Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Fine Fall.

I had intended to write about my favorite month of the dozen that we have during it. Now I can barely remember October. Since November has shaped up rather nicely, I am finally getting around to paying tribute to the greatest season: Fall. I know all four seasons have purpose and they make the world go around and all of that jazz, but I think that here in the South the fall reigns supreme. Why yes, I can make such a broad and bold statement based solely on my opinion. Democracy in action, people.

What makes the fall so great? Let's start wit
h the perfect weather that doesn't include suffocating humidity or 1/16" of ice on the roads that equally keep us holed up in our homes for days on end. While I'm on the subject of nature, let's not forget the changing of the leaves in which they transform from bright green to vivid shades of red, gold, and orange. The leaves in the fall is one of the reasons why I especially miss living in Dahlonega during this time of year. Speaking of Dahlonega, another reason why the fall is tops in my book revolves around a little annual festival each year called Gold Rush. It's not so much the painted gourds, lacy toilet seat covers, and seasonal hand-made clothing that makes me look forward to the third weekend in October, but the people you are likely to run into on the streets and the best baked potatoes you'll ever find this side of Heaven and fudge covered apples that are worth the calories and embarrassment of having chocolate all over your face that gets me there.

In fact, I had to put my apple down for a nanosecond this year just long enough to snap this photo.
The Square is prime real estate for people watching on this particular weekend. Especially for two gals like us:Oh how I love this picture. It makes me giggle every single time I see it. We are quite comfortable with our dork status. And it doesn't really take a sign to state the obvious. I am so glad that Katie and I were able to spend the afternoon together catching up, lunching, snacking, and shopping. Let me just go ahead and clear up any rumors or speculation as to the contents in Katie's shopping bag. It does not contain a painted gourd, lacy toilet seat cover, or cardigan adorned with wooden shapes of Christmas trees and angels. There are some really good finds to be found there too. Especially the pottery selection! Other good finds include Shelley:
It did my little heart such good to catch up with her and her family while sitting on the sidewalk and eating our Holy Spuds. No, it's not a religious festival only Southern Baptists flock to each year. The Baptist kiddos just sell baked potatoes to raise money for missions. Her girls are so much fun and growing up so, so fast. They will be fantastic babysitters for my little Korean children that I'm going to adopt one day. There was time spent with other dear friends that weekend too, but once baby E christened my shirt there were no more photo ops. Baby E is just cute and sweet enough though, that I didn't mind the christening one little bit.

Speaking of cute and sweet babies, there is another one who will be joining us in January. Earlier this month, we were able to celebrate Katie and the pending arrival of baby #2. Kristen and I discovered that we had not seen each other since Katie's last baby shower a couple of years ago. Looks like Katie is going to have to keep having babies in order for Kristen and I to keep seeing each other!
Yes, as a matter of fact I was wearing my Easter dress in early November. Remember my previous statement about perfect weather? Fast forward just 4 short days and I found myself in C-O-L-D Chicago wishing that I had remembered to pack my ear warmers. It was a nice trip though despite the sub-arctic temps. Sure, there's a chance that I'm being a teensy bit dramatic when I refer to the temps as sub-arctic but what little time I have spent in the Midwest during the cold weather months gives me new understanding as to why so many of them gravitate to Florida after retirement. I enjoyed seeing the Macy's downtown all decorated for Christmas and I was able to get in a quick conversation with Santa to discuss a few items on my list for this year.

So now I'm all caught up to the present where I find myself still recovering from my Thanksgiving hangover. And by hangover, I mean the kind that comes from too many helpings of mashed potatoes and servings of pumpkin cake. Once again, I am overwhelmed at the thought of counting all of my blessings because I have so very much to be thankful for in my life. I hope that the truth does not get lost in the triteness of that statement. These three are at the top of my gratitude list. [Even though the feeling may not be mutual with Micah since I chose to post the better picture of me than of him. :)]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Soundtrack: Thankful for My Ears that Allow Me to Hear Edition.

It seems like a month of Sundays has passed since I featured any music on this little blog of mine. In fact, I haven't been writing much of anything lately. [I do love to state the obvious.] To be quite honest, my lack of writing has been rather purposeful. I am very thankful for my little ears that allow me to hear, but sometimes I create a whole bunch of noise (or tune in to a bunch of useless noise) in order to drown out the things that I really need to hear. There's a difference between listening and hearing, I believe. I've been in a season of listening and as a result, learning. And it has been delightful. But it's not like I've been radio silent or anything. If you are a Pandora listener, might I recommend a new station: The Civil Wars with a little added variety of Christy Nockels. Trust me on this one, folks. Speaking of...

Poison and Wine - The Civil Wars. They were supposed to be in Atlanta back in October, but JP (that's what his closest friends call him) caught a bad case of the funk. The show has been rescheduled for December 10. Personally I hope that they are staying in quarantine until then because I have tickets and I don't know if my little heart can take the disappointment of a second cancelled show.

Beautiful Day - U2. Confession: This is probably my least favorite U2 song ever. However, I heard it on the radio the other day and there was a line that just stuck out to me: "What you don't have you don't need it now." -So. Very. True. I wonder if Bono would believe this if he lost his sunglasses, though?

World Spins Madly On - The Weepies. Why am I discovering The Weepies so late in life? I love them in spite of their melancholy moniker. Even though, technically it's not a moniker, but their actual group name.

Broken Glass - Mayaeni. I think I heard this on a TV show recently. Which one? No clue. If I had to guess it would be Parenthood or Grey's Anatomy. Speaking of let's take a television time out: Why is Adam Braverman smooching the young hot adminisntrative assistant when his wife is raising his autistic son and newborn daughter? So disappointing, Adam Braverman. So disappointing. You are better than that. And you will pay for those actions.

Clean Getaway - Maria Taylor. I swear I'm not as gloomy and depressed as this playlist might imply. I just listen to mellow music at work as opposed to oh let's say Rage Against the Machine or System of a Down because listening to those tunes would create an attitude in me contrary to the state of Georgia customer service initiative.

The Beat - Ben Rector. Who is Ben Rector and why did I decide that I like his music? No clue, but this was catchy so I decided that I liked it.

Faster - Matt Nathanson. I love how Matt Nathanson opens for Sugarland. And that's all I have to say about that.

Shake It Out - Florence + The Machine. Not to be confused with shakin' it like a Polaroid picture. I heard this on SNL last week and I think I like it. Flo is a little bit of a fiery and intimidating redhead who makes questionable fashion choices, but who am I to judge? Not me because my house is made of glass and hers is probably made of crystal now that the dog days are over for her.

Shelter - Ray LaMontagne. I. Love. Ray. I wish he would sing me lullabies at bedtime every night. Clarification: I don't want to marry Ray. I just want him to sing me to sleep.

How Great Thou Art - I love the Charlie Hall version, but they are all fantastic. Why? Because it reminds us of this: "And when I think, that God, His son not sparing / Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in / That on the Cross, My burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin." And that, my friends, is something that I am so thankful for during this season of giving thanks.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I could care less about your vector, Victor.

I originally started this post last week from the airport, but I was sans internet connection so I'm just getting around to actually finishing it and sharing it with the world! Er, my three readers.

Fact: The airport is one of my favorite places on earth. I love to fly. I would travel somewhere every week if my job (and salary) allowed me to do so. I especially love super busy airports. Lucky me that the "world's busiest" is also "my" airport!

As I write this, it is 9:55 a.m. I've been here since 7:15. I knew that something was amiss when I settled in at my assigned gate with my freshly brewed Seattle's Best and blueberry muffin and instead of Chicago, the destination posted was Valdosta. [Who flies to Valdosta?!?] It turned out that my flight was cancelled. I do not love cancellations, but that is a matter absolutely beyond my control. [Someone's life lessons in control are paying off, aren't they?]

Now that I've had a couple of extra hours here, I've had the opportunity to make and note a few observations:
When going through security with an infant in a car seat, please don't kick said infant carrier to move it forward. I'm not a parent, but my gut instinct tells me to kick the bag and carry the baby instead of vice versa.

When using a public restroom, please close and lock the stall door, m'am. My eyes have seen things this morning they were not prepared to see. Ever.

When flights are cancelled, the nicer you are to the cranky ticket agent, the nicer she will become and the harder she will try to get you on an earlier flight.

One should not spray rose scented perfumey stuff one moment and then proceed to cough all over fellow travelers sitting in close proximity to you when waiting at the gate.

Is there a place in the airport that sells fried salmon patties? What is that woman across from me eating and why does it smell like fried salmon patties?!?! Isn't 10:06 a.m. a wee bit early to be eating fried salmon patties? I wish that whatever this food that she is consuming would be banned by the TSA.

I have no idea how all of these people are going to fit on the plane. And why did the guy on the speaker just say that we are going to Pensacola? I'm far too overdressed for a trip to the beach.

All of these important and nicely dressed business folks who are looking at their phones with furrowed eyebrows and furiously typing on their touchscreen phones? I suspect that it's not business, but a mean game of Angry Birds or Words With Friends.

A fun game that I like to play when waiting is to try to guess where people are going based on what they are wearing. Something makes me think that the guy in plaid shorts and flip flops will not be on my flight.

I'm kind of torn when it comes to airport chit-chat. Like, when people make general statements to no one in particular, but I obviously hear them, am I obligated to respond? I vote no.

There's a man on my flight who looks just like Ted Kennedy. Except I know it's not him because well, Ted has gone to glory and this gentlemen has the last name of Briggs and needs to make a reservation for December 12, 13, and 14. So I've heard him shout between curse words at least eleventy-dozen times. I hope he's not my seat row buddy, but I would choose him over Miss Salmon Patty, I believe. [Fun fact: The ghost of Ted Kennedy, Mr. Briggs, was my seat row buddy!]

After one cancelled flight, and three more delays and sitting on the plane for 30 minutes, we are finally on our way. Phones, laptops, electronics are all powered down. Oh, what's that you say, Mr. Pilot? We've traveled no less than the distance of a football field, and we're going to sit here so it's ok to turn on our cellular devices? Got it.

