leo.

I have been asked why I love advertising so much, and where this love was rooted.  Well, I remember the moments exactly, actually.

Back story: My mother’s side of the family lives in Milton, MA, so I spent my childhood in the way back of a station wagon (or whatever the car was of the moment), staring at the sites from NH to Boston. If you know the drive (and did it in the 1980s-1990s),  then you might remember how long it was to a kid. Well, I remember something else. I remember the ads and billboards I passed along the way. Saugus, Route 1: the plastic cows and giant cactus at the Hilltop Steakhouse and the orange dinosaur, just at the road splits, at the mini golf place (that I swear use to be purple). As you enter the city and see the buildings, there was a giant inflated Pink Panther that sat on top of a building, and the multi-colored water towers, just as you pass the city behind.  An ad with a model in a pair of jeans on the side of a building.  My memory tells me it was Marilyn Monroe in Lee jeans, but I have Googled the thought to death and I can find no proof.  My memory is that the ad read something along the lines of “Our models can beat up your models.but as I said, I can’t actually prove that, and it may just be the memory of a six year old.  However- whatever that ad said, and whoever was in it, it stuck.  I loved everything about those bright shining images, and looked forward to them every holiday.

Fast forward to my sixteenth birthday. My mom, aunt and uncle took me to New York City.  We did the whole “tourist” thing, and I feel like I saw everything. From our waitress in Planet Hollywood telling us a story about how this guy, who plays Opera man on SNL, won’t stop calling/bugging her roommate, FAO Schwartz, The Plaza, Central Park, getting my make-up done by a make-up artists of the stars (or so she claimed), and seeing a very nervous Steven Spielberg inside Saks Fifth Avenue (with a woman trying on shoes, who was NOT Kate Capshaw).  And then: Times Square.  At the time, Calvin Klein was making it’s mark, once again, with a scantily clad model. You might remember him:

good vibrations.

picture this, but like really really big. good vibrations.

It was amazing and I was captivated by it all.

When I was in college, one of my favorite classes talked about the history of advertising.   It’s origin, the greats, the icons, the moment makers. I loved every bit of it.  I didn’t know what I loved most about it, so I made a point to have an internship in every angle of it. Television, radio, newspaper, media buying, creative, etc. I majored in it. I LOVED it. This will add a little more merit to the reference I made one post back, regarding me falling asleep in the front row of a lecture, by a major agency CEO. I tried writing a letter of apology, it was ignored. Life lesson? I have no idea, but it’s probably best not to have a narcolepsy phase.

Outcome: my resume was awesome upon graduation, and I had a broad knowledge of the ins and outs of the field, but I wasn’t necessarily amazing at any one aspect of it.  Most people focus on a specific thing, well I wanted it all.  I guess it doesn’t really work that way, unless you are a savant, but I have never stopped loving it.

a personal favorite.

a personal favorite.

When I lived in Chicago, one of the most memorable moments of that time was in an elevator. I was in a building in River North, heading to a top floor for a meeting.  The elevator stopped on a floor. The door opened and I saw this:

don't bunt. aim out of the ball park. aim for the company of immortals. -d.o.

don’t bunt. aim out of the ball park. aim for the company of immortals. -d.o.

Tears started streaming down my face like a girl at a One Direction concert. It was not only bad timing, as I was on my way to a meeting, but it was unexpected. Quit crying like a baby, Katie! I had the same experience upon looking at the Leo Burnett building for the first time. I can honestly say that aside from the view in my apartment on Lake Shore Drive, the thing I loved most about Chicago was the cluster of amazing advertising icons who graced it’s streets throughout history.

As of today, I have been in the “marketing” field for over 15 years. Yes, I count the time spent in college because I was working my ass off! I still love it. It’s certainly changed, and I can’t say the greats of today have hit the mark with every ad, I can say that the people making it should know there is a girl in Maine always appreciating the people who founded it for us to love.

hanging in my office, right now.

hanging in my office, right now.

A common question people ask is “if you could have (fill in the activity- drink, dinner, etc) with one person, living or dead, who would it be?”  Well, I think you know my answer: Leo, of course.

October 21, 1891 – June 7, 1971. American advertising executive who created the Jolly Green Giant, the Marlboro Man, Toucan Sam, Charlie the Tuna, Morris the Cat, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the 7up "Spot", and Tony the Tiger.

October 21, 1891 – June 7, 1971. American advertising executive who created the Jolly Green Giant, the Marlboro Man, Toucan Sam, Charlie the Tuna, Morris the Cat, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the 7up “Spot”, and Tony the Tiger.

I might have to bring some tissues though, for he doesn’t strike me as the type who appreciates a good cry.

 

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snooze.

if only it were this easy.

if only it were this easy.

