Happy fall, people! It’s not technically fall yet, I know, but let’s pretend it is, ok? Ok!

Here’s why I’m happy it’s fall:
College football
NFL football
Dark nail polish
The state fair
Hoodie sweatshirts
The way the air smells
My birthday
My birthday trip to Vegas

If you’re wondering why you don’t see the RBC Center on my list of happy things, it’s because I have mixed emotions about returning. I love working there, I love the energy of that building, I love the friendships I’ve developed with my coworkers. But working there is draining and has challenging moments. I told myself that I’d be okay with either decision – being invited back or not – because I absolutely do not need to work there. I was invited back and I’m glad, I’m just not super happy about things starting back up. But that generally changes over the course of the season, and I’m always sad when it ends. It’s a cycle, I guess.

My flight is booked to Vegas – yay! I’m excited to see the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, crazy-expensive stores and, of course, the strip. I’ll actually land on my birthday, then be there for five days. Two years in a row I knew people who went to Vegas, so I gave them dollars to put into slot machines for me with no luck. I’ll finally be able to put my own dollars in and lose money all by myself!

It’s funny. When you tell people you’re going out there, everyone tells you where to go and what to see. I hope I’m not like that when I get back. Per above, I already have a list of things I want to do, and it’s disappointing to some people that I don’t intend to spend the whole trip in a casino.

Build-a-Bike was great, especially the part when my team’s tire exploded and the men had to run to the store and buy a pre-assembled bike. The expressions on the faces of the little recipients were – to quote Mastercard – priceless. It was a good experience. And we made it into the newspaper! In the In Brief section of today’s N&O is a picture of Dan – a guy I call Clark Kent because of the resemblance – riding a girl’s bike & Kathryn riding a boy’s bike. Again, priceless.

Howdy do. Long time no write, huh? It’s been a crazy week. Since Monday my life has been filled with lectures, lectures and more lectures. Then after the lectures (which were educational, but long) I had dinners with work folks. Then after those dinners, I’ve come home, worked on work and listened to the DNC. And then I collapsed into bed. When my alarm went off this morning, I had no idea what was going on. That’s how tired I am.

Today was the last day of college – an education/orientation thingy – and we went on field trips to construction sites, which were pretty cool. I got a hard hat, which amused me way more than it should have. But who wouldn’t be happy to have their very own red hard hat? It now sits in a place of honor in my office. And I enjoyed the construction part so much, I think I’m going to sign up for another class called Construction 101. I didn’t expect to find it nearly so interesting, but it was. And I think it’s good that my company does all this considering we’re a consulting firm geared solely towards the construction industry. In a weird coincidence, the residential site we went to was Shel’s community. I was across the street from his house and I totally wanted to sneak out of the group and go play with the kitties. But I didn’t.

Tomorrow I’ll be out of the office for Build-a-Bike, it’s this thing we’re doing at work for under privileged kids (of course I signed-up). We’re going to a guy’s house, building some bikes, inviting the kids over for lunch and then surprising them with said bikes. Then we’re going to have a pool party, but I don’t know any girls who are bringing their swimsuits. I’m not.

Ummmm… so much goodness on television tonight. SO MUCH! NFL: Steelers. NCAA: NC State. Politics: Democratic National Convention. It’s like a night of heaven for me. Throw in there some good medical oddity show, maybe some Grey’s, and it’d be perfect.

Can you believe college football returns this weekend???? Eeeeeeeeee! Although you can’t see it, I’m totally doing a happy dance at my desk. Actually, it’s probably good that you can’t see it…

So, um, my closet. Last weekend I took some pictures to shame myself into cleaning it. It’s a disaster. I used to have it all organized according to color, item, etc… and it’s just fallen apart. So when it’s clean, I’ll post some pictures so you can see what I’ve accomplished. See how I’m typing this for the world to see in an effort to actually do it?!

I think it’s because of this woman that my obsession with red hair began. I remember being a teenager and wanting to be a bleach blonde like Gwen Stefani and a redhead like Shirley Manson. I couldn’t decide which I wanted to be more.

Alright, folks, I’m going to get a shower, then spend the rest of the evening in bed, flipping through fantastic tv, and doing work on my laptop.

So last night was supposed to be my triumphant return to the gym after a week’s absence, but no, I didn’t go. Instead I finished Pride and Prejudice, and let me tell you, that’s an accomplishment in its own right! This sounds silly, but I’m a good reader. I’m an avid reader. I read lots of books. But P&P was a challenge. First of all, they’re basically speaking a language that resembles English, but is definitely not English. If I was even the least bit tired, I had to put the book down because I had no idea what I just read. And thankfully I saw the movie beforehand or else I would have been totally lost. And then the story is set in a time period in which the social norms were completely different than what they are now, so things didn’t always make sense. But it was a great book, and thankfully I had the annotated version, which gave lots of historical background and made it more understandable. Now I’m excited to watch the movie again, and I’ve even agreed to watch the six hour BBC version. Yikes!

