Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ok, so Europe was a bust... and EVERYONE has been telling me that "everything happens for a reason", to be quite honest I am sick of hearing that. I just ran into a streak of bad luck with the weather, that's all. It will happen again someday, I'm not too worried.

Now I have all these travel vouchers and endless travel possibilities to look forward to throughout 2009, so life is still awesome! Plus, it's not my nature to let something get me down for too long, after all there was a positive outcome to this disaster...

A) I got to spend Christmas with my whole family before they move to Gig Harbor... B) I'll hopefully get to see my dearest L-Boogie in the next few days... C) I have lots of travel vouchers so I can now knock off some of those Ballparks that I've been wanting to visit for a while (Chicago... Florida... ) D) I can make a trip to see my favorite AZ bitches and hopefully catch a few spring training games. So you see, it all still works out wonderfully in the end :-)

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! I know I did! Now I have a nice and shiny 42" flat screen to look forward to when I get back to Seattle!

<3 Holls

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Monday, December 22, 2008

So, I was never able to make it out of the airport. Dammit. I was stuck there from Friday to Sunday. On Friday Fernando and I arrived super early because we wanted to make sure that we got there when cabs were still running. We stayed up all night on the airport floor waiting for our flights to go out at 6 am that next morning. He was flying to L.A. and luckily he made it out there just fine. Me on the other hand, well I wasn't so lucky. For some reason my flight had to go to Portland before it went to Boston, BUT both of those got cancelled. I tried as hard as I could to get on ANY flight just to get out of Seattle (see the past two days I was on buses all over Seattle to just try and get home which actually never happened on Thursday night. My friend and I adopted this strategy... Just get on a bus and go somewhere! Because all buses were on different routes and kept kicking us off, leaving us stranded - another long story) SO, couldn't get on a single flight and after being awake for about 30 hours at this point I was getting delirious. ALL flights cancelled that day for Alaska. I went to sleep at 10am and woke up at 3pm... waited for my next flight which the idiot lady never actually booked me for, so I had to wait for the next one on standby, but that one kept getting delayed and delayed every hour. Then I run into Sean Grindley, he's trying to fly out to Georgia to see his girlfriend and I think he made it out ok... I hope anyways! SO, I keep waiting for my flight to board (I'm semi-sleeping next to a drafty window on the floor because there are thousands and thousands of stranded travellers everywhere!) It gets cancelled and I hear that people are lined up for hours waiting for cabs and it's a minimum $70-$100 to get back to Seattle. THANK GOD my dad's friend worked right by the airport and he stopped by, picked me up and took me home so I could sleep and wait on the phone/internet to check my flights and talk to someone about getting a refund or something. WELL, all my flights are still cancelled and they are too busy to deal with my small request to send me out of Seattle, so they are doing nothing. I hate Alaska Airlines, boo, or I hate Seattle/Portland right now. Amtrak and Greyhound are even closed down. Double, and triple ggrrrr. And American Airlines cancelled my flight because I cannot keep re-scheduling out of Boston because they are running just fine. SO, they gave me a partial credit on my flight and charged me $250 to cancel. WTF, right. After a lot of complaining they told me it wasn't their fault because all of their international flights are running on-time and I should be lucky that I got anything back. Well that sucks. I have yet to even get though to anyone on Alaska. I pretty much had to give up because I no longer have a flight to Munich :-( I even tried to get a flight to my parents house so I can at least spend Christmas with them, well that's not possible either because I can only take Alaska there, ggrrrrr again. What shitty luck huh?

So, I am still stuck in Seattle... I ventured out yesterday in a blizzard to walk 2 miles to Safeway and back to get couch medicine because I got sick in this whole process. Aaarrrggghhhhh! BUT, there is very good new in all of this... With my Europe spending money that I had saved and some money from my parents as a Christmas present, I am going to buy a flat screen TV tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) Found a 42" for a very AWESOME price, so I'm going to brave the snow/ice tomorrow (on many buses I'm sure) to go get my new TV! Let's just say I'm not feeling so sad anymore... I'll make it to Europe another time I'm sure... and maybe next time someone will be able to travel with me!

I hope you all have a safe and Happy Holidays! Even if I don't make it down to Portland to spend the holidays with friends and family, I have my sister here with me :-)

<3 Holls

The Happy Carman family

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So, the family is going to be moving to Tacoma. Wow.

The dad got offered a job as a Fire Marshal in Tacoma, WA (he is currently the Asst. Fire Chief/Fire Marshal back home). This is wonderful news for the parents as they are looking for a change. The dad is looking for new challenges and both the mom and the dad want to be closer to their lovely daughters. So the Carman family will all be up in the Seattle/Tacoma area now. For me this is awesome as I haven't made it back to Madras in over a year and a half now (c'mon it's like 6 hours away and I lead quite the busy life these days).

