Friday, December 28, 2007

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

A few years ago when I attended a high school reunion, many of my former classmates inquired about what I did for a living. My job isn't the easiest to explain to the non-techs of the world, so I try to keep it to "I do marketing in the technology industry." If I say much more, their eyes glaze over and then they go into a geek-infused trance. I've had maybe two people in my life that actually wanted me to explain in detail what I do. Most of the time, I throw in, "I work for the CIA, so if I told you, I'd have to kill you." Not too far-fetched of an idea as many technology companies serve as fronts for CIA agents...or at least they do in Hollywood.

When I answered my high school classmates' questions, one of them said, "Oh, I barely know how to open e-mail...and attach a file? I'm clueless." Sigh. Poor girl. It still amazes me that even in the age that we live in, so few people understand basic technology. My boss has coined it well by saying, "Stand on the roof of any building. Look in every direction. Almost everything you see is touched by technology." Pretty amazing.

I do enjoy, however, laughing at the expense of those less educated in the 21st century way of life. Last week, I was forwarded an e-mail from a friend who works at a local technology company that handles wireless management for corporations. Before you drop into a tech coma, let's just say they deal with cell phone management for large organizations. That's really all you need to know. The person who received this e-mail at their company handles customer service for various accounts. The customer communication I received was from an employee of a pretty well-known athletic shoe company. If you think about it, you can figure it out...just do it. Here is her opening paragraph for your enjoyment...

"I spoke to you back in September to order a Blackberry. I have had some major issues with my blackberry the last couple of months. The first blackberry that I received got stolen and I had to reorder another one. The second one I received and have had for a couple of months and I accidentally spilt coffee and it went into my phone. A friend told me to put it in the oven to dry it out. Well, let’s just say that did not work it actually ended up melting it. So, now I am back to square one."**

Yep. An actual e-mail. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place Blackberry on wire rack. Cook until either the phones dries out or melts. Contact your provider.

You can't make this stuff up.

**All names have been removed or not mentioned to protect the privacy and reputation of those involved.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lamentations and Realizations

There are days when being single doesn't bother me a bit. Then there are days when being single is the pits. These days vary in their cause, but periodically they do rear their ugly head. Last night was one of those times.

One of the sweet families at my church had invited me over for dinner after work and I had a lovely time. I am so blessed to have a church family that truly is a family that watches out for each other - especially those of us flying solo. When I headed home around 10:30 or so, I was in the happiest of moods. Life is good, God is great, all is right with the world. Then I stepped into my house.

As I walked into my laundry room from the garage, it looked like someone had set off a dirt bomb laced with a water balloon in there. I immediately looked to see if any pipes had burst or if my water heater wasn't functional, but all was well in those areas. It appeared from first look that the sewer had backed up in the drain in my laundry room. Yuck. My first instinct was to cry. I hadn't been home all day and was ready to come home and go to bed. Before I got too far into diagnosing the problem, I decided to call my Dad. I'm so thankful for my Dad when these boy jobs pop up. Unfortunately he was asleep so my Stepmom walked me through the drill of things to check. We both decided I was safe from "Sewer Backup: The Sequel" during the night, so I told her I'd clean up the mess and she said Dad would check it out in the morning.

Three hours later I finally finished. House cleaning isn't on the top of my "fun things to do at midnight" list and cleaning up sewer muck tops the "things I abhor" list. As I plopped into bed at 3am, knowing I had to get up in about 3.5 hours or so, I wanted to just lament over my poor state. If I had a husband, he could have helped me clean up the mess that made my stomach turn. When it comes to house repair and maintenance, I stink at that, (pun intended) so maybe if I had a husband, even if he couldn't do the fixin', he could at least handle it....or be able to move the washer and dryer around easier so I could clean under them

Then, before I fell too far into the pity party, I was reminded (most likely by the Holy Spirit) of what I should be grateful for. If this had happened last week in the midst of company meetings, this situation would have added stress to an already busy week. Nothing was damaged (at least that I can tell) and the water and mucky yuck never made it passed the middle of the laundry room. And, my Dad is my hero and came down to my house this morning to check things out. After some investigation, he found out that my neighbor had a plugged up sewer yesterday but, in the words of the neighbor, "It finally broke loose" - yep...right into my laundry room. Nonetheless my Dad determined the problem to alleviate my worry and was able to move the washer and dryer completely to clean where I couldn't.

So many times we say "How good and faithful is our God" when things are going great. I sure did. But I was reminded after that episode to be quick to praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness in the midst of the muck of life.

Friday, December 14, 2007

All Aboard

Last weekend I watched The Polar Express for the first time. A few years ago when it came out, it didn't wow me, and I wasn't drawn in by all the hype. I will admit that I wanted to see it in 3D, but sadly, finding a non-sold out showing was nearly impossible. During the Family Channel's 25 Days of Christmas, they are showing multiple viewings of this holiday film and last Friday night whilst doing laundry and paying bills I thought I'd tune in and see what all the hoop-la (or ho-ho-ho-la) was about.

At first, it appeared a bit scary. A little non-believing boy gets snagged onto a train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve and witnesses children being drug to the roof to be pitched off the top. Yikes. Along with a train full of other annoying kids who can't wait to get to see Santa. I will admit the animation was exquisite and I was even more saddened that I didn't get to see this in 3D. Watching it was kind of like watching OJ Simpson driving his Bronco down the highway to get away from the police. I was compelled to watch the movie for no other apparent reason than to see what happens at the end. And, boy, am I glad I did.

I've discussed the Santa debate - do you believe or not believe - and one of my fellow bloggers, Katrina, addressed it beautifully in her blog post. Whether you embrace Santa Claus or not, this blog post won't engage in the discussion. What I did glean from this Santa-focused movie was some basic principles of belief. And, the real Reason for the Season is quite the defining moment to understand what it means to believe. There are spoilers ahead, so be warned...

A little boy is skeptical to believe there is a Santa and at the end of the Polar Express ride to the North Pole, Santa is revealed. He gives the boy a small bell, which at first he can't hear, yet once he truly believes, he can hear the jingle of the bell. On his way back home, the boy sadly loses his bell, but just like the magic that occurs in movies, it finds its way wrapped under his tree Christmas morning. As he picks it up and listens, he and his little sister can hear the jingle, yet their parents say, "What's wrong with that bell? It doesn't ring." The sound is only heard by those who truly believe.

I immediately was taken to a verse of Scripture in John...

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." - John 10:27

Knowing Jesus as your Savior and Shepherd allows us sheep to know His voice. Those that believe hear Him, know Him, and follow Him. When that spiritual bell is rung in my ear, I hear it...and I believe. But those that don't believe are deaf to the sweet sounds of His Voice. Their spiritual bells are silent and they don't believe. Oh how this analogy made me think of that great Christmas Hymn, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"...especially these verses...

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

I pray this Christmas that you believe. Not just in a white-bearded man in a red suit, but in a Shepherd who says..."I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." - John 10:28 the Conductor on the Polar Express said..."Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see." May Jesus be the most real to you this Christmas season.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Keychain Malfunction

I seem to always lose my keys in the bottom of my purse. Or they crawl into one of my multiple inner pockets to hide away from me. Because of this problem, I prefer to have a fairly large keychain that makes locating them easier. Much to the dismay of my Dad who reminds me that "all that weight on your keys plays havoc with your ignition and starter." Nonetheless, I march on with my large and in charge keychains.

About 3 years ago, one of the vendors where I worked learned of my love of Winnie the Pooh. On his next trip to the happiest place on earth, he brought me back a large rubber Winnie keychain. It was great! Soft, yet large and visible in the dark domain of my purse. Winnie hung strong for almost 4 years until one day, his little loopy thing split in two and he was no more. For some odd sentimental reason, I still carry that scuffed up Pooh in my purse. I'm such a pack rat.

I needed a replacement. Now, although I like large keychains, I'm not a fan of obnoxious ones. You all know the type - the macrame projects from art class that hang almost to the ground. Or the never-ending string of multi-colored beads. Um, no. I want large, but charming. I headed to the local Walgreen's where everyone knows your name and you can find anything you need there. Whoever invented Walgreen's was a genious. Much to my delight I found a lovely Cinderella keychain that just fit the bill. Donned in her blue ball gown, she had sparklies on her dress that added to the largeness. If the size didn't get me, the glimmer would. A buck fifty later and I was back in keychain heaven.

In the past few weeks, though, I'd noticed something odd about Cinderella. She was having a wardrobe malfunction the likes of Janet (Miss Jackson that is) during a past Super Bowl half time show. I was embarrassed. Everytime I looked at my keys, I thought...geez, cover that mess up! Her blue ball gown paint had worn off in a very peculiar way displaying just half of her womanly glory. I tried to ignore it, but I knew I had to do something. Before a week passed, she broke. Yep, the hook in her back that connected her to the keychain fell off, ending her reign as my keychain. I've concluded the wardrobe malfunction is really what did her in, she just committed chain-a-cide to end her public life. She currently hides quietly in the bottom of my purse. Back to square one.

