An early birthday present

November 5th, 2010 8 comments

It's an old photo of me with my parents, but one of my favorites ever.

I’m getting an early birthday present. It arrives tomorrow.

And I’m so stinkin’ excited!

My parents are driving up to see us. And they will be here for my birthday next week.

I’ve gotten to do a lot of fun and exciting things lately. The perks of being married to a musician for sure. However, I have to say, none of those things had me as excited as I am right now for my parents to arrive and be here for my birthday. The funny thing is that I didn’t know how excited I was about it until it almost didn’t happen! Its one of those things where you don’t realize what you have until you’ve lost it. Thankfully, though, everything has worked out and they’ll be on their way sometime tomorrow.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I apologize if I harp on it a little too much, but finances have me stressed — and flat out scared — much of the time these days. My birthday wish all year has been for a new camera for my birthday. A real high tech one to take my photography to the next level. To give me some credibility and maybe finally help me make some money doing it.

However, lack of funds won’t let that happen, and its also  made me realize how important our relationships are as opposed to our possessions. They are our true constants in life. As such, the thought of my parents being here for my birthday gets me more excited than ever. I realize this present that I AM getting is way more important. It means way  more and will do more for my heart and soul than a camera could possibly do.

How lucky am I? I’ll be surrounded by my parents and my husband on my birthday!!

The only thing that could make it better would be to bring my brother and his family along with all my best girlfriends in Texas along with them. Oh and an Aggie win would rock, too. But, hey, I’m not greedy. hehe

Anyway, say a prayer for safe travels for my parents as they travel tomorrow. This is definitely the best early birthday present ever.

Categories: family, parents Tags: , , ,

Game watching party?

November 4th, 2010 2 comments

Game Watching Party

When I first moved to Nashville four years ago, I found myself seeking out friendships. I had never been very good at meeting people. Believe it or not, I can count on one hand the people I met and “befriended” in college… and I’d have fingers left over. I had just never learned how to assert myself and meet new people (a trait that I thankfully have developed over time) and as such, I became good at being a loner.

My husband came with a built in group of friends who, thankfully, all accepted me with open arms. However, I craved people who understood my love of Texas. Who were from where I was from. Who could understand a part of me that I could never explain. I wanted my Aggies.

So, I sent an email to the only contact I could find on the local A&M club web-site. I asked about opportunities to get together with other Aggies, and to my delight an email came shorty later. There would be a football game watching party coming up that I was encouraged to attend.

Texas A&M was playing Oklahoma, and my husband was out of town on the road. I wanted to go and somehow relive the days of standing at Kyle Field rooting on my Aggies. So, despite having no clue where I was going, and this being pre-GPS days, I headed out that Saturday evening armed with nothing more than a map from MapQuest. I wasn’t even guaranteed I’d be able to call my husband for directions, and I didn’t have anyone else’s number yet. Nonetheless, nervous as can be, I went.

It was the only party I made it to that year, but it was wonderful. I was surrounded by Aggies again. I was surrounded by people who knew where I was from. Who understood my passion for my school. We, ironically, ended up at the same location as the Oklahoma alumni group, which I, personally, found to make it even more fun. I don’t think anyone else would agree with me of that, but I sure enjoyed it.

This weekend, Texas A&M will face Oklahoma again, and due to that first game watching party, this game always holds a little place in my heart as a favorite.

Unfortunately, I have been very disappointed and frustrated with this year’s game watching parties. I missed one due to not feeling well, but I’ve been to all the rest. We’ve never had more than four people at a party. Oh don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy these people and I think they’d be the people I’d sit with even if we had a huge group attend. But, it gets disheartening to try to put a party together only to not have anyone show up.

Being deep in SEC territory, we have to work to find a location that will show our game without pushing us out mid-game for another game. (Its happened before.) Evening games means finding a venue that doesn’t have live music at night. We like to keep it family-friendly, which usually means venues that close early. We’ve really had to juggle to find locations that will work, and this week I really wanted to throw in the towel. I was just fed up and done with the parties due to the (perceived) lack of interest.

Then I remembered my first game watching party and how much it meant to me. And I thought to myself, “What if there is a new Aggie here who is where I was four years ago? What if our party could be their chance to reach out to people from home?”

