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Beaches

9 Feb

**** Before I share my Florida trip, I have a shameless plug for Becky’s fabulous husband, Ben! He has entered a contest that could really help his career and get his artwork in front of the right people. In Ben’s words: “The winner gets flown out to pretty much the biggest comic book convention and introduced to all the bigwigs in the comic book, video game, and toy/statue industry which will jump start my career in comics and everything else!  I am so freakin’ excited about this it’s not even funny!  The voting ends on the 14th so it’s a very limited time in which to decide the winner so everything has to be a concentrated effort.  Thank you so much for the support.” So how can you help? Go to this link. Click on “Support Ben,” via the Facebook button. The website will email you when to vote; both views and votes count! *****

So, Florida.

Apart from the chaos that ensued before we actually got there (in a nutshell: Knight’s flight getting canceled, him having to juggle to get on my flights out of StL, dealing with a flat tire in the ghetto of STL, arriving at 1am) and the fact that we got no sleep the night before (hooray for 24 hour amazing breakfast places to kick off the trip), our first vacation was totally ah-mazing.

There was nothing but hugs, love, laughs, holding babies (hers, not mine… duh!), drinking, eating our way through North Florida, laughing some more, watching ridiculous reality TV (hello, Jersey Shore. Nice to meet you, finally. And I may be hooked.)

There was not lovely weather by any means but it was still warmer then this stupid midwest. Like by a lot. And it rained, warm rain. The good kind of rain, you know?

I wore flip-flops and short sleeved shirts. I slept in. I cuddled with Knight and my niece. I sat with my childhood BFF (she needs a nickname, seriously) and laughed, smiled and cried over the pictures and memories of us from the last five years. We hung with my niece and had good life chats. We sat in silence at times and it was more than ok.

I put my toes in the sand despite the insane fog that was covering the Jacksonville beaches. I had to talk to a cop in order to get into the bar since I was a dunce and left my license at home (it worked). I took shots to celebrate my childhood BFF’s birthday, the attainment of my Masters, and friendship and love in general.

Future trips were planned. Tears were shed when it was time to leave. Bonds were strengthened. Knight and I spent five days and six nights together; the most in a row since we’ve met one another and were left hungry for more.

My soul is rejuvenated (again). My heart is soaring (still). There is a smile plastered to my face (like usual). I’m in love with Florida all over again. I fell more in love with myself, with Knight, with life.

When was the last time you fell in love with yourself, your life, your loved ones all over again?

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Notes to Self

28 Jan

Hi Self,

Just a few friendly reminders…

Don’t get too caught up in the everyday. Silly things like long commutes to work, ice on the windshield, forgetting to put earrings in? Small potatoes compared to the bigger picture.

Continue to embrace those people and things that you love; remember how delighted and engaged you feel during your creative writing class, connecting with other like-minded individuals, sharing books to read, writing prompts, feeling like you belong to a group? Do more of that. Remember how you feel when Knight wraps his arms around you after being apart for a few weeks. Remember how great it is to live with your parents, two people who would do anything for you since it’s all going to change soon; they are amazing forces in your life.

Really push yourself at the gym. It’s totally worth it and you know it. Enjoy the running high, the sweat dripping down your face, pounding it out on the dreadmill, rocking out to really hardcore rap. Sign up for a few races soon, use that Groupon for the Yoga classes and treat yourself right. You deserve it.

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep… you’ve treated yourself to some much needed quiet time this week (read: Saying NO to social engagements) and it’s done a world of good for you. Do it more often. Your friends who are your true friends will understand and still be there for you.

Be present. I know things are topsy-turvy for you right now to a degree, but you can only do so much planning for the future. You know what John Lennon said (“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,”) and you know he’s right. Your life is NOW. Enjoy it, you only get one shot at it.

It’s ok to ignore the pile of laundry growing in your closet, the unmade bed, and bathroom that needs to be cleaned every once in awhile. Chances are it means you’re doing something more meaningful and that’s a good thing.

