Category Archives: New Beginnings

Round Two

This morning was Marcus’ graduation ceremony from his MBA program at the Carlson School (it’s the business school at The University of Minnesota).

And yes, this is to say that he does get his own tribute post…of sorts.

Since he had to be there a bit early to get into some sort of meaningful processional-arrangement with his fellow graduates, we got to arrive on campus SUPER early.  Which was actually kind of a good thing, since I was having a major fashion dilemma and didn’t make the leggings-dress decision until we pulled into the parking lot at 7:40 AM.

Don’t let anyone try to tell you that I’m an indecisive person 😉

In a perfect world, Marcus would have wandered around campus and with that intensely focused Photographer’s Eye that I obviously have (hahahahaha…NOT), I would have happily pranced after him in his footsteps, snapping away.


Once we parked on campus, I was all OMG NATURAL LIGHT!  So, I herded Marcus out of the parking lot (I know, so scenic) and over to an area across the street that looked more…picturesque.

I should like to think that it was worth the effort 🙂

I should like to think that the last two pictures make-up for the campus pictures that I didn’t take yesterday, when we were caught up in all of the hustle and bustle of undergraduate commencement.  Who knew, right?

I want to say that Marcus’ ceremony was shorter than Billy’s, but I don’t have any actual facts to back that one up.  My heart says it was longer, because I had to wear a dress this time and I spent most of the ceremony trying to get comfortable.

Translation: I tried my darndest to avoid inadvertently slithering out of my seat.  Poly-blends and hard plastic just weren’t meant to be together forever, you know?

This has just been an absolutely busy perfect long weekend and knowing that tomorrow is Tuesday makes the prospect of going back to work seem a little bit more…manageable.  Lord only knows how I’ll feel after the honeymoon!

When is the last time you took a day off from work and enjoyed a long weekend?

How far will you go to take a nice picture of someone/something?


Minnesota Hail to Thee!

As per my promise yesterday, I said that I would explain why I was taking a day off and turning this weekend into a three-day one.

In our family, this weekend is graduation weekend – Billy walked today for his Bachelor’s and Marcus walks tomorrow for his MBA.  Obviously Monday is a workday, but Major Life Events trump gainful employment.

Anyway, today Billy is getting a tribute post.

Hail to Thee our College dear!

Since today was Billy’s graduation ceremony, we officially marked the end of the third generation of The W Family’s dynastic reign at The University of Minnesota.  I don’t know that Mom and Dad ever meant for us to be that family, but for better or worse, we are That Family.

Thy light shall ever be

When we were little, Mom and Dad like to jokingly tell people that they would sing the Rouser to us while we slept.  Which is a half-truth, really.  We may never know what happened when our little eyes were closed, but I do remember the magnet on Grandma Boots’ fridge with the words to the Rouser on it.  And while I only have a few memories of life as a tiny pup (chowing down on fajitas and pink lemonade by Lake Calhoun being one of them), I definitely have memories of us singing it in her kitchen.

A beacon bright and clear.

Billy, for most people, the college search was a grueling process, trying to find a place that “fit” or “worked.”  But for you, I think that going to The U was a little bit like going home.  Because for our family, when you look out over Northrop Mall, the one thing that’s resoundingly true is that Good Things Have Happened There.  In every part of our family’s story, we are breathing Maroon and Gold.

Thy sons and daughters true

Y0u should know that I wouldn’t trade the two years we spent together on campus for anything in the world.  Even though we went about our daily lives in completely different ways, when I think of the one person who was fully present for every part of my college experience, save for sleeping through class, It Was You.

Will proclaim Thee near and far.

Billy, we didn’t just go to college together, we got to LIVE college together.  As I was trying to make sense of this all in my head, I realized that there was a big difference.  Lots of siblings go to the same school but what we got to share together on campus was so very different.

They will guard thy fame

We had season tickets for everything.  We worked 50 feet from one another at The Daily.  We walked to class together.  You were literally my neighbor.  I challenge you to think of any other siblings who had to walk across the parking lot in one direction to get a waffle, fresh out of the toaster or the other direction to grab a beer on the porch.  Just typing that feels completely ridiculous because that’s precisely the sort of thing that you would never even know you could dream of.

And adore thy name;

As I woke up this morning and marveled at the clear skies, which have become a true rarity as of late, I couldn’t help but to smile.  Today was a perfect day for another perfect memory.

Billy, we are all so proud of you.  Watching you walk across the stage today was the most bittersweet of moments, as I whispered in Mom’s ear that I was positive you would ask to be acknowledged with the “IV” at the end of your name.  While you’ve accomplished so much, with that handshake we watched you walk past that point of No Return, bringing all of us with you.

