10 years ago, 10 years ahead

October 4th, 2010 3 comments

Back in July, I read a post in Living in the Moment called Future Unsure. It really resonated with me, and I bookmarked it so I could some day write my own version of that post. Here I am, just over a month from my 30th birthday, and it seems as good a time as any to tackle that post.

Ten years ago, I was a sophomore in college at Temple College. (Yeah, I was a transfer student to Texas A&M, but I bled maroon from birth.) I’d, luckily, already figured out that I didn’t know everything. I used to joke that at 18 I went blonde literally and figuratively. I’d colored my dark blonde/light brown hair to a bright blonde, and around that same time I felt like I went “stupid.”

Perhaps a big part of that was the fact that I had, thanks to exam exemptions through high school, forgotten how to take tests and, beyond that, I had a general “whatever” attitude regarding my grades in school. They wouldn’t transfer as A’s anyway, so why bother?

Herein lies something I’d tell my going-on-20-self: Just because you might not get to keep credit for a job well done, its no excuse to not do your best. Give everything you do your all. If you give everything your all, you’ll always either succeed with greatness or fail miserably, but you’ll be able to solidly stand behind what you did either way. Giving anything only half-yourself, you’ll always wonder if you could have done better. If you could have been the best of the best as opposed to just running with the crowd.

But, as I said, I knew I didn’t know it all, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t think I had it all figured out. See, I knew I would soon be going to Texas A&M and would graduate with a degree in journalism. I also knew I’d some day live in Nashville, TN. I knew I’d one day throw myself towards the dream of writing a book. I got all those things right on the money!

However, I didn’t know my husband yet. I didn’t know I’d be a “musicians widow.” I didn’t know I’d grow disillusioned by the newspaper business. I didn’t know I could actually enjoy working for my parents bookkeeping and tax business. I didn’t know I’d get myself deep in debt. I didn’t know I’d at any point in life feel unsure of myself. I didn’t know I’d end up a cat person. I didn’t know I’d this deeply wish I’d studied photography. I didn’t know that the path I dreamt of could ever change direction and course… and that I’d actually be more than okay with that fact.

With every thing I didn’t know, I’ve learned a lesson and grown. There is one thing I can say for certain: I don’t have a clue what to expect in the next ten years. If I could tell my 20-year-old self another thing, it wouldn’t be all those details I listed. It would simply be: Keep your goals and your dreams alive and chase them with all your might, but know that nothing is guaranteed except for the many twists and turns along the way towards those dreams.

See, at 20, I was career woman extraordinaire. I had a set path that would take me eventually to NYC for a huge journalism career that would eventually wind around down into Nashville… some day. I would live life in power suits, attending big events, rubbing elbows with all the elite people you’d want to meet.

I’ve traded in my power suits for sweats most days, but I keep a healthy selection of business attire for any number of potential meetings or events. I can say I’ve been blessed to still rub elbows with some of the elite people in the music industry. But I tossed NYC off my list of places to live. I’ve realized I’d not be happy there… I’d love to some day visit, but I don’t think it would fit me to live there.

I have a much more down to Earth view of myself. So in the next 10 years, my goals are for us to have a beautiful family, be as debt-free as possible, and to make a solid living with my writing and photography while my husband continues to tickle the ivories for a living. Those are sensible goals and dreams, leaving plenty of opportunity to chase any number of possibilities as they come along the way. Leaving myself room for adventure, learning and growth.

So to my 20 year old self and my 30 year old self: keep the dream, but realize you might not get there along the exact path you think… you’ll get there along the path you’re meant to take, complete with joys, sadness, successes and failures. Embrace that fact, and simply LIVE.

Weekly Winners (Sept. 26 – Oct. 2)

October 3rd, 2010 16 comments

Weekly Winners is a fun little thing bloggers do to showcase some of their favorite photos from the previous week. It is brought to you, me and everyone by the lovely Lotus, aka Sarcastic Mom. Visit her site and find all the participants. See some amazing photos brought to you by bloggers around the world. Leave a little love when you do — its like food for the soul!

Weekly Winners

In my own backyard… I just didn’t have many photo opportunities this week, so I took all of these photos in my backyard. So, I apologize for the over-cat-ification of this entry. ;)

Ready to bloom

Waiting to bloom.

Bailey

Soaking up the sun rays.

Maliboo

This is one of four feral cats that have adopted us and live in our backyard. Maliboo wants to be tamed it seems, though. He stays within 3 feet of us at all times and seems to adore our indoor cat, but he is just a LITTLE too skittish still to pet. We're getting there. We'd love to catch him and bring him inside someday.

Bailey

Sweet Bailey is our inside cat, but he loves going outside to get some sun.

Sunset

Playing with brightness and contrast settings on my cell phone camera.

Sunset

Again with playing with brighteness and contrast settings. Love the shade of blue it turned the sky.

Bailey

Close-up of Bailey. He's slowly getting more patient with my camera-wielding ways.

