Category Archives: My Friends: They are the Best!

The Real Warrior.

Define “Warrior.”

Did you ever look up what that word means? I can honestly say I never had until earlier today. I looked through various dictionaries to see what they all said, and while they all had variations, the consensus was that a warrior is someone who overcomes all obstacles to become successful. Hmmm. I disagree.

I spent the majority of my day focused on this word.

When my alarm went off this morning at 6am, I awoke with a sense of jubilation and excitement…it was Warrior Dash day, and I sure do love me some muddy races. This race was going to be extra special, as I wasn’t just running it with my cousin Laura, but with my fiancee Kyle…and it was our first race together.

I love the Warrior Dash for a multitude of reasons. Contrary to belief, I don’t mind getting dirty and like jumping around in mud. I obviously love running. I love challenging myself and taking on crazy obstacles. And you better believe I love getting a furry helga helmet. When I get to do all this with the people I love most, I love it even more.

It was a beautiful day for a race. Seriously, the weather couldn’t have been any better. The mud was perfect: messy but challenging. As with any Warrior Dash, we had no idea what obstacles we would encounter. I was so proud of us for killing it on the obstacles and showing incredible teamwork….and then the next to last obstacle presented itself: the Goliath. Let’s talk about the Goliath for a second. From the ground it doesn’t seem too bad. I mean, you climb up a high cargo net, then walk across a little beam to a huge slide that in turn spits you out in a giant mud puddle. Fun, right?

WRONG. That little beam is very small and takes place about 15 feet in the are over a shallow little mud puddle. It’s long, and all you have for balance are two small ropes. I don’t need to elaborate, but I was scared to death. Thank heavens for Kyle being there to help me through it. It was terrifying. Once we crossed the finish, the terror of the Goliath disappeared and I began to felt like a real warrior. I had beat the obstacle course; I was awesome. Being a warrior means doing that, at least according to the dictionaries I consulted.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the greatest moments one has after a race like this isn’t that moment when they finish, but that moment when they get a hot shower, wash all of the dirt away, and hop into bed for a cat nap. This was exactly my plan for the remainder of the day. After my shower, I found myself feeling the same jubilation I had when I first woke up: time to rest! And right when I went to put my head on my pillow, my phone lit up.

Nap over.

My phone blows up all day long. As an entrepreneur, it’s just how it is. I  have to be available to take the calls and respond to the messages when those who I coach need me. This text though wasn’t one of those messages. It was one of the worst messages I possibly could’ve received.

My friend Andy, who I have written about several times on here, had lost the battle he so bravely fought for the last nineteen months. As you may remember, he was involved in a terrible car accident that left him in the ICU for many months before he was able to move to an assisted living facility where he could receive proper care. His journey had been a rough one, but I don’t think any of us ever questioned whether or not Andy would be okay. I honestly believe we all felt in our hearts that someday he would be back to his old ways, that he would laugh with us and talk to us all again. After all, Andy is a warrior.

Let’s go back to that definition the dictionaries shared with me: a warrior is someone who overcomes obstacles successfully. Andy left us this morning after being found unresponsive. Over the last nineteen months he had faced more obstacles than I can even imagine. He fought and fought and fought and overcame so many things that most people couldn’t. To me, that is a warrior: someone who fights until the bitter end giving everything they have. This is what our Andy did.

To get a furry helmet and jump through some mud puddles…..that doesn’t make someone a warrior. Staring the worst of the worst in the face, looking it dead in the eye, and still taking it on…..that is a true warrior. And that is what Andy Buehl did.

I’m heartbroken to have my lost my friend. Im heartbroken that a family lost a son, a brother, a stepbrother. And I’m heartbroken that the world has lost one of the greatest guys I have ever known to walk it. As heartbroken as I am, I am so thankful I was fortunate enough to know such an awesome human being and call him my friend. I know a lot of people can agree with me when I say Andy truly made the world a better place.

When someone close to you goes through something crazy and terrible like Andy did, you can’t help but think about life in general. Life is so short….we never know when our last day could be. Love with all your heart….passionately and completely. Evaluate your priorities…spend more time with those who mean something to you. Forgive for pain and hurt….learn from it, but don’t grudges. And when something scary comes your way, think of my friend Andy and the warrior strength he showed until the very end.

I’m proud to have known a real warrior.

We'll miss you, Buehl. May you rest in peace knowing how loved you are and how much you meant to so many.

We’ll miss you, Buehl. May you rest in peace knowing how loved you are and how much you meant to so many.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Teal is more than a color!

