the theory comes from my unwillingness to let go of the psychologist side of myself, or maybe I'm actually on to something.  Maybe, just maybe, someone else has already had this theory, and I just didn't know about it!  I'd like to know what you all think.

Bottom line, I think it's too much pressure.  We make these resolutions, and announce them to the world.  Then we think we have to live up to them and perfect them immediately.  When we're not seeing the change or results we want to see in those first couple of weeks, we buckle under the pressure, and fall back into our old ways.  In our world of instant gratification, we also want instant perfection.  It's just not realistic.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a complete perfectionist.  I stress myself out and drive myself completely batty over the littlest, stupidest things.  Sometimes the result is a gorgeous scrapbook that I've been working on as a gift for a loved one, but sometimes the result is me coming home sick from work with a fever and sore throat like I did last Friday.  I put a load of pressure on myself to excel, and it has really had it's effect on my health (anxiety attacks and teeth grinding to name a couple of things).  I've been working really hard over the last couple of years to calm down and not let myself get as stressed over the little things.  I've made a lot of progress, and learned two very important things.

First, baby steps are key!  Learning to accept that everything comes in small doses has really saved my sanity, and has helped me to stick with some of my goals for more than a couple of weeks.  My weight loss is a prime example.  Granted, I had some other complications that needed fixing when it came to that, but I also had to learn to accept the fact that the process was going to take a long time, and that it would be months before I really saw results.  To date, I've lost 40 lbs. in the last nine months.  It hasn't been easy, and there have been days where I've given my doctor's plan the middle finger and completely blown my diet.  This leads us to the second thing I had to learn.

It's okay to be imperfect!  No one is perfect.  No one is ever going to be perfect.  It's okay to mess up every once in a while.  I've had to learn that it's not okay to just throw in the towel because I slipped up a few times.  Those days when I threw the plan out the window have been few and far between, but I always try to remind myself that tomorrow is a new day.  You just have to make the decision to get back on the wagon if you fall off.  I still have a hard time with this sometimes, but again with the baby steps.

Last year I tackled my biggest health issue, and now that I have that under control, it's time to concentrate on some new things.  I have a few things up my sleeve for this year.  I don't want to jinx anything just yet, so I'll fill you in as they come up.  I have a feeling it's going to be a year of positive changes for me, and I hope it is for you all as well.  Just remember....take baby steps, and also remember that you aren't perfect, and you don't need to be!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year = Reorganization Fun!

Well hello there!  I took a bit of a hiatus there didn't I?  I swear it was unintentional, but the last three months got much crazier than I'd anticipated.  Here's an itty bitty recap of the major things:

  • My best friend got married
  • After best friend's wedding I got stuck in NYC during super storm Sandy for a week
  • My little sister got engaged
  • Thanksgiving for 20 people at our house
  • Marathon Christmas Shopping
  • Marathon Christmas Baking
  • Christmas for 30 people at our house
  • I had a birthday....turned some number in the upper 20's range
  • Bridal Shower for 20 at our house 4 days after Christmas
  • Bachelorette Party 6 hours after Bridal Shower
  • New Years
  • All this while being busy at work preparing for peak season

Whew!  I'm worn out all over again just reading the list!

Now I'm back!  It's a new year!  My favorite part about the new year is new calendars and day planners all pretty and blank and begging to be written all over in  my very color coded (aka OCD) fashion.

Part of the organizing process for the year will be putting together a plan of action for this blog.  After years of having it I feel like I'm still looking for my "voice" (That sounds sooooo lame now that I've reread it).  Hopefully, this weekend I can sit down and get some ideas down, and next week will be full of my witty randomness.  See, now you all have something to look forward to!  Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Happy Hump Day Everyone!  Enjoy this week's edition of the Hodgepodge, and don't forget to visit Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond to see how she and everyone else who links up answered this week's questions.

1. It's a brand new month...share one thing you're looking forward to in October.

  • One of my very best friends is getting married on the 27th of this month.  I'll be traveling back east to New Jersey to watch him marry his amazing fiancee.  Not only am I beyond excited for the wedding, but another friend and I are turning it into a week long vacation by spending a couple of days in the town the wedding's in before the wedding, and we'll be headed up to NYC for a few days afterwards.  It's going to be an amazing week with my amazing friends. 

2. Is chivalry dead? Explain.

  • I wouldn't say it's dead, but it is a little hard to come by these days.   

3. On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts comic strip made its debut. Which character is your favorite?  Which character is most like you?  (Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Snoopy, Woodstock or Pig Pen)  If you need a description click here.

  • I like to think I'm a combination of Lucy and Schroeder.  I'm independent, outspoken and can be bossy when needed, but the side of me that is a musician and an observer relates with Schroeder.  According to a quiz I took, I'm totally a Schroeder.  :)  

4. What's something you're competitive about?
  • Life?  Just kidding....sort of.  I'm pretty sure being competitive is part of my DNA.  I like to think I'm not obnoxious about it, but I have been known to argue a point to death in order to win said argument.

