The Mad Dash Home

Well, I skipped one of my usual posts this week, for the first time since June. And I gotta say, it feels really weird! I do often go the better part of a week without posting (after all, my usual Tuesday-to-Saturday pause is the same amount of time as this Monday-to-Friday gap), but this felt like much more of a break and I feel the strange urge to apologize. It's ridiculous. I'm not sure when I became this person that needs to blog three times a week, but here we are!

Anyway, since I missed Travel Tuesday, here's a sort of Travel Friday.

I grew up in New York and went to college in Miami, and now that I'm living in Colorado, this is my sixth year of having to fly home for Thanksgiving. And even though I've flown home on that Wednesday every year, it shockingly hasn't ever been too bad. I can't remember any crazy lines at security, or flight delays, or anything. It's always been fine.

This year, however, New York was bracing itself for Winter Storm Cato. Flights were being delayed and cancelled like crazy in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. So Tuesday saw me on the phone with American Airlines and my mom, racing home from work at 1:00 and scrambling to get me on an earlier flight home. (We failed. So I accidentally took a half day off of work for no reason. After literally speeding home to pack so I could make it to the airport in time. Lol, it was such a mess.)

So after that whole debacle, I remained booked on my planned flights. Colorado Springs to Dallas-Fort Worth, and Dallas-Fort Worth to New York JFK. Since my flight to New York wasn't until 4:30 -- right in the thick of the supposed storm -- I was fully planning on it being delayed and having to spend several hours in DFW. (Remember the last time I flew through DFW? We don't really have a great relationship.)

I had been positive that my flight out of Colorado would be perfectly on time. I got to the airport early, there were literally no people in line at security, and it was just a great situation. But then I saw "DELAYED" up on the board. I thought of the scheduled hour layover in Dallas and got a little nervous, but I knew my second flight would be delayed, so this flight taking off half an hour late would be no problem whatsoever.

And it wasn't a problem. We landed in Dallas a full 40 minutes before my second flight was scheduled to board. I was golden.

But half an hour later, we were still sitting on the tarmac, waiting for a gate. And even worse, my mom texted me and said my flight to New York wasn't delayed. Cue the panic (and the absolute fury).

After 50 minutes of waiting for a gate, and then getting a gate but having to wait for a jetway, we finally deplaned. And I had about 15 minutes before my flight departed. And when I checked the board for departing flights, I saw that I had to make it all the way to another terminal.

You want to talk about a frantic sprint? Yeah. This was a flat-out, desperate sprint through the airport.

I must say, though, I made record time. A well-timed train between terminals certainly helped, but I ran faster than I have in years (potentially ever) and made it to my gate with my legs burning, my lungs burning, totally sucking wind. I could barely get words out as I hunched over the gate attendant's desk.

"Are you still boarding?"

"Yes," she said, looking annoyed, but she waved me over to the gate.

I hobbled the last few steps, finally deciding to dig my boarding pass out of my bag. She took it and scanned it and handed it back to me, and I nearly skipped onto the empty gateway and up the tunnel. I was sweaty and huffing and puffing and a complete mess, but I was there.

As I stepped onto the plane, a flight attendant looked at me and said, "Hey, you made it!"

I would've laughed if I'd had enough oxygen in my system. "Yeah, my last flight sat on the tarmac for an hour."

His eyes went wide. "An hour?! Oof."

Tell me about it, dude. There's a reason I look like I just ran a marathon.

But all's well that ends well, right? I was on the plane, had an empty seat next to me, got myself a cup of water when the cart came around and guzzled that little thing like nobody's business.

And after all of that -- the frantic effort to get myself home the day before the storm, and the expected hours-long delay in Dallas -- I spent about 60 seconds in the Dallas airport and arrived in New York 15 minutes early.

Fifteen. minutes. early.

So this Thanksgiving, I'm incredibly thankful to have just made it home when I was supposed to! And that winter storm? Long Island didn't see a single snowflake.

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Miracle Monday: The Others

Miracle Monday

Aaaand we're back! :) Last week on Miracle Monday we finished up with the final roster, but there was a whole other cast of characters that very well could've been a part of that group. They were a part of that group, actually, for a period of time, but just didn't make that final cut. I mean, if you've watched Miracle, you've probably shed a tear or two over Ralph Cox getting cut. That scene is one of the few cinematic moments that, whenever I watch it, I irrationally hope that maybe it'll happen differently this time... but it never does. :( There was a whole lot more going on there than just Ralph though, so it's entirely worth a look at Herb's tangled web of roster moves!


Bruce Horsch: Bruce is the winningest goalie in Michigan Tech University history, won the NCAA championship there in 1975, and was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in '76. He played on Team USA in '78 and '79, splitting backup duties with Steve Janaszak in the lead-up to Lake Placid, but was ultimately cut not long before the Olympics. He retired after a season in the IHL, spent a decade coaching, and then became athletic director of Houghton High School in Michigan.


