Sunday, September 28, 2008

Boomer Sooner

I can't believe I said that, but it's true. Yesterday, my friend Sarah and I traveled to Norman, Oklahoma to see the Sooners take on the TCU Horned Frogs. OU was my new stadium this year, and I was super excited for the experience. Why would I want to go to OU? Here's a little history lesson: Oklahoma has won 41 conference titles. They've gone on to win 24 bowl championships. They've had 144 All-Americans play for them, and most impressively, they've won the National Championship in 1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000, and 2003. Oh wait- not 2003. LSU had the upset and took the title from their hands. Hehe. It's a program filled with history and tradition, and a must see on my Top 10 list.

Sarah and I got on the road, and met up with our friend Kristen to tailgate. The campus is beautiful. Not a lot of mature trees (we were spoiled at LSU), but the architecture is consistent throughout and is really stunning. Tailgate in style, but they are so well behaved. Once thing I've noticed about the Big 12 fans- they are SO much nicer than SEC fans. They don't yell at visitors... no Tiger Bait or Gator Chomps. It may sound crazy, but I am not used to fans being that mild mannered.
And here I am- walking into the Gaylord Family Memorial Football Stadium, commonly referred to as "The Fauker" by Sooner fans. Meet the Parents- get it?

The pregame show was awesome. OU's Band was good, not great, but good. I wish they were louder. Maybe it was the acoustics, but it was still a great show. They have several traditions, and I loved experiencing them.

Our tickets were in the North end zone, and you can see the student section and the band in the background behind us. Sarah is a die-hard OU fan from Montana, and it was her first game too.

It was an awesome day trip to Oklahoma, that ended with us grabbing some pizza on Campus Corner before heading back South on I-35. We jammed out to Broadway's Best all the way to Dallas. Sarah was a music major before transferring to Montana Tech and becoming a Petroleum Engineer. She says I have pitch, and if I just took lessons, I could really improve my range. That's a project for another year- I don't know if our bank account can handle that.

Where to next? I'm hoping Layne and I meet up with Hampton in California to go see UVA take on USC at the Coliseum, but we've got time to plan out details... and a lot of good football in between.
A special thanks to Sarah for getting tickets to the game. And for the last time in this lifetime... "BOOMER SOONER!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Layne's Big Project

Last night, Layne and I went to the Major Donor Benefit at Ursaline Academy here in Dallas, Texas. Ursaline is currently building a multi-million dollar Math, Science, and Technology Building, and Layne has been working on this project since he started at Building Solutions. As you can imagine, this is a project that I passionate about.
Women account for more than 50% of today's college graduates, yet they make up less than 12% of science, math, and technology related fields. There are generalizations in society today that if you are a scientist you must lack social skills. Woman don't think that technology related career choice is conducive to being a mother. And to make matters worse, standardized test scores from 30 leading nations around the world show that there are only 5 countries with poorer science skills, and only 4 with poorer math skills. In a world where science and technology is essential to improving our way of life- our nation is significantly behind the curve, and this is something that needs to be addressed for future generations.
So obviously, I love that Ursaline, an all girls Catholic high school, is making an investment in this building. The facilities will be state of the art, and the building is going to be green. Layne specializes in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and I am so proud of the work he has done on this project. It is really going to be something special.
So last night, Layne and I were walking through the campus checking out the science and math exhibits students were presenting as the major donors ($25M- $1MM plus) sipped on wine and ate hour' devours (did I spell that right?). It was a wonderful evening. And to brag on Layne a little, everyone from Bill Gates' in-laws to the president of Ursaline Academy complimented Layne on the job that he is doing.
We spend so much time away from our families because of work- it is nice to work on a project you believe in, and I'm so excited I was able to learn more about Layne's big project.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Two and Two

In case you haven’t heard me say it- I love that Stephen has moved to Dallas. It’s been two years since I have lived in the same city as my siblings, which is as long as I’ve gone in my entire life without one of them. Stephen was born 26 months after I was. The next time I was sibling free was sixteen years later when I moved up to LSU. Stephen joined me my junior year though, so it was only a two year break. I graduated in 2006 and moved to Dallas, and Stephen came up two years later. Thank God for that… I don’t know how I would have handled life if he hadn’t. It would be the first time that I would be without one of my siblings for that long. I may be ready to move away, buy a house, get married, start a new life with Layne… but I don’t know if I will ever be cut out to be sibling free. Good thing that when I marry Layne in 107 days (yes- only 107 more days!) I get two more siblings who live 20 minutes away. Family is everything, and siblings are one of God’s greatest gifts.

