speaking of sal

Life, people and observations from Sal.

little girls

Miss Hannigan from Annie had it all wrong in her description of "Little Girls." They are the best - well at least these two are. 

This past Saturday, the girls, my nieces, spent the whole day with my parents and I. We went on an adventure of the purest kind. To the park where bugs, grass and skipping rocks abound. 

It was the best day. 

The girls "skipping rocks." Bop-bop (Grandpa) taught them how to make the rocks skid across the water and they did a great job! Perfect technique! 

The girls "skipping rocks." Bop-bop (Grandpa) taught them how to make the rocks skid across the water and they did a great job! Perfect technique! 

Dot finding beauty in the little things in nature. She held this flower for a while until we got to the river. 

Dot finding beauty in the little things in nature. She held this flower for a while until we got to the river. 

See picnic table, must sit. I even got some smiles for the camera! 

See picnic table, must sit. I even got some smiles for the camera! 

Every good, hot summer day at the park is only complete with a stop for ice cream. At one point, Grandpa was in line while we waited patiently. Ruby stood up in the booth and yelled for the entire Dairy Queen to hear "Bop-bop, I want ice cream!" 

Every good, hot summer day at the park is only complete with a stop for ice cream. At one point, Grandpa was in line while we waited patiently. Ruby stood up in the booth and yelled for the entire Dairy Queen to hear "Bop-bop, I want ice cream!" 

Best. Day. Ever.

Sal

differences

I can't. I can't listen to it or watch it, but I can't tune it out. I can't believe it or wrap my head around it, but I can't say it surprises me. Hate, evil, racism, discrimination, all terrible in concept, treatment and interpretation. 

Black, white, gray, brown, purple, rainbow, ombre, clear. I don't care. If I look at, touch or interact with someone differently because of the tiny percentage of DNA that makes them different from me, I suck. I don't claim to have never treated someone differently, of course I have. I have locked my car doors in bad neighborhoods as I drove by. I have pretended to be on my phone while walking by a homeless person on the street. I have judged the shit out of people for their lives, that I know nothing about. But to claim that a race, gender identity, sexuality, socio-economic class or subset of the human race is inferior to another blows my mind. 

History matters, today matters, the future matters. You matter, I matter, lives matter. The more I remind myself of how I would like to see all treated, the less I see in differences. 

I will discriminate one set of the human race, the people that commit unfathomable acts against others. Because that subset is the ONLY kind of different that deserves all of the hate, evil and discrimination this world has to offer. 

Please join me in acting differently only to those that deserve it, those that are different because they take lives of innocent people.  

Let's do the right thing and love people for the ways that make them  just like us.  

excuses

I really don't enjoy complaining or airing grievances, but I am going to take a pass and talk a bit about my distaste for excuses. The ones I use and excuses from others. Excuses are what we tell ourselves and others to get out of things. Among them, I believe there are three main categories: I'm busy, I don't care enough and I don't want to admit fault. Now, I'm not a psychology or sociology expert, but I will offer possible remedies, purely based on my life observations. 

I implore readers to take this all with a grain of salt, because I, Sal, am a repeat offender and by no means, perfect.

The biggest excuse in all the land: I'm busy.
Interesting read: Let's Stop the Glorification of Busy by Melissa Ramos

Let's all talk about how the sky looks blue too. We are all in the same boat, just different bodies of water. Adults have shit to do. From relationship priorities to children to work to extra-curricular activities, there aren't enough hours in the day, I get it. I have found myself using this one all too often and every time I do, I throw up a little bit in my mouth. I think this is the biggest self-excuse, or something the little person in our brains tells us to make us feel better about skipping out on something or someone. I think it is all about priorities and priorities are highly individual.

Herein lies the problem, often times, priorities don't align between either the person giving the excuse and the recipient or the little person in our heads giving the excuse and what we really want for ourselves [read: our values]. I give myself the "I'm too busy" excuse all the time thinking that it is an answer for not getting to the gym or saying no to requests to hang out. I should probably just be honest and say, "I'm sorry, I didn't make that a priority this week/today/right now, so I can't," but I guess that could be seen as an excuse too, hmmm.

I think a great remedy for this big one (in the excuses world) is to put ourselves in others shoes, especially if we are requesting their time or they are requesting a piece of ours. In general, folks are sometimes just as, if not more "busy" than we are. So if we are requesting time and we get this excuse, there is probably a burnt out person behind it wishing they could say yes. If we are giving the excuse, maybe we can step back and tell ourselves to rethink priorities, for the pure reason that a probably very busy person is making us a priority by asking.

Dos: I don't care enough.

A fleeting little reason that we don't do something: we really don't care to do it, or we want to act like we don't care. I guess this one is also under the priority alignment umbrella and can be prevented or solved with a little empathy. Those little requests or tasks that seem like the farthest from our possible to-do list may be important to someone else. It may seem super unimportant and opposite-of-caring of me to not get dressed and put on makeup to go to the grocery store where others might think it is disrespectful to leave the house without. This is a very surface-level example. A real life example might be an employee (not me) that only wants to hear that they have done well or receive recognition for going above and beyond their job duties. Again, misaligned priorities have a way of sneaking in and creating (possibly) very valid excuses for us. This one is often a tough pill to swallow and, in my very inexperienced brain, boils down to communication. Honesty is the best policy. Whoever said that should have trademarked it.

