Friday, April 27, 2012

Ten Years

Tonight was a pretty special night for Ryan & I. At least, it felt like a big deal to me. On this very night, 10 years ago, Ryan nervously picked me up for our very first date. And anyone who has heard or read "our story" knows that my darling husband was so very nervous, that he had to keep rushing to the bathroom to throw up. (Gross to some, sweet to me.)

In honor of this important day in our history, we recreated that night as best we could. (Minus Ryan rushing to the bathroom...) We headed to the Chili's in Flower Mound where we had our first date and even got to sit just a few booths over from the "original"! We shared chips and queso, just like we did that night 10 years ago. We laughed and talked and reminised.

I asked Ryan what was going through his mind that night of our first date. He said "Well, first it was mostly that you were so hot and so out of my league. Girls like you didn't date guys like me. And then I just couldn't understand why you wanted to see me again, haha." My eyes filled with tears as I was easily transported back to that night, and remembered the way I felt that night. I explained to him, "There was just something so...sweet...about you. You were so shy but when you spoke it made me smile and laugh. We kept meeting eyes and grinning - instant chemistry. And I knew you'd be nice to me and treat me right. Plus you were so darn cute - that dimple!" We both got a little bashful for a moment at that table, remembering what we were like all those years ago.

Once we finished dinner, we got back in the car and I just wanted to drive and listen to music - one of my favorite things to do. I put my iPod on shuffle and it's like it read my mind. Playing all of our my favorite love songs, giving our drive the perfect soundtrack. Soon we were winding through the roads we drove as teens. We briefly stopped in the driveway of my parent's old house, where we shared our first kiss. Then we followed the roads Ryan drove after leaving my house almost every night and paused in the driveway of his old house. We drove past our high school and then, our last stop before heading home, was Rheudasil park. We went to this park after our first date and spent hours on the swings - talking, flirting, laughing, being teenagers. The park where we spent so many nights eating Sonic sundaes and falling in love. The park where Ryan asked me to be his wife. He squeezed my hand as we rounded the corner to head back home. The entire drive back to our apartment, I was feeling lucky and grateful and loved.

Thank you, my sweet Ryan, for mustering the courage to ask me out back then. My life changed forever on April 27, 2002. Here's to the next 10, ten year anniversaries!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 19, on day 26

As I mentioned when I gave up on the 30 Day Challenge, there were a few questions left that I decided to answer. Day 19's was one of them...but I didn't get around to looking at it until today. My bad. 

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

Colorado. Everything about Colorado appeals to me. The climate, the location, the people, the mindset. I have only been to Colorado once but anytime I look at pictures, or see it in movies or TV shows…it’s hard to explain, but it just feels right. I don’t know when it will be, but Ryan & I absolutely intend on living there someday. 

When I close my eyes and think of my "perfect" life, I imagine a quiet cabin home that has just enough rooms for a family to live comfortably in the mountains of Colorado, near a little body of water, away from the hustle and bustle of the day to day. I don't need some giant house, especially when what's outside the front door is so big. Ryan & I talk a lot about our dream of living on "mountain-side, lake-view" property. I even have an entire board on Pinterest devoted to this life I long for. And a few months back, I found a picture of some land near Fort Collins that fit the bill EXACTLY. 

I get the "warm fuzzies" just thinking of a life there. So, I set ^that picture as the background on my phone and I will look at it every day until I get there.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thoughts on Levon Helm

As I've mentioned at least a hundred times, music is basically my life source. I was born into and born with it running through my blood. From both sides.

My maternal grandmother played piano by ear. My maternal grandfather had a lovely singing voice. My Mom claims she had a great voice when she was young. ;) 
My Aunt Judy on my Dad's side is a beautiful singer, as is her daughter (my cousin, obviously). My Dad is a pretty good singer, too. I just don't think he knows it.
My brother is one helluva musician. I've only mentioned that a couple times. Haha. 
And, I've been know to sing a few notes myself. I was performing and doing musicals and recitals since the age of 8.

But it was more than that. 

I was born into a family of two parents who love music probably as much as they love me. My earliest childhood memories have soundtracks. GREAT soundtracks. An array of the best of the best from the 50's, 60's and 70's filled the air in my home growing up. My parents, between the two of them, had hundreds of records. But they each had their favorites. My Mom always had a soft spot for Motown and, of course, her beloved Beatles. My Dad was more about the classic rock and jam bands like The Who and The Grateful Dead. And then there was...The Band. I don't know when exactly it happened, but soon I knew all the words and was a fan in my own right. Frankie and I were harmonizing to every song. Soon I was reading and listening to things about the members of these bands I'd grown to love, through my parents. Levon Helm was always a special one. He brought such a uniqueness to his drumming, and his voice was piercing and poignant. Many would say he revolutionized music. I would agree. I even named my car Ophelia! I read a quote from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy on a friend's Facebook page that really said it best: "Levon was the glue, not just in The Band, but in all of what people think of when they think of North American music." - Jeff Tweedy

But I always thought Frankie and I were...different. Most of our friends didn't know or appreciate those old bands. I'll never forget the night that Frankie and I were at a Stoney LaRue and Friends show at The White Elephant years ago. There were maybe 25 people there. (Told you - YEARS ago.) Stoney called all the musicians on stage and soon, a familiar melody filled the air. (I believe Stoney said something like "If you don't know this song, you ought to.") Frankie and I looked at each other with excitement. They were playing The Weight. We knew every word...and so did everyone else in the room. It was a magical moment for me. They had successfully transcended yet another generation of music lovers.