I am one not fond of making decisions. I don’t care if it is picking a restaurant to dine in, a pair of shoes to wear, or whether or not I want to run or skip, I just don’t like doing it. So when the time came for me to pick a college, it was a really difficult decision…I mean, that’s a big decision to make. I knew what I wanted to study, I knew I was going to play basketball, and I knew that my decision would be made solely on two factors: the closet size in the dorm rooms and the food in the cafeteria.

After about a hundred visits to colleges, I finally agreed to visit Thiel College in Greenville, PA. The head basketball coach had been heavily recruiting me for months, so my family and I decided we should at least give her the courtesy of a visit. I had never heard of the school, or the town for that matter, but I agreed. The size of the dorm rooms and closets met my expectations, and they were serving grilled provolone (my favorite!) in the cafeteria. Even better: it was only 50 minutes from my hometown, which meant my parents and family could come watch me play.

I think a lot of people get buyer’s remorse after they pick a college. I know a lot of my friends did. Fortunately for me, I never experienced this. I can still say to this day that choosing Thiel College to be my school of choice was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I do not have one regret about attending there, and I wish everyone could have had the amazing college experience that I was lucky enough to have at Thiel.

Last week, after a great deal of planning and schedule juggling, I arrived back at Thiel for a day with my college crew. Any time I get to spend with them is never enough.  I talk often about the joys I have gained from joining my beloved sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, but the greatest joy from that sorority is having the same group of friends I had over a decade ago still in my life. These ladies….Caitlin, Katie 3, Julie, Ferretti, and Keener (though she couldn’t be there for our Thiel date, she was still there in spirit…love you, hooker) are five of the most amazing class acts I have ever met, and it is so great to call them not only friends, but sisters. Even though some have gotten married, they will forever be known by their names/nicknames in college….old habits are hard to break. I know that when the time comes when I get married that I will forever be known simply by my last name, as that is how I was referred to in college and still am today. I’m okay with that.

My time with the crew at Thiel was incredible. We decided to meet there really out of convenience…it wasn’t too far from any one of us…plus it gave us an excuse to hit up some of our favorite places. I mean, where else can you go and get a huge meal and only pay $4.00? Greenville, PA, that’s where. After lunch we decided to walk around campus, which was such a blast. Even though it has been years since we were all there together, it still felt like just yesterday. Naturally, we took a ton of pictures. My favorites all have such strong memories attached:

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.48.37 AM

We spent some time in the good ol’ HMSC (That’s Howard Miller Student Center for those non Tomcat readers). The HMSC was a place we spent a lot of time together…everything from grabbing Starbucks to hanging out in the game room to welcoming our new sisters during Rush…..some of us (ok, me) may have even slept on the random couches in there a time or two. It was so weird to walk through the halls….memories came back to me that had long been forgotten. I even mailed a speeding ticket I had recently gotten from the post office on campus. Oh, ICM….I sure do miss getting those.

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.48.19 AM

I cannot even begin to tell you the topics discussed at this lunch table. We sat at the same table in the middle of the lunch room the entire time I was in college. People just knew it was a Xi table, and you don’t mess with us at lunch time. Usually we pulled a number of tables together so everyone could be closer, but regardless lunch time was just ridiculous. I wish I had a dollar for every time I said “the Eagle has landed” at lunch, or the number of times Ryan Fry ate at our table, or the number of times I got criticized for eating butterscotch pudding. The memories at this table are some that can never be duplicated. It didn’t matter how terrible the day was…when we all got together for lunch, life made sense.

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.48.02 AM

Yeah, this pose happened every day at 8am for Western Humanities and Global class. What a dumb idea…have over a hundred kids in a lecture hall, many hung over, forced to listen to strange topics being discussed. I only wish the chairs were this comfy back then….but who am I kidding, I still would’ve slept. Getting to see some of the classrooms I spent so much time in made me miss school. Yes, I even missed the dumb assignments and boring classes.

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.49.52 AM

We even managed to sneak into the library where we used to have our study tables while pledging. I know we were supposed to be focused on doing our homework and getting stellar grades, but we spent the majority of study tables screwing around and being mischievous. I’m happy to report that the library still smells exactly the same…the stacks are still creepy….and people are probably still making out back there.

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.50.13 AM

This picture may very well be one of my all time favorites. This location on campus is known as Brother Martin’s Walk. According to the college, it is good luck to walk down the sidewalk from College Avenue (where we are here) all the way to the end by Harter Hall with your significant other. Apparently this brought luck and endless love into your life. I know many people this has held true for, though I myself never made that stroll. Even though Cait was taking this picture, I like to think I got the luck and endless love by having these ladies in my life and getting to walk with them on Brother Martin’s Walk. Like the quote in Sex and the City suggests, ” “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” ― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City.

