All the places I’ve lived, and a favorite memory from each

coast-guardMy dad was in the Coast Guard, so that meant a lot of moving around. Before I was born, my family had already been up and down the east coast, and spent some time on the west coast, too. My oldest sister was born in Key West, next oldest sister was born in Monterey, CA and then my brother in Virginia. When it was my time, the family was back in Key West. I was there for a short time before we moved out west. Here’s the list!

born: Key west, FL (December 26, 1978)

Hawaii – I was just a little guy here, about a year old, so I have three memories: attending a luau, going into a building, and going under a bridge (or tunnel?) on the way to a beach. I guess the luau is my favorite because I remember looking across and seeing my baby sitter.

Hollywood, FL – Started my academic career here at Sheridan Hills Christian School. Favorite memory: Our family took a lot of boat trips. We went down to the keys, spent nights on the water, I got sea sick for the first time, and still, these trips are easily my favorite memory!

me as 4th grader 2St. Petersburg, FL –  Attended Maximo Elementary School for 2nd and 3rd grade. Favorite memory: At school I met a friend that made me laugh so hard all the time. To this day, I measure everyone else against him. He was so funny. One of my least favorite memories: My funny friend was not at school one day, then not there the next day or the next. A few days later, his mom came in and picked up his things. I never saw him again!

Newport, RI – This is where I attended 4th grade at Underwood Elementary. Favorite memory: touring all the mansions, like these.

the-breakers

The Breakers. 62,000 square feet! 

newport-mansions-43

Rough Point. 39,000 square feet and 105 rooms!

A tie for favorite: all the lamborginis. Not sure why there were so many, but it was somewhat common to see one driving around the city. And Saabs. Lots of Saabs.

2-me-and-whitney-williams.jpg

5th grade at Widewater.

Stafford, VA – I was a 5th grader at Widewater Elementary School then moved to Stafford Middle School for 6th and 7th grade. These are my favorite years from growing up. I made great friends that I still have today. One favorite memory: trick or treating on Halloween one of the years. Somehow a friend and I got separated from our group of friends, but he and I still went around to so many houses. That was a fun night! Also, our house was situated on a golf course so we’d go out there to play football, capture the flag, flashlight tag, and hmmm, maybe hit some golf balls. I also came up with a list of things that happened in middle school that absolutely would not happen in today’s world. Here’s a link to that:

[11 Things You Can’t Do In School Anymore]

Miami, FL – Westminster Christian School for 8th – 10th grade. Favorite memory: being on the JV basketball team. And it was in 10th grade I had my first kiss. I know, I was late to the party! 🙂

New York, NY – Curtis High School for half of 11th grade. Favorite memory: I got to see a taping of David Letterman. It was really fun. We lived on Governors Island, so it was nice to have a place with grass, and trees, unlike most of New York City back then! Also, riding a ferry past the Statue of Liberty every day on the way to school was pretty neat.

Tallahassee, FL – Finished 11th and 12th grade at Leon High School. My dad retired from the Coast Guard in 1996 so we moved back towards family in Florida. Favorite memory: this is getting difficult because with each place, I have more than one favorite! But to name a few, I’d say my aunt’s lemon squares, my grandfather driving 120mph in his Isuzu Trooper to get me to school, pb and j lunches at The Brown Bag Express, basketball with friends, and graduating from the same high school my mom graduated from.

Note: I stayed in Tallahassee for college, as well. I have so many great memories in those 4.5 years. Too many to pick one!

Nashville, TN – This is where I’ve lived since the mid-2000s. Also too many great memories to pick one at the moment. So I’ll go with the lame answer: My favorite memory of Nashville is all of them. 😉

-Out of the Wilderness

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Funny text about moving to New York City

Got this text from a friend of mine recently. She included a picture that shows the names of people that get the most dates in NYC. Because her name is on the list of girls, she joked that she’s moving to New York. (Names on the list are… guys: Michael, Matt, Ben, Jason, and Simon. Girls: Amanda, Nicole, Jessica, Alexandra, and Katie.)Screenshot_2015-10-02-12-06-09
And here is the list of names…image

The Reawakening: Part 11

It’s not see you later, it’s goodbye.

