I'm only here tonight because of you. You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lessons in Cohabitation: Sports "Widows"

Recently I have become acquainted with a new term.  An affliction really.  That thousands - perhaps millions of women have dealt with for generations before me, and surely will continue to for years to come.  What I like affectionately call "the other woman" (because this is probably the only time that term could ever be considered cute or affecionate) - sports.  Women worldwide have become sports "widows".

 Now don't get me wrong: clearly I have known from a young age that males and sports go together like Han and Chewy (or like Wilma and Betty for you non-sci-fi ladies out there).


This has been a cultural cliche for like, eons.  I'm sure men were as obsessive about jousting at one point as they are now about football season.  It's really the extent of the issue I was previously unaware of.  It is rampant and widespread enough to warrant a term like football widows.  

But I don't think it is limited to American football.  Nope, it is limited to men anywhere, and really the sport could be ANYTHING.  As long as it is competitive and generally requires sweat, men will obsess over it.  For example: a guy may decide to "pick up" running because buying those five-finger/"barefoot" running shoes became really trendy for a while there, and next thing you know he's run a marathon within six months, a 50-mile mountain race within a year, and created a blog to document his daily progress.  Or perhaps participation isn't his thing, so maybe this guy decides he loves college football so much that he creates massive spreadsheets for several NCAA conferences, detailing not only who wins their respective matchups, but also the point spread, the over-under scores (as dictated by Vegas standards) and places hypothetical bets on every single one of these aspects for every single game in every spreadsheet - just to see what he would have won had he actually been gambling with any real money - and does this every single weekend September-January?  Hypothetically speaking, of course.*

I'm not speaking in hyperbole here people.  This actually happens.  People might call this obsessive behavior were it regarding anything else besides sports.  What would the world say if women were this obsessive about shopping and finding good deals?  Oh wait, some women do do that and they have come up with a term for it: "Extreme Couponing".  And you know why they call it that?  BECAUSE IT IS F**KING EXTREME AND UNNECESSARY.
"Hi, I wish they made coupons for pallets of contact lenses, because then I'd really be set for the apocalypse!"

Sigh.  But I digress.  I brought you here to discuss what I have learned personally, not the world's double standards.  I live with a man who has another love.  Nay, not with another woman, and not even with football - well, at least not the kind you're thinking.  But with football as generally Europe/South America/Africa/Australia/Asia/let's-face-it-probably-Antarctica refers to it: but we'll go ahead and stick with soccer.  And it's not like I can even pretend it took me by surprise.  He's played his whole life, went to college on a soccer scholarship, and one of our first at-length conversations ever revolved around it.  He breathes the stuff as if it were air.  Getting out on a soccer field literally sustains him.  Again, kinda wish I could claim to be exaggerating, but I'm not.  The boy gets downright surly if he hasn't stepped onto a soccer field in over a week or so.  He loves that we have Fox Soccer on cable so that he can watch most noteworthy games from around the world.  But while watching gets him by, it's playing that really soothes his soul.

But I'm one of the lucky ones, and I know it.  Not because he is any less obsessed than the rest of men worldwide (though there are many that are faaaar more extreme - like the couponers).  But because I actually truly enjoy soccer too.  I'm nowhere near his level, but having played most of my childhood and adolescence, and realllly liking watching it helps out.  And seeing as he is currently on two different teams that play weekly - one of which travels around the Bay area for its nine-month-long season - I would say his case is in pretty full swing.

And so I have striven to not fall to the ranks of Sports Widows worldwide, losing my significant other for extended periods of time just because he loves something (besides me) excessively.  Nope, instead you'll find me on the sidelines two days a week, every week, in my fold-up chair, with my cooler full of rehydration.  Oh yeah, and with my fancy new camera.  Because this girl is resourceful.  Not only will I be a supportive and dedicated girlfriend, but I will also comfortable, entertained, and productive all at once!  Wish me luck!

Below are some of my first attempts at sports photography... and let's just say I have a long way to go.

He says it's so the kinesiology tape doesn't rip out his hair... I'm thinking it's for being aerodynamic.

Did I mention his team colors are red and black?  Swoon.

Check out all those supportive girlfriends spectators!

#11 making me proud!

My best one, I think.  I helps to be close to the action.


So attractive.

*Of course these situations weren't hypothetical.
These were actual stories.  And of actual people I've dated.
HOW did this thing take me by surprise whatsoever??

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summertime Girls Got It Goin' On

"I'll steal your honey like I stole your bike."

