Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Running socks.

I believe it was back in the beginning of February that McCall and I signed up for the Disney half marathon.  We signed up thinking that that would be some really good motivation for getting in shape and losing a few of those extra pounds that make you jiggle.  Well, I do know that since then I have ran a total of zero times and this week makes my total of walking days 4.  I do still have 5 months until the marathon, but I'm pretty sure I better get this show on the road.  (I actually had a dream recently that it was the day before the marathon and I hadn't even done one thing to prepare and I completely panicked.  Not good.)

A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday, when I probably should have been out walking/running, I was sitting on my couch having a relaxing movie marathon day.  One of the movies that happened to be on was "What Women Want" with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.  I LoVe that movie.

In one of the scenes, Mel Gibson (as an ad executive) is presenting his idea for a new ad for running shoes (and maybe clothes too - I can't remember).  In the commercial he is showing the potential clients, you see a lot of road ... with one lone female runner.  He says something like, "The road doesn't care what you look like, or what you're wearing, or what you weigh.  It only cares that you pay it a visit once in awhile."  I decided it was time to pay my road more frequent visits.

The first time I walked, I was pretty tired.  The second time, surprisingly, I went farther and didn't even feel sore.  The third time I walked about half way up my street and as my socks were slipping down from my ankles, under my heel, and bunching up in the arch of my foot (that fast), I decided I better turn right back around and change my socks.  I grabbed a pair of Elliott's and headed back out the door.

A few days ago, I was on the phone with a friend of mine.  I was telling him that I hadn't even begun my training and I really needed to get more pro-active and less lazy about it.  We talked about the right shoes, and starting slow, and preventing injuries ... and then the next morning I got a text message from him that said, "I have a little something insignificant for your training.  Do you want it now, around 1 pm, or never?"  And about two minutes later, he stopped by my office with socks - breathable, lightweight, made for running, special socks.  How adorable is that?

And who knew socks would make SUCH a difference in your comfort level?  (I guess he did - but I certainly didn't.)  'Cause wow - the next time I got out and walked, it was pretty amazing.  I felt a little spoiled and really comfortable and a little guilty that my son runs track and I haven't gotten him his own special running socks.  

(I'm heading to the sports store during lunch today.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Those golden arches.

Now, before I get completely off the subject of the Biltmore House, do you remember how I ran into that lady in the parking lot of McDonald's the day before I left for Tennessee?  I happened to think her license plate was cute, but missed getting the picture of it because my camera was full?  And she was the one who suggested I go to the Biltmore House in the first place?

Well, after I missed out on getting that picture of her plate, I called McCall to vent my frustration and she said, "Mom, maybe she goes to McDonald's a lot too and you'll see it there again."  (How's that for a cute, optimistic response?)

Guess what? That little girl of mine was right.  Because the day after I got home, I drove through my Mickey D's on my way to work, and as I was heading out of the parking lot that same plate was right in front of me leaving the parking lot too.  And as tempted as I was to follow her - I didn't.  I thought, You know ... I already blogged about it, I already explained how I missed the picture.  It's okay.  And I let that little car drive away from me.

AND THEN  ... the morning after THAT, as I was driving through the parking lot heading toward the drive-thru, LO and BEHOLD - yup, no kidding, there was that little silver car parked in almost the exact location of the first sighting, and I just had to stop.  I parked a few spaces down and walked into that McDonald's to say hello.

As I approached her table, she looked up and me, I said, "Do you remember me?  I met you the day before I left for Tennessee and we talked about the Biltmore House?"

And she said, "Yes I do!  So did you end up going to see it?  Wasn't it just beautiful?  How was your visit with your girls?"  And then Connie and I had a nice long visit about Asheville, and leaving my luggage, and the Biltmore and the Tennessee Shindig show and her daughter's recent divorce and being single and ....."  She is a darling, darling woman.

She asked if we had eaten at the Biltmore and I said, "Actually no.  We had heard that we really needed to go to the McDonald's right by the Biltmore because it was pretty fancy."

And it was ... definitely the swankiest McDonald's I 've seen:

(Complete with player piano.)

(Oh, and of course I got the picture of the plate this time.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Biltmore House.

So Haley, Chloe and I made the 2 hour drive back to Asheville and debated about going to the Biltmore House.  We heard that the admission tickets were $39.00 each so we were actually indecisive as to whether or not we would go inside.  We thought we might just drive by and take a few pictures ... until we got there.