To my Juls, Katie 3, Hooker, Ferretti, and Cait…I am so lucky to have you in my life, and I am so happy our friendship has withstood the test of time. There is no doubt you all are my soul mates. TFJ.

Bicep Fur and Flesh Colored Fanny Packs!

mis·fit

noun \ˈmis-ˌfit also ˌmis-ˈfit\

: a person who is different from other people and who does not seem to belong in a particular group or situation.

That is how Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “misfit.”

I define that word in a much different manner. Misfits: My friends.

100% Truth.

100% Truth.

My friends are such a wonderful group of people.  I am so fortunate to have them all in my life for so many reasons, and am lucky that each friend brings something different to my life. Are they misfits? Yes, in the sense that they are all wonderfully different, but not in the sense that they don’t belong. They all belong to one exclusive group: my circle of friends.

Among my friends is my dear friend Christine, who is lucky in one way my other friends aren’t: she gets to spend eight hours every day sitting right next to me at work. Now I know most people have to deal with less than desirable coworkers, but I am fortunate. In my direct office I have the pleasure of working and laughing with one of my dear friends on a daily basis.  Christine and I get along for a variety of reasons, but our sense of humor is clearly what everyone notices first. We are ridiculous, sarcastic, and somewhat demented with no topic off limits. By far, the most exceptional qualities when evaluating one’s sense of humor.

Those are mischievous smiles!

Those are mischievous smiles!

This week has been a bit rough for me, so I have been seeking out laughs…even more than usual.  As always, Christine came through with a hilarious little gem that she shared with me last night. I’ll admit…I watched it four times initially….and again today…and again this evening. Much like the joy Sweet Brown’s parody of “Ain’t Nobody Got Time Fo Dat” brought to my world, I have a feeling this one will be in my arsenal of go to funnies whenever I need a chuckle.

Thanks, Xtine, for always making me laugh…and to your dad for finding this. Ketchup, mustard, give me a squirt.

You’re welcome.

My sandwitches are better than yours.

The joy of getting older means many things to me. Lately it has a lot to do with determining the meaning of why people come and go into our lives when they do. As a believer of the old adage that “People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” I’m always looking deeper for the meaning of what someone is bringing to my life. The older I get, the more I am realizing how important it is to have good solid people in my life.

To say my group of friends is eclectic is an understatement. I am fortunate to have an amazing group of people in my life, but they all are very different, and I love that about them. Some of my friends, like Kelly and John Paul, have known me since I was a rugrat wearing monogrammed sweaters and eating dirt. Some, like Whitney , Jodi, and Christine, were fortunate to skip those years. Others, like Em and Julie, share a sisterly bond with me due to being a part of the best sorority in the history of life. One started after a near throw down (love you, Lisa). And then there are the ones that began as a result of a sports rivalry…Krista and Erin, sorry, but the Bears are still cooler than the Rebels.

My friend Crystal is another who falls in the sports rivalry category. If you would’ve told me back in 99 that I would still be pals with a South Range Raider, I would’ve probably laughed in your face. Back in high school, sports were my thing. I lived for the competition, and I hated to lose (newsflash: I still hate it). My alma mater, Leetonia High School, was a tiny school in the then Tri County League. We had our rivalries….some of us still refer to the Clippers as Coconuts while some of us don’t even flinch when we, the Bears, get called Meatballs. However, one rivalry always sparked fury in me….the one we got to encounter once a season when we played one of the top schools in the ICL…South Range. They were a much larger school district and played tougher schools, yet when we got together it was always a toss up as to who would win. Somehow, we were evenly matched and our games would be packed.

My senior year the fun really started. Crystal was a freshman at South Range, and she was the person I got to go head to head with during our games. We both were strong/middle hitters and were also both the big men under the hoop. Due to some mutual friends introducing us a few years back, we knew who each other was, which made the match ups even more exciting. Some of my favorite moments in my athletic career came during those match ups…the fans were intense, the games always close, and the smack talking always present ( in a friendly and courteous manner, of course!)

Fortunately, our friendship continued out of the gym and into our adult life. I attribute our friendship to our sarcastic and snarky attitudes. We always have such a blast when we are together (most of that has to do with us being inappropriate and obnoxious), but I know she always has my back, and I always have hers. She also lives in a nearby town, and that makes me extremely happy.

