Friday, October 21, 2011

I Love Everybody

Yes, I still do love everybody. What a week. My God, what a week.

It started on Monday with my job offer. Then, for the next three days, I marinated in the glow of a pure happiness and joy I hadn't known in quite some time.

It's funny. I built up the moment of receiving the job offer for so long, I began to wonder if it could ever possibly live up to what I envisioned when it actually came. I came so close to an offer three other times before this one. I had my celebration queued up and ready to go. I was ready to explode. And then, all three times I was denied.

The build-up and anticipation for this was seriously unbelievable.

And then the offer finally came. And it was everything I thought it would be and more. Just ask Allie, who witnessed me running through the house like a maniac, screaming like a banshee and attempting to make snow angels on the carpet after reenacting the scene from Jerry Maguire I linked to on Wednesday.

That celebration will really continue Friday night, when I go meet some friends downtown. It's someone's birthday, but I don't know her at all haha. Katie invited me and a few others we know just because we're fun, and we're always down for pretty much anything.

Anyway, we're starting at a place called Stoney's. It's on P Street near Whole Foods. I've been over to that area before, but I've never been to Stoney's. I'm sure it'll be fine. I already told Katie this, though. If the night doesn't end at Rumors for some dancing, I'm going to be VERY disappointed. This is as happy and energetic as I've ever felt. And that, my friends, is saying something.

Dammit I can't wait!

So! The first day at work is in the books. I'm pretty sure they'll invite me back for a second and third, so that's a great success.

The verdict after day one? Wow. 100 percent worth the wait. All the talk about "the right situation will come along" sounds like a cop-out to make you feel better when you miss out on something else. But after learning about this place and what I'll be doing, it sounds pretty accurate so far. The people are so friendly, and they seem so good at what they do. The work will be interesting and challenging, and there will be a ton of opportunities to do a lot of fun things. I'm so excited.

And the commute, driving in rush hour on the beltway? It took 30 minutes less, cumulatively, than it took me to ride the metro to work downtown. Incredible. I'm sure there will be days when it's beyond awful, and it takes much longer. But day one was a pleasant surprise.

For the first time in a long time, I am 100 percent at peace, happy and content. Physically, emotionally, mentally, financially -- I'm finally good in all phases of the game. I'm eating better than I ever have. I'm in better shape than I've ever been. I don't need to list all these things again. I feel like a broken record sometimes haha. I'm just so fired up and happy I don't know how to process it sometimes. Not a bad problem to have, if I do say so myself.

The weekend will be predictably awesome, too. Flag football games on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. N.C. State vs. Virginia on Saturday, McFadden's for the Panthers game on Sunday. Dammit I love everyone and everything right now.

Life is as good as it's ever been, and the outlook is only for it to get better. I am so, so lucky.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's Next

Oh boy.

Seriously. I am the exact opposite of Peter from Office Space right now. Every day of my life is better than the day that came before it. Every day you see me or talk to me is the best day of my life. Life is so, so very good!

I have been giggling like a school girl for almost three solid days now. I love everybody! This is pretty much an exact replication of how I reacted on Monday after hanging up the phone upon receiving my offer:


What's Next?

Well, tomorrow is my first day of work. God I really can't wait. CAN'T WAIT. I am going to dominate so hard.

I immediately canceled my move-out notice, and I will sign a new lease tomorrow. I know I may need to move at some point, but honestly, I can't emphasize enough how much I don't want to worry about that right now. Baby steps. One thing at a time. I like this apartment a lot, and the commute isn't going to be that much longer than when I rode the Metro. At worst, if the commute sucks, I'll deal with it for a while, and then look at some other living arrangements then.

I can finally book my flight for Boston next month now that I know from what city I'll be flying. A bunch of us have tickets to the State/BC game -- a true battle of who could care less, to quote Ben Folds. But nonetheless, it'll be an awesome trip with both DC and Raleigh friends heading up there. Plus, I have a cousin who lives nearby! Gotta go get down in Beantown.