Love hard. I know you’re good at it but just don’t forget to keep doing it. Love your family, your friends, Knight. They are all deserving. Let those walls come tumbling down and just fully embrace love. You know you want to do it. You know you can do it. And you know what will happen when you do.

And above all? This:

 You’ve really been yourself lately (well, ok, for many, many months now) and it shows. Just don’t forget to always be true to you.

What would your notes to self say today?

Hurdles, Fences and Walls

26 Jan

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination, full of hope.” – Maya Angelou

There are some relationships that I’ve been it where it has been barrier after barrier, issue after issue: where all signs pointed to STOP! DO NOT PASS GO! Sometimes I gave in early, knowing there would be no point. Other times I forged on thinking something would change only to wind up heartbroken and maybe a little bitter. I learned my lesson.

Even though history repeats itself, there is bound to be something that will break the mold.

Like with Knight.  First, we have the distance. You’d think that would be a huge barrier, especially to begin a relationship in a long-distance state. Some said it couldn’t be done. But it can. You just have to want it, and we both do. 

I knew the night that I met Knight that not only did we live six hours from one another but that he was divorced and an amazing father to two adorable little girls. I talked to him anyway. The spark was undeniable.  I wasn’t worried about the divorce, the kids, and his “story.” I was more worried about if I’d see him again. 

I remember he said to me as we sat by the fire “I have two girls.” My response? “I know. I have a dog.” Not that I think a dog and children are the same at all, don’t get me wrong, but my point was that we all have something… children, pets, a house that we can’t sell, baggage from previous relationships. It’s there.  And those things shouldn’t stop us from falling in love with someone that we can’t stand to be away from.

I knew the story behind the divorce; his story is not mine to tell but trust me when I say that he did the best he could in a not so awesome situation, came out stronger and better for it on the other side.  

I also knew that I’d meet the girls and would fall crazy in love with them, would fall even more in love with Knight watching him as a father, and that all my worries about the girls liking me would melt away. I’ve spent several weekends with Knight and the girls and it just feels right. They may not ever be my kids, but it feels like this entire situation from meeting Knight when I did, to him having gorgeous daughters, to falling in love with a tall, dark and handsome man… it all just feels right.  (Well for those things and about 10,000 other reasons. Like how much Knight loves dogs and has totally captured Jack’s heart. How well he gets along with my brother and my family. How awesome his family is. He always leaves one of his shirts for me every time he leaves which always smells like him. He watched Glee with me. He has seen, by his own accord, “You’ve Got Mail,” and actually liked it. He’s patient if I ask questions about sports. He loves the St. Louis Cardinals. He knows I love jewelry from Tiffany’s and actually bought some for me. He doesn’t laugh at me for liking Twilight… yet. He knows his way around a grill and makes a mean steak. He loves Mexican food just as much as I do. He gives me butterflies every time he calls, texts or shows up at my door.)

So while the distance and other things may seem like barriers to some, they have in fact brought Knight and me closer. Maybe because we are both willing to jump over walls and tall buildings to be with the each other, or maybe because some things don’t matter nearly as much as one would think when you’re in love.  Or maybe it’s because we’re up front, honest and have crazy, awesome, serious conversations from the beginning of our relationship to this day that have left me grinning from ear to ear, knowing that we are both on the same page in terms of life and what we want out of it in all aspects. All of this and so much more have me incredibly excited for what the future will hold for me and Knight.

Weekend Knights

18 Jan

It’s no secret I’m in a long distance relationship.

Love Knows No Distance

It’s also no secret that long distance relationships are hard. Worth it? Yes. But really hard. (Thank goodness for unlimited texts, emails and video chat dates, not to mention supportive friends and family.)

I know Knight and I are fortunate in that we get to see each other more than most people; the 375 miles that separate us don’t seem so daunting as they first did. The six hour drive is marked by landmarks, the pit stops that I always frequent, funny road signs (like a town named Paw Paw) and 6 highways (I love ticking off the highways I’ve been on in my head as it means I’m almost there). And those weekends where we see each other? We make the most of it.

