Friday, December 26, 2008

Weird

I had the weirdest dream last night... it's sketchy in my memory but I do remember a couple of things:

1. The boy of the moment (makes sense, talked to him on the phone before I went to sleep)
2. Vampires (the Twilight series are the last books I read)
3. A guy from high school (this one is RANDOM, I haven't seen him lately and I added about 10 inches to his height)
4. A sporting goods store (this was the setting for the dream, I think we all worked there)

Did I say it was weird? I mean, really really weird.

Does anybody know what any of these things in my dream represent?


P.S. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!! I didn't touch a computer for the past two days or else I would have posted this in a more timely manner - it's my motto: Better Late than Never!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put awaylike bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.The good you do for others is good you do yourself...

~Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Life in a Northern Town

So I'm not a big fan of email forwards, well anymore. So when I get one, I usually put it on here and go on with my life. So here we go:

1. Put your music on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!

1) IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY? My Hometown, Charlie Robinson. (oh, dear.)

2) WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?The Sweet Escape, Gwen Stefani (This is oddly accurate, considering I escape all the time, the lyrics really don't follow along those lines but the title is what counts in this one).

3) WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? Until the End, Norah Jones (Hmmm....)

4) HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? Perfect Lover, Britney Spears (No Comment).

5) WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE??It's All Over, Dreamgirls Soundtrack. (um, is there something I need to know?)

6) WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?Beer in Mexico, Kenny Chesney (Sign from above?)

7) WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? You (Drive me Crazy), Britney Spears (I swear I am NOT cheating).

8) WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? Yes, Beyonce

9) WHAT IS 2+2? Rich Girl, Gwen Stefani & Eve

10) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? Good Ol' Boys, Waylon Jennings (Interesting, considering I don't think I have a BFF)

11) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE? All We'd Ever Need, Lady Antebellum ( My new favorite band - does this mean, I'll only ever need him?)

12) WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? Better Day, Zac Brown Band (there's some optimism, nice.)

13) WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? Fergalicious, Fergie (I think someone's trying to tell me something.)

14) WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE? Might "O", Outkast

15) WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? Please Mr. Postman, The Marvelettes

16)WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?That's Where I'll Be, Little Big Town

17) WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? Magic, Bruce Springsteen (Hell, yeah!)

18) WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?Something More, Sugarland

19) WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?Idlewild Blue, Outkast (Hmmm...)

20) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? Womanizer, Britney Spears (Not a good sign)

21) WHAT'S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN? Everybody's Broken (Bon Jovi)

22) HOW WILL YOU DIE? Don't Stop Believin', Journey

23) WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET? Nature Boy, David Bowie (this one could actually work if I had dated a nature boy, my friends and I used to nickname all the guys, as in "NYC boy", "wine boy" etc. based on a detail about them)

24) WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? I want you, Elvis Costello (I have NO idea...)

25) WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? Janie's Got a Gun, Aerosmith

26) WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?(You Want to) Make a Memory, Bon Jovi

27) WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST? The Train, Outkast (Idlewild Soundtrack)

28) DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?All American Girl, Carrie Underwood

29) IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?Walk Like a Man, Franki Valli (the movie? the way we walk?)

30) WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW? Don't Speak, No Doubt (talking is a little difficult for me right now)

31) WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?Life in a Northern Town, Sugarland, et al (Because that makes sense...)

32) HOW DOES THE WORLD SEE YOU? The Littlest Birds, The Be Good Tanyas (I really shouldn't download music suggested by my weird music friends)

33)WILL I HAVE A HAPPY LIFE?Thinking about you, Norah Jones (Should I be more concerned with others to achieve happiness?)

34)WHAT DO MY FRIENDS REALLY THINK OF ME? She, Emmylou Harris (Interesting...)

35) DO PEOPLE SECRETLY LUST AFTER ME? Trampled Rose, Alison Kraus (What's with the wounded female vibe, sheesh.)

36) HOW CAN I MAKE MYSELF HAPPY? I found it in you, LeeAnn Wommack (I guess it could work...)

37)WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE?Change, Taylor Swift (ah, poignant).

38) WILL I EVER HAVE CHILDREN? Up Where We Belong, Joe Cocker (Why do I even have this one on my playlist).

39) WHAT IS SOME GOOD ADVICE FOR ME? I'll be there for you, Bon Jovi (Who will be there?)

40) HOW WILL I BE REMEMBERED? I Hope that I don't Fall in Love with You, Hootie & the Blowfish (Ouch, iTunes, that's not nice)

41) WHAT IS MY SIGNATURE DANCING SONG?MJB Da MVP (now, that's what I'm talking about!!!)

42)WHAT DO I THINK IS MY CURRENT SIGNATURE SONG?No Ceiling, Eddie Vedder (That could be inspiring)

43) WHAT DOES EVERYONE THINK MY SONG IS? Big Time, Big & Rich (Wow, iTunes definitely has some insight)

44) WHAT TYPE OF MEN DO YOU LIKE?I can't Help Myself, Four Tops (now that's funny)

45) WHAT IS MY DAY GOING TO BE LIKE? No Tell Lover, Chicago (No Kidding?)

Quote of the Day

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
~Burton Hillis

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Humor

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'

~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"


While I've always been a 'season's greetings' kind of a girl... I know what he means. I find humor in being "PC" and I love laughing at it. I also love people who are able to take my feelings and express them better than myself - Dave Barry is definitely one of those people.

Quote of the Day

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
~Charles Dickens

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
- Jack Kerouac

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

The family, that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor in our innermost hearts never quite wish to.

- Dodie Smith*



*Since I'm spending the weekend in NOLA with the family, I thought I'd mention them...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Not that they need it

But I thought I'd mention my new favorite foodie blog, Taste with the Eyes and send my compliments to the chef.

Seriously, I gain weight reading this site. It's not the first self-proclaimed foodie site that I've stumbled upon but it is the only one that I have continuously gone back to for over a month. With no disappointment.

Granted, it's a good time of year for a foodie blog, with lots of options and potential topics but I've read far enough back to know and I've tried several of the recipes. This is the real deal folks!

Great pictures, great comments/suggestions, great food. GREAT SITE. Check it out but, fair warning, do NOT go hungry. So good.

Quote of the Day

“For this to happen, absolutely everything had to break right. And for that we will someday owe sincere thanks to John McCain, and Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush. They not only screwed it up, they screwed it up just right.”

— Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone"Requiem for a Maverick"*






*I have refrained from political quotes for a while, especially since the outcome but this one spoke to me. So I had to have it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quote of the Day

Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for.
- Alice Walker

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Lauren!!!


Today is my younger sister's 26th Birthday.
I'm not allowed to call her my "little" sister anymore even thought she is still 6 inches shorter than me. Actually, I think it's because she's shorter that I'm not allowed to call her that. I still do but I'm not "allowed". You know how that goes in families :)


I love my younger sister, even though I constantly tease her, I love her. I've always been protective and concerned about her but that is my right as the older sister.


One of my earliest memories is standing on my tippy-toes to peer into the hospital nursery to see the little, squirmy swaddle of pink.




She and I rode to school together for years - that's not so different from other siblings but we had a 25 minute commute so we had lots of time in the car on a daily basis together. Sometimes we talked, we definitely fought, and somtimes she just slept while I drove.



One of my favorite stories about her is about driving to school one morning when she was wearing a linen dress - it was ironed and starched to perfection. So much so that she didn't want to wear her seatbelt while we were driving to school because it would wrinkle her dress and she absolutely refused to do so. I remember sitting in the driveway for a good 10 minutes, arguing before she pointed out that we were going to be late for school. The whole drive, I was telling her to put on her seatbelt and she was telling me to just focus on my driving. I admire her stubbornness.




I admire her talent and her passion - she's an architect and her job allows her to make the world more beautiful on a daily basis. Whether it's hanging pictures, arranging flowers, or restoring a school in New Orleans, she sees the world with an artist's eye and has the ability to make it a more beautiful place. She has that touch.


Plus she has liveliness which is inspiring and she's always on the move. Ready and willing to have a good time and make the situation fun. Adventurous, curious and accepting of the world, Lauren always has a plan for revelry.

Happy Birthday Lauren! I hope the year to come brings you life, love and good fortune.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”
– Robert Burns

Monday, December 8, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Antediluvian

I am such a nerd and I freely admit that - I've gotten to the point in my life where I don't apologize for being me. And being said nerd, I love learning something new. It's what I miss most about school - the amount of new information I heard/obsorbed everyday. It's not the same in the working world.

