Friday, November 30, 2012

Apparently, I Was Ready for Some Football...

Omg. So, last night I attended my first NFL game. In Atlanta. Against the Saints. The only team that beat this said team.

Sensory overload. In a good way.

There's a lot they don't show on TV. 

Like, the really fun, loud stuff.

Building-sized flags being run up the field after each touchdown.
All the rap music.
The chanting.
All the rap music.
Little kids on the field.
LUDACRIS for the halftime show. (Uhm, mind. blown.)
More rap music.
When The Atlanta Housewife's husband would come up on the in-house monitors. He plays for them! (Jimmy shook his head a whole bunch when I announced that).
Seeing the behind-the-scenes cameras... the NFL Network set-up and break down of the set, seeing sideline reporters chase down coaches on the way to the locker rooms, etc.
So cool!

Me during the fun stuff: Omg. They don't show ANY of this stuff on TV.
Jimmy: Yeah.
Me: But, why don't they show any of this stuff on TV?!
Jimmy: No one wants to see this crap.
Me, realizing I'm not cool: Oh.

Getting settled in early. I PLANNED that.

Thing is, I'm still too new here to be an Atlanta sports fan. I don't feel it yet. I wore pink shoes and a scarf with pink in it to the game.

I kind of was cheering for the Saints, I guess. I mean, we honeymooned in New Orleans...

I found that to be not as fun. There were no other Saints fans around where we were. There was no music when the team scored. I barely knew when it happened. Like, I really didn't know for sure if it happened until the score changed.

Oh, the entire city knew when the Falcons scored.

I also got the side-eye a bunch when I would clap loudly for "The Other Team."

Driving to and from The Georgia Dome wasn't as bad as expected.  Planning to go early and leave early helped.  Getting stuck for two hours in Braves vs. Yankees this past summer helped me to prepare a little better.

My Dad and his wife were here in town to visit. They were the ones who convinced us to go and took us. I never would have been like... "Hey, let's go to a game!"

But, I'm glad we went. It was extremely fun times. Especially, since I am becoming more interested in football this year.

Jimmy, Me and my pink/purpley scarf and my Dad.
Watching Drew Brees do his thing in person was kind of huge.  Except, last night, he did the opposite of what his thing is. He actually was pretty horrible last night. Like, a career low. Ick. I felt like a ginormous bad luck charm.

Jimmy had the official "I'm reallllly happy, but not going to talk about it" grin on his face.

That, as you know, makes me realllllly happy, as well.

We could get used to this place.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Letter to My Father-in-Law

Dear James,

I am heartbroken you are no longer with us.  I so looked forward to spending holidays and upcoming visits getting to know you. 

I looked forward to spending this very Thanksgiving with you.

You left us suddenly but you are free from pain now.

Nearly two decades you spent battling an incurable illness. We all thought Cancer would take you. We were wrong. It was an unexpected stroke with complications. No one saw it coming.

But I can tell you this...

Your family certainly loves you and you left one hell of an impression.

I basked in the remembrances, people telling stories about you.

How you were like a second father...

How you taught them how to cut grass...

How you always made them laugh...

I envy these people for truly knowing you. I feel robbed of that.

But I can tell you this much: I sure am proud of the son you and Sandra raised. He's pretty amazing.

He's strong, funny and loyal. He makes friends and keeps them for life. He loves his family more than life itself.

Peopled loved you like they love him. It's amazing to watch.

Jimmy will always keep your spirit alive. 

He lives to give people a hard time and they just love it!

People actually healed just a little bit faster after this part of Jimmy reemerged following his accident. It was a relief to many that this quality remained intact.

It helped them to sort of forgive that Jimmy's legs don't work, or that he was on a ventilator. Jimmy was still Jimmy. And much of that, is you.

We will never forget you. We will talk about you often. I will think of you always.

You are my husband's father.

Thank you for accepting the offer to stand up next to your son on our wedding day, even though you weren't feeling well (Sorry about that, by the way. I know you would have been more comfortable sitting).

It meant a lot to us.

Your memorial service was simply amazing. I've never seen anything quite like it.

I told myself... "I'm not going to cry. I'm okay."

What the heck did I know?

Imagine large, beautiful, rich singing voices belting from the podium -- just feet from you. Imagine a small temple. Imagine just the right words. I was shaken to the core.

There was no sense in trying to hold back the tears sitting on the very edge of my eye lids.  I just grabbed for some tissue, giving in. I could be strong another time.

I would check on our Jimmy from time to time. He would need help wiping his own tears. I didn't see any from him.


The Reverend opened up the floor for anyone to share their stories. Jimmy's Aunt started. Jimmy began to cry. In hindsight, he may have been gathering his own thoughts.

