Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#458 Open Arms

As I chatted with a female co-worker the other day, she talked about the stress of her day and said, “I need a hug.”  Being the jokester (and good friend) that I am, I held my arms open and she got out of her chair and we exchanged a brief hug.  And it hit me – I haven’t had a full-body hug in a long time.

I like hugs.  I hug my family and some of my friends (a few are non-huggers).  Pretty much all the people I hug come up to my shoulders, therefore I give "squatty" hugs with no body contact except for the arms.  Or side hugs.  Otherwise, my chest would be in their face.  Which would be weird. 

Hugs provide numerous benefits.  They convey affection.  They offer comfort.  We use them in celebration.  

According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, hugs can provide several health benefits.  People who hug have a perceived greater social support and are less likely to get sick.  Hugging also reduces stress due to the release of oxytocin into the bloodstream.  Benefits of Hugging from US News Feb. 3, 2016

It’s no secret I prefer dating tall men.  Why?  Partly because I don’t want to bend over to hug a man.  I don’t like the feeling of not having that full physical contact with a man.    

I came across the photo of Dustin Hoffman and I saw myself in the dark-haired woman he’s dancing with.  (Although he’s not that much shorter than her.  I would actually be ok with that height comparison.) 

Some might argue that I’m missing all physical contact since I’m currently not hugging anyone.  Touché.  I’ll take my chances.  Somewhere out there a tall man has the same complaints I do about hugging.  When we find each other, we'll come together with open arms.   

Thursday, March 1, 2018

#457 Unpretty

Whenever I hear the song “Unpretty” by TLC I get a little verklempt.  I mean, I love the song.  But it always makes me sad that there are women (me included) who feel unpretty at any time in their life.  Why is that?  

Magazines, movies, television.  That’s why.  We are bombarded with “perfect” images with no wrinkles or body fat, big boobs, perfect hair and an expensive outfit with a purse that costs as much as a car or house payment.  That is all we see. 

What are my unpretty thoughts?  I came to terms with my weight a long time ago but that has always been my biggest insecurity, not my height.  I don’t mind peoples saying, “You’re tall.” (Most of the time.) However, my self-esteem takes a hit when people say, “You’re so skinny!”  To me skinny = ugly.  I realize that most of the people who have called me skinny are the ones who always want to lose 10 pounds.  That doesn’t make me like it any better. 

A few of my friends have always joked about how small-breasted we are.  Then Krista spent several days scooping fat out of a cadaver during physical therapy school and was instantly thankful for hers.  I became thankful for mine when I noticed one of my basketball teammates wore two sports bras to keep her “girls” in place.  My breasts might be small to average, but they are real and probably won’t head south any time soon.

After college I decided to stop the negative thoughts.  I am healthy, I can do the things I want to do (bike, play tennis, etc.) and I can wear pretty much anything (ok, some pants are still too short).  Sure, I could use a few extra pounds and wear a somewhat enhancing bra, but who cares? 

As I get older, the wrinkles have become more pronounced and yes, I color my hair .  I’ve even started to slowly gain a little bit of weight.  (Woo hooo!)  You have to take the good with the bad, right?  I also have more common sense.  When I see the “perfect” photo in the magazine I know that took several hours of makeup and lots of lighting and photo re-touches. 

For any of you who have ever felt unpretty, I hope you realize the trap you have fallen into and stop being so hard on yourself.  You are pretty.  Amazing. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

#456 Worm Killer

I am a worm killer.  Or a worm-mutilator.  Let me explain. 

My gym is next door to my office.  Many years ago, our parking garage was a five-minute walk to the gym.  My neck/shoulders gave me fits carrying my gym bag every day, so I invested in a rolling bag.  This practice screams “elderly” but I was in my 30s at the time.  (I don’t care what I look like.  I don’t care that people make fun of my rolling gym bag, or think they are being followed by a skateboarder.  My neck and shoulders thank me and that’s all I care about.)

Even though our current staff garage is a bit closer, I have to walk a good distance from the gym to the other side of my office building, so I still use the rolling bag.  Where do the worms come in?  Stay with me. 

