What the U.S. Open Can Teach Us About Life

Juan Martin del Potro defeats Roger Federer to win his first Grand Slam title. Photo by Getty Images (CC)
Juan Martin del Potro defeats Roger Federer to win his first Grand Slam title. Photo by Getty Images (CC)

Football isn’t the only reason why this is may favorite time of year. The U.S. Open is also being played. I love tennis. I grew up playing it and enjoy watching it. Yesterday’s men’s final was no exception.

After the first set, I thought Federer had it in the bag. However, subsequent sets were a rollercoaster of aces, volleys, and well-placed (as well as not so strategic) shots. The end result was that the sixth-ranked player, Juan Martin del Potro won. Not only was it the a 20-year-old Argentine’s first Grand Slam tournament win, but he defeated the two most dominant players—Federer and Nadal— of the game since Sampras and Agassi on his way to the title.

What’s more: he created some excitement in men’s tennis. These aforementioned titans have battled each other in seven Grand Slam finals as the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds. This time neither were left. Instead del Potro held the silver trophy  Monday night; the first Argentine to do so since 1977. He proved that determination, eill and some well-placed shots can make a difference.

For me, it’s turn of events such as this one that I’m grateful. In our world, it’s easy to fall in line and do the expected. Sometimes we need someone like del Potro to quietly rise to the top and achieve greatness as to remind us that we can all do the same.

What the U.S. Open Can Teach Us About Life

Explained: Why I Can’t Stop Eating Ice Cream Until the Carton is Empty

The Ultimate Indulgence

Anyone who knows me knows that I have incredible ability to put away gobs of ice cream in a single sitting. Lactose intolerance, be damned. I never have been able to figure out why I can’t stop myself from shoving in the creamy good stuff, not stopping until I hit the bottom of the carton. It’s strange but while I’m scooping away I’ve always felt that something in my brain clicks off and all eat-right bets are off.

This morning I received the explanation of my binging ways, courtesy of the UT Southwestern Medical Center PR department.

Apparently researchers at this institution have found that fat we eat—specifically palmitic acid, which is found in foods such as butter, cheese, milk and beef—travels to the brain and causes a communication break down between our cells and the hormones leptin and insulin, which suppress appetite. The bottom line: Our whole brain chemistry can change just by eating something delicious. These fatty acids make us resistant to the every mechanism that tells us not to overeat.

Ah-ha! That clicking in the brain wasn’t just my imagination. Thank you for clearing that up.

Explained: Why I Can’t Stop Eating Ice Cream Until the Carton is Empty

Remember When Traveling Was an Event?

Sunrise at Malpensa airport taken by Franco Follini
Sunrise at Malpensa airport taken by Franco Follini

I started my day driving a friend and her mom to the airport. A pretty innocuous event, except that when I arrived at her apartment both of them were dressed. Hair, makeup and nice clothes. No sweats, flip-flops or ponytails between them. It was nice.

When I was young, I flew a lot. My parents were divorced which meant plenty of trips between Chicago or Phoenix and California. It was exciting. Each time I would dress nicely so I look good for whomever was picking me up on the other end. (Well, the exception would be the Christmas I spent with my dad and didn’t brush my very long hair for 10 days.)

Today when I travel I still believe that it is an event—an adventure—and I should be dressed well. Other travelers don’t. Red eye flights aren’t slumber parties. You can dress cute and comfortable (Thank you, Juicy Couture sweatsuits—the perfect overnight flying uniform.), just as my friend and her mom were today. And in my humble opinion, I think people treat you better and vice versa when you are dressed.

While I realize that we aren’t Rachel Zoe and that we’ll be stepping off planes photograph ready for the blare of paparazzi flashes. Consider dressing for yourself, the airline crew and the person at the other end of your travels. You might just be thankful for the good service and the warm smile awaiting you.

Photo by Franco Follini CC
Remember When Traveling Was an Event?

I Wasn’t Going to Post Today…

In fact, I didn’t realize what day it was until Mo at The Daily Snark tweeted this post at Undomestic Diva. How stupid am I? But while I have no idea what day it is, I can say that I can remember with eerie clarity waking up the morning of September 11, 2001.

The clock radio came on blaring NPR and as I was awakening from my slumber I thought I was either still dreaming or listening to “War of the Worlds” except the players were airplanes, the Pentagon and one of the Twin Towers.

“Are you listening to this?” I asked my partner.

“Yep.”

It was no dream. We rushed out of bed and turned on the television just as a commercial plane hit the second tower. (It’s an image I still cannot bear to watch or erase from my memory.) From there, the rest of the day is a blur. It’s the emotions I remember: the sadness, the anger, the vulnerability.

I haven’t felt that way since that day eight years ago. And it isn’t because I’ve done anything different, it’s because of the men and women who serve our country in the military and law enforcement—from our local police, CIA, FBI and Treasury Officers—that I haven’t. I know that I am not the only one who is thankful to those people for keeping us safe. The next time you meet (or see) any one of these public servants, thank them. It can be verbally or even buying them a drink (or picking up their tab). In my opinion, they have earned not just our gratitude but our respect.

I Wasn’t Going to Post Today…

My Favorite Time of Year

Last night was the first official game of the college football season. I love September.

For some reason, I have always been partial to the NCAA over the pros. Maybe it’s because I like to see the teams develop over the season and over the year. Or that I cheer for schools I would have liked to go to: UCLA (granted, this is my hometown team and I worked there for a few years), Northwestern, and Boston College. [We also follow Notre Dame, Florida and Illinois for various other reasons.] Or, maybe it’s because each game is a surprise: you don’t know who will win and it’s always interesting to see the amount of heart and emotion that these young players bring to the game. It’s this last reason that I am a fan. That is what makes a sport—whether it’s football, tennis or golf—compelling. So this fall, I’ll watch the boys do battle on the field and enjoy every minute of it.

My Favorite Time of Year