And today, I learned a new word. So I'm a tad excited. I'm sure this is a word I should know but I didn't recognize it, even though I still caught the jist of the sentence.

ANTEDILUVIAN

Isn't that a great word? It just looks great. It's meaning isn't that great but it's an attractive word. (Told you, complete nerd).

For those of you still with me, it's meaning:
  • any of the early patriarchs who lived prior to the Noachian deluge
  • of or relating to the period before the biblical flood; "antediluvian man"
  • so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period; "a ramshackle antediluvian tenement"; "antediluvian ideas"; "archaic laws"
  • ancient: a very old person

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quote of the Day

"There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child."
~ Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Burned!

I have a burned tongue and I'm ready to chop it off.

I'm really annoyed that I have it in the first place and I'm beginning to understand the McDonald's coffee lady's lawsuit for the first time.

Let me explain...

I had a big gap of time yesterday between appointments and I had brought along my laptop to get some work done since I was in a neighboring town. I pulled into Panera to enjoy their wireless and I order a chai latte. I walked away from the bar while they were fixing my drink to find a table near a plug and to my liking. I walked all over the Panera and around to the back side twice before finding a table that I liked near a plug.

Then I went back to the counter. The girl says, "Here's your latte. It's been ready but I didn't know your name." I'm assuming she thought I'd be angry but I knew they had to fix it and it'd still be too hot for me to drink (I'm not a big fan of warm drinks) so I wasn't worried about the time lapse. I thanked her and went back to my seat.

Once there, I took the top off the cup to let it cool and proceeded to boot up my computer. I opened my email and began to work. I want to say it was longer but for fairness, I'll say 5 minutes had gone by before picking up the cup. It was still really warm so I blew on it a couple of times and put it back down. Probably a minute later, I pick it up and take a small sip.

I NEARLY SCREAMED OUTLOUD!!!

It was SO HOT. It scalded my throat as I swallowed. My tongue feels like sandpaper where it first landed and I have a sore throat - considering the time of year that's not great proof but I had no 'symptons' until my sip of chai and I don't have the normal cold with a sore throat. I almost went to the counter to complain but I couldn't determine what that would do to solve the problem. So I suffered in silence. I threw my latte away - somehow I had lost my taste for them - finished my work and left. I haven't enjoyed a meal or a drink since. I know it'll be healed soon but IT HURTS!!!

Quote of the Day

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
- Norman Vincent Peale

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quote of the Day

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.
~Mary Ellen Chase

Quote of the Day

Be Kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle

Monday, November 24, 2008

221 Boulevard


This is my house. I don't own it. I wish I did.... it's exactly what I want/need. But for now, I am a happy renter who doesn't want to move EVER AGAIN... Plus, now that I've been there a couple of months, I can finally sleep without the sounds of the house scaring me. (I have a vivid imagination... it goes into over drive when I'm alone and it's dark and the house creaks). The front porch makes me love the house alone, it's at least 10 feet deep - I didn't get a good picture that shows off the size of it but as my friend Alyssa said, this is a great party porch. It wraps around the side of the house into a screened porch which I can reach from my bedroom. When it was a little warmer, I'd eat breakfast out there. Great way to start your day. But it's been a little cold around here lately so no dining alfresco for me.

This is the view from my front door - does it do the porch justice? The yellow house across the street is from the same era so it also has 14 foot ceilings and a wrap around porch and rocking chairs - actually most of the houses on my street have these features. Did I mention I love the street I live on? It's one of the oldest streets in town - to give you an idea, my house was built in 1911 and it's one of the "young" ones. The houses were originally owned by the mill for their administrators. Mine has crown molding, coal fireplaces (in every room!), and heart of pine flooring. I love it!

My sisters were actually home when I moved over Labor Day (thanks to a hurricane) so they helped. Lauren, the artsy one, hung my family pictures in the hallway. Basically I gave them to her and said put these on this wall. And this is what I got. I wish I could take credit for it because everyone that comes into my house LOVES it. I do too. It's got pictures from the time I was around 3 years old until recently of my family. Family vacations, weddings, random pictures in the backyard, Mother's Day, etc. My favorites. I've actually got 2 empty frames that I need to find pictures for. A work in progress my friends.
**The picture on the table is the one that my ghost moves around alot... it travels up and down and turns around. I'm not crazy, I have a ghost and I bet if the ghosthunters came to my house, they would confirm this fact.**
And this is Sandy again, in her favorite spot on the front porch. This is where she is every night when I come home, unless I'm late - then she's waiting by the mailbox looking at her watch. But most days, especially when it wasn't dark at 5pm, she'd be chilling on the front porch, watching the street. She can see everything from that perch and she keeps the squirrels in line from there. She's such a funny puppy.

I was taking her picture through the screen door (which I love to let slam - I can HEAR my dad saying, "don't slam the door!"). But those weren't turning out so well because my camera was focusing on the screen instead of the dog so she turned when I opened the door. Don't you just love the "what are you doing now?" expression? She's constantly watching me with an expression of exasperation. Especially when I move from one end of the house to another, she'll get settled in one spot to watch over me and I'll take off to the other end and she'll follow, only to settle again by the time I take off again. She never complains, just gets up and follows me back again. She's a good dog.


Quote of the Day

The 10 Cannots
By William J. H. Boetcker

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Venting...

Make your site secure without having to ask me ridiculous questions every time I sign on...

I don't remember which Elementary School I put down when I signed up with your site 4 years ago (I went to 3 different ones).

And everybody in town knows what color my first car was, in fact everyone I went to college with knows that one.

And the name of my first dog and what my mother's maiden name was, well that one's not a big secret either.

So here's the deal, you make your site secure all the time and quit asking me assinine questions and I'll continue to be your customer. Otherwise, all bets are off.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

I think it's better to be a smart woman, doing dumb things than being a dumb woman still doing dumb things.
- Anonymous

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

I'm pretty, but I'm not beautiful
I sin, but I'm not the devil
I'm good, but I'm not an angel.
- Marilyn Monroe

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm sorry

Oh, so sorry...

Name that tune!

I'm sorry I've been MIA - work has been a major factor in my abscence and I shall explain more later. I have a meeting that I need to leave to head to right now but I did want to say that I know I've been gone and I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

WITHIN YOUR HEART KEEP ONE STILL, SECRET SPOT WHERE DREAMS MAY GO.
~LOUISE DRISCOLL

Monday, October 27, 2008

I want...

I found this today from some old work files... not certain if it's mine or a take off of someone else's work - it rings true to who I am so I'm claiming it.

I want memories and dreams.
Inside jokes.
The thrill of a good debate.
Metaphors with bad intentions.
Long walks and long conversations.
Movies and poetry.
A day at the races.
Sunsets.
Spontenaity.
Parks and beaches.
Classic rock at 80 mph.
Sinatra and Johnny Cash.
No Doubt and Tim McGraw.
Museums on Saturday afternoons.
Bars and casinos.
A laugh and a smile.
A kiss and a gaze.
Naps.
Forgiveness.
A shrug and a whistle.
A shot of innocence with a dash of cynicism.
Misunderstood, but only at night.
A pair of aces in the hole.
Someone who believes.
Morals.
Hand holding.
Wandering and sitting.
Exploring.
Little presents and big surprises.
A jukebox embrace.

Quote of the Day

Here's to the Crazy Ones!
The misfits. The Rebels. The Trouble Makers.
The Round heads in the Square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.
But the only thing you can't do is Ignore them.
Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
WE SEE GENIUS.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
ARE THE ONES WHO DO.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Southern Signs

This is hysterical... Check out what sign you'd be if astrology had started in the South. Mine's pretty accurate (possum).

OKRA (Dec 22 - Jan 20)Are tough on the outside but tender on the inside. Okras have tremendous influence. An older Okra can look back over his life and see the seeds of his influence everywhere. You can do something good each day if you try.

CHITLIN (Jan 21 - Feb 19)Chitlins come from humble backgrounds. A Chitlin, however, will make something of himself if he is motivated and has lots of seasoning. In dealing with Chitlins, be careful they may surprise you. They can erupt like Vesuvius. Chitlins are best with Catfish and Okra.

BOLL WEEVIL (Feb 20 - March 20)You have an overwhelming curiosity. You're unsatisfied with the surface of things, and you feel the need to bore deep into the interior of everything. Needless to say, you are very intense and driven as if you had some inner hunger. You love to stay busy and tend to work too much. Nobody in their right mind is going to marry you, so don't worry about it.