Les Auge: Les went to the same high school as Herb Brooks and played for Herb at the University of Minnesota, winning the NCAA championship in 1974. He left school in '75 and played for various minor league teams (along with fellow "old men" Buzz Schneider and Mike Eruzione) before playing on the '79 world championship team. Les had a great relationship with Herb, and Herb was absolutely devastated to have to cut him (and his cut gets a lot of screen time in Miracle on Ice). He was never drafted into the NHL but signed with the Colorado Rockies as a free agent, though he spent the rest of his career in the minors before retiring in '82. Les died during open heart surgery in 2002 at the age of 49.

Jack Hughes: Jack was a tough guy from Boston who majored in economics at Harvard University and set school records for most points and assists by a defenseman. He was one of the last guys cut from the  Olympic roster (right alongside Ralph Cox, actually, right before the Games) because Herb was concerned about his mobility on the ice. He'd been drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 1977 and played part of two seasons in the NHL before retiring in '82. Jack got into the financial world after hockey, and ended up co-founding Beanpot Financial Services with his 1980 teammate (and roommate) Jack O'Callahan in 1992.

Gary Ross: Gary played at the University of North Dakota before transferring to Bemidji State, finishing his college career in 1975 before playing on the U.S. Olympic team at Innsbruck 1976. He played abroad in Austria for a season before rejoining Team USA in '79. After not making the '80 Olympic team, he returned home to Roseau, Minnesota to teach fourth grade and coach his old high school hockey team and the girls' golf team. (A hockey player that became a fourth grade teacher? That's both adorable and something I never thought I would hear!)

Donnie Waddell: Donnie here is almost always ignored in relation to the 1980 Olympic team, but get a load of this guy's story. He played college hockey at Northern Michigan University, and was well on his way to making the Olympic team... until he slid into the boards and broke his leg at tryouts. He wasn't totally able to get back to his usual form after that but remained on Herb's "taxi squad," filling in for Bob Suter after Bob broke his ankle. Bob, however, was able to get back into good enough shape that he made the final roster and Donnie didn't (go figure!). Donnie had been drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1978 but only played one NHL game, spending nine seasons playing in various minor leagues. After he retired in '88, he spent the next decade coaching in the IHL before becoming the first and only general manager of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets). From 2011-2014 he was a scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and now he's the president of Gale Force Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Carolina Hurricanes. He's also served in numerous roles for USA Hockey, and even got his Olympic moment as the general manager of the 2006 U.S. Olympic team. So, like, he's kind of a big deal.


Aaron Broten: Remember in Miracle when Tim Harrer was brought onto the team really late and caused all sorts of angst? Well, in real life, Aaron Broten was brought on too. Aaron is Neal Broten's younger brother, and the two of them (along with their younger brother Paul) were hockey prodigies in high school and at the University of Minnesota. Herb ended up leaving Aaron off the roster to avoid screwing with the existing team chemistry, so Aaron completed his (absolutely dominating) freshman season at Minnesota before signing with the Colorado Rockies (which became the New Jersey Devils). He was traded to the Minnesota North Stars in 1990, where he became Neal's teammate again. :) After retiring in '92, he returned to Roseau to become an investment advisor, and briefly coached his former high school team.

Ralph Cox: Ah yes, everybody's favorite bleeding heart from wherever's not gonna get him hit. :) Ralph attended the University of New Hampshire and was an absolute sniper; he's still the school's all-time leading scorer. He was on the U.S. world championship team in 1979, but broke his ankle about a month before Olympic team tryouts. He was still the best goal-scorer on that pre-Olympic roster (yes, even better than Mark Johnson), but his injury limited his mobility. Herb thought this liability was too much of a risk, so Ralph became the last guy cut (and Herb was extremely emotional about this decision). As painful as getting cut was, Ralph was never bitter about it, and he didn't let that chase him out of hockey. He'd been drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1977 but spent the next two seasons playing in the minors before heading to Finland, where he played until his retirement in '85. He then got into real estate (and started his own company) and scouted for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the best part? Nowadays he's on the Olympic and Paralympic Movement Committee for the potential Boston 2024 Olympic bid! :D

Dave Delich: Dave grew up in hockey-crazed Eveleth (along with Mark Pavelich) and went to Colorado College (woo, Colorado Springs represent!), where he's still the all-time leading scorer with 285 points. He spent parts of two seasons in the minor leagues before making the pre-Olympic roster, but was cut after spending a good chunk of the season on the team. However, he was another cut that felt no bitterness when his teammates ended up winning Olympic gold. He played another couple of seasons in the minors and in Switzerland before hanging up his skates. But his athletic career was far from over! He got into the real estate business and started golfing competitively, even competing in the U.S. Senior Open on the PGA Tour.

