Saturday, August 28, 2010

From Dallas to Denver to the Beach of West Palm - Time to Catch Up!

As you can tell from my little Plane Poem... I'm going a little wacky...
I've been in more places than you can imagine within the span of a few weeks. Most of those trips have involved flights that have had connections or that I've had to go to short stops along the way to finish up some business.
The more I travel - the crazier I get - the more I have to find the humor in life where I can...
Two weeks ago I had to do a conference in Denver for the week. However, the week before I got a call about an account in Dallas that had to be attended to ASAP. So - I had to take the one day I had home that week and plan it in Dallas, having to leave the evening before (on Sunday) to get there on time. I had a late flight out so I had as much time as I could absorb at home on Sunday. Got into Dallas right after a big, surprise thunderstorm had hit. Because it was last minute, I had booked a rental car through this cheap car place, Advantage. Not only were they at the way end of the whole car rental area, but they were in an uncovered area. I checked out my rental car and toted all my bags way across the lot, packed my suitcase in the trunk and went to sit in the driver's seat, only to spring back up with a completely wet butt. Ah! The goofs had left the car window open during the storm. And, as it turned out, the old guy at the check out booth couldn't help me get a new car so I had to tote everything all the way back across the lot and back into the rental area and get another car. Again, I schleped all my stuff back across the lot and packed it into my new car, got in the driver's seat and - yes, once again - wet seat! I was so tired that I said "FORGET IT!" and put my legal pad binder on my seat and just checked the dumb car out and drove the half and hour to my hotel.
When I went back into the rental car desks the second time, I was trying not to get really mad and so I took to reading the map that was on the counter.... And - here I found my humor... Very bottom right corner -- pink block.... Only in Dallas can they get away with naming a town AND a street "White Settlement"!

The other thing I pass my time with is the delicious! :)

When I got out to Denver, I had a few wonderful friends I got to visit between my appointments and meetings. Jason and Naomi, friends from college live outside of Denver and so I went out to see them and stay with them one evening. Right down the road from their house, they have a Kolache Factory. The only other place I've seen one is in Indianapolis -- I LOVE kolaches! So, I was quite delighted to stop in and get a kolache (ok, two :)).

Back to the humorous....

My friend from college, Laura, and her family are back from India for a year for furlough. They've bought a condo out by Loveland and so I drove out about an hour from Denver after my sales meeting on Thursday. As Asha, Laura's oldest, had a dentist appointment, I found the Starbucks in the area and settled in to get some work done.

While sitting with my laptop, I looked over to the bar area where you collect your drink, and this group of older people had gathered their chairs around the bar and sat as if they were watching the best show in town. They each got their drinks and just sat there chatting and watching the barista as she made other people's drinks and staring at the backsides of people who were standing waiting to get their drinks. Not sure - but does this indicate boredom?! :)

I finished up in Denver on Friday and got back for the weekend. Spent Monday downtown at my large Chicago account and then headed out Monday afternoon to West Palm Beach. This was my dreaded week of driving...

I have to interject a pretty amazing little story, though...
My flight out from Chicago was later and I had to connect through Philly to West Palm. In Philly I had to transfer to a US Air flight where the seats are a thread in front of you and you've no room to move. Right before I left that day, I had been given a card by mom to be opened on the day of my birthday -- which was the next day. I stuffed the card in my bag and rushed out the door. When I had gotten on the US Air flight, I was going to attempt to get some work done so I pulled out one of my folders and thought I heard something fall on the floor. However, it was late and dark and I couldn't move, so I felt around on the floor and looked as much as I could and then decided that it was just my imagination.

The next day, as I sat waiting at my account in West Palm, I decided to open my birthday card and so I went to dig through my bag - coming up empty - and then realized, to my horror, that I had dropped the card on the airplane. I was so sick thinking that I had lost my mom's card and that she had made such a point of giving it to me and that it very possibly held some little gift that she wanted me to have. I was in tears (I was pretty tired too, but it did make me really sad). I figured I would never see it again as I had lost many things on airplanes and know I had never found it in the past.

After several calls throughout the day to the lost and found, and every time thinking that I'd never see a little card again, I finally got a woman who asked me explicit details about the card and came back to the phone, holding the card in her hand! YEA! It was a TOTAL God thing as I would never have found that card without Him! That was my birthday miracle! :)

So here's my humorous, horrific moment.... West Palm and all the Latinos and their weird sense of fright and humor, I guess... Check out the ad board for this freaky halloween circus!

After West Palm, I drove over an hour down to Miami, had a few appointments and then headed out for a 4 hour drive over and up to Clearwater. It was a blessed sight to pass over Gulf to Bay and head over to my friends' new house where I got to stay two evenings!

Finally, at the end of the week, I headed up from Clearwater for a 3 hour drive to Gainesville and then up to Jacksonville. There are Gators all over FL but their home is in Gainesville -- how humorous! :)

Its nice to be home - and there's no humor in that!

Some of the Adorable Kids In My Life!

So, I am inundated by little faces, little hands and little feet - and I love it. I seem to have the priviledge of knowing tons of adorable and sweet kids! Love it!