I really do need to get back into the gym, though. It’s been a week. But I count Saturday as exercise because I danced for nearly three straight hours. Lots and lots of dancing at the wedding. Kristen and I have decided to do a one-mile fun run in October, and although I can run a mile no problem (it’s three miles that’s a challenge), it’s big for Kristen. This is her post-baby goal, and I’m excited for her. We’re doing it because a good buddy of mine from the arena has a daughter with Autism, and this run – and the disease – is something they’re passionate about. The run is to raise money for Autism research. Maybe I’ll make my goal to run a super speedy mile. The fastest I’ve gone was a week or two ago, and I did two miles in (barely) under 18 minutes. Then I turned into jello and nearly vomited and died.

Umm… so my left ring finger isn’t working right. I think I may have some sort of nerve damage – hopefully not permanent – so I’m going to get one of those wrist pillow thingies beneath my keyboard. It’s weird to type and have a finger not cooperate. It almost feels numb. Stupid finger!

Up until this point, I haven’t really talked about my picture of the day, but I have to say that I loved yesterday‘s. I took a picture of my mug at work because I had tea that day, and it’s really neat because of all the different reflections. Believe it or not, you can see nearly everything in my office in that picture because of the shiny surface of the mug. It’s metallic, from Starbucks. It can’t go in the microwave, but it makes for a really cool photo. You can also see that I’m wearing turquoise. No black, people! (actually, I was also wearing a black pinstripe skirt and black stilettos, but whatever)

**all links will take you to a Flickr photo**

Oh my God. I am so incredibly tired. I’m sitting at work right now, and I have to go to a meeting in about an hour, a meeting for which I will NOT be prepared. I’m just going to sit there and drool and hope that no one notices. Tomorrow I’ll get back into my normal routine: gym, eating decent food, being productive at work. But not today. Today I get to be a zombie. A zombie who eats fast food for both lunch and dinner.

So, Jason got married this weekend. And Gregory got married a year ago. What? Yep, Gregory got married a year ago. He and Elissa eloped and didn’t tell anyone. Talk about mixed emotions. I love Elissa as does the rest of my family so in that regard we’re happy. But it’s hard to be happy when you’ve been kept in the dark for so long. Apparently it was torture to Elissa and she very much wanted to tell everyone right away, but Gregory didn’t agree, and she went along with his wishes. They’re still having a wedding in December, a wedding for which my family is literally flying across the country and spending lots of $$$ to attend. Again, mixed emotions.

Between Jason’s wedding, my trip to Vegas, and Gregory’s wedding, there will be no Christmas this year. Sorry, friends and family, you get nothing.

Anyway, on to the weekend minus the big reveal…

So… I hit NO traffic in NoVA on my way to Jason’s, which was a pleasant surprise. The bachelorette party was SO MUCH fun! All of the girls in town that day went to Cheesecake Factory where we drank from penis straws and swapped cheesecake. And Kelly got nachos. Afterwards, my mother took Sara and Kelly and went back to the hotel, while the bridal party went out and caused a rukus. We met a lovely gal named Kelly who threatened to crash the wedding. More on that later. We got home and into bed around 3am, and my father called at 9am to see who wanted breakfast. We wanted to kill him.

Friday I spent the morning with the ‘rents doing some last minute shopping for wedding jewelry (mom) and food for the BBQ. Then we had the BBQ, which was very chill and relaxing. Burgers, chicken, hot dogs and corn were served, beer was drunk. And my father put entirely too much lighter fluid on the grill, which caused the flames to grow so high, they looked like they were consuming his head. I have pictures. After the BBQ, all of us staying at the hotel went to the bar, had some drinks, and ordered some nachos for my Uncle Nick’s family as a joke. Long story.

