Friday, October 31, 2008

Parade Day

Who likes crowds anyway? Here are a few things I can guarantee you would see/hear if you were at this parade today:
1. Someone dressed like Rocky Balboa.
2. The Rocky theme song - as if we didn't hear it enough on Fox Sports before and after every commercial when the game was in Philly.
3. Lots of people with painted red faces and no shirts.
4. Vendors selling soft pretzels.
5. Every "F" replaced with "Ph" - for example...not Fans, but Phans.
6. A sea of red and blue.
7. Someone dressed like William Penn.
8. At least one sign about Tug McGraw.
9......A World Series trophy.

I can't be there for it...but the street sign in this picture makes me smile...because I'm in Oregon right now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World Series Champions 2008

15 years ago, I sat in my apt in Boulder Colorado and had my heart broken by the 1993 Phillies as I watched them lose the World Series.
Tonight, it feels like no time has passed. The last 15 years have passed in the blink of an eye. After that last strike - my phone rang and it was my friend Meg - from South Jersey - telling me she was going out to bang pots and pans. We talked about 1993 and she called it "our year". A bit later, another friend, Ann, called and said she and her family were drinking champagne from some Phillies glasses that we should have drank from 15 years ago. See below:

I am overwhelmed with homesickness, with thoughts from the past, with years gone by and friends far away. Today is like a dream - actually years of dreams all wrapped up in a few hours. I wish I were home, sharing it with everyone who understands how I feel. With everyone who understands what its like to wish for something for so long and finally have it happen...Philadelphia Phillies....World Series Champs. Who would have thought?

Be part of the solution

"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch." - Nigel Powers, Austin Powers Goldmember

Politics . It brings out the worst in people. Every election season, I cannot wait until it is over. People become a more intolerant version of themselves. We have the extreme right and the extreme left – they are equally ridiculous and hypocritical. Both blame the other for all our problems. The sad truth may be that they are ALL to blame.

During this season, the political emails have become increasingly angry and hateful. One that was sent to us (from someone who clearly doesn’t know how we plan to vote) actually said that liberals are all pieces of shit. Um….I would say that I am a liberal. Why must it be one way or the other – isn’t it possible that I am still a worthwhile person, even though I’m voting Democrat? Believe me, if there is a reason why I am a piece of shit – it is not because of how I vote. But that’s a topic for another day.

My point in this…settle down people…have some decency. Tolerate another point of view. Realize that we all want to do what is right. I don’t mind someone who believes something passionately. In fact – I admire that passion – but when that passion turns into obsession, intolerance and hate…it has gone too far. You have heard it before… God forgives, unless you don’t believe what I believe and then you are going to hell.

It always amazes me how what you believe frames your reality. If you believe something strongly enough – no matter how much evidence in compiled to the contrary, you will never be convinced otherwise.

Can’t we disagree and still respect each other? Is that too much to ask? Is it too much to expect that two people, who have reached the pinnacle of their political lives - they are candidates for President of the United States for God’s sake, hold each other in esteem and honor? It’s the disrespect and intolerance that I can’t stomach, that has spread through our society like a wild fire. You see it everywhere – in the business world, on the little league field, at school, at church.

I have been known to be quite intolerant in my 34 years. I'll admit it. I don't want to be one of those hypocrites. It takes work to change. It takes the guts to realize that you are part of the problem. Because you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution. I am really working on being part of the solution…being part of the problem wasn't working for me.

Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.
--Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Let me explain....

So, Trevor read my blog from yesterday and said, "We got married in the summer...that wasn't the best summer of your life? We got engaged in summer...that wasn't the best summer of your life?" Those were great summers. I've been with Trevor for 9 summers and they have all been fabulous...There was the summer that Trevor lived out of town from Sunday night until Friday night. How fun was that? Oh and then the summer we got married, Trevor had a broken leg, was on crutches for 12 weeks and wasn't even sure he'd be able to walk at the wedding. Of course, that has to be the best summer ever, right? Granted...all 9 haven't been like those two summers, but we are adults now, we have responsiblities and serious business to attend to.

I am sure that we can all think back to a time when things were simple. At the time, maybe we didn't realize things were simple - we were surely caught up in the drama of our life at the time. But now, we know. The thing about that summer of 93...I knew things were simple...I knew it wouldn't get any better. I really had nothing to worry about. I worked at an easy job, with fun people and got paid well. I didn't have any bills. I just needed money to put gas in the car, pay for a movie or buy lunch when I wanted to eat out...actually, Ann and I usually found someone to go to lunch with us whom we knew would pay for us.

Important decisions had been made in the years that came before that summer. I was already in college, I had already made all the choices that go along with that. Nothing was expected of me that summer.

Those are the reasons why I say they were the best days of my life. Don't get me wrong...I love my life now. REALLY love my life. I have it much better than I could have ever imagined all those years ago. Its just a grown up life, not the carefree life of a 19 year old.

So, I stand by what I said...the summer of 93...those were the best days of my life...the only thing that would have made them better would be if Trevor were there with me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Those were the best days of my life...

The Summer of ’93….someone should write a song about it. It was, hands down, the best summer of my life. If I could go back in time to ANY time, that would be it. It was the summer after my first year in college. I was back home in New Jersey for June, July and August.

I spent the days babysitting and the nights working at my dad’s ice cream shop. After work, I would go over to my best friend Ann’s house and we would play volleyball or swim until 3 in the morning. I ate lots of hoagies, cheese steaks, pizza and of course, ice cream. I wasn’t too concerned with my weight in those days. And we watched the Phillies. Every day, every game. We’d sit on the couch and yell at the TV, we’d score the game in our score book. Ann had season tickets to Sunday games and we’d go hang out at the Vet in 100 degree heat, with 90 percent humidity. It was usually 115 on the field…and we loved every minutes of it.