Last summer I started teaching the 2s and 3s Sunday School class and every week, before church, I'm excited to be able to share my Sunday School time with the little tykes. We got to celebrate a birthday last week and I found it completely hilarious that all my guys (yes - I have a class of 8-10 BOYS every Sunday - NO GIRLS ALLOWED! :)) wore striped polo shirts! And me without mine!....

Circling around the country these past frew weeks, I've been able to meet up with some of my old college chums and share my time with their families....

This is not her normal face -- it is her goofy face, but Danielle of Denver seems to often have a goofy face. I went to college with her parents' Jason and Naomi and, when I was in Denver, I got to reconnect with them. I haven't seen them since college - don't even want to think how long ago that was!Also in Denver, my friend Laura from college. Her family is actually in India - they're the ones that I visited a few years ago. I only rarely see her since, India is pretty far away, so its been a while since I saw the kids. The family is home for a year for furlough and so I was able to spend some time with them while I was in Denver. I took them over to Build-A-Bear and we had an hour or so of fun putting their dream bear together :).... Isaiah is stuffing his bear here...
This is the one that amazed me! Karis was just a toddler last time I saw her - she barely had any hair and only babbled with little more than baby words. Now she's a big girl starting kindergarten this year. Isn't she a DOLL!
Here's the friends in Clearwater. I made a trip down there last week and got to stay with Karlene and Matt for two days. They've got 5 boys now and they're all brilliant and hilarious and just full of fun!
I love this picture! Benjamin is composing a piece for his violin - that he actually played. Too great!

Baby Samuel almost looks like he's in some Romania orphange here...

And here Jeremiah is in his Indian face and "loincloth".

Thursday, August 19, 2010

With The Bro In OR

Here are some picts from my trip out to Oregon. Yes - life is exhausting, but once in a while, at least I get to see someone who makes the trip more enjoyable....

This is actually the last day I was there - we went over to the Gardens in Portland -- we hit the Rose Garden and the Japanese Gardens (below).

They had summer concerts going on -- we hit some African dance thing -- pretty interesting. The one little girl in yellow was pretty energetic!

This is one of the water reserves for Portland. It was kind of spooky....

We also took an afternoon and went by the coast. We hit Canon Beach (like Hilton Head - cutesey shops and great restaurants and people with poodles and Range Rovers), Seaside (its the Daytona Beach of Oregon - everyone has a t-shirt that says "I'm With Stupid" and they're all carrying beer cans and driving pick-ups) and then we went over to Astoria to see "the Column".

When good trail signs go bad....

I had slug problems in my garden last summer - but nothing compares to this one!!!!!

Karl gives thanks that we reached the top of the trail....

Karl pets the "pet rock"

Once again, my sarcasm has offended - at least there's some place to go with those emotions...

"The Column" in Astoria... pretty amazing - or not....


This is me....

Yes, I have become a plane. A tired, frequently used, overwhelmed, forgetful plane that is constantly in use and never allowed to rest. I have travelled this nation from west coast to east, north to south and all in a matter of weeks. I have parked my car so frequently at the airport that I have questioned "did I take the train to the airport or did I drive? I think I drove? I can't remember where I parked. Was it on White Sox or on Blackhawks?" and so I lie awake for hours on end in my cookie cutter bed in the Marriott Courtyard attempting to remember.

I fly zombie-like through towns called Verklempt and Lebanon, following my GPS looking for the hospital where I'm hopelessly late because there was unexpected traffic on Highway X and then the exit I'm supposed to take has gone missing as there is an Exit 232D, 232C, 232B but no 232A because it automatically hops to Exit 211.

I spend useless time circling gas station pumps trying to figure which side and where the gas tank is because I have had 3 different cars this week and each of them represents not only a different car line but a different country.

I breakfast on packs of peanuts as I run out of my hotel and jump into the cockpit.

I try my best to finish filing my reports before I take off for the next location in order to start over again.

I am a plane...and I think I'm running on exhaust fumes. If I self destruct... this is my little black box.....


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Beat The Heat

Its been a really hot one for them this summer in Memphis. Upwards of 105 and barely any respite.

So - one of the local Christian charities in the area has a program called Beat The Heat, where they have business donate air conditioners to give to people in need. Beth had asked me on Thursday if I wouldn't mind going with them and passing out some of these air conditioners as their church had called for volunteers. Beth and Joel like to involve their kids in these projects so they can see how others need help and how they need to give back, etc. I couldn't say no -- even though I was later informed that we had to leave the house at 7:30 :0! It was definitely worth it, though, and it was a great way to spend time with the Kaye family in giving to those in need.

We picked up 5 airconditioners from this warehouse in downtown Memphis and then were provided with a list of 5 different people to deliver the units to.

The volunteers at the warehouse consisted of all these different ages and races, but all of them with their sweet southern twang and their polite graces. They loaded up Joel's car and we set out to share the air with Memphis!

The kids had great attitudes for having to get up so early and drive around for a few hours (actually didn't even take that long). I was impressed.
Beth and Payton took turns with Parker and I going in with Joel to help deliver these air conditioners. Most of the recipients were older people and the areas they lived in were the stereotypical bad neighborhoods you see in those John Grisham southern movies. Pretty sad and run down and dirty. You felt bad for these older people who were trying to keep their homes fairly tidy and everything else around them was in ruins.