While I plan on waiting and getting settled at the job before I do anything, I will absolutely begin my search for a band to join with MUCH excitement. I'd like to see how the first few weeks at work go, but I will be crafting my Craigslist ad before too long! Hell, I may just post the blog post I wrote about it over the summer.

The biggest challenge will be holding onto my fitness and eating habits while working all day every day now. I'll just have to wake up early enough to walk Allie and run or hit the gym before I leave. I just so much prefer to work out in the morning than in the afternoon. I love the feeling of an awesome workout, but I like to get it out of the way and feel the energy rush throughout the day. Like today, I ran four miles this morning, and I've felt awesome all day. Although there are certainly extenuating circumstances for that as well! LET'S GO.

I'm going to have to work hard to maintain my food discipline, too. I'll need to bring my lunch a minimum of three days a week. Since hitting 185, I've lost hardly any weight at all. Some of that is due to fun trips to Raleigh and Charlotte, to be sure. But I've also noticed my pants getting looser and looser in the interim. So it's not all that I'm not losing weight. I could just be toning and tightening up. I mean, geez. My new 34"-waist jeans that I was so excited about just a month ago were LOOSE on me last week, despite holding steady at around 185. What in the world!

I'll need to get my old dog walker back on retainer, too. There are going to be nights where I don't get back until later than Allie is used to. But she really seems to like the woman who's walked her in the past, and she's not too unreasonably priced, so it seems worth it. She'll come walk Allie for 30 minutes or so and feed her for me. Not bad at all.

So the blog. Obviously, I won't be able to devote time during the day to writing anymore. Honestly, I cannot believe I've managed to keep up with posting three times a week since early June with very, very few exceptions. I have no intention of stopping now either. I've gotten into a rhythm, and I really enjoy writing for whomever decides to stop by and read. What I plan to do now is write my posts the night before and just post the link during the day. I'm sure the new blog routine will take some getting used to, but it'll work out just fine.

Weekend Roundup

You may have read about my less-than-awesome drive last week. Turns out I completely busted BOTH wheels on the passenger side of the car. The car place ordered one wheel because they didn't know both were wrecked. The back wheel was wrecked on the inside, which they didn't know until they took the wheel off. To which I'm compelled to ask, "Why didn't you do that before ordering parts?" But I digress.

They called me on Friday to say it would be done by closing. Then they called 20 minutes later to tell me about the second wheel. The second wheel was supposed to arrive on Monday. It did not. The guy at wherever they were getting it from somehow failed at putting the wheel on the UPS truck, and it didn't arrive until Tuesday afternoon.

Anyway, the rest isn't that important. Both wheels eventually arrived. Both tires eventually arrived. And everything was put on the car. A good time was had by all.

I finally got home last night around midnight. What a week.

Oh and Kirk and Liz's wedding!

Wow what an awesome wedding. Incredibly beautiful and unique location. Excellent food and dancing at the reception. Old friends I hadn't seen in forever. The unbelievable experience of seeing my old friend Paul dance. I've never seen someone control a dance floor like he did Saturday night. It was really something to see.

I've got nothing else. I'm so incredibly giddy right now. Tomorrow's drive in the morning rush will be the best drive in the history of mankind. I can't wait!

Next time we speak, I will no longer be unemployed. GREAT SUCCESS.



Monday, October 17, 2011


Our long national nightmare is over!

I've been waiting to write this post for a long time. I've been waiting for this celebration for a long time. I mean, a loooong time.

This morning, I received a job offer from a PR firm in the area, and I will be starting my new job on Thursday! LET'S GO!

To put this situation in perspective, the lease at my apartment runs out at the end of October. For those of you for whom math is not your specialty, that means I was going to have to vacate my apartment in 14 days.

Needless to say, I canceled that move-out request. I may need to move at some point, but I don't even want to think about that right now. I'll see how this goes for a little while, and if it doesn't work, I'll reassess later.

I may or may not have (but definitely DID) reenact Andy's rain scene from Shawshank in the shower this morning. I am overwhelmed with so many feelings right now. Relief, joy, excitement, anxiousness. I don't even know how to process everything I'm feeling. So great.

I love everybody right now!

