Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On Turkey, Shotgun Weddings, and "the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

I'm back. Yes, you heard me. I have returned. What's that you say? You didn't miss me? Oh well. I'm here to write regardless.

I hope each of you had a Thanksgiving weekend that was filled with family, friends and good food. I know I sure did. The parents and I went to Richmond, VA to my mother's sister's house, as has been the annual tradition since the last of my grandparents passed away. My mom's oldest sister is now the matriarch of the family, and as such sees fit to prepare a palatable meal at least once a year; a bonafide culinary delight.

We all crowd around a table that must be 50 feet long to accomodate all of the aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses and such that show up. Tradition dictates that we discuss the events of the year about to come to a close and plans for the year that is about to begin. A quick summary of my year provided mental bullet points of both positives and negatives. Positive bullet points included trips to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, San Francisco, and of course Pebble Beach Golf Links. Another siginificant positive happening was meeting a wonderful young woman to spend a great deal of my time with falling in love, all while solving the problems of the world in which we live. I love you Doodle. There was also skydiving. How could I forget skydiving. One word: Wow.

Of course, with 365 days in a calender year, they all can't be bright copper kettels and warm woolen mittens (Thank you, Julie Andrews.). Negative happenings always find a way to intersperse themselves into at least a few of our days. One particular negative happening stands out from this past year. I had a brief encounter with loneliness and depression. This can, however, be looked at in a positive light, as it drove me to spent time discussing life with a therapist, which in turn made me a better Patrick. There were other negatives, but all too minor to waste time mentioning here.

While on the drive to Richmond Thursday morning my father -the preacher (Yes, I'm the son of a preacher man.) - informed my mother and I that he would be marrying my cousin Scott on Friday while we were there. He had just found this out on very short notice, so for most of the family this was basically considered a shotgun wedding of sorts. We had a nice little ceremony with about 20 people from both families on Friday afternoon. It was about time for Scott, he's 39. There's a bun in the oven too. That may have a tiny bit to do with this short, albeit logical decision.

Christmas is on the way. As I type this there are 24 shopping days left until the big day. I can't wait. I'm like a kid at Christmas. I sneak and peel back the tape on the presents to take a peek at what's inside. I get up before the sun and wake up the rest of the family to open presents and make breakfast. I love seeing the reactions on people's faces when they open presents. I love the decorating, and I love the music. I'm sure most of the rest of you feel similarly. However, let's not forget the real reason for the season: the birth of Jesus Christ.

Going to Winston-Salem with the girlfriend this weekend to help her mother decorate for Christmas. It should be an interesting time.

Expect a post on "The Gloved One" soon, hopefully before the weekend is over.

Take care of yourselves, and each other. I stole that from Jerry Springer!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Because I'm already watching the clock anyway...

I figured I'd make it easier for myself and put a clock at the bottom of the page so that I may keep up with exactly how much time is left until SHE's home. It's a little therapeutic in a way, watching the numbers tick ever downward. Excessive, you say? Perhaps, but it works for me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Absense: Days 1 & 2

We as humans all have our own ideas, beliefs and opinions on everything imaginable, from one's view on a particular ethical debate, to how one takes one's coffee - if one even takes coffee at all. Love - and all additional emotions that come along with it - is not immune from this. It means something different to everyone. One could stand out on a street corner in a metropolitan area and ask 100 different passing pedestrians to define love, and receive 100 unique responses. One's definition of love can change as well, as it can be influenced by the events which one experiences in everyday life. We are, quite simply, products of our environment.

On Saturday, November 17th, my personal definition of love changed. It became more specific and circumstantially focused. If someone asked me today "What is love?", the following would be my reply:

Love is watching a plane go across a map on your computer screen for 14.5 hours.

Let me explain. Before the sun ever came up Saturday morning, I put my girlfriend of approximately two months on an airplane bound for Tokyo, Japan - essentially the other side of the world. Since the inception of our relationship we've spent very little time apart, seeing each other at least a few minutes every day except two. That may strike some of you as excessive, but for us it works. So when she told me she'd be gone for 9 days, I was afraid I wouldn't know what to do with myself and, as it turns out, I was right. If I learned anything this past weekend, it's that all the football and basketball one guy can watch could never fill the void of having the person you care so much about (and whom you know reciprocates those feelings) by your side.

