Thursday, December 21, 2006

And the Snow Falls Down in Denver

Of course there wasn't even an intsy tinsy wintsy bintsy bit of snow this past weekend while we were in Denver and I complained about it a lot. Now, apparently the snow started falling and it hasn't stopped...the last we heard Golden (where we spent our time on Monday) was at 34.5" - that's 2.875 feet! Here are some pictures we took Monday of our friend Ann's house, the house we stayed at over the weekend, and then what it looks like now.

Ann's house on Monday...

Ann's house yesterday...

Not a typical site on the streets of Englewood (or Compton or Long Beach)

Angel Ann

Harry Potter and the...

If you're not a Harry Potter fan, move on as this will not interest you in the slightest.

Fans...if you would like to find out the name of the 7th and final Harry Potter book due out this summer, follow these steps. I am assuming this is true as it can be found on J.K. Rowling's official website but you just never know so I won't believe it (entirely) until I have book in hand, but it's fun anyway. Enjoy!

Go to

  1. Select the entrance with the British flag.

  2. Click on the eraser on her desk.

  3. Click the knob on the open door in the mirror to see the Christmas tree.

  4. Click on the top half of the main door to see a wreath.

  5. Click on the top half of the mirror to reveal garland.

  6. They will all go away if you click the spider web next to the mirror.

  7. Going from left to right, click on the 4th chime in the window. It turns into the key for the door.

  8. Drag the key to the door knob to unlock the door.

  9. The door opens to reveal a package.

  10. When you click the bow, the package will open.

  11. Inside is a game of Hangman you can play to guess the title of Book 7!

Or, apparently you can just visit and they come right out and tell you but what's the fun in that?

Happiness Factory

If I could ensure this is what is actually happening inside my 16th floor High Powered Vending Machine, I might be able to forgive someone for the powerful nature of the bottle release.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Office: Terror Around Every Corner

Why not just put myself totally out there and let you all know how much of a freak I truly am…in case you didn’t already know. I have a couple of completely irrational and embarrassing fears around my office that I think it’s time to share in the hopes that sharing will lead to healing, or something like that. So, here goes…please, no making fun as this is 100% serious business.

Irrational Office Fear #1 – The Double-Sized Revolving Doors
Every single day I have to face this fear as I walk into my building to start my grueling day at the office. Am I greeted with sunshine, coffee and a smile? Nope. Instead, I’m greeted with the glass-and-steel, steam-rolling death trap daring me to walk into it’s oxygen sucking hell sections that will jostle me around until it’s ready to spit me out into the building where it will then sit and wait until I’m ready to head home so it can torment me once more before I leave. I hate it. Hate it! So maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but the thing truly frightens me on a daily basis. My fear comes into play when there is a line of people ready to go in or out of the doors. See, these special doors ‘o death are double (maybe even triple?!?) sized so that more than one person can fit into each section bringing more people into and out of the building at a time. Nice thought, eh? Oh, and did I mention it’s also automatic?!? Well, I think this particular door can smell my fear and somehow conspires with my fellow co-workers to make sure I am ALWAYS the second person to walk into the door. Being the second person in a revolving door section is terrifying! You’re totally at the mercy of the person in front of you that they will walk at the appropriate pace and, god willing, walk close enough to the front of the section so you have room to walk “comfortably” behind them. Chances are you’re most likely behind some inconsiderate, fearless a-hole that takes their sweet time causing you to shuffle your feet, snuggle up to their backside and look over your shoulder every half second to make sure you’re not about to be plowed by the glass door. What if the bottom of the door catches your pant leg and drags you down to the ground and you get flattened? Or, your pant leg gets trapped locking up the entire revolving mechanism and you get trapped waiting for help and suffocate to death while everyone watches because the whole thing is made out of glass? Agh! So, that takes care of the first portion of the “ride” where my life flashes before my eyes…now, on to what I like to call the “dismount”. After you’ve “safely” made it through the rotation and it’s time to finally get out of the glass torture chamber, guess what’s next? Oh yeah…clearing the door before it catches your ankle and traps you again. Or, maybe you don’t even get your body completely out and it slices you in half? Luckily I have devised a special skip-and-hop move I have perfected over the past year or so that successfully launches me out into the safety of the building without the door devouring one of my precious limbs, or the precious left side of my body. Thank god I was a gymnast. One time I made the mistake of walking through the door while talking on my cell phone, got totally disoriented and ended up smacking right into the glass because I tried to get out before the section opened to the outside. Then, panicked, I had to re-orient myself in time to get out safely, all the while my co-workers are looking on laughing. If they only knew my fear I think they would be a little more compassionate.