Finally: I don't want to admit fault

This is the building block upon which all excuses are conceived. I don't want to say no and let someone down and I sure as hell don't want to admit I blew it and then live with that. If I had even a nickel for every time I gave an excuse for myself when something went wrong, I would be a much richer person. I analyze and try to notice when I'm doing this more often now after I was a rower and then a coach. Is my excuse going to fix it? Probably not. Is my reason for not being at practice or failing to get something done on time going to change the consequences for myself and others? Nope. 

I think by asking what our excuses provide to the situation will help us decide if it benefits us or the recipient to give them. Does the other person feel better? Do you feel better? Would a simple "I'm sorry, I can't/did that" suffice?

Again, I don't claim to have the answers, but these are my thoughts on excuses.

Sal 

halfsies

Imagine Mikey from Goonies sucking on his inhaler when anything goes awry. That is my relationship with running any distance longer than a few miles. So, when a friend of mine convinced me to run the Cap City Half Marathon with her, I was the most surprised, A) she actually got me to sign up and B) I am alive to write about it today. 

Actual text messages about signing up:

KL: When you cross that finish line you’ll thank me.
KS: Or I will kill you. That’s on you.
KL: Hahaha you’ll die first running

*so supportive, thank you*

KS: I registered.
KL: Please try to contain your excitement
KS: I audibly growled.

I was clearly thrilled from the get-go. The race was set for May 2, 2015, and as any responsible runner would do, I found a training plan in early January and worked my hardest to stick to it. I did most of the weekend's "long runs," admittedly sometimes on weekdays and sometimes fewer miles than prescribed, and slacked a bit on the maintenance or "during-the-week" training runs, but eventually it was the week of and I was going to race, whether ready or not.

If I could walk out to a half marathon without the 12-week training program and just like that, run 13.1 miles, I would probably do more, but training blew. Like right up there with Coach's "testing week" for my rowing friends. I am not one to shy away from a challenge and am happy that I can cross "train for and run a half marathon" off the list. 

I will say, however, race day is fun. The excitement of the race course, the spectators and the thousands of competitors will get adrenaline going in even the most cold-hearted running hater. 

Pre race shoefie  

Pre race shoefie  

Just an aside, for remembrance-sake, there was a massive fire about a mile from my house the night before that melted power lines and left my house without power. I ended up staying with my parents, and getting up about an hour earlier than I planned.

Getting to the starting line, ready, set, go. Run, run, want to die, water, run, run. hill in the last mile, finish in 2:22.48. Whew. It was quite an accomplishment for me, to say the least. You're god damned right I wore my medal all day (even to work that night bartending).

Post race group photo, we did it!  

Post race group photo, we did it!  

I think runners, like multiple races in a lifetime, half, full, ultra runners are a biological specimen. I want to get in their brain and figure out what keeps them going that long without wanting to run straight off a cliff. It's definitely more than motivation. I give them major props (people still say that, right?)

I am not a runner. So the answers to "when is your next one, or are you going to a full now?" are "Never." and "Absolutely not" 

Watch though, peer pressure is a bitch. Thanks KL.

Sal

summer sangria: how-to

Trying new food and drink is difficult sometimes, I am aware. It is much easier when friends (that have blogs) test and tell you they are yummy. This sangria is the perfect play-cards-against-humanity-with-best-friends treat! 

First off, most if not all of the ingredients in this sangria could be replaced with others. This is just what I used this time. Maybe I will do a red version soon!

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Ingredients: 

1 magnum-sized bottle of white wine 
1 quart of club soda
1 1/2 cups triple sec
1 navel orange
2 blood oranges
1/2 pineapple

Directions:

Up to one day before serving the sangria, cut the pineapple into cubes and cut the navel orange and blood oranges into round slices and place in a shallow dish. I used a rectangle Tupperware with a lid. Pour 1 1/2 cups of triple sec over the fruit and cover. Let it soak until you are ready to assemble and serve the sangria. The longer it soaks, the boozier the fruit.

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When you are ready to drink, grab a large pitcher, some wine glasses, the boozy fruit and the rest of your ingredients. Fill your glasses with ice, a few pineapple cubes and a couple orange slices from the boozy fruit. 

In the pitcher add the entire magnum bottle of wine. (I used Riesling in this recipe because the triple sec and oranges are tart, not super sweet. If you choose to use berries or apples in your sangria, I recommend a drier white wine) Next add the contents of your Tupperware including the fruit and any remaining triple sec that wasn't soaked up. Lastly, pour in the liter of club soda. 

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Mix all ingredients with a long spoon and serve!

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A couple of notes while making the sangria:
-Only put ice in the glasses, not the sangria so it doesn't get watered down.
-Eat the orange slices and the pineapple after you finish the sangria, it's an extra little kick!
-Take a moment to love the color of the blood oranges. That was my favorite part. You know-besides the drinking.

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I hope you love it! Tell me how it turns out!

Sal