Friday, January 25, 2008

Top Five Realizations from my Recent Air Travel

I recently returned from my visit to the great state of Alabama to see my friends, Paige and Steve. It was wonderful to get away from the rat race and relax. At the request of my friend, Amy, who is itching for one of my Top Fives, I came up with a list after my trip. I traveled via Southwest to Birmingham and had a few realizations. So, here it no particular Top Five Realizations from my Recent Air Travel...

5. If you want to study the human race, hang out at the airport - Sadly since security is at a high level 24/7, you can't wander to all the departing gates unless you have a golden ticket. But, even if you aren't traveling, just hang out at the airport baggage claim, or pre-security check-in area, or the accessible restaurants. I find people watching fascinating and every variation of human being can be observed there.

4. Security is so tight, I feel extremely confident there are no bombs (or snakes) on my plane - This was my first flying experience since the TSA No Liquid Zone was launched. I was cautious to check any baggage that included non-compliant liquid and headed to the security check in. I find it comical. I remove my shoes and walk through the gated area to the body scanner as I place all my carry-on belongings through the x-ray conveyer belt. I immediately beep (due to a hip joint replacment) and am escorted to what I call the "terrorist security center." From there I'm patted down, wanded, and asked to remove other items, such as my scary belt, so they can x-ray it and confirm it's merely to hold my pants up and not to store explosive material. Then once I'm cleared, I proceed to the post security area to redress myself. God Bless America.

3. Nobody can live without a laptop, cell phone, or iPod - Because I'm so electronically enabled during my non-vacation life, I choose to disengage from the madness to enjoy my vacation. But, I'd guess 90% of travelers have a laptop going, are on their cell phone, or listening to an iPod. It's quite an interesting view of the 21st century. Flying 20 years ago was so much different. Intermingled among the tech-o-philes are those of us (me included) enjoying a good old-fashioned book. Our Presidential candidates should lobby for a "One Laptop Per Adult" initiative....we all have them anyway.

2. Our economy isn't about to tank - I traveled on a Thursday and a Monday...traditionally non-peak travel days. Yet, the airport was packed..and not just with business travelers, but non-business travelers. I've been both and I can tell the difference. Air flight isn't cheap. (nor are all those previously-mentioned electronic gadgetry) I wouldn't believe everything you read in the media.

1. I feel the need to do a security review once I "board" my car now - Every time a flight takes off, the flight attendants review the procedures for emergencies...where to exit, how to attach the oxygen and life preserver equipment. It's somewhat omnious if you really pay attention. Yet, flying is so much safer than driving, per the statistics. Now I feel the urge to get in my car and say, "Welcome aboard today's drive in your Malibu...let's review the safety procedures..make sure all belts are fastened and doors locked. If your gas gauge gets close to "E", pull into the nearest gas station..."

BONUS Realization - There is a God - I didn't need to fly to realize this...I know this more intimately than I can articulate. But last Thursday when I departed, it was a cloudy, dreary day. One of my favorite parts of flying is the take off. I do not like rollercoasters, but the wheeeee feeling I get from a plane taking off is energizing. I suppose I feel safe in that sturdy metal tube. As we ascended and my stomach was all a flutter with excitement, we rose to an altitude above the clouds. And, as we soared on top of the fluffy white puffs, the sun was bright as ever. How can anyone rise to that level of the universe and not believe there is a Creator behind all this, and not just some big bang? It was breathtaking.

Thank you for flying.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Table Topics - Christmas Cards

Yes, it's January 11 and I'm stretching out the holiday topics a little bit longer. This past Christmas season, I didn't send Christmas cards. It was probably the first time in many years that has happened. I can blame a lot of it on the busy season, but it's that way every year. I think my non-motivation for sending cards has many aspects. I do enjoy receiving cards, which should be motivation enough to send mine out. It's exciting to go to the mailbox and retrieve something other than bills.

