Welcome…

…to the Month of May.

To the world it’s just another month. Thirty-one days of rainy, stormy springtime preparing to kick off summer.

But to those of us who call IndyCar home it’s so much more than just another month. It’s THE month – the only one that counts. It’s seven straight days of practice. Two days of qualifying. Countless driver appearances. Endless hours. It’s two solid weeks of hard work and high emotions for 33 drivers and their crews.

And it’s exhausting.

Most any evening in May you can likely sit at a little English pub in Speedway and hear the gripes and groans of crews and PR reps a like. You’ll hear tales and trials about the “100 days of May.” But regardless of what you overhear while enjoying that pint, don’t let anyone fool you, because, deep down, the truth is…we love this race. Every grueling minute of it. And year after year we keep coming back just for the chance at being a small part of something bigger than us all. We return to the tradition, and for our chance at making 500 miles of history. And each year we take with us 500 miles of memories. Five hundred miles of stories that we might one day tell our grandchildren and maybe they’ll tell their grandchildren…and maybe, just maybe they’ll have memories covering 500 miles of their own.

I remember my first 500…and I should, after all it was only four years ago. (Yes, that’s right, I had never been to an Indy 500 before I started working in racing. In fact, I wasn’t really even a race fan – but don’t tell anyone). It was back when it really was a MONTH of May. Four whole weeks of practice, two whole weekends of qualifying and pretty close to the same number of driver appearances (just more time to do them in). It really was 100 days…ok, ok, maybe it was still only 31 but it felt much, much more like 100. The high emotions were just as high…but lasted twice as long. It was groundhog day.

And then came race day. And it was a day unlike any other.

After a month of controlled chaos, race day is eerily calm. In the gates before 5am to beat the traffic. No driver appearances. No garage tours. No interviews. Just a nap in your car, breakfast, and a wait that feels endless. Until it’s time for “the walk” – the trip from the garage to the green room.

This is my most memorable moment of May. And here’s why…

I walked out of the garages that first year and down the famed Gasoline Alley with one of the most legendary families in racing. I was trailing right behind not one, but three MAs…which somewhere like the mall may not mean much, but at IMS and to its crowd…it means everything. If you didn’t know, they close the garages before the race so what is usually an area packed full of fans feels almost abandoned and forgotten. Silent. And then you turn the corner to a literal wall of people. They line the sides, they fill the catwalk above the Alley, they hang out of every door and window. They are everywhere, and they are loud. It gives you chills and you can’t help but feel like you’re leaving on a jet plane off to save the world (you know the scene I’m talking about). It’s a true moment of  ‘Holy #*@%!’ as you realize just how massive IMS really is, and how tiny it can feel when the empty stands become a sea of faces.

From the troops marching down pit lane to the command to start engines, the opening ceremonies leave a lasting memory. It gives you a whole new appreciation for that day – that 100th day of May, and for every day before it. You made it and you’ll forever see the race in a whole new way. You’ll see a whole new racetrack. You’ll see history and innovation; laughter and tears. You’ll see your hard work become the glow in the eyes of a little boy as he begins his journey to 500 miles of memories.

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I like all things…

…black and white.

If you know me then this is no surprise to you. But what you may not know is the reason my bedroom was once entirely black and white. Why I prefer black and white photos. Why I have a zebra coffee mug. Or why I wear mostly black and white. It’s not just because I think black and white is classy, timeless, elegant but edgy. It’s because I like the simplicity of black and white. I like the idea of living in a world where everything is black and white. Cut and dry. Yes and no.

Maybe I’m just a glass-half-empty kinda girl, but the reality is that we live in a world of grey.
Grey matter.
Grey area.
Grey’s Anatomy.
So many ifs, ands and buts. A world of “what ifs?” Few things in life are absolute.

But can you image a world of black and white? A world where something either is or it isn’t. A world where when someone says “yes” they actually mean yes, not “yes, but only if…” Maybe it wouldn’t be an ideal world to live in forever, but having lived in a world that is the opposite – I think it sounds divine. If only for a little while.

So if you see me wearing zebra print or see the zebra rug in my guest bedroom – it’s not because I’m a crazy, safari loving, wild child, animal print queen. It’s because deep down, I envy zebras.

In world filled with so much grey…wouldn’t it be great to be so black and white?

One hundred things…

…I want to do before I die.

My list, as promised (or at least mentioned before). Please note – these are not ranked, just listed as I thought of them.

