Thursday, March 6, 2008

Do Not Let Go

I graduated from the University of West Florida in 2002. I love that school. I loved everything about my college experience. You know, when you're preparing to leave home for the first time, EVERYONE has some advice for you, much like when you begin any "major chapter" (or mayjah chaptah as Vicky Beckham would say) of your life: marriage, children, new jobs, etc. Everyone's an expert on everything, don't you know that? I was preparing to leave home (not in the packing up the car sense, but in the graduation is a month away sense) someone said something to me that I have never ever forgotten. They said, "you know, you'll make your best friends at college." Per my normal attitude, I smiled fondly, nodded my head and said, "well, I sure hope so." Did I believe it, no. Absolutely not. I knew that I would make friends, but did I think I would meet my BEST FRIENDS as an 18 year old? They were right. I did.

Did all my friends go to UWF, no. I met a lot of them at my church and work (the Gap in Cordova Mall....sigh). But the ones I did meet at school, I have never forgotten. There was one friend specifically who I had an instant connection with. We had the same humor, the same attitude, the same family background - as both sets of our parents were still married to each other. The only difference was that she was a health nut who ran cross country and I was....well, I wasn't.

Her name, at the time, was Jessica Hill. We spent some of the funniest times together at UWF. She even helped me be mean to my now wife, Sarah - that's another blog. So Jessica and I didn't really grow apart, but each of our lives seemed to get the best of us and we did less and less together. Keep in mind, we never EVER got into fights, argued or anything, well...unless we were going somewhere nicer and she dressed herself. I normally had to give my advice on her appearance, lol. So, Jessica finally graduated. Before me of course. She's very smart. I never talked to her again. I didn't know where she went, what she was doing, etc. Thankfully, I had her parents contact information and I knew I could always contact them and ask questions, provided they remembered me.

The last number I had for Jessica was an old cell number, which I continued to call and call and it always went to voicemail. At this point, I was convinced that she never wanted to speak to me again. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad, because I was. Fast forward four years and I'm still trying to locate her. Now, I assume she wasn't trying to locate me, but I can't say that for certain. I went to the UWF alumni page and confirmed that the information I had for her parents was still accurate.

Well, I did it. I called them. I got voicemail. Kinda relieved, kinda not. I really wanted to find her. So what do I do next? Google her. This is of no help at this point except that I found where she and her mom ran in a race of some sort. Next step? I found her mom's place of employment - a restaurant (another major connection we shared). I called......

Oh lord, oh lord, what am I doing? I'm calling a restaurant during my work hours and at lunch....a big no-no. Her mom actually answered......I could barely breathe. If you know me, you know that I can tend to over-explain a lot, especially when I'm nervous. I mean, I can freakin' ramble like a champ.

So here's how the conversation went:

Nena: "Hi, this is Nena."
Matthew to himself: What the crap am I doing??????
Matthew: "Hi Nena, my name is Matthew White (sounding like a sales pitch at this point) and I know you probably don't remember me, but Jessica and I went to college together in Pensacola and we came down to your house one year for spring break with Mandy and Heather and we rented a boat that broke down in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and you were going to call our parents because we were lost at sea and didn't get back until late at night on a SeaDo boat no less, but everything was ok in the end."
Nena: "Hi Matthew, of course I remember you."
Matthew surprised: "You DO?"
Nena: "Yeah."
Matthew: "Oh, ok, well....the reason I'm calling (insert sales pitch tone number two) is because I've been looking for Jessica for a really long time and I know this sounds really weird and I know you probably think I'm stalking her because perhaps she doesn't want me to find her, but I just thought that you should shed a little light on the situation and maybe tell me her contact information and maybe I could drop her an email or call her or, you know, just see how she's doing."
Nena: "Oh she's fine. She lives in Cape Coral with her husband and little girl"
Matthew mouth gaping open: "She's married with a child!!!????"
Nena: "Oh yeah, Chloe - she's beautiful."

I of course am instantly saddened because I was not part of this and was so clueless to know anything about it.....

Matthew: "wow, well that's great."
Nena: "Yeah, you know, you should call her. I know she'd love to hear from you."
Matthew to himself: "Get outta here, are you serious?"
Nena: "but there's a little catch. They're in the process of moving, so let me give you her cell and home and see where you find her. I'm actually going up there this weekend and I'll tell her you called."
Matthew: "Ok, that would be great. Thank you so much! Have a good day."
Nena: "You too!"

I was so pumped. I immediately called. This entire process has been very stalkery, don't you think? Anyway....I got voicemail and voicemail - ugh. I left a message. Called the next day. Left a message. Called the next day. Left a message. I convinced myself that I was never ever going to hear from her - EVER. I officially had written her off. I was irritated because we were such good friends. I mean, what did I do to her? I am moving on officially.

On a Tuesday, I get a phone number that looks like the same number that calls me and wants me to re-finance my home. I hate talking to these people, but I hate to be openly rude. I decided to pick up because I was going to let these people have it once and for all.

I said (in a, I'm very very busy and I can't believe your calling me in the middle of the day voice with a condescending tone) heeelllooooooooooooo. The next phrase nearly knocked me out of my chair. "Matthew White, what the hell are you doing?" I almost passed out, it was Jessica. After three weeks of contacting her with the info her mom gave me, she finally called me. Stunned and silenced, I said, "nothing" and thus a conversation happened where I was smiling so hard the back of my head hurt when I hung up.

We now have weekly conversations. Her life is busy, mine is busy, but we manage to talk every week.

