Monday, April 14, 2014

Superlatives: A Tale of Tickets

"You gotta be kidding me!" My father moaned indignantly as the sirens glared in his rearview mirror. "This guy's got nothing better to do than sit there and pull me over. Kids, put on your seat belts." We knew the routine. While he may have been "going with the flow of traffic" and "his car was not made to go 35", within five minutes, Dad would receive a ticket, and the cop would be one closer to his quota. That is, after all, the only reason they gave tickets - that and money.

I inherited numerous favorable qualities from my father: love for Big Ten sports, Eastern European facial features, the ability to throw myself into a fit of laughter. I am not saying aggressive driving is unfavorable, but as evidenced by the following superlatives list chronicling my tickets, there has been an undeniable cost.

1. Most related to Zoolander. I turned left. At age sixteen, I nannied infant triplets five nights a week, possibly my most stressful job to date. I rarely enjoyed a night out, and when I did, there was a 40% chance I would break down because the radio played a sad song. This particular Saturday, my family was going to an Italian restaurant promising bread assortments, hearty pasta and rich desserts. I rushed from the children after their evening feeding and proceeded to gorge myself to the point of needing to unbutton my pants. Feeling a bit over satiated and exhausted, I drove about the massive parking lot, and upon finding an exit, realized I could not turn left. My destination was to the left. Were I to obey, I would have to U-turn or pull into a driveway and turn around, a far more dangerous alternative then turning left onto the temporarily abandoned road. I made the logical turn, and with that, sirens flared. My natural state was one on the verge of tears, yet I could muster nothing but resigned, slightly perturbed compliance when the cop asked for my information. I did not even have the presence of mind to zip my pants. After he left, I wept uncontrollably for ten minutes, not realizing this was merely the first in a saga of hopeless encounters accentuating the moral juxtaposition of assuming responsibility for my actions while seriously questioning the legitimacy of the rules which I was breaking.

2. Most bland. 67 in a 55. The cop was uninteresting, the circumstances were ordinary. It was your basic interaction where I accepted the consequences of my actions.

3. Most likely to get dismissed due to seduction. When I say seduction, I mean I had just worked a double at the Cheesecake Factory and had removed the sweaty polo, leaving only a camisole. There was probably hot fudge in my ponytail which may have been sexy. I was not dismissed. 75 in a 60. Classic speed trap. Yet another victim fell to the 5 mph differential between counties.

4. Most bizarre. Turning right. Near my alma mater, there is a street. There is no stop sign prior to said street, but there is a sign that says No Right Turn (6 AM - 6 PM). Cars park along the street leading to this sign, so it did not become visible until I was turning. When the cop pulled me over, he informed me the residents "had been complaining a lot about the excessive turning." This is not beyond belief, as the University Heights residents sometimes forgot they lived near a University. However, logic would follow that if there is no right turn from the North, there would be no left turn allowed from the South, but that is not the case. Cars can turn left onto the street all day. Seriously? I can't make this stuff up.

5. Most honest mistake. I turned right at a red light. Sirens flared. There was a sign that said No Turn on Red (School Days Only), but it was a snow day, so surely the caveat prevailed. He was not pulling me over for turning right, but rather a license plate eight months past expiration. "Interesting", I told him. "I was not aware they expired." This did not elicit sympathy, and I cannot say I blame the man. I blame the government for creating yet another annual fee.

6. Double Whammy. 37 in a 25 and no license plate. The irony of this particular ticket is that I received it in Euclid, Ohio. For those who are not well acquainted with the Cleveland suburb, it is home to numerous miscreants and deviants. Yet, of course, the cops preyed on the girl whose foot got a little heavy as she listened to T.I. The cop was also kind enough to point out my lack of front license plate. I tried to tell him that drilling holes into the front bumper ruined the aesthetics of the vehicle, but he did not appreciate the fact that both the license plate and my insurance card were in my dad's office. Two tickets. Two hundred fifty dollars.

7. Biggest plea for mercy. 87 in a 65. I was returning from an interview in Charlottesville earlier that day where I solved problems on the dry erase board in front of the CEO. I had tennis practice at six o'clock the next morning, and my bed beckoned aggressively. I momentarily lost myself in a T.I. song, and before I realized my speed, the cop had clocked me. The Ohio turnpike has no excuse for not raising the speed limit on a three lane highway void of hills and curves, but now was not the time for arguing. I tried to plead my case when he approached the vehicle, to which he replied, "Do you know how fast you were going? 87 in a 65. I am going to write you a ticket." He turned, and I leaned in desperation, pleading, "Pleeeease have mercy on me." He answered, "87 is really fast," and wrote me a two hundred dollar ticket.

