Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I am a Gleek

As you may already know, my weekday evenings tend to exist as follows:
Arrive home at 5:45.
Change into pajamas by 6:00.
Find the local and national news and watch from 6:00 until 7:00 (this is to insure I am aware of something going on in this world)
Make and eat dinner from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm (while watching BravoTV reruns)
Settle in and watch anywhere from two to three more hours of TV 8:00 pm - 11ish

That being said, the only TV DVDs I have bought on my own have been the majority of my Friends DVDs (just completed my collection with Season 2 from my brother for Christmas!). I am not one to wait impatiently for the random Tuesday that the "hot new" TV show comes out on DVD like I am for, say, the latest Britney Spears album. Yes, I bought every Britney album, except the first one, on the Tuesday that it came out -- even if it meant playing hooky from last period to go to Media Play to buy "Oops . . . I did it Again" so I could return to school in time to rock it from the Cabrio as I left the parking lot.

However, that changed yesterday when I used my lunch hour (I mean, lunch half-hour) to run to Best Buy and buy the Glee DVD and have spent the past two nights deviating from the above schedule to watch episode after episode of my new most-favorite TV show. Filled with songs I love and people I enjoy looking at for hours on end (helloooo Finn!), one could say I am obsessed. I already have April 13th in my calendar for the premiere of next season and I just hope the writers, producers, directors, etc. don't screw it up before then.

When the show returns this Spring, I better see more sparks between Finn and Rachel, less of Mr. Shuester's home life, and a surplus of Sue's snide comments. If not, at least I have thirteen episodes + behind the scene's footage to keep me company. However, just like Mr. Schuester and Emma had faith in "New Directions" at Sectionals, I have faith that Glee's creators will not ruin a good thing like Lost's did.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Welcome back to me! Yet another dry spell in the blogging world on my behalf -- although I admit I have been spending probably too much time reading other people's blogs instead of updating my own.

And yes, I realize it's two days after Christmas but that doesn't mean I can't cling to the festive nature of the holiday for a few more days . . . at least until New Year's when my attention shifts to making resolutions and vowing I will keep them for longer than four days.

So what has happened since my last post in October? Right now, the most exciting thing that has happened is that I installed a wireless router in my parents' home. This is life changing for me probably more so for them, because now I can sit in the den with the rest of my family and be on the internet without feeling completely anti-social. At least I'm in the same room while I ignore them instead of being in a completely different part of the house.

But besides that, I also found (and bought) a wedding dress! It was the first trip I made to look for dresses and I was able to find the perfect one! What a relief that was. Needless to say, I've been on an eating binge ever since then (don't worry, I bought it only three weeks ago) because I know that I won't have to go squeeze myself into sample size dresses anymore and I have some sort of a respite before the dress comes in and I begin the fitting process. I'll get back on track after the New Year (see second paragraph about New Year's resolutions).

And, of course, I would be remiss if I did not say what a wonderful Christmas I had. It was a little more low-key this year but wonderful nonetheless. John, who is 21 months, was even more into it than last year and I have enjoyed my several days at home with Newt-the-cat. I head back to CLT tomorrow to a quiet apartment since my roommate is having a mini-Grand Tour for the next couple weeks. I imagine right now she is in Rome, sipping some wine and eating some homemade pasta which parallels nicely to how my tomorrow evening will most likely unfold when I eat my Spaghetti-Os with a Diet Cherry Pepsi.

It's amazing how the anticipation of a holiday or vacation is coupled with the sense of despair as it comes to an end. Oh well, at least there are only 363 more days till Christmas 2010!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

364 Days

I realize the cooler thing would have been to write this post yesterday and have it named "365 Days" but I was too busy spending each hour yesterday thinking about where I would be in exactly one year. Yesterday marked the one year mark for Robbie's and my wedding so as I told him, "Happy -1 Year Anniversary!"