  1. Be a public speaker of some sort
  2. Go to The Outer Banks
  3. Go to Africa
  4. Go to Spain
  5. Go to Russia
  6. Go to Hawaii
  7. Go to Ireland
  8. Go to Italy
  9. Go to England
  10. Rock climb  Indoors counts, right?
  11. See the Pope
  12. Hike and camp in the wilderness, well semi-wilderness at least . . .maybe in an rv  I’m counting RV camping at Mid-Ohio as semi-wilderness
  13. Get married and start a family
  14. Be published
  15. New years in New York City
  16. Swim with dolphins
  17. Off shore fishing
  18. Ride horses on a beach
  19. Jump out of a hot air balloon
  20. See the pyramids
  21. Skydive
  22. Rappel 
  23. Be in the white house – not just the regular tour, the real deal
  24. Travel cross-country by train
  25. Attend a movie premiere
  26. Speak my mind and not feel bad for doing it
  27. Own a brand new car
  28. Be a bartender
  29. Go sailing
  30. Volunteer
  31. See the Grand Canyon  It really is just a big hole (but a pretty damn cool one)!
  32. Say hi to strangers on the street
  33. Shark cage diving
  34. Dance on a bar
  35. Make people laugh  I cross this off because I’ve done it, but I want to continue to strive for it every day
  36. Go shopping in paris
  37. Vegas with the girls
  38. Backstage at a concert
  39. Bungee jump
  40. Dance in Rome with someone I love
  41. Have a bonfire on the beach
  42. Own an (authentic) pair of Louboutins
  43. Build something by hand
  44. Run with the bulls, or at least jump out of the way quickly
  45. Base jump
  46. Take salsa lessons
  47. When i love someone, tell them
  48. When i don’t love someone, tell them – but nicely
  49. Have a hair style that involves my natural hair color
  50. Surf
  51. Dance the tango
  52. Own my own home (or co-own with husband…should there ever be a husband)
  53. Have a garden – and then cook with food from it
  54. Plant wild flowers
  55. Own and run my own business
  56. Watch old Marilyn Monroe movies
  57. Let a bird sit on my shoulder without freaking out
  58. Do something nice for someone you don’t know for no reason 
  59. Snorkel/scuba dive
  60. Watch Casablanca
  61. Fly a plane
  62. Get a master’s degree of some kind, or law school
  63. Send anonymous “thinking of you” cards to strangers
  64. Pizza in italy
  65. Pizza by candle light
  66. Teach or coach a child
  67. White water rafting
  68. Have a secret passage way in my house (preferably in a fire place or bookshelf, but if need be, a closet would suffice)
  69. Make love in the rain
  70. Run a marathon – ok, ok, you win, a mini marathon…or maybe just a 5k
  71. Have a picnic in the park
  72. Fly a kite for no reason at all (maybe at a picnic in the park – double score!)
  73. Donate to a good cause ($1 paper shoe at the grocery doesn’t count)
  74. Plant a tree
  75. Spontaneous road trip with friends  Best Halloween party ever!
  76. Pack a bag, get in the car and just drive, with no destination in mind
  77. Sing every day (in the shower, car, etc) even though I’m bad at it
  78. Send a message in a bottle
  79. Blow something up
  80. Live alone
  81. Take guitar lessons
  82. Be more patient
  83. Learn a foreign language – like really learn it, not just “where’s the bathroom?”
  84. See the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium
  85. Drink tequila in Mexico (and do my best to keep all my clothes on while drinking it)
  86. Own (and ride) a motorcycle
  87. Ride a camel in the desert
  88. Adopt a pet
  89. Have at least one room in my house where the lights turn on and off by clapping
  90. Walk a red carpet (like as the person of interest…not the PR rep)
  91. Meet a true icon who has changed the world
  92. At least once be able to legitimately say “It’s ok. I’m with the band.”
  93. Throw a drink on someone across the dinner table and then storm out like on tv
  94. Have a fish that lives in a giant cocktail glass
  95. Throw out all reason, just once
  96. Put $100 on red  I lost.
  97. Stand up for someone who can’t stand up for themself
  98. Own jewelry from tiffany’s (preferably given to me as a gift…but if need be then send it to myself from someone anonymous)    Hindsight note: this one happened and it wasn’t worth it…in so many heartbreaking ways
  99. Take cooking classes
  100. Throw someone a surprise party

Something you may not know about me…

I have three tattoos.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed through having tattoos it’s that people always want to know 1) where they are (and usually it’s the guys that want to know), 2) what they’re of and 3) why they are what they are. Well, I’ll gladly tell you…but once I do you’ll have to stop looking at me like I’m nuts.

