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10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Inspiration

By | blogs, boys, guest posts, links, lj, memories, milestones, navy, ruling at life, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | One Comment

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Inspiration
Ten years on

By Stephen DeNoia

The Coastal Chicster.  Baby You Can(‘t) Drive My Car.  Ramblings of a Pineapple Enthusiast. VTJerseyGirl03.  Ten years on, Lisa’s blog is still thriving, still rolling, still scrolling.  Maybe she should get that tattooed across the backs of her shoulders: “Still Rolling, Still Scrolling”, with like an old script, quill, and scroll motif.  On second thought, it might sound like she’s just an internet addicted ecstasy popper.

Lisa asked me to pick my favorite post from her blog and write about it in honor of her 10 year mark.  I was honored, and the very next morning I started perusing through her old stuff because I  knew I would find my favorite buried somewhere in the archives of ’04 or ’07.  But the more I read, and the more memories got conjured up, and the more I noticed the maturity level increase as time went on what I found is that I cannot possibly choose a favorite.  With that being said, if I absolutely had to choose ONE post that is my favorite then I choose post number 1.  The origin post.  The beginning of an era.  The birth of something magnificent, with a title that speaks wonders to me:  “Stephen inspires me…”  It isn’t a long post.  It isn’t deep.  It doesn’t provoke any reader inward into their own thoughts and feelings.  It isn’t even very long.  Four sentences to be exact.  And they are by no means the four favorite sentences I’ve ever seen her write.  The title on the other hand – that’s what gets me.  It gets me every time.  See if you can follow me as I explain my reasoning.

You see, here we have a blog that has made us laugh when we needed to, or stop and think about the state of the country – or even the world – just when we were so content with our everyday lives.  This blog has even moved some of us to tears, happy or sad.  In 10 years, Lisa has gained a strong following and matured into an artful, witty, and talented writer.  Her blog has transformed – no, evolved into an amalgamation of fashion advice, easy living tips, and funny anecdotes all blanketed underneath a healthy coat of plain old good sense.

These days I like to read about her New Year’s resolution updates the most, but I also take a lot of pleasure out of reading about her cats and trips/vacations.  She has also developed quite a knack for photography and the pictures she takes are always worth the extra look.  Even her fashion posts hold some value to me.  As a guy who is engaged to be married, it isn’t the most terrible idea to keep up on women’s fashion.  To be honest, I think my fiancé may have been somewhat impressed with a few things I knew about the subject when we first started dating, all taken from Lisa’s pages.  (Thanks, Sis, ever the trusty wingman!)  Maybe she’ll start doing a few pieces for the guys.

There’s also plenty of fond memories, like the time she came home a little too tipsy for her own good from Bar A and a trip to the Princess Maria Diner, and proceeded to sing Manfred Mann’s version of “Blinded By The Light” as she fell out of her chair, laughing hysterically about how she was “gonna have to write about this in the – hiccup! – the morning!”  I don’t think she ever did get around to it though.  Or the time she accompanied my parents down to Pensacola to visit me after graduation from A-School.  We spent the weekend buzzed on the beach or poolside at the Margaritaville Hotel.  Lisa has always been one of the best people to share a drink with.  Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes she knows how to relax just right.

Maybe it’s just that I had the chance to be a part of something special, with those late night phone calls about the future of the blog.  But more likely I think that it’s this:  This blog has inspired me.  From tracking Lisa’s employment status during those shaky years in ’03 and ’04, to keeping up with her New Years’ resolutions, I have found myself striving for new heights when I needed to the most.  I don’t think I ever told her just how much her blog meant to me, but it’s something I look forward to reading for a long time coming, no matter what she’s writing about.  So to think that I was able to inspire her, even if it was just that one time, is really something else.  Thanks, Lisa.  Keep “ruling at life.”  Here’s to 10 years past, and 10 more to come.

