Thursday, June 29, 2006

More pictures!

I'm leaving for Memphis in 40 minutes, but first I wanted to post pictures of my trip with Dad to D.C., New York and Boston.

(LINK BROKEN, WILL NEED TO REPOST)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Val & Jeff: The Montage Video

Four months ago today I sent a message to Valerie on MySpace, setting everything since then in motion. It's been an amazing experience and I made this video for y'all and especially for my fiancee (writing that never gets old, though I need to figure out how to type the accent over the first e) using our song.



(I used Muvee.com software to put that together, by the way. Click on the image for a larger version.)

UPDATE 8:20 - Since the Red Sox are beating up on Pedro and the Mets, 8-1, I would like to point out that they have not lost since I was engaged. Not that they're related. I'm just sayin', is all. On the other hand, St. Louis won two in a row after Val said yes, then lost the last eight, so she might not be as happy about this coincidence!

Working on captions, then I'll post

A little taste of what to expect from my picture gallery from my trip with Dad:

Monday, June 26, 2006

There will be more

Since Jorge had to post a comment at gunpoint earlier, yes, Dad and I did a lot on vacation without Valerie, and I'm putting together pictures of our trips to D.C., New York PV (pre-Val) and Boston. Wait until you see the pics from Fenway!

Unfortunately, there won't be any photos from our two days at Winged Foot for the U.S. Open golf championship. No cameras allowed.

Both days for the most part we hopped on a train at Grand Central Terminal early in the morning for the half-hour trip north to Mammaroneck, sat up in the grandstand by the 18th green and relaxed under a big shade tree, enjoying watching the best golfers in the world finish with a stumble. Except Phil Mickelson, whom we saw sink a long birdie putt on 18, where three days later he'd execute the worst choke job in the history of golf.

In one group alone on Thursday, Trevor Immelman and Luke Donald both putted off the green, as the pin was placed precariously at the front on top of a huge slope.

We saw Tiger both days as well, Thursday at No. 9 and Friday at No. 18. He had a par on both, but obviously those were few and far between as he missed the cut at 12-over-par. His crowds were still the largest, and you could feel the rumble as they circled the course. Phil had the second-largest crowd, and the most vocal in support.

Save the Date

Valerie and I will be married October 28 at First Baptist Church in Millington, Tenn.

Just four more months!

Which actually seems like an eternity, seeing as how it was four months ago this Wednesday that we actually got reunited via MySpace. As you can tell, a lot can be accomplished in four months!

I hope everyone can share in our big day. The power of Val&Jeff compels you!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Our pictures

You've read about the proposal and seen many of the pictures, but now the entire collection of photos from New York with me and my fiancee Valerie (that looks so good in print) is posted on our link.

Coming up in the next couple of days I think we'll be ready to announce the official date of the wedding, and we're planning on making a website specifically for the occassion. Things are going to be moving quick (hint hint), but we're really excited.

I never knew it could be so much fun talking about wedding plans. It's thrilling to talk with Val over the phone, and when I see her on Thursday I know we'll have that much more fun going over details and thinking about married life. Decorating our home for Christmas should be incredible, and Valerie will be my first New Year's kiss ever, and next year my very first Valentine, and only one forever. Life's good.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Back in Atlanta

Two weeks off, 2,300 miles traveled, three big cities visited, and oh, yeah, an accepted marriage proposal. A thrilling and productive trip comes to an end as a long journey with Valerie begins excitedly and immediately (actually, she's way ahead of me on listing the details!).

I'll start getting pictures together right now, and hopefully I can get a travelogue put together before I head to Jackson next Thursday. (Of course.)

UPDATE 12 a.m. - More pictures from the engagement weekend at the Statue of Liberty? Let's go!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thank You

I appreciate all of the comments in my last post, the most important post I've ever made and the happiest, especially as I wrote it with my fiancee looking over my shoulder enjoying every word. Our engagement was incredible, just a perfect moment between the two of us, and I'll treasure the look on her face, always.