It's been a hell of a time the past nine months. The late winter and early spring was a really, really rough time for me because of the unemployment thing. It led to me becoming a little too depressed for my own good. I gained way too much weight. I stopped caring about a lot of things. I directly blame that for ruining some things I would have preferred not being ruined. Don't get me wrong; I know it's on me. I let a bad situation get to me, and it threw a wrench into quite a few things, which is really a shame given how awesome I've been since.


I am so thoroughly thrilled to say I don't have an OUNCE of negativity in me anymore. I am 100 percent optimism and energy. As I've happily documented on this blog, since mid-April, I've been a completely different person. Just take a stroll through the archives to see the transformation.

Since then, my life has been so completely amazing. I've met some incredibly awesome people, who I'm ridiculously pumped to call my friends. I've started playing softball and flag football. I'm going out with my friends like twice a week. I've been to Raleigh and Charlotte a few times and to Savannah. And I'm going to Boston next month. And, oh yeah, I've lost more than 40 pounds and counting.

So much good has been going on, and I've been so completely happy. Only one thing has prevented me from calling this the best time of my life: I didn't have a full-time job.

Literally everything else about my life was better than it had ever been before -- except the job situation.

Now, that is no longer the case. I am so excited about this job. It's a perfect opportunity for me to get in there and prove myself again. I cannot emphasize enough how ready I am to run through walls to get things done. I am so fired up.

It has been such a roller coaster this year. Including phone interviews, I've had more than 20 or 25 interviews. I've been a finalist four times. I've gotten so close so many times. It's heart-wrenching to get that close only to be denied and sent back to the beginning of the process.

But that is all in the past now. And God DAMN that feels good.

I cannot wait to go out downtown this weekend to celebrate. I've been holding this one in for months now. I am absolutely going to humpty dance all over downtown DC, so get ready.

Life is so, so, so good. And it's only going to get better. The one thing holding me back from being in the best shape of my life physically, mentally and emotionally is no longer an issue. My God I am going to tear shit UP now. Watch out for BG, my friends. Nothing can hold me back now.

Seriously, thank you to EVERYONE who has helped me through this. My family, friends and friends' families -- I couldn't have made it through one of the most trying times of my life without you. You were there to distract me, to offer an encouraging word (or a disparaging word, depending on the circumstance...lulz) and to listen to me vent more often than I can even count. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if you are in the area this weekend, you BEST come out to celebrate this with me. It will be soooo incredibly worth it.

Let's go, friends. LET US GO.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh What a Night

So I had kind of a NIGHT last night.

As you may know, I planned to drive to Charlotte yesterday. Kirk and Liz are getting married on Saturday night, and Friday night, some friends are going out in Raleigh for Mike's birthday. Well, I wanted to get the seven-hour drive to Charlotte over with and then just drive the short 2.5-hour drive to Raleigh on Friday.

Well, I went to my interview yesterday morning, which I think went pretty well. I got home afterward and packed a few bags. I left my apartment around 3 p.m.

It was raining, so there was more traffic than usual. Just a miserable day, of course. But I got through the beltway and got to 95 without issue. I ended up making it to Richmond in 2.5 hours, which is a pretty good time -- it's typically a two-hour drive if you can hit it with no traffic.

It rained off and on, not particularly hard, but enough to be an irritant. I passed through Richmond and made it 85 in pretty good time.

A little while later, I was approximately 15 miles from the North Carolina border on I-85 south in Virginia. If you don't know, that stretch of highway is practically desolate. There are no lights, no gas stations, no restaurants, no hotels, nothing. If there aren't other cars around, it's difficult to see too far in any direction around you.

But it had stopped raining, so I didn't think anything of it. I was finally able to set my cruise control and relax a little. The only other car around me was several hundred yards ahead in the right lane. I was driving in the left lane.

All of a sudden, I saw something in the road. Because of the darkness and lack of lights or cars, it was too late by the time I saw it.


Oh good. I knew immediately the front right tire was done. I managed to pull over to the shoulder to assess the damage. Not only was the right front tire done, but the rim of the wheel itself more closely resembled Pac-man with his mouth open than a complete circle.