And, if I learned anything else, it's that my true feelings have been confirmed during her absense.

I'm in love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Trying to Locate the Pause Button

Salutations! Happy Wednesday to you and yours. It is Wednesday, isn't it? I half-heartedly question that because things have been a bit of a blur lately. So much to say, so little time. Let me beg you to bequeth me your patience today and I'll try to make this post as coherent as possible. Deal? Good. Now, where was I?...

What a nice, extended weekend this past weekend was (extended if you work at a bank such as myself, or a Federal institution). I would be remiss if I did not thank the Veterans among you for all you have done and continue to do so that I may live in freedom to post this blog.

In as few words as possible, the weekend recap: Carolina-State football game (It was one of the better games I've seen in a while, though nothing will top Boise State-Oklahoma.), American Gangster (Denzel should get an Oscar on the mantle.), evening with girlfriend (Can it get any better?), Developing a potential billion dollar idea while sitting with my best friend at a bar in Chapel Hill (Yes, seriously.), Monday off work to do absolutely nothing (Thank you, Uncle Sam.).

A few random thoughts:

Experiencing the first period with a new girlfriend - It's like a hangover really. You have a ton of fun getting drunk, but you know you're going to pay for it later. You accept that. A girlfriend is no different. You know that along with all the benefits of having a girlfriend come those few days a month that you are going to dread. That was a joke, of course. It's really not that bad. YET. Ok, moving on...

Alicia Keys released a new album yesterday. My early though after perusing the tracks is simply ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

The first Carolina basketball game is tonight. It sure has been a loooooooong off season. Georgetown left a bad taste in the collective mouths of the Heels, and their fans. Let's go cut some nets down.

After the whirlwind of the past couple of weeks, I'm just searching for the pause button on that virtual DVR you've all known me to mention before. Unfortunately, for a nine day period starting Saturday I'll refer to simply as "The Absence", I'll be searching for the fast forward button just as desperately. For those of you who do not know what "The Absence" is, it is probably inevitable that I will blog about it sometime next week, at least once, if not multiple times, out of pure frustration and uneasiness. So stay patient, dear readers.

Here I go again, wishing my life away...

I'll leave you with a few words from Alicia Keys' new record:

I don't wanna forget the present is a gift
And I don't wanna take for granted the time
you may have here with me
'Cause Lord only knows another day is
not really guaranteed.

So every time you hold me
Hold me like this is the last time
Every time you kiss me
Kiss me like you'll never see me again
Every time you touch me
Touch me like this is the last time
Promise that you'll love me
Love me like you'll never see me again.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Weekend with Her...

It's that time again boys and girls. What time is that you ask? Oh, come on, you know exactly what time it is. It's time for me to once again divulge (almost) all of the events of my personal life, including the thoughts and feelings that accompany said events. Why do I do this? I'm sure that's what you're asking yourself. Ok, maybe not, but it's what I'm asking myself. From what I've been able to discern thus far, this blog has served as a virtual therapeutic outlet of sorts from which I've learned a lot about myself, while allowing you, dear readers, to do so simultaneously. I must say my writing talent has allowed me to communicate my innermost thoughts and feelings with each of you much easier than I would be able to do through the spoken word. That's something I am working on, however. Call it a veritable work-in-progress.

Anyway, without further delay, I present to you a summary of the weekend...

Friday night: This one's tricky. I'm not sure how much I can divulge here, mostly out of respect for the other party. However, I will say that I and said other party started watching a movie and we were both in such a pleasant mood that we didn't get very far into the movie. It was a good night, let's just leave it at that. Oh well, it was Letters from Iwa Jima. World War II - we all know how that one ended anyway.