8. Most attributable to my car. 37 in a 25. Fun fact about this ticket: I interviewed on this day as well, so perhaps there is a causal relationship between the two. I was driving home from tennis practice and stopped at a red light, I knew this particular light took an eternity, so I put the car in park and reflected on my interview responses. Looking up, I saw the light had turned green, and knowing the short window in which to make my move, I jerked the car in gear and stepped on the gas. Two seconds later the cop I had mentally noted on my way to tennis turned on the sirens. He had been anxiously waiting in a residential driveway. Questionable, to say the least.

9. Most legit. 77 in a 65. Ohio turnpike. I still hold my aforementioned grievances with the turnpike, but foolish is the one who makes the same mistake twice.

10. Most hopeful. In the spirit of optimism, I will end on a positive interaction. \When the officer approached my window, I immediately confessed, "I have a terrible record, sir, but I cannot afford another ticket." He replied, "Yes, it is pretty bad," and graciously granted me a warning.

Interestingly enough, I never lost my license. While I partially blame my record on an inherited love for speed, my father's involvement with the court system also allowed me to get a few reduced to very expensive parking tickets with an exorbitant court fee.

I am happy to say I have been clean for two and a half years, save the occasional parking ticket. I walk to work and no longer live amongst the pettiest cops in the force. When I do go on road trips, I listen to audio books, a more soothing alternative to T.I. and the Ohio turnpike increased the speed limit to 70. Should I get pulled over again, though, I am prepared to contend that Maleek's engine was simply not built for the confines stipulated by the rules of the road. It would be an insult to the Pontiac engineers.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Do You Do When You Have Writer's Block?

You write, of course. It is indeed a worthy exercise. I will attribute my lack of inspiration to increased communication in other aspects of life, namely work. Believe it or not, I have a limit to the amount of talking/writing I can do, and that capacity seems to have been stretched as of late. Perhaps it is the seemingly endless winter. Living in Cleveland, I was mentally prepared for the season stretching thru the ides of May, but my expectations have definitely shifted in the past four years. I am tired of sweaters, sweatpants and a full hamper after only four days.

Speaking of hampers, I am attempting to perfect my laundry system. So as not to overwhelm myself, I switched from a "do two loads of laundry because you are getting weird looks from people in the gym" to "do a casual load every 4 - 5 days." By casual I mean I wash the clothes in the evening, put them in the dryer the following morning, and fold them upon returning home from work. Stretching the task over a 24 hour period and lessening the load makes it much less daunting, though I may be using a bit more water. To offset this indulgence, I now follow the recommended detergent measurement. I realized my extra splash for good measure is actually wasting valuable cents so have discontinued the process. I also adjusted my expectations regarding matching socks. If I happen to retain all socks after a load of laundry, I am thrilled, but the loss causes me little mental anguish.

The same is true of the Buckeyes fate in the tournament; alas, they were ousted the first round, but now I can watch the remainder unfettered by emotional attachment. Indeed, much of the weekend was spent imbibing the sweet competitive spirit that is exuberant announcers, bodies on the floor and cameras focused entirely too much on crying fans. I remember the days of yore when CBS had sole rights to the tournament. All games were broadcast in a glorious cluster of mayhem on Sunday. We sneaked into the high school library to catch the closing seconds of first round action, I had massive crushes on the beautiful men. The network had not yet introduced that annoying camera angle that films from the opposite end of the court that causes dizziness. Don't get me wrong, I still thoroughly enjoyed my viewing experience. I just could not stay awake for the games on Sunday, had to work through the Duke loss and realized the beautiful boys may be out of age range. Maybe. I am still holding out for Aaron Craft.

I have not written much, but there is a theme, and that is adjusting expectations. Certainly, you should work to maximize potential concerning those matters within your control, but for those outside your control, expect less, whether that is the weather, laundry* or your favorite team**. Sometimes, you even have to lower expectations for yourself, knowing that while this may not be your best work, the practice is at times more beneficial then rigorous insistence on perfection.

