Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vacation Fun... about to occur! That's right - starting now...I'm on vacation! In order to get away from the possibility of working too much while I take this sebatical, Mike and I are headed South to the middle-of-nowhere Missouri (or Pomme de Terre Lake South of Warsaw). We have everything packed and ready to load up into the truck. We plan on four (maybe five depends on the weather) fun-filled days of camping/fishing/caching/whatever we can find to do that costs no money because we are poor! We are both very excited and are ready to just get away. So if you try and call and don't get an answer, I'm not ignoring you - I just probably don't have a signal!

On another note, Mike and I are working to improve our German speaking abilities...or actually, I am working on trying to figure out the language and Mike is providing guidance because he knows enough of it to be dangerous! So last night, we worked on the alphabet (don't ask me to say it, I'm not THAT good at it) and ways of saying hello; or greeting people. We also worked on the correct way to say I love you depending on the person you are talking to.

Side note...I discovered last night is that an informal way of saying Hello in German is Hallihallo! When you listen to the demonstrator say it, he sounds like he says 'Yellow'. I just had the realization that when I would hear Helena say it, she wasn't saying 'yellow' she was saying Hallihallo! Go figure!

So, I now tell my husband 'Ich Lieben Sie' all of the time. I think he thinks it's funny because I don't have the accent and I stumble over the pronounciations of some of the letters...but I'm glad I can make him's good to see when things around here are bleak sometimes...

I best head to bed so we can get up and get out of here at a reasonable time.

Bis sp├Ąter!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Man! I can't believe this has happened. I am going to Phoenix in the middle of September. Due to a little bit of a slip on my part, I am going to miss the Chiefs home opener! I mean - I thought I was doing good scheduling a trip in September (hoping to avoid the dreaded travel in October when I normally take a vacation for our anniversary). With my luck...I'll probably end up travelling both months! Hopefully this will be the only weekend trip. If only we could afford for Mike to join me...

I'm done. I don't have much else to talk about tonight. I don't have any school work and I would rather go be a couch potato....


Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Good Napkins

A friend of mine sent this to me and I just have to share. It is fairly predictable but funny none-the-less!

My mother taught me to read when I was four years old (her first mistake).

One day, I was in the bathroom and noticed one of the cabinet doors was ajar. I read the box in the cabinet. I then asked my mother why she was keeping 'napkins' in the bathroom. Didn't they belong in the kitchen? Not wanting to burden me with unnecessary facts, she told me that those were for "special occasions" (her second mistake).

Now fast forward a few months.... It's Thanksgiving Day, an d my folks are leaving to pick up my uncle and aunt for dinner. Mom had assignments for all of us while they were gone. Mine was to set the table. When they returned, my uncle came in first and immediately burst into laughter. Next came his wife who gasped, then began giggling. Next came my father, who roared with laughter. Then came Mom, who almost died of embarrassment when she saw each place setting on the table with a "special occasion" Kotex napkin at each plate, with the fork carefully arranged on top. I had even tucked the little tail in so they didn't hang off the edge!! My mother asked me why I used these and, of course, my response sent the other adults into further fits of laughter...

"But, Mom, you said they were for special occasions!!!"

Now go have a GREAT night!


Monday, August 20, 2007

The Sandpiper

You will need your tissue for this one...

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live.
I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world
begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something
and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

"I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.

A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.

"It's a what?"

"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself,
hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed
completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."

"Hi, Wendy."

She giggled. "You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on.
Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings,
and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out
of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was
chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

"I don't know. You say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

"Then let's just walk."

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.
"Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter.

"Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation."

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was
on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day.
Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no
mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt
like demanding she keep her child at home.

"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd
rather be alone today." ; She seemed unusually pale and out of breath

"Why?" she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought,
My God, why was I saying this to a little child?

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt?" she inquired.

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding,
wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there.
Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up
to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking
young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. ; I missed your little girl today
and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much.
I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you If she was a nuisance,
please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all -- she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing
that I meant what I had just said.

"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia.
Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no.
She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days.
But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left
something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young
woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold
childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach,
a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:


Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love
opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry,
I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together The precious little
picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words -- one for each year
of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love.

A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand
-- who taught me the gift of love

This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20
years ago and the incident changed his life forever. It serves as a reminder
to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other.
The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.

Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas
can make us lose focus about what is truly important
or what is only a momentary setback or crisis.

This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means,
take a moment... even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.

This comes from someone's heart, and is read by many
and now I share it with you...

May God Bless everyone who receives this! There are NO coincidences!

Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. Never brush aside
anyone as insignificant. Who knows what they can teach us?

So this is a great reminder that we all need to stop and smell the roses once in a while. Shortly after I read this (crying) I headed outside to spend a little time with the 'children'. While we were out there, a hummingbird stopped by the feeder to say hello. I just happen to have the camera handy so I shot a video. He isn't a rose, but just as beautiful!!

I can hardly wait for my husband to get home from class. I think I will greet him tonight with a great big hug and kiss!

To all of you, I send the same!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Story of The Game

I know, I said I would do this a couple of days ago but laziness has prevailed!

We arrived at the stadium so we could do our volunteer work. This particular game, we were going to be putting surveys in all of the cup holders inside of the stadium. With a temperature of over 95 degrees and a heat index of a million degrees, it was a hot one! We got it all done relatively quickly though so we had the opportunity to tail gate for a while.

Mike preparing the grill and the steak!

Me being silly.

Darth Vader is a Chiefs Fan??

We went into the stadium about an hour early; which is not normal for us (we normally miss the kickoff because we are working). We went down to our seats and watch the players stretching and warming up.

Donnie Edwards has return to the Chiefs. He is in the background squatting...

The quarterbacks threw a few right in front of us.

The quarterbacks work on snaps with the centers.

The players run some lines.

The game started and I snapped a few photos of the action. After a while, the starters aren't even playing so it gets a little boring to watch.

Trent Green takes his first snap at Arrowhead in a Dolphins uniform.

Finally, the cheerleaders came out in the second half in the cutest uniforms. I figured I better snap some pictures for the men out there...

We had a great time! We didn't stick around to the very end of the game (as did quite a few people). In fact, we missed the touchdown by Miami that put them in the front.'s just preseason...

I'm going to get started on some homework and housecleaning (no necessarily in that order).


Friday, August 17, 2007

Lucky Frog

...Not so lucky last night...but funny none-the-less!

I got this from my brother last year for my birthday! I am putting it on here in honor of Danelle's Birthday in about 30 minutes... HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY!

She's about to be in Vegas so she should be partying like Lucky Frog! Have a great time! Your fish is in good hands...I think!

I'm done. I'll post more tomorrow!


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chiefs 10 | Miami 11 BOO!!!

Mike and I went to the Chiefs preseason home opener again the Miami Dolphins today to cheer the team on to victory. I'm sleepy right now so this is going to be short. But I shot some video and took some photos that I wanted to get on here for Mom to send on to Marg. **Mom - you will understand**

Tony G prepares to catch a ball in warmups

Stretching with the team

He is very flexible for such a big guy!

Tony catches a few in warmups

Tony G stretches with the team - I guess I didn't notice anyone was even doing it with him...

...not that it really matters! It's a great show any way!

That's it for now. There is much more to the story but I will work on that tomorrow...


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The new arrowhead??

I am going to the home opener preseason game tomorrow. I have to work first (putting stuff in the cupholders in each of the seats???) but that's okay. It will all be worth it when I can boo trent green right off the field! I hope he loses BAD!!

So, here you go - for the opening day and in honor of Lamar Hunt:

Clark Hunt on the New Arrowhead
Aug 15, 2007, 2:44:10 PM
at the New Arrowhead Press Conference

This is an exciting day for Chiefs fans and the citizens of Jackson County, and, on a personal note, it’s a very special day for our family. In a few minutes, we’ll unveil the plans for the New Arrowhead Stadium, but before we do, I’d like to take a few moments to share a little bit about the inspiration behind the plans.

As a family, we have always been very proud to call Arrowhead the “Home of the Chiefs”. Last Sunday marked the 35th anniversary (hehe...I'm going to be 35 in 2 months) of the first game ever played at Arrowhead – a Chiefs victory over the then St. Louis Cardinals (24-14). Its visionary design influenced every stadium that followed. When Arrowhead opened, famed Bears founder George Halas called it the most “revolutionary, futuristic sports complex” he had ever seen, and Jackson County was lauded across the country for its forward-thinking citizens. Thirty-five years later, we are very proud that Arrowhead is still regarded as one of the most magnificent structures in pro sports and an icon in the National Football League, but we’re even more proud of what Arrowhead has become.

