Thursday, September 29, 2011

Premature Flash Bulb

This is a plant. It was taken 2 days before my wedding. I loved the post-production I lucked into.
That's all I've got!
Sorry it's a day early, but I've got big plans this weekend! Fill you in soon! ::wink::

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just for Today

Just for today. ::Fill in the blank:: I am OK.

Over the years, I have adopted several "life slogans." I'm kinda the queen of quoting, so when I read "Choice, not chance, determines destiny" on a piece of pottery at a Renaissance Fair in high school, it quickly became my default saying of choice. (Read more about that HERE) I've since also adopted the line, "No regrets. They don't work. No regrets. They only hurt." From a Robbie song, no doubt. But in the past 10+ years, I have maintained a strange dedication to both of these mottos. I realize my choices determine my legacy. And that conveniently encompasses the no regrets from the past theory, since I know I made those choices to map out my future.

I've always had a hard time living for the present. I don't dwell constantly in the past, although I do like to bring up a good story now and again. Nope, the future is where I live. The calendars and the plans months in advance. Today? Well, today is just something I've been prepping for so intently for so long that it's almost a relief just to get here. It will happen how I figured it would. Or it won't. And the choices I made to get to today will create the path to tomorrow. Once tomorrow comes, I can't regret what I did today. I have to trust that my decisions will get me to where I ultimately want to go. So when someone threw out the "Just for today" motto, I was a bit taken aback. How does someone who takes today for granted find solace and peace in this moment, right now?

Just for today, I have great, supportive friends. I am OK.

Just for today, I have a husband who loves and trusts me. I am OK.

Just for today, I have passion and drive. I am OK.

Just for today, I have my health. I am OK.

Just for today, I have Oreo dessert bars. I am OK.

Just for today, I have no regrets. I am OK.

I can visualize a room full of people, recovering addicts, sharing their stories. I can visualize the type of person who needs constant reassurance that their life is on the right path. I can relate because I have an obsessive personality. I can relate because I am constantly reassuring myself that this is the life I chose and the life I want to lead. In a way, I live my life one day at a time... just a few months ahead of schedule. Stopping to smell the metaphoric roses and relishing in the here and now is just not something I've ever been able to grasp. With so much out there, so much to enjoy, so much to absorb, how can I sit still long enough to be thankful for today?

Dammit, I've got to try.

I run myself ragged with my insane work schedule, time with friends, time with family, and that constant necessity to travel. It's unrealistic to think I could stop the pre-planning. My life just doesn't work that way. But maybe, just maybe, I can pick a day, any day, and live just for that day. Embrace every moment, relish every handshake and hug, steal every glance, genuinely mean every smile, feel every ounce of love.

Just for today, I will try to see the world differently. And I will be OK.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Now

I've mentioned it before, but whenever I'm having a rough day, all I want to do is crank up the radio and sing and dance along. I can bust out the hand gestures to "Climbing Mount Everest" or "We Didn't Start the Fire" or "It's My Life" and have at least a FEW back-up dancers thanks to my crazy ass friends who went along with it because they got free rides and didn't have to chip in for gas. I'm a middle-aged man at heart when I'm strumming some air guitar or banging the drums on the steering wheel.
I go through phases as to what my perk-me-up song is. Right now, I'm still in my Take That phase and the song, "Happy Now" is just infectious and literally makes me smile whenever I hear it. So, to start your day off right today, giggle at little at Robbie and friends in this ridiculous video for this ridiculously happy song.

Monday, September 26, 2011

All I Need

Miss OCD here, back with another list. This time, it's from late 2000/early 2001, written in a coffee shop in a college town, surrounded by giggling girlfriends. In the process of checking out some hotties at an adjacent table, we started listing on a napkin the traits we "needed" in a man. A typed list at home followed, and I came up with the Top 100 traits I needed a man to possess. Ten years and one marriage later, it's pretty hilarious to see what my 19-year old self thought was most important. Some of the things still are (like #25) but others, not so much (like #44).

In all it's unedited glory..... Gail's Top 100 Must-Have Man Traits...