You know how when you are leaving your friends from high school, or college, or moving to a new town, some friends say, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later”? I don’t feel that way at all about the job I was laid off of just a few months ago. The friends I made there? Yes, I will miss them and I know I’ll see some of them around town or in future work.

But I’ve got this comfortable feeling of rest and relief, maybe it’s called peace, about leaving that particular job in the past. It’s a part of my history that I’ll remember with a smile. Lots of good things can be directly related to it:
the first girl I ever loved
great downtown parking
amazing live music performances
an introduction to Roy D. Mercer
helping to produce nationally televised shows
great friendships
trips to places like Las Vegas, the gulf coast, Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, and many more

The people that told me how fast time goes after you get laid off were not wrong. Hard to believe it’s already been over 5 months. But I haven’t missed the job for a second! I’ve had a great summer that I will look back on and thank CMT for making it happen. Soon I will have another job or two, I’ll be back in the “real world” of making paychecks and scraping by, but for a few months, I lived how I imagine my dogs feel every day. Wake up, have some fun, bark at things, eat, sleep.

-Out of the Wilderness

The Case of the Missing Retainer

I was a junior in high school living in New York City. We had just moved there from Miami, Florida, where we had been for 3 years. Our stay in New York wasn’t for long, only 6 months because my dad retired from the Coast Guard. We couldn’t continue living on the military base (Governor’s Island) so we packed up and moved to Tallahassee, Florida. I wasn’t sad about the move because during the 6 months I was able to do make some memories: snow skiing, sitting in the audience for a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman, playing flag football, learning how to type fast, trying out for the school basketball team, and whitewater rafting with my dad. But one thing I wasn’t able to do was get my braces taken off. I was in 9th grade when I got them. Why? Well, let’s just say the theme song for my teeth was Fleetwood Mac’s…

Some people had buck teeth. I had a buck tooth. And none of my other teeth pointed the right way either. I got braces in Miami, kept them in New York, and it was my senior year at Leon High School (go Lions) in Tallahassee when they were finally removed. “Phew! Just in time for my senior pictures!” But it was in New York that the unsolved case of the missing retainer happened.

One night, a lot like any other, I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed. I dutifully inserted the retainer which I was supposed to wear while I slept. However, when I woke up the next morning, it was gone. Ruh roh Raggy. I checked everywhere. The bathroom trash. My bed sheets. Under the bed. Beside the bed. Under the pillow? Nope. Days went by and the retainer was still missing in action. When it came time to move, I thought, “OK, now that retainer will turn up!” It didn’t. To this very day, I can’t explain what happened that night. The only chance of reopening this cold case is to find the retainer in the box of my stuff in my parent’s attic. And honestly, I hope it’s not there. That would be gross. Can you imagine the smell? Of course, I’m curious how much a vintage 1996 retainer would go for on eBay.

The moral of the story is that sometimes things just go away and you have to be alright with that. It could be a retainer or it could be a person you love. In the end your teeth might still be a little crooked and so might be the path you take, but you should still smile, and smell the roses along the way.

-Out of the Wilderness

Hotel Reviews: The Millennium UN Plaza in New York City, New York

Another trip and another hotel, this time in the city so nice, they named it twice… New York City! My colleagues and I arrived on a Wednesday. On a late flight in, we checked in around midnight thirty. The hotel staff greeted us quite pleasantly. There was only one hiccup in the process, but I don’t imagine this happens to everyone (because this week was also Fashion Week in Manhattan, so the hotel was pretty full), the following day we were told we’d have to switch rooms. Could be an inconvenience, but for making us do this, they gave us passes to the buffet breakfast at the hotel on the main level. Score! With that said, there were a few decent restaurants close to the hotel, including a Sushi Time, a few pizza places and a number of grocery convenience stores. However, the breakfast was a fair and pleasant compromise. Plus, we didn’t even need to ask for any kind of compensation, they simply gave us the breakfast. They also promised a robe in my room, which leads to the next critique.