* No, I do not believe I have control over whether or not the socks that entered the washer will also exit the dryer.
** Being from Cleveland, Ohio, it is very easy to expect less from sports teams.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Top Ten Countdown - Momma and Poppa Navs Edition

This week, my parents are celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary, an amazing picture of deliberate love. They came from very different backgrounds. Dad was the son of a Pennsylvania coal miner and Mom the daughter of a wealthy man whose means of income is still a bit of a mystery to me. When my grandfather first met Dad, hippie hair flowing, donning cut off shorts and a Jesus shirt, he was more than a little skeptical, but Mom and Dad were never skeptical.

Their love is steadfast. Each morning, they proclaim the same series of Bible verses and pray for their children. Throughout my childhood, they repeated much on a regular basis; as years pass and I am confronted with increasingly significant situations, I am thankful to have these nuggets for immediate application. In honor of them and the love for Sportscenter instilled by Dad, below are the top ten quotes I could not forget if I tried:

10. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." This is extremely important for any teenage girl to remember and remains especially helpful on those mornings when I have three zits, droopy eyes and an extra bubbly butt.

9. "It's simple. There are four ways of spending money." What is the most inefficient way? Spending other people's money on other people, because you do not care about the quality or the price. This has been my economic stance for twenty years and will continue to be for the next twenty years. Yes, I was introduced to Milton Friedman's philosophy at age five.

8. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This is usually followed by a deep breath and an action I could not do of my own will.

7. "Compete." Every point. Never leave a situation knowing you could have given more. My father's finest piece of coaching.

6. "People are idiots." This explains a lot of otherwise perplexing issues.

5. "Ideas have consequences." Guard your thought life, and purge poisonous thoughts before they ensnare you. Also, do not not be a communist, as that idea has extremely negative consequence.

4. "The greater the risk, the greater the reward." You are entitled to nothing and will not achieve great success within your comfort zone.

3. "Love is a decision, not an emotion." It is not flashy, but it is real, and it works.

2. "Be a leader, not a follower. The head and not the tail. A thermostat not a thermometer." This is their prayer for us every morning and each time we enter a new stage in our lives.

1. "God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." I recited this when I was six after a bad dream, twenty one moving to a new city, twenty three quitting my job, and every time I enter an uncomfortable social situation. Fear is crippling. But power, love, and a sound mind - these are liberating.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for deciding to love one another for the remainder of your lives and to love and support your children with vigor. Thank you for exemplifying sacrifice and unwavering faith in a beautiful manner. Most of all, thank you for laying a firm foundation that continually drives me to improve. I am incredibly grateful to be your daughter.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

On Conquering the New Year

The turn of the new year marks a time for reflection and resolutions. Obviously, I plan to have taken over the world by the age of thirty but recognize this does not happen without intermediate improvements. Before carefully considering the necessary steps this year, let us honor a few highlights from 2013:

1) Feats of food: Chugged a mug of cheese, caught a cupcake in my mouth.
2) Beat the company co-founder in tennis.
3) Went the entire year without being pulled over for speeding. I got pulled over for swerving, lack of license plates and incorrect registration stickers*. But not speeding.
4) Discovered a new perfume, arguably more attractive than my ten year staple scent.
5) Did not take one picture with my hand on my hip, the most common of female poses.

It is clear 2013 was a success, but I think it important to look expectantly toward the future rather than rest on my laurels. As I set goals for myself, I keep in mind the rule of SMART: Such Magnificence Always Requires Tweaking. Below are the few I deemed most pertinent:

1) Make she a prude. Restore her dignity. This is an initiative originating in 2013 to be pursued with increased vigor this year. The proverbial she, in "That's what she said" is constantly degrading herself, further encouraging the objectification of women. I plan to change this perception by having her reference restraint. "Do not go there." "Closed for the evening." "Stop." Etc.

2) Invent. I am currently inclined to create an electric shock device I can place on the small of my back to fend off overzealous pursuers. There are two people allowed to touch that region. Me, when I have an itch or want to draw attention to my chest in an awkward manner, and my imaginary masseuse. Not you, idiot at the bar who thinks our mutual interest in IPAs is a green light for this presumptuous and possessive gesture. ZAP.

3) Make one full Epicurious meal. I will dice, mince, julienne, grate. I will whisk the butter, zest the orange. I will even traverse Thailand to acquire the random spice that I cannot pronounce, tastes similar to cayenne pepper, but apparently takes the meal to an entirely different level.