MOON PIE (March 21 - April 20)You're the type that spends a lot of time on the front porch. A cinch to recognize the physical appearance of Moon Pies. Big and round are the key words here. You should marry anybody who you can get remotely interested in the idea. It's not going to be easy. You always have a big smile and are happy. This might be the year to think about aerobics. Maybe not.

POSSUM (April 21 - May 21)When confronted with life's difficulties, possums have a marked tendency to withdraw and develop a don't-bother-me-about-it attitude. Sometimes you become so withdrawn, people actually think you're dead. This strategy is probably not psychologically healthy but seems to work for you. You are a rare breed. Most folks love to watch you work and play. You are a night person and mind your own business.

CRAWFISH (May 22 - June 21) Crawfish is a water sign. If you work in an office, you're hanging around the water cooler. Crawfish prefer the beach to the mountains, the pool to the golf course, and the bathtub to the living room. You tend not to be particularly attractive physically, but you have very, very good heads.

COLLARDS (June 22 - July 23)Collards have a genius for communication. They love to get in "the melting pot" of life and share their essence with the essence of those around them. Collards make good social workers, psychologists, and baseball managers. As far as your personal life goes, if you are Collards, stay away from Crawfish. It just won't work. Save yourself a lot of heartache.

CATFISH (July 24 - Aug 23)Catfish are traditionalists in matters of the heart, although one's whiskers may cause problems for loved ones. You Catfish are never easy people to understand. You run fast. You work and play hard. Even though you prefer the muddy bottoms to the clear surface of life, you are liked by most. Above all else, Catfish should stay away from Moon Pies.

GRITS (Aug 24 - Sept 23)Your highest aim is to be with others like yourself. You like to huddle together with a big crowd of other Grits. You love to travel though, so maybe you should think about joining a club. Where do you like to go? Anywhere they have cheese, gravy, bacon, butter, or eggs and a good time. If you can go somewhere where they have all these things, that serves you well. You are pure in heart.

BOILED PEANUTS (Sept 24 - Oct 23)You have a passionate desire to help your fellow man. Unfortunately, those who know you best, your friends and loved ones, may find that your personality is much too salty, and their criticism will affect you deeply because you are really much softer than you appear. You should go right ahead and marry anybody you want to because in a certain way, yours is a charmed life. On the road of life, you can be sure that people will always pull over and stop for you.

BUTTER BEAN (Oct 24 - Nov 22)Always invite a Butter Bean to a party because Butter Beans get along well with everybody. You, as a Butter Bean, should be proud. You've grown on the vine of life, and you feel at home no matter what the setting. You can sit next to anybody. However, you, too, shouldn't have anything to do with Moon Pies...and Never take YES for an answer.

ARMADILLO (Nov 23 - Dec 21)You have a tendency to develop a tough exterior, but you are actually quite gentle and kind inside. A good evening for you? Old friends, a fire, some roots, fruit, worms, and insects. You are a throwback. You're not concerned with today's fashions and trends. You're not concerned with anything about today. You're almost prehistoric in your interests and behavior patterns. You probably want to marry another Armadillo, but a Possum is another somewhat kinky mating possibility.

Quote of the Day

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.
- Quentin Crisp

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Inspiration

I love this blog, Sweet Juniper!, the writing is so well done and the pictures are poignant without being cliche. Most of the posts are by a stay at home dad who takes his two children around the inner city of Detroit. His pictures of the decay and destruction are overwhelming and discouraging especially in contrast to his photogenic and innocent children.

Today's post (Oct. 21st, 2008), "Open Campus" is of an abandoned elementary school, a Norman Rockwell-esque building left to the neighborhood just over a year ago. The amount of destruction and disregard for the history and sustainability of the building is sickening. The accompanying post is just as heart-wrenching.

My town has an elementary school which stands empty and is the topic of much discussion... what will happen to the building? The rock gym? The WWII memorial library? The playground? It's a neighborhood school which I attended and I hope to see it be used for a greater purpose. The school board seems unwilling to recognize the importance of the building and it's future, much like the school board in Detroit.

I recognize there are greater problems facing our nation but aren't those problems a product of choices? Choices which placed importance on segregation and the newest and latest rather than preserving, repairing and restoring what came before? How do we shift the way of thinking so that it's not a always a case of bulldozing and destruction? If these photos don't frighten you about the direction of our country, I'm not sure what will...

Quote of the Day

"Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart."
- Anne Frank

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quote of the Day

"You cannot hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have."
- Zig Ziglar

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILLIAM!!!

Today, October 15, 2008 my nephew William turns one. We celebrated this past weekend with "William's 1st Tailgate" as UGA beat UT. (I actually missed the party because of a wedding but that's another story). He clapped as he finished his cake and stood up in his highchair to show everyone how he was covered head to toe in red & black icing.

I can't believe that it was just a year ago that I had flown to Mississippi to be there when my sister was induced. She had been in the first stages of labor for about 3 weeks, dialated to 4 centimeters and just generally miserable.





We went out for seafood dinner at a great open bar down on the bay at an open air restaurant and then home to be ready for our 5AM wake up call to head to the hospital. My parents' were in the guest room and I was sleeping in the office between the guest room and the master bedroom. Sitting up, reading a book, I heard someone come down the hall and then a knock at the door.

"Wanda, Leah's water just broke, do you want to go to the hospital with us?" I opened my door to find Will, my BIL, speaking through the guest room door to my mom. And the madness started. Will went to get their bags, my mom started getting dressed and we all started talking at once.



After a few moments, I went back to Leah's room to check on her. She was standing there, a tight funny look on her face, holding her pants. She looked at me and held them out to me.

"I can't get these on," I took them from her and dressed her as she stood, looking more pale with each moment.


"Where's Will?" She asked after a moment.


"He's putting your bags in the truck and Mom's getting dressed. You need anything else?" She shook her head and literally waddled down the hallway towards the garage. I followed, stopping at the guest room to hurry my mom along.











"Leah's ready to go, you've got to come on," I stage-whispered to my mom, aware of my dad sleeping in the bed. I walked back to the den and grabbed my phone to call my younger sister. Her phone went straight to voicemail. I left a message and went out to the garage to see about Leah. She and Will were sitting in the truck, cranked and ready to go.

"Where's Mom?" I shrugged and pointed back to the house.


"Go tell her we're leaving NOW." I turned back to the house and met my mom in the kitchen. She hurried to the truck and I waved them off.










I went back to my bed and began to read again - I knew I wasn't going back to sleep. The phone would never wake up my dad so I need to stay awake in case they needed us.


About an hour later, my phone rang. Startled and anxious, I grabbed for it.


"Hello?"


"Lindsey, are you awake?" My mom's excited voice came through the phone.


"I answered the phone, didn't I?" The smartass in me couldn't resist.


"He's coming... she's progressed really quickly, they think he'll be here any minute. You and your Dad should probably come if you want to be here. I gotta get back in there but ya'll come on," Click. My mom hung up and I was left with the task of convincing my father to get up and go to the hospital in the middle of the night.


"Dad..." I whispered as I knocked on the guest room door. "Dad, wake up... Mom just called and Leah's about to have the baby. Do you want to go? We need to go..."


"HUH?"



"Dad, wake up, Leah's having a baby, we've got to go. Do you want to go?"


"Yeah, yeah, we should go. I'm up."


I turned around and quickly put back on my clothes from the day before. I combed my hair and went out into the living room. My bleary eyed dad showed up a minute later.



Then we were in the car and on our way, I was so excited. No way was I missing this!



3 hours later, shifting in an extremely uncomfortable waiting room chair, I was wishing for my bed, any bed, or just a pillow.



"Seriously, she called us because it was happening 'right then' and now it's 3 hours later... Can we go home and come back when it actually happens? Or afterwards? I'm dying here..."


My dad looked at me with tired eyes, raised his eyebrows and went back to watching the crazy movie on cable for the second time that night. I shifted again and got up to stretch. If I ever win the lottery, the 2nd thing* I'm going to do is donate decent chairs for the maternity ward at the Gulfport hospital.


"He's here, he's got a head full of hair and he looks just like Will!!!" My mom's voice comes down the hallway. She comes into the waiting room, crying and smiling. "Come see, he's here!!!"




We follow her back to the Labor and Delivery area, it's a little after 4AM and we meet William Gregory Ferguson for the first time. A bright, blue eyed baby with a head full of blonde hair, he snuggled in his swaddling blankets. We watched as the nurses bathed and clothed him and tested him and we ooed over his every breath and movement.





