Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Knight Pride

I don't think I can truly convey the love I have for my alma mater, Bellarmine University. It seems that on a regular basis something else is making me proud to remind those around me that THAT is MY school.

I look forward to every quarter when my Alumni Magazine arrives in the mail. Jon and I--both alums-- sat in silence for a good 30 minutes last time one arrived. Not only is the quality wonderful, but I love seeing features on professors I loved or changes being made to the grounds or the cool opportunities students are taking advantage of now.

I love when I get the chance to attend an alumni event. I did it much more regularly when I lived in Louisville. I was highly disappointed to miss homecoming this past year and the chance to see so many great faces.

Just like any Knight should be, I've been extremely proud of our men's basketball team the past two seasons. An NCAA championship is something I don't think I even considered during my time at BU...and now the team is shooting for back to back titles?

I love seeing the school become a more nationally recognized institution, especially since we are, by far, more than just a school for athletics. Actually, we're really anything but that. I'd say we're the biggest bunch of nerds ever. You'll find the library jam packed on any given night of the week. The best part is you'll find those same study nuts up having a heck of a good time til 4am as soon as that big project is done.

The recently released fan-made (ie, student/alum-made) video, "We're Back" has gotten a ton of attention from many media sources including NBC Sports (so much so Louisville's WLKY brought them in for an interview). The three stars of the video were track freshman my senior year and seeing them pull this off does not surprise me at all. The man behind the music I've also known through many Bellarmine involvements and having many mutual BU musician friends. What I love most about the video is it reflects the quality of those associated with Bellarmine. Not only are we original and creative, but seeing that they asked President J-J McG to make an appearance reflects the student-administration relationship as well.

We might be a bunch of nerds...but we know how to have fun!

Equally if not more exciting (for me at least) is the women's track team claiming the GLVC indoor title! Through my years on the team it was always a dream to one day win the conference. It's crazy to me where the team has gone in the past 4 years since graduating, even more so in the past 8 years since I was a freshman.

We probably had about 20 girls or so on the team TOTAL... mainly distance runners...maybe 3 or 4 jumpers... a couple of us were strictly sprint/mid-distance runners... a few throwers... a couple of pole vaulters.  We rode the "Bellar-Vans," as we called them, to meets rather than charter buses. We didn't have a track to practice on. (Our coaches were experts at impromptu work outs using hills, stairs, parking lots and parks.) We had a few stand-out athletes.
Spring 2006 (Sophomore year) - Centre College Invitation Champs
 By my junior and senior years we'd moved up in ranks and were shooting to finish at the top of the conference each year but we always ended up in a tight mix of teams competing for places 4-8. My senior year in outdoor we managed to place 5th... 8 points behind 4th and 2 points ahead of 6th. (For anyone unfamiliar with track scoring, a team can pick up anywhere from 1 to 10 points on any given event. With 15-20 events in all and teams putting multiple contenders in a single event, points can add up quickly. To have 5 teams within 20 points of each other is tight competition.)
Spring 2007 (Junior Year) - At the end of the outdoor GLVC conference meet.
Our team grew tremendously this year with a very large freshman class.
It was clear my senior year that major improvements were on the horizon for our team: another very large freshman crew with diverse skills that was extremely athletic and competitive along with a brand-spankin'-new stadium! (I admit, practicing on the track EVERY DAY was foreign to me at that point! I kind of missed the hills and parking lots!)

GLVC Indoor Champs 2012!
I've kept up with the team via Facebook since graduating as well as followed a former Casey County High School teammate who became a running Knight herself the year after my departure. Despite whether I was a stand-out on Bellarmine's team or if the team during my years was even that good, there is still a sense of pride in seeing the team's success now. We were a part of today's team's foundation. If those of us from eight years ago hadn't woken up early to ride in those stinkin' vans and done countless hill workouts in Joe Creason Park or on the (old) golf course...where would they be now?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A birdseye view of Valentine's Day

Jon and I kind of let Valentine's day just arrive this year with neither of us thinking too much about it. That's sort of just the way we work. Not to sound "above" it, but in general we don't acknowledge holidays and such in big sorts of ways. Birthdays are definitely acknowledged, usually with a gift. Christmas the same. I'm sure we'll make a point to doing special things for our anniversary. We have never really acknowledge the anniversary of when we first began dating (maybe because neither of us knew when that would technically be). And Valentine's Day has never been a big ordeal. 