I have an affinity for worms, as they provide a valuable benefit to the soil.  And they seem very friendly.  Occasionally when I see one lying on concrete after the rain has stopped, I will pick it up and put it in the grass/soil so it won’t dry up and die. 

On rainy days when I walk from the gym to the office, there are seemingly hundreds of thin worms along the sidewalk.  I maneuver my bag so as not to roll over any and potentially cut them in half.  I look like an Indiana driver avoiding potholes in February.  And every time I cringe at what damage may be fall the worms.  If I do run over one with my wheel(s), will it regenerate or shrivel up and die? 

An interesting article in the Washington Post explains the rules of worm regeneration.  Whether or not they can regenerate after being cut into two (or more) pieces depends on several things, including the type of worm, and the location and cleanliness of the cut. 

This assuages my fears a tiny bit.  And there are a ton of them, so if I happen to crush one, there are a multitude of his family/friends to carry on the good work. 

Worm Killer
Qu'est-ce que c'est

Friday, February 16, 2018

#455 Tall Chick World Tour

I started playing organized basketball in the fifth grade and was fortunate to play in college, with USA Basketball and professionally.  While basketball was never my “life”, it was a big part of it and I am grateful for the lessons I learned, the people I met and the places I visited (and sometimes lived). 

Last year an idea popped into my head that I should re-visit all the places I played throughout my career.  My next stop after high school was Auburn, Alabama, which I have returned to frequently (and still do).  From there I played in several foreign countries, ending in Seattle, Washington. 

I traveled extensively until my final stop in Seattle, then started my “real” work career.  Yes, I still traveled, but only within the United States.  It wasn’t until 2014 that I finally ventured back to foreign soil, with a trip to Italy.  The bug nibbled at me.  Three years later I was determined to let the bug take a bigger bite and coined my Tall Chick World Tour.  How would it happen?  Who would want to go with me? 

Life is unpredictable, and it took a nudge to put the wheels into motion.  I recently returned from a long weekend in Seattle.  I had wanted to go back for a long time.  Things just seemed to fall into place:  Re-connecting with a friend from the past.  Free hotel nights.  Realizing that several of my teammates (and front-office staff) still lived there.  Let’s do this! 

Below is the back of my Tall Chick World Tour T-shirt.  I’ve listed all the places I played in alphabetical order by city, with the eventual travel dates TBD. 

Stay tuned for my first installment of my TCWT. 

Bon voyage! 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

#454 To Russia With Love

The latter part of last year, my good friend, and twin tower, Tammy travelled to Russia.  She didn’t go on vacation.  She went to work there for the next two years. 

I first met Tammy in 1986 at a girls’ basketball camp at Purdue University.  The next time I saw her was the fall of 1992 at an Athlete’s in Action training camp in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Tammy was on the team and I was assigned to stay at her house before we left on our tour.  Well, it was her dad’s house, as we were in our early-20s.  We hadn’t kept in touch after the Purdue camp but quickly realized we had met before. 

Not long after our tour, Tammy moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and has lived there ever since.  (Minus a couple years in India.)  Over the years we have visited each other.  We also talk on the phone now and then.  She’s 6’3” and we commiserate on clothes, shoes and men.  I tell her I don’t see many tall, good-looking men in Indianapolis.  She tells me she sees lots of tall, good-looking men in Ft. Lauderdale.  Unfortunately, most of them are gay. 

We’ve had lots of fun times together.  She met my friends and me in New York in 1999 and 2000, and in St. Louis for the 2015 Men’s Final Four. We ran the 2000 New York City Marathon together (hence, the twin towers). 

We have conflicting stories of how this came about, but one of us was walking down the street and a stranger commented on our height, as they are likely to do.  Instead of the usual, “How tall are you?” or the exclamatory, “You’re tall!”, this person referred to us as a goddess.  Wow!  It made quite an impression that one of us told the other, and for several years we have refereed to each other as the “Florida goddess” and the “Indiana goddess”. 