I looked toward the back. The back right tire also looked a little worse than I would have liked.

I called my parents to let them know what happened. I called AAA to get a tow truck. Then, not knowing what else to do, I called my friend Mike. To reiterate, Mike and I have hung out in person exactly twice, and neither of us particularly remembers the first time all that well. The other time? The insanity in Raleigh last month.

Our friendship prior to last month was entirely over Gchat. Lulz. And yet, he was the first person I thought to call haha.

I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know where I was. I knew I was still about an hour, maybe an hour and a half from Raleigh. I figured I'd get towed to some nowhere town in Virginia, and Mike would have to pick me up there.

Oh, also, I had Allie with me. So the poor dog is lying down in the backseat, super confused about everything. What a mess.

I waited on the side of the road for 30 minutes before the tow truck arrived. He hopped down and asked where I wanted to go. I said I didn't know because, again, I had no idea where I was. He said, well we can go to Bracey, but there aren't any hotels there, so I'll take us back to South Hill, just a few miles back north and you can find something there.

I told him it didn't matter, because I had a friend in Raleigh who agreed to pick me up.

Thankfully, the driver -- Roger, God love him -- was quick on his feet. "Well, if you want to go to Raleigh, AAA allows for free towing if it's less than 100 miles away."

I had no idea. So I did the math in my head quickly: 15 miles to the state line, probably another 40 or 50 miles to the exit I typically used, then maybe another 15 or 20 to where Mike lived. It would be close, but it seemed doable.

OK, let's do it. He loaded up the car -- thankfully, it was a flatbed, because the cab only had two seats and Allie is too big for that. I opened the windows in the car, and she must have figured it was just a normal car ride, because she ducked down and went to sleep after a few minutes.

I swear. That dog. I need to write a post about her. I've never known such a chill, laid-back dog before. She's the best. She rolls with it better than most people I know.

Anyway, Mike was relieved not to have to drive to the middle of nowhere last night. I was relieved the car was at least going to be in Raleigh, where I was familiar with the area, and where it's a manageable trip to/from Charlotte in case I need my parents to give me a ride so I don't miss the wedding.

Plus, holy hell. It could have been truly disastrous and tragic. I blew out two tires on one side of the car and somehow managed to keep control of the vehicle. Not only that, but if there had been cars around me? My God. Even when shit happens, I continue to be extraordinarily lucky.

So there you go. What a night. Mike met me at the car place where I left my car for the night, and he let me drive him to work today so I could use his car to go back to the car place to deal with this nonsense.

I'm not angry or annoyed. I'm a little inconvenienced, to be sure. But what can you do? Shit happens, man. C'est la vie. Keep calm, and carry on. And other sayings.

The car guy called me a while ago and said he ordered two tires and a new wheel. The tires are available today, but the wheel won't come in until tomorrow. All told, tomorrow is considerably better than I was expecting.

It's going to end up costing more than $550 for parts, labor and tax, but hey. Shit happens. Neither the dog nor I got hurt despite a situation that, in retrospect, could have easily led to serious injury.

Like I said, what can you do? We'll deal with it, and keep moving. I'm still looking forward to a fun weekend both here in Raleigh and in Charlotte! It's going to get nuts. CAN'T WAIT.

This will probably be the last post for the week, so I'll see you back here on Monday!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Remembering Grandpa Julie

It's hard to believe, but today marks 11 years since my grandfather on my dad's side passed away.

I was a freshman in college, and I'll never forget the phone ringing early one morning. Half asleep in my bed on the eighth floor of Metcalf Hall, I answered the phone, and my mom told me the sad news, "I'm sorry, but Grandpa Julie passed away this morning."

I remember not knowing what to do. I didn't know how to react. Family members had passed before, but none who were particularly close to me. Not like a grandparent. He was the first.

I didn't cry, not for a few days. It wasn't real, though. I had no concept of what "a death in the family" was supposed to feel like. I'd never felt one before. I still had friends all around me. I was still on campus. Nothing really changed for me in the immediate present at the time.