During a long silence, as we all waited to see if anyone else wanted to add to it, Jimmy made a noise.

It's a noise that's familiar to me. 

It sounds like he's gathering his breath right before he's about to speak loudly. When I heard it, my head whipped quickly in his direction.

I saw him battling tears as he started to talk. 

I started to wipe his tears, and then my own, and then his... my tissues were quite soggy.

I could hear lots of sniffling behind me. I don't think anyone expected to hear from him. I know I didn't.

Jimmy told four little stories about you. Four important times in his life when you told him you were proud of him.

One was the first time you came to see Jimmy play soccer. You told him you were proud, but asked that he play a sport a little easier to understand. I agree, James. I don't get it.

Another was when Jimmy graduated college.

And another, on the night of our wedding.  I'd like to think it was right around the time this photo was taken. You guys had your father-son moment, and Jimmy cherishes it.

The last story Jimmy told was of a talk that was had shortly after the accident.

I was so proud of my husband the night of your memorial service. I know you were too, James. I know you will always be.

You did good with this one.

You will be missed.

With Love,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Stack

I was reading an old Christmas blog from 2010 about movies I love to watch this time of year. 

Good to see I was taking this topic serious enough to actually start building my own holiday collection. I am, after all, an adult.

Here's where I am now.

There's a few that aren't totally holiday-ish, but I prefer to watch them this time of year. 

These are a few favorties. I could stand to add to this stack. But then I texted my stack to a friend.
She then texted hers back..
I win!
Just because the majority of her collection is VHS. And... because one is Prancer.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


We've been busy. I've got lots to write about.

But for now... you're left with bullet points.

-- Jimmy's father passed away. We have been here spending time with the family.
-- My husband shocked me during the memorial service. I'll tell you about it later...
-- I think I'm allergic to NC. Haven't stopped sneezing since I got here. Time to visit the allergist.
-- I got Dumb and Dumber on Blu Ray for $4. Black Friday, baby! (And Home Alone.)
-- I need the gym. And clean food. My poor body.
-- I can't wait to crank Christmas to the max when I get home and catch my breath...

Okay. That's all for now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Drive

Here I go.

Walking down an emotional memory lane, once again.

You can't stop me. It's too late.

This evening, I'm preparing to go on my second solo trip since Jimmy's crash last August.

I am not the only one on this trip making tough sacrifices, however.

Two of my friends have small babies/children at home. I'm fairly certain it is the first time they are leaving these tots, for this long. 

So, we can commiserate. We know we need this, but surely our minds will be elsewhere. BUT WE NEED THIS.

I got to thinking about my route. I have to drive through Greenville to pick up one of the friends, and then we will continue on North.

Then I realized it will only be my second time back to The Upstate since our first visit in June.

Greenville is such a wonderful, horrible, wonderful place. I get caught in this bittersweet mind trap when thinking of it there.

Tomorrow, I have to drive over the very piece of highway where Jimmy's catastrophic crash happened.

I used to drive over it everyday.

I will have to prepare myself for emotions. I don't know what will actually happen. But, I can guess.

It's so horribly symbolic I can't stand it. How do you not get upset? How do you prevent all the memories from that day from flooding back?

The workout I did that morning. Basking in the newness of our first "married" apartment. The Starbucks I wanted to get on the way to work, but didn't because I was running late.  Just... being.  That "stressful" wedding thing was out of the way...


Tomorrow, I will think of that day.

The freak think that happened. And the carefree life we led before that. There. In that city.

It's nauseating (It's not a horrible nightmare, right?).

So, I'm hoping that writing about it now will alleviate some of the grief and anger that will swirl around in my brain tomorrow leading to teary brown eyes.

It also helps knowing that getting through that drive, and getting to where I need to go will help soothe a little of that. 

A destination that makes the drive worthy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall In Atlanta

This time last year, I was in a hellish bubble of trying to figure our new life out. The logistics of relocating, Jimmy being discharged, our new non-Shepherd nurses -- it was a nightmare of a month, November.

When we arrived in Atlanta in 2011, it was late August -- not quite fall. But somewhere in between literally living at Shepherd and a hotel and then finding an apartment in October, the seasons did actually change.

It took me a year to actually be okay enough to see it.  To breath in and out and take it all in.

Fall in Atlanta is just beautiful.

I forgot how much I loved this season.  The further I get away from the beach, the more gorgeous it is.

There's something about a nice chill in the air with a gorgeous city line -- and yet, still having trees with fall colors and leaves crunching under your feet.

Tonight, I was supposed to go to tennis. But it got rained out. I was actually kind of glad.

A chilly, rainy night. 

I've been waiting for a good time to make some homemade cocoa.

