Category Archives: friends


Me and Abi at SHS Senior Night, 1998

Me and Abi at SHS Senior Night, 1998

I’ve been spending some time tonight poking around on Facebook and Myspace, looking at the profiles and pictures of old friends from high school.  I just keep thinking about how the past decade has changed many of us, and how some parts of our personalities really seem to be the same.

I look at one couple who has been together since before even high school began, and I am amazed at how they knew so early on that they would be a family.  Now, two kids later, they are still together and still seem to be deeply in love.

I look at one friend who seems to have just grown into an older version of himself.  He is a little more restrained, but looking at pictures of him now, he seems to have the same little jewels of personality that drew me to be his friend back then.

I look at one friend who has gone in a completely different direction than I expected him to.  I am amazed, impressed, and surprised with where life has taken him, but I also look at pictures of him with his family and realize that he is definitely the same person that he was back in high school (and middle school, and elementary school).

I look at one friend who has really come out of her shell since high school, and when I look at her now, she seems to be very different than she was back then.  But when we talk, I realize that she has the same insecurities and hopes that she did then, too.

I look at one friend whose life has really changed since high school, and who has taken a winding path to where she is now.  But when we talk, I realize that the path has landed her both closer to where mine has taken me, and farther away as well.

I don’t keep in close contact with many friends from high school.  I don’t really regret that I won’t be going to my high school reunion in a couple of weeks (after all, I will be going to see the Punch Brothers with Ryan, and that will be a blast!).  But I do still wonder, sometimes, whether the people who used to make up my world when I was a decade younger could still fit into the world I inhabit now.  And I kind of wish they would.


Summertime fun

I’m excited about the weekend… Ryan, Rachael and I are heading to Janette’s for a laid-back couple of days so we can see Sex and the City: The Movie on Saturday night.  It’s been kind of a crazy week; Ryan is on the road right now, nearly to Austin, so that he can interview with the news director at my station tomorrow morning.  (Prayers!!!)  Then tomorrow afternoon, Rachael will meet us in Austin, and the three of us will caravan in two cars up to Dallas to meet Janette so that we can start the fun!

In a week, I’ll be heading up to Dallas again to meet Janette and Ryan, and we’ll be getting on a plane a week from tomorrow to fly to Portland.  In Portland, we’ll meet up with my cousin Sean to road-trip to Montana for the family reunion.  We’ve made a “local beer only” pact for the week that we’re there, which is perfect because there’s a microbrewery in Polson, the town where my grandparents live, and at least a couple more down in Missoula, about an hour away.  There’s already talk about growlers and pony-kegs!  Oh my!

It’s been a hectic few weeks of traveling, but I’m mostly excited about it all because I have been keeping a handle on my health.  I’ve been eating well, and drinking my water like I should.  I’ve made plans to attend a Weight Watchers meeting with my aunt while we’re in Montana, and I’ll be getting in a lot of walking that week, I’m sure.  I’m actually excited to get on the plane next week, because I know that it’s going to be so much easier to buckle that seat belt than it was last time I was on a plane (which was what… I guess when we went to New York back in April).  I even traded in my 10% keychain that broke for a new one at my Weight Watchers meeting this week, no questions asked!

It’s nice to have these things to look forward to when our living situation is in such turmoil.  I’m looking forward to having a whole week to spend with Ryan – and on vacation, no less.  It’ll be a nice break from reality.

Austin bound

After a whirlwind courtship, I have been offered – and have accepted – a job at KVUE in Austin.  I’m excited to get back under the Belo umbrella, and also to work as part of a larger department in a more focused role.  I think that the job opportunity is incredible, and I’m also excited that Ryan and I will get to return to Central Texas and live closer to some of our dear friends.

Of course, I am sad to leave Sherman and my folks, but it’s still closer than Seguin, Joplin, or San Antonio.  I will miss getting together with them at Cellarman’s and seeing them at church.  But I think, after living back here for nearly a year and a half, that I am past the Sherman time in my life.  It was nice to reconnect with my hometown and have Ryan get to know my family better.

Now, we are getting into the time in our lives when we’re thinking about our long-term future.  We’re thinking about starting a family (not immediately, but not too far into the future), and about where we want to be for the foreseeable future.  Austin is a great place for us, geographically, because it’s right in the middle of all of the people we love.  It’s close to TLU, so maybe instead of opening those alumni emails with a little twinge of sadness, we can actually participate in a few of the events that happen on campus.