My parents drove up from Charlotte and picked me up in Raleigh, and we hit the road to New Jersey. Strangely, I remember almost nothing about the drive to New Jersey and the immediate aftermath of arriving. I don't remember where we stayed. I don't remember seeing my grandmother for the first time after we arrived. It's all gone, until the morning of the funeral.

I remember the car ride to my grandparents' condo in Woodbridge. I immediately grew attached to the song "In My Life," by the Beatles. I listened to it exclusively on repeat the entire day, and for months afterward, I couldn't listen to it at all because it reminded me of that day.

My emotions finally caught up to me when we got to the funeral home. We hadn't seen him yet, but the act of arriving at that place triggered it. I was inconsolable the entire time we were there before the funeral actually started. Finally, to break the tension I undoubtedly had a hand in creating, either my father or one of my uncles came up to me, and, as only one of them could do, said, "Listen, I know you're upset, but it's not like you can hop in the coffin with him."


It was funny then, and it's funny now, so don't feel bad if you chuckled. I certainly did at the time. I was better after that.

Anyway, this post is not so much about that as about him.

He was super outgoing and super friendly. And he always seemed happy and content wherever he was.

The very last memory I have of him, he called me in my dorm room. I believe he was in the hospital at the time, but someone had just given him a Backstreet Boys CD. Like you do. I know when I think of a 77-year-old man, I think of the Backstreet Boys, too.

But he had never heard of them, so he called me to do some research on them.

"Hey Bri, I just got this CD. I don't know these people. What kind of music is it? Should I like this?"
"Haha. Yes, Grandpa, you should like this. It's fun, peppy music. It's like dance music. It's really fun, and you should listen to it."

So he did. How can you not love that? haha.

The other lasting memory I have is one of my family's favorite stories about him. My uncle used to live in Atlanta, and one year, my parents and grandparents went down there to visit him and his family. We all went to the Coca Cola museum one day. I've been there a few times, and it's a pretty cool trip.

Well, the thing with Grandpa Julie was you always had to keep an eye on him -- not because he couldn't handle himself and he needed to be taken care of, but because he had the tendency to just put his hands in his pockets and wander around, checking things out.

He was very laid back, and he liked to walk around and check out his surroundings. So we're at the Coke museum, and we're walking around. Sure enough, we lost sight of him.

We're asking each other who saw him last, where was he, what direction was he going. We weren't panicking or anything; we knew he'd turn up like he always did.

Finally, after a few minutes of our own wandering around in search of him, the doors to the theater where they show old Coke commercials and films opened. Out strolled Grandpa Julie with his hands in his pockets and a smile on his face.

"Grandpa, what happened?"
"Well, I was walking around, looking at everything, and I found this room with the screen. When I got to the other side to leave, the doors closed and the lights went down, so I just sat down for a few minutes."

Of course he did.

And I'll always remember how my grandparents had their own little game of Marco Polo in every store we ever visited. Because of my grandfather's penchant for wandering, they often got separated in stores. What happened next never failed to crack me up.

From one side of the store (or, in most cases, one aisle to the aisle next to it), you'd hear them shout to each other, exactly like a game of Marco Polo:


And hit repeat on that chorus until they found each other again. Hilarious.

So yeah. Sorry it got a little sad up at the top; it's just such a vivid memory for me, I felt compelled to write it down. It's still sad, of course, but after 11 years, it's much easier to remember and smile about the happy memories than that day.

And even 11 years later, I can still hear his one-beat laugh that broke the silence and traveled above the din of every room in which he found himself, either accidentally or on purpose. It seemed to come decibels louder than the rest of his laugh, "HEH!" And you know, I can't remember what his laugh sounded like, other than that. But I'll never forget that.

It's so funny -- the things that stick with you over the course of time.

Eleven years today. Incredible how fast time goes. Anyway, he was as much of a character as one person could possibly be. And it's truly hilarious to see my father picking up more and more of his mannerisms as he gets older. And it's truly terrifying when I catch myself picking up the very same mannerisms as I get older.

We're all destined to become our fathers, I suppose. But that's not always a bad thing.