5. October is National Popcorn Popping Month...are you a fan?  How do you like your popcorn? 
  • I'm a fan of legit greasy movie pop corn drenched in salt & butter, or with salt and Reese's Pieces thrown in (if you've never tried it, it's an amazing combo of salty and sweet!).  I also love Smart Pop White Cheddar Popcorn.  That stuff is like crack.

6. When did you first realize the world is small?
  • I've known the world was small for a long time.  You see, I have the most popular, likable father in the world.  Any and everyone who ever meets him, will remember him for the rest of their lives.  We run into people he knows in the most random places.  One of my first memories of this was when I was a little kid, and we ran into someone he knew from waaaaay back in the day at the Arizona State Fair.  The state fair is a big deal here.  It's always packed, and this person found my dad, and they stood around and talked for what felt like forever.  It's crazy.
7. In terms of architecture, what's the most beautiful building you've seen up close and in person?
  • I haven't been to many places yet, but I would have to say St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.  It's not only impressive from the outside, but the inside is just breath taking.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

  • I'm still waiting for it to actually feel like fall around here.  My scarves and boots are screaming at me from my closet, and I hate ignoring them!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pretty in Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Almost 10 years ago my grandma lost her battle with breast cancer.  It was actually her third battle with breast cancer.  I still find it to be absolutely amazing that she was able to fight so hard for so long.  She was one of the strongest women I know, and I'm inspired by the battle she fought every day.

In honor of this month I've changed my template to one that is all pink, and it will stay that way until November.  I can't stress enough how important it is to stay current with anything health related.  As it is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I'd like to urge the ladies to keep up with monthly breast exams, and if you're old enough to need them, your yearly mammograms.  It doesn't just apply to breast cancer screenings though.  Wear your sunscreen, and see a dermatologist if you find something new or odd going on with your skin.  For the men, if you're old enough for yearly prostate exams, get them!  I also lost a grandfather to colon cancer, get screened for that too!  It may seem like a lot, and you may think it will never happen to you, but better safe than sorry.  There are certain ages where you should starting getting screened for all of these.  I urge you all to look into it, and just keep it on your radar.  Especially if you have a family history of cancer.

Ok, now that I've given my lecture, I'll back off.  I'll just say that I've watched more than one person I love battle cancer.  They've all battered different forms, but it sucks any way you slice it.  Dealing with cancer is not something I would wish on my worst enemy, and I would hate to lose anyone else because they ignored warning signs or didn't get screenings when they do.  I lecture because I care.  :)

That's all for now, so I'll just leave you with this photo of my grandma and I.  Good night all.

Friday, September 28, 2012

TGIF: Things I'm Thankful For

Ok, so this week was all sorts of not fun for me.  Work was oddly busy and annoying.  I'm always busy, so that part wasn't so odd, it was more of the stuff I was busy with.  I'm also rarely overly annoyed with my job.  I actually really love it, but this week was just not the best.  My allergies have also been acting up, so I felt sick most of the week, and I was generally just in a very "Negative Nancy" sort of mood.  Today however, is Friday!  Not only is it Friday, but it's Payday Friday, Half Day of Work Friday and Homecoming Friday!  I finally got hold of my silver lining for the week, and thought I would write a little post of things I'm thankful for to make up for all of the negativity earlier in the week.  Before I get to that, one last little negative....the rest of hockey pre-season has been cancelled as I predicted it would be, and my heart just continues to break a little.  Okay, moving on....

Things I'm Thankful For:

My Parents - 9/27/80

I'm thankful for my parents.  They're the best in the world.  They're amazing people, and they continue to put up with me and all of my ridiculousness (which can sometimes get annoyingly out of control I'm sure).  Yesterday they celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary, and I'm just so thankful that I have them as my example of what marriage should be.

San Diego - July 2012
I'm thankful for my sister.  Wednesday she and her boyfriend came over for family game night.  Wednesday was by far my least favorite day this week, and I really just wanted to come home and go to bed.  Lucky for me, I have the world's funniest sibling.  She's crazy in the best way possible, and we spent the night playing Uno and laughing.  It definitely made a bad day a lot better.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
So it's not so much that I'm thankful for Wilson Phillips, but I am thankful for really great songs.  I heard Hold On on my way home from work today, and I can't keep myself from dancing around in my car like a crazy person and singing at the top of my lungs whenever it comes on.  This song was followed by New Kids on the Block and Bon Jovi.  My shuffle was amazing today, and just strengthens my feeling that there's a song for every situation, and there's always a song that can make you feel better.

Photo Credit: Google Images
Last, but certainly not least, coffee!  I know it's over priced, but I seriously love Starbucks, and it's finally Pumpkin Spice Latte season!  I probably would not have made it through this week without all of the coffee I consumed.  It's definitely my lifesaver some days.

A few other things I'm thankful for: my awesome co-workers that always make me laugh, the instant messenger at work that allows me to talk to my former co-workers on the east coast, Harry Potter movies, Glee, my girlfriends who always let me vent, text message convos with one of my awazing east coast cousins, and a lot of other things, but I'll leave those for another time.

That's it for now.  Have an amazing weekend everyone!