Sunday, September 16, 2012

Grapefest Weekend

This weekend was Grapefest. One of the biggest surprises I've had down here is that Texans not only grow and produce their own wine... they actually love drinking it too. They love it so much, they dedicate an entire event to doing just that.

Grapefest is basically a huge block party. They shut down an entire street in the middle of Grapevine and turn it into a giant fair – with wine tents and grape stomping activities scattered throughout. Everyone told me that the actual State Fair at the end of the month is triple the size, but this was plenty big enough for me. 

We signed up for the 7pm wine tasting which was (of course) at the complete opposite end of the 2 mile stretch of fair grounds… and we were late. Thankfully, I spent the last few years in Boston, where people can duck and weave through crowds like champions. Even still… by the time we checked in, got our tiny souvenir glasses and started down the path towards the tasting, we were already a half hour behind. It didn’t help that we took a wrong turn at one point on our way and ended up in a behind-the-scenes glass blowing contest. I’m sadly not kidding. We looked like lost tourists, clutching our tasting books and whispering, “How the heck did we end up here?” and “Hmm… This seems wrong." Ya think?

We did, however, finally make it there, and the tasting ended up being a blast. Some of the Texan wine was actually quite good… though, some was not. I distinctly remember one peach wine that I casually poured out onto the grass after the first sip, avoiding all eye contact with the wine producer as I did so. 

After the tasting, we met back up with our group of friends and started the trek back to our car. Along the way, my liquid courage bubbled up a bit... and the next thing I knew, I was standing in a line waiting for “The Zipper”… which was by far the most terrifying carney ride I’ve ever seen. This thing spins around in the air, as your chair flips and flips and flips. I don't know who dared who... but in the end, I was sitting in a tiny caged in seat next to one of the guys in our group, praying that the door of this thing wouldn't fly open in flight. It didn't help that the only thing keeping the door shut was a tiny metal pin. Safe. It also did not help that we were hands down the oldest people on the ride. About two spins in and the ride controller had to stop the entire thing to scold me for holding on to the side of the cage instead of the front... obviously.

To end the night we headed to McFaddens just outside of Dallas to celebrate "Halfway to St. Patty's Day" with green beer and more shamrock shaped decorations that I think all of Boston has in the actual St. Patty's Day parade.

Only in Texas.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Only five more days until I'm back in Boston / Newport for a long (and necessary) weekend away. I absolutely cannot wait! 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Speaking of Country Music

My newest obsessions...  


... Such a romantic.

Part Two: "Texas"

I guess it's about time I update this thing... because the "big-scary-grownup-holycrapIactuallyhavetodothis" move is done. I'm here. I’m a “Texan". Now, there's a sentence I never thought I'd say...

My trip down here was interesting. I held it together for the onslaught of goodbyes that our group of friends went through during my last weekend in Boston. I held it together when I sat down in my empty room... after all of my furniture had been packed up and shipped south. I even held it together as we drove out of Brighton and I took one last long look at that “Gone with the Wind” house and the balcony that two years ago I saw and knew I couldn’t live without… 

"The house... it brings you luck" - prior resident
(here's to hoping they're right)

It’s funny when certain moments hit you. Like a wall. A brick wall. Suddenly, I’m at the airport, throwing up the Jay-Z HOV in airport security… and that’s when it happened. That’s when every emotion I felt for the last six months came spewing out of me in a fit of hysteria that I can only describe as “scream crying”. I looked back and saw both my parents say, “We love you”, and I didn’t have a chance. I didn't even have time to be embarrassed. The best part came when the security guard took it upon himself to inform me that, “we can’t actually see you naked in this body scanner”… Not why I’m crying buddy. 

Four hours later, I stepped off the plane (a hot mess might I add) and onto Texan soil. 

Endless boots in Fort Worth, TX

Let me stop right here and confirm what everyone is wondering... Yes, Texas is it's own little world! More and more people are moving to this state, and people from here can't get enough of it. They know every existing state fact, right down to the state bird, nut, tree, flower... and on more than one occasion, someone has told me that Texas is the only state that can voluntarily secede from the Union if they decide to do so. Um, what? What's funny is it all makes total sense when you start to pick up on the culture down here... a culture that is unlike any other place I've ever been!

