October 25, 2010

One


Now that I’ve had a day to process this whole #1 business, I have a few thoughts on the matter (shocking).

As I watched the “BCS Countdown” show last night (still not sure why we need a 45-minute show for this) and saw the top ten tick away, I’ll admit – my heart was racing a bit. When that big O popped up in the #2 slot, I actually squealed. Yes, I squealed. People, I know this ranking doesn’t mean anything right now – Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma have definitely proven that in recent weeks. It’s just different for us. The aforementioned teams have all had their time at the top, and all three of them have had national championships in this century. This week is different, because, as the Auburn family, we are in uncharted territory. We’ve never had “1” by our name in the ESPN ticker. As simply as I can state it, this is a first, and it feels good.

Bama fans, I know it sucks for you to see us on the top of that list (or any list, for that matter). BELIEVE ME. I know. But I have to tell you that no amount of negativity that you send in our direction will change how much fun we're having right now. It simply has nothing to do with you. We have a good team and a GREAT quarterback. What more can you say about it? We have beaten everyone in our path – some (if not most) in heart-pounding fashion. One way or another, we’ve come out on top every week…so far.


In a lot of ways, Auburn and Alabama fans are so similar, but there is one area where we couldn’t be more different. The Auburn family is, by and large, a group of realists – cautious optimists – even downright pessimists depending on the day. Being a generally positive and optimistic person, this outlook challenges my sensibilities, but I respect that my people tend to deal and live in reality – a very good thing when it comes to sports. We don’t make outlandish predictions before the season starts, and we don’t claim mythical national championships. That’s just not our style. And I like it. In the last 24 hours, I have heard/seen a lot of you remind us that we still have to play Alabama. Thanks for that. This will be the 64th consecutive year that our little battle has taken place, but I sure am glad you feel the need to keep that in the forefront…you know, in case anyone forgets. But let me tell you what is in the forefront of OUR minds right now – Ole Miss. Next week it will be Chattanooga. The next week it will be Georgia. We’ll get to you soon enough.

I have no idea what is going to happen in the coming weeks, but there is one thing of which I am completely sure – it won't make a bit of difference in how proud I am to be a part of the Auburn family. It isn’t a choice. I was born this way. It’s part of who I am. It doesn’t matter if we lose every game, I would still love it just as much and be just as proud to claim it as my alma mater. I would rather be an Auburn woman on our worst day than anything else on their best.

Auburn fans will enjoy this week, but we will take it for what it is – just one week. Just one ranking. The only one that really matters is the one in the end, and we are nowhere close to thinking about that yet. We’ll leave the fantasy and speculation to you, Bama. We’ve got work to do. See you in November.




May 24, 2010

Luxury

I present to you the Rolls Royce of toilets:

At first glance, it might look like your average toilet, but it isn't. I came across this little gem in the Tokyo airport on my way home from China. Look a little closer. It has an armrest, but this is no ordinary armrest.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. This thrown has a CONTROL PANEL!!
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I will admit that, although fascinated, I was quite intimidated by this complex bit of advanced technology. Allow me to break down the elements:
  • I could not muster the courage to attempt the "spray" or "bidet" functions, but I am still curious as to what the difference between these might be. The graphics suggest a varying stream, but I cannot confirm.
  • That being said, I simply could not resist testing the "Flushing Sound"! Really?! How genius is that?! Obviously meant for cases of...shall we say...stage fright, this is an option that not only benefits the individual user, but let's face it - it's a win/win for everyone. I can tell you that it does indeed sound like flushing, AND you can adjust the volume as your particular situation requires.
  • Speaking of win/win - "Powerful deodorizer"?! The adjective "powerful" alone, was enough to keep me from pushing that button. Exactly how powerful are we talking? Seeing as how I was about to board a 14 hour flight, I didn't think it wise to risk possibly smelling like a pine tree or some such fragrance for the duration. But, really, if necessary, this is another feature that obviously serves the greater good.
  • In addition to all of these options, it appears you can even control the pressure and temperature of the "spray" and/or "bidet" water, and you can warm the seat!
Luxury, indeed.
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How and why these toilets are not standard around the world - or at least in the good ol' US of A - is a matter worthy of an international investigation, in my humble opinion. I think we can all learn a lesson from the Japanese here - they are not only interested in creating a delightful individual experience (spray, bidet, warmer, etc), but they have gone above and beyond to create a more pleasant environment (flushing sound, powerful deodorizer) for all patrons. The journey to world peace is a long one, my friends, but Japan is making their contribution one stall at a time.
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Domo arigato, Japan.
Bravo to you.

March 24, 2010

All dogs go to heaven - especially THIS one.

Death is a complicated thing to handle for those who are left behind. No doubt about it. I don't know anyone that hasn't had to deal with it in one way or another. For animal lovers, losing a pet can be, and usually is, like losing a child. That is what we are going through right now...

Dude lost his precious Maddy last week, and it has been absolutely devastating. Maddy was almost 16, and she and Dude have been together since she was only a few weeks old. He adopted her in the nick of time from an animal shelter in 1994, and, since then, they have been virtually inseparable. Man's best friend, indeed. Maddy has been by Dude's side through all of the peaks and valleys along his path, and was loved, I'm convinced, more than any dog in the history of the world.

Though I didn't quite spend a whole year with Maddy, she quickly secured a place in my heart forever. She accepted Beasley and me into her family with Dude and Foster without hesitation, and was always so sweet and loving to us. As the only two girls in the pack, we bonded right away. I took her for manicures and to get her hair did (grammatical error INTENDED), and we shared a lot of girl talk. She was always an independent woman and wanted to do things for herself even when her aging body started to fail her. She was particular too. This gal knew what she liked. She's been known to jam to Smashing Pumpkins on more than one occassion, and she considered her favorite "chefs" - Miss Wendy, Miss Krystal, Kenny (Rogers), and Ronald (you know the one) - to be among her close personal friends. In fact, I think she had at least one friend in every species walking the earth, and I'm sure she is missed by each and every one of them.

If you have room in your life for a pet, particularly a dog, they teach you so much about yourself and bless your life in ways beyond what seems possible. Certainly, it's not always sunshine and roses. In fact, sometimes it's CRAP! LITERALLY. But even in those more trying moments, they are teaching us patience, tolerance, restraint, and showing us just how much we can really handle. All they want is to be loved. That's it. It's that simple. If you can give them your love, they will give you a friendship so loyal and true and will work everyday to show how much they love you in return. As heartbroken as we are when they leave us, we were even more blessed just to have had them in the first place.

Yes, death is a complicated thing...and so is love. Dude loved Maddy so incredibly much and did everything he possibly could to keep her with us as long as possible. He gave her a happy, healthy, safe, and long life that was full of love and the kind of companionship that is rare even in human relationships. Maddy had the heart of a lion and was one of the sweetest, sassiest, toughest, and bravest souls I've ever encountered. I am so thankful that Dude brought her into my life. I consider myself lucky to have known her even if for a short time and even luckier knowing I have a person in my life who is capable of loving her as much as he did and always will.

Maddy, we miss you so much every single day. I will keep the promises I made to you...the ones I whispered in your ear. Thank you for everything you taught us and for your loyalty, your friendship, and most of all your love. You will always be a part of what made us who we are together and as individuals.




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