Wednesday, January 27, 2010

War Horse

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Brett Favre #4 of  ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Fall seven times, stand up eight.  ~Japanese Proverb

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Minnesota this week (and to be truthful, in my own home as well)... a lot of arm-chair quarterbacking and "what-if's?"... after our Minnesota Vikings lost the NFC Championship game to the New Orleans Saints in overtime on Sunday. 

I am not an expert in regard to the game of football.  My experience consists of performing on the field at halftime with the rest of my high school marching band, of watching my future husband play football for his own small-town high school team (waaaay back in the day), and of following the Minnesota Vikings and the NDSU Bison with varied levels of interest and passion over the years.  And of course, we watch the Super Bowl.

My husband and I have watched every Super Bowl game together for the past 22 years.  We've watched from every home we've ever lived in... from college dorms, from restaurants, from an ocean-side tiki bar on Maui.  We've watched while rocking babies and while in the midst of home renovations and... well, you get the point.  And every single year, we've said, "Wouldn't it be great to someday see the Vikings in the Super Bowl?"

This year, we thought just maybe that long-held hope would manifest.  When Brett Favre signed with the Vikings in August we rejoiced, knowing that even if our team didn't get to the big game, it would be a helluva season to watch.

And oh, was it ever!  I watched much more football this season than in recent years, and enjoyed it immensely... it's great to be rooting for a winning team, after all.  When our Vikes scored a touchdown or forced a turnover, we would knuckle-bump, whoop and holler and high-five and dance around, scaring our children and causing the dogs to bark in alarm.

It was... FUN.  Great entertainment.  Something to look forward to every week.  Something to talk about at the dinner table and the in the grocery line.  It was really great while it lasted.

And Sunday's game will stick with me for a long time. Not the loss... while disappointing, it is still a game... but rather the images I took away from it.  Brett Favre, in my opinion, is a hero regardless of the final score.  To watch such a consummate professional at work, so passionate about and skilled in the game, was pure joy all season long.  Particularly so on Sunday, however.  What I will remember about that game, and about Brett Favre, is not the final score nor the mistakes that led to it.  What will stick with me always was the manner in which he just kept fighting.

Forgive the analogy, but that battle-hardened war-horse just kept getting up, no matter how hard he was hit, nor now many times.  He would limp off the field, get patched up, and then head back into battle, tougher and more determined than most players half his age.  The sight of it, as well as the camera shots of his wife sitting in the stands with concern written all over her face, nearly tore my heart out.  But it reminded me of the value of tenacity, of honor, of passion and determination.  I wish I could play a montage of those hits and Favre getting back up again after each and every one, for every school-age kid in America.  I wish I could tell them, "Brett Favre didn't get to be a legend, a hero, a record breaker and a multi-millionaire just because he's got some talent and had a lucky break or two.  He got there because he believed in himself, and picked his butt up off the turf, time and time again.  He got there because he prepared and he practiced... at times throwing the football thousands of times a day. He got there because he worked harder than anyone else, and dreamed bigger than anyone else, and took risks few others were willing to take, sometimes in the face of ridicule.  He got there because of his determination and the content of his character."

It still has not been announced whether or not Favre will play another year with the Vikings, but I truly hope he rests, heals and does make the decision to come back.  In any case, Favre's time spent with Minnesota was a gift to those of us who watched this season, and one I will remember fondly.

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Monday, January 11, 2010


Chemical structure of cortisol.Image via Wikipedia
I hate cortisol

It serves its purpose, I suppose... as the so-called "stress hormone", it is excreted by the adrenal gland in response to stress and anxiety.  It has also been linked to weight gain, especially of the dreaded, heart-threatening "belly fat".

It has always been my dream to be one of those people who lost their appetite and shriveled up to nothing whilst enduring a stressful situation.  I am not one of them.  No, when the chips are down, they are literally so... as in, down the hatch.  Along with anything else even remotely considered to be edible.

And so, when my daughter was hospitalized with a life-threatening illness a few months back and remained so for three weeks, my adrenal glands and my appetite had a heyday.  The met, got married, and had babies... like, *millions* of babies, in the form of fat cells.  My diet of McDonald's and cafeteria monster cookies and Pepsi and Chinese take-out certainly fostered their romance, as did sleeping (or not) in a not-so comfortable recliner at my daughter's bedside.  And of course, good mother that I am, when the doctors admonished her to eat as many calories as she could in order to regain her strength, I took one for the team in demonstrating to her just how to accomplish that goal.

The worst part of cortisol is that it is sneaky.  You make it through the crisis, thank God for His providence and protection, life starts getting back to normal, and then one day you realize your clothes aren't fitting quite as they should and you step on the scale.  That is the moment you realize not only did the monster cookies and french fries and lack of sleep come back to bite you in the behind, they cemented themselves firmly to it.

Apparently my adrenal glands have convinced the rest of my body that we're in World War III and facing famine, therefore making it necessary to stock the bunker with groceries.  LOTS of groceries. 

They will be in for a surprise when they realize this girl didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.  Having been around this block before, I have plenty of weapons in my arsenal...  and those misbegotten fat cells are already packing their bags.  It is, in fact, a war...

and they're toast.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Go-Giver

Yesterday, if it could break, it broke... if it could freeze, it froze... if it could spill or mess or interrupt my work or tick me off, it did just that... and I was on a tear.  Not sure what came first, the chicken or the egg, if my mood was the cause or the result of all the chaos or misfortune... but it sure did not further endear me to my loved ones.  Or myself, for that matter.

Something needed to be done to change my attitude, and quick, before I further spiraled into self-destruction, alienated every one of my family and friends, and consumed an entire box of something chocolate. 

So I took the night off.

Now, I'm not sure about other people, but while I have fanciful ideas about getting all my work done by 5pm, enjoying a peaceful home-cooked meal with my family, and then relaxing by the fire with a good book or an enjoyable project of some sort while watching my children play.... its usually just that.  A fanciful idea.  I seem to always find myself doing laundry, making one last trip to the barn, catching up on cleaning or correspondence or... well, you get the idea.   And to be honest, I'm finding its not a very good idea, not at all.

But last night, I gave myself a gift, without even knowing it.  I took the night off (more out of exasperation and desperation, if truth be told), and picked up a little book recommended by HeatherO called the "The Go-Giver".  Read it cover to cover.  I consumed it, devoured it, immersed myself in it... and was profoundly rewarded by the ideas found inside. 

In short, giving myself that gift of time and the permission to read this book was not only a gift to me, but all those around me.

That is all I will say, other than *GET YOUR HANDS ON A COPY OF THIS BOOK AND READ IT*.

Thank you. :-)