Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Weekly Top 10 - I Got Nothing Edition

The girl is at camp this week so the amount of blog material at my disposal has seriously diminished. You'll have to forgive me for the lack of witty banter (T is the source of it all) but I do have pictures. Loads and loads of pictures.

You're very welcome.

1. I have no idea how we've kept this hibiscus alive. Mainly because I have a really brown thumb. But it's surviving. And even, I venture to say, thriving.

2. We had a randomly serious thunderstorm last week. This is the view from my office as the storm rolled in...

3. Giving up carbs isn't all that bad. In fact, I really don't even miss them now. Breakfast is particularly easy.

4. I'm *that* co-worker. The one who decorates for every holiday. And, no, I won't apologize for it.

5. My girl back when she thought I was still cool. This is her 11th birthday at the HOT Fair. Sigh...

6. Found this pic from one of last year's non-conference games. This is unedited. The sky totally looked like that and was amazing.

7. This guy - along with various types of candy - are on their way to my girl at camp. :-)

8. This is what working out looks like in 106 degree temps. Well, actually what it looked like was a drowned rat but you get the idea.

9. Love waking to headlines like this...never gets old...

10. The many faces of Rambo...

And a bonus of my sweet girl who cannot take a picture (with my phone anyway) without looking like an alien.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Leaving It On the Diamond

A few weeks ago, Baylor hosted a baseball Regional and the following weekend a Super Regional. Though I've had these pics for all that time, I honestly couldn't bring myself to write about it until now.

Let's start in the beginning...

Our first game was Friday night against Oral Roberts. And we lost. Yes, we lost to the #4 seed. And it was absolutely miserable.

But the sunset was delightful.

Our seats for the entire weekend were surrounded by what I initially called my "Grumpy Old Men." They each were keeping score and had opinions about the game that were based on the facts as they saw them. I, on the other hand, had some facts and a lot of emotion.

There. Were. Fireworks.

But, by the end of the weekend, we were all old pals and one was particularly precious.

Anyway, my mom came up on Saturday and we went to the game together. Despite the fact that I had a ticket for Taylor the entire time, she declined. So it was mother-daughter day at the ballpark.

And things went considerably better.

In fact, my favorite player - Josh Ludy - went a bit nuts and almost hit for the cycle. And I may or may not have tweeted that if Taylor was older, I would betroth her to him.

My mom's fav - Logan Vick - was also en fuego.

Did I mention it was about 110 degrees outside? The sweet players tipped their caps at the crowd for supporting them - en masse - in those conditions.

And then Taylor took our picture to prove we went...

Fast forward to Sunday when Tonto was working and Taylor still refused to attend a game with me. So I did what any self-respecting sports fan would do - went by myself.

Yep. Proudly.

And we won. Again.

That night I picked Tonto up from the hospital and headed back to the ballpark. I definitely told him if we began losing, he had to go. I could find a way home. He was on a short leash.

You think I'm kidding but baseball is a game of superstition, y'all, and I am serious about winning. Always. It's sort of an illness.

Luckily for him, we won!

And we won again Monday evening, which meant we hosted Arkansas (boo!) in the Super Regional the weekend we were in New York.

We watched the first game in the hotel. We won.

The second we watched at home as soon as we got back. We lost. In a horrible fashion. Absolutely. Awful.

At this point, we decided to find tickets and Tonto picked some up on BaylorFans. They were great seats and Monday night we found ourselves - flanked by my parents and one of my co-workers - in a pitcher's duel.

I hate pitching duels.

I prefer to be up by 10 runs at all times. {In football, it's 21 points. Baskeball is 20. And so on and so forth.}

{Yes, I am nuts.}

In the end, a decision that I did not at all agree with occurred. In my opinion, it possibly changed the outcome of the game.

But what will never change is our allegiance to the Bears.

And we are also now huge Jake Miller fans.

The. End.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekly Top 10 - NYC Edition

Wrapping up the "trip to NYC" coverage with the pics I took with my phone. While I cannot imagine anyone is still reading this miniseries, documenting it is important to me because who knows what I'll remember (much less remember correctly) in 10 years!

1. The girl's purchases at FAO Schwartz included this snazzy candy bar and two gummy rattlesnakes. Wouldn't have been my choices but both were quite tasty.

2. She was enamored at the 911 Memorial. She snapped a ton of pics to share with her friends.

3. This was her photo idea - she's pretty good, huh?

4. After running back to the hotel in the rain after our visit to the memorial and weathering the storm, we ventured out for dinner. And we found a George's so, of course, we had to eat there. 