Watching William grow and change this year has been so exciting and overwhelming - I never knew I could instantly love as I have with him. He's all boy - moves at full speed and crashes through anything that stands in his way. With his four front teeth and 3 more on the way, he's toddling full time now - well, unless he's tired and then he'll crawl because it's easier. He's learned where his nose and his toes are, he'll clap when he's done something 'good' (like finishing his meal), he stomps his feet and turns around when you sing the song, and he giggles at everything. I chase after him in slow motion, saying "I'm going to get you" and he runs away, laughing, and then stopping when he's ready to be 'caught' and tossed in the air. It's an amazing process to watch and it happens everyday.







Happy Birthday William!!!












*First things first: NYC Shopping Spree!

Quote of the Day

It is good to act as if. It is even better to grow to the point where it is no longer an act.
- Charles Caleb Colton

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

"You become the average of the five people you associate with the most."
-- Jim Rohn

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
- George Eliot

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quote of the Day

If you surveyed a hundred typical middle-aged Americans, I bet you'd find that only two of them could tell you their blood types, but every last one of them would know the theme song from The Beverly Hillbillies.
- Dave Barry

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fridays...

Is it just me, or does this happen to everyone else as well?

On Fridays, I have one of two types of days:

I either work really hard to get it all done by the end of the day so I can have a stress free weekend...

OR

I just kind of hang out, thinking I'll start again on Monday, this week is shot so why bother...

Is it just me? Or do you find yourselves feeling this way too?

Quote of the Day

The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.
- Marcelene Cox

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election.
~Bill Vaughan

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Quote of the Day

I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it.
- Maya Angelou

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Simple Pleasures

As you all know very well, I love my nephew - should Leah have more children or Lauren have any children, I will love them just as much, if not more. I'd love the chaos. I've always thought having kids the same ages as my sisters' kids and all of them running around together would be so much fun. I guess that comes from growing up in a rural community where everyone seemed to be related to everyone else except for my family. We were stand alones.

Leah and William came to Georgia last night and we ate dinner at my parent's house. I took Sandy over because William loves Sandy. He's terrified of her but he loves her too. He squeals and gets all excited but he's been knocked by her tail a couple of times so he's getting cautious of the back half of her body. His latest thing is paper towels so he was wiping Sandy down last night in between eating the paper towel. Actually they were taking turns wiping each other down, he was using the paper towel and she would use her tongue. It was pretty funny to watch him and I'm sorry the shutter speed on my camera isn't fast enough to capture the full event. Especially when Sandy got him backed into the corner and was licking him all over. I stopped to help him but looking back I should have gotten a picture first.






Quote of the Day

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.
- L. Drachman

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quote of the Day

“Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.”
~JoJo Jensen

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Halloween Quote of the Day

I'll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween.
~Author Unknown

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quote of the Day

Having someone wonder where you are when you don't come home at night is a very old human need.
~Margaret Mead

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wet Noses, Warm Hearts*

I've been promising pictures of my new house and as soon as I take them, I'll put them up and out there for all of you to see. In anticipation of doing that, I was cleaning off my card from my camera and I found these. I had tried to make Sandy pose for me in the back yard of my parents' house. I got a couple of good ones.





I love this dog... She drives me nuts sometimes but all she wants is to love and be loved. She's a smart puppy (not that I would put up with anything else!) and she'll do the funniest things. My sister's cat also made the move with us and it's the first time they've lived together in the same space. It's a constant competition - who gets fed first, who gets to sit beside me (I have 2 sides people!), who I talk to more, who I brush first, etc. Now I see what moms with the second baby go through. Sandy is just a little possessive of me. Makes me feel loved and I know I'll never be alone as long as I have her.




And who wouldn't want a that pink nose, cold and wet, pushing into their hand everytime it can, all to get scratched behind her ears.

*I'm well aware this is a title of a book about dogs - I don't know who the author is and I'm too lazy feeling right now to look it up. Shame on me, I know.

Yummie

I have a new blog to eat, er um... I mean, READ. I found this Homesick Texan*. But here is your warning: DO NOT VISIT WHILE HUNGRY. It's like going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. You'd just be asking for trouble.

The first thing that caught my attention was the chocolate pie... I'm a big pie fan myself. I'd put my mom's pecan pie up against anybody's. And if she decided to get all crazy on us and make a chocolate pecan pie, then WATCH OUT because there is no competition!!!

So you see my natural attraction, then I see the pico and I'm a goner.

Check it out, make a couple of recipes, and enjoy.

*we'll just overlook and forgive the Texan part.

Quote of the Day

The politicians were talking themselves red, white and blue in the face.
~Clare Boothe Luce

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.
~ T.S. Eliot

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Post Turtle

I received this email today from my friend, Jennie and it made me giggle...

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President. The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle."
Not being familiar with the term,the doctor asked him what a post turtle was. The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."
The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. "You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with."

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Zealand #6

Ok, so my bad for not posting this one earlier, but here is the last of my New Zealand trip. If you want to read from the beginning, click here.

Hello All! Greetings from Tauranaga, New Zealand. I'm in a hostel right off the coast: I can smell the salt air and hear the ocean, and I can't believe I have to come home in 2 days... agh!

Anyways, yesterday afternoon I visited the Rotorua Museum and enjoyed the special exhibit of paintings "The Face" - a bunch of portraits ranging from 1400s to present day art. Very cool. Also in the museum was an exhibit about New Zealand's efforts during World War II which I had never known about (Sorry Kevin, they don't teach us NZ history in the States).

Afterwards I witnessed a Maori wedding and the traditional dress which was kind of cool, it was being held in the gardens of the Museum and I walked out into it accidently on purpose:) I would have been able to continue to watch but a group of English tourists also came over to watch and they weren't exactly quiet so we all were asked to leave. (SIDENOTE: I know people think Americans are the rudest travelers but in my experiences in the past two weeks, the Bristish run a very close second... everytime I've got a good angel on a photo or I'm enjoying a quiet moment or whatever... the damn British tourists come thundering through. They're also quite snotty and rude to Americans - I got attacked on my wine tasting tour about George Bush. I just ignored the guy b/c he was drunk but still. RUDE)

Then I walked down to the waterfront park where they were holding a charity concert. I'm not certain who the charity was but it seemed to be a big deal as there was 100s of people there. I had gotten in line to get drink and I placed my order and the guy behind me said, "Are you from the US?" in a voice that only a southern boy could have. He turned out to be from Panama City, Florida and he goes to the University of Florida... he was so excited to met someone else from the US. He's over here for his last semester and has been traveling about for 3 weeks - says he hasn't seen any other Americans. I think he's a tad bit homesick. He was also at the concert by himself so we hung out for the rest of the night. Nice Kid. The concert was for the finalists of the New Zealand Idol's first season so it was sugary pop music but at the end they had an amazing fireworks show. It was a charity but also in celebration of today which is Waitanga Day (I know I've misspelled that - sorry) which is kind of New Zealand day - the day they were given their rights. They had Maori dancers there so I was able to see Haka (pronounced huk - a) which is the Maori War Dance again which is exciting every time.

This morning I got up early and went to pick up my rental car ( yes, I gave up on the whole bus thing b/c I kept getting queasy and it would ruin my day plus the bus time tables were not cooperating with my desire to see as much as possible in the last couple of days). So I'm doing pretty well driving on the wrong side of the road... now if I could just remember that the blinker is on the other side and quit turning on my windshield wipers everytime I try to turn! But it's been nice to drive b/c I can stop at anytime. Plus I got a great deal - they needed the car back in Auckland by Tuesday morning so I only have to pay for the gas and insurance... no rental fee. Good stuff.


I left Rotorua and stopped at Hell's Gates... named by George Bernard Shaw... who must have been a big baby b/c I wasn't impressed. It was a gathering of thermal pools which were cool to see but not scary. It was on the way to Tauranga so it worked out well and I got some good pictures. Then I stopped at Kiwi360 which is a kiwi fruit farm and bought my lunch... yummie stuff.

Next was the town of Tauranga which is a seaside town and port. I dropped my stuff at the hostel and headed on to the town of Mr. Mauranga (again misspelling this but I don't have my book with me). It's the next town up the coast and has a mountain on the pennisula which you can hike. That was my plan but when I got to the beach entrance, there was a Surf Lifeguard Competition going on.... grandstands and everything so I stopped to watch that. It was so cool. I have never seen anything like that... the surf was huge and they were swimming in it like it was nothing! I stayed there for a couple of hours... just long enough to get a little color (I put on sunscreen every 30 minutes but the sun is INTENSE).
Then I tried to go on up the mountain but they had closed off the trails b/c the helicopters (ER and TV) for the competition were landing on the coast side so no dice there.