I have never been a great sleeper.  Even when blessed with mono through high school and into college, I wasn’t a great sleeper.  If I nap, I wake up groggy- and can’t seem to get out of the dazed state.  If I am woken suddenly, then I am in a horrible mood (and might just let you know how much noise you are making through the old fashion way of yelling at you). I’m a light sleeper, so if even the smallest noise should grace my ears- I’m up.  When I wake up, I can NEVER fall back asleep right away, unless medicated. In college, I had a phase where I would fall asleep anytime and anywhere- this includes the following places: while in the front row of a lecture of a CEO from a major NYC ad agency, while studying in the library, during class, sitting straight up (while watching a movie), come to think of it- I fell asleep during every movie I ever tried to watch back then.

Funny story: The first time I saw Braveheart, my college friend Brandon was CONVINCED I was going to watch a movie, without falling asleep.  I was sitting on the floor and he was in his bed, an arms reach away.  Every time I would start to doze off, he would WHACK the top of my head and yell “WAKE UP, SCHMIDT!” Abusive? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely.  End result?  I have seen Braveheart. Thanks, Brandon.

it's all for nothing if you don't have freedom, err, and sleep.

it’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom, err, and sleep.

I think too much, so my mind is never at rest.  I referenced my picky sleeping needs a while back, but needing the perfect comfort is only half my problem to a perfect sleep. Trust me, as annoying as it is to read this (I realize I sound high maintenance), it is more annoying to live through and experience personally.  I need the steady sound of my fan (even in sub zero temps outside), the perfect amount of blankets and my pillow just right: soft, but not flat, cold,  not rough to the touch and cushioned the back of my head into a perfect cup.  Good God, who the hell do I think I am?  It’s frustrating! 

Side note: before all you health nuts go crazy and judge my lifestyle (as I realize that affects sleep), know that I work out almost every day, do not drink coffee, and eat right (by whatever standards “eating right” are these days: no red meat, gluten free, organic, etc). I don’t eat sweets because I gave them up for lent (and slept this way even before giving them up), I haven’t been drinking since Brad gave up alcohol for lent (Okay, I have had some wine a couple of times, but a glass here and there does not make me an abuser of the stuff), and I go to bed reasonably early (8-9pm nightly). It’s probably stress related.  I digress.

Well, I have a new observation/frustration that I thought I would address: the snooze button. We’re all guilty of abusing it. We set our alarms for that perfect time, with our list of what we must accomplish in order to begin the day. However, come morning: birds chirping (don’t even get me started on nature sounds), cue soft music, and then it happens: the ALARM. Immediate response: snooze. You rest and relax as you realize you have more time to sleep, like finding a $20 in your ski parka, then just as your eyes shut again, ALARM. This process goes on and on for the next half-hour or so, completely debunking your original “get up and at ‘em” plan from the previous evening. So I ask this: why not just set the alarm for when you know you will get up?  Why put yourself through the pain of the ups and downs of the snooze, alarm, snooze, alarm cycle?  The whole thing seems like torture to me. Then again, we are human and drama is in our nature.

I’m not going to name names, but a certain someone did it for a whole hour this morning. If he were not so damn cute, and if I wasn’t happy about the fact that he was staying in bed longer, I would have complained- or even yelled.

worst invention, indeed.

worst invention, indeed.

End result: an hour lost of sleep, is an hour of snuggling gained.  Either way, I’m smiling.

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leukemia happens. #LynchStrong

December 26th, my cousin (technically would be my second-cousin, but I say simply “cousin” because we are close in age) was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. They told him he had the flu or a virus…a couple moments later he was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess, in Boston, to immediately start chemotherapy.  Can you imagine being a recent graduate of college, just starting your life, and then being told you have cancer? I can’t even imagine, but I know I would not be half as strong as he is.  It’s amazing how strong he is, and how much support he has through this difficult time.  By the way, his name is Chris.

chris lynch, age 24.

chris lynch, age 24.

When visiting the family (my mom’s side) in Milton, MA recently, I learned that Chris went 36 days without fresh air during his first hospital stint. 36 days without being able to open the window, go outside, feel the breeze, etc.  Just listening to the process, timeline and everything he has had to go through to date (he starts yet ANOTHER (4th) round of chemo tomorrow) has put many things into perspective.  If he has a fever, they admit him for a whole week.  Even if the temp goes down, while in the office, in those first few moments of the doctor visit: one week admitted.  No questions about it- you have a fever, you have a new address and hospital food for a whole week. He next has a bone marrow transplant to power through (hospital visit length: 2 months), and then hopefully it will all be done.

Little aside: Because this happened right during the holidays, Chris was unable to really celebrate.  He was very sick Christmas Day and in the hospital directly following.  Anyway, when I walked into their house last weekend, I noticed the Christmas tree was still up. Apparently, they are keeping it up until this is all over. All I know is there are many people who cannot wait for that tree to come down.