Living in Austin will also be a totally new experience for me.  I’ve never lived there, and I have only visited (as opposed to driven through) a few times.  I am not impressed with I-35, but I know that there’s more to the city than that.  The people I know who live there or who have lived there really love it, and I know that we will love it there, too.

My first day at work will be May 27th, which is coming up really, really quick.  I basically had just enough time after accepting the job Friday morning to give my current employer two weeks’ notice.  It’s been a fast decision, but even with all of the listmaking and overthinking, it came down to going with our guts and just trusting that this is going to be a wonderful opportunity for both of us.  Keep us both in your prayers as we try to find a place to live and sell our current house, and as Ryan continues to search for a new job!

A few more pictures, and some grown-up thinking

Well, I think today I finally had the last day of playing catch-up after going to Oklahoma City on Thursday and Friday.  I had a productive day… I got several spots finished and wrote a lot of scripts.  I’m hoping there won’t be a last-minute flurry of people wanting sweeps promos, but there always is anyway.  At least I’ve got a handle on what’s been sent to me so far.

I was looking through some pictures tonight… we got the photos back from the disposable camera we had in New York.  One of my favorites was from The Back Room, a LES bar that was part of our “Secret Bar Tour.”  We’re all glowing because the flash was so bright in that dark bar, and people probably all knew we were tourists but it doesn’t matter.  We had a great time, and we all look so happy and ready to take on the big, bad city.

Of course, this first picture belies how the evening would end up, after we all walked many, many blocks through the aforementioned big bad city, in the rain, and ended up back at our lonely subway stop very, very late at night.  If you click on the picture you can see how late it was when we got ON the subway, let alone when we went to bed.  I do recall fondly that we all slept very, very well when we made it back to Todd and Rachel’s apartment.

This would be one of my other favorite photos… Saturday afternoon in Central Park, not too terribly long after we awoke from our delightful slumber.  I just love the expressions on Ryan and Todd’s faces… we really did have a great time out on The Lake, and it’s something that I won’t ever forget.

I didn’t intend to write an entry with more New York photos, but hey… some things are worth sharing and remembering over and over again.  And it really makes a nice segue into the news that Todd and Rachel will be moving back to San Antonio next month, bringing our group of friends one step closer to all being in the same general geographical locale once again.  There’s even a rumor wafting on the breeze that we might be reunited for another New Year’s celebration at the ranch this winter!

I’m excited about the prospect of making it into my 30s and moving into parenthood at some point with our family of friends closer to us.  It’s a little astonishing to think that we’ve now known our college friends longer as college graduates than as college students.  In about three weeks, Ryan and I will have been out of college for SIX YEARS.  I kind of can’t believe that, but at the same time… so much has happened since then, part of me can’t believe that it’s only been six years.  Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Tex and the City

It’s so good to be back home… even with a cold. I think Mama Nature wrapped Texas up in green wrapping for us, because spring is definitely here! It’s a little chilly today but nothing like it was in New York. We even saw some bluebonnets yesterday along 635 in Dallas on the way back from the airport, so I am at peace with everything right now.

So here’s a recap of our trip… we drove down to Dallas Wednesday night to have dinner with Janette, and settled in at her place to go to sleep. But we couldn’t sleep, we were too excited! I finally turned off the TV after Craig Ferguson’s monologue so I could get about 5 hours of sleep.

We woke up around 4:15am and were on our way to the airport by 5, and made our early flight with no problems. We arrived at Newark Airport at about 11:30 and were looking forward to making it into the city with some time to spare so we could drop our luggage off at Todd and Rachel’s apartment before going to pick up our tickets for Late Show with David Letterman. Ryan was really excited about the show and anxious for us to get there in time to get our tickets. Unfortunately, we had some holdups at Newark and so we had to catch a later train into Penn Station.

Me and Ryan at the Ed Sullivan TheaterWe finally made it into the city but decided to go straight to the Ed Sullivan Theater to meet Rachel and pick up our tickets to the show. We had guaranteed tickets, which was good news, but we had to pick them up between 2pm and 3pm. We arrived at the theater at about 1:50, so we made it into the line and were #58, #59, and #60.

