Monday, February 21, 2005

Time and Friends

Time is a funny thing. Time brings change. Time brings seasons. Time brings perspective. Today, I thought about how time brings friends.

My best friend and I have known one another for more than 14 years. Our friendship only becomes stronger as we get older. She and I are kindred spirits who can start wherever we have left off, no matter how long it has been since we have seen each other. She only becomes funnier and wiser as we know one another. I love who I am when we are together. I cannot imagine my life without her. She is more like a sister than a friend...I owe this closeness all to time. We will be friends, cackling together, when we are in our 90's.

Another friend of mine and I always have known one another since the fifth grade and all through high school. But, once we ran into one another in college, our friendship became closer. Time and life experience had given us something in common...something we could share. We lost touch, but found one another again. Now, even though he is living in another country, time has given us more to talk about, maybe not more in common, but we appreciate one another. Some friendships are just destined to remain. And, I know if he reads this he may scoff, but it seems that God knows when we need to talk to each other. He knows something the two of us don't. We are there for one another when we need it most. I like that. It's comfortable.

Other friends come and go in my life. We come together for a moment, pulling what we need from each other at that time in our lives and then we move on. There is an exhiliaration of finding these friends again. We reunite, get to know one another again, and then just as I make a space for them, they disappear into a fog. Sometimes it hurts when I lose them, but then I grow from the experience. And, I think part of me knows that although they are not there at the moment, they are still somewhere in the background. They are those friends that have given me great memories, I cherish them. If they were around all the time, I may not appreciate them and what they have given me.

Then, there are friends you only have for a short time. Sometimes, these can be the friends who are most precious. I remember my friend Shannon from fourth grade. We were inseparable. And, just as I had found a best friend, her family moved to Texas. I never saw her again, but I have never forgotten her. Another friend of mine, stole my heart. He was my first love. I thought he would be around forever. His life was ended short. I think because I was a teenager at the time, I learned more from him, and his experience, than anyone else in my life.

There are moments when I wish time would not continue its march forward and would let me keep my friends as they are. But, there are other moments when I know that time has made them even more special. Whether they are there forever or only here for a short time, each of my friends has been a blessing in my life. They are gifts sent from God, to shine in my life and help me remember who I am and who I can become.

Thank you...all of you...especially for sifting through my emotional rant. You're wonderful!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Great American Race

Today was the day of the Daytona 500, the Great American Race, the first race of the NASCAR season. My heart can once again find its natural pulse, revved by the sound of engines. My blood can course through my veins at its natural speed, pushed through by a draft of cars circling around an oval track.

I love the beginning of the season; there is much to which to look forward. Every Sunday will become a ritual in front of my television. I will become hypnotized by aerial views of the track, where cars look like small colorful boxes, swerving and jockeying for position. The adrenaline rush that puts each driver onto the track will be revealed in the words they choose to swap after a crash. My friends and family will be brought together by tales of swapped paint and botched pit stops.

Of course, the speed is what draws me to the sport, but there is also the science. The science is what made me drool over NASCAR. When I learned about all that goes into the engine to improve the statistics on the side of the driver and his crew. Or, when I discovered that physics is also intertwined into this display of horsepower and torque, I was hooked. It is a display of man harnessing a machine's power.

Thus begins a season of speedways, superspeedways, short tracks and road tracks, evening races and daytime races. In the end one victor will stand among them all. This victor will be declared master of the machine, aka Nextel Cup Champion.

I await each exciting weekend with anticipation, exhilaration.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Trying to Study

Tonight I have been trying, in earnest, to study. I look at my books, my list of tasks and the spreadsheets on my computer, but it is no use. I can't concentrate. I just can't study like I want diligent student. My preoccupation? Television.

More specifically...sappy movies.

Ever since we got cable TV, it has been the death of me. It has been the death of my good study habits. Tonight, I was enthralled and mystified by two movies on Turner Classic Movies.

First, it was an Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn movie called, Same Time, Next Year. It was a play adapted into a film script. It is about a couple who meets in the 1950's at an inn in Northern California. They instantly become attracted to one another. Both married to others, the two decide to meet at the inn at the same time every year. Their affair lasts about 30 years. They love one another while lovng their spouses. It is quite beautiful. These two people have enough love in their hearts to love two people. Never have I found a movie about an affair so intriguing and true.