Both Heather and I are happy to see the parents so happy and excited to make the move up north. Wow what a family full of happiness :-)

And lil Colby is coming back, YAY!

A million things

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I know sometimes it's hard to keep up-to-date and in-touch with all my friends. Since moving to Seattle, even though it's not that far away, I still find it a little difficult. One of the reasons this blog exists is to keep all of my friends updated on my life happenings up here. So I hope that you are all enjoying it! :-)

This was just on my mind today, so I thought I would blog a lil about it... It pops into my head from time to time --> I was down in Portland over Halloween weekend and while it was good to be there, I kinda felt a little out of place. I guess this happens when you move. Trying to find a balance with my old life and my new life isn't working out as I had hoped it would. People move on and make new friends and life changes. I do love living in Seattle. I do miss Portland. Most of all, I miss my favorite girlfriends. A lot. Having good girlfriends is very important in a single girls life. The past few years have been awesome, as I've spent it with my favorite ladies. I've truly been blessed with the most wonderful girls in my life. They've all helped me through some of the worst times I've experienced, just by hanging out with me and sharing everything from manis/pedis to vacations to backyard BBQ's to lazy Sunday afternoons playing basketball trivia on the couch for hours (haha) and anything & everything in between. The group of ladies I have is one-of-a-kind, you wont find girls that awesome anywhere else! I am confident that when I'm older and I look back on my 20's I will say "I definitely had the time of my life..." :-)

Moving on, things are still going well up in the Emerald City. Going to a Jamie Moyer event tonight, some Happy Hour Shenanigans tomorrow with some co-workers and meeting up with some CSers Saturday for some drinky drinks! Work is going well, some new challenges to keep me learnin and growin... overall still very happy here! Got some big news from the parents, which will be mentioned in a "to-be-published" blog, say Monday or Tuesday... Still planning the Europe trip; that seems to take FOREVER because the plan keeps changing! I'm still going, but I just tweak my plans every week and I'm about ready to just throw it all out the window and just wing it. We'll see... My awkward friend is not so awkward anymore, thank goodness. We ate lunch today and everything is just magically going back to normal, which I couldn't be happier about.

Well, that's all for the moment... Loves,Holls

New Videos

Monday, November 10, 2008

Here is a video that makes me smile :-) My dear friend Lauren put together a little bit of our trip to St. Augustine...


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Secret meeting = Awesome! I have decided that I work in heaven!


Election Day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's that time again... time to vote! I'm sportin my "I Voted" sticker today, just got back from the polls an hour ago and I'm feelin pretty darn happy. This is the third presidential election that I have voted in (I'm old I know...) and this one seems a lot more important than the last two. I know I voted for the right person and am feeling pretty confident that change is coming. On my way into work this morning there were tons of people holding up signs on the pedestrians bridges over HWY 99. Most (like 99%) were happy and laughing people holding Obama signs. There were only two people holding signs for McCain and they looked like they wanted to kill someone. Boo.

I love that there are so many Obama supporters here in the NW :-)

Basketball Season!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It starts again! My favorite time of the year... Basketball season returns :-) When the season ended last year I was starting another one, with another league, so I didn't really have time to miss them. And now they're back! My first love, the TrailBlazers open on the road in LA tonight. With such a great team this year, I am so excited for the boys! All day I've seen my old co-workers post their status on Facebook saying they're down in LA for the game, going to opening day bashes, working away for the home opener (Oct. 31)... I'm so glad everyone else is so excited about them, too! I am for many reasons... I'll definately miss that game day buzz, that crazy energy that makes working in sports oh so exciting. To all my P-town friends: cheer on our boys tonight!


10 Things

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here is a list of 10 things that I want to accomplish. Some are already a work in progress while others might take a while to complete. I have my entire life, so I'm not to worried about it. I know I'm a little crazy, but that's why you all love me, right? ;-)

1) Own a silver Mercedes.

2) Visit every MLB Ballpark in the U.S.

3) Become a member of the Seattle Mariners Dancing Grounds Crew (I understand this might take a while... a.k.a. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon ;-)

4) Visit our family castle in Ireland.

5) Marry my bestest friend (at the rate I'm going and going about it... it's not going to happen anytime soon and I'm okay with this ;-)

6) Own a cute little house and decorate it with all of my artistic abilities (and have my own darkroom)

7) Learn another language.

8) Brew my own beer.

9) Make a difference in someones life.

10) Learn how to play the harmonica.

There you go! Loves!