Robes: No robes! I won’t say this is a deal breaker, but it’s up there close to the top. They may offer robes, but you definitely need to ask at the desk to make sure your room includes them. Neither of the two rooms I stayed in had robes.

The beds, one of the most important features of any hotel, were quite comfortable. I read many reviews of area hotels about the comfort of the beds they offered, so when you go to NYC and beds are important to you, the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel should be at the top of your list.
 The view from the rooms was good. One room’s view was almost completely taken up by the building next door, but the other room had an amazing river of the Hudson (I believe that’s what river it was).
Another important factor in your choice of room is the shower. This shower was quite nice. The water pressure was good (better in the second room I stayed in), and the shower head was the detachable kind (see picture) so that was an added bonus if you’re caring for a small child and need to wash their hair. The water stayed hot for as long as I needed it. There was no bathtub.
Internet was not free in the hotel. You could pay by the hour or by the day, and I believe it was available only in the lobby.

As far as size goes, the first room I was in must of been a suite, because it was very nice and extremely roomy. You’ll notice in the pictures it even had a spiral staircase up to the next level which included the bed, another bathroom (no shower) and another entrance door. The second room was not as big, but still had plenty of room to spread out. Given the choices you’ll have in New York, these rooms were quite big and for the price, were better than 90% of what you’ll find at that size.
To sum up, I was pleased with my stay at The Millennium UN Plaza. Something that should be mentioned is what one of my colleagues informed me of upon our return to Nashville. Throughout the stay in his room, he consistently heard a pitter patter of little feet. I assumed he was going to say he could hear the people in the room above him, but he clarified by saying it was the sound of the four-legged nature. Yes, mice. So that is a major issue. If you are looking at this hotel, be aware this might occur, but my guess is that if you mention it to the front desk they will be more than happy to make you comfortable during your stay.

As always, if you have stayed at this hotel and care to offer some feedback, it’s much appreciated!
 

 

The Art of Being Funny

“Women of New York… frost yourselves!”

In the movie, “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days,” Matthew McConaughey’s character Benjamin Barry is pitching a slogan for a new advertising campaign when he yells this memorable message out a New York high rise window. The response is a guy on the street below yelling back, “Frost this!”

There are a simple factors in humor. Below you’ll find pointers in how you, too, can be funny. Let’s start with example 1:

Your friend: Dude, can you pass me the ketchup?
You: Sure, here it is.

Your friend asked for ketchup. Because you’re not funny, you passed it their way with little thought. Now check this out:

Your friend: Dude, can you pass me the ketchup?
You: No, but I’ll pass you YOUR FACE.

There you go, much better. Note that it’s important to raise your voice a tad when you get to the “YOUR FACE” part. Now you’ve learned one way to be funny, ludicrous comments that are over-the-top, borderline offensive and typically unexpected. A few other ingredients for being funny are the same things that make a baby born. Timing and delivery. An excellent example of this is Heathcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Time and time again the most funny scenes aren’t even what he said. It was the way he said it. Other times it was the look he gave as he parented his children. Without even speaking a word, he could have the live studio audience ROTFLing. So if you’re taking notes, I’ve covered two ways you can be a funnier you:
1. add “your face” into a conversation
2. practice timing and delivery

Another thing that can help you be funny is remembering that comedy comes in three’s: setup, setup, punch. Take note the next time you’re watching television. You’ll be surprised how much the setup/setup/punch delivery method is used. In comedy, two is not enough and four is overkill. Three is the sweet spot. A recent example of this from Spongebob Squarepants:

This ties in nicely with the next pointer I have for you: repetition. Take a mildly funny comment or thought, repeat it enough and someone will start laughing. It’s true, try it. If you’re still having trouble making people laugh, here’s pointer five: make clever observations of common events. I’ve seen this on the Late Show with David Letterman. The President is giving a speech and Dave will point out the kid picking his nose in the background.