Saturday: A great day, yet a tremendously taxing day nonetheless. It started early - too early. I appreciate her constant drive to be productive and efficient, but whatever happened to sleeping in, cuddled up, revelling in the events of the night prior? Nevertheless, after I worked my magic in the kitchen for breakfast we were off to tour downtown luxury condos for a big design project she was working on relating to the marketing of real estate. It was actually fun. We toured this nice place over on Oberlin and pretended to be a young, engaged couple, searching for a lavish place to call home. The lady that showed us around ate it right up. As for the place we toured, wow. It was almost as nice as when I lived in the Nissen in downtown Winston-Salem. I almost felt a little bad lying to the leasing agent. Oh well.

Next up was a foray into the retail world. In this particular instance, Triangle Town Center was the scene. I hesitate to say I hated getting drug around by a beautiful girl , because I actually enjoyed it, being the clothes horse that I am. Business suits were the items of the day. It seemed as if she felt guilty for spending too much money, but reassurance from a wise young man (wonder who that could be) that she was simply making an investment in her professional future seemed to ease the tension a bit (Something I've noticed lately, as I get older by the minute: Finding the right thing to say at the right time is becoming second nature to me).

Now for the "I'll never let you live that moment down as long as you live" event of the day. Let me set the scene for you. Shopping is nearly complete. All items have been purchased. The only thing left is a trip down the escalator on the way to the car. Girl wants to show guy physical affection through the simple gesture of running fingers through his hair. Yet, somehow, she fails to notice the $170 Armani sunglasses sitting on top of his head (Yes, I realize they may be a little hard to notice given the nature of my JFK-inspired hairstyle). Glasses fall off head, and disappear over the side of the escalator's handrail. After arriving at the bottom of the escalator, and not finding any sign of the glasses anywhere, there was only one conclusion at which to arrive: Girl had just knocked guy's glasses squarely into the middle of the fountain. The trouble was, they were impossible to see, impeded by the foam being created from the water cascading from above. To make a long story short, imagine this scene: Guy with fishing net on the end of ten foot pole fishing glasses from center of mall fountain. Thank God cameras were not involved. Physical evidence is the last thing I want to remind me of that. The mental picture is more than enough.

Saturday night: Here's where it got tricky. Guy somehow convinced girl to attend the first scrimmage of the Carolina basketball season with him. The game started at 8:15, yet guy failed to mention that minor detail to girl, instead opting to show up almost two hours early because seating was general admission, so the better your place in line, the better your seat was going to be. After much berating and verbal abuse from the girl after standing in line outside the Dean E. Smith Center for more than an hour, guy and girl found seats near courtside that more than made up for the wait (at least in guy's eyes). As much fun as guy had watching his team, the long day had begun to get to him and a migraine insued. It was all he could do to drive himself and the girl home to the warm comfort of his bed. Luckily for him, girl took necessary steps to ensure headache subsided quickly (Details of those events have been removed to protect all parties involved).

Sunday: No more third person references today. She actually let me sleep in too. Wow, today was starting well, or so I thought. After another amazing breakfast prepared by yours truly, it was off to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to search for quality bedding for myself. I should note that in the course of Saturday's shopping events I saw exactly what I wanted, yet they were sold out of one particular piece for my bed size - the duvet cover. After finding I could order it online from Macy's, I was relieved. However, she convinced me to look other places before making the purchase. Here's where things went a little awry. As we perused the aisles, she began pointing out suggestions to me as potential purchases. For whatever reason, I didn't care for any of them. Apparently I came across as snobbish in making my distaste for the items she suggested known. I can assure you this was not intentional, I just know what I like. A minor argument insued, as she portrayed me as being a snob for liking expensive, name brand things. But for me, it is not a matter of price, but appearance. If I had liked the things she picked out, I wouldn't have cared if they were $10 or $10,000.00, I would have bought them. I liked the stuff at Macy's better. It just so happens what I liked costed an arm and a leg. And yes, I made the purchase anyway (It should arrive today via UPS). There's a lesson to be learned in these events boys and girls. It's easy to misinterpret someone, even a significant other. This is why it is important to be completely open and honest with each other, something I made known immediately that I appreciated in her. Were it not for her possessing these qualities, I may never have known I came across in that manner.

Her frustrations with me were resolved through extra effort on my part. Who knew you could solve a problem and make a girl smile with a simple desk lamp? That's an inside joke of course.

