Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Got Gas?- For your CAR

If you are in Charlotte, and you are searching for a gas station click here.

Awakening

I was going to write something to go along with this song, but I think it speaks for itself. The song has been running through my head recently.
***************
Awakenings
By Sara Groves


Dress down your pretty faith.
Give me something real.
Leave out the thee and thou and speak to me now.
Speak to my pain and confusion.
Speak through my fears and my pride.
Speak to the part of me that knows I'm something deep down inside.


I know that I am not perfect,
but compare me to most,
In a world of hurt and a world of anger
I think I'm holding my own.
And I know that you said there is more to life.
And I know I am not satisfied.
But there are mornings I wake up and
I'm just thankful to be alive.


I've known now, for quite a while,
that I am not whole.
I've remembered the body and the mind,
But dissected my soul.
Now something inside is awakening,
Like a dream I once had and forgot.
And it's something I'm scared of
And something I don't want to stop.


And I woke up this morning and realized
that Jesus is not a portrait.
Where stained glass windows or hymns
or the tradition that surrounds us.
And I thought it would be hard to believe in
But it's not hard at all.
To believe I've sinned and
fallen short of the Glory of God.


And He's not asking me to change in my joy for martyrdom
He's asking to take my place.
To stand in the gap that I have formed
With His real, and His sweet, and His real amazing grace.
And it's not just a sign or a sacrament.
It's not just a metaphor for love.
The blood is real and it's not just a symbol of your faith.
The blood is real and it's not just a symbol,
not a sign or a sacrament,
The blood is real and it's not just a symbol of your faith.


So, leave out the thee and thou and speak now.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What does-

Stephanie + Stairs + Walking quickly =?
DISASTER!

Many of you may recall a posting from a few months ago when I was injured falling up the stairs leaving my apartment. Today, I almost had a repeat.
The circumstances this time, however, were a little different.

As I was leaving my apartment for church this morning, I was walking very quickly out the door and DOWN the stairs when I slipped. My life, (well, you know) quickly passed before my eyes. I clutched the railing with my left hand as I worked to steady myself and avoid falling and meeting face to face with certain death.

I was successful in not falling. However, I almost think I should have let myself go. I now have a twisted back, a swollen knee, a stiff neck and a sore ankle.

Sometimes I just don't know about myself...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Most commonly used....

(by Stephanie)

Phrases:
  1. Oh my goodness!- Possible Meanings: Oh WOW! I can't believe it! That's amazing! Best news I heard in a long time!
  2. Oh my word!- Possible Meanings: Oh WOW! I can't believe! That's terrible! That's awful!
  3. Oh. My. Word.- Possible Meanings: Did you just say what I think you said?!?! Are you crazy? Is there something wrong with you? WHAT is wrong with you?!?!
  4. For crying out loud!- Possible Meanings: Someone come take me out for icecream, or better yet, throw chocolate in my direction, preferably several pieces.

Adjectives:

  1. Crazy-(When describing some weird behavior by a stranger) Possible Meanings: There's something really possibly wrong with that person; strange; crazy; insane. Could be used simultaneously with number 3 above.
  2. Crazy- (When describing a family member) Possible Meanings: Goofy; weird; strange; unique; and well, a little crazy.
  3. Crazy- (When describing a friend) Possible Meanings: Quirky; spontaneous; fun; light-hearted.
  4. Crazy- (When describing myself) Possible Meanings: See numbers 1-3 above.

How can a person tell what is meant when I use one of my most commonly used phrases/adjectives? I don't know. I know exactly what I mean when I say it. For everyone else, it's a possible unsolved mystery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Powerful Addictions

I am about to discuss with the whole wide world of interneting some of my biggest addictions.
I feel as though IF I speak of the addictions and their powers outloud, I may be able to loosen the grip of these...things...that have me clamped in their powerful jaws.

I am addicted...
To Tetris.
It's terrible. It's bad enough to where I'll be laying in bed and my fingers twitch, moving themselves as though the small black keys of the keyboard are still below them, willing themselves to clicked. What makes me angry regarding the whole situation is that on Facebook my scores have been beaten. It's a little upsetting. I have a few days before my new school term begins and so my vigor for overtaking my opponents has been renewed with overwhelming strength. I will be victorious.

