Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day

I have always been a big fan of my birthday.  Who isn't?  I've enjoyed using this day as a good excuse to try new things and often times get my friends to do it with me because, well they have to.  It's my birthday.  When I turned 18 I used it to do all the things you are only allowed to do when you are 18 - I bought a lotto ticket, cigarettes and went to an adult store.  All of these are very lack luster and honestly I can't remember the last time I played the lotto or smoked a cigarette and adult stores are more disturbing and uncomfortable than awesome - but regardless, it was cool because now 'I could.'  When I turned 19 I went sky diving.  21 - well, I'm sure you can figure out what I did to celebrate turning 21.  Let's just say the words 'jager bomb' has not left my lips since that night.  But there is one really cool thing about my birthday - it falls on a holiday.  I'm not a Christmas baby nor do I compete with costume parties for Halloween, but rather share my birthday with Mother Nature.  That's right, Earth Day is my Birthday.

Besides just telling people that fun fact, I've never done anything to celebrate this fun combo.  That is where this 30 before 30 challenge arrived from.  I have always wanted to give back a little to this beautiful earth we live on during my birthday but have never done anything about it.  It is hard to want to do a highway clean-up when my special day falls at the end of April, in Florida where the beach is always more enticing.  'Maybe next year' became my motto.  (I stole that from the Cubs.)  Well, this year was actually going to be different dang it!  This year, I am going to plant a tree as a way to say thanks for all the beauty I get to enjoy every time I step outside.

To accomplish this Logan and I made a trip to Lowes to pick out our tree.  At first I was thinking about doing a citrus tree.  I love to cook, so how neat would it be if I could just go pick fresh fruit out of my back yard?  Then I saw these beautiful gardenia trees.  I was instantly brought back to my childhood.  We had these growing on the side of the house, and I have the best memories of my mom going and cutting the gardenia flowers and putting them in bowls of water all over the house.  Spring in the Zakany home smelt awesome.  I knew I needed to plant one of my own so I can recreate that fond memory.

We picked a spot on the side of the house in front of the office window and went to work.  Here is the finished product.  Let's just hope my black thumb doesn't kill it and next spring I can look out of our office to beautiful white buds everywhere.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Passion Kiss in the rain...

As I was writing another post to my blog, I realized that I did go and cross this item off my list back when it happened in September, but I did not write about it.  Logan deserves his credit as being an amazing husband who from time to time, can be wildly romantic.  

We were traveling through Italy on our vacation back in September.  (Already romantic.)  We made our way into Cinque Terre, which is this beautiful little chain of coastal towns along the northern Italian coast.  It has beautiful views of both the mountains and the water.  When we arrived, we had just experienced one of the longest travel days of our lives.  (You can read about it in the blog I kept while in Italy.)  It was evening and it had been raining all day.  We just got done eating and were going to head back to our hotel room walking in the rain.  We were already soaked and not quite ready to head inside.  We spent the whole day trying to get there and we were not ready to call it a night yet!  

We walked along the boardwalk above the beach, taking the long way home when Logan stopped me in the middle of my sentence with a long passionate kiss.  He smiled and looked in my eyes and said, now you can cross something else off your list.  Every girl's dream is to travel to Italy with their partner, and Logan helped make that happen for me.  One of the biggest reasons why I love him so much is how he is always supportive of me and all my dreams, whether it is with my career, hobbies, or crazy vacations, he is always there by my side.  Now everyone all at once go 'aaaaaaawwwwwwweeeeeee'!

This is one of my favorite photos that I took that same night right after the rain cleared for a little while.  I loved how the beaches were completely empty and the smell of rain and ocean water mixed.  When we got back to our room we sat on the patio and enjoyed a bottle of wine while listening to the amazing sound of nothing.  Beyond the kiss, that was a night that I will never forget.  I've never felt that at peace.  

I sang a favorite song in front of a crowd of strangers.... and it wasn't pretty

There is a reason it took 29 years to get me on stage to sing karaoke.  I can't sing.  I blame my parents for this one.  I think our entire house is tone deaf.  My dad's favorite joke about me growing up was if I was singing loud in the car he would ask me what I did with all that money he gave me for singing lessons.  For a while I just ignored it and was naive to think that maybe I wasn't that bad.    Maybe I was the only one in the family that wasn't tone deaf because I knew the rest of them couldn't sing a lick.  I was in middle school chorus after all.  (What do you mean everyone was either in chorus or band regardless of talent?)  I traveled with them and did concerts.  (Everyone did Casey.)

Somehow over the years it became painfully clear how much I lacked talent.  I now mouth my words in church and unless I am in the car alone or with my husband (I stopped caring about his opinion years ago) I sing in my head.  But, it is something that is outside of my comfort zone and something everyone needs to experience at least once in their life which is how it got on my bucket list.

In an effort to avoid future humiliation from people who I might run into again, I decided to do it in a different city, a different state, late enough in the evening that everyone would be drunk enough to not remember my name.  Here I come Savannah, GA hole in the wall karaoke bar!  Its time for me to man up.

So what will I sing for this occasion?  Something popular and upbeat that people know the words to.  Something without any high notes because I can't hit them.  Something that hopefully the audience knows so well that they will sing over me and my voice will just be one in the crowd rather then the one everyone can hear.  Hotel California I thought?  I know all the words, no high notes - eh, but its too slow.  A female rock hit by someone like Pat Benatar or Joan Jett?  My voice isn't raspy enough to pull that off.  Nothing I could come up with would work.  So I knew what I would have to do.  This little white girl is going to have to rap.  Luckily there is a rap song I know all the words to.  Snoop Dogg's 90's hit 'Gin and Juice' seemed like the best option.

I drove up to Savannah - maybe played the song once or 15 times to refresh my memory on the way up and met up with my good friend John.  We headed out to the bar and had a few beers.  Are you ready?  He asked after already completing his 2nd performance.  No - not yet.  Well I signed you up anyways so here is a shot, deal with it.  I took a shot or 3 to give me a little liquid courage which helped.  I did get on stage.  What 3 shots doesn't help with is memory.  I messed up words I knew.  On review of the video which was instantly destroyed I was slightly embarrassed by my performance but at least I can say I've done it.  Maybe now that I have gotten one under my belt I will sing it again, in another remote location where no one will recognize me.  Until then, I will take my embarrassment with stride and a serious hangover and feel like I have successfully accomplished crossing another item off my list.  I am now one step closer to completing my 30 before 30 challenge.

Oh and since I will not share a video with anyone... ever... here is a photo of me in the act.  Apparently there are no good photos possible of me singing.  All look like I just got my wisdom teeth out.