4) Separate the chaff. Literally. I will venture to a field, gather grains and remove the glumes. Perhaps this will be on the same journey to find the aforementioned spice.

5) Rock a toothpick. It is in my blood; my dad constantly carried toothpicks until they were replaced by his pocket dental utensil, but I want to keep this old school. I picked up mint flavored toothpicks the other day and decided they are going to be my new prop. Providential timing, as my look was flirting with stagnation. I have not yet decided whether to introduce the toothpick to all aspects of my life or merely relevant social situations. Wherever I decide, the benefits are undeniable: it exudes provocative mystery, acts as a conversation piece, entertains me when I find my company bland; plus, it can be used as a weapon should someone pester me. Poke, poke.

6) Go to the dentist as I have not been in four years. Gasp. Relax. I can predict what they are going to say: "Your bottom teeth, the ones that no one sees, are a bit out of alignment, you have potential for a cavity to develop ten years from now, and if your mouth shrinks, you will not have room for your wisdom teeth. We recommend you take action immediately. Also, you should floss more." Never mind, I am taking this one off this list.

7) Perfect the ampersand. Though my chicken scratch penmanship mirrors that of an eight year old boy, I pride myself on exquisite symbols. I have beautiful tildes, appropriately spaced ellipsis and seductive curly brackets, but my ampersand leaves much to be desired.

8) Stop being awkward around Spanish speaking workers. I am a friendly person and generally engage all building employees in passing conversation. When interacting with Hispanic workers, however, my thought process goes something like this: "English or Spanish? I want to be considerate. Look to the floor while you decide. I do not want to assume they know English and have them flounder in conversation, but my Spanish is sub-par. If I start an actual conversation with them in Spanish, I will surely flounder. Ahhh we made eye contact." Then: "Hola. Como esta? Me llamo Anna. Me gusta queso. Adios!" Sheepishly be on my way...

In all seriousness, I do have goals for 2014 relating to my career, relationships, and physical prowess. I believe there is incredible merit in deliberately deciding directional focus*. If I reveal my focus in these areas, however, another may steal my insights and take over the world before me. I am certainly not about to give all that up on the Internet. That's what she said.

* Apparently, there is no month 15.
* As well as cool alliteration.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

6 Thoughts Regarding the Latrine

Lists seem to be the latest attention grabber. Thank you, Buzzfeed.

The list speaks to those driven by checking item after item, eliciting a feeling of success. Getting through point two is far more satisfying than paragraph two. Plus, there is a definite end which encourages the reader to press onward. I wonder if there are studies regarding the effectiveness of the number vs word in the title or which number draws the largest crowd. Maybe people are attracted to sleek numbers like 11 or 14, or maybe ones with healthy curves are more inviting - 23, 36 and the like. Research pending.

The whole idea of the list seems a bit too structured for me, but perhaps it will increase my already booming readership.

I have a lot of thoughts regarding public bathrooms, likely because much of my solid thinking occurs in the stall. It is a space of sweet solace from the hustle and bustle of online marketing, and due to the approximate six liters I drink per work day, I frequent it more than most. I think it a shame to keep profound nuggets confined to the latrine, and so I will share.

1) There are two types of people in the world. Those who avoid a dirty stall in disgust and those who remedy the problem. No one enjoys turning into a stall with a soiled toilet, whatever its contents, but rather than simply walking away, some choose to flush the toilet, sparing others from the site. If you do not make the two second sacrifice, the duty falls to another. With the exception of a legitimately clogged toilet, I encourage all to take this small step toward benefiting society.

2) There are three types of people in the world. Those who immediately ask for assistance in finding the bathroom, those who survey the landscape and seek guidance only if necessary and those who stubbornly wander aimlessly into the kitchen because they are too proud to ask directions. As a waitress at a restaurant with only one logical path to the restroom, I tired from those tapping my arm as I balance five martinis, inquiring of the bathroom's location in a panicked tone. I am not asking you to walk through a veritable maze to reach the restroom, but when the bar is in front of you, and the outdoors is to your right and behind you, common sense leads you on a leisurely, logistically certain stroll to your left. Godspeed, friend.

3) Once I find my way to public restrooms, I do not want to figure out which door I am to enter. Restaurants, hotels, bars: use your creativity to improve the overall ambiance, not to leave me guessing whether I am a horse or steer, chicken or rooster, queso or quesa. It can leave one quite confused.