Tim Harrer: Tim grew up in Minnesota and played for Herb at the University of Minnesota. He had a solid first three years there, winning the NCAA championship in 1979. He tried out for the '80 Olympic team and was the only 1979 Gopher not to make the preliminary roster outright. So he returned to school and had an absolutely monster year, scoring a school-record 53 goals (a record that still stands today). Herb took notice and invited him back to the Olympic team for a handful of games as a tryout. In Miracle, Tim was the source of all sorts of drama -- and by his own admission, what the movie showed was actually very true. If he'd done any better at tryouts he probably would've been on the team from the beginning, but since he was a latecomer, Herb didn't want to mess with the team chemistry that already existed. So instead, Tim got to watch all his buddies from the Gophers win Olympic gold without him. After his senior year of school, he spent several seasons playing for various minor-league teams before playing a handful of games for the Calgary Flames, who'd drafted him in '77. But then it was back to the minors, and he retired in '85. After hockey, he went to work for the company his dad had started, and that's where he still is today.

WHEW. I hope you learned a thing or two today! ;) I'll shut up now, and let Ralph Cox do the rest of the talking.

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Olympics Movies That Should Definitely Be Made

It's really no secret that I'm a rather big fan of Olympics movies. (Let's ignore the fact that I still haven't seen Chariots of Fire...) And I've been excited to see Foxcatcher for about six or seven months, when I first learned about Dave Schultz. But there are two problems: Foxcatcher isn't in theaters in Colorado yet (don't even get me started), and it's bound to be a dark, twisted, creepy sort of movie. But seriously, just reading about John du Pont makes my skin crawl.

This seems to be a fairly common thing in Olympics movies. I mean, just in the handful I've seen there's been a whole lot of death, and Unbroken (which comes out on Christmas!) sure isn't going to be any happier. It was this revelation that made sense of why I'm so into Miracle -- not only does it involve absolutely zero deaths or torture, it's a movie that's well-done and almost entirely factual. Obviously Hollywood took a few liberties, but you can watch Miracle and get a pretty solid idea of how things actually happened. This, too, is surprisingly rare. Cool Runnings? Sorry, guys. It's based on a true story but needs to be taken with a huuuuge grain of salt.

Basically, I'm just not thrilled with my selection of Olympics movies. I mean, is it so much to ask to watch a movie that's both accurate and not depressing? Apparently it is. But if you throw a rock at the Olympics, you'll hit a story that's worth making a movie about. It's literally a goldmine of movie material. Here are some Olympics movies that Hollywood definitely needs to start developing ASAP!

1. Dan Jansen. How this guy's story wasn't immortalized on the silver screen within days of the Lillehammer 1994 Games coming to an end, I will never understand. In 1988 he was the favorite for two speed skating gold medals. But on the day of his first race, his sister died of leukemia, and he fell in both of his races. He came back for the 1992 Olympics and again finished out of the medals, but in his final race at the 1994 Olympics, he was finally able to win the gold medal that had eluded him for so long. But not only that... he took his victory lap holding his baby daughter that he'd named after his sister. I mean, come on! You don't even need to take any creative license with that! It's a story that involves heartbreak and success AND wraps itself up in a neat little bow! Do you want to start writing the screenplay, or should I?

2. The Dream Team. While I'm a total sucker for an underdog story, I still think the greatest team of all time could easily be turned into a great movie. There was plenty of interesting stuff going on in that team dynamic, and a movie could easily become more of a character study than anything else! I mean, Patrick Ewing (from Jamaica) and Larry Bird (a white guy from a teeny town in Indiana) became best friends. Magic Johnson was battling HIV and trying to maintain alpha male status over Michael Jordan, who wasn't taking too kindly to that. And then there was Charles Barkley, who's enough of a character to carry an entire movie by himself. Now, tell me you wouldn't watch that!

3. The Magnificent Seven. Again, who in Hollywood is sleeping on this one? That first "team that overcame the odds and beat the Russians" movie did pretty well, right? Well, this has all the same elements (right down to the slightly crazy coach!), but this one would involve girls in star-spangled leotards and the self-sacrificing heroics of Kerri Strug. But there was drama even before the Olympics, as Shannon Miller and Dominique Moceanu were both injured during Olympic trials but were named to the team anyway. So many storylines! So much potential!

4. Apolo Ohno. I might be biased, since Apolo is my dude, but I would love to see a movie about his life. He was a really rebellious kid from a single-parent household that essentially ran away from home to avoid going to train seriously. And he then went on to become the most decorated American winter Olympian in history. Again, there's not really much creative license that has to be taken there. It's one of those underdog stories that people tend to salivate over.