We miss you, and we love you, Grandpa. Always!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Doin' the Bull Dance; Feelin' the Flow

First of all, let me tell you something about the traffic here.

Holy. Hell.

So last night, I met a girl in Alexandria for some drinks. Alexandria isn't exactly close to where I live, but then again, almost nothing is except for Jersey Mike's. Not the point.

Anyway, it's only 30 miles. We were meeting at 7, so I knew I'd be driving in some rush hour traffic, and I'm just so terrified of being late, I decided to leave at 5 p.m.

I figured, worst-case scenario I'll get there 30 minutes, maybe an hour early, and I'll just make friends at the bar, watch TV and wait for her to get there.

Well. Not so, my friends.

It took every minute of two hours to get there. I walked in the door at 7:05. It took me a solid hour to get to the GW Parkway, which is only 14 miles from my apartment.

Due to an accident on the GW Parkway, it took ANOTHER hour to go the remaining 15 miles. Incredible! I expect some traffic when I get on the beltway around that time. I'm fine with it. This was something else though. Two hours!

It's OK. Not even the traffic could get me down after yesterday afternoon. I had a job interview, and I believe it went very well. Shortly after I left, I was invited back for the next round and writing test. That's all I'll say here, but feel free to message me and we can discuss further!

To say the least, I was feeling GOOD. As I posted online, "Doin' the bull dance; feelin' the flow. Workin' it." I had my iPod blaring and my windows down in the car in an effort to attract as many strange looks as I could. It was as pleasant a two-hour traffic jam as it could be haha.

So that was yesterday.

As has become par for the course lately, there is an extremely exciting weekend planned so far. I'm about to get ready to go downtown. It is seriously amazing outside right now, and we decided we need to be drinking beer outside someplace. HOW CAN I ARGUE WITH THAT?! So we'll make a pit stop in the dungeon known as the Bottom Line because we LOVE that place and it's also hard to argue with their Friday $1 beer happy hour. But we'll definitely move on to a place with an outdoor set-up after that.

In an effort to stave off cravings for drunk McDonald's at 3 a.m., I'm going to walk over to Jersey Mike's before I go out so I can leave a sub in the fridge to satisfy my need for food late tonight! Great success!

And tomorrow morning is flag football! We're playing Boston at 11 a.m., and the weather looks to be perfect again. I'm excited to see what our team can do. I was really impressed at the first game I went to two weeks ago when we played one of the best teams in the league.

Following that is an all-day party for a friend of a few people I've met through the NCSU sports I've been playing. He's moving away. I don't know him at all, but Katie invited me, and who I am to turn down an all-day party, involving several different bars, football, hockey and dancing? Exactly.

Sunday is McFadden's again for the Panthers game!

One of those days I'm going to have to throw in a six-mile run. I ran five miles on Tuesday, but I've held off on the second run this week because of a little soreness in my hamstring. It's pretty much fine now, but I didn't want to push it. So I figured I'd give it a few days to rest and then go again on the weekend.

I'm going to need it, too. HUGE week doesn't even come close to describing next week. My God.

A softball doubleheader on Tuesday night, giving us another chance to sweep two games and move to 5-1 on the season. I feel so good about our team, man. I really do. We're really starting to come together. Then, another interview bright and early Wednesday morning with the place from yesterday. Seriously, it sounds like a ridiculous opportunity to do a lot of different things I've wanted to do but haven't had the chance, things I'm good at and everything in between.

Then I'm heading to Charlotte. Then back to Raleigh on Friday to go out for Mike's birthday. We will control the dance floor all night. No doubt. Then back to Charlotte on Saturday morning for Kirk and Liz's wedding that night. It's going to be so, so awesome.

I just feel so damn good. Like, seriously, the Yankees were eliminated last night, and I don't even mind all that much.

It's so hard to feel anything but unbridled joy these days. It really is. Life is good, friends.

Let's go. Let's go, indeed.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hooray Weather!


Awesome weather has returned to the DC area! For the better part of the past two weeks, at least, it's been awful. Cold. Rainy. Cloudy. Dreary. Blegh.