No chance at all of seeing that house without a ticket.  The grounds are so expansive and it is surrounded by rolling hills that unless your means of transportation is a helicopter, you need a ticket.  We bought tickets.  (It felt like a hike at girl's camp just getting from the parking lot out into the wild blue yonder of Biltmore-land.)   The place is pretty spectacular and I don't think there is anything else like in the whole country.  I can only imagine how fabulous the grounds look in full Spring color - or at Christmas time when they completely deck the halls.

They didn't allow photographs to be taken of the inside of the house but it was out of control amazing.  I am always blown away by the craftsmanship and detail of these old structures which were built before our modern machinery.  Just a little bit of a background on the house - On Christmas eve in 1895 George W. Vanderbilt officially "opened" the Biltmore house.  Three years later, he brought his bride Edith to Biltmore, and in 1900, their only child Cornelia was born there.

George died in 1914 and Edith remarried the Honorable John Francis Amherst Cecil ten years later.  Edith and her husband lived and entertained in the Biltmore house.  In response to requests to increase area tourism during the Depression and to bring in money to preserve the estate, the Cecils opened the house to the public in 1930.

Vanderbilt's grandson, William A.V. Cecil, owns Biltmore today and it is still a family run business.  Along with 1800 employees (can you believe that?  1800?), they continue the preservation of this national treasure.

We were really glad that we decided to go.  We had such a fun time .... my girls are pretty silly, but SO fun to be with!

(I tried to jump too ... didn't have the same high, happy results!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pleasant flights.

When I was a little girl I used to get motion sickness REAL bad.  In fact, I remember driving to church once and having to sit in the back of the station wagon, backwards, and throwing up in the lid of a board game after about 15 minutes in the car.  It was a given that if we got on an airplane, I would be throwing up.  Even as an adult, I was sitting next to a guy on a plane one time and he was chatting away with me when I started to feel sick.  I reached for that dreaded little bag from the seat back pouch in front of me and mentioned that I thought I was about to be sick.  He kept on watching me, asking if I was okay ... even after I did indeed utilize that bag.  I was like, "Seriously?  Could you please stop looking at me now!!!!"

Well, needless to say, I have been embarrassed on many a trip - in the car, on a plane, on many boats and many amusement park rides.  Roller coasters are definitely a thing of the past for me.  I'm not sure what flipped the switch inside my body, but I would venture a guess that it has been at least ten years or so since I have had that kind of motion sickness. (Yay for me, 'cause I sure hated that.)

So although I really don't like flying, I sure enjoy the fact that I don't get sick on planes anymore.

My first leg of my trip to Tennessee last week took me to Atlanta. It was a nice, pleasant three hour flight (even though the toddler two rows back cried the ENTIRE three hours.  It made me happy that it wasn't my baby disturbing everyone else on the plane.) 

The second leg of the trip was only about an hour and we flew into Asheville, North Carolina.  Great flight, incredible smooth landing - I can really appreciate those too.  It was a small, absolutely charming airport with lots of spring colors already in bloom outside.  White blossoms on the flowering pear trees, forsythia in spectacular array, daffodils everywhere and lots and lots of green in the trees!

As I was waiting for my luggage at the bag claim carousel, I decided I would walk over to the enterprise counter and grab my rental car.  The guy at the desk was adorable, had the cutest southern accent and gave me his best deal of the day, with a free upgrade.  He gave me clear instructions on how to get to Pigeon Forge.  It was a beautiful drive too.  It took me about 2 hours to get to the girls' hotel and I was so excited to freshen up and meet them over at the theater.

When I went to get my suitcase from the back of the car I realized that I never did go back to that bag claim carousel to get my piece of luggage.  Oops.  I couldn't believe it.  I had just driven two hours from Asheville, North Carolina to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee without my luggage.  (Really, Polly?  I truly lose more and more of my mind with every passing day.)

To make a long story short, remember that lady that I met in the parking lot of McDonald's the day before I left on my trip?  The one who had the license plate WER4BYU that I took a picture of and drove away from before I realized that the picture didn't save because my phone was full?  And the one who told me that if I was going to be going to Asheville I must go see the Biltmore Mansion?  Well, I decided that since I had to go back to Asheville for my luggage, maybe the girls and I could take that opportunity to do just that.

And so that is what we did.  We visited the Biltmore Mansion, and it was SO worth the drive .....

(To be continued .... )

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A happy birthday day.

(I am totally crazy about these Sherwin Williams paint swatch sculptures.)

So today is my little Hee's birthday ... again, already.  I had just dropped her off in Tennessee for a year at this exact same time last March and now she will be heading home in just two more weeks.  Sigh.