4) I contend the bathroom is the cleanest space in the workplace. My office mates have the habit of walking around bare foot, but when venturing to the bathroom, most everyone wears shoes. I understand the negative stigma society places on the bathroom, and call me a hippie, but I have no problem going to the bathroom sans shoes if I am meandering about the office in that manner. After all, the bathroom is thoroughly Lysoled and disinfected every evening, whereas the carpet is vacuumed once a week. Even then, the fibers could be harboring countless germs. The potential of stepping in something unsavory is a defense for shoes, but since we are not at a dingy bar on a Friday night, the chances of this are slim to none. There are also those that say walking bare foot is disgusting at all times, and to that I offer a nod of acknowledgment.

5) I do not think automatic sinks are that neat. You cannot control the water temperature. I have been told all my life I am supposed to sing 'Happy Birthday' as I thoroughly scrub my hands under warm water, but since I have no control over temperature, the water is cold by the end of the first line. And the germs live on. I leave the bathroom with dirtier hands than bare feet.

6) Were I to be given the responsibility of office renovation, my highest priority would be the bathroom because of its level of intimacy. I have an ultimate vision of marble floors, granite counter tops, floor length skinny mirrors and a small waterfall. At the very least, I recommend stall doors extending to the floor, soothing music transporting one to the Enchanted Forest and a painted wall. I vacillate as to the color, but it definitely needs to exude serenity, so perhaps a taupe or mauve. The bathroom must be a place of refuge, not one of self conscience inhibitions.

Next time, please join me for 14 reasons why I am a better driver than 85% of Charlottesville.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Most Expensive Banana Never Eaten

A thirteen hour flight must be tackled with strategy.

1) Passport. After the dreadful displacement of 2011, I am so paranoid about losing my passport, I highly doubt it will reoccur. I routinely place it in the smallest pocket of my luggage and transport said luggage to my vehicle only upon the day of departure. Idiot proof - or at least Anna proof.

2) Clothes. The outfit must be the ideal balance between comfort and adjustable temperature, one difficult to strike. Sneaks are obvious, paired with calf length leggings, stretchy enough to reach my ankles should the plane ac blow vigorously. Clothing the upper body requires a bit more tact. I begin with a shelf bra tank top, knowing all to well the grating nature of under wire. Since society demands a certain level of discreteness, I layer a loose tank top to hide potential protrusions. The sweatshirt is a zip-up for ease of removal, and my look is completed with a loose head band to keep hair at bay while not tugging follicles.

3) Appropriate level of exhaustion. I begin the morning with a vigorous workout, spend four hours at the office and drive to Dulles. I entertain myself the first leg of the journey with John Grisham's latest work, knowing I can not concede to the seduction of sleep. Further, my final flight coincides with a bedtime of one o'clock in the morning, well past my usual time of retirement.

4) Food and water - yes, even the bare essentials require a systematic approach. I choose not to risk the entrance of foreign substances into my digestive track when the only place of relief is a 1'x 2' box that smells either sterile or foul. I have a simple sandwich and banana for dinner. Prior to boarding my marathon flight, I buy a two liter water, easily transferable to my own dispenser, to avoid dehydration. Although I plan on sleeping through this entire flight, I need to be prepared for an onset of insatiable hunger. I choose a granola bar, dried fruit and a banana (which I have trouble justifying because I already had one banana), pay the reasonable price of twenty dollars, and meander confidently aboard.

5) Generally I have no issue sleeping in any position amidst copious amount of noise, as numerous professors can attest. Leaving nothing to chance, however, it is time for the piece de resistance - pharmaceudicals. I swallow half a sleeping pill as instructed by a friend, curl into a cozy ball and enter blissful rest.

After ten hours of sleep, I awake with only three hours remaining. Those passed quite smoothly with a cup of coffee and an omelet. Despite my aversion to airline food, I find the odds of infecting eggs is quite slim so I partake. The fleeting thought of a banana passes through my conscience but makes a quick exit.

The plane lands at 6:55 AM New Zealand time, and I disembark with a spring in my step, knowing I had conquered the travel woes of others with ease. I even have the mental wherewithal to buy alcohol at the duty free shop. There is a deal on the desired rum, 2 for $69, a veritable steal. My spirits heighten.