Gonna stop hanging out with me yet?

Irrational Office Fear #2 – The16th Floor High Powered Vending Machine
After the trauma of the revolving door, I am typically a little parched when I finally make it up to my office so I innocently head on over to the vending machine for an ice-cold Dasani. Easy, right? Nope. Again, something so simple and harmless-looking ends up bringing fear to my already tortured day. I’ve actually thought about this fear a lot and come to the conclusion that I am not afraid of all vending machines, just this one. Because I work where I do, we don’t have your regular, run-of-the-mill vending machine. We have several different kinds including a really cool one that you can see grab the drink you choose, run it down the little conveyor belt and then drop it in the hole. If only the 16th Floor had this kind of vending machine. *Sigh* Instead, we have the most violent machine created that sends your beverage careening down the chute at lightening speed with the hopes of chopping your hand off. I swear there is something comparable to a torpedo launcher that shoots your drink out. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if I wasn’t such an impatient person and liked to try and time my reach so that my hand is able to grasp my drink as soon as it falls. Hmm…lightning fast torpedo beverage + sweet beautiful soft delicate hand = major injuries & potential lifelong scarring. I have yet to find a special move to protect me from the machine other than distracting myself as much as possible so I’m late with my grab. Total panic ensues when for some reason the evil machine decides to spit two drinks out for no reason. So, even though I was nice and patient and waited until my drink was all the way at the bottom before grabbing, it shoots another one out at me just to keep me on my toes. What have I done to deserve this treatment??

I won’t go any further today but believe me, there are others. Electronic staplers (think jack-in-the-box), paper shredders, electronic hole punches, elevators, ESCALATORS (“Listen, not a year goes by, not a year, that I don't hear about some escalator accident involving some bastard kid which could have easily been avoided had some parent - I don't care which one - but some parent conditioned him to fear and respect that escalator.”)…the list goes on and on.

To make me feel a little better about myself, please feel free to share your work-related fears. As I said above, sharing leads to healing…or something like that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

5 miles at 5,280ft is h-a-r-d

This will be quick. A few photos of our whirlwind weekend in Denver. And, random thoughts on our time there...
  • it's cold, really cold and when it's cold and there isn't even any snow to show for how flippin' cold it is, you might get a little pissy and whiny
  • it's brown, really brown and when it's brown and there isn't any snow to cover up the brownness you have a hard time remembering why the heck you thought it was such a beautiful place to live
  • then you look west and you suddenly remember why when you see a wall of smiling mountains begging you to come play with them
  • if i could have taken one thing with me to atlanta, aside from the mountain wall, it would have been washington park where charles and i used to run everyday (read: every once in a while). i remembered every corner, tree, "hill", house and pond around the park. it was like i had never left and have never ran anywhere besides there since i left. i especially liked seeing the tree charles used to stand at waiting for me to finish and cheering me on because he ALWAYS finished before i did.
  • running a mile above sea level sucks. it took every ounce of strength i had in my body to ignore my screaming lungs, pounding heart, streaming eyes and nose, and stinging cheeks, fingers, nose, chin and forehead and continue with my 5 miler on saturday. when i finished i could barely talk.
  • having good friends in another city is awesome...we had a lovely home to stay in, plans every night (thanks to a few serious planners), free ski tickets, yummy breakfasts, cozy fires and mulled cider. not to mention great conversation and lots and lots of catching up.
  • it's really strange to visit a place that used to be your home. i've never had that experience before. when we lived in denver and would fly back to visit atlanta, it never felt weird because i still considered it home and knew that i would be back eventually. it would be a little odd to drive on a familiar road and see a brand new subdivision or new gas station, but it still always felt like home versus feeling like a tourist in what once was my home. that's how denver felt. it was strange to drive around, not knowing exactly how to get somewhere and then all of a sudden your mind clicks into gear and leads you exactly where you need to go. everything just came flooding back - where the closest Target is, what's the short cut to get to the interstate, that there's a Noodles on every corner (as there should be everywhere). driving up to the mountains to snowboard felt just like driving up to snowboard any of the other thousand times i did it while i lived there. i remember my first time heading west on I-70 in high school with mouth agape and eyes wide open soaking up every detail of the drive. now, it's so familiar and a little ordinary.
  • i miss my old co-workers. within 5 minutes of being at my old office i was watching dick in a box on someones computer and chatting with my old boss and co-workers about smashing boobs against a glass shower door. needless to say, that behavior is a bit frowned upon at the big behemoth.
  • i think moving back to atlanta was the right thing to do. i remember leaving denver and thinking that perhaps we had made a huge mistake by deciding to leave. looking back on the decision and seeing where we are now and who we're surrounded by and what we have, i think we made the right choice and, even though we miss our friends/mountains/park/(non-existent) snow, atlanta is the place for us...right now at least.
  • thank god, i still know how to snowboard
  • drama abounds...when you think your group of friends is too wrapped up in stupid, insignificant drama, chances are so are everyone else's group of friends. it was fascinating to listen to all the crap that has gone on with our denver friends since we left and made me realize that the petty stuff that goes on here is completely normal and maybe even less frequent and less severe than what others are dealing with.
  • sometimes it's worth the fear of a potentially awkward situation if it means you can repair a relationship with good friends

