Thoughts on the 2012 London Olympic Games

I watch the Olympics.  And when I say I watch the Olympics, I mean I watch all of the Olympics.  As much as my Tivo can hold.  I may go back and rewatch parts of it.  It may take me six months.  But it will be done.  I am a self-confessed junkie.  I did not do a recap for the Vancouver Olympics.  When they came on, I was unemployed.  I had credit and deals at snapfish.  I now have two scrapbooks of the Vancouver Olympic moments that stood out for me in each sport and the stories that were cool for me.

But when I go back and read the thoughts I had on the Beijing Games in 2008, I was struck by a few things regarding my list of my personal standout moments:

  • I didn’t remember some of the stories.  When I tried to find video on YouTube on Jennifer Stuczynski’s coach acting like an ass, I not only found the video, but also discovered that two years later she married the guy.  No accounting for taste.
  • Kobe Bryant is still classy when it comes to international sport.  He might not be faithful in his marriage, he may be a conceited pig in person, I don’t know.  But at the Olympics, he is a class act.  Enjoying every moment of the games.  He had his first experience at Wimbledon this year . . . and it was the longest men’s three-set match in the open era.  Switzerland’s Roger Federer defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Podro 3-6, 7-6, 19-17.  Kobe was there, with his daughter, to see Phelps win the gold medal.  He was at the volleyball venue, watching the women run for gold–and the gobsmacked “WHAT?!” he mouthed after a spectacular save cracked me up.  Here is a man that knows his opportunity, and is taking it all in.  Every blasted moment.

But this year, London (in my opinion) did a fantastic job with the games.  They may have had empty seats, they may have had a few things going on that the locals didn’t care about, but I had a great amount of fun watching and enjoying the spectacle.  So without further ado, here are my favorite moments of the 2012 London games:

  • Ashton Eaton.  Who knows who this man is?  If I asked you if you had ever heard of Bruce Jenner, could you answer?  Could you answer before the age of the Kardashians? Continue reading

Wednesday Hodgepodge: From the archives

Since I am a little late to this party, and the weekly Hodgepodge is on Christmas break, I figured I’d pull an old Hodgepodge from the archives and answer while I’m sitting at work, twiddling my thumbs, nasty rains pounding the window outside . . . .  (Seriously.  I am the only person in my quadrant of the building.  There was another guy, but he went home already.  And the one employee not on vacation in New Business has to fill in at the receptionist’s desk as she called out sick today.  There is NOBODY here today, and I am alone in my dark and gloomy cave!)

So without further ado, I bring you Hodgepodge Vol 97, originally from 10.10.2012:

1.  In what ways do you indulge yourself?
Sleep, as much as I can.  Yarn, when I can afford it, and spending as much time as possible with my friends. 

2. Have you ever taken a cooking class?  Any interest?  What type of class would you most like to try?
I thought I had, but the more I think about it no I don’t think so.  Sure, sounds like fun.  I love to cook, and so I’d be game.  There was a Living Social deal just a few weeks ago for a Mixology class in town, and one of my close friends had mentioned that she wanted to take a bartending class, so we’re going to go together sometime next month.  Should be fun.  I love learning, though, so any type of school would be fun.  I’m up for just about anything.

3.  What does it mean to be a good citizen?
My first response was, “ah, this must be from the pre-election Hodgepodge choices” as my immediate answer was “you vote”.  But then this morning I was reading an article about a neighborhood association with a twist.  A section of town that has a wide age range–young professionals with veterans that have lived there for fifty years or more–has put together a list of services that people are willing to provide for those that cannot.  Changing lightbulbs.  Raking leaves.  Getting groceries.  And really, isn’t that what citizenship is about?  Trying to help your fellow neighbor?

4.  ‘Tis the season of the political advert…do these ads influence your vote?
Not in the slightest.  I am by no means a political junkie, but I do think I follow up a bit more than others do.  I do believe that the debates are the best way to get true readings on the ideals of a candidate, as they are the only time the candidate is put on the spot and thinks for themselves.  Speeches are scripted by others, press releases and ad campaigns are developed by those that know how to spin, but the debates are the one place that you get a true answer.  Just look at the whole Big Bird fiasco.  And if nothing else, there are always good drinking games that can be played with the oft-repeated catchphrases.  Not that I would ever do such a thing . . . .

5.  What’s something you see today that makes you wish you were a kid again?
For the simple reason that it meant two or three weeks off this time of year, the alarm clock off switch.

6.  What’s your least favorite cliché?
When God closes a door, he opens a window
And yes, I realize that this is not a cliché in the actual sense, but it’s the first one I thought of.  Look, I am a Christian woman.  I absolutely believe in the power of God to do things in my life both great and small.  But when you’re staring at that closed door, the last thing you want to hear is that there is a window open.  Especially when that window is at the end of a hallway with a myriad of twists and turns.  I spent two and a half years unemployed, and not for lack of trying for positions.  I was given this platitude over and over and over during that time, and I was ready to wring someone’s neck if they said it to me again.  I realize that it’s the perfect thing to say when you can’t think of anything else other than “I’m sorry”, but really sometimes it truly is better to give a hug, cry a little, and just move on.