(By the way, Jeremy, if you'll miss my woeful Single Man posts, just wait until I start up my Mind Of An Engaged Man posts!)

I'm still on vacation, at a FedEx Kinkos on Beacon Street just a mile from Fenway Park, where Dad and I just took a tour and have seats on the Green Monster tonight. Expect all kinds of pictures of that and our visit to D.C. and New York before Valerie arrived.

First, though, I know what y'all want, and it's photos of Valerie and me from this weekend, and I can deliver.

This is the table in the alcove of the Angus McIndoe restaurant where I proposed. We went back after seeing Phantom across the street.



The lights at Time Square were nothing compared to our radiance, eh?



Even taxi rides were a highlight, getting a piece of New York to ourselves as someone else zipped us around town dangerously.



Saturday morning's carriage ride through Central Park was very nice, as you can see:



Saturday afternoon we were on the Empire State Building, letting the world know that a new perfect couple was on the scene.



Sunday morning we were obviously all smiles for brunch on the Upper West Side at a place called Sarabeth's with Dad:

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Jeff News Bulletin!

(From a FedEx Kinkos at 46th and 3rd Ave in New York City ...)

I proposed to my darling Valerie last night, and she said yes, and frankly I'm far too giddy and wanting to spend more time with her until she leaves tomorrow morning to provide details just yet, so wait another five or six days until I'm home and I'll have a write-up and pictures! Promise!

Kidding. Here's an email I sent to some family tonight:
I bought her ring last Wednesday (like, 11 days ago), and picked it
up from the jeweler the Friday before my vacation started with Dad. I
held on to that ring like the Holy Grail for over a week, waiting for
my darling Valerie to arrive this Friday at 6 p.m. at LaGuardia
Airport.

(By the way, the trip has been awesome before all this, too, and I'll
have details and lots of pictures when I get back at the end of this
week.)

Anyway, as I was saying, Valerie flew in Friday night. Saturday was
our day. Dad told us to go away and he'd do his own thing, since he
knew what I was hoping to accomplish, that being getting engaged to
the woman of my dreams.

After breakfast Val and I took a cab to Central Park and took a
40-minute, four-mile horse-drawn carriage ride. It was very nice,
comfy and we were perfect together as usual, but with all the foot
traffic, rollerbladers and gawkers at the horsies, the "moment"
wasn't right like I'd hoped, and the ring stayed in my pocket all
afternoon, even when we went to the Empire State Building next.

Speaking of, when we went through security there, I was freaking out
that the officials would make me take the ring out. One of them noted
the bulge in my pocket, but didn't say anything, thank goodness.
Phew!

By the time we got back to the hotel we had to get ready for the evening. By this time I had already picked dinner as the time to propose, but even then, the best laid plans and all that, you know.

Dinner was at 6 at Angus McIndoe, a nice restaurant directly across
the street from the Majestic Theater where Phantom was playing. We
ate on the third floor of the restaurant and enjoyed a big dinner,
but it turns out there were some noisy people all around us and the
tables were close together, so again, the "moment" wasn't right. By
this time I'm wondering if and when it's going to happen at all in
New York City. At first I thought about waiting until we got back to
the hotel and taking her up to the 26th floor where the roof is a
nice cocktail bar and a balcony overlooking the city. But then ...

It turns out we finished eating about 7:15, but the doors to the
theater weren't opened yet. We didn't feel like standing around among
the crowd and in the heat, what with us dressed nicely and all. So
instead I suggested we sit in the little alcove of the restaurant
that abuts the street, where we could sit and talk alone and watch
the theater to see when the doors opened. It turns out, this was the
best decision I ever made.

As we sat there, alone (as I wanted to be when I proposed, nothing
public, just the two of us and our special moment), we sat at a small
intimate table in the corner with a candle lit and wind blowing to
cool us off and playing with Valerie's hair and the way we kept
making googly eyes at each other, I couldn't resist any longer. It
was "the moment."