Something else you can do to be more funny is what most people are embarrassed and/or afraid to do. Belly flops for example. Or this:

So to sum up, anyone can be funny. Even you. The idea, though, is to make sure it’s on purpose, unlike “text and walk” lady above. Practice timing and delivery with clever observations, repetition, and a willingness to laugh at yourself instead of being embarrassed. However, if none of these work and you still aren’t that funny, try this:

Not funny:
Your friend hits a tennis ball towards you.
You jump out of the way.

Funny:
Your friend hits a tennis ball towards you.
Ball hits you in the crotch.

When all else fails, crotch shots.

Other thoughts on funny:
Shiny Mess
Scenic Route Snapshots

Ali Fedotowsky The Bachelorette, Episode 8.

The only solace I have today is knowing that George Steinbrenner was alive long enough to see Ali meet the remaining four bachelor’s families. Talk about weight lifted off the shoulders. Wooo. *wiping nervous sweat from forehead*

First up on the hometown visit episode was Roberto. He takes Ali to the University of Tampa’s baseball field, where he played in college. They walked around the field and practiced batting and fielding. Clearly Ali is smitten with Roberto but an expert Bachelorette consultant friend of mine pointed out that Roberto doesn’t seem to be reciprocating the affection quite as much. Holy Justin Bieber, Batman! This could be crucial info as the season comes to a close. Ali and Roberto did more baseball related things, which apparently makes Ali laugh because she laughed quite a bit throughout the baseball field tour.

Ali: “Today’s date had all the elements I want in life.”

Yeah, first base, second base, third base… places you’ve already been with how many bachelors? Hiiiyoooo! Later Ali meets Roberto’s family. His dad pulled Roberto aside and called him “a big price.” I love when parents are encouraging. So much of what’s wrong in the world (and in this show!) would be remedied if parents would love their children and encourage them. Justin Bieber! I didn’t mean to get deep so quick. Sorry. Before the hometown date was over, Ali mentioned she’s getting cold feet. I only hear that phrase when it’s related to a wedding. Interesting.

the circle of trust.

The next hometown date was with Chris L. If I had to describe Chris in a few words: solid, genuine, deep. We learn from this date that Chris comes from good stock. His dad is cool, his brothers are cool, and his sister-in-laws are cool.  They live by the motto: “Love is the only reality.” While they were all talking, Chris’ sister-in-law asked Ali about the tennis bracelet he gave her in Portugal. My only question is, will Roberto mail the bracelet back to Chris L. when the show is over? There’s a Lambton circle of trust, and Ali won’t make it in.

Kirk Sir-Smiles-A-Lot hosted Ali in his hometown next. His parents are divorced so this date will include two separate visits with his dad then his mom. Turns out Kirk’s dad is passionate and professional about stuffed animals. Literally. Real animals. Stuffed. He brings Ali down to the basement to show her his trophies.

Ali: “What is this thing?”
Kirk’s Dad: “What that is, is a caribou foot that I put eyes on.”
Ali: “Wow.”

Unfortunately, this little visit didn’t seem to please Ali, which will not award Kirk any points. She probably thinks of Kirk as an apple that won’t fall from the tree. On a sidenote, Kirk’s dad if you’re reading this, I have a few moles digging up my yard that I’d love to have taxidermied. Email me. Part two of this date is at the home of Kirk’s mother. The headlines from this portion are that the cheesy potatoes were a big hit. That’s about as interesting as it got for the rest of that date.

The final hometown date was in Chicago with I’m-Wearing-A-V-Neck-That’s-Not-Really-A-V-Neck Frank. They meet on the Navy Pier, run to each other and hug. In a raspy voice, Frank says, “Ali.” They take a boat ride across the water, aaaand scene! On the boat ride, Frank revealed some of his insecurities about the relationship, which surprised Ali. Eight episodes into the season and this is the first time we hear of Frank’s doubts? Whatever happened to reality television? I’m suspicious that somewhere deep in the bowels of ABC there’s a host of writers along with a team of producers along with a pack of wolves along with Kasey who’s pitching songs he makes up on the fly.

In the end, roses went to Roberto, Chris L., and Frank in that order. It was Kirk’s time to go home, so he made like a pelican and flew out of there.

caribou foot with eyes.