Here is what has been fun for me about today.  I pulled into McDonald's this morning for my diet coke on my way to work.  I noticed that one of the cars in the parking lot had the license plate:  WER4BYU.  That's a pretty darn cute one, right???  So I decided to go past the drive thru and head back around to where that car was so I could take a picture with my cell phone.

As I pulled back around the building, a lady, apparently the owner of the car, was walking towards it.  Shoot!  Now what?  (I don't know how people feel about having a stranger take a picture of their license plate. I try to get my pictures veeeeeery discreetly.)

Sidenote:  But  that does remind me of the time I was with Sophie and her friend, Makayla.  We were on our way home from a school function, it was nighttime, and I noticed that the car in front of us at a stop sign had the plate:

I saw that and said, "Oh my gosh, you guys, look at that plate - Love Everyone.  I need a picture."  So we started to follow the car.  It was pretty close to our house.  We were on the main street that runs alongside our neighborhood.  That particular street is fairly dark, the speed limit is 45 - and that car was alllllllllll over the road.  I thought, this guy is either drunk or really, really tired.  The car was swerving and going pretty darn fast.

Now I guessed that the owner of the car probably didn't live too far from where I did, and it isn't like I was going to follow him all the way to his house (well, maybe not), but I was hoping he would turn into the gas station which was just a little bit further down the way which would then make it a lot easier and more convenient to get a picture.

As luck would have it, that car did pull into the gas station down the road and I thought, there's my photo op. So the guy pulls into a parking space in front of the Redbox and staggers out of the door.  I approached him and said, "I love your license plate, do you mind if I take a picture of it?"  He said he didn't, stumbled back against his door and then opened his door to get the front plate from off of his dashboard too. 

Then, in his drunken stupor, he walked to the back of his car with me and held up the second plate and just kept on mumbling about how I should take a picture of both of them together and how his wife and he had the  idea and isn't it just so fun and his kids love it too ....

And then I thought, Dude.  You should soooooo be concerned right now that I am not taking a picture of this to turn into the Draper police department to report you for drunk driving. (And maybe I should have, but I really hoped that he lived just up the street and would get home in one piece.) 

So, back to my other story about having to ask permission to take a picture ... Here was this cute little lady coming out of McDonald's in the raging wind this morning and a stranger (that would be me) rolls down her window and says, "Your license plate is so cute, do you mind if I take a picture of it?"

And then she said, "Oh not at all.  We love that plate.  We moved here from Tennessee about 2 and a half years ago and we had that same plate there.  Then we came out here and were so happy that no one else had it already."  

Well then you KNOW a sweet little conversation ensued between us about Tennessee and how I am heading there tomorrow, in fact, for one last visit before my girls come home, and how she thinks Pigeon Forge is just the cutest, most fun little resort town, as is Gatlinburg, and what fun for them, and since I was flying into Asheville, North Carolina (because it was way cheaper) then I must go visit the Biltmore Mansion and did I know that that was where President Obama vacationed with his family, and how it is really a great place to go if you have money and it is just soooooo beautiful and one of her favorite places?!?!

The sad thing about this story is that I did get out of my car, in the raging wind, and took a picture of that plate.  I heard it click, I thanked her and said goodbye, and then I couldn't find it on my phone.  My photo memory must be full and it didn't save.  And then I drove out of McDonald's without my diet coke because I had gotten a little distracted.

Oh, silly, silly me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A new generation of crafting.

Yesterday, I stopped by my sister Courtney's house to pick up a few things.  As I walked into her house, she was standing with a glue gun and a cute little chick in her hand and said, "My house is such a wreck."  This is what I walked in on in her living room ....

And this .....

Because she had been creating these ....

And these ....

And some of these ...

.... for a boutique that was coming up.

Really Courtney?  Her creativity never ceases to amaze me.

But this "Queen of the Circus" takes the cake ...

Her skirt is a bird cage ... and look what's inside ...

I was with my friend and she said, "Wow, I didn't realize I liked elephants so much!"

But who wouldn't when they look this cute?!?!?!

(I call this kind of crafting, the new generation of crafters ... back in the day when I opted to craft, we did a little bit of tole painting and made a few frames and puff painted t-shirts.  This kind of stuff takes on a whole new meaning of the word crafting - I don't have that kind of patience anymore.  Maybe I never did.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Special checks.