I would look at the clock yesterday and think about how at 1 pm I will be getting into my dress, at 3 pm I will be walking down the aisle, at 4 pm Robbie will no longer be a single man, at 6:30 pm we will be greeting our guests, and at 10 pm I will be "backing that ass up" on the dance floor . . . it will be magical.

In order to not go crazy for the next year, I have placed a brief hiatus on wedding planning and will pick back up again in January. I feel that we have done the most important things -- ceremony will be at the Duke Chapel (confirmed), reception at the Washington Duke (confirmed), rehearsal dinner at the Angus Barn (confirmed), really good photographer (confirmed -- Kristin Byrum photography), officiant of my choice (confirmed), wedding party notified, and budget is set (hopefully confirmed). I think I can sit back now and enjoy the next few months through Fall and the Holiday season and get excited for a 2010 of wedding planning.

Robbie and I are both very blessed with our family and friends and each day I realize more and more how lucky we are to have each other. I've been listening to that Michael Buble song "Everything" and it is true that in these crazy times, it's rare to find someone with which you can share everything. I am looking forward to the next forever with RLS3, but also am grateful for each day we have together now while still cherishing the journey that led us to where we are in our relationship today.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I've Been Neglectful

Gosh, September 20th?! That's the date of my last blog entry?! This is getting embarrassing. I sincerely apologize for neglect -- please do not report me to the Department of Social Services for Blog Writers.

It's Friday night and I'm sitting out on our balcony watching the sun set over W.T. Harris Boulevard (believe me, it's even more romantic than it sounds) and thinking about how Friday nights have changed for me since entering the "real world." In high school I would be going strong -- entering my twelfth hour of pure energy which started at 7:45 am when school started and was followed by hanging out at Bojangle's or Bowman's for after school socializing then dinner at Osaka, Dairy Center, or Dos Amigos for pre-football game fuel-ups with the next step being to head over to Gurley Stadium to see some Red Devil Football. And then there would be three hours of cheering on Big Red inevitably followed by three more hours of after dark debauchery around a bonfire or in the basement at someone's house. *sigh*, memories . . .

Then, in college, Friday night became just another night to go out. On average, I had no classes on Friday so I was probably just now showering so I could look presentable at the very fine institutions of Shooters or the nearest Flip Cup table. I would be at either one long enough before heading back to the dorm and hanging out with my dearest friends until the wee hours of the morning.

Now, my 9 to 5 job and busy evenings have led me to cherish Friday evenings -- and by cherish I mean see the other side of my eyelids by 10:30 pm. It's amazing how routine can drain you and make you worn out on the very first night you have off for a few days. These past few weeks have been particularly excruciating with a lot of important work activities like grant writing and Board meetings followed by equally as important evening activities like hair appointments and Junior League meetings. Seriously though, even Newt-the-cat is beginning to feel neglected due to my absence from the apartment for hours on end (I know this because as I am typing he is giving my ankles love bites).

Even with all of this added responsibility, one good thing about being a grown up is that at least now I appreciate, more and more, sitting down on a balcony and watching the sunset -- even if it is over the local Applebee's while the waft of cigarette smoke curls around me from our neighbor below. It's still good to be home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Two more things checked off . . .

I realize it's been awhile since I last posted so I owe you all as my fellow readers (all three of you) some answers.

Let me begin by saying today was a lot more enjoyable than last Sunday. After heading to Durham on the 11th I had a lot of soul-searching to do. I was absolutely engulfed with emotion when I stepped back on Duke's campus, realizing how much I missed it. However, it also saddened me to think I would not have my wedding in Newton. Having seen both venues it became evident that, if I wanted to have something special for both Robbie and me, the wedding would have to be in Durham.

With these revelations came a Sunday of emotion followed by last week's whirlwind of phone calls, tears to my parents, reassurances by my parents, questions of whether the coveted space was lost, debates about guest lists (already?!), etc. Needless to say, I enter this week with our reception (and possibly our ceremony site) confirmed, the date set in stone, and all of the wedding party notified -- well, almost-- *ah hem*, Robbie, get on it.

