Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Once upon a time I drove from Texas to RI and back

1728 miles or something like that is the distance from Dallas, TX to Providence, RI taking some detours along the way you can add a couple of hundred more miles to that.  In December of 2009 I left my place in Dallas and ventured to drive home and back.

I love to drive.  Really I do, I will drive anywhere at a moments notice.  I once drove my BFF home to New York City (from RI: 178 miles, about 3 hours) and caught the bus back, just to make sure she wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel.

When I was 8 years old my dad drove from RI to Guatemala and I totally loved this experience.  We stopped and ate lunch along side the Mississippi River and I remember driving past the Astrodome, then into the desert.  It was then that the bug caught me.  I love driving and being able to stop and just take in the sights at your leisure.  However, this trip was a little different, a.  I was driving alone My mother did not and doesn't know (so don't tell her) that I was driving alone. b. I was doing something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl, driving across country, I know Texas to RI isn't across the entire country, but its pretty damn close.

So I ventured out very excited on a Saturday morning and ran into the craziest traffic ever trying to get out of Dallas.  I was in traffic for like 2 hours.  UGH was this a preview to my trip.  Please I hope not.   So after battling for 2 hours I finally was on the road.  First stop the Texas, Louisiana state line.  But that wasn't after seeing the most curious signs ever not to mention the large road kill, and it wasn't just deer.  Some of these dead animals were coyotes or dogs and armadillos.

 The trip was pretty uneventful.  I drove past LSU and saw plenty of highway and more large road kill.  As I crossed the Louisiana state line I stopped to take a picture at the rest area.  Highlight of day 1 was watching the sun set as I crossed the Mississippi state line, just over the Mississippi River.  It was a nice way to end the day.  I had a few more hours to go crossing into Alabama and then Georgia as my dear friend TAnn was awaiting my arrival in Atlanta, where I would be spending the night.


Day 2 the road awaits, but first a quick breakfast to meet one of my twitter friends Donte.  TAnn and I met up with Donte and his children for breakfast in Atlanta just before the church rush came in.  It was such a nice time to meet new people and reminisce with an old friend.

I kept a watch out for the time since I needed to finish driving through Georgia, then into South Carolina, North Carolina where I would be meeting Davida my soon to be staff member and her mom.

To give them the keys to my apartment as they would be staying there while I was in RI. We met by the road side in Charlotte and I was quickly off as I needed to get to Owings Mills, MD where my host family waited for me. Traveled through Virginia, and into DC, then Maryland.  Finally arrived at Chez Ndzibah in Owings Mills, MD  where I overstayed my time.  My initial plan was to get on the road early so that I would have more time in New York, but that didn't quite work out that way.  I sat and talked with my friend Nicole and we chatted about life and then I realized I needed to go so off I was to continue my journey.  Next stop, New York City, so I traveled up familiar territory and was elated as I was familiar with all the markers letting me know how close I was to my next destination.  Delaware, New Jersey and the Jersey Turnpike, then the George Washington Bridge.  Oh what a familiar and friendly site.  As I crossed the bridge I looked to my right and could see the New York City Skyline.  All the lights of the buildings winking back at me as if to say "hey old friend we've missed you".  I continued my drive into Harlem to see my BFF CJ.  Tomorrow would be the last leg of the trip to RI.

 I stopped to take a picture of this sunset in New Jersey, it was just too beautiful.

After driving through east Texas I vowed that I would never again complain about driving through Connecticut, but once I hit the CT state line I remembered how much I hated it.  Maybe its because CT is the one thing between RI and NY and when I'm trying to get to NY or vice versa its the only thing that stands in my way.  Or maybe its the incessant construction that never seems to go away or end, but quite possibly it could be how I95 goes from being a Highway to a 2 lane road in most areas and just becomes mundane road to travel.  Then all of a sudden the most familiar sign of them all.  "Welcome to Rhode Island"  that beautiful blue sign in the median reminding me that my journey is about 35 minutes from being over.  In a flash I was pulling up in my mother's driveway, or actually my brother's driveway as I had done so many times before and beeping the horn to let them know I had arrived.  Ahhh to be home.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

another Super Bowl Weekend

For the third time in my life I am preparing to attend another Super Bowl weekend in a host city.  My first Super Bowl experience was XLIII (43) in Tampa Bay in 2009.  I have the good fortune that my best friend is somewhat well connected and got me a great "shadowing" experience with her.  I attended two of the major and exclusive events of that weekend one of which was the ESPN party.  Oh JOY!  no really it was a joyous event.  I had the distinct privilege of announcing celebrities on to the red carpet.  BTW this is what you don't see on any of the award shows.  When a celebrity approaches the red carpet, I would hold up a sign (piece of paper) with their name written on it and announce for the many photographers who this person or group of people were.  What made this all the more precious was that 9.5 times out of 10 I had no idea who these people were.  Some times the celebrity would approach the red carpet and I would have to ask them, "and your name?  and that is spelled?  Ok thank you."  other times it became a little more complex, like when I also had to ask "are you an athlete, actor?"  basically who the hell are you?  my bff got a great kick out of this.  But it was one of the reasons that it made me good for this job, I treated them all with the same level of anonymity. Our motto for the weekend became, "this is all lost on me"  I was meeting folks, yes actually introduced to people that were a pretty big deal, and would shake their hands, nod and smile and carry on, some of these folks were sports industry executives, former professional athletes, and current athletes.

The funniest story of the weekend actually occurred at a party they night I first arrived to Tampa.  We entered into this club at the exact same time that TO and his entourage arrived.  I was introduced to his assistant or body guard as we walked in.  As we arrived we met up with a friend and she was standing with a group of people chatting and laughing, I was introduced to them all.  One of the guys shook my hand and remarked, "my your hand is so soft", I replied, "well I use lotion".  Well CJ immediately commented to him, "uh uh, you aint getting into it with her, she will give back as good as you"  They mentioned his name and we just carried on, he offered everyone a round of drinks and I think we obliged.  And we were off.  A few hours later we were upstairs in this establishment when I noticed CJ was being (playfully) tormented by the same guy, I started to make a b line to where she was when one of her colleagues said "Oh McNabb is just playing with her", I turned to him and said, "McNabb? as in Donovan McNabb/"  He looked at me and his face was like "Ana, I know you knew who he was"  we both laughed it off and I later told CJ.  That then became the joke for several years and even to this day, about the time I met Donovan McNabb, who was introduced as just Donovan and hung out with him for several hours and had no idea who he was.  See just lost on me.  LOL.  But it was a fun weekend.  Well we will see what fun this weekend brings.  Let's Go Patriots!