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Showing posts from 2008

Christmas Trip

We are back home after five long days of traveling and intense visiting. So glad that we were able to squeeze in all that we did.

We headed out Tuesday after work and were able to meet up with some of Daniel's family for dinner. It was actually his mom's birthday so we were glad that we were able to celebrate with her.

Then we drove on to Bellevue to crash at one of my friend's houses. It was so nice to be on the other side of Nashville and not to have to worry about driving in traffic Wednesday morning. Thanks to Kristalynne for letting us crash... sorry we missed getting to visit with you.

Wednesday we got up and headed on to Searcy. We had rain and heavy winds the entire way - not exactly an enjoyable drive, but we made it home in time for lunch. Wednesday afternoon and evening we enjoyed visiting with family and playing games. Grandma and Keith came over that evening for dinner.

Christmas morning Mom made us pancakes before we exchanged our gifts. This year …

Things I Am Looking Forward To:

10) Listening to Bill Bryson book's on CD to pass the time on the LONG drive from Charlotte to Searcy.

9) Seeing my family in 2 days.

8) Getting to see Angela and hearing even more interesting stories about being pregnant.

7) Exchanging gifts on Christmas... can't wait to see what everyone got... I hope I got a puppy (just kidding).

6) Sharing my special hot chocolate recipe.

5) Trying Mark's special egg nog recipe.

4) Eating bon bons.

3) Turkey. Mashed potatoes. Sweet potato casserole. Green bean casserole. Pecan pie. Pumpkin pie... the works.

2) Going to Bobby's - hopefully we will have time on this trip.

1) Visiting non-stop for 4 days.

My Teaching Experience

This year I have learned that I love to teach. I love sharing my knowledge with others and helping them to understand concepts that they did not know before. I also learned to have a greater appreciation for all of the teachers that taught me so much.

So it is with a little sadness that I say goodbye to teaching. After one year of teaching (on the college level) I have decided to take a break. While I love teaching, it has not really been meshing with my schedule, making my life more hectic than necessary. Also with my recent health problems, I think it is important that I focus on getting healthier.

I realized a couple of months ago that I was dreading going to teach. To me this means it was time for a change. The dread was from the hassle of having to go out after a hard day's work. It was becoming a pain to always get prepared and I have been feeling as though I have had no time left over for myself.

So maybe someday in the future I will go back to school and get my…

Bon Bons

I don't really remember when my family started the tradition of making Bon Bons at Christmas. This is the only time of year that I make (or eat) these sugary concoctions. I think that my mom and sister may make them more often, but I know that Christmas is the time of year that we all make them. They are such a family favorite that both my sister and I served them at our wedding receptions.

I made half a recipe for a cookie exchange that Daniel and I went to tonight. They were a big hit so I thought I would share the recipe. It's an easy recipe but it takes a little bit of time to dip all of the balls in the melted chocolate. This can be fun for kid's to do - I remember how fun it was to roll out the individual balls in my hands and use spoons to drop and retrieve the balls from the chocolate.

My sister was a lifesaver for emailing me the recipe last night as well as telling me the ingredients over the phone while I wondered through the grocery store.

Happy mak…

Six Years

Six years feels so short. Mentally I feel like it should have felt longer. Perceptually it has flown by. A blink of an eye really.

I have a friend who is a divorce lawyer. She says that, according to her statistics, if you can make it to seven years, you are golden. By this mark in time you have passed all of the hurdles - the ones about money and jobs and kids. The honeymoon stage is over and you have learned to deal. Daniel and I don't have kids and we are at six years not seven, but I know that we will last because we choose to last. Because not lasting is not an option.

In six years we have had a lot of fun. We have also experienced frustration and heartache. We have learned how to disagree and to be completely honest in ways I never dreamed. We have traveled. We have hiked. We have renovated. We have discovered new hobbies together. We have shared our personal hobbies with each other. We have paid off huge amounts of debt and dreamed and planned for the future. I…

Fish Out of Water

Tonight Daniel and I did our Christmas shopping, or at least part of it. This year for Christmas we are being very minimal with the gift giving... Daniel and I never exchange gifts and since we will be with my family this year, we have all agreed to draw names and only buy for one person with a limit on the spending.

