Eleven Years

11 Sep

I’ve always hated my own birthday parties. I think I inherited that from my mom.

See my mom grew up in a small house in a small Iowa town with five brothers and sisters, and they were always strapped for money. Her younger sister shared the same birthday week as her, so one weekend was her birthday party and the next weekend was my mom’s. They just kept up the decorations to save money.

My mom’s birthday was on a Thursday one year. She was turning 7. They decided to have the party on a Friday, November 22, 1963. JFK was killed in Dallas, Texas.

The decorations were up, but no one showed up.

Needless to say, that can scar a little 7 year old. Birthday parties are scary. People may not show up. They may not have fun. It’s a lot of drama to bring in to the picture on your own birthday.

I was one week shy of my 12th birthday when terrorists attacked our country, killing thousands.

Just as no one will forget where they were that day JFK was killed in 1963, no one will forget where they were that morning of September 11, 2001.

I was at my dad’s house. I had never heard of the word terrorist before. I had never heard of the World Trade Centers. I had never been to New York City. I was so confused. I just knew that something very, very bad had happened, and my life as an American would never be the same.

Unlike my mom, people did show up to my birthday party a few days after that on the Saturday. In lieu of gifts, I collected money for the American Red Cross. It was the best $140 check I have ever sent.

It has been eleven years since that day. I’ve moved states, twice. I graduated middle school, high school and college. Had my first kiss, first love, first heartbreak. I’ve had my first kid job, and my first real job. So much has changed since September 11, 2001.

Today I woke up in time to take the Marta and was fully planning on it.

Until I remembered it was September 11. And I didn’t want to take public transit.

Because I was scared.

The likelihood of something happening on one of the least-used public transits in one of the smaller metro cities in the U.S. is microscopic.

But I was still scared.

So I guess not much has changed.

But now that my 23rd birthday is a mere week away, I really should embrace my birthdays. Because today we all remember and celebrate those who lost their lives eleven years ago and weren’t blessed with the stress of having another birthday.



Going Through the Motions

10 Sep

Get up. Shower. Make-up. Clothes. Hair. Brush teeth. Feed Pluto. Get into car. Drive to Marta. Walk to the station. Swipe pass. Get on train. Get off train. Swipe pass. Walk to building. Go up 29 floors. Work. Go down 29 floors. Walk to station. Swipe pass. Get on train. Get off train. Walk to car. Drive home.

That’s my daily routine. Sunrise to sunset, I can say I pretty much do the same things in the same order. You might say I just go through the motions. Day by day.

I see other people at the station going through the motions. I see the same people, wearing the same outfits, getting on and off at the same stops, oftentimes in the same cart of the same train.

Marta comes. Marta leaves. North. South. East. West.

Walk in. Find a seat. Don’t make eye contact. Walk out.

The phrase “going through the motions” has been in my mind recently. In fact, quite a few people have used that term in conversations with me meaning very different things. I’ve heard it just last month with the worst news I’ve gotten in years, and the best. “I’m just going through the motions with you, Gabrielle,” they said.

When one phrase can seem so menial, but change your life so much, it’s hard not to think about it. It’s hard not to watch myself going through the motions in life.

So I stopped. I stopped living life like I was going through the motions. Yeah maybe my morning routine and Marta ride will be the same few processes over and over, but overall I’m done going through the motions. I’ve started to live life, say yes to things I’d never imagine and challenge myself to do something new each day.

I’ve never felt so incredibly blessed and alive as I do at this moment in time. I live in a beautiful apartment, have wonderful friends near and far, a supportive family and landed my dream job out of college. And this life is way too beautiful to just spend it going through the motions.

Get up. Smile. Get ready. Sing. Travel to work. Call a best friend. Work hard. Try something new. Take the Marta. Laugh. Get home. Dance. Do something different, every day. These are the motions to go through.


War Damn Marta

4 Sep

Here is some video and picture Adventures in Martaing from taking the Marta to the Clemson vs. Auburn game in the Georgia Dome on Saturday. Little words needed. Enjoy!

Also, War Eagle-ing on the Marta!

That’s all for today, folks. Win or lose, it’s great to be an Auburn tiger!



31 Aug

If you read my blog review on The Auburn Family, you know that I wasn’t an Auburn fan since birth, but my kids sure will be. SEC football is something that you can’t explain until you get down here. It is literally the blood in everyone’s veins, not just a few crazies. Tomorrow is the first game for the 2012 Auburn season and it’s in Atlanta (as if I needed any more signs from the universe telling me that I’m in the right place and city right now) and I am going to take my dear Marta, and cheer the hell out of the game from lower-level real-people seats.

I am officially an Auburn alum going to a game in my new hometown sitting with other alums. Will it be different? Can I not trash talk as much now? Can I not sing the reverse Rammer Jammer? Can I not sing the alma mater at the end of the game? I’m thinking I’m just going to go ahead and do all that stuff anyway. Why? Because I am an Auburn fan through and through, and surely my fellow alums will join me in the banter, pomp and circumstance. War Damn Eagle.

Now on to my point for this Adventures in Martaing blog post.

With all the changes going on in my life recently one thing has stayed the same: I hate Bammers ([BAM-mer] noun, an annoying person who went to the University of Alabama or is a fan of the University of Alabama see: Harvey Updike)

The mere sight of Bammers makes me sick to my stomach. The colors crimson and cream make me feel like bugs are crawling under my skin. I’m often asked, “Well, what would you do if you married a Bama grad or Bama fan?” I simply respond, “I could never love a Bammer.” A friend recently agreed with me on that point. He said he couldn’t connect with someone without sharing the love of Auburn football. This is real life, kids.

Now Bammer love does happen, as evidence of a wedding I went to last weekend. The bride grew up her whole life an Auburn fan, and went to Alabama for a boy (note: said boy is now groom, so that’s good). This rivalry was even mentioned at the wedding CEREMONY. I love the South.

So with the Bammer wedding there were Bammer fans there. They behaved themselves (probably because Auburn grads paid for the wedding, thanks Mr. & Mrs. Savage) and were actually not a bad time despite their incessant need to call me a Barner (well,if Bammers do know how to do something right, it’s party).

But not all Bammers are like that. As evidence of a recent Marta trip.

It was Tuesday and hurricane Isaac was making it rain all the way up in the ATL so on my way out the door I grabbed my rain jacket and my beautiful orange and blue Auburn umbrella.

The actual Marta ride was fine, although I was thinking maybe on a rainy day I should have opted to drive, as the technology may not be advanced enough to handle all this water.

But I safely arrived at Five Points station and started the couple-block trek to Centennial Tower. And it started to rain. So I pulled out my trustee umbrella and opened it.

That’s when the Bammer came out. “THAT IS THE UGLIEST LOOKING THING I’VE EVER SEEN!” says the homeless man beginning to follow me down the street.

I pick up my pace.


I get to a corner, and see that crossing the street is an option and quickly change directions to cross the street.


I choose, in fact, not to lay down, and instead begin a full on sprint down the last block to the tower where I work.

Thankfully, Homeless Bammer does not cross the street after me, but his yelling does not stop.

A little startled, but more dry than if I took his advice and put away the umbrella, I make my way into work. A tell two co-workers about the incident. One says, “You should have just hit him with it!” Good suggestion, but possible pending legal suit.

The other says, “You should have asked him what school he went to.”

Great suggestion. I mean, no way he could have really gone to the University of Alabama.



PS: awesome hype video: http://www.a96productions.com/2012/08/14/auburn-arise-2012-preview/

From My Heart To Your Headphones

21 Aug

Back before college, I was really into music. I would be all about new bands, I’d go to concerts big and small and even listen to Beatles vinyls on a record player my dad got me for Christmas one year.

Since going to college and away from all my friends that were in or into bands, I lost that passion for music. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it was just something that happened.

As someone who has played, felt, jammed, listened to, danced to and loved (and still loves) music, I am always amazed by the power it can bring. A song can bring up memories of a lost love, a true friend or a great night. A song can make me laugh, cry, feel empowered or just plain great. Sometimes I hear a song that makes me really wish I was still dancing. Sometimes I still dance to it anyway.

So for the last couple of days riding the Marta, I decided I would start listening to some music again. I’ve been forced to listen to the random array of music I put on my iPhone when I first got it last November (because the Marta doesn’t have phone service so I can’t use my favorite app of all time, Pandora). It’s been awkward and awesome, but overall made the ride more enjoyable, as music always does.

And it reminded me I need some new music. (Suggestions?)

So one day last week I was riding home from work completely zoned out, listening to my headphones, head leaned against the window, as many o’ Marta passenger does. Then, out of the side of my eye, I see a guitar. I look over, and see a guy and a girl maybe about my age just sitting, playing and singing. My own headphones were so loud I couldn’t hear anything, so I took them out and started hearing some real, live music.

Yeah sure say they were panhandling or whatever you want, but for those four minutes between Lindberg and Lenox I was treated to a really cool live show: a song I never heard before and a song I’ve never hear like this (Goyte’s Somebody That I Used To Know). And for those four minutes I remembered how liberating, exciting and unique music is.

And I also busted out iPhone to take some videos, because like I was going to miss out this blogging opportunity. Psh, do you KNOW me?


The “Original” Song

Goyte – Somebody That I Used To Know

Mormons, Mountain Bikes & The Marta

20 Aug

Please note: due to WordPress sucking, this is my second time writing this post tonight. So I apologize.


Growing up in the most populated Mormon city outside of Utah, I’ve seen my fair share of Mormon missionaries. You know what I’m talking about: the white short sleeved button up, the tie, the pocket protector, the works. So when Elder Christian and Elder Fuller walked into the Marta last week (they wear nametags), I knew I was about to witness a good blog post.

Why? Because they sat down DIRECTLY ACROSS from someone I’m going to call Sweet Young Man II. SYM2 had facial tattoos, piercings, was a little intimidating and had a mountain bike. These were the sideways seats. You are directly facing someone in these seats. This was about to get weird, I thought.

But it didn’t. Elder Christian asked SYM2 if he mountain biked, and then a conversation began. I was watching two people who would likely never be in the same place have a real, normal and interesting conversation. A conversation that was not awkward, forced and, to my surprise, not about religion. Someone who was blind could have thought these people were good friends.

Then when the unlikely group got off the train, they continued to talk.

Oh, the things the Marta can do.




14 Aug

Hello everyone!

I hope you have gotten the chance to see my feature on Auburn Family yesterday. Professors like Robert French reminds me how education should be taught for the real world. He is truly an amazing professor who really cares that his students are learning what they need to know to be successful. I think this Benjamin Franklin quote he likes should be the motto for all teachers: Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I learn. Thank you so much Robert, for the feature! My friends and family (and I!) loved it.

So as you may see the post of the day is called “changes” – that’s because there are a few. First you may notice I’m not counting which day it is. That’s because my 30-day pass for the Marta expired Saturday so I’m not sure if I’ll be taking the Marta every day or not so numbering them just doesn’t make sense anymore.

Second change is, I’m trying to figure out how to manage my commute now. It was pretty difficult to make the 30-day pass make sense financially. I had to pretty much take it every single work day or loose money. So when I was heading out of town on a Friday or meeting up friends after work, I would not use my Marta card (-$4.75, the daily rate if I took it 20 days roundtrip in a 30 day period) and have to pay for parking (-$3). So just the option to drive to work would cost me nearly $8, not including gas.

So now I’ve decided to just buy trips – which don’t expire and I can just take it when I want, and when I don’t it’s no worry. Actually it’s kind of a worry because it took me AN HOUR AND A HALF to get home from work yesterday when I drove. Granted, I was talking on the phone and got lost/distracted but still. That’s ridiculous.

Third change doesn’t really have to do with my commute. It’s more about my life. I think it’s finally hitting me that I’m not in college anymore and that the world in Auburn is going to go on without me. Auburn Recruitment went on fine, my sorority family found new littles, classes start again on Thursday, friends still there moved into new places, and all without a hitch, and without me. Sometimes I forget that with how much Auburn shaped my life that it will go on when I’m gone. Football games will be played in Jordan-Hare without me in it (for the first time in 4 seasons), Haley Center will get lost in without me in it, friends and relationships will be made without me in it. Auburn will go on, but so will I. I will always be thankful for what and who Auburn has given me, and am lucky to still have so much of that. And for what I’ve lost since I’ve left Auburn, I will always feel blessed and be thankful that I was lucky to have it for those four years I was there.

And that leads me to Atlanta, and my sweet, beloved Marta. Atlanta is the new place, this change-up, I have yet to discover. There are so many neighborhoods, windy streets, tree-lined neighborhoods and skyscraping buildings waiting for me to explore. This is my new home, and this is where I will start my new life.

Change is hard. Change is scary. Change is exciting. Change is inevitable. Change is the only thing that’s sure not to change.

And I’m excited. Welcome me home, Atlanta.


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