You will always go back, but it will never be the same.

Thou shalt be their Northern Star!

And so for the next twenty-odd years we will wait, until we can shepherd another generation of Golden Gophers into their dorm rooms before the first day of school.  Until we can drag them on campus tours they don’t need or want to go on.  Until we can tell them over a hundred years worth of stories.

Because just like Grandpa, Mom and Dad, you and I (and Marcus too…thank God he’s a pure-blooded Gopher), when they stand at Northrop Auditorium looking down the mall, they will already be home.


Little Fingers, Little Toes

No, we’re not expecting.

For the record, we have no plans to expect ANYTHING (including pets) for the next five years.

But today was the first friend-baby shower I attended.

Bridal Showers?  Easy.  You’re celebrating a girlfriend who has sacrificed all semblance reason to love and can only do so with a matching-set of coffee mugs by her side.

Baby Showers?  Overwhelming.  Because obviously whatever baby eats in, sleeps in and plays in will shape their world view.  For eternity.

Your child isn’t Gifted?  Obviously, you didn’t place pink parallelograms inscribed with Nordic phrases around the interior perimeter of their crib.  BUSTED!

I don’t know about you all, but that’s some weighty stuff right there.

Since they don’t know if little Baby J is a boy or a girl, we rocked gender-neutral themes like professionals.

What I discovered while roaming the Target aisles: There are really great options for boys (predators, galore!), terrible options for girls (some extremely poorly done butterflies in nauseating shades of pink/purple) and if you’re looking for something that’s “gender neutral” (NOTE: it may initially appear to be more “masculine”), you just have to bite the bullet and make it so.

Ducklings all the way!

It probably helped that Target just switched out all of their stuff for Easter.

It also probably helped that Target made baby socks one of their end caps.  Babies are terribly ferocious at losing That One Sock at the most inopportune moments.  For all of their best efforts at de-socking, it’s probably surprising that we don’t see more baby socks strewn about as we go on with our day-to-day living.

After snatching five pairs, instead of having clarity and a sense of inner well-being, I had questions.

  1. Why aren’t baby socks sold in a multi-pack like adult socks?
  2. What’s the point of incorporating a slipper-sock component on the sole of a foot that cannot and will not walk?
  3. When does one make the decision to put a sock on baby versus a shoe?
  4. Does the socks with sandals rule still apply when your M.O. is attempting to stick your entire fist inside your mouth all day long?


Have you ever been to a baby shower before?

What’s the best nursery theme you’ve ever seen?

I SO wish I could remember what blog I saw this on, but one mommy-to-be was having a little boy and they arranged a Pirate-themed nursery for him.  It was freaking adorable.


What I love about vacation: Not setting an alarm.

What just kills me about vacation: Not setting an alarm.

My body is just loving the chance to get a full eight hours of sleep (it’s a novelty, really), but creature of habit, right here.

Five glasses of champagne and absolutely no sign of a hangover later, I’ve got to say that so far, 2011 and I are pretty much BFFFF.

We’ll call it a complete 180 from New Year’s Day 2007, where I came home that morning, inhaled a giant to-go box of cold spaghetti from the Macaroni Grill and proceeded to pass out for five hours.

For the record, I wouldn’t wish that arrangement on my worst enemy.

I am nothing, if not honest.

I wasn’t going to do any “Best ofs” for 2010.  Mostly because I’m extremely indecisive, and now that 2011 has gone and…you know, happened, it seems inappropriately late.

But I just can’t get this one out of my head.

It was like one of the last pictures I took on my BlackBerry. Do I have a miniature chihuahua named Roxy? Absolutely not. Do I regularly go around drinking Miller Lite using a batting glove as a can coozie so that I'm not accused of consuming in a public park? Hell no. When The Stars Align, this is what happens. Best of. Period.


Y’all know I just do what feels right.

Are you a compulsive alarm-setter or are you able to enjoy sleeping in on the weekends?

I think my biggest issue with the whole arrangement is that once I’ve finally made it out of bed, gone for a run and that whole kit and caboodle, it’s already noon.

I’ve Got Plans

I feel like the world is split this year.  We’re either making resolutions or setting goals.

Resolutions = Failure and Abandonment.

Goals = Attainable and Success!

To that end, I’ve got plans.  What ties them all together?  They’re 100% unnecessary and 100% for my own vanity.