and now, pics! enjoy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Maybe this is what ice cream's baby looks like?

I found a t-shirt quote once that made me laugh out loud and want to order the shirt immediately..."I'm not fat, I'm pregnant with Ice Cream's Baby". I know we've been taught that mead or ambrosia was the nectar of the gods but i think it was actually ice cream. Inspired by Zach's pic of the day, I headed to Cute Overload and found this little guy...apparently equally appreciative of the frozen dairy crack (two crack references in one day doesn't mean i have a problem, ok?).
I would like to think this is what i look like after diving into a pint of Cookies 'n Cream Cyclone.

Calling all Chefs - Gold Medals & Pez at Stake!!!

You may be shocked to know this about me, but I happen to be the reigning champion of the annual 16th Floor Pot Luck Luncheon at the office. Believe it or not, my dish from last year beat out about 30 others, including desserts, and won "Best Tasting" -- the most prestigious of the three awards handed out by none other than my boss' boss' boss' boss, the other two being "most festive presentation" and "most creative/unique". What was the dish? Elin's award-winning (I added this part after my big win last year) Heart Attack Cheese Dip. It happens to be one of the easiest recipes I've ever had to follow and has all of like 5 ingredients but it tastes SO good you can't stop eating it. Those that have had it know what I'm talking about. Maybe it's that dash of crack you add at the end?

Anyhow, being that last year was my first time ever entering the contest and I won the whole thing, my co-workers will have high expectations for my dish this year. I am supposed to bring an appetizer again and am looking to all of my 3-5 readers to please let me know what recipes you have that could help me bring home the gold again. Nothing too fancy or difficult, just something that tastes damn good. Last year my big winnings were a plastic gold medal hanging on a red, white and blue ribbon (it still hangs in my office) and a Santa pez dispenser. We're talking big time prizes here...Coke folks don't mess around.

Thanks in advance for your help with this and I'll be sure to post the results of my dish Thursday evening.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Needing a good, swift kick in the arse!

It's funny to read my post from just last week about how well i'm sticking to my training and i'm even ahead of the schedule a bit, blah, blah, blah. Here i sit, a full week and a day from my last run. That's about 10-13 miles or so of running that I have missed. As I am beginning to feel a little discouraged and unsure of how to fit it all in, any words of encouragement or wisdom you could send my way would be greatly appreciated. I think it will feel good to do another group run this Saturday as I have genuinely enjoyed the last two. Oh yeah, and maybe it's about time I sent out my fundraising website address and fundraising letters so I can start chipping away at that $1700 I have to raise...yikes!