However tonight we were not buying any such gifts. We were actually shopping for two single moms who we chose to buy presents for. Our small group from church decided to give in a way that would be more meaningful to families who might not be able to afford a Christmas of their own. So with that in mind, we headed out to buy gifts.

It is a different feeling to be shopping for people that you don't know. I think there is more of a true feeling of Christmas when you are shopping for a stranger who has less than you do.

The reason for the title of this post has to do with how we felt shopping in the baby section. If you know us, you know that we tend to be …

Grandparents

The day after Thanksgiving I found myself in Daniel's Grandmother's bathroom and it dawned on me that there are so many things that make me think of each of the different grandparents in my life. I think this thought process started while I was in the bathroom and noticing (for the millionth time) all of the little bottles that Grandmother had daintily set out (just so) on her counter.

This got me to thinking about all of the things that remind me of my grandparents and of all the good memories that I will forever associate with grandparents. This thought process on a Friday morning feels somewhat of a foreshadowing as Saturday afternoon we learned that Daniel's Grandma was in the hospital and things were not looking so good. Thankfully we will were able to visit her twice in the hospital. Lord willing we will visit her again, but if not, I am thankful that we were able to see her.

I hope that in the future I will remember Daniel's Grandma for her spirite…

Crazy Busy Thanksgiving

So it is officially two days after Turkey day and Daniel and I are still making the rounds. Thursday was a pretty insane day - we were in 5 different cities visiting a throng of different people. Wish we had more time for longer visits, but so thankful we are seeing so many. Hate that we can't see everybody.

Wednesday we left Charlotte around 3:30 PM to head to Chattanooga. Traffic from Charlotte to Greenville was horrendous. We almost had a wreck due to the insane drivers that don't know how to drive. Surprisingly Atlanta wasn't too bad and we made it to Chattanooga after only 8 hours in the car (it should have been less than 6).

Anyways, we spent the night at the Reynolds on Signal Mountain - don't think we could have found their house (that close to midnight) without our trusty GPS.

Thursday morning started with visiting with the Reynolds. Andrew told us the story of the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving during breakfast, then after breakfast Andrew g…

Today is ... almost ... over ...

Teaching days are always so long for me. Today was worse than usual because I was trying to get the January issue of Inventors Digest wrapped up and uploaded to the printer.

Per the norm, Murphy's Law was hard at work. My computer was slow... every time I tried to upload my internet and server connection would randomly disconnect. Therefore what should have taken a few hours, ended up taking the entire day. And when I say entire day, I mean from 7:45 this morning to 5:15 this afternoon (with no breaks and lunch at my desk).

It was so bad that I was having to create one page PDFs (from a 48-page document) and upload the individual pages one at a time. Thank goodness Juan is in Chile and I could multi-task by making PDFs on my computer and uploading on Juan's.

Now I am sitting at school, waiting for my students to finish up their projects and scoot out of here so that I can drive the 45 minutes home.

Thank goodness there are only 2.5 (ish) working days left in this …

Holiday Season

I love this time of year... starting with my birthday and going through the new year. It seems like these weekends are filled with time spent with friends and family and celebrations and I absolutely love it.

So far we have celebrated my birthday, enjoyed a visit with the Reynolds family (last weekend) and then this weekend enjoyed a visit with Julie and Luke. This coming week will take us to Nashville for Thanksgiving with Daniel's family, but we will also get to see friends. Between now and Christmas, we are also looking forward to a long weekend at the beach to celebrate our 6th anniversary.

I am so very thankful for friends and family. I love this time to reconnect. I love sharing stories over cups of coffee or reminiscing in front of fireplaces. I love gathering around dinner tables to share meals and lives together. Or even just remembering what it was like to be roommates. I will not be able to see all of those that I love, but look forward to those future time…

High Cholesterol

Last year I found out that I have high cholesterol. This is probably genetic, but it is pretty high so I have been trying to adjust over the last year by eating/exercising better. Over the past several months it is has gotten harder to eat well and exercise consistently. Upon a new test, my cholesterol is still really high. Hopefully I can get this under control so that I won't have to take meds...

