Goodbye, Dear Friend.

My relationship started with Chad long before he knew it. I was in 8th grade and I had just moved to South Bend. We had science together. I sat at the middle table, facing west, and he sat at the caddy-corner table, facing east. I was smitten.

My first memory of actually talking to him was in 9th grade science class. He sat behind me and pulled my hair almost everyday and I acted like it annoyed me, when secretly I was so sad on the days he didn't pull my hair. Of course, it turns out this was one of his many charming tactics, right Julie? :)

My relationship with Chad became a close friendship shortly thereafter. Chad had a death in the family, his aunt if I remember correctly. He sat next to me at lunch and then all of a sudden he broke down. I'm not sure why he came to me, as he had so many friends, but I am glad he did; it was the start of one of the most important relationships in my life.

Not long after, my brother passed away. This time I leaned on him. From then on, we always had a special connection...a friendship bound by grief and support.

We had many fun times in high school. Some were big events- prom and the state basketball tournament. Some were smaller and more intimate.

My favorite memory: One day, when we were seniors in high school, Chad and I went to lunch. We were talking about our futures and Chad said with total sincerity, "I want to be married, have four kids, and a mini van." I laughed so hard I think I cried. Not what you expect from a teenage jock. He was completely serious though. I gave him hell for it for many years.

From such a young age, Chad knew what was important. His family was EVERYTHING to him. That never-ending Hudnall clan! I remember meeting his wife, Cathy, for the first time. We all went to Macri's together. I remember being worried I'd be jealous and wishing I had brought my significant other to counterbalance those feelings. I wasn't jealous at all. Cathy was perfect. Exactly the type of person I thought he'd end up with...well, hoped to he end up with. She was kind, smart, and clearly in love with Chad. I was so happy for both of them.

Chad and I continued to stay in touch. We didn't see each other as much, but we continued to send letters (I know, how archaic) and make calls. The letters and calls became more and more spread out, but never ceased. Our phone calls became a Russian roulette of good news and bad news:

"My mom died" (me)

"I'm getting married" (him)

"I'm getting married" (me)

"We're having a baby" (him)

"Barb (sister) died" (him)

"Twins!" (him)

"It's a girl!" (me)

"I'm getting divorced" (me)

"It's a girl!" (him)

"Tim (nephew) died"

Then... I was on vacation in Mexico and I saw three missed calls. I knew it wasn't good.

"I have cancer"

And it continued:

"Leg surgery, chemo"

"Lung surgery"

"Lung surgery"

"Arm surgery"

"My brother Dede has cancer"

"My brother Johnny has cancer"

"Clinical trial"

"One month"

As he fought this battle, we talked more and more. He was honest and frustrated about his situation. But, more than anything, he continued to talk about his love for his family. He was so proud of Cathy. He was always talking about what a great mother she is and how amazing she is professionally. And I've never known a man to be more involved and in love with his kids than Chad.

As I celebrate Chad's life and reminisce, I find so much comfort in the fact that, although his life was too short, he ended up with everything he ever wanted: a loving wife, four kids, and a mini-van (later traded in for a truck).

Chad, I love you forever and I am so grateful for all of the love and friendship you brought to my life.

I will forever keep Cathy and your kids in my thoughts and in my heart, and I promise to help keep your memory alive for them.

Goodbye, dear friend.

Our last visit. He tried to get Audrey to get in the picture, but she wouldn't. He knew how much it would mean to me. Always thinking of others.

Prom. He had just won state with his basketball team and fellow students kept coming up and asking to have their pictures taken with him. He was gracious and humble, as always.


Adventures in Online Dating

Allow me to correct myself: "Adventures in Looking at an Online Dating Site with No Intent of Dating Anyone on it."

I don't think I'd EVER meet someone in person that I met online....for many reasons, including these:

1. "I'm just a laid-back guy, who loves his kids more than anything in the world. I am honest and trustworthy." - says EVERY guy is his profile. Literally, EVERY guy. Call me skeptical.

2. "I've seen Phish 27 times." - ummmmm.

3. Screen names I've seen: Smackthatass73, Hoosierlove69, EasyGoingGuy (and a thousand versions of this).

4. Likes: exotic pets. Oh, you're THAT guy.

5. "I want a girl who takes care of herself" or "chemistry/attraction/physical intimacy is/are important to me." In other words, I want a skinny girl who will have sex with me. A lot.

6. A look I do not like: hair spiked up with tons of gel, although there is little hair, therefore head is super shiny + skin is red-tan.

7. Favorite hot spots: Chili's, Olive Garden. I am hoping this guy is trying to be funny, but I don't think so.

8. Ed Hardy t-shirt (as Seja mentioned below). At least 50% of guys are wearing these in their photos.

9. Grammar.


NSA spying- why is everyone so shocked?

So, I continue to be confused by how everyone is so shocked that the NSA has been spying on American citizens. I thought it was pretty clear back in 2001 when the Patriot Act was passed that this was exactly what they'd be doing.

So why is there a freak out now? My opinion: Back in 2001, when the Patriot Act was passed, there was so much fear because of 9/11. People were more than happy to have the government spy on them if it kept them safe (and didn't really question what that would really mean). I think most families would have loved to have an NSA agent living with them, paying their bills, raising their kids, etc. But when the culture of fear mellowed...still no anger. Out of sight, out of mind. Until the leaks, that is.


Good day!

I am having a great day. It's beautiful here in Bloomington and I am feeling witty, so here we go...things that are annoying me lately:

1. The word EPIC. Not everything can be epic. At this point, this word just needs to be redefined in the dic. Epic : a word used by a person to describe some thing or event that said person thinks is cool, but almost no one else does.

2. Selfies. Is 90% of your posted pics are selfies, you need to do some volunteer work. A lot of it.

3. People who complain about the consequences of capitalism, but support extreme capitalists... i.e. "I am tired of talking to customer service reps from India!"

4. Or, people who complain about liberals, but compliment Bloomington for its amazing quality of life. No, Jen, this isn't directed at you :).

5. The website gymnastike.com, which is apparently supposed to be pronounced "gymnastique" rather than "gymnast Ike."

6. People who don't like Parks and Rec.

7. So-and-so debuted her post pregnancy body. DEBUTED?? WTF? Of all the...

8. People who say having gay parents is detrimental to the wellbeing of children. The child abuse rate in lesbian households? ZERO!!! I wish all children were so lucky (source: http://www.nllfs.org).

Happy weekend!



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"Mommy, do I know your Mommy?"

That was Audrey's last question before bed tonight. I was so happy when she asked me. I told her that she doesn't know my mommy, which is her grandma. "I have two grandmas?" I said yes, but my mommy died so you don't see her. Here's the rest of the conversation:

A: Did she have black or blond hair?

ME: She had black hair. You get your blonde hair from Gran-E (Dan's mom).

A: What was her name?

ME: Jill. I have a picture of her.

A: Can I see?

ME: Yes. (Then I went got a picture of me and mom right before she died when I was 19; Audrey was able to recognize me. I also showed her a picture of mom and Grandpa.)

A: Grandpa!

ME: Yes, Grandpa is my daddy. And she (pointing to picture) was my mommy. GranE is Daddy's mommy.

A: Tell me more about her.

ME: She as very funny and silly, like us. She was a teacher just like Dawn and Michiru (Audrey's teachers). She was very smart and loved to read before bed every night. She loved to play cards. In fact, she taught me "Slap Jack" (which I incidentally taught Audrey about an hour before).

A: Tell me more.

ME: We liked to sit in her room and watch a funny show called "Love Connection" together. It was about a man and woman going on a date and then telling everyone about it. Sometime they fell in love and other times they couldn't stand each other. Mom and I laughed at it so much. Also, the host would also say, "We'll be back in 2-and-2" right before a commercial. (I showed her how he held up two fingers and flip flopped them.) My mom and I used to say "I'll be back in 2-and-2" all the time to each other. Sometimes she'd ask me to get her some ice tea and I'd say, "Sure, I'll be back in 2-and-2."

A. Tell me more.

ME: You know how you sometimes call for me at night? Well, I did the same thing, but when I was older (teens) and I needed her I'd go into her room and try to wake her up by whispering, "mom." I'd get slightly louder each time, but without fail, she always screamed when she woke up. I startled her. It was so funny, but also kind of scary.

A: Tell me more.

ME: She had four siblings- three sisters and one brother. All of their names start with a "J." Jill, Jane, Judy, Jaki, and Jerry.

A: All Js! That's funny!

The lights were out during the whole conversation and I was tearing up the entire time. What a moment.


Solange - I Wish I Was There

Could this be any cooler? No. It really could not.


This weekend kicks off the 2013 gymnastics season. The American Cup, also known as "Scam Cup" by gym fans, is tomorrow. It gets it's nickname b/c USAG, the governing body of gymnastics in the U.S., makes sure that an American will win...no matter what. This year, we do have two exciting new seniors, Katelyn O'hashi, who has arguably the most difficult beam routine in the world, and Simone Biles, who could easily jump over you from a stand. Who's missing? Gymnasts from Russia, Romania, and China...you know, the other world powers. Pretty sure USA will go 1-2. I do give props, however, to USAG for their much improved presence online.

Katelyn O'hashi during podium training yesterday.

Simone Biles CRAZY!!!


GoDaddy PunkAss

My take on the controversial GoDaddy Superbowl ad...

I guess people think it's controversial b/c an "ugly" dude is intimately kissing a "hot" woman. Honestly, I find it to be a little hard to watch, but I think that about most close ups of people kissing. Anyway, my feminist self can't help but point out the sexism in this ad...as if a women can't be sexy and smart. Um, ever met me???? Hahaha.

Anyway, the designer claims it's an effective ad b/c people remember, regardless of their opinion. I have to disagree. For me, and I think probably many others, the ad just served to remind me of what a punk ass Bob Parsons is. I mean, the guy hunted ELEPHANTS.

Not too long ago I needed a domain and web-hosting company. GoDaddy was the first to come up in my google search. I rolled my eyes and moved on. You should too.


TV Junkie

Has anyone else noticed that TV is really good right now? In a way it hasn't been good in a long time? Like, for many years, TV (network especially) sucked...except for HBO and Showtime. But now, I can't even keep up with all the shows I want to watch.

My current recommendations:

1. Dork comedies- Happy Endings, New Girl, and The Mindy Project are all great. Hilarious characters and lots of heart. I finally gave in New Girl, despite my weird dislike of Zooey D. I mean, I'm over her "I am so dorky, I'm cute" persona. I've reconsidered though...it's the least I can do for the star of one of my fav movies of all time, "All the Real Girls."

Happy Endings nails the making-fun-of-hipsters genre: 

2. Scandalous shows- Just finished season 1 of Revenge. Pretty good. Also, Scandal is amazing. I adore the entire cast, especially Kerry Washington. 

Impossible love:

3. Shows with the word "diaries" in their title. I am still a total sucker for the ridiculous love triangle of Elena, Damon, and Stefan on the Vampire Diaries. Also, finally watched the pilot for The Carrie Diaries. I've only seen one episode, but I was very impressed. One thing I really appreciate is that they total nail the experience of losing your mother when you're young. My only beef is that young Carrie seems so much more likable that old Carrie. 

Grieving moments lost:

4. GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! Love it, Love Lena Dunham.

You smoked crack!...

In my dreams...

Almost every night, in every dream I have, regardless of what I am doing in said dream, my character (me) is always scheduled to leave for China the next day. Any ideas??

Also, in my dreams...I want this super power (watch 'til the end). For many reasons. Not just sleep.