I have an obsession...
With Sudoku. This situation is grave. Every time I am in a check out lane, or in a magazine/book aisle I am overwhelmed to buy Sudoku books. Nevermind that I have more than enough Sudoku books to satisfy my puzzle mania for a long while- I need more. In fact, my main goal today is to buy one.

I have a dependence...
On Blogging. Seriously. It's like a writing drug has been slipped into my drink. The compulsion to write everyday is becomming increasingly harder to deny. What is it about words that I find so powerful? They cannot be silenced. It's not only important to write the words, it's of equal importance that the words have value.

I have a compulsion...
To eat chocolate. My decision on chocolate has not been made lightly. The new motto that I have adopted is, "A piece of chocolate a day keeps the insanity away." It has been working. Obviously a little insanity has creeped in, but that's to be expected.

Some things cannot be helped.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Hair!

I'll have to do some real pictures in the daylight, but here are some quick snapshots of my new red streaks!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Bananas- Not just for splits ....

On all things Bananas:
Today, I was speaking with a coworker- serious issues were at hand. (Not really, actually we were discussing going white water rafting.) So, while we were talking my coworker was eating a banana. No biggie- it was breakfast time. Bananas are usual and normal breakfast food, but usual ended there. The NEXT thing I know Jay had taken his banana peel and was rubbing it all over his shoe!! I have never in my life seen anything like this before. As he's rubbing his shoe, I stood with my mouth open. After a moment of silence and awkward gaping, Jay realized that I wasn't speaking.
"What? Haven't you ever seen this done before?"
"Uh, no. WHAT are you DOING?"
"Polishing my shoes."

Who knew.
Who knew.

*******************
On all things Chuck Norris:
My aunts that I love, LOVE Chuck Norris, Walker Texas Ranger. This weekend for my own amusement I found Chuck Norris jokes online. So, disclaimer: These are not my jokes, but if you google Chuck Norris jokes you'll find lists of them.
Here are a few of my favorites-
  1. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
  2. Chuck Norris counted to infinity- twice.
  3. If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death.
  4. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
  5. Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that's why there are no signs of life there.
  6. The quickest way to a man's heart is with Chuck Norris' fist.
  7. If you spell Chuck Norris in Scrabble, you win. Forever.
  8. If you make a list of 10 things Chuck Norris cannot do, he will appear at your house and perform them all. Your life may be forfeit.
  9. Chuck Norris can slam revolving doors.
  10. Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
*******************
On National Stay At Home Week:
Apparently it is National Stay at Home week. It's Monday night and I'm doing just that! Staying at home, writing in my blog, playing Tetris and hanging on the couch!
Enjoy the week! Eat icecream- and no exercise!

*******************
On all things miscellaneous:
  • I miss the "Fam." You know who you are. If possible, I wish all of you were here, being obnoxious, throwing me in trashcans, making me C.D.s and harassing me like usual.
  • Today is the first day of Fall. Amazing. I'm in NC. Green and beautiful. A new season is always a good time to start over.
  • I think I'm gonna pick up a weird habit. I don't know what yet. Nothing illegal or dangerous. Just weird. Any ideas? Let me know.
  • Cheesecake for breakfast. Enough said.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Read Me

Read me: Isn't that what we say to each other every day? Not with words necessarily, but with what we do, how we act. I plan out the night before what I will be wearing the next day, how I will fix my hair, what jewelry I will wear- all that someone will take notice and then read what it is that I am trying to say.

But it's not only that we want to be read. There's another side to the story. We don't just want to be read, we then want to be written. We want our life to be written in the air, in the hearts and minds of those around us. But not written by us, the pen has been removed from our hands. We have given the pen and paper to others and have asked them to write about us. As a result, we then look for our value to come from other people, those same people we are trying to prove ourselves to, we are looking for their approval and acceptance, whether we know them or not. And yet, at the end of the day a majority of us go home empty. We lay down missing what we woke up looking for.