5. Jesse Owens. Um, hello? He's THE American Olympic hero. Look up any list of the greatest American Olympic moments, and 90% of the time, the Miracle on Ice will be #2 and Jesse Owens will be #1. He was the black man that beat all of Hitler's Aryans in Germany. Pretty self explanatory. But as if we need another reason, he also happened to befriend one of his blonde German competitors, Luz Long, who offered Owens in-competition advice and then finished second to him. So not only was Jesse Owens beating the Germans, he was making friends with them. Talk about giving Hitler the finger!

6. Dick Fosbury. I absolutely adore Dick Fosbury, and his story is probably one of the most unique and compelling I've ever come across. He was a high jumper that literally revolutionized the technique used in his sport... simply because he couldn't do it the accepted way. Like, he was a very bad high jumper, so he said "screw it, I'll get over that bar however I can." So the Fosbury Flop was born, and he broke all sorts of records and won an Olympic gold medal. And nowadays, every single high jumper uses the Fosbury Flop technique. AMAZING.

Hollywood, take note: a movie doesn't have to be fabricated or depressing to be awesome. But until you start realizing that, I'll just watch Miracle another million or so times. (And, uh, I should probably get around to Chariots of Fire!)

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Why Study Abroad Friends Are The Best Friends

I haven't been home to New York in almost 10 months. TEN. MONTHS. That's the longest I've ever been away from home, and to say I'm chomping at the bit to get back there for Thanksgiving weekend would be the understatement of the year. And the funny thing is that one of the things I'm most looking forward to is getting to meet up with my London friends.

I've mentioned this before, but I met the most amazing group of people when I studied abroad. And luckily enough, a good chunk of us call the New York area home, however part-time that may be. So in the almost three years since we've known each other (side note: guys, WHAT?!?!? THREE YEARS?!), we've been able to organize a handful of reunions. This is something I haven't even been able to accomplish with my college friends yet -- why do flights from Colorado to Miami have to be so freaking expensive?! -- so these get-togethers hold a special place in my heart. And I truly think that friends you meet while traveling are a very special kind of friend. Why, you ask?

+ You know how people say you should travel with someone before you marry them because you don't truly know a person until you're in a new environment together? Well, that's what study abroad is. Every single day is a new environment. Study abroad friends have seen you struggle to convert kroners to dollars (seriously, what the heck). They've seen you when you're limping, hungry and cranky in your fifth city in 15 days. They've been with you when you can't book a damn train ticket out of Paris because it's Easter weekend, and they were there with you in the airport when your flight plans fell through too. And they love you anyway.

+ There's a whole other level of comfort with people after you travel with them. We've already shared all the germs we could possibly share, so we barely have to ask each other for a sip of each other's drinks. We know that we're all totally content just wandering through a city and seeing what we stumble across, so there's no pressure to entertain anyone. I mean, once you've shared a room in a hostel with someone, both washed your clothes in the shower and then hung them up around the room to dry... there's no more trying to impress 'em.

It's been two and a half years and I'm still laughing hysterically at this picture.

+ You know you can trust them. I mean, these are the people that met you where they said they were going to before any of you had foreign cell phones or found each other on Facebook. If anyone had ditched at that point, there'd be no chance of finding them. And you managed to backpack around Europe without losing OR killing each other! These are not the people that are going to flake. If they say they're going to be somewhere, they'll be there. (They might be late -- hey, stuff happens -- but they'll be there!) Their word means something!

+ They're a little piece of Europe at home! Almost every single reunion we've had has involved finding a British pub in New York City and having a pint. And reminiscing. Very, very heavy on the reminiscing! While I obviously miss London and my British friends desperately, having study abroad friends at home is like recreating our own little slice of our London lives... though thankfully without the shoebox dorm rooms and very questionable flatmates. Now there are apartments and real jobs and and masters degrees and student loans, which essentially means we're still that group of broke Americans nursing pints of Strongbow and talking about how amazing London is. Some things never change, right? :)

From Victoria Station to Grand Central Station! :)

In conclusion: they're pretty much the greatest. Study abroad for the travel, but also study abroad for the relationships you'll make!

Travel Tuesday

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Miracle Monday: Jim Craig

Miracle Monday

Dang, guys, can you believe this is it? I mean, not it it -- come on, do you really think I'm already out of things to say about this team? LOL, please, we've only scratched the surface -- but this is the end of the roster. #20 of 20. That's kind of unbelievable. When I decided to go in numerical order, I made that choice knowing that it was a sacrifice: I'd have to wait more than four months to write about Jim Craig. But now, here we are. (Not that this is the first time. And hey, remember when I met him and it was the greatest? And remember when he followed me on Twitter and I almost had a heart attack? Yeah, Jim is kind of a thing around these parts.)