Arrowhead is the home to the best fans in the NFL. Chiefs fans are knowledgeable, passionate, loyal and – most importantly – loud. The passion of our fans is the lifeblood of the team. To Chiefs fans, Arrowhead is much more than a stadium, it’s an experience, and we think the New Arrowhead will help enhance that experience for our fans.

For our family, Arrowhead is also a special place because of what it meant to my father, Lamar. This stadium was born out of his vision for the sport of pro football in Mid-America and his passion for the Chiefs. And, by his own account, it was his favorite place on Earth.

Just weeks before his passing, he was still developing ideas and attending design meetings with the architects. He made a very specific request of those of us involved in the process to “get it right” for the fans, and it’s been very important to all of us to make sure that we do so. The New Arrowhead represents our family’s commitment to my father’s vision and we’ll honor his legacy by being good stewards to the taxpayers of Jackson County.

Family’s financial commitmentAs Mike mentioned earlier, our family recently made the decision to significantly increase our financial commitment to the construction budget. While the modernization as required by our agreement with Jackson County could have been achieved within the original $325 million budget, we felt that to “get it right”, it was important to go beyond what was required to ensure that Arrowhead remains one of the greatest stadiums in the NFL for decades to come. These extra dollars will primarily go to the following areas:

Audio/Visual enhancements including a 360 degree ribbon board
A “Hall of Honor” that will offer our fans a chance to experience the rich history of the Chiefs.
Significantly improved team training facilities comparable to the very best in the NFL.
A field at the Chiefs training complex available for youth football teams in our community.
A new “Horizon Level” on the south side of the stadium that will provide fans an opportunity to view the game from a festive, open-air concourse.
Additional seating at every vantage point in the stadium for our fans with disabilities.
And finally, architectural enhancements that will ensure that Arrowhead retains its status as the most beautiful stadium in the NFL

All of these improvements are focused on our two primary goals:

To augment Arrowhead’s reputation as the best gameday experience in the NFL
To have a football team that our fans can be proud of and one that is capable of bringing home the trophy that bears my father’s name.

As an organization, we are very excited about the New Arrowhead, and we believe that Chiefs fans will share our enthusiasm. Now, without further adieu, I’d like to turn it over to Dennis Wellner, the principal architect for the project from HOK Sport who will walk you through a brief presentation on the “New Arrowhead”.

Want a preview? Check it out:

Off to bed...I'm sure tomorrow will be a LOOOOOOOONG day!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Computer Fun

I ended up going down to Springfield, Missouri today to help support a user who was having some computer issues. I narrowed the problem down to a hard drive issue and thought maybe it was a connection problem. I tore the silly thing apart trying to check it all out. I ended up not finding the issue within the computer but believe the trouble to be with the hard drive itself. It is pretty much dead...
So why do I tell you this? So I get home tonight and Mike tells me that his laptop just keeps shutting down for no reason. He keeps trying to do scans on it but it doesn't find anything wrong if it completes the scan. I was lying on the floor looking at it when Sedona decided it was time to play. She bumped it with her paw which caused another shut down. When a computer does that, I am let to believe that there is an issue with the connection to the motherboard. What most people don't know about me is that I am Dell Certified. That means I am legally able to work on a Dell computer/laptop without voiding any type of warranties. Unfortunately, ours is out of warranty (it's an older free one...a story for a different post). However, I was bound and determined that I would figure out a way to bring this thing back to life. What I had to share with you are the pictures of the darn thing torn down just about completely.
I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to Dell laptops (notice the working laptop is on the Dell support page). But two laptops torn down in one day has to be some sort of record (at least for me). Needless to say, the personal one, while it still works, can't be moved while working on it or it just shuts down...bummer dude!
Alright, I have to go see if I can find anyone that wants to work the Chiefs preseason home opener this Thursday...YIKES!

Monday, August 13, 2007

What is LJ doing?

So I'm on a teleconference today and someone asks me the question - "Is Larry Johnson planning on joining the Chiefs this season?" Quite frankly, I hadn't been paying that much attention. To me it's ridiculous that these players even have that option. If I walked in to my boss tomorrow and told him I was going to hold out for more money...I'm fairly certain he would go ahead and relieve me of my duties! C'mon Larry; open your eyes. Get 'er done!