I thought about posting a picture, but it's just too scandalous. So, now I'm on a pursuit for a new keychain. Disney seems to be failing me....but, hmm, one of those nice Travelocity gnomes might do the trick....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I have a newfound love of Zacharys. Being single, it's always good to discover patterns in your affections so as to be quick to respond to the right guy. Now, this love of Zacharys is akin to my fellow blogger, Katrina's love of Gerard Butler. But, not quite as bad...maybe.

My first Zachary love is Zach Quinto, who plays Sylar on Heroes. I'm an uber fan of this show, even though they have experienced a sophomoric slump this season along with the writer's strike. The character of Sylar is the super villian of the show, stealing people's powers by - brace yourself - slicing their heads open to extract the workings of the power from their brain. There is debate on exactly what he does once the brain is open, but let's just stop that visual right there. I was so enamoured by his ultimate powers that when I got a new computer on our company's network, I asked them to name it Sylar - the all-powerful computer.

You may wonder why I would love such a horrible character/actor. Maybe it's my assasination lineage. But, the real reason I fell in love was when I began to see interviews with Zach, the actor, not the character. He is the most humble actor I've seen interviewed in a long time and a quiet, serene sort. Given his humility and the fact that he's not anything like his character, proves his great gift of acting. Anyone that can pull off that character so well and effortlessly, and convinces me, gets high marks in my book. And, during one of the online cast commentaries, he brought his dog. I like his style. I'm excited that he's been given his due by landing the role of Young Spock in the upcoming Star Trek movie. I'm not even a Trekkie and I'm psyched about seeing the movie.

Then there is Zachary Levi. My second Zachary. When the show, Chuck, premiered I was intrigued by the premise of the story line. Computer geek turns secret agent after downloading the CIA intersect file into his brain. There is something very Jim Halpert-ish about Chuck Bartowski. And who doesn't love Jim? Then, the clincher came when my friend, Alisa, alerted me during her entertainment stalking that he professes to be a Christian. Now, what that looks like in Hollyweird is probably much different than we think, but it's a step in the right direction in my mind. Chuck is just fun TV and I'm happy to see the unassuming Zachary Levi benefitting from its success. I'm a sucker for a geek. Maybe it's because I've been in the technology industry for way too long, but there is something rather appealing about a guy who can reset my password.
Given that Chuck is shown right before Heroes on Monday nights, I'm in a literal Zachary heaven. If you know any single guys named Zachary, send them my way. Maybe I'll try the fan letter approach like Katrina....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pin the Name on the Baby

Last night at our church we had Parent Dedication. Many churches have baby baptisms, and even some baby dedications, but we choose to have parent dedications. I could discuss why we don't do baby baptisms - the short answer is it is against Scripture. (If you'd like my complete exposition on it, feel free to ask) For a long time, we called it "Baby Dedication" which is accurate as we are dediating the lives of these sweet little ones to the Lord. But, our current Pastor decided to change it to Parent Dedication because it's truly the parents who will be raising each child to love the Lord. And, they surely need the prayer and support now.

We had 18 families participate last night. That represents most, but not all, of the families who have birthed or adopted since Mother's Day. My favorite part of the service is when our Pastor prays and says the phrase "each of these sweet children has a soul that will never die." Wow. Talk about the parental responsibility kicking up a notch.

By the end of 2007, we'll have seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 - 60 new additions to our church family through birth or adoption. Our Preschool Ministry is busting at the seams. Even as I type, one our members is having a baby right now. It's a pandemic of global proportions. And the leader of the pack is my friend, Beth, the Preschool Director. A leader in more ways than one as she is expecting her third child in April 2008.

Beth has two children, Kelsey, 11, and Brandon 8. Baby Three was an unexpected blessing. She officially made the announcement when she hit 12 weeks, although she had known for some time. For those that know her best, that was a magnificent feat. She obviously caught the baby bug and it was precious to see her with child announcing all those who have had children.

Since this is a surprise event, she isn't prepared for all the things that go along with a new baby. In fact, she admits to forgetting more than she probably ever knew to begin with. The first task at hand is to name the baby. She finds out in about a week whether it's a boy or girl, so we're all anxiously awaiting the ultrasound results. I'm hoping for twins, but she's not caught that vision yet.

Beth's husband's name is Kelly, so for the girl, they used a "K" name, and for their son they used a "B" name. So, here's a question for the masses. We need names. Girl names beginning with K and boy names beginning with B. I've been campaigning for the middle name of "Rose" for about every girl that has been born and I've yet to win. I'm the Susan Lucci of baby names.

Submit your names in the comment section and I'll be sure to pass them along to Beth. She'll be so happy. She's wanted a blog post in her honor for months. Pregnancy was a pretty good way to seal that deal.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Car Dependencies

I am in a co-dependant relationship. With my car. Being single and in a one-car household, when my sweet car dies, I'm devastated. I live far from a valuable bus line..and public transportation? Um, yeah, that isn't much to write home about in Louisville, even if I was close to a pick up point.

This past Saturday I had just made my grocery list, started some laundry, and headed out the door to go shopping. A simple task....going to the grocery. It happens every two weeks - and sometimes in between. I got in my car, turned it on and it cranked, but wouldn't start. I immediately thought "you've got to be kidding me?!?" I decided to turn it off and try again. Same response. How could it betray me? I can't live without a daily dose of Malibu.

I turned off my car and decided to sit quietly in my car and say a prayer. Stay calm. I began running through my head all the things I had to do that day and night and the places I had to go that required my ever-faithful automobile. Stay calm. I tried it again. Nothing. A lot of "revving" noises to indicate the battery was fine, but it never turned over. I went inside and called my Dad. It's just the thing I do. Not that Dad can make it magically turn on, but there is comfort in knowing my Dad is there for me. I told him the problem and said I was going to call AAA to see if there was a shop open at 2pm on a Saturday that could check it out. If not, I'd wait until Monday. The nice AAA operator found a shop open until 5pm and so I ordered a tow truck to come and take my precious car to the shop. My Dad came over to my house to follow the tow truck there and to provide a way home if this sickness was severe enough to require the vehicle to check into the Vinyl Roof Motel.

As I sat in the waiting room watching the Louisville Cardinals almost throw away another victory, I was going over in my mind what the total cost of this repair might be. My imagination was running wild. I was ready for the verdict.

I saw the mechanic bring my ticket out, which indicated the car was ready to go, but how can that be in just over an hour? He came out to talk to me and said, "Well, I know this sounds crazy, but your anti-theft system locked your car down." Apparently, my car thought I was trying to steal it. Go figure. The car I'm totally dependant upon turns on me. But $45 later, I was happy to restart our co-dependant relationship.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Car A to Car B

This past weekend, I took a quick overnight trip to Chattanooga with my OPCs. What's an OPC you ask? Well, let me explain...

OPC stands for Overly Popular Chicks. Now, lest you think that we're a haughty crew, let me 'splain. We originally were OMCs - Old Maid Confidants - but after two of the first foursome married, that had to change. The thread that bonded us - Christie, Amy, Tracy, and I - was two-fold. We all had been at our church since birth (or before) or our families' heritage was rooted deep there. And, we had an uncanny ability to make friends with the friendless. In the past few years, we've added a fifth - Beth. I'd like to clarify that she is still in a pledging process, and has yet to fulfill her tasks. But, like us, Beth fits perfectly the definition of an OPC.

To easily describe us, we are like Steel Magnolias meets Designing Women. We laugh, we cry, we're opinionated. And no topic is off limits. There is something ever so comforting about friends that know your history and still love you.

Now that we're all going in multiple directions and leading busy lives, trying to find a time to get away is tough. Factor in Tracy's south Georgia location and children, it gets trickier. But, months ago we decided to meet halfway in Chattanooga for an overnighter of fun and laughs. Christie, Amy, Beth and I headed down Friday morning while Tracy headed up, tracking us every step of the way. Things could get a little tense if we were behind schedule. When times like that arise, we turn to Christie. She adds the calming, comic relief we need. The next time she called to report in, she opened with "Car A to Car B" and all was well. Road trips are always fun. I tend to think that even if your destination isn't what it's cracked up to be, the road trip makes up for it. If only walls of cars could talk....

We stayed at Holiday Inn Express (which means we now can attest to be any occupation) in one of their deluxe suites. Not bad for $25 a person. It came complete with a microwave and fridge, which served us well for our 48-hour stay. Tracy's Mom, Carol, is an expert baker and caterer and makes cakes to die for. Beth decided to get her to make Tracy's favorite cake to take with us (fudge marble with fudge icing) to celebrate the weekend. With a fridge, we were able to store the milk Beth required to have upon arrival to go with the cake. Never buy a gallon of milk at a Conoco Gas station unless you desperately need it because the price will curdle you. Since Beth is three months pregnant, she deserved it.

That night for dinner, we all piled in one car to head to the restaurant. Five women in a Pontiac G6 isn't the way you'd want to travel very far, but we survived. Tracy took the bullet and sat in the middle of the backseat, proclaiming each time she entered the car "Assume the wedge position." Tracy's humor makes me laugh even long after she says it. And, when we ended up going down a ramp the wrong way, we needed a little humor. I thought my unfortunate fall was dangerous....