That little LFO throwback is for my dear friend Meagan (thanks for reading Megs!)  I found it fitting for the [unofficial] end of summer, especially as my fellow blogger BFFs Lindsey and Krysta both posted their lists of Summer Favorites today.  And we were definitely some girls that enjoyed their summers!

So since it was encouraged for future reposting at CFC, here were my faves!

Favorite Movie:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

I saw some fun movies this summer, but this I feel was the most memorable.  I'd been waiting for it for years (like many people worldwide) and honestly - it delivered.  I think I was crying for approximately 75% of the entire film.  And I love me a good cryfest.

One thing that I loved most about the last two movies is how true they were to the books.  Obviously this is largely possible because they split the last book into two movies, but to me it made all the previous movies almost glaringly inferior.  Relationships and characters that had been cultivated over the course of several books seemed glossed over or omitted entirely in the earlier movies.  So certain emotional punches to the gut in the final two movies - while still made those of us faithful to the books weep like little babies - I think lost their power to those viewers who only know the Potterverse via Hollywood.

So though it may sound odd, I think I loved this movie SO MUCH that it almost made me love its predecessors significantly less so.  But in any case, it was the end of an era, even a symbolic final nail in the coffin of my adolescence, as I remember eagerly awaiting the releases of books 4-7 over the course of my teenage years.

And one last reason I loved this movie: Ron Weasley/Rupert Grint.  Ron was my favorite character in the books (except when he got so cranky about the Goblet of Fire in Book 4 - but Harry outdid his teenage whininess in the first HALF of Book 5), and the movies only further solidified my adoration.  Who would have guessed that sweet dopey 11-year-old Ron/13-year-old Rupert Grint (in reality) would grow up to be such a foxy ginger??  I'd love to shake the hand of the casting director for the first movie.

A very close second favorite summer movie was Captain America: The First Avenger, for a number of reasons.
1. I love comic book movies to begin with, but this wasn't just any old one.  It was the last in a series of single-protagonist movies leading up to an epic movie combining the efforts of several heroes altogether: The Avengers, due to come out next summer.  What is essentially a six-movie series is finally down to the one I've been waiting for since Iron Man came out in 2008.  So this movie means the wait is just about over.

2.  Not to beat a dead horse, but they even showed a teaser trailer at the end of Captain America, where we got great shots like this:

Yes, that is Thor front and center (another great summer flick!), in the same room as Black Widow (ScarJo in the bottom left), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo pouting in the middle) and Captain America (Chris Evans).  My [not so inner] nerd is in full geek-out mode just reminiscing about this scene!

3. A little shoutout to my girlier side: this movie had a GREAT wardrobe!  It was set in World War II era, which was ripe with pin curls, roller-curl waves, A-line skirts, and bright red lipstick.  Not to mention crewcuts on patriotic men in uniform!  The 1940s were definitely one of my most favorite fashion eras, and this movie didn't disappoint on that front.  Part of me wants nothing more than to have been a USO girl drumming up national support for the war effort.

Favorite Vacation:

We had a Stransky family reunion this summer for my cousin Kate's 40th birthday.  The Stransky side of my family rarely gets everyone together in the same place all at once, so this was a really special occasion.  I got to see my cousins Kate, Dan, and Andy, my dad's brothers and their respective families [minus our two cousins Bonnie and Michelle]. 
We spent the weekend in Grayslake, IL where my parents both grew up, as well as most of my extended family on both sides.  We even got to take a ride around the lake my dad and his brothers grew up ON, and heard several stories of how most of their friends shouldn't have even made it to age 21 with the stunts they pulled!
It was Patrick's first time meeting the Stransky side of the family, and I think he handled it like a champ!  We're a crazy group at times, but we're also pretty loveable too.

My family + the birthday girl Kate!  Doesn't she look like 33, tops??

Favorite Purchase:

No, not a jar of sugar, nor a set of measuring cups.  But embarking on my first experiments in artsy photography wouldn't be possible without my favorite purchase/gift this summer: my new SLR camera from Patrick.  Sort of a combination Anniversary/Christmas present, I received my new camera about a month ago and have only taken it out a handful of times.  I want to take amazing pictures every time I use it, but I need to learn that doesn't mean I need only save it for special occasions!

Favorite Thing I Did:

Not to be a big ol' copycat, but celebrating Madeline's wedding festivities with my best friends, our boyfriends/husbands, and our families was the highlight of my summer.  We rehearsed, we dined, we had Rita's on the beach, we had sleepovers, we got fancy, we took endless pictures, we laughed, we cried tears of joy, we got silly, we got sentimental, and we danced our little hearts out.  It was, in short, the most a girl could ever ask for.