But yesterday was different. Sunny! High temperature in the 60s!

This week, I decided to bump up my mileage for running. For the past month or so, I'd been running four miles on Tuesday and Thursday, and then running five miles on the weekend (whichever day I didn't have to wake up early for whatever sport was happening).

I figured it was time to up the difficulty and run five miles on Tuesday and Thursday and six miles on the weekend. So yesterday was the first weekday I was going to run five miles. When I woke up to walk Allie and felt and saw how excellent the weather was outside, I was immediately pumped. Already, "The Distance" was humming in my head, and I just couldn't wait.

And oh man. It was a fantastic run. I ran every bit of the five miles and finished in just more than 46 minutes. While nine-minute miles may not seem impressive, it's important to note I had to really bust my ass to finish ONE mile in nine minutes last year. Now, I'm running all five miles in right around nine minutes each. Miles 1 and 2 were in the 8:30-8:40 range because I was pacing myself to try to run the entire time. Mile 3, as I've mentioned, is a lot of uphill, so I'm slower there. But still. Clear improvement.

It's also important to note if I can finish my next half-marathon with nine-minute miles, I'll finish in under two hours, which would be a 20-minute improvement over my first race. Needless to say, I'm really excited with my progress so far.

And, again, finally it did NOT rain on a Tuesday. Seems like that's the first time in a month. We've only been able to play one softball game, despite the season being a month old already. Before last night, we were 1-1 on the season. We lost our first game -- a game we should have won, but we had a bunch of errors in one inning that allowed a bunch of runs to score. And we picked up a forfeit victory last week.

We had two games last night against the same team. Allegedly, according to Andrew, this team was previously undefeated. Well, we beat them twice, 8-7 and 9-8. Let's GO.

I am compelled to mention our team almost entirely the same team that went 2-13 in the CAN softball league over the summer. Well, we won as many games last night as we did in that entire season. But not without making it interesting.

The first game was tight throughout. We were winning 6-5 going into the bottom of the final inning. We were the home team for the first game and the visiting team for the second. All we had to do was hold them to win. Of course, they scored a run to tie the game.

In the bottom of the final inning, we loaded the bases with two outs, but a harmless pop up ended the inning. The top of the first extra inning, their first hitter hit a ball so far we didn't even bother chasing it. Home run. They were up 7-6. We managed to hold them there, though.

Then we finally came through and scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to win. Dale scored the winning run on a throwing error, which is something we're usually accustomed to happening to us. So it was nice to be on the winning end for once.

We led the second game by a decent margin for most of the game. We played solid defense throughout, and scored runs in almost every inning. One of the better games we've played in either league. Up until the last inning.

We were up 9-5 going into the other team's last at-bat. We changed pitchers for the last inning because he wanted a save haha. He then loaded the bases with no outs to bring the tying run to the plate. In his defense, he yanked himself from the game right then haha. He knew what was at stake.

Evan got a quick out, but we were still facing a bases-loaded situation with one out. A couple of hits and errors later, and it was a 9-8 game. They had players on first and second base with one out.

Their next hitter smacked a liner right at Brent at shortstop. He grabbed it and saw the runner at second off the bag. His throw was a little low, but Jen broke out a Mark Teixeira-like scoop at second, beating the runner back to the base and securing the win. What a finish.

We're 3-1! I can't imagine any teams being all that much better than the team we played last night. Also, the improvement we've shown since the CAN league is incredible! I knew it would happen, and I totally called it this summer. We have so many people who are such solid players; we just needed to play together more often.

I didn't have a great night offensively. A couple of hits, a run scored. Nothing noteworthy. But I played first base for the entire first game and 2/3 of the second game. Wow, I loved it. Like, a lot.

I loved joking with the opposing players when they reached first. I loved being involved in some way in almost every play. I was able to field a couple of grounders cleanly and make some solid plays with the pitcher covering first. I missed a couple of scoop opportunities, but I blocked a couple of others from getting through.

Although, I did come away with a nice bruise on my left index finger. Our infielders really have to throw it hard to first to beat the runners, and one time I felt a throw from Sean hit my finger inside the glove a little more directly than I would have liked haha. Aaand bruise.