So I went back and drove out to McLaren Falls - had a nice little hike up to some very wimpy falls but still enjoyed myself with the scenery and the flowers.

Then I drove over to Minton Road Lookout which was AMAZING... you could see FOREVER. I drive past it tomorrow again on my way into Auckland so if it's clear I'm going to go back up there for hopefully some better pictures b/c this afternoon had gotten hazy.
And so now I'm back at the hostel and I'm about to go search for dinner. Tomorrow, I'm making my way back to Auckland up the Corramandel Pennisula (again, spelling) and whatever else catches my eye. One of the girls I met in Wellington lives there and she emailed me to met up for dinner so I guess that takes care of my last night here.
Alright folks, you'll probably hear from me one more time before I'm back on American soil. And just in case you missed it, The All Blacks won the Sevens Rugby Tournament which is a HUGE deal and all they're talking about here.

And the Simpsons trully is the most universal TV program... it's always on over here - every hostel I have stayed at, someone is always watching the Simpsons...

Love you all!
Lindsey:)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quote of the Day

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quote of the Day

People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing.
~Walter H. Judd

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Beware Women"

I received this email from my sister today:

Incident has been confirmed. In Katy , TX
A man came over and offered his services as a painter to a female putting gas in her car and left his card. She said no ,but accepted his card out of kindness and got in the car. The man then got into a car driven by another gentleman. As the lady left the service station, she saw the men following her out of the station at the same time. Almost immediately, she started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath. She tried to open the window and realized that the odor was on her hand; the same hand which accepted the card from the gentleman at the gas station.
She then noticed the men were immediately behind her and she felt she needed to do somethingat that moment. She drove into the first driveway and began to honk her horn repeatedly to ask for help. The men drove away but the lady still felt pretty bad for several minutes after she could finally catch her breath. Apparently, there was a substance on the card that could have seriously injured her. This drug is called 'BURUNDANGA ' and it is used by people who wish to incapacitate a victim in order to steal from or take advantage of them.
This drug is four times more dangerous than the date rape drug and is transferable on simple cards. So take heed and make sure you don ' t accept cards at any given time alone or from someone on the streets. This applies to those making house calls and slipping you a car d when they offer their services . PLEASE SEND THIS E-MAIL ALERT TO EVERY FEMALE YOU KNOW
.

I read the email and then read it again. Debated it in my head and then I forwarded it to my female friends... And I wonder. Is it true? Are these scary 'warning' forwards based in fact? How would I feel if I didn't send it to a friend and then something happened to one of them. How responsible would I feel?

Being aware is always best and knowing what to watch for is the best defense. I hate, absolutely hate, the idea of being afraid of life. It's not how I like to live... I refuse to be afraid in my own house, I refuse to not walk my dog alone at dusk because it might get dark, I refuse to be skittish when I'm alone. But I do stay aware.

So pass this along. Warn the women in your life. Don't be scared of life but do be aware.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Princess Luciana Pignatelli

Doesn't that just sound like a name of someone who leads a glamorous life?

It makes me think of yatchs, Monte Carlo, large sunglasses, perfect hair, and a sexy voice.

She was also the author of "The Beautifl People's Beauty Book" (note the irony of the title - if you're already beautiful, do you need a beauty book? Or does it mean this is how to get beautiful?). Inside is beauty advice by horoscope....

Aries must have frequent dental check-ups.
Taurus should marry a man of means.
Gemini, often the face is too long or the nose is too long or big.
Cancer tends to be lazy about beauty and should be encouraged to make the effort.
Leo, if ambitions are not fulfilled, can have difficult menopause.
Virgo remains surprisingly youthful despite hypochondriac tendency.
Libra rarely gets fat.
Sagittarius is torn between bright, amusing men who are good talkers and her desire for a solid social position.
Scorpio is hypersexual and often attracted to men who are her inferiors.
Capricorn is always well turned-out and insists on quality in clothes.
Aquarius is often slightly neurotic and with fragile health.
Pisces, feet are the weak point and pedicures essential.

*As usual, I stole this from another blog: A cup of Jo One day I promise to be original... until then I pass along what amuses and inspires me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quote of the Day

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
-Audrey Hepburn

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Daybook

I got this from one of my new favorite blogs to read: pilgrimsteps. She's a History PhD graduate student in my old California stompin' grounds, Orange County with a husband and two cute kids. She's a very talented and thoughtful writer. I thought it was a fun exercise.

I am wearing a black wrap dress over a white camisole. And impossibly high black croc heels. Of course.

I am reading a series of presidental biographies right now - I realized I didn't know much about the Johnson Administration when it was being referenced in another book so I started with him and now I'm working on Nixon. History class in school always seemed to stall out at WWII so I'm self-educating.

I am hearing Sugarland's new album and some construction noises from the warehouses behind us.

I am thankful to be moved into my new place... I still have some work to do but I'm sleeping there and it's beginning to feel like 'home'.

I am hoping for a productive work week and a good night with my DLS (he's supposed to come over after a month-long break).

I am creating a home and a life for myself in my small town. I cleaned my porches yesterday and next weekend I plan to tackle the yard. I've never done yardwork or planted flowers, etc. But I am determined to be a good tenant and neighbor and find pleasure in creating myself a place in this as an adult. I'm starting a supper club with some other 'young' people and my calendar is starting to fill up. I will be more than my job.

I am thinking about my goals... I have spoken with numerous people/advisors/mentors about where I need to go and what I need to do to get there. Now I need to decide my course, determine specific goals and a timeline, and focus on making my life be as I want it.

I have wonderful and caring parents who support and encourage me at all times. They took me to dinner last night and I had such a good time, talking and discussing events. I enjoy my relationship with them more than I can express - I enjoy them as individuals and I feel so thankful to have them as parents.

I am excited for the fall - it's my favorite time of the year! This fall is busy with weddings, babies and moving our business! I have so much I want to accomplish and I enjoy the development side of our business. I can't wait to bundle up for a football game and to feel the snap in the air as it gets colder.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason. ~Author Unknown

Politics as usual...

I am a frequent reader of Dooce.com - I've mentioned that on here before. I think the whole world reads her so that's not impressive in and of itself. Last week she commented on the Republican VP Nomination and her reaction to the ticket. And it got a lot of her readers talking. It's the first time that I've read through the comments section of her site. People were throwing out opinions, statistics, criticisms, and articles. I'm providing those links here becuase I've enjoyed reading them and learning more about the candidate from Alaska. Plus it's always nice to have your thoughts summed up by someone else in a clear and concise way!

Hilary Rosen's Commentary: Sarah Palin, right and wrong is intelligently written and points out the differences in the standards McCain/Palin hold for themselves versus what they believe in acceptable for others in this country.

Maureen Dowd's (my favorite!) article in the NY Times Opinion Section, Vice in Go-Go Boots compares the Republican Ticket to an unrealistic chick flick. It hits a couple of points home and also hits upon the point of the insulting expectation that women will vote for McCain/Palin just to have a woman in the White House.

I am, of course, not as left as any of those listed above. I don't want entitlement programs, the government anywhere near healthcare, and I believe that if we all were responsible and contributing members of society (including corporations) then we wouldn't need widespread government programs becuase we'd all be taking care of our own.

But I can't forget being verbally attacked by a British Man while in New Zealand a couple of years ago after George W. won his second term... I'd very much like to travel abroad as an American and not be thought of as stupid, selfish, close minded and uncaring. We've got a long way to go in our foreign relations and I know McCain isn't the person for the job.

I am really enjoying the conversations and attention paid to this election - yes, it's historic for many reasons as whichever ticket wins will bring a first to the White House. And it's exciting to hear of people who haven't ever registered and/or voted say they are going to participate in our electorial process for the first time. The average age of the voting population will,hopefully, decrease. The amount of peopling voting will hopefully increase, making this election truly more representative of the country overall. It's a lot to take in and think about as the election nears and I know this won't be the last post but I promise not to let it take over my world either.

Anyways, all the above was thought provoking for me and I enjoy passing along intelligent and well-written opinions, so read, enjoy, argue, think and most importantly, VOTE!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

My bad. My bad.

So I kind of took the week off last week, I didn't give much warning either. I sorry.

Between the holiday weekend, trying to move and going out of town for a work retreat, I wasn't at my desk very much. Which was really nice but I am paying for it today... such as it is. Trying to catch-up is never much fun.

But I am MOVED IN!!! So nice.

The only thing I have left to do is get my t.v. set up but I have to buy a new cable so that probably won't happen until this weekend. I'm such a girl. Although, my slackerness has caused me to miss the Republican Convention, the premier of 90210 (the remake) and the VMAs. I might need to bump it up on the priority list - especially if something major happens on "The Hills" tonight....

I love my house... although, it's got a lot more space than I need or thought. I'll grow into, I know. And there's always an adjustment period. It sure is nice to have my stuff again. My mom and I kept pulling things out of the attic and the basement. It was like, "oh yeah, that's mine". It was great!

I'll take pictures soon and post them.

Quote of the Day

I do not believe that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.
--Jane Addams, in a speech to the Chicago Political Equality League in 1897

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most --
After three I'm under the table,
After four, I'm under my host."
-- Dorothy Parker.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Quote of the Day

A positive attitude might not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
-- Anonymous

Change.

As some of you know, I am a walking contradiction when it comes to my political stances and beliefs. Taking a firm stance on anything is a hard thing for me to do when it comes to the big picture of running our country, mainly because my values are in contradiction of one another. I describe myself as being in the middle...


I believe in fiscal responsibility while having a large amount of social compassion. I hate to watch others suffer and I believe children should not be neglected as a result of their parent's choices. Yet, I don't believe in picking up the tab for the rest of the world or continuing to reward people for being lazy or irresponsible with their lives.


I work for my family's business - for almost 30 years I have watched my parents work long hours and give up family days, holidays, and change their plans for the benefit of the business. It is the life they (and now, I) have chosen. Working for yourself has many advantages and I recognize those as well. It has always been a good business with solid financial rewards, yet it's hard to watch and hear them work hard to have a huge percentage of their earnings be taken by the government in the form of taxes on an annual basis.


It's hard to sit in our planning and business development "meetings" (a.k.a. the dinner table) and hear my father say time and time again, "If we can't make money while doing the right thing and treat our people well, then we shouldn't be doing this" - Only to wake the next day to another story about Wal-Mart's profits beside a different article about it's explotation of the public welfare/healthcare system. We provide all of our full-time employees with insurance and retirement. When we give bonuses, all employees (including part time) get a piece of the pie, based off of the hours they have worked for the past year. If we're able to do this and continue to operate, then shouldn't larger corporations with more resources and better operations also be able to make this happen?


So when I am asked the question, "Isn't it Wal-Mart's(insert any other public corporation as you will - I personally hate Wally-World) sole responsibility to answer solely to their shareholders and make the biggest profit possible?" My answer is a resounding NO.

We all share this world and we all have the responsibility to be good citizens. There are countless exampes of companies that operate in the black and make a strong profit without basing every decision on the bottom line. Off the top of my head Chick-fil-A, Google, Patagonia, Columbia, Cliff Bars come to mind... and I know there are more out there!

The Wal-Mart's of this world have the power and the influence to help make a positive change in our country... they can help enable the benefit of healthcare reaching the masses. Think of what would happen if they took on the insurance industry like they do their other vendors, insisting that they decrease their prices by 5% on an annual basis. Affordable healthcare wouldn't just be a dream.

Reading over proposals made by either of the candidates, I'm uncertain of what is actually doable. I don't agree 100% with either one on everything and I have issues which directly affect me and my career (Nationalized Health Care!?!? Oh, dear. PLEASE NO!) so it's hard to know which way to go for all of my concerns.

Inspiration and charisma are a huge part of the election process... and as I watched the Democratic National Convention fill the stadium in Denver last night. I saw a wide range of people... a mix of races, ages and experiences. I was caught up in the historical impact of the moment and I was moved by the voice of reason that spoke of compromise and understanding. The rational expectation for all of us to meet in a place of agreement so positive changes can happen in our country:

"We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort." (Barack Obama's acceptance speech, 2008).

That was the moment in the speech (near the end) that sold me on him, the rational and logical step away from party idealism to a middle ground where most Americans feel comfortable.

So when I consider the last eight years of my life, the first eight years of my adult life... I have to admit that no decision of mine has ever been made solely on the bottom line. Life decisions are never just about one factor - they include emotions, logic, experience, cost, benefit, and alternatives. Following my own precident, I can't make the decision to vote solely with my pocketbook.

Therefore as the presidential election approaches and it comes time to vote, even though I favor lower taxes and a smaller federal government, I am going to place my ballot for Barack Obama and take a chance on hope and change.

New Zealand #5

Here is the next installment of my New Zealand trip, to read from the beginning, go here.

Hello all!

Greetings from Rotorua! (or Roto-Vegas as the locals call it)


The one tourist trap in New Zealand, this town is all hotels and resturants and gift shops. And it smells - like rotten eggs.


It's the country's thermal park and it's actually really cool to see the steam and rocks and all that. I was told it was a must see and I'm gald I came.


After a very rainy and dodgy bus trip up from Napier, I was feeling a little queasy (gotta love motion sickness) but as soon as I got some fresh air and food I was ok. I checked into my hostel and did laundry (woohoo!) so that I'd have something clean to wear. I went down to the information center and ran into two girls who had been on my wine tasting tour, so we went to have lunch. They are very nice (one's a Kiwi and one's an Aussie - they worked together in Europe for Contiki Tours) and invited me to travel on with them to Taraunga (which is actually my next stop) but I had already settled in at the hotel and made plans for last night so I'm catching up with them tomorrow for the beach part of my trip.


After walking about and checking out the lake, I went back and showered for the "dinner and show" that Kevin & Abbey had told me about. I was very wary of this DisneyWorld-esque set up but The Tamaki Tour "A Living Maori Village Experience" was actually very entertaining and the food wasn't half bad (Mom, you'd be proud of me: I ate the Kumara which is NZ's version of a sweet potato and it wasn't half bad). We had a very entertaining bus driver - he had the bus singing different songs from the different countries... I learned Chile's national athem - I'm sure that will come in handy sooner or later. The show was also fun and seemed to very authentic. They explained the different games and dances and songs of their culture which I found interesting. The "chief" was extremely well spoken and very elegant. Then at dinner I sat with a guy from Spain and an older lady from England (very grand dame type - when asked where she lived, she said "on the river" meaning the Thames as if there was no other river in the world - she was a hoot, especially after her third glass of wine). The guy from Spain was also funny b/c he's still working on his english (although he did really well) and would use funny words or tenses to describe things. We had a good time. One thing I've noticed is that no one introduces themselves by their name, unless you ask. Otherwise you're the "american" or the "spainard" - it kind of weird.


This morning I woke up to another foggy day and I went the Polynesian Spa which is where they have captured the hot springs in one area and turned into a bathing area and spa. I enjoyed a thermal mud treatment and some time in the pools. If they could do something about the smell it would be better but it was way better than any other hot springs I've been to! (Not to mention there's no hike before hand - Hot Springs at Edison anyone?)


So, this afternoon, I'm going to the local museums ( I know you all think I'm the biggest nerd but the museums are well done and they are generally free!)


And tonight there are concerts on the lake starting at around 4pm because tomorrow is New Zealand day... I've been told it's no big deal but they're doing things here so we'll see.
Anyways, tomorrow I'm off to the beaches (white sand ones this time) and I'll let you all know when I arrive.


Lots of Love! Kia Ora!
Lindsey

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Funny.

I love this girl... she cracks me up.

This post about men and their lack of perception hits the nail on the head. Click on it for a good laugh.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Zealand #4

Next installment on the New Zealand trip, to read from the beginning, go here.

Hello All! Be prepared... this one is a long one!

It's a little after 10pm here and I still have to pack up as I'm heading out to Rotorua tomorrow morning. It's been a nice stay at the prison but I'm getting out on parole!
I have really enjoyed Napier and seeing this part of the country. It's been foggy and misty throughout the early mornings and evenings - there's about 1 hour of sunshine in the afternoons... but the temperature is nice and the scenery is dramatic. I love the fact at night that I as I'm going to sleep, I can here the waves crashing on the beach down below. The prison is up on a hill above the town and it's got a great view - unfortunately at the end of the day or night you have to hike it up the hill.

Yesterday, I got up and was given a lovely tour of my 'home' - the prison, the hostel owners gave it and have actually done a lot of research about the people who were held here and why they were imprisoned. Kind of interesting... kind of scary too. There were two other American girls here the first night but they left yesterday b/c they kept getting freaked out. I've been tired enough to keep the imagination in check.

Then I walked into town and ate at a cafe... I've enjoyed trying the different pies and pasteries they have here. I did the first half of the Art Deco tour and enjoyed reading about the buildings and how the town rebuilt itself after the earthquake (Lauren, I needed you to actually point out the things in the buildings that I was reading about). Then I took a break and went to the Marineland where they have a penguin rescue program... Not as elaborate as SeaWorld or whatever but I got to feed and hold the penguins and pet a New Zealand fur seal. (I knew I'd get my seals in on this trip!)

