Saturday, January 30, 2010

What I Have Learned From A Simple Sport Called Basketball




That's the Cat-In-The-Hat version of what I know about basketball -- when played by Alana (names can be changed as situation dictates).

I do not know basketball. I know that there is a ball and a basket involved. I know that there is running involved. I know that sometimes girls play it and sometimes boys play it.

I know Alana. I know Alana loves basketball. I know I am friends with Alana. I know Alana always is wanting me to come to her basketball games. I know sometimes Alana plays basketball games at the high school directly behind where I live and that it takes me 3 minutes to drive there. When Alana's request for my attendance at her basketball games intersects with her playing those basketball games at the high school 3 minutes away from me - I can only hop in my car and drive 3 minutes to see Alana play basketball.

This day was a bit of a learning experience for me as I discovered something else, that may not be surprisingly new, but was revolutionary to me. On this day, the men in those little black striped jail looking outfits were apparently making some very bad decisions regarding who was being good and who was being bad. All I know is that the parents of the so dubbed "bad team" were very very angry and were yelling things at the men in the striped outfits as they did not feel that their team was as bad as the striped men were saying they were. On the other hand, the other parents of the "good team" were very very happy and were laughing and saying nice things to the striped men.

What I learned on this day was that - I will not be quitting my job to become one of the men (or women in my case) in the striped outfits as it seems like the angry people can be a lot louder and more exhuberiant than the happy people.

And that is something new that I learned about basketball....

Oh - I also learned that Alana has a good attitude no matter what happens! She's almost done with high school basketball but she'll be heading off to Judson soon to play basketball there. She'll be a basketball playing, architecture studying wizard! Go Alana!

Monday, January 25, 2010

This Was Only a Week?

MONDAY - In Office

TUESDAY - In Office.... oh, and with a nice dinner at Pat's and a viewing of the newest episode of "White Collar" on USA... If you've not seen - its a MUST! Came home at about 10:30 and packed for the rest of the week.

WEDNESDAY - Up at 4:30 to quickly get ready, threw my suitcase in the car and headed to the train station to catch the 6 a.m. train to get to O'hare. I had a 7:58 flight to Columbus, OH to work with an acct.

Caught this picture of this nutty guy -- he made my morning. He was doing "complicated" stretches like he was Mitch Gaylord. He'd pick up his suitcase and stand on one leg and balance until he fell sideways. My favorite was when he stood in front of the stair railing - facing it - and went to put his leg up to do a ballet stretch. Only problem was he couldn't quite make the stretch and, God love him, he kept on awkwardly throwing his leg up, falling over sideways and then acting like there was something wrong with his shoe or the floor or anything that might contribute to the fact that he couldn't balance himself on one foot. He entertained me for quite a while until they called us to board. Nothing like a morning laugh!

We finally boarded the plane, got our luggage stored and into our selves into our seats with our buckles strapped snuggly around us and then - sat there. After about 20 minutes, the captain said that they had had some problems with the radar on the way in and were graciously deciding to fix it for out sakes (my words) and so we needed to sit tight. Another 20 minutes and now we find out that the black box is not working so we need to wait for someone to replace that... I'm already not feeling tremendously confident about this flight. (below - the view of Columbus flying in.... a tiny, but cute, little downtown)

My rep/friend, Ali, picked me up from the airport when we finally got in at 10:30 - we took off and drove an hour to an account that was having such "horrible staining problems" on their instruments that the OR manager called an emergency meeting and shut down the OR for a day and half.... A lot behind that but - not a good move at all for so many reason.... by the time they reopened, all of the patients were terrified imagining what may have happened during their surgery that they were all but ready to call ambulences to transfer them to the nearest facility 20 minutes away. Long and short - when I got there, their instruments actually looked great and the CS director was rolling her eyes at the over-reaction. Oh- and by the way - if you leave your instruments sitting up in OR and then send them down to CS about 4 hours later looking like this - you just may have some issues..... (sorry if I gross anyone of my two followers out by the aforementioned picture :))

By about 2:30, Ali had brought me back to the airport to pick up a rental car to shoot off to another "emergency" problem in Indianapolis. After standing around in the rental car parking lot waiting for two darling older gentlement to thoroughly check two drivers license and rental car agreements before opening the gate to release two customers into the frigid Ohio air, I finally was led to a beautiful brand new Buick Rendevous with all the trimmings. It needed to be returned to Indy so I lucked out! I hopped in, stopping at Best Buy on the way as I had forgotten my phone car charger, as I typically do (I have a stash at home that I keep on adding to), and bought a new one so I could make a conference call during the 2 and half hour drive to Indy. At least going to Indy was a little enjoyable for me as I got to stay with my cousins... I was greeted by the newly cleaned and adorable face of Tess - the wonder mini schnauzer that is in need of constant attention. She kept on hitting me whenever I was paying full on attentiont to her fuzzy face! :)

Unfortunately, when I got to Indy finally and picked up some dinner (as my cousin had forgotten that I was coming that night and so she was eating waffles as I called on my way... I am pretty forgetable so I completely understand -- Tammy... :)) --- oh - by the way, sorry to Karl that I don't have any pictures of the Welker clan - completely forgot - but I did get the dog! Anyways - when I got there and had had a nice long chat with Tammy then logged on to finish up some work - I began to fear that I might have change my Friday morning flight to MN to Thursday night and thus miss out on a whole complete evening with the cousins. Sure enough - when I got up in the morning and started getting ready for my appointment, I jumped on line to do a few things and ended up having to change my flight for that evening.

I finished up with my appointment, ran over and met my cousin for lunch/dinner and then drove over to the airport, dropped off my car and ran in and grabbed my flight to Minneapolis. Ok - here's the funny story... (by the way - every flight I had on this round the midwest trip had been delayed for at least an hour...) - when we got into the Minneapolis airport, on United, at 10 at night, they told us we were going to gate E6 - then we get in and the pilot says we've been rerouted to another gate, D4. We get to D4 and its a Delta gate. The seatbelt light blinks off and everyone pops up, openening bins, putting on coats... the clamor to the aisle starts. 20 minutes later (seriously) everyone is still standing in the aisle or precariously stand/crouching in their window seat with their head tapping the overhead bin and their eyes on their shoes, but determined that we're getting off any second so we all need to be ready. All of a sudden, the captain gets on and says "this is a Delta gate and I really don't think that this gate is capable of pulling up to an airbus" - 10 minutes after that, he gets back on and says "I was right, they're sending a tractor over here to push us to a gate that will go to an airbus". And that they do, with luggage still in the aisles and people semi standing and an airline attendant walking around with her hand over her eyes saying "I'm going to pretend I don't see that". We finally did get off about 45 minutes after we landed.

I had booked a room not far from my appointment the next morning and so I went over to the Starbucks across the street to wait for the two guys who were going to be working with me at the account installing some pumps on some instrument washers (picture below). They were both late so I could have gotten up at 6 instead of 5:30... but I had some time to read and sip coffee and listen to the Swahili tribespeople that gather at this fine establishment. Lets just say that the rest of the day was from the other place.... if you know what I mean. I spent it running around looking for parts that were delivered to the wrong address and the kind homeowner where they were supposedly delivered let me roam around his house banging on every door until he finally opened the back door and looked at me like I had interupted a killing spree inside. Oh - by the way - he denied they had gotten the box and ended up taking my invoice with his address on it until I stuck my foot in the door and asked him kindly to please give back my billing receipt. I barely made my 7:21 flight and I've never been so grateful to get back home on a late Friday evening.....

