Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Side of 30.

Well, I'm officially 30....weird. I really didn't have any anxiety about turning over a new decade and still don't have any real issue. It just sounds weird.

Anyways....I had a WONDERFUL birthday weekend. On Friday, Eddie, Henry and I packed up the car and headed south to Harrisonburg, Virginia...home of James Madison University, my beloved alma mater. The drive wasn't too bad and, with the trees changing for autumn, it was a beautiful drive.

We got to JMU's campus around 4 and met up with my parents who had already made it there. We walked around campus and took some photos on the Quad. Here we are sitting on the Kissing Rock with Wilson Hall in the background:

After pictures we headed to the newly expanded Bridgeforth Stadium for Marching Royal Dukes (MRD) rehearsal. The stadium is HUGE's amazing to think of how much it has changed since my freshman year there in the fall of 1999. Rehearsal was a lot of fun to watch and Henry really liked it. (I was so glad that he did!) He enjoyed conducting/dancing while they played.

We headed to Dave's Taverna for dinner, which is my favorite place to eat in Harrisonburg. A pitcher of Natty Light for 3.75 (used to be 2 bucks!) and a gyro with fries was a perfect way to end the night.

The next morning Eddie and I were up before the sun to head to campus to help with Parade of Champions. This high school marching competition hosted over 40 bands this year. It was really neat to get to watch the shows from the new pressbox, which is sooooo much nicer than the old one. We had ample space, nice bathrooms and a view of the stadium, campus and beyond!

My parents and Henry joined us later in the day in time for the afternoon performance of the Marching Royal Dukes. I usually watch the afternoon performance from the press box as we finish tabulating the scores. This time, however, my friend Scott (also the MRD director) told me they needed me to take photos during the performance. I thought this was a little odd and figured something was up but wasn't sure what.

As it turns out "what was up" was that I was going to conduct the JMU Fight Song! The MRDs finished playing their show and Scott told me to give him my bag and kind of ushered me up to the podium. As this was happening the announcer was introducing me and telling everyone there it was my 30th birthday. It all happened so fast that I didn't really have time to think about how high the podium was that I had just climbed up on! It was incredible. The band was loud and fantastic and it was truly awesome to get to conduct them (even though I'm sure no one was really watching me!). A million thanks to Eddie who arranged it with Scott. It's the best birthday present I could have imagined.

The rest of the day was spent tabulating scores, watching bands and catching up with old friends. Henry was a real trooper up in the pressbox. He even took a nap up there! He really enjoyed looking at the bands and probably the highlight of his day was getting to meet Duke Dog in person! He was simultaneously excited and frightened by him but overall I think he was happy about being near him.

One Sunday Eddie and I got up early and went for a seven mile run! It was quite chilly (mid-30s) but the scenery was gorgeous. We headed towards campus and ended up running by all four places that I lived during my time at JMU. My only complaint about the run was that it was so darn hilly! I knew it was going to be a hilly having walked to classes for four year but I didn't really think about the GIANT hill leading up to our hotel that we climbed at the end of the run. I powered through it and we made it!

After the run and a quick shower we headed to IHOP for breakfast with our friends. It was tasty and a good time to catch up. Sadly after breakfast it was time to pack up and head back north.

It was a really great birthday weekend and I'm so glad that I got to spend it at JMU with my parents and some of my good friends. I'm certainly very lucky!

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