This Saturday, Abby and Gregory were in Auburn together for the football game. They went with different groups of friends, but of course, they found their way to each other to hang out. Here in Dallas, Stephen and I went and hung out with different groups of friends earlier in the evening, yet there I was sitting in Quarter Bar on McKinney, when I realized that Stephen had wandered over from Uptown Pub and made his way to us.

I love my siblings, not only because they are my brothers and sisters, but because as we get older they are becoming my closest friends. We don’t lie to each other, or feel the need to hide things from each other. We know each other so well it’s scary. We call each other out on our BS. And at the worst moments of my life, when I thought the sun would never come back out to shine, my siblings were the people who were there to teach me to smile again. I am so lucky.

I am 25 years old. Stephen is 23. Abby is 21. Gregory is 20. The four of us (girl, boy, girl, boy) are four and a half years apart- and the sacrifices Mom and Dad made to give us each other is the greatest gift they could have ever shared. Being away from my siblings has really made me appreciate what we share.

So to Stephen, Abby, and Gregory (who are probably laughing out loud at how gay this post is and are calling me Hallmark (again) behind my back) thank you. Having you guys in my life means the world to me. Talking to you about the little details in our lives is one of my favorite things we do. I miss you- I can’t wait to see you. And I am green with envy that the three of you will be together this weekend without me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dear War Eagles, Please don't boo when LSU plays better than us.

Below is an excerpt from a letter that the Dean of Students at Auburn University sent out to the entire student body on Wednesday.

"Dear Auburn Student,
I wanted to remind each of you about the importance of your support for our team and displaying character this weekend when L.S.U. fans and other guests arrive this weekend. First, please join me by agreeing to demonstrate your support for, and not criticism of, our football team. That means no booing! Remember, the team isn't trying to lose the game—the players work hard all spring and during fall camp to be ready to compete in the S.E.C. Let's show our appreciation for their hard work by encouraging them with loads enthusiasm! "

Since College Gameday is going to Auburn for the match up against LSU, I can understand that he wants the student body to behave in manner that positively reflects the university. But come on... in the age of the internet... what message is he sending? Auburn may struggle? Students may be disappointed? Don't boo when LSU embarrasses us... stand proud?

I laughed out loud when I heard this. I think this is the year, after nine years of the home team winning in this series, I think LSU is going to go home with the W. And it's nice to know that Auburn's Dean is starting to think that way too...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And we think the Jesuit on Banks is bad...

For those of you not from NoLA, let me preface this by saying that I went to an all girls Catholic high school. The public school system in New Orleans is so bad, that there is a public school system, a catholic school system, and a private school system. Whether you are catholic or not, it’s where the “middle class” goes to school in the city. Private schools are for the rich kids, (ie) the Mannings. All of the women in my generation in my family went to Mount Carmel. I graduated in 2001, and my younger cousin Erin is bringing up the caboose as a junior now. The men in our family all went to the same high school. And when I say all, I mean all. My grandfathers, my uncles, my dad, my brothers, my cousins… my mom and her sisters all married Holy Cross men. Only one man that did not go to Holy Cross married into the family. He went to Jesuit.

And we hate Jesuit. Not in the real anger in your heart hate kind of way, but in the play hate kind of way. Both high schools are over 150 years old, and the history and traditions span decades. For as long as I can remember, my dad had us pinch our noses as we drove by. Jesuit stinks.

So you can imagine the trash talking that has occurred since Layne and I bought a house two blocks from Jesuit High School here in Dallas. My grandfather is rolling over in his grave. So for all of you out there who know what I’m talking about, this post is for you.

We think Jesuit on Banks is bad… the Jesuit on Inwood is 10x worse! Last night, I volunteered to work a college information night through the LSU alumni association. I did it last year at a few schools, and really enjoyed it. So I came home from work, walked through St. Rita’s parking lot, and entered enemy territory. I was blown away. At least Jesuit in New Orleans is old. The buildings are in poor condition. It needs a facelift. The neighborhood is terrible. Sure, Jesuit has the reputation for being snotty and thinking they are above themselves. But the Jesuit here in Dallas is in a league of its own. Facilities were top notch. I was BLOWN AWAY by their campus. The boys were instructed to wear suits to the college info night, to represent themselves and their school in a positive light. Apparently their school uniforms weren’t good enough. I had never seen that many teenagers driving H3’s in my life. Catholic school in New Orleans aren’t for the wealthy. We had lots of girls on work study programs. Holy Cross gives scholarships to the brothers from the 9th Ward. But this… I didn’t know seventeen year olds wore Rolexes.

As I was walking out the building, I felt a pang of heart ache for my roots. I wish there was a Holy Cross here in Dallas, just so I could go cheer them on at football games, so I could raise my finger with pride and sing the alma mater. Layne’s required to recite “The Holy Cross Man” as part of his admittance to the family requirements anyway. The exposure couldn’t hurt.