Ryan with Rupert JeeAfter we got our tickets (and checked our luggage with them, yay!) we wandered around the corner to the Hello Deli and Ryan got his picture taken with Rupert Jee. Ryan ordered the Alan Kalter (smoked turkey, avocado, sweet peppers, romaine lettuce and pesto on a baguette) and I had the Letterman (turkey, ham, American cheese, sweet peppers, lettuce, tomato, mayo, oil and vinegar on a hero), and we ate our sandwiches.

Biff HendersonMeanwhile, on 52nd Street, the Late Show crew was doing a test run for the night’s “drop crap off the roof” gag… they were going to drop 500 baseballs off of the roof onto a car below. Ryan spotted Biff Henderson, the stage manager, outside and snagged a picture of him through the window of the Hello Deli.

After we finished our sandwiches, we left the deli and wandered around Times Square for a little while. Rachel pointed out some of the sights, including the ABC studios and where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. We went inside of the Toys R Us store and saw the ferris wheel inside (!) the store, and looked at some of the giant Lego scupltures, includingMe, Rachel and Ryan in line for Letterman the Empire State Building and Captain Jack Sparrow. It was getting close to time to wander back to the theater, so we went back with our tickets and got in line to wait for the show to start.

The waiting experience was as much fun as the show! The interns and staff work really hard to make sure everyone has a great time and is pumped up for the show. We went into the studio and the CBS Orchestra played a few tunes to warm up the audience, and then Dave came out and answered a few questions (“I hear your birthday is coming up! What’s on your list?” “The same thing that’s been on it since I was 16… I still haven’t gotten it!”). Then, the band struck up the theme song and they went right into the show!

Here’s the monologue from the night we were there!

After the show, we retrieved our bags and went back to Todd and Rachel’s place in Harlem. They have a cute apartment and we had a great stay! Rachel made spaghetti for dinner and we drank wine and had a nice evening relaxing.

On Friday we had tickets to see Late Night with Conan O’Brien, so during the day Todd took us down to Midtown and we had lunch at Soupman. The original owner is the guy that the Soup Nazi was modeled after. It was kind of hectic and confusing in the restaurant and I ended up eating Ryan’s sandwich instead of mine. Bummer!

Ryan with Matt Lauer! Really!We went down to Rockefeller Center to see where we needed to end up for the show, and then wandered around the NBC Experience Store (sorry CBS, their store kicks your store’s butt). Ryan got a picture with Matt Lauer! No, REALLY!

We had some more time to kill before Rachel was done with work and could meet us at Rockefeller Center, so we walked down to see the CBS headquarters. It was an office building. So we ended up walking over to the CBS store. Ryan got a hat and a mug, and I got a Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson mug that I am really excited about… so excited that I forgot to bring it to work today. Dangit! It says “tomorrow’s just a future yesterday” on it, and I like it a lot. 🙂

It was getting close to 3:30, our meeting time with Rachel, so we headed back to Rockefeller and hung out in front of the GE Building, watching people and birds and such. Ryan got a little anxious about us making the show and so he went in to check out the line situation. Rachel got there a few minutes later and we all wentConan ticket in, got our wristbands and tickets and then had to wander around the building for a… while… before we could line up for the show. Todd and Ryan had a soda while we waited, and then we finally went upstairs back to the waiting area. The waiting experience was *so* not as much fun as it was for Letterman… since it was in the GE Building, not its own theater, they were constantly shushing everybody and it was hard to get excited about the show. But when they ushered us all into the studio, we started getting more into it and ended up having a lot of fun. You can watch the episode that we saw here.

Friday night Ryan and I cooked chicken stir-fry with udon and then we went on a tour of some secret bars in New York. We had been in the dark about what the plan was, so we just followed Todd and Rachel to this back alley without question. Once inside, we learned that it was a place called “The Back Room” which was an old speakeasy, and that Tim Robbins was one of the owners. They served mixed drinks in teacups and beers in paper bags, and it was all very charming, but still kind of crowded. Stop #2 was the most exclusive of the night, a super-secret place called “Milk and Honey” that caters to regular folks (i.e. not celebrities) and served up delicious – and very pricey – cocktails. I had a pineapple ginger fizz kind of drink that started sweet and ended spicy, and it was incredibly tasty. Our third bar was a place called “PDT” (Please Don’t Tell) that you enter via a telephone booth in a hot dog shop. I couldn’t begin to tell you how they found out about or got into these places, but we did get into all three with no trouble at all.