Jim Craig


+ Jim started playing hockey on a frozen pond near his house, and started playing goalie because of a trio of fantastic reasons: 1) he played catcher in baseball and liked that playing in goal meant wearing similar gear, 2) he didn't know the rules of hockey and figured, stopping a puck, how hard could it be? And 3) playing goal meant he never had to be off the ice. His talent was overlooked for a long time, even though he went 53-3-1 in high school, and he ended up spending his first year of college at Massasoit Communitty College. But Jim had the cockiness and swagger to prove himself to just about everyone. He won himself a scholarship and the starting job at Boston University and led the Terriers to the national championship in 1978. As the backup goalie on the 1979 world championship team, he held the U.S. to a 2-2 tie against Czechoslovakia (the second-best team in the world), and that performance convinced Herb that Jim would be his starting goalie on the Olympic team.

+ Considering what he's most remembered for, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that Jim was (and still is) the ultimate family man. His mom died of bone cancer in 1977 and he was very affected by her death, and he's said that his dad was his best friend. He grew up in a house with seven siblings and loved that family atmosphere; during the pre-Olympic season, instead of living in an apartment, he moved in with the team doctor and his wife. This let him hang onto the family feeling and save the money he'd be spending on rent, so he could send more of his stipend home to his dad. (What a gem, right?!) Having so many siblings also made Jim a bit of a loner, as he loved being around his teammates but didn't mind going off on his own and carving out his own space. Between that and his extreme self-confidence, he had a bit of a knack for alienating people. But for all the people he rubbed the wrong way, he had just as many people who loved him for all his quirks.

+ Jim was the Olympic team's starting goalie from day one, playing in 41 pre-Olympic games and earning a record of 30-8-1. He also played every minute of every game in the Olympics and, as you probably already know, played absolutely out of his mind. But to get the full scope of just how epic Jim's performance was, let's look at how the scoring broke down; in the seven Olympic games, he let in nine goals in first periods, three goals in second periods, and three goals in third periods. He literally got better the longer he was on the ice. Is that epic or what?! Herb wanted to rest Jim in some of the easier round robin games and give Steve Janaszak some ice time, but Jim flat-out refused, and the coaching staff opted to stay with his momentum and hot hand. And, uh, guess that ended up working out okay. :P And then, of course, Jim etched himself into America's heart for all eternity when he searched for his father in the stands after winning the gold medal. :) (I've watched that numerous times now and am never fully emotionally prepared.)

+ After the Olympics, Jim's life sort of exploded into a whirlwind of fame. He'd been drafted by the Atlanta Flames in 1977 and was playing in his first NHL game within a week -- but in that week, he experienced a perpetual media blitz to the point of developing a tension ulcer. Atlanta already had two goalies and didn't need a third, but the team was facing bankruptcy and relocation, so they used the newfound American hero to rejuvenate things a bit. But not even Jim could keep the flames in Atlanta, and he was traded to the Boston Bruins when the franchise moved to Calgary ('cause, y'know, Canadians don't really care about American heroes). Jim played fairly well with Boston, but his fame alienated his teammates and injuries hampered his playing, so he ended up in the minors and then picked up by the Minnesota North Stars. But he still couldn't overcome injuries and never quite found his footing in the NHL, and retired in 1984.

+ If Jim's pro hockey career was a bit of a letdown... his professional business career has been anything but. He's worked in sales and marketing for several decades, does motivational speaking and corporate coaching, started his own company... I mean, hello, check out that resume. He's hugely successful.

...And in January I ran into him in an elevator and somehow managed to keep a straight face. Still not totally sure how that happened.

Jim Craig

He also happens to be every bit as nice as you could possibly hope he'd be. More so, actually. I was blown away. He's kind of the best.

And that brings this stage of Miracle Monday to it's end. OMG. I hope you've all enjoyed these last 20 weeks as much as I have! Stay tuned for next week, though, as things will be looking a little different but equally as fun! :)

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Currently | Life Inside the Polar Vortex

Guys, it's COLD. Have you noticed? Because it is. It's really, really cold.

Life inside that light purple is ROUGH. I like to think that living in New York for 18 years prepared me for winter, but it was nothing like this; Long Island can get frigid when it wants to, but rarely did we have temperatures in the teens, let alone anything below that. So waking up, checking my weather app and seeing a big fat goose egg in front of that degree symbol? No. thank. you.

For the benefit of you lucky ducks outside the grips of that stupid lavender splotch, here's what my life currently looks like! (Post format borrowed from here.)

This picture was actually taken this past January, back when working in downtown Colorado Springs was enough of a novelty for me to feel that it was worth taking a picture in the snow. Nowadays I'm all about keeping my hands solidly in my pockets.

My weather app, because on the off chance that the temperature reaches double digits, I want to witness this momentous occasion! (Today and yesterday have actually been solidly in the double digits! 27 is practically balmy when you're used to -2!)

