Bible Verse of the Day

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chicago, Chicago...

Well, I've been in Chicago since Sunday and have managed to get myself lost once. I'm here for training for my company to learn about cisco MDS SAN switches. I know that's a little too technical for most of my readers, but suffice it to say, I'm learning now why I do some of the things I do in my job.

I arrived on Sunday evening and found my hotel via their shuttle and got settled in. It's outrageously expensive, but then I'm not paying for it. On Monday after class, I pulled out my scrappy stuff and started working on Christmas gifts. This is the third trip I've taken with my scrappy stuff and I find that it's the most contiguous uninterrupted time I can possibly have. After class and supper and before bedtime. It's wonderful! I pack everything I can into an old rolling computer bag I have and check it on the airline. When I'm not on the plane, I just use the connecting strap from my luggage to "train" them together. It works very well.

I decided that on Tuesday I would go into downtown Chicago to see something. It was a toss up for Wednesday, but since it was supposed to snow that evening. I wasn't sure what, but settled on looking at Christmas decorations on the Magnificent Mile. I had absolutely no trouble finding my way there. The bell-boy at the hotel was very helpful in his directions of which stops to get on/off at and where to walk. Mind you, I planned on eating supper there, so I was all about looking for something to eat. Well, since I didn't get down there until 7:00, stores were closing, the "vertical malls" were closing (although I didn't want to eat anything I can find back at home) and things were thinning out. I did find some intersting things, though. Here's what I saw when I turned the corner onto Michigan Avenue:

I had to tryout my new cross-hatch filter on the Christmas lights. There was the Lego Santa:

I went into one mall and was practically accosted at a kiosk for "Seacret" by a young Israeli woman selling their nail-care package. What she did to one of my nails was really impressive and I figured it would be a great deal, especially when I got it for half price by buying two. Although, in researching the links above I think I was hoodwinked because the price is half of what she quoted me for one. Basically, she sold me two kits at full price. Grr! Anyway, it seems like a lovely product and I have one to give as a Christmas gift. And she gave me a mini-pampering of my hands by having me scrub with their salt scrub. It really took a lot of icky stuff off my hands! So I have something to wish for.

Anyway, I decided at about 8:30 that I should find something to eat, so I started wandering and looking. I couldn't find anything, so figured I'd head back to the train to get back to my hotel and find something there. I had to get directions from the Marriott security guard to the train station. As I finally approached the stairs down, I spotted the Rock Bottom Brewery on the corner.

They were open, so I figured I could get something to eat there. The food was great and I had a really tasty stout beer. They brought a sample of the Terminal Stout, but it was just a bit too stout for me. The waiter was kind enough to take a picture for me:

This is where the adventure began. I went down to the train station and waited for about 15 minutes until a guy with the CTA came by and told everyone that the last train on the Red Southbound had already run because the tracks were closed. He sent me upstairs to get on bus 29 to get to where I could pick up the blue line. The bus driver kindly let me on without having to swipe my CTA card again, since there was only a buck left on it anyway. She told me when we got to the stop where I could pick up the Blue line, so I got off.

I went to the nearest subway stairs and it said it was for the Red line. So went to the next station and found that it was for everything except the Blue (and Red) line. So I walked back the way I came looking for the Blue station. Mind you, I'm wandering up and down State Street at about 10 PM and there's almost no one around. I couldn't get the attention of the transit authority officers on the other side of six lanes of traffic, so I did the next best thing. I went into the only open business I could find, a Subway sandwich shop, and asked directions. They pointed me to an intersection about two blocks away. I went to Adams and Wabash as directed by the girl behind the counter and one of the patrons with a mouthful of food.

I arrived at the station only to discover that it had the same labels as the one I had left earlier. Everything except blue and red. Every other color of the rainbow and then some! So I decided, screw it, I'm getting on because they cross somewhere. That CTA attendant was very helpful and let me in without paying, too. She couldn't understand why I was lost, but I did my best to explain it. She pointed me to the correct platform and told me where to get off to change to the Blue line. Okay, so I'm on my way home.

It's about a 30-45 minute trip from downtown to O'Hare, where my hotel is, so I figured I'd be back by 10:45. Well, we had to stop several times and go slow in other places because of crews working on the tracks. At one point we had to wait for the southbound train to pass because only one set of tracks was open. Anyway, I finally made it back to my hotel at 11:30. Boy was I beat! And cold! The temperature while I was walking around was in the mid-20's. That's just a bit cold for this South Texas gal!

So, since I went out on Tuesday, I stayed in on Wednesday. I got two projects finished and some actual work-related work done.

I just realized that I didn't tell y'all anything about Thanksgiving last week. We had a great time with 17 people for dinner and great times. We had to leave on Friday for a football game (which we lost), but we had a lot of fun visiting family and friends. Our friends who used to be our pastors, but are now just our friends gave the blessing. What she said was so beautiful. She thanked God for family and for friends and the blurring of the lines between them. They are just as much a part of our family as my father and brother and sister-in-law. And I thank God for them, too.

Peace, y'all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In My Opinion

I heard about an article from the Wall Street Journal on the radio this morning talking about the school superintendent of Argyle High School, Jason Ceyanes, banning "freak dancing" and "grinding" at the winter dance recently. There's a video at the link above, too, that adds a lot of information to the story. Let me just say this, as a chaperone for the band and a prude femme, I want him as my school superintendent. He showed a video of teens "grinding" to a group of parents at a called meeting and I can't believe that there are parents who would think it's okay for their child to essentially simulate sex on the dance floor. But there were parents there who thought their children should be allowed to make their own decisions and express themselves however they wished. Do any of those so-called parents realize that they are just children? They aren't capable of making those decisions themselves, yet. Or perhaps, as Trey Ware pointed out this morning, the parents are dressing and acting the same way?

Progenitors today are increasingly abdicating their roles as parents who should be raising children with a sense of morality and modesty. The more we take away our external moral compass (God or your favorite Supreme Being) from society and use our own internal compass, the more likely we are to keep experiencing shameless, immature adults whose sole purpose in life is instant and/or self-gratification. I'm doing all I can to keep my kids from being members of the "it's all about me" generation and I know a lot of parents are. But there are the ones who just don't seem to give a flip about whether their daughter ends up pregnant or their son with a lifelong STD because they didn't teach them about abstinence or proper conduct for a young lady or gentleman.

I watched a young woman in the parking lot of Wal-Mart last week who ran up to a young man (both probably less than 20 years old), started yelling at him, yanking him around to face her and then grabbing his crotch. That display in public directly stems from lack of proper parenting. First of all the grabbing should never have happened, and secondly, the fight should have been in private. Why do they think the world needs to see their dark underside?

I think that clothing manufacturers have a lot to do with it, too. Provocative clothing has turned our girls into sluts. Oops, that's what they like to be called now. And music videos on MTV and VH1 continue to push the envelope of acceptable behavior. We need to make sure that producers of this garbage know in no uncertain terms that it's unacceptable. I'm fairly certain that the three of you who read my blog are raising children who aren't or won't be like this. I applaud you. I hope that we can find a way to bring sensibility back to our lives.

I'm off my soapbox now. If you hung in there, thank you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He Turned 18 Saturday

It's been a while since I blogged. Bad me, I know. It's been kind of hectic what with working on weekends, working evenings, band stuff, enchilada dinner, etc. And in the midst of that, my baby turned 18. Here's the rundown:

Enchilada Dinner - one of the band's two major fundraisers where the boosters make enchiladas, rice and beans and sell plates for $5. We use the cafeteria at the school and some of the cafeteria ladies volunteer to help. They know how to use the huge cookers and warmers.
I got to use the new chopper they got just four hours before we started preparing supper. I diced 3 cases of tomatoes in less than 45 minutes all by myself. Even the principal was awed by the machine. The cafeteria manager said it was the best $3,000 they've ever spent. That's about how much my property taxes are per year, so I guess it's mine. I got to break it in. I'll let them keep it.

Work - we got our data center move done and last weekend and this weekend were designated for testing the clusters to make sure everything works after the move. The schedule is from 6 PM Saturday night to 6 AM Sunday morning. We wanted to be out by midnight last weekend, but the cluster fail over didn't work, thanks to ignorant application programmers making changes without notifying us.

Band stuff - We're in the playoffs. We had our last regular-season game last Saturday afternoon and I had to go straight to work. The band chaperones and roadies always go out to eat after a game, but I had to miss it this time. It's always a lot of fun. We take our kids, too. Heck, everyone has to eat!

