May 31, 2011

Hockey Talk, Badonkadonk.

I received an email over the weekend from a reader and decided to publish her questions along with my response straight onto my blog. I hope that by doing so, more ladies who have wanted to contact me directly in the past but haven't felt comfortable enough to do so, will know that a line of communication is always open for advice, or just to talk. I am available at ky@travel-babbles.com, and I use that email address for GChat as well :)

Hi Kym,

I've been wanting to email you for a long time to thank you for your blog. I feel like we have a lot in common (I used to dance, my fiance plays hockey in the Czech Republic, I love our dog like he's my son), and reading what you write really inspires me to have a life outside of my relationship, which I feel like I didn't before. My fiance is actually from Slovakia, and we met while he was playing hockey over here in Canada. We've been together for 4 1/2 years now. I've tried living over there, but fell into a really deep depression, mostly because I was so lonely and had nothing to do with my life. I am planning on moving back to Europe to be with him in October, but we've hit a rough patch in our relationship,and I don't know if we are going to make it to October. I was just wondering if you had any advice, like maybe you could blog about a time in your relationship that you thought the long distance or the hockey thing was going to rip you and TJ apart, if there ever was such a time in your relationship. To tell you the truth I just feel really lonely right now and there aren't a whole lot of people who understand my situation, but I know you understand it completely. I just don't know if this relationship is worth fighting for, especially when it seems like my fiance really doesn't have the energy to put into it anymore. Ok well enough of this novel, you're probably wondering why this crazy person is writing you- sorry!!! I just really enjoy your blog and appreciate that it has such helpful hints about being with a hockey player. - Rachel"

 
Dear Rachel,

I thank you so much for the introduction to your email. It's messages like yours that make the long butt-numbing hours of blogging worth it :)

First, I am glad that you recognize how very important it is to have a life and hobbies outside of your fiancé's career. You actually said 'relationship', and I hope that you aren't mixing your relationship and your fiancé's hockey career to make them one in the same. Please remember that even though you make the decision to leave your family, friends, home, work, and security to travel with your fiancé for his career, you aren't a packaged deal. It's his career. It's not 'your' career, it's not 'our' career. It's his. 

I can sympathize with your depression. I joked mid-way through the year that I had "hockeyseasonal depression," but it really wasn't a joke. Around January, I was sad every single day because I was missing home, the weather was terrible, and even though we were living in a beautiful and historic city just beaming with places to explore with the girlfriends that I made in Hannover, I just didn't really have the energy or interest to do so. If you go back in my archives, you will see that this is where I really started to take blogging seriously. This is no coincidence.

I'm going to talk to you like you're a good girlfriend: You said that there was "nothing to do with your life", snap out of it girlfriend!!! What are your interests? What are the bits and pieces that make you, YOU? You mentioned that you used to dance, perhaps you can look into area studios. What else do you enjoy doing? My favorite aspect of traveling with TJ this year was that I was able to experience being alone, thinking for myself, and finding myself. I rediscovered an old love for writing that I had all through high school while in AP/Honors English and as Senior Yearbook Editor - and I now have this blog that I take so much pride in.

I am going to answer your heavy relationship question in a two-fold manner. If you are having doubts about your relationship with the man you are considering marrying and spending the rest of your life with, you need to sort those feelings out before you head back over to Europe. In my opinion, there would be nothing worse than going all the way to Czech with this horrible feeling about when/if the relationship with your fiance is going to end. 

You didn't really say why your relationship is on the rocks, but considering that you asked me to blog about a time when long distance or hockey had almost ripped TJ and I apart, I am making assumptions and telling you this: Just like your fiancé's career doesn't define you, it doesn't define your relationship. Hockey and distance are simply different and atypical dynamics of your relationship. These two elements don't make your relationship, but they can certainly break your relationship if you choose to let them do so.

TJ and I certainly had trying times. I accused him, gave him the run around, and I wasn't fair to him for the first few months of our relationship. Why? Because of the stigma that comes naturally when you think of professional athletes and men like Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, A-Rod, and Steve McNair. I was scared of the professional hockey player, I put up a guard to the professional hockey player, and I pushed the professional hockey player away. At some point I got over it, I learned to trust him - as TJ - for the man that he is, and I discovered that just while he is a professional athlete, he's a human being first. If I still felt like he was untrustworthy and comparable to likes of Tiger, we certainly would not be planning a wedding right now.