In 2011, here’s what’s happening:

I want to learn how to do a proper Kate Middleton-style Smokey Eye.  Have you ever tried following the instructions on the back of the eye shadow compact?  The end result is something closer to streetwalker than sassy.  I can’t live my life that way anymore.

I’m going to Run a Marathon. I’m in the best shape of my life.  Right now I’m running 30+ miles a week, and in the last year, I put over a thousand miles on this body of mine.  A THOUSAND.  I am simultaneously astonished and insanely proud of how far I’ve come from the point of Avoiding Fitness At All Costs.  To that end, it’s time to do the 26.2.

I need to Buy More Shoes.  The girl who waits six months to buy a pair of heels that cost less than $100 is dead to me.

I’m (and by that I mean my proxy) going to Paint Our Bathrooms.  It’s a project that’s been on the docket for the last two years and what it will do for my peace of mind is immeasurable.  Hasta la vista, apricot.

When I find myself in situations where I’m surrounded by crazy bitches, I’m going to ask myself the question, WWCGD? Yes, you read that right, What Would Camille Grammer Do? Once the right answer reveals itself to me, I’ll probably have to act.

What are your plans for 2011?


Friends, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time (read: I’m pretty sure that Sal blogged about it at some point) and I snagged a ticket to the Minnesota Blogger Conference, which happened today (if you managed to remain oblivious to all of the crazy taking place on my Twitter feed).

What I embraced: That I am 23 years old and have absolutely no idea of what I want to do with my life.  And more recently (since we all know I’m a life-planner to the extreme), I’ve come to accept that this is a totally appropriate place for me to be at in my life.  Here?  What you see is exactly what you get, because Tenaciously Yours, is about me living my life.  I blog because I get a kick out of it, and because I truly believe that spending time writing every day makes me a nicer person.  The fact that I happen to get to share my life with all of you is simply the best of all possible perks.  It is a VERY cool thing.

What I love about blogging: The Universal Truth.  For the record, Universal Truths (or “Big T” truths as I’ve heard them described) are the only thing I took away from high school philosophy class.  There’s nothing more touching than when you stumble upon a new blog, or are reading one of your favorites and you find something that someone has shared and it helps you to realize that You Are Not Alone.  Conversely, when I’m blogging + discussing different parts of my life and you all comment back sharing your experiences with the same thing, it reminds me that I Am Not Alone.

What was awkward: I’ll be honest – I was incredibly unprepared for the extremely diverse mix of fellow attendees.  There were professional bloggers corporate/business bloggers, hobby bloggers, and individuals who wanted to start blogs, but hadn’t yet taken the leap.  It was a fascinating mix, but it also made some of the sessions feel kind-of unfocused.  Not because the speakers were unprepared, but because I have no idea of how you would be able to give an appropriate one-size-fits-all presentation in 45 minutes to individuals with SUCH a wide range of backgrounds and skills.

What was fantastic: I really had no idea of how LARGE the blogging community is in Minnesota.  Reading “local” blogs outside of my immediate circle of friends isn’t something I’ve made an effort to do (ever) and honestly, I’m kind of excited to see the cities through the eyes of strangers.

In the meantime, I leave you all in pursuit of eight hours of sleep.  Because if there’s one thing that my body is telling me, it’s that homegirl needs to rest.  I’m tres excited to see where Tenaciously Yours, will take me in the coming months and could write about that for hours, but in the here and now, if I end up with stress-induced-the-seasons-are-changing-I-haven’t-been-resting-sickness, then y’all will have to bear witness to the trainwreck of the year. 

No bueno.

Making Changes

It’s been a little more than a month now into 2010 and all those people that made New Year’s resolutions are starting to come to terms with the fact that they have already fallen off the wagon and messed up their resolution.

At this point they have three options.  The first would be to tell themselves “I only missed a week of working out, or that one pack of cigarettes doesn’t really matter, I just won’t count that” and continue to work on their resolutions cheating the whole way.  The second approach would be to just say screw it and go back to the way they were living their life before they made any crazy promises to themselves. The third approach happens to be my approach, make a new resolution to never make another New Years resolution again.

While I fully support examining your lifestyle and deciding to make changes to better your life, making a decision to do that based on the start of a new calendar year is just ridiculous.  Statistics show that 97% of New Years resolutions fail.  Instead of deciding to change things in your life because “it’s the thing to do at that time” decide to make those changes because it is right for you at the time that is right for you.  Your chances of succeeding are exponentially better and when you do mess up, which you will because we are all human, it will be much easier to just look at it as a setback and not a broken promise.

So far?  I’ve had a 100% success rate with my resolution!