Anyway, I am trying to raise some money for his family. There are like 8 of them who visit the hospital daily. Parking costs, at $10-$15 a pop, food, and other incidentals have been adding up.  Although they have amazing insurance, Chris is unable to work and the others are constantly taking time off work to be with him. It adds up.  I created one of those fundraising pages to help: #LynchStrong.  I made it a hash-tagged name so that people can share it easily (hint hint, if you are reading this, SHARE IT!). His parents set up The Friends of Chris Lynch Facebook page for updates.  Check them out, if you have a moment.  Also, a friend of the family, and Chris’s Godmother (Nina), has been selling “We are Lynch Strong” t shirts to raise money. I thought I would share some pictures of his friends wearing them: (let me know if you’d like one!)

more friends of chris!

friends of chris

nina (the God mother) and her husband

nina (the Godmother) and her husband

friend annie o'rielly

friend annie o’rielly

the giles family

the giles family

chris's older brother, michael.

chris’s older brother, michael.

yep, we bought some too!

yep, we bought a couple too!

Hopefully, the end of this nightmare will be soon and we can all relax on a beach somewhere.  I’ll bring the margaritas, and no Christmas trees allowed! :)

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ho ho ho: the movie edition.

Allo my lovelies! Right now I wish I was home, watching some Hugh Grant infested British holiday movie. Actually, any holiday movie works for me, but I thought it would be fun to share my personal favorites!  Since I am a romantic mush, and could go on for pages, I will keep it to 10.

Side note: Most people will give you the classics like, “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “White Christmas,” but I am nothing, if not honest.  I’d like to love those movies as much as some, but I just don’t.  Don’t judge- I know some of you watch the WHOLE “A Christmas Story” marathon! And that is nothing to brag about! 

1. The Holiday.  I just love this one. I don’t know if it’s the traveling, the cast or the music, but it all just works- kismet.  The writing on this one amazes me, and the characters are so relate-able to every woman who has gone through a break-up and then got the pleasure of a healthy, loving new relationship. I could watch this movie during a snowstorm, every time. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you add it to the top of your list.

holidays are about falling in love, i certainly agree with my 2 year anniversary coming up on 12/23!

holidays are about falling in love. i certainly agree with my 2 year anniversary coming up on 12/23!

2. Love, Actually. Aside from a woman in my office who doesn’t watch movies, I don’t know a person who has seen this movie who doesn’t love it. It’s wonderful. So many fun story lines, so many truths, so much fun awkwardness. I feel like the truth and awkwardness makes this movie what it is. Love, actually is all around.  (watch) Cue Cards Scene, Andrew Lincoln

3. Bridget Jones Diary. I could watch Bridget every day. She’s wonderful in her imperfections.  A close friend of mine, Laura, and I have a deep relationship with this movie and will often quote lines, short of something else to say.  The usual “Ahh, Perpetua” is a favorite.  I think a common theme in my first three favorites is relate-ability.  Needless to say I love Bridget, just the way she is. Oh! And i just found this post from 2011 that Laura helped me construct about movie lines (some touching movies I mention here). 

4. Elf. Elf is silly and funny and lovely.

5. The Family Man. I love this movie. Nicholas Cage usually creeps me out, but in this one- he rocks it. Ever wonder what your life would have been like if you didn’t get on that plane, go to that school, make that move, etc? This paints a picture of “what if” that makes you think about what’s really important. There are some funny one-liners, but mostly this movie is full of great life lessons that I certainly appreciate. “I choose us.”

6. You’ve Got Mail. I’m a sucker for a good romantic comedy (obviously). This is a light-hearted, funny, sweet, romantic, typical Hollywood movie that I love.  Funny, when this came out, the words “you’ve got mail” was so new! Now it’s archaic. Still, although the plot is predictable, its very enjoyable.

7. Just Friends. In the days before we realized that Ryan Reynolds had one movie personality (that probably mimics his own), this was unique.  I laugh a lot in this movie: from the creepiness of Chris Klein, to Anna Faris knocking it out of the park, per usual. Favorite scene is when Ryan’s character is looking for his ice skates and comes across his snow globe collection.  Next time you watch it, pay attention to that scene; it’s funny and subtle.

8. While You Were Sleeping. It’s hard to imagine Bill Pullman (well, for me anyways) as anything other than Loan Star, but he works the leading man in this flick. Sandra Bullock is great. I love her. It’s a feel good movie about family, which is something I will always appreciate.  They come in all shapes and sizes!

9. Home Alone (1 and 2). Self explanatory. I like that he knew who he was, had wit and the best advice ever. Favorite scene:

Bird Lady: The man I loved fell out of love with me. That broke my heart. When the chance to be loved came along again, I ran away from it. I stopped trusting people.

Kevin McCallister: No offense, but that seems like sort of a dumb thing to do.

Bird Lady: I was afraid of getting my heart broken again. Sometimes you can trust a person, and then, when things are down, they forget about you.

Kevin McCallister: Maybe they’re just too busy. Maybe they don’t forget about you, but they forget to remember you. People don’t mean to forget. My grandfather says if my head wasn’t screwed on, I’d leave it on the school bus.

Bird Lady: I’m just afraid if I do trust someone, I’ll get my heart broken.

Kevin McCallister: I understand. I had a nice pair of rollerblades. I was afraid to wreck them, so I kept them in a box. Do you know what happened? I outgrew them. I never wore them outside. Only in my room a few times.

