Thursday, January 15, 2009

When the kids take the camera...

Earlier this week Amberly and her family came over for dinner and to see my new toys. I treated myself to a new home theatre system to accompany the PS3 my parents got me for my birthday... and this was the first major showing.

Abby Grace and Nathan had no particular interest in the TV most of the night and so here is what the budding photographers did to entertain themselves.

I promise they put themselves in there and could have gotten themselves out at any point.

Once they let themselves back out, they were off with the camera. The next morning I found these on my camera.

Not the worst picture of me ever taken.

Not her best side.

A cute pic of the almost five year old.

Brun's nose.

Pin art is always a big hit with this crowd.

He's Amberly's problem. :-)

Brun retreated to the closet for a few moments of peace and quiet and camped out on my pj's. Apparently he should have looked for a better hiding place.

Piglet might be blinded for life.
I love digital cameras. These pictures crack me up!

30... years old that is

Last week I turned 30. I absolutely love birthdays and this one was no different. It was spent with good friends and family and it was shared with others who wanted to be there but couldn't. Even though gifts are not what a birthday is all about I got some great ones.

My aunt surprised me with balloons on my mailbox. Leslie bought me a great North Face jacket and even delivered to my house (over an hour away from her house!). Ashley got me some great soap, bags and hair/bath accessories from Bath and Body Works. My parents got me a PS3 that doubles as a fabulous blu-ray player, a new pair of tennis shoes and a cake from my favorite bakery in my hometown. Amberly and her family surprised me with an impromptu family birthday party including my very own cookie cake, a wonderfully warm new robe, a pedicure I am saving for flip flop season and another of my favorites... sweet tart hearts! Here is the cookie cake they made me.

Thanks to all of you who made my birthday so special! It was great!!!!! The most creative and in some ways best gift I will have to save for another post. :-)

Apparently you are supposed to feel older or different somehow when you hit a new decade. Well I don't and that's perfectly fine with me. 29 was a year filled with a lot of change - some bad, mostly good - so here's hoping 30 is a little more settled. At 30 years and 6 days... so far so good.

12... degrees that is

Seriously?!?! Are you kidding me?? 12 whole degrees Fahrenheit is the predicted low for tonight. I live in Alabama for crying out loud! My brother is in Alaska for work (more on that later) and it is warmer there than here. This is so not fair. I can't believe I have to go to work tomorrow... I am so not going to want to get out of my nice warm bed in the morning.

If it is going to be this cold we should at least get snow out of it!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mega Meme

HAHA... I caught you!! You are still reading my blog... what is wrong with you?? :-) Just kidding... welcome back. Now that Christmas is over and the monogramming season should theoretically be winding down... I am going to try and blog more. And besides... I got a flip video camera for Christmas so I will have to share that with you all soon.

I thought I would try to get back in the swing of things by doing this meme that Leslie, Vader's Mom and some others did weeks ago.

1. Do you like cheese? Yes, a little too much. I don't like it on my hamburger but I like it with almost everything else.

2. Have you ever smoked? No but when I was in middle school my little brother started a rumor that my best friends and I smoked in the bathroom... I have no idea why.

3. Do you own a gun? Yep, sure do and proud of it. But I am a responsible gun owner and it is well secured and well hidden from small children.

4. Do you like listening to Christmas music? LOVE IT!!! The Christmas CD's are on permanent rotation the entire month of December.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Yes... therefore I just don't go unless my life basically depends on it.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? Love them... especially when grilled on a charcoal grill. However, I really prefer the bright pink Zeigler kind. I know they are gross and NO I do not want to know what is in them.

7. Favorite Christmas song for all time? Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song"

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? water

9. Can you do push ups? Not really

10. Who is your favorite Grey’s Anatomy Character? Much to Leslie's dismay I really don't watch Grey's Anatomy

11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? An antique white gold diamond and Sapphire ring my parents got me for High School graduation. It is very special and so I only wear it on Sunday's and on special occasions. Other than that I would say my plain jade ring that I got in Australia.

12. Favorite hobby? monogramming

13. Do you eat “exotic” foods? HA! NO! I will try most things once... but basically no.

14. Do you have A.D.D.? Not officially... but yes. As I have gotten older I have basically lost the ability to sit still or focus on just one task at a time.

