Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Change @ The Weymouth

The Weymouth suffered the biggest change to date this past April. My Neighbor moved. Not the outside ones that I wave at as the sun rises and the sun sets, but the one that lived inside The Weymouth. Let me explain.

In 2005 (or maybe 2004), while living in The Cottage (not an apartment, but a rent house I named The Cottage) the gal next door to me moved out due to an unfortunate string of events. Not sure she was ever a fan of mine. She called me The Homecoming Queen from day one...let's just say I did not shed a tear when she moved away. Anywho, my landlord asked me if I knew of anyone I'd want to move next door to me. The Cottage was an older house that was divided and made into a duplex. The Cottage Duo share a very, super thin wall. Getting someone to share that wall with me was very important. After 5 long minutes...it came to me...my dear friend Andy Duty.

And, so it began: The Neighbors at The Cottages and all our adventures. Andy termed me Neighbor as I did him and it stuck.

Just blocks away from OU's historic Campus Corner, The Cottages became home to many of game day parties, post wedding receptions after parties, DG Founders' Day dinners, and a thousand more events. Each side around 950 sq feet, together a lovely place. My own Mother would say on Andy's side since he used his other bedroom as an office/guest room and mine was a formal dining room. Doesn't every 26 year old have a formal dining room table?!? Keep in mind that table and chairs moved easily over for a blow up bed and house guests! More people stayed with us at one time, then The Weymouth has ever handled. Oh, youth.

In 2007, I found the courage (as a single) to buy The Weymouth. Andy was finishing his PhD, and neither of us were ready to separate, but I really needed a tax right off. So without ever seeing the inside of the The Weymouth, Neighbor became the man under my stairs (The Weymouth is a one story), my housemate, my flatmate, and made home ownership that much easier with his companionship. Like The Cottages, our socialization, stories, parties, and house guests followed us 3.1 miles north to The Weymouth. Moving from The Cottages to The Weymouth gave us a couple of things: a pool, more space to decorate for the holidays (Neighbor loves Christmas), ovens that didn't smell the house up with gas, bathroom storage (big need for Andy's 68 skin products), a dryer that could dry clothes in less than 60 minutes, and a beloved dishwasher and disposal! The Cottages were oh-so quaint, but quirky. Such wonderful memories.

With a PhD on his wall, research galore, experience, and a passion for a big city, Neighbor accepted a position in The Big Apple. His commute would have been too long to continue living at The Weymouth, so Neighbor moved his belongings north, but not his heart. His heart will always be in Oklahoma.

Oh, I cried. I cried so hard my eyes were puffy in the mornings and the evenings. Poor Mother got one of those calls where I just sobbed (sorry, Mother - that can't be fun 187 miles away). The day after Andy moved out, I hosted a party (for a community organization)....nothing like hosting a party looking like you know what, an empty room (I'm not one for things to be out of order) and on the verge of tears every moment. One of my best decisions. Ever.

Change. It is so inevitable, so needed, so right, but can be so painful. I'm so grateful to Neighbor for living here those 44 fun filled, memory packed, laughter wrapped months. The Weymouth isn't the same since Neighbor left, but it has a new guest room (another post). Decorating sure did help this Southern Bell recover. Shopping always does make change a little better.

Just me and The Weymouth. And, my 1000 friends and house guests. We are doing pretty fine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Four years and a day ago...

...I closed on The Weymouth. I was 30 years young, single, and giddy that I was becoming a home owner. And, not just any home...but a beautiful one. I'd be lying to say I wasn't nervous, uneasy, and wondering what stories I would add to this dwelling's history.

See in my world homes are not simply structures. They carry a story of a family. Become part of our hearts and souls. Memory keepers on top of that.

And, although The Weymouth is not home to a traditional family, it is home to me and the many ways I define family.

My traditional family is quite stationary. Not in a couch potato way, but in a plant deep roots, live there forever (it seems) way. You know those neighbors that could tell the street history, known on the block, and watch the others come and go. That's us.