So, I sit here with tears running down my face as I watch my personal favorite performance of the great Levon Helm. 

Now, take a load off, Levon. And RIP.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Thing About the 30 Day Challenge...

The thing about the 30 Day Challenge is that feeling like you HAVE to blog, totally sucks the fun out of WANTING to blog. The second half of the 30 days feels daunting to me, and so I put it off, and put it off, and skip days (like yesterday).

I don't want to be a quitter, but I also don't want this to drag on and become mundane for me and boring for you. There are a few questions for days 18-30 that I like, so I will answer those on the proper days, but other than those, I am officially retiring from the Challenge.

Now, back to your regularly (or sporadic, in my case) scheduled blogging. :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day Sixteen

So, today's question is: What are your 5 greatest accomplishments? But...I feel like its a little redundant from the Life Well Lived series I did last year. If you want to re-live some of those moments, click here. :)  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day Fifteen

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

The polar bear has always been my favorite animal. When I was born, one of my mom’s good friends gave me a Gund stuffed polar bear, Snuffles. I slept with that bear under my arm every night until Ryan & I got married and he told me it was him or the bear. ;) I always joke that I was predestined to love polar bears because of that. I think they are beautiful and special. I took a psychological personality test once, and one of the questions was to name the first animal that comes to mind, and three reasons you like that animal.

I said the polar bear because they are protective, nurturing and ferocious when their cubs are in danger. Turns out, the test said that was how others saw you. I just laughed.

Unfortunately, this amazing animal is on the list of ‘vulnerable species’ and their natural habitat is shrinking. I know many people say that polar bears are too vicious, but I argue that its only because they HAVE to be. 

And now I’m going to dig Snuffles out of the closet and snuggle with him.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day Fourteen

Describe 5 strengths you have.

This was really, really hard for me. Why was it so much easier for me to bang out my weaknesses? Not to mention, it makes me feel brag-y. Ryan had to help me…a lot.

-As I mentioned yesterday, I am SUPER sensitive. This is a weakness, but in some ways I feel it’s a strength as well. I have been told that my sensitivity makes me an extremely empathetic person, which will hopefully make me a good psychologist.

-“Beauty stuff.” That’s a direct quote from Ryan. He elaborated – “You know, hair, nails, make-up, all those braids you do.” God, I love this man. Is possible that he puts up with the copious amounts of makeup in the bedroom, my hair supplies all over the counter, and an entire shelf in the bathroom for nail polish because he thinks I’m GOOD at it? Right on. Hahaha.

-Ryan also says I’m a good listener and good at being there for people. This is something I’ve always HOPED I was good at…though sometimes I worry I fall short. He sweetly reminded me all the times I’ve dropped every thing for him or a friend or family member in need. It just feels natural to me – being there. I just think we should take care of our own, and as I’ve said a million times to people in my life – If you are in my “circle” (the imaginary bubble that ties people to my heart) then you are one of “my own”.

-I’m pretty good with kids. Ryan said he’d never met someone who wasn’t a mother yet that was as “natural” with kids. What a GIANT compliment from the father of my future children! He would go with me sometimes when I was still doing the nanny gig, so he witnessed it first hand. I considered it training for the most important job I’ll ever have. I hope I’ll actually be as good at it as Ryan thinks I am.

-I’m open-minded. In general, I am basically always open to listening to others views. On just about anything. Ryan said he also thinks I’m open-minded with music (I’ll give anything a chance), people (I can find beauty in just about every human), and learning (his example was that I am willing to listen to anything he wants to talk about, including what is traditionally “guy stuff” like cars and technology,). I like being open-minded. I feel it helps me become a well rounded person.  

By the end of the conversation discussing this blog post, I was in tears. It was kind of awesome hearing him name all the things he sees as my “strengths”. His list actually exceeded 5 – but I didn’t stop him. It was such a beautiful reminder after such a rough week that I might actually have some “great” to offer the world.  :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day Thirteen

Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

Considering the attitude problem I’ve had this week, this will probably be an easy entry. Hahaha.

-I am tragically sensitive. I wear my heart fully exposed on my sleeve, and I feel EVERYTHING. I am constantly working on being a bit tougher.  

-Related – When I am feeling down or low, I tend to retreat. I shut myself off from the outside world and hide in my shell. Not my best quality – but it’s how I deal.  

