Thursday, January 03, 2008

Welcome to the year of ..."Happily Ever After"

I started last year with all the best of intentions... as you all know. I really wanted to do everything I could in 2007 to make me happy. 2007 was supposed to be the official "Year of Happy." Apparently, all I needed to make me happy was Tim. (And I have apparently been too busy falling in love, to keep up here... sorry!)

2008 is the official year of Tina's Happily Ever After... because on Dec 2, Tim proposed, and I (of course) said YES! YAY!

Tim has fully embraced my "year of happy" theory - which may be why we get along so well!

But here's the full story:

On that Friday, Tim had a dozen red roses mixed with whita calla lillies waiting for me at his apartment. I had mentioned at one point that I love the mix of those two flowers together, so I thought he was just being sweet. It was something he'd do any random day... so it was no big tip off.

So, we introduced the parents on Saturday afternoon over lunch, and everything went well.

Then Sunday, Tim had bought the paper and brought it to me. I, as I always do... grabbed the ads out and set the paper aside. The Target ad "happened" to be on top. It also happens to be the first ad I always look at.

About four pages into the ad, there was a handmade card, with sticker letters stapled into the ad. I read "Please join me for a celebration..." and looked toward Tim to say "Look at this ad. It's got some kind of marketing insert stapled to it."

As I looked over, he was on his knee, with box in hand. I looked back at the card in the ad to realized it said "Please join me to celebrate the end of year of happy," and he was inviting me to an engagement dinner at Palomino's on New Years Eve to celebrate the official end of the "Year of Happy."

Teary-eyed, he then told me that I made his year the happiest year he has ever had, and he wanted to make every year for the rest of my life happy. He was extremely sweet and asked me to marry him. I said yes, of course. He slipped the most beautiful ring ever on my finger and I then realized my nails look horrible and I needed to get them done.

He said he had something else and left the room to grab a present. I at that point just realized what happened and started crying. He handed me a white gift bag that had a big huge Wedding Planning binder in it - knowing I was going to be very watchful of all the details to come.

It was a surprise, and it was amazing. I can't ask for a better groom-to-be, proposal, ring, or story. So on New Year's Eve, we went to a yummy, romantic dinner celebration over-looking fountain square, and with a kiss we began 2008 engaged.

We are getting married on October 11, 2008, which is my parents 39th wedding anniversary at the church where my parents got married. We have a lot of planning to do, but he is well worth it. :)
Thanks to everyone for their part in the "year of happy." I hope you all had a wonderful year, and have an excellent 2008. I know mine will be fabulous!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Year of happy check in...

Well, it has been a while since I brought this up, so I thought I would remind everyone it is the year of happy! As a reminder...

For me, I don't think it could be going much better... well there was that whole car accident thing, mom is still in her house, and I'd love to be back home in Cincinnati... but in general, I am a happy, lucky gal.

How are ya'll doing? I hope you are doing well. :) Let me know!

Today is also my boyfriend's birthday.

Happy birthday to you TH!

I can't be with him, but he is hopefully enjoying himself on vacation.
That makes today's things to be happy about simple...

I am so very happy that he is in my life.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hiatus from MN - back home again... for 2 days

So, I am 29 - rah, rah, rah...

But it was one of the better birthday celebrations I have had. My friends rock. I couldn't have asked for a better trip home... Thank you all.

Today's things to be happy about:
  • Coming home again
  • Great friends
  • An amazing BF
  • Seeing the kids
  • My nephew's dimples
Too cute!

It was also Em's 8th bday!!! HBD kiddo.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Minneapolis, part three...

I would be totally remiss if I didn't dedicate time to share thoughts about yesterday's bridge collapse in Minneapolis. My thoughts and prayers are with anyone who has themselves, or has friends and family that have been affected by this tragedy.

I was sitting in class when the director of the school came into the classroom and said, "35W just collapsed into the Mississippi River." Needless to say, the TV was turned on, phones started ringing and class was cancelled mid-stream.

