Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Late to the Party

I am awesome at discovering things like 5 years after everyone else. And then telling everyone all about the awesome thing I just discovered, and the entire world is like, "Yeah, yeah... that was good. Five years ago. We're on to the new big thing now."
It's kind of my calling in life: reminding people of that awesome thing they loved a few years ago. Lately I got really super duper into Entourage, which is a dumb but fun TV show. And I got my brother into it, and we're leaving like the worst jokes on each other's facebook pages that would totally have been funny to culturally literate people way back when they were watching these episodes in 2006.
I'm at it again, and since I not only discover things late, but I go crazy over them and let them consume my life, I will share with you my latest and greatest discovery: Reach Records. I have to say Reach Records instead of a particular artist that's on the label, because I really like them all. Now... I am not your typical rap listener, and I wouldn't even say I'm normally into rap (except... I'm crazy about spoken word, of course, and that's a lot like rapping). But I am into good music and amazing lyrics. These lyrics are amazing.
I would say to check out Trip Lee and Lecrae and just let each song take you to the next and find your favorites.
Here's one of MY new favorites:
Background by Lecrae, featuring C-Lite:

Philippians 4:4-5
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I did it, and it's over

My season as captain is over. Over! Can you believe it? I can't!
I wrote to my sister today: No more racquets, no more balls! No more questionable out calls!
This is what I learned from my tenure as captain of the 3.0 women's tennis team:
•Stress causes me to lose my mind. Literally. I could not remember a thing for the two and a half months that I was dealing with tennis. I didn't remember normal things, like putting on make-up before coming to work. I forgot plans with friends. I lost entire conversations, so that when people referenced them later I had no idea what they were talking about.
•I am a pretty organized person ... to the point of micro-managing. I probably would have guessed I was a micro-manager before this season, just because I don't trust many other people to do things correctly (because... they don't). So, yes, my poor team got about 2-3 emails from me a week.
•I have little patience for certain things. Like... don't reply to my email and ask a question that was addressed in the email. Hence, my micro-management. 2-3 emails per week, all saying the same thing. Read 'em.
•I don't ever, ever, ever want to be captain again.
So, a big thanks to all family, friends and strangers who had to speak to me over the past two and a half months. You were dealing with the Hulk, even if you didn't realize it. And while tennis made me pretty crazy ...
.... not, like, this crazy....
....but still pretty crazy, it's over now, and hopefully my memory will return, my micro-managing tendencies will subside, and my email inbox count will go down.
Woohoo! Great season and great team, but happy to be done!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Time for a Change

A few weekends ago, I went to New Jersey for some much-needed time with friends. It was amazing!
They are so much fun, and they really bent over backwards to accommodate my every whim. We went into NYC, but stayed out of Times Square, which was a specific request of mine. We had a fancy lunch in the city and walked around and looked at funky consignment shops in Greenwich Village, before taking the train home. We visited our old stomping grounds at Rutgers, and I was able to buy a million scarlet and black RU shirts/sweatshirts/license plate holders to last me until the next time I visit. We ate at Friendly's and a diner. We got our nails done and made-our-own sundaes. And best of all, I got to laugh and hang out with them, hug and hold their babies, and revel in the time with some of my oldest friends. It was a great time.
I realized on my drive home from the airport
       that I was happy to come home
                                            anxious to leave NJ
                                                                 but most astonishingly.....
                                                                                                     I was
                                                                                                            in a terrible mood.

How dare I, right? I mean, they took time off of work, they drove me everywhere I wished. They treated me like a queen (and they would think nothing of it, I promise you! This is how they are for their friends!). But really, my bad attitude had nothing to do with my awesome friends, or the things we did while we were all together, because, like I said: It was amazing.

Last year, when I visited for a wedding, these were their stats:
Friend 1: Getting married, apartment, great job as lawyer, no kids
Friend 2: Newly Married, brand new house they are working on, finished grad. school/looking for job, no kids
Friend 3: Married for a couple of years, house for a couple of years, great job as accountant, no kids.

Here are the stats this year:
Friend 1: Newly married, new apartment, same great job as lawyer, no kids
Friend 2: Married for a couple of years, new house is finished, great new job as a communications director, brand new baby
Friend 3: Married for a couple of years, house with newly remodeled kitchen, same great job as accountant, brand new baby

These were my stats a year ago:
Single, same lovely house, same ... job, no kids

My stats this year:
Single, same lovely house, same ... job, no kids.

Look, it's not just that I wish I was married (I do), or that I wish I had a brand new baby (I do), or that I wish I had a more awesome job (I do). It's all of that, together. 
So I'm working on things, because nothing will get better just by me sitting and wishing it. I'm pretty optimistic about things, and I'm hoping that when I visit again in a year, I'll have more new things to share with them.
(well, yeesh! I was optimistic, before I wrote out this post and saw it all in print!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Heaven is for Real: Book Review

I review for BookSneeze
I received a complimentary copy of Heaven is for Real from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.
I am never the person that stays up all night reading a book, so when I read the glowing praise in the front of Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, I didn't think anything of turning to the first chapter at 11 pm. I couldn't put the book down.
The nonfiction story begins when Colton Burpo, the author's son, had to have emergency surgery while still a toddler. After making it through some harrowing and prayer-filled nights, the family returned to normal. That is, until a few months later, when during a drive past the hospital where Colton had his surgery, he describes it as the place "where the angels sang to me."
Todd and his wife follow this enigmatic thread until it is revealed that Colton has other-worldly memories from when he was under an anesthetic during his surgery. In fact, his parents continue to question him over time and hear his descriptions of heaven -- seeing Jesus, meeting his great-grandfather, what the angels look like, and even describing events that are out of sync with the time-line of our universe.
I was fascinated by Colton's descriptions of Jesus and God, and even more intrigued by a few of the memories that stood out to him and that he repeated to his parents to stress the importance of their themes. I've thought a lot about some of the things Colton describes, some of the images have really stayed with me since I read the book. Whether or not Colton saw the real heaven, the book is gripping and you won't be able to put it down.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, November 12, 2010


