Monday, April 30, 2012

It Takes More

I sit next to the woman who books every single ticket for the athletes and staff going to London this summer. If you figure that tickets cost an average of $1500 and that between the Olympics and the Paralympics, we send almost 2000 people, that's a tab of approximately $3 million bones. And unlike every other country in the world, not a penny of that money will come from the US Government. Team USA is 100% funded by sponsors and donors.

Friends, I know that in the course of your lives, the Olympics have inspired you. I just know they have. You've had a personal experience watching the Games and you remember where you were when Michael Phelps won that eighth medal, or when Kerri Strug stuck that landing. Or when Greg Louganis hit his head. Or when Dan Jansen fell again. And then when he finally won gold. The Olympic Games are one of the last events in our insanely paced and highly specialized world that we still manage to experience all together. I think that is one of the reasons I love this movement so much. There is a TON of BS involved in the modern Olympics. Sometimes it honestly feels like the athletes are an afterthought. But in the end, the stuff you remember, the moments that give you the chills, those have nothing to do with who the sponsors were or what the athletes were wearing-it's sons of illegal immigrants like Henry Cejudo winning gold medals or gracious losers like Lolo Jones who come back stronger the next time.

And for you as an American, those Olympic moments have been free. You just get those. And you probably sort of think that Nike and McDonald's and Coca-Cola take care of the team. You likely don't know the average Olympic athletes makes about $20K a year and in plenty of sports, even Olympic gold isn't going to bring you much fame and fortune. The USOC provides funding that allows these athletes to train and maybe only have to have ONE odd job to keep food on the table.

So when I tell you that we have a fundraising program called RAISE OUR FLAG going on right now, I hope you will look at the amount of Olympic memories you have had in your life and that you will consider buying a stitch in our flag. It's a $12 donation and you get to own a stitch on the flag the athletes will carry to the Games. It's pretty cool and it's pretty important. The rest of the world continues to dump government money into Olympic programs and we just aren't going to do that. We're going to keep asking our kind friends and neighbors to chip in. And I like it that way. I like thinking that we're all working together to make sure our best and brightest get to London to represent all of us.

You can learn more about the program here. Come on America, let's do this together.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I got a very out of the blue text this week from a boy I spent a little time with last fall. It ended really badly with a situation that made me feel like I was on a bad reality TV show and resulted in some serious rethinking of the kind of people I was allowing in my life.

So I know he's bad news, but a boy doesn't pop up after five months just to say "hi". It's usually something super nice about missing you or thinking about you or something else that you would totally have fallen prey to when you were 25. I am not always good at standing my ground when it comes to someone I really cared about but who didn't behave well.  I tend to give second chances and believe that "things will be different". That can be a really terrible dating strategy unfortunately soI was really proud of myself when I was perfectly nice but didn't allow myself to get sucked back into anything.

This little song came on a show I was watching today and I couldn't help but smile a little bit. Just because  you can be strong and say "no" that doesn't mean your mind doesn't wander back to perfect first kisses and whispered admissions of tender feelings.

I've been frustrated lately with the complete and utter lack of any kind of romantic developments in my life. Sometimes it's nice to get a reminder that there have in the past been, and perhaps in the future will be, gentlemen who think I'm smart and funny and that my eyes are amazing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Listen to Me

The first time I heard Jeff Buckley's cover of "Hallelujah" I was sitting in my car outside a movie theater in Boston. I had just moved and I didn't know anyone, it was bitterly cold and the boy I was crazy about was 3000 miles away. I cried through the whole thing.

It's a beautiful song but then every TV show known to man has used it for some dramatic effect (including my beloved The OC) and it sort of lost it's ability to choke me up.

BUT THEN-my friend Heather posted this version yesterday and I got those familiar chills again. This one was recorded in a church and features lead vocals by that enigmatic Daniel Blue from Motopony. His voice does all manner of incredible things here but I think the backup arrangement is what really sends it over the edge for me.

Sigh, singing is the talent I covet the most. Can you even imagine being able to do this?


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Big Apple

I think I may have to spend all of 2013 asleep because a) this year is going to wear me out and b) I feel bad for any year that has to follow this one.

I got to spend the last week in New York mixing work and fun-often at the same time-and seeing a whole bunch of faces I love and miss. I don't want to sound like braggy mcbraggerson but here are some highlights....