Happy 5 months! :-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yesterday officially marks that I have been with the Seattle Mariners for 5 months! Wow, it's flown by so fast! I entered into the season a month and a half already underway and am now enjoying the first rainy month of the off-season. So far, so good. I feel that I've transitioned to an MLB Front Office fairly well; given I've had three years experience with other teams, I kinda knew what to expect ;-) It's so different, but so similar at the same time. If you've worked in sports, you know exactly what I mean.

I'm just trying to focus on staying busy during the off-season and making my department proud that they hired me :-)
Countdown until Opening Day (2 days before my birthday!) I love this place!

I love Autumn in the NW

Friday, October 17, 2008

This is Corvallis in the fall. 
Absolutely lovely!
[I didn't take this picture, a friend of mine did]

How I got to where I am today

Monday, October 13, 2008

My friend Jessica wrote a blog on all the jobs that she's had and how they've all led her to the path she's on now. Finding out things about yourself along the way, and learning what your passions are... It inspired me to write one of my own :-) Here are all of the jobs that I've had to date:

McDonalds: This lasted two weeks! I applied on accident (I wasn't serious and I didn't think they would actually hire me). Two of my best friends worked there so that's why I did it. It sucked.

Erickson's Sentry: One of the two grocery stores in my hometown. I started as a boxer here my senior year of high school. I bagged groceries and organized the merchandise. I worked here for a year before going off to college.

Brightwood: This is a wood mill and employees a lot of people in Madras. I worked at the Bend plant the summer after my freshman year of college. I stacked boards onto pallets, that's all. I worked swing shift (4pm - 2am) it sucked to miss all the crazy parties back at my apartment (shout out to #69!) but my roommies always rallied and kept them going so I could enjoy when I got home. Let's just say there were many of late nights that summer. Great summer! This job continued into the school year and became part time (4-9 M-TH). It paid A LOT, that is the only reason why I stayed there a while.

Erickson's Sentry (again): I went back to work here for one summer while attending OSU and then another time for Christmas break.

Zumiez: I didn't work here for long. I went up to Seattle with Tom (boyfriend at the time) and folded clothes and greeted people. Not that exciting, but I did like the discount :-)

Oregon State University: CPG! Caption Production Group. Such a random job. I captioned videos for hearing impaired students. Me (and three others) pretty much set up this program and created the policies/procedures for the department because our boss did absolutely no work at all. She would chat with her girlfriend all day on Yahoo Instant Messenger. True Story. I did meet Erica, who is my dear friend that is now in Law School at UW. Hi Erica!

Portland Trail Blazers: I was finished with school (well pretty much, I had one online class I was taking...) and I went to work for the Portland Trail Blazers! I worked in the Community Relations and Communications departments. I did media tracking, press clips, market research, helped coordinate community events, helped with player appearances in the community, volunteered my extra time in helping out every game I was available for (stat runner and mascot wrangler!) Geez I could go on and on and on... This is where I decided that I wanted to work in sports forever! What a great place this was (and still is).

Phoenix Suns: I moved to Phoenix and got a job with the Phoenix Suns. I was a Database Marketing Coordinator. I coordinated pre-sales and special offers for Downtown Live members. I learned a lot more about an NBA Front Office here. It just wasn't for me though. There were a lot of things here that I just didn't agree with, business wise. I did however, meet a lot of amazing people that mean so much to me and helped me through a lot. :-)

MacDonald Mille Facility Solutions: I was an Office Coordinator for a Construction/HVAC service company. Although this field interests me none whatsoever, there were some great people here. It was mindless work and I felt like I was accomplishing nothing. It gave me time to focus on what I really wanted to go after in my career. This was pretty much just a waiting period.

Portland Trail Blazers (again): I was itching to get back into sports. I got hired as a seasonal Game Night Media Relations Assistant (in addition to the MacMiller job). I issued credentials to the media and helped run the media room (aka stat runner). I loved every minute of this job. The stats crew is an amazing group of people and the Communications Department absolutely rocks! They were like my second family :-)

Seattle Mariners: Right after the Blazers season ended (last day away game in phoenix and my birthday) I got a call from the Mariners saying that they wanted me to interview for a position that I had applied for. Could the timing be any more perfect? One week later I was going to Seattle for an interview; one week later I got offered the job; two weeks later I was living in Seattle. I now work in the Corporate Business department (Sponsorship... Corporate Marketing) I help maintain and execute our sponsors contracts. I help with proposals and coordinate every little detail... I take clients down to the field for batting practice, to throw out a first pitch or do an on-field presentation, I help coordinate and execute an event at the ballpark sponsored by one of our clients. I pretty much help our entire department out any way that I can :-) I love it here!

