Thursday, May 29, 2008

My first wipe out...

This morning on the way to catch the bus, I took my first real spill. I have come close in the past - mountain biking, there have been numerous times I have banged handle bars, pedals, knees and elbows on trees as I rode by. There have even been some almost-spills. But this is the first, entire body and bike laying on the ground kind of spill.

It happened as I was reaching my bus stop. I could see the bus ahead getting ready to make the turn to where the bus stop was. I was pedaling furiously hoping to make it. I was also hoping the normal group would be there so it would give me a chance to make it.

As I rounded the corned, I realized there were no people. So I decided to try to get off of the sidewalk and cut through the dirt and mulch, hoping the bus driver would see me. Of course, I had skinny tires on my bike, not my big knobby ones for mountain biking.

So instead of making a smooth transition, I immediately found myself and the bike in a heap on the ground. I have some bruises and road rash (I guess you would call it mulch rash since I was not on the road).

I was laying there as the bus driver turned the corner. He passed the stop so I just laid there not sure of what to do. Then I saw him stop. So I jumped up, grabbed my bike and hopped on the bus.

After riding into town and regaining my composure. I went up to the front of the bus to wait for my stop. I was the last one off, so I made small talk with the bus driver. I asked him if he had seen me fall. He apologized to me and told me that he had seen me fall and that his first reaction was to laugh! I told him it was ok, b/c I probably would have laughed as well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Strange Sounds in the Night

Last night I woke up around 3 and could have sworn that I heard a baby crying outside. Shortly after, it sounded like an angry cat and then a baby again. I was woken up 2 more times by this strange sound.

This morning I told Daniel about what I heard. Then sometime after 9 he heard it too. We looked outside to see a cat that seemed to be guarding one of our vehicles. I figured there might be kittens, so we went outside to investigate.

We got too close and soon 3 full grown cats were fleeing from under the vehicle. They continued to make this awful crying noise. It sounded so much like a baby, that we checked under the car to make sure there wasn't a baby there.

The cats all watched us warily from our deck. Two in particular really seemed to make a lot of noise - it was like they were yelling at each other.

Throughout the day we continued to see and hear these cats as they wandered around the neighborhood. All of the neighborhood cats seem to think our yard is their own personal haven, even though we don't feed them. Maybe it is time to get a dog.

Back to the noises... I called my dad to find out why a cat would make such awful sounds. He said that it is probably the males fighting over a female that is in heat. Also that wild cats (like bobcats) make crying noises that sound like a human baby crying. Although he had never heard a domestic cat do it. These cats definitely sound like human babies screaming. I think that tonight we will sleep with the windows closed...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bike Commute Log

Yesterday Daniel and I rode our bikes to work together. Biking had been on hold for me because of teaching, but I am finally getting around to doing it.

We rode to the bus stop together, about a mile, and rode the express bus into downtown - this saves us from getting sweaty in the mornings. I went to the Y to shower and change and biked about half a mile from the Y to work.

Around 5 p.m. Daniel called to ask me what I thought about riding in lightening... we both looked at the radar and figured the storm was heading north and we were biking south so we would be okay.

I met Daniel at LandDesign and we started out of town. We meandered over to East Blvd and decided to stop at Big Daddy's to eat dinner. This was a good choice since it soon started to pour and thunder and lightening. We waited out the storm and once the lightening had passed, we got on our way.

Riding in the rain was cold, but thankfully the rain only lasted for about 10 minutes of the ride - enough for us to get soaked.

I had my first encounter with road rage. This was rather unpleasant. A guy in a vehicle screamed a bunch of obscenities at me as he drove by - something to the effect of "get out of the road." The guy must have been INSANE as the road had 2 lanes going in each direction and I was in no way hogging the road and there was NO TRAFFIC in the road. I pay my taxes for roads, just like he does AND that section of road actually had a bike lane. It is unfortunate that some drivers are so stupid.