I continue on my trek to customs, disregarding the sign prompting me to rid myself of all biohazards, focused on an exhilerating destination. I smile widely at the agent, knowing my vacation is within reach, and when asked about the food I claimed, I reassure him it is merely granola bars for my sister. All processed. Nothing fresh.

I place each bag on the conveyor belt for x-rays, including my purse, which I consider odd since it has already been through a security check point in America. The yellow satchel comes through the machine, and the following exchange ensues.

Agent: Is this yours?
Me: Yes

Agent: You are aware of all contents of your purse?
Me: Yes
My head: What if the sleeping pill is actually illegal? Should I confess it?

Agent: Your customs sheet is correct?
Me: Yes
My head: Why do they make me fill this sheet out when I first am roused? Alright, I will come clean regarding the half sleeping pill.

Me: I do have a pill in there.
My head: I hope this does not parallel Brokedown Palace, landing me in a New Zealand prison the remainder of my life. What could be in there? Perhaps the family man playing tetris beside me was not as innocent as he seemed.

Agent (pulling out a banana that is now passed ripe): Please come with me.
Me (rolling my eyes): You have got to be kidding me.

Agent: This is a biohazard.
My head: Your face is a biohazard.
Me: I bought this at a Starbuck's, I forgot about it, please have mercy on me.

Agent: Please read this.

I read and am informed I owe the small fine of $400, the tinge of which was lessened slightly upon realizing that was only about $340 US dollars.

Me: Do you enjoy doing this?
My head: Do you realize you are only in this position because you could never be a cop, or even a traffic cop? There are real criminals out there and you are enacting a sick power trip on an innocent, health conscience girl. You are adopted and your parents do not even love you.

Silence.

Me: Sugar.

I am happy to assure you New Zealand has been compensating for this rude welcoming with wine, food and gorgeous scenery. As for my relationship with the banana, I had a nibble of a friend's yesterday. Though I have faith our fire will be rekindled, it will certainly take time to heal the wound inflicted by the most expensive banana never eaten.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Three Years!

Hey there, friend. I just group skyped with my sisters for the first time, and it was fantastic. There are a lot of wonderful people in my life, but I do not think I will ever laugh as hard with anyone else.

You know what's crazy? Tomorrow marks my three year anniversary in Charlottesville. I thought I would let you know, as I plan on celebrating so will be unable to offer a provocative reflection the day of. I know you will miss my pontifications, but fear not, there will be more wistful musings in the coming weeks - I can feel it. For now, I will give you some brief life updates since last we spoke.

I was recently promoted which is a testament to God's faithfulness; I sincerely appreciate the path he lay for me thus far, and am excited to continue walking it purposefully. I am also hoping this position will eventually give me the authority to restructure our bathrooms. Corporate bathrooms should be a place of solace and relaxation, but because of cultural stigmas associated with certain matters, it can become an uncomfortable burden a worker should not have to bare. My solution is threefold:

1) Doors extending to the floor to hide incriminating feet
2) Soothing music, easily accessible via iPod, to ease the employee's disposition
3) Varied paint and tile colors, further contributing to the overall ambiance

Even if this authority is not granted, I see myself growing abundantly.

Speaking of God, I have been considering the human body lately. Mainly, just my eyelids. I would like to suggest they be fashioned a bit thicker, so when I lay down for a nap, it is not interrupted by a momentary white flash across my television screen.

Also related to the new job, I have officially turned in my server's apron... for now. We have a deep, passionate history, and I am extremely sad to bid that part of my life a temporary adieu, but for the sake of mental stamina, it is necessary.

This past weekend I was acting coordinator for a friend's wedding. It was my first Virginia wedding, and as suspected, the vineyard views were simply breathtaking, although I was reminded that I cry more during sporting events than I do at weddings. My favorite part was probably having the opportunity to greet guests and encourage them to "enjoy the nuptuals." I also caught the bouquet, but this does not fit with my four year plan. Why four years, you ask? In four years, my niece and nephew will be of perfect ring bearer and flower girl age. That's all. I do know should I ever saunter down the aisle, I will be wearing a huge smile and will give my dad a very large hug.

I have a new temporary goal: spur the NSA to knock on my apartment door after generating suspicion. More to come on my progress.

I know this post is super disjointed, but I did not want to neglect you in the midst of the chaos that is the end of summer. I will offer more cohesive thoughts soon.