Special Request - chainsaw accident

This note is for a friend that wanted to know more about Daniel's redneck accident. I was going to just link to the original post about Daniel's chainsaw accident, but I just searched for it and it basically just gives an update that we were at the hospital and asked for prayers.

So here is the whole story (for those of you who have yet to hear it or read about it)... let's just say that accidents and trips to the hospital occur more than we would like them to.

On March 4, 2007, Daniel and I were working on one of our many house renovation projects. This particular project had us outside building a fence. After several hours of digging holes for fence posts, we were ready to cut down the split rails to the right length.

Daniel was using a chainsaw for this process since the posts were large, cumbersome and old. I held the posts in place (a human clamp of sorts) while Daniel trimmed the posts. They had to be cut to taper at the ends to fit in the holes of the ver…

Insurance Woes...

The bills from my week of ER visits and the hospital stay are finally trickling in. The whole process is seems like it is going to be a pain and I have full insurance. The insurance company wants to say that the hospital I visited is outside of my coverage so that the deductible will be higher. On further investigation, this really just means that we have to prove that my visits to the ER were legitimate and not for something dumb.

On top of that, it seems that we have to prove that my problems were not pre-existing AND we have to keep on their case to make sure that they are paying what they are supposed to be paying.

I am thankful that I have a wonderful husband who is dealing with all of the phone conversations... he is less likely to buckle than I am.

Anyways, we are hoping that all will go well and we will only have to pay the ER co-pays, the lower deductible and the 10% of everything else (which is what my benefits say they cover)... whether or not that actually hap…

Fail

I just graded my last round of tests and two of my students failed and several of them made Cs. This makes me a little sick. My little class of 8 has managed to maintain a basically A/B status and this section was terrible.

I suppose I could blame it on the fact that I was in the hospital and missed 3 class periods and just handed out notes instead of actually lecturing ... it should have been much easier for them had they just studied the notes.

Maybe it has to do with the economy - 2 of my students have recently been laid off ... but one made an A while the other made a C.

One of my Fs was from someone whose daughter was in a car accident the night of the test, so I let her make it up the next class period... I suppose she could have still been traumatized by the ordeal.

I don't know, but as a teacher, it makes me feel terrible to have to hand back their test grades, even if it is their own faults for not studying...

Renaissance Festival

Daniel and I standing in front of the entrance to the festival. Daniel and I spent part of today at the Renaissance Festival in Concord. It was an interesting an experience with lots of interesting people dressed up like characters from medieval times. We watched a (somewhat vulgar) show that depicted a skewed version of the story of Little Red Riding Hood. We saw knights joust. We wandered through the medieval "town" where you could buy anything from turkey legs to eat to rent Renaissance outfits to wear. We saw elephants and camels that you could ride and we meandered through a petting zoo - made Daniel feel right at home. Overall it was interesting, but not necessarily something we would do again (especially at $17 a ticket). Kristin, Benjy and Daniel watching Little Red Riding Hood. Jousting Daniel petting sheep. More sheep This was a petting zoo with a sign that said "Do not pet the geese - they bite." Yak (?)

Reminiscing

Daniel and I have been (finally) going through the unpacked boxes in our basement ... it has been three years. Anyways, I came across all of these old journals of mine and they have been cracking me up. I know that I have always kept journals, I just didn't realize that I have been doing this since I could write (or at least it seems that way). I think I will start sharing excerpts of this stuff in future notes (my mom and nana will appreciate it, for the rest of you, you can read and laugh at me or just skip).

First funny excerpt from when I was in high school:
We were playing Taboo at a girl's night out and Angela got the word "virgin." She couldn't say sex or intercourse so she said "intersession" - which was hysterical.

Mom has just informed me that I have to clean my room tonight or I can't go to basketball practice tomorrow. I can just see her writing Coach Carpenter a note saying: Please excuse Cheree from practice, she didn't …

Middle Tennessee Sunsets

One of Daniel's friends (Edward Jones) had this photo posted from a hiking trip to the Sparta/Cookeville, TN area. I had completely forgotten about these spectacular sunsets that occur in the Cookeville area. Charlotte has decent sunsets, but nothing like this...

This makes me happy...

I just completed a redesign of Inventors Digest and I am really excited about the January issue. This is the most excited (about work) that I have been in a long time. Unfortunately you can't buy this magazine in bookstores, but you can get a subscription from the web site (you know, if you like me that much). Regardless, I am very proud of the work I did on this upcoming issue...

Preview from Editor's Note in January Issue of Inventors Digest...

Winter’s chill is here, but things are hot at Inventors Digest. Check out our sizzling redesign, the work of our design guru Cheree Moore, under the direction of newly hired creative director Ted Pate.

From the garage fonts to the sketchbook backgrounds to the playful and more explosive use of graphics and text presentation, you’re in for a whole new and vastly improved Inventors Digest experience. And you thought we couldn’t get any better.

“The word we use to describe the new look is ‘organic,’” says Pate.

I’ll say. The red…

Whew...

Yesterday was go, go, go for me... Started with a 7:45AM doctor's appointment followed by work craziness. Ten-minute lunch around 3PM. Cranked out a last minute project with a 5 o'clock deadline. Didn't have any time to prepare for class. Stayed at work to type up all of my notes/PPT. Daniel brought pizza at 7:15PM. Ate quickly, then headed to Rock Hill to teach. Barely made it in time. Taught the full hour and 15 minutes. Afterwards, one of my students (who was recently laid off) talked to me for 20 minutes about realistic expectations for the field. Didn't get home until 10:30. Took a bath to relax for the first time all day. Went to bed.

Student-Teacher Evaluations

Tonight I received my student-teacher evaluations from the Spring semester. Overall I did pretty good. I definitely have room for improvement in some areas. But considering I had never taught before and didn't really know what I was doing, I feel like I did a pretty good job. If I continue to teach after this semester, I hope I continue to grow in my abilities of effectively communicating the materials.

Coupon Clippers and the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

First of all, I am going to take a moment to vent about coupon clippers. These are the people that spend time finding coupons to save money and then make the wait in line incredibly longer than it would normally be. I know, I know, I have friends who live by their coupons and I grew up in a household where my mom notoriously kept up with the papers - especially since WalMart will match anything. Anyways, I ALWAYS seem to get stuck in a line where someone has not one, but tons of coupons. It is very aggravating - especially today when the checker didn't quite know how to do it correctly. I think that in addition to Express Lanes, grocery stores should have COUPON Lanes for those who use multiple coupons. This way people who do not use coupons do not have to get stuck in a line behind a coupon clipper. I know people save a great deal of money using coupons... personally I am able to consistently spend about $75 for a week's worth of food and I am good with that.

O…

Baby Showers

I know it is the natural order of life, but it sometimes feels odd that current get-togethers seem to revolve around babies. High school parties were replaced by college shin digs which were replaced by wedding showers which was followed by work gatherings and now we are to the baby shower phase of life. Not that I mind too much as I will take any excuse to get together with old friends.

I just got back from a shower of one of my friends from my last job. I hadn't seen some of the girls who were there in over a year. I think that only 2 of us were baby-less... where did the time go? I wish that I saw these girls more often, but I love that we can get together and it still feels natural.

Double Date

We have a standing double-date once a month with another couple. It has been really nice to get together to catch up and hang out. Anyways, tonight was our night to pick, so I suggested that we go to MexiCafe.

After everyone got there, Kristin leaned over and said, "I don't mean to sound elitist, but this reminds of me of a hole-in-the-wall type of place in an arts district. Kind of like some places I went to in San Francisco." We just laughed and Daniel pointed out that it was me (the one with the art degree) that had chosen where to eat.

Oh well, for some reason we have had to pick the last few times, so if they don't like my choice, I suppose they can start making suggestions. Daniel and I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere (the company is always nice, even if they think they are a bit elitist, we're still friends).

Job Losses

It is getting harder and harder not to be concerned about the economy and job losses. It continues to get closer and closer to home. We have close friends who have been laid off recently. And in the last week, two of my students have let me know that they have been laid off from their jobs. This breaks my heart and I don't know what to do besides pray.

Daniel just called to say that rumor has it that there will be another round of layoffs at LandDesign either next week or sometime before Thanksgiving. All of this is definitely adding to our stress levels. I hope for the sake of everyone that the economy starts to get better soon.

What Did You Do For Your Birthday?

I got up at 6 a.m. to go vote. Thankfully it only took an hour and there were chairs to sit in. I find it hard to believe that NC does not require you to provide any type of ID in order vote - does anyone else find this strange?

I am reading The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, so I took it with me to keep myself entertained during the voting process. When I finally reached the actual voting booth, the woman instructing me on the voting procedure, asked what book I was reading. When I showed her the book, she proceeded to ask me if it was a murder mystery... While I enjoy murder mysteries, this particular book is FAR from that. I guess she missed the second part of the title From Edison to Google.

I am going back to bed now and plan to enjoy my day off...

Tough Love

I recently finished reading the book Eat, Pray, Love. It was an OK book - I enjoyed reading about the different cultures the author lived in during the course of a year. My world and faith views are very different from the authors, but I can appreciate the culture in the book.

Spoiler Alert:
The reason for this post is there was a part in the book that really got me to thinking... While the author was in Bali she befriends a woman and her daughter. The woman is a healer, but is divorced which leads to her being very poor. She has to move every couple of months, which makes it difficult for her business and her young daughter.

The author gets this great idea to raise money for this woman so that she can buy a home for herself and her daughter. The author emails all of her friends, all over the world and asks them to donate to this cause in lieu of a birthday present for the author. She ends up raising $18,000 USD. This is an astounding amount to a person in a poor country s…

"Whose Been Sleeping In My Bed?"

Actually a more accurate title for this post would be "Whose Been Sleeping On Our Patio Furnture?"

There is no way to confirm this, but today Daniel pointed out that two of our patio chairs had been pushed together as if someone had been sitting there with their legs propped up. He also discovered a red plastic cup, an empty energy drink bottle and one cigarette in the bottom of our trash can... seems like someone has been hanging out on our deck and it hasn't been us.

There is a chance the trash was thrown into a trash can last week when it was still on the curb, after trash pick up. And it is possible, that sometime (before my hospital stay) I pushed the two chairs together, but its hard to say.

We pushed all of the chairs up to the table in such a way that we will be able to tell if someone moves them... I am not crazy about strangers hanging out on our back deck, but it is preferable to someone breaking into our home.
The partners at Daniel's company generally meet quarterly to discuss "business." Unfortunately, due to the slow in building and development, there have been more meetings more often. The last two meetings have been followed by layoffs. We are nervousness because the partners met today and it is not a quarterly meeting. We are not sure what this will mean for next week. We are praying that he will still have a job, but only time will tell...

ER De Ja Vu

So I am sitting in the ER (again) waiting on a final explanation as to what is wrong with me. I fear that there is no definitive answer to that question.

Sometime around 10, I started to experience severe pain in my chest whenever I breathed in. Fearing that my pulmonary embolism had gotten worse (since being discharged from the hospital yesterday) Daniel and I headed back to the ER.

Thankfully I got right in. My blood pressure upon arrival was 144/80. They quickly gave me oxygen, did an EKG on me followed by inserting an IV. Before I knew it, I was on my way for a CT scan (the second in a week). After the CT scan came a chest xray. Then the doctor told me that the scan cleared me of any clots in my lungs - which is good news, but still does not explain the pain I am experiencing (he suggested pleurisy, but this seems to be a catch-all explanation).

He gave me some meds for the pain and then got me in for an ultra sound on my leg. And now I am waiting for those results and…

1 in 2000.

This is the statistical likelihood of women using birth control to be hospitalized from getting a blood clot. So if you know me, you now know one person who has been hospitalized for this very reason.

Scary stuff. I am under 30. I don't smoke. I am not obese. I am fairly healthy. And here I have been in the hospital for 5 days with a blood clot in my leg that managed to also become a pulmonary embolism.

I guess I just want to warn all of the women I know that it is possible to get blood clots from the pill. Based on those of you who have told me that you know someone else that has experienced this same problem, it seems that this is more common that the stats say.

I am so grateful that there are people in my life that told, no forced me, to do something about the pain in my leg. They wouldn't let me blow it off. They told me to get help and thankfully, I listened. If you are currently on birth control, please listen to your body. You never know when something coul…

Hospital

It would seem that Daniel and I were due for one of our yearly visits to the ER. It has, afterall, been almost a year since Daniel's last fiasco involving a table saw...

Here is a recap of this week for me...
Sunday night around 10 pm I had severe abdominal pain, but went to bed hoping to sleep it off. Around 1:30 I woke up in even worse pain. After doing some internet research, I took a bath which temporarily relieve said pain. Soon after I was sitting in the hallway crying. After a call to Daniel's dad, we were on our way to the ER. The ER didn't really have a definitive answer for why I was in pain. They sent me home with a pain killer prescription and orders to rest.

Monday was a day of rest for me and I felt fine.

Tuesday I went to work feeling fine. Sometime after lunch I began to experience pain in my right foot and calf muscle. It really felt like a leg cramp, so I ignored it. Tuesday night brought more pain. I tried calling my sister for advice. When she d…

Life Is Good

Today has been an example of what I think Sundays post-house renovation will be like. Yesterday Daniel hurt his back so today we put a stop on the bathroom project. This meant that we have actually been able to do something relaxing (still wish we were getting things done, but it is better to embrace a relaxing day than to be annoyed).

So here is what we have in store for us whenever the house gets finished:
We got up and went to early service followed by breakfast at the Pancake House. Afterwards we went to Joseph Beths to read magazines to our hearts content. Following this we went to Crate & Barrel to get ideas for furnishing the rest of our house (after renovation stops). Now we are back home enjoying a lazy afternoon. The only thing that would make this day more perfect would be if we could go mountain biking (which is off limits due to Daniel's back, but a girl can dream).

Too bad I still have to do laundry, grocery shop and plan my lessons for the week...

Debt

This is a topic that probably concerns everyone - both individually and also on a national and even world level right now. It is amazing how much debt we have all accrued.

For some time, Daniel and I have tried to slowly pay off debt that we have accumulated over the years. Our greatest amount of debt fall into the categories of our mortgages, student loans (I put myself through college at a private school, with help from scholarships), and credit card debt - most of which remains is what we have put towards home renovations. We own old vehicles (that we have purchased outright) so no debt there.

In the past 10 months, since I started working full time again, we have really upped the amounts we are paying towards debt. We have worked hard to be frugal in many parts of our lives. On a combined five-figure income, we have managed to pay off significant amounts of debt this year.

Recently Daniel sat down and figured out that if we continue down our current path (with absol…

Received this survey twice recently and feel like procrasting...

1. What is your occupation right now?
Designer and Teacher

2. What color are your socks right now?
No socks for me

3. What are you listening to right now?
Pandora - specifically Pearl Jam at the moment

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
Just got back from lunch at Big Daddy's - chicken sandwich and onion straws

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Currently this is all I drive (or my bike)

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Probably by brother

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Yep

8. How old are you today?
27

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
Do the Olympics count?

10. What is your favorite drink?
Pumpkin Spice Latte

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Of course

12. Favorite food?
Breakfast at a diner

13. What is the last movie you watched?
Does 24 on DVD count? Otherwise, I think we saw Indiana Jones recently...

14. Favorite day of the year?
Any day that I can spend outside

15. How do you vent anger?
Exercise

16. What was your favorite toy as a child?
We didn&#…

Night Riding

Tonight Daniel and I rode the 4 miles to the Benson's for life group. The greenway connects very nicely between our home and theirs. The ride there was perfect, especially with the cool fall weather.

The ride home was nice in a different kind of way. Riding your bike in the dark makes all of your senses work harder. While on the greenway we actually turned our lights off and rode by the light of the moon. It is amazing how bright the moon can be and how quickly your eyes adapt to the surroundings. We did have to use our lights for the connecting trail through the woods to the neighborhood. We also kept our lights on while we navigated the streets in our neighborhood - not so we could see, but so that cars would be able to see us. I love riding at night. The last time we did that was last December on the beach at Hilton Head.

Tonight when we got home, we took the time to lay in the hammock underneath the cloudy sky and the full moon. It amazes me that the moon was s…

Laughing

Why do some jokes never get old? Some even seem to get funnier with time. Ever since I started working with the creative group at Enventys back in January, I have tried to explain to Daniel what it is like to work with the group of people that I work with. Some days the jokes and laughs border on mania and we always seem to spend at least part of our days laughing.

Last night Daniel and I went to a surprise 50th birthday party for my former boss. For the first time, Daniel was able to experience the antics of the people I work with - now he has a little glimpse of what my days can be like.

Now that two people have left our little group, hopefully the laughs won't stop. Obviously they will change since a lot of the jokes seem to have revolved around Ron and Jason. But there will be new jokes to be made... they are already starting with the possibility of a M. Pate (pat-tay)... we shall see how things go.

As for the party, it was a lot of fun and Ron was completely sur…
So this past week, we did not do so great with the no car experiment. It seemed to be rainy and cold (at least in the mornings) all week. Really, I guess we can chalk it up to laziness. I did have a dentist appointment on Tuesday morning and lunch with a friend on Friday - both necessitated the use of a car. We have been trying to be better at combining trips out. For example last night we did a massive return to Lowe's and then we did our grocery shopping afterwards. This takes more planning and we were out until 11, but it does save on our gas usage.

9 Day "No Car" Experiment

Here is a breakdown of how we managed with our "No Car" Experiment.

Thursday, Sept 25:
Morning: Daniel rode motorcycle to work. Cheree drove car 1.5 miles to bus stop, rode bus downtown, walked 0.75 miles to work.
Afternoon: Daniel rode motorcycle home. Co-worker drove Cheree to bus stop, rode bus back to car. Drove 1.5 miles home.
Miles driven in car: 3

Friday, Sept 26:
Morning: Daniel and Cheree rode motorcycle to work - cold and raining lightly.
Afternoon: Daniel and Cheree rode motorcycle home - raining hard, did not see any gas stations open on ride home.
Miles driven in car: 0

Saturday, Sept 27:
Daniel rode motorcycle looking for gas around town - no luck (car is on fumes at this point). Daniel and Cheree rode bicycles to Cotswald for lunch at Chipotle and to pick up milk for breakfast.
Miles driven in car: 0
Miles biked (C&D): 7

Sunday, Sept 28:
Daniel rode motorcycle looking for gas around town - found some in SouthPark. Called Cheree to drive to get in gas line. We had …

A Great Recipe For Life (from a friend)

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. --- It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Talk to God about what is going on in your life.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today. I am thankful for______________'

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli , almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, or on issues of the past, negative thoughts, or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to w…

Thoughts on the Bailout...

The other day I was listening to NPR and they were discussing the fact that Japan went through a similar financial crisis (to our current one) back in the 1990's. The country ended up going from around 30 national banks to the 4 they have today (my facts may be slightly off, but this is the gist).

Anyways, I was relaying this information to a friend who said something about that being a scary thought - only 4 banks in a country. Well my thought is that with a bailout of this magnitude, aren't we basically creating one bank - run by the government? I may be wrong here, but that just seems ridiculous. I am not a financial analyst and there are many things I have no clue about, but I have a hard time knowing that if this bailout passes, we, as taxpayers, will be footing the money for the high risks these banks took.

