Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Life as a Bama Mom

My daughter is a student at the University of Alabama. Which makes me a Bama mom.

I was ill prepared for this.

My first clue was the retirement home they built on campus. People may graduate from Bama, but they don't really ever leave. The education is top notch. The campus is absolutely gorgeous, kind of a picturesque, stately, old South thing. 

But that's not it. It's the football.

I've never been much of a football person. But you never, ever say that out loud in Tuscaloosa ("T-Town"), Alabama. If the President of the United States were to visit Nick Saban, the newspaper caption under the photo would be "Most Important Man In the Free World visited by the President." Have you ever seen the movie 300? Yeah. That's how it feels. Think of Nick Saban as Leonidas and the Alabama football team as his 300 warriors. The faithful in T-town are not just fans. They're obsessed. And they're proud of it.

So I bit the bullet last year and went with my daughter to a football game. First important point-there were no men involved in our excursion. Just me and my 19 year old girl. The obsession is gender neutral. We had to park a mile away in someone's yard (for a mere $20). At first, I was convinced it was because there were just that many people. Close, but not quite. Several blocks away, the festival started. Tents with food, shirts, purses and jewelry (all covers with the obligatory "A") were everywhere. On the quad, where the day before there had been nothing but a field of beautiful green grass, there was a mass of people with grills and tents with recliners and big screen TVs that put my living room to shame. Second important point-it's not just a game. It's an event.

Hours before the game, we're already headed for the stadium. We're in the student section and my daughter says we need to be early to get good seats. I discover we need to be early to get ANY seats. The students are already fired up, especially the guys up front wearing nothing but paint. And when Saban takes the field to wave at the crowd, escorted by two sharply dressed state troopers, the students go into an absolute frenzy. It's hero worship in a big way. Gerard Butler himself could not have gotten this reaction.

I'd seen plenty of the games on TV before. They're nothing like this. It's electric. The adrenaline and the on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement is something you have to see to believe. What a rush! No wonder they're obsessed. That's why I'm headed back this weekend to see them walk all over the Ole Miss whatever-they-ares (sorry Donna!). It's catching. It must be in the water up there.

An acquaintance of mine is an accountant. He's also the president of the area alumni association. He wears a houndstooth jacket to work more often than not. He'll probably end up in that retirement home someday.  I don't blame him. Roll Tide.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Winter Vinecki…..wow. Just wow.

Sometimes “inspired” is just not a strong enough word. For those of you who’ve never heard of her, Winter Vinecki is a thirteen-year-old power house. She was a triathlete at the astounding age of 5.  In 2008, at age nine, she founded a non-profit organization to raise funds for prostate cancer research, after her father was diagnosed and later passed from an aggressive form of it. Now, at thirteen, she is on a mission to be the youngest ever to run a full marathon on every continent, still for the purpose of raising cancer research funds for her organization.

At thirteen, this young lady has accomplished more than many people will in a lifetime. I think it’s all about goals. I’m a goal person, so that’s something I can relate to. I set many goals, and most of them, I achieve (takes longer to hit some than others, but I usually get there eventually). But my goals are a little more sedate. I had a goal to raise my child into a strong, successful young woman. I’ve done that. I had a goal to get a good education and build a solid career that I enjoy. Did that, too. Somewhere along the way, I decided to run a half marathon. I’ve done that several times. Then I set a goal to run a marathon. I hope to be able to check that one off in January.

Looking that list, yes, I do feel like I’ve accomplished a thing or two. It certainly proves that when you set your mind to something, and I mean really set your mind to it, there’s not much you can’t accomplish. This young lady is a brilliant example, except she has MUCH more vision. She chooses goals that mean something to her, and then she doesn’t let go until she’s wrestled them to the ground. I can learn from that. We all can. How refreshing it is to know that, instead of shaking our collective heads at young people today, there are some out there that can teach us a thing or two.

What an incredible tribute to her father. You go, girl.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spending the Afternoon With a Movie Star

Okay, so there are some things you just can't shrug off and say "No big deal..." Today, I spent the afternoon with a movie star. And I figured if that wasn't blog worthy, I may as well not have the thing, right?

It's no secret my passion is running. I'm also a writer. I have one full novel and one short published, another full coming out next year, another short(ish) coming out this month...another big deal, to me anyway, because it was soooo much fun to write. It's called "The Divorcees Field Guide: Surviving the Apocalyptic Break Up". Think Zombie apocalypse, except with ex husbands. My husband is a tremendously good sport, so he read it despite the unashamed male bashing. He even laughed out loud a few times. 