School is about a mile, maybe two from that bridge. My apartment is about a mile the opposite direction from school. I left school and started walking South. It was an eery walk home, wondering who knew, who didn't. Hearing siren after siren after siren. Almost watching a police car crash into an ambulance amidst the chaos. There was all kinds of traffic. And then the phone calls began... my coworkers, my friends, my family... all checking to make sure I wasn't on the bridge. I am lucky. I wasn't on that bridge. Unfortunately, many other people were on that bridge and at least 4 people have lost their lives (approximately 8 people are currently missing).

Some of the survival stories around this tragedy are pretty amazing. Everyday people turned into heroes. One 20-year old in the accident was quick-thinking enough to get 60 people, mostly kids, off a bus safely. A fellow blogger has a pretty amazing near miss story of his own - D. Dad. I just watched a story about a mother and father who were on the way to see their daughter at the hospital. They were in a jeep that went off the bridge and sunk to the bottom of the river. Luckily, they had just opened their windows, and were able to swim to safety (separately) and get the medical attention they needed. Somehow their daughter's security blanket ended up floating to the surface. Amazingly, a 2-year old still has both parents and a security blanket that I am sure they'll keep close the rest of their lives.

Like I said, I was lucky. Actually I am extremely lucky... not only because I wasn't on 35W, but because I have amazing people in my life.

I have been pretty homesick - missing friends, family and loved ones, but I doubt I could really feel much more loved than I do right now. I think almost everyone I know has sent an e-mail, a text, or made a phone call in the past 24 hours. Not only does a tragedy like this put life in perspective... but for me was an amazing reminder of how many people cared enough to check on me. It's pretty humbling.

It's a reminder to pay attention to what really matters. To tell people you love them. To never take life for granted. And, to never let regret in your life. Today's list of things to be happy about is pretty simple...
  • Being here to take advantage of today
  • Great family and friends
  • Genuine care and concern
  • Everyday heroes
  • Emergency responders (EMS, Fire, Police, Coast Guard, Courageous Onlookers, etc.)
  • Quick-thinking
  • Grabbing life by the horns
  • Perspective
  • Great memories
  • Recognizing all the little things

Thanks again to everyone who cared enough to check on me... My thoughts and prayers are with amazing people in the city of Minneapolis.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hello from Minnesota (Part 2 - the first few weeks)

So, here I am. Been here for about 3 weeks now. School is good. Just shy of my impending 29th birthday, I am pretty much the oldest in my class. No big deal, if I didn't feel old or if this didn't happen: We went out to the $10 all-you-can-drink on Wednesday, and my 23-year old classmate and I were talking and he said "Thanks Mom." Explaining it as "I call all my older friends that are girls Mom." I tried to tell him that calling me "older" didn't help... at least go with "Big sis."

GEESH, so THAT was fun.

I saw the Twins play... which was um.. interesting...

They played Detroit, including ex-Red Sean Casey. The dome is ridiculously WRONG when it comes to baseball. And they lost... but unlike in Cincinnati, even on a Tuesday night, the game was an actual EVENT, with a pregame party and everything. I respect that and the fans were really good. It kinda makes me sad for our boys at home.

I uploaded some of the pics of the inside of the basilica too. Check it out.

So, for now, life here is good. I get to come visit home in just 9 days. I am pumped bc I miss home. Miss my friends. Miss my Tim. Miss my nieces and nephew. Miss all my family. Miss normal.
Today's things to be happy about:
  • Playing around in a new city
  • Getting to come home
  • Being in love
  • Doing well on my first two presentations and in school
  • Making new friends

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hello from Minnesota... (Part 1 - the journey here.)

It's been a whirlwind for me... so I apologize to my friends back home who are wondering what has been going down... I decided to do this in parts. :) Here is the exciting story of my first weekend.

Saturday, bright and early. Load car. Start the long drive. Stop at Starbucks for caffeine fix. Indy. Illinois. Get gas. Get lunch. Wisconsin. Minnesota. Get gas again. Drive by St. Paul, pull into Minneapolis. Find the place. Check it out. Move everything in. Find a Target and a grocery. Collapse on the couch.