Up and coming - this is what I'm working on for the week of Feb 4th - a training session I have to do on "You And Your Scope - How to Get Them Clean" -- or some such title .... I'm still working on that catchy slogan and trying to read up on all the stupid kinds of scopes there are --- the common uses of endoscopes like the colonscopy and the laparoscopy. and there are the seemingly unknown ones that are actually very common-place like the esophagogastroduodenoscope. What about the ones that you can guess where they're going -- the anoscopy and the rhinoschopy (hint - the second one is not used on a rhino but if it was and you combined it with the first one mentioned - that would be really really horrible). What about ones that once you find out what they mean, it just hurts -- like the panendoscopy which is actually a triple endoscopy. Its a very interesting procedure, but it is a little warped when you think about the size and length of most of those tubes and where they end up going. Well - let me just say that I'm here to make sure that everyone one of those tubes - no matter where they end up - are clean and either high level disinfected or sterilized. Never fear - Endoscopy Woman is here! -- Let me know if you want to know more fun sounding surgical procedures that use hoses and electricity and cameras so you can rush over to your doctor and ask him for one today!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Don't Look if You're Extremely Clausterphobic!

As mentioned in a previous blog - this week was spent working in Richmond, VA. However, due to ticket prices, I flew into Norfolk and drove up to Richmond.

One of the bridge-tunnels that I commonly have to take while in the Norfolk area is the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. There is also another one called the Monitor Merrimac which is on the other side of the Chesapeake. Its a really interesting complex and its really cool going thought it. I believe its about 3 and a half miles long and you go all the way down to the bottom of the Chesapeake as they use that area for the ships to pass through. Your ears pop and you lose your radio station and satellite reception. I did discover, though, that my AT&T phone still works loud and clear! :)

I usually love driving through the bridge - well, I've gotten to the point that I don't even notice anymore because I've done it so much -- I have a whole hospital system that I work with in that area so I've spent a couple months, intermittedly, driving through the tunnel to get to the other side. The only time I abhor the tunnel is when there is a bad traffic back up and you get down to the middle of the tunnel, at the very bottom of the Chesapeake, and all of a sudden, you just stop. UGH! I tend to freak out a little with that one and I have to sit there talking myself down.

Anyways - I caught a cool picture of the tunnel when we took off... If you want to look up more info on the tunnel-bridge, you can go to

A Day With Krista

Last Saturday, after a missions committee meeting at church that lasted a while, but yielded a lot, I swung over to Libertyville and picked up KRISTA!

I had been talking and talking about hanging out with her and never had, so I took the opportunity of a free Saturday afternoon to own up to my promise.

What awesome fun! We ate pancakes at Walker Brothers - YUM! Went shopping for shoes at TWO DSWs - YEA (wouldn't you know we went shopping for her but I was the one who ended up with two pairs of shoes and Krista - none)! And rocked out to Miley Cirus and Cascada in the car - FUN! Oh - can't forget stopping for donuts at the new Lovin Oven in Libertville.

I must say - Krista is definitely the most fun junior higher ever and I can't wait to hang again!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Thought My Day Was Over

So I thought all I had to do was drive from Norfolk to my hotel in Richmond and get to my hotel and my day would be over. Thats not my life - its never THAT easy.

I stopped at a grocery store in Norfolk and picked up some veggies - I've taken to staying at Residence Inns or Springhill Suites if its for more than one night because then I can buy healthy stuff and just fix good meals in my own kitchenetty thing. So, thats where I was headed - the Residence Inn in Richmond off of Dickens Road. I liked the sound of Dickens and the pictures looked good - I booked it.

Here's one thing you can learn from me about Marriotts -- most of their locations are new or have been newly remodeled - but there are ones that they've missed - and BOY have they missed them. Another thing is that the old Fairfields and Residence Inns were the kind with the outside doors. All rooms were accessed by doors that were just out by sidewalks with no real type of security.

I turned off on Bell St which leads to Dickens and in the distance I see tons of lights. All these firetrucks and police cars and such. Something big happened - and of course - it happened at Dickens where I needed to turn. There were 4 firetrucks and 8 police cars all parked around the Denny's at the corner and the road was closed off. I spent about 10 minutes circling around the back side of Dickens and looking for the Residence Inn that was neatly tucked away behind the Comfort Inn.

I noticed the doors right off the bat and I had a little hestitation, but when Chip at the desk asked if I'd rather stay somewhere else, I bravely said that it was fine there. I asked about a gym and he gave me passes for the Richmond Health Club about 5 miles from the hotel. I was still determined, even though it was almost 8 by now, that I was still going to get over and at least run. All I had to do was check in, get the groceries in the fridge, change and over to the gym - no problem.