Remember when we were in grade school and we wrote the date on top of our papers?  It seemed like it took forever before the year would change ... from 1968 to 1969, and then  finally to 1970.  (I know I'm old, but even for me it seems strange that I could have possibly written 1968 on a school paper, but I did.  Ouch.)

What happened?  How come time has to fly by so darn fast now?  And time is no respecter of age either.  It flies by for my kids too.  How is it that a whole year has gone by since my two daughters left for the "adventure of a lifetime" and now that is already coming to an end?  I can't  believe it.  But a year ago this month, Haley and Chloe took off from their regularly scheduled lives - Haley from her job as a hair stylist in a salon and dance instructor at a studio, and Chloe from her schooling at Southern Utah University, to move to Tennessee as singers and dancers in a stage show.  Two shows a night, six nights a week. Crazy.

I drove back with Haley to settle her in before Chloe joined her just a few days later.  A few months into the girls' stay, they were missing their mom "too much" so I flew back for a quick three day visit.  The rest of the kids and I went back in November - had such a great time ... and it was on that trip that McCall said, "Wow Mom.  You have been back here three times already to see them and you never visited me once when I was a nanny in Manhattan."

Hmmm.  She was right.  And all I have to say about that now is, WHAT. WAS. I. THINKING????  Silly, silly mama.  Why do we let opportunities pass us by?  Manhattan?  A brownstone?  Crazy.

Back in January, the girls' show was completely revamped ... new songs, new dances, new performers ... and they really want me to see it.  When I said that I probably shouldn't spend the money on a flight right now, they sent me these checks to help get me there ... and that did this mama's heart some good, and I'm glad the bank didn't mind that the check wasn't actually made out to me.  ;)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Music with a message.

I sometimes listen to Pandora radio at my desk at work.  Not all the time since some of my tasks require concentration.  (I don't understand how kids can do their homework with the radio playing in the background.  If something requires me to think, I need quiet around my head.)  But if I am doing a mindless task like addressing envelopes or getting an order packaged up, I will turn on Pandora.

One of the Pandora stations I created is "My Immortal", and one of the songs that happened to play on it is this one by Jon McLaughlin.  I LOVE this song, and I love Jon McLaughlin.  I don't know where he came from, what else he sings, or how long he has been out there, but the guy is about as adorable as I think they come.

And I think I read somewhere (after I heard this song) that he is a minister too - and doing much of his ministry through his music ... which brings up another blog post I have been planning to do about how much I love Christian music - and Christian radio.

Sophie was in the car with me the other day and said, "Mom, you always have the most random stuff on the radio."  And I reminded her that I like to listen to KLOV radio, which was the random stuff she was talking about.

Some of my favorite male vocalists are Christian artists.  I have always loved Steven Curtis Chapman, I like Jeremy Camp, a guy named Jason Gray, and I love Mercyme.  But the CD that has been stuck in my car stereo for the last little while is one by Casting Crowns - I can't get enough of it.

There is just something about incredible vocalists, singing about the Savior that moves me.  It is a great musical score when driving too ...

(Make sure you tell your girls how beautiful they are .... whoever your girls might be! )

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Silly sleepers.

McCall sent me this picture of Libby a few days ago and I just had to laugh.  I used to LOVE checking on the kids before I went to bed to see what kind of position they were in.  And McCall was always the one who would be in the craziest positions of all.  And not just as a baby ... at 6, 8, and 10 years old as well.

This reminded me of my Sophie when she was a little girl.  When her dad and I would go out for the night, we always put one of the big girls in charge.  (It was usually McCall.)  If Sophie woke up anytime during the night, she would always go into the sister  who had been in charge of her.  Even though I was home too, that's just the way her little mind worked.

One night, I was checking everyone's beds and I didn't see Sophie.  She wasn't in anyone else's bed either and I started to panic just a bit.  I woke up McCall and asked her where Sophie was.  She didn't know.  We searched all over the house and finally found her on the far side of McCall's bed next to the wall.  She was too tiny to climb up into McCall's big bed and hadn't woken her up to help her, so Sophie just laid down and went back to sleep on the floor.  It was so cute ... and as much as I am glad (at my age) I don't have babies at my house anymore, I sure miss those happy little moments with them - the ones that really do make your heart smile.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Being me.

I love this.  I have it hanging on my kitchen wall. When I first saw it, it reminded me of this blog ... completely.  I started blogging to help heal my heart ... beginning that day ... and to tell my story.

The part about taking the journey back to your self ... that has taken a while.  But I started to finally feel like myself again last week, and it feels really good.

Now if only I had the legs for skirts, I'd be all set!  ;)