Friday, December 31, 2010

Medieval Times At Last

If I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow and be on my way to heaven, it would be alright with me. Why, you ask? Because I have officially been to Medieval Times. After eight years of Erica and I watching 'Cable Guy' a million times and countless discussions about how "we HAVE to go to Medieval Times", we finally planned it. Lucky for us, there's one in north Georgia not far from where Erica lives so we set it in stone for one of the nights I'd be home at Christmas.

Me, Phil, Erica and Austin were on our merry way two nights ago and, without exaggeration, I think we were all more excited than any of the kids there. We quoted every line from the movie, of course, and totally cracked up at the hilarity of everything involved with Medieval Times. Naturally, Erica would ask our server questions like is this a real job for these knights or just an after school kinda thing? to which he'd very seriously answer "this is a REAL job and they train six days a week". Ooops, didn't mean to offend you there, kid. Also, in case anyone would like to know, the knights' salaries vary upon skill set. Yep, true story.

At any rate, we had the most hilarious evening and it goes down as one of the top five things I've ever done. I'm not sure I've laughed that hard in a while and being there with Phil, Erica, and Austin was seriously the icing on the cake. That kind of laughter is just so good for the soul. Please share in our fun vicariously:
The goblet was definitely the 5th member of our party:
Did you know there were gangsters in the medieval days?
Of course we had to meet our knight considering he won the entire battle. Yep, be jealous:
I'll be smiling for a very long time thinking about this night...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A White Christmas in Georgia!

Wow, another Christmas has come and gone. It's so very hard to believe. As usual, it was magnificent and I treasure spending that time with my family each year. It was rather bittersweet this time around though because Michael and Wynn stayed in LA and had Wynn's parents fly out to celebrate there. Christmas is the one time each year where we all fly in to be together so it felt very strange not to have them with us. I actually should be kinda pissed off at them because that just meant I ate their share of sausage balls and mini quiches Christmas morning. Thanks a lot, guys.

In all seriousness, we really had a wonderful day together. There were two huge surprises we encountered as well that made this Christmas one of the most memorable celebrations I've had. As a little back story, my family is extremely small. Both sets of grandparents passed away by the time I was 19 and I actually never knew one grandfather or grandmother. My mom's two brothers also passed away and my dad's two sisters I rarely get to see. We have family in St. Louis, some in Georgia, and the rest in New York so you can imagine my surprise when I got a Facebook friend request a couple of months ago from my first cousin, Paul. He's the son of my mom's younger brother who sadly passed away in 1997 and I hadn't been in contact with him for over half my life. It was a crazy feeling seeing that friend request but I accepted and boy, am I glad I did. We've communicated a lot recently and it turns out he's a farmer overseeing a multimillion dollar farm in south Georgia. He's had an incredibly hard life but he's turned so much around to become a hard working, successful man. He lives with his girlfriend, Sherri, who he raves about and they have such a sweet life together. He's told me all about farming peanuts, cotton, and watermelon and how the work is hard but fulfilling. He's such a neat guy and I was so excited when he asked if he and Sherri could stop by on Christmas day since they were driving up to visit her father. Nobody really knew what to expect when he arrived but it turned out to be such a fantastic visit. We all talked about his father and shared tough but necessary stories about some demons he faced. It was especially emotional for mom to see him again since he has essentially had no family for most of his life. It was a touching and deeply meaningful visit for all of us. They stayed and had Christmas dinner with us, too. It's amazing to me what restoration can happen when people open their hearts and lives to believe in and embrace one another. It was wonderful.

What else was wonderful was that we had a white Christmas!!! The news said something about it being 1882 or something nuts like that (sorry, didn't actually look it up) since the last white Christmas and I found that so amazing. It snowed all day, from 9:00am'ish until about 11:00pm. It was so pretty and I have no idea why I didn't think to take a bunch of photos. I snapped this with my phone around 9:00pm:
It really was beautiful and made the day seem even more special to all of us. I honestly can't believe it's come and gone but what a great celebration it was this year. It surely is the perfect way to say farewell to 2010. I hope everyone else out there had as meaningful a day as me!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's 15K Time Again...

Holy freaking freezing week in Manhattan. What better time to run the Ted Corbitt 15K again?! I actually think I just thawed out from the same race last year. I've kept a good mindset about this one though because it's my last qualifying race that I have to run in 2010 in order to be guaranteed into the 2011 NYC marathon. This is a huge deal for me and will wrap up a year of very hard work. I've come miles (no pun intended) from where I used to be with my running and I'm very proud of myself.

Running this same 15K last year was actually a milestone in itself for me. It would be the second time I'd run distance since my first half marathon in 2008 so I put a lot of effort into advancing myself both in time and endurance. I was so proud last year doing that on my own and finishing faster than I ever had. I think the reason I truly love running so much is that there's constant progress. Each day you hit the road and each mile you run is one more than before and you're consistently moving forward. In the year since I ran this race, I'm stronger, smarter, more passionate and more serious about my running and my health overall. So, it excites me to wrap up the year with the same race that meant so much to me before.

