Last year went by so fast – I can’t believe it’s already 2017. In wrapping up the previous year, these are some of my fondest memories that took place during the close of summer, fall, and winter months in 2016.
This past July celebrated five years of marriage to my hubby Chris. Our marriage has been nothing but a roller-coaster with our move from Bristol to Knoxville, adopting our youngest fur-baby Roxy, graduating with my bachelor’s and starting my master’s degree, landing a promotion at my job – just to name a few. Chris has been there to provide support and encouragement when I need it most and I couldn’t be more thankful for him.
In leui of a romantic getaway, we decided to take a trip with my younger brother to Daytona Beach, FL. Although it rained part of the trip, we were still able to enjoy some time on the beach.
Seaworld is a place I thought I would never visit, but I’m glad we did. The outdoor shows were incredible with my two favorite shows being Pets Ahoy (indoor and air-conditioned) and One Ocean (at night).
Battle at Bristol
The Battle at Bristol was the college football game of a lifetime. A record-breaking total of 156,990 fans attended the UT v. Virginia Tech football game (including me!). This was definitely the biggest gathering I have ever attended for college football. My mom and dad also attended, but had seating on the opposite side of the track from Chris and I. Yes, you heard it right… track. The Bristol Motor Speedway built a field where the pit-crew normally resides during a NASCAR race. The VOLS came out with a victory, with a final score of 45-24.
The only bummer about this wonderful experience was the post-game traffic. Chris and I jumped a golf cart during the 4th quarter that took us to our parking lot. We got there in plenty of time to beat the crowd leaving – it was perfect. BUT, did I mention we rode with my parents? My parents decided not to leave until after the game ended and walked to the parking lot instead of taking a shuttle or golf cart. No sooner did they arrive back to the car, did the gates for the parking lot close; this was to allow all the mega buses to leave first. Needless to say we were stuck waiting in the car for two hours – I hate to say it, but that ruined it for me. Would I attend Battle at Bristol again? Probably not.
Walking Dead Week
The Event Planning Crew for my team at work decided to do a Walking Dead Week this past October. They wanted to kickoff the season premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead. I right away envisioned this week as a fun, creative way to motivate my team through team engagement. Each member of my team was split up into 5 groups. The name of each team was based off of a Walking Dead character and a World Class Service behavior (these behaviors are vital for their everyday job).
Team Abraham – Ownership
Team Glenn – Educational
Team Michonne – Caring
Team Rick – Accountability
Team Daryl – Resourceful
Each team was tasked with developing an Empathy statement to match their team behavior. They were also required to work together during the zombie body parts scavenger hunt.
Decorations included the governor’s tribute table with a fish tank of heads, the wall around Alexandria, and the Bob -BQ table. The week started with each person receiving a zombie survival kit including: Orange Tablet (candy) Anti Viral, Red Tablet (candy) – Anti Infection, Rationed Water (mini water), Zombie Repair – Band Aids, and Zombie Repellant – Gummy Body Parts and the week ended with a zombified potluck – notice Negan’s bat replica! (see below).
You can’t have a Walking Dead week without including Carl. A choice of vanilla or chocolate pudding was given out during “Carl’s snack day.”
Mary J. Blige – King and Queen of Hearts Tour – Greensboro, NC
When I told Chris seeing Mary J. Blige was on my bucket list, he sure didn’t waste any time. Once he found out her tour was happening nearby, he knew what my birthday gift was going to be. If you could have only witnessed the look on my face when I opened my birthday card. I’ve been a Mary J. Blige fan since the age of 13. I remember first hearing Be Without You in the 8th grade and that was it.. I had found my new favorite artist. There was something so real and genuine about her music I couldn’t shake. I then made it my mission through high school to find all of MJB’s previously released albums.
Out of all the concerts I’ve attended, this by far was my favorite. As a fan attending her live concert, you could literally feel the pain she is experiencing from her nasty break-up through each and every song she performed. The Queen of R&B was amazing that night, no doubt.
Broadway at the Tennessee Theatre – Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
My mom’s birthday present had to wait until December, but it was worth the wait. The music and singing of this Broadway production was phenomenal! I have never been inside the Tennessee Theatre as long as I have lived in Knoxville and it was a lot more beautiful than I expected (decorated for Christmas).
The night before I attended the Christmas parade for the first time – so I definitely had an eventful weekend. We were able to stand in the center of Gay St. in downtown Knoxville where the radio announcer introduced each float as it approached. There were vendors (like at a circus) walking up and down the streets on each side with a shopping cart selling light up necklaces and various glow sticks.
And finally… 2017 – A fresh start
This semester at UT has been personally challenging and has kicked my butt so far. I’m taking on the same amount of course work as in the past, however, finding the right balance between school and my full-time job has been an uphill battle – each are equally demanding. While I’m away at class, I’m expected to be available for my job and while I’m at work, I’m expected to be focusing on my assignments. There are days I feel discouraged, but keeping a positive spin helps tremendously – summer break is close right? On the sunny side, I will be graduating (fingers-crossed) this fall with my Master’s degree! The best way to find balance in life is organization. I am going to devote some extra time to staying even more organized and hopefully will see improvement with reducing the stress of my daily workload.
With everything going on between work and school this spring semester – it’s time to take a deep breath and start fresh. Here’s to a great year and enjoying all of what 2017 has to offer.
Bye for now,