I attribute that to the fact Jon goes out of his way regularly to do things to make me feel and never doubt his love. He'll stop on his way home from work to bring me a peppermint mocha latte--not because I've asked. He'll do the dishes for me after dinner without a prompt. He'll help me clean (so that I can go on walks with him later.) He'll send me a picture of a flower or something pretty when he sees it and thinks of me. He'll tell me I'm beautiful when he sees me in the kitchen with my hair pulled back and my apron in action. He'll heat up the bathroom for me when he knows I'll be showering soon. 

I kind of wrote Valentine's Day off this year since I've come to see everyday as a day to celebrate our love, but Facebook made me change my mind. Jon and I still kept it simple. I found post it notes hidden in different corners of the house throughout the day while working from home with special messages from Jon. What I loved about Facebook, though, was the continuous posts through the day of the sweet acts of love happening around the globe. 

Pictures on end of beautiful surprise flowers. Exciting posts of a surprise dinner out. Champagne after night class. A new puppy, tickets, cute cards... A talk on the phone with a deployed loved one.  A home cooked dinner. Valentine's from the kids at school.

We call it all "cheesey" and maybe we do love each other all year round and maybe we do little things all year round to show that love. But Valentine's Day gives us that one day of the year to be as proud of our love and cheesey about it as we please with no shame.  A day when people everywhere are going out of their way to make someone else feel special.

A Hallmark holiday? Maybe, but this Valentine's Day I didn't just get to enjoy my husband's love... Facebook may clue me in on more drama and ridiculousness than I care to know about on most days, but on Feb. 14 it allowed me to see the love so many others share. In some weird way, it made me feel more loved.
Nothing can ever rival a love letter from My Wonderful
(and him still asking me to marry him with a Ring Pop.) 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Hunger for Reading

There isn't a lot I truly wish I could change about myself but one thing that comes to mind often is that I wish I read more. I've always been a slower reader, (I never got through the reading portions on standardized testing) which made it hard to do any pleasure reading the entire time I was in college. I had enough assigned reading, especially through my history classes.

When I finished at BU I thought I'd start reading more but I have trouble finding time for it and then it takes me too long to get to the "meat" of a story and get hooked enough to plow through to the finish. My New Year's resolution last year was to read at least a book a month. That lasted through February and then I didn't finish my next book until the fall, despite the fact it was a book I thoroughly loved!

Last week, I'm proud to announce, I finished a book in 5 days! (No, it wasn't a picture book.) I attribute this feat to 2 things: 

         1. My Kindle that I got at Christmas time. It was easy to read anywhere, any time.
         2. The book itself was excellent, sucked me in and was an easy read at that.

I am now one of the many, many fans of Suzanne Collins' trilogy, The Hunger Games.

I realize it has become all the rave particularly because of the movie being release next month, but it's actually been on my reading list for about a year now. Rachel (perhaps my best avenue for recommended reading lately) told me about the series around this time last year when I was amid another one of her five-star recommendations, The Mark of the Lion series. Over the summer I heard the series brought up again by a male coworker who had nothing but good things to say.

With the movie on the horizon, I was determined to not let it be one that I saw in theater, loved, and then wished I'd read the book. While penny-pincher me who wants ever extra cent to go to the house-savings took a month to make the purchase... THANK GOODNESS I finally downloaded book one to my Kindle!

I could go into detail about the book but you can probably find a better synopsis than I could tell by simply using Dr. Google. I managed to talk Jon into reading it and he had book 1 finished in 3 days and now we're moving through book 2 together. Needless to say, I'm excited for March 23 and have my fingers crossed that the screen adaptation will do the book justice.

And for those who haven't read it...there is still plenty of time before March 23!
Video embedding has been disabled from what I can find so far,
but this is the best (longest) version of the trailer I've found. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Purple: The Color of JOY

Thanks to a friend's recent post I found a new blog: Lil Blue Boo. Along with having a very inspirational story and great blog, she also sells extremely cute children's clothing and patterns to make your own. 

With many struggles in her life, including cancer and chemo, this individual has made a decision to "Choose Joy" in her daily life rather than dwell on the negatives. It seems like such a simple and logical decision but one so many of us pass up from one day to the next if that particular day isn't spectacular, let alone if something unfortunate happens.

She's selling "Choose Joy" bracelets in her store in packs of 20 at a non-profit cost. Not only do I love the message and do I feel that it fits the example I try to set out of my life, but they are purple.... Enough said? 
Photo from Lil Blue Boo

Please be in touch if you'd like one of my 20. As much as I love purple, I only intend to wear one, meaning I'll have some extras. Comment or hit me up by other means and I'll share the wealth!