Here is what the Kansas City Star is saying:

Chiefs close to deal with Larry Johnson
The Kansas City Star

The Chiefs and Larry Johnson were closing in on agreement on a contract extension that could put him back in a Chiefs uniform in time for their third preseason game on Aug. 23 against New Orleans at Arrowhead Stadium.

Multiple sources told The Star today the sides had narrowed their once-considerable differences and a deal could be struck sometime this week.

One source indicated Johnson might be at Arrowhead Stadium for Thursday night’s game against Miami.

Publicly, Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson said he didn’t believe a deal was imminent.

“I’m cautiously optimistic a deal will get concluded, but exactly when I can’t tell you. I really can’t,” Peterson said. “I would say we’re still communicating. Are we real close? Not from where I sit.

“We’re still talking pretty much on a daily basis. There are things we’re still stuck on and I can’t say how long that’s going to take.”

I would love to say that the team with LJ is going to be a Super Bowl contending team but I don't believe that one man makes up the entire team. They all have to work together in order to put wins on the board. With or without Larry, it doesn't really matter to me.

You can certainly tell it is summer here in Kansas City. The Royals are in last place and the Chiefs are going to win the Super Bowl...

Future updates on LJ may or may not be posted here so feel free to check back for updates...or not....

I have to get up early tomorrow so I best head to bed.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

I Did It!

This morning I got up and participated in the Susan G Komen Race for the cure. I promised myself this year rather than walking, I would run. Well, I did it...mostly! The route has one hill that really killed me...However, I feel great about making it and I did it in pretty good time too! Next year, I will work to run the entire thing (no walking). Maybe it won't be 85 degrees at 7:30 in the morning so it isn't quite the torture it was today!

Mike came along and brought the camera so he shot a few pictures. He was not able to get a video of me finishing the race simply because he didn't see me until it was too late. That's okay though - just trust that I crossed the line and I was running when I did it!

Before the race getting ready.

My signs that say I run in celebration of Julie and in memory of Jeri.

I'm in the photo - can you see me? I ran into some former coworkers of mine and was hanging out talking with them just before the race began.

I'm not in this photo - a couple of minutes before and I would have been...just a shot of the fountain in front of Union Station.

People as they begin walking the course.

The fountains were set to the music that was playing. Mike snapped this photo as the walkers started out on the course.

Mike shot several videos while waiting for me to get through the course. He was unable to capture the video of me crossing the finish line because the camera wasn't ready. I think it was because he didn't think I would finish quite as quick as I did (the finish line clock said 39 minutes when I got to it and I didn't run the entire route). It's okay though because I don't know that I had the best look on my face when I got there any way!

Panning video of the race getting under way:

The Cheer Squad for the race. These girls were at the finish line shouting out the cheer you can hear them doing on the video. It was nice having people cheer you on through it!

That's all. I did it. now I begin training so I can do it RUNNING the entire time. Thank you so much to everyone who donated. Start saving your pennies for next year now!

I'm going to take a nap now.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Football Season Has Arrived

The time has arrived for sitting in front of my television at every opportunity and either cheering or jeering the Chiefs to victory (and all of the other teams to defeat). We pulled the flag out and hung it out for the day. It's so hard to think of football season when it is 100 degrees outside!

So far, the team looks like they are still in preseason and training camp; sluggish and unorganized. Really what we remember at this time of year is everything that they do wrong; the fumbles, the interceptions, the bumbled plays. What we forget is that for most of the game we are looking at some of the guys who usually end up playing on the practice squad. What both Mike and I found odd with this opening game is that it seemed the 2nd string group started the game and those that are going to be starters came in during the second quarter. It really is an interesting approach if you think about it. Start the backups first - they are the ones that are most nervous. They get all of that out; they get the taste of starting. Then you bring in the guys who are really going to make it happen; let them be calm and you will see how they are really going to handle the game.

At halftime, the quarterbacks give thier feedback on the first half of play:

QB Damon Huard: “It wasn’t a real crisp effort by the offense. We seemed to be off kilter a little bit. It was a pretty frustrating half for the offense in general. On the interception, I probably put it a little too wide for Keith (Willis) and I’d obviously like to have that one back.”