Below are some interesting links I have read recently. One is an alternative plan that Dave Ramsey is proposing. I really like Dave Ramsey and his view o…

Biking For Groceries

Well the good news is that we finally were able to fill up the car with gas this morning. Daniel got up at 6 a.m. and rode his motorcycle around town until he found a gas station with gas. He then got in line and called me to come join the frenzy so that we could have full tanks in both of our vehicles (the car has been empty since last Wednesday). I had to wait 20 minutes to fill up, it would have been a longer wait but Daniel called to let me know that I could bypass the line I was in to get in a shorter line.

Being the wonderful guy that Daniel is, he also took the time to push the car of a woman, whose battery was dead, out of the craziness. After both Daniel and I had filled up our tanks, we were able to jump start this woman's car for her.

Now on to grocery shopping with a bicycle. After having to survive from Wednesday night to Sunday morning sans a car, Daniel and I decided to try an experiment to see how well we can function not driving a car at all.

Even th…

Gas Situation

One of our current alternative forms of transportation while we are out of gas.  We biked to Cotswald for lunch today. This past Wednesday the reality of the Charlotte gas shortage hit home. I usually fill up in Rock Hill, SC when I teach because gas is 20 cents cheaper per gallon than in Charlotte. This past week I expected things to be fairly normal and drove to SC for class with my tank close to empty.

Once I was in Rock Hill, I quickly realized that there were very few gas stations that had gas and the ones that did have gas were back up considerably. Not wanting to be late to give a test to my students, I went on to the school. I asked my students for suggestions on where to get gas in the area and then adjusted my route home to see if I could find anywhere to fill up.

Unfortunately every station I passed was a repeat scenario of earlier in the day. Not wanting to get stranded at night in a different city, I went home, praying that E would last me to the house.

Thursda…

What to say...

Have you ever had a day that was somehow both amazing and horrible all wrapped into one?

Today was like that for me.

It was a great day because we spent the day celebrating a great boss. It was awful because it was his last day as our boss.

We surprised him by showing up at his house, bright and early and making chocolate chip pancakes. We showered him with going away gifts of the nature that only employees that truly love their boss can give. We went to a go cart track where we raced to our heart's content (for 8 minutes). We ate, played Wii and shared jokes for the last time as a cohesive team.

Hopefully Ron will always be in our lives, but probably never in the same way again. I feel so blessed to have worked so closely with such a talented group of people, being led by such a great leader. I know we will all miss him terribly. Monday will be a hard day.

"But the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the imposs…

Worry

This is not normal to my nature, but definitely how I have been feeling all week...

Unexpected Change

Change is not always fun, but unexpected change is always much worse. This morning, after our staff meeting, our creative director announced that Friday would be his last day. This CD has been the best boss that I have ever had and I will be sad to see him go. I was definitely shocked at the announcement - the bagels he brought in were of little consolation (even if they did taste good). So now we are looking at a significant change to our team.

After the meeting, I checked my email and had a message from Daniel asking me to call him. I gave him a call to find out that his company just had another round of layoffs. Thankfully he was spared, but this is the second such round of layoffs in the last couple of months.

This was definitely not how I expected my Monday to go. I am somewhat overwhelmed by all of these sudden changes...

Camping

This weekend we headed to the North Carolina mountains to camp with some of our friends. As we headed out of town we had a brief moment of wondering if we were nuts to be heading out of town when gas supply still seems to be sketchy - my brother called on Friday from Nashville to say they were out of gas. Our concern lasted all of two minutes... we went any ways.


As we get older, most of our friends have kids, so camping has begun to take on a new meaning for us. We will always love our backpacking trips, but we are adapting to the kid-friendly camping experience.


It was nice to be able to relax in the woods and catch up with friends. I can never turn down a campfire, hot chocolate and smores.


The highlight for me was getting to be a part of Andrew Reynold's first smores experience. Daniel helped him roast his marshmallow and then we all enjoyed watching him bit into that first goodness of eating a smore.



Kid-camping involves a lot more catering to kids - we did a lot of…