The wedding was Saturday. The girls got their hair done, and I absolutely loved mine. It was the prettiest it’s ever been, and I’m NOT a vain person, but I loved every mirror I saw that day. Millions of formal photos were taken, including one of the entire K. family, which was great. There were lots of us there, thankfully, or else the dance floor would have been empty. We’re a dancing family, you see. Well, the girls are. The boys? Not so much. So, yeah, Laurie looked beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. She wore my pearl necklace and the pearl earrings I got her, so that was special. She and Jason wrote their own vows, which included references to beef jerky and the Steelers (which got a round of applause from the audience) and it was over quickly. A short, sweet and lovely ceremony. Then off to the reception where a bunch of us danced the night away (my feet STILL hurt), good food was served, and lots of liquor was consumed. It was an open bar, of course. The hotel was kind enough to keep their bar open after the wedding; they normally close at 11:00, but agreed to stay open until 12:00, then ended up staying open until the last guest left at 5am. I didn’t stay until 5am. I left shortly after Midnight or else I would have turned into a pumpkin.

And yes, the girl who threatened to crash the wedding did indeed crash the wedding. Apparently my father, ever the jovial man, put his arms around her and her date and said, “I saw the movie, so drink up!” And as a fitting ending, during the conga line, the crashers conga-ed right out the door.

On Sunday Jason and Laurie headed to Jamaica (as did a tropical storm) while the rest of the family went to a rushed breakfast at Bob Evans. After breakfast everyone went their separate ways, and my way included a detour in Virginia to have lunch with Brandon, the closest thing I have to a high school sweetheart. We went to homecoming together and we spent lots of quality time eating Frosties and going for car rides during our time at Shaler Area High School. My grandmother wanted me to marry him because, you guessed it, he has dimples. And he’s a great guy. But I hadn’t seen him in 10 years, so I was anxious, but it turned out really well. No awkwardness and nice conversation. On my way back to Raleigh, the Gods of Good Traffic were not on my side, and it took me nearly seven hours to get home. Ouch.

See why I’m so tired?

I took about 400 pictures, took out the bad ones, and uploaded them – in their original size – to Flickr (private album, sorry) and it took FOUR HOURS!! Holy crap! But I wanted everyone to be able to download the pictures and print them or whatever.

It was great to see my grandfather, but hard. He looks really bad as his cancer is taking a toll on his 73-year-old self. My uncle thinks he’s ‘not long for this world,’ but I hope that’s not the case. He’s my only grandparent left and we’re really close. He taught me to drive and how to ride a bike, and he let me put curlers in his hair. And whenever I caught him napping, after I’d poked him to make him wake up, he’d say, “I wasn’t really sleeping, Leesh. I was just inspecting the insides of my eyelids.”

I can’t put into words how much I love my family: they are dysfunctional, loud, funny, loving, goofy and kind. We make fun of each other, tease each other, are hard on each other, and unconditionally love each other. If I wasn’t in my own family and I saw its interactions from a distance, I would wish it was my family. That’s how much I love it.

Love this site and love this post.

What a dreary day in Raleigh. It’s barely 70 deg., there’s a spattering of rain every couple of hours, and it’s grey. I moved down here for the sunshine, people. I’m disappointed.

Umm, so driving into work, for whatever reason, the station played ‘Highway to the Danger Zone,’ you know, from Top Gun. I squeeled and a flood of memories came rushing back. Memories of me and the boys pretending to be Maverick and Goose (and their mean boss, the one who told them they’d be flying planes full of rubber dog poo) on their bunk beds. Aaahhh, childhood. The funny thing is, my parents were really strict when we were little, so my dad would literally fast forward through the KISSING scene in that movie. No wonder I favor turtlenecks over tank tops. But then, Gregory’s a man whore (or was), so who knows. Regardless, good song, happy memories.

We also pretended to be Bon Jovi on the bricks in front of our fireplace using the pokers as microphones. Livin on a Prayer, baby. But that’s another story.

My asthma is acting up. I was in bed last night and I was getting wheezy, yet I woke up surprised by the weather…? I should know by now that whenever my asthma acts up for unemotional, non-humidity reasons, it’s going to rain. But it catches me off guard every time.

When I woke up, I could barely get out of bed. Stupid Olympics and your live broadcasts! Of course I stay up way past my bedtime to watch. My rationale is that it only happens every four (actually two) years, and I could see history being made or something. I hope I never forget that 4×100 relay – it really was something special to see. I hope Michael Phelps wins all eight medals, and that the pressure doesn’t eat him alive, although he seems to be doing a kick-ass job of handling everything thus far. Oh, an interesting little tidbit for you: when Phelps got arrested for drunk driving, it was an officer from Jason’s former department who arrested him. It’s their claim to fame. Go Cambridge!

I can’t even begin to tell you how overwhelmed I am about tomorrow’s trip. I still have so much to do both at home and at work. Why am I writing in my blog, you ask. Well, because I need a break from next year’s marketing plans. I’m tired of looking at the Excel spreadsheet, and no matter how many bright colors I use for the cells, it doesn’t make me any happier.