Well there it is. All the jobs that I've had over the past 10-12 years. Some are very random and some are very amazing. I'm definitely doing exactly what I want to be doing now and I'm very happy that my path led me to sports and more importantly the Seattle Mariners. I hope you've enjoyed this :-)


OK, weekend update

Sunday, October 12, 2008

So after many of choices for things to do on Saturday night I decided to go out in Ballard (my cute little neighborhood of Seattle) for some Pub Golf with some co-workers and their friends. I live only a half mile away from the places they were all going to and I really need to explore my neighborhood bars and hang-outs, so it worked out perfect!

Ok, so what is Pub Golf you ask? So, you have a list of bars and each one is a hole. You have only 30 minutes at each bar and you "have" to drink something (for example, a double shot of tequila would be a hole-in-one, a microbrew would be par and if you got a water you would have to add a stroke to par) The goal is to have the lowest score at the end of the evening. It's quite rough.

I decided early in the night that I was going to be the sober one because everyone was getting drunk very fast. It was quite entertaining just to hang out though. We only made it to five bars (which proved to be enough, well actually too many). I got stuck taking care of Dan (D and Rachel's friend) why, I don't know how. We found a hot dog stand on the side of Ballard Ave. and it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! After wandering down the streets for a while I decided that I was going to take them back to my place because they couldn't drive and lived too far away for a cab. On the way back I drove them (D, Dan, Rach and Dustin) through Taco Bell. After Taco Bell we "Had" to go through Burger King. There was a lady walking through the drive thru and Dan was convinced that she was going to steal his food so he jumped out the car window (well he actually fell out headfirst) haha. We successfully got his food and parked and ate. WELL, someone called the cops on us I guess, because like 5 minutes later cops were surrounding us in the parking lots with their flashing lights... oops. Thank the lord I'm sober! D is in the front seat puking out the side of the car and the cops are talking to me and asking me questions about where I live and want to make sure that I can take care of my friend that is half-dead in the front seat. I talk sports with another cop (he noticed my OSU stickers on my car and we talk about the game earlier in the day) Phew! After a few minutes they let us go, phew, again! Cops are scary, but I did good :-)

We finally get home (as it is like .5 miles away) Everyone is crashed out in my room (all five of us) I have like no space on my bed and I'm smashed up against my wall (three people don't fit well in a full bed) D and Rach are on the floor... My roommate wasn't too happy I brought people home. Oops, I was trying to do the right thing and keep them safe :-( Sorry.

So it was an interesting night...

Week Update

Friday, October 10, 2008

Okay... Not posting as often as I would like, but here is my re-cap of a great week!

Monday: Shit, can't remember that far back. Nothing too exciting must have happened this day...

Tuesday: Got in some last minute batting practice at the Mariners batting cages during the lunch break. Our Video Coordinator, Carl, taped our swings and then replayed it in slow motion and went over areas we could improve and areas where we kicked ass. We then took that info and went back for a second round. Quite fun! Practiced again after work with some of my teammates. Oh, did I mention I worked this day too, yeah.

Wednesday: Fall Classic Baby! Our team (Pink Elephants) lost in the First Round but we had an awesome time. Watched the rest of our co-workers games and hung on the field with some other co-workers. Quite an entertaining day! Ventured over to Showbox SODO with the majority of the front office from the Fall Classic and had lots of beer with a great group (like how many 50-100 co-workers) Again, quite entertaining.

Thursday: Who wanted to be at work today? Yeah, didn't think so. We were all sore from a fun day of softball. Made it through the day and then went out to dinner in Ballard with a friend from Portland.

Friday: Jeans day! Had a meeting with a prospective client and they gave us ice cream. The rotunda was pretty excited when I walked around giving it all away too :-) Had a Yunker and was ready for Happy Hour. Ohh, I had a lovely lunch with Katie, my favorite graphic designer at the Mariners. Happy Hour = fun, text message I sent after = probably a bad idea, thanks.

Saturday: Pub Golf. Oktoberfest is a no-go.

Oh lovely off-season

Friday, October 3, 2008

The rotunda is nearly empty today. I think that there is like a total of 10 people on the sixth floor too. I wrote a few letters, updated our re-caps with attendance info, got new pictures for our upcoming proposals, helped Carissa clear out the old media guides in the broadcast booths and recorded a voicemail for our Kids Club Hotline. All-in-all a very productive one for a day in the off-season. My boss sent me lots of pix from a contest last year that helped to pass the time today... It was a contest where people dressed up their animals in Mariners gear.
Oh the things we do to entertain ourselves...

Who are the crazies that dress up their pets like this?! That poor dog is wearing baby socks dammit!

Fall Classic

Monday, September 29, 2008

We've entered the off-season here at the Seattle Mariners. It's kind of quiet around the office today, but there is quite a buzz going around about the Fall Classic. What is the Fall Classic you ask? Well...

