Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dirty Girls!

Last year, I fell in love - 
with 100s of dirty girls running for breast cancer...
And, admittedly, tons of yucky, stinky, slimy mud...

So at that point I decided I would run again, but I would build a bigger, better, stronger team!
One out of four isn't bad, right?  I did run again.  However, my team slowly diminished over time, became "weaker" (due to sickness, maiming and injuries...) and we ended up missing our run time start so we actually finished late.

But we ran! :)

This is us BEFORE!

This is us AFTER!
 Carlene, Cristina, me and Brittany.  We missed you Cathy and Kim and Kate and Laurie!

Our team name was Gaye's Muddy Buddies and we ran for my friend Gaye who is a breast cancer survivor (strong and getting stronger!).  Gaye is in all black at the right.

All through the run they kept on pushing us to muddy other people up.  They'd point us to someone and whisper "go give them a hug" - it became second nature that if we saw someone in a volunteer or Dirty Girl admin shirt, we'd just automatically rub up on them, especially if they were squeaky clean looking.

After the run we needed our carb and protein load up so we headed to downtown Grayslake where we ended up at this little diner off of Center Street.  Not my favorite place but I end up there a lot as its close and you can usually get in quickly.  

Cristina is an student from Dominican Republic who is working at Six Flags this summer and so she's experiencing all this quintessential American stuff (at least she thinks it is) so she was enamored with this diner atmosphere.  She just loved the counter and thought it looked like American movies.  Not sure what American movies she's watching but - had to do a picture!

And then home to clean up so we could head off to our next big adventure.  So - this is how dirty you get... We had already hosed off at the fairgrounds but when we got home we all showered.  Showers take extra long because you're trying to get everything clean.  And even after you think you have everything clean, you grab a q-tip to clean your ears out and... like 8 q-tips later, this is still coming out of your ears!

Sorry - its nasty - but
thats the Dirty Girl!

We Won?!


Its the weekend of the Dirty Girl run.  I had gotten a bunch of people to sign up at the end of last years (more on that later), and Brittany was one of them!  She flew in on Thursday afternoon and we headed down to Edgewater where Kim lives where I changed from work clothes to Cubs clothes and then we went to Nookies (its become a favorite of convenience and familiarity for Kim and me).  After dinner we hopped the train and, 5 stops later, got off in Wrigleyville for a - yay - CUBS GAME!  Brittany had never been to Wrigley and so she wanted to check it off her list.

The evening started off cooler - of course because I was in attendance and did not bother to bring a jacket or a blanket.  Thats the way it always happens at Wrigley.  This time I REFUSED to buy anything else but instead sat and suffered:)

The other thing it started off as, weather-wise, was foggy.  There was just a tad bit of fog in the air but as the evening progressed....

.... it definitely continued to get worse.  In fact, every time they hit the ball and if it went far or up high, it was really hard to see where it was or where it had gone.

But at the end of the night, it was all worth it because WE WON!  I think this was maybe the second time that I've gotten to sign the "Go Cubs Go!" song.  Kim has been way more than I am and this was her first time.  Its amazing we even know the words!  They do that follow-the-bouncing-ball thing with the words though because I think they know most people don't know what they're saying.

Ending score - 
Nationals 3
Cubs 5!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy Hellos And Sad Goodbyes

I'm delinquent once again in my posting. But it could be far worse, meaning a month when people are beginning to email and ask what's wrong:). So - before that happens!.... I'm offering my overdue post from the past weekend!

Saturday was my long anticipated crazy day which actually turned out quite mild and well ordered, thank God.  International Workers Outreach and our Welcome Picnic brought us about 30 students from Dominican Republic, Colombia and Taiwan who are working at Six Flags for the summer.  There are a total of about 250 here but these were the ones who had off and were actually interested in hanging out with "church" people!  Every student I met this year was absolutely awesome - no attitudes, all so appreciative and eager to meet us - and everyone who came from all the churches - just as amazing!  It was an absolutely fun time and such a blessing to see how God provided for everything from food to volunteers to students.  I'm excited that things are already happening for us to offer more event this summer!  A first!  It's amazing what happens when you shrug and just tell God to take it because its His anyways!  I cant wait to get to know more of these students this summer!

And now for the sad....the stinky thing about being a church that's by Great Lakes and Trinity is that you get amazing families and friends in your church and then inevitably 4 years later, it's "adios" were being transferred or were taking a church somewhere else.  Blah!
This Sunday were my beloved Ostrums!:(. Boo hoo!  Peter is a JAG in the navy and they're being transferred to Norfolk.  I've tried to convince them to leave the kids with me, or at least Jack - they laughed at me!...:(. On the plus side - Jack did say he wanted to stay with me! (it might have been the ice cream I offered?  But I chose to believe it was his love for me;)

I've had all three in my Sunday school class for the past three years, Jack is the last left and now he's gone... But never forgotten!

After church, we had a brunch for Erica and the girls.  It was fun to just be with a few really awesome women from church and I really wasnt in the mood to go that day, but as soon as I walked in, I got sucked in and ended up staying a couple if hours, even when there were only 4 of us just sitting around talking.  So thankful for such amazing people in my life - and so sad when God has them move....

Three of my Sunday School alumni....:). They look so sweet...

And then they beg to make scary faces... And I can't refuse them:)

At least I have goofy pictures and good memories.... Bye Ostrums!!!!:(

(Can you understand why I want to keep them???? They are A-dorable!!!!!:)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Flash Flooding

In the Cities again today.  It's been raining since I left Rochester this morning and now it's torrential rain!  I keep on getting flash flooding alerts on my phone.  It's driving me crazy.  

I'm at University of MN and headed back to my other account.  The first one I was at this morning, I was scared the whole huge hospital was going to wash away as there were little floods starting in the basement where I was.

And then I called the account I'm headed to and she told me to be careful because there's flooding on that side of the river.  

I'm thinking I may just be swimming back to Rochester today which would work out great because I highly doubt Ill be getting my exercise via running!  

Happy sailing, Minnesota!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Joke Of The Day...

At one of my favorite accounts today.  I have a really good relationship with them and they really look to me for advice and my opinion - and then they actually listen to me!  Crazy!:). 

We were working on getting washer times down today and so I actually learned more washer stuff with a different washer - still my competitor, but I did learn some stuff that is very beneficial for future reference!

And then as I left...
There are pay booths at the parking garage. There's an older guy that I was thought was flirting with me and now I know it's just how he probably gets through a day at the pay booths!   He looks at you, and then he tells you a joke.  I can't remember the ones he's told me before, but today it was...

"Knock knock
Who's there?
HIPPA who?
I can't tell you"

And that was your joke for the day the healthcare way....

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Take Me With You!!!!

I was working in Eau Claire today.  All morning standing by washers again but - I'm getting good at this mechanical stuff:)   I was playing around with the washers and I tweaked just the right knobs and buttons and I found a setting that actually makes the priming process go faster.  Take that Steris my arch rival!  Even so -I was in the department from 9 until about 1:30... And towards the end a case came down that was the most foul smelling thing ever!  I've seen a lot and smelled a lot in CS, but this one was making me do that throw up thing in my mouth.  Nasty!

I finally got out of the account around 3.  There's a lonely, older, single cat-lady in purchasing and every time I go in for one question, she'll talk forever.  I was trapped for about 20 minutes but I considered it my good deed for the day because I do feel sorry for her - and, pay it forward .... I may be that lonely, old, single DOG lady one day:)

Anyways - drove into the downtown area to get gas and coffee on the way out and I couldn't help but notice mobs of people walking down the main sidewalks in their swim suits carrying every kind of inflatable intertube imaginable.  I finally traced them and saw - they would all go to this one point in the Chippewa River and jump in on their tubes and then ride the river down to the end of the town and walk back.  As I stood there pumping gas, sweating in my work clothes, I could hear the river rushing and everyone looked like they were having so much fun and I wanted to yell - "take me with you!!!"

But, I went in, got coffee, and then headed back to Rochester.  

On the plus side - I just became the proud owner of two brand new kayaks tonight!  I found them cheap on Craigslist because I've been promising myself them every summer and I finally snapped!  And Kim and I are planning on going camping in the Door in July and I'm determined to kayak on the east side!  So excited!  I pick them up this weekend so Ill be sure to show Picts!:)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Feet That Jesus Loves!

I had mentioned yesterday about my friend Melanie.  She and her husband and family are such huge blessings to me!  I love being over with them and just living life in their house.  They have three kids of their own and they had been expecting a fourth about a year or so ago and she lost it.  So, they had felt led to maybe look at adoption by way of fostering.  They're licensed with DCFS as foster parents but they also work with the Safe Families program which is not through the state, but almost more of a mentoring program for families that may have problems but no one to help them figure things out.  Safe Families is a Christian organization that works through churches so when children need temporary placement they call on these certified families (I'm actually certified with them myself as of the beginning of this year, but I would only be acting as an aid to help a "foster" family with errands or babysitting).  The intent of Safe Families is to help parents fix their issues, then reunite the children with their families, then use the certified Safe Family that helped to kind if mentor and walk with them.  Erick and Melanie have done this for a few families and they're currently still involved with one in particular.

But, the two little girls Melanie has this week are foster.  The parents have 8 kids total, none of them with them.  I'm not sure how long the girls have been taken from them but this is like their 4th home and its just temporary because they had to remove them short notice from another home.  Melanie probably would keep them but she has a trip home to Boston for two weeks.  The little girl (shoes pictured) is 3 and her sister is 5.  They were dropped off on Friday night and immediately started calling Melanie "mama".   They're absolutely adorable and you can tell they're just confused and even angry at some points and it hurts so much to see two little children already having to deal with such yuck in life.  BUT - that they came to Melanie and Erik and that they have already felt love from our church, you can only pray that God will protect them and that He puts them someplace special soon.  And, from what I was told, pray that they just find an adoptive family to take them permanently - the state of IL is supposedly horrid on taking parental rights away when it's more than obvious they should be terminated.  And praying even more that maybe Melanie and Erik would even be able to take them!:)

I got to spend the afternoon with the girls.  I got to buy them Happy Meals and play with them while Melanie finished decorating for Vacation Bible School this up coming week.  They really are adorable girls and the little 3 year old is obssessed with college.  It's kind of funny - she's always saying she goes to college and asking if we're at college and will she be able to go college soon?  I don't know where she learned about it, but its the most adorable thing!

And you can spot a coffee addict when you see this.....
First thing in the morning once I entered my classroom - my tumbler lid had popped off and I didn't realize until I'd put it up to my mouth and felt something trickling down... Needless to say, it was a bit more than a trickle.  I spent all morning and until almost 3pm smelling like the back room at a coffeehouse, and looking like I WAS the back room of a coffeehouse.  

Relaxing Saturday Afternoons And Dead Lizards

You may think - what do relaxing and dead lizards have in common?  For me - its the pleasure of finally checking something off my list that I've been meaning to do for 2 years.  

Cleaning the garage - I did it once many moons ago and have meant to do it again as the fall leaves and the yucky from the outside animals have piled up in corners and against the walls.  After drinking coffee and enjoying a few hours just doing nothing this morning, I felt this huge wave of initiative to get my hiney out to the garage and get the thing cleaned out.  

So - I must clarify when I say "cleaned out", I mean general getting all the leaves and dust and - other stuff - out.... Not going all Randy (my fastidiously clean brother in law) and getting down on my hands and knees with bleach and a toothbrush.  It is a garage after all.  But - I must admit it looks quite sparkly now even though my toothbrush was not present.

AND I must admit that I'm pretty tough, but I did muster through a few girl moments when I thought I saw something moving under a pile of leaves or when I found a mummified lizard stuck in a corner of the wall.  After a short little screech - I did feel sad for him - but then it went away like he did in the garbage can!:)

And then once the garage was finished - I was feeling uber relaxed and I decided to tackle both cars.  Vacuumed, dusted down and all the junk thrown out - very fulfilling!

After all that, I still had time for a walk with Cal and then headed to my bible study with my friend Melanie.  She has two foster girls this week so I went to her place and took a few extra minutes to stop at this A-dorable new coffee shop in McHenry called "The Hidden Pearl" (off of Pearl St - cute right?).  I was very happy to make the barista entirely pleased with me for ordering a breve latte as he said he's been trying to get that on their menu - happy to make the demand and they use Metropolis Coffee (from downtown - delicious!) so it was a pretty good breve!

Happy day - happy end to day with happy cup of coffee!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Alison! Soap Lady ... Tostone-Maker ... Bird-Rescuer!

I was out running this afternoon.  I run the forest preserve trail twice, including this 1/2 mile off-shoot that not many other people go.  As I was running the first time, on the off-shoot path, I saw this lump in the pathway and as I got closer I saw it was a bird just sitting there.  I ran past, circled at the end and came back again to find the bird still sitting there.  I stopped for a second and got near it and it tried to jump away but you could tell there was something wrong with it.  I stood for a second and then figured I'd finish my run and circle back again.  

Sure enough, my second lap, bird is still there but this time there are these horrible other birds dive bombing it and pecking at him -horrible!  It made me so sad and as I ran by it for the fourth time, I felt a little guilty.  I had to talk myself out of it by saying "it's just a bird!"

I finished running - stretched for a while - and then my humanity outweighed my practical side and I decided I had to do something ... That sounds so stupid, right!?  It's like I'm a Bird Superhero that comes into her self-discovery one day and all of a sudden there's lightening and the wind blows and I magically grow a cape and take off!

Five or so years ago, Calvin had gotten ahold of a cardinal in the back yard and had done a number on it, but it was still alive.  I found out one of the local vets is also a wild life rescue so I brought Mr Calvin's play toy into the rescue, signed paperwork that I would never come back to reclaim the bird, and I left it for them to supposedly save.

