Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Was So Bored - I Ate Sweet Potatos

Yes, the title is true....

I had another long day at Standford and then went to the airport for a 5:55 pm flight which ended up being a little late. Thank goodness for my status and when it comes in handy -- this flight I got an upgrade to first class. The nice thing about first class - you get fed! A lot of times I've just not had a chance to grab a bite and then I get on a flight and I haven't eaten and probably won't get a chance to until who knows when.

Last night I had this chicken kabob thing with couscous and they had something on the side - I figured it was chunks of sweet potato and/or squash, both which I hate. It was a long week and a long flight - I knew that I was getting in really late (try didn't get home until almost 2 a.m.). I was just punchy on the plane and I couldn't sit still and I was crazy bored and tired. I was so crazy bored and tired that I was looking at the sweet potatos and I just decided to eat some. I think I ate like two chunks and it wasn't too bad, but I still don't like it. I guess I wasn't that bored as I stopped eating it :)

San Fran is just such a different area. It can be such an ethnic place, and it can be such a fruffy money place. I stayed in the ethnic place... Millbrae is pretty dog gone ethnic. I stayed in a Chinese area. I was able to walk around downtown Millbrae as I stayed right downtown. All of these Chinese food shops, when you walked past the door you were hit with that pugnant, Asian food smell and the Asian feel. The buildings in CA, for the most part, really remind me of eastern europe and other places overseas. Millbrae is no exception - it is truly Asian in every aspect. There were also about 100 massage and nail places around my hotel. I ended up going the night before last to a nail place right by the hotel as my pedicure had gotten pretty bad. Thats the one thing I can do when I'm out of town. I can't get overwhelmed with all the things I have to complete at home so I can take the time to deal with the little things that I should do but don't have the time to do at home. Things like pedicures :) Its just something I have to do... :) So, I got a pedicure and they ended up doing a manicure too -- all for $30 -- thats like amazing! They were really sweet little Chinese ladies too. I know I'll have to go back to Standford if this trial goes well so I plan on staying at the same place and going to the same nail salon!

So - here's something else I was reminiscing about yesterday. I was sitting in the Red Carpet Club and I just started You Tubing Runaway Box stuff - this was one of my first laughs with them and then yesterday I saw the second part and I can't remember if I had seen it before. Anyways - its a share! Take a few minutes to laugh your hiney off!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Real Life Facebook

I worked with a rep today - some might call him a "young guy" at only like 27 or 28. He's also a San Fran dude - that means Silicone Valley and all that digital stuff. Here's the thing I just couldn't get over as I was led to believe that I was the last living person who still holds to my proverbial guns... He's actually not on Facebook - GASP! We were chatting as we sat around waiting for our product implementation to start (at 6 a.m. mind you...) and he then showed me this hilarious link on Youtube and all day we were laughing and quoting..... Take a watch and don't be too serious because its just plain funny....

Oh - and - Can I poke you? :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Here, There And Everywhere...

Spur of the moment, the week before last, I decided to go with an inclination that I had quite a while ago. So, I called up a friend of mine who is loyal and will tag along on any crazy adventure that I take to, Kim said she'd join me in my trek and I then booked a slot for Kim, friend Lisa and me up at the Midnight Fun Run in Duluth, MN! This past Friday afternoon we drove the 7 hours up to the shoreline of Lake Superior where we dined in style at New Scenic Cafe on the Lake and then headed over to the Canal Park area, donned our running numbers and then trotted out a 5 K at the witching hour of midnight..... WELCOME SUMMER!
The wonderful Ahi Tuna Taco appetizer that we shared... It was AHI-MAZING!
Delicious seared duck breast on some simple red-skinned mashed potatos
Sounds weird, but it was ok - Goat Cheesecake. I didn't order it, Kim did, but of course I tried it! :)
After changing in the car, we put on our running smiles and got ready to take off! The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was mild and warm, just the perfect summer evening on the lake.
And we're finished! Yea! I'm semi happy that I finished 20th out of 97 in my class.... I'm horrified with my time, but the trail was more narrow and it was really hard to maneveur around runners who stayed in packs. I started off just with a "fun run" in mind and then - can you believe, it was like this competitive thing took over and I became this monster. I have NO clue where that came from :) Actually - thats why I absolutely hate running marathons. I did have fun though - I just had to get over the time thing...
As soon as we got off the running trail, we jumped back in the care and hit the driving trail. We started at about 1:30 a.m. and we went through the beautiful stages of the sun rise - really fun watching the mist rise in these wisps in sporadic clumps above the ground.
We got back around 8 a.m. and I got cozy in my bed for a few hours and then got up again as I had to make it over to Belvidere Park in Waukegan to attend the International Workers Outreach Welcome Picnic that I had been planning for the past 4 months. We had the group of CA college students that had been helping and then we had about 35 Chinese and Ecuador students attend the picnic. It was a great time and it was fun to meet all the international students - many of the only had arrived the week before.
A bunch of families came out to help welcome the internationals - it was fun to have so many kids present and to see them running around having fun as well!
The grill-master...
The drivers for the students also came to the picnic with their families -- Moosa and Tib are from France. Tib's kids were ADORABLE!
Fun with games...
Sunday, the CA Baptist students picked up 4 of the students who came to church and then I took them out to lunch and then back to their hotel.
We all met mom and Greg, my nephew at Cracker Barrel. While wandering around waiting for our table - we bumped into some old family friends.
Greg found some girls who are interested in his space project! Two of them were actually intently listening and asking questions -- crazy! I think one of them may have even..liked him :)
I'm sitting in a hotel in Millbrae, CA right now - here until Thursday (or maybe Wednesday -- can't remember) for a trial at STANFORD! YEA! Praying we get the business!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Home- And Away - And Trying To Get Home Again

I think I forgot to post these picts the other day.... It was on Saturday and I put some of those tomato trellis things in another of my tomato plants because it was getting bigger. I also was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the cucumbers that I put in are growing. And, then, we have the row of roses that dad had put in the front of the garden after they visited Amish country a few years back. Apparently he wanted to live in an "Amish Paradise" and so he took their ways - of gardening at least. Although, he did sport hats.... just not those black flat tops - and never any big ol' sideburns.... Ha - can you imagine dad with a crew cut and bushy sideburns! SO not Amish!
But, I digress.... Today I pulled out of Huntsville after one whole long day there. I could complain more, but I actually can't as this trip I had a nice car, a great hotel and I basically sat around all day yesterday waiting for tests to run. This big hospital system was starting up a new processing area and had installed 6 new instrument washers but they were using my soap so they needed me to come in and make sure that the dilution ratios and time and temp and all were correct. I always go the extra mile to cover my butt and so I run washer verification just to have proof that all the perimeters are aligned. A washer verification comes in a variety of shapes and forms, but the basic premise is a piece of metal, coated with a protein synthetic that mimics a soiled instrument. There is usually some type of process challenge involve which would represent a worst case scenario such as instruments stacked on each other or crevices which would make something harder to clean. To prove that a washer is performing correctly, the metal plate should have become completely clean after a wash cycle. If there is remaining protein on the plate, we can usually kind of "mystery solve" back to a point where we can indicate if a washer arm is blocked a detergent is not flowing properly or some other such thing.

Unfortunately, running these tests take time as you have to first install them in the racks on a washer with instruments that are ready to go through. Then, you have to actually run a cycle with the instruments - this usually takes about 30 - 40 minutes. Yesterday, the washer use was scattered as they were just starting up the facility and they had to transport soiled cases in from off-site. So, I got two washers here and a washer there. The morning and afternoon was loading, waiting, documenting -- loading, waiting, documenting - loading, wait...... you get the idea....

For the past week or so I've had this massive tension knot in my neck on the left side and yesterday it had become so annoying as to keep me from turning my head completely to the left without pain - so I YELPED... That is, I went onto Yelp and looked up "Massage". I found this place close to the facility I was at and got in at 4 and I discovered the best massage I've ever ever had! Sometimes, you get a massage and you just feel really good pressure but its coming from the person's fingertips. But, this wonderful woman - it was her whole hand! I can't even describe it, but it was this perfect, even pressure that was amazing. And even better, she really took time to concentrate on those pesty tension knots she found and by the end of the hour - voila! I could actually turn my head completely - amazing!