This is a lower-sugar recipe. It's really rustic -- if cocoa can be rustic. You taste the bitter cocoa. You taste the cinnamon. It's not sweet. But adding the whipped cream adds just a little sweetness.

Jimmy doesn't really care for it... probably because it's not out of a paper envelope, mass produced and all sugar. I adore it.

I look forward to having this when it gets cold.

It made for a good night.  Me and Hubs, enjoying a nice little fall evening in Atlanta... one year later.

Going Back

Alice in Wonderland 
Lewis Carroll

Friday, November 9, 2012

Holiday Warm Fuzzies

I only wish one day I could use my blog in a superpower-ish way like Glennon is doing with Momastery. I've mentioned her blog several times before. 

Obvs it's mother-based, but I still feel connected when I read. Glennon has done amazing things with her blog that tends to leave happy scars on one's heart.

She's now about to publish her book.  She helps a lot of people because I think she's been helped during some dark times, in which she's openly talked about.

In fact, she is going through a tough time right now. Like, life-altering tough. But again, putting that energy towards good.

It's makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Enter: Holiday Hands. Her annual fundraiser.

Holy crap. Apparently, last year it was only her, trying to learn excel and doing all this herself.

Now, with like 50K readers/followers... she has an actual staff helping her with all this.

People list their needs. And those wanting to help, whether its $15 or an iPad... contact the person directly.

People have risen to the freakin' occasion.

One person has donated $3,000 to a family dealing with funeral costs for a late father so the children could have Christmas.

I mean... complete strangers. It's truly amazing to see unfolding before you.

Obviously, Jimmy and I are in no position to give much of anything.

However, when I read a posting about a mother of four who was killed in a car accident, something hit home. That woman's mother is now raising the four kids, taking on all those expenses -- and yet, I'm sure she's happy to do it.

I felt the need to just help. I mean, $20 probably won't make a dent but then I saw others were also struck by this story and also wanted to help with this family.

Actually, it wasn't even the grandmother that posted the listing. It was a friend who asked for help so those kids can still have their Christmas. Their first Christmas without their mother.


There are tons of these stories. It's hard to read. Just wishing you could do more.

But one thing I know for sure... our first year, our first Christmas people rose to the freakin' occasion.

People sent goodies galore and cards and love... it made a really, really tough time that much better.  Even people I've never met.

There was a need in me to give back. I'm happy to skip a few more tennis lessons or eat out less to help a family going through a horrible, scary thing.

I think this is a fantastic thing. 

Way to use your powers for good, G.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Another Four

Today was one of those weird days.

I became a little agitated (more than usual) early this morning. Sometimes the coffee doesn't help with that. It fuels it.

Jimmy asked how and why my mood changed so suddenly. Like... what happened to piss me off?

I blame The Election.

I stayed up way too late watching. I think I forgot to blink at times.

I got lost in the CNN touch screen and John King. When he'd get real deep into it I tried to follow. But at some point it just becomes difficult math... which sucks.  

I mean, the dang touch screen has it's own Wikipedia page.

I watched election coverage with a heavy heart.

Jimmy and I both would have been waist deep in it if we were still working at the station.

But, what makes it a little more forgiving? I will never, ever forget how stressful and hard it was.  News was hard, in general. But Election Day? Fuggedaboutit.

I do think I was feeling a little sympathy anxiety for my newsie-homies as the day went on.

I had been in the thick of it for the last two presidential ("W" Round 2 & Obama Round 1) elections.

Election day is a day all news employees dread, but secretly don't altogether hate (unless your show or live shot self-implodes). A day when you use all of the technological eggs in your basket. Stations just put it all out there, which is extremely risky. Technology can be a bitch.

It was nice to get comfortable and settle in at home. Jimmy and I both watched until he was off to bed.

When the polls closed, my adrenaline started to rush a little.  The urgency in the day and that moment got to me.

It was nice to be just a citizen. Someone who voted and wanted to watch the results like everyone else. To be able to cheer my candidate on ... something usually frowned upon in a newsroom.

I stayed up as long as I could.  I went in Jimmy's room for company as the projections started pouring in.

I experienced exhilaration when the election was called. I know he did too, a little. I think. It's hard to tell with him.

A much different scenario four years ago. Both with us, and the nation.

For me, this election meant just more than voting in my party or voting for the "cooler" guy. (I mean, who's gonna argue that John McCain is cooler than Barack Obama? Not that McCain's cameo on Parks and Rec was anything short of amazing!)

The issues get important as you get to growing-up.

I care about my friends who are gay and deserve equality like the rest of us.

Stem cell research is obviously on our radar now.