So on the short trip back to the casa, I’ve decided what is numero uno on my Christmas list this year. I need a flag for the house, a Holy Cross flag. Who cares if no one else in the neighborhood gets it? I will. Steve O will. And maybe then I wouldn’t feel like such a traitor….

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh Abby... I wish I shared a room with you.

There are moments when I wished I still shared a bedroom with Abby, although I'm sure she hasn't missed my messy, disorganized self since I left 1108. After a wonderful weekend spent with Mrs. Carmen, Mr. Wayne and the Court clan (more to come later), Layne and I came back to the casa to organize our life and get things together. The wedding is only 4 months away now, and there are a lot of details that still need to come together. So as I'm sitting here in the living room with football on TV and wedding paperwork spread all over the floor, my mind drifted away to Abby.

There were many times when Abby would get so frustrated and annoyed with my messy side of the room, she would just walk over and start cleaning up. She'd get me started folding clean clothes and putting them away, and then she would start organizing me things. I mean, Abby was in third grade, I was in seventh, and Abby was trying to teach me to clean up and get organized. She was in first grade, and would lay out her clothes every night before school. The thought never crossed my mind. Like night and day.

Yet here I am, at twenty five, wishing that I could fly Abby here just for a few hours. I know she's busy, but could we possibly spare the money and just fly her up to Dallas for a few hours next Sunday? Layne could cook us breakfast after I picked her up from the airport, by noon all my paperwork would be organized in a binder. My three o'clock, I'd have an organized budget with all the important decisions made and a game plan for how to get everything else done. Abby could be back to Baton Rouge for her Zeta Executive Committee meeting. If only Abby was still my roommate...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!

No... Santa Claus isn't coming down the chimmney anytime soon. They're coming... to your city. That's right. College Football is here. After a serious sports draught this summer, today was the first Saturday that I was able to roll out of bed, move to the coach, and turn on my favorite TV show, college gameday. Layne was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, and made coffee and breakfast and delivered it to me on the couch. I love the history of the collesium, the Wolverine vs. Irish rivalry, Ohio State making a fool of themselves in the national spotlight... again, I even love looking beastly when playing a cream puff. I love the feel good stories and the heart players have. I love the underdog and the upset (as long as it isn't LSU). And I really want to go to a new NCAA stadium every year of my life. So in no particular order, here are my top 10 college footbal stadiums to catch a game at:

1- Notre Dame: Rudy, Touchdown Jesus, and the Brothers of Holy Cross; 'nuff said
2- The Big House: the Wolverines may be struggling this season, but their tradition speaks for itself
3- The Rose Bowl: UCLA and USC have such storied pasts, it's a must
4- Oregon: Not only do the ducks have the coolest jerseys every year, the acoustics are supposed to be out of this world
5- Rocky Top: I'm dissapointed that I never got to Neyland Stadium to see LSU play Tennessee when I was in college... but that's okay. Now when I finally get there, I'm going to pull up to the stadium in style and dock my boat. Tailgating on the water is a MUST!
6- Texas: I know, I'm marrying an Aggie. But I'm secretly hoping to get Layne and my future brother in law Chad to a Texas vs. Texas AnM game in Austin sometime soon. Don't worry, I'll bring my taser with me. I'll have more criminals in my sight while watching UT play that any other time in my life.
7- Boomer Sooner: I've seen OU play at the Superdome, but that wasn't enough. So this year (Yes! This Year!) I'm going see the wagon at home and the damage Sam Bradford can wreck.
8- Happy Valley: What is there to say? A white out at Happy Valley would be a one of a kind experience that I can't wait to have!
9- Virginia Tech- Blacksburg looks SO appealing. Gameday has been there one to many times for me not to go check it out myself.
10- Florida State- I may have to wait until former LSU Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fischer is head coach, but I'm looking forward to seeing Miami or Florida stroll into Tallahassee. Talk about in-state rivalries. The talent in FL is ridiculous!

Of course, LSU isn't on this list cause I'm a frequent patron. Seeing Georgia play in between the hedges was an amazing experience, and Athens is a college town favorite. Texas AnM's Kyle Field was an original experience unlike any game I had been to before. Alabama, Auburn, the Swamp... all impressive. The college football experience is unlike any other sporting venue I've been to. The rivalry games, the passion, and the traditions make September- December the best time of year. So wake up on a Saturday morning, pour that cup of coffee, sit on the couch, and relax. Tell Corso he's an idiot. Wear your team colors, and get pumped up. Who knows. Next week, they could be coming to your city.