7.  What percentage of your Christmas shopping has been completed?  How does that make you feel?
Seeing as how it’s December 26, I’m hoping all of it! 🙂

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
This rain is making me sleepy!  Right now, I want to go home, curl up on the couch with the dog snoring at my feet, pick up some yarn, and just ply away the afternoon!

Well, that’s it for the out-of-order Hodgepodge!  See you next Wednesday!

New Wednesday Feature! Hodgepodge for 12.19.2012

So I was randomly searching through some knitting blogrolls, and landed across the website for AuburnChick.  And I discovered that she’s part of a wonderful link party that is:

So why not.  I love listy things that make you think, but are also rather short.  So here goes!

1.  How will you spend ‘the night before Christmas’?

Ever since my brother got married our usual traditions have been shot to hell.  Which also makes me think that expression isn’t the best to use when referring to Christmas Eve, but I digress.  This year, I have managed to anger my brother by asking for a time to gather for Christmas, as I had friends that wanted me to do other things and I needed to know what time to block out in order to be at family events.  I did not say this in a way to mean that family wasn’t important, but I know him, and his silence for the rest of the day meant he was fuming and that is how he took my request.  Is it too much to ask to simply know ahead of time when the family is gathering?  Or we could be like my sister and call at 5 and say ‘dinner is at 630, are you coming?’.  Forgive me for not wanting to spend Christmas alone and contemplating offers from bloodless family* relations. 

Sorry, digression persists.  Christmas Eve.  Right.  Well, traditions of old had me going to moms house and preparing the breakfast casserole while she went to her church for the service then my stepfather went to midnight mass at his church and my brother picked one or the other.  My church does not have a Christmas Eve service, just open hours between 5-7 when you can come for communion and a small devotional with one of the pastoral staff.  I sometimes go, sometimes don’t, for me, after working years in the corporate side of retail, Christmas Eve was all about finally having time off.  So this year?  I don’t know.  I think at this point I might be going to the movies and dinner with a bloodless family member, and if the timing works out, we might make that communion service after all!

2.  What is something you are not?

Motivated to clean my home.  I have been home all of about three nights since Thanksgiving, and it’s a disaster.  Might be easier to just torch it.

3.  Fudge-are you a fan?  Your favorite flavor?

I used to love my Papa’s fudge.  That stuff would melt away if you looked at it.  But he’s been gone over five years, and it’s been almost a dozen since he did anything in a kitchen.  So it’s a fond memory.  Every now and again I don’t mind a bite, but I’m more of a fruit-dessert person, not a chocolate-sweet person.  But when I indulge, no nuts!  No peanuts, no pecans, and most importantly NO BLACK WALNUTS! 

4. Did you attend any craft/vendor fairs in the month of December?  Do you prefer homemade goodies or the more professional stalls?  Are you giving any homemade gifts this year?

There is really only one big craft show here in December, and the schedule didn’t match up for me to go with the church production this year.  Church was more important!  Plus lately the only thing we’ve done is get food and skip the crafts . . . .

I did make an afghan for my future (now known to be a) niece and gave it to my SIL at Thanskgiving.  I have a Noah’s Ark blanket going on that she doesn’t know about (Shhhh!) and will finish it in time for the shower in late February/early March.  I was on a roll at Thanksgiving, then the production ate up two and a half weeks, and I’m out of rhythm!  I’m probably about 80% done.

5. What’s your favorite type of holiday gathering?

I love just getting together, hanging out, and GAME NIGHT.  I come from a tradition of card (NOBODY knows how to play Rook anymore!) and board games for entertainment (hey, it was cheap!) and it has continued into adulthood.  I am fortunate that most of my bloodless family have a few that they love as well.  My Nana, who is 84, still gathers with the ladies in her complex to play Dominoes, Phase 10, etc.  So that’s it–low key, food, fun, and COMPETITION BABY! 

6. We’re approaching a new year…what’s going to be different in 2013?

I am not a big resolution fan, especially in January.  Always made more sense to me to make them in September with the start of the school year instead of halfway through.  But in 2013?  I hope that worry is less, work is as increasingly profitable as 2012 was to 2011, and that financial stability starts to poke its head out of the fertilized soil.  It’s there, just lurking around . . . . 

7. Share a favorite scripture, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to peace.

“Peace is when time doesn’t matter as it passes by.” ~Maria Schell

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

It occurs to me reading over this that it’s a bit morbid.  It’s just how I am at the moment.  Slightly wallowing in aloneness.  I will be better tomorrow.  Right now, though, I need to be content with what I have, the dog that is licking my toes in his sleep, and White Christmas on TV.  It’s the little things.

*Bloodless family: The family you make on your own, regardless of actual relation.  Sometimes a better family to you than the one you were born into, sometimes not.  But just like the natural one, they are always there for you.