They had an Ice Cream shop here called "Lick This" (only in NZ do they get away with these graphic company names - the other one that's be great has been the phone company : Phone S.E.X. 0-800-FOREPLAY) and they sold the new Zealand Ice Cream flavor "hokey pokey" - I had heard much about this ice cream and I just had to try it. This was also within the hour or so that the sun was teasing to come out so I got a cone. It was a lovely vanilla ice cream with golden syrup frozen and mixed in it... I can't really describe it but it was good. You folks will have to come and try it yourself... it's only found in New Zealand. That's one thing that's very cool about this country... Kiwis are very proud people and they want to share what's theirs with you and they want you to like it as much as they do. The Ice Cream shop girl was very excited that I liked the ice cream and the bartenders have been very pleased when I've tried and liked their beer suggestions (although I have to admit that Kevin's Macs Gold is the best so far).

So after Marineland, I set off the complete the second half of the Art Deco tour and I enjoyed that.... walking around the city and getting a feel for it was cool. So I ended up at the Art Deco museum but everything closes up around 5PM which is something I haven't gotten used to at all! And when I say everything, I mean only resturants and pubs are open (and they all shut down between 2PM and 5PM). It's different from home and can be kind of frustrating but it's not a bad thing... I think it would be nice to be off at 5PM consistently sometimes and they also charge a surtax if they are open on the public holidays... sounds like a plan huh?

Ok, so I grabbed a bottle of water and headed back up towards my hostel with plans to climb the Bluff Hill when I hear some one whistling and catcalling in my direction. Lucky for me and them that I actually looked up to see my friends Kevin and Abbey across the road. They had spent the earlier part of the week (after leaving me in Wellington) in Auckland sorting out Kevin's Visas and whatnot (He is now a proud legal Alien of the U.S. - God help us all) then decided to head to Napier b/c Abbey had never seen this part of the country. Then they got my email and saw that I was here too!

I have to admit, as much as I'm loving being by myself and doing exactly what I want, it was nice to see two friendly smiling faces.

So, I ran (very carefully) across the road and we made plans to met up the next morning.
Then I continued on my hike up the bluff hill... and let me tell you. When a Kiwi says somehting is an 'easy trek' - Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT listen to them... these are the people who think nothing of playing football without pads and calling it rugby (I know that's not totally true but go with the story here). The hike up the hill was straight up and although the flora and the fauna was quite lovely, when you have sweat rolling down your head, blinding you, you really just don't enjoy it. Seriously, it was a nice and challenging hike and the reward was worth it, the evening fog was rolling it and it was cool to sit and watch the change. Afterwards, I made it back to my hostel, ate something, showered and rolled into bed.

Only to be awoken the next morning by the sound of Abbey's voice in the hallway... now, we had made plans for them to pick me up and go to breakfast, I was actually in that half asleep mode where you're tormenting yourself, telling yourself to get out of the bed... when I here Abbey's distinct American voice in the hall. So I laughed and shouted at them that they were early, rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes and a baseball cap and went to breakfast. No one except vacationing Americans wear baseball caps, so be prepared if you come here, that is a dead give away.

We ate at a great cafe - I had a cheese scone and tea... I'm fitting in quite nicely and I had a lovely time:)We were planning to go to Cape Kidnappers but we hadn't done our research and didn't know you had to plan the trip around the tides... just like we're on Blackbeards huh Dad?

Anyways, we came back to town and I went to the history museum while Kevin and Abbey headed to the National Park up the road a bit. Again, me being a nerd but the museum was fantastic... another thing about New Zealanders... they are proud of their country and their histroy. Napier is the hometown of gold medalist in Athens, two sisters who row together and I have been told that so many times, it just makes you want to scream!

And after a quick bite at a cafe, I was off on my wine tour...

And I would tell you about it if I could remember it...

as one fo the ladies at the cellars said, New Zealand is a thirsty country so they believe in big "sips" - thank goodness I did a tour and had a driver. No no no, I'm kidding... but they do have some fantastic wines and they don't export the best ones so it was cool to try them here. And they all have a story and history which I just eat up.

After I again treked it up the hill to my hostel and had a shower, Kevin and Abbey once again found me for dinner... we went to a great resturant on the port and I got to face the window and the sea while they had a lovely view of the docks! Whatever, do not feel sorry for them... they sat down first! And after a lovely meal, we got to dessert!

I order a brandy basket... which I was thinking was like a tart cup made of syrup with the ice cream inside of it.. not so much and soooooo much better... it was ice cream with granny somethings rolled up with cream inside of it, topped with russian fudge. (PS. I don't know why I've never had Russian fudge before but I have been neglected as a child and a sweet tooth and I'm complaining now!) I got them to trade the berry sauce for a chocolate sauce and I was in heaven... It was really rich but I enjoyed every bite of it. Abbey had some banana thing and Kevin just sat there while we stuffed our faces... he was very good at resisiting temptation.

I could make fun of them for finding me and I told them I was going to but it was good to get to spend some more time with them ( I mean, I did fly all the way around the world for their wedding! teasing teasing, you know I'm glad I came.) plus they've given me a lot of great suggestions of places to go and things to do - nothing they've suggested has been bad yet! So good on ya!

That would be my favorite Kiwi Expression... "Good on Ya' it basically means "good for you" and I had heard it a million times at camp but I had forgotten it and an American voice just can't do it as well as a Kiwi accent so it's good to hear it here again.

Alright folks, I'm wiped and I'm heading to bed so I can make my bus in the morning. Sorry, I know this one was long but I've been doing a lot and my feet hurt just writing about all the walking I've done:)

When you next here from me, I shall be in Rotorua (pronounced "ro-toe" "ru-ah" - it took me a while to get that)

Love you all!
Lindsey

Quote of the Day

I believe that everything happens for a reason,People change so that you can learn to let go,things go wrong so you can appreciate themwhen they're right, you believe lies so youeventually learn to trust noone but yourself,and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
-Marilyn Monroe

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Zealand #3

Here's email #3 from New Zealand - I'm still looking for pictures but I'll get them up here, I promise. To start with the first email, click here.

February 1, 2005:
Hello everyone.
I know you all were wondering when you would get to hear from me again and here I am!

I have made my way up the Pacific/East Coast of New Zealand to Napier and I'm settled into my hostel which is an old prison... I kid you not. It's very unique. I think I'll have as many pictures of the hostel as I will of the town. My "room" is actually a cell and it's called the conjugal unit b/c it has a double bed... I thought I was going to die as the girl was taking me to my room. I have a padlock for the door. It's crazy. The room across from mine is the "pysche unit" - they really take this whole thing to an extreme... there are bars on the windows... it's great.

It has started to rain which was a lot of fun walking from the bus station to my hostel... thank god my backpack is waterproof. But I made it ok.

Napier is a gorgeous seaside town which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1931 so the town was completely rebuilt 1931-1933 so there is a strong Art Deco influence, Frank Lloyd Wright's style of architecture and the whole great Gatsby feel (lauren, you'd love it here!). I'm spending three nights here (mom - that's a change in the plan) because I wanted to see the town and the wineries so I'll leave here early Friday morning for Rotorua - I've been told it's a real tourist trap so I cut out a day there and added one here. I think I'm going to be glad I did that.

So anyways, finishing up Wellington... yesterday morning I got up and went on the Red Rocks Walk - there were no seals but I had a blast. I did that early in the morning to avoid the sun (burn time here is 12 minutes). I hope I got some good pictures. Again I could see the South Island which I just find really cool. After catching the bus back to town, I went to Te Papa which is the large museum... there was SO much there but I had a good time. It was alot about the history and settlement and the Maori people and their history - I'm such a nerd but I spent a lot of time in the history section b/c I enjoyed learning about the history down here. I've never studied it or read anything about (well, other than what's in the Lonely Planet). So I spent about 5 1/2 hours there before I reached overload and took off.

I walked down to the Queen's Wharf and took some pictures of the bay... It had gotten really windy and there were sailboats out. The GlobalChallenge2004-2005 was in the harbor and I haven't looked up what it was but there were tons of sailboats sponsored by companies like Sony and BP. I'm interested to find out what it's about.