Another weekend in the books folks.

P.S. - Guy continues to fall for girl. HARD. We'll see what tomorrow's roadtrip to Columbia brings.

Stop and Smell the Roses...

It really is amazing how quickly one's life can change. One minute you're riding high without a care in the world, and the next minute your life has taken a 180 degree turn in the complete opposite direction, leaving you faced with heartbreak, anger, or another similar emotion. This scenario functions both ways of course. One can just as easily go from the depths of despair to the top of the highest emotionally positive mountain, metaphorically speaking. This is why it is important, as they say, to "stop and smell the roses". In other words, don't just admire the beauty of the rose ( whatever the rose might symbolize in your own life) in passing, but rather take the time to truly recognize everything the rose has to offer. Do this not because it is there, but because you don't know when it might not be.

Just a quick thought for the day boys and girls...

More on the weekend's happenings coming later this evening...

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Friday Hodge-Podge

With no particular topic at the forefront of my mind today, I figure a posting of various musings would be adequate for this entry.

1. Tonight, myself and my girlfriend (Wow. Did I just use that word? I had almost forgotten how to say it, much less spell it.) are going to see American Gangster. The word is that Denzel Washington's performance in this film is Oscar worthy. Don't let me down Denzel. I paid $8.75 for this ticket.

2. Speaking of Denzel Washington, I think he's my favorite African American actor of all time. Two others come to mind: Morgan Freeman and Sidney Poitier. The three couldn't be any different, yet they all bring some very endearing qualities to the big screen.

3. I got the most random voice mail in the middle of the night last Saturday. It went something like this: "Patrick, this is [insert name here]." My mind was slow to process this information after being awoken from my slumber. Who is [insert name here]? I thought. Do I know you? I listened further. "I'm laying in my bed and...nothing. And you're not having sex with me, which you should be having sex with me right now, but you're not. Oh well, your loss. Or maybe it's mine, I don't know. But anyway, you're not having sex with me, and you should be having sex with me. Talk to you later." It took me about ten minutes to figure out who the girl was, because the encounter we had was nearly 18 months ago. Does this happen to any of you other guys? Is this one of those epiphanistic moments where I'm supposed to realize something? Am I a...a man whore? Maybe. In my past life.

4. You know that bubbly, giddy, excitable, can't sit still feeling you get when you first embark on a relationship with someone? You can't wait to see them, you want to spend every second with them, you want to ask so many questions and learn so much about them, etc. I think you'll all agree with me when I emphatically declare the following: that's the best feeling in the world.

5. Another Halloween on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill has come and gone. Although this year's experience was rather tempered and abbreviated (in order to appease a certain someone who I coerced into tagging along with me) compared to the drunken debauchery I was a part of in years past, I did discover one thing Wendesday night. I have a fetish for slutty nurses. Or, at the very least, a fetish for good girls in slutty nurse clothing.

6. United States senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful candidate Barack Obama was in Durham yesterday, stumping for votes at NC Central University. I like Mr. Obama, I really do. He's my candidate for the next four years in the Oval Office. With that said, apparently Mr. Obama didn't get the memo. Bloods and Crips don't vote.

7. I was in the mall the other day, several days before Halloween. That meant it was still OCTOBER. The mall was already decorated for Christmas, as were all the storefronts. Christmas became over-commercialized a long time ago, but for the first time this really pissed me off. Somehow I don't think one of Jesus' thoughts while hanging on the cross was "I'm dying for you so you have a reason to camp outside Nordstrom at 4 AM on the day after Thanksgiving".

8. College basketball is officially underway. The Tar Heels are #1 in the preseason poll. I'll be in attendance Saturday night at the first scrimmage of the season. Go ahead and mark my prediction down for two losses this season, a trip to the Final Four, and another National Championship Banner and Naismith Trophy in the Dean E. Smith Center come that first Monday night in April. While you're at it, go ahead and place the over/under line for items I throw at the television and/or break this season at 4.

9. I'm looking forward to winter so I can go snow skiing, but damn it's going to be a long few months waiting to skydive again.

10. Writing a book is harder than I thought. Writer's block sucks.