I am here to offer you the advice of a friend who understands completely what you are going through, but I can't provide you with any words that will help you decide if your relationship is worth fighting for - you need to look for the answers within yourself and talk with your fiancé to see if he has the energy, excitement, and love for you that you deserve.
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May 24, 2011

Motivation to get you through anything.

Let's face it:

Today you will be tested with a struggle that is beyond your control. 

I challenge you to accept that in which you cannot control, and focus instead on what you can.

"Easier said than done," you are probably thinking to yourself...

Well, watch it being done here:

When Nick was born his father left the room to vomit. His mother refused to hold him until he was four months old. Despite his missing limbs, he was a healthy baby boy.

Nick at just six months old

Just stop and think for a moment about the torment, depression and loneliness that Nick has gone through the past 26 years of his life. When he was younger he prayed to and begged God every day for his arms and legs to grow. He bottled up, and tried to give up by drowning himself when he was ten. Nick then changed his attitude and realized that God had a purpose and a plan for him. He quickly embraced his beautiful life and the gifts that he has been given. He learned how to brush his own teeth, write with a pencil, play a round of golf, swim, type on the computer, surf, and he's obtained two university degrees. In just this year alone he will be visiting over twenty different countries to speak to and motivate individuals all around the world.

Nick at school as a ten-year-old child. His parents decided not to send him to a special school - a decision he said was very hard for him, but which may have been the best decision they could have made for him

Water sports aren't Nick's only thing - he also plays golf with a club tucked under his chin, and is a huge fan of the English Premier League

Nick bobs happily about in the pool

Please don't sit and compare your life or struggles to those that Nick has. You own and are entitled to your grief, struggles and frustrations - but just imagine how much more difficult your life would be today if you were born without limbs. FACT: Your life could always be worse. Remember that there is purpose to our daily struggles and that a 'problem' isn't THE problem, your reaction to the problem is your problem. A positive attitude is the single most effective factor in handling your daily frustrations and fears - this and this alone is where you can compare yourself to Nick and use him as an example.

Nick pictured during his travels in India. He has visited 24 different countries, touring the world as a motivational speaker

Sometimes we don't realize how lucky we are until we see someone like Nick. It is very easy to take things for granted and lose perspective about what is important in life. Nick's pride, motivation, self confidence and zest for life has touched my heart and humbled me. I hope that he has done the same for you.

Nick enjoys the Hawaiian sun in his customised electric wheelchair

All images were found here
To learn more about Nick click here

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May 18, 2011

The Mayonnaise Jar Experiment

I saw this e-mail "forward" posted at the lovely Nelson Diaries and wanted to pass it along to all of my 'golf balls'. :) Read on...


The Mayonnaise Jar Experiment

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
When 24 hours in a day is not enough;
remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class
and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly,
he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
and started to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full..
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured
it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again
if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand
and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded
With an unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table
and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively
filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided,
'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things - God, family,
children, health, friends, and favorite passions
Things that if everything else was lost
and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else --
The small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued,
'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff,
You will never have room for the things that are
important to you..

So...

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time
to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

'Take care of the golf balls first --
The things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand
and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.

'I'm glad you asked'.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'
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May 4, 2011

Confession: I Google my Fiancé.

{Preface: This post is strictly about hockey. If you have no interest in hockey please click the X above...Though I encourage you to keep reading, this is a good one.}

Yep, that's right. I admit it. I fire up Google a couple of times a week and I search for TJ in a variety of different search phrases.

You think I'm crazy, don't you? Well, please let me explain before writing me off as a crazy hockey wife.

There is this oh so fabulous site called Talk-Sports.com. Haven't heard of it? Well, let me give you the quick run down: It is a gossip forum for most professional sports teams. Talk-Sports.com is not just any sports gossip forum, this one is a gem. It not only has most every sport on it, but it is separated by every league, every team, and every player. Then, every individual player has a special "Sucks" and "Girlfriend" forum that 'anonymous' people can leave nasty comments on. Seriously? Yes.

So, clearly if there is a special forum about me I am going to check it every so often...I mean, wouldn't you? I hardly checked it when we moved to Germany because luckily the site doesn't cover most European teams {yet} - but the routine of searching for him didn't stop. 

"Why?", you ask. Well, with good reason - and I swear I'm not {totally} off my rocker - I continue to search for him because the internet is how we find out most of our personal hockey information. Yep, the internet/media has been our source of information even before teams and TJ's agents.