Turning 18 - DS#2 turned 18 Saturday. Last year there was a football game on his birthday, so I surprised him with a cake and some goofy little balloons. For the past two months he's made me promise to not get him a cake or throw any kind of party, since there was a football game on his birthday this year, too. I made the promise, then he changed his mind about a month ago. Then the week before, he said no again. I told him that was okay since I wouldn't be able to be there. We had concession duty the night before and I asked the drum majors if they would get the group singing happy birthday at the after-game party, since he was turning 18, but don't tell him. They were on board. Then at the game I was telling one of the other chaperones about him making me promise not to get a cake or have a party for him. He adores this person and thinks very highly of her and they get along great. Her comment was, "He has to have a cake for this birthday. After all the crap I've given him over the years, it's the least I can do." She left as soon as we got to the band hall to go get him a cake. I'm not sure how much he appreciated it, but I know I did, even though I couldn't be there. I was at least able to give him his presents before we left for the game: "300" and "Transformers," two of the greatest movies of their genre, according to DS.

Happy Birthday, munchkin (no more). Love you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

I took this little quiz when I found it on Cori's blog. It seems surprisingly accurate.

What Your Handwriting Says About You

You are a fairly energetic person. You know how do pace yourself, and you deal well with stress.

You are very extroverted and outgoing. You are loving, friendly, and supportive. However, you are also manipulative and controlling at times.

You are balanced and grounded. You know how to get along well with others.

You need a bit of space in your life, but you're not a recluse. You expect people to give you a small amount of privacy, and you respect their privacy as well.

You are somewhat traditional, but you are also open to change. You listen to your head and your heart.

You are a decent communicator. You eventually get your point across, but sometimes you leave things a bit ambiguous.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

House Meme

I found this on Rach's blog this morning and thought it looked kind of cool. I haven't done one of these here, yet. If you decide to do it, leave a comment in my blog so I can read yours, too.

House meme:
1. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now? Dove Aloe.
2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? No.
3. What would you change about your living room? Change the carpet to wood and make it bigger.
4. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? Dirty.
5. What is in your fridge? Lots of science experiments, fresh milk.
6. White or wheat bread? I prefer wheat, but everyone else prefers white.
7. What is on top of your refrigerator? Cookbooks, travel confirmations, batteries.
8. What color or design is on your shower curtain? Yellow with green palm trees print. Very tropical.
9. How many plants are in your home? 1 ficus tree, one corn plant, two African violets, and numerous pregnant onions.
10. Is your bed made right now? Almost.
11. Comet or Soft Scrub? Comet
12. Is your closet organized? None of them.
13. Can you describe your flashlight? 15" black Maglite.
14. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? Glass.
15. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? No. We drink lots, though.
16. If you have a garage, is it cluttered? As bad as the closets.
17. Curtains or blinds? Mini-blinds. I've been meaning to put up curtains for about 20 years now.
18. How many pillows do you sleep with? One.
19. Do you sleep with any lights on at night? The front and back porch lights.
20. How often do you vacuum? Vacuum????? What's that? Actually only when company's coming.
21. Standard toothbrush or electric? Standard.
22. What color is your toothbrush? Lavender.
23. Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? Yes, but it doesn't say welcome.
24. What is in your oven right now? Crusty stuff.
25. Is there anything under your bed? A whole warren of dust bunnies, clothes, gun cases, general junk.
26. Chore you hate doing the most? Cleaning bathrooms.
27. What retro items are in your home? None.
28. Do you have a separate room that you use as an office? Not so much office as craft room. I took it away from the family and made it my own.
29. How many mirrors are in your home? Built-in? three. On the furniture? two
30. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? No. It's not hidden, just jars and jars of coins.
31. What color are your walls? Mostly white. Bathroom is darker olive green and there's a light green accent wall in the kitchen, plus my scrap room is ocean blue.
32. Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home? Yes.
33. What does your home smell like right now? Nothing really.
34. Favorite candle scent? Cinnamon.
35. What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? Dill.
36. What color is your favorite Bible? Blue, but it has a black cover.
37. Ever been on your roof? Yes. Then I was too scared to get down. The roof inspector had to help.
38. Do you own a stereo? YES!
39. How many TVs do you have? 4
40. How many house phones? 2
41. Do you have a housekeeper? Ha! Only in my dreams.
42. What style do you decorate in? None.
43. Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints? Solid.
44. Is there a smoke detector in your home? Yes.
45. In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you'd grab if you only could make one quick trip? The box of photos and the external hard drive.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nothing But Nets

Want to help in Africa? Here's a simple way.

Nothing But Nets provides insecticide-treated mosquito nets to refugees and internally displaced persons to sleep under to prevent the spread of malaria from mosquito bites. The programs partners include: The Mark Gordon Foundation, The NBA Cares Foundation, The United Methodist Church, Sports Illustrated, and The United Nations Foundation.