Yeah, we know. We've been slackers. We're aware, okay? It's been kind of a busy week... or two. But I have a new book review that's ready to go, as soon as I get the stuff I need from the review program, so you have that to look forward to (Mom and Dad, since you're probably the only people who read this). And clearly, that's Jennie in that picture since that girl has brown hair. 
And for your enjoyment, I have some Friday fun:

What, pray-tell, is this?
I thought it was a mitten or something when I came across it, but in my defense (yeesh! I hate that phrase!),  I think the image was smaller.
ANSWER: It's a rocking chair. Like, for a real adult-sized human. As in, a person actually sits and rocks on that thing.

What in the world is this?
Again, when I saw it, I kept thinking, "Flip that thing over and it's a lop-sided basket that someone's child brought home from arts & crafts at their sleepaway camp." Wrongo, again!
ANSWER: It's a footstool.

Did you get both right? Did you get either right? Well, if you did, you win the joy of applying for a job with Ikea! Go for it, because you and that company are like-minded.

But seriously - stop back next week, when Jennie and I will post again. Sometime. Someday.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Driving Lessons from a Yankee

It's not that I think drivers in the south are bad, per se. They're just not good.
I learned how to drive from an angry gym teacher and an aged rock & roller. The class and the actual time spent driving were odd, to say the least, but both men gave me really good tips about driving, and helped form me into a decent driver.
Here are some safety tips and - y'know - advice based on actual driving laws from a Jersey girl.
1. Oh, you southerners are so polite! I love it ... most of the time. But not when it comes to breaking the law while driving, just to be nice.  
DON'T stop in the middle of the street to wave someone out who was waiting at a stop sign.
DON'T let about 50 cars on 1 side go when you're at a 4-way stop.
Basically, DO follow the laws of the road, even if you think you're being impolite.
True story: if you are waiting to turn onto a road or cross the road, and some "polite" person who is ON said road stops in the middle of the road and waves you to come out, don't do it. It's a trick. You WILL get hit by another car that has not read that person's mind and is actually following the rules of the road. Even better? If you're in a state that gives fault in accidents: you're at fault (of course you are! You should know better!).
2. 4-way stops are hard! False.
Come to a complete stop. If there's no one else at the 4-way stop, you're golden. Go.
If there's only someone directly across from you, and they are also going straight (or they or you are making a right), you're golden. Go.
If there is someone on either side of you, the person who got to the stop sign first gets to go.
Here's an efficiency tip: you don't ALL have to take turns. Just each side of the "cross". If the person to your left was the first person at the 4-way stop, they get to go AND (if they're going straight or turning right), the person directly across from them can go at the same time (if they're going straight or turning right). Same with YOU: when you go, the person directly across from you can go at the same time (if you both are going straight or turning right).
For people making a left turn at a 4-way stop, please come back another time for the advanced lesson.
3. When it rains, it pours, and drivers in South Carolina suddenly have a death wish. A raindrop will not kill you, and it will not harm your car. No need to slam on the brakes at the first drop of rain! If the rain impairs your ability to see the road, turn ON your headlights and turn ON your windshield wipers. Slow down to a manageable speed. But DON'T slam on your brakes when you're in the fast lane (see #5) on I-85.
4. So a raindrop won't kill you, but you know what will? Black ice. Icy or snowy roads are dangerous, so this IS the time to slow down. In New Jersey, our parents take us out to an empty parking lot when it snows so we learn to maneuver a car in the bad conditions. It's good practice, because everything is different on ice. Braking, turning, accelerating (but why? why would you accelerate?) -- everything is different. Try it out in an empty parking lot -- seriously.
5. The fast lane -- that exists in the south, right? I mean... you know there's such a thing? Because I really can't tell if you do. Here's what it means:
On a highway, once you merge (see #6), you're usually in the right-most lane, unless you really did some crazy merging there. This is the exit/entrance lane. This is typically the slowest lane because people are just gaining speed when they enter, or slowing down as they exit. The middle lane is for normal driving. The left lane - "the fast lane" - is for passing. You pass on the left. Always. It's actually a law, friends. As in, you can get a ticket for passing on the right.
5. Merging -- this is where southerners refuse to be polite, to my astonishment. When YOU are entering the highway and trying to merge, YOU have the right of way. Surprised? You shouldn't be. It's because when you're entering, you need to build up the speed, so that you're not a safety hazard to the other cars on the highway.
Here's the catch:
When YOU are driving on the highway, and you're in the right-most lane (the exit/entrance lane), YOU DO NOT have the right of way. This means you must let the mergers in. Again, it's actually a law. A few ways to do this: switch lanes safely - using your blinker and checking your blind spot, so that you are not even in the exit/entrance lane; slow down (without slamming on the brakes!) to allow the merger in front of you; speed up (safely, and in plenty of time) to pass the merger before he/she makes it onto the main part of the highway so that he/she merges behind you.
6. You can't be a real Jersey driver unless you release some aggression while driving. We've got what a friend has dubbed the "Jersey arm" which is when you wave a clenched fist in the general direction of the offending automobile. Then there's my brother's favorite, shouting at the top of your lungs with the windows closed, so that the person may or may not hear you, but they can see your angry face. Or take a lesson from my father and call someone a dope: "Oh! Nice directional, ya dope!" Really, it's all about style. Find what works best for you.