Friday, September 16, 2011

FlashBack Friday-The College Years

Its been a while since I did a flashback Friday, but I find myself with a few minutes to indulge myself.   I am traveling back to my college years, I probably could do a whole month on college.   Seems fitting to do this now, as so many of my younger cousins and even some friends children are heading off to college just this week.  Such exciting times, but boy oh boy, just thinking about Phoenix going off to college makes me go into a fit of anxiety.  One of my Aunts commented to a cousin regarding her daughter going to college, "at least you are not there to know what she is doing, Ignorance is Bliss"...heck no..ignorance is not bliss...I am an admitted control freak, and well quite frankly, I've been there, and I want to know everything, but I do have a few years to overcome my control issues and let go.

So anyways, I went University of Florida and majored in Environmental Engineering. I did not arrive to UF until 2 years after high school, and I really had not known or kept in touch with any of my high school classmates who ventured to UF after high school, so I arrived, alone, not a friend in the world (yeah, ya hear it?..woe is me).  I lived off campus.  I was soo excited to have my very own place, until  some crazy man decided to murder and mutilate 5 students. I think that was  still the most scared I have ever been in my life,   not knowing anyone, living alone in a strange place, but I got through it.

Now I know, some of you will not believe this, but I was kind of shy being in that real big place not knowing anyone except my boyfriend when he finally arrived,  so I concentrated on studying and working those first few years.  But those last two years came,  I came out of my shell.  Probably something to do with attending class and being involved in activities with the same group of people over and over and over again.  There was a core group of us that seemed to do pretty much everything together.  Those are the years I remember the most, really good times and really good memories of Gator Football Games, Wine and Cheese Parties, Softball, pizza with no cheese (please don't ask),  a wastewater design competition, even a St. Patricks Day Party at my place, the yielded me in the emergency room the next morning to get a  tetanus shot (that's what happens when 20 people crash at your place and you get up to tinkle and step on that part of the belt buckle that goes in the hole of the belt) and some really good memories of some really good people of which most I have lost touch with.

So I have a smathering of photos from that time, I lost many of them in my divorce so many years ago, but I still have a few.

We (actually I think it would be proper to say Dave) formed a intramural softball team one year.  I remember this game well, because my best friend Elaine and I singlehandedly saved the game with our uncanny and amazing softball skills.  So let see from left to right that's Dave , Jamie, me Kevin, Greg, and Elaine (in the top picture).  In the bottom picture thats Dave and Kevin.

A few pictures from Gator Stompin (probably best I don't include all of them).  So Gator Stompin occurs the last week of school, you buy a ticket or a wrist band (the details escape me) that entitles you to a a free drink special at all participating bars along University Avenue.   I cannot name half these people anymore, but, soo much fun that night. My favorite memory of this night was crashing a non participating (that happened to be entirely empty until we showed up)  bar to drink and dance...

Below, Me, Dave, his buddy, and Elaine before the  Gator Stompin Activities. 

Random photo from that night. 

So where we got all the money to do all we did, I have no idea, but that last year I swear it seemed like a typical  night consisted of going out to eat every night (third pict below) followed by either a night of dancing, playing pool or drinking.

My friends Chrissy, Dave and Me. 

Chrissy and me out to dinner.

 I would go back to those years, but I would not trade those years for anything either!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I will never forget...

It hardly seems fitting to let this day go by without commenting on it.  You know, as much as I really believe in documenting our life, the events surrounding our life, current events, culture etc, I have never been able to bring myself to create anything regarding that day and have decided this year I will be adding a page to the appropriate album regarding 9.11.01 and the days that followed.

I was at work the day the planes hit,  Phoenix was five months old, we had just sold our condo, our house was not finished being built and we were to be moving to a hotel until the house was complete.

I was working on my computer engrossed in a project when a coworker yelled from an adjacent office,
"Tracy just called and said a plane hit the World Trade Center".   Both of us dismissed it as an innocent accident and we both assumed it was probably a small plane that somehow got off course.   When Tracy called the second time to tell us of the second plane we knew something was terribly wrong.   Other people in the office started receiving calls from friends and family and before we knew it a spouse had brought is a TV and we all (it was a small office) gathered around the conference room table and watched in complete horror the events unfold that morning.  As we got news of each additional plane I realized I had no idea where my father was, and could easily had been on any of those planes, the horror I felt was unimaginable.   I called my brother and asked him if he knew what dad's schedule was, and he said he did not.  I called his work and got a hold of his assistant.  I had never met Debbie before, bit I no sooner said this is Sho...and she blurted out, he's here, he's safe.  But he had the unfortunate task of telling a class of New Yorkers he was teaching the terrible news.