Doesn't surprise me one bit that I'm sitting here (in The Weymouth) 4 years and a day later. The four years have been good to me and that of my sweet investment. This past year has been a good, story filled memory packed one. With a cherry on top of a first home insurance claim. Bound to happen in hail country.

Since I've been MIA in the blog world, I think it's only right I tell you the stories of The Weymouth the past 5 months. To give you a taste of the coming post titles: (Is this what JK Rowling felt like writing the last chapter of the 7th book? I bet so.)

Change. History Making. Celebratory. Firsts. Surprises. Makeovers. Storms. Smiles.

(picture taken during Winter Storm 2011. This kind of temperature is a blurry, flurry memory compared to the current heat dome.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Half. My. Life.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. My first sister, Kim, was driving as I sat in the passenger seat. We were driving from Dallas to Bedford. Most likely, not more than 25 miles from our parking spot to our destination. However, Kim could have driven from our Dallas location to the keys of Florida before I would have said anything. For two Alpha female siblings six years apart in age that would have been a lot for me to go along with her; and more so for it to be so quiet in her blue '92 Corolla.

I don't remember the temperature, but I remember it was a sunny Wednesday. A big bright February sun that spilled all over our North Texas sights. Not a cloud in the sky. There was no music in the car. Not a lot of talking or for that matter crying. Just her breathing and my breathing. The loudest of all - our thoughts. What would life be like from this day forward?

I can so perfectly remember thinking, "At 34, I will have lived half my life without him." Half. My. Life. Him is Dad. And, he had died. It was February 2, 1994. I was 17.

Why I thought about adding my age to itself and thinking about the year 2011 is beyond me. However, I always liked math, and I've always been a forecaster. Call it the leader in me. Perhaps I was preparing myself for the next scene of life. Possibly, I was looking so far ahead to a time that I thought it wouldn't hurt. Youth is so innocent. It always hurts. It just gets easier to breathe.

17 years. I voted for the first time the year he died. Since then, I've graduated three times. Lived at five addresses. Flown to Europe twice. Served as a bridesmaid eight times. Traveled to Mexico three times. Received three business card titles from OU before this one. Held new life. Experienced The Rose Parade. Fell in love. Received awards (funny, I only thought pretty girls won Miss BHS.) Started a DG chapter. Attended 100+ weddings (not kidding). Hosted 29 wedding/baby showers (again, I don't kid). Recovered from love. Watched the coverage of OKC Bombing, 9/11, and every other needless tragedy in our world. Danced the night away (shoeless - sorry Mom) in NYC. Served as a maid of honor/best woman twice. Named a Godmother. Danced in the rain. Bought a home (a beautiful one if I say so). Became an aunt. Ran for a plane. Attended and celebrated 5 DG Conventions. Witnessed a group of young people grow in their faith (over three years) and receive their Confirmation. Planted bulbs in my own flowerbeds. Lived. Everyday for 17 years.

I couldn't be more grateful for the past half of my life. Even the tearful moments - the ones that had me calling Mother, Kim and my "steel magnolias" balling. Even those Lifetime worthy moments made me into the me I am today.

It's all my 34 year young life. And, because of him (and Mother) I have life. 17 years later I'm more grateful for Dad and more thankful than I ever could've imagined. I had no idea how beautiful my life would be at 34. I can only pray that 68 is this great.

With all this said, thanks be to God Dad married Mother. I'd be nothing without my Flo. She taught me how to wrap gifts and a set a fine table (and pages beyond pages of other life lessons)....be sure to never miss a chance to tell those you love how you feel. I don't. And, you can bet I didn't 17 years ago today....just half my life ago.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Love Your Singles!

I'm asked many times a month (not kidding), "Why aren't you married?" I usually reply back, "I have no idea." In all honesty, I do know why. Haven't met the right one. Thought I have one or two times, but thankfully the Lord above pulls me back to Single Street. Thank God.