Bird Lady: A person’s heart and feelings are very different than skates.

Kevin McCallister: They’re kind of the same thing. If you won’t use your heart, who cares if it gets broken? If you just keep it to yourself, maybe it’ll be like my rollerblades. When you do decide to try it, it won’t be any good. You should take a chance. Got nothing to lose.

Bird Lady: Little truth in there somewhere.

Kevin McCallister: I think so. Your heart might still be broken, but it isn’t gone. If it was gone, you wouldn’t be so nice.

10. Babes in Toyland. This movie I watched a a child. My father loved Laurel and Hardy movies, and this is the one I remember most.  Barnaby scared the bejesus out of me, but Dee and Dum won in the end! I haven’t seen it in years, so I might seek it out this holiday season.

I’d love to know your favorites!  Merry Christmas!

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halloween candy.

bring it on.

bring it on.

Okay, it’s official- I’m totally drinking the fall Kool-Aid.  All this fall talk got me thinking about other things I loved as a kid during this time of year.  Let’s stick to really, really important topics for this post: Halloween and the candy situation.

I don’t care who you are or where you grew up; Halloween for kids is a big deal. Candy is an even bigger deal.  Candy is awesome all the time, but when you are a kid- it’s like currency.  Halloween was like the festival of awesomeness when I was a kid.

Side note: Halloween was NOT the festival of awesomeness in the third grade. My first pet, Blanche, died while I was trick-or-treating with my friends. (Courtney, if you read this, there is no need to comment on the details of this event) I digress…

ANYWAY- I remember it clear as day: I would dress up as whatever princess, Cabbage Patch Kid, cat or bunny that I decided upon for the moment. Pillow case in hand. Dad on site with his pick-up truck (we would ride from street to street in the bed of it). Friends in place….and we were off, a-candy-hunting-we-would-go!

The difference in candy houses are easy to describe:

Type 1: Typical lollipop basket, Whoppers, M&Ms, Tootsie-Rolls, Smartees, Nestle Crunch bars, Starburst and Skittles are your usual give-a-ways. We appreciate you because you add to the collection, but you are not my favorite house.

Type 2: The jerks or the house that usually gets the “seriously? come on!” response. You know what’s there- raisins, Good-N-Plenty, apples, popcorn balls, mini toothbrushes and toothpaste and Raisinettes are in your basket. We typically are warned of your presence on the block and avoid you at all costs.  Then, through a strong use of WOM we carry-on the message. You do not deserve to have your light on.  Traitors.

Type 3: The trusting house. Sure…leave your basket of goodies on the porch with a note that says “please take only one.” We’ll listen.  Actually, this one is funny. A colleague of mine was speaking how his father was so patient, that he would dress up as a scarecrow and actually sit on the porch with said sign, holding the bowl of candy. As the kids would dare take more than one he would warn them of the rules, thus scaring the shit out of the dishonest child. Cruel, but fully as hell.

Type 4: The COOL house. You have Reese’s, Twix, Milk Duds and Snickers. We love you.

Type 5: The rich house. You have full size candy bars. Can we live with you year round?

*NEW* updated 10/14 Type 6: The haunted yard! I can’t believe I forgot about this little gem of a family. I KNOW you remember this house.  This family went above and beyond the call of duty by creating an experience before you receive your treats! Fake grave stones, skeletons, creepy themed music, spider webs, etc. As a kid this house scares the ever loving shit out of you, but as you grow, you see that it’s not so bad.  What is bad at every age? The person who jumps out and yells “BOO!” before you get to the house. This house better always have Reese’s.

Am I missing any?

When I would get home with my friends, we would sit in my basement (it was the TV room), turn on whatever scary movie (I don’t know why Elvira is popping into my head, but she is) was on TV and then go for it.

i recall this lady introducing every scary movie of my youth. so wrong.

i recall this lady introducing every scary movie of my youth. so wrong.

Business time: Candy was now emptied on the ground for organization, inventory and trade.  I took this so seriously. Reese’s and Snickers obviously got the most stock value, along with the full size (that usually were not in the pot for trade, as that was like gold), then down from there- the items from the bad house (if I partook) were usually tossed aside and then eventually thrown away, if not pawned off on my father.  I remember my parents would pretend they were looking for razor blades or poison, which usually just meant they wanted some and, as a parental rule, didn’t have to ask first. 

Last year was the first time I lived in a neighborhood (vs. a city) and was able to pass out candy.  I was so excited, but honestly, kinda nervous.  Would I do it right? Thankfully, Brad guided me through this process, and it went off brilliantly.  What would I do without him?  Actually, let’s be honest, being a skilled ex-trick-or-treater, I probably would have handled it just fine, but it was more fun with him. Then again, what isn’t?  :)

happy friday!

happy friday!

 

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time travel thursday.

Okay, so I don’t have an ongoing theme for any particular day of the week, but the title seemed to fit what I wanted to write about, so I am sticking with it. Work with me on this one. Welcome to #timetravelthursday.