So, where and when you ask? The locale will be steps from where Robbie and I met and fell in love. The ceremony will either be at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club or the Duke University Chapel and the reception confirmed for the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club on October 9, 2010 in the evening. It will be Robbie's Fall Break and I am just pleased that it will be even more of a special day for both of us. I look forward to exposing our closest family and friends to such an amazing place as Duke and am very pleased that it will be the setting for our mutual declaration of love to each other.

Dear old Duke. Thy name we will definitely sing on a crisp (hopefully) Fall weekend next October.

Next up, dress shopping!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Let's Get it Started

This is a big week for me for two reasons (don't question why I am only discussing this now, on a Wednesday, when there are only two more days left in the week). Both reasons are equally important to me and both reasons revolve around two very crucial fixtures in my life -- Robbie and TV.

I'll address the latter first. TV. Those of you who know me can attest to my obsession with all things reality TV (and a few sitcoms and dramas thrown in). My routine after 6:00 pm is to be in front of the television set anticipating that nights' shows. I read with one eye on the set, I eat dinner with both eyes on the set and I surf the Internet with neither eye on the set, only a quick glance up every now and again so that I do not miss a critical plot twist, immunity challenge or rose ceremony. In fact, part of the reason for starting this blog was to divert my interest in a more emotionally satisfying direction away from mindless starting at a talking box. Well, all I have to say is thank God for DVR.

Now, why is this week a big week for my love for TV? It's Fall Season Premiere week!!!!! This week kicks off two of my dozen or so shows I plan on watching this Season. Tonight? Glee and America's Next Top Model. Sorry President Obama, I'll watch your speech on YouTube. This is the night I have been waiting for since that night in June when I realized The Bachelorette was over and Big Brother wasn't doing it for me anymore.

So, the second reason this is a big week for me revolves around Robbie. In July, he signed up for an entire lifetime with me by asking me to marry him. Having said yes, the two of us enjoyed about two months of engagement bliss. And then we began to plan. After much debate -- or more like me explaining the pros and cons of various dates to Robbie while he responds with "whatever you want" -- we (I) have officially set the date. October 9, 2010. Never thought I would have a Fall wedding but I'll probably explain the logic behind this date in some other post. For now, we are deciding where to have the wedding and it is narrowed down between my hometown of Newton and the place that brought us together, Duke University. Tomorrow and Friday I have meetings lined up with the key wedding players for my dream wedding at both locales so that they can try to woo me to their venues, atmospheres, wedding packages, etc. Pressure is on to say the least.

I acknowledge that this is the third biggest wedding-planning decision behind choosing the right guy to meet you at the end of the aisle and choosing that specific day that you will remind said guy of each year, so I am feeling very eager to have the decision made yet hesitant to actually make it. They both have their pros and cons and you can be sure I am weighing each one heavily (just ask my roommate).

That being said, a lot is going on in the next few days and I promise to update you on the outcomes of these hours in front of the TV and hours in front of caterers, wedding directors, etc. Let's just hope that in one year I am as, if not more so, excited about the 2010 Fall TV Season and our upcoming wedding (come on Glee, don't blow all this hype). I imagine I will be, but if not, I can count on taking a break from tying mesh bags of birdseed closed to focus a little on Michael Scott and who is not the biggest loser for that week.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day

I imagine there is little in this world that is more pleasing than getting a day off without worrying about using one's Paid Time Off or being concerned about the number of messages in one's inbox and voicemail box or feeling guilty because even though one gets vacation days, doesn't one still feel a little selfish at times for taking time off knowing others are at work picking up the slack for your not being there?

Enter Labor Day (and other federal holidays). For about nine to eleven days out of the year, depending upon your employer, you don't have to worry about such minutiae. Instead, the vast majority of 9-to-5ers are off as well and you can just enjoy sleeping till 10 am (thank you Newt, for not waking me up), catching up on your reading (I went through, like, ten People Magazines and Entertainment Weekly's in about fifteen minutes), and enjoying lunch out without having to fit it into a thirty-minute window (if you can find a place open -- some eating establishments also observe Federal Holidays -- specifically the Vietnamese Restaurant we like to frequent. Odd.).