The other day I drove past a liquor store with a drive through. It's like they are promoting drunk driving while at the same time providing fantastic convenience for their customers. I'm not sure if I should be appalled or thrilled by that... So, obviously I drove through. Right next to said liquor store was a mattress outlet that used God as the main appeal in their marketing scheme. Now, I've seen a lot of ridiculous advertising, but shouldn't something as sacred as religion be well... sacred? Besides, don't Catholics have enough guilt without having to worry about the big guy not loving them because they didn't buy tempurpedic? 

Don't get me wrong... I may complain about the driving and the construction... and the fact that I'm 1,700 miles away from my friends & family... but I do actually find myself enjoying many things about this place. The guacamole is unreal, and the margaritas make me seriously reconsider my distaste for tequila. Plus, I could listen to country music all day long, and the freedom to travel around and explore new areas outside of Dallas is pretty cool. Just last weekend, when Grace and mom were here visiting, I experienced my first ever rodeo! Can't find bull riding like that in Boston.

Western Saddles as bar stools

I promise to stay more on top of this going forward... I really do appreciate the support from everyone! Even if all you do is read my blog and laugh at my jokes (or tell me you laugh at my jokes)... well, that's enough. Thanks for everything. Something tells me this ride is far from over... so stay tuned!

Oh, and here's a few apartment pics... it's finally a home! 

Cheers for now

Friday, July 6, 2012

Two weeks to go...

I think CMR (soon to be CML) said it best the other day, “I am exhausted by my lifestyle.” The last two months have been just that… exhausting. Here’s a quick recap:

Two successful trips to Texas. A long weekend in Newport with my family… followed by a weekend on the Cape with the girls. Two weddings and one crazy bachelorette party. A weekend on the boat in Lakeville. All topped off with a Red Sox / Yankees game with my dad this Saturday. Sprinkle in numerous ice cream dates, too many happy hours to count, about a dozen family dinners in Brighton, after-work riding lessons with Parker and one beautiful engagement and you can see why coffee seems to be in a constant supply (and demand) these last few weeks. 

Red Sox game with D

Vineyard tour - Greenvale
With the rush and commotion of this life we’ve all thrown ourselves into, I’ve found very little time to sleep, let alone write. In fact, the only writing I’ve done in the past few months has been a compilation of lists – mapping out all the things I cannot forget to do before I leave for Texas. Things like find a new apartment (check), buy furniture for said apartment (check) and schedule the movers and a one-way ticket south (check and check)… and so on. 

Along with all that fun, I’ve been trying to spend every waking minute with my friends, family and everyone in my life who has made these last few years as meaningful and significant as they have been. I probably don’t have to tell you all this… but each and every one of you has shaped the life that I’m living today. You’ve all made me feel so incredibly brave about this move, and on top of everything else, so loved. Sometimes I think I’m crazy to be moving away from such a support system… but isn’t that the point of life? These relationships built up my backbone… so that one day (two weeks from now) I can board that plane and feel confident that this change will only make me a stronger person. 

Newport, RI

Enough of that mushy stuff for one day though… I’m sure there will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks…

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My loving arms are for you...

"Spent all week waiting.
Now my mind's on you.
Hold my loving arms,
my loving arms are for you."

Congratulations to Meg & Jon on the most beautiful wedding in Newport, RI last weekend! There are certain couples that you know are meant to be together forever. Those that love each other unconditionally with a fire so sincere and real. It's been an absolute privilege to be so close to two such amazing people these last six years, and I was more than honored to stand up there with you both when you said your vows. You guys set the standard for true love. You keep us all believing that it does in fact exist in this crazy world. 

"I won't give up on us. Even if the skies get rough.
I'm giving you all my love. I'm still looking up.
Still looking up."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I should be sleeping...

I should be sleeping. I should be exhausted. This last month has been an absolute whirlwind, which should have me pining for the comfort of my own bed and an actual 8 hours of sleep... but instead I'm wide awake. I'm thinking about everything that's coming in the next two months. That's it! That's all that's left! Packing, moving, a new apartment, an empty room in Boston where my whole life used to reside. I'm thinking about how different my life is now, compared to a year ago. A year ago, I was exactly where I thought I would be after college. I was surrounded by friends and family. I could pack the car and make a day trip to my parent's house in CT on a complete whim... and I never worried about falling asleep in an empty house because there never was one. In two months... well, I guess I don't need to tell you that a day trip to CT is out of the question.

When it comes right down to it, this was my choice. Nobody signed those papers for me. This is what I wanted. Want. I need to stay in present tense. I want this. I want to challenge myself. To prove that I am not only capable of moving across the country alone, but also able to enjoy it. Then why does it keep me up every night?