So I scooted on back to the hotel afterwards - passing SPACE CAMP! I don't think I had my blog before when I went and visited Space Camp - but I didn't feel like I missed that much so I just snapped a shot as I zipped past on the highway.
And then today, Wednesday, I went back to the facility and checked things out and then left a little later for the airport. But first, I stopped by a big Barnes and Noble on the way out. The group of CA students that are visiting and helping with the Int'l outreach ministry have been awesome so I wanted to get them all a little something to remember Chicago -- or Waukegan as the case is. One of the students is an English major and so I was telling them all the highlights of our area and I told him that Ray Bradbury was from Waukegan and he looked at me politely like "just smile and nod because she's an old person who likes to talk about things that I have no clue about".... SO - as a fellow English major, I could not let him leave our state without introducing him to one of the best, and weirdest, authors that ever took up a ballpoint! I figured I'd gift him a Dandelion Wine and then tell him that when he moved on to the second one (which I'm confident he will ) it should be Something Wicked This Way Comes, although Farenheit 51 is a definite classic - I just don't like it as much -- I mean -- they BURN books! :(

So anyways, I stopped by this bookstore and I was looking for good old Ray and I started to panic because I couldn't find him and then I finally went down the aisle enough and - bam - there he was and I was so proud and happy....
I found my book, got my coffee and jumped back in my Mustang, crossing the mighty Tennessee River - headed back to good ol' Birmingham, y'all!

I sped back so quickly that I beat the rain and now I'm sitting in the airport, watching the rain patter down on the glass ceiling here in one of the world's most boring airports.... keeping my hands folded in prayer that we will actually leave at 5:30 to get back home as the weather has been slamming us down here and I know its been slamming the good old windy city as well...

Monday, June 20, 2011

And - We're Down South....

Well, I finally got into Birmingham around 6:30 pm tonight. I was supposed to be here around 4ish - but 6:30 isn't too bad. Just meant more time I had to sit in the Red Carpet Club at O'hare. Which - go figure - here's a funny thing. I'm just out of the security area and I'm walking to the Club and standing right across from the Club was this guy who goes to my sister's church. Too weird! Its always funny when you run into someone that you know at a huge airport.

So. I'm down south. I'm not just down south - I'm in Alabama. Alabama is seriously the quintessential stereotype of all that is southern. The twangs that you hear when you get off the plane. The "yes ma'am"s and "yes sir"s you're given everytime you talk to anyone. The heat and humidity that covers you like a wet blanket at 9 at night. The Chick-Fil-A's at every exit :) (I can take that one! ). The run down buildings and the slow way that people move. Its the south at its best!

I had rented a compact car and I got in to the rental car place and they had me in a Royal Crown Victoria.... I don't think so! That car makes me feel like I'm 90 and I'm out for a Sunday drive. I declined their upgrade and stood waiting for a car that I had reserved to come available and then the guys say "I'm just going to upgrade you and get you in a car for the same price" -- and he hands me the keys to this black 5.0 convertible Mustang. I have to tell you I'm not the biggest Mustang fan - especially the convertible. The seats are kind of low and funky and its really hard to see out the back. On top of that, the car they had me in smelled like some guy had crawled in and aftershaved up with Old Spice or something. I was choking the first 10 miles so I pulled over and grabbed a Sweet Tea (it may be southern, but we actually have it in the midwest now too!) and unlatched the top and took off with the wind in my - well, basically in my bangs. When I went through the Chick Fil A drive through, the guy was just staring at my car and he finally said "that is one BEAUTIFUL car!".... Ha ha - funny. I admit that once I got the top down and pulled back out onto the highway - it was amazing. That engine literally roars and I go past everyone with such ease. It was a little fun...