I work about an hour from where I live in Maine. I drive everyday up I-95, passing nothing, but trees, for most of the journey. Well, as luck would have it, it’s fall in New England. I don’t know that I remember paying attention as much as I do now, but damn; I have never seen such natural vivid colors in all my life. The trees are the brightest reds, oranges and yellows I can remember.  I tried taking a picture, but my iPhone didn’t do it justice, so I used Google for this post. Anyway (I’ll get to the point)- all these leaves reminded me of something from my youth: field trip day.

now imagine a highway straight up the middle.

now imagine a highway straight up the middle.

Close your eyes and remember this with me, as it was an awesome trip down memory lane this morning. You remember those days: It’s back to school. You have new clothes, new school supplies, new shoes, new haircut, and that feeling of “it’s a whole new year” ambition. Can’t you smell fall in the air? I realize some people had different experiences of this, but this was mine. 

my mother use to sing to me "school days, school days, deal oh golden rule days..." to get me out of bed in the morning. best alarm clock i've ever known to date.

my mother use to sing to me “school days, school days, dear oh golden rule days…” to get me out of bed in the morning. best alarm clock i’ve ever known to date.

Well, having been raised in New Hampshire, fall is something we NHites have come to look forward to, as do the school districts. Whether it’s apple picking, visiting a local farm, or going for some sort of a nature hike up the White Mountains- we visited it at some point.

Remember? Your mom packs you a lunch. You’re excited to be able to bring a brown paper bag lunch vs. eating the gruel in the cafe. Mine was usually PB&J  (that will end up smooshed), an apple, Fritos in a little plastic baggie (not the cool ones with the zip-lock, the ones that you tuck into itself that usually opens), chicken noodle soup in a thermos (whatever happened to those?) that would stay warm all day, and a Twix bar.  Side note: I often forget how much I love Twix until I see them. I remember when peanut butter Twix came out it was a revelation, but then a super problem because I could never decide which one I wanted more- and I wasn’t allowed to have both! Oh, how I LOVED Twix.

i still can't decide to this day!

i still can’t decide to this day!

Once you’re at school- you don’t have to actually go in school, which was awesome.  School buses would be lined up out front. There was usually a list telling you which bus you would be on- which would be your group for the day. In this group you would either be without your friends, or with them in an odd number. The odd number is important to remember because it would mean that someone would be without a “buddy” or someone to sit with on the bus. On top of that- WHERE you sat on the bus was just as important as who was next to you. I look back now and recall the sheer panic I would feel, as I was looking for my best friend and a seat in the back of the bus. I guess it helped strengthen my independence, but GOSH did it suck at the time.  I could talk about as I got older, when boys and bullies were a factor, but I will keep it innocent.

i'm thankful we didn't have social media.

i’m thankful we didn’t have social media. could you imagine how much worse this experience would have been for us?

the feeling of relief when you find a place to sit.

Once you were on the bus your journey began. Sometimes there were parents on board, but mostly it was just your teachers and the bus driver. A half hour drive felt like a lifetime- and it didn’t really matter where you were going, the excitement of going somewhere was enough to make a little girl smile.

Do you miss those days of new and unknown? What was your favorite field trip?

 

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tidesmarticles

My agency created a new blog called TideSmarticles. It’s a play on words with the company name + articles.  Get it? We like it.  Anyway, I wrote one of our first posts and I thought I would share. Mild brag: I not only won this business for the agency, but I was the account lead on the event I am about to describe! We have a full schedule of events for many of their labels for 2014, but this first event for The Seeker Wines was the kickoff to a beautiful relationship.

How Experiential Marketing Made A Simple Tasting Event An Event They’d Never Forget

Recently EMG3 was posed with the task of assisting our new client, The Seeker Wines of Kobrand Corporation, with an event they were previously scheduled to attend: The Aspen Food and Wine Festival.

Seeker Food Wine Marketing

Usually what happens at events of this nature: The participating brands will set up a table, within a tent.  Attendees of the event will stand in a line to sample a taste, then move on to the next. Done and done.

The Seeker Wines wanted to increase their presence within the event, aside from the tasting table.  Their goal was to build brand recognition, but potentially grow their customer base within the small Colorado city- and overall make the most of the weekend marketing dollars.  Larger advertising options were presented, such as branding the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain, but didn’t seem like a fit for the desired goal.  EMG3 was eager to the task.

Seeker Food Wine MarketingOur solution: hire a team of brand ambassadors to spread the fun and worldly experience of The Seeker Wines all over the city outside of the event.  The Seeker Wines have done an amazing job of building their brand’s identity with Steampunk décor, so we used this to our advantage within the costuming and event set elements. The “Seekers” saturated the market place with sweepstakes contest entries and free glasses of wine. Word of mouth spread quickly about the “Seekers” and soon they were the talk of the town, with increased popularity and brand recognition.  The “experience” also increased the distribution of the brand in many local establishments.