Surprising to most, the very first Mariners Fall Classic was actually held in October 1828, nearly 18 years before the 1st recorded baseball game. The perennial Front Office grudge match lasted 7 seasons before having to be terminated due to budget cuts in 1835. The early star of the Fall Classic was Moose Clausen; winning 3 titles include a 7 for 7 performances in the 1830 contest.

The modern day Marines Fall Classic was reborn in 2004. Team Parson took home the title that year, followed by Team Weir the following season. In 2006, Team Munro-Orwiler aka the Sand People, ran the table to claim their first championship

The 2007 Mariners Fall Classic was a memorable one. Controversy, Inspiration and Outstanding play was on the menu that fateful day last October. When it was all said and done, Cole Parsons became the first 2-time General Manager winner of the Classic, as his Blue Crush rolled to the Championship. What's in store for Classic # 5... Who knows? With 3 rookie GMs and 3 seeking their first title as well as 2 former Champions, the Moose Clausen Cup is certainly up for grabs.

So it's really just a softball tournament the Front Office does in October. Today the teams were announced and I'm on the "Pink Elephants" team. I must say, I'm very happy to have been chosen for such a great team. Thanks! Below is our team philosophy from one of our Team Captains, Nick Pope:

"First and foremost, I like to think of myself as a "player's manager." That basically means that I talk a lot of smack, don't hold rigorous practices, then hope to hell my players back me up on the field. My team will bring alot of swagger with them -- and they'll have to -- because, seriously, you have to be a little bit cocky if you're going to kick somebody's butt wearing a pink shirt.”

I'm excited to go out and buy some nice pink sports socks, a sweet headband and some rockin armbands for Fall Classic mania!!!!!

Daily Struggles #1

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Okay, so when I am down on the field with clients sometimes I get the urge to dance. Sounds strange you might say? Maybe. Before the game starts there is always music playing in the ballpark. Usually it's some kind of rap/dance something or other. Pop, let's call it pop music.

Take today for example. I was down with 4 guests and they were chattin away with eachother (I was keeping the watchful eye to make sure they didn't run off in another direction, eh, to run after Ichiro or into the Dugout) when the music started blasting. Instant Dance Party! Although I was probably the only one thinking that.

Sometimes I have to hold back a little, because I just might look like a fool out there. Lame, I know.

AND here it is... The JAX blog

Monday, September 22, 2008

OKAY, I'm a week and a day late... better late than never though, right? First and foremost, I would like to thank Southwest Airlines for overbooking a flight that I was taking back from Phoenix in February. I was one of the lucky passengers to get kicked off (for arriving 5 minutes before it was about to leave, oops!) and get a free travel voucher to be used within the year. I did have to stay in Phoenix an extra night because that was the last flight out... Luckily my bitches are there and put me up for an extra night (and more wine and girl talk, of course).

Fast-forward a few months to April. My dear friend and fellow Blazer twin, Lauren Beyer (AKA L-Boogie - thanks C-Bowles!), got offered the job of a lifetime with the PGA Tour; re-locating her to Jacksonville, Florida. Sad to see her go, so happy for her to follow her dreams! Now I'm thinking... What a perfect way for me to use my free ticket!

This Northwest girl traveled to JAX on Sept. 12-15. I didn't really know what to expect from Florida. I've been to Orlando before (once) and it was in-between hurricanes, so it was deserted and there was a lot of destruction. I guess I was expecting JAX to be just like Orlando (because I didn't really know any better). But it wasn't ;-) It was better! Here is how it all went down:

L-Boogie picked me up from the airport and after a big, long hug and lots of smiles we got Starbucks and headed to her house. We got all cute in our little purple dresses and headed out to dinner and to meet up with some of her friends. We had a great meal (I had mussels and crab chowder) Lauren had something chicken? (sorry dear, I can't remember)... and of course a few rum drinks :-) After dinner we headed over to an outdoor bar on the beach (Lemon Bar, I think), met up with Tuna and Amanda and drank Corona out of a can (who knew?) After that we made our way over to Lynchs (where we got blessed with free parking because we were just too cute). Drank a few more beers, learned that Tuna likes to dance party too, so I made myself a new friend! At about 2am we drove to Sonic and I accidentally ordered a burger but I don't remember eating it, oh well. Went back to Lauren's, crawled into bed and thought that was a good first night.