Feeling:  happyHappy
Music:  All Along the Watchtower- Jimi Hendrix

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Pen Pal

By | blogs, boys, friends, guest posts, links, lj, memories, milestones, new jersey, pineapples and palm trees, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | No Comments

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Post #7 from my old favorite pen pal, Richard Hicks. He and I used to keep an e-mail chain going that must have been a hundred pages long. Richard Hicks is the type of guy who starts a blog (or multiple blogs), writes a whole bunch of cool posts, and then deletes them, so you can never go back and read your favorite ones. Well, not this time, mister. This post is staying here permanently. =)

When Lisa asked me last week to contribute a guest post for her blog’s 10th anniversary, my first thought was: Holy crap, it’s been a decade since we started blogging?  And my second thought was: Wow, it’s going to be really hard to write something that succinctly captures how awesome Lisa is, and what a great writer she is.

First, a little history: Lisa and I first met when I was in middle school, and our mutual friend Chris Tamayo invited her to our neighborhood basketball court to shoot some hoops.  Chris had a crush on Lisa, and in our adolescent dude brains we thought it would be a winning strategy to invite her over and wow her with our nonexistent awesome basketball skills.  The plan was that we’d all get on the court, and Lisa would watch Chris sink a couple of 3s, recognize him as the next John Stockton and profess her undying love for him right then and there.  If you’ve met Lisa, you know that she’s not the most physically imposing person, and watching her shoot free throws on an eight-foot basket is a lot like watching two-year-old Trick Shot Titus gazing up at the 10-foot hoop at Wichita State.  Her height disadvantage notwithstanding, she schooled us on the court that day — in both around the world and the complexities of winning a woman’s affection.

Lisa and I continued to cross paths a bit in the years that followed — mostly, again, because of mutual friends.  In high school she dated a guy named Mike, and their relationship was about as serious as a teenage relationship could be.  Mike went on to Virginia Tech after high school, and Lisa went to JMU and ended up transferring to Tech after her first year so she could be with Mike.  Mike was a great guy, and all indications were that he and Lisa would get married after college.  While Lisa and Mike were in their relationship, I was in an equally serious relationship with one of Lisa’s best friends, Jamie, and it became just as sure a bet that Jamie and I would get married after she finished college and I got settled into my first assignment in the military.  Against all odds, both relationships ended, and over time and across the miles, Lisa and I drew closer as friends — at first to try to help each other get over the breakups, and then later because I kept seeing more and more what a great person she was.

In 2004 I transferred to Japan, and during the two years I was there I kept in touch with Lisa regularly.  Just about every Saturday morning I would trek over to the Internet cafe on base to do two things: call my family and write Lisa an email.  On a weekend trip up to Nago Pineapple Park on Okinawa, I gathered up a bunch of pineapple trinkets and sent them to Lisa (the inaugural name for Lisa’s blog was actually “Ramblings of a Pineapple Enthusiast”).  When I left the military in 2006 and moved back to NJ, Lisa and I would get together whenever she was home and go for a run on the Belmar boardwalk or the running track in our hometown municipal complex.  I drove down to Virginia Beach one weekend in 2007 to visit her, and we went to a Shins concert at The Norva and bought each other T-shirts (I still have mine, but since the only size available at the concert was small [not a problem for Lisa], it was converted into a dust rag a couple of years ago).  We hung out with a couple of her friends in Virginia Beach (in my usual way of remembering dogs more than people, I don’t remember the friends’ names, but I remember that they had a boxer), and one of the friends told me in a sidebar conversation that Lisa always got him an “A” when she edited his college papers.  We agreed that she was the best writer and editor we’d ever met.  To me, she still is.