We had already though we had seen the absolute worse that could happen and all watched in disbelief as that first tower came down.  It never occured to any of us (and I was in room of structural engineers, just imagine the conversations) that the second tower could come down, and when it did, many of you were feeling as you watched, the feelings and emotions and palpable feel of that room was indescribable.  I know I sat there thinking, we are for all intents and purposes under attack, and the feelings of uncertainty and of what would come next was the absolute worse I have ever felt.  Nothing, with the exception of the events in New Orleans when the levee breached, has ever come close to the feelings I had not only that day but for the months that followed.

Although the feelings of horror and helplessness was so prevalent for so many months there were times I felt ever so proud to be an American.  When the story of passengers on United Flight 93 unfolded, I was amazed, and full of pride, and often felt myself wondering as a new mom what would I have felt or done if I was on that plane.   The selfless unrelenting determination of the first responders and rescuers moved me to tears every day, but not just them, the stories of the clean up crews at ground zero who hadn't been home in weeks, hadn't seen their families, and said they would not go home until they were done moved me to tears.  Even the news media profoundly affected, I cannot imagining having to uphold the highest level of professionalism, and objectivity, as they had to cover one of the most horrific events in American History, and I guess as I watched the news every day I never realized how hard it must be for them until a CNN reporter broke down in tears as she was reporting from the street, she had went down there to cover one angle, but once she got there and she realized the story of the people was more important and urgent she changed her plans, and it obviously deeply affected her.

As I mentioned above, we had to move into a hotel.  Can I tell you, that was the worse time to not have a place to call home, not to be grounded.   It was awful, and uncertain it was miserable.   We moved into our house in November and we were relieved more than anything.

I had decided to create a time capsule for Phoenix's first year, it quickly turned into a 55 gallon tote, we put every newspaper, magazine, pictures we took around town in that tote..her time capsule.  I've never opened back up, bust as she gets more curious as she gets older I suspect we will go through it.

America lost so much that day, and so many families are still sacrificing as they send their sons and daughters oversees to fight to protect us and our ideals in the middle east.

I'm grateful to the amazing brave service men and women and other law enforcement personnell who have kept us safe the last 10 years.

I am also proud to be an American and proud how we come together when we need to despite our differences!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Flashback Friday July 29 2011

I forgot I even had this picture, along with a few others that day.  I also had to a do a double take and confirm with my husband that the dude on the left was his friend Orlando, because, well it has been 11 years and uh, he has no hair now.  These are two of Chris's best friends.   Orlando and Roman, Roman and Chris have been through a lot together, and Roman was the best man in our wedding.    This was October 2000, Orlando and Roman picked us up in the boat at our condo on the river and we spent the day in the water mostly out by the Sanibel light house...then they dropped us back home, perfect day with good friends.  We miss you guys!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Flashback Friday July 22, 2011

This is my and my best friend John, circa 1988 or 1987, Honor Society Induction.  We met in Junior High, and he put up with me and all my shenanigans through Junior High, High School, College, a First Marriage, the fall out from that marriage and watched me marry Chris (hopefully satisfied I finally made a decent decision).  We lost track after that, you know distance, marriage, kids, tend to do that.  Whether he was aware of it or not, he was there for me in some of the hardest times in my life, most of the time he was there just by being there, nothing more...John is nowhere near the emotional type  like I am (like this blog will be too emotional for him likely) and in no way was he ever  going to indulge me in a pity party or crying party etc...ever.., back then it frustrated me.  Today...I appreciate that.....

I got a chance to spend a weekend with John last year, it had been 10 years since we had seen each other, or spent any measurable amount of time together.  I have to say, I was a little nervous about the idea of spending an entire weekend with him after 10 years of not seeing or talking to him, but there was no need for that.  It was a very nice, comfortable weekend, spent catching up with an old friend, you know the type of comfortable, where it does not always feel like you have to fill the quiet with talking (and coming from me that is big...I always talk).  He is just on of those friends who fit like an old pair of jeans, and I love him!  This is us at the upper falls of White Oak Canyon in Shenandoah National Park, circa 2010.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flashback Friday, July 16 2011

I have so few of these old pictures.  That is ok, the class I am taking (Finding Photo Freedom at Big Picture Classes) points out that rarity creates value.   Since I have so few of these photos, I will treasure these and the stories behind them even more.   And I do not know about you, but I definitely have found with the dawn of digital camera, I take way more photos than I would ever in a million years be able to get in a photo album let alone a scrapbook, which is why I am now scrutinizing every photo and purging the excess.