I have a new friend. And my friend told me something that really hit me- my friend said I was wonderful. Why were those words so powerful? It's a word, a descriptive word that everyone uses in their daily conversations: "Oh the soup is wonderful." "Have you been to see the play? It's wonderful." "That dress looks wonderful." But that word was used to describe me. And it stuck with me. It made my day really. So, laying in bed tonight about to go to sleep I started thinking of the power of our words. Being told that I'm wonderful doesn't happen very often, even from people that I've known for a long time. The conversations I have with friends often times go like this:

"Yo Freak, whatcha doin later?"
"Nothing weirdo."
"Wanna hang?"
"Sure."
"Jerk."
"Moron."

Very uplifting right? It's as though many of us have lost the ability to say things that are really meaningful. When we do branch out and say something that we mean, things from the heart, we are considered strange, "out there." I know that there are people that I love, that I hold close to my heart and I try to tell them how I feel, but even then there are times I am afraid. "How will they respond? Will they laugh? Will they cry? Will they be angry?" How sad is it that those people that we are connected to, we are ashamed, or afraid to tell them how we feel. How sad is it that I am so hungry for nice things to be said to me, that I hang onto to any kinds words that are given, even when they are from a random person, a stranger, a new friend.

With all of these things swirling in my mind, I then had a new thought. Why is it that I'm looking to others to give me value. Why is there a price on my head ONLY if someone decides to give me a price. It's like the Friends for Sale on Facebook. How much will you go for? Are you worth the price? Worth being bought?

So instead of sleeping an even better thought popped into my head: I can no longer allow my price, or my value to be based on someone's thoughts of me. That's hard for a girl who looks for approval from others, who wonders what people think when they see her. "Will they notice my earrings don't match?" "What if they think my jokes are corny?" "What if I get to shy/embarrassed to talk?" "What if they don't like me?" "Will they see my crooked nose, and is there something in my teeth?" "What, what what...?" But I can't do that anymore. It's time to silence the voice inside my head that tells me "I am not," and instead listen to the voice that says, "I am and I will."

So, to my friend who said I was wonderful- thank you for some of the nicest words I have heard in a while.

To Everyone out there in Blogger Land- I will no longer be waiting for anyone else to read and then write about me. I am going to be busy- writing my own story.

Besides, I already found my value.

Go Glow

So this is a hodgepodge of various items.

I realize that all I have been writing about here in Charlotte are restaurants! That's so exciting isn't it- oh yesterday we ate here, the day before we at there....
Fabulous I know.
So, on that note we did eat at some places this week of interest.
Stool Pigeons (Who named this place???):

Nakatos:



This week though I did do more than just eat! Yesterday MB and I went to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. It was pretty awesome. I would like to go again and actually hit the rapids! We did go hiking and see some pretty cool stuff.

Initially, driving out to the place was pretty interesting. Had there not be a sign, we might not have found it. You literally drive through a little neighborhood, past the "No trespassing, will shoot intruder" signs, over the speed "tables," and down and then up and around, and then there it is!

They have all sorts of activities for families. People then can go kayaking- private lessons, or on their own. There is also white water rafting, high ropes courses, hiking trails, biking trails, restaurants, a gift shop, a climbing wall...I could keep going and going!
There were caution signs from the moment you get on to the park.
Yes this sign is upside down. I didn't want to fix it- maybe I will later. (True laziness right here!)



Make sure to listen to the directions from your guide! There were many people that fell out of the raft right at this spot!
Have no fear, no one was hurt, and the workers were right there to the rescue!


This is a particular point of interest down by the river- I don't know what the name of the river is- I forget, BUT, apparently this spot was documented in 1704. Don't you love the view. (It was actually very pretty, but the cinder blocks got my attention!)