Overall the experience was one Aspen, the patrons, and The Seeker Wines would never forget!  (See for yourself) The Seeker Aspen (video)

How could your brand increase its presence and brand recognition with an experience?

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it’s about that time of year, and i can’t stop smiling.

the carolinas.

the carolinas.

I don’t want to jinx my college football team, as I believe every major sports media outlet might have already, but I am a day away from kicking off college football season. I am also a day away from my family vacation to Sanibel Island.  I feel like my head is about to explode with too much stimulation, but I’ll take it.

The hype: The Freak

The reality: South Carolina Football 2013

I have actually been reading the “match-up” reviews, and looks like North Carolina is expected to upset the people of William Brice Stadium tomorrow evening. I don’t know what I think will happen. Although, I am not happy that Shaw keeps hurting himself.  Brad likes Thomson better, but I don’t know if either will lead the offense like they need to, in order to pull off the win. I miss the days of Lattimore, Garcia, Jeffrey, Sanders, Gilmore, and Ingram. Gosh they were fun to watch together (even more fun when Clowney entered the scene).  All eyes look to Clowney, but is he enough? Let’s hope! Let’s hope this young team pulls it together and has the confidence to understand what a great ball club and coach they have the privilege of representing. Oh, and a win would be really cool, too.

My blood bleeds Garnet & Black- and I seriously feel bad for the people who will be on my flight tomorrow.  Oh- did I forget to mention that I will be watching the first hour of this from 30,000 feet?

my sports bar of the friendly skies.

my five points of the friendly skies.

I have downloaded the necessary iPhone app in order to guarantee my front row seat. I have pre-ordered my 24 hour Delta WiFi pass. I have even emailed Delta- at the small chance I get a newer plane with a real TV in the seat.  I’m not taking any chances on missing this game.  Our layover is in Atlanta.  Don’t worry- I have already mapped out the closest restaurant to our gate. I just hope the other people on my flight don’t mind that I channel Carl Lewis on exiting the plane. It’s not personal, it’s Carolina football.

“We Hail Thee Carolina”

We hail thee, Carolina, and sing thy high praise
With loyal devotion, remembering the days
When proudly we sought thee, thy children to be:
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Since pilgrims of learning, we entered thy walls
And found dearest comrades in thy classic halls
We’ve honored and loved thee as sons faithfully;
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Generations of sons have rejoiced to proclaim
Thy watchword of service, thy beauty and fame;
For ages to come shall their rallying cry be:
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Fair shrine of high honor and truth, thou shalt still
Blaze forth as a beacon, thy mission fulfill,
And crowned by all hearts in a new jubilee:
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Once the game has concluded, we will be on a much needed and deserved vacation for the Labor Day weekend. There will be shelling, laughs, gator hunting, relaxing, reading and sun. Nothing else matters for the next 5 days.

It’s hard to say which one I am looking forward to more, but it’s safe to say- as much as I love my Gamecocks, I can’t wait to spend some quality time with the boys on a beach.  Sorry, Sir Big Spur.

my beautiful little pissed off chicken.

my beautiful little pissed off chicken.

Now, just don’t break my heart tomorrow night. :)

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family.

“fam·i·ly /ˈfam(ə)lē/ Noun. A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.”

Family is a funny thing, isn’t it? This post might be a little bit touchy, but I never write anything touchy, so why not? I think in terms of traditional family, especially from the era, which I was accustomed, you think of a family as the mother, father and kids. Maybe a dog or cat- even a fish. Who defines family? I know what I have seen, what I believe, and what I have experienced. I’ll share.

I have seen families where there was the single mother, who refused to remarry after a divorce, who seemed to marry the life of her kids (no matter how involved she wanted to be). She controlled the “family” with use of her (tons of inherited) money, guilt and good old-fashioned yelling and judgment. I know she made fun of me on a regular occurrence, but I also understood she couldn’t help herself. Being that lonely must suck. It’s certainly been one of the more entertaining family situations I have seen: The brother who can do no wrong, the other brother who can do no right and the spoiled princess sister who sits on a pedestal. I won’t mention the odd Oedipal instances, but they were present. CREEPY AS HELL AT TIMES, but present nonetheless.

Side note: If only the mother knew how much I know. Oh, and I don’t understand why she used to follow my Twitter feed and mock me, but I know about that too- and you really have to be bored to look at my Twitter feed. I mock my own Twitter feed! It’s social media, not rocket science! I digress.

I have seen the perfect family. Wife, husband and years of faithful and loving marital bliss. Three successful happy daughters, one of who happens to be my best friend, who now have grown into healthy adults with amazing families of their own. I love this family and wish everyone had the luck, love and happiness they do.

I have seen family with a famous relative(s). The family who has coped (or not coped, rather) with loss. The stage family. The active family. The poor family. The military family. The family with a parent who is a drunk (or smoked something that didn’t smell quite right, but being I was a little girl- I didn’t know it probably was an illegal plant). The family that yelled and fought. The super happy and fun family that always had the cool stuff to play with. The super-rich family. The divorced family. The non-traditional family. The southern family. You name it, and I have probably seen it. Regardless of the situation, it will never compare to the strangeness I have encountered, and the resolution that came out of it.

