Friday, August 22, 2014

Mrs. Gordon No More

I experienced my first NASCAR race when I was 12 or 13 and it is a moment that I will never forget. It must have been tough for my dad trying to bond with his three daughters as we all loved Barbie, My Little Pony and anything girly. Luckily, I agreed to check out the Loudon, New Hampshire race with him one summer and became hooked immediately. The loud noises, the crazy fans and of course, the bonding time with my Pops. We started the tradition that summer of making a weekend trip out of the race, where we we would camp out behind the track with all the other crazy NASCAR fans.

Since I had never been to a race before and wasn't familiar with any drivers, my dad handed me the program and told me to pick my favorite and he would get me a t-shirt. I skimmed through the drivers and my eyes got wide as I caught my first glimpse of the young gun that year- Jeff Gordon. I was in love. That was the t-shirt I had to have considering I was convinced that I would be Mrs. Gordon one day. Ever since that moment, I have held a special place in my heart for Jeff and took my love of NASCAR to the extreme for a girl that age.

My collection of Jeff Gordon gear grew and grew over the years from model cars to sweatshirts and t-shirts to a binder full of NASCAR trading cards. And speaking of binders, I also kept a separate binder that held all the personal information about every driver on the circuit. This was way before Google and the fact that I had spreadsheets (pre-Microsoft Excel as well) full of the drivers' names, hometowns and their wives' and children's names was pretty impressive! I was a proud member of the Jeff Gordon Fan Club and even got to meet my hero one summer at the Loudon race track. I remember being so nervous when he walked in and I think I was even shaking when we snapped the picture together. And my obsession just kept blooming. For some reason, I thought it would be cool to have a pair of white boxer shorts signed by Jeff, so I sent them to the fan club to have Jeff autograph them. When I got them back, I framed those boxer shorts and hung them proudly in my bedroom. One summer, I made my mom wait in line with me for hours in the heat at Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine, just so I could meet him again. I even made my man a gift. If I remember correctly, I framed a collage that I had spent so much time on and handed it to Jeff thinking, one day that will be atop our mantle at our home in Charlotte, North Carolina. I will always be Team Gordon and even to this day, when I watch races on TV, I get all the memorable emotions rushing back. But as far as becoming Mrs. Gordon? I'll be way happier when I become Mrs. Gudino! And at least I will have the same initials...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beantown State of Mind

Enough said....Grace and I recorded this song in Boston about 5 years ago as our little remix to Jay Z and Alicia Keys' "New York State of Mind." Shout out to Jamodi for all of your help and patience with our 'amazing' singing voices! Enjoy....

Faux Cell Phone

People are funny. I was just in the elevator at work and both people standing in there next to me were glued to their cell phones. Neither of them ever looked up as we rode the elevator together or even acknowledged each other's presence. What happened to the friendly nod or hello to your fellow human beings? I admit that I have relied on my cell phone at times of boredom or when I am waiting for something just to amuse myself but it seems like people aren't personable anymore towards each other. And yes, I am one of those people that if I am traveling on a plane alone, I will put in my headphones immediately (even if they aren't connected to anything) just so I don't have to talk to the person I am stuck sitting next to. I get it. But ease up a bit on the cell phone usage people! It reminded me when I was in high school when cell phones first came out and if you had one, then you were the coolest kid ever. Even though I was pretty popular anyways, I still wanted to up my coolness with a cell phone. And in my case, it was a faux cell phone.

My brother-in-law Jon was one of those first cool people to have a cell phone and when he got an upgrade, he gave me his old one to activate and use. Well, of course I didn't have the money to activate it and use it but I still wanted it to look like I had a cell phone so I carried it around with me. It was a huge brick that didn't even work and I thought it would make me look cool? Wow! At my high school, the driveway leading in and out was about a half a mile long and when the bell rang to let students out of their last class, we would all get in our cars and wait in traffic to leave the grounds. It's similar to what I do now everyday on the 10 Freeway in LA leaving work. Anyways, sometimes the cute boy would end up being behind you in his car or while you were waiting to leave school, some of the older kids would be coming back for practice and would pass you while you were waiting in the line of cars. So, of course I had to look like I had a lot of important people to talk to that just couldn't wait until I got home, so I would hold up the brick of a cell phone and talk. Yup, I talked to myself while holding the cell phone to my ear to make it look like I was actually on it. I can't even imagine now what I would say out loud to myself while 'talking' on the phone but it should have gone something like this: "I am a big loser!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Freaking Love You, Danny Zuko!

Everyone has that one actor/actress that they are a tad bit obsessed with, right? Well, ever since I saw Saturday Night Fever, GreaseUrban Cowboy and basically anything John Travolta has been in, I have been obsessed! From his blue eyes, to his Jersey twang to that butt chin...I freaking love him!
The summer after I graduated high school (15 years ago), I got a job at Abercrombie and Fitch in Freeport, Maine where I was a cashier and an official t-shirt folder. Freeport was always busy in the summertime and most of the time I was stuck behind the register for my entire shift just pounding away on the cash register because the line at the store was never ending. One day, as I was helping someone at the register, I noticed someone familiar next to the dressing room. I don't care if he was wearing sweatpants and a hat- I knew exactly who it was! My best friend Alicia (she is still my best friend and is in my upcoming wedding) was bagging the clothes for all of the customers I was helping. I turned to her, white as a ghost and mouthed the words, "John Travolta!' Since he had a house in Maine, it was not odd that tourists and many of the outlets in Freeport often reported Travolta sightings. She looked at him, then looked back at me and shook her head. Was she in doubt of my celebrity sighting? I was determined to prove that it was John and luckily he got in my line to check out. By the time he stepped up to the register, I hadn't taken a breath for about 30 seconds and I'm pretty sure pee was streaming down my leg. Alicia gave me a kick under the counter as if to confirm that I was right in identifying him. I couldn't take it any longer. I leaned over the register and exclaimed, "I love you!" That's it. That's what I said when I was faced with my idol- "I love you?"
Alicia and John laughed and she told me to calm down. My face beet red, I asked for his autograph. He signed an Abercrombie receipt for me and to this day, I still carry it around in my wallet. And clearly he loved me back because it says so on the receipt- "Erin. Love, John Travolta."  Or is that a squiggly line? Nope, it definitely says 'love.'

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ice Cold Sparky

Lately I have been reminiscing about my childhood and remembering all the good times I had growing up and some bad times (like choking on the LifeSaver). While I was thinking about the moments my older sister Amber and I have shared in the past (some good, some bad), I thought about a traumatic moment that occurred when I was little that has scarred me for life. Again, THANKS AMBER (I still love you though).

When I was younger (not sure the exact age but it was pre-Grace) we had a Dalmatian named Sparky. And because my father was a volunteer Fireman, we occasionally got to ride on the fire trucks with him and Sparky in the local parades. It was the best, and Sparky was the best too! We couldn't let Sparky in the house though because when she was younger, she got hit by a car and the poor girl couldn't hold anything in that bladder. So, she had a runner outside in the backyard and a nice, cozy dog house that she called home. Amber and I loved going outside to play with Sparky. One year, on Christmas Eve, Amber suspiciously came in from outside like nothing was wrong and asked me to go outside and check on Sparky. Okay, I thought, I'll go play with Sparky. So, I bundled up and trekked through the snow to Sparky's dog house. When I got to the opening of the dog house, I called Sparky's name but she didn't move. Then I tugged on her runner to see if I could get her out. She wouldn't budge. Now, my memory is a little foggy because it was so long ago, but I remember Amber was either right behind me or peering outside at me through the sliding glass door- again, suspiciously. I peeked my head inside Sparky's dog house and she was curled up in a ball, dead. I was devastated and horrified because I had 'found' my poor dog and had to run inside and tell my parents. But the real story? Sparky had died the night before and Amber was the one who came out in the morning to discover her, then acted like nothing happened and made her little sister Erin ultimately discover Sparky. What a B*$#*, right? Again, I still love you though Amber...

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Life Saver Saved My Life

As I have previously explained, a lot of my childhood memories involve food. I remember eating Cabbage Patch Kids cereal at Nana's house, and Atomic Fireball candies at Grampy's house. But there was one incident that involved food, me and Grampy's house that I will never forget. I was maybe about five or six years old when I was snacking on a LifeSavers candy and playing with my older sister, Amber. Mind you, at this point in my life I was a little scared/intimidated by Amber because she used to want to punch me in the nose because it was 'big and ugly' and had previously watched me plummet down a hole in the garage during the building process while she was supposed to be watching me. I still think she may have pushed me....

Anyways, so there I was eating my LifeSavers candy at Grampy's house, most likely playing Lincoln Logs and getting bossed around by Amber, when the little bugger slipped down my throat and got lodged in there. Naturally and due to my intimidation by Amber, I didn't want to tell her because I thought she would get mad at me. And because I was very shy when I was little (I know, right? Erin, shy?) I didn't want to tell my Grampy. So I literally sat there playing Lincoln Logs, blue in the face and breathing through the tiny hole of the LifeSaver that was lodged in my throat until it finally dissolved. To this day I don't think Amber ever knew....well, she does now.