The rising cost of postage makes sending out the large number of cards I'd like to send unappealing. I know that's petty, but sending out a pre-messaged card with a "Love, Rose" on the inside seems pretty vanilla for .41 a pop. I have a couple of friends that send Christmas letters either via e-mail or included in their Christmas card. I like that idea. I've often thought of doing that because I try to send cards to a various assortment of my life's acquaintances, many of whom have no idea what I'm up to these days. But, given that I update a blog regularly, am an avid user of Facebook, and connected on LinkedIn, most everyone I know or have known finds me there, and creating another media all about me seems a bit overkill.

I absolutely love the picture cards. You know the ones. The fun family portraits you can have created on Shutterfly or at Walgreens with festive backgrounds and personal messages. I look forward to those the most at holiday time. Those are especially nice from the folks that don't live near me so I can keep up with the families and how they are growing. I could do that picture card option...but I'm a single gal and doing a solo portrait seems a bit odd to me. Maybe if I had a fun portrait....posing on top of Mount Everest...standing aside Zachary Quinto on the Red Carpet...cheesing it up in Rockefeller Center with Matt know, something inventive. In 2008, I'll try to make something monumental occur to make for a great Christmas card portrait.

What about you? What did you do this Christmas in way of Merry Communication? And, what types of cards do you look forward to receiving?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2007 Reflections

At the close of each year, I like to reflect back on the prior year and recap my life (and this blog's) events. Plus since I ruminate a lot, to honor my title, I need a good dose of reflection.

The year started off with a little kitchen event during the making of a grilled cheese sandwich that was obviously the foreshadowing of a year full of bumbles. This event, though, caused a lovely Heart Tattoo on my hand that I truly cherished.

In March, I was so thrilled to have a time of rest on Robinson Mountain. Mark and Sharon are sweet friends that mean the world to me and live in Nashville. Our initial meeting was providential and I'm so blessed to call them friends. And, they just celebrated a wedding anniversary yesterday!

The month of March ended with the birth of Emma Jean. Little did we know (or her parents) that a few months later her little sister would be conceived and expected to arrive just a couple of days before Emma's first birthday. Jane Adair is growing as I type and will make her debut in March 2008.

In April, one of the precious families in our church learned their 3-year old son, Nathan had stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer. It was definitely news that rocked our church. I'm happy to report that although Nathan has seen the darkest of dark times, it appears he has turned a corner. After many treatments, two stem-cell transplants, he is still pressing on. He starts radiation in January, but his smile just gets bigger. He's now four and counting down the days until he's five! And, I've seen true love shown through the actions of our church family toward the McLeans. Since the diagnosis, meals have been flowing to that family from our church members continuously. I'm proud to be a part of that family of God.

My annual trip down south occured in August as I headed back to the great town of Adel, Georgia. Chad and Tracy just spent a week here celebrating the holidays with family and friends. It was great to spend time with them, and I'd love to get to Adel more than once a year...and that looks better and better as I encounter 12 degree weather here today.

I had a lot of things break at the end of this year. I compiled a list in August, but the hits just kept on coming. I smushed my finger which was painful enough, until I did a faceplant on the way to the gym. Right before Christmas, my sewer backed up and although I didn't cover it on this blog, three days after that I had electrical problems at my house. And, on New Year's Eve, part of my mini-blinds fell down. Here's hoping for a safe and "together" new year...literally!

Amidst all the hoop-la, I was able to make a short trip to Chattanooga with my OPCs in October. With new babies on the way and other responsibilities prohibiting us from gathering very often, this short jaunt was cherished. It makes me look forward to eternity when we'll be able to hang out forever.

2007 was a good year. Better than words can express on this blog. I'm thankful for all of you who faithfully read this blog. I've now topped over 1200 pageviews a month, which still astounds me. I'm honored that other people would be interested in reading my diatribes. For me, it's merely living out one of my passions.

I look forward to 2008. I introduced Table Topics this year on the blog and hope to make that a regular feature. I love asking questions and hearing how people respond - it's simply fascinating. Offline, I am excited to see what this year holds. Years that end in "8" have always been good for me. Great things have happened. So, although I'm not completely supersticious (just a little), I'm counting on this year of 8 to be great.