Woke up, Lauren made pancakes. Yummy. Went to the beach for a little while. Drove back to Lauren's place and jumped in the pool instead of taking a shower, awesome idea! :-) Decided to head to St. Augustine for the day. Had frozen yogurt with berries on the way (brilliant idea!) Made our way to St. Augustine with no idea or insight as what to do there, just going to see where the day takes us. Found a pretty sweet little carousel to ride for $1; we had to do it! So we did. It was fun and quick. We then made our way over to the Great Cross in a lovely little park and walked about and enjoyed the scenery. Stopped in a little chapel, then we left to see more of St. Augustine. Found the cutest little cupcake shop and a clothing boutique (bought something at each place). Drove on to see more... ended up parking near their little downtown area and started to walk around. WOW, what an adorable town we stumbled across! There were amazing buildings, little bed and breakfasts, shops and restaurants everywhere! There was so much history in this town (oldest city in the U.S.) Every time we turned the corner we saw something even more cute and amazing! I had a permanent smile on my face. It was one of those days that just kept getting better and better. There was live music all over the city (people on the streets playing the harmonica and performers at outdoor restaurants, so coooool) We just enjoyed our time, taking it all in and seeing as much as we could. We ate dinner at Crabbers (hehe) dined on shrimp, crab cakes and some ice-cold beers (can you say best dinner ever!). Our waiter was really nice and kept bringing me crab dip samples because I said I really liked it. Talked to him about Seattle because his friend just moved out there and he is considering it too, wouldn't be a bad move. It was now time to leave this amazing town and head back north on the A1A (props to Vanilla Ice) to JAX. Rocked out to some G. Love in the car and thought about what we were going to do when we got back home. Decided on a Piano Bar (Tuna met us there) got a drink and wouldn't you know it, I was the only one there that wanted to have a dance party (story of my life) Had some fun listening to some good music and then called it a night and went home to sleep; another amazing day/night in JAX.

Woke up, got ready, headed out to the PGA Tour Headquarters to see where my girl L works. Had brunch at the Clubhouse and it was the best brunch I had ever had in my life! Seriously, grits, a croissant, cheesy potatoes, shrimp, caprese salad, bacon... fucking amazing is what I'll call that. Finished up with a huge slice of delicious chocolate cake and felt quite satisfied. Did I mention that we ate outside on the patio in cushy chairs that overlooked Sawgrass? AMAZING view! Then took a golf cart around the course to see the 17th hole... again, amazing! L got a text from her boyfriend that he was back in town so we headed back home to get ready for our beach party! Got ready, arrived at Garrett’s (L's boyfriend) house. Met DJ, Jon and Tuna (whom I'd met earlier and formed a quick friendship over dance parties and Boston sports and just Boston in general). Piled in cars and headed to the beach! We hung out for a few hours on JAX beach; drinking beers, playing some beanbag toss game, throwing the football, playing a quick game of volleyball and splashing around in the water. Great times! Rushed Lauren to her soccer game then went home to relax before going out for sushi dinner with the whole group. Dinner was good (thanks, Garrett!) then it was off to Alex and Amanda’s house for a few friendly games of beer pong (which turned into lots of beer pong, flip cup, dancing in the garage and boys wrestling in the living room). Oh wait, it's Monday now...

Okay, final stop was back to Garrett and DJ's place to play some Rock Band. On the way back I rode in the back of Jon's car and DJ drove. Nice sound system. Jon also mooned Lauren and Garrrett in the car to the right of us, Thanks for that Jon. Lauren and Garrett made an unannounced detour/stop (thanks for that by the way!) and we all kept drinkin and rockin out. I got to unleash my inner rockstar and let me tell you, I wasn't all that good. The night went on... went to sleep at about 5am, woke up at 6am because all the boys had to leave for work, lame. Everyone should be on vacation like me! ;-) Went back to Lauren's, we both crashed until 8am, then it was off to Amelia Island for a few hours until I had to go to the airport. We walked on the beach and talked about a great weekend, had shrimp and beer for lunch, took a cute little ferry ride and walked around a fun little pirate town (Fernandina Beach). Then she dropped me off at the airport and I spent a total of 5 hours on two different planes, took the bus home and went to bed.

It was a GREAT/AMAZING/WONDERFUL/AWESOME words-can't-describe-how-much-fun-I-had vacation! It was grrrrrrreat to see my girl, meet her boyfriend and their friends and explore different lifestyles in Florida (Lauren's life is my vacation). Because JAX is in northern Florida, there was more of a southern hospitality than I had thought there to be (especially in St. Augustine... felt like I was back in New Orleans or South Carolina a few times). All in all, it was an amazing weekend and I'm already looking forward to going back for a second visit! :-)

Love you Lauren!

Why I'm taking this Europe trip

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Okay, so I have a schedule (semi-tentative) Munich--> Vienna--> Prague --> Berlin --> Amsterdam --> Brussels --> Cologne --> back to Munich.

