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.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

#451 Tight Fittin' Jeans

Is it just me, or does it seem that most women these days wear incredibly tight jeans?  This is coming from someone who grew up in the 80s and remembers Brooke Shields, who famously asked, “You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins?  Nothing.”  

And it’s not just jeans.  It’s all pants.  (Don’t even get me started on yoga pants.  Or leggings.  Neither of which are pants.)

When skinny jeans became more popular a few years ago I swore I wouldn’t wear them.  I do now, but it was gradual.  I first bought them to wear with riding boots. 

Being a very tall and thin woman, finding jeans has always been a struggle.  As a teenager, I wore men’s Levi’s because they were the only jeans I could find with a 36” inseam.  Try finding jeans with a 28” waist and 36” inseam.  That’s one skinny dude!  And even though they were long enough, the waist never fit right, so I had to take in the back waistband to get rid of the gap. 

Later I was able to find extra-long jeans online from Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy.  Still a 36” inseam, and a better fit, but I still had issues with the butt getting baggy.  They fit in the store, but after wearing a few times, bagginess.  Part of it was that jeans used to be 100 percent cotton.  Most all jeans now have spandex in them, so that helps them spring back into shape. 

A magazine article revolutionized jeans for me – it suggested buying jeans one size smaller.  Why didn’t I think of that myself?  It worked!  That, combined with some spandex, and no more baggy behind. 

But back to the tightness.  I notice it a lot at work.  Some of the younger women wear only skin-tight pants/jeans.  (We can wear jeans on Fridays.)  They are so tight you can see every ripple.  They look incredibly uncomfortable.  I am all for pants that fit well, but I don’t need to see all your business.  What happened to trouser jeans?  Or a good straight-leg or boot-cut jean? 

A couple funny jean stories.  The first from my niece, Megan.  One of her college friends was in town earlier this year and they were getting ready to go out.  Anna told Megan, “You need to get a new pair of jeans.  Yours are getting saggy.”  I have never known Megan to wear saggy jeans.  And hers aren’t ultra-tight either.  Anyway, I went home and looked at my jeans and decided that Anna would probably tell me it’s time for new jeans.  Which prompted me to buy a newer pair of Old Navy skinny jeans. 

The second story is work-related.  I was at a work retreat and wanted to be comfortable, so I wore my thrift store Buckle jeans, which are somewhat flared at the bottom.  I always thought they fit me well.  During a break, a younger female co-worker came up to me and said, “I’m glad someone else wore baggy jeans today.  I just wanted to be comfortable.”  I smiled and nodded, stunned.  I wish I could’ve seen my face as I thought, “These are baggy jeans?!”

I wear different jeans for different occasions.  I rarely wear skinny jeans to work because the knee area is so tight they are uncomfortable to wear all day with my knees bent at my desk.  I also avoid them at sporting events for the same reason.  I usually wear them when my top is a little longer or looser fitting, to which the skinny jeans balance the outfit.  And I wear them with riding boots or my rain boots.  In contrast, I like to wear a tighter-fitting top with a “looser” fitting or flared-leg pant. 

For both skinny and straight, I have my “good butt” jeans that I save for wearing out on weekends.  I don’t want to stretch them out too much. 

Like Stacy and Clinton used to say on “What Not to Wear” – just because a store sells a certain piece of clothing doesn’t mean you have to buy it.  And just because seemingly everyone is wearing skinny jeans, doesn’t mean you have to.  Wear jeans that are most flattering for you and that you feel most comfortable in.  We don’t have to see all of your business. 

There is a difference between tight clothing and clothing that fits well.  I wish people knew the difference.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

#450 Fix You

I like to fix things.  Well, I like to think I can fix things.  Or at least I will try to fix things. 

We have turned into a disposable society.  Something breaks, we throw it away and buy another one.  Have a hole in your sock?  Most people let the hole get bigger and bigger, until the hole is so big they can’t mend it.  Unfortunately, when appliances break nowadays, it’s cheaper to buy a new one than to fix it.  Things aren’t made like they used to be.  They’re not made to last.

Today at work someone broke a single hole punch.  They brought the pieces over to me (I am the work room lady).  Now my goal is to fix it.  I think I can, but need to take it home to use some pliers on it. 

A few weeks ago I spent about 10 minutes in our workroom fixing a three-hole punch.  A tiny bolt-like piece had come off that held it together at one end.  I worked and worked, and even chipped a nail.  Finally, success!  I felt like MacGyver! 

And while we’re on the topic of mending, I must mention my grandmother, Emma Riedweg.  She was the queen of mending.  She in turn taught my mother, the princess of mending.  (I guess I am the duchess of mending?)  I once spent almost the entire final episode of The Bachelor mending random clothing items.  If I’m wasting my time watching a crazy show, I might as well do something constructive. 

I am still amazed that when the topic of mending/sewing comes up, most people say they can’t sew on a button or hem pants.  How does that happen?  Did home economics disappear from the classroom?  I see people all the time walking around with too-long pants, and the back hem is shredded from them walking on the material.  You are ruining your pants!  And it looks sloppy. 

I recently received a wood sewing cabinet that was my grandmothers.  It’s way cool and my brother Paul helped fix some of its broken pieces.  He’s a great fixer too!  I now have a great stash of thread, ready to mend anything (in most any color) that comes my way. 

If you see that small hole in your sock, fix it right away instead of buying new socks.  If something breaks, consider fixing it if it’s worth it.  Or maybe it can have another use.  These days I stop and look at something I’m about to get rid of and ask myself, “What can I do with this?”  So far, I have repurposed egg cartons to organize jewelry and have used lots of shoe boxes to better organize my dresser drawers (no need for The Container Store).  Use your imagination!  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#449 Sing Me Away

At least once during every concert I attend I get a “chill bump moment”, where I hear a song that gives me a certain feeling.  I don’t know how to describe it.  Sometimes I do get chills.  Sometimes I feel euphoric.  Sometimes, inspired.  Sometimes, at peace. 

Last week I saw one of my favorite bands, Night Ranger, at the Old National Center (or Murat for you old-schoolers.)  I lost count of how many times I’ve seen them over the years.  At Rib America, at the Indiana State Fair (they last played there in 2016).  No number is too many times.  I know all their songs and they look like there are having a blast after 35 years, which is contagious. 

Early in the show they played “Sing Me Away”.  Not one of their most well-know songs, but one of my favorites.  I had battled a sinus infection for a week-and-a-half, and was also getting a cough.  As the concert night approached I thought, “Maybe I should stay home.  It’s a school night.  I’m running low on fumes.”  The ticket was only $20, but I do hate to just throw money away.  I sucked it up and went, partly because I like them and partly because Lita Ford was one of the opening bands.  (I had never seen her live, so that was enough to convince me to still go.)  Not to mention I wanted to hang with some friends. 

The song started, and I thought, “Aww, I love this song!”  I also started thinking how music can “sing me/you away” from negativity.  Sing me away from my sinus infection, my cough, my weariness.  As the show continued, I felt more energized.  Watching a bunch of 60-something guys bounce around on stage can do that do you as well. 

My feeling had nothing to do with the actual lyrics (which are very nice).  Songs can have as many different interpretations as there are listeners.  And the next time I hear the song, I may have an even different reaction.  That’s the beauty of music. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go sing myself away…from work with a concert replay on Spotify.