I have a star on my foot. I know, I know – that’s cute! But I don’t have it because it’s cute. I’m not one of those “I want a flower because they’re sooooo cute” tattoo kind of girls. I believe in the stars. Whole-heartedly. They are the one thing that has always been constant in my life. I may not always be able to see them, but I know they are out there shining with endless hope. Each one is different from the next. I believe we each have a star that is ours…hung ever so perfectly in the night sky to guide us through the dark times. We’ll all make it, if we can just follow our star. I have a star on my foot. I follow it every day.

My second tattoo is of wings on my back. And, no, it’s not the goddamn Aerosmith logo (yes, I’ve been asked). Should you ever be lucky enough to see this tattoo and you choose to ask me if it is the Aerosmith logo, be ready to have something thrown into your eyeball. (No, it’s not uncalled for because I warned you.) I love all things 80s, but not enough to be branded by a big-mouthed hair band (and I mean no disrespect…I love, love, love their music and think Steven Tyler is sexy – but come on). I’m a skydiver and it helps to symbolize that and most importantly, I’ve always been drawn to the sky and the clouds. They remind me that there is so much more out there. An endless dreamer…I was born to fly. I have wings tattooed on my back…they’re the wings God forgot to give me.

And, as if my first two weren’t mystery enough to the world (i.e. my family), the third really threw them. Well…some of them. It was tough to fess up to dear old dad that his little girl is again not a saint. If the eyebrow ring (relax, I was in college) made him cry imagine what the third tattoo did. But, I have found that having Latin words on the back of my neck is a good way to distract from the never-ending and always irritating Aerosmith question. I’d say that even though all of my tattoos have meaning, the third holds the most and is the dearest to what I really stand for and believe. My two best friends are Annie and Colette. In 2005 Annie passed away from a spontaneous brain aneurysm. Annie, Colette and I were like sisters; only the non biological kind that always seems to be closer than the real thing. We each had something that represented each of us…and Annie tied and continues to tie us all together. Annie was all about laughing. It said it on her necklace, in her room and in every part of her being. She loved to laugh…and had a classic way of doing it – always with her hand over her heart when she was really busting up. Colette is the believer and I the absolute dreamer. So, the Latin words?  Translation: To dream. To laugh. To believe. One to represent each of us and Annie in the middle. The way it should be. Why on the back of my neck? Because deep down…I’m a rock star.

A couple of months back I almost got a fourth tattoo. I had it all picked out and was ready. Two word (again in Latin): Memento mori. I was in Vegas, it was a nice Saturday afternoon and stopped by the tattoo parlor in my hotel. I had the artist draw up a sample and I just didn’t like the font. So I decided to wait and get it when I got back home. I wish I hadn’t hesitated.

The next day our industry was shaken to its very core. We lost a dear friend, a great competitor and an amazing person. That next day brought the meaning of my fourth tattoo front and center in our minds.

Memento mori.

Translation: Remember you are mortal.

Why, hello there…

…glad you could make it!

I suppose as my first blog post this is where I’m supposed to tell you what my blog is going to be about. Here it goes.

It’s going to be about a little bit of everything and at the same time a whole lot of nothing. I mean, does a blog really have to be about ONE thing? Aren’t our lives about more than ONE thing – why can’t we share them all? And do we always have to have something to say? Is it not okay (every now and then) to have nothing to say and to write about that too?

So, why write a blog?

Because I can…and I want to. And you’re welcome to read. Because you can…if you want to. (So many options and so much free will. Isn’t this a great world we live in?)

But, honestly, I’m writing just to write. I love to write and it’s something that used to be a big part of me – I’d write all the time and somewhere along the line I just stopped. So this is me starting again. I have a list of 100 things I want to do before I die (maybe I’ll share the list here) and one thing on the list is to be published. Maybe this will be my start (not to actually being published, but maybe a start of an idea for me that may someday end up down that road). So…I’m writing about my travels, my life, my hobbies, my thoughts, the weather, the mall, my car, maybe your car, food, shoes, cooking, and everything else in between.

Don’t worry. I’ll try to at least be entertaining along the way.

(Sidenote:  Many of you may know that I work in auto racing and with a very well known family. If you’ve tuned in hoping to read about their life secrets, dramas and so forth – sorry, you’re in the wrong place. Their lives are their stories to tell. I’ll be telling my own story here. But thanks for stopping by.)