While we were talking, Valerie mentioned that she had intended to
wear some jewelry with her pretty little black dress that night, but
forgot to put it on. (She doesn't really wear jewelry, so it's
understandable.) I replied, "that's okay, there's only one piece of
jewelry that I'll be wanting you to wear in the future."

About 30 seconds later I realized that was my cue. So I told her,
"You know how I just said I wanted you to wear one piece of jewelry?
What if I told you that I've had it in my pocket the entire day?"

That's when I pulled the box out of my pocket. The look on her face
at this point was an awesome mix of surprise and excitement, and I'll
bet my smile was a mile wide. So I put the ring on the table, looked
at her, and said, "You know how I tell you that when I look into your
eyes I see all the answers, and all I have to do is ask the right
questions? There's only one question that will impact the rest of our
lives, and that is, will you marry me?"

I opened the box, which she was staring at intently by this point,
she looked up and gave me a quiet but emphatic yes, and I placed the
ring on her finger. At this point it all gets fuzzily giddy, but
suffice to say, "the moment" was everything we wanted and more.

(Then there was this big Broadway play or something, and my mind was
in and out for three hours, but it was nice to be there with my
fiancee. We also walked over to Times Square for pictures, and there
were lights and lots of people, but none of them were enjoying the
night like we were.)

So yes, I am engaged to my lovely, darling, One and Only Valerie, and
discussions of dates and details will surely commence soon enough.

I thank y'all for your interest, and hope to talk to each and every
one of you sooner than later, and know that we're immensely happy and
looking forward to sharing our lives with you guys for decades to
come as Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Rushing. (Or Mr. and Mrs. Valerie Howell.
We're hip like that.)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Vacation Time

Some would say I've been on a virtual vacation since late April, or about the time I started driving to Tennessee every weekend. Some would be correct.

This time, though, it's a mondo vacation, two weeks with Dad and a few days with Valerie in between.

The schedule:

Saturday, 8 a.m. - Pick up Dad at the airport, drive to Washington, D.C., see the important stuff Sunday and Monday

Tuesday - Drive to New York, see Yankees game that night

Wednesday - Taping of "Late Night with David Letterman"

Thursday - Opening round of the U.S. Open

Friday - Second round of Open, then pick up my darling Valerie at 6 p.m. at LaGuardia airport

Saturday, June 17 - Special day with Valerie, tickets to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway that evening

Sunday, June 18 - Last round of U.S. Open, sightseeing

Monday, June 19 - Pried from Valerie at airport about 10 a.m., drive to Boston with Dad, see Red Sox game at 7 against Washington

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 20 and 21 - Red Sox games (Tuesday on the Green Monster)

Thursday, June 22 - Start driving home

Saturday, June 24 - Take Dad to airport, back to work that night

Five days later, the 29th - Back to Tennessee for another little vacation with Valerie, life in La La Land continues anew!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Just to slap at A-Fraud because I can

The Red Sox are up 9-3 in the top of the ninth inning at dang Yankee Stadium. If one of the first three batters gets on base, Alex Rodriguez gets another at-bat. Let's see, game out of reach ... A-Rod batting ... I'd say the chances are 2-1 that he hits a home run.

UPDATE 10:23 - Nope, even he didn't give a rip, flailing at a Jonathan Papelbon pitch.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Late Show

What’s the next bit of news on the Jeff&Dad Vacation Blowout? It’s nowhere near as monumental or special as Valerie flying up next Friday, but it’s fun nonetheless.

We’ve got tickets to next Wednesday’s taping of the David Letterman Show.

I put in a request a few months back, not expecting any luck, but today I got a call from one of the lackeys there, and bingo bango, we’re good to go!

Naturally, there’s another story to it. I was getting a haircut when the call came, and told the Great Cuts lady that I was on-call at work today and needed to get that. She gave me a funny look and stepped back, but I’m sure she was just a little annoyed.

Then, when I figured out what it was, and the guy who called me asked if I could write something down, I politely asked the lady if she had a pen on her desk and something to write on.