As the evening approaches, and the sun begins to set, the feeling of work on Tuesday may seem a little less-than-thrilling. But, knowing that Monday is really Tuesday should lighten the gloomy Sunday-evening feeling a little, right? My usual Subway-lunch run that I take on Tuesdays will be even more awesome tomorrow because it will feel like a Monday and I'll pretend I'm being all maverick-ey. My Tuesday updates will be even more interesting because we can first discuss our Labor Day events which will distract the other participants from the four-page agenda I will have distributed showing what needs to be discussed. And my post-work TV time will be even more enjoyable because, instead of thinking I have two nights between me and some quality time with NeNe, Kim, Lisa, Kandi, and Sheree, I will actually have only one!

Yes, summer may be theoretically over, but at least we get a day off to deal with it. I am grateful to live in a country that bookends summer with two long weekends for our personal use. So whether you are anticipating Columbus Day, Veterans Day, or, like me, holding out for Thanksgiving, I say to you still, God bless America!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Nothing could be finer.

Yes, it is 8 am on the Saturday of a three-day-weekend and instead of being curled up with Newt, fast asleep, I am up and at 'em.  Why?  Because it's the first Saturday of College Football Season. And I am ex-sigh-ted.

Fall is my favorite season and football is my favorite sport (besides curling) but I'm not sure which came first -- my love for the season which means football is starting or my love for football which means fall is here.  It's a question I'll have to ask God one day right after I find out which came first, the chicken or the egg.

In any case, the two go hand in hand.  I love the crispness of the air when I walk out onto the balcony in the morning -- I love how I know I won't be sweating up a storm within ten minutes of stepping outside -- I love how the day starts out with minimum humidity so my hair has a chance at looking decent -- and I love how I look better in sweaters and jeans . . . and now, on this Saturday, I love how I will be with my family at Grove Stadium in Winson-Salem munching on seven-layer dip, spicy asian noodle salad, and some Bojangles chicken tenders before heading in to pull for the Demon Deacons against the Baylor Bears.  

The reality of the arrival of the two really hit me when I went to the Panthers/Steelers game Thursday night here in Charlottesburgh (newly named considering how many Steelers fans were in attendance).  It was the last exhibition game for the Panthers and I was excited to know that for the next dozen+ Sundays, I will be watching regular season football.  Yes, the Panthers lost and yes, we left at halftime but there was still that excitement in the air when Sir Purr's flag emitted a fountain of sparks as the team ran out and it was evident as we made our way into the stadium through the tailgaters who were taking up too many spaces in the parking lot (side note, there should be some way to regulate that -- I almost hit a ten-year-old punk in a Roethlisberger jersey because his cornhole contraption was in my way).

I should acknowledge that my love for the sport may seem inconsistent considering I went to a school where our football team was a joke.  That, however, did not keep me from going to every home football game, and some of the away ones as well, to cheer on these most-humble of athletes.  I was a Wade Wacko more than I was a Cameron Crazie and I find a certain pride in that.

In any case, I heart football.  And as the short-lived Panther fight song says, "Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina for a Panther/Wake/Duke football gaaaaaaaame!"

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Miss Cleanarella

So I recently learned that individuals of the German descent are excellent cleaners -- as in cleaning houses, maintaining organized living quarters, vacuuming without leaving any track lines, etc.  I currently live with a fifty percent Italian, fifty percent German and I can confirm that this is absolutely true.  

I have just spent the last three hours following my roommate around as she cleaned her bathroom with some very intense chemicals, used every one of the twenty-five attachments on her vacuum, and attacked the furniture on our outdoor deck with a Magic Eraser.  It was inspiring I must say -- so much so that I swept my bathroom floor (I am evidently not nearly "German" enough to have the clean gene).  