Now why Jesus is delaying such...cause when it's right it will be more than right. I've picked up the line and I'm sticking to it: "I have a great life. Blessed beyond measure. If someone can make it better, lets go out." Some say "too picky"...as if I'm picking out fruit or the perfect outfit. I'm not picky. Just know myself. I simply have the beauty of insight, reality, and a lot of HOPE for my 34 year young heart.

In honor of Kelly's "Love Your Singles" Day, I thought it would be the the most fun (of course I did) if my friends wrote a little about me - as if they were each posting on their make believe blog about their favorite single: me. I asked six friends to write a paragraph describing me. That's all I said. Promise. And, here is what I received back:

Andy claims...
The phrase the "best the world has to offer" was really meant for Kate. This is no cliche in describing her. She has drawn from so many experiences and so many people that she herself is a testament to world class. A daughter of a Chicago and New York City native, and raised in Texas, she brings about the electricity and the stature, the class and wit, and the charm and beauty of those respective places in such a way that truly not many can compare to what she has to offer. Through all these experiences though what echoes through and through, no doubt represented by her scores of friends, her dedication to her Irish Catholic roots, and her cherished family bonds, are her beliefs in the aspects of life that truly matter-faith, family and friends. I think so much can be learned about someone by what kind of surprise party is thrown for that person. Kate has had several surprise parties, but to give you an idea of what those parties look like and in turn what kind of person she is: the evite list is long, the venue is always big, the decorations are always exquisite, the number of volunteering hosts is overwhelming, her guests are of all age groups, her family is always there, the party has plenty of food and spirit to accommodate all people and all tastes, a dance party always breaks out with great music from the 70's and 80's, people never want to leave, and for days, it is the talk of town. In that describes who Kate is. She is beloved, respected, honored and cherished. She gives so much to others that they always want to give back. She knows how to have a good time, and relishes in living life in pure joy over any kind of cynicism or despair. She is an optimist and a fighter, and very much values the sacrifices that have been made for her and the people that have made her who she is. In turn, she has been the a guiding light for so many others. Everyday is a holiday with Kate; she makes life worth celebrating because she is worth celebrating.

Blake believes...
The stories I could tell about Kate! Every one of them represents a quality we all love about her, chief among them her ability to make everyone around her feel at ease, her spontaneity, her sense of humor, and her compassion. These qualities are apparent to everyone she interacts with, from her closest friends and family to people who may have only met her once. One of the things I admire most about Kate is how well she balances so much in her life, including making an impact on young lives with her full-time job working with students, teaching her church confirmation classes, and serving her national sorority organization. Yet, most importantly, she always has the time to be there for the people in her life…and host a party or two (or twenty-seven).

Kim writes....
In the 1965 musical The Sound of Music, the exasperated nuns at Nonneberg Abbey sang, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” I am just as bewildered when asked “how do you describe Kate Stanton?” How do I describe someone who is unlike anyone else? It would be easy to say Kate is beautiful, smart, successful, has a wonderful sense of humor and more stamina than the Energizer bunny, because she is all of those things. The problem, however, is we all know beautiful, smart, funny women in our lives, so talking only about those traits doesn’t due her justice. I believe what sets Kate apart is how generously and cheerfully she gives of herself and her time to others. Kate is always doing something for someone else. Period. Whether it’s volunteering for her sorority, her church, her community, or taking McDonalds to a child at school on his or her birthday, Kate gives like no other person I’ve known. The nuns were frustrated with Maria because they felt she had too joyful a personality for abbey life. Although Kate is a devoted Catholic, I think the nuns would have had the same issue with her: they wouldn’t be able to catch a cloud and pin it down.