You know how some pilots are all business and some pilots need either a dog or a therapist based on the amount of chatter that comes from the cockpit? The pilot on today's flight was chatty. He proudly informed us when we flew over Kentucky and into southern Indiana. I admit, that I don't mind when they point out landmarks or give a little update so I can get an idea of where we are in relation to where we're going. However, when we were about 60 miles out, Mr. Delta, announces over the intercom that we've been put into a holding pattern. He then starts all this talk about our vector and how the tower is flipping the runway because the wind has changed so they have to change the direction of the incoming and outgoing flights. So, that's all well and good and really cool if you think about it. BUT as I looked outside of my window, there was nothing to see but fog. I know, I know, their instruments see for them, but what happens if a pilot was checking his Facebook status or texting while flying or changing the music on his iPod and missed the whole announcement about rerouting all traffic in one little circle of a holding pattern? I would have regretted the will power I exercised to resist eating a half-dozen Krystal burgers after spending what amounted to half a work day in the airport, for one thing. What screams "perfect last meal" better than a bag of teensy tiny fake hamburgers? Obviously that didn't happen and these people are pros at this kind of stuff, but I couldn't help but to giggle just a little bit when he was talking because I felt a little bit like I was living the Seinfeld stand up routine that he does about pilots.

My return flight was equally as entertaining. I sat next to an airplane mechanic. As in, when I boarded the plane and sat down beside him, he was pouring buckets of sweat and eating his sandwich like he was due back down there to tighten one more bolt before take off. He was super tall and reminded me very much of my dad (minus the fact that dad always swore he would never fly and this man has to fly in order to get to work some days). We had a very interesting and educational conversation about the frequency in which the tires on a plane are changed as well as the distance allowed between planes when in flight. Any guesses? I focused on that information instead of his statement about how he had been working non-stop without any sleep for a day and a half. I think that when I make my recommendation to the TSA about banning airport foods that are noxious to the olfactory nerves, I will also recommend that the people responsible for fixing the metal capsules that shoot us through the air at fast rates of speed get a full eight hours of sleep each night.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Do you all remember back when we were kids and had a "favorite" of everything? Favorite color, favorite cartoon character, favorite superhero, favorite sports teams, favorite this, favorite that, favorite number. In fact, we still play favorites in adulthood. It just so happens that when I was a little girl my favorite number was 11. And why wouldn't it be? It is a prime number. It's symmetrical. If numbers could be palindromes, 11 would be one. What's better than one number 1, but two 1's right together? Nothing! It's greater than 10 so there's never that whole debate between spelling it out or just writing the actual number in formal writing. But at the end of the day, the real reason why I dubbed 11 as my favorite is because when I was a softball player (slow pitch...completely different than fast pitch), Daddy was the coach and his number was 00. Therefore, in my childlike rationale, I selected 11, and it just kind of stuck. If I had the foresight to realize that in my lifetime I would see the date written as 11.11.11, it would have been more than my geeky little brain could have handled. This morning in the paper I read about a set of twins who are celebrating their 11 birthday today. I was a little bit jealous.

Today is about so much more than six 1's lined up when we write the date though. It's about recognizing that as a child, I was free to fill my mind with things like choosing my favorite number for the back of my softball jersey. In fact, I am still free to fill my mind with such trivial matters into adulthood. I've written about the significance of this day before here. It's a day to think about why I was fortunate enough to live a carefree and peaceful childhood that has carried over into my older and wiser years.

Earlier tonight during my drive from the airport to home, I was thinking about what a terrible news week it has been. Babies are missing and their mothers are suspects. Heinous and cruel acts against innocent boys that could have and should have been prevented have been brought to light. There are people who desperately want jobs so that they can feed their families when there is another group of people who are walking around with an over-inflated sense of entitlement and their response is to simply do nothing until someone does something for them. Countries are on the brink of defaulting on their loans which puts world markets at risk of just toppling right over. All of this is enough to make those of us reading about it feel like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. Yet for others, it's their present reality and it's a never-ending nightmare. I sometimes have the tendency to get so overwhelmed in all the negative, it's a challenge to remember and celebrate the good. I believe in the importance of striking a balance between the two.

I still do not, nor will I ever, understand why God saw fit in his infinite grace for me to be born in the United States versus some other part of the world that does not have the first-world problems that I am accustomed to. Yet, I am so thankful that I have been given the opportunity to live in this great nation. I will celebrate that. I am also going to celebrate the men and women who love this country so much that they put it and its citizens above themselves and their own families time and time again in order for this great nation to remain just that: great.
Earlier today when I was still at O'hare, I saw this man holding his baby boy before he handed him back to his wife as he said good-bye. So on this 11th day of the 11th month in the year 2011, I celebrate the family members too because it is truly a family sacrifice when mom or dad isn't at home to see the first steps or ballet recital or simply share an evening meal together.

While Veterans Day is a day to honor and celebrate our Veterans, I think it's also a time for the rest of us to look inward to discover ways in which too we can serve our country. The burden of responsibility does not lie solely with those who wear the uniforms. We all have something to give because we all have been given so much.