Overall the ride went well. With all of our meandering, our ride home was probably just under 12 miles.

On a completely unrelated note, 7 engineers at Daniel's company were laid off yesterday due to the company not having enough work. Thankfully Daniel was not among the 7, but this has us a bit shaken.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Exhaustion Sets In...

We are finally home from the final casting call of the year in Providence, RI. Actually we have been home for a few hours, but have just managed to get up from naps.

This was by far the best casting call of this year and I am so glad that Daniel had the chance to go with me and experience it. Here is a recap as best as I can currently remember it...

Friday morning we were up incredibly early (4:30-ish) in order to drive to the airport and catch our 6:30a.m. flight to Boston. The plane we flew on only fit 35 people and at least half was our group. Somehow we were on the "good" flight through Newark which only had a one hour lay-over before going on to Boston. The other half of our group ended up flying through Cleveland where they had a much longer layover which meant less time for sightseeing in Boston.

We arrived in Boston around 11 where we were picked up by a bus and dropped off in downtown Boston at Fanuill Hall with instructions to meet back for a 5p.m. pick up.

We were lucky to be with Mary who had gone to Boston College - we let her be our tour guide for most of the day. We started out by taking the subway out to where Boston College was and eating lunch at her favorite restaurant... a little local Mexican place. Arcaddio was with us (he is from Mexico) and she informed him that if he did not like her favorite restaurant that he should keep his comments to himself. Afterwards he told her that he was "pleasantly surprised."


After lunch, we walked for 4 hours, taking our time sightseeing and making it back towards Fanuill Hall. The architecture of the city is fantastic. Charlotte's buildings are so new, it was refreshing to see the oldness of the architecture.  

We walked around Fenway Park and then meandered through Boston Garden. We stopped in a graveyard where Paul Revere was buried (and also Mother Goose (?) and some other famous people).

When we made it back to Boston Commons, Daniel and I went off on our own for the last hour. We wandered over to Little Italy and visited Paul Revere's home. The last 20 or so minutes of the day, it began raining, so we escaped into Quincy Market where we saw the Cheers bar. Then finally we made it to the bus. We really enjoyed getting to see so much, we could definitely come back and spend more time here.
Our bus ride to Providence took about an hour. It rained the entire way and I slept. The temperature was fairly cool and I was thankful to have brought a coat.
We checked into our hotel - Daniel and I had a view of the capital building. Then we hurried downstairs to walk to Murphy's Pub for our group dinner. Murphy's is the oldest restaurant in Providence. As usual, we all crammed into the restaurant.

Friday night dinners are always a little crazy - all of the retailers are there and everyone is trying to get tables. This casting call there were retailers from Staples, Dicks, The Home Depot, Sharper Image, QVC, Spencer's Gifts, and Bed, Bath and Beyond. There may have been a few others, but I can't remember.

Dinner was great, but after all of the walking, we were exhausted and headed for the hotel and were in bed by 10.

Saturday morning, we had a 6:30 wake-up call. This signaled the beginning of an incredibly long day. Breakfast in the hotel lobby was excellent, but over all too soon. Daniel met his co-p panelists over breakfast and then we all headed for the convention center.

I was in the studio for filming (my favorite place to be). Everything seemed to get off to a slow start - it was 10:30 before we filmed the first inventor. But after that, we were soon in a groove. I wish I could tell you all of the incredible inventions we saw, but for now I will keep quiet about it. The ideas were amazing. We had 125 people come through filming and we only turned away 10 of the ideas. This casting call blew the others out of the water.

There were two inventor's who had been in Chicago that came to Rhode Island. I remembered them both because I had ridden with them in the limo in Chicago. They both told me they had remembered me from Chicago and that they had come to this casting call because of me - that was pretty cool.

Daniel was a panelist in one of the rooms reviewing ideas. He really enjoyed the experience. He said the best part was hearing the really good ideas as well as the really bad ideas. The mediocre ideas were where things got boring.