I drove around back and got everything out of my trunk and made my way through the "breezeway" that led to my room. I had to tote everything up two flights of stairs and I finally got up, unlocked the door and swung it open with the ease of moving a sheet of styrofoam packing board. I then reached over and flipped a switch that turned on two small dim lights. I stood in the doorway of an enormously, cavernous room with two floors, silhouetted by a poor, sputtering yellow light over the kitchen sink. An eerie "Psycho" feeling came over me and I decided pretty quickly that I needed to leave that fine establishment.

The front desk clerk was extremely nice and understanding - I'm going to guess that it happened a lot that people ran after they visited a room. He called and got me another room at a Springhill Suites about 3 minutes down the highway. This actually turned out to be a mecca for me! :) It was a BRAND new hotel, 2 seconds from the highway, with a STARBUCKS right across the street and a CHICK-FIL-A down the road.... It was love at first sight! :)

By this time it was a little after 8:30 but I still got my run in on this amazingly beautiful, new Lifefitness machine - so smooth! Turned out to be a great night - and I can hit the Bucks on the way to the hospital tomorrow morning! The start of a great day!

Good night Richmond!

Trains, Planes and Automobiles --- In That Order

This morning I got out of bed and hitched a ride with mom over to the Metra station where I then took the train to O'hare where I then to a plane to Norfolk where I then took a car to Richmond. Are you tired yet - because now we get to my life :) I did fly to Norfolk because it was cheaper than flying into Richmond, but heres the funny thing. I was thinking in my head that I was going to Richmond so I looked at the departure board which said that the Richmond flight was leaving out of F7b. So I ran from terminal 1, gate A area to terminal two, gates F. I ran all the way down the F concourse and got to the F7b and there was no one there and nothing on the board and my flight was supposed to leave in 15 minutes. I then ran all the way back to the Red Carpet Club (about 10 gates down the concourse) because that was the first customer service counter. In a panic I burst in and started demanding what had happened to my flight - and then she looked at my ticket and told me I was going to Norfolk. I felt like a complete idiot and I kept on mumbling my apologies -- again - totally my life :) Thank goodness, the Norfolk gate was only about 4 gates down from the Club.

The first picture is my train commute that I have every morning I go to the airport and every evening when I come back from the airport. That Metra is a God send! I love taking the train rather than fighting traffic down and trying to find parking and then seeing the bill for parking for 2-4 days. Ugh!

The next pictures is the view flying into Norfolk. I love it. We don't usually go over the Chesapeake, but today we did. Look up the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on-line if you aren't familiar with it. Sometimes, when I finish work up early, I love just taking the bridge across because of the views. It does cost like $20 to do it, but its a really cool experience. THe system connects the eastern shore of VA with the Norfolk area. Its a 20 mile long system and it takes you across the Atlantic where theres always a back up of traffic on the water with the freighters going out.

The Norfolk airport is right by a Naval shipyard so you have to fly over all the docks and ships and stuff when you go in -- weird, but cool.

Okay - the one last picture is near and dear to my heart.... Chick-Fil-A! I could eat Chick-Fil-A like 90 times a day and never get sick of it! Its the one thing I really really miss about the south and everytime I'm past Chicago, I start looking for the first Chick-Fil-A stop. YUM!

I'm enroute from Norfolk to Richmond right now - stopped at Starbucks to finish some work and get some cross referencing done for some customers. Tomorrow I'm starting a trial at a hospital system in Richmond.

Over and out!

Friday, January 8, 2010


I'm here in the beautifully cold city of Minneapolis, MN -- 7 below when we landed -- felt like that one scene from "New In Town" when she thought it would be no big deal to walk outside. My nose actually really did freeze this morning!

So, my question is -- where in the heck am I?