I went back to her old LiveJournal to refresh my memory for this guest post (we both started LiveJournals in 2003 — Lisa kept up with hers, and I think mine fizzled out after post #2), and as I was clicking through her post archive, memories started flooding back.  I laughed out loud at these two conversations Lisa had with her brother, Stephen: (1) “An Intelligent Conversation With My Brother”; and (2) “An Update on Stephen Getting a Job.”  Her early 2004 posts about her little cousins are all great (the guest post that her little cousins submitted last week is a must-read).  I think my all-time favorite post, though, is one Lisa wrote on Memorial Day weekend in 2004.  It captures everything about summer at the Jersey Shore that I love and miss.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a fellow fan of Lisa’s blog, and you don’t need to be assured that it’s worth your time to keep reading.  For anyone who hasn’t been fortunate enough to meet Lisa in person, and only knows her as a two-dimensional Internet person, please accept my assurance that the person behind the blog is just as smart, funny and awesome (and fashionable) as you know her to be here.  Happy 10-year anniversary, Lisa!  Keep writing!

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Partner in Crime

By | blogs, friends, guest posts, links, memories, milestones, music, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | 3 Comments

Photo Dec 15, 7 28 02 PM
{1998}

I’m so glad Stacey lied to me last week when she apologized said she couldn’t possibly find the time to write a guest post for me. Because last night when I checked my email and saw post #6 all ready to go, I was super surprised and super grateful to have such an awesome friend who took the time to do this for me even though she’s been under the weather and busy as shit. Thanks, Stacey! You’re the best. 🙂

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{1997}

When Lisa first asked me to write a guest post for her 10 year anniversary, I panicked. First, I have been ridiculously sick and exhausted…would I have time to do it and do it well? Second, I am soooo not a writer. And definitely not a blogger. Lisa actually created a blog for me a bunch of years back. The best post was the one that Lisa wrote. I think I wrote only 2 more posts…which were resolution lists (that I copied from Lisa :-)). If I were to write a guest post for her, would I be able to do it the honor that Lisa deserves? And third, how can I just pick one post to talk about?!?!

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{1999}

I have known Lisa since high school, but as we went off to college, moved and grew up, we drifted apart. Lisa’s blog has been an wonderful way for me to see what is going on in her life. It also is a regular inspiration to me. Her resolution updates always motivate me to try something new or have something to aspire to.

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{1999}

Her style photos help me see my clothes in a different way and find new ways to pair clothes together. Although that is nothing new. I remember in high school, always copying what Lisa wore. I still remember this long black blazer she had that I got to borrow. I felt soooo cool wearing it….because Lisa had worn it. Lisa is still my go-to girl for all things style.

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{2005}

I love when Lisa posts about music or includes music in her post. My love for all things ska/punk and my absolute favorite bands of all time (RBF & Goldfinger) were introduced to me by Lisa. I remember sitting in the high school cafeteria, sharing headphones and listening to Goldfinger for the first time. Or belting out RBF on our way to Orchestra. They are the only bands that I can honestly say I actually know the lyrics (I’m notorious for making up lyrics :-)). When Lisa posts about music – I just know that I’m going to love it.

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{2005}

My favorite posts though are probably the random, funny ones. While the stories are different, they way she tells them brings me back to high school and how much fun we had. Whether we were shopping at Nordstrom, skipping orchestra practice, creating some kind of fake club, or riding around in the Volvo, so much of my high school years included Lisa. She was my PIC (partner in crime). 🙂

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{2011}

Honestly, all of this blog is my favorite because I love seeing that Lisa is just as passionate, witty, hilarious and stylish as ever. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and I hope that in another 10 years, I’m still reading what you write.

xoxo
S

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{2013}

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Mystery Person

By | friends, guest posts, links, memories, milestones, press, top notch communication blunders, weather, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | No Comments

Post #5 was written by…well you’ll have to guess. But in case you still don’t know at the end, I’ll leave you a little hint.

My guest post looks back on Dec 29, 2010 and the creative writing that occurred as a result of that now infamous snow storm that hit the northeast.

Can you guess who I am?

Lisa took on the Governor of Pennsylvania and from that rant managed a quote in the Wall Street Journal. She was so excited to reach such stardom! Now for the side story.

I was on a business trip when the Wall Street Journal article hit the streets. I, along with my business associates, spent some time trying to get a copy of the January 4, 2011 issue because I knew Lisa was quoted, and I would be mentioned in the article; so excited, so proud. First, we read the blog; then we opened the paper, found the article and read with mounting excitement – this was a big day!

