Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year - New Stuff!

I'm going back to my fave blog... my Stories blog.  The one that I so exuberantly began in 2012 and then sadly abandoned in 2013.  I'm sorry, Stories.  I'm sorry for not releasing my creative inward being and for freeing my pictures to the world.  I'm sorry for not creating and for not composing.  And to those three of you who actually read and appreciated what I wrote, well, I suppose I'm sorry to you too!

But no more -- its 2014 (well almost) and I'm mending my ways and retrieving my ambition to amphiboly! (take that Webster!)

I'm going to switch things up though and hopefully this will work better for me.  Instead of posting every Friday now, I'm going to attempt to post on Mondays as it gives me the weekend to create and post.  I'm starting today - before the new year even begins.  And just to reiterate the "rules" - its one picture, ten sentences, one post, once every Monday.  So...

Happy New Year and enjoy the first post.

Oh - and I know that I never really expounded on where each picture was from so I figured I should start doing that as well....  I'm going to start posting something at the bottom of each story....Once again,  release your imaginations :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Old Traditions Rediscovered

Today, Josh, Nathanael and Jess and I are downtown.  I haven't taken the nephews and niece down for Christmas in forever... It's just as magical as I remember....:). But now I'm not as paranoid about losing one.  They're way bigger than I even am - and they come equipped with cell phones.  No hand holding no scanning crowds to make sure I haven't lost one - easy breezy!

Ed Debevics and the worlds smallest Sundays....

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Repeated Christmas Greeting!

I'm taking the time at the end of a long day of presents and cooking and family and friends to remind everyone about what they all already know - the cliche saying of the season..... Jesus is the reason for the season.  And I give this reminder because I've been reconsidering this today.

Between cubing potatoes and steaming green beans and baking apple pies - I've been reading John Eldredge's "Desire" which was a glorious gift from Kim.  An amazing reminder of how God gave us desires and wants us to use them - and wants us to include him in them!  Nothing is off limits, just as long as its funneled through our full desire for God.  And the only way we can know God is through His gift to us, Jesus.  And that desire is even so much better than any desire that we have of our flesh.  We've been content to be satisfied with the basic desires that we call what our heart wants.  We let our flesh dictate what fulfills us when our God is there waiting to actually fulfill us.

And this reminded me of the Stories From A Snapshot post that I did last year...
And so I decided to recycle it....
If only we waited all of our life to see Jesus and then saw Him and thought "All I have wanted is now finished"

Praying that you all will see Jesus and be reminded that He is our true fullness and that our desires are complete in him.
Enjoy my reminiscent post from a Christmas long ago!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's Christmas!

Just in case I don't happen to post before Christmas is actually upon us -just a reminder to everyone to enjoy the holidays - forget about the rules (well, within reason:), remember to enjoy your family (no matter how wacky they may be), don't sweat the small stuff, and definitely definitely enjoy some good eating!  No calorie counting allowed over the holidays!

Stay warm and safe and....

Forgotten Post

I did forget to post last Friday evening when mom and I drove down to Momence to visit Lisa and see The Nutcracker Suite starring - Gabby!:). Well, not really starring, but in our book, she was the star!

She played one of the dancing dolls in the beginning, a snowflake and a flower.
I was apparently naughty and got a few pictures.  Apparently I wasn't supposed to take them but there was nothing said before so -I plead innocence - and really fuzzy pictures of Gabby!

Dawn also came and K'Maya was super thrilled to see the performance.  She says she wants to be a mouse one day... I'm sure she will!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cultured Week

Thursday night, Kim got tickets for a Chicago Civic Orchestra practice session.  The reason why she got the tickets?... Her beloved Yo Yo Ma was performing with them and where Yo Yo is - there Kim is - and because Kim is there, Alison is usually there as well:). What are friends for - to not go to concerts alone?...

The "performance" was at Senn high school which is a neighborhood high school in the Edgewater area of Chicago.  It's one of those high schools where they take underperforming kids and bring their scores up.  So they have Yo Yo come in once a year to do a special class with the students and he's like the chair of the Civic Orchestra so they come along with him.

In April the Civic O is playing Don Quixote at the CSO so that's what they were practicing and Yo Yo was playing the part of the Don.

It was a pretty interesting and definitely relaxed evening listening to him.  They explained a lot about what was happening in the music and they made it pretty interactive.  All in all, for free tickets -it was pretty fabulous!

Friday night I have Gabby (cousins) Nutcracker Suite performance in Kankakee.  I guess it's my week for culture!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hand Cramp!

I'm taking a break!

I started off in the office and then had to go get mom to bring her for her hair appointment.  I'm now sitting at a coffee shop down the block from the salon working.  And the working I'm doing is really seasonally tedious!... 

It's Christmas card time!  I have to finish signing 250 Christmas cards for customers and return them to the office to be mailed tomorrow!

And just to make sure I stay busy and physically fit hand-wise, I brought along my 200 Christmas cards to sign as well.    My hand is so very tired already.  And my brain is cramping - I know this because I just had to take a break because I actually started forgetting how to sign my name!  Seriously - midway through a few "Ali"s I then wound up with this funky squiggle because I forgot what came next.. I seriously forgot what came next.  Eek!
Signature when I remember my name...
When I forget my name....

Be on the look out for your Christmas card, Mr/Mrs Customer/Friend!  Oh- and if you're Mr/Mrs Friend, you'll enjoy the blunder I made on my Christmas card this year!!!!  Lets just say, I guess I'm so busy, I seem to be in a time warp of some sort.

Ok - back to signing....

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Forgot My Swimsuit!!!

No - it's not the time!  It's not the ESPN radio station that was on (which was not mine!)!  It's the temperature!  The beautiful beautiful 39F!  I literally didnt put my coat on now when I just walked out to the plane.  And I felt wonderful!!!  It's apparently some horrid degree below zero back in the frozen tundra where I've been all week.  And I think I'm going back to like 11!  So 39 is glorious!

Morning was good - well - for me, not for the manager we were working with.  There were 4 of us that were brought in by her superiors in order to pick apart everything she does because she's pretty inept.  I deciphered, from talking to her that she's a great tech, but not a manager.  She was hired without managerial experience, though, so I fault the hospital as well for not helping to equip her to do a management position.  But now, she's on the defense rather than working with us to fix the problems. I feel badly for her, but her future doesn't look very bright.  I just told the other three that I'm designating myself "good cop" because I did see a lot of positive things she's doing:). I don't like "bad cop"... Not my forte... And I think those three definitely have "bad cop" covered in the power and scope department of the department.  Why shout her while she's in the water, right?

Speaking of water (at least in the next paragraph..:)) I was working with two guys that I have a history with.  Fitz and I have worked together for 15 years.  Ron and I, like 5.  The other guys are new.  So Fitz, Ron and John are all these huge black guys, ex military so they're those buff, bulging guys- tall too.  The other John was a short, very bulky white guy (I'm talking bulky, couldn't fit into scrubs - like probably 250 or more and not even as tall as me).  So we all go out for a late lunch - kind of hilarious!  They couldn't even find a table that would fit all four of them and then they just wedged teeny tiny me (who felt extremely teeny tiny in their midst) wherever they could fit me.  I felt like super duper petite and I was eating off the corner of the table in some random chair they had pulled over. 

I have to say - 3 black guys can be hysterical!   They were talking about things you'd never see black people do - I honestly had never thought of or heard what they were talking about - but they all agreed it was true.  Apparently black people are not water lovers... I was told "have you ever seen a black person surfing?  If you're at the beach, do you see black people swimming?"  And here's the funny thing that I had to question, the one guy who was saying all this - guess what branch of the military he was with.... Yep - the navy!  I questioned that and apparently he had believed there was some land service he would be doing with them (he was on a carrier during his whole service time).  I've seriously not laughed so hard in a long long time... And - after questioning white John - I really don't think white people have a "thing" like black people do?  Correct me if I'm wrong....?

I'm back at the airport now and thanks to a delayed flight, I'm actually getting out about 2 hours earlier!  Yay!!!!

I'M GOING HOME!!!!!!!!!  Three of the most beautiful words ever spoken!  I have to repeat them again!


And here I am home - my wonderful Lake all ice encrusted and bordered with a nice rim of snow.... 11 degrees.  
I'm home...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Totally Just Like God

I have no clue how I made it through today except for God (and I'm hoping he actually sees me through to my hotel bed tonight because in still not there...).

Yesterday I was supposed to bring a set of washers up on a trial but the technician who was supposed to help misunderstood and was actually in Duluth rather than the cities.  So - the 1 hour, 30 min jaunt in the freezing cold, blowing snow conditions from Rochester all proved in vain and I reboarded the Champagne-mobile (I had to use moms car this week and she has a box with moscato and champagne in the back and it got so cold that it exploded :(- I got back in the car from AZ and it smelled like funky, yeasty, old baked goods - I finally found and figured out what it was... It's a nasty smell!) and headed back to Rochester.  And again today I trekked back up.  We were supposed to meet at 8:30, hook up and then I'd had another call from the other side of the cities that I needed to catch on the way out at 11.  It was all planned.

First of all -I made it safely to the cities in snowy, freezing weather two days in a row.  Thank you God!  Especially as there are some pretty nutty drivers in MN who forget about snow the 2 months they don't have it.

Second- I was actually on time both days so I looked saintly and the manager was in love with me because I played the part of the martyr well when I was standing there patiently waiting:)

So - he stood us up Monday and I had to stay overnight again.  Today, he was supposed to be there at 8:30.  9:45 he finally comes in.  I was so mad inside but I smiled and took it because I'd rather have an ally than an enemy:). Then we start priming the washers and he discovers 3 pumps that aren't working so he has to go all the way out to his van to get the parts and then he has to put them on.  Tick tick...

By this time I had to call my other account to say I wasn't going to make it - they were exceptionally understanding.  

I really didn't think my product would work at the settings the previous product was at.  I was dreading testing because I envisioned it taking forever.  We finally got both washers up and running cycles. The tech and I stood there and chatted for the hour it took - and btw - my anger at him disapated quickly as he was the nicest guy ever and an ex marine.  How can you not forgive an ex marine with his yes ma'ams ... 

The washers stopped and I was terrified - but we completely passed!  Beautifully passed!  Amazingly passed!  It was a total God thing because I really don't see how the pass happened!  But Ill take it!

And now here's the fierce part.  I'm supposed to be in Baltimore tomorrow - my flight out tonight was from Milwaukee at 5:39 connecting through Chicago at 7:30 to Baltimore ($500 cheaper to do it that way!).  I knew in the morning there was no way I'd make Milwaukee so I called and they actually let me change the flight direct from Chicago... GOD!  And then I HAD to leave U of MN by noon to get to Chicago by 7:30.  I wasn't able to get out of the dept until 12:30 and then I went to get my car from valet... 30 minute wait.  WAH!  I didn't leave the cities until 1.

Yes, you know me as lead-foot (but as Debbie says "all the Behns have lead feet" so I will not take the honor alone) and fly indeed I did!  No police on the way - no traffic... I could say God, but I don't know if he'd want to take the claim on me not getting pulled over???... And then, even better, I got a call from United saying that the aircraft coming in was delayed so the flight was delayed... Yay!!!! God thing!!!!

Oh - and then I had thrown my IPass in my stuff before I left home the week before.  As I'm driving and getting close to the first toll I started to panic because I had NO clue where my IPass was.  I'm driving, I reached behind me and just grabbed a bag - any old bag - and as I'm praying, I put my hand in this random bag and - guess what I put my hand on.  Right on my IPass!  And its the new one so its a tiny one as opposed to that big old thing most people have.  That was totally a God thing!  I couldn't say thank you enough as I really didn't want to take the time to pull over and get out in the cold and search through all my bags.... Yay God!

I'm now standing at my gate -yay!  And I even got upgraded to first class!  Yay!!!

I don't get to Baltimore until 11 but - ill be so happy to get there!:)
Thank you God for getting me through not only another day but a day like today!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Plans Are Meant To Be Changed

I was supposed to be home tonight.

It wasnt supposed to be....

Morning plans go awry and turn until next day plans which will leave me rushing to get home to catch a flight to take me to the east coast to keep my mid week plans.