Boot socks and fleece-lined leggings. How did I ever survive winters without them?! I only have one pair of each, and I want about 40 more.

To my car struggle to start when it's -4 degrees and I need to go to work. (Poor Buzz. He deserved to live out his old age somewhere warm and dry, like Arizona. But instead he gets me, two winters of sub-zero temperatures and two cross-country road trips.)

About how New York better freaking stay relatively warm. I will be there for Thanksgiving in two measly weeks (side note: YAY!), and I could sure use a respite from cold that freezes my nose hairs. Oh, you think I'm kidding.

Myself, every time I force myself outside. Seriously. Just going to and from work every day is a moral victory.

For NO MORE SNOW. We haven't gotten that much, which means the roads have only been minimally icy, which is just about the only saving grace in this whole situation. I really enjoy not worrying about imminent death on the roads. But it's supposed to snow tonight into tomorrow, so just... ugh, cross your fingers for me.

Boot socks and fleece-lined leggings! Hence why I need those 40 more pairs.

...Boot socks and fleece-lined leggings. (Are we noticing a pattern here yet, or...?) And a longer coat. And a more extensive wardrobe of scarves and beanies. Oh, and gloves that actually keep my hands warm. And, I mean, warmer weather would be pretty clutch.

My nose to not go numb within 15 seconds of stepping outside. (Dream big!)

I have no idea how people live in places where weather like this is normal. Hats off to you, Canada. (Actually no, hats on, otherwise your ears might get frostbitten.) Although, this is my second winter in Colorado and both have had polar vortexes... so maybe this IS normal?

Like a real grown-up. When I was a kid, I could never understand why my dad grumbled about the cold and the snow and the commute to work. But now that I'm living on my own, with an apartment and a car and a job? I'm grumbling about the cold and the snow and the commute to work. The snow-covered mountains are crazy beautiful, though, so that keeps me from getting TOO bitter! Colorado, you've got some redeeming qualities. :)

And now I'm going to brave the 20-something degrees and intense wind to get my shopping done so I can fully hibernate when it starts snowing later. Stay warm, friends!

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My Favorite Travel Memories (Part 1)

It recently occurred to me that I can't remember the last time I went on a trip that wasn't for work or to visit home. I guess my weekend in Breckenridge counts, but prior to that, I don't think there was anything since good ol' Eurotrip in the spring of 2012. WHAT THE HECK?! Everyone says to travel while you're young, but listen, my student loan deferment just ended (so I'm now short several hundred bucks a month) and any time off work shrinks my paycheck. So for the foreseeable future... I'm stuck where I am.

Life as a millennial: ain't it glamorous?!

All that being said, I'm really missing the days when I could hop on a train and be in another country. So today I'm taking a walk down memory lane and revisiting a handful of my favorite moments from my travels. :)

My favorite travel memories

+ On our last night in Paris, Amanda and I swung by the Eiffel Tower to see it all lit up. What we didn't know, however, is that it sparkles. Exiting the metro and turning a corner to see the Eiffel Tower lit up and sparkling is a moment of breathlessness I will never forget.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

+ I went to Israel on a birthright trip, which meant I traveled with two dozen other Americans and a handful of Israeli soldiers. Israel has a mandatory draft, so everyone joins the army before going to college. These soldiers were the same age as all of us, but while we were in college, they were thinking wistfully of the day they could finally go back to school. That alone was quite a realization. But one day, we were on our bus between cities and I was sitting next to one of our soldiers. We were chatting about basically nothing. Pop culture nonsense, TV shows, what-have-you. And it was somewhere between our discussions of That '70s Show and Friends that it hit me like a truck: this girl is me if I'd been born in Israel instead of America. I'd be watching That '70s Show and training in the military instead of watching That '70s Show while complaining about schoolwork. That one inane conversation changed so much about the way I see the world. We're all exactly the same but for where we're born and the life circumstances that presents us with. It's incredible.

Dead sea mud, Israel
Two students, three soldiers, and it's impossible to pick who's who.

+ An equally life-changing moment was visiting Dachau, the concentration camp. I'm a Jewish girl that walked into the gas chamber, and was alive to walk out the other side. Had I been a Jewish girl in that exact spot a mere 65 years previously, I wouldn't have had that luxury. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

Dachau concentration camp, Munich, Germany

+ It would be totally remiss of me to NOT mention some of my Olympic travels, right? ;) One that has a special place in my heart is seeing my first Olympic stadium: London 2012. I made sure to get my butt over there about a week after I'd arrived in the city to study abroad. While I could see it from the windows of my flat, I was so jittery and excited on the way over... and I may or may not have cried a little bit when I finally got there.