I have two weeks off around the holidays (thanks MLB!), so it's perfect timing and I'm in a good place financially to make this all work out. I know what inspired me to take this trip, but I knew that I would never make it happen unless I JUST DID IT.

Here's where it all comes from:
I have about 100 postcards that belonged to my grandmother in a box under my bed. I've had them for years. When I'm feeling like I need to get out and explore and see new things, or just get inspired, I look at her postcards and wish so much I could go to all of the places that she's traveled to. Her late husband (my grandfather, whom I never had the chance to meet) worked in the Airline Industry for over 25 years and when he passed away my grandmother had the opportunity to travel all over the world at no cost. She traveled alone and with travel buddies as well. She used to tell me stories growing up about all of the places that she frequently visited. Some of her favorites were Germany (she's been to every little town in this country) Belgium, the Netherlands and more importantly Ireland. (I'm saving Ireland for a trip all it's own. She loved this place dearly.)

I'm choosing to go to some of her favorite places on my trip. Brussels being at the VERY top of my list. Ever since I was a little girl I've wanted to go to Brussels and when I was in college, I was so amazed and inspired by all of my Art History courses and the amazing art nouveau in this city. I always knew that when I make it there someday, it is going to be amazing. I'm choosing to spend my last day of 2008 and first day of 2009 in the city of Brussels. I always try to do something great and amazing on New Years Day to start off the year right. Which is something that I think she would really love :-)

When my grandmother passed away back in July, I received a very long letter from my Great Uncle Ed (her younger brother). This letter will later change my life forever. Ed details all about her and memories of growing up with this amazing woman. He told stories of her exact seat at the dinner table, her boyfriend that left for the war and how she bonded with her future husband over baseball (which is when Ed knew he was the one for her). Here is something from his letter that really stands out in my mind from her childhood...

"Her capabilities were demonstrated one day while playing a game with the boys on Trafalgar Street in front of our house. One Sunday afternoon while batting opposite our front door (home plate), she hooked a long drive three houses down the street through a glass enclosed front porch. None of the boys could hit the ball that far. Hearing the crash, my father came running out of the house with wallet in hand to meet and pacify the approaching excited home owner. Those are things that create legends."

I never knew my grandmother to play sports; to me she was always a very classy lady born and raised in upstate New York. To learn this and many other wonderful things about her, has helped me to realize so much about myself and give me great confidence in myself. I read his letter about a hundred times, cried a lot and called my dad a few times in Boston. I finally got the confirmation that I needed. For the first time in a long time I knew for certain that I am right where I am supposed to be and the world is unfolding just as it's meant to be, whether I understand it or not. Although I was sad she was gone, I was happy to feel like I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.

It's very hard for me to explain this... She was so ill from Alzheimer’s for nearly 9 years, but a week after she passed away and I got that letter, I had never felt closer to her than I had at this moment. Maybe it's because she raised such an amazing man who is my father, whom I'm very much alike and talk to on a near daily basis. I don't know. But for whatever reason, I am grateful for my family. AND I'm so very grateful for my Great Uncle Ed, because he knows so much family history of everyone growing up on the East Coast and happily shares with me everything that I want to know (and if I want to have a conversation about sports, he pretty much knows more than ANYONE I have ever met!) He's amazing!

Being connected to all of these great people (past and present) shows me exactly where I come from and why my interests are what they are. How can I be so girly and artsy, but sports is so important and such a defining factor in my life? I know that if my grandmother were still alive and well she would be so proud of me and all my accomplishments. She too would know that I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing. It's been a strange path to get to this point (so many twists and turns). I'll never look back and say "what if this, or what if that..." because I know it's all happening as it should and I should never question it.

WOW, I was talking about my Europe trip, right? Well those are all my reasons for taking my trip to non-western cultures. I hope you've enjoyed this post. It's not really easy for me to talk about this yet... but I will say that I am a much better person for having her in my life. She's an incredible woman and I miss her everyday :-)

Back in Sea-Town

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm back in Seattle after a great weekend in JAX, FL (look for a post about my weekend very soon!) It feels like I've been outta town on mini-vacations every free weekend I can get out! This summer has gone by so fast I've hardly had time to breathe! My life has been consumed with working (when the team is in town it usually eats up my weekends - not a bad thing at all by the way!) So far I've done a few trips to see the friends in Portland, a trip to Phoenix in July (made it twice this year, woo hoo!), Whidbey Island a few weeks ago and JAX, Florida last weekend.

I'll be in the NW until another vacation in December. Most likely will make a trip or two to Portland (going to need some time with my girlies!) and a Leavenworth trip with Erica (got to visit that funky little Baravian village!). I'm definately looking forward to staying in Seattle for the next few months and getting to know even more about the city and my little neighborhood. The Fremont Oktoberfest is this weekend (going on Friday with some work friends and volunteering on Saturday), next weekend the parents are in town for the Seafood Feast and it's my final Hometand of the season, which is a little bittersweet for me. Lots of changes coming up in the next few weeks --> months.