Tammy and her friend, Martha, visited me before Tammy left for Russia, and it was great to catch up in person again.  With technology, I hope we will be able to keep in touch as if she were still in the States.  Russia has never been on my list of places to visit, but I would love to visit her while she is there.  Finding a cheap/free place to stay overseas is half the battle! 

Bon voyage, Tammy!  Удачи and Бог благословил!  (That is my attempt at Russian translation.)

Friday, January 26, 2018

#453 Float On

The first time I floated was in 1993.  I was playing professional basketball in Israel and my parents visited me for two weeks in February.  One of our tourist stops was the Dead Sea.  Winters in Israel are usually mild with temperatures ranging from the high 60s to low 70s.  During my time there, Israel experienced its coldest winter in 100 years.  Sigh.  I came from Indiana expecting a mild winter and froze my tail.  I didn’t know if I would ever make it back, so after arriving at the Ein Gedi Spa, I decided to go all in.  I donned my black polka-dot bikini, laced up my sneakers and ran to the end of the long sidewalk to plop myself into the Dead Sea for a few seconds.  (The spa used to be right on the shore, but the sea has shrunk over the years.)  My dad followed to take photos.  Oh yeah – I also covered myself with Dead Sea mineral-rich mud.  I ran back to shore, rinsed off in the outdoor shower, and then ran inside to sit in a hot tub with a bunch of older Israeli women, most of whom were naked and about half my height.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I was still part of their local folklore – “Remember that giant woman in the bikini who sat in the hot tub at that spa?” 

I'm ready to go in, coach!

I'm floating!

From cold sea to cold shower.  Brrrr

While listening to a friend’s podcast the other week, I learned about a new type of therapy that peaked my interest – flotation therapy.  (If you have some time, check out Peter Shmock’s podcast at and pay special attention to #11 with Sean McCormick.)

What is flotation therapy?  You float in 1,000 lbs. of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) in a tub in a dark, quiet room.  The salt is supposed to relieve inflammation and pain, and help regulate electrolytes.  The actual floatation helps your body relax and lengthen as you float with no pressure.  The silence gives your brain a break from the constant noise of life.  Sounded good enough to give it a try. 

After listening to the podcast, I searched for flotation therapy businesses in Indy.  We currently have a few, with one being close to my office – A Place To Float.  Their website offers a discounted first-time float, so I decided to take advantage.  It’s regularly $59 and their special is $45.  I quickly scheduled an appointment online for a 60-minute float. 

There are two options for floating – you can choose a pod, which is enclosed, or you can choose a large tub.  I had no idea what I was doing, so chose the pod.  When I arrived, the woman at the front desk took one look at me and suggested I move to the tub.  She didn’t think I would fit into the pod.  Keep that in mind if you decide to give it a try.  Regardless of height, some people may prefer the openness of the tub. 

They gave me a quick tour of the facility – you have a private room (the door locks from the inside) complete with corner shower, shampoo, soap and towels.  When you are finished there are nearby bathrooms with hairdryers, so you can ready yourself for your next stop. 

In my little room I prepared for my first float.  You can wear a bathing suit, but they recommend going “commando” so as not to be annoyed by any pulling fabric.  You rinse off (and remove any makeup) and then get into the tub.  There is a light switch on the wall, which dims the room lights.  Once in the tub, there is a button on one side of the tub that you can press to make the room completely dark.  There is also a button for you to communicate with the staff in case you need something.  Or have a stroke.  I assume they can also unlock the room if you fail to respond.  That’s what I think about when preparing to float in a tub. 

The water is the temperature of your body, and room air is warm as well.  Even though you are partially out of the water, you don’t get cold.  You don’t realize how warm it is until you get out and start sweating while getting dressed. 

A few accessories are also provided – ear plugs to keep the water out of your ears.  A thin foam donut to serve as a pillow.  I found it difficult to keep my ears above the water while resting my head in the donut.  I spent pretty much the entire time floating for a minute, and then adjusting my head and my ear plugs.  Repeat.  A state of fidgety relaxation.  I liked the floating sensation and the quiet.  I just had a hard time getting comfortable for a prolonged period of time. 

Some people fall asleep, which is safe to do since you will float.  I would think if you tried to turn over in your sleep you’d wake yourself up. 