So I am still flashing back to the same trip as my previous post.  It is spring break 1983, my Aunt and Uncle and Cousins and Grandmother have come to visit us in Orlando.  They leave is alone while they go out.  We snap these picture.  The first one is of Me and my cousins Michelle and Amanda, the second one is of my brother and my Cousin Andrew.  Again, not the greatest pictures..but for the memories of that night it evokes.

So our parents have left us kids for the evening to do whatever it is parents do as a group of adults without kids in Orlando....and me and my brother get in this huge knock down drag out all out full physical fight (probably instigated by me being the bossy control kind of freak I was, seeing a pattern here?)  The twins were so scared, apparently they did not fight with each other or their sister like me and my brother fought.  For the longest time...I mean the longest time, whenever they would see us that night would inevitably come up in conversation, kind of sad that for most of their childhood that episode stood out in their mind.  Lots of good memories with those three though!  Every throughout Junior High and High School they came to our house for spring break, if it was not for those visits, I may have grown up not really knowing the few photos I have bring back so many the one trip My aunt was driving all of us to the back in my moms little dodge charger (wondering how all of us kids fit..yikes) when the clutch went out and me and Michelle had to wait in Howard Johnson Restaurant along I-4 while Aunt Sherry went to get it fixed.  Or the spring break Michelle and I spent together doing Epcot and spending a few days at the beach in a hotel right on the beach all by ourselves, and the look on my Aunts face when she decided to drop in for a surprise visit and saw the hotel room (it was a mess...and apparently Michelle was not a typical teenager with a messy room).  Lots of memories from those that family!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Flashback Friday

So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I have been going through all my photos and organizing them.  This process has caused some laughter and some tears.   So many many memories, some so sweet, some so so funny, some so sad.  I have loved every  minute of the process.  I am realistic enough to know it is unlikely I will be able to scrapbook all the photos/memories, but, I can still share some of the stories..on my blog...still technically a form of Scrapbooking.

I love this photo.  This is me and my cousin Shelly  the photo itself..well it is not very good, you cannot see our faces, definitely a candidate to be thrown away...but for the story behind it.

This was spring break, 7th grade, our first year in Orlando.  Shelly, my grandmother, and Shelly's family came to Orlando to go to Disneyworld, the first time for all of us.  This is the Dumbo ride, stupid little ride for 12 year olds.  Non the less, Shelly and I fought the entire ride, if you look closely she looks pretty P.Oed, and I look pretty smug, you can even see me reaching for the button which raises and lowers the elephant car.  Shelly and I fought the entire time over who was going to push that stupid button, I won.  Ohh, I so remember the look on our Nana's face and her frustration with us (well probably me).    I still happen to be a control freak (I realize this, I am forever a work in progress), and Shel, well, distance has caused us to grow apart, but I know enough, that her personality is not one of controlling, or always having to have her way, she is gracious, and kind and probably would let me push that button today (and yes my personality is one that I still would fight over pushing that damn button).

Oh what I would give for a picture of the two of us on that ride today....

Photo Connections

So I have been doing something I have wanted to do for year.  Go through my photos and organize them.  Now the good news is/was, I already had them arranged chronologically.  You know being an engineer everything has to be in some logical order, and chronologically made perfect sense to me. I even had a system down for scrapbooking, I scrapbook the previous years photos in the current year, so for example, right now I am working on 2010 scrapbook album.  It has worked for me so far.  Here is the kicker, I noticed more recently that as the kids get older I take fewer pictures (i still take a lot) and that there were connections I could likely make with current photos to older photos.   I had started to make those connections in my head when looking at a current photo of Phoenix showcasing her fashion style or shoe obsession I would say ohh..I know I have a photo  of Phoenix when she was 2 with daddy's shoes on her feet, or with some crazy outfit on, so I would go back through my years of photo box and search for that photo (this was a several hour process, finding the old photo) ..and find it and make a page.  I thought to myself, there has to be an easier way.