Sunday, wake up WAY too early for my liking. Eat some cereal. Put stuff where it belonged in the apartment. Go to Target, again. Spend more money. Go to mass at the the Basilica. It is super close to my place, and it is gorgeous. It's the oldest Basilica in the United States. AMAZING outside, but even better inside. (See below.) Get some food and relax a little in preparation for my first day on Monday...

Here is the Basilica:

That is about all the touristy things I have been able to do thus far. Been too busy settling in. I did go to the Twins game on Tuesday. Baseball in a dome is very odd. They lost, but I was impressed with the pre-game partying, especially since it was just a Tuesday night.

ANYWAY, sorry this was lame. I will be sure to go out with my camera and show some cool stuff, as well as let you know a little bit about school.

Congrats to SAM on her engagement.

Congrats to MM on her new job.

Hope everyone is doing well.

Miss you all... :)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Week Countdown...

Hello everyone.

I am sorry that I am a slacker. Between this stupid back/rib injury from the accident and getting everything at work and at home ready for my trip to Minnesota, the last few weeks have FLOWN by. I leave "technically" in less than a week, as we will be going very early next Saturday morning. My mother is driving up with me to keep me company, so I am positive their will be fairly enlightening stories from the trip.

The stories will include something about her asking at every border we cross if "radar detectors are legal in this state." To which i will AGAIN answer, "they are only illegal in Virginia and the District of Columbia." Also fun, is that I only have my little mazda 3, and I have all the stuff I will need for my three months in MN - making the car pretty full.

She, however, is infamously a "heavy packer." (I apparently come by that naturally - for all readers / friends who have traveled with me in the past.) I have gotten MUCH MUCH better since I got my nice new luggage and started traveling so much for work. She still thinks she has to bring a foam egg crate mattress for any bed that isn't her own. So that battle will be fun. Oh and the cooler. We have to have a cooler that fits 48 drinks and foods. Even though we have to stop every few hours for gas and cant pick up a drink or two there. Ahhh, I can't wait.

Don't get me wrong. I love my mom. She is one of the greatest women alive. She just still likes to be my mom. And I like to be an adult. :)

Anyway. 11-1/2 hours according to mapquest. Triptik in hand. It should be an interesting adventure, and I hope MN brings me much more time to say hello to people around here... We'll see.

I better go pack. Hope everyone else is doing well!

Today's things to be happy about...
  • My nephew's "do it again" smile and dimples
  • His stopping everything he is doing (even tears) to dance
  • Cranky 5-year-olds "accidentally" falling asleep and taking a highly-needed nap
  • Naps, in general
  • Sunny Saturday afternoons
  • X-RAYS coming back negative for breaks
  • Having a good drunk night out to forget the pain
  • Small worlds (when your bf, his friends, and your friends all end up knowing someone who knows someone who liked someone in grade school...)
  • The smell of freshly dried laundry
  • 4th of July cookouts with good friends
  • The strength is takes to protect our freedom
  • Honoring our troops
  • Hugs
Have a good 4th everyone! Thanks to the troops for protecting our freedom.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

How I spent my OBX vacation...

Our vacation begins just like anyone else's vacation. We leave around 5:30 AM and head to the KY AA Highway. We have a fairly uneventful drive through KY, WV and VA - noticing only that VA has a LOT of personalized plates. (We assume they are much cheaper in VA than in OH... and my personal favorite was "me n gzus." It seemed a little conceited to put the "me" first. lol)

We stop at the "gas-and-anything-you-may-need-before-you-leave-VA" station and pass over the NC line with some excitement. It's a little after 3 pm now, so after passing 2
farmer's markets, we decide to his the third one we see. We wanted a watermelon, some tomatoes, some peaches, and a jar of jam to supply the kitchen at the house we are staying in. So that we got.