I had made plans with some of the girls in the hostel for drinks and dinner so I went back to the hostel to change and met up with them. We went to a cafe down the street called Coyote (another Kevin & Abbey suggestion) and it was great. I order the soup of the day... I thought the waittress said potato... and I got a tomato soup instead - good thing I like both of them. That whole pesky accent thing. So we ate dinner and then hung out for a while... I had put on my baseball cap b/c the wind had been so bad and my hair was a mess. I did not know that was a completely "American" thing to do... but people came up to me in the bar b/c I had it on and identified me as American. We ran into some guys from Colorado... they were nice. Most people are over here b/c they're studying somewhere but their school term doesn't start until mid-Feb.

The bus ride up here wasn't too bad... today was kind of a waste b/c of the timing of it all. My bus left at 11AM and got here at 6PM (later than supposed to b/c of the rain) but I've learned my lesson and I'll take the early bus from now on. That way I won't waste any more full days traveling. The rest of the trip is better spaced for bus travel anyway, nothing more than 3hours. So it shouldn't happen again.

Anyways, I've got to go find some food and I think that means a walk to town so I need to head out - not that I have to worry about daylight... the sun won't set for at least another 2 hours since it's only 7:30PM.

Love you all! And I'll keep you posted on sleeping in the prison:)
Lindsey

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcome to the World Baby Girl!!!

Or in my parents' case, the 21st Century...

It was a pleasant surprise last Friday to come home to find that my parents had redone their home phone contract to include Caller ID AND Call Waiting!!!

People, this is HUGE!!!

My Mother HATES call waiting - if you put her on hold, she will hang up on you. Or at least, she hangs up on her children. Sometimes she's a little more patient with others so she might let you get away with it once or twice before she starts hanging up on you.

But I think the real kicker is going to be watching her operate the phone when she has someone break in on the call - I kind of freaked out when it happened to me the other night. I couldn't remember which button to push ("Flash") so I hit a bunch of different ones until it came to me (please, people, my parents just got this service, it's not like it was avaliable to me growing up and I've only had a cell phone for about 8 years at this point!!!).

As for Caller ID, the whole point is to be able to see who is calling in order to decide whether or not you want to answer the phone - well, I can see there is going to be a learning curve on this one. I still hadn't convince my mom to use her voice mail in this way so I doubt she'll adjust quickly to waiting until the 2nd or 3rd ring to see who is calling.

Really, I guess the real question is how long has it been since they redid their phone contract for it now to be a part of the basic package AND why do they even still have a home phone?!?! (Those are questions for another day and another time).

New Zealand #2

2005 Trip to New Zealand, to read the first entry, go here.

January 30, 2005
Ok,
First things First... let me apologize to me mum... I thought my parents still used the email that I had in my address book. So now I have added her and all will be well when I return home (I LOVE YOU MOM!)

For those of you who are over 25 I do not reccommend hostel traveling... I feel ancient here. But I don't plan on spending too much time here so no biggie... it was really cheap. And the Aveda products are quite nice (no Taddy, I still won't share) in the girls' dorm (appropriately entitled "The Sanctuary")

I've added the bride and the groom to the email so I have to say nice things but I'll give ya'll the real dirt when I get home. I'm teasing of course, the wedding was wonderful!
We met up with the bridal party at the nail salon on Friday and I'm happy to say that they do nails here the same way as home - I have bright red toes now:) Which is a good thing because I'm planning on wearing my flipflops as much as possible since it's SO HOT here.
After the nail party we headed to Tatum Park which is a scout camp where the wedding was being hosted... beautiful farm like setting with an old farm house and everything. I thought it was great. The wedding was held under a canopy of trees at 3:30 on Saturday and there was the perfect amount of sun and shade. It was warm but not HOT. Afterwards, hor d'eavors (SP?) were held on the lawn and then we moved inside for a dinner and reception.
(Side note: I spent a very typcial NZ day on Saturday... at least as far as my meals were concerned. I woke up, ate an egg and bacon pie, had fish & chips for lunch as a picnic and then dinner of a roast lamb. )
The food at the reception was wonderful! I'm glad I tried the lamb because it was delicious. We drank local wine - I tried the red and the white but enjoyed the refreshing white more. Plus I feared a red wine headache in the morning.
The reception became quite lively with a huka (traditional New Zealand Maori War Dance - you have to see it to believe it) and a round of alouetta - if a Kiwi ever offers to do that at any of your wedding receptions and you are uncertain.. just say no. Or depending on how much you've had to drink, say yes and brace yourself!
It was a lot of fun and I had a blast. And I've got some great pictures to show the bride and groom.
Friday was the rehersal and dinner - they threw some meat on the barbie... Dad, you'll have to teach these guys how to grill for real whenever they make their way to GA.

Today we had a brunch of poached eggs and baked tomatoes, toast with vegemite and wedding cake! Yummie!
Then, I hitched a ride with the bride and groom (they insisted!) and came on to Wellington. We drove down the West Coast into Wellington and after viewing the turquoise waters of the Tasman Sea, I was able to spot the South Island across the straight. That's was cool. We thought about pictures but I am beginning to accept my limitations as a photographer.
After I checked into my hostel and explored my room, Abbey and Kevin treated me to lunch at a local outdoor cafe... all the resturants here have outdoor seating (probably b/c the sun shines until about 10PM and I mean SHINES!) We ate a traditional Americans visiting NZ meal: PIZZA!
But I tried another NZ Beer at lunch, Mac Gold which I quite enjoyed (and for the note about Tui, I was informed by some of my more uppity NZ friends that it was "shit" beer - so much for that - they compared it to Coors Light, etc. - I've drank Coors Light... Tui is much better but is obviously not well thought of.) Mac Gold is a quiet secret that Kiwi's prefer to keep to themselves and much better.
After lunch, the bride and groom headed home to clean... sounds like a fun honeymoon, huh?

I took a deep breath and set out on my own... I navigated through Wellington to find the historic cable car which I rode to the top of the city for a spectacular view of the habor and the city. Then I took the "downhill" walk back to the city through the Wellington Botanical Gardens. This is the perfect time of year for that excursion because everything is in full bloom. Agian, I wish I was a better photographer but I'm doing the best I can... hopefully it will capture the feeling. I ended up in the city's original cemetary and enjoyed seeing the stones. Then I stumbled out onto a street and what did I see? Oh, just the TEXAS flag flying proudly in front of home in a posh residential area... them Texans, they just don't ever give up. I took a picture, it was just too much.
It was about 6PM when I finished my walk (although you would never know it according to the sun) and I decided since I had no clue where I was, I might want to find my hostel. So, having the great sense of direction I have, I started walking in the WRONG direction.... fortunately there are signs everywhere and I quickly turned myself around. I did take a picture of their honeycomb buidling for you Lauren, it's right beside the Parliament and is one of the gov't buidlings - they were both closed since it's Sunday.
I walked back towards the main part of the city, decided I might want to get something to eat so I went into a Sushi resturant... I must say, it was a good choice. The sushi was being freshly prepared at the end of the bar and placed on plates which were then placed on a kind of belt which went around the counter so the food was literally being put in front of your face. And it moved fast too! If you didn't grab it quick, you had to wait for it to come back around to get it and by that point, something else had caught your eye. I had a great dinner of shrimp, salmon and tempura oysters. They don't lack for great seafood here, that's for certain.

After dinner, I came back to the hostel to do laundry and met the girls that are staying in the same room as I am. One is an architecture student from Auckland here for school - she's taking a 6 week course, I'll have to ask her again but I think she said it had to do with carvings... maybe not architecture related. The other is a English girl who just graduated from Uni... I love that expression - she's been down here for about 5 months... just bumming around. I invited her to go out with me the Red Rocks Beach but I'm planning on getting up around 7AM (which is when the buses start running) and when I said that, she kind of squirmed and said she normally didn't get about of bed until about 9. I know you all are thinking that there is no way I've been getting up... but the time change (Georgia is about 6 hours ahead) plus the light difference has been waking me up early so I'm generally going about 7am. Which is great when you have 2 weeks to do as much as you can in a country that can take months. So I'll see if she comes along... it's a little bit of a trek. I decided against the whale watching excursion (thanks Leah) as I started to get really nervous about having to depend on perfect strangers if I did get sick. Plus I was told I can see the same thing if I go on this walk. So I want to get on up and out before it gets too hot and then spend the afternoon in the Te Papa museum which is supposed to be amazing!

I just finished seeing Finding Neverland at the Empress Theatre... one of the great old theatres here in Wellington... gorgeous marble and old style seating. The atmosphere was great and I highly reccommend the movie as well. Enjoyed it completely!

Kevin & Abbey - thanks for all the suggestions, I am really enjoying my stay.

Ok, this is long and I've run out of time.
I love you all and will write more later!
Linse:)