It was a lot of fun, and hopefully I can go back and do more activities!
*********
Other notes:
This afternoon I listened to a message from Mosaic Church online. There were some things that the pastor said that really hit home:
1. True faith leads to transformation. True faith "has you." It gives you new birth and new identity. John 3
2. Things appear better when the lights are dim. We may live a certain way in the dark, but when the light are on, the truth comes out. If you haven't lost anything for Christ, maybe you haven't gained him at all. You cannot glow without being transformed. You also cannot continue to walk around in the dark, hiding from the truth.
3. True faith leads to action. Peter went over the side of the boat. When he saw the waves he started to sink, and cried out for Jesus to save him. Jesus said, "Why did you doubt?" The pastor made an interesting point. He said, what he might have been saying as he reached down and grabbed Peter was, "Peter, I called you out here, and you think I'm gonna let you drown? Peter, I got you- I have you."
Why do I doubt? Today is one of those days when I don't see Jesus. I see the waves, I see the storm and I doubt. I think today is when Jesus would look at me and say, "Why do you doubt? Why do you doubt that in the middle of your day that I will not be there to walk with you, to sit with you? Do you think I am going to let you drown? Why do you doubt?" And I have no words.
Matthew 14
4. Your faith has to move you and cause you to risk. True faith isn't faith if it doesn't move you.
5. Galatians 2:20

So, I have to choose. Every day. Sink or swim. Live or die. Sometimes it seems easier to lay in bed, to quit. To stop trying in life. But, then there's someone calling out to me. Come out on the water. Come walk with me.
Today I choose to live- and to walk in the light.
Let your light shine-Go glow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Regret and Complete Resolution

These days we are surrounded by movies and quotes and songs that are geared to inspire and motivate. This topic has been on my mind recently, which has caused two questions to constantly circle around: "What do I WANT to do with my life, what do I NEED to do with it."

Why am I thinking for this now? Because I keep putting doing what I want to do, and being who I want to be because I am afraid. At the same time I want to live, but not live in a way where my very existence is waking up, going to work, eating and then sleeping. I want to live. I want to enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow. A new television commercial advertising for the show Saving Grace has Holly Hunter stating this, " I want to bust the world wide open....I want to taste the tastes and fix the problems. I want to run head long into... darkness and pranks and fun and laugh, laugh, laugh. I want to be the best friend... I want to be the mystery in the room and I want to be known..."
What a powerful statement. What she says strikes me every time I hear it because she is a person determined to throw herself into life and into love- regardless of the bruises she is bound to receive.

So in all my thinking I have determined that there are two things I must choose to do to live:
#1- I must have no regrets
#2- and must, inwardly, have complete resolution

#1- I must have no regrets.

I must speak up and say those things are the hardest. I must choose to put my heart on the line, I must risk it all to say the words that need to be spoken.
"Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence." - Will Henry

I must do what I am afraid to do, but am longing for.
"As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do." - Zachary Scott

I must love the people that I love, regardless of response, regardless of how they feel back- my friends, my family, those that I don't yet...
"Looking back, I have this regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so." - David Gayson

I must be determined to do everything on purpose.
"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is." - Mary Anne Radmacher

I must run for my goals.
"Every noble work is bound to face problems and obstacles. It is important to check your goal and motivation thoroughly. One should be very truthful, honest and reasonable. One's actions should be good for others, and for oneself as well. Once a positive goal is chosen, you should decide to pursue it all the way to the end. Even if it is not realized, at least there is no regret." - Dalai Lama
"Resist no temptation: a guilty conscience is more honorable than regret." - Anonymous

#2- I must have complete resolution.

I must choose to not allow difficulty and hard times to slow me down.
"The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. Proceed and light will dawn, and shine with increasing clearness on your path." - Jim Rohn

"Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you." - Denis Waitley

I must in my mind determine that attitude is inward, and then choose a positive one.
"Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." - Helen Keller

I must determine to work hard and run after my goals.
"A heart to resolve, a head to contrive and a hand to execute." - Edward Gibbon
"There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there's only scarcity of resolve to make it happen." - Wayne Dyer
"Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve." - Benjamin Franklin

I must be unstoppable.
"There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
"You may be whatever you resolve to be." - Thomas Stonewall Jackson
"Let us resolve to be masters, not the victims, of our history, controlling our own destiny without giving way to blind suspicions and emotions." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
"Resolve that whatever you do, you wil bring the whole man to it; that you will fling the whole weight of your being into it." - Orison Swett Marden

I must keep the promises I make to myself.
"Vow to be valiant;
Resolve to be radiant;
Determine to be dynamic;
Strive to be sincere;
Aspire to be attuned."- William Arthur Ward

And I cannot wait. It must be done today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fire-Flamming...Head?