After we left PDT, we had a long walk to the subway, but it had started to rain. It was cold, and Rachel and I were wearing heels (and I was in a skirt!) so we hoofed it as best we could. By the time we got home we were soaked and cold and tired, so we changed into pajamas and called it a night.

Saturday we slept in for a looooooong time. We had a nice leisurely afternoon to make up for some of our debauchery the night before. We had an exciting evening, though… we went to Baluchi’s for some awesome Indian food and then made our way to Lincoln Center to see the Metropolitan Opera performance of Ernani. It was an amazing show, and I really enjoyed myself. Unfortunately, right at the show’s climax near the end, someone’s cell phone went off a few rows ahead of us… I’m glad that I don’t know exactly whose it was, because it was so disappointing. Especially since they answered it!!

We made our way back home and out of our fancy clothes, back into our pajamas, and played Guitar Hero. I really enjoy the game even though I hardly ever get to play it. We stayed up late drinking beer and playing the game and finally went to bed around 2:30.

Sunday morning Todd, Ryan and I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for church. It’s a beautiful sanctuary and the choir was incredible, but a lot of it was really different. Everyone always says how close Lutheran and Catholic services are, but I have to say that it was different enough that I really felt out of place. Of course, when they had Communion we weren’t welcome to partake, so we decided to just leave at that point because there wasn’t much left after the service.

Me and Melissa at Cafe LoupAfter church, we went down to Greenwich Village to meet my friend Melissa from the Weight Watchers message board for the jazz brunch at Cafe Loup. She’s the first board person I’ve met since starting Weight Watchers about 6 months ago, and she is a lot of fun! She lives on Long Island and we had a great time talking. And neither of us had any of the bread basket, and we both had Eggs Benedict. And I may have had some of her pommes frites. Yummmm.

We all wandered over to the bookstore where Todd works after brunch. There’s a cupcake shop next door, and Melissa and I gawked at them but didn’t get any. (Yay for us!) We looked at some of the books and chatted a little more, and then we walked her to the subway.

We went to Battery Park and saw the Statue of Liberty from afar, and then walked up Broadway and Wall Street to the South Street Seaport. Of course, we didn’t actually make it to the Seaport because we saw a great brewpub – The Heartland Brewery – and stopped there instead. We each had two beers, and they were all absolutely delicous!

Rachel made turkey burgers for dinner and we had some margaritas and beer, and then played more Guitar Hero and chilled out. Rachel was getting sick (and it turns out that I was, too) so she called it an early night. Todd and Ryan hung out on the roof for a while and so I got to play a lot of Guitar Hero by myself. It was kind of nice. 🙂

We had a half-hearted intention of getting up on Monday and going to see The Early Show, but tiredness got the best of us and we slept in. We got up and walked up the giant hill at Morningside Park, through the Columbia campus and over into the UWS to meet Rachel for lunch at Sal and Carmine’s, a great pizza place on Broadway between 101st and 102nd. I had a plain slice and my first Diet Dr Pepper since we had been inDoor into The Daily Show studio NYC. (Amazing how I didn’t miss it, but it was sooooo good to have one again.) After lunch, we all walked down to H&H Bagels and picked up a couple, then Rachel took our bagels home and Todd, Ryan and I went over to see The Daily Show. It was a long walk from the subway, and a long, long wait in the cold and wind. But we had a really great time once we got in, and the show was funny. One of the audience members who was sitting in the row in front of us asked Jon if he would spin her dreidel at the beginning of the show (because he always “fiddles with shit” in her words), and he agreed to do it. (Clip here! And there’s other clips from our show on that page, too.)

Before we went back to Harlem, we stopped by Junior’s to get some cheesecake, because of course we had to. We made our way back to the apartment, and Ryan and I made salmon, potatoes and squash for dinner. We settled in and watched some TV (including the episode of The Daily Show we had attended) and ate our cheesecake, and then called it an early night so that Ryan and I could get up to finally make The Early Show the next day.

