Tuesday, November 28, 2006

orange is not my color

I made it to the airport in time, returned the mini-van and checked my suitcase. I was sailing through the security line. Boarding pass -check, ID –check, computer out of bag –check, shoes off—check, jewelry off –check. Beep, beep, beep. The guy sent me back out to take of a little hoop earring that I wear in my left ear. I got that ear “double pierced” the day my Aunt Rita died fifteen years ago and I wear one of her little hoop earrings. Earring out—check, Nora having an internal meltdown over the thought of losing the earring and seeing her computer being banged around at the end of the conveyor belt –check. Beep, beep, beep. Hell, what could it be? I was wearing a tank dress, no shoes, no jewelry, no replaced hip, no pacemaker, nothing. I’m told to sit in a chair; I can hear my computer hitting the end of the belt—thwap, thwap. Someone yelling, “whose earring is this?” I have to wait for a female officer. With a wand. So in the middle of the bustle of three security lines I’m getting a good going over. And, I mean good. The Hokey Pokey with a metal detector. Right leg out, left leg out. Did I mention I was wearing a dress? Arms straight out, palms up. Beep, beep, beep. It’s my damn bra.
If you know me at all, that is really funny. I’m, umm, small. I’m what they kindly call “an almost A.” Try being 45 years old and shopping for appropriate underpinnings. The manufacturers either assumes someone my size is either a chubby preteen (no Strawberry Shortcake, please) or that I want to something padded and full of technology (dayglo sequined water bra, no thanks). Apparently my new bra is full of wire and lots of it. The security guard (after she did a hand pat down) commented, in a healthy voice that she’d never seen a bra set off the detector like that. Red faced I retrieved my stuff and ran to the gate.
I have a three-hour layover in Baltimore, but I’m not leaving the security area...not with my underwear on anyway.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm never going home

It has been a fabulous day. I dropped my brother and his family off at the airport, took command of the Town and Country mini-van (stow AND go!) and headed to Ft. Myers Beach.

The only glitch in the day was when I checked in to the hotel I’d booked on-line. It is a well-known chain with a midrange price point. I’d stