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Ok…a collective AWWW from everyone will suffice. This is my nephew last weekend…all dressed up in his first Tony Stewart outfit (oh he has more…this is just the first one he’s grown into so far!). Yes I bought him a tony outfit in nearly every size. At least he looks good in orange! He smiles a lot even in his sleep. Actually he started giggling in his sleep before doing it awhile awake. The first time I ever heard him giggle he was sound asleep in my arms.

Also- just a note…I am going to be away from the keys today…so if you email me or leave a comment and I don’t reply…don’t worry. I will be back tomorrow.

Oh ok…since you asked. Here is another picture of my nephew:

ETS has been doing these monthly installment posts of what she’s learned over the previous month. I am totally stealing this idea from her…I don’t know if I will do this monthly but I thought I would just give this a try- see if I like it, see if you like it, see if I should do this more than just this time. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments.

So far the most important think that this year has taught me so far is how much love a baby can bring an entire family. I knew the moment I found out my brother and sister-in-law were expecting a baby that this was exciting news. I don’t think then I realized just how that excitement would turn to incredible love. That I would come home for lunch on the day he came home from the hospital just so I could hold him for the first time…and love every single second of it.

I also (re)learned babies have their own agenda and timing…and sometimes decide to take over 18 hours to be born. In addition, I (re)learned that babies can go from happy and content to screaming mad in the course of an instant when they decide that they really are hungry afterall. And diapering a baby? I learned that is just like riding a bike- it comes right back to you (complete with the ducking reflex when he sprays mid-change). It brought me back to my nanny days- which I kinda miss- almost. I then (re)learned the incredible peace there is with the world when you are sitting on the the couch with a peacefully sleeping infant on your chest, or in your lap, or in your arms.

I have learned that going to a NASCAR race live and in person, totally rocks. I have been a fan so long that I was sure that it wouldn’t be all that different. I don’t know why I was surprised since the same thing happened when my dad surprised me as a teen with tickets to see the IndyCars at Laguna Seca (before the split). I enjoyed Vegas so much so that I feel myself being pulled towards Infineon raceway in Sonoma (a mere 2 and a half hour drive one way). I can’t go…but I feel myself being pulled towards it…and am sure I will find myself there in the next year or two. I enjoyed Vegas so much that I am counting the days until the Pepsi 400.

So far this year I have learned that I need to write. It is as important to my spirit and my soul as breathing is to my body. I have been writing a lot more this year than I have in recent past years. Both in this blog and in non-blogging venues. Both fiction and non-fiction. I have also learned that even though I am a published poet….I do not like to write poetry. I find it too confining. So I branched out into fiction and creative non-fiction. Its not necessarily uncharted territory, but territory that I haven’t explored in quite awhile- so its kind of like an exciting adventure.

I have learned that even though I am still painfully shy in large groups of people I don’t know..or even medium size groups of people I don’t know, I do not have a burning desire to blend into the woodwork. There is a big part of me that likes to stand out and say THIS IS ME THIS IS WHO I AM (ok so I shamelessly stole that from Little Big Town’s Boondocks…it couldn’t fit me any better). This doesn’t mean that I am not socially awkward, I am. Very much so. But still…I like to be socially awkward my way. I have also very recently learned that it is about damn time I started learning to love myself for who I am, but that is easier said than done.

I am beginning to learn at work to stand up for myself. I have learned that there is a difference between being a “good” worker and being a pushover and that while it is a fine line, I must stand up and say NO I can’t do that, when that line is crossed, or face losing my sanity and my job satisfaction. Even it if means saying no to someone important. This has actually been a very hard lesson for me to learn (its only taken me over 10 years) because I have an intense desire to please and to be liked and saying NO isn’t usually in my vocabulary.

I have learned that I really enjoy being part of a community both online and off.

I have also learned that sometimes, someone will do something for you (like make you a bitching new banner) just because they feel like it.

I have recently learned that I tend to talk (and write) in acronyms, slang and “amyisms” that not everyone understands and I will do my best to try to stop doing that- or at the very least remember who my audience is at any given time. (By the way Bill, COT stands for “car of tomorrow” which is actually this season the “car of today”. It was the new version of the NASCAR cup cars that was introduced at specific tracks last season and this season is being used exclusively. Email me if you are really interested in the specifics).

I have learned that my beagle has a strange and fairly recent fascinating with sleeping in my laundry.

I learned that I still LOVE to take pictures and am trying to get back into it after some frustration with my foray into trying a different lense attachment on my Canon I5.

I learned that a new hairstyle really can give you a new attitude, even if it means having to get up earlier so you can flat iron all the waves out of your hair. I also learned, that I love to get compliments, whether they be on my hair, the color of my shirt, or whatever…love that…keep them coming.

I have learned that I am quite good at snapping a carseat base in and out of my car…and can do it quickly using the latches. Latches rock.

And finally I learned that ETS thought Zippy was Tony Stewart‘s dog until recently and realized I really need to stop obsessing to my non-nascar loving friends about NASCAR so much!

Ok. I know someone out there who reads this is artistic right? I mean yeah I am artistic in a “writer” and “photography” kind of way. But I am severely non-artistic when it comes to drawing. Ok so here is what I am looking for:

This is my baby, GL**, a 2008 Chevy HHR:

Who knew it was so hard to get a good picture of a silverstone (metalflake) car on a sunny day. Anyways, I want to have flames painted on the front of my car but I am having trouble articulating what exactly I want them to look like. I would love it if someone could come up with an artistic rendering of what I am looking for: light graphite flames that show off the flared front fenders of my car. I am looking for something kinda wispy. Not too “thick”. I don’t want them to reach beyond the front doors. Can you, my internet friends, help me with coming up with a drawing. I tried myself…but its too embarrassing to even post. Then I will just have to find someone to paint said flames on said car.