So this weekend, we will gather again. Probably three of us will be there. But we will gather and we will enjoy the evening. I’ll be glad we got together. I always am. It doesn’t matter if its two Aggies or twenty, its a touch of back home for an evening. I appreciate it and love it.

Categories: texas a&m Tags: ,

Show Stories — Radio magic

November 3rd, 2010 2 comments

The stage is set...

I’m going to say something that many, many music fans are going to gasp at my saying.

I’ve never been a Rascal Flatts “fan.”

Oh I’ve liked a lot of their songs! I think I have a CD or two of theirs. I saw their CMT tour (because their opening act was the artist my now-husband played for at the time – lol – and it was on my birthday) and I was on my feet the whole show. But all that being said, I’d still have never called myself a “fan.”

Is that weird?

The bar in Nashville that I pretty much call my second home happens to also be the bar in which they were discovered. I’ve run into Jay DeMarcus there a hand full of times. There are records on the wall from them. A huge sign inside proclaims, “Home of Rascal Flatts.”

Lon Helton

Perhaps that has, over time, fed into my, “Yeah whatever” mentality towards the band. They’re fellow members of the bar’s family, even if they’re generally not around these days. Who knows.

When I caught wind of the band doing a private show at the bar, I couldn’t let it go undocumented. (I run the bar’s MySpace and Facebook pages.) Had the people putting on the show said, “No, you can’t come,” I wouldn’t have cried about it; I’d have gotten irritated for not being able to do my job. But, I’d have also understood.

Instead, they said I could come, so I did. I joked with everyone that Rascal Flatts was eating my life. Magazines, videos, billboards. Everywhere I looked I saw Gary, Jay and JoeDon! Ahhh! (This sort of thing happens when any artist releases a new album, though, so it really wasn’t a big deal. I just had the added private show in there to amp things up and put them on my radar this week.)

The private event was last night, and it wasn’t until I arrived that I learned it was a radio broadcast taping celebrating their 10th anniversary and debuting their new album on their new label. Hosted by Lon Helton from American Country Countdown. The people in attendance were radio winners from across the country, plus a handful of VIPs. (Apparently I was a “VIP” on their list of guests. I won’t let it go to my head, I promise.)

Rascal Flatts on stage

I wandered back to the Meet & Greet, but didn’t join in the fun. (I ended up bartending awhile instead so others could go back. LOL!) However, as I stood watching the Meet & Greet line, I slowly realized Lon Helton was standing right beside me. Darn if I didn’t get tongue tied and failed to introduce myself. Still kicking myself for that. Who knew I’d get more excited about the host than the artist? I’m weird like that, I guess.

I won’t go into too much detail about the broadcast itself. You’ll have to check your radio listings for that! But lets just say I never knew that Rascal Flatts could also go on tour as comedians.  I laughed so hard through most of the night. Many of the jokes were extra funny to me as they poked gentle fun at the bar and its beloved owner and its regulars as they reminisced. The chemistry with the fans that were in attendance was wonderful as well. The added fabulous bonus? They sounded fantastic.  No lights. No smoke. No video boards. Just them. And they nailed it. I was impressed. Very impressed.

I got to watch radio magic happen in front of me. I hope to hear the radio special myself, even though I was there for it in person!

Do I call myself a fan now? Not really. But that is sincerely due to knowing too many people in common with them, and they ARE at heart still a member of the bar’s “family.” Makes it really hard to go fangirl on the band. But, I did have a total blast and I recommend everyone check out the radio show and their new album. Seriously good stuff.


November 2nd, 2010 3 comments

I don’t like to talk politics. It’s up there with religion on “topics to avoid if you don’t want to end up in a fight with someone.” An intelligent and fact-driven conversation very rarely happens.

However, I will say that ever since I was old enough to vote, its something I’ve taken seriously and appreciated about my country. Even when, for whatever reason, I did not vote in an election, I appreciated that I had to right to vote, along with the freedom to not vote, should it just not work out.

I’ve never been a fan of voting along party lines. I’ve always believed you vote based on your beliefs and what is best for the country. Do your homework on the candidates. Know what they stand for individually versus just knowing their party.