When your time is up, soft music plays.  If that doesn’t “wake you”, the tub jets turn on after a minute more.  You shower to rinse off the salt, then get dressed.  I recommend not drinking a lot of liquids beforehand, as I had to pee really bad once I got out. 

How did I feel?  Somewhat relaxed.  My skin felt soft.  I liked the overall experience.  As I checked out they told me I had one week of unlimited floats as a newbie.  My first appointment was on a Monday, so I made a second appointment for the upcoming Friday.  I might have gone more, but didn’t want to mess with re-doing my hair. 

Giving new clients a week of unlimited floats is a great idea.  If I had not gone a second time, I probably would never have gone again.  The restlessness detracted from the relaxation.  I also had a sore neck the first night from my head being in a weird position on the foam ring.  Having had neck disc and nerve issues, that is the last thing I need. 

My second float was a lot better.  I asked for a second foam donut and it held my ears above water and my head/neck in a comfortable position the entire hour.  Although I still didn’t fall asleep, the hour flew by and I floated with no fidgeting the entire time.  Much more relaxing. 

I highly recommend flotation therapy.  I’m glad I was given a second chance and will definitely do it again in the future.  One day I hope to return to float in the Dead Sea again.  Until then, I’m stuck with a tub in the Midwest.  Float on!  

Friday, January 19, 2018

#452 She's So Cold

You would think I’d be used to it by now.  I’ve lived most of my life in the state of Indiana, yet I am always amazed by how much people complain about the weather.  Maybe it’s standard procedure to make weather small talk in the office.  It’s wearing thin. 

Being that it’s January and we have experienced sub-zero temperatures the past couple of weeks, this practice has ramped up.  Since I love to play devil’s advocate anyway, I have resorted to my own standard procedure of replying to any weather remark with, “It’s not that bad.”  And really, it’s not. 

Most people have an attached garage (mine is detached and I am currently skating to my car and I don't even mind doing that).  You walk from a heated house into a maybe 40 to 50-degree garage/car.  You turn on the heat.  You park and walk outside for a few minutes to a heated building.  If you’re lucky, you don’t have to go anywhere over your lunch hour.  At the end of the day, you walk outside a few minutes to a cold car, which heats up (hopefully) fairly quickly.  How hard is that?  We don’t live on the prairie, people.  We have heated houses, cars, water, blankets.  We have coats and hats. 

Let me stop here and say that there are some people who legitimately have problems in the winter.  Those with illness or disabilities.  The elderly.  Those who may not be able to afford to heat their home, or who do not have a home or even a warm coat.  My heart goes out to them and this complaint does not apply. 

For the rest of you, can you imagine how cold you would be if you were Laura Ingalls?  If you had to heat your water for a bath (and then share it with the rest of your family)?  If you had to constantly stoke a fire to cook (after going outside to chop wood)?  If you had to ride for an hour in a horse-drawn buggy? 

Yes, it’s cold.  It’s called winter.  We live in Indiana.  It may be just another thing to say (like “I’m so happy it’s Friday!” – you can read my thought on this in Post #416).  Just like you are so over the cold, I am so over your complaining about it.  If you detest the cold so much, move to Florida (although even that wouldn’t help this year.  An Orlando friend texted me last night saying, “How do you stand that bitter cold all winter.  It’s two nights in a row here below 30!”) 

Even though summer is my favorite season, I like the winter.  I like getting a break from working in my yard.  I like being cozy on my couch with a blanket.  I love how quiet the woods are in the winter.  You can see so many different things when the trees are bare.  I love how the neighborhood becomes illuminated at night after a snowfall.  I love how the snow glitters like a million diamonds.  I love sledding.  I love the winter accessories – coats, scarves, boots, sweaters. 

Maybe I play the mental game better than most.  I tell myself that I just have to get through four months of cold.  The first two months are full of activity and seem to fly by.  So January and February are the “worst”.  And at this point, it’s down to a month-and-a-half.  We’re almost there! 

Cheer up folks.  You can do it.  And don’t worry, in a few more months when the heat and humidity hits, you will have that to complain about.