Then there is a lot of water and a bridge. YEA!... We are finally in Kitty Hawk / Nags Head. Just three more minutes and we are poolside! Errr not.

We hit a little congestion, because apparently everyone is driving into town with Saturday-to-Saturday rentals. So we pull up and sit in the line of traffic right where we are about to turn down our street. Then BAMMM... a minivan hits the back of us at 45 mph
(according to the police report). The good news is, we are all "fine"! It was eerily similar to those Jetta commercials. None of us knew it was coming. I was mid-sentence, then all of a sudden... I couldn't breath. After realizing we were in a wreck, I felt the LOADED trunk had creeped into the back seat and the front seat was laying on top of me. I pulled off my seat belt and Matthew moved the front seat some so I could breath. Matthew and Ralph were smacked in the face with airbags but were out of the car. I looked to my left and Adrianne was bleeding from the nose, and had watermelon all over her lap. My torso hurt and my knee hurt and there were tomatoes smashed too.

Well, the fire department and EMS arrived and took Adrianne to the ambulance. They decided that I needed to be neck-braced and back-boarded - and because of where the car got hit, my door didn't open. They took out the jaws of life and cut me out of the car. Nothing like glass shattering and a saw thing in your ear with a sheet as the only thing protecting you. Into the ambulance, I went. I didn't see anyone/anything at the scene - which sucks. Adrianne was sitting in the ambulance when I got in there.

It was a 15 minute ride, filled with a collapsed vein in my hand and a second try for an IV in my arm. They cut my shirt and my borrowed sweats. My BP was really low and then they couldn't find it for like 5 tries, so they freaked me out a bit.

Adrianne wanted out of the truck - and her watermelon-stained pants. She had to have had a headache. I just wanted off the backboard and out of the neckbrace that was poking into my throat.

So into the ER we went. All of us got checked out, and given drugs. A few hours, a bunch of x-rays and a cat scan later, we are free to go. I however, had no clothes, so left in a nice comfy pair of scrubs. Remarkably with nothing seemingly broken, ruptured or bleeding too badly. Lots of bruises and lots of soreness, but man were we lucky...

The Maxima - not as lucky. It's crumple zones performed their duties well. My laptop, also not as lucky - as you will see below.

I was drugged or slept through most of vacation, either from the soreness or from the rash from the dye in the CT scans. (A lovely time and way to find out you are allergic to it!) I just couldn't get over the hump to fully enjoy vacation. I had one drink the whole week, and if you knew my friends, you'd know that was ridiculous.

It was so nice to pull into my driveway last night and to sleep in my own bed.
Now comes the fun part, right? Hospital bills and settlements and receipts... rah rah rah.

I didn't sleep very well, but that's a whole different story. :(

The pictures:
Ralph's car from the rear.
The silver bumper is attached from the car that hit us.

This was my seat... with the door they cut off sitting in it.
(Pay special attention to the tomato on the ground. FUNNY)

The door.

The floorboard full of the glass from it shattering as they cut the door off.

Adrianne's and my seat.
Close up. With the trunk pushed into the seat.

What formerly appeared to be the trunk.

Buckled roof and shattered back window.
And. my personal favorite photo...

Oh yea, and... my laptop.

Again, glad we all made it out as well as we did. But don't look forward to another vacation like that anytime soon! I do, however, love the GTP.

Got lots to be happy about:
  • Being "okay"
  • My boyfriend (who was not even with me, but still helped me get through the week)
  • My bed
  • My family
  • My nephew's sweet smile
  • Forgiveness, giving it - but more importantly receiving it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

OBX - the short version...

Please check back next Sunday / Monday to hear the details of the following short story.

There will be pictures.

SHORT VERSION: Ambulances, glass, the hospital, drugs, a free pair of scrubs and a nice rash two days later. Do I have your attention yet?

I will tell the whole fun vacation story when I return and can upload photos. :)

Friday, May 25, 2007

OBX Vacation

I am gone.

My mind is on vacation.

And SO is my body.

Have a great week! :)