15. What one trait do you hate about yourself? The fact that I worry too much.

16. Middle Name? Michelle

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? "I should really go to bed." "'Nights in Rodanthe' was really stupid." "I don't think I have anything I have to do tomorrow!"

18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday? Nothing... it was Christmas. Today I bought some Hallmark ornaments, a 2009 calendar for my office and shower gel from Bath and Body Works.

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? water, water and water. I cut out Cokes about three weeks ago so I currently only drink water.

20. Current worry right now? Lots of things... see #15.

21. Current hate? that I had to work today... on December 26.

22. Favorite place to be? With good friends/family.

23. How will you bring in the New Year? Watching Anderson Cooper ring in the new year on CNN.

24. Where would you like to go? NYC at Christmas time, Ireland, Scotland, back to Australia, the beach, a mountain cabin... anywhere on vacation is fine with me.

25. Name three people who will complete this? ummm... most everyone did it two weeks ago.

26. Do you own flip flops? lots and lots of them

27. What shirt are you wearing? a Woot shirt with a drawing of a mama dragon feeding a knight to a baby dragon

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? no... cotton all the way

29. Can you whistle? nope

30. Favorite color? blue

31. Would you be a pirate? nah

32. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't... I'm usually making a list of some sort in my head

33. Favorite girl’s name? Mackaleb

34. Favorite boy’s name? not sure

35. What’s in your pocket right now? $4 in change from going to the $1 movie

36. Last thing that made you laugh? the lameness of "Nights in Rodanthe"

37. Bed sheets as a child? Smurfs

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? the sun burn I got sitting at the Talladega races on Saturday one spring when I was in college. I had blisters and I still have the scars.

39. Do you love where you live? Alabama

40. How many TV’s do you have in your house? four

41. Who is your loudest friend? probably me

42. How many dogs do you have? I currently have one in my house and one who is gone but is still in my heart.

43. Does someone have a crush on you? not to my knowledge

44. Do you get embarrassed easily? pretty much

45. What is your favorite book? the Bible

46. What is your favorite candy? Christmas peanut M&M's

47. Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince theme song? no

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? I can't really say I've thought about it... but I guess I would say a cappella church songs.

49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? just getting back home from spending Christmas at my parent's house

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? "Who is calling me this early???" It was my mom who was already hitting the day after Christmas sales.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Interrupt These Old Posts...

I have to interrupt my "catch up" posts to let you know about a new problem. Beginning Monday morning we developed a new problem at my house. This...

Now this would not normally be a problem. This spoiled dog has the run of the house and if he wants to lay on my bed and my pillow he is more than welcome (he will move out of my spot when I am ready to get in the bed).

Problem is... this is about two minutes after I should have left the house to meet my carpool. Our normal routine is for him to to out on a leash and do his business and then come back in. When we get in the front door the leash comes off and be runs to his crate and waits for his treat. Ever since the weather turned cold he comes back in and the leash comes off he heads for the nice warm bed. The first morning I was able to trick him into his crate. The second day I had to drag him. This does not bode well for my mornings this winter. He and I are going to have to come to some understanding.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How to Prevent Sliding Off Your Cot When Camped on the Side of a Hill

Last time I actually wrote a real post, I was camping. My dad and I were at Road Atlanta for the Petit LeMans Sports car race. We have been doing this almost ever year since 2001 and it's basically a week long event. The "real" race is actually a ten hour race on Saturday starting in the morning and ending at night. There are support races and practices throughout the week so we camp out for the week starting on about Tuesday. The camping is in the infield... but it's not the infield that some of your are picturing at Talladega or Daytona. It's basically the woods and hills overlooking the 2.54 mile road course. We always camp in the same general area but never seem to get in exactly the same spot.

We arrived this year on Tuesday night and started setting up our tent. It was dark by that point but we had a pretty good idea of where we were camping and thought we would be fine. We got the tent set up, set up our cots and put our sleeping bags on top of our respective cots. When it was time to go to bed, I crawled in my sleeping bag and immediately began sliding down my cot. Problem. It wasn't particularly cold at that point, so I got out of my sleeping bag, laid on the cot and just covered up with my sleeping bag. I still was not at a particularly comfortable angle... but at least I wasn't falling off the cot.