My sister passed away 4 years ago. It was something out of our control (she had addiction issues, which led to her murder in New Orleans. I am the only one in the family who is honest about it and has no problem talking about it, as it is the truth), but the thing I have always found funny is that since it happened- no one in my family talks about it, her life, or anything relating to her. I mean that seriously. Unless someone is crying about it, there is nothing. I bring up a “fun” time, like our pillow fight tournaments (which were epic and I think I won, once), etc and it is dropped as “too hurtful of a topic.” I don’t get it. Shit, I hope I don’t die! I wouldn’t ever want my memory lost with my heartbeat. Aren’t you supposed to talk about the happy times? Not to mention since she died, everyone has changed. My mom is an insane person now, who treats me like a redheaded step child (and speaking as a woman who has a history of being obsessed with pink flamingos, that is hard to beat). I have not spoken to her in almost a month and she has not called me ONCE to find out why. I find this astounding. At this point, it is pretty clear why I am not speaking to her: Family doesn’t act like this.

Members of my family blow my mind. Just to be clear, what I am about to describe isn’t just how I am treated; many people in the “family” treat everyone this way. In my opinion, (I’ll say it again) Family DOESN’T act like this! Family isn’t jealous and angry and picking fights and writing mean emails all the time. Family doesn’t cut people out for making mistakes and blaming and pointing fingers. Family doesn’t hold grudges! It’s insane the amount of drama that can be within one family. A family should TALK! The one thing I can say though: it truly is fantastic to be able to stand on the outside, looking in, and have nothing to do with any of it. I have removed myself from it all- and I have never been healthier in all my life.

Disclaimer:There are very cool members of my extended family who do not fit any of the above description, and they know who they are. To them: I love you!

The one positive change since my sister died is that I am now close with my father, who doesn’t treat anyone poorly. He is simple guy, with no demands or expectations. Jennifer (my sister’s name- and for some reason I feel like I am saying Voldermort’s name when I type it just now) was very close with my father. Because of that I never got to know him- aside from random singular visits when I lived in South Carolina, Boston and Chicago. My dad comes for breakfast almost every weekend. I make pancakes and he talks about boy things with Brad and Gunnar. He even let Brad take his Harley for a spin the other day (gasp!). Please note- THIS DOESN’T EVER HAPPEN! My father never let us walk near his toys growing up, never mind drive one! Regardless, I’m getting to know my father better and I think that is very cool.

I have some step-ish siblings, but in the 20 years that they have been in my life- they have always had their own thing going on, and I am no one to intrude. Would it be cool if we had more of a relationship? Sure. Will I fight it? Probably not.

My family is my Brad, Gunnar, Lucy (pup) and Buddy (pup). We have a beautiful home. We all get along. We don’t have fights or complain about each other. We don’t talk behind each other’s backs (although, it would be kinda funny if one of our dogs talked about us behind our backs). We make decisions as a family. When we do have an issue, we talk it out. Most of all, we love and respect each other. Coming up in 2 weeks, we have a family trip (sans pups) planned to Sanibel Island. I’m very much looking forward to it!

One last little sweet note: Brad made me a wine rack for our home! It’s made from walnut and cherry wood! It goes perfectly with out new living room furniture!

he imagined, he drew, he created.

he imagined, he drew, he created.

Someone said to me recently that Brad and Gunnar were not my family because “we are not married yet.” Well, I don’t know about you, but aside from the amazing friends I have had along the way- it’s the perfect family for me. After all, it’s mine.

 

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when in doubt: consult with laura.

Okay, so since my horrible dining experience, it has been a while since something struck my fancy enough to post about- until today.  I’ll start.

On my way to work this morning, I had an inkling that I was supposed to attend traffic court today for a speeding ticket I was given back in January of this year.  I was positive the time was 1pm, so I went to work as usual for 8:30am.  Well, that little feeling in my stomach (I guess it was more my head because that would be strange if my stomach was talking to me) told me it might be in the morning.  So while driving, I waited until the court house was open (8am) and called. I didn’t get through until about 16 minutes later.

(8:16am) me: Hi! I think I have court today, but have no idea what time it is for, do you mind checking?  My name is Katherine Schmidt.

lady who answered the phone: “Katherine Schmidt? Please hold. Yes, I see your name on the list for 8:30am.”

me: Um. I’m in Scarborough at this point (40 minutes from the courthouse) can you tell them I am running late, or like bump me to the next time? (only I would say something like that) Or does it not work like that?

lady: Doesn’t work like that. Do your best to get here.

I walked in the door at 8:45 (yes I understand I probably sped to get to traffic court on time for a speeding ticket, but it was necessary and not ironic at all).  They had not called my name yet.  phew.  I will note- to the rather large guy who made the “great timing” sarcastic comment as I was standing in the hallway- mind your own business.  I digress.