So I write this following piece asking that if you read this you remember it is a very true story. None of the facts are altered or made up. I am writing for a few reasons. Number 1: It's after 1 in the morning. I know that if I go to sleep tomorrow (Tuesday) will be here even quicker. (That makes no sense, it's already Tuesday, but I'm referring to the Tuesday WORK day.) Number 2: I need to study and I'm procrastinating. I have a test on Saturday. The more I study, the more I know how much I don't know. The more I know how much I don't know, the more I worry bout my test- which I MUST pass. Therefore, I'm procrastinating. (That also makes no sense. I should study so I know more, but my mind is not working correctly- remember it's almost 1 in the morning!) Number 3- I like writing.

So, let's go back a few years. I was 14. I was a fashionable 8th grader. I wore my hair like a hippie with only the top portion pulled back. (I'm being sarcastic about the fashionable- continue reading and you will understand why.) I was also an excellent student. In my 8th grade Home EC class I was a genius. That year we had completed one of our top projects- a sweatshirt! I was proud of my sweatshirt so I wore it to school. (Um, for those of you who aren't getting the picture- this was not an attractive look.) In reality, I don't think it was pride that caused me to wear it- I just didn't know better. (For the record, it was a fine product.)

So, 8th grade year was coming to a close. I was sporting my hippie hair-do and my red handmade sweatshirt. It was a BIG day in Home EC- there was a lot of buzz because on that day we would be learning how to properly set a buffet table. (This is all true) We had already learned how to bake bread and make lasagna, so this was simply putting all the pieces together.

My group had the important job of decorating the buffet table. The checked gingham table cloth was spread out neatly and evenly along the table. There might have even been flowers. There were definitely candles. (Candles can definitely help to set a mood.) I was inspecting our table with a critical eye when I saw something- the candles were out of alignment. Yes, they were. They were uneven, and everyone knows that uneven candles can destroy a properly set buffet table. (I am making fun of myself here, because I am one that would worry about this sort of thing.) So, I reached over and moved the candle. But something was wrong. Very wrong.

My head was burning. There was a something very hot and bright and it was making a roaring noise near my ear. I don't think I really put it together at that moment, but I had leaned over another candle and my hair was on fire. Not just a little "pat pat" oh it's gone fire. A real smelly my hair was burning there were flames fire. I was bent over walking backwards trying to move away from the source of the pain- the heat. At that point (which I didn't find out until later) my teacher came over and pushed me down. She put out the fire with her hand. During that whole time I was yelling, "Jesus save me."

The story now is one that I can think of and laugh. Seeing it written down though seems very dramatic and it was. If you hear me tell it in person I can even act it out. That day though it was not so funny. That day it was something that only me, the mess of a girl, would do.

When I think of it now though I see God's grace. God chose to save me. He chose to protect me. I lost some hair- which grew back. I burned my eyelashes- which grew back. My head, where it should have been burned was not. No blisters. The doctor was shocked. I felt no pain. I had no reason to use the healing salve he gave me. I was already healed.

I see God's plans. I see how my plans are futile. They come and go with the blink of an eye. The moving of a candle isn't going to effect the universe, but God's plans... I see how what I want is meaningless and pointless. And then I see how God looks down on me every day and chooses to save. He saves me from myself when I make a disaster. When I say the wrong thing. Do the wrong thing. Go the wrong way. God saved me that day. He saves me every day. He has a purpose for me. I don't know what it is yet, but every day I am here, and I have the privilege of figuring it out.

I see God's peace. I know that we can look out into the world and see the tragedy and the disasters. I know that we can all throw our heads back and yell life's not fair. And it's not. And we can say, "Why?" and "Where are you God?" And in response there are not always answers. I know that there are things beyond my own understanding. BUT, I know that even though there are storms and there is chaos, there is a calmer of the storm, and if necessary, because storms will not be calm -that there is a peace.

Miscellaneous notes from that Day:
The conversation at my house that night entailed jokes about my traumatic experience- "You always wanted red hair, but flaming red hair?" That was my mother and my aunts. They thought the joke was hilarious. I was concerned because my eyelashes were stuck together and my hair had to be chopped off to my shoulders, and yet my mom refused to let me sit and sulk. She made me laugh despite of the situation because she knew I was OK.