Nick thinks...
Kate is a drop of sunshine. She brightens your day she warms your heart. She is a steadfastly positive person but never so much that it offends reason. Kate sees the world clearly. She’s a woman of strong character and is a talented professional. Kate strongly embraces her faith. She is a woman of culture, intellect and great taste. Kate is a treasure to those lucky enough to call her a friend. She is a delight to her acquaintances. If everyone acted every day with Kate’s warm, friendly, loving, unselfish, giving spirit, the world would know more friendship, community and true love.

Kami says...
Kate and Kami. That's how it's always been since we became roommates in college and best friends. Kate is an amazing friend, sister, daughter, aunt, teacher, leader and so much more. Her endless drive to do better and to give to others inspires me and I know so many others. She truly has a servant's heart whether she is dealing with family, friends, co-workers or strangers. Kate can easily go from sipping champagne at a gala to having a cold one watching the Sooners. She loves to laugh and find the joy in everyday things. She has never met a stranger but if she did she would be fast friends with them! Celebrating life's moments no matter how big or small is a passion of hers. Kate will no doubt be an incredible wife and mother someday.

Lori states...
Hi Everyone! I would like to introduce to you, the one, the only, the amazing, Kate! We all have that friend who we look up to and admire. Kate is that friend for me. First, but not most important, she has great hair. Her bangs do the most perfect swoop...and her natural curls are way better than mine. Don't get me started on her long eyelashes and clothes. I met Kate in 1995 at the University of Oklahoma at the Delta Gamma house on Bid Day. Later, I became her Big Sis (or Anchormate as we were called). In the 16 years we have been sisters I have seen how this woman has not only enriched my life but EVERYONE around her. Kate has been blessed with a FUN family. These people know how to have a good time. They travel the world together, have beautiful traditions, wild holidays and endless love and smiles. Kate loves celebrating...not just special days on the calendar, but everyday. It could be a hand written note or a sweet gift or throwing you a party. She can throw a beautiful party. Every detail is perfect in a Collin Cowie/Martha Stewart/Barefoot Contessa sort of way. Kate is a giver. Her devotion to service is unmatched to any other person I know. She gives to her community, her church, her friends, and much more. I don't know how she does it. Kate is a strong woman of faith. She loves the Lord and it shows. Kate is just simply put...FUN. She has an energy about her that is contagious. People are just drawn to her. Her ability to make a connection with others is remarkable. I think there may have been a time someone had started a Kate Stanton fan club. Maybe I should start a Kate Stanton Fan page on Facebook....hmmmm. She is warm, funny, a touch of silly, put together, sparkly, confident, smart, successful, gracious and wonderful. When I grow up, I want to be her....and if you knew her, you would too! I just cannot say enough about My Anchormate. I love her. I'd like to raise a toast. (hold up your diet coke) Here's to Kate! Cheers!

People ask what I want....this is the kind of love I want. This kind of heart. This level of passion. This level of dedication and treasured hope for one another. Please pray for this sweet couple... that they may be granted many, many years. May each of us know this kind of love. (stop playlist music - so you can enjoy this beautiful video.)

Please leave a comment if you know a Mr. Wonderful or better yet, Mr. Wonderful is welcome to leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 10: recent picture of you

Me and my dear friend, Sam.
Met Sam at The Delta Gamma House in 1995.
Date of Picture: the last morning of 2010.
Location: Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, AZ
Photographer: talented Tamara Pullin
We were in town for the OU Fiesta Bowl and naturally the trip was made that much better with our Sam! Hiking was a blast, great exercise, and so therapeutic for the soul.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 9: my worst habit

My name is Kate, and I crunch ice.
I know. I know. Not good for your teeth.
I know. Not lady like.
I know. Annoys others (especially my best friend - I've learned to do so quietly.)
I know. Not good for your jaw.
This is why if the world had Sonic Ice - I would be better off and so very happy. It's the little things.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 8: A photo you took

April 30, 2010.
Westminster Abbey.
I stood beside my dear friends, Kristen and Blakers, and looked up to the sky...this is what I saw.
One of those times I call forever moments made into a lifelong memory.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 7: A photo that makes you happy

Circa December 1968.
My parents departing from Christ the King Catholic Church in Chicago.
I am so grateful they met and loved one another so much to bring my sister and I into this crazy world.
Because of them I have known love every day of my life, been warm in the winter and cool in the summers (like a good house), fed (some days too much), and have celebrated life (from one ocean to another).
I love their smiles more than anything in this picture. Could they be any more gorgeous and handsome? Not in my book.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 6: A photo taken of you 10 years ago!

