Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Coincidence? Or is it us?

Ever go through one of those times when you feel like everything you own is broken? You know, one of those times when you wish you could just get rid of everything and live the simple life because everything's gotten so high-maintenance? We are in one of those phases at our house this week. I'm not sure if I came to this conclusion last night when I looked out the back window just in time to see Brent break the top step of the deck in two, or if it happened when I put on my dress for work this morning and saw that the grease spot I paid the dry cleaner $15 to remove was still there. Maybe it was when the cord of the living room blinds snapped last night, leaving them hanging at an awkward slant. Or it could have been the recall notice I received in the mail yesterday on my practically brand-new Malibu that will require at least a two-hour appointment on my day off. It also might have been when I made my weekly To-Do List, and when I wrote "Vacuum", thought, "Oh nope, can't do that...the vacuum won't suck up any dirt." Or maybe when I came into the driveway this evening and remembered that I need to call the landscaper about my dead hydrangea and cash in that six month warranty. Thank goodness it's not major stuff, like electricity and air conditioning.

Seriously people...stuff is such a waste of time. I'm all for selling everything to the poor and hitting the road with some band. Who's with me?

What, that's not a stable thing to do?

Dang it. In that case, I better go to work at repairing some of these things. Maybe I can get the gutters fixed before it rains again....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Girls' Weekend!

Ashley, Becca, Laura, Mel and I met in Southwest Michigan on Friday for a weekend of relaxation and wine tasting. We rented a cottage in Union Pier and had plans to go to a wine festival at Wego Beach on Saturday. There was a problem with the TV in Cottage 13 which was annoying to Laura and Mel who were there all day on Friday while it poured down rain. Long story short, we ended up getting the cottage next door for free in addition to #13, so we had lots of room to spread out. Very nice!

Here we are at The Stray Dog for a late Friday night dinner. The "poor man's Salty Dog", as Mel would say. The place was crowded with weekenders and it was a good start to the trip. We considered buying matching t-shirts that said "SIT!" and "STAY!" on the back, but decided to not be ridiculous. But if Bonnie could only read, I may have reconsidered the shirt...

Our cottages...

The cottage Ashley, Becca and I shared from the inside...really cute!

Preparing our sunbathing spots after a long walk up and down the beach Saturday morning. On said walk, we passed a woman who said, "Look at all these beautiful bodies on the beach!" Thanks! But...hey...wait a minute...why do we only hear that from people who are 80+??

After shoving back some Redamak burgers and fried fixin's, ice cream seemed like a good idea Saturday afternoon. Please excuse my camera...there's something going on with it.

Ugh...oink is right! Immediately after this we headed back for a nap.

Here we are Saturday evening at the wine fest, which was our main event of the weekend. After the 3,000 calorie lunch and afternoon nap, we got there pretty late. It was a huge bust after we realized that the $10 cover got us absolutely zero wine to taste, but whatever. Turns out there are some pretty skunky wines in Michigan, but there were a few hidden gems as well.

We ate Mexican to top off our eating day...and thus our Wine Weekend officially turned into Obesity Saturday.

We had a great time playing cards, catching up, picking at each other, and laughing. I love these girls so much! Where to next summer, ladies??

It's been awhile since the pup has been on the blog. I think she was glad I was home. I like to think she doesn't want me to leave again and that this is her way of stopping me. Right.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Santa Came to My House...

...and didn't leave coal.

I'M A CPA!!!! I'M A CPA!!!! I'M A CPA!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Wedding-Themed Weekend...

Last week seemed out of control to me around here...lots going on at work and long, excruciating grad classes on top of it. Luckily I had some fun planned for the weekend to get me through. On Friday night we went out to dinner with Rachel and Justin at Granite City in Carmel. Very good! Here we are with our Northern Light Lager, and Justin's...sorry Justin, I can't remember the name of your beer. Starts with a 'B'. Brent got his meal for free since it came out 10 minutes after everyone else's and apparently had been set at another table...so if he comes down with something we'll know it's because someone with Swine Flu picked through his food.

On Saturday my cousin Kyle got married in Illinois. All my mom's siblings and most of their families were there, and it was good to spend time with them since we don't do it often enough. There was a cookout in Hord that evening (the wedding/reception was in the afternoon) and I hear that BIG FUN was had by all, but I wouldn't know because I was already on my way home to Indy. Lori and Co. and my parents all stayed at MaMa's, so more fun was had at the sleepover afterwards. I did get a prank call from Baleigh at 1:30 last night, something about a dog food survey, so I guess I wasn't totally left out. You know I hate to miss any of the action.

I believe Uncle Bob just got done saying something to Landon that he found particularly funny. Bob and Landon have formed a quick bond in the handful of days they've spent together. When Landon said his prayers at night, he used to always pray for Lavella (his babysitter) and Uncle Bob. I'm sure he's added people to his list since last fall.