QB Brodie Croyle: “We got moving the ball and then I made a stupid mistake trying to make a play. If I don’t do that, we probably get points. We didn’t hit on a couple of other pass plays. There are just little things that we need to iron out. We were in too many third-and-longs. We’ll be better next week.”

I'm glad that Brodie feels they will do better next week. They have some work to do in training camp this week.

The score currently is tied 9-9 with 4 minutes left in the game. I really hate to see over time in preseason so the Chiefs just need to score and get it over with! I have some homework that needs to get done so I hope they hurry! (Update; Chiefs lose to the Browns 12-16)

The race is tomorrow so I need to get to bed and prepare for a busy day.


Elbow Update

It's not broken and I am assuming because I didn't get a call back that nothing else is wrong with it!

I went to the Urgent Care in Phoenix to have it checked out this morning because my fingers were numb when I got out of bed this morning. I figured it would be better to be safe than sorry. It wasn't my favorite decision to have to make...I was suppose to be going horseback riding with one of the guys from work. He was nice enough to come pick me up and take me to the clinic and hang out with me while I waited.

I've never actually been to an Urgent Care. Quite the interesting operation really...what was really funny was the armband like when you go to the hospital. When I found out nothing was really wrong, I ripped that silly thing off as fast as I could. I'm already embarassed enough!

I'm back home in Kansas City and really just want to shut down my computer and call it a night (even though I am still stuck on Phoenix time). What really sounds like fun is to hang out with my hubby for a while...


Friday, August 10, 2007


So at work today I made myself look like an idiot. I tripped over a power cable plugged into a laptop and landed right on my elbow. I have a nice little rug burn, a bruise starting to form, and it is swollen. It really hurt bad when I first did it; my hand even started to fall asleep. Now it is definitely sore (my arm hurts just trying to type this all out) So now I am wondering if I did more than bruise it...

The worst part is that I am suppose to be going horseback riding in the morning and I'm not sure that is such a good idea; especially if it still hurts. Do I go get it checked out at that point in time?? I hate to go to an emergency room in a foreign city...especially if nothing is wrong...

I guess I will see in a few hours, huh??

I suppose, I better start getting ready for bed. I am going to have a long day tomorrow no matter what I decide to do!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

What a Week!

What a week! I'm fairly beat right now but I will throw some comments out there for the people that view this on a daily basis (Hi Dad!!)

So last night the team went to a Diamond Backs baseball game here in Phoenix at Chase Stadium downtown. I must say that going to a game between two teams that you really don't care about isn't that exciting. But hanging out with friends and being silly is defintely a great time. I have some VERY entertaining photos of everyone to share. Hopefully I don't get fired for posting them...

Jon posing for his life-size poster cutout!

The D-backs take the field. We sat in the outfield bleachers...great place to catch a home run...

Doug and Jon share some jalepeno sunflower seeds...

Jon looks like he is up to something...

Chris and Brent pose for the camera in TGIFriday's Front Row.

Jon giving his old man look.

I can't tell you for sure whether the Diamond Backs or the Pittsburgh Pirates won (the Pirates were leading at the bottom of the ninth) but we had a great time and that's all that matters!

I have to answer a question for class so I have to, I'm watching a show on the Chiefs training camp which is much more interesting then blogging right now...


Monday, August 06, 2007

I Almost Missed It!

I got up at 4:30 AM to get on a plane for Phoenix at 7:15 AM. While I gain two hours when I come to Phoenix, I spend the first night trying to keep my eyes open and my mind functioning so that I'm not a zombie the next day. If this is random, well you will just have to deal with it. Randomness is my nature and thus the reason for the blog title...

So anyway, I get to the airport a little earlier than I normally do. I got in line to check in for my flight and was routed through the line quickly and easily. So I decided with the time I had left to go out and enjoy a little of the lightning show being presented to the North of the airport and the humidity that I won't be able to experience in Phoenix. About 45 minutes before my scheduled departure time, I decided to head back indoors and jump in the line to go through security, use the little girl's room, buy some water, and get in the boarding pass A line of Southwest American Airlines (I got up early on Sunday so I could check in for my flight to make sure I got in with boarding group A).

I walked through the door and what did I see but about 200 people (no, I'm not exaggerating) standing in line to go through security. Normally, this line has 3 x-ray screening stations and the line moves fairly quickly. However, today, only 2 of the lines were operational. I wasn't getting worried...yet. However, as the minutes started ticking by, I began to think I wasn't going to have much of a shot to make it to the group A line before it boarded. About 15 minutes left before the plane was suppose to be taking off, the kind people from the TSA started walking through the lines pulling any one that was scheduled to be on that flight. We were all hussled to the front of the line. While you think this would be a great perk; a benefit if you will, it really only makes matters a little more confusing. And of course, I have to select the line that doesn't move (if I would have stayed in the other line I would have gotten through faster). I finally made it through all of the checkpoints, gathered all of my belongings, and ran over to my gate. Needless to say, I didn't get my normal seat. I ended up sitting in the middle of two people. I boarded the plane at 7:14...and there were probably another 15 to 20 people in line behind me so needless to say we didn't make it off the ground on time.

Luckily, even though several of us had a little higher blood pressure when we boarded, we had one of the entertaining Southwest flight attendents. She was cracking all sorts of jokes and really making the whole situation much better. I think this put the pilot in a good mood as well because we still made it to Phoenix on time! No complaints from me to the airline. It wasn't their fault that equipment broke or that I didn't get in the line when it was short. However, I must admit if they didn't do the cattle-call boarding and instead did assigned seating, I would have gotten my seat no matter when I got in there...

Alright, I really need to finish up with my classwork and head to the land of counting sheep. I can't really even think any longer.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Today is hot. I'm talking 107 degree heat index...that's hot. No one feels like doing much of anything...just lying around...

Unfortunately, I have a paper to write. Not to mention the fact that I go to Phoenix tomorrow morning so I really need to gather my stuff and get it packed...maybe I'll get some energy soon...

I may get motivated to write more later but right now...I just want to be a vegetable...


Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Sprinkler to Water the Lawn?

A chain of unlikely, yet necessary, events...

Over the past few weeks, I have really noticed that our lawn is looking a little more brown every day. Mike and I have chatted about needing to water the lawn, but the thought rarely crosses my mind on a daily basis. Lately, our walnut trees have been dripping some seriously sticky substance all over the back yard; this includes on the deck and on my new deck furniture. I don't even really enjoy sitting in the back yard because everything has a sticky film over it. So this morning, I decided to drag all of the chairs to the front yard and clean them off so I might be able to relax on the back deck again. I ran down to the basement to grab a wash rag and noticed the fan sitting in the corner. I have been meaning to get the fan upstairs and get it cleaned up so that we could pull the cooler air from the South side of the house (the dining and living room) to the North side of the house (the office and the bedroom) because sleeping at night and working in the office during the day can get quite warm; especially when the temperature reaches up into the 90's like it did today. So I grabbed the fan and took it upstairs. I left it sitting in the middle of the kitchen while I went in to take a much-needed shower after my bike ride to the tanning salon...

**Side note** So when I was young, my brother and I use to ride our bikes to the swimming pool all the time. The ride was a total of 7 miles. Why do I have a hard time now riding the 2 miles to and from the tanning salon?? I must be getting old or something...

...When I got out of the shower, Mike asks me if I got the fan up for him to wash or for me. I told him it didn't much matter; the both of us could do it. He began taking the fan apart for a much-needed cleaning. I started to run water in the sink and decided that as dirty as that fan was, I really needed to take it outside to wash. So I ran hot water in a bowl then went outside to drag the hose from the side of the house to the front (to the driveway where I was pretty much everything off...including the dogs). So I washed the fan and the chairs with the hose and some nice hot soapy water. I left everything sitting in the sun to dry. As I was standing there, I began to spray water on the lawn. The longer I stood in the hot sun, the more I thought about the small sprinkler we have had since I got the hose holder a couple of years ago. So I went and grabbed the sprinkler and hooked it up. Needless to say, the age of the sprinkler really showed. It wouldn't spin any longer and so it was really just spraying water up into the air in no real order. I grabbed Mike who took a few minutes to see if he could make the silly thing work. No luck. So we sat down and discussed the option of purchasing a new sprinkler and just what type we would buy. This, of course, prompted a visit to our local Lowe's.

**Side Note** If I was a billionaire, I'm fairly certain I would buy one, two, maybe even three of everything that Lowe's & Home Depot has in stock. I would have a blast landscaping my yard, redoing my deck, ripping out my kitchen, repaving the get my point...