**A gazillion brownie points if you remember what GL stands for. (hint: Its the initials to the “name” I gave my car).

I can sum up Michigan in seven words for my Team Home Depot: Thank God for a Top Five Finish. Because we (don’t you love how I just work it in as a we…as if I am part of the team or something) finished in the top-five we actually moved up a position in the points which makes Amy stress less about being “on the bubble” for the chase.  This is not only good for Team Home Depot morale wise heading into Sonoma (a track where Stewart often does well), but good for driver Tony Stewart’s home town of Columbus, Indiana which has been mostly underwater during the flooding in the midwest. Upon returning home last weekend after Pocono, Stewart pledged that his portion of winnings from the race at Michigan would be donated to flood relief for Columbus.

I am glad to see Jr win. While I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge Jr. fan, it was a good thing to see him get that first HMS win over with. It was a huge relief as much as anything I am sure.  Not to mention it sure made my mom happy!

According to a nascar.com article posted today, drivers and owners were called into a last minute meeting before Friday’s first practice. The meeting preempting normal media events, leaving media to speculate what the gathering was about, most assuming it was about the impending multi-million dollar lawsuit against NASCAR by a former official, only to later be told by drivers that it was about quieting complaints about the COT:

Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota owned by Joe Gibbs Racing, agreed that in his view the meeting was all about quieting public criticism of the new car. “It was just about the car and I think Mike [Helton] wanted to make sure everyone is on the same page,” Hamlin said. “This is early in the building process and we don’t need to rush to conclusions that this car is junk and it’s never going to be any good — because that’s not going to be the case.’“ 

NASCAR officials however claim that the meeting wasn’t about stifling driver complaints but about fans:

“I think it’s good from time to time to remind them what we do, and that’s put on the races for the fans. The fans are the reason we’re all here.” Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications.

My thoughts are NASCAR probably DID tell the drivers to quit complaining about the COTs in public.  I don’t think that is right though. It would be like the NBA telling players not to talk about the new basketballs they were playing with or like the NFL telling players they were gonna switch to a plastic ball and they can’t talk about the difference or the problems they are having adjusting to the new ball.   However the fans are going to notice that the player are having a harder time throwing, catching, kicking or carrying the ball.  So its not like NASCAR fans aren’t going to notice drivers driving differently. It’s natural to want to talk about it and the fans want to hear about it…from their drivers. Or at least I do. I want to know:   Is the COT too hot with the extra protection added to the doors? Is the CO2 level in the cars more than it use to be? How can teams compensate for a car that has been described by some drivers not to be named “like a dump truck.”  Putting a gag order on the drivers goes against what NASCAR claimed to be trying to get back to at the beginning of the season. They were wanting to get back to the “core” fanbase. Well you aren’t going to do that by telling drivers what they can and can not talk about. It makes the drivers too “cookiecutter” if they have certain taboo topics, like the cars they are driving. Maybe NASCAR did not get the memo…but isn’t racing about cars and people? That would mean the people couldn’t talk about the cars.  Not a very bright idea.

**Shuttie is something my bff and I use. Its harsher than SSH! but less harsh that SHUT UP.

I haven’t gotten the MI-5 for the week (it seems to be missing in action so far)  but there is the Friday Fill-in:

Fill-in 76:

1. Writing a book is high up on my bucket list.
2. My favorite quote is This above all: To Thine Own Self Be True.; it’s from Shakespeare.
3. ETS inspired me to start blogging.
4. Strawberries are best when in strawberry shortcake.
5. I tend to have these crazy vivid dreams where I end up waking up more tired then when I went to bed.  I hate that. The last one I had I was in a hotel trying to find BFM because we were staying on different floors but we were suppose to meet in the lobby so we could go the race at Infineon…except the hotel was set up just like the Hilton in San Bernardino in the last dream I remember having.
6. The most enjoyable time to go for a walk is in the evening.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to pizza for dinner (I have been craving me some), tomorrow my plans include washing the HHR and Sunday, I want to watch the race (but its on really early :( !

Just out of curiousity, am I the only one that thinks that Bobby Labonte would not have re-signed with Petty Enterprises if it has not been for Boston Ventures taking majority control over the company?

Crossposted on NASCAR Bloggers Full Throttle.

Just two quick little NASCAR tidbits:

  1. Valli over at The Fast and The Fabulous is giving away three copies of the new NASCAR DVD set Full Throttle Adrenaline over at her blog. You have until July 4th to enter to win! How come no body gives me cool stuff to review and give away? Huh?
  2. If you are in New York on Wednesday and a Jimmie Johnson fan you may want to stop by Military Island in Times Square. You can try your luck at beating other competitors at the Gatorade Tiger Moonshot challenge- where in a simulator you can attempt to hit the longest drive and the male and female simulator champs of the day will have the opportunity to create their own “out of this world” vacation experience worth up to $125,000. NASCAR Driver Jimmie Johnson is set to make an appearance there as well. Event is to happen from 10:00am -7:00pm.

Also…the other day I was sorting my laundry into wash piles (you know…whites in one pile, darks in another kind of thing) and Roxy decided she would help. How? By laying on my piles:

What? You don’t like me laying in your piles?

Too bad…because these piles? They are mine. Really. Mine. Don’t even think about moving this pile.

Ahhh clothes piles make the best pillows.