I post this to tell you something very important: DO NOT LET GO OF YOUR REAL FRIENDS. These are people that you always need to have in your life. Be a bigger person and keep up. Don't let your life get the best of you where you loose these people and hopefully, you will end up marrying one of your best friends like I did!!!!!

So this is a shout out to all my very very special friends: Charlet, Ashley, Ken, Susan, Melanie, Becky, Bob, Brooke, Jessica, Yvette, Patrick and Amanda. Thanks for being what you are to me!

Monday, March 3, 2008

I Have Something Else to Say

I'll admit it.....I like celebrity gossip. I do...sue me. I get a bit of comfort from knowing that while celebs are out to dinner at NoBu, the paparazzi (known as paps in the biz) are busy annoying the crap out of them the MINUTE they walk out of the restaurant. It makes me laugh.

I love how the celebs feel so bothered by it. Can't you hear them...."omg, I'm trying to enjoy my $500 dinner and all you people do is try to exploit my life....I'm an artist for goodness sake." Here's what I say to that: "Shut up!" I have decided that no current celebrity is in the biz for the artistry. THEY'RE IN IT FOR THE MONEY. I mean, would it be as sought after a career choice if a celebs salary was $45,000? I think not. Also, don't even get me started on their ridiculous requests they have when they make an "appearance". Ugh!

Think about how much a celebrity controls. In some way, almost everything we use or consume is dictated by a celebrity. What is in-style in fashion. What cosmetic company is the best. Who makes the best, most-pure water. What car is the most luxurious. What jewelry designer is the best. Who makes the best leather handbag. Who makes the best vitamins or denture grip (sorry Florence Henderson). Sadly, way too much revolves around it.

Celebrities are so wrapped-up in their money that we've even had a new show come out about it. Oprah's Big Give. For the love of humanity Oprah....we get it, you're rich!!! You're very very rich. Do you really have to make a show about how rich you are? First of all...the African school, excuse me, the Leadership Academy. Then the show about giving away money because she's given away so much money. Also, do you ever notice how she's "friends" with all the celebs. I mean, if you really think about it, she's not THAT rich. Ok, she's rich...just not Bill Gates rich...which is sinfully rich in my opinion. I actually really love it that the richest people in the world aren't celebs. Their businessmen and women or heads of state or something that really matters.....but I digress.

Back to celebrities. Think about all the award shows, magazines, television shows and websites devoted to them. I mean, they chose to be in the industry didn't they (for the artistry remember). They should be required by law to have their photos taken and sign autographs in my opinion.

If you think about it, they're some of the most entitled people in the country, excluding democrats, of course....which most of them are anyway. And why oh why do they get all the free stuff???

Oh well....I will continue to enjoy every annoyance that comes a celebs way. If I ever go to Hollywood I am so going to go on the tour of homes and taking as many photos as possible. I actually hope to see a celeb person. I want to take a picture of what they're eating for lunch because that is soooo important. I will be the most annoying "fan" in the world. I hope to run into Jessica Alba....she's always so nice to people she doesn't know, but she's doing it for the "artistry" remember.

It boils down to us, the American people. We are the cause of celebrity. We endorse it. We watch it. It consumes our lives. We have no one to blame but us. What if, as a nation, we didn't watch any tv or see a move for an entire week. I wonder what that would do to the mighty celebs.

Artistry shmartistry!

I Promise I'm Trying.....

When I decided to have a blog, I promised myself, along with every reader I have (all both of them) that I would update as much as possible. has been a little different since Celie's arrival. I offer you my sincerest apologies.


It's official....I'm 100% paranoid. I can't get any sleep because I think that Celie is going to spontaneously stop breathing while she's sleeping. Any cry she makes, I assume she's broken an arm. What's wrong with me? It's been a really fun and amazing experience so far. Celie is so sweet.....and freaking unbelievably cute....seriously. Her skin is that of a doll...yet cuter. It's perfect in every way. Thankfully, that trait comes from her father!!! LOL. Not really. She's also an eating machine. MACHINE. Sarah almost feels bovine-esque. I guess they really need that nutrition all the time.....all eating, all the time.

Sarah's mom stayed with us the first week. She just left yesterday. It was a great help having her here. I mean, a baby is totally different than a puppy (believe it or not). A puppy, I'm completely comfortable with. A baby, makes me a little nervous. However, I think you would all be impressed at how fluidly I grab and hold her. I just try to remember that they're a lot tougher than they appear.....I mean, you can't drop her onto concrete or anything, but holding isn't going to snap her neck in half. Continue to keep us in your prayers. This is going to be one wild ride.


We have had the pleasure of having dinner brought in by so many lovely friends of ours (except for those who live in Boston, Memphis, Pensacola and Panama City Beach - which really isn't an excuse since they obviously could send us Omaha Steaks or something) for the last week. We've had everything from Pork Loin to Chicken Cordon Blue to Roasted Chicken. It's all been wonderful and so so so kind. One meal was specifically so good that I feel like I should share the recipe with you.

Chicken Cordon Blue

Chicken Breasts pounded thin
Swiss Cheese
Dijon Mustard
Bread Crumbs

Take the thinly pounded chicken season it and place a few pieces of ham on top of it. Place a piece of swiss cheese on top of that and then a dollop (what is a dollop really?) of dijon mustard. Roll the chicken up and secure it with toothpicks. Baste melted butter on the rollups and generously apply the bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 30 - 40 minutes. DELICIOUS! Thanks Amanda!!!

Alright....well.....I think this is going to be it for tonight. Nothing exciting, I know. I promise that this blog isn't going to be baby-fest 2008. I know it's just what most people want to know about right now. Don't worry, my goal is to be as flexible with my content as possible.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you try the recipe. I'll continue to post some of my go-to recipes for you.