Point in case?...Keep reading...

TJ's last year in Worcester he played a stellar playoff game. Management from San Jose told both him and his agent that he had just earned himself a contract for the following year. 

We were ecstatic. 

We upgraded to a fancier apartment with a one year lease, I applied for teaching positions in the Worcester school system, and TJ paid an outrageous amount of money for every day off ice training and was skating in a pro summer league twice a week in Boston. We couldn't have been happier.

That is until I received a frantic phone call from TJ on July 1st {when free agency begins} telling me to get on NHL.com. He had just received a text message from a friend that said, "What are your plans for next year dude? I just saw you weren't requalified." 

Yep, we found out his career with the Sharks organization was over on NHL.com.

I won't get into the whirlwind that followed because I'm sure you can just imagine - but needless to say, we ended up in the ECHL the following season, and in Germany this past season....

...Which brings me to the following rant...

I am so incredibly tired of finding within my Google searches of the Fiancé, the same Union College Hockey Blogger who not only alludes that TJ is a disappointment, but assumes that he surely must be regretting his decision to leave college two years early to turn Pro:

"Well, it looks like Fox's pro career has gone a bit south. Do you think he's questioning his decision to leave school early?" via

"Looking back on Fox's decision to leave school early, it looks like it hasn't worked out. Maybe guys like Keith Kinkaid should talk to guys like Fox to help figure out if it's worth leaving school early." via

"Or, you can be like former Union star T.J. Fox, who left school after the 2006-2007 season to sign with the San Jose Sharks only to knock around the minors for a few years and never make it to the NHL." via

Has this Blogger ever considered the fact that just because TJ hasn't made it to the NHL, does not mean that he should regret his decision to leave school? Has he ever considered the fact that there are only X number of people playing in the NHL and another Y number in the AHL at any given point? That is only X+Y people playing in the top two tiers of hockey, out of the thousands of hockey players coming out of US, Canadian and International systems. Being amongst that top percentage is no small achievement, if I do say so myself.

Also, let me point out the fact that not every career requires a college degree, and that not every college degree guarantees a job. TJ can finish his schooling at any time, and from anywhere. Had he received his Economics degree along with the horde of 2009 graduates, he'd most likely have had to scrap for an entry level position along with an entry level salary. Call me crazy, but I'd take the career path that TJ chose, too.

He started skating when he was two years old - his parents took him here, there, and everywhere for training, tournaments, and the like. He was offered a chance to fulfill a dream after years of hard work, dedication, and excelling at both Junior and college level hockey. His contract offer was an opportunity that thousands of little boys with the same big dream will never receive.

Regardless of what minor league team he is playing with - what is there to regret in his decision? He wakes up every morning and loves going to work. How many people can honestly say that?


TJ does not regret his decision to leave college early to play professional hockey. If he had been your teammate on the CLUB hockey team, then yes, he would.

Before further ruining your credibility as a sports writer, may I suggest in the future that you consult with the sources you are writing about for accurate information before publishing your assumptions for public display. Because, as you've proven in TJs situation - you clearly haven't got a clue.

and, might I add....

TJ left Union four years ago, it's time to find some new writing material.


This blog post was approved by TJ.
He does not dwell on his decision, and neither should you.
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May 2, 2011

Sweaty Summer Hair I heart.

Au natural is here to stay (for the summer, anyway.) 

While most of us can't afford to have someone do our hair and makeup every day, I am fairly confident that all of us can pull of what I would like to call an effortless and "hot-messy'do"!

Heidi Klum
{Create a messy shell bun, twist the end around the pony holder and secure with bobby pins.}

Kristen Bell
{Let hair air dry then tease your roots at the crown. Keeping a bit of height (no Snooki poofs, ladies!), secure the very top half of your hair with bobby pins while letting a few pieces in the front frame your face.}

Blake Lively 
{Texture and tease your hair then pull it into a very messy French twist and secure with bobby pins}

Jessica Alba
(Part your hair down the center and create two braids on either side of your head. Pin these braids into a low ponytail or bun pulled in the back.}

Uma Thurman 
{Wrap sections of hair around a curling iron to achieve a curly texture then pull hair into a loose and low pony tail while allowing a few pieces to fall and frame your face. Finish by braiding the pony tail and securing it with an elastic.}

Do you have a "hot-messy'do" hair technique to share? Leave a comment below!

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