I care about women's rights. People who think it's their decision to limit birth control, get rid of Planned Parenthood, make decisions for women about abortion? Uhm no (My friend Kim said it a little more bluntly in her blog... using the word uterus and everything. It was awesome). 

It was a historic election on many levels.

Although... I'm not sure about the legalizing of pot. Whaaaaaa? Can that be a good thing?

And I realize that no one President has all the perfect solutions.  I actually think some of my positions may sway right. Maybe. Or maybe in the middle somewhere.

But, I'm happy with more freedom. More equality. More respect.

It's the good part about being in this country... and we can't afford to move backwards.

I was surprised, yet so happy-hearted to read the following tweet from one of the most stubborn Republicans known on TV. 

Especially after the ridiculous hatred tainting my Facebook feed. Ugh.

"You cannot love the game only when your player wins. We remain to be the greatest nation and Barack Obama is OUR President."
-Elisabeth Hasselbeck, The View


The Flying Tire is now on Facebook with it's own fancy new web address and everything.

You can click and like it HERE. (There's also some cute little connect buttons on the left side of my blog that will get you there.)

I like this a lot because on my own personal Facebook page, I don't post a link everytime I update the blog, as not to bug the heck out of my friends.

Here... I will bug you constantly with updates as my brain formulates words and sentences.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

This is a screen shot of what our cute little page looks like..

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holiday Anticipation

Our 2012 Christmas cards came in the mail yesterday, already.

They are wonderful. I keep thinking how much better Jimmy looks compared to last year's card. Healthier. Stronger. We used one of our new portraits... one I haven't posted.

It's lame how excited I get.

Jimmy said it was too early to send out Christmas cards.

I asked him when it was acceptable by his standards to send cards out. He said after we get our first holiday card in the mail. (SOMEONE SEND ME A CARD! EVEN IF IT'S LEFT OVER FROM LAST YEAR!)

I started stamping envelopes in preparation...

It seems like the US of A, not just me, is ready for The Most Wonderful Time of The Year.

There are lots of Christmas commercials. Countdown to Christmas movie marathons. Christmas pins galore on Pinterest. Christmas shopping. Christmas candles. Holiday red cups at Starbucks. Christmas coffee blends on the shelves. Christmas decorations already in the malls...

I already have a designated Christmas corner in my house.

I mean... the day after Election Day is the official start to the Christmas season, right?


Not too early. Not not not.

In fact, I'm dreading how sad Dec. 26 will be.

Oh, Christmas. I love you so hard.
I was like Santa's Little Helper stamping envelopes last night...
Happy as an elf!
A TJ Maxx find. Probably the best smelling candle in the world...
My Christmas Corner.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

One Week

Tonight, Jimmy and I celebrated.
It's been one week since our boy made the decision to not sleep on the ventilator. 
This time is different because he hasn't gone back.
I thought he'd want a steak or something, but he was fine with one of my favorite meals to cook/eat. Inspired by him, of course. 
He first made this for me when we were dating. It's so simple and yet... I was highly impressed. Hard not to be wowed by Jimmy's culinary skills, many would testify to this.
I made peppercorn pork tenderloin with sauteed spinach and mushrooms. I also did a feta cream sauce to go on top.  (Pictured Below)
Asparagus on the side that was, sadly, steamed a few minutes too long.
My occasional, yet necessary glass of red wine.
His Captain Morgan and Diet. Straw included.
This was our little place setting, on our kitchen island. 
Next, onto dessert. Jimmy can't have much in the way of sweets, but Bananas Foster is special to us. (Pictured Above)
He used to make this for us when we lived in our first apartment in Greenville, SC.  It was so good.  He actually taught me how to make this during our time there. I'm grateful for that.
Again, very easy but so good and I love meals that remind us of a certain time we can talk about during dinner.
I wanted to cook some good food tonight for Hubs. He's done good.
Although he has an implanted pacer stimulating his diaphragm to help him breath, we were prepared, knowing that letting go of the ventilator is extremely difficult and scary for a lot of people.
It's a comfort thing. A safety net. It can be purely psychological.
Jimmy has been on the ventilator in some form for over a year.  He probably could have come off a while ago.
But, he had to be ready.
I kept asking, knowing he would one day say yes to sleeping off the vent.
Tonight, we ate, drank, laughed and celebrated.
No ventilator! For a week!

What a frigin' rock star.

Side by Side

I used this photo of Dana and Christopher Reeve in my first blog of last month. It's from March of 2006 and was printed in People Magazine.

I love this photo... and these people.

When we were getting professional photos taken a few weeks ago, I wanted to try and recreate it.

My critical, OCD side says less of my hand, tilt Jimmy's head forward a little more and rest my chin on his head.

But still... not bad, aye?