Why would she spend the better part of a Wednesday night doing these chores?  Well, besides the fact that all the good TV shows start at 10 pm (after our bedtime), her parents are coming into town tomorrow.  This 25-year-old still cares enough to put her best foot forward for her parents and not only is she insuring a quality three day trip to the QC, she is making our apartment the Ritz-Carlton of the University Area; complete with a bowl of fruit for snacking, a display of homemade chocolate brownies made from Jacques Torres' very own recipe, made-from-scratch crab cakes ready to be cooked, and a welcome gift wrapped and ready for their arrival.  It makes me wish I wasn't her roommate so I could be privy to this treatment.  The novelty of my residency in the apartment wore off in about ten seconds . . . and now I've added a giant orange cat to the mix (Dear Lord, please don't let Newt ruin the freshly steamed drapes.). 

But, in the meantime, I'll be sure to try to absorb some of her enthusiasm for a clean space.  And, to complete the picture, the 50% Italian side comes out often as well.  She makes an amazingly delicious tomato sauce (she would give me the recipe but then she would have to make me walk down the Plaza at 3 am by myself) and is the first to invite me out for a night on the town with her friends.  I'd say she's got the best of both Axis powers.  Luckily, I get to reap the benefits of a clean apartment and a constant buddy whose idea of "hanging out with friends" is always inclusive and never exclusive -- a good counterpart to us French who prefer to sit in the corner of a restaurant (or den) watching people (or TV) drinking coffee (or Diet Coke) by oneself (with Newt-the-cat).  

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

100 Years

I spent a few hours in Newton tonight.  My father had a City Council meeting and they were surprising him with a proclamation regarding the public service my grandfather, his father, committed to the city of Newton.  Some of you may know that my grandfather passed away in June and this acknowledgement by the city was much appreciated.  

Poppa was 92 when he died and as I was driving home I heard that song "100 Years" by Five for Fighting and, maybe it was because I had had a sentimental trip home or I was filling reminiscent of all my grandfather had accomplished, but, whatever the reason, I took a moment and reflected on his life.  If you will humor me, I would like to share some of it now.

He was born in 1917 on a farm in Newton to sharecroppers.  He was baptized at Beth Eden Lutheran Church when he was a little over a month-old.  This church was the same one in which his mother was baptized and the same one in which my father, my brother, myself, and my nephew were baptized.  

He grew up to be a successful businessman by starting Citizens Savings and Loan Company and at his receiving in June, many of those in attendance were former clients of his -- remarking on how he had helped them own their first home.  He was also a politician.  And I mean that in the simplest of terms.  He was Mayor of Newton from 1971-1977 after many other leadership positions in the community.   I am not sure he enjoyed the "game" of politics, but he certainly noted that it was important to be active in one's community.

These accomplishments are all impressive but I find the most inspiring one to be his marriage to my grandmother.  They were engaged on Valentine's Day of 1935 and married in August of that year, lasting a total of 71 years - a number Robbie and I would only match if we live to be 97, God willing.  She passed away almost a year to the day before Poppa and it is that marriage that created two children and a strong sense of family that has passed down through the generations.  

I have a lot to live up to when I look at the life of Poppa.  I think the main theme through all of his endeavors was an impeccable sense of humility from which we all, and especially myself, can learn.  I only wish I had an ounce of the modesty he showed throughout his life as well as his dedication to those other than himself.  I see it now when I think about how he made it a point to always walk up his street in the morning and throw his neighbors' newspapers on their stoop so they would not have to walk to the sidewalk; or in his boisterous laugh that he so generously gave to everyone's attempts at jokes; or in his weekly letters that came to me after I went to college, DC and Charlotte that only stopped a week before he went into hospice.  

As the song says, "Every day is a new day."  A new day to try to live up to these individuals in our lives that effect us in such a profound manner.  A new day to admire and appreciate those around us whom God has graced with more patience than ourselves.  A new day to try to serve others in a way in which we would want to be served.  A new day to remember people like Poppa while also looking ahead to the future with a renewed sense of humanity.  