Well that was it for her.

You’d have thought I asked her to watch my 13 handicapped children while I spent two weeks snorkeling in Belize (which was the trivia question I was able to contribute last night, as it was formerly British Honduras).

She slowly sauntered to the counter, grabbed something and walked back, handing it to me with a sigh. When I was done, I apologized and explained what it was about with a laugh, and I got nothing in return.

I’m not exaggerating, she didn’t say a single word to me for the rest of the haircut until she said, “$13” at the register.

What if I’d had an emergency? What if I had just won a million dollars and had vowed to share it with whomever gave me a pen? I was planning on giving her a twenty and walking away, but with her attitude I just gave her a five and a ‘thank you’ for not shaving my head in anger. I was happy, so I don’t give a rip if she was ticked!

Tijuana Joe's

Last night's trivia didn't go as well as usual (third place), but we had fun so who cares? Not only that, but the host actually had us in second and we had to correct him on our final bonus score. Stupid honesty and sleeping better at night. Overrated.

Here's a picture of our group:



That's me, of course, front and center, with Amy, her hubby Michael across from her, his best man Mike and at the far left is whippersnapper Zach, who works for Michael and just graduated high school last week.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bad omen?

My favorite story today at work:
Moms-to-be fret over 6/6/06 birth date

It's 2006. And June 6 is near.

You got it: 6/6/06 -- 666, the number that represents the mark of the beast, the Antichrist.

Are expectant parents aware of the evil implications?

Carrie McFarland of Dallas is.

"I'm going to be induced on the Fourth or Fifth," McFarland said. "If my doctor had offered to induce me on the Sixth, I wouldn't have done it."

Her trepidation over her son Samuel's birthday isn't religious.

"To avoid teasing," she says. "You'll get the question", 'You know what that means ...' " My first son was born on January 1, and everybody says, 'Oh, you missed your tax deduction.' Yeah, like I haven't thought of that already."

No doubt, the 6/6/06 babies -- and their parents -- are in for some ribbing.

"Hey, Junior's horns are showing in the bluebonnet photo ...

Beelzeb-- what? That a family name?""

" "I refuse to give birth on that date," said Bethany Morian of Weatherford. "I'll cross my legs and watch the clock."

It's nothing scary. "I just think it would be a bad thing to carry around your whole life," Morian said. She says her husband thinks it would be hilarious to have a 6/6/06 baby -- so they could name it Damien after the bad seed from the "Omen" movies.

A remake of "The" "Omen," of course, comes out 6/6/06.
I know I don't blame them. Who would want to have today as a birthdate? Sure, I was born at 7:11 a.m., but that's just funny. There's a reason many buildings don't have a 13th floor, ya know! Don't test fate!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Such cute kids

In case you need one-stop shopping for pictures of me and the lovely Valerie instead of checking past blog posts, I've started our own folder on my Geocities site: Valerie & Jeff: Bless The Broken Road.

Bonus points if you get the song reference. If you want to know why, just check the lyrics. Pure poetry.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. - I'm not sure it's possible for me to have greater parents. Dad has been Father Of The Year every year already, so I can only thank him over and over for the fact that flying Valerie to join us in New York next weekend, Friday the 16th until Monday the 19th. I'm honored, truly. We're going to have a blast anyway, but having my dearest join us could turn it into some surreal romantic comedy that never has a misunderstanding and doesn't wrap up in a tidy one hour, forty-five minutes. I'm gobsmacked. And giddy. Don't forget that.

Oh, and I think we should nominate co-Father Of The Year as Valerie's dad, since she will be spending Father's Day with me and my own in New York, a long way away. I thank you, sir, and bow in your direction with a humble heart.

Today's fortune cookie

"Don't worry about the stock market. Invest in family."

I'm sure that'll come in handy when I want to retire at age 50.

Nice timing, though, seeing as how the stock market dropped precipitously today. Somehow I don't think I want to check my account and my Aggressive Growth portfolio.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The things you do ...