This ring bearer was hilarious and kept us entertained throughout the ceremony. He kept dropping the pillow, wiping his nose on it, etc. When the pastor asked for the rings and the best man handed them over, the ring bearer started looking down at the pillow and then back at his dad. He really thought he had the rings. "What the heck????" He decided he was done after realizing it was all a scam and sat down in the pews.

This morning I met Ashley and Audrey downtown at their hotel and we had a mini girls' day 'o fun! Andrew was a groomsman in a wedding this afternoon so Ashley and Audrey had some time to kill. We went to breakfast at Le Peep and did some shopping. That Audrey...what a pumpkin head...!!

She's in her party dress, the flower is in place, and she's ready for some wedding hors d'oeuvres!

This coming week is big. I have a midterm on Wednesday night and another one on Thursday. On Tuesday I am interviewing the director of a not-for-profit that assists homeless veterans. Turns out I'm doing their marketing plan as part of my class! Yikes. Wish me luck with that. But the biggest event is that CPA scores for the last testing window are predicted to come out on Wednesday night between eight and midnight. This is my last one, remember, so in three days I could be home free with that hideous exam. If I didn't pass I'm definitely going to need a mental health day on Thursday since I will be in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Just kidding. I can't wait until Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Fried Chicken Skin, Please...

Brent and I took off on a little trip this weekend because 1.) it was my birthday and I am the May Queen, 2.) Direct flights out of Cincinnati to Charleston were super cheap, and 3.) There is a lot of good food to be had in Georgia's Low Country and it was high-time I got my hands on some of it. So...we packed our elastic-waisted pants into a couple carry-ons and headed for Savannah!

I won't lie...the main objective of this weekend trip was eating. Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House, The Lady and Sons (Paula Deen's restaurant), and Elizabeth on 37th were in 1,000 Places to See in the U.S. and Canada and I really wanted to try them all.
Mrs. Wilkes' is only open Monday through Friday from 11:00-2:00, and since our flight was delayed we didn't get in line until 1:15 Friday and were about the last people allowed in the restaurant at 2:01. Perfect timing, Delta...phew!
It's a one-room restaurant with 4 big tables - two 8-seaters and two that hold 12. When you're shooed into the building, you sit down to bowl after bowl of straight-up Southern food. A platter of hot fried chicken was passed and there was another platter piled with the best biscuits ever to melt in my mouth. Excellent. I could have left after this and been a happy woman.

But instead of leaving, we ate some more. That night we tried the Chart House, a seafood place on Bay Street across from our hotel. We waited the extra time to get a table outside on the river and were pleased with the food and atmosphere. Two for two.
The next morning we got in line at Paula Deen's to place our reservation with the outside hostess. Here's how it works - to be guaranteed a spot you have to get in line at 9:30 a.m. and tell the hostess what time you want to eat. Then you have to come back 15 minutes prior to your time and wait across the street for your name to be called. Ohhhhhkay....sounds pretty precious, eh? We did this, and after our name was called we were assigned to a floor of the restaurant and then assigned a card with the type of table we would occupy. Floor 3, high-top bar table in case you're interested. We were then shooed into an elevator and finally, finally were seated at our chosen table. Wow. What a process.
Here we all are, waiting with great anticipation for our names to be called from the other side of the street...
Here's where this story gets scandalous, so hang on. I headed up to the buffet to see what all this fuss was about. What I found was your classic Southern fare - fried chicken, potatoes, grits, beans, collard greens, etc. Okay, fine, great. What I tasted next you will never, never guess...
I tried the chicken...yum! I tried the grits...fine, not great. The beans...eh. The hoe cakes...great! The cheddar biscuits...Red Lobster's are better. And when I tried the potatoes................

Paula Deen serves instant potatoes at her famed restaurant where people go through all that rigamaroll to sit down and eat lunch! Shameful. I would write a letter, but broadcasting this on the internet is probably enough. And trust me, I'm sure they were instant. I know my way around a pile of mashed potatoes.

The sweet tea was good though. I drank about 3 gallons last weekend. I'm in sweet tea detox this week.

In news unrelated to eating...

Here's a shout-out to my Methodist peeps! John Wesley founded Methodism in Savannah.

And here's a shout-out to my Illinios peeps! You all know you love Casimir Pulaski on that one day each year when you don't have to go to school...

The Mercer House from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

The fountain at Forsythe Park

Outside of Elizabeth's on the night of my birthday. Best....meal...ever. Even better than Mrs. Wilkes'.

On Sunday we went to Tybee Island on our way up to Charleston. We had eaten enough in Savannah and decided it was time for a new scene. We soaked up some rays on the beach, because we are both so good at that. In truth, my SPF 70 suncreen was so thick I think I all but ruined my black leather purse from my suncreen rubbing off on it. Waaaaa-waaaaa.