Monday morning after the "stop,drop and roll" incident there were bunson burners in Science. Talk about trauma. I didn't start using candles until I was 24 (no lie- all truth) so the Bunson burner with the large flame shooting out of the top reminded me of my head from only 3 days prior. I sat as far away from that thing as possible.

The whole next week at school the dorky girl who leaned to far over the candle was very popular. Everyone came to me and asked to see my head. I showed it off proudly. The excitement wore off within a week, and I went back to being nameless, but it was fun while it lasted.

Lastly, I no longer spray my hair down big bangs each morning with an aerosol can of hairspray. Saving the environment? No- saving my hair! That stuff is flammable.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Convertibles, Bears, and other Things a Little Fuzzy

This past weekend, I had the privilege of doing several things, things that I have experienced either rarely or never before.
Prepare yourself for a cinematic treat (not really cinematic, I just like that word, and not really a treat- it's just pictures).

Convertible rides:
Two of my co-workers now have a convertible as their rental- so this weekend- we got to go for a ride.

Screaming in terror? Of course not! Face of agony? Nope. It was just the wind.

MB showing off the car. ( Um, note the fine piece of photography- I blurred it on purpose.)
The look all convertible passengers know well- Blinding by hair flying in face.


Is it a bird? Or maybe a plane??
Nope just the moon.
Man am I good---
I wonder why I'm not a professional photographer.


Sundays' Bears/Panthers game in Charlotte:

Half time show- some famous trampoline people. I had no idea that this was a gymnastics sport- I would break my neck! It was pretty cool to watch though!


This is a poor attempt to show how far up we were. Note: We were in the HIGHEST seats in the stadium. From our level, we had to walk up 107 steps! INSANITY!



Oh yes, had I chosen to, I could have climbed up the ladder to the lights- we were right there. I however, chose to not move, but rather stay put. And while Charlotte is no Chicago, the city looked pretty cool behind the stadium.
From this angle it looks as though the people on the field were laying down--- maybe they got tired; it was a very hot day.
Why yes, the football field is curved in the middle. It's a new thing that they do out here in the East.

This is when those football people were out on the field---doing things.


So I can now say I have been to my FIRST NFL game. While I don't know ALL of the terms, I followed pretty closely. There were a few distractions, namely the big screen things on both ends of the stadium, and the crazy group of fans next to us, but overall I had a fun time!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kiss the Dinasour, too!

(Two posts in one day, crazy!)

Three years ago my good friend Cindy and I went to the beach in Kenosha, one of my fave places, as most of you know. On our way back we went to the park. Cindy was supposed to take a picture of me standing on a swing, trying to get to the dinosaur, but instead captured this video.



video





ALL for you Cin!
Love ya!

Cotton Kleenex

So my job had a little fair yesterday. There were booths and prizes, popcorn and cotton candy. Like any responsible employee I decided to partake in the popcorn- a favorite treat of mine- and some cotton candy (which basically amounts to fluffy sugar that melts in your mouth).
So I'm relaxing at my desk- as relaxed as I could be- eating my light blue cotton candy from my styrofoam cup.
Pause for a newsbreak: On my desk itself I have various items decorating the desktop. One important section happens to be a pile of light blue kleenex.
Back to the story. I'm leaning back in my chair, eating. And, someone happens to walk up to me to ask a question. I continue eating, but I also smile and nod, listening to the question. SUDDENLY, the lady yells, "WHAT are you eating!?" I'm confused, not sure what is happening, but I say, "Uh, cotton candy..."
At this point, she is bent over laughing, her face is red and tears are streaming down her face. She said, "I thought you were eating your kleenex!"
Yum.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

B-W's and the Night of Fun- or maybe, no...???

So tonight after a freakishly long day at work....


... some buddies and I headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for some sustenance and laughter.

Found right next to B-Ws:
A cemetery


Found driving by the B-Ws:
A Firetruck
(one of the firemen posed, but they were going to fast- I think there was a fire)


Found in B-Ws:
Quote of the night on a napkin, "We know some of you are here to embarrass yourselves in public. Thanks. We'll enjoy the show."
(There was nothing embarrassing at our table except for, well, all of us.)

Yum...my nice COLD BEVERAGE- a water with lemon!