Out and about in the Falls....singing Disney songs at the bar.

In between belting out Disney songs at a bar. Only in the Falls!

Nowadays, my favorite time during the week is Wednesday night. That’s when Crystal and I play in our fours sand volleyball league. Our team name, The Sandwitches, is beyond fitting for us. Yes, it is fun to be able to drink beer and play volleyball in the sand while cussing like a sailor, but there is a part of it that takes me back to high school and the fun we had. We are both still super competitive and both still sore losers. This may not be the best combo, but oh well. We wouldn’t be the sandwitches if we were all rainbows, kittens, and sunshine all the time…..

The Sandwitches in our glory. Probably lost that game....

The Sandwitches in our glory. Probably lost that game….

There is no doubt that when it comes to the “reason, season, or lifetime” question that Crystal will be around for a lifetime. In fact, I’m confident that our condos will be right next to each other in the afterlife. She just won’t be allowed to play any Selena Gomez music since apparently she likes it now…..

Love my friend, love sand volleyball, and love that the Bears are still better than the Raiders.

Rants, Raves, and Whitterbug!

It’s been a super crazy week for me, and that is an understatement. It occurred to me earlier today that I haven’t shared anything on my blog since the weekend. I always have a lot to say, just not always the time to say it. (Yes, I have been whelmed, if you are wondering). Instead of posting multiple entries for all of the things I usually wrap a week up with, I decided to combine them into this post. So what if this blog post ends up being a little all over the place….it’s my blog, and I can do what I want. Besides, I am a little all over myself, so I guess this is fitting.

RANT OF THE WEEK
____________________

I can’t help it…there are two big ones I have this week.

Rant #1: Illness. Why do bad things have to happen to good people? All week long I have been struggling with the issues going on with my grandmother. I’m learning that dealing with an illness head on is very difficult, especially when there is nothing I can do to help the person suffering. It’s only human nature to want to do everything you can for someone in need. Not being able to is a very helpless struggle, that is for sure. My eyes are tired from all of the tears, otherwise I’d go in more detail. Please just keep my Grandma Rosie in your prayers.

Rant #2: People in the Healthcare field that hate people! As I type this, I am getting fired up just thinking about it. Now, this rant is something I complain about often…it seems like so many people hate their jobs and hate people in general, then take it out on their clients/customers. I found a prime example of this earlier in the week while visiting my Grandma in the hospital. One of her nurses took the term grumptastic to a new level. I understand we all have bad days at work, but it was apparent this woman was miserable by nature. She was whiny and extremely rude, which in turn angered me. There my grandmother is, 90 years old…very shaken up and afraid…and the person who is supposed to take care of her and comfort her is being an absolute bitch. Forgive me, nurse, but I thought you were paid to take good care of my loved one? As I said on Facebook, this woman needs to get a job in a factory or at home where she is responsible for dealing with the manufacturing of plastic pieces only. I’m hoping I don’t see her again, but if I do, I can promise you I won’t go so quietly should the same treatment happen. Moral of the story: If you like people, work with them. If you don’t, get a new freakin job! This goes for nurses, teachers, McDonald’s drive-thru people who can’t make coffee right, and individuals who sell shoes.

RAVE OF THE WEEK

__________________________

School is Done! Well, at least for two days. I successfully completed my finals for school!!!! Woohoo! I am really proud of myself and am really happy to have a few days off. I must say, going back to school when you work full time is really hard. When I went back to school to get my Masters Degree, I was fresh off my undergraduate degrees and still focused on balancing work/school. I have such a new appreciation for people (especially single parents) who go to school full time while working. Thank heavens the school madness ends in August…it will be here soon!

OTHER THINGS I WANT TO TALK ABOUT

_______________________________________

Another difficult thing I have learned over the past year is how difficult it is living far away from your family when something rough happens. I tend to become very nomadic, practically living out of my car driving to and from one place to the other. I hate not being with them in a time of need. I am so fortunate to have friends near me who pick me up and have my back when my family can’t. Friends really are the family you choose.

My friend, Whitney, is one of my absolute closest friends and one of the most amazing women I know. I still remember the first time we hung out…at the ghetto fab Wal-Mart in Fairlawn. What a great first date!!!! I met Whit through her husband, Ryan, who had just started working with me. Once Ryan and I realized we both found farts to be extremely humorous, we knew we would be great friends. As our company Christmas party approached, Ryan offered to let me get ready at his house since I was still living in Youngstown and had no where to really go in between work and the party. However, this timeframe interfered with the Halo filled boys weekend Ryan had been having with his friend, Josh aka Luigi. Instead of me watching two grown men aggressively shoot realistic cartoon figures, Ryan told me to give his wife (whom I had met once for about two seconds) a call and meet her, so I did. Whit was doing some shopping at Wal-Mart, so I met her there. The rest is history. We’ve been best buds ever since, and whether it be Black Friday Shopping, a wine night, running, or a trip to NYC, we always have a blast.