I woke up about 2 AM and I was once again hanging off the end of the cot and I was FREEZING!!! Note to self... it gets cold at night in North Georgia. (Yes Bryan and Wren, I realize this is nowhere close to as cold as the weather both of you have camped in.) :-) I curled into the fetal position in an attempt to stay on the end of my cot for the rest of the night. I woke up multiple times throughout the time falling off my cot and freezing. And about 6 AM I finally woke up and realized I could turn my cot at about a 30 degree angle... which helped.

When I finally got up for good and got out of bed I was not happy. I was not looking forward to falling out of my cot every night. So at some point later that day we went to Wal Mart and bought a rug pad. We also bought a pair of scissors and cut it in half... half for me and half for my dad. SUCCESS!! On Wednesday night, with a rug pad between my sleeping bag and my cot I did not slide off of my cot.

So if you ever find yourself camped on the side of a hill and sliding off your cot... find your nearest Wal Mart and buy a rug pad. Although... if you do find yourself in that situation, I am probably going to question your sanity. I certainly questioned ours.

Two Years (and One Month) Ago

Well I am officially one month late with this post... but two years and one month seemed like an appropriate time to post. On September 28, 2006, this little guy arrived in the world.

Recognize him? That's Classic Rock Baby aka my Godson and "nephew." I am a terrible Godmother and adopted aunt and I did not see him on his second birthday but rumor has it the garbage truck I got him was a big hit. Hopefully he enjoyed his copy of Robin Hood too... I know it has always been one of my favorite Disney movies.

I can't believe it has already been two years. It seems like only yesterday. While his parents might disagree sometimes :-), I think he is growing up too fast.

Since I didn't see him on his second birthday, I thought I would share one of my favorite pictures. This was actually taken back in May... right after his mom got a Wii Fit. CRB wanted to play too and he got the hang of it in a hurry.

So happy two year and one month birthday Classic Rock Baby!! Come see your Aunt Kerri soon!!!

And before I lose my rights as a sister, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that today was my little brother's 28th Birthday. Happy Birthday Wren!

Hope you got your birthday card... and while you did not get a garbage truck or copy of Robin Hood, I hope you can use the Bed, Bath and Beyond Gift Card. Ashley said you needed to buy some stuff for your house and I thought that would be better than a food gift card. Please take Ashley with you to the store to pick them out. I'm not saying you have bad taste... I'm just saying Ashley has better taste. :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Posts You Should Have Read

I am the laziest blogger around. I am not making any more excuses for it. I still want to blog... I just don't ever seem to make it that far on my to do list for the day.

So here are a few topics you missed that I should have blogged about.

"How to Prevent Sliding Off Your Cot When Camped on the Side of a Hill"

"Tony Kannan Liked My Shirt!!!!!!!"

"Has It Really Been Two Years Already?"

"She's Going to Hit My Car... Surely She's Going to Stop... SHE HIT MY BRAND NEW BEAUTIFUL CAR!!!!!!"

"How Am I Supposed to Label Eight Things with Five Labels... or... Why My Secretary Hates Me"

"I Gained Freedom and Got Sucked Back In (By Choice)"

"I Actually Updated My Website!"

"Where Did All These Leaves Come From?"

And hey... hopefully some of these posts will still show up. What do you care if these things happened today or a month ago. Most of you don't know the difference. :-)

I think I'll go write a couple of them now while I'm camped out at the computer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I don't like doing laundry... But I can't say that I particularly dislike it either. But just being a single person with a dog and occasional visitors I can go a ridiculous amount of time without washing more than possibly a load of sheets or towels. I generally wait until I am out of a vital piece of clothing until I bother to wash.

When I was getting ready for my trip I realized I needed to wash reds so I would have a specific shirt I wanted to take. As I started digging through the red/orange section of my divided hamper, I found Christmas pajama pants. Nice. Yes that does mean it has been that long since I washed that color family of clothing.

Later on I was looking for long sleeve t-shirts and realized they must still be in one of those pesky boxes I never unpacked. As I dug through the boxes, I found clothes that were dirty back in March that had been packed by the movers... And they were not miraculously cleaner after sitting in the bottom of a box since March. I am pretty sure this is a sign I have way way too many clothes.


Last November I decided it was time for me to move on to a new job and a new city. With good timing, the Lord and some good friends on my side it all worked out. In February I quit my old job. In March I started my new one and shortly thereafter I moved and sold my old house.

This past Sunday, I finally breathed what is hopefully the last major sigh of relief related to this move. You see, ever since I left my old job I have been continuing to work for them on a part time contractor basis. I was happy to do this to help ease the transition, and the extra spending money has been nice too.