And, our shoes-stylish eh??


There were a few stories, lots of ice tea (sweetened I must add), water and Diet Cokes.
Mix in a few laughs and the day suddenly wasn't so bad!

Monday, September 08, 2008

I went to a Chinese Restaraunt to buy a loaf of bread...

After work tonight, my dinner buddies and I all headed to a family friendly Chinese restaurant. I would mention the name, but quite frankly, I don't remember. It was a lovely buffet full of everything that makes a Chinese buffet, well, Chinese. These types of dinner items included but were not limited to: powdered doughnuts, shrimp, beef and broccoli, Chicken feet, some sort of crawdaddy critter thing, green beans and chicken fingers. Yes, it was quite the spread. So my dinner party and I browsed through the food options and made our selections. Not being that hungry, I resigned myself to eating one plate of food, a few pieces of watermelon (that tasted like watermelon minus the melon) and about five glasses of water. At the end of the meal, I felt pretty good, not full, not hungry but just right.

However, one of my dinner buddies,who for my own protection will remain nameless, left the restaurant practically in a wheelchair. The quantity of food eaten by him, I mean, this nameless person was minimal; although there were about five glasses of ice tea downed in a matter of an hour. The car ride home was the most enjoyable part of my day, as this nameless person sat in the backseat rubbing his/her stomach. Each bump caused a moan, and the speed bumps in the apartment parking lot nearly did him- or her- in. I also never knew how much fun a person could have by pulling on the seatbelt of a stuffed fellow passenger

Hopefully the Chinese overeater is fully recovered by now. If not, well as it said on my fortune cookie- "Courage is grace under pressure." (Whatever that means.)

Note: When talking with someone who has an upset stomach, avoid conversation regarding milkshakes that taste like Krispy Kreme (spelling), jaws wired closed and laughing.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

I mention all three types of transportation because in my quick jog from Charlotte to Illinois all three types of transportation were used in some form or another.

To begin with, I traveled on a plane:

  • The flight was short; my time in the airport and then my time on the plane waiting for the airplane to take off were longer than the flight itself!
  • Due to the weather in Chicago, we had to wait in the plane for take out. I tried to sleep, however, my mind wouldn't cooperate. The overall flight was mostly smooth until it came time to land. At that point I held onto the arm rests (yes both of them) and prayed that we would not crash, and that I would not get sick- my prayers were answered.
  • On every flight, the flight attendants always begin by pointing out the exits- run to the closest one in case of emergency, the oxygen masks will drop if there becomes an issue, and that the seat cushions will help you float should we land in water. (Not quite sure how a water landing would even be possible, but we were prepared- just in case.) This time, however, the flight attendant added another comment upon our descent into Chicago. "Ladies and Gentlemen, the captain has requested that the flight attendants remain in their seats for the remainder of the descent. Please make sure your seats are upright and your tray tables are in the correct position. And, in case of an emergency evacuation, please.... leaveyourcarryonitemsontheplane. Thank you." Comforting, right?

Next up the Automobile:

  • My friend, Cindy, otherwise known as The Bride, picked me up right on time from the airport. We had the usual phone conversation prior to the pickup; "Where are you? What are you wearing? Are you in the right lane? Get ready to throw your body into the car while I drive quickly by so that the airport people don't yell at me." (Okay, I made the last one up.) But, she came, I jumped in, and off we went.
  • Most of the ride contained mindless chatter, me talking nonstop about- I actually am not sure what about- and Cindy nodding and listening like the great friend she is. Half way through the trip home we switched spots and she began telling me her great stories and I begin listening. It was, despite the late hour and the plane delays, it was a nice way to catch up.
  • The next day included more time in the automobile-mine this time. I was responsible for picking up The Bride and delivering her on time so that she could get ready. Word to the wise: Don't be late when picking up a bride- you will stress yourself out. (Now, in this case, The Bride was wonderful and not in a hurry, I however was driving like a maniac, while she sat calmly to the side telling me how much time we had to get to the reception and how she wasn't worried so I shouldn't be either.)
  • On Sunday my trip back TO the airport included my mother gripping the steering wheel, acting afraid of the Chicago traffic- although at this point she has been to the airport more times than I have.
  • The final part of my trip involved a taxi ride in Charlotte from the airport to my apartment. We'll call my cab driver "Ray" for short. Ray was certainly effecient at driving. He also had miscellaneous items all over his cab. For example, Ray's sunglasses were green and yellow plastic. They looked similar to a child's sunglasses, ones that you might find in a previous decade and in the dollar store. Ray's driving technique was very interesting. Each stop that was made, was made very quickly. The result at each stop was both the driver and myself flying forward, held in the seat only by the seat belt, similar to what you might experience on a rollar coaster. This occurred once again at each stoplight. I don't believe I suffered any whiplash but I should know more after I sleep.
Oh the train:

  • Saturday morning my mom called me to give me her ETA. Since was taking the train up to me, and then she was taking me to the airport on Sunday and using my car while I'm out of town.
  • I was a little groggy, but the conversation was pretty straight forward.
    • Me: When will you get here?
    • Mom: 1 pm.
    • Me: I will come to get you then.
    • Mom: Sounds good.
  • That is why it was a little surprising when 1 pm arrived, and the train, and my mom were no where to be found. This caused a new conversation to ensue.
    • Me: Where are you?
    • Mom: On the train.
    • Me: I thought you were gonna be here at 1.
    • Mom: I should be. We're just getting into Chicago now.
    • Me: You are still on the South Shore Train?
    • Mom: Yes.
    • Me: Um, it is 1.
    • Mom: Oops...I guess I won't make it by 1 then.
  • The previous conversation resulted in the both of us laughing at her 1 pm arrival. The real arrival time: 4 pm.
Some other tidbits from my weekend:

  • The reception was fun. Cindy, The Bride, looked beautiful.
  • I made a new friend. A 2 or 3 year old boy decided I was his designated dance partner for the night. "Dance. Dance with me. Go over there. Dance." So we danced.
  • I broke my camera. A fateful photographic incident occurred as my camera was passed from one nameless person to me. I had at that point taken a few pictures, and those pictures remained saved.
  • I bought a new camera- not a super camera, but one that should cover the remainder of my Adventures in Charlotte. I had to, of course, test my new camera. I included some, but not all of the test pictures below. I wanted to post more, but considering most of them involved my mom, and Christmas and my birthday are approaching, I thought that I would not post the majority of them, but I had to slip a few of them out here.

My new Dance Partner:

Kyle and Meg:
George was admiring himself in the mirror:
My mom's tight grip on the steering wheel:

Testing the new camera:
My mom's nose-

Oh the agony-My mom's ear-

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Tribute to Recently-Relocated Friends

*Note: My team at work has a newsletter each month. This month's edition included the following article. I loved it so much I decided to put it out here.

By Robert Charles Karcher, Esq.

Sametime shall not be the same, for its staunchest guardian has, for now, departed this fair shire for places more Carolina-y. His barb’ed wit and his knowledge of what can and cannot be found in Callflows and the importance of checking there first has flown south and east, leaving a hole in our collective heart. A Geske among Geskes, a man of vision and a master of vision correction technology who is no doubt sharing that vision with the good folk of Charlotte e’n as I pen these lines.

And what of the fair Stephanie, striding forth, wrapped in a warming blanket of wisdom? She is also missed, for both her gentle guidance and keen eye for hardship documentation. Yea verily, I am honoured to care for her porcine papier-mâché friend whilst she is away, for it is a daily reminder of her service and dedication; it is not the same as having her here among us, but it doth ease the sting of loss by the merest fraction, and for that I am most grateful, O small round pink one.
We shall be reunited in good time, Matthew and Stephanie, and until that day arrives, you shall dwell forever in our hearts…and on Sametime…and email….oh, forget it.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Pork to the People!

What do BBQ ribs, chicken, baked beans, french fries, and southern rice and sweet tea equal?
A full stomach!
MaryBeth and I made our way to Sticky Fingers for a good 'ole BBQ meal on this fine Labor Day. We were NOT disappointed!
(Thanks to Steve from my fave Hewitt team for recommending Charlotte BBQ!)


This is how I was feeling after eating! I did not eat ALL of it, but it will make for good leftovers!
Happy Labor Day Everyone!