This past weekend it was just the two of us. (Cue Will Smith song singing in the background…) The first time since mid-November that we had each other all to ourselves. It’s weekends like this that we spend them learning new things about each other, like how Knight had an earring in college (you can still see the small piercing hole if you look closely at his ear), or how I was an editor for my school yearbook and was voted “always has a shoulder to lean on.” There is laughter about Knight going to a rave sometime in high school against his mother’s will considering it was totally not worth it. There are moments you open your heart and share things about your past that you never thought you’d never talk about again over glasses of wine and amazing dinners. While you’re at a bar, there is no one else there; just the two of you. Public Displays of Affection are not gross, they are encouraged; after all you have to soak up all the hugs and kisses you can. Meeting friends for super late night drinks is required, followed by pizza at 1am, just because you can. You gain insight into what life would be like if you were closer to each other, could see each other on a regular basis. And you kind of love it. (Who are we kidding, you totally love it.)

Grand plans are made. Future vacations discussed. Hours are spent on the couch watching streaming Netflix. Dinners are made listening to favorite music, dancing around the kitchen, smiling and laughing. The night before he leaves we each look at other and say “we could get used to this.”

These weekends hold the promise of what is yet to come, a promise that is exhilarating, hopeful and full of joy. A promise I can’t wait to fulfill.

Tidbit Thursday

13 Jan

 

* I haven’t had soda since December 25th; I’ve had no caffeine withdrawal headaches and overall I don’t miss it one single bit. Until I eat pizza. Or Mexican. But I’m staying strong, chugging water instead of carbonation and overall I know it’s better for me. Maybe not as fun, but better.

* Last night I watched “Going the Distance.” I totally loved it. Justin Long is hilarious, Drew Barrymore has an infectious laugh and Justin Long’s sidekicks in the movie are laugh-out-loud funny. I would recommend watching this when you’re not in a long distance relationship, however. That made it a bit tough. I laughed. I cried. I loved it. And I now want to slow dance with Knight in the ocean.

* It was -1F when I woke up today. That’s just insanity. I’m wearing gloves and hats and scarves and tights and I’m *still* cold. I really hope it’s a bit warmer in Florida in a few weeks. My body needs to thaw out.

* Tomorrow evening I get to pick Knight up from the airport. This will be the second time I get to do that (his work is super flexible about where he flies in/out of, so sometimes he can plan work trips so we get back-to-back weekends together) and each time, I think of Hugh Grant at the beginning of Love  Actually. It’s really true: everyone who is there waiting for some greets them with hugs, kisses, flowers, high-fives and smiles. There is no hate at airports. Just love. It’s fun to be a part of that experience; to greet someone who has been traveling all week long, eating meals out and sleeping in strange hotel rooms, to give them a hug and just be together for a moment.

* I’m making progress on my 30 Before 30 List; over the holiday I realized I’d already seen 17 Oscar movies, so I’m upping the challenge to 40 movies instead. That seems much more fun to me! I’m trucking right along in the Harry Potter series and am totally in love with the books, the writing, the plots, the twists and turns. I can’t wait to start book #4 which I will do after I plow through (hopefully?) the stack of library books I just borroed. I’ve started researching trips to Alaska (goal is to go in 2012) and Italy (goal is 2013, if not sooner with the family) and soon I hope to start knitting lessons with my Gram. I know I have plenty of time but now that I’m post grad-school it’s nice to have something to work on.

* I saw True Grit last weekend; I wasn’t thrilled with it. Good acting for sure but I feel like the plot/story left something to be desired. I think we’ll be seeing The Fighter this weekend and I must say I’m rather excited for a dose of Marky-Mark. Along those lines, Backstreet Boys & New Kids on the Block are touring together and coming to STL this summer. I kind of want to go. (I saw Backstreet Boys in high school. Screamed the lyrics so much that I lost my voice. Don’t judge. I’m sure you have best friends who did it too!)

 (And don’t forget to enter my “Greening Giveaway“! You have until Sunday to enter!)

Any tidbits you feel like sharing?