London 2012 Olympic Stadium and Orbit Tower

Give it some time and I'm sure I'll be all nostalgic and putting together a part two. ;)

Travel Tuesday

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Miracle Monday: John "Bah" Harrington

Uh, can anyone else believe I've been doing Miracle Mondays since the beginning of July? Like, it's been more than four months of this. Back when I first cooked up this idea, the date I'd be writing about Bah Harrington was some fuzzy, far-off point in the future... yet here we are. And it's about time, too, 'cause there's nothing about this dude I don't like! :)


+ We should probably start off by straightening out this whole Bah/John name situation, right? His name is John, but when he was a baby, his brother tried to call him baby and "bah" came out. The Harringtons were a family of nicknames -- T.P., Tootie and Mugs among them -- so John became Bah, and it stuck. This led to a lifetime of being referred to as Bob in newspaper stories, because... well, who's ever heard anyone called Bah before?

+ Bah is the epitome of "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." Basically, he was never the most talented player, but he was super hardworking and stubborn. For most of his life he was a step behind his peers in terms of talent, but he worked his tail off and made up that ground. He'd only been recruited by one Division I college -- the Air Force Academy -- and that was mostly because of his grades. And after one day there he decided he hated it, so he returned to Minnesota and walked onto the team at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. No scholarship, no guarantees, no nothing. But he hustled and earned himself a scholarship and a roster spot, though after a good freshman season he got injured and was worried about not being asked back for his junior year. But then he was put on a line with future Olympic teammate Mark Pavelich, and both of their scoring numbers went through the roof. :)

+ Bah wasn't expected to make the Olympic team, as Herb knew that he was a very average player. But he showed up in Colorado Springs six weeks early to work out with a trainer at the Air Force Academy and get used to the high altitude. He packed on a few pounds of muscle, and worked himself into the ground at tryouts, and sufficiently impressed Herb to get himself onto the roster. He spent seven of the eight months of the pre-Olympic season living in fear that he'd be cut, but he survived and during the Olympics he racked up six assists in eight games. (I mean, hello, six assists tied him for second-most on the team!) Along with Pav and Buzz Schneider, he was a Conehead, and that line was the highest-scoring on the team and had a hand in pretty much every significant goal in the tournament. Mike Eruzione's game-winner against the Soviets? Bah had an assist on that sucker. He may not've been the big star, but he most certainly made his presence felt!

+ After the Olympics, Bah signed a contract with the Buffalo Sabres (he'd gone undrafted by the NHL). The Sabres sent him into their minor league system, but pretty soon he was heading to Switzerland to play on a team with Pav, where the two of them became the most prolific scoring duo in the league (are we noticing a Bah/Pav pattern here yet, or...?). That was their last season together, though, as Pav joined the New York Rangers and Bah played for various national teams and minor league teams in the U.S. But really, he was just biding his time before he could try out for the Olympic team in 1984 (along with Phil Verchota). So this guy that was constantly told that he wasn't good enough and had to struggle for everything he ever achieved in hockey ended up becoming a two-time Olympian and being named alternate captain on his second go-around. If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is. Honestly.

+ Bah hung up his skates after the 1984 Olympics, but he was far from finished with hockey. He became assistant coach at the University of Denver, then St. Cloud State, and then head coach at Division III St. John's University (the one in Minnesota). He was at St. John's for 15 years, becoming the winningest head coach in program history and leading the team to five NCAA tournament appearances and five MIAC titles. He left St. John's to coach in Switzerland and Italy for several years, and then coached the Slovenian national team for three years. Nowadays, he works as a scout for the Colorado Avalanche, in addition to his job of Hockey Director of the Herb Brooks Training Center.

So if you're ever feeling bad about yourself, just think about a dude named Bah (or, y'know, "Bob") who was never "good enough" yet has a list of accomplishments that rivals absolutely anyone's. :)

Also, in this video he says that the Miracle on Ice "has the shelf life of a Twinkie," which is more or less the greatest thing I've ever heard.

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Things That Make Me Charlie White Happy, Part 2

This was one of those weeks when my Tuesday post went live and I immediately thought, "...welp, I have no idea what else I'm going to talk about this week." Seriously, I have the rest of my posts for the month all nice and planned out, but today's box on my calendar was empty and taunting me. Rude. So I dug into my archives and am recycling one of my old post ideas. :)

The last time I wrote about things that make me Charlie White happy was right after a really bad week, and I just needed a way to keep myself from bursting into stress-induced tears. This week, however, wasn't bad. It was actually on the good side of average. But we all need to focus on the happy things anyway, right? There's no reason to just plod through the week without some positivity!

Also, just as a reference for those of you who don't already know, this is Charlie White:

He's an Olympic gold medalist ice dancer (in case you were living under a rock during Sochi 2014), and don't you want to be that overjoyed about life? He gives new meaning to the term "happy dance." But I digress. Here's what had me happy this week!