  1. Italian
  2. Likes professional football, knows stuff about professional football
  3. Won't harass me about my fascination with the Dallas Cowboys
  4. Catholic
  5. Wants at least 2 kids
  6. Will be a good father, active in his kids lives
  7. College educated
  8. Nice smile, straight teeth
  9. Piercing eyes
  10. Likes to travel & willing to help me accomplish my travel goals
  11. Willing to pay the money to go to concerts
  12. Willing to pay for cable - I need ESPN
  13. Can deal with my family, will spend Christmas with my family
  14. Has good family values, brought up right
  15. Hasn't had too many sexual partners
  16. Well dressed, will wear khakis & an oxford on occasion (I won the jackpot with Puff on this one! LOL!)
  17. Likes other alcoholic beverages besides just beer
  18. Wants to sit on Sundays and watch football and all the sports shows
  19. Has a decent car
  20. Not an only child
  21. Willing to compromise on baby names, willing to let me use Troy & Kennedy
  22. Doesn't want to read my journals & respects my privacy
  23. Likes to cuddle
  24. Sends flowers & notes, can be sweet and romantic
  25. Left handed
  26. Can appreciate St. Simons, GA
  27. Can cook and likes to cook
  28. Has a good name (Again, Puff kinda wins points here too)
  29. Is a gentleman, opens doors, pulls out chairs
  30. Will compromise on wedding plans
  31. Likes similar music & is willing to expand his musical horizons
  32. Taller than me
  33. Good kisser
  34. Good at making love, satisfying
  35. Sense of direction (This is my all-time favorite on this list. Why in the world would that have even come to my mind?!?!)
  36. Likes motorcycles, maybe even has one
  37. Knows how to spoil me in moderation
  38. Sense of humor, can make me laugh
  39. Sarcastic, understands my sarcasm, quick wit, quick comebacks
  40. Doesn't snore
  41. Well built, nice body
  42. Will hold hands in public
  43. Gives massages
  44. Will play with my feet (This is pretty hilarious since Puff is repulsed by feet!)
  45. Doesn't like really soft beds
  46. Not a chronic masturbator (There was a story behind this at one time I'm sure!)
  47. Has a good job that he likes
  48. Appreciate my photography & writing
  49. Will toss football with me
  50. Will let me decorate the house
  51. Will stay in bed with me, cuddle, and watch Sportscenter
  52. Similar ideas and opinions on raising kids
  53. Likes similar movies & TV shows
  54. Goal oriented, strives to succeed and reach his goals
  55. Willing to spend quiet time at home
  56. Doesn't intimidate me
  57. Trusts me
  58. Not possessive
  59. Good vocabulary, articulate (Who needs pick-up lines when you have a vocabulary?)
  60. Good communication skills, can hold my interest in conversation
  61. Not afraid to initiate intimacy
  62. Organized
  63. Clean
  64. Likes to read
  65. Doesn't initiate stupid arguments
  66. Can back up his opinion, can make his point but doesn't beat a dead horse
  67. Non-smoker
  68. Not a drug addict
  69. Tattoos are nice, not too many though
  70. Charming
  71. Compliments me even when I don't look great
  72. Doesn't constantly point out other hot chicks (Am I not the pot calling the kettle black on this one?)
  73. Secure with himself
  74. No strange sexual fetishes
  75. Respects me, my opinions, and my wishes
  76. Not too much facial hair
  77. Doesn't care if I don't shave my legs every day
  78. Is OK with me looking like a bum sometimes, I don't always have the energy to get sexed up all the time
  79. Doesn't ignore me when we are with his friends
  80. Gets along with my friends
  81. Wears glasses (Still a total fucking turn-on to this day!)
  82. Must appreciate Christmas, enjoy gift-giving and spending time with family
  83. Backs me up in my endeavors
  84. Similar sex drive
  85. Willing to make sacrifices
  86. Will play in the rain
  87. Not afraid to sing
  88. Romantic & creative marriage proposal (Puff pointed out that he did propose in the spot that was featured in an ad for the Smurfs movie. Does that count?)
  89. Creative
  90. Spontaneous (Which is ridiculous because there's not a fucking spontaneous bone in my entire body!)
  91. Aware of current events
  92. Mature
  93. Sophisticated
  94. Knows how to act in public, knows when which behavior is appropriate
  95. Likes to dance
  96. Ability to spell
  97. Doesn't mind my photos being out
  98. Polite, cordial, and nice
  99. Wears clothes well
  100. Prepared for anything

At the request of my shrink, I made "Top 10 Must-Haves" and "Top 10 Can't-Stands" lists the summer before I met Puff. I'll have to dig those back out, because they are definitely much more accurate. However, this list has stood the test of time in some ways. I'm surprised I didn't have "blonde hair" or "blye eyes" listed, since those were once my weakness. I suppose I didn't want to be TOO superficial!

What would top your list for a must have in a partner?

And can you believe "Accent" is no where to be found on this list? Ridiculously careless oversight on my end. Obviously.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday

One of the most awe-inspiring places I've ever been in this world is Milford Sound in New Zealand. It's one of those fairy tale places you never think really exists. Calm, deep blue water surrounded by majestic dark green cliffs. Sea creatures abounding, dolphins jumping in the wake of your boat.
This is Fairy Falls, which is a falls only accessible and visible from a boat out in the sound. Apparently it was named as such, because sailors who came into the sound (who were probably drunk) thought how the light shone behind the water droplets made it look like dancing fairies.
In a place as magical as New Zealand, I wouldn't be surprised to see some fairies myself. My 10 year wedding anniversary can't get here quick enough so I can go back and enjoy it with Puff!
Also, can you believe tomorrow marks the one year "Blogiversary" of Rushing Life? It's hard to believe it's been that long already! A big shout out to the thousands of people who visit my site every month. You guys totally rock! Thanks for thinking I'm interesting! (Check out the "Virgin Entry" HERE for some nostalgia!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fatal Blow

We all have faults. It's just that some accept them and realize them differently than other people. These faults make us human. They make us unique. They shape the people we become.
In my man-hunting years, I used to like to ask guys their "fatal flaw." I'm pretty sure since I batted my eyes and stuck out my chest (in a low-cut shirt, of course) they were willing to play along. Some had ego issues. Some had confidence issues. Some had alcohol issues. Some had God issues. Some were womanizers. Some were giant nerds. Some were physically "off" in some way or another. Some were just boring. Puff says his is that he's too talkative. (Guess that must be what we have in common!)
So, it was easy to quiz my suitors about their flaws, but am I (wo)man enough to turn the tables to ask myself that same question? It almost feels like that job interview question you dread, where my answer is always that I have trouble delegating because I'd rather just work super hard and get it done myself. It took me some years to decide what my "fatal" flaw would be. Sure I've got other flaws. I will never, ever, think I am the hottest girl or the skinniest girl or the smartest girl or the funniest girl. No, not in the least. However, I will always think I am the most interesting girl in the room. I think I am the girl the guys should want to hang out with and talk to. I have something to say and I think you should hear it. No, wait, I know you want to hear it.
When I mentioned this to Puff recently, he looked at me bewildered and said, "Wow, I never knew you were that self-absorbed!" I'm not sure I ever thought of it that way. It's not like I'm always sitting around talking about myself. (OK, so the blog is a bit different!) I just tend to feel like I am significantly more well-rounded in my interests than a lot of women. Or at least in topics that men want to discuss. I honestly know about sports. I know enough about cars to get me by. And in a pinch, I can pull out some comic book references. (Maybe The Ex was good for something after all!) I have a wide variety of musical and movie tastes. I get pop culture. And in general, I just like to "shoot the shit." (Kimhead said guys like that.) I'm interested in a lot of different things and therefore, you should be interested in discussing those things with me!
So, what are your fatal flaws? Man enough to admit them???