I always laugh because of the transit system at MSP -- you used to have to take a bus from the airport to the rental car location and then they made the light rail system. First time I got on it, I did a double take as the woman who makes the announcements "Please hold on" "we are approaching the rental car location", etc, has a totally British accent. Too funny! We're here in the midwest and she's speaking like I just arrived in London! At least at O'hare, we're proud to make out announcement with our Chicago accents "Please d-ae-n't accept any pae-ckae-ges from str-ae-ngers" good and nasal Are the Minnesotans too ashamed to say "Please hold on, aye". We know where we're from :)

The other thing you'll learn about the Cities, especially working in the medical industry as they seem to be abundant there -- the city is loaded with Nigerians or Somalians or whatever they are. And they still talk their Nigerian or Somalian or whatever. I'm sitting in Starbuck right now and its DEAFENING! They gather in massive groups and speak this really weird sounding language - I almost expect to her that clicking sound or some kind of throat signing or something. Seriously - its DEAFENING! There are about 50 of them stuffed into this little Starbucks that probably seats about 20. And they're all Nigerian speaking at the top of their lungs like they're trying to outdo each other.

And then, what you would expect to see around here, the typical nordic women and men - blonde haired and brauny.

Its like I'm in a different country up here!

Travel With Mismatched Socks

I'm at the airport at 6am. I got up at 4 to leave at 5 and in the dark cold of the snowy morning, while I was getting dressed, I got to my feet and I knew I was going to wear my boots so I wanted socks underneath. I had two pairs in the drawer that I was looking at, one pair was a decent pair of thin, dress black socks. The other pair was a thick warm pair of black socks with something about warm feet stichted in white at the toe. I wanted so badly for my tootsies to be warm so my hand went to the tacky, but thick, black socks with white stitching... And then I thought about security and having to take my boots off two times and how I was all dressed up on top but then my feet would be so not... And I grabbed the thin, dress socks.

I noticed when I got to the airport that there were new bins at security. Oddly enough it seems as if they were sponsered by Amtrak as all the bottoms of the containers that I saw were Amtrak ads.

And then I laughed when I saw the ads on my bins said "Travel with mismatched socks! We won't see what youre wearing... No security lines".

That would be nice:)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What Free Coffee Tastes Like

So apparently, this is the way my mind works... this is me being honest....

I was at the Starbucks drive through at lunch time - just going to grab a quick cup because I had a bad headache and its been a crappy morning and the heat duct over my desk makes me feel like I'm in Bermuda (but not in a good way) and I just thought I needed something to make my day better. I wasn't in a bad mood, but I don't normally drive around smiling like I'm from Kansas or some place where people are always observably happy. I'm just pretty normal as far as Chicago drivers and their facial expressions go (except I'll never be the one that you find picking their nose or singing as if no one outside of their car exists).

Back to Starbucks - The woman in the SUV in front of me (who graduated from Purdue as the plate frames read -- another happy kind of place out in the middle of the corn field -- you'd think that Purdue would raise people who are smart enough to figure that life in the middle of a corn field is nothing to smile about...) pulled up to the box to place her order. The way the drive tilts, I could see her face in her rearview mirror and she kind of sat there smiling and it looked like she might have been looking at me, but I never know what people are looking at if I see them in their mirror... its a mirror for crying out loud. So -- I didn't beam back at her but just kind of sat looking at the back of her car.

Then - she proceeded to place her 10 minute order... I do believe I might have deeply sighed once or twice because I did need to get back to my box and all.

She pulled up and I ordered and then pulled up behind her where she was at the window now having an all out conversation with the Starbucks barrista (yes, that is what they're called). An hour later (or something like that), she finally pulled away and I pulled up. The barrista opened the window and said "the car in front of you paid for your drink".

Ok - here's how my mind works. My immediate response was a little bit of clip on my voice and a "what!?" because I was thinking about her looking in the mirror and did she think she knew me? I then asked, why?

Of all people - I'm asking why. Like I don't do enough things for people that would lead them to ask "why?" and here I am asking "why?".

My second thought was a little ticked because I thought -- because I wasn't smiling, she thought I must be a mopey person and needed something nice... And on and on my thoughts went.

The barrista said that it was a "random act of kindness". I kind of just shrugged, took my drink and drove off -- still bubbling a little bit about "how dare she judge me just because I didn't smile at her -- I can smile -- I hope I end up seeing her on the road because I'll just give a major, mind numbing smile that will make her regret thinking that about me..."