On a more positive note, I think I may have FINALLY found the paint color I have been looking for for my dining room. I found it while visiting a friend of a friend in Dallas yesterday. This weekend, I will be on the hunt for Sherwin Williams color SW6388 Golden Fleece 11/02. And, somehow in all the madness of the past week I was able to find the time to purchase and decorate my Christmas Tree (apparently Christmas is of more importance than helping fund leukemia & lymphoma research...maybe i need to rethink my priorities a bit). It's beautiful! Somehow among the picked-through, wonky-style Christmas trees that were left in the Lowe's tree lot, I was able to find a perfectly symmetrical gem. If anyone would like to come by, sip a cup of wassil (or wassail? i found both spellings...maybe "yummy christmas drink goodness" would be a better name?), stare at my tree and maybe play a round of Boggle or two, I would be totally game!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I'll never wash my shoulder again *sigh*

So, there was definitely moisture in my eyes Saturday night watching Jeremy Enigk but I don’t know if it was from tears or from the fact that I was having an extremely difficult time remembering to blink. The set – 17 songs long. About an hour and forty-five minutes of sheer genius.

This was the third time I have seen him play…once with Sunny Day Real Estate, once with the Fire Theft and then this time, solo plus band. I distinctly remember at the SDRE show six years ago not being able to take my eyes of Dan Hoerner, the guitarist. He literally played the entire set with the biggest, goofiest grin on his face and looked like he was genuinely having the time of his life on stage – that’s what I remember most about that show. To be honest, I don’t remember much about The Fire Theft show aside from several people in the crowd yelling out Nate Mendel’s name every now and again, I guess in appreciation of his taking time out of the Foo Fighters gig to join The Fire Theft on tour. What I can’t remember about either show, for some reason or another, is what Jeremy was like. What I thought I remembered was a fairly quiet, serious guy who didn’t address the crowd much, instead focusing on playing an amazing set.

What I saw Saturday night was an animated, goofy guy that gave thanks & expressed his gratitude to the audience between each and every song. Did I mention there were 17 of them? There were. He smiled, he laughed, he joked and even danced a little jig. He thrashed around the stage, banged hard on his piano, strummed even harder on his guitar and gave every ounce of his heart, soul and energy into making sure the experience was everything he and every person in the audience wanted it to be. He had to take several long pauses after the more energetic songs so he could catch his breath before launching into another mind-blowing piece. At one point I thought for sure both the keyboard and drum set were going to burst into flames and that the drummer's head was going to explode. Charles and I were both all smiles and the rest of the crowd was equally awed and very respectful and appreciative…not sure if Jeremy draws that out of people, if his fans are different from some other bands I’ve seen lately or if my recent experiences are more geographically related (meaning there weren’t any rednecks yelling “freebird!!! Woo hoo!!”).

The collective sound of the band was impeccable…all the instruments and vocals were at just the right mix to produce a beautifully loud (as opposed to ear-numbingly loud), complex, ear-smiling sound. Oh, and his voice? Perfect. Strong. Loud. Pure goodness. There have been one or two other times in my life where I have been to a concert and was able to completely lose myself in the music…the SDRE show was the first and it happened again Saturday night. You know what I mean? Where you close your eyes at some point and when you open them again time has elapsed but you’re not quite sure how much and you really don’t care. Your body continues to sway and your head continues to bob but your mind is somewhere else.

The venue, North Star Bar in Philadelphia, was the perfect size. As Keeva described it for us earlier in the day, it was a little larger than 10 High in Atlanta with a stage setup like Tasty World in Athens. We were standing right in front of the middle of the stage and just about eye-level with the band as we were in the very front of the second level, just a few steps up from the main floor.

Sorry to ramble – I could go on as I didn’t even touch on the fact that both Charles and I brushed up against Jeremy’s shoulder and shared drinks right next to him at the bar, but this is wordy enough.

Needless to say, this was the best show of my life, and I have seen a lot of really, really great shows. It was definitely worth making the trip up to Philly (I’ll post more about our time in the city later) and far surpassed all my expectations. Thank you, Charles, for everything!

ps...if you've been wondering whether or not Santa would be headed your way for Christmas, I saw him & mrs.claus at Hartsfield on Monday so he must have been scoping out atlanta's naughty & nice. He's a little shorter in person than i thought he would be but he definitely had the "bowl full of jelly" thing going on. Wish i could've snapped a pic!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kickin' Ass & Takin' Names

AHEAD OF THE GAME!!!! Yeah-hooo!!!!!!!

Marathon, shmarathon...I got this thing in the bag. I'll see your 3 miles on Wednesday and raise you 2, thank you very much. Oh, and do it with 2, count 'em T-W-O, ironman triathletes.