...While at Lowe's, I mentioned that we needed more wire for the weed trimmer. Unfortunately, our trimmer is old and requires a special kind of wire; which Lowe's does not carry. This prompted a trip to Feldman's which always takes some time because Mike and I really love going to those small-town feed and grain stores. They always have such fun stuff!

**Reminder for Gift-giving** Mike was really eyeing some deep fat fryers that were big enough to do an entire turkey. Mmmmm....Turkey....

...We headed home and I commenced to the watering of the lawn. It's a great sprinkler because it really covers quite a bit of our lawn and you can adjust it so it doesn't spray the house or any other unwanted areas. However, you have to move it from spot to spot. So every hour or so I would go outside, turn off the water, move the sprinkler, and then head back into the house. While all of this is going on, I'm doing laundry and tidying up things a bit (I think to avoid doing homework). After dinner, I was washing up the dishes and noticed that my water just wasn't as hot as it started out to be. I went downstairs and sure enough, the pilot had gone out on the hot water heater. I'm not big on getting down on the floor in my basement or lighting a match and sticking it any where near a gas source so I went to tell Mike...of course, I presented it in such a way that made it sound like I didn't know what I was get him to do it. He wanted to know if I was having a problem following instructions. So I went down to the basement again and tried to light it on my own. After three failed attempts, I went up and asked for assistance again - this time in more of a "I have no idea" type approach. I told him I would do it but I wanted the "expert" in the matter to come assist. It lit without any trouble...which is odd because normally it takes him 4 or 5 attempts...

So, what do I mean by the title? When I was little, the sprinkler was what we used in hot weather such as today to keep cool since we didn't have air conditioning in our house. We would run through it, under it, around it, and over it for hours. We would take the sprinkler off and use the hose to spray each other or fill buckets with water to douse each other. Now a sprinkler is used to water the lawn. When did I start getting old??

Alright, I need to get some rest. Now that I have watered the lawn, I'm sure I am going to have to mow it. I prefer to mow before the temperature hits 90 so I best finish up and get to bed.


Friday, August 03, 2007


Today at work was crazy! I worked all day and feel like I got nothing done simply because I worked on one item and it was NEVER fixed. ARGH! I don't really feel like doing homework so I was checking out some news and found the following article regarding the Minneapolis bridge collapse (all family and friends in the area present and accounted for). Asounding fact: $188 billion over a generation to repair all bridges that are considered structurally deficient...makes you think about driving across a bridge, doesn't it?

Bridge Collapse: Death Toll Far Lower Than Feared
Number of Missing Lowered to 7
Last Edited: Friday, 03 Aug 2007, 6:41 PM CDT
Created: Thursday, 02 Aug 2007, 5:23 AM CDT
From Staff and Associated Press Reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Fears that the death toll would rise dramatically as workers searched through the wreckage of a bridge that plunged into the Mississippi River eased Friday when authorities lowered the number of missing from as many as 30 to just seven.

Crews, weary from searching through swirling currents and waters muddied by debris, were encouraged by the news. Dozens were feared dead because the bridge fell during bumper-to-bumper traffic.

"We were surprised that we didn't have more people seriously injured and killed," Minneapolis Fire Chief Jim Clack told The Associated Press. "I think it was something of a miracle."

At least five people were killed and about 110 injured when the Interstate 35W bridge plummeted more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River on Wednesday afternoon. At least five of the injured were in critical condition, hospital officials said.

The crash immediately launched questions about the safety record of the bridge, which had been declared "structurally deficient" as early as 1990.

Firefighters pulled the fifth victim, the driver of a tractor-trailer that was engulfed in flames in the collapse, from the wreckage late Thursday. Video of the burning rig, nose down in the crevasse between two broken concrete slabs, was among the most compelling images shown in the immediate aftermath of the collapse. The driver had not yet been publicly identified.

One person who had been feared missing turned up safe at work, but Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek cautioned that finding the missing could be a slow process because of the scene.
"It's a terrible mess, quite honestly," Stanek said. "We don't know how many cars were up on the bridge when it collapsed, we don't know how many victims were inside."

Search conditions were improving after the Army Corps of Engineers lowered the water by about two feet, officials said. Strong currents and low visibility had been hampering the effort, but divers had an easier time after the water was lowered, Hennepin County Capt. Bill Chandler said.