As we left on Saturday to head to our respective homes, we all were so happy we finally got an OPC trip to work out...and began talking about taking the same jaunt in February. You can read Amy's take on the trip at her blog. I love these girls. They are like family. Christie is my designated "next of kin" for all family emergencies since I have little family left...and she's the sister I never had. Amy felt like family before we were friends because my parents and her grandparents were so close. Tracy and I have many similarities that I'd think we share genes...and her family has welcomed me in their home more times than I can count. And Beth is always making sure I have places to go on holidays and checking in with me almost daily like a sister.

I remember someone making a comment on the way home about the OPC trip in five years. Amy said, "Will we still be doing OPC trips in five years?" I told her..."I certainly hope so."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Da-Head

Victory was sweet for me this weekend. My first winning experience came on Friday night at the Smith Mayberry Night Party. Mike and Carol Smith are huge Andy Griffith Show fans and periodically host Mayberry trivia parties at their house. Carol is a great cook so the parties are always full of scrumptous food. We always draw numbers to make the segmenting of teams fair. The luck of the draw wasn't on our side as Mike and Carol, the ringers for any team, ended up on the same team. But, our little team decided to take our hits and weather the storm. By the end of the evening we were victors! A shout out to Roger, Christie, Barry and Jessica for bringing home a win. And, for Barry, who tried to sneak on the other team....I'm sure he's glad he was honest.

Then came Saturday. College football day. What a great day for the state of Kentucky! First, the Wildcats upset number one LSU to take the tigers down. Then, the Cardinals pull out a win on the road against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Whether you bleed red or blue, you had to be proud to be a Kentuckian.....and a Louisvillian. Because of my faith in the Cardinals, I was able to soar to first place in my College Pick 'Em league and pull ahead by just two points. I've never been in first place in any fantasy league, so the victory felt good.

Then came Sunday. NFL day. After a few weeks of losses, I was able to pull out a victory with my Fantasy Football team. I'm in a league with just six players, but only the first four get to go to the playoffs. I've yet to ever make it to the playoffs and I want to, just one time. I started big this season and then flopped, but I feel like I'm back on the upswing. And, after taking down a point leader in this week's game, I'm feeling good about this upcoming week. Ahh, the thrill of victory.

Then came Monday. I knew it couldn't last forever. But I never figured it would end with such a bang. Early in the morning before dawn, I headed to the gym, so proud that I was starting my week off on the right foot. I should have watched my feet because as I was walking into the gym, I somehow tripped, started to run to try and catch my balance and failed. Splat. Right on the concrete. When I fall, I do it up right and ended up splitting open my forehead above my right eye. No broken bones, and only a few scrapes and bruises, but my face took a beating. As the gym staff called for an ambulance and kept pressure on my profusely bleeding head, my Type A personality began to run through all the things I'd need to reschedule over the next couple of days. This driven personality is clearly my downfall. Pun intended.

As I waited in the ER to get stitched up (26 stitches to be exact), the doctor came in to do the procedure - and a mighty cute doctor, I might add. Even in my bloody stupor and swollen eye, I managed to do a ring scan before he slipped his latex gloves on to see if he was single. Shoot. There's a ring. That whole "Dr. Steve rescues the Wedding Planner" is really just a Hollywood farce. He was quite charming and kept me entertained during the 30-minute procedure. And, I'm pretty proud of myself that I remain always on my game. One day maybe I'll "fall" for the right guy. Cheesy humor intended.

Through all of this, I have to say I am so blessed. I'm able to work from home while I'm healing, which is a great benefit. I have wonderful friends and family who watch out for me and have provided me meals ever since the fall. So undeserved and unexpected, but so appreciated. And, it could have been worse. I could have broken a bone or done damage that would require hospitalization, but even though I look pretty rough now, in a few weeks, the shiner will be gone and the scar will be healing. Plus, God always keeps me grounded. Again, pun intended. He knows I have problems resting and knowing when to slow down. Sometimes, He just has to get my attention. I think it worked.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pushing Daisies

The Fall television season is in full bloom and I'm getting carpal tunnel trying to record all the shows. I have my regular shows that never fall off the list...Heroes, The Office. But each season, I like to see if there is that one new show that might grab my fancy. Last year, I stumbled upon Heroes merely by hearing an interview of Ali Larter, one of the Heroes characters, on the Today Show. The plot sounded interesting and I decided to give it a spin. A year later it is by far my favorite drama.

This year I started out by watching Chuck and Journeyman. Two NBC pilots that were predicted to do pretty well. I'm enjoying Chuck, but Journeyman is wearing thin after only three episodes. It's a show I wouldn't mind watching if I had nothing else to watch, but it's not worthy of videotaping. Last week I read a review about a new show I hadn't heard about previously - Pushing Daisies. The premise of the show sounded intriguing so I decided to catch it's premiere. I missed the actual airing, but thankfully was able to watch it online via

The story starts out with Ned as a young boy discovering this strange talent of resurrecting the dead. If someone dies, he touches them and they come back to life. But, the catch is, if he touches them again, they die, not to be revived. He has a childhood crush on Chuck, a little girl next door to him. (Not to be confused with the Nerd Herder, Chuck Bartowski from NBC) Alas, aside from a kiss, they grew up and away from each other. Fast forward to the present. Ned is a pie maker who is using his ability secretly with a private investigator to solve murders. He catches a news story about a woman "Charlotte Charles" who was found dead in the ocean off of a cruiseliner. It's Chuck! And so when Ned brings her back to life, she joins the PI and Ned in cracking cases.

I really love this show. There is a narrator that makes me feel like I'm at storytime. And, I'd describe the genre as Lemony Snicket meets a Tim Burton fairy tale. I'm not sure how the creators will evolve this story since Ned and Chuck can never touch or Chuck dies. Yet, the beginnings of their love story is already happening.

The final scene was my favorite. As they worked together on a case, Ned looks over at Chuck adoringly, and holds his hands behind his back imagining he's holding hers. She returns that loving look and does the same. There is something sweet about two people communicating their love without ever physically interacting. Quite refreshing for primetime TV, I think.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Table Topics

Amongst my friends, I'm known for my table topics. What is a table topic you ask? Well, when a group of folks are sitting around a table, usually over a meal, and there is no interaction, I bust out with a table topic. An area of discussion that will surely ignite the quietest of folks to open up and share. I love table topics! My friend, Amy, says she despises small talk, and I second her on that one. I can talk about the weather and the latest TV show with a stranger on the elevator. If I'm breaking bread with you, I'd hope we'd have some stimulating conversation.

So, I'm begining what I hope to be the first of many virtual table topics. I'll throw out a question and/or topic and allow the audience to discuss. I'll throw out my two cents (or $5) worth to get the ball rolling. In the offline game of table topics, I never throw out a topic I can't start. Just to spice it up a bit, I'll tag some fellow bloggers in hopes to get the virtual world engaged and get some shameless links back to my blog. The first question is....

If you could relive a time or event in your life, what would you choose?

Here are my top five in no particular order...

1. Play in my childhood backyard on my swingset. I LOVED my swingset. As an only child, I had to amuse myself. My swing was equipped with a teeter totter, four-seater swing (no only child jokes here), slide, and two individual swings. I loved to swing so high it would tump the set out of the ground. When the paint began to wear thin, my Dad repainted it a candy cane red and white. He spray painted the whole thing white, then taped it off and sprayed red paint on top to give it the candy cane look. It was the coolest thing. My Dad is and will always be the coolest.

2. Spend the day with my Mom doing anything. I loved spending time with Mom, no matter what the venue. We could spend days driving all over town - taking the long way home - or I could enjoy a day full of making crafts with her. Or even sitting in the backyard shucking corn or breaking beans and her saying "Your Father forgets how much trouble fresh vegetables are sometimes." Or playing a game of Scrabble, or working the daily crossword puzzle. Anything. It always was the best of times and at some point my Mom would speak her mind pretty forthrightly or laugh until we all had to take a potty break.

3. Write letters to my Aunt Stella. She was my Dad's oldest sister and lived in Michigan. We were pen pals. I never knew my Grandma Booth, so Aunt Stella sort of served as Aunt and pseudo Grandma. I would visit her every summer and she'd take me to many cultural things in the area and always had our week planned out. All year long we'd write letters back and forth of what we were doing and how our weeks had been. This was long before e-mail, so we actually pulled out pen and paper and used stamps (gasp!) to communicate. She was a sharp businesswoman and very well traveled. I'd love to write her about a 1000 page letter today and get her advice on many, many things.

4. Spend the day with my Aunt Linda. She was actually my Great Aunt, but who's counting? She lived in Bullitt County on a farm and when I was young that seemed like a very long trek. In the summer, Mom and I would drive out to spend the day with her and my Aunt Mimi (Aunt Linda's sister). We'd spend the day doing various things....visiting her neighbors, picking blackberries, making jam, quilting, crocheting, listening to stories. I don't know who loved going out there more, me or Mom. We'd always have a 2pm lunch/supper that was a spread. And it always included Aunt Mimi's yummy potato salad.

5. Spend the day with my Granny. The only grandmother I knew was my Mom's Mom. She was the epitome of independence. She never learned to drive, but knew how to get anywhere on TARC. I loved her cute little house. Just big enough for her, but large on love. I loved to go over there on Sundays after church and play in her backyard, or just rock on her little front porch. Or go over there anytime and watch her sew (she was a seamtress by trade) or cook. Mmm, to have her fried chicken and battercakes again. (Battercakes = Cornbread cakes) And, her iced tea was the best in the land. My first manicure was given to me by my Granny who said, "Let's just put on real light pink polish and your Dad will never notice."

Now it's your turn...discuss. And, I'll tag Katrina, Alisa, and Amy. Even if you aren't tagged, feel free to post on your own blog or the comment section here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Anatomy Lesson

Before the dawn on Monday morning, I headed out of my house to the gym. Loaded down with my purse, my gymbag, and my backpack for work, I could have used an extra pair of arms. This is a normal occurance in my life as I usually leave the day loaded down with everything I'll need since I rarely make it home before bedtime.

As I walked out my house door to my garage, I managed to squish my left middle finger in the door. I am somewhat accident prone, but I go through this routine daily, so I was surprised that this one day I managed to get my finger caught between the door and the doorframe. "Squish" sounds a lot nicer than how it felt. I immediately was brought to tears from the jolt of pain I felt soaring through my finger and quickly checked for blood. Nothing, thank goodness. But feeling my heartbeat through every throb was excruciating. How can such a small part of my body cause that much pain?

The realization of the importance of that third finger became imminently clear. Merely touching it was painful. Yet, I could barely do anything without touching it. Loading up my bags in my trunk..ouch. Getting dressed and undressed at the gym...ouch. Rolling down my window at the drive-thru at the bank...ouch. Typing on my computer keyboard...ouch. Of course, a smart person would have immediately put ice on it for 30 minutes to keep the swelling and bruising down, but not me. No blood...I'm moving on. After a couple of days, my finger and fingernail is still bruised, but the soreness is wearing off. But, that first day was a killer.

Normally I'm not a wimp and have a very high tolerance for pain but I guess the very focused location made it seem worse than it was. And, I realized how thankful I am for 10 working fingers.

It reminded me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 12, verses 24-26...

"But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. "

...and how in the body of Christ, when one person suffers, we all suffer, yet we all rejoice when one part is honored. It's a reminder to me to be an encourager to those who are hurting and be the other "finger" to hold them up. And, when something happens to cause us to rejoice, remember to put those fingers and hands together and celebrate!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Death of a Headset

A few weeks ago I wrote about a week full of everything breaking and promised the follow up story of the death of my cell phone headset. Before I tell that story, I'd like to report that since that post those nice pink girlie sunglasses have broken. Yep, no kidding. So, I'm now sporting a sturdy pair of blue-tinted Foster Grants. I certainly hope these last longer than a month or I'll go broke keeping the sun out of my eyes.

My cherished Winnie the Pooh keychain also bit the dust this week...but I digress...

Cell phone headsets. T-Mobile, my provider, is gracious enough to supply a free wired headset with every phone purchase. This is a great bonus for me because prior to that added benefit, I'd buy a headset so I could easily chat on the phone while driving. I find myself in my car a lot and I can maximize the drive time by making phone calls. But, I like to be handsfree so I can keep both hands on the wheel. The downside of these headsets is their tethering wire. I leave them in the car, simply because that is the main environment for usage, but because of the long wire, they end up everywhere in my car. In the floorboard. Wrapped around my gear shift. Hanging from my rearview mirror. Strategically dangling between seats. I yank that sucker out of the phone when I leave my car and the poor headset ends up wherever it lands.

This type of behavior is obviously not healthy for Mr. Headset. Usually he would meet his demise in some grisly way....stepped on while exiting or entering the vehicle...drug out of the car while clinging on my purse was never a pretty sight. After its life ended, I'd head back to the T-Mobile store to procure another headset and prayed it lasted longer than my previous ones. Maybe I need a course in the care and feeding of a headset.

So, a few weeks ago, during my week of breakdowns, I left my office and headed to the parking garage. As I loaded up my car and prepared for the drive home, I didn't plug in my headset right away. I had a nice leisurely drive ahead of phone interruptions...just the sound of 80's music flowing through my radio speakers. As I turned out of my garage and headed down First Street to Market, I heard the funniest noise. It sounded like a crushed cola can was hung up in my wheel area. Before I made it to the first stoplight, it hit me. My headset. A terrible visual entered my head. Mr. Headset #65 was about to meet his doom. Once I stopped at the light, I began feverishly searching for the headset and found it! Well, part of it. I followed the tether and found that it was snuggly closed in my car door. I opened the door to quickly retrieve it, hoping the plug portion of the headset is what was flailing in the wind. Much to my dismay, it was the earpiece. Or what was left of it. I hummed a few bars of Taps and accepted the fact Mr. Headset's life was over.

The next day I decided to put this terrible cycle to an end. I headed to T-Mobile and invested in a wireless blue-tooth headset. Not only can I freely move about while it's connected, but it can fit comfortably in the side pocket of my car door. Plus, it will work with any blue-tooth handset, so it should outlive even my phone.

So far so good. I'm enjoying my wireless freedom and the sturdiness of my headset. If it falls off my ear and flies out the window, I may just give up my cell phone completely.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

To E-mail or Not To E-mail

As the summer vacation season comes to a close, I've decided to pose a question to my blogging audience.....

"While on vacation, do you check e-mail or not?...if so, do you do that freely or are you compelled to do so because of your job?"

I took my vacation in August and was gone just a week from work. I am very tethered to my work e-mail as I can log in from home 24 hours a day just as if I'm sitting in my office. But, when I go on vacation, I just don't want to keep my computer as an appendage. When I returned to work from my vaction, I had over 300 e-mails to sort through, not to mention the ones that were automatically sorted for me, thanks to the Outlook Rules I have set. Granted, some of those 300 e-mails weren't important or easily deleted, but the mere fact that I had to go through them was time-consuming. Then, add to that my personal e-mail accounts I had to check and I'd guess I sorted through 500 or more messages by the time I finished. In fact, I had an e-mail request from a friend on LinkedIn that I just found yesterday that was overlooked in my shuffling of vacation e-mail.

I've polled some of my co-workers and it's a mixed bag of responses. Some prefer to take 15 minutes a day while on vacation to check e-mail, put out fires, and have peace of mind. Others prefer not to touch it at all and just enjoy their time away (that would be me). Still others have mobile devices that make it easy for them to check e-mail while on the go. And, there are a few who end up in locations where internet access is difficult to obtain. Although, one of my co-workers went to Fiji and was able to check e-mail at least once a day. There is just something non-relaxing about that, I think.

So, what do you do? And is what you do what you prefer or just a compulsory task brought on by the never-ending flow of information that trickles down our computer screen?


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I received a link to this video last week and this little girl is about the cutest thing I've seen in a long time. When I was little, I used to sing an old hymn called "Surely Goodness and Mercy" based on the passage in Psalm 23. I don't know that I was as cute as this little girl, but I know my Dad has it recorded somewhere on an old reel-to-reel tape. The title of this blog will make sense once you watch the video...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When it Rains it Pours

I seem to be very good at breaking things. At one of my former employers, I had broken a stapler and a file cabinet key (don't ask) within a matter of the first month. A few months later, my computer screen fried (literally) and spread a lovely aroma throughout the office corridors that would make anyone gag. I must get it from my Dad. My Mom used to say to him "You could break an iron wedge" and I really think he could. I chalk it up to us Booths not knowing our own strength.

Here are just five of the things that have broken in the past week...

5. Three fingernails - all at one time. I'm used to breaking a nail here and there, but three at once? These three beautifully manicured nails all decided to take wings and fly off at the same time. For the record, my nails are real.

4. Swimsuit - Ok, a swimsuit doesn't technically "break" but it can have a wardrobe malfunction. As I was dressing at the gym the other night and pulled out my swimsuit, I found the ever most tiny part of a seam that had come unsewn. Hmm, do I go ahead and do my workout or not? Well, the seam was in an unnoticeable place and I am underwater, so I figured I'd chance it. Needless to say, the swimsuit is now retired. I could repair it, but it is too old for repair at this point.

3. Pen - Not a tragic moment...unless you have just begun an hour-long sales meeting where you are responsible for taking the notes and recapping for the team. Thankfully someone else let me borrow a pen.

2. Sunglasses - I've blogged about my sunglasses purchases before. I'm pretty hard on them. This last pair had lasted about a year before the spring on the left ear piece sprung. Oh, I could still wear them, but I'd look like I just got out of a fight and lost because they sat crooked on my face. Nice pink girlie sunglasses have now been purchased.

1. Cell phone head set - I'm torture on these wired little suckers. I'm convinced in the past my car eats them when I'm not there. But this time, I was there for the moment the head set died. Look for an upcoming blog post on that hilarious experience.

So, I'm hoping and praying my car isn't about to break because that might put me right over the edge.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friends, Family & Faith

A couple months ago my church created a DVD to give out to visitors and people in the community curious about our church. Sometimes videos like these can be kinda cheesy, but this one is really good...even when I view it through the eyes of someone who hasn't been a part of this church her whole life. The tagline of the video is "Friends, Family & Faith" which is a pretty good summary of what this church has meant to me.....