I have written several reports and training manuals and late Sunday night I emailed the last one off. While this work has not consumed every free moment of every night and weekend, having this sense of dread at coming home from work just to work some more has been nagging and paralyzing - keeping me from enjoying the free time I did have.

But now, FINALLY I have my freedom. My contract runs out today and no one has mentioned renewing it. AHHHHHHH!!!! I am so excited!!

I did love my old job but I left my old job for my own specific reasons and seven months of distance has not made me forget that. So the relief I have felt has been wonderful!!

I would say "what will I do with all my free time?" but I assure you that will not be a problem. I hope to be around here a little more. I plan to finish unpacking those last boxes I never unpacked in March. And the monogramming season for Christmas is just about to pick up. I can't wait to update my website and share some of that with you - my roughly 12 readers.

But first - a few days of camping, resting and relaxing that happen to coincide with my new found freedom. So if you don't see me around for the next few days, don't assume I have fallen back into my old ways - just assume my only Internet is via my iPhone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Fever

Every two years they come along and every two years I am mesmerized. I LOVE the Olympics. I don't know why exactly but I always have. I watch sports that I would NEVER in a million years watch under most circumstances including sports that I didn't even know existed... Trampoline?? Seriously??? But if they put it on (particularly in Primetime) I'll watch it.

There are some sports that I definitely prefer over the others and swimming and diving are at the top of that list. I have to say I have become a serious "Phelps Phanatic" over the last week. Sure I remember Michael Phelps from the Athens games and the record number of golds he didn't quite reach. And I remember being disappointed in him when he got arrested for DUI sometime between now and then... but I was completely drawn back in this year. His ridiculous athletic ability combined with being the little kid who got picked on and didn't fit in and add to it his obvious closeness to his mom and sisters and I was once again hooked.

I watched every race with rapt anticipation and was on the edge of my seat when it came time for the eighth gold on Saturday night. I was jumping around the room and clapping and screaming. The dog thought it was a great game... either that or he just thought I had lost my mind. It's been a bit of a let down this week now that swimming is over... but diving is picking up so that's exciting.

I have asked the dog if he wants to change his name to Michael Phelps and he seems somewhat in favor of that. Seriously... I asked. I'm not sure what it sounds like when I say "Michael Phelps" but he gets really excited. Maybe he just remembers the swimming from last week and how excited I got... but really he doesn't watch that much TV.

I'll keep you posted on whether or not I give him a new name. :-) It wouldn't be the first time it happened in our family. We have a dog that now lives with my parents who I named Rory. She's a girl dog but no one calls her Rory anymore... she goes by Ken Schrader. Sad but true. There was a NASCAR commercial several years back that is based on the premise of how big of a fan are you... and one of the questions asked, "Do you name your pet after your favorite driver?" In the commercial there is a little chihuahua type dog biting the mailman and the owner is saying "Down Ken Schrader!" So that's where her name came from.

So... we'll see. We may stick with Brun... but he doesn't really seem to answer to either name all that well. I'm off to watch some more of whatever sport is on at the moment.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Past and the Desire to Relive It

The past couple of weeks I have thought a lot about how I would love to go back and relive my college days. Not because I want to do them differently but just because I want to live them over again and enjoy them again. The six years I spent in school (particularly the four I spent in undergrad) were some of the best years of my life. I know you can't go back and there is no chance in the world I am thinking about going back to school, I just miss it sometimes.

I guess there are a few reasons I have had this on my mind. The first being that I pulled out a scrapbook from college a couple of weeks ago to help settle a debate among my college friends on Facebook as to what year a party was held that I attended. As I flipped through the pages, so many great memories and people I had not thought about in years came flooding back. I used to kid my friends in college (as I toted my SLR film camera everywhere) that ten years from then when they couldn't remember what we did in college, I would have the pictures to help them remember. It's funny how quickly I've forgotten and how much I remember just from looking at those pictures. For those just starting school, I'm so glad that digital cameras are everywhere and so many more people are taking pictures at every memorable and not so memorable moment they experience...

But I digress...

The other reason I think I have thought so much about reliving my college days is the fact that we just sold the house where I lived in college. This was my grandparents house and the greatest house a college kid could ask for. While this is not the house I lived the first 18 years of my life in, I did a lot of growing up in that house in the six and a half years I lived there. College was a great time for me, sure there were hard times and sad times and moments I would prefer to forget, but most of them were great and wonderful and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

To see the house totally empty a couple of weeks ago was sad. I haven't lived there in almost five years, but it holds a lot of memories from the time I was a little girl until now. It's hard to think that there are now a bunch of college boys living there who will start school tomorrow. But I'll save some of that mushy sentimentality for another post.

Catching Up

Hello? Is this thing still on? Anyone still reading? Probably just those of you who stuck me in your bloglines or those of you who I emailed to tell you I finally blogged again. I can't believe it's been so long.

I won't say there hasn't been anything blog worthy... I've just been too busy and not in the mood to blog I guess. I have a few blog posts floating around in my head so I will try to put those together sometime this lifetime (one is already done and will be up later tonight... it won't change your life so don't wait with too much anticipation).

While I've been away here is some of what you missed:

  • Work (my current job)
  • Work (my old job I'm still doing work as a contractor for... I even went to Wyoming a few weeks ago for them)
  • And more work (my monogramming "business" that keeps me busy - hopefully more about this sometime soon)
  • I bought a new car (I love it... It's an Acura and it is probably the sportiest car I will ever have)
  • My neighbors called the police on a scary car parked in front of my house (that was interesting but nothing happened)
  • We sold my grandparents house which was the house I lived in while I was in college and the house my dad grew up in
  • I got a haircut (Which has been blogworthy in the past... but it is just the same ole haircut)
  • I got a new iPhone and I'm not sure how I survived without one (in fact I am writing this post from my iPhone)

So life's been busy and it hasn't left a lot of time or energy for blogging. I have blog posts written in my head for some of those things so I hope to get to them one day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A New Low

This week I reached a new low. My parents were headed off on a trip and they were flying out of the town where I live. So lucky me got the pleasure of taking them to the airport. Did I mention what time their flight was... 6:50 AM... which meant they needed to be at the airport at 5:20 AM. UGH!!! We all got up between 4 and 4:15.

So by about 5:30 AM I was done with my daughterly duties and had nothing to do. My work is about 5 minutes from the airport and my house is about 30 minutes. It was not worth going back to the house and I couldn't think of any place to go eat Breakfast... so I went to work.

Now I love my job but I did not have enough to do that I wanted to go into work that early. So at this point I reached a new low. I pulled into the parking deck, parked between two cars of apparently crazy people who were already at work, climbed into the backseat of my SUV and went to sleep.

I have slept in a car before when someone else was driving or when we were camping. I have put on makeup in the car, changed clothes in the car on a fairly regular basis (both while driving or in a parking lot) but today I actually went to sleep in my car while on company property. I slept for about 45 minutes until I got hot and decided to go on in the office. My windows are tinted, the parking deck is dark, I was parked between cars that were already there and I feel certain that no one saw me. I didn't tell a soul at work... but with you, I share. :-)

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Where's Brun?"

This is a question I find myself asking several times a day. When Brun is not under foot I am usually worried he is getting into trouble. He rarely is... but still... he could be. Most of the time he can be found in one of several places. He might be laying in front of the front door in the foyer. He might be in my bed. He might be under my bed. But recently, more often than not he can be found here:
Do you see him?
Look a little closer... See that tail sticking out... what about the nose.
As you pull the clothes back... there he is... between between the navy skirt and the peach paisley skirt. Yep... he's in the closet hiding behind the clothes.

If you didn't know he was there I'm not sure you would see him... but apparently he thinks it is quite cozy.

My old dog Winston used to do the same thing... I guess they find it cozy to be in tight places when they are tired. Tonight Brun is pretty tired. We had a very fun night with Amberly and her family. I got a Wii on Thursday (because all 29 year olds with no kids need one) and on the spur of the moment, I invited them over to come check out the Wii and the Wii Fit.

Amberly provided most of the food, her hubby grilled the meat and we ate until we were stuffed. It was all delicious! Then we played the Wii Fit and decided we shouldn't have eaten all of that food and should apparently go on a diet... oh well. It was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed Wii Sports and Mario Galaxy.

The kids love Brun (except for Abby Grace who started out the night terrified of him and was hugging and kissing him by the time they went home) so Brun was well played with tonight. He is not quite used to the "noise" of five extra folks in the house and I think he just needed some "Brun time."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Graduation Day

Eleven years ago this week (May 19, 1997 to be exact) I graduated high school. Here is Lindsey, myself and Keeley on the night of of my high school graduation:
While I am thankful for the great education I received, I hated high school and was ready to get out. Shortly after graduation, I went to Wrightsville Beach, NC with my family. Great trip… but if I had realized they were starting to film Dawson’s Creek (one of my favorite TV shows in college and still one of my guilty pleasures) I probably would have appreciated it more. But I digress.

Also right after graduation, I went with Lindsey and her family to Disney World as a part of my graduation present and to help watch Lindsey and her sister Keeley. Here is a picture of Lindsey and Keeley 11 years ago (sorry for the pictures of pictures)
This past weekend it was time for someone else to graduate. Someone who has grown up too fast and makes me feel old. I can remember what I wore, what was said that day eleven years ago when I graduated and when Lindsey seemed so small… and now Lindsey has graduated.

This past Saturday night, a few of us came to her family’s home to celebrate the occasion and wish Lindsey well. I didn’t take many pictures but here is a self photo Lindsey took of us (she does that a lot... and they really aren't the most complimentary pictures of me). : What can I say... she's a spaz but I love her. :-)
After we ate she told me she had something she had to show me. In her room up on her mirror she had two photos of us – this one that she took with my purse camera a few months ago...

...and another one I wouldn’t show you if I could. :-) It had to be when she was two or three and I was 13 or 14. This is not the picture but it would have been around this same time frame. And trust me my hair was even worse in the one she had:
She laughed and said we have come a long way – her from no hair and me from really bad hair. I could not argue with that.

Then on Sunday afternoon the big day arrived. I ran out of the auditorium before the ceremony started to see where the graduates were lining up. Was Lindsey nervous? Of course not. She was too busy posing. Graduation went off without a hitch and after the ceremony we found a very happy graduate.

So congratulations to Lindsey who is off to face the world. I am very proud of the girl who I have known since she was nine months old, who endured my babysitting for years, who still shares a pew with my family at church and in some ways reminds me of me and that more outgoing person I sometimes wish I could be. No matter where life takes us, she will always hold a special place in my heart. This fall, life will be taking her to college in Mississippi and a whole new, exciting phase in her life will begin. I know she is going to do great things and enjoy every minute of it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'm finally good for something

I am in my hometown this weekend and this evening my parents and I were headed to a high school graduation party for Lindsey. We were on a small country road, dad was driving, we came over a hill and blue lights. Dad got pulled over by a state trooper. Whoops!

I think I have mentioned on here before that in my former job I met and trained every state trooper who patrols in the state of Alabama and trained them to use a program for writing tickets. The trooper walked up to the window and told my dad he was going 54 in a 40 (whoops) and asked for his license and insurance. I was sitting in the passenger seat and got the insurance card out of the glove box.

The trooper didn't notice me or recognize me and I didn't say anything... hummm... what to do. The trooper went back to his car. Well I happened to notice that I had two current insurance cards in my hand and figured I must have handed him an expired insurance card.

So taking my chances that I would not get shot by the trooper, I got out of the car and walked back to his car to hand him a current insurance card. When I walked back to his car he said "What's your name? Don't I know you?"

I sweetly answered that I was Kerri and that I had trained him to use that program he was using to write the ticket and that that was my dad I was with. He kind of fumbled around and said "Oh well I'll cancel this out. Just give the license back to your dad." I told him I sure appreciated it and told him that that was not why I came back to his car but that I would be sure to give my dad a hard time about it.

It really wasn't why I went back to his car but it happened to work out in this case. :-) As the trooper pulled away he told my dad that his daughter had saved him tonight. I just smiled, waved and thanked him again.

When I called my brother to tell him what had happened he said "Well you are finally good for something." I guess I am... and I would have to say my dad owes me. :-)

Corporate Team Building

I'm a little behind with this post but I half wrote it last week and I wanted to finish it up and share some pictures. The week of May 5th was not your typical week. On Tuesday night a bunch of folks helped Gary and Katie finally move into their new house. Gary works in my group, attends church where I did in the last town that I lived in and just made the same move that I made a month or so ago. He commuted over an hour each way for about two years. I did it for about two weeks and I was tired of it. They had a time getting closed on their houses but they finally did and were able to finally move into the house they were buying on Tuesday night.
Then early on Wednesday our group at work made up of about 20 people, left for our corporate team building retreat. Having never worked for a large corporation this was a new concept for me. I was put on the planning committee for the trip a few weeks ago and so I had a pretty good idea of what all was going to happen on the trip.