Back story: I started working in Maine while still living in NH, so the hour and a half drive was killing me.  I decided to up my MPH to 85-90 and cut the drive by 30 minutes. I had not received a speeding ticket since I was 20 years old, so it never occurred to me that it was possible.  I mean, I’m driving to work- not trying to break the law.  Well, I got one.  Then another one a week later.  SERIOUSLY?! I decided to slow down, and seek guidance from my brilliant lawyer friend in DC, who HAPPENED to work with traffic related issues.  Can’t hurt to see legal counsel, right?  Laura (my brilliant lawyer friend) proceeded to construct a letter for me to mail to the state of Maine, defending my case. What I received back in my email inbox was nothing short of Pulitzer Prize winning legal jargon!  I immediately put it on my letterhead, and with and stamp and a smile it was in the mail! Ho-ray! I would be saved from the land of increased insurance and silly points on my license!

Fast forward to today. When they called my name, I was to meet with the citing officer. I walked over and immediately remembered how nice he was when he first pulled me over.  Well, as he was reviewing the ticket I see paperwork attached to my name.  I scanned the materials in his hand- until I saw it.  The letter.  OMG.  He has it. I froze.  He was reviewing it with a huge smile on his face.  When he was complete he gives me a look and says, “What would you like me to do?”  I told him I would gladly pay the fine, as long as my record could stay clean.  He agreed (as long as I don’t speed for 6 months). Success! I immediately want to call Laura at this point and express my love for her.

So, as I am waiting to get my final paperwork, I look up.  The officer is reading the letter again off in a corner.  Smiling. I’m telling you- it was an AWESOME letter.  I mean I didn’t even understand half of it to be honest. :)

You want to see the letter, don’t you?  Okay, okay- and you’re welcome.

January 4, 2013

To the Great State of Maine:

Please accept this letter as a proclamation of my protest to the moving violation citation #XXXXXX issued to me on the morning of Friday, January 4, 2013.  Setting aside issues of appropriate calibration of the speed detection device used by the citing office, I believe the illustrious and exalted State of Maine should release me from liability associated with the alleged violation of exceeding the posted speed limit on the basis that (i) I was operating my vehicle during rush hour traffic at the rate of speed considered by leading researchers to be optimal for improved highway safety and (ii) I have no history of prior moving violations.

First, Dr. Stephen Johnson of the University of Arkansas Transportation Research Center is the nation’s leading research expert on highway safety, particularly in the area of speed differentials.  Dr. Johnson’s research indicates that the vehicle interaction rate (aka accidents) increases by 227% for every 10 miles per hour speed differential present on rural highways.  Allegedly, (again I am phrasing this in the hypothetical as I do not accept that the citing officer had a properly functioning and calibrated speed detection device) my vehicle was traveling 14 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. Considering this was during heavy rush hour traffic, I was simply operating my vehicle at the rate of speed which was the safest for the conditions at that moment and that was with the flow of traffic.  Should I have slowed the vehicle down to the rate of speed where the officers “gun” would have registered compliance with the posted rate of speed, my chances of being involved in an accident would have exceeded 227%.  Surely, the State of Maine has a history of making exceptions for law violations where common sense are safety are so obvious to reasonably minded folk that it far exceeds the impetus of the underlying law so much so that compliance with the underlying law becomes non-sensical and in fact jeopardizes our collective well-being.  For example, do we support the issuing of citations during a blizzard where the motor vehicle operator has slowed the vehicle far below the minimum speed compliance rules?  Certainly not.  The State recognizes that conditions demand safety to surmount pre-determined speed limitations which are designed to be in operation during usual conditions.  On the morning of January 4, I respectfully submit to you that I was simply operating my vehicle under conditions that any reasonable person would have deemed to be the safest which was the rate of speed with the rest of the heavy flow of traffic.

Secondarily, the State must consider my stellar driving record while operating within its boundaries.  As a frequent, if not daily, traveler of the great state for nearly seventeen years, I am immensely proud of my prior safety record, which fails to include not only any history of moving violations, but any trace of criminal activity whatsoever.  Surely, upstanding citizens with such a dedication to safety, so much so that they are willing to read and cite leading research from one of the most reputable transportation research centers in the world, should be encouraged to continue to travel on the State’s highways and not discouraged.  If I may be so bold I am, in fact, the sort of safe operator the State wishes to embrace.  Therefore, should the State wish to not outright dismiss the citation, I would suggest that we reduce the violation to a warning so that I may reflect upon this as a learning experience and we may all move forward…safely.

I would also like to note that the ticket issuing officer was very professional and kindhearted about the ticket and alerting me to the safety of the cold and its effects on the roads.  I was appreciative and, in return, I would hope the State would provide him with a properly functioning radar gun. It is a shame to have such a nice fellow be continuously wrong on how fast vehicles are traveling.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Katherine Dawn Schmidt.

My advice to anyone reading this that gets a speeding ticket: fight it with facts, wit and have an attorney (you know, if Laura is unavailable) construct it for you.  A smile won’t get you everywhere (trust me, I tried that first), but a brilliant retort just might.

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