Monday, May 16, 2016

DNA Update: Shocking news!

You guys! I got it! I got my DNA results. And, you'll never believe what the results said about me.

Drumroll please ...

I'm 95 percent European.

Wah wah.

Ok, so, maybe you could have guessed that. I mean, I was pretty sure that that's what it was going to come out to. So, there's nothing really shocking at all. Talk about click-bait. Jeez.

In reality, there are still some interesting tidbits of info in the results. If you're really interested, you can check out the full results here.

But, here's the overview:

So, look at that. Of the 95 percent European, I am 33 percent Irish. Now, I feel like with the red hair and freckles, this would probably be most people's first guess as to my heritage. But, honestly, through the genealogy research that I've seen from my family, I was expecting mostly British and Norwegian (My grandma's maiden name was Kvool. That's pretty darn Norwegian. There's no denying that.). And, you can see that those are the next biggest portions at 31 percent and 23 percent. So, those I was expecting, but, I truly was surprised at the Irish. Honestly, we have tons of stories about being related to Robert Bruce from Scotland, but none about being related to some Irish king.

Ok, confession time. I actually just googled Irish Kings to see if that was even a thing. I had no idea what type of rulers my ancestors had. AND, I couldn't read a single name that came up on the Wikipedia page. It was seriously like a foreign language. 
Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill and Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair  
These are two of the names that came up. That is not English. No, seriously. I have no idea how to say those words (names?). 
Man, I am such a bad Irishwoman. I've got to get me some learning on my whole ancestral homeland thing. Anyone up for a trip to the Emerald Isle? I'm sure I could learn a lot in person ...

A redhaired, blue/green-eyed, freckled Irishwoman with beer. Seems about right, I guess.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The grand adventures of Freckles the Dog

Once upon a time, there was a sweet dog with white fur, brown spots and freckles on his nose. His name, not surprisingly, was Freckles.

Poor Freckles the Dog was lonely. He was lost and didn't have a family. He lived on his own and walked around outside all day without anyone to love him or take care of him. He saw other dogs in houses or on leashes. He wanted to be one of those dogs. It made him so sad.

One day, a nice woman found him. She saw through his matted fur and his scared demeanor. She knew he was a good dog. So, she took him off the street and took him to a big farm in the country. There, the woman and her husband fed him and gave him a bath. This woman did this for many dogs. The farm was full of dogs to run around with and play with. But, Freckles was still lonely.

See, what Freckles wanted more than anything was a family all his own to love.

Now, Freckles didn't know this, but somewhere out there, there was a family with a mom, a dad, and two little girls who very much wanted a dog of their own. The mom heard about this special farm with lots of dogs who needed homes. She just knew that they would find their special dog at this place. So, she convinced everyone in the family to drive for an hour to reach this farm.

When they pulled into the long driveway, the mom immediately spied a very special dog. He was white with brown spots and black freckles on his nose. The lady who worked at the farm said his name was Freckles and that he was an extraordinary dog.

"What Freckles wants is a home of his very own," she explained.

The mom and the dad and the two girls got down on the ground and petted Freckles. He promptly snuggled into the loving hands. Freckles looked in the eyes of these people. He knew. This was his family.
Meeting the family for the first time.

The family thought so, too.

They took Freckles home with him that night.

First family picture.

At first, it was a bit of a transition. Freckles had always wanted a family of his own, but he didn't really know how to live in a house with a family. The family had to teach Freckles about going to the bathroom outside. Not in the dining room. Freckles really didn't like staying in a crate, so he found ways out every time the family tried to put him in. The family could never figure out how he managed to escape, and Freckles never told his secrets. The family also learned that Freckles was an amazing jumper. He could jump from four feet on the floor to the top of the counter. Especially if there were pizza or hot dogs on the counter.

Both Freckles and the family had to learn how to live together. But, soon, nobody could imagine it any other way. The girls liked to play games with him. And, they even liked to sleep beside him.

Freckles never quite got the hang of twister.

He did like company while he slept. Especially if it was thundering outside.