But I digress. My point is, other than those things, I still have a day job I don't talk about a lot because, well, it's a job. Who wants to hear about your day at work? I'm a lawyer. I'm not a trial lawyer, mainly because I don't like rules or deadlines, and judges have A LOT of both (kind of makes you wonder why I went to law school, doesn't it? Me, too.) So instead, I became an entertainment lawyer. It was something I just kind of fell into, and then discovered that I'm pretty good at it. I've spent the last 13 years working with a variety of entertainers at different levels and, all in all, it makes for a pretty good way to spend my days. 

I've met a lot of cool people over the years. I got an invite to an event earlier in the year and got to meet William Baldwin. He wouldn't know me from Adam's cat, but I at least have the picture to prove it. And then there was the phone call I got from a History Channel reality show star (I won't say who-gotta protect confidences), asking for me to help with a contract. I spent the hour after I got off the phone with him wondering how the heck he had gotten my name. 

Then there was this morning. A person I've been doing business with for a while had a guy in from Hollywood that he wanted me to meet. I looked him up on iMDB. Ohmygosh. I've seen four of his movies. Sure. I'll be right over.

I suit up (I was in my running clothes-imagine that), and head downtown. Mr. Movie Star and his father arrive, and I am instantly sold. I have always had a unique appeal to men over 70. They love me (not much use to me when I was single, I'll admit, but I guess everyone has their gifts), and Dad is a charmer. I love the man. And he's a retired lawyer, to boot. Bonus points. Mr. Movie Star has equal charisma. He has some good one liners, which I will reuse because I can always find a use for good one liners. And he has projects he is just itching to try.  His enthusiasm is infectious. He wants a plan. I like a guy that wants action, not just talk. 

So, after a two hour meeting, I was hired. I've just spent hours reviewing documents and putting together more. It's late and I'm tired. But it's not every day you get to spend the afternoon with a movie star. It's worth the overtime. If I ever get over the sheer coolness of meeting people like that, I'll let you know. Don't hold your breath.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Runners Are Slightly Insane

Admit it. You know we are. Case in point: The Color Run. From the moment I found out there was such a thing, I wanted in. The idea is that you run a 5k, and at every kilometer, they toss a different color on you. By the time you’re done, you’re covered in it. Too cool. So my daughter and I signed up for the run in Birmingham as part of a series of runs throughout the fall (Wine and Dine half marathon at Disney is next…woo hoo!).
We looked over the race materials and saw that parking was an issue (it usually is), so we made the decision to stay at a hotel in the vicinity and walk. We run half marathons, so a three mile walk to get to a three mile run shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Then along comes Hurricane Isaac. I’m on the coast, and I’m no stranger to hurricanes. As hurricanes go, this one wasn’t that bad. We got a little wet, some lost power, there was some flooding, but it was no Katrina. But the remnants floated around in the air and ended up in Birmingham on Color Run day.

We were about a half mile into the walk when the bottom dropped out. We started laughing. What’s a little rain? It’ll keep us cool. We trudged on, two and a half miles, to get to the starting line, where we stood in the rain for 45 minutes waiting to start. That was about the time that it hit me. We had driven an hour, booked a hotel, and walked three miles, in the rain, for the privilege of running an untimed 3(.1) mile run, only to walk 3 miles back to the hotel. And all of this just so that we could have colored baby powder dumped on us, which would immediately turn to sludge in the downpour. We were nuts. And I couldn’t wait to get started.

We were in the third wave, and the thunder had started rumbling by the time we made our way to the first color station. They threw it on me, but it didn’t stick, and I was seriously disappointed. From then on, I stopped at every station and had them shower me in the stuff. When we finished, we went over to the stage with our own color packets in hand, and when they gave the signal, we tossed the color in the air. The sky instantly disappeared and it got dark—we were in the middle of the crowd and there was that much of the stuff in the air (side note: it tastes awful).

By the time we walked the three miles back to our hotel, the sun was peeking out and I had blisters on both feet. I had broken my cardinal rule of running. I bought a pair of white shoes for the occasion and I had never worn them before. Between breaking in new shoes and 9 miles in soggy, squishy socks, my feet rebelled. I thought about it again when I was peeling off the soaking wet clothes. We were slightly off of our rocker.

It was worth every minute and I would do it again (well, except for the new shoes thing). The rain did wash a lot of the color off, but I still had my trophy when I was done—a white shirt totally covered in big, colored splotches. We had a blast. And if you’ve ever stood in the rain at the starting line, I bet you understand.