Last week I drove 1,060 miles when visiting my dearest Valerie. This past weekend? 1,416.7.

That covers Atlanta to Memphis to Jackson to Dickson to Jackson to Memphis to Jackson to Memphis to Jackson to Atlanta.

Eventually, someday the miles will be far fewer, but for now it's totally worth it.

The real problem is with the phone. I have T-Mobile, she has Cingular, and neither of us has enough minutes. Even worse, T-Mobile's coverage is awful outside of Atlanta. My calls will drop in the middle of nowhere without warning, and I'm left screaming at my phone. Check out these maps to compare, T-Mobile first in green, Cingular second in orange, and notice which one is filled in more than the other:



Come July or August when she's out of extra rollover minutes, it may be cheaper for me just to get a Cingular plan until I can drop my T-Mobile next spring!

Did I mention I won't get to see Valerie until June 29. That's almost July, for goodness' sake, and we just started June! Erk.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

News & Notes

  • Fellow Battlestar Galactica fans, rejoice! In a movie reminiscent of Star Wars' "Clone Wars" series, Sci Fi Channel’s Pulse internet site will run a ten part webisode series called "Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance," which will take place during the months that separate the second and third seasons. (Hat tip: Chud.com.)


  • Canada's top spy agency admits that a terrorist attack on Canadian soil is "now probable," but adds that such an attack is more likely to target Canadian interests abroad.

    This just in: Canada has a spy agency.


  • Jay Nordlinger of National Review Online is just askin':
    Here’s another headline: “Babies Aborted for Not Being Perfect.” That is a headline that’s supposed to cause alarm. But why? Either abortion is the wrongful taking of innocent life, or it is not. If it is not—who cares what the purpose of an abortion is?

    That’s why I could never understand the Clinton slogan “Safe, legal, and rare.” If abortion isn’t killing—if it’s like an appendectomy—why should it be rare? What does it matter whether abortions are rare or common? No one ever says, “There ought to be fewer appendectomies in this country.”

    And if abortion is something very unlike an appendectomy—if it is, in fact, the snuffing out of an unborn child, for whatever reason—why is it legal?


  • I don't know what makes me more exasperated, seeing Democrats pounce on the potential civilian massacre by U.S. Marines in Haditha, or that the Bush administration has allowed the situation and spin of the war to go so badly that it could be a tipping point in the U.S. losing Iraq.

    And what issue has Bush's people decided to focus on as election season begins? A doomed-from-the-start constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Great, guys, way to go for the bunt single instead of the home runs like privatizing social security, right on the heels of Bush trying to give illegal immigrants amnesty. This is why the Bush administration won't go down as a particularly memorable one, and a failure by both parties. I can't even see why Bush is considered conservative anymore.


  • Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz are splitsville. Okay, as a fan of shows like "The Soup" and working for a network that has a show called "Showbiz Tonight," how did I not even know they were dating?


  • Headline of the day: Party in Hell planned for 6-6-06. ... Heaven plans shindig with better music and "way cooler door prizes" on 7-7-07.

Unfortunately, back in Atlanta

I'm back from what you probably already knew I'd describe as a fabulous weekend with my darling Valerie, whom I won't see for 26 DAYS. That's OVER THREE WEEKS.

She even met my mother on Thursday, so it was actually a pretty important visit. Naturally, Mom, Aunt Lynn and my grandparents adored her as we all knew they would. We had dinner with her parents again last night, and I admit I was a lot less nervous this time, and thank them for being so good to me. Of course, that could also mean I let down my guard too much and said or did something dumb and/or offensive, so I apologize for that!

No further details of the visit, but I will say that this morning it wasn't easy to leave Jackson and drive back to Atlanta in time for work. After all, I won't see her again for NEARLY FOUR WEEKS. Ye gad.

At least I'll be keeping busy, leaving next Saturday on my two-week Vacation O' Fun with Dad. I apologize in advance to him for my calls to Val and moaning about not seeing her for 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 days before he flies back to Miami.