Curiosity

Maliboo lets his curiosity get away with him and comes within inches of me. It took a lot for me to not reach down and pet him.

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle, try two. My first attempt at a photo of my honeysuckle ended in my getting soaked. My neighbor was watering his tree just on the other side of the fence. He didn't know I was there and the water stream came over the fence and doused me! Needless to say, I double checked there was no neighbor around when I got THIS shot.

♥ ♥ ♥

Photos taken using a Rokinon DZ1000 or my Droid Incredible.
View all of my photos available on my Flickr stream.

Keep it off the highways

October 2nd, 2010 6 comments

This morning, as my husband and I were on a nice drive through the country, a car started to tailgate us. My husband commented that they needed to back off, and we were frustrated at how they were driving. It’s not like we could do anything on a two lane road with a car in front of us, but still the girl stayed right on our back bumper.

We turned; she turned. We stopped at a stop sign, then went when it was clear. She, however, cruised right through it behind us. We finally opened up to a four-lane and were glad she’d be passing. She didn’t get in any hurry to pass, though. We were slowing down to enter a parking lot when she finally cruised past.

That was when I saw it. Right there in the middle of her back window. A Longhorn sticker.

I have a Former Student sticker for Texas A&M on my back window.

*sigh*

This is not the first time I’ve had a Longhorn tailgate me (which is amusing considering that I’ve never been known to be “slow.”) I’ve had a Longhorn heckle me in bumper to bumper traffic through an open window. When in college, I even had someone try to run me off the road, flashing a horns symbol at me as I tried not to go into the ditch and hit a road sign.

At the heart of it all, these events scare me even more than they anger me.

Seriously, I am the first to say Texas is a good school. I respect the school and the education people get there. The rivalry, for me, generally exists on the field. And as I said in a previous entry, I’ve always viewed that particular rivalry as one that has an undertone of respect (unlike other rivalries).

Sadly, you do have those on both sides that fail to remember that, and therein lies my fear. Its to those people, I plead… no matter what, keep it off the highway. A school rivalry is NOT worth someone’s life — be it you, your rival or an innocent bystander. We all put stickers on our vehicles to personalize them, to show allegiance to our schools, organizations, businesses, politics, etc. They are not there to be used as a target. Don’t tailgate, heckle, cut-off, or try to sideswipe someone because of their school allegiance. That’s dangerous and has potential consequences that are bigger than any rivalry.

So to the young woman who chose to tailgate us on the way home… grow up. We’re not even in Texas. We’re not playing today. I have nothing against you personally. I actually respect your school (just not the actions of people like, well, you.) And, at the end of it all, my vehicle is over twice as big as yours. If you had rear ended us in a sudden stop situation, I would have gotten out of my truck and run over to see if you were okay.

Then (assuming you were) I’d slap you upside the head for hurting my truck. Because, really, that would piss me off. A lot. A lot more than any rivalry. Because seriously… this crap does not belong on the highway. Leave it on the football field. ‘Kay?

Kay.

Thanks.

Categories: fears, rants, tamu, texas, texas a&m Tags: , , , ,

It’s Boobie-Thon time!!

October 1st, 2010 1 comment

I know. You’re asking your computer screen right now, “Boobie-Thon? What the heck is a Boobie-Thon?”  I know that’s what I asked when I stumbled upon it last October for the first time myself!

I think the site’s mission explains it perfectly:

The Boobie-Thon’s mission is to create a fun and lighthearted event that created awareness and raises money for breast cancer research.

It’s that simple. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Boobie-Thon is a fun way to support the cause of finding a cure for breast cancer.

Did you know*:

  • 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in their life. That’s 12 – 13% of women.
  • In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. (along with 1,970 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men). There will also be 54,010 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 39,840 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer.
  • About 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
  • In 2010, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

*These statistics come from BreastCancer.Org… for more statistics visit here.

Breast cancer statistics have improved over the years, thanks to a greater awareness of the issue. Awareness brought about by events like Boobie-Thon.

There are countless ways to donate towards the cause of breast cancer research. In its 9th year, Boobie-Thon has grown and become quite successful. In the last 8 years, they’ve raised over $64,000 towards breast cancer research. Only in its first day for 2010, they’re already close to raising $1000.

This week-long event is series business, but also a lot of fun. The best part about it is you have several ways to participate in the fun. You can submit a photo of “the girls.” You can blog about it, tweet about it, add a twibbon to your Facebook and Twitter photos, join the Boobie-Thon fan page, and choose any other number of ways to promote the event. As I said, its all in good, (relatively) clean fun. And its for a great cause.

Won’t you join us?

Generational music

September 30th, 2010 4 comments

As I was driving home last night, it hit me. It’s happened. I’ve become THAT person. You know. The person who gets stuck on the music of their teens and won’t leave it.

Well, okay, its not that I won’t leave it. I do like a lot some of the new music out today. And I am HUGE fan of 70s rock. Huge. And I can dig some of the 80s. But an interesting phenomenon occurs these days in my truck any time I am driving around town alone.