But for the time being, I'm here in frigid MN for yet another night and so here I sit at my best friends daughters band concert.  If I just stayed for this - it was worth it!?...

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Do you all remember this?  My creatively fun Wordpress blog,  Stories From A Snapshot?!  Its a 10 sentence story based on one of my travel picts!

I'm working a late Saturday evening in Minneapolis and my working consists of waiting and so I'm bored and I happened to open Stories up and decided that I wanted to write again! :)  This picture is from Greece, outside of Thessaloniki.  A cool, beautiful day on the beach!

We'll see if I start regularly writing again?  It is kind of fun!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Forbidden City - At Long Last!

It was a request that I post pictures of the Forbidden City.  I actually never posted anything from when I worked in China as for some reason the picts wouldn't upload.  So without further ado - I'm posting picts of Tieneman Square, The Forbidden City and The Olympic Park in Beijing!

TIENEMEN SQUARE - IT SAYS "WELCOME TO CHINA!  WE'RE GLAD YOU'RE HERE!  LOL!" in the Chinese letters :)  That was what my translator told me and I have no reason to believe that she would be lying! :)

The Forbidden City.  It was HUGE.  We kept on walking into one massive new section after another.  The king's office, the king's temple, the king's sleeping chambers.... Ah - we walked and walked and walked - it took about an hour and a half to walk through the whole thing and we didn't really stop that much or that long!  Its incredible to think that they still used it up until the 1960s or so.  No, its just full of tourists, most of them Asian and many of them who stop a westerner and ask if they can have their picture taken with her :)  Weird, right? :)

The Olympic Torches at the Olympic Park

In front of the main sports stadium

The Olympic Stadium, aka "The Bird's Nest"

The Olympic pool

And this is where I worked - the PLA # 306 :)  Its the Peoples Liberation Army Hospital # 306.  A military hospital in downtown Beijing.

This is the director of the department we worked in.  She's like a 4 start colonel in the Chinese army, one of three in the whole country so it was apparently a great honor for me to meet her, from what I was told!  She was actually extremely kind and gracious so it was a pleasure working with her!

It's Freezing?!!

I'm just coming back to Minneapolis from Phoenix this morning.  I've been in AZ since Thursday and, relatively speaking - it was freezing!!!:). The evenings were like 50 which in desert speak is pretty dog gone chilly.  

Friday afternoon I hiked good old Camelback, Cholla Trail, with my good friend Kim who came out on a whim.  It was 50s but the sun was out so it was good.  We got to the top and the day was clear and bright and there was even a Christmas tree to welcome us!
 And now I'm headed back to -8 in the chilly Cities and a weekend of working......:( I have a pump install I'm doing at an account there and then I have to stay over for Monday to finish up at another account.

But, I enjoyed two days in the "freezing" southwest of AZ!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stark Contrasts!

I've started the week in Minneapolis and now I'm headed to Phoenix (from MN)... And here's the great part ...
That's it --- I'm headed to Phoenix.... From this....

Monday, December 2, 2013

Great Wall Day!

I never posted any Picts before - just trying to catch up on work let alone life:)

Sunday when I was in Beijing, we left at 7 in the morning to drive to the Great Wall. My friends had been praying that we'd have a clear day and that morning when we woke up they were so excited because since they'd been in China, they hadnt seen a day that clear.

Turned out to be a good thing we left so early as when we got there there were very few people at the wall, by the time we started leaving it was actually getting packed!

When we left, instead of doing the cable car down, we took this luge like thing.  It was like Cool Runnings but with a little brake stick.  Took us about 10 minutes to zip down the slide and it was a cold windy ride down, but much more fun than I had anticipated!

Sad Dog

I'm gone the entire week this week... Literally Sunday - Sunday!  Possibly even until Monday.  Calvin knew it and so decided to look as pitiful as possibly by nesting on everything I was packing.  So sad....

I'm in Minneapolis the beginning of the week, flying from MN to Phoenix on Wednesday night and then back to Minneapolis on Saturday morning to work the weekend.  Wah!  At least I get two warm days in AZ as a perk - but I was looking and it drops from 70s to 50s the days I'm there.  I guess it's better than 20s?!