Thursday, February 19, 2015

To Read or Not to Read?

Reading and I kind of have a love/ hate relationship. When I was little, I read all.the.time. I have always been a very fast reader and I would read for hours on end and devour books in record time. But as I got older, two things happened. 1. My attention span got shorter (don't ask me how this happened - I don't think it's supposed to work like that) and 2. I ran out of books I was interested in. See, kids' books are basically amazing. Interesting stuff happens in them but nothing too terrible or depressing. And I don't know, they just have a certain charm about them. Adult fiction is often dirty, frequently deals with depressing subjects, or is cheesy romance. Bleck. So between my difficulty in sitting still to read and the lack of good subject matter, the amount of time I spent reading went down, down, down. Then enter the world of biographies. I found out that I really enjoyed reading books about people who had achieved interesting and inspirational things in their lives. So I read all kinds of books about ice skaters, gymnasts, musicians, and now swimmers. I still can only stand to read for short amounts of time and  I've started doing other things at the same time like reading while I eat lunch or stretching while I read or stuff like that. It keeps me engaged longer. But still. It's good reading. It inspires me to work harder and not waste my life, it's fascinating, and it doesn't feel like I'm filling my mind with garbage.

So far this year, I have read some fascinating books: Staying Focused about Noelle Pikus Pace, Olympic skeleton racer, No Limits about Michael Phelps, Olympic swimmer, Gifted Hands about Ben Carson, the first neuro-surgeon to successfully separate Siamese twins joined at the head (and both twins survive), and Champions Are Raised not Born about Olympic swimmer, Summer Sanders. I have also listened via audio book to The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz and Failing Forward by John Maxwell - both excellent books that really challenged me to examine the way I think about what I can or cannot do or attempt! These books have all been extremely inspiring and intriguing, and I would definitely recommend them!  I am currently in the middle of  Monsters and Angels: Surviving a Career in Music about Seymour Bernstein, a pianist and composer  and Gold in the Water about some elite swimmers and their journey to the Olympics. I am also reading a book of poetry by William Butler Yates. Additionally, I'm in the middle of an audio book version of Anna Karenina by Tolstoy (which I can definitely only take in small doses!), and I just started an audio book version of Today Matters by John Maxwell. After I finish the books I'm currently reading, I hope to read Unbroken, about an Olympic runner, soldier, and POW, and Age is Just a Number, about Olympic swimmer, Dara Torres. Perhaps also a book by Paul Coehlo! So, you can see, I have rediscovered a love for reading! There is still the small problem of finding time to read but ya obstacle at a time! :)

What books do you like to read? I hope you have books you enjoy and that you are able to squeeze in a little time to read them!

Love, Tiffany

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Frozen - South Carolina Style

Guess what!?! Elsa graced us with some of her icy magic Monday night! While some people may have not been happy and while it might not seem like much in the way of winter weather to our Northern neighbors, at least three people could not have been more delighted - my brother, Matt, my sister, Bethany, and moi! :) We were antsy with anticipation Sunday and Monday, hoping, hoping that some sort of frozen precipitation would actually occur. Monday night when nothing besides a few flurries had materialized, we were gloomily eating supper and sadly going about our business (OK so actually that's a lie - we were actually greedily devouring supper with a great deal of enjoyment and having fun working puzzles with my grandpa but still, we were feeling disappointed) when Sofi, my dog, needed to go for a walk. We step outside and what to our wondering eyes should appear but beautiful snow falling here!!! OK so maybe it wasn't *exactly* snow but it was definitely snow-like and totally thrilling to see! AND it was sticking! We tromped all around the yard in it, threw ice balls at each other, attempted to make ice angels, and built a tiny snowman, whom we named Olaf Junior. It was super fun. When we were cold enough that everything but our hearts was frozen, we went inside and got in our warm, fuzzy pajamas and drank hot chocolate and sat at the kitchen table and played games and worked puzzles. Then, we all snuggled in my mom's bed and watched Alexander and the Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. 

A couple videos of our excitement.....

Olaf Junior!

