Friday, October 18, 2013

Yeah, yeah... he told me so...

One of the first real "dates" Rick and I went on after we first met was a day trip from Austin to Dallas to visit Six Flags.

Side note #1: I was stupid and didn't wear sunscreen that day, and ended up with a rare sunburn. It takes a lot of sun exposure, but I DO eventually burn if I'm out in it long enough...

Side note #2: I actually blacked out on the Texas Giant roller coaster -- one of those "check out the crazy g-forces on this thing!" rides. That initial drop is CRAZY, and for about two seconds, everything went black. And then it all came back, and I was like, "Best. Ride. Ever."

The drive from Austin to Dallas is about three and a half hours, and at this time, Rick and I had only known each other for about a month -- most of our interaction had been through the mail (snail mail -- actual handwritten LETTERS -- can you imagine?? I'm old...) -- so I was still in the "super quiet around people I don't know very well" stage. Fortunately, Rick can be quite talkative when he has to be, and managed to command the conversation.

I don't remember much of what was said during that drive, but I do have one memory: Rick was talking about a book series written by Raymond Feist that he loved, and he meticulously recalled characters and plot points as we sped north on I-35. I was trying very hard to pay close attention and retain all the details, as people do when they're first dating and attempting to make a good impression, but at some point I got rather lost. But I knew it had something to do with magicians, and elves, and dwarfs, and a whole bunch of Lord of the Rings-type stuff...

Over the last twenty years, Rick has, occasionally, attempted to coerce me into reading this book series. Or at least reading the first book in the series -- aptly named Magician.

But I, being a fan mostly of the realistic fiction genre, was hesitant to delve into a weird fantasy world filled with make-believe countries and creatures. I mean, sure, I read the Lord of the Rings series when I was in sixth grade... and I remember liking them enough at the time. And I read each Harry Potter book in about a day and a half -- and those certainly set realism aside...

So about ten years ago, I actually DID start reading Magician, in some sort of "I'll read Magician, you read Harry Potter" type deal. Rick got through the first four Harry Potter books quite quickly (but, strangely, he never did finish the series). I only got through the first three chapters of Magician. It just didn't draw me in, so I stopped reading it...

But even after this attempt, Rick didn't give up. Every year or so, he would bring up "The Book" and try to convince me to give it another try. He even gave a copy to our friend Nick and convinced HIM to read it, and when Nick proclaimed it to be a good book, Rick reminded me that Nick and I have similar taste in literature. "When are you going to read my book?" became an ongoing question at our house.

So finally, a couple months ago, I decided I would make a second attempt to muddle my way through Magician. Or at least get to chapter four. Rick downloaded it to my Kindle, I sighed a big sigh, and I sat down to read the 500-plus pages of text.

I'm now eighteen chapters into the book. And the verdict?

It's good.

It's really good.


Rick was right about this stupid book. And I'm a big enough person to come here to my blog and say it for all the world to see -- Rick was right. And seeing as there are about a million books in this series, I probably should've just started reading them way back on that day we went to Six Flags.

Because now I have a lot of catching up to do...   

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The mother of all randomness...

Eight years ago today -- September 24, 2005 -- I wrote my very first post for this blog. I think it started as an experiment, to be honest. Other people were dabbling in this thing called "blogging" (a word which, I still contend, sounds just like the sound my cats make before throwing up hairballs), and as a "writer" of sorts, I thought I might toss my hat into the ring.

At the time, Rick and I were living in Austin, with our dog and cat, Echo and Allegro. Mom and dad had just moved from New Jersey and into a house right down the street... Eric was in Chicago, but single, and living in a tiny condo in Lincoln Park with a beat-up, pieced-together computer (which was affectionately -- or perhaps not-so-affectionately -- known as Frankencomputer). George W. Bush was president (ah, those were the good ol' days... ;)), "Lost" was a huge hit on TV, and the last two Harry Potter books hadn't even been released yet.

Since that day eight years ago, we've moved (twice -- once to a bigger house in Austin, and then to Chicago). Our sweet Echo and Allegro are running around together in pet heaven -- but we've been joined by Piva and Riff (who not only make life more interesting, but make me smile every single day). Mom and dad still have a house in Austin, but they also have a condo in Chicago. And Eric? Well, once he ditched Frankencomputer and moved into a nicer place, he met and married a girl who makes him happy, bought a great house, and proceeded to have the two cutest kids on the planet. (Way to show us all up, Eric... :))

We've had a U.S. presidential change, "Lost" came to an end (I'm STILL trying to decide whether I was satisfied with the final episode), and not only did J.K. Rowling finish up the saga of Harry Potter, but we all got to watch Daniel Radcliffe grow up on the silver screen as each movie was released.

For Rick and I, the last eight years have brought new jobs, a couple scary layoffs, and new opportunities -- we've discovered that when one job doesn't work out, sometimes it means that something much better is on the way. We've traveled to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Europe, and all over the U.S. We've said goodbye to some loved ones, and welcomed some new lives. We've met new people, made some new friends, and reconnected with old acquaintances. I've learned to cook some new recipes, and have gotten really good at baking cupcakes (WHY do I have to be so GOOD at baking cupcakes?? :))... but I've also learned to embrace my pedometer, and working out is more a part of my life than it's ever been.

There have been constants, of course -- family, long-time friends, my love of chocolate, the Yankees. (Although even the Yankees moved from their old stadium into a new one.) But it's interesting to go back through my eight years of blog posts and think about where I was and what was going on in my life when I wrote each one. And even though I've been slow to update lately, it's good to know that my blog is always here when I feel like rambling aimlessly about nothing. :)

So, in honor of my blog birthday (and keeping true to my randomness), here is a hodgepodge of pictures from the last eight years... mostly in no particular order whatsoever:


I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait to see what the next eight years has in store... :)