All I know is I'm ready to finish this race on Sunday, watch a hopeful Giants victory after, and prepare to head home to GA next week for Christmas. I can't even believe Christmas is around the corner but I'm just so excited for it. Happy Holidays to all of my dear friends. May love and the peace of this season surround you and your loved ones fully!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Successful Merrymaking

Well well well, our 2nd annual Christmas party has officially come and gone. I've had that sort of down feeling you often get after a big event has taken place and, while it was simply awesome, it makes me sad that it's over. I think when you invest yourself in something and spend a great deal of time on it, there's bound to be some blue feelings that follow once it ends or is over. That's kinda how I've felt but let's not focus on any of that. Let's focus on the par-tay!

Thank the lord Allison and I were much smarter this year about our preparation. As I mentioned in my last post, we'd done a fair amount of work in the days leading up to the party and it proved to be so worth it. When you host a party for over 50 people and you take care of every aspect yourself, it's a great deal of work. It's tiring and some of the fun gets sucked out until you're dressed and ready for guests to arrive. I had so much to be excited about though the morning of since Amanda and Jay were driving up from Baltimore!

I woke up Saturday morning, got a nice 7 mile run in, and met Amanda by 11am. We sent Jay up to my apartment to relax, parked the car, and grabbed coffee while chattering away with excitement to see each other. As a side note, I must point out the most important piece of news...Amanda is PREGNANT! I'm so thrilled for her and Jay and I'm ecstatic to have another little one to visit soon. (Ami, you're next!) Anyway, the three of us visited for a couple of hours and I can't even explain how good it was to see them. Both she and Jay were in town at different times back in October so I was lucky to have time with them so soon after. As they went off to check out the tree at Rockefeller, I headed over to Allison's to do the last of our prep work.

By 8pm, we were totally ready for everyone to arrive and holy crapola, was it a crowd. We had double the amount of people there this year which was totally nuts in Allison's apartment. However, we had an absolute blast. So many friends came that I haven't seen in a while, in addition to the 'usual suspects', and I loved being able to introduce so many circles of people. I think some people might have made new friends too which I think is awesome. It reminds me of introducing my crew back in ATL and having them all become friends. :)

I don't have all the photos ready from the party yet but I know there are some great ones. I'll look forward to posting them when I'm not so crazed. For now, I'll just keep reflecting on how fabulous the evening was, how beautiful/handsome everyone looked, and how great it was to kick off the holiday season with so many people I love. It's such a joy that Amanda and Jay were here to join the fun too and that meant the absolute world to me. I love the holidays so much and it's fantastic that I'm blessed with the means to throw a party like this. Such great memories made! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, that's for sure. ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Party Eve

If Christmas and New Years have 'eves' then I believe I should have one for the day before my Christmas party. On this wonderful Friday, or Party Eve rather, I'm officially mentally checked out of work. Speaking of work, I have a big event tonight that I've been overseeing so I'm very ready for it to be over with. I've loved working on the project, it's just stressful to work on a firm-wide event where expectations are high. It leaves my nerves a bit rattled but, thankfully, I've got my previously mentioned Christmas party tomorroooooow in which I plan to have loads of fun.

This will be mine and Allison's second annual Christmas party and man, was it fantastic last year. Funny enough, we were completely ill-prepared and totally stressed out doing everything but it ended up being so very fun. This time around, we had a much better idea of how much time things would take and, instead of running 8 miles the morning of and getting started late, we thought it might be a better idea to do as much prep ahead of time as possible. That said, we've worked on stuff this week and only have a few things left to do tonight and tomorrow morning. That's allowed us to have MUCH more fun with this. Ironically, over double the amount of people are coming this time which should make us feel more stressed yet we're just ready to have some serious fun. The best part is that Amanda and Jay are coming in from Baltimore for it (tomorrow being Jay's actual birthday, too!) and I'm just beside myself with excitement. They'll finally meet my best friends in the city, and vice versa, which is the greatest treat for me. I. Can't. Wait.

You know, it's really wild to me that it's been a year since our last party. Well, not just that, but that it's been a year since a lot of stuff and it's pretty trippy when I think about it. It's bizarre how time can pass by so fast yet so slow. That's how all of 2010 has been for me and it's been both trying and exhilerating. I don't want to get all inside my own head with this, just noting that it's crazy to me that a year has passed.

At any rate, I'm so very ready to make it through this event tonight and to get my par-tay on tomorrow. I LOVE this time of year and it's fun to kick off the Christmas (yes, I said Christmas and not just 'holiday') season with our party. I'm secretly excited to get dressed up for it, too. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

Happy Friday, all!