So - Alison the bird-rescuer decided to put her superhero cape back on!  I ran home and got a clean towel and a container and the dog (figured I'd make it worth my while to go that trail a third time!) and Cal and I set off to rescue my injured trail friend.

Which -when we finally returned to the spot, the poor guy was gone.  I'm hoping those other mean birds didnt eat him or something.

Oh well - all that to say - I need to stop being so sensitive... Oy vay!  I walked over 3 miles to save a bird.... Crazy, right?  Maybe I have the bird flu and its affected my brain.  Go figure ...

And FYI - the picture - that's Calvin's squeaker friend.  We had a nice talk on the drive to the vet and he forgave Calvin, at least that's what I interpreted his death glare at me to be....:)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Ok - maybe not....
But I do have pictures posted on a Bikram studio website!   I just got an email newsletter today and I remembered that one time I had visited the studio, the instructor had been taking pictures.  So - I pulled up Orlando West and sure enough.... I'm FAMOUS!  Along with the 20 other people in the classroom. Its funny too, though, because there was another instructor's class pictures posted and there was a woman with black shorts and a pink bra top - and I thought it was me until I got in closer - not me!

So I'm trying to decide what I'm doing today.  I've been working in my office this morning, went for a run and then was going to come back and get ready and leave to drive down to Springfield.  But now two things have happened, my friend can't do dinner in St Louis so theres no rush, and now I just found out the service rep for the one account I was supposed to be at at 9 isn't going to be there until 11.  SO - now I have to decide if I want to just stay here tonight and leave early early to drive to Litchfield, IL OR do I just want to leave tonight.  UGH!  Decisions.  I will admit that, after being gone so much the past few months, now that I'm home for two days, I've become a little restless so I feel like getting in the car and going.  But I might just fight that desire off so I can be here another night.

Aren't you excited to find out tomorrow what decision I make!  At the edges of your seats!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

International Day!

My schedule got quite tweaked around this week.  I now don't go to southern IL until tomorrow.  So that meant I had Monday and today to do office work, to get out and hit the running trail, AND to get together with my friend Melanie to do our Bible study.  I haven't felt so connected and "normal" (to those smart comment on smart tongues - shut up...:) in a long time!

I've been just sitting with my two laptops open this morning and my personal one keeps on popping up with all these emails from my international friends.  I have a friend from Hungary in town and they'll be staying with me in the coming week.  I have a Hungarian friend who just graduated high school and will be coming to Moody in the fall and she just emailed to let me know she is now the proud owner of a student visa.  And I have a Hungarian friend who I've been thinking about lately and have been meaning to email her and our of the blue she emailed me.  My Romanian friend just got back to Romania and was texting me.  I just got a package in the mail from my friend in China.  A cousin of a friend from Scotland just emailed me from England where she's a dr, and she'll be coming over this way in October and will stay a few days with me.  I emailed a person in Taiwan, in Colombia and in Dominican Republic about some work I'm doing with some international students.  I also just heard from my friend Laura in India and was just talking about my friend Seiko in Japan.  I've just been told that I'm going to be sent to Quebec (an exotic international location:) and will possibly have to return to China in August.  I'm feeling extremely internationally connected today!

And tomorrow I have to drive 5 hours down to Litchfield, IL -- not very international....

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sweet Saturday

I don't know how I did it, but I'm currently sitting in the church parking lot at 8:40 and I don't have to be in for at least another 15 minutes so - blog!

Yesterday I slept until almost 11 as I hadn't gotten home until about 3 or so in the morning.  I had already planned on going to the beach with Kim and I decided that I was definitely still going.  I did bring Calvin with though and we did the dog beach.  I didn't like the Foster Ave Beach like our dog beach, but it was just nice to be with Kim whatever the beach was like.  Cal was such a good boy!

And afterwards we went over to this restaurant, Nookies.  They had outdoor seating and so we could bring Cal with us.  He just sat there like the wonderful boy he is - watching people and making everyone ooo and ah and ask to pet him.  Since he hadn't really even eaten and was acting extremely hungry, I actually ordered him a plate of steak and eggs which he completely demolished!

Then down to Metropolis where we got coffee.  I went in to get our coffees and left Kim sitting outside with Cal.  When I got back, Kim told me that I needed to use Calvin way more to pick up guys:). She said everyone was stopping to pet him or would just smile really big when they passed him.  Too funny - he could be quite useful if I lived in the city!:). I'd have to pick a different neighborhood though as I would probably be best served to pick up guys, if I were a guy myself....:)

After coffee -we just walked around Edgewater, and by the time we got home, Cal was all tuckered out.
A good and relaxing day for both of us!