The other movie I watched...well, technically, am watching The Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. I read the book a long time ago. It captured my heart. The characters are so passionate and yet so naive. They are so innocent and lost in the love they feel for one another. I is the ultimate in sappy films, but I can't help myself. What can I say? I am a romantic.

Isn't that what love should be? A connection so strong that it spans time and distance. Love should hit you straight in the hard that your breast literally hurts from the emotion welling up inside of you. Your heart pounds deep and fast with purpose and conviction. And, most of all...your lips are numb with anticipation and your finger tips long to touch the one you love. What a wonderful feeling. What a glorious feeling.

It is great that someone can experience all of this in real life...and then when they are having withdrawals or maybe need an extra shot of this "drug" can watch a good old fashioned sappy, romantic movie. I hope this genre never goes away. I think I may be an addict.

Now, please don't tell anyone I have this weakness. It is just between you and me. Shhhh.

P.S. Here are some of my other favorite sappy movies...they always pluck at my heartstrings: An Affair to Remember, The Notebook, Green Card, and, one of the best, Cinema Paradiso. If you only have time for must see Cinema Paradiso.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Getting Along

It has been nearly nine months since my fiance went to New Mexico on assignment. And, I have learned to get along on my own. Not that I haven't always been independent and adventurous. But, this experience has shown how much I appreciate those around me. It also has shown me that I can be successful on my own...I don't need my fiance in my life...I'm not dependent on him. I WANT him in my life. He adds to my life.

Getting along on my own has shown me I am so much more than I first thought. I have discovered my spirit and my own freedom. These new-found positives have helped me to be a better writer and a better professional. I know now that I have worth. For the first time in my life, I feel empowered. I can look to a future of going after the things I want to achieve. I have the power to be successful.

I still cannot get over the fact that I was quoted in USA Today. I am still in awe at the fact that after so much hard work in learning my profession, I finally hit the big time. I never take myself for granted.

For that matter, I no longer take my relationship with my fiance for granted.
Our love had happened so quickly and easily that I think I began to assume too much about our relationship. Now, I appreciate all we have and see how wonderfully unique we are. Thank you, sweetie, for all of your love. Without you, I would have made it, but I would never feel like a whole person.

I also have come to see how truly wonderful all of my friends are. So many of them have been supportive while I have been on my own. They have all shown me how they love me--each in their own way. Without them, I wouldn't have found out how much I have to offer. I know not all of them will see this, but I want to say to each of them...Thank you. Thank you for making me smile, for checking in on me, for talking to me late at night, inviting me out, laughing with me and sharing wonderful moments with me. All of you have blessed my life in more ways than you will ever know. And, please know that even when the love of my life returns, I will still want you around. I still want to go out to dinner or out for happy hour. I still want to stay up and chat until it is near dawn. I still want the laughing and joking. You are part of me now.

Look out world, here I come!!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Discovering My Southern Side

For my memoir writing class, our professor has us reading a book called, "Confederates in the Attic" by Tony Horwitz. The author has always been enthralled with the Civil War so he decides to go on a journey to battlefields in the South. Along the way, he meets different people who are looking for the spot where their relative was killed during the war; people deep into their genealogy and the connection they have with the Civil War. He also talks to reenactors and others who find themselves still connected and even fighting the Civil War. It has completely pulled me in.

As I was reading today about a battle that involved Stonewall Jackson, everything came full circle for me. I had completely forgotten how my own ancestry was connected to the Civil War. My great-grandmother's maiden name was Jackson and her descendency was tranced back to Stonewall Jackson. I am related to one of the most highly revered Confederate leaders. The man who taught at the Virginia Military Institute was my connection to these people I was reading about in this book.

All day, I have been thinking about a part of myself that is missing now. I am more interested than I have been before to search out my genealogy. I would like to discover my Southern heritage. I have been lucky enough to find out about my family in Switzerland. But, the family that consisted of pioneers and farmers is still a mystery to me. I want to hear more about my great grandmother's life on a farm. I also want to know more about my great-great grandma who traveled in a covered wagon to Republic, Missouri.

It is amazing how one book can open up someone's eyes. Books can be more powerful than expected.