I thank Poppa for reminding me of these realities even though he is no longer with us.  His ability to continue to play a role in my life shows proof that he had an even more successful existence on Earth -- far beyond those accomplishments mentioned above.  

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Memoirs of a Geisha House

Robbie returned to the "Right Coast" (pun intended) this evening after a long weekend in Los Angeles for a job interview. Having been to Los Angeles myself, I was able to give him some words of wisdom on how to handle oneself among a population where men wear fedoras on a daily basis and women's utilization of hair extensions would make Kym from the Real Housewives of Atlanta swoon.

First of all, if you find yourself in the presence of a celebrity, play it cool.*

Second, do like other Angelenos do and have one meal a day be a Large serving of Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt.**

Third, be sure to stop by at least one In 'N Out Burger.***

Fourth, venture outside of the hip areas of Hollywood and Beverly Hills and check out a more eccentric locale.****

Fifth, and finally, do not go to the Geisha House. Having adored Judd Apatow's movie Knocked Up, my two girlfriends and I thought it would be awesome to get 9 o'clock reservations at the Geisha House for our Saturday night in the city. Boy, was that a bad idea. By the time we had reached our table, one of us had been called a "bitch" by another girl because she accidentally bumped into her, one of us had become partially deaf in her left ear from the blaring acoustics of Pit Bull and Lady Gaga, and one of us had slightly insulted the waitress by an open-mouthed stare at their provocative attire (these were not classy Geishas). The food wasn't that bad though.*****

So, who knows how the interview will turn out. The good news is that, with our respective experiences in the City of Angels, we will be all set should Robbie be starring in his own series of The Hills next summer. I just hope I get to be the Jayde to his Brody (they are still together right?).

*As a disclaimer, I did not follow any of my own advice. When my two girlfriends and I looked over at dinner at a hip West Hollywood restaurant and saw John Mayer, we all almost got sick on ourselves. I should also note that we picked this particular restaurant because it was featured in the previous week's Star Tracks section in People Magazine.

**Again, I did not follow this one. I took one bite of the Frozen "Yogurt" and immediately spit it out. It tastes like frozen spoiled milk. And don't even think about adding toppings like hot fudge or smashed Oreos. Your choices are raisins, fiber flakes, and quinoa.

***I definitely did this one -- ironically, I was in San Francisco though. It was still a very good meal.

****I would recommend Venice Beach. Nothing like a three block stretch filled with crazy people to make you appreciate the fedoras and fake hair.

*****I have no footnote on this one. I just wanted to remain consistent.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This livin' is so MACnificent . . .

Today was a big day for me.  A huge day.  

I became a new woman, so-to-speak.  I see the world with an entirely new set of eyes. 

Today, I became a Mac.  

I abandoned my previous twenty years of PC living (although my family's first computer was a very boxy Apple IIGS) and ventured into the always-crowded Apple Store.  I strode past the other folks checking their emails and playing Wheel of Fortune on the iPhones and walked up to a guy wearing a blue Apple shirt and declared "I am ready to buy a Mac!"  He turned around and kindly informed me that I would need to visit the lady in the orange Apple shirt, put my name on the list, and I would then be called when a clerk became available.  My response -- "Seriously?"  The guy laughed and said it should not take too long.  So, I did as I was told and thirty minutes later I was being helped by a not-nearly-close-enough-to-looking-like-Justin-Long clerk who showed me my options.  My mom and I were slightly bum fuddled the entire time but we managed to walk out with a new MacBook (as basic as they come), Apple Care for three years (so when Newt sits on my computer and breaks it I will be covered), and a free IPod Touch.  Not too shabby I'd say.  

So, on this Saturday night, I will either be video chatting, watching YouTube videos, or simply staring at my thirteen inches and five pounds of Apple joy -- dreaming of the months to come with my very own MacBook.  My digital photos should be more pristine, my Facebook and Twitter pages will be more frequently updated, wedding planning should be a piece of cake, and life will be even more rosy.  Turn the clock to zero, boss . . . I've started up a brand new day!