Best bad ideas that I heard of... The thong diaper. A box that holds chewing gum with a compartment to hold used gum. A trap door in the shower to pee in (to conserve water so you don't have to flush). The automatic zipper (for your pants - Daniel says youch). A new idea for knowledge (?) ... this one had us all scratching our heads.

There were many others, but those are all that come to mind right now.

Saturday night, filming went until 11:30. Since Daniel was with me, they let me leave early which was nice since in Chicago I was there until midnight. Daniel and I went with some friends to eat seafood at a fantastic restaurant called
Hemenways. The place was booked for the night, but we managed to get a table on the patio.

I was a little disappointed, starting next weekend, Providence has an event called
Waterfire where they light the river on fire. We walked along the river, but it was not lit up. I would love to see that someday. Providence is a beautiful city, I would have loved more time to explore it.

Today was another early morning. The bus was there to pick us up at 6:30. We drove to Boston for our 9:30 flights. This time our group flew through Cleveland and the other group flew through Newark - go figure.

We landed in Cleveland with less than 10 minutes to catch our next flight, which happened to be in Terminal D and we were in C. This meant that 20 of us were literally running through the airport at a dead sprint. Todd ended up tearing something in his calf muscle. KP got knocked down by another passenger. But somehow, we all managed to make it to the next flight.

Again the plane was tiny. We actually had to walk out on the tarmac to board the plane.

The weekend was a lot of fun, but I am glad to be home and I am looking forward to next year's casting calls. I don't think I posted this yet, but Season 1 of the TV show found out last week that we won an Emmy - so that is pretty exciting news...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anybody been to Boston?

Daniel and I will be in Boston tomorrow for a total of 4 hours - anybody have suggestions on what would be cool to do while we are there in the alloted amount of time???

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Graduation, Tornado Threats and Mother's Day

This weekend I was able to fly home for the weekend to celebrate Mark's graduation from Harding University and to be with my family for mother's day. It was a special treat for me and I was pretty thankful to see everyone since I had not been home since Thanksgiving.

Graduation went really well - the biggest highlight (besides seeing my little brother walk across the stage) was at the end, when a graduating student got up and said he had an announcement and then proceeded to propose to another graduating student. It was pretty sweet - not everyday that you see that happen.

Saturday evening, Angela and Mark and I went to WalMart to pick up some last minute things for Mother's Day - unfortunately while we were in WM, tornado warnings started going off. They locked the front doors to the store and herded us all to the back. Of course this was the last place I wanted to be during a possible tornado. We sat on the floor and waited for 20 minutes for the storm to die down.

You could hear the (supposedly 100 mph) wind howling outside and all I could think about was how exposed the inside of WM is and how if the tornado hit the store we would all be impaled by the clothing racks.

Angela found my train of though comical and laughed at me and said that since she was a nurse, she new how to stop bleeding quickly. She was more worried about how many prego women were walking around and hoping that none of them went into labor...

This morning, we all got up early and cooked Mom breakfast for mother's day. The funniest part being when Mom was reading her cards and Mark wrote in his card that he loved her like "a fat kid loves chocolate cake."

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Daniel's dad is here for the weekend. I had really planned on getting some cleaning done, but a severe Friday migraine kept me from taking care of cleaning. At least the bathroom was clean. Wesley doesn't seem to mind.

The weekend has been enjoyable so far. Daniel and his dad fixed our broken fence and have done some other projects in the yard. They bought some grass seed that is supposed to grow well in the shade. They are sowing it right now in the front yard because we have so many trees and the grass tends to be sparse or clover patches at the very least.

We went to see Vantage Point this afternoon at the dollar theater. It was a pretty good movie. I liked seeing how all of the pieces of the story fit together. And then we grabbed Chipotle for dinner (yumm... one of my favorites).

Next weekend I am headed to Searcy for Mark's graduation and then the following weekend is the final casting call of the year in Providence, Rhode Island. I am really excited because Daniel is going to get to go this time.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...