Me and Whit...One of our finest moment!

Me and Whit…One of our finest moments!

I think one of the greatest things about my closest girlfriends is that fact that they are not all just beautiful women on the outside, but they are unbelievably beautiful on the inside. Whit is no different. She always finds a way to pick me up when I’m having a down day. Today is a perfect example. I went into work bright and early and started the countdown to 5pm immediately….I could not wait to get home to my couch to actually relax..and then I was pleasantly surprised! Whit had stopped by on her way to work to give me a much needed hug and a cheer me up present! While I love the presents (our favorite guilty pleasures: wine, truffles, candy, trashy magazines…and a super fun blow up hippo), it was the hug I was most thankful for and the hug I needed the most. I think we all underestimate the power of the hug…it is one of the greatest things we can give another being. I am so thankful for Whit, not just on days like this, but every day!

Bottom Line: I am not sure what I did right in this world to have the friends I have, but I do know I couldn’t make it without them.

Lessons from My Garbage Drawer

Regret is an ugly thing…maybe the ugliest. I know there is a saying about how you shouldn’t regret anything in your life because at one point it was exactly what you wanted, but I don’t agree. Those people who say that they don’t regret anything that has happened over the course of their lifetime…well, they are absolute liars. I find it extremely hard to believe that there is anyone out there who can say they truly regret nothing.I regret so many things that it blows my mind. Now don’t get it twisted…just because I regret things doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned from them. Some of my biggest regrets have been the biggest lessons for me.

What makes a regret a regret? Is it when we don’t get what we want? Or when our feelings were hurt? Or is it just something you wish didn’t happen? I tried to think of how I could best define a regret, and it had me thinking for awhile. I don’t really know what a good definition is.

Today I was cleaning my kitchen and came across the garbage drawer.You know the one…it holds all kinds of random things that you aren’t really sure where to put them but they hold some value to you. As I went through mine and wondered how I had accumulated so many strange things, something stuck out. It was a poem. A poem that, to me, is associated with one of the biggest regrets of my life. I remember coming across it as I had unpacked the first few days I was in my new apartment and knew I needed to put it somewhere special, but wasn’t sure where since my house was still in total disarray. So I temporarily put it in my garbage drawer.

The poem was given to me at a memorial service held in fall of 2011. I love/hate the poem so much that it still brings me to tears when I read it today. I love the beautiful, eloquent wording of it, but I hate what it means to me. The service was for a very important person in my life, Seel, who died last August on a gloomy Saturday morning. I had left that morning with my friend Dorothy to go to Columbus to see Seel for what we believed would be the last time. I knew his cancer had taken an ugly turn and it was only a matter of time. We were 15 minutes away from the home where Seel was staying with his sister when we got the call that he had died. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Seel and the role he played in my life. For a long time I felt a lot of regret about how things ended. I wondered if I had gotten ready sooner or if I would’ve avoided the long line at Starbucks that morning if it wouldve made a difference. Maybe it was just his time. The week before he died, I wrote Seel a long letter letting him know how much he meant to me. I don’t know why I felt the need to…maybe I knew deep down I would never get to tell him myself. He was such an amazing person to so many and overcame so many obstacles during his 70+ years on this planet. People like that aren’t something you find everyday.

It took me a long time to get past the regret I felt about not getting to Seel’s in time to say goodbye, but I felt good knowing I said what I needed to say. That regret taught me so much. I know I need to make sure that those who I care about know what they mean to me. Seel had been sick for a long time, but tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. I don’t want to wake up tomorrow and know that someone left this Earth without knowing how much they meant to me…be it a family member, friend, or romantic interest. I’ve really been making a conscientious effort to do that.

I know so many regrets I have had lately are linked directly to bad judgement calls on my behalf regarding situations and people…all things I can control. At some point I will look back on them all, be thankful for the lesson, and laugh. I can only hope everyone else can acknowledge the good in their regrets. I think it was, by far, one of the biggest lessons of 2012.

Although, I should note that there are sometimes regrets that we can’t learn a lesson from….or understand why they even happened. Take this picture, for example.

western

Really, Mom?????

Advertisements