We got up around 6:30 and got dressed, turned on CBS2 and caught their talkback with Harry Smith before the show, and then hit the subway so that we could make it down before their first 8:00 outside hit. We actually arrived at around 7:30 and met a guy named Sam, who is the audience coordinator and the assistant to Steve Cohen, one of the producers. Sam told usHarry Smith and Dr. Debbye Turner about what he did and said that he would try to get us in after the show to see the studio. We hung out in the Apple Store where it was warm, and came up a few times to see some of the outside segments, including one about taking your pets on vacation.

We got to say hi to Harry Smith, and then after the show we went in and saw the studio. We met Steve Cohen, who was an interesting guy (and a super producer, I think!), and he showed us around a little more. We got to hang out in the control room while they taped a couple of fixes and teases, and then he took us down to peek into the newsroom.

It was about 10am by the time we left, and Ryan wanted to get some more of the pizza from Sal and Carmine’s. We rode the train up to the UWS but they were still closed, so we got back on the train and went back to the apartment to pack up. We said our goodbyes to Todd and Rachel and headed for the subway… but we did stop at Pizzeria 123 for a couple of slices before we left the city. Yum, yum. And I got another Diet Dr Pepper.

We made it onto the NJ Transit train with no problem, rode the AirTrain at Newark a little extra (they need to update some of their signs, that’s all I’m sayin’) and then got on a standby flight so that we would be back in Texas a little earlier. We went out to dinner with Janette at Pei Wei, picked up my car and came back to our house and our dogs.

It’s so nice to be home. Did I mention that?

Weekend wind-up

This past weekend was really busy! Saturday, especially, was a long day. I got up at 6am so that I could load up the station car and drive to Ardmore to set up our booth for the Business Expo. I managed to get two really kickin’ bruises on my right forearm after an unfortunate incident involving a cardboard box I was trying to hold up out of the puddles on the ground and the edge of the back hatch of the car. It’s gone from red to purple to green to yellow since then, and it’s only Tuesday. Ick.

I got home from Ardmore around 1pm, and took a nap. It was only going to be a half-hour nap, but it stretched until closer to 3pm. I woke up and went grocery shopping and then rushed home to go with Ryan to an event he was involved with. I don’t know if he wants me to go into it here – I would guess not – but let’s just say he was SUPER in his role.

After the event, I went home to bake a cake for my parents (we were celebrating the next day) and then out to City Limits to hang out with my parents and Marty for a while. Mom was having her birthday shot and we just sat around talking for a while.

Sunday morning I got up to teach Sunday School, then had church, then counted offering (for the last time for a while!) and then rushed home again. I scarfed a sandwich and then we went to pick up my parents, and drove out to Princeton, TX to the Collin Oaks Winery. We had cake and a lot – a LOT – of wine, and a really great time, and probably would have stayed even longer if it hadn’t started raining on us. We had dinner at Olive Garden and finally got back to Sherman around 9pm, just in time for Ryan to fall into bed.

Last night, it was nice to just have a quiet dinner at home and watch our Monday night comedies. We’re gearing up for our trip to New York now… tomorrow night we’ll be driving down to Janette’s to stay the night with her, so she can take us to the airport at some ungodly hour Thursday morning. Then it’s off to see Todd and Rachel for six days! (They’ll be so sick of us!) We’ve got a lot on the agenda, including a trip to the Metropolitan Opera and several TV show tapings, but mostly I’m just excited to see them after so long. Hopefully we’ll have a little down time up there to just catch up and hang out like we used to!

For now, it’s time to get some packing done, finish up laundry, and watch some American Idol. Hopefully the Dolly-butchering is kept to a minimum tonight… I’m hoping for some good stuff!

A drive back in time

I drove down to Haltom City today to attend the baby shower of my best friend from high school. I hadn’t seen her in years and I was a little nervous. Would we click the way we used to? Would I be making awkward conversation, trying to recapture some of our old inside jokes?

Well… the inside jokes came back, but I am pleased to say that it wasn’t awkward at all. I was so thrilled to see her, in all her 8-months-pregnant glory. She has always been matter-of-fact in a very funny way, and I’m glad that hasn’t changed.

After many of the guests left, I got to stay and chat with her and catch up on her life. We fell into old patterns of conversation and laughed about things that would probably offend most people. It was so much fun, I have to admit.

I hope I will see her again sooner, rather than later. It’s so good to reconnect with an old friend and find that the pathways of friendship are still as familiar and wonderful as I had hoped.