And there is...a fellow scrapbooker and Club Scrap aficionado (Pam Butler) made a comment either on Facebook or in the Club Scrap message boards about Stacy Julian's Library of Memories which Stacy teaches every two years online at Big Picture Classes.   And basically as I ready more and more about this I realized this is exactly what I am looking for.   So I signed up.   I will not go through the nitty gritty, but the whole process involves going through your photos (digital and otherwise), purging them (yes I through away thousands of photos..egads...but it felt good), rating them (deciding what you definitely want to scrapbook, three stars and which ones you want to keep but not scrapbook, one star) storing the highest rated photos in storage binders (this is where those who cannot let go of chronological scrapbooking can still maintain chronological scrapbooking if they want, I have storage binders labeled by year with my 3 star photos in them, and I will scrapbook from those) and triaging them.  Triaging them, probably the hardest step.   Triaging is the act of taking those photos (that have aged a while in storage binders)  out of chronological order and putting them in four basic categories: All about us, People we Love, Places we go, and Things we Do.  And then those categories have further subcategories.   Oh my goodness can I tell you how liberating and exciting this turned out to be for me.  So many connections to be made.  I had pictures from Griffin's first fishing trip, some more from a trip he went on with his Uncle Kevin and Grumpa,  and some random trips he took over the years since then.   How many fishing layouts can you have?  They get old after a while, but a layout featuring all of these, and the relation ship between him and the men in his life...PRICELESS!

Or how about the photos of my grandfather, Uncle, Brother and Father in their sailor uniforms, then a photo of our family in front of the Navy Memorial in Washington DC....again..Priceless.

Oh....and I picture of me and my great grandparents in their front yard on Caroline, a picture of my Nana and Phoenix  in the same yard on Caroline 25 years later, along with a picture of this beautiful tree in that same yard all covered with snow and a picture of my Nana all dressed and ready to go for my cousin's wedding in that same yard...again be able to document over 30 years of memories in that yard is priceless, and connection I might never have made if I did not have a Places We Go/Nana's Caroline House.

Pictures of me and my cousins at Cedar Point when I was 10, then another Picture of me and my cousins when I worked at Cedar Point in College....

Here is a good one, a picture of me rolling in the mud at age 2 or 3....and a picture of my husband rolling in the mud about the same think we were meant for each other?

Making connections all over the place, problem is I have to carry a notebook around so I can write them down as I think about them....

I love that our scrapbooks will have that much more meaning, and I have  totally, totally have broken free from Chronological Scrapbooking...feels soooo good.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Nook.

I so wanted an e-reader, but could not justify the expense.  Then one day my co-worker came in my office and said she got her kindle, not this particular co-worker is frugal and so I knew she likely did not fork over cash for a kindle so I asked her how she got it.  She replied, with Credit Card Points.  Light Bulb!  I have crdit card points, I checked, and I had more than enought to get enough Barnes and Noble Gift Certificated to get the color nook.  I texted Chris (guilty as charged, I knew he would never say no, nothing ever seems to much for him when it comes to me, so blessed!  and know it).   Asked what he thought about my scheme, he said go ahead, and I did.

It arrived, of course, while I was out of town.  I have to admit, I was not too sure at first, But after countless crossword puzzles later and a book later, I am satisfied.  The best things about my nook:

  • I do not have to run out to the store or library when I finish a book
  • I do not have to have a light on when I read in bed at night, and hence I do not have to wake up Chris at 3 am after I have fallen asleep with the light on and ask him to get up and turn the light off (spoiled, I know)
  • Unlimited daily crossword puzzle and sudoku puzzles..yeah
  • I am learning to play chess. 
Woo hoo! Yep, I am happy with my nook, especially since it did not cost me a dime!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1

Simple Easy Resolutions, yet also seemingly harder than they sound:

Spend more time with God
Do the Loving thing every day. 
Spend more time with the kids (after all the clock is ticking until they will leave)
Move more
Eat Less


December 31

New years eve.  Well we had goof intentions, first, Phoenix got sick, you know, stomach bug kind of sick, then our friends were going to come over, but they canceled, then we were going to do a family game night, and that got sabatoged by neighbors,  but we did light the fire pit and roast Marshmallows, and we called it a night around 10:30, so to speak.  We all piled into the master bedroom, put on Harry and the Henderson's and all of us, save Phoenix, fell asleep before 2011 arrived.   Oh well...this seems to be a pattern with the Gibson's.  Happy New Year!