I am almost always tuned into 90s on 9 or Prime Country (Channel 61 on Sirius Satellite Radio). I was born in 1980. I went through my junior high and high school years in, of course, the 90s. Then, of course, college in the early 2000s. So, any rock music post-2003 is pretty much lost on me.

I mean, you know, except for your huge mainstream people that you can’t turn on entertainment news and not be blasted with their music and every make-up and break-up. I know who Lady Gaga is. I know about Katy Perry. I’m even aware of Justin Bieber. But I couldn’t name any of their music outside of their biggest hits, and even then I’d probably stare at you blankly for 5 minutes before it all clicked into place.

So all of that being said, I’ve found huge joy in reclaiming the music of the 90s. Not a trip goes by in which a great memory doesn’t come flooding back at me all due to the song playing on my radio. Especially if I happen to be on some two-lane road when maybe an early Matchbox Twenty song comes on the radio. Suddenly I’m 18 again, cruising home after band practice. Or I have Prime Country on and Bryan White sings “Sittin’ on Go” and I’m suddenly back at UIL competition waiting to compete in my News Writing event.

Music has a way of taking us back in time, and I think that’s why the phenomenon of sticking to the music of your teens occurs. I contend that those are not the “best times of life” but they are definitely the ones in which you experience the most change. You’re learning not only from the books, but you are learning about life. You’re making memories that you will NEVER experience again. You live in some element of bliss, and while you think life just couldn’t get any more stressful, looking back you realize you were never as free as you were then.

And maybe, as a song plays on the radio and you go back in time in your mind, you are able to recapture some of that freedom… even if it only lasts three minutes and its abruptly stopped by a bad commercial about consumer debt or some magic pill guaranteed to help you lose weight, gain hair and sing like an opera star. Those three minutes are like a little dose of medicine for the mind and spirit.

So forgive me if you see me cruising down the road singing “Baby Got Back” followed by  “Time Marches On” followed by “Zoot Suit Riot” (complete with arm motions trying to remember the old flag routine). It’s just me time traveling for awhile.

Categories: about-me, memories Tags: , ,

Show Stories — Grand Ole Opry

September 29th, 2010 6 comments

OpryLast night, the Grand Ole Opry returned home to the Opry house after the May floods.I watched the show on GAC along with thousands of other Country Music fans. My heart literally swelled with joy to see that stage and the circle and all those Opry greats on stage together for one huge homecoming night.

I can not wait to get to go and see all the changes and work that was done to bring it back home myself.

[Start rant.]

First off — I have to say this. I felt a deep anger when on my twitter feed I saw a hand full of people complain that its just a big tourist trap. Non-country fans even said during the flood that they were glad to see the Opry “go.”

Statements like that are ones that fall under, “If you don’t understand it… just shut up.” (TM – Me) Its up there with people who give me crap about being an Aggie. Some things are deeply personal. The Opry is deeply personal and revered by country music fans, artists and musicians. You don’t have to like it or understand it, but you need to respect that it means a LOT to people. A. LOT. And statements like those, are hurtful, spiteful, uncalled for and simply show an ignorance. So again. Just… shut up.

[End rant. ]

It’s been amazing to see the Opry  not miss a single performance post-flood. Thanks to the many venues around town that hosted the show the last five months, music fans could still see this wonderful show that brings the past, present and future of country music together in one place.

I remember the first time I got to go backstage at the Opry. I was in awe. I’d toured it with a tour group previously, but there is a different electricity in the air during the show.

I found a strange irony when I realized I was wearing the high heels I’d bought to wear to my senior prom, and they clicked on the asphalt parking long, down the sidewalk and then into the building. Ever since then, any time I’ve had the opportunity it go to the Opry (be it at the Opry House or the Ryman), I still go with a hushed respect for the history the Opry carries.

Joe Diffie on the OpryI’ve had the honor of meeting so many country greats that I know my parents and even my grandparents followed back in the day. I sometimes have to remind myself not to go all “fan girl” on them!

You can almost feel the ghosts of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Porter Wagner walking those halls along side you. You can see the excitement and nervousness of those getting ready to take the stage.You can see the awe in the eyes of the new artists taking the stage for the very first time.

Ironically, a week or two before the flood, my husband played the Opry. We stood outside the bus and watched the sky churn grey to black to green with spring storms. We prayed there were no tornadoes in the area, all the while clueless to the fact that in a few short days, the area where we stood would be deep under water.

The footage of the Opry underwater made so many people just sick to their stomachs. Tears were shed over it. The people who say things like  I  mentioned in my rant above could never understand what that stage means to so many. There’s a respect and love that comes from the Grand Ole Opry. There are no words created to accurately describe the feelings people have for it.

It was those same feelings that brought such joy last night as those curtains parted and the show began. The circle of wood from the Ryman floor back in its place. Country greats standing on that stage singing, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Because amazingly enough… the circle was never broken. The show went on to eventually come back home.

Welcome home, Opry. Welcome home.