*spending the weekend with my dear Jed, his delightful boyfriend and their two roommates Craig and Derek. We ate yummy things, shopped and laughed and laughed and laughed.
Sunday brunch on the Upper West Side

Boys hailing cabs

Girl shoes, boy shoes

*my friend Kristin randomly being in New York for 48 hours and getting to sit in a restaurant for two hours with her catching up and planning our eventual take over of the company she just joined.

*finally getting to meet a replikate reader who had kindly been saying nice things about this blog for many years. It was just a few minutes in the lobby after a long day for both of us but such a treat to finally get to see her in the flesh.

*my pal Dallas and I almost not getting to see each other and then a fortuitous cancellation of plans meant we finally got to catch up after many NYC near misses.

*my coworker Jon and I basically doing whatever we wanted on the set of The Today Show. We unveiled the Closing Ceremonies outfits last week and had several other segments showcasing various athletes. Jon was handling PR and I was the apparel police. I met the first black woman to win a Gold medal in 1948, shook hands with Missy Franklin's mom and nearly trampled Julie Andrews on the stairs.

A Today Show cameraman took this for Jon and me. We couldn't stop laughing.

Jason Richardson and Allyson Felix in two pieces from the Nike London collection. You'll probably see these two on a medals stand this summer. 

I maybe tried to put a women's XL on a water polo player. Oops. 

Getting miked up to talk about the Closing Ceremonies uniforms

Countdown clock-this time I have a head
Alice Coachman-Gold medalist in High Jump from 1948. Pretty freakin' awesome to meet her.
*after the Today Show we went down to Times Square for the 100 Days Out Celebration that included a BMX jump, a Donald Trump visit and me running into like a million people I love. I also scurried around like a madwoman making sure the 60 Olympic hopefuls onsite had jackets when it got a little nippy and that no one was wearing a rogue big cat or three stripes. Apparel police!

The Donald with Diana Lopez and Tim Morehouse. People go nuts for this guy. 

Our dapper Director of Consumer Products and my contact from Ralph Lauren celebrating after a successful launch segment.

Just Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis and Shannon Miller on stage. No big deal right?

BMXers on Times Square. So cool.

Caught our Chief Communications Officer looking super debonaire (he was ordering pizza)
*My last night in New York, we had dinner at Jed's again. We wrapped up at about ten and I was getting ready to leave, Jed got a little glint in his eye. "So my friend does this thing on Thursday nights where he invites a different Broadway star to come sing in a tiny little theater-starts at 11, you game?" So my high school theater nerd senses started quivering and suddenly, Jed and Amanda and I were sitting in the front row listening to Julie Reiber sing the songs from Wicked that SHE SANG WHEN SHE PLAYED ELPHABA ON BROADWAY. After Julie was done, the host does an open mic segment where all kinds of Broadway chorus members get up and sing their favorite show tunes. It was unreal-one after another these amazing voices for almost two hours. We paid all of $5 to sit there.  At the end of the night, Jed's friend had everyone in the room get up onstage and sing "Seasons of Love" together. It was like some kind of surreal dream come true. We ended up right next to another Broadway Elphaba and the girl who played Glinda and is now on "Smash." My 15 year old self was having a nervous breakdown. 
Oh you know,  just onstage with a bunch of Broadway stars. Normal thursday. 
I got home Friday and pretty much slept all day Saturday. It's mid-April and I already feel like I've had enough incredible experiences to last me ten years. I feel incredibly blessed right now and I'm trying very hard to enjoy every second of it. The pace and the pressure takes it's toll now and then and I have anxious nights where I hardly sleep a wink. But for the most part, it's a ride I can't believe I'm getting to take.

The best part though? In two weeks I'll be in St. George watching my little brother complete his first Ironman and getting to spend time with my nephews. And of all the cool things happening in 2012, this is what I'm looking forward to most. Shaking hands with Olympic legends, flirting with water polo players, eating at fancy restaurants and going to cool parties still can't hold a candle to being with the people I love. Of all the accomplishments in my life, keeping my priorities straight is probably the thing of which I am the most proud.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I went to New York this week, I left this morning at 6 am. I have more to say but oh my oh my I love that city. 