Well peeps this picture is far from 10 years old...try 16.5. Taken the summer of 1994, by Hallmark Studios in Hurst, Texas. Not sure they're open for your business. I know, bummers.

Yes, we had to wear that ruffle wrap. It was the "look" in our yearbook senior formal pictures. Heaven knows why. Seriously, look at that royal blue taffeta.

Why is my head hanging over? Well, I've been always known for a little head tilt - but this is more than normal. All I can think it was the photo journalist's attempt at creative shot? Knowing my hair had never been treated nor thinned, it could be the weight of that mane.

When I see seniors' pictures today I just shake my head. You know the ones today that are taken by cool old doors, in front of a great building downtown, in a cool sun dripped wheat field, on a funky blue couch, standing on campus corner, or in the door frame of a red phone booth...why wouldn't they want this to show their kids?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 5: Favorite Quote

This is so hard. I love quotes. I'm always writing down a quote (last night I wrote down two), googling a quote from a movie, or saving something I read that touched my soul. I have oodles I could list that have stuck with me along the way. Here is my top 5...no order of preference.
  • "Wine is constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy." Benjamin Franklin. Picked this one up as I left Rise in Dallas. Rise is this amazing restaurant that gives you thoughts for the day when you leave. This quote really has me thinking giving up red wine for Lent is not orthodox.
  • "There is a choice you have to make, In everything you do. And you must always keep in mind the choice you make, makes you." Anonymous from 2007 Mary Englebright calendar. I use this quote ALL the time in my line of work. We are always telling students it is their choices that will map out their lives.
  • "Life goes on." My Dad...days before he died. I hated what he said then. Those words made me so angry...cause they are true. Life does go on - but not without pain, happiness, beauty, Jesus and precious friends.
  • "It is what it is." Whoever crafted these words - bless them. I used this line a billion times in 2010. I used this line so much - I'm retiring it from my lips.
  • "Always remember a place called HOPE." My Mother gave me a piece of art with these words in 1999. No author noted. This has hung in each of my OU offices always reminding me of what tomorrow brings...HOPE.

And three more from this past week...

  • "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." Ken Komiske, Utilities Director, City of Norman
  • "With privilege comes responsibility." Cindy Rosenthal, Mayor, City of Norman
  • "There are no ordinary moments." Bartender at Abner's

I'll leave you with one I've said for years..."If I had owned a Chi straighter in High School, I'd be married by now."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 4: Favorite TV Program

Oh, Television. I was that kid - loved to watch TV. Eight is Enough, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, Love Boat (I always wanted to be Julie - the Cruise Director) are just a few of my favorites from those days. I was also that kid that believed, remembered and dreamed about whatever I saw. Very impressionable. For the good and the bad. If I saw a movie on babies being switched at birth I would make Mother tell me my birth story. If I saw a show about kidnapping, I would get so mad at Mother if she wondered away from me. Please note this still makes me mad today.

We never had TVs in our rooms as kids. It was rough. Kidding. I can remember Mother and Dad saying, "if we can't decide what to watch in the Family Room then we don't need to watch TV." Waugh. Waugh. Shocking I made it thus far.

I love to fall asleep to that box of noise and pictures. Naps or bedtime. I can remember anytime I stayed in a hotel, or a guestroom that had a TV - it was such a treat to fall asleep to the TV. Now, I'm addicted to such.

Favorite Morning Program: I welcome the Today Show each morning into my bedroom, and appreciate Matt, Meredith, Al and Ann's commentary as I prepare for the day. Sadly I gather most of my news from The Today Show and talking points for the day based on the stories I gather from my NBC mornings.

But, if I had to pick an evening favorite - the show that I hate to miss it would be ABC's Brothers & Sisters. I love Sunday nights at home that allow me to watch the drama of The Walker Family. I will admit I think they argue much, much more than anyone should. I am so in love with Nora's kitchen I often think of myself sitting at that island, drinking wine, and working to make their dinner gatherings less argumentative and more fun.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 3: Favorite Movie

This is hard. Favorite all time movie. The one you could watch any day, anytime, all day. One that can make you laugh and cry. You know the kind when you come across it while channel surfing, you seriously consider canceling plans or tasks in order to watch that movie. Like you don't have it on beta, VHS, and DVD.

I have to choose two: Steel Magnolias and The Sound of Music. Absolute favorites. Hands down.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 2: Favorite Song

Coming off the Christmas Season (as my tree remains in the living room) I'm going to pick "Celebrate Me Home" by Kenny Loggins. It is the first song playing on my play list: turn on your speakers, turn off any other music, pour a diet coke (or drink of choice), listen to the words and you won't be sorry.

I heard this song many, many moons ago...and have always liked it. Just one of those that stuck - you know?!? I'm a lover of piano music. I love the simple instrumentals in the song. I love Kenny's voice - pure, real, and I secretly pretend he is singing to me and my beloved (where ever he is). I love the words of the song....CELEBRATE....one of my favorite actions in the world: celebrate someone, something, or simply celebrate life. HOME.... my favorite places in the world: the home I pay for and the true home I've always known 187 miles from my garage.

For me as a sassy single, my holidays have always included going to my Home, Celebrating at Home, and being surrounded by so many I love and those that love me. I do celebrate the Home that has given me so much, and most importantly the woman behind that Home. I know I'm a lucky one...not everyone has a home, memories from their home, or is presented with enough time to spend as much time as I do. I've always known Home to be a place of celebration. I love walking thru that black door and hearing Mother say, "Hellloooo." I treasure it each and every time. I have a black door, too.

Even without a family of my own (as in one for my very own Tiny Prints Christmas Card), I've celebrated so many in this home. I've wanted The Weymouth to be just that ...a place of celebration for others, me, and for those to come. Maybe that's why I go party crazy at Christmas (if you were wondering - I hosted SEVEN from Nov 30-Dec 18), jump at the chance to celebrate someone within these walls (bridal shower coming for LAB in April), or love a get together for no reason at all other than life itself.

I also love the length of this song...over 4 minutes. You know when you really love a song you just want to keep hearing the chorus and medley to go with it.

I'll end this post with one of the Hallmark Hall of Fame moments I create in my head: I can just imagine this song playing as a handsome someone (who "she" thought wasn't coming) comes thru the door of the Christmas Eve Celebration and meets eyes with her. He hugs her and they start dancing forgetting anyone else is at the celebration surrounding them. The End. [note: this comes from YEARS of Lifetime Movies, Romantic Comedies, and Hallmark Hall of Fame viewings - not healthy.]

I'm going home today,
i believe me I've missed each and every face,
get there and play my music,
Turn on every love light in the place

It's time I found myself,
Totally surrounded in that circles
Oh,my friends

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
That I'll always remember,
I can recall
whenever I find myself too all alone,
I can sing me home.

Uneasy highway,
Traveling where the Westerly winds can fly,
Somebody tried to tell me,
But the man forgot to tell me why,

I gotta count on being gone,
Come on mama, come on daddy,
Be what you want me as
I'm this strong, I'll be weak

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
That I'll always remember,
I can recall,

whenever I find myself too all alone,
I can make believe I've never gone.

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
Play me one more song,
somebody said,
celebrate me home
i cant, wait to see ya,

i can't, wait to hold you,
you know i miss you, yeah.

come on and,
Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate me home,
Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate me home,

Well you know I'm finally here,
And you don't have to worry,
no no no no no no

So come on and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate me home.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 1: 16 Randoms

Hello Blog World! I think rather than explaining my whereabouts or promising to be better...hello 2 mths? I'll just hop right into posting land. I'll catch you all up later on KateLife. Don't get too excited, no need to lend me something blue.

I'm following this 30 Day Blog thing (seems much easier than PX90), and today's challenge included sharing 16 Randoms. Why 16, I haven't a clue. But here goes my abandoned readers...

1) I love my name. I don't mean like to say it. I LOVE it. Always have. Always will. My first, middle, last are all good components. Looks good monogrammed, embroidered, in print or cursive and many other fonts for that matter. I even like my initials.

2) Escalators scare me. I ride them, but the whole time just want it to reach the end of the mini horror ride. It would help if I could hold onto the rails....but think of how dirty?!? I would much prefer use stairs or a lovely elevator fit for eight.

3) All my bodily injuries have occurred on my right side: right pinkie (kickball 5th grade), right arm (horse 6th grade), right hip (track 8th grade), right breast (partial mastectomy 26 years young), and right toes (darn ottoman 30 years). Not kidding.

4) I write a thank you note ALMOST every workday.

5) At the end of the day, when I walk in my house I say, "Hello House!" I know I'm healthy cause it doesn't talk back to me.

6) I've never been to Florida. Traveled to England, Scotland, Ireland, Mexico and more....but never Florida. With family in Chicago and New York when summer vacations came around we headed north and rightfully so. Florida is still there - grandparents aren't.

7) I have naturally curly hair that I have fought for most of my life - if not all of it. Now at the age of 34 years and 4 months, I'm almost in love with my curly hair. Everyday I'm getting 20 minutes back in my life. Beautiful. And, to that boy my sophomore year in college who was mean to my hair - I have forgiven you.

8) I'm pretty sure I've gone on more first dates than anyone.

9) I have 25 first cousins. True blood first cousins. Blessed.

10) I lived in the same house, attended the same school district all my K-12 schooling. Could not have been more blessed or proud of my Mother for working so hard to maintain such for me and my sister. I have no doubt part of my ability to build foundation with others comes from the foundation I always knew and know on Spring Forest.

11) Every moment of my life can be found in a scrapbook - acid full ones (the chemical not the drug), acid free ones, and ones yet to be made. And, because of this my friends have asked for my scrapbooks in my estate planning and I can remember what everyone wore throughout my life.

12) I'm a walking calendar. I can tell you dates, times, and memories all the time. Read #11 again - I can also tell you what you had on within that memory.

13) I love to dance. I could go to a dance party weekly and never tire of the experience. You can always find me on the dance floor at a wedding. I'm known to dance alone at home as I clean, empty the dishwasher, and prepare for parties. I have the best music line up for my wedding. Just need a dancing groom. Well, a groom at that. One note of Earth, Wind & Fire's September and I'm looking for space. I'm even a car dancer....my niece thinks it's "FUN" to car dance.

14) I can theme anything. I love to theme out a project: showers, parties, celebrations, meetings, trips, you name it...I like to theme it. It's almost a challenge to see what I'll come up with for the theme needs. I'm not saying I'm the best at it...but goodness I appreciate a themed out event.

15) The first thing I do when arriving to my hotel room is to check out the fire escape plan. Mother made us do this as little tykes and its stuck. I also sleep in the middle of the bed at a hotel, but only on one side at home...why? Cause I make the one at home. I also always travel with a candle for my hotel room.

16) I'm known to travel, appear, and party with cocktail napkins. I bring my own. Share them and receive them from many folks. Started as a joke in college and stuck for many, many years. I'm pretty sure I could have bought a bigger home if it wasn't for this napkin hobby.

Sigh. 16 randoms on ole' me in 2011. Get excited my peeps....this is going to be a GREAT year. I feel it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What she didn't say

Heading to The University of Oklahoma in 1995 I knew a couple of things for certain. One, I wanted to make friends. Myself and one other LD Bell Blue Raider headed north to OU - thus, it was vital we meet new people. Two, I wanted single beds. No bunk beds. Never slept on a top bunk, didn't want to sleep on a bottom bunk. Believe it or not bunk beds were a near deal breaker for me when I moved in for Rush (now, Recruitment) that hot August day. Oh, yes Rush. Third, I wanted to be in a house (they are not houses - they are chapters) so bad, I could taste it. However, like most 18 year olds who know everything, I knew nothing. But, what I really, really wanted was to have those pictures with the white boarders and party captions printed in blue. Furthermore, I wanted t-shirts with greek letters on them. My sister gave me a party shirt from her college days when I was in high school, and it was a treasured piece of clothing between my Espirt sweatshirt and Units. The pictures were in fact Party Pics...and I went on to own 100s. And, the house I ran to on Bid Day was the one with the anchor....The Delta Gamma House.

Eight weeks later myself and my 46 pledge sisters were initiated into the Alpha Iota Chapter of Delta Gamma. It was a Friday. The date was October 27th. I had much darker hair than I do now. My eyebrows were longer and wider than my birth state, and I weighed so much less than today's ugly scale reveals and sadly I thought I was a bigger girl back then. Crazy perceptions. During Initiation, I can remember sitting on the floor of the living room and hearing a loud senior say, "look around. these ladies will be your best friends." I smiled and most likely winked to the gals sitting around me.That senior forgot to add in a couple more sentences after her last one. She should have said this:

When a Grandma dies your junior year, three of you will sit up all night helping you pack, do your homework, and cover your office hours. When your heart breaks, your pledge sisters wont tell anyone until you're ready to share. Hey you, on your 25th birthday when you are sad, your pledge sisters will let you sleep the whole drive to Colorado, and back. When your sister gets married, these girls will want to hear all about it although they weren't invited. When your DG sisters get married, you all will throw great showers including themes worthy of a book. When one of you is told (at 26) the mass in your right breast is highly suspicious of cancer, a pledge sister will plan to come up and sit with you for THE call. When you buy a house, one of your sister's and her husband will come paint all the wood work and the walls. You'll make lots of jokes about blue carnations, poppyseed chicken, and "on is the alarm." Oh, yes when you all get married you'll be bridesmaids for one another. Yes, all of you. You'll celebrate your 30th birthdays in Vegas, at surprise parties, and in Austin. Plan on destination weddings with lots of dancing. Don't even think about wearing linen. You'll take lots of pictures at The Mont, love to go to OU/texas weekend, and make up a secret group off of a tacky fashion show at Founders' Day. Oh, Founders' Day will become a treasured weekend termed Weekenders. When you all have babies, you'll be godmothers, aunties, and organize meal trains even from a state away. When one of you has a baby at 25 weeks, you'll fly in to just sit and hold the Mama up. Every year on November 1, your pledge sister will call you and wish you Happy Benign Day. When one of you becomes an aunt per adoption, some of you will gather at the airport with glittered signs, video cameras, and tears of joy. Later that year, that beloved niece will suffer a horrific seizure, one of you will bring dinner to her family and just sit. Don't worry, the niece will be just fine in time for one of you to go to London. You'll also attend birthday parties for your future kids....but thankfully there will be spirits. Lastly, all of you have been given membership into the finest women's fraternity in North America....do good and at all times be your sisters' champion.

15 years later I remain dumbfounded what I found at that house with the anchor, in those Party Pics, and that I still wear some of those XL greek letter party shirts to bed. God bless every Delta Gamma...especially those of 744 Elm Avenue...you asked me to join your forever sisterhood, little did I know I was about to meet my champions.
Happy 15 years pledge class 1995!