Each one of us had our favorite player…mine was Curt Schilling, Ann’s was Lenny Dykstra, Caroline loved Mickey Morandini, Mike’s favorite was Dave Hollins. I can't remember who Raine's favorite was...Kim Batiste maybe? Pete Incavilgia and Milt Thompson lived in our town and we’d see them at the Friendlies Restaruant with their families. They were our guys….they were our team.

They drove us wild that summer. Playing an extra inning game that went until 3 in the morning, only to have an afternoon game the next day. My Pop-Pop was still alive at the time and I remember he would stay up and watch the game or listen on the radio when he was in bed.

The city of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas were alive with the love of the Phillies. We had hopes of greatness and yet didn’t really believe it would happen…we had spent our entire lives being disappointed. This team was different…they seemed to be a bunch of regular guys, who loved playing the game and loved playing the game together. They genuinely liked each other and looked like they were having the time of their lives. That’s probably why we were having the time of our lives too.

Sept came and I headed back to college in Boulder, Colorado. No one cared about the Philadelphia Phillies, except me. That year, the Phils made it to the playoffs. I watched all the games by myself. My roommates always found something else to do. I would cheer and yell at the TV in my apartment, just like I had all summer long, only now I was alone.

I remember the final game of the 93 World Series. It had been a particularly nerve-wracking series. Mitch Williams had been even more unpredictable during those games than he had been during the regular season and I wondered if he would be able to pull it together. I remember it was the last inning, we were up by one run. When Jim Fregosi called Mitch out of the bullpen, I called Ann and we were both like, “oh no”. That’s all we said and we hung up. Then it happened. The homerun that ended it all…as soon as it cleared the fence, I turned off the TV and went to bed. I couldn’t believe it.

It signaled the end of the summer and it was heartbreaking. Its 15 years later, I'm living in the state of Washington and when I watch the Phillies play, I watch alone again. My husband has no interest, my pets don’t understand why I am yelling when I watch the games. Every inning, every pitch, makes me homesick. You can go back to a place, but you can’t go back to a time….oh how I wish I could go back to that time. Maybe this year, they’ll go all the way…they’ll pick up where the boys of ’93 left off. I’d like to relive those days, for just a few minutes – 3000 miles away from home and all alone.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Words


The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate as they advance to the World Series after beating the Dodgers in game five of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium October 15, 2008. ( Michael Perez / Staff Photographer )

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grand Opening

Yesterday was our Grand Opening. We've been open since August 25th and this was our big kick off event. We had the twins from the Biggest Loser - Bill and Jim Germanakos as our guests. I can't tell you how great these guys are. Nice. Honest. Knowledgable. Funny. Everything we had hoped for and more. They could not have been better guests. We enjoyed every minute of their time with us.

We really had no expectations for the day. We did quite a bit of marketing and promotion for the event and figured this would be a great benchmark. This was an excellent opportunity to get a feel for what works and what doesn't work. We had a decent turnout of folks to see the guys and join in the events. Just about every person who came into the store bought something. We believe we have made some great new customers.

I am really just relieved that the event is over. We can now get on with the business of doing business. We are working on our community outreach - getting out in the community - going to the gyms, schools and businesses and really just building relationships. We have found that is where our best customers come from - the face to face contact.

Here are some pictures from the day:

Chamber of Commerce came out to do an official ribbon cutting - kind of fun. You can see it was a super sunny day. It started out cold and ended up really cold - but in the middle, it was perfect weather.

Here we are with the guys - behind us you can see their pictures - we are standing right in front of their before pictures - which were shocking.
Bill is doing the talking - Jim is listening. They put on two - hour long presentations that were very entertaining. We used an empty unit next to our store that is still in construction.
Here is our crew. We had great help for the event. Here's who they are (left to right): Our manager Casey and his wife Stephanie. Chris. Ty (Trevor's brother), me, Trevor, Rhiannon. We couldn't have done it without them....thanks guys. We are so fortunate to have you as part of our business.
One more picture of us and the guys. We love these guys.

We took a lot away from this event. Lots of good things to carry forward and as always, things we would have done differently. Every day is a learning opportunity and the only way to be successful is to take good notes and be sure make use of every experience.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where has the time gone?

The last few weeks have really gotten away from me. Things have been busy - which is good. This last week my body finally decided it has had enough and I caught the cold that is going around. It really knocked me out for a few days - I am just about over it. I have taken all kinds of vitamins and supplements to battle this cold so it won't turn into a sinus infection. Between the mega doses of vitamin A, zinc lozenges and extra glutamine and green supplements - my body's defense should be heavily fueled. I took the week off from working out too - which is unheard of. I wasn't able to stay home sick this week due to many things going on at work.

Here is something exciting that happened this the two pictures below and see if you can find that difference. First picture is today - second picture is from two weeks ago.

That's right - I got my braces off. After a few visits to the dentist to have some bonding work done, they are as perfect as they are going to be. I had braces before, but I don't think my teeth were ever this straight. That has been my excitement for the week.

The second picture was taken for my profile in a magazine. I was asked to have a column in Make You Happen - a local magazine focused on health and fitness. I wrote my first article about a month ago and they just asked me to submit my article for the next publication. It publishes every other month. I'm the nutrition expert! Who knew?

Next Saturday is our grand opening. The planning is done, we just need to execute all of our plans - Bill and Jim - the Biggest Loser guys have been so great and I cannot wait to have them here. I will post a recap of the event next weekend, after we recover a bit. Until then...