-I’m a liiiittle obsessive about looking at my hair and makeup in the mirror and making sure they look okay. I am constantly fussing with my hair and touching up my makeup. I think it comes with me being self-conscious about my body, if I’m being totally honest. I think I over compensate by wanting perfection from the shoulders up to “distract” from the shoulders down. It would probably do me some good to take the “no mirrors challenge”. Maybe I should start by talking down the mirror that hangs next to my desk at work...
Is it ridiculous that I love seeing my silver "stripe" shinning bright in this pic?!
-Okay…this is a tough one to admit, but sometimes I am really bad about (UNINTENTIONALLY) interrupting or talking over people. I LOATHE that about myself and I’m working HARD on it.

-Time for a truthbomb. I have a pretty unhealthy relationship with food. My willpower is practically non-existent when it comes to food. That is definitely a giant weakness. It lends itself to #3. It’s a struggle I hope to conquer…someday. :)

Day Twelve

Okay, so Day Twelve and I broke the rules. I had a REALLY bad attitude yesterday, and just didn’t have blogging me in. So, I am posting twice today to make up for it.

Describe a typical day in your current life.

It’s pretty mundane…
Alarm goes off at 6am.
Stumble into the bathroom to plug in the flat iron or whatever tool I am using to style my hair that day. (Sometimes it’s just a brush and a hair elastic. Those mornings are the ones when I hit snooze until 6:30.)
While that is heating up, I turn on NBC morning news and get a cup of coffee.
Do my hair.
Do my make-up while watching/listening to the Today Show.
Get dressed.
Pack up my food for the day. (I eat breakfast and lunch at work.)
I brush my teeth very last before walking out the door.
Drive to work (I leave around 7:40).
Work until 5pm (I’ll bore you with those details some other time.)
After 5pm is where it differs depending on the day:
M & W – Head home and do the normal home stuff. (Dinner, whatever chores need to be done, relax, shower, set-up coffee maker for the next morning, go to bed.)
Tues – Head home, scarf down dinner, go to class.
Thurs – Head home, do my weekly dinner with my brother.
Friday – Head to the organization where I volunteer!  

You are SO jealous of my life right now, aren’t you?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day Eleven

Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
-People who don’t use turn signals when turning or changing lanes. Drives me BONKERS! 

-On a similar note, Left Lane Squatters (as I call them) also drive me nuts. 

-Strangers who touch my hair. This happens a lot – especially when I wear it naturally curly. Rule of thumb: If I don’t hug you when I see you, don’t be grabbing at my curls. Please. It’s a weird personal space issue.

-People who talk loudly through concerts.  I paid money to listen to the band, not you.

-Related – People who video or photograph the entire concert. Unless you are a professional, get your camera out of my face, please. You are diminishing the experience for yourself and those around you. Snap a few pics then put your camera away and enjoy the show. 

-People who talk on the phone in waiting areas. Doctor’s offices, oil change places, standing in line to checkout at the grocery store, where ever. If others are in your ear shot, walk outside or take the call later. 

-POOR GRAMMAR IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING. I cannot tell you how many emails I get at work with atrocious grammar. "Your welcome" makes me want to take back my "Thank you".

-This one is a biggie – It drives me up a wall when people unload their political beliefs on me, but when I try to interject with mine, they won’t listen. If I am willing to open-mindedly listen to your views, then you should give me the same courtesy. 

-This is going to make me sound vain but…clumpy mascara drives me NUTS. I’m talking about “tarantula eyes”. This is probably why I spend so much time picking my lashes apart when I put on my mascara. (I use a safety pin. It freaks people out, but I HAVE to do it.) 

-And last but NOT least, how people assume that being a feminist means I hate men (LOVE them!), don’t shave (I most certainly do!), burn my bra (never have, and that’s a myth anyway!) and don’t wear pink (it’s one of my favorite colors!). I can be both feminist AND feminine! :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day Ten

Describe your most embarrassing moment.

Just ONE?! Hahaha! I am constantly embarrassing myself, so the list is long. But, if I had to pick one, I’d have to go back to high school.

The first day of sophomore year was also the first day of school at Flower Mound HS. That meant LOTS of new faces, so I tried to follow my Dad’s lifelong motto “Look sharp, feel sharp” and dressed up to cover my nerves. I wore a new top and skirt with a new pair of slide on wedges. (You know, the kind with no back.) My class right before lunch was on the second floor. The bell rang for lunch and I started heading down the flight of stairs right smack in the middle of busiest hallway at the school. I take a step and suddenly my ankle is rolling. The other foot kicks up without warning and my back-less wedge sandal goes sailing through the air, nailing a little freshman in the back of the head! He tumbles forward and falls down the 3-4 steps to the bottom – landing on his rear in the middle of the hallway. Of course, I was totally frozen in place as everyone on the stairs or in the hall turned to stare at me. I made my way down the stairs, hobbling on the one foot that still had a shoe to retrieve the other and place it back on my foot. I apologized to the guy and tried to talk to him, but he quickly gathered his books and ran (yes, literally ran) off. Oh, and did I mention everyone clapped? Yeah. They clapped.