5. George's is where we found this.

6. And George's also had an amazing bakery case. The red velvet was divine. Taylor, the cheesecake connoisseur of the family, gave it an A+ as well.

7. She wouldn't look at me but we were waiting for the subway to head over to the harbor. Let's just say the girl didn't really believe rats existed in the subway. And they most certainly do. She was not a fan. (No, we never came in close contact with one - just a sight from afar.)

8. Cupcakes from Crumbs - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Orange Creamsicle. Heaven.

9. My girl loves to fly. And she prefers the window seat. She was, however, quite sleepy and our flight from Houston to Newark found her face-to-face with a male flight attendant who made it his goal to make her smile. It. Was. Awesome. He totally succeeded AND even gave a shoutout to "Sleepy" over the intercom.

10. Best thing about getting home? Actually getting into our OWN car and being able to drive. That whole public transportation thing is foreign to Southerners. :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Beauty & A Beast

Saturday morning came all too soon and the last day of my conference - and our last full day in the city - was drawing to a close. The programming that morning was great and I hear my crew ventured out to Dunkin' Donuts so, you know, it was a win-win situation.

After I finished, we headed down to the subway station for the last time. We had some final attractions tickets to cash in and, while we were waiting for our cruise, we had a great view...

...of the newest addition to the USS Intrepid!

Unfortunately, it wasn't open yet as they're still securing all things shuttle related but we were able to get a view from afar.

If you don't know (like I didn't the first time around), the Intrepid is full of many different types of war planes that you can see up close. It's a pretty spectacular sight.

The sky was beautiful that day and Taylor dubbed this the "cotton ball cloud."

Soon it was time for our cruise but this wasn't just any ol' boat ride. We were hitting the Hudson River in The Beast - a speedboat that goes 50 mph :-)

It did slow down long enough for us to take some pics of the most famous lady in all the land.

And when we were almost back to the dock, the captain did two 360's and we got drenched from head to toe, y'all. I am not exaggerating when I say we looked like drowned rats. Or at least one of us did. Me!

After stopping at Crumbs for some delightful cupcakes to have for dessert, we jumped back on the subway and raced back to the hotel where we ordered Domino's and settled in for some baseball. Yes, Baylor won that night. No, I don't want to talk about the remainder of the Super Regional series. :-)

We were treated to an amazing sunset right outside our window that evening. Stunning.

It was a great send off from the big city as we headed back to the airport at 4am the next morning.

That sounds crazy but we were back home by 9:35am Central Time and made it to our house - with the Puppy Posse in tow - by noon. Needless to say, naps were in order that afternoon.

All in all, this was a fantastic trip. So blessed and thankful to have had the opportunity to go back to New York City. And to bring my precious girl along this time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

9/11 Memorial

On Friday evening after my conference wrapped up for the day, we had reservations to see the 911 Memorial. This was under construction the last time we were in New York but Tonto and I definitely wanted to make sure we had a chance to see it now that it's open.

It's really strange because I was "excited" to see it but that just seemed like the wrong word to use. And when taking pictures at the fountains, I had this internal battle going on. Smile? Don't smile? All very surreal.

As was seeing the names of all of those lost on that fateful day. The memorial is absolutely stunning, y'all, but so is the magnitude of what you're actually looking at. These were real people. With real families.

The museum is not yet open but you could look inside through the walls (they're glass) and see two amazing sights: first are the original beams that survived...

...and the second are the "survivor steps" as these are the actual steps those who survived came down on that fateful day.

I had purposely gotten the latest reservation possible because I wanted to see the fountains illuminated. Once the lights came on, it was even more stunning.

There is, of course, an American flag flying in the middle.

Me and my girl.

My girl and my man.

Precious girl. She was really moved by this memorial. Took tons of pictures and kept reading the names over and over. And, as she read, I prayed for their families because I cannot imagine it's much easier now than it was in 2001.

The skyline in the background shows you just how close this was to so many other buildings. And so many others.

My favorite view was from the corner of the memorial.

As Taylor pointed out, the fountains in the North Tower seem to run faster and a bit louder.

A look at the new World Trade Center construction from the memorial.

And looking the other way.

Dave kept saying, "This is so surreal." And he was right. It's incredible to behold such beauty in a place that we saw (through television screens and photographs) such devastation. Piles and piles of ash. Lights erected as they searched for survivors through the night.

It's breathtaking.

So much has changed in our lives - and that of our country - in the past almost 11 years but it all comes rushing back to you when you enter the memorial. It's an experience I wouldn't trade for the world. And I'm so thankful my girl was able to be there as well.

God Bless America.