(I wish the people in office voted this way a lot more as well — based on what is best for the people who put them in office versus what their party expects of them. But, that’s a rant for another blog post that will probably never happen.)

Our ancestors went through a lot of strife for us to have this right.  Voting is our chance to have a say in our government. It’s the one time the majority is heard loud and clear. It’s when the candidates are reminded that its the American people who are their bosses. It’s the American people who decide if they still have a job or if they get a new job.

I will be at the polls today. I will proudly cast my vote and have my say. It’s my right… it’s your right, too.

Categories: general-post, USA Tags: , , ,

Crossing Paths

November 1st, 2010 4 comments

Surrounded by friends at my husband's birthday party a few years ago.

Growing up, I used to say that sometimes I felt like I’d already crossed paths with the man I’d marry some day. I just didn’t know him yet.

Had I crossed paths with him? I’m honestly not sure. The time line of when I visited Nashville the first time and when he moved here is a little fuzzy. It doesn’t really matter, I guess. But it was something I always had fun thinking about.

I still think about that sort of phenomenon from time to time. In the last few years, as I’ve made friends around Nashville, I’ve ended up shaking my head in amusement. How many people I, today, call friends that I once saw on stage at some concert back in Texas. I have to laugh to myself how back then they were just some musician, and I was just some fan in the crowd. Today, I call them friend.

It seems like every time I turn around, I am meeting someone new that makes us both go, “How did we not meet sooner!?” due to mutual friendships we discover, or we can pin point being at the same place at the same time. We probably stood side-by-side at some point, but we were each just a face in the crowd to each other then.

We are all just a face in the crowd to someone, and its so strange to think how that stranger could some day come to play a key role in our life. As I look at photos of old friends with their new friends, I find myself wondering how they met that person. How did they come to know each other?

As I marvel at the friendships I have to day, I find myself wondering about the ones that are still to come. The ones that come with new jobs and raising kids. The ones that come from organizations and seminars. The ones I find on Twitter and in the Blogosphere.

I straddle the line of introvert and extrovert these days. It kind of depends on my mood and the situation as to which way I lean. Either way, though, I’ve found myself craving the relationships I have with people. The boost and joy I get from interacting with others.

We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
—Virginia Satir, family therapist

We all have a need for each other, and that person standing beside you on the elevator today may some day be your daughter’s best friend’s mother. The guy stuck in traffic beside you on the interstate might be your co-worker in five years at a new job.

Who knows! It’s fun to think about and wonder. It makes you look around and pay a little extra attention to the people around you. It might make you reach out and just make a new friend on your own, for no real purpose other than you like their jacket.

It’s all about the people around us. Take a minute today and take stock of those people. See them as a person with a story… not just another human being trying to make it through this “rat race” we call life. It just might make your day… and theirs.

Mixed bag of tricks and treats!

October 31st, 2010 2 comments

I’m a little sad. Halloween is drawing to a close, and the number of ghosts and goblins to visit us was definitely down this year.

I think it was in part due to it being a Sunday, a day for church as well as the last night before another week of school. Plus, several locations did “trunk-or-treat” this year… something that is brilliant for parents, but stinks for those of us who wait all year to give out candy. We absolutely LOVE to do it, and this year we were left a little disappointed.

Oh don’t get me wrong, we had some great costumes come along! Adorable princesses and witches. Stormtroopers and soldiers. Almost all of them saying “Thank you” before walking away. I hope trick-or-treating never fully comes to an end. I don’t know that Halloween is necessarily my “favorite” holiday, but I do so look forward to it every year. Its just FUN!

Now we go into November. A busy month, again, for me. And it’ll probably pass even faster than October did!

I noticed this was my 51st week to do Weekly Winners, and my 51st week on Self Portrait Saturdays. 10 days to my birthday, and I plan to start another Project 365 on the day again. I took a year off and missed it. So time to start another one.

NaNoWriMo and my chapter of “And What Happens Then…” is coming up quick. Hubby’s birthday, Mom’s birthday, and Thanksgiving approaches as well. Turkey and dressing and family and football… oh my!

Ahhh… bring it on. There’s no stopping it anyway. Might as well embrace it and go with the flow…

Happy Halloween!!!

Little Red Riding Hood & The Big Bad Wolf