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Best Party Ever

Sperm must've been flying through the air from fall 2010 through spring 2011. I'm not quite sure how I didn't get hit by this massive explosion! I know at least one person each month this year (with the exception of December) who is having a baby. In August, there were three little ones born within the same week. Cuties abound!
That's my "niece." Don't you just want to squish her?
Anyway, I recently found a long lost friend via Facebook and we had a brief chat one night to catch up. Her first sentence was an immediate reminder of why I've missed her these past 8 years; "Remember that time I drew a mustache on your picture of Troy Aikman? Thanks for still being my friend." Gosh, I missed her!
Right, so, in the middle of our conversation, I reconfirmed that she had not had any kids yet. We talked about how everyone had been having babies lately and all these baby gifts we've had to buy and such. Then, she made reference to the most hilarious thing I've heard in ages...
"Screw baby showers. How about a vasectomy shower? Now, that's a party I'd go to!"
Amen, girl. Amen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Man Candy Monday

It's been like a whole two weeks since I posted a hottie, so I thought maybe you were feeling a little underwhelmed by my ramblings and needed a dose of hottness to perk you back up!
Anyway, I know my man Troy isn't as cute these days as he once was, but that doesn't take away the special place I hold for him in my heart. I had this exact poster hung for years in dorm rooms and subsequent apartments. (I did like to litter my walls with hottness!) I wish I could've found my favorite pic of him from a magazine where his blue eyes just stared through your soul.
Regardless, this is how I find him the most sexy... younger, dirtier, primed and ready to make a play. I've never adored and admired another football player in quite the same way, nor will I probably ever again in my future. And one day, if Puff and I are blessed enough to have a son, the name "Troy" will definitely come into play.
So, for today, I'm just going to be a bit nostalgic to those mid-90s years when nothing could get in his way. And oh wow... how he sent my heart aflutter! In the whole of this world, there is probably no one other than Troy Aikman (and Robbie Williams) that would make me just buckle if I met them in person. To be honest, I kinda hope that never happens. I kinda like my fantasy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday

Puff is wrapping up a week-long trip to Germany. (Please don't come to rape & pillage me tonight!) In honor of his excursion, I thought I would post a picture we took when we were in Germany together back in May. (That day was recapped HERE.) In the small town of Schwerin, we popped into their cathedral to escape the wind.
I'm not madly in love with this shot, but there's something about it I kinda like. Just a peaceful reminder of a sweet, loving day of not much happening in some random town in Germany. Recently, someone told me that my life is a lot more exciting than I think it is. And for some reason, this picture, and thinking about that day on the train in Germany, made me start to accept that fact. Here's to many more grand adventures to come!

Bonus pic...

Some spoiled little man sent this to my email this morning from a hike in the Alps. Wish my company loved me enough to send me off to someplace like this! He promised to take me there someday, as long as I take him to see the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

Dude... you got a deal!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Friday Night Lights

I just came to a strange realization: I bleed blue and white.
No, not because of my college. They're garnet & black. I bleed that a little bit. And of course I bleed blue & silver for my Cowboys. But in talking to a colleague about sports allegiances, I realized that even after all these years, I still have a significant amount of pride for my high school football team.
As ridiculous as that sounds, I found myself reading an article from a newspaper back home and when I saw our team ranked #1 in the area, I was beaming. I don't know any of the kids who play nowadays. I haven't been to a game in 11 years. Yet, whenever I hear or see something about our team, I feel like sticking my chest out proudly and saying, "Yeah, I'm part of that."
Growing up in a relatively small town, The Fort bursts at the seams with school pride for our one and only high school. When my parent's neighbor had a baby boy a few years ago, they erected a giant sign in their yard that said "Future QB" with the school's logo painted right next to it. Throughout the fall, businesses and front lawns are dotted with school paraphernalia. Friday nights, the streets around the school are slam packed with cars as the lights flick on over the field. Current, past, and future students pack the stands in a sea of blue and white. 
We won the state championship 3 out of the 4 years I was in high school. (And have won countless others over the years!) Our little tiny school has a rock solid football program that you can't help but appreciate. Sure, the coach was a dickhead sometimes, and there may or may not be some recruitment from neighboring towns. For awhile after my graduation, I would check the USA Today polls every so often to see where we ranked nationally. The Fort has been represented on a national stage; the school I knew so well stocked with less than 1000 kids when I was wandering the halls. 
I haven't checked since this season has started to see what our record is. Most years, I don't need to, because I always know the loss column has a big ol' goose egg in it. I wasn't a player (obviously) and I wasn't even a cheerleader. But I was a fan. And even though I don't spend my Friday nights shivering on those bleachers anymore with trips to Big Boy afterwards, I still hold those nights close to my heart. My high school days weren't the best days of my life, but that doesn't mean I want to just write them off. Not when I was a part of something much bigger by just being there... When we won our titles. When our QB threw passes that would seal his fate as a player in the NFL. When the scoreboard lit up 72 to 0.
No matter how old I get or how many miles removed I live, I will always, always, be proud to be a "cake eater."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Goodbye Gosselin

I just have to share my glee. No more Kate Gosselin on television! Woo Hoo! Who's with me?