The next morning, we awoke to find that even more snow-ice had come during the night. Swim practice was canceled, school was canceled, the roads were icy, so we gave ourselves up to the amazingness of a snow day. My mom made french toast for breakfast and then we bundled up and went outside to play in the frozen delight. The best part was "sledding" down my grandparents' driveway on cardboard boxes! It was super fun although we kind of turned the slush on the street below into a puddle with repeated sliding, which meant every time we went down, we landed in a little pool of frozen water! There might as well have been swim practice - it would have been warmer and I probably wouldn't have gotten any wetter than I did with the sledding haha! We were FREEZING and WET but we kept going until we had destroyed every bit of cardboard my grandpa had scavenged for us. It was SOOOO fun!! :D

Me sledding!

We spent the rest of the day with games and crossword puzzles and hot chocolate and baking cookies. It was the BEST day EVER!! :D

Hope you are staying warm and taking some time for some winter FUN wherever you are!

Love, Tiffany

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Second Meet = Basically a Pro

Last weekend I went to my second swim meet! I enjoyed it more than the first one - I think because this time I knew a little more what was going on. And even if I still felt halfway clueless, that is way better than completely clueless! Right? Right. It got off to a kind of rocky start because when I went to drop my dog off at the kennel, they told me they had never gotten a copy of her vaccination records from the vet. I had left my number when I made the reservations with instructions to call me if there were any problems...did they? NOPE. And they absolutely refused to let her stay without the records. I didn't know what on earth I was going to do...I needed to be on the road RIGHT.THEN to get to the meet on time. I was praying and freaking out and trying not to completely lose it. God was so gracious that he allowed my awesome piano teacher and his wife to kindly and graciously agree to watch her for me. As it turned out, they fell in love with my sweet little Sofi. It was so sweet because they kept sending me updates and pictures of her. They even facetimed me once so I could see her! :)

Anyhow, so I eventually made it to the meet - but I missed my first event. :( I was rather sad about this and pretty stressed by this point but I had to get over it and move on mentally to the rest of my events. The good news is that (with the exception of 50 breast that I got DQed in = more sadness) I lowered all my times!!! :) That's what my goal was for the meet so I was pretty happy. I learned from my teammates that a great way to keep up with when your event is is to write your event and heat and lane numbers on your hand. Which I did. I also printed off the programs before I got there and highlighted my events. Bam. So, this meet I knew where I was supposed to be and when. That was a huge improvement from last time when I didn't even get a copy of the program until the second day and was kinda lost about where I was supposed to be and how this whole meet thing worked. Oops. I was also prepared for any down time with my trusty old cell phone and ipod and the delights of trivia crack and facetiming my sister. Oh and lots of snacks. Unfortunately, there was surprisingly little downtime so I hardly got to eat any of my snacks and only got to play a little bit of my games and music. Oh well. I guess *technically* I'm there to swim not play trivia crack and eat grapes anyway. 

This is my "Game Face." It only took me like 5 tries before I could keep it long enough for the picture without busting out laughing!! haha

Saturday night we had a team dinner which was pretty fun! I get really, really hyper at meets so I wanted to play games and have a bunch of fun that night but everyone else said they were too tired to play games. Bummer. I'm going to have to work on convincing them how fun games are...Coach Carolyn *promised* that at the next meet we would play games...which I am totally going to hold her to. I was officially inducted into the team that night though - by receiving my special Greenville Splash monogrammed underwear. It's a team tradition to receive these when you do an overnight meet with the team. I am not sure whether to be excited that I am now an official member, disturbed that we have "team undies," or embarrassed that we were being given underwear in the middle of a restaurant on a Saturday night! haha Anywho.......

My crazy team!
I made myself go to bed instead of hanging out in the hotel lobby like the last meet but I'm afraid I still didn't sleep well. Meets just make me too full of adrenaline and I just can't calm down! :O Maybe this will get better with time....The second day I continued lowering my times but I was tired....(think not calming down enough to sleep could have anything to do with that?? Nah. Must be something else.)  Our team came in first place from the out of state teams (5 years in a row!) and 2nd overall - out of 39 teams with 5 teams who had more people! I think I'm part of a pretty amazing team. :D

I thought Coach Mark and Tracy needed some help with their image...aka bunny ears....I guess I'm basically  10 haha

I can't wait until the next meet - in 2 weeks!! :) Here's to working my butt off between now and then so I can lower my times some more!