Anyway, I'm totally going to campaign to play first base in every game I can. Loved it. Let's go Pack! Keep it rolling now!

So yeah. Thank God the weather has turned for the better this week. It's supposed to be LEGIT awesome throughout the weekend, too. It's going to be a HUGE next few days, tomorrow especially. Feel free to IM me and discuss it if you'd like. Suffice it to say, I'm pumped.

And then Friday, there are preliminary plans to hit one or more of our favorite bars downtown. Great success.

Saturday, flag football in the morning, and a ridiculous day planned because a friend of Katie's is moving away. Katie promised me the day, which includes stops at several bars, WILL end in dancing. GREATER success!

And next week? Whooooaaa boy. Raleigh on Friday night to go out for Mike's birthday. It's also Laura's birthday so she should definitely make it out, too. And then Charlotte for Kirk/Liz's wedding on Saturday? Wow. WOW. That's a lot of dancing potential. GREATEST success!



Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Summer's Gone

Fall is undoubtedly here. The air is brisk. Leaves are beginning to cover the ground everywhere I walk now.

Another summer's come and gone, and what a tumultuous summer it was for me. I won't go into those details again. If you've been reading here at all, you know what's happened over the past few months.

Life-changing, to say the least. Some bad, some beyond amazing.

Growing up, I always loved the summer. What kid doesn't? School ended. Beach trips. Pool parties. Playing outside all day, every day. Non-stop sports. Water gun fights. Building tree houses. And my birthday is in the summer, too.

I mean, come on. That's awesome.

As I get older, I find myself gravitating toward fall more and more for a variety of reasons. The heat breaks, and the windows stay open. Running outside doesn't feel like I'm being waterboarded. College football is back. I can smell the first hint of fires in fireplaces around the neighborhood.

And I always connect the fall with falling in love. The last three girls I've seriously dated all began as fall romances.

I know the entire natural world feels that way about the spring, but when have I ever done things by the book? Don't get me wrong, I love the spring, too. But for the past seven or eight years, the fall has always felt different and special to me.

When the weather first gets cool in the fall, it smells different. And when I smell the first hints of fall air, I remember long walks around campus at night, staring at the stars for hours on end. Lying in the grass, contemplating the mysteries of the universe until almost dawn.

When the colors of fall invade the foliage, I think of long drives with the windows down, just to be in the same place alone together, feeling the cool air rush all around us with nothing but trees along the side of the road.

Lying on the cold cement of the bleachers from the old stadium on campus with our breath forming in puffs, looking out across the parking lot and wondering what it was like 50 years earlier when they still played football there. Breaks my heart to know the bleachers aren't there any more. Progress ain't always so great.

Or that first night we met for drinks just to say hello. A cool drizzle was falling, and I was so nervous my heart was in my stomach. I wore the nicest shirt I owned to work that day. Despite the increasing chill in the air, I could feel the heat in my cheeks as my head spun when I saw you walk up. I didn't know whether to hug you or shake your hand. I don't even remember what I did. I can't imagine how awkward whatever I did must have been. And then meeting over drinks turned into almost five hours of awesome conversation, dinner and the promise of so much more.

I guess it's pretty obvious I'm a romantic at heart, through and through. Is it any wonder I love the fall so much when these are the things that come to mind?

The relationships all ended for one reason or another. Life gets in the way, as it is wont to do. There are certainly less-than-happy memories as well, but these are the things that make me happy -- these are the things I remember.

These memories always bring a smile to my face, no matter how things may have ended up later on. I'm sure it's just been a coincidence that has led to them all occurring in the fall. But because of that, the fall brings a rush of joy with it when it sweeps in with rustling leaves.

This isn't sad story at all, so please keep that in mind. Fall is fast becoming my favorite season, though, and when it rolls through with it's assault on the senses, a lot of happy memories come with it -- moments forever frozen in time for which I have nothing but pleasant feelings.

Fall, it's good to see you again, old friend, and already overflowing with so much promise and excitement in so many different ways. Can't wait to see what you have in store for me this year.