And then - I thought - now I have to "pay it forward" -- thats what I'll do, I'll just pass it along to someone else....

And then - I thought - this is scaring me.... This is how my mind works? Whatever! She was just being nice!

And then - I picked up my free coffee and tasted it... and thought... this is what actual free coffee tastes like. Just nice...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Song for My Cousin

Happy Birthday to you

I'm making the cur-few

I sing better than P--at

And I look bet-ter too...

My arm can be twisted to do a dad and pull out the ol' slides again.... For your birthday alone, Debbie. You name the date and time -- and we'll all see if we can be there too :) These are just some bad pictures of pictures that you just might see, but hope it makes you a little happy on your not yet 75th!

Mom says Happy Birthday and hugs too!

Love you lots, Debbie!

Back In the Box

Well, yesterday, after almost two full weeks of pull-out-your-hair-close-to-boring vacation, it was a mixed blessing to be back in my little box at Weiman LLC. Bleh and yea!

My plate was full with tons of catch up and trying to remember what I was working on before I went into a coma for the holidays. I honestly didn't remember half of what I did right before Christmas or who I had talked to. My mind is slowly going back into gear.

If you want another great Office-type spoof... they're short and most of them are good although some are cheesy and some are a bit "rough" -- check out Man In the Box on YouTube -- "SpeakerPhone Ryan" is a favorite of mine...

Gotta love your box! Don't even figure how much time you actually spend in it... talk about mind numbing...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Coffee With Amanda

I had coffee with Amanda last night - and I must say - what a delight!

After so long, it was good to see, how much fun hanging out with her can still be!

Back, to Tennesse, she must soon fly, to finish her last semester of college
And then I,
will be so excited to see where life then takes her...
To grad school,
To work,
Who knows where...

But I hope that life brings her somewhere near,
So more often I can say that -
I had coffee wtih Amanda last night!

Love you Amanda and miss you tons and tons! I'll be praying for you as you finish up -- YEA!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Cried Over Matches

The title of this post is "I Cried Over Matches" -- I actually did.
The one truth about me is I'm selective in my crying - and I can't even figure out the rhyme or reason, sort of. I cry when I pray for mission works and missionaries in persecuted countries. I cried when we had to leave the Romanian orphans at the orphange in Targu Mures, I cry when my mom cries because its hardly ever (she's English - and I guess I am too... as Daphne Phelps in "A House in Sicily" says of having her uncle's house in Italy being left to her -- ""I was speechless. We were both very English and frightened of emotion, so we changed the subject!").
So, since dad passed away, I like to take note of all the crazy little things that make me have little 10 second cries about dad not being around anymore.
Tonight - it was about matches.
You see, dad loved his matches.... Not in a weird pyro kind of way, but he liked to think of himself as some kind of farmer/homesteader and so he would always have matches in his pocket when he worked outside so he could set the bundle of sticks he collected on fire or burn all of our "burnable" trash or - whatever needed to be burned.
Mom is slowly weeding through dad's things and dispensing them to who they need to go to. We've been trying to figure out his clothes. Most of my family doesn't wear his size or need anything that he has so they've passed over almost everything, but tonight, I found one of his favorite outdoor winter jackets. He'd snowblow the drive or put up Christmas lights, or burn the Christmas tree (in the appropriate burning place in the backyard :).
I found this favorite jacket of dad's, that would incidentally fit one of my brothers, and I washed it. I thought I had checked the pockets, but when I pulled it out to put it in the dryer, a little book of washed matches fell out and - I cried. That was SO dad... those matches. It was a good and quick cry... Not heart-wrenching or mournful :) Didn't have any major hurt or grief... But it was a little sentimental and made me remember something more about dad.
Isn't it silly the things that make us cry? Or maybe its just nice to have something to make us cry now and again. I'll take it as a good thing that I cried over matches because it really meant that I was remembering someone who was there to make a mark on my life with silly things like a little book of forgotten matches.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Auschwitz Camp I - Near Krakow, Poland

Auschwitz Camp II - Birkenau

The remainders of one of two of the gas chambers

Each chimney represents the remainder of a barricks that housed 200 - 300 prisoners

I just finished reading "Night" by Elie Wiesel. I'm a bottomless pit of nothingness. I don't even know what to feel or what to say. I'm numb.