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Father's Day

Several years ago (eight of them to be exact-time is starting to feel like a joke) I was getting on a plane back to Boston after a day of meetings in New York. It's a short trip so I just grabbed one of the lame free magazines they have in the terminal for people like me who would likely be on their blackberries anyway.

I happened to pick up a preview for Men's Health (what?) that had an article about fatherhood with 10 lessons from a "wise guy who's done doing the dad thing." The piece reduced me to a complete mess in my seat and I have since dragged that magazine through two more country moves and then here to Colorado. I read it every so often and I read it A LOT after I get my heart broken to remind myself what kind of guy I want playing dad to my future kids. It's a terrific article and although I've never been able to find much more than this online, you get the gist.

So I was pretty thrilled a few weeks ago when my dear friend from college wrote to tell me he has a book coming out called "Dad Rules" -a collection of some of the advice he has picked up in his years as a father to four beautiful daughters and one baby boy.

I met Treion my sophomore year at Southern Utah University. He was South African and really handsome so he became something of an instant celebrity at our small town school. We delighted in getting him to say things with his cool accent and kept him up way too late on school nights entertaining us.

Fortunately Treion was far more than a sophomore year novelty and we stayed good friends throughout the rest of school. We worked in the campus bookstore together and he holds the distinction of being the only candidate for Student Body President I ever supported who actually won. He's quite simply one of the nicest and most humble guys I know and over the years watching him become a husband and father and take it incredibly seriously has been a delight.

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the book-I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting and feeling the same way I did as I read that article on the plane.

I love that we live in an era where being a good dad is cool. I love that men are more involved with their children's lives than ever before, and I really, really love having so many wonderful examples of outstanding fathers in my own life.

Treion's book comes out this Tuesday and if you are a dad, you have a dad, or you know a dad, you should pick it up.  Even though my three brothers TOTALLY RULE at being dads, I'm getting one for each of them.
My brother being an awesome dad. 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Girls Girls Girls

This week one of my coworkers invited to me to what he called "E's fourth birthday or really, an excuse for the adults to drink beer and listen to music on a sunny day." They were also getting a bounce house so obviously I was in.

So Friday night I braved the toy section at Target, pretty excited to buy little girl stuff for a change. Imagine how my excitement turning to horror as I realized that little girl's toys are actually THE WORST. Everything is pink and apparently little girls like hair, makeup, clothes, horses, nails, shoes and dolls with giant breasts. Jon and his wife are smart, cool people with two smart, cool daughters and I just couldn't imagine they would be thrilled for me to walk in with something wearing a halter top. I walked around and around until I found a Lego set made just for girls. It was pink, and apparently you build a cute pink house but it was definitely something smart and more aspirational than the ten thousand items you can buy so your little girl can grow up to be a princess.

When I was a preteen, my mom wouldn't let me read The Babysitter's Club books or the Sweet Valley High books. I was a pretty obedient kid and instead, I spent a summer reading all the L.M. Montgomery books. When I did finally sneak and read a BSC book, even my teenage brain understood that while there was nothing particularly offensive about the series, there was certainly a disproportionate emphasis on boys and clothes and popularity. Meanwhile, Anne Shirley and Emily Starr were imaginative young writers who had adventures and kindred spirits and went to college and didn't worry about soul mates until they had the careers they had dreamed of. Anne doesn't marry Gilbert Blythe until book five and she meets him pretty much at the beginning of book one.

Look-I love clothes and make up and boys and popularity. I played with Barbie's and My Little Ponies and walked around in my mother's high heels. But my parents also let me play with the bag of organs in the Thanksgiving turkey because they wanted to encourage my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I have observed over and over that being the SMART girl in a pair of great heels will get you way, way further than playing the dumb girl in any kind of clothing.

So yesterday at the party, I found myself saying to the little females-tiny girls really-"oh you are so cute, but you are also so smart!" Cheesy? For sure. Possibly unnecessary at 2 and 3 years old? Maybe. But I met my nephew Brady tonight-the one we were eagerly awaiting in December-and these are the girls that Brady is going to hang out with. I want them to be the kinds of women who get up on Saturday morning and ride their bikes to the top of a mountain instead of taking pole dancing classes.

Watch out little future nieces, I will totally be the aunt who buys you a microscope.