Favorite Book:
I feel like it's sort of a copout, but truthfully I just haven't done a heck of a lot of reading this summer!  But I am a sucker for Sookie Stackhouse and her adventures with vampires, werewolves, weretigers, demons, fairies, and whatever other supernatural oddities get thrown her way!  I like to call these the grown-up versions of Twilight, because overall yes it about a girl who falls in love with a vampire, only with less teenage angst and a lot more sex.  Romance novels + the supernatural = perfect entertainment.
So Definitely Dead was just the next book in the series that I hadn't yet read.  It was very entertaining, and I'm sure I'll procure the next book sometime before the end of the year.  In the meantime, I have some more respectable titles on my to-read list that I need to knock out first!

Favorite Thing I Wore:

Not only did I get some wonderful feather extensions that I'd been dying to try since I moved down in May, but I also had a departure from my super-red hair I've been sporting for the past 4ish years.  Going back to my roots a bit (har har), I opted for something a bit closer to my natural auburn hue, and got some blonde highlights for the first time since high school I think!

Favorite Life Change:

Well, that one is kinda easy, but easy to misconstrue.
Moving in with Patrick, being back in Tampa/Pinellas, and starting a new job with a great company made for a very exciting summer.
However, I don't include leaving Georgia and Turner Studios in my "favorites" category.  Because that was hard.  And sad.  And anything but my favorite.
But I do love where I am and what I am doing now.  I love our condo, and our neighborhood, and the flat sidewalks that are soooo nice to run on.

I love Tampa Digital, my new role, my ability to travel every now and then, and most of all the amazing friends I've made there.  Go ahead and try to tell me this doesn't look like the coolest workplace you've ever seen.

So those were all the best parts of my summer!
I must admit I am looking forward to Fall, because I love college football and Halloween and the start of the holiday season.  I typically also love the leaves changing and the crisp cool air... but I live in Florida now.  Autumn wardrobes and crunchy leaves will have to wait until like December!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Correction: I know some AMAZING photographers!!

Looks like you didn't have to wait long!
In case you missed them in the facebook world, here are a few of my favorites from behind Ryan Sebastyan's magical camera lens!

We had a hair-flipping series...

My hair actually reminds me of flames here... and I love that.

And I saved my two favorites for last:

And one of our esteemed photographers - tiny Caitlyn - can be seen below!

Thank you SO MUCH to Ryan, Caitlyn and Crystal!!
We had a blast!

I'm a Model!

OK.  Let me start by saying: I'm not a model.

But this past Wednesday I got to act like one!
Some of my friends/colleagues from work were looking to do a photo shoot using people as subjects (as opposed to prior shoots where they've used zoo animals, beach scenes, etc.), and my front office partner Kaitlin and I volunteered our modeling services.  And free of charge!
It didn't hurt that we were 100% first-time amateurs.

I'm going to go on a brief tangent before continuing.  If you've known me for a while, you've probably heard that I suddenly have a overabundance of Katelyn/Kaitlin/Caitlyn's in my life.  Once upon a time there was only one, my first K-dawg love Katelyn Wiltsee, whom I met at my first/only workplace in Atlanta - Turner.  Then after I move to Florida, I start up at my new job at Tampa Digital, only to meet TWO new amazing girls with the same name.  Only they all spell it differently, which somehow makes it more confusing I think.  In any case, I shall henceforth refer to them as follows: Mama Katelyn (because she is a mama, and is a slight homage to our old coworker Mama Joyce), Tiny Caitlyn (formerly referred to as Graphics Caitlyn, and she is very tiny), and Baby Kaitlin (though I know she will hate it, but she is the youngest of the three).  And what's even funnier is that all three of them could be/have actually been professional models, which is not a description I give lightly.

And now I can continue.  So Baby Kaitlin and I took our first steps toward supermodeldom this week.  And now I shall present to you a sneak preview of outcome, courtesy of Tiny Caitlyn, who was one of our extremely talented photographers.  I mean, she made me look like a pretty model.  SUPER talented!

For some reason I feel like I'm channeling Eliza Dushku here.
This is so a face she would make!  Weird.

So serious.

I would be remissed if I didn't throw a little kudos to myself here (I know, how rude, but models aren't usually humble anyhow).  But I did the makeup work for baby Kaitlin and myself, and I think I did a pretty bang-up job!  Especially on baby Kaitlin!  And God bless the girl for trusting me, because aside from occasionally applying Gameday/going out eyeliner for my dear friend Erica, this was pretty much my first foray into doing someone else's makeup.  And definitely my first time doing makeup for a photo shoot!  So yay me!

More to come!