Friday, August 17, 2007

Georgia On My Mind

I recently returned from my trip down south and I'm suffering from PVD (Post Vacation Depression). The trip to the great state of Georgia, and specifically to the southern region, was a joy and refreshment, even though it stayed in triple digits the entire trip.

As my friend, Christie, and I embarked on the 10-hour road trip, we were treated to a wonderful surprise. The very nice (and cute!) man at the rental car place was gracious enough to give me a Nissan Pathfinder at the standard size car price. Talk about your sweet rides. I've always wanted an SUV and this just sealed the deal. But, unless there is a Sugar Daddy in my future, I may have to stick to low-riding cars or much smaller SUVs. Never having driven a vehicle of this magnitude, it was a bit overwhelming at first. It felt like I could fit two of every animal in this thing, and we affectionately called it "The Big Blue Ark" at times. But, after a few miles behind the wheel, I felt like a queen.

Having visited Adel before, this was like going home again. And, some things never change. Tracy was on her game by honing in on us like Google Maps, even with some household repair distractions occupying her time. The day of our arrival also marked the day of a brand new guest room toilet at the Todd Mansion. Chad and Tracy are some of the best budgeters I know. They do a great job of managing their money to allow Tracy to stay home and be more involved in the ministry at their church. They use the envelope system and when we heard the news of the toilet's demise, Christie quipped, "Is there an envelope for that?" I think the humor was wasted at the moment they were dishing out some buckage for a two-year old toilet, but we meant it in love. I'm happy to report that the plumber did an excellent job and it was functional during our entire stay.

Life in a small town has its appeal and even the smallest of events are noted. Some new neighbors moved in behind Chad and Tracy and during our stay erected a huge flagpole displaying the American Flag. In normal Tracy form, she commented, "Every time I look out the window I feel like I need to say the Pledge of Allegiance." If you know Tracy, you can hear her saying that very statement.

It was fun to visit some of the places we saw during our last visit and see some new sites. And, it's always good to see familiar faces that remembered us at their church. We spent a lot of time playing cards and games, which we all love, and on Sunday evening after church played a game of Clue with Tracy's newest prodigy, Whitney. A few months ago after Tracy had spent some quality time with Whitney, she asked me, "Was I like this in college?" Chad chuckled knowing my answer and I said, "Um, yeah, Tracy, you kinda were." Whitney is a fun-loving 20-year old with all the drama that goes along with that stage of life. Her parents are great friends of Chad and Tracy so it just makes sense that Whitney and Tracy bonded so well. We tried to tell Whitney about Tracy's former ways, but oddly, she didn't believe us; proof that Tracy has moved beyond her younger and wilder days.

My favorite highlight from this trip was watching Tracy with Whitney. My Tracy is all grown up. Hearing about her serving with Whitney at Centri-Kid and Tracy's inquisitive nature about Whitney's life challenges encourages me that the next generation is in good hands.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

As I prepare to head out on vacation, I thought I'd leave my faithful blog readers some things to check out in my absence...sort of a commercial break from the regular posts....

I'm heading to the great city of Adel, Georgia to visit Chad and Tracy. Chad is minister of music at FBC Adel and they just finished their summer "Terrific Tuesdays" program with a performance of "Simon Says." Be sure to check out the video pictures from the kickoff day. I saw the inaugural Terrific Tuesday performance last year and they do a great job with those kids. And, this gets Tracy a bonus blog post even before the trip!

I just finished a book called, The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. I love to read books by first-time authors because it inspires me and reminds me of all the hard work they did to get to this point. If you are looking for a book to keep you out of the heat, this one has mystery and intrigue. Or try other books by first time authors...Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle by Beverly Bartlett (my boss and his wife are mentioned in the opening acknowledgements), or a first-time published book by a now well-known author...The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. His 12th novel comes out in the Fall and filming of the fourth movie based on his books is now in production.

The college minister and his wife at my church are in Guatamala adopting Julio Cesar, who is now William Thomas Ring. Thanks to Facebook and YouTube, we've been able to follow the pictures and video of their journey to adoption. Take a look at the videos on YouTube. There are three, but save the "Will Laughing at Daddy" for last because it is definitely the most hilarious.

With the summer slowly winding down (although with this heat index, it feels like it's just beginning), the new Fall TV lineup is just around the corner. My two favorite non-Reality shows are found on NBC....Heroes and The Office. If you've never watched either, you've missed out. Prior seasons of The Office are on DVD, but Heroes doesn't come out until August 28. In the meantime, check out the Fall TV preview on NBC for all the latest updates. Their Monday night lineup looks unbeatable with two other fantasy shows flanking the 9pm Heroes slot...Chuck and Journeyman.

And last, but most importantly, please pray for two families that are part of my church family. Each family is dealing with family members struggling with cancer. Nathan McLean has stage IV neuroblastoma and is scheduled for surgery tomorrow at 10:30 am to remove a tumor. At the age of 3, Nathan is a real trooper. You can follow his story through his CaringBridge site. Also, one of the single gals from my church, Courtney Broome, is in Georgia with her Mom who has recently been diagnosed with brain cancer. She had emergency surgery yesterday and is in recovery at the moment. Keep informed on her progress at her CaringBridge site. I know the families covets your prayers during these difficult days.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Check Your Spam Folder

E-mail has become as common as picking up the phone to dial (or push buttons.) But whenever something is in widespread use, there are always culprits trying to mess with a good thing. First the telephone was invented, then you started getting obscene and prank phone calls. Eventually Caller ID was born to help avoid answering an unidentifiable call.

The same holds true for e-mail. People around the globe feel it necessary to send you alerts about some two cent stock that will hit the charts the next day, or inform you how cheap you can buy prescription drugs online. Or worse to spread computer viruses through various means via e-mail. To combat that problem, many e-mail providers have developed this lovely little folder called "Spam" - the name given to undesirable or unsolicited e-mail sent in bulk. There was even legislation passed - the CAN-SPAM Act - to control the actions of guilty parties. So, everyone raise their hands in praise, no more Spam!

Yeah, right.

Solving this problem seemed easy, right? Just set up some rules and allow all the spammy mail to land in a designated "Spam" or "Junk" folder. Wrong. Oh yeah, it captures a good number of these nastygrams, but many a good e-mail gets sucked up in these folders. I've had some recent issues with my BellSouth e-mail (I have 4 e-mail addresses to manage all my communication) Evidently BellSouth has had some culprits issuing spam from their domain name, causing all e-mails to get blacklisted from some e-mail servers. If I've had this conversation once, I've had it five times in the last week:

Me: "Did you get my e-mail?"
Them: "No"
Me: "Did you check your spam or junk folder?"
Them: "No"
Me: "Well, do that because it's probably there."

For all you non-techhies out there that just empty those folders without a quick scan, here's some food for thought. Let's say you were getting a lot of visitors at your home that were a little sketchy. To avoid having to open the door everytime someone arrived, you rigged a robot to stand at your door and determine who is legit and who isn't. Chances are some of your best friends might get turned away. Robot failed.

Well, that's the methodology behind Spam and Junk folders. They are trying to determine automatically and technologically, what is and isn't spam. Chances are those directions to this weekend's party got sucked away into SpamLand simply because it was sent to multiple addresses. The moral of the story? Check your spam folder...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


More than 8 million copies of the final installment of the J K Rowling series on Harry Potter were sold on July 21 in a 24-hour period. I have yet to read any of the Potter series (insert your gasps here), but plan to eventually. I'm overjoyed that this little guy, created in the mind of his author, has spawned a renewed love of reading. Midnight showings of Stars Wars epics or Tolkien trilogies at the movie theater would always draw a crowd, but now, even a nearly 800-page book brings out the night owls.

In a recent interview with Rowling, she stated that the week after she finished the series, she was quite depressed. Her character, Harry, had saved her from a life of doom as a single Mom, and now her 17-year journey had ended. Endings are sad for me. I know before I even begin this series, I'll lament having to see it come to an end. I'm known for my slowness of finishing books, and I think it's some inward feeling of seeing something good come to an end. After much analyzation, I realize that I do that in a lot of areas of my life, not just books.

This past weekend I finished watching Alias - Season 3. Though Alias officially ended its run at the end of the 2006 television season, I am just beginning to enjoy the complexities of this show through the beauty of DVD. As much as I want to start Season 4 immediately, there is this part of me that wants to wait, to savor, the ending of this season, knowing that it's all over in about 44 more episodes. When I finished Season 2 last Fall, it was such a great experience, that I let that one simmer for almost a year. Seeing something great end brings a bit of sadness with it for me.

All things come to an end. Except for one thing...our souls. We will live eternally..somewhere. As a child when I began to think about "How long is eternity?" I remember sitting over my PB&J at lunch one day and not being able to grasp that concept. I got up from the table with my sandwich half eaten and wandered off to my room to think. Everything ended, but eternity doesn' does that compute, Dr. Smith?*

I take such comfort in knowing that as a Christian, my life in eternity will be a marvelous thing with no ending. No more will I dread something glorious coming to an end...something more glorious than a Harry Potter book, or a season of Alias.