Divers located five vehicles Friday morning, but no additional victims had been found. The afternoon search was turning to the west bank of the river, where five targets -- possible vehicles -- had been identified with sonar.

"There are windows down in some of the cars which allows people to get out. We are going to go under the assumption that there are still people there no matter what," Chandler said.
First lady Laura Bush visited the scene Friday morning. During a tour of the disaster site, she praised the rescuers who rushed to the bridge in the chaos after the collapse. At a local American Red Cross chapter, she shook hands with Jay Reeves, the group's public safety coordinator, who helped evacuate children from a school bus.

"She said she appreciated the service that I provided. She believes it was lucky someone like me was right there on the spot," Reeves, 39, said, his voice breaking. "You'll have to excuse me, but that was pretty cool."

President Bush was scheduled to visit Saturday for a recovery briefing.

Among those still missing is Sadiya Sahal, 23, and her 2-year-old daughter, Hanah Mohamed. Sahal, who is five months pregnant, left home at 5:15 p.m. with the toddler in the back seat. She called her family at 5:30 p.m. saying she was stuck in traffic on the bridge, according to Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, where the family came for help. That was her last phone call.

"Her husband is destroyed. He's in shock," Jamal said.

Officials identified the dead as Sherry Engebretsen, 60, of suburban Shoreview; Julia Blackhawk, 32, of Savage; Patrick Holmes, 36, of Moundsview; and Artemio Trinidad-Mena, 29, of Minneapolis.

Despite the powerful images of devastation from the collapse, some believed the design of the bridge reduced the death toll.

Joseph Schofer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University, said the bridge's underlying arch truss stopped heavy pieces of steel from falling onto vehicles when the cars plunged into the water.

More than 70,000 bridges across the country are rated structurally deficient like the I-35W bridge, and engineers estimate repairing them all would take at least a generation and cost more than $188 billion.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty ordered an immediate inspection of all bridges in the state with similar designs, but said the state was never warned that the I-35W bridge needed to be closed or immediately repaired. A firm was hired to review the state's inspection processes.

Authorities said the "structurally deficient" tag simply means some portions of the bridge needed to be scheduled for repair or replacement. It wasn't a candidate for replacement until 2020.

The collapsed bridge is one of 1,160 bridges in that category, which amounts to 8 percent of bridges in the state. Nationally, about 12 percent of bridges are labeled "structurally deficient."
During the 1990s, inspections found fatigue cracks and corrosion in the steel around the bridge's joints. Those problems were repaired. Starting in 1993, the bridge was inspected annually instead of every other year.

After a study raised concern about cracks, the state was given two alternatives: Add steel plates to reinforce critical parts or conduct a thorough inspection of certain areas to see if there were additional cracks. They chose the inspection route, beginning that examination in May.
"We thought we had done all we could," state bridge engineer Dan Dorgan said near the mangled remains of the span. "Obviously something went terribly wrong."

Although concern was raised about cracks, some experts theorized it's no coincidence the collapse happened when workers and heavy equipment were on the bridge. The construction work involved resurfacing and maintenance on guardrails and lights, among other repairs.
"I would be stunned if this didn't have something to do with the construction project," said David Schulz, director of the Infrastructure Technology Institute at Northwestern University. "I think it's a major factor."

The White House said the president supports "necessary funding" to rebuild the bridge. The city is scheduled to host the Republican National Convention next year. The Minnesota congressional delegation has sought $250 million, for the effort, and leaders said they hoped to get a bill passed before Congress leaves for its monthlong summer break Friday.

Alright...time for dinner.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lap Dog

Another non-exciting day in the life of the Mewes clan. Got up, worked out, worked, school work...blah...blah...blah....

So any way - I decided I must be somewhat techno-geeky because I found the picture below to be one of the funniest I have ever seen.

I wonder if I can get Sedona to do that and then do my work while I go out and play...Mmmmm...

That's all for tonight. I'm going to do a little reading and head to bed.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Wooden Bowl

I get a ton of emails but every once in a while, I get one that needs to be shared. This one is a reminder to appreciate what we have in life. They are a gift from God:

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. 'We must do something about father,' said the son. 'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.'

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl! When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?' Just as sweetly, the boy responded, 'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.' The four-year-old smiled and went back to work . The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn!

Now wipe those tears from your eyes and go back to what you were doing...I'm going to!