For Wednesday through Friday, our group would be staying at Chateau Elan, about 45 minutes past Atlanta. I had never stayed there but I had passed it may times as my dad and I made our almost annual trip to Road Atlanta. The two are only about seven miles apart and many who come into town for the Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta stay at Chateau Elan.

Anyways, we left early Wednesday headed towards the Atlanta area. We were scheduled to stop on the way for a tour of a facility our company owns. Well thanks to extremely heavy construction and traffic delays, we were about 1.5 hours late. We finally made it for an abbreviated tour. Then we were back on the road. We got hopelessly lost a few times in some back roads in Georgia but we finally made it to Chateau Elan (CE) about two hours behind schedule.

The first activity was a grape squeezing contest.
CE is centered around a winery and so our first activity carried out that theme. I was helping to set up this activity so once we got checked into the hotel it was off to the Publix to buy a ton of grapes. Since I was partially in charge of the activity and opted to take pictures, I did not have to participate. What we did is everyone paired off and each pair had to race to see who could fill their plastic wine glass the fastest. We had two rounds and the wine of each round had to compete in a squeeze off. Our winners were Gary (yes the same Gary who moved the night before) and David. Their "prize" was a Lucille Ball wig and half a set of I Love Lucy DVD's. There is apparently an episode of "I Love Lucy" where they go to Italy and squash grapes with their feet. The group watched this episode while we were setting up the activity. Don't the winners look thrilled? By the way we did not make them drink the nasty stuff.I have to admit, I had given Gary insider information and told him he did NOT want to win this activity but I guess his competitive side and his desire for the activity to be over got the better of him and David. I had also given this inside information to most of the people in the second round so it was a pretty apathetic group of participants in that round.

They threw grapes, ate grapes and basically made it obvious they did not want to win. Oh well... I can't say I blame them.

After we finished up with the grape squashing, we went to dinner and then we hung out for several hours in a lounge area at the hotel. Since it was a Wednesday night we were basically the only ones there and so a lot of pool was played and I got a chance to talk to a lot of folks from our office. It was nice to be able to relax with everyone and talk to them on an informal level. To prove I was on this trip, here is a picture that someone else took of our boss Holly and I attempting to play pool. We were not good but the guys we were playing scratched and we won.
Holly and I have a lot in common and I enjoyed getting to talk to her a lot over the trip. She's fun to hang out with and I enjoyed getting to know her better on this trip.
The next day we had breakfast followed by a number of team building activities. We played a game similar to musical chairs where we had to ask questions of each other. Then we played a game similar to Clue and our group ended up winning thanks to a bonus question and my knowledge of who started Chateau Elan and how they made their money. The only reason I knew is because it is the same people that started Road Atlanta. Here is our group presenting the Clue results.
Then it was outside to the "Ropes" course. I'm not sure why they call it that because there is no rope involved but basically you have to get your whole team across five stumps with only three boards to go between the five stumps. You have to work together and move the boards back and forth to get everyone there. We did a really good job at working together and getting it done. Here is a bunch of people from our group making their way across the course. That's my manger Sean on the left. There are four people in my "sub-group," Sean, Gary, myself and Andrew. Andrew is the guy in the dark blue shirt and jeans (sorry you are looking at the side of his head).

Sean had on some funny looking shoes and everyone was making fun of them. Holly kept whispering to me "take a picture of his shoes... make sure to get a good shot of his shoes." I was trying to do this subtly and not laugh at the instructions. He claims they are going to be all the rage this summer... Holly wanted to make sure we had something to make fun of him with later on. :-)

Here is me making my way across the boards. I did not fall or make a klutz out of myself.

Once we finished up with the activities it was off to lunch and then our wine making activity. I don't drink wine and know absolutely nothing about it. I didn't really expect to get much out of this activity but it was fun I suppose. I was in a group with Sean, Gary and Craig.