"And this is what he promised us--even eternal life." - 1 John 2:25

What an encouraging promise. Life without end. Now that's an "ending" unlike any other.

*reference from Lost in Space, a question asked of Dr. Zachary Smith many times

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hometown Cuisine

Recently, one of my favorite bloggers, Katrina, posted a tagged meme about her five favorite local restaurants. Although she didn't tag me, I found the topic intriging and decided to blog about it myself. Louisville, Kentucky, is my hometown and unlike some folks who can't wait to leave their hometown, I love it. Oh, I would be open to moving wherever God may take me, but Louisville will always be my home. It's a unique town - not too southern, not too northern - just right. And, our food selections here are quite diverse given our somewhat non-metro feel. I'm including restaurants that I frequent, since there are oodles of higher level local restaurants that I visit periodically that I love. Let's just say, we eat out a lot in Louisville. Without further we go...

1. Kayrouz Cafe - The Kayrouz family has operated restaurants since the 1920s here in Louisville. For as long as I can remember, my Mom and her friends would go to the St. Matthews restaurant for lunch and have Benedictine sandwiches. Then, many times, my family would go there for Sunday brunch after church. It was nothing spectacular in it's decor, but the food was wonderful. The restaurant closed in 2003 and we were left with no Kayrouz touch on the local food scene. Then in 2006, the Kayrouz Cafe was born. The son of a Kayrouz opened this cafe, also in St. Matthews, and it's by far one of my favorite places for a good light meal and great conversation. The outdoor seating is glorious when the weather permits. It doesn't hurt that there is a Graeter's Ice Cream shop across the street.

2. WW Cousins - This is a local burger place that makes the juiciest burgers around. You place your order in line and give them your first name and when your order is ready, you pick it up. One of the crazy things my friends and I used to do was give a fake name just for grins. "Amelia, your order is ready, Amelia." The menu here isn't huge, but they do offer chicken and other items, but I can't pass up the burgers. Plus, they have a bakery in the store where they make their own hamburger buns that is just about as good as the burger itself. And, with the bakery comes the ability to buy homemade cookies and treats. The restaurant is located near the cheap-o theater in town (I'd call it the Dollar Movie House, but it's more like $3 now) so it makes a nice quick place to grab some grub before a movie.

3. Kingfish - For the seafood lovers, you can't beat Kingfish. The first restaurant opened on Derby Day 1948. Being on the Ohio River, you have to locate your seafood establishment riverside, which they did. Since that time, the original restaurant at 4th and River has closed but they have a riverview location on Zorn Avenue and one across the river in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Whitefish, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, and the greasiest onion rings you'll eat are all included on the menu. I frequent the non-river location on Blankenbaker Avenue and the food is just as good.

4. J Gumbo's aka Gumbo a Go Go - This Cajun hole in the wall is one of my favorite places for two reasons - the food is excellent and the price is right. All the "Big Bowl" favorites are $5 and include Jambalaya, Etouffee, and their house specialty, Drunken Chicken. What started as a little place on Frankfort Avenue (home of a thousand great local eateries) has grown to seven locations across the city.

5. Homemade Pie Kitchen - Like most of the places on my list, this started out as a one-location wonder that has blossomed into multiple locations. With the original location in the Highlands, a visit to this kitchen full of sweet treats during the warmer months usually meant a long line - but it was well worth it. Everything is homemade there, from the pie to the cookies to the ice cream. And the beauty is you can eat it there or take it home. Nothing spells lovin' like a slice of their signature Caramel Dutch Apple Pie with a dollop of ice cream.

Honorable Mention: Qdoba - This Mexican Subway isn't unique to Louisville, but it is by far my favorite restaurant, above all. I am completely convinced that there are Qdobas in Heaven, right next door to a Starbucks and a bookstore. But, I digress. If you've never eaten at a Qdoba, find one near you on their site. Fresh ingredients, delectable seasoned chicken, and even tortilla chips with a splash of lime make this restaurant stand out. And after you buy 10 entrees, you get the next one free. All the more reason to visit often.

I could go on, but visit Louisville Originals, a site dedicated to many of the original restaurants located in the great city I call home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lasting But a Day

Last week on my way into the office, a co-worker asked me, as we waited for the elevator, "Did you see all those winged bugs on the Humana building?" I have to admit I'm a bit oblivious when walking from my parking garage to work. Call it paranoia, but I'm more aware of my human surroundings than any buglike creatures that may be flying around my head.

As I left that day, I was more alert and found gobs of these winged insects everywhere - dead. Not being an outdoorsy girl, I was perplexed. They looked a lot like a Dragonfly, but I think if there had been a Dragonfly swarm in downtown Louisville, I would have heard that on the local news.

The next day I asked one of my faithful employees if they noticed the lifeless winged creatures all over the place and he, being knowledgeable on many topics, solved the mystery. They are Mayflies. They live and breed near water and, given our office's close location to the Ohio River, they had found a new landing pad along First Street. My co-worker was quick to admit his wisdom came from baiting fishing lines with Mayflies, not his entomologistic tendencies.

The interesting thing about these insects, aside from the fact that they are annoying and run in packs, is they only live for about 24 hours. This order gets it name from the Greek word ephemeros meaning "lasting but a day." Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "My how time flies...."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Build Me an Arky, Arky

This weekend I saw Evan Almighty with some friends. My first choice would have been Ratatouille, but given one of the attendees is a Mom, she said, "Can we please not see a movie I'll see with my kids, then see every day for a year when the DVD comes out?" So, since this was a last minute idea, our options were limited, and we chose the latest "Almighty" movie.

I went in with low expectations, which is probably the way you should always enter a theater, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did the movie keep the Biblical account of Noah intact, it was just plain hilarious. Wanda Sykes is a scream. Her quick commentary made me literally laugh out loud. When Evan's hair kept growing and he finally showed up at work, she said, "What are you doing comin' in here looking like a Bee Gee?" Not as funny unless you are experiencing her delivery on screen.

If you are looking for a family-friendly movie, this one is it. Very little, if any, profanity, and a good lesson wrapped up in a flood. The nice lessons in the movie about acts of random kindness and a modern-day retelling of the story of Noah are definite plusses. I'm always a little concerned about how Hollywood will portray a Biblical story, but they get an A+ on this one.

My favorite line happened when God was continuing his plea to Evan to build this ark. Evan said, "You see, God, I have these plans." God bursts with laughter and says "Your plans?! Your plans?!" How appropriate. Now, every time I pray and say, "You see, God, my plan for my life is...." I get this visual of God just bustin' out with a hearty guffaw. He knows my plans don't hold a candle to what He has in store for me. Since He sees the complete picture, He is way more advantaged than me.

One of Evan's sidekicks is a young man named Eugene, but referred to as "the human search engine." Rumors are he's the candidate for the next "Almighty" feature film. Hmm, how about Moses?...anyone? anyone?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Being a Boy

As the only child of my parents, when I was born a girl, my Dad said, "What do I do with a girl?" He soon found out that joyous role of being the all-time hero of your daughter's life and having a "Daddy's little girl." But, given my Dad didn't have the pleasure of raising a son, I got to be exposed to lots of sports viewing and actually enjoyed watching most sports. Aside from my affinity for sports, there isn't much else I could do to fill the boy role, because, well, boys are especially different.

A co-worker shared with me yesterday about a book he heard promoted on NPR: A Dangerous Book for Boys. After reading about it online, I found it quite fascinating. Conn and Hal Iggulden, brothers from Britain, wrote this book after realizing that in this over-protective culture, boys need to be introduced to danger and risk. It's the fabric of a boy. But, in our technologically-spinning world, most boys don't make it outside the four walls of their house much, and rarely are untethered from their computer, gameboy, or iPod. Although technology is what pays my bills, I fear this generation of boys is missing out on a whole lot.

How many Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn admirers are there these days? Very few. And, that great classic movie, The Sandlot, tells the tale of a summer with boys - full of baseball, treehouses, s'mores, and crushes on female lifeguards. I see little boys in my world that are afraid of their shadow and would never take on The Beast like the boys of the Sandlot did. Who knows what causes that fear, but a little 'roughing' it up with some other boys in a mudpile would surely do the trick.

This book details all the important skills a boy must to make a bow and to build a to skip to play paper football. There's even lots of stories in the book about our history, including the famous battles that every boy can fantasize about. This is definitely a must read for every boy in your life.

They have a site devoted to the promotion of the book, including a YouTube trailer. Maybe my favorite part of the book is the instructions given for interacting with a girl:

"If you see a girl in need of help--unable to lift something, for example--do not taunt her. Approach the object and greet her with a cheerful smile, while surreptitiously testing the weight of the object. If you find you can lift it, go ahead. If you can't, try sitting on it and engaging her in conversation."

I think I'll buy this book for every man I know...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fuzzy Internet Toys

Last month our sales team was in town for a two-day meeting. As we adjourned at the end of the first day and headed to our dinner destination, one of our salespeople got a call from her daughter. She was trying to convince her Mom to let her purchase a much-desired Webkinz on eBay. I said, "A what?" I pride myself in being pretty hip with the latest fads, although Heelys took me by surprise, but I hadn't heard of these Webkinz thingies.