Most days, while the dad went to work and the kids went to school, the mom stayed at the house. So, the mom and Freckles became best friends. She even took Freckles on long runs. Oh, did Freckles love those runs. He would smile and trot and chase bunnies the whole time. You've never seen a happier dog than Freckles during a run. Even when the mom made him go a really long way, he still was happy. Though, when he made it home, he would often collapse on the kitchen floor and rest for quite a while.

Freckles was so happy when he got to go for a run with his mom.

Freckles would give the mom a guilt trip if she wanted to skip a run.

Sometimes, even the older girl would take him for a run.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kathrine Switzer and my tiny feminists

So, way back in 2013, I stumbled across the book Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer. I fell in love with book. Like, really in love with it. So much so, in fact, that I wrote an entire blog post about it. (I reposted it in its entirety below. If you haven't read it, it's got all the cool facts about Kathrine and her Boston run. Read it.)

But, you know, life moves on. I ran a couple marathons after that blog post. Read a couple more books. Then, a few months ago, I heard the news that Kathrine Switzer was coming to Kansas City to give a talk for Girls on the Run. What?!?! My favorite running idol coming to Kansas City?!? Could this really be happening? As my mother's day present, my mom said she would take me to the event. Wahoo!

The morning of the event, I was explaining to Charlotte that Papa would actually be picking her up from school. "Why?" she asked. So, I proceeded to explain to her and Molly that I would be going with Gigi to this talk.

"I'm going to listen to the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. She's going to give a talk, and I can't wait to hear it. Do you remember when I told you that women didn't used to be allowed to run in marathons? This woman was one of the first to do it."
"That is so unfair!" Molly said. "Women can do anything men can do."
"That's true, but, lots of time, people don't think that way," I replied.
"But, now women are allowed to do anything they want," Molly said.
"Well, maybe in America," I said, "but in a lot of countries around the world, women and girls aren't allowed to do things like sports, go to school or drive. And, if they are allowed to run, sometimes they have to be covered completely from head to toe so no one can see their bodies." 
"What?!?!?" Molly exclaimed.
"But girls are allowed to play soccer," Charlotte said. (Because despite the skipping down the field and avoiding the ball at all costs, Charlotte loves soccer.) 
"Well, yes, in America girls are allowed to play soccer. We're very fortunate to live here. But, even in America, the US women's soccer team gets paid WAY less than the men's even though they've performed better and more people watch them."
"Why?" Molly asked.
"I don't really know, Molly. That's a good question. But, people are fighting to try to change that."
"Molly," Charlotte said, "What would you do if you were president?"
Molly paused and thought ... "I would pay teachers more and make sure women got paid just as much as men because it is not fair that they don't." 

At which point, I gave giant high fives to my two little feminist fighters. I also started really regretted not taking Molly out of school to come with us to see Kathrine.

The event itself was awesome. Kathrine Switzer was every bit as inspiring and energetic in person as she came across in her book. I really just kind of want to be her best friend. She talked about her current venture 261 Fearless is trying to encourage all women to accomplish whatever they dream. And, also about how small victories as a younger child helped her to have the confidence to believe that she could do anything, including running the Boston Marathon. It was awesome for me to hear all things about confidence and inner strength, but it really would've been good for Molly, as an almost 9 year old, to hear. Not to mention, she was an incredibly exciting and engaging speaker. Truly. If I could be that engaging in real life ... Wow.

Anyway, Kathrine was a total sweetheart and took pictures with me and my mom before her talk. I love her.

I'm such a dork. I couldn't help the giant cheese face.

Taking one with both me and my mom.

PS. This woman is 69 years old. Yeah, I want to be her.

She also signed my book to Amy, Molly and Charlotte. Because I'd actually read her book several years ago and had borrowed it from the library, I had to buy a copy there for her to sign. But, it was totally worth it. Obviously.

I thought it was only appropriate to have it inscribed to all of us.

The whole event was fabulous and amazing. I was smiling for hours after. I'm so glad I got to go. Now, if only I'd known I to bring my two budding feminists with me. Next time. Next time.