Tuesday, July 31, 2007

brief update

The days were packed while Junior was home, leaving little time at the computer for much of anything. Even before he left, last week was a nonstop tour of full days at work, evening meetings, and Pampered Chef. My one free day over the weekend was spent trying to recover from the pace of the week and preparing for Sunday: preaching and leading a book discussion. (Gail and Clare, you will be happy to know that I did yield to an afternoon nap!)

We are again into another long week. On the one hand, my time is being spent in meaningful and gratifying work. On the other, the rapid change since returning to full-time work and having little time to myself is hard on me: I crave solitude for rest and renewal, and solitude (and time for stillness) is very hard to come by these days.

I'm thinking that a day off just to organize the office will be necessary. The accumulated piles awaiting attention are becoming overwhelming, and I am losing track of tasks that need to get done. This is a job for Sammy!

Off to work. Will try to get back later!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

time flies

We've been packing the days while Junior is home. Thursday was something of a fits and starts day, but all turned out well. After I returned from a networking meeting in the morning we all went to the gym for a swim or workout. We cleaned up from that and went for some Chinese food for lunch, then headed to the train station to take the train to Nashville. We had misread the schedule, and what we thought was an opportune afternoon departure turned out to be a bus schedule.

We used our time before the next train by going to the local human association to see the dogs. Junior has been contemplating getting one, and there were a number of cuties there. I took pity on a three-month old that was shaking in her cage, and took her out for a walk in the yard. "Bubbles" was quite cuddly and very playful. A yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix caught Junior's eye (he's got his heart set on a Lab) and he took her out for some play. The jury is still out about whether or not this sweet pup will go home with him.

We returned to the train station and caught the Music City Star into Nashville. With our now limited time downtown we had planned to go the Wildhorse Saloon for a snack and happy hour, only to discover that the Wildhorse was closed for a private function. Bummer! How about the Market Street Brewery, just up the block? No longer in business! We crossed the street and checked out a few other choices, none of which were what we were looking for. We ended up instead at the Hard Rock Cafe and enjoyed a couple of appetizers and our drinks before going back to the station for our return home.

Not needing anything resembling dinner we decided to head to the miniature golf course near the house and play a round. I'll have you know that I kept my title as family miniature golf champion, helped by two holes in one! A second game was only $1 per person, so we played another round as well before calling it a day and heading home to crash.
Friday Ken and Junior went fishing, and that evening we joined friends for what is becoming a weekly Friday night tradition of sushi. I'm still not a convert, but I did manage some tuna and tasted part of a spider roll. We rounded out the evening with a golf challenge--lots of fun--and decided that ice cream would make the perfect night cap. Hard to believe that Baskin Robbins closes at ten on a Friday night, but not to be thwarted we took our party to Sonic and had our ice cream. (After Junior leaves I will return with full commitment to my healthy eating regimen!)

Today the guys are off skeet shooting, and I am tending to the recyling, a hospital visit, and preparations for Sunday. Preaching and book group (Kitchen Table Wisdom)! It's a beautiful day, and if I'm lucky I'll get to enjoy a bit of it before it gets too hot.

Off to do my duty. Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 20, 2007

ah, to be around the young...

Wednesday night Junior and one of his roommates, Chris arrived. After we fed them they were in the mood for a little "beer pong." I had only just heard about beer pong on a radio program a couple of weeks ago, so although the phrase wasn't new to me, seeing the game in action was. We went out to the patio and set up glasses on the table there (we didn't have the requisite plastic cups), the beer was poured, and under the subtle beam of the single outdoor light the guys demonstrated beer pong. After the first round (won by a glass by Chris) I teamed up with Junior and Ken teamed with Chris and we began the second round. I'll have you know that I sunk my fair share of ping pong balls, but Junior did all the drinking. Chris and Ken took the honors on game 2 and third game as well, but I held my own (as far as pitching balls goes, I don't enjoy beer!). I'm sure our neighbors thought we were nuts, but their grandchildren were out playing games to loud thumps of boom box music, so I think we're even.

Apparently a challenge has been issued to some friends of ours whom we will join tonight for dinner. I'll report on our beer pong prowess progress in another installation of this blog.

For now, all I can say is that it's great to have Junior home, beer pong and all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

happy things

In the vein of lists--five things I'm happy about (in no particular order):

1. I love my new job. It is a twofold joy. It is a good congregation, with lots of things going on, and there is a creative energy about the place. I am enjoying the people, and have a great staff with which to work. I also love it because my particular responsibilities include things I do well, so on a personal level, I am thriving. What could be better?

2. I love my other new "job," Pampered Chef. The support from my director and the training I have received from her, our team meetings, company offerings and the recent national conference have helped me with goals, work habits and self-discipline. I didn't anticipate personal growth being a benefit of this work, but that part of it has been huge. I am definitely happy working as a PC consultant.

3. I am thrilled that Junior is back from overseas, and that we will see him for a few days beginning tomorrow. Time with him is precious and valued.

4. I am happy about my marriage. These days Ken and I don't have a lot of time to spend together--our work lives are full and our schedules tight, and often we are both so tired that we fall asleep on the couch after dinner. But it's nice to look forward to at least sharing meals and being in the same space, even if it's brief.

5. My dogs make me happy. Juliet is such a happy girl to start with, and just as when I found her lost and astray when she was four months old, she continues to be irresistable to me. She's my precious one. And Dooley, the little rascal, for all his feisty antics is the best cuddler in the world, and he loves to be around his mama. How can I not love that?

Okay, your turn. What makes you happy?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

no rest for the travel weary!

What a week! When I got up last Sunday morning there was no stopping until my head hit the pillow in Chicago that night! Had three great days at the Pampered Chef National Conference. Six of us stayed in the director's suite, situated in an ideal location on the 18th floor of the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Ave, with a view out our windows overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan beyond. The mornings were glorious, but the afternoons (when there was a sliver of time for photos) were stormy, dark and wet! I was having some trouble with my camera, so pictures I thought I had from the room are unavailable for viewing!

Our events took place at McCormick Place, Chicago's convention center, which is situated on the lake and consists of two massive, yet impressive, structures. There was a combination of general sessions for everyone and workshops focusing on specific aspects of the business. One workshop that I took stands out among the others with great ideas that I am working to implement! There was also an opportunity to tour the home office, which was interesting but incomplete as they are building a new distribution center and it was not yet ready for viewing. The picture above is of three of us posing in a test kitchen. The other was taken at our executive director's banquet on our last night. That's me and Stephanie, my ED!

Got back Wednesday night and plunged into a full Thursday that included a PC show that night! Friday I fiddled at the office without a computer (which won't boot up). Our tech support showed up two hours late to tell me that his assistant would be looking into the problem and would be right back after a trip to the bank, and two hours later there was still no sign of him. I had work to do, so I locked up and headed home to use my computer here! Monday will be another matter.

Friday night we joined friends for dinner before heading to the Nashville Palace to see my country music heart throb Ty Herndon in concert. It was a late night with the concert starting after ten and I'm glad to have seen him after so many years, but I was also reminded why I don't do this very often--LOUD!! The Palace isn't a great venue for music because the acoustics are so bad--low ceiling and lots of sound bouncing off too many surfaces. Still, Ty is my hottie and I will endure a lot to breathe the same air now and again.

A PC show this afternoon keeps me busy today, and blessedly I don't preach tomorrow. It's so nice to be the one who does the preaching schedule! I'm ready for a little rest and relaxation.

So, what have the rest of you been up to?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

off to the windy city

Sunday afternoon Iwill board a plane for Chicago to attend The Pampered Chef's annual National Conference. It should be a riotous time, especially since six of us are sharing a suite with our executive director! This is an exciting year for Stephanie and for her sales cluster, as we have sold more than $1.4 million in the last sales year, a phenomenal accomplishment. It's been a fun time for me as a consultant, and I'm just beginning to get my sea legs with this thing! I imagine there will be all sorts of stories on my return, and I will try to have pictures to share as well.

I'm hoping to catch up with fellow scrapper and message board Early Bird Maria while I'm there, though we're not sure yet if my schedule will allow much time for a little socializing on the side. Maria is graciously standing by for a phone call in case it will work out. We've known each other for years through the MB, but have never met in person, so it will be fun if we are able to make that connection happen. It will be especially exciting on the heels of her news that she and her husband will soon be adopting their baby from China, a dream that has been long in the making!

This past week I've been struggling with a bug that has been going around, and now Ken is enduring the same struggles! No action to report from here unless you count naps and keeping the kleenex industry in business. Now I've got to rally to preach tomorrow and then head off for fun and excitement with Pampered Chefers. At least I know what I'm packing!

Y'all behave while I'm gone...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

resting easier

The phone rang this morning shortly after 5 AM. I remember being conscious enough to hope that Ken would answer it (he was already up). My brain began to engage as I started to think that it was odd that a client would call so early. Then I made the connection that it was the home phone that had rung, not his cell. Who would call so early? The little bit that I could hear from the bedroom (tone, not words) indicated that this wasn't a call of urgency or distress. Huh? Then it suddenly dawned on me. It was Junior. He was home.

I had expected that we would get this call next week, but we certainly welcome it now! We never need to say outloud that the call that lets us know he is home takes a load of weight off our hearts. We don't really worry about him when he is deployed, but we know he is always at risk and that there is always danger. We still don't know where he's been, but will probably find out tonight when we expect to talk to him again. We are hopeful that we may see him in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, one part of me is now released to tend to other things.


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