The sun was setting and it smelled so south as I drove the two hours down to Huntsville. I can't explain what "smelled so south" means except that its this muggy, hot, outdoorsy smell that I've only ever smelled past the Kentucky border. I like the smell and it makes me remember good times. Its pretty non-existent between Birmingham and Huntsville, basically trees and hills and lakes here and there. Its not bad looking country. It was even prettier seeing it in the sunset in the convertible.
I finally got down to the hotel and found it to be this brand new Springhill Suites. It was actually really nice and big. It was packed as well with high school students from all over as it right now the road from NASA and its that time of year when they come for SPACE CAMP! It was pretty crazy with all the kids and their parents and there was this one guy running around trying to organize everyone even though they couldn't all understand him.

So I had to pop this picture in -- seriously -- has anyone out there EVER heard of Dr Wham???? That just sounds so south!
And here's something else that sounds south -- the name "Danny Denny". Its akin to the ever-popular "Jim Bob" or "Sue Ellen". Gotta love the creativity down here!
So I had to share pics of the room I have at this Springhill Suites. Its actually weird - but pretty cool. The shower and the - loo - are separate and they have they sliding frosted glass doors. Theres tons of frosted glass everywhere.
I love this couch - its not completely comfortable but its pretty cool.
Here's the beauty too - I'm right around the corner from Huntsville Hospital where I have to be tomorrow morning. We're adding another department there so - more business - yea!

Well - I've got to figure out some cool place to go tomorrow evening so I can drive around some more in my black Mustang convertible - with the top down!

Sweet Alabama - Lord, I'm Comin'?

What a Monday! I've been home for so long that I completely got out of my travel sync and so, Monday rolled around and I thought I was leaving on Tuesday to go down to AL. I had gone into the office and was all set to accomplish a lot of stuff today. But then, I got phone call from my anal retentive sales rep that I'm working with who has to call me like every 5 minutes. He wanted to find out what time I was coming in tonight.... RRRR - made me mad he called because all he needs to know is that he's meeting me at my hotel tomorrow morning at 8 -- but he definitely saved my bacon as I wouldn't have even remembered about my flight today! Can you believe! I had to run home and finish some things up and actually pack.

And then I rushed off to the airport to make my 3 pm flight - which then turned to a 3:20 flight and then was bumped to a 3:50 flight --- I'm still sitting here and now its a 4:50 flight. Oh well - at least I don't have to be anywhere until 8 tomorrow morning. I have to fly into Birmingham and then jump in a rental and drive down to Huntsville which is a little over an hour away. Shouldn't be too bad - but, ooops, famous last words?????

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Dad's Day!

Today is Sunday, June 19th... Father's Day.

At church, we have a group of college students from CA who are here to help us with Vacation Bible School. One of the other projects they've come here to work with is International Workers Outreach - the outreach project that we are working with for the international students here working at Six Flags.

Tonight, we had them handing out Welcome Bags to the students at their hotels. There's a group from China and a group of Ecuador students at two hotels in Waukegan.
Because the hotels are right off of Green Bay Road and about 3 minutes from the cemetary that dad is buried at, I decided to stop down and say Happy Father's Day from us all.
I took a rose from dad's garden because I thought he'd like it -- I think its one of his Peace roses that he liked so much :)
Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

One More Graduation - I Forgot A Nephew

Don't ask me how I overlooked this one - at least I think I did because I don't see a post with these picts. I think because I didn't actually take the pictures or attend the graduation, I seem to have forgotten Justin's graduation down in GA. Mom was down there with Aunt June helping her and so she was able to go to Justin's graduation from Tacoa Falls College the week after John and Joe's graduation.
Here are a few picts mom brought back so figured I'd share...
Justin and his two grandmas.... Grandma Andersen and Grandma Behn
After the graduation, mom went back to Greenville for another week and it was during that time that Aunt June went back into the hospital and then over to the rehab place -- these picts were taken by Alec or AJ - don't know which one. They're in the rehab place when Aunt June had just been brought over (for those of you not in the know - Aunt June had bladder cancer and went through a couple months of chemo at the beginning of this year and then had her bladder removed the beginning of May and has just been fighting to get her strength back.)
My cousin's (Shelley) youngest son, Alec.
Shelley's youngest daughter, Kirsten.
Shelley's oldest son, AJ, and his fiance. AJ is one of the ones who just graduated from Bob Jones and has just started working on the police force down near Greenville (is is Sparta?).
Mom and Shelley