Here is a shot of another group. The girl in the white is Angela, the guy in the dark blue is Andrew again, the guy in the stripes is Clint and the back of the head with the ponytail belongs to Alex.
Two of the five stations in this activity had to do with smelling. I have zero sense of smell so I was completely useless in those. One of the stations had to do with mixing up your wine. I was completely useless in this activity as well (as was Gary... who also does not drink) so it turns out our group did pretty terrible. Our wine was compared to Kool Aid and our label was described as boring. Oh well...

Here is (from L to R) Gary, Craig and Sean at the wine mixing station. I thought Sean was going to sling wine all over the room... but it all worked out.

Once we finished with the wine making it was time for free time. A bunch of the guys and one of the girls played golf. Holly and some others went to the spa. Since I'm not a golfer and I don't really do the spa thing, I decided to wander around and take some pictures of the beautiful resort and then take a nap before dinner.

Here is the outside of the winery. There was some driving event there that day and so there were lots of fancy cars around... hence the red Ferrari in the background.
Here is a cool stained glass window inside the winery.

Here is the vineyard. I guess at this time of year there are teeny tiny grapes... at least in Georgia. Beats me... I know squat about wine and grapes.
Here is the inside of the hotel/inn. It was a really nice place and I enjoyed our trip there.

Thursday night we all met for dinner but everyone was tired and turned in early after their busy afternoon and the late night the night before.

We all met back Friday morning for breakfast and then a guest speaker and then we were on our way home. We got caught in some construction traffic on the way back but were home by 2 or so and then off for the rest of the afternoon. It was a great trip and I enjoyed getting to know some of the folks on our team better in a beautiful setting.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Peer Pressure

I have never had a problem with peer pressure... until I moved. I moved into a nice, small, well established neighborhood with lots of perfectly manicured lawns. Somehow it didn't quite occur to me that they don't stay that way by magic.

My next door neighbor's boyfriend has graciously offered to mow my yard when he mows my neighbor's yard if they can borrow my lawn mower. Since I already have a lawn mower that I don't want to use and she does not have one, I am perfectly fine with that arrangement. When I got home from work today, I had a note from my next door neighbor's boyfriend asking when he could borrow the lawn mower.

I was out of town most of last week and the weekend and my yard was obviously looking pretty rough. My next door neighbor's yard had all of the weeds pulled, all of the leaves picked up and looked great. Personally I would think it could wait another week or so to be mowed, and yet they are asking me when they can borrow the lawn mower. Guilt. Peer pressure. All feelings coming over me at that point.

As I looked at my yard, I spotted leaves, pollen thingies (what are those little brown curly things called anyways?), sticks, weeds approaching one foot in height and even a giant mushroom. My grass was the same height as hers thanks to my dad mowing both of our lawns a week or so ago but my yard still looked pathetic. So tonight I spent two hours using this awesome leaf vacuum (who knows what it is really called) that Leslie gave me to pick up all of the errant stuff in the yard and trying to make it look at least close to as good as my neighbor's yard. I even planted some bulbs that I bought on clearance last week (hopefully it wasn't too late in the season to plant them). It was a lot of effort... and now my arms are sore. If only it would stay that way it would be worth it. Unfortunately, most of the stuff will be back within a couple of days.

Maybe I can transform my yard to a rock garden instead. This is way too much work. But then again, moving again is WAY too much trouble so I guess I'll get used to the yard work.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My House - P.S.

I meant to include this in the last post but I forgot to add it before I posted.

As I pulled away from my house for the last time on Wednesday afternoon, I passed Josh's house (two doors down from mine). I was very surprised to see Josh's car there and the garage door up. He still owns the house but he lives about four hours away now and just happened to be in town to take care of a few things. I pulled in the driveway and walked in the garage door as I have done so many times before. We talked for a few minutes and he showed me the pictures of the house he and Stacy will be buying at the end of May in North Carolina.

It wasn't a particularly meaningful conversation... but it struck me as memorable. Josh and I were there together the very first day in that neighborhood, back in May of 2003... tromping through lots... checking out houses under construction... filling our flip flops with dirt and mud and eventually rinsing them out in the cleanest puddle we could find. And now as I left the neighborhood for possibly the last time (at least for the last time as a home owner), he was the last person I saw there.

A lot has happened to both of us since May of 2003. I have moved an hour or so away and this summer he and his wife (my former roommate) will be moving about eight hours away. I am going to miss having a neighbor who I can just walk down the street and walk in the house any time I want. But life moves on and we are all better off to move along with it. Digging in your heels and staying in the past never got anyone anywhere.