Now, I realize it's a bit absurd to be talking about my hatred for her when over the past X number of years, I've seen every single episode of her show. However, that's just because she's a very obvious train wreck and reality shows are my not-so-secret guilty pleasure. Plus, when it all started, she was much more tolerable and interesting.

 Then she got hit by the Diva Train.

Sorry, Kimhead, but I swear I just cannot understand for one frickin' second how you can be "on her side." She is a flat out crazy bitch! OK, no, I don't understand the stress of raising 8 children. But really... when you're raking in the dough from TV shows & books, living in a giant mansion, and employing a staff of people to basically do everything for you... how "stressful" can it really be? Where's the reality show about the lady in the trailer park raising her 8 kids on minimum wage? Now that I would watch. Shamelessly.

 Need further proof of this insanity?

Who would ever think that Sarah Palin would look like the sane one? LMAO!!!! This episode just sealed the deal for me. I'm sorry, but don't frickin' take your kids camping in Alaska and expect the same creature comforts as a 5 star resort! Are you a blubbering idiot?!?! And if your kids are having fun, aren't you supposed to suck it up for them? You're not supposed to yell that you basically are disowning them for enjoying themselves! I mean, I'm not a parent, but I kinda thought that was how it was supposed to work.

I can totally see how traveling cross country in a confined space will set your head spinning. I've been stuck in a car with family for 3 whole weeks on such an adventure, and we didn't like each other at the end very much either. But she's just totally over-reacting. About everything. I understand kids need rules and routines, but sometimes, life just deals you some shitty situations and you've got to just fucking roll with the punches. That does not make it OK to berate and put down and scream at people who are trying to help you; people who have stood by you while you've probably treated like them like shit for way too fucking long.

She makes me hate women.

Once it became "Kate Plus Eight" I would DVR the episodes and fast forward through her ridiculous meltdowns. I was pretty much over it once Jon left, since I was totally on his side. (For good reason, duh.) Alas, I am now short one show to watch, which shouldn't be hard to replace. Anyone know when "19 Kids & Counting" or "Quints by Surprise" come back with new episodes? ::insert grin::

Monday, September 12, 2011


Back in January 2006, after I reluctantly turned down an invitation to crash with a Kiwi bus driver for two weeks in Christchurch, New Zealand, I came back to my reality and hated it. Seriously. Life totally sucked balls. I embarked on a "Knowledge Quest" and decided I needed to take some of that Kiwi mentality and implement it into my dead-end life. Their zest and lust for life was magnetic. I wanted to snag up some of that "Kiwi ingenuity" and their laid-back, love-life, get-out-there vibe. I wanted to soak up as much of the world and its treasures as I could. I wanted to be fearless.
So, not long after returning from that trip, I made a list. (Surprise, surprise... a list from Queen OCD over here!) It was a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life. As you will read, a lot of them were things I didn't get to do while in NZ, while a lot of the others had to do with travel. Ya know... that whole "get out there and see the world outside your bubble" thing I had going. (I did, conveniently, start a separate list of places I wished to travel!) It's funny to go back and read this, almost 6 years later, and so clearly see what head-space I was occupying at the time. Some things, I had completely forgotten I had wanted to do, but have since accomplished. Other things, like "Go Camping" or anything mentioning riding an animal seem so completely foreign and will promptly be nixed from my hard copy of this collective list.
Does this sound like me or what?
- Skydive in Queenstown, NZ (or someplace equally as picturesque)
- Horseback ride in Queenstown, NZ
- Canyon Swing in Queenstown, NZ
- Hot air balloon ride in New Mexico
- Swim with seals in Kaikoura, NZ
- Whale watch in Kaikoura, NZ
- Swim with dolphins (wherever)
- Quad biking (in NZ or Australia preferably)
- White water rafting in Costa Rica
- Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef
- Ride a motorcycle around Ayers Rock in Australia
- Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge
- Go to a zoo in Australia & hug a koala
- Ride a camel on Cable Beach in Broome, Australia
- Drive the road from Melbourne to Adelaide in Australia
- Learn how to shoot a gun (I think there's probably good reason no one has helped me accomplish this goal yet!)
- Learn how to golf
- Take a Scandinavian cruise (Completed 5/11)
- Take a Mediterranean cruise
- Live by myself for at least 6 months (Completed 3/08-7/09)
- See Robbie Williams in concert
- See a football game at all NFL stadiums
- Take photography classes
- Go camping
- Learn archery
- Watch the sunrise from atop Mt. Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii
- Bike ride down Mt. Haleakala
- Helicopter ride over volcano on Big Island, Hawaii
- Climb a rock wall (Completed on my honeymoon 5/10 on a cruise ship)
- Buy a house
- Drive in a country where I drive on the wrong side of the road (Completed 4/09 in Ireland)
- Write a novel
- Kayak  (Completed 7/10 - Hilton Head, SC)
- Zipline through a jungle (Completed 11/08 – St. Lucia)
- Take an African safari 
- Ride a jetski
- Be in a hurricane
(I totally added that last one in just now.)
I'm also super proud that I have accomplished one of the things on this list that seems much more important than the other trivial travel/adventure items; I lived by myself for over a year. And while I do now have a house, I wasn't involved in the buying process, so Puff will just have to help me out with that one in a few years! For those of you who know me super well, are there any awesome things I'm missing? (Besides having a baby... that's just sorta given.) Do any of you have lists? What tops your bucket list? I've got $100 it has nothing to do with New Zealand!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We All Have Memories. These are Mine.

I've spent the last 10 years trying to erase the mental image of bodies falling from the sky.