When I was out in JAX, I didn't want to leave because it was so hot and tropical (so different from the NW, it was great to experience a different lifestyle for a long weekend). I was with one of my best friends and met some other great people along the way. After a long day of traveling on Monday (thank God the time change was in my favor this time around) I was actually very happy to be back in the NW. I took the bus from the airport --> Safeco --> Home. The bus is a long ride home, but takes you through the busiest and greatest little places through Seattle; places that I hope to get to know even better here. It's a very eclectic city with very interesting people (even more so when you ride the bus). It's all these little things about Seattle that have made me fall in love with it here :-) I've been meeting lots of cool people (here and all over the world) those that live elsewhere, I'm glad there are sites like Facebook and Couch Surfing to help keep in touch, which I've been really good at lately! I wish all these people lived closer, but happy their doing their own things! :-)

It's a great feeling when everything seems to be falling right into place. When you can look around with a smile on your face and know that you are in the right place and look forward to the unexpected. I'm so happy I'm here :-)


Florida Bound

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I leave for Jacksonville, FL tomorrow morning at 7am! I'm going to visit one of my bestest friends, my dear Lauren (aka L-Boogie). She moved there in April to work for the PGA Tour and is lovin it there. I miss her dearly and look forward to our crazy reunion, along with some beach fun, beer drinking and of course some good ole sunshine (hello I live in Seattle and my days of sun are few and far between)! Cross your fingers for NO hurricanes!

Be back in the NW on Monday evening!


Looking Back

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

As I go through and read the old posts on my blog it has made me realize how much I have changed and grown in the past year - year and a half. Over that time I have seen things for what they really are and have learned to appreciate people for who they truly are. I don't dwell on things that I cannot change and accept things for what they are. Those who know me well, know exactly what I am talking about (there might be two things here) and that needs no further explanation :-)

I had this phone conversation the other day with an old friend. All was going well until the near end and some things were said that shouldn't have been said. It made me realize that some people will never change and you just have to let it go. I know that I am in a better place, being the better person. It just makes me angry when someone sees how well you are doing and try to bring you down because things aren't goin well in their life. The decisions that I have made over the past year and half have been soley for me and my well being. I am not about to let someone have such force over me that forbides me from talking to my old friends and saying what I can or cannot do. My independence is far to strong for that. That is not something that I should feel bad about, it's a wonderful thing. I would rather someone love me for everything in my life than try to change everything that they do not like about me.

People back in my very small hometown ask the parents why I'm not married yet or why I don't have a boyfriend (like it's a bad thing?) Being single is not tragic. I have learned over the past few years that I don't need a boyfriend to make me happy. I've seen people stay in un-healthy relationships because they are scared to be alone, to me that is tragic. I would rather wait and find the right person than try to make it work with the wrong one. I see my friends doing this and it makes me sad.

When people see pictures of my friends and I out every weekend and ask why I am not settling down yet, I say because I am too young. This baffles people from my hometown (and what I'm realizing, a lot of people in general). When people start feeling sorry for me or asking why my boyfriend and I broke up and "what are you going to do now?" I say whatever the hell I want to do. I will find what makes me happy and just go with it, rock out and have the time of my life. Everything else will eventually fall into place. I am college educated, have a great career and wonderful friends on the same page as myself. I am not done doing what I am doing. I am confident with where my life is going and enjoy all of the surprises that come along with the unexpected along the way. Who knows where I'll end up... I'll just enjoy everything and see where life takes me :-)

Let me just leave you with one thing; in the words of Anandamama...
"and it's been a BLAST!" :-)

G. Love and Special Sauce (click for pix)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

G. Love was last night. So, it was pretty much the concert (and Dance Party, of course) of the summer, or celebrating the nearing of the end of the summer. Either way. Awesome. My Gina friend went with me and we've been known to get a little crazy when we get together, like more crazy than normal! Lets just say that we caused many o shenanigans last night:-) The music was amazing (Tristan Prettyman and the John Butler Trio make an appearance). With our beers in hand, we danced barefoot on the grass and took over 100 pictures (you better believe we were having the best of times and had to document that :-) Then the dance party was over and these two drunk girls couldn't find the parking lot (trust me, was confusing with all the grass hills and trees). I got really scared and freaked out about getting lost in Europre (in December, yay!) and how am I going to make it in Europe when I can't find my way out of a G. Love concert. Then when I woke up this morning I wasn't worried about it anymore, I knew it ;-)