And we finally reached the quote where in an instant I became one of the “fearless, bumbling morons in pickup trucks who like to drink beer, go shirtless in the freezing cold for football, and drive in blizzards.” This was not the exact interpretation we had hoped for. Fortunately, I have a sense of humor when it comes to my business associates, and we all had a good laugh about it.

Can you guess who I am?

Now it’s 2013, and I am with the same business associates again. They don’t remember why we met in January 2011, but they do remember the laugh we had over the Wall Street Journal article and the original blog post.

Congratulations, Lisa, on 10 years. Your writing is creative, insightful and witty – always an enjoyable read.

I’m sure you guessed by now, but if not, here’s your hint.

Also, not to brag or anything, but that dumb fake letter to the governor of Pennsylvania was also quoted in The Economist a few days later. =)

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Mothership

By | friends, guest posts, las vegas, links, memories, milestones, road trips, take me away, the malibu, the places you'll go, travel, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | One Comment

utah

Guest post #4 is by my mom. I’m glad she took a little while to elaborate on the series of brief posts I wrote about our cross-country drives back in 2004 because it was the perfect opportunity to post a few more photos from back in the day when blogging pictures was pretty much nonexistent. =) Also, “Blinded by the light.” That is all.

My guest post is about a series of blog posts that Lisa made during January 2004 and April 2004. As I looked over Lisa’s blog, it occurred to me that the posts I should share are those that involved our travels. I love to travel and I hope I passed a little of that gene on to Lisa.

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In January 2004, Lisa decided she would move to Vegas to live with my brother, Frank, his wife, Kim, and their four kids (the little cousins). Of course, she would need her car, so the only way to get there was to drive. One small problem…Lisa didn’t want to drive alone. This began our cross country adventure.

NJ to Las Vegas — Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6 (February 2004)

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We decided we would take Route 40, so we set off making our first stop Blacksburg, VA, to meet up with a few of Lisa’s sorority sisters. We spent five days together encountering rain, snow and fog; we discovered Graceland is closed on Tuesdays and hiked down a canyon in Arizona.

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We shopped for western boots in Texas and travelled a bit of the famous Route 66, stopping at a car museum along the way. Watching the tumbleweeds occupied a lot of our day in New Mexico and Arizona, and finally, we drove over Hoover Dam – a sure sign that we were almost there.

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As it turned out, Lisa spent three months in Las Vegas and said it was time to come home. You know what that meant. Mommy had to drive Lisa and the Malibu back to Jersey.

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Las Vegas to NJ — Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 (April 2004)

Being one to take every advantage of a situation, I decided we would take a more northern route this time. It was spring so most of the snow in Colorado should be melted. We headed up to Utah and into Colorado. We made our first stop in Vail at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa. The next day we set out for Pike’s Peak to ride the cog railroad, but the car was having a lot of trouble getting out of its own way at 9,000 feet. We were sure the Malibu was in need of repairs. We departed Vail and while we were doing 45 MPH down the highway, we watched the signs tick off the altitude telling us we were descending to a more oxygen rich atmosphere. We were so happy that the Malibu had enough oxygen to continue our journey.

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Driving along Route 70 in Kansas at night, we hit a piece of truck tire which prompted us to pull into the next gas station and check for leaks under the car. Back on the highway, a huge tumbleweed crossecd the highway and I was sure it was a cow! It was time to stop for the night. We made a short stop in St. Louis to ride the tram to the top of the Arch and took a boat ride on the Mississippi River.
I’m so glad Lisa took the time to document our travels every night. I just read each day’s account and it brought back all those memories.

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Although I have spent more wonderful days with Lisa than I can count, I would have to say that these ten days were among some of my favorites. I’m glad were able to zigzag through some of this country’s beautiful states together!

utah2

Keep travelling, Lisa! It makes for wonderful blog posts! Congratulations on keeping us laughing for ten years! I love you!

blinded by the light