+Jim Craig following me on Twitter. GUYS. I retweeted one of his tweets and not long after, I was eating lunch, minding my own business, and I see THIS!

I had food in my mouth. I'm not even ashamed to say I almost choked. I'm still freaking out a little bit.

SERIOUSLY. Be still my heart! (Yeah, like that's ever going to happen when Jim Craig is concerned.)

+Embracing discomfort. I've lived most of my life by the motto "fake it 'til you make it." If you don't know how to do something, pretend you do and figure it out. Well, my job is something that's very much out of my element. I've been given a huge project that I have zero background or expertise in. And I'm confident in my ability to figure it out and learn, but I'm completely not confident in the work I'm actually producing. So I flat-out told my boss: I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm trying, but I've never done this before, and I have no idea if it's right, and I will definitely need help. Oddly enough, that made me so much less uncomfortable! It's a huge relief to know that she knows what to expect (or what not to expect), and she's gone out of her way to be supportive and give me a safe space to get help and "have an ugly day." I'm still not totally comfortable with the prospect of ugly days (there's a smidge of perfectionism in me), but I do like that I'm allowed to have them!

+Dusting off my Photoshop skills. I like making things for fun, and it had been awhile since I'd had to silhouette anything. It feels good to practice that a bit and play graphic designer! Though I did forget how miserable it is to silhouette hair. (It's that perfectionism again.)

+Finding out we have Veteran's Day off of work. Woop! The good thing about having never gotten the yearly holiday schedule is that I get to be pleasantly surprised when we have a day off. We had to work on Columbus Day, but this coming Tuesday is blissfully free!

+Rediscovering old items in my wardrobe. Hey there, girly moment. But for real. I dug out a couple of pairs of boots I haven't worn in forever, and wow, I'm totally re-obsessed with them. I'm patting myself on the back that I even thought to bring them to Colorado with me, because I seriously haven't worn either pair in at least a year, maybe two. But they're super cute, and will go to great lengths in reinvigorating my winter wardrobe! Does anyone else get ridiculously bored with your clothing options every season? I'm already dreading the monotonous rotation of warm clothes during the winter months. So two new-old pairs of boots gives me two new options, which I'm pretty pumped about.

+It's sweatshirt weather! Okay, by "monotonous rotation" I really just mean work clothes. 'Cause I'm SO excited to dress for cooler weather on the weekends! Slouchy boots, fleece-lined leggings, sweaters... and there are few outfits that make me feel more like myself than a pair of jeans and my Miami sweatshirt! Speaking of which...

+FSU week is coming up! I might be slightly less enthused about this come next Saturday night, BUT Miami football takes on FSU next weekend! It's a rivalry game, and FSU is ranked No. 2 in the nation, and we pretty much just flat-out hate 'em, and Miami's been playing well recently. So hopefully it'll be a hell of a game (and result in our first win against FSU since my freshman year in 2009)!

And with that, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend that makes you Charlie White happy! :)

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It's Great To Be A Miami Hurricane

Does anyone else ever go through phases of being nostalgic for, like, every prior phase of your life? Because that's where I'm at right now. Maybe it was last week's trip down memory lane, but I kind of miss all the different places I've lived. And I know I tend to not shut up about how wonderful London is, but I lived in Miami for four years and have barely written a peep about it!

This is what the airport looks like. Always loved flying back here after a trip home!

Honestly, that's probably because my Miami experience wasn't very... "Miami." I went to college at the University of Miami, which is actually in Coral Gables. And I didn't have a car down there, and I wouldn't wish Miami's public transportation on anyone, so I was very much limited to campus and the surrounding walkable areas. Sorry, no crazy South Beach stories; I'm not really a beach person, or a clubbing person, so most of the stereotypical Miami culture held very little appeal to me. And with the crazy weather -- always a billion degrees with a billion percent humidity, or pouring rain -- you really just want to stay inside anyway.

Miami in one picture; dark clouds of doom to your left, bright blue skies on the right. Literally every day.

...Am I the one person in the world that complains about Miami? Lol, whoops. It's just not my kind of city! I never quite felt at home in Florida.

But I love my school. Wow, man, I'm so proud to be a Cane. I may not have felt at home in Florida, but I certainly felt at home on that campus. I mean, look at it!

It's like it's part rainforest, part resort. I'm still not totally sure how I managed to get any work done when it looked like that and felt like summer all year round.

And then there were the football games...

That's not even mentioning all the basketball games. And the baseball games. And the tennis matches. And the volleyball matches. And the soccer games. (I interned for the athletic department. There were a ton and a half of games.)

And can we talk about the sunsets for a second?

Who needs Instagram filters when real life looks like THAT? Only at The U, my friends.

It's great to be a Miami Hurricane! ;)

Travel Tuesday

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