According to this Mom, these stuffed animals are the latest craze. Sold in small gift shops and Hallmark stores, you purchase your Webkinz, then use the secret code to access a whole world online. Once you "adopt" your pet and give it a name, you then spend time on the site playing games and earn KinzCash so you can shop for toys, furniture, and clothes for your pet. A pretty ingenious way to use an old standard, the stuffed animal, and a new medium, the internet, to engage a salivating audience of young 'uns.

I loved stuffed animals as a kid. Shoot, I still do. So, this whole Webkinz madness is intriguing to even me, an adult. It's interesting to see how toys have evolved over the year. I thought pulling a string and hearing Mrs. Beasley talk was fantastic, but she's old news these days. These virtual stuffed pets are slowly becoming the new Cabbage Patch Kid or Beanie Baby it appears, and if a kid can go online to join the Webkinz Clubhouse, they can probably navigate a bidding war on Ebay to nab the elusive pet they desire.

Maybe I'll indulge one day and get one just for grins. It sure beats the old, boring pet rock I had.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Gospel According to PR

In my past lives in the technology industry, I served as a PR Manager. For those unaware, "PR" stands for "Public Relations." It was my job to handle all external and internal communications initiatives. In laymen's terms, I made us look good to the media and put the words in the mouths of the management team when speaking to our company.

There are two times in the life of a company that you have to be ultra prepared as a PR professional - in times of crisis and in times of acquisition. Many companies that may easily fall prey to a crisis have extensive plans in place to respond. Although, many companies do not and end up scrambling at the last minute to put together ka-zillion pieces of communication. During my uber dot com days, I was part of a PR team that had to handle quite a few acquisitions - some for companies or entities we acquired, others were for the acquisition of our own company.

We'd spend days, even months, preparing multiple versions of press releases, creating FAQ documents to answer potential questions the media and others would ask, and briefing management on how to properly reply to employee and media questions alike. Contrary to what you may know about PR, "no comment" is an unacceptable way to respond. It screams "I'm lying or guilty" like nothing else can.

In I Peter 3:15, it says "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." Every time I read that verse, I think of the world of public relations and how it relates to us as believers. Peter is instructing us to first, set apart Christ as Lord, which is mandatory as a Christian. Then he tells us to always be prepared.

That's the life of a PR professional - always prepared. We planned and worked for weeks for the chance to share our good news with the press. Sometimes we got the opportunity, but a lot of times we didn't. Nonetheless, we remained prepared.

And that's the life of a Christian - always prepared. We should be living daily, studying God's Word, understanding what it says, and being ready to answer. Sometimes we'll get the opportunities, but sometimes we won't. More accurately, we get a lot of opportunities, some we take, and some we don't.

If you have Good News to share, always be prepared. You never know when you might be used to comfort in a crisis or plant a seed for the next Kingdom acquisition.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Road Rage

A recent incident at a nearby Kroger parking lot was very disturbing to me. A retired police officer shot a man after an argument at a four-way stop. There is a lot of hoop-la here in town about the whys and who is to blame, but just the fact that guns were drawn over a four-way stop dispute is troublesome. How antagonistic can one person be over who has the right away? Come on people, watch a few Chip and Dale cartoons and be nice and let the other person go, and leave your gun in your holster.

Given this shooting occured within about 4 miles of my home, I've become a bit more attentive to people on the road that might not be too happy with what's happening around them. I didn't think it would be so close to home until my drive into work yesterday...

As I pulled on to Taylorsville Road, happily traveling at the speed limit, a huge black Ford F-something-50 zoomed up on my tail and flashed his lights. Now, normally, the unsanctified part of me would want to slow down to a creep just to agitate him, but given the recent outcome at a four-way stop, I decided to continue on at the correct speed and hope he calmed down.

I then turned on a two-lane curvy road and he almost swallowed me up in his grill. Ok, now I wasn't too happy and beginning to get a little paranoid. The winding road ends at a three-way stop (whew, close call...could have been a four-way). I stopped, let someone go, and then proceeded through hoping and praying that this would separate us enough in traffic - and give him some time to cool off - all would be forgotten. Au contraire.

After being able to "leave him in the dust," I continued driving down a major 4-lane road and lo and behold he finally caught up with me. He had dodged in and out of traffic, as I observed in my rearview mirror, to go around other perceived irritating drivers, and ended up in the left lane, almost next to me. Now, the panic set in. He was next to me, not ahead of me, nor behind me. And, he honked his horn repeatedly. I looked straight ahead, kept driving, took a deep breath, and said a prayer. I should have started by saying a prayer. I slowed down a bit, hoping he was wanting to get in front of me, but no, he zoomed on to the next light and turned left.

Whew. Crisis averted.

I now wish I had taken note of his license plate and called the police....which is what local authorities are advising motorists to do in town who observe some possible out of control road rage. I guess if it happens in the future, I'll have my wits about me to take down the number.

You know, I remember prior to 9/11 how violent the world seemed. School shootings, violent local was brutal. Then, a terrorist attack seemed to push a crime reset button and for a while after that horrible day, crazy crime seemed to diminish. I even had a man in traffic next to me honk to tell me a tire was looking flat. I sure don't want another terrorist attack to occur to right side the world of crime.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Top Five Movies Starring 2008 Presidential Candidates

5. Bedtime for Branch - Former Senator Fred Thompson steps away from his role as Branch on Law & Order to pursue a run for the next election. He organizes a committee, Friends of Fred, and hires a chimpanzee as his campaign chairman.

4. Mrs. Clinton Goes to Washington - Senator Hilary Clinton marches toward the White House in this Capra-esque film. She encounters intrigue, corruption, mystery....hmm, sounds like another Clinton we know. Co-starring Monica Lewinsky as the evil villianness.

3. Romney and Rudy's High School Reunion - Years after they graduated, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani head to their high school reunion. While there, they spread rumors about their alleged claims to fame - Rudy invented the Internet and Romney invented Google.

2. I Heart Huckabee - As Mike Huckabee heads out on the campaign trail, a group of Arkansas natives form the "I Heart Huckabee" fan club. This team of Razorbacks slap bumperstickers on anything they find and convince the world that not all men from Hope, Arkansas are bad.

1. Ali Obama and the Forty Thieves - Barack Obama (Gesundheit!) leads a pack of 40 thieves to fight for the freedom of the land from the evildoers. Little does he know that those 40 thieves are really 40 of his own Congressmen.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

American (yawn) Idol

This time last year, I was posting feverishly about the latest happenings on American Idol. This year, I'm watching it, and voting, but just a bit underwhelmed by the contestants. The final 3 all have great voices, but for some reason, the personalities are lacking. Last year's group included the bald and bold rocker, Daughtry, the southern belle whose ringer was a little off, Kelly Pickler, the country bumpkin, Bucky Covington, the sweet young gal with a musical legacy, Paris "Princess P," the gal with McPheever, Katherine, and the Joe Cocker Soul Patrol Captain, winner Taylor Hicks. This year we yeah...that beatbox guy, Blake. And, um....some Navy dude right? Oh, and San-I-can't-sing-a-lick-jaya, the only real crazy personality of the season. Of the final four, only one (Jordan) isn't an only child. Maybe that's why the others have a more subdued personality. I can say that because I'm an only child, although a bit more outgoing than most.

Now we're down to three and I actually like all three of these folks and would be happy if any of them won. I just don't see a future Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood in this bunch. So, since the season is coming to a close, I thought I'd give my two cents...

Jordan Sparks - I really like her spunk and bright personality. For a 17-year-old, she can blow. Out of the three, she has the most promise to be a "celebrity" because of her talent, looks, and her personality. She's young, so she doesn't need the title to make it big.

Melinda Doolittle - She is as consistent as the sun rising. I don't think she's really ever had a bad week. And, being a "BGV" (background vocalist for those of you not in the biz), she's had the experience of performance, albeit in the background. Her one downfall? Not much personality. It could be her life behind the scenes, but I'd love her to bubble up just once, and spill over. I think she'd pass out if Simon kissed her.

Blake Lewis - Good ole Beatbox Blake. He's unique and different and proud of it. I like that in a contestant - shoot, I like that in a person. I just am a bit worried that if he wins, he'll have a path similar to Taylor Hicks' road. Taylor was a fun performer to watch, but not someone who I'd dial up on my iPod to listen to on a regular basis. The concert folks make the money, but the music sales fall short. I like him though, and he's the only man standing.

Who do I think will win? It all depends on the upcoming week's theme. Whoever goes above and beyond their prior performances will most likely rise to the top. You know, maybe that's why Sanjaya got so many votes....he was the only contestant with a personality that stood out. Makes you wonder if this is a singing competition or a personality contest. I'd argue, it's both.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

All I Need is Prince Charming

As most people know that read my blog, I'm single. A lot of people ask me "so do you want to get married?" I respond, "Um, yeah." The truth of the matter is, nobody has asked, and on most days, I'm ok with that, but in my heart of hearts, I do want to be married. Not for all the wedding planning and decisions, but for the lifelong companion part. Most girls shudder when I admit that I don't have every minute of my ceremony planned out. If it wasn't for a promise I made to my Mom, I'd elope. I figure when the time comes, I'll worry about it. You'd think this low-maintenance attitude of mine would snare a husband toot sweet, but no dice.