Here's The Crab Shack on Tybee, where Savannah's "Elite eat in their barefeet". I bet they could also have one of those feet snapped off by one of the many alligators on the property. You can feed them for $3. Pretty wild place.

Does this guy remind you of anyone? "Dude, get your exit buddy!" I've got my 20th glass of sweet tea in hand.

We visited Drayton Hall, an old plantation outside of Charleston on Sunday. Kind of a disappointment, but neat nonetheless.

One of the many beautiful homes in the historic district of Charleston.

My 26th birthday was great! The May Queen is satisfied and it's now time to put away the phrase "It's my birthday month!" Until next year....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Christa's Baby Shower

Last Thursday we threw a baby shower for Christa who is due to have a little girl in early July. We planned to have a luncheon in the park, but I was actually relieved when the forecast called for rain considering all the stuff we would have had to haul out there. She invited ten and all came but one, so it was a great turnout and Baby Girl got some great gifts.

Of course we had a diaper cake! Funny story: Alli and I were carrying the diaper cake and Pack 'n Play into the building and had made it just past the security checkpoint when we stopped to say hello to some coworkers. Just as we stopped, the diapers in the bottom tier just fell right through my hands until the entire outer ring was gone. We both just stood there with our hands full, laughing, while people stopped to help us pick up 30 tiny diapers. We stacked them all on top of the Pack 'n Play that Alli was carrying, but they kept falling while we walked up three levels of ramps. I ended up just kicking one of the diapers like a Coke can in the street until we reached our office. It was pretty hilarious.

The view in our scenic conference room. I know, we need some artwork. I'm working on it, but it requires about 25 forms and the approval of the President himself to hang some pictures.

My LIMs. We hire people right out of college for the Leaders in Motion program and I have been lucky enough through the last year to have these three lovely ladies placed with me as their Homebase Supervisor. Megan and Christa were with me last summer and Alli, in teal, is with me now. They are sharp, hard-working and fun women who have been a huge help to me! (Please disregard my muffin-top. I selfishly was about to crop our stomachs right out of this picture, but thought it would be wrong to hide Christa's cute baby belly for the sake of my chubby belly. Bad pants...tight waist. Just wanted to get that out in the open in case you were thinking there was something I wasn't telling you.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

I promised you a post about the 500, and a post is what I will give you even though this is past the point of fashionably late. The events of the day have best been captured by Emily and Rachel, but I'll throw in my pictures with a few captions...since I DID promise you a post...

We met at Will's mom's house in Speedway to walk to the race. Not quite realizing what a 45 minute walk with two coolers would be like, I thought it would be a great idea to bring 5 liters of boxed wine. This also made our shoulder cooler weigh about 50 pounds, so we started carrying it separately about 5 ft. past the front door.

In the parking lot of a gas station - Justin: "Is the Franzia open for business?"

The gas station is my favorite place for a photo op...isn't it yours?

Pausing on our quest to find Jimenez in the infield. Here's how our many conversations with him went...

B: "Guys, I'm on the third turn...we're playing cornhole!"
J: "Brian, it's the infield, everyone's playing cornhole. Are there any flags or landmarks?"
B: "I'm the one playing cornhole!"
J: "Is Shawna there? Put her on the phone."
B: "Wait, I see a sign that says turkey legs!"

Found him.

And they're off!

The following pictures of kindness and generosity are the result of being a little bored starting around lap 13 and the realization that no one should finish a 5 liter box of sangria by themselves. Here's Emily sharing with our straightaway friends...

The classy Lady in Red kept flashing us in the early laps of the race so we could all see her nipple rings. Emily gave her wine anyway...she had behaved herself for the last hour or so. Wild.

Oh yes, the race...back to that. Helio won. There may have been some lighthearted cheers of "Helio 'I-Don't-Pay-Taxes' Castroneves!!" coming from the boys' row of bleachers...but we all know that whole incident was just a misunderstanding. I'm sure Helio will pay taxes on this $3 million purse.

Just to wrap this up, I leave you with the last few pictures of all the strange, random, grotesque things we saw that day...

I won't show you this next picture, because after I added it to the post it was making even me a little sick, I pride myself with having a pretty high squeamish factor. But, there was a bag of something dead...filled with maggots...RIGHT AT THE END OF SOMEONE'S DRIVEWAY!!! Isn't that something you might take care of if it was at the end of your driveway???? BLECH! We had to walk by it twice.

Darn it, why didn't I know about this limo two summers ago for our wedding????

And last but not least, we found this character (no, not Justin) in the Mexican dive where we ate after the race. He hadn't made it home from the night before. His name was Chompos. The restaurant owner shooed him out, but my guess is that he's still looking for his house.