I've read so many of these books and every one has the same effect on me. I know its an "old" story and I know that its one that tends to get passed around and mourned and revered a lot, but its still a stagnant story of the worst of humanity. Its literally a horrid stench in history along with so many other injustices that have been met out on various cultures and societies of the human race.

The thing that makes this story even more poignant for me now is that, I've been there. I've seen the buildings and the chimneys and the gates and the guard towers. I've seen the pictures of prisoners (before and after) and the film reels. I've read the stories. I have all the pieces put together in my mind and it still doesn't make any sense - but yet it does. The thing that keeps me coming back to this history is the recentness of it. I've been to these countries and have seen and felt, even years later, the blackness that such a recent history has left. I've talked to people who have stories and have seen this all take place. It keeps my interest in this history and the road that has been taken to arrive at this history.

The beginning of "Night" contains a forward written by Francois Mauriac, a French journalist. I'm not completely sure what Mauriac's views on Christ and eternity are, but I read and reread the last paragraph of his foreward. As Mauriac looked at Wiesel when he told him his story and then when Wiesel cried that he no longer knew what to think of God, Mauriac consoled and then contemplated to himself "What did I say to him? Did I speak to him of that other Jew, this crucified brother who perhaps resembled him and whose cross conquered the world? Did I explain to him that what had been a stumbling block for his faith had become a conerstone for mine? And that the connection between the cross and human suffering remains, in my view, the key to the unfathomable mystery in which the faith of his childhood was lost? And yet, Zion has risen up again out of the crematoria and the slaughterhouses. The Jewish nation has been resurrected from among its thousands of dead. It is they who have given it new life. We do not know the worth of one single drop of blood, one single tear. All is grace, If the Almighty is the Almighty, the last word for each of us belongs to Him. That is what I should have said to the Jewish child. But all I could do was embrace him and weep."

New Years Day

My typical new years day is brunch downtown.

I've done the Ritz Carlton since about 97, but last year, I switched to Cafe BaBa Reba because the brunch at the Ritz was getting overpriced and under-tastey. Last year, I took friends Kim and Karen with me.

This year, we opened it up and ended up with a party of five. Kim, Karen, Tanya and Denise - and me! Tanya drove separately and parked at a meter spot so she had to leave early - some of the pictures are missing her.

So here's the deal -- Cafe BaBa Reba is a tapas place - great food and great sangria! For New Years Day, they have a special that if you wear your pajamas, you get a gift certificate equal to the amount of your bill. We spent about $95 and they gave us four $25 gift certificates! Yea! We get to go back!

Great fun!

It was awesome to have the remainder of the day to just do whatever. When I came home, Calvin looked at me with pitiful eyes so I complied and brought him to the dog park. I usually strap on the old snowshoes, but it was so freezing that I just left the boots on and trudged around while Calvin galloped happily.

The afternoon brought an exciting round of, "get the dog into the bath". After the holidays, I was tired of hearing how stinky he was (his last bath was 3 weeks ago and when his hair grows out, he can retain the odor a bit more). I'll attach another post with the whole events of getting him into the bath...its always a chore.

And to top the day off... watching some of my old Tales from Avonlea videos and reading. I'm working on "Night" by Elie Wiesel. Its short but emotionally deep.

And thats my New Years Day...a great beginning to 2010!


Aunt Alison Brings Her Buns to New Years Eve!

New Years Eve for the Behn family and extension was quite. Nothing but some food and games at my sisters and brother in law's.

However - the new, new years tradition is my making of "manna" (as the nephews have titled them). I spent the evening making the Overbo (BFF Melissa) family's recipe of Christine's Buns... but when I make them - I suppose they're Alison's Buns...

See how full of joy my neice, Jess's, face is! How could I refuse that little cherub... :)