One of the things that are of utmost importance in a wedding is the gown. Up until recently (due to the tons of weddings I've attended) I really hadn't given a thought to what type of gown I'd want. Being a bit older than the traditional bride, I don't relish dressing up like a prom queen or looking like the starring character in "Return of the White Witch." I have a somewhat sketched out idea of what type of dress I'd like, but given I'm not engaged, nor involved in a serious relationship, I'm not too concerned.

Then my answer came. Disney wedding gowns inspired by the multiple Disney princesses. My dream had come true. This collection of bridal gowns are targeted at the older bride (that's me!) who have more dispensable income to spend on gowns in the $1100 - $3000 range (ok, that's not me) I love Disney, and have since I was a child. I may never grow out of that love, and what better way to keep that going than by wearing a Disney wedding gown....although I may have to rob Scrooge McDuck to afford one.

Kirstie Kelly, a well-known bridal wear designer, was asked to roll out a Disney bridal collection. The tagline..."every princess has her story"....leads you to a site full of gowns inspired by Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Ariel and Belle. There are quite a few on there that aren't me, but some that are.

So, while I wait for Prince Charming, I'll peruse this site for a gown so I'll be ready. And, if anyone would like to give their suggestions on which gown you'd choose for me, please do.....I love to dream...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wool and Flax

In my continuing quest to do an in-depth study of Proverbs 31, I came across my next verse - Proverbs 31:13...

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands."

This verse is plopped right after two verses describing her husband's love and confidence in her, and her ability to gain his trust. I have to admit it seemed a bit oddly placed considering the verses following talk of merchant ships and fields - much more exciting.

I believe every word in Scripture is there for a purpose and this verse is no exception. It speaks clearly of the selection of materials and the production that follows. But, in looking a bit closer, it intrigued me that wool and flax were the items listed. I'm sure Mrs. Virtuous worked eagerly at a lot of tasks and spent a lot of time selecting appropriate items needed to take care of her home and family. So, why did the passage mention wool and flax?

Flax is a well-known plant with yellowish stems and bright blue flowers. The main use of flax (once dried and its oil expressed) is for the manufacturing of linen, obviously to make clothing. Interestingly, the expressed flax oil was used to feed cattle. Selecting the best flax not only created the loveliest of linens, but also became food for the family's cattle herd. It is noted that only women of noble birth were found spinning flax. And, we now see the noble connection to flax.

Wool is a bit more obvious in its origin - sheep. But in Old Testament times, the first wool shearing of a family's best sheep was required for sacrificing to the priest. Choosing the best wool, like flax, would make the warmest of clothes, but selecting of the best was symbolic of the sacrifice made to the priests. Mrs. Virtuous took her shopping seriously.

I'm not spinning wool and flax to clothe my family but it reminds me that as I care for others, I should choose wisely and work eagerly for God's glory. That is such a small price to pay for the ultimate sacrifice God made for me in sending His Son to be my Sheep sacrifice for my sins. I'm forever grateful that God chose the Supreme Sacrifice for me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pray for Nathan

For almost a week, my heart has been heavy over the life of a sweet little 3-year-old boy named Nathan McLean. His Mom and Dad (Brad and Amanda) and their other two children, Jordan, 6, and Greta, almost 1, are members of our church. They are a sweet servant family that came to Louisville for Brad to go to Southern Seminary.

Little Nathan has been dealing with sickness for about a month or so while doctors prodded and tested to figure out the cause. While they ruled other illnesses out, they continued to test to see why he was in pain and running fevers. Last Wednesday he was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer. My mind has thought of little else since.

I've run the gamut of emotions from sadness to anger, and the always-asked question...why? I don't always understand why things like this happen, but I rest in the fact that God is in control of all things....even this dark time in the McLeans life.

The uplifting part of this story (if there is anything uplifting) is the wonderful and gracious love that is flowing to the family from our church and all over the world. Thanks to technology, a website has been established by some of their good friends at our church to update us on Nathan's progress and allow guests to leave messages. There are meals being coordinated and other volunteers stepping up to do whatever they need to make this uncomfortable time a bit more endurable. One of the sweet families purchased a pager so that anytime someone prays, they can page them and let them know prayers have been uttered. The first night the pager never stopped all night long and brought Brad to tears. Another sweet family purchased a camcorder so they can benefit from that memory-making technology.

Each day brings new challenges and prayer needs. When you read this post and think of Nathan, please lift him up in prayer. The pager number is 502-464-0039 and although you won't get a call back, calling it will encourage a family that needs it oh so much. Please feel free to visit the website for updates and specific ways you can pray:

"Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me." - Psalm 86:6-7

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Is This Thing On?

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to do voice work - be a radio DJ, read commercials, do anything in front of a microphone. When I was young, very young, I would spend hours just talking into a microphone about anything that came to mind. (Those closest to me aren't at all surprised that I was a talker from an early age) I would read books aloud and add in all the inflections and emotions of each character. I was an only child, so I didn't annoy any siblings with the chattery behavior.

My Dad had a mini-studio in our basement, complete with microphone and reel-to-reel recording equipment. He used to sing in a quartet and had friends in a bluegrass band, so there was always southern gospel or country music blaring from our basement. Dad would hook up the tape recorder to the official microphone and I'd take off. I'd sing, chat, tell stories, and even do my own commercials. Station breaks consisted of me saying "Thank you for the interruption."

As I've grown older I've taken voice and speech training and done some non-professional recordings. Every time I do it, someone would tell me to pursue voice work based on what they heard. I guess it's more flattering to hear "you have a voice for radio" than to hear "you have a face for radio." I never really knew where to start, and didn't want to do this gig full-time, but still held on to the dream.

Last Tuesday evening in the torrential rainstorm we had in Louisville, I left work and headed for a class to take the first step in my dream. Our local public school system offered a "Voice Over Class" - one night, two hours and it only cost $35 and my delaying of viewing American Idol (not a big loss this season). The voice coach did a quick overview of the industry - how to get started, how to market - and then did some coaching and we all were recorded reading a few lines. I loved it! Due to my early love of the microphone, those electric ice cream cones don't scare me at all. He promised we'd each get evaluated and receive it via e-mail the next day. The promise included the disclaimer that if you aren't good, he'd tell you.

I anxiously awaited the e-mail and when it came, he said "You have quite a bit of potential. Your voice is young, real, and believable." I don't know if I was happier that he noted my potential or said I had a young voice. Either way, I was ecstatic. Now, off to create a demo as the next step of my dream.

After a week of research and phone calls on the best way to proceed, I am scheduled to talk with a producer this evening and record my demo, if he thinks I have potential. I'm amazed that only a week ago I thought this would be a fun way to spend a couple of hours and now, I'm within hours away of starting to see my dream come to life.

The moral of this story is to never let go of your dreams. You just never know when the right doors will open and your dreams may come true.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Girl Can Dream, Can't She?

Billy the Kid has just won his second NCAA championship in a row...what will he do now? It won't be Disney World. He'll have to fight off the media to get around Gainesville.

The buzz in the sports world today, especially here in Kentucky, is not just the great victory of the Florida Gators last night but the future home of Coach Donovan. He barely made it off the court last night before the world started asking.... Are you going to take the Kentucky coaching job? Do you want to build your legacy at Florida? Is there a three-peat in your future? The dashing Donovan is slowly becoming the greatest thing in coaching since Rick Pitino...his mentor.

I could pontificate all day on whether he will come to the Bluegrass state or not. There are good arguments for both options. He obviously has it great in Gainesville even though football is king there. And, repeats like this just don't happen all the time, much less the hope of a three-peat (which the Gator fans were chanting as quickly as the media was scurrying to ask Billy his future career plans.)

Kentucky will do all they can to grab him up, it's just unknown right now what his true desire is. I've been a Kentucky fan for a long time. As an only child, I became a sports fan at a young age and would watch countless basketball games with my Dad. My first UK championship experience was in 1978 with Joe B Hall as coach. As a child, my Dad and I cheered the Cats on to victory. I had the privilege of graduating high school with Winston Bennett, former UK basketball star and former assistant to Rick Pitino. When my Dad took pictures at my graduation, he made sure to snap one of Winston going down the aisle with the disclaimer, "Hey he'll be famous one day!"

In recent years, my excitement for UK basketball has waned. Although I loved Tubby Smith as a person and coach of great character, the lackluster play was wearing thin. When Tubby made his exit announcement, part of me was somewhat happy. It's time for a change. Nothing would make this Kentucky girl smile more than seeing the dapper and handsome Coach Billy on the UK sidelines building a dynasty.

As I watched the pre-game show last night, I got a glimpse of Coach Donovan's pep talk in the locker room prior to the game. Is it a coincedence or forshadowing that he used the analogy of horse racing to jazz up his team? Time will tell. Lest you aren't a believer it could happen, don't forget that a few short years ago a slick dressing former UK coach made his home at arch rival Louisville. Stranger things have happened....