For most of my life, world events haven't had any profound effect on me or my person. I live in a blissful ignorance where the news is for adults and I can be carefree as long as I'm oblivious to what is happening "out there." However, for one day when I was 19 years old, the world stopped and I took notice.
Had I not, I would have been deemed inhuman. I hadn't intended to document here about that day, but documenting, well, that's just sorta what I do. I have pages and pages from journals throughout my life, but that purple spiral bound with the brightly colored pages is different. Pressed in the pages are printed copies of emails, speeches, articles, and photos. I was documenting something I would never want to remember, but could never, ever forget.

I believe it was a Tuesday, and instead of flipping on the Today Show as we normally would have, Kimhead was still sound asleep in our small Sims dorm room, so I showered in the dark and wrote in my journal a few pages before trudging off across campus to the BA for my 9am marketing class. By the time I got to class, at least one of the towers would have already been hit.

11 September 2001, Approximately 8:30am

No email from Mr. Smith yesterday. Breaks my heart. I'm totally thinking that I got the total and complete shaft and I just want to break down and cry, but can't because I have to suffer through my classes. I was talking to Bobby last night and he keeps trying to get me to come over. I'm just not interested because I'm not sure I trust him right now. But I just might go hang out with him for a lack of anything better to do. I also met this really cool, but super uncute, guy named Chris who works for a radio station. We talked forever and he is super cool. I wouldn't mind hanging out with him, but I'm not interested in dating him. Every single last piece of me just wants to be with Mr. Smith and that's no exaggeration. I was thinking that after I left work and there was a cute guy, David, there. I'd like to get to talk to him and hanging out with him would be awesome, but I only want to be with Mr. Smith. Todd sent me an email this morning saying "I love you." What do I say back? I sent him some bullshit about still loving him but not on the same level. I wish I knew what to do. It was nice to spend all weekend with him, but that's not going to lead to a renewed relationship. No matter how lonely and desperate I get, I just can't let that happen. I'm back to my freshman self of counting down weekends. There is nothing going on this weekend or next. Guess I can watch the game Saturday night. After these two weekends, I get to fly home. And hopefully I won't be disappointed and will get to see Mr. Smith.

See? I told you I was forced to take notice. Above? That was my worry. That was my concern. That was what 19 year old Gail had on her mind when she walked into a packed auditorium for class. My professor started the lecture by letting us know that the WTC had been hit by a plane, but that he didn't have much more information. The class was scheduled to run until 10:15am that morning, and I had a management class in the same lecture hall immediately following. However, the professor ended a few minutes early and told the collective class that we should probably get to a television. I tossed my giant textbook into my backpack, slung it over my shoulder, and walked with much urgency and purpose as I headed across campus. As I was walking, I noticed lots of people on their cell phones, standing and staring with blank, confused expressions on their face. "They fell down?!?!" I over-heard one person exclaim. I picked up the pace.

I turned my key and burst into the room to find Kimhead standing a foot away from the television, in front of my dresser, under a poster of Robbie Williams, not fully clothed. She turned to me and said, "I just watched the World Trade Center fall down." It was 10:29am. I had missed the live collapse of the North Tower by less than a minute. From there, I watched more news in the next 24 hours than I had ever seen before.

11 September 2001, Approximately 10:45am

OHMIGOD! I just got back from class and found out that our country was just hit by terrorists. Two planes flew into the towers of the WTC. They were both hijacked planes. The 2 WTC towers, both 110 stories high, just collapsed. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon and another plane crashed near Pittsburgh. They just showed the towers from earlier this morning after the planes had hit and how they were on fire and smoking and then I watched them collapse to the ground. My heart skipped. I am just so baffled and confused. They're not sure if there are other hijacked planes or not. Canada even shut down airports. The President is on his way back to Washington. Todd just called me and he's been called by the Marines and is "on call" to go to Charlotte if necessary. I'm not sure what he'd have to do, but he'd be in danger if he goes. The only count I've heard is 266 dead, and that's just on the flights. And they're saying up to 50,000 people will end up dead. It's so scary and I just hope it ends soon.

I found some striking images. You don't even see special effects quite like these. I'm just still in shock and I really think the entire nation is probably in the same mood. I did talk to Bobby and he says that we won't go to war because this won't be linked to just one country, but rather terrorists. So we'll do strategic bombing aimed at terrorists. It's all really confusing and scary and who knows what will happen with all of this. As long as they don't take my Todd or Bobby into war. I've been near the towers and the Pentagon. These are places that are symbols of America that are important to all of us. This is like Pearl Harbor of the 21st century. My children are going to ask me about this when I'm older and they talk about it in their history classes. I've been happy to have Bobby around today because he's been able to update me as to some of the stuff that's going on. He understands the military stuff. Did I ever mention there was a nationwide halt of all flights in the states for the first time in history?

I can't believe all of this is happening. Yet, in a way I always knew I would witness a historic moment in my lifetime. It's just a shame it had to be a historic tragedy that I got to witness. And I have been witnessing it over and over all day. I just watched people jump from the top stories of the building. I pray tonight for peace in this world. "The resolve of this nation is being tested and we will pass this test."

It wasn't until I watched a National Geographic remembrance special last night that I felt compelled to write today. There were images I never remember seeing. There were images I can never forget. There was new information. There was information I had tried not to hear. I listened to Rudy Giuliani tell his story of being trapped in an adjacent building when the first tower fell. I will have an opportunity to meet Mayor Giuliani and hear him speak very soon. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't bother listening to a politician. But he is the public figure I remember from that fateful day, and a piece of my soul feels connected to him somehow.

I made lots of relevant memories in the days, months, and years following 9/11. I remember driving around looking for a copy of the NY Times, but never finding one. I remember flying home to my grandfather's funeral 2 1/2 weeks later and sitting across from a jerkface who made a joke about blowing up the plane. I remember hearing Billy Joel's "Miami 2017" for the first time and finding it so eerie. I remember driving to Atlanta for a memorial concert. I remember the first NFL games after the tragedy with flags that covered the entire fields. I remember saying "screw it" and going to Europe 8 months later, even though I was scared to death to fly. I remember hearing about a dear friend whose father had died on the 10th but was unable to get to NYC for the funeral because there were no flights. I remember getting a phone call in 2004 from Bobby as he returned from duty overseas, letting me know he was OK.

And, funny enough, it's that last memory that finally brought me to tears in writing this entry today. That personal connection just hit home.

Maybe I am human after all.

Four of a Kind

There are so many routes I could have taken with my posts today; on this 10th anniversary of one of the most horrific days I have ever witnessed. However, I'm going to let a pro do the talking today. One of my favorite writers, Ricky Reilly, originally posted this in Sports Illustrated on September 19, 2001. It still forms a lump in my throat to read it, to remember that day. To see Kim standing in front of the TV as I burst in from my morning marketing class. "I just watched the World Trade Center fall." And we watched them fall again, and again, and again...
The huge rugby player, the former high school football star and the onetime college baseball player were in first class, the former national judo champ was in coach. On the morning of Sept. 11, at 32,000 feet, those four men teamed up to sacrifice their lives for those of perhaps thousands of others.
Probably about an hour into United Flight 93's scheduled trip from Newark to San Francisco, the 38 passengers aboard the Boeing 757 realized they were being hijacked. The terrorists commandeered the cockpit, and the passengers were herded to the back of the plane.  

Shoved together were four remarkable men who didn't much like being shoved around. One was publicist Mark Bingham, 31, who helped Cal win the 1991 and '93 national collegiate rugby championships. He was a surfer, and in July he was carried on the horns of a bull in Pamplona. Six-foot-five, rowdy and fearless, he once wrestled a gun from a mugger's hand late at night on a San Francisco street.  

One was medical research company executive Tom Burnett, 38, the standout quarterback for Jefferson High in Bloomington, Minn., when the team went to the division championship game in 1980. That team rallied around Burnett every time it was in trouble.  

One was businessman Jeremy Glick, 31, 6'2" and muscular, the 1993 collegiate judo champ in the 220-pound class from the University of Rochester (N.Y.), a national-caliber wrestler at Saddle River (N.J.) Day School and an all-state soccer player.  "As long as I've known him," says his wife, Lyz, "he was the kind of man who never tried to be the hero -- but always was."  

One was 32-year-old sales account manager Todd Beamer, who played mostly third base and shortstop in three seasons for Wheaton (Ill.) College.  

The rugby player picked up an AirFone and called his mother, Alice Hoglan, in Sacramento to tell her he loved her. The judo champ called Lyz at her parents' house in Windham, N.Y., to say goodbye to her and their 12-week-old daughter, Emmy. But in the calls the quarterback made to his wife, Deena, in San Ramon, Calif., and in the conversation the baseball player had with a GTE operator, the men made it clear that they'd found out that two other hijacked planes had cleaved the World Trade Center towers.  

The pieces of the puzzle started to fit. Somewhere near Cleveland the passengers on Flight 93 had felt the plane take a hard turn south. They were now on course for Washington, D.C. Senator Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) believes the plane might have been headed for the Capitol. Beamer, Bingham, Burnett and Glick must have realized their jet was a guided missile.  

The four apparently came up with a plan. Burnett told his wife, "I know we're going to die. Some of us are going to do something about it." He wanted to rush the hijackers.  

Nobody alive is sure about what happened next, but there's good reason to believe that the four stormed the cockpit. Flight 93 never made it to Washington. Instead, it dived into a field 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. All passengers and crew perished. Nobody on the ground was killed.  

In the heart of San Francisco's largest gay neighborhood, a makeshift memorial grew, bouquet by bouquet, to the rugby player who was unafraid. Yeah, Bingham was gay.  

In Windham, a peace grew inside Lyz Glick. "I think God had this larger purpose for him," she said. "He was supposed to fly out the night before, but couldn't. I had Emmy one month early, so Jeremy got to see her. You can't tell me God isn't at work there."  

In Cranbury, N.J., a baby grew in Lisa Beamer, Todd's wife, their third child. Hearing the report last Friday of her husband's heroics, Lisa said, "made my life worth living again."  

In Washington, a movement grew in Congress to give the four men the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award a civilian can receive.  

At a time like this, sports are trivial. But what the best athletes can do -- keep their composure amid chaos, form a plan when all seems lost and find the guts to carry it out -- may be why the Capitol isn't a charcoal pit. 
My 26-year-old niece, Jessica Robinson, works for Congressman Lane Evans (D., Ill.). Jessica was in the Capitol that morning. This Christmas I'll get to see her smiling face.
I'm glad there were four guys up there I could count on.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday

As I've mentioned before (HERE) I have a love affair with St. Simons, Georgia. I'll spare you the same rant about the Spanish moss and the Celtic cross statues/gravestones. You've heard it before. But this photo is from the same spot... the Episcopal Church at the far end of the island. It's just one of those "small details" photos that I've taken over the years that I totally love. Stumbling back across this photo makes me desperate to plan a trip back to see what other "small details" I can find on that island. Perhaps in 2012?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The List

Disclaimer: Puff, you probably will want to skip this entry. ::Insert smiley face with halo::
Recently, Dooce posted about "The List." (HERE)
Now, Puff does not endorse this whole list idea. You know the one I'm talking about; the one I totally thought every couple in the world had until I tried to address this important topic with my husband. The list of 5 famous people you totally are allowed to have sex with, if they just happen to call you up and request your naked company. Puff is adamantly against this idea. Even though I prod him with suggestions like Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Aniston.
He refuses to play along.
So, in total and utter marriage defiance, I'm going to publicize my much-thought-out "Famous People to Fuck" list. ::Insert drumroll::
Number One:
Sir Robbie Williams. Of course he's at the top of this list. Never mind that he's somewhat bi-sexual at times. I can look past that if he sings to me before we make love.
Number Two:
Really, you can't be surprised that he's near the top of this list. Have you seen his body? He could totally swing you around and do back-flips while holding on to you and it would be the most mind-blowing sex of your life. I just know it. Damn that Victoria's Secret model he's dating. Damn her to Hell. (I also couldn't resist posting another pic of him for that reader of mine who finds him filthy. Maybe I'm into filthy.)
Number Three:
I had to give some love to my man, JBJ. That voice. That swagger. That hair. Mmmmmm.... All good reminders of the super sexy poster I had hanging in all my dorm rooms over the years.
Now here is where I had to start weeding out some very possible contenders like Troy Aikman, Craig Ferguson, Tom Colicchio, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chad Kroger from Nickelback, and vintage Brad Pitt from "Legends of the Fall."
Number Four:
I can't spell his last name, so I won't even try. But really, if we're hooking up, I'm totally calling him "Booth" anyway and trying to convince him that it's a really, super bad idea to have sex with "Bones" on the side. I would require him to wear his Cocky belt buckle and colorful socks during sex though. With his gun nearby. That'd be crazy hot. Never mind that I'm obviously much more attracted to his TV character than him in real life.
It gets even trickier here. So tricky, in fact, I was texting Kimhead and Mr. Smith to ask for their suggestions. That somehow lead to a discussion about Robbie Williams in an orgy with me and some other gay guy and a video camera. Anyway... Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, and Ryan Reynolds were over-ruled by this guy...
Number Five:
Now, I had actually decided on someone else in this #5 spot, but then watching E! News I was reminded of a much more suitable person... Paul Rudd. He's adorable, sweet, funny, cute, and just seems like he'd be that perfect person to make a real rom-com fantasy come true!
Honorable Mention:
When I questioned some of my best friends on who they thought I should choose, they were all coming back with a reminder of my love for Johnny Depp. A co-worker told me she thinks he's kinda dirty. But I'm pretty sure we already established that I'm pretty much OK with that attribute. Plus, for some reason, I figure he's right at that perfect age to be a fabulous lover. 
I threw out this question to Facebook and got back some good feedback too. Justin Timberlake? Hadn't thought of him, but I could totally see it. And sorry Rach, but you can have Vin Diesel. I'm into bald guys, but he just doesn't do it for me. Any other super amazingly hot celebrities you'd like to see naked? Do you and your spouse have a list? Anyone else think Puff's full of shit when he says he'd turn down Halle Berry because he loves me too much?
Crap... and I just realized I forgot about Hugh Jackman. Can I have a top twenty instead? And am I the only one who noticed that with the exception of Robbie (who is 37) that I obviously have a thing for guys in their 40s?  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'll Stick with West Elm

For those of you who truly know me, you're going to be flabbergasted to hear that I've started going antiquing. I blame the MIL for corrupting Puff over the years. I'm not into used stuff. It just doesn't do it for me. I like clean, contemporary, modern lines. (Basically anything from West Elm will do.) With the exception of a mid-century modern Danish-inspired buffet. If you ever find one of those, I'm in the market.
I did also kinda like this weird 1950's lounger we spotted recently in Asheville. Puff was in love, but sadly, we don't have room for any more furniture. (Or did I mean happily?) Plus it had a weird bounce to it when you sat down.
I've noticed that there are a lot of animal wearing clothes items at these antique stores. This gem was found in Landrum, SC, last winter. I have a gut feeling if I really wanted it, I could probably still get it.
Or perhaps you're in the market for a golden bust of a small boy? Or is it a woman? Perhaps a lesbian? That would make sense in Asheville, I suppose.
Puff found this painting hilarious. Obviously he had missed the dog/lamb/whatever animal lamp. It's a good thing I don't let him purchase home decor items on a whim. This would clash horribly in The Bungalow.
Speaking of creepy, weird, animal related antiques. Are you seriously seeing this painting? I would totally LOVE to meet the person who originally bought this. Or even the person who drew/painted it, because they have got to be one some seriously good drugs.
All the antique bashing aside, this is our latest vignette, featured in our newly remodeled kitchen. My beloved Pottery Barn charging station has found a new home in the attic, with the invention of phones/cameras/etc. that don't come with wall chargers anymore. So, when we were antiquing in Waynesville, Ohio, and visiting family in rural Michigan, we picked up a few things with the renovation in mind.
Now if only I can find a place for that Nazi water pitcher I picked up...  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

For some strange reason, I thought you might give a shit about some of my favorite and least favorite things. I won't make a habit of this (and I really mean it) but maybe once a month, I'll bust out a "Top Ten" list of something super random about myself, to let us get to know each other a bit better. Like my favorite flavors of ice cream or the worst songs in the history of the universe... which would basically just be a list of half Phil Collins and half Dave Matthews. (You get the point!)
One of my weirdest/oddest/stupidest obsessions is NAMES. I don't really give a hoot about the meaning behind them. I just like names. And I want to smack all the people in the universe who are naming their daughters stale, old lady names. Amelia, Zoe, Ava, Chloe, Sophia, Emily... I'm talking to you. (Sorry, Kimhead, to rain on your name parade!) Oh... and I'm an equal opportunity hater too. Please, seriously, for the love of everything good in this world... STOP NAMING YOUR SONS JACOB.
Don't worry... I fully expect you to criticize me, just as I have criticized you. You know who you are... mothers of Michael & Isabella. And let's not even get me started on people who use "filler" middle names. (Grace, Marie, Lynn, Rose... I'm talking to you now too!) Now that we've gotten that out of the way, how about some love for the names I'm drooling over at the moment?
So... in no particular order, both genders lumped together... My Top Ten Favorite Names (for the moment):
1) Troy
2) Killian
3) Declan
4) Kennedy (It pisses me off that people use this now, since I picked it out as my fave 18 fucking years ago!)
5) Eliot (girl)
6) Peyton (girl)
7) Seamus (It upsets me that I don't have a cool Irish last name, because if I did... you couldn't pay me to give up using this name for my unconceived son!)
8) Tristan
9) Adelaide (I know this goes against my hating old lady names, but it's also a place name, so that redeems it! Plus, I'd only use it for a middle name anyway.)
10) Hudson
*Note: Subject to change at any minute. It was hard to leave off the name Rhys too. Love it, only spelled that way and for a boy though. And if Puff gets his way, we may just end up with sons named Jermichael and D'Keith. At least they're creative! I did, however, tell Puff I was going to disown him when he said he was OK with "filler" middle names. Uh uh. Not in this house he isn't.*

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Half Life

In more archive digging, I found this entry from back in 2007, when I was just 25 years old. (Names have been changed!)

Someone made mention to me in random conversation something about being in our 40s someday. And that got me thinking that being in my 40s will make me almost 50. And being 50, is twice the life I've lead already. It's crazy to think about it... Where will we all be in twice our life? Who will be married? Who will be divorced? Who will have kids and who will have kids with stupid names? Will we still be in jobs we have now or will we be retired or stay at home parents? Where will we have traveled? What will we have seen? How much better...or worse... can life get in twice as long?
Looking back to the mid-point of my current life, we'll round and say I was a 7th grader. Wow... 7th grade was half my life ago? As in 7th grade, the big transition from elementary school to the middle/high school? As in 7th grade when I had super big crushes on high school boys like Tony and Matt? As in my 7th grade school picture was me wearing a tie! Yeah, that picture was at least cute though. I don't remember who I shared a locker with, or what it was decorated in. I don't remember much about most of my classes. I do remember having a Power Rangers pencil that I was pretty fond of... and a creepy social studies teacher who paid me a little too much attention. I got my first period... wearing my Troy Aikman jersey no less... AND... white jeans. Thank goodness there wasn't any accident on that day!! Talk about mortifying!!! I had a crush on Tommy, who was a grade above us, and probably was pretty much in love with Billy and Joey for whatever reason. We had code names like "Tree" and "Yankee" and "Scooter" for most of them to write about them in code in our notes we passed... since my English teacher found a note I had written to Meg about how hot Joey was and read it to the entire class. Ironically, I was absent that day.
There's been a lot of life since then too... graduations and boyfriends and endless hours driving around in my car. International travel and moving and divorce and new friends. It's been pretty spectacular up until now, really. In the grand scheme of things. I haven't wanted much that I didn't get. I have seen amazing places and met amazing people. I made life-long friends and probably a few enemies. I met the man of my dreams, saw my best friend get married and have a baby, and even became financially independent. It's pretty crazy, all of it. But in retrospect, I've loved almost all of it. And so I hope I can take that outlook into the next phase of my life... and that the next time I reminiss about my half-life, I'll be reminissing about 2007... and wishing I was still this skinny...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday

Back in 2009, Kimhead and I embarked on a girl's history lesson adventure to Washington DC for a long July 4th weekend. It had been years since I had been there, and I was instantly reminded why it is one of the best cities in the whole of our country to visit.
We crammed in anything and everything we could... museums, restaurants, subway rides looking for our "subway soulmate." We walked more miles than I can recall and were drenched in sweat every evening from our treks in the heat. One of the "must see" sites is definitely Arlington National Cemetery. You'd pretty much have to be an idiot to not realize this photo is of Robert Kennedy's grave.
I love the pattern on the grass on the hill, the blue sky, and the simple white cross. I've had a fascination with the Kennedy family since I was 12 years old. My grandmother was an avid fan herself. It was that year, in 6th grade, when I promised her that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Kennedy. (And yes, it kills me that it's becoming popular. I would be ahead of the curve having an 18 year old with that name now!) I plan to stick to that. (Although, when I have said daughter, I won't be calling her by that name on this blog. FYI.)
I remember loving that time in Washington DC so much that I couldn't help but think ahead to the time when I could go back with Puff and our children. Maybe we can take little Kennedy to visit the graves of the men she was named after. It would be a dream come true.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Intellectual Kitchen

It's finally finished! After months, errr, years of griping about the hideous plaid wallpaper that came with The Bungalow, we finally buckled down and took the plunge.
SEE! I told you it was horrid!
Dude... it looked so fresh and clean after that wallpaper came down that I did a little happy dance and almost forgot about the granite counters that were coming. Goodbye horrible taste of the previous owners!
Never mind that I felt like we should be featured on an episode of "Hoarders" when we had a sink on our deck for a few days. Ya know, just in case we needed it again for something.
Over the course of 2 days, we had counters removed, counters installed, and plumbers out to hook up our fancy new sink. We opted for the cheapest color granite, since it didn't make much sense to blow the budget on something that was barely any different. Plus, it was the best compromise for the space and for the difference in taste between me and Puff. I'm madly in love with my rounded corner. Yes, I'm a nerd.
So, here's the final product! I'm addicted to this wall color (yes, it's the same color we used in the bathroom HERE) but it saved me on another gallon of paint, right? We got some cute new accessories from West Elm (because every room in The Bungalow is destined to have something from that store) and some cute antiques too, which I'll write about in another upcoming post.
What do you think? Was the plaid as ridiculous as I think it was? (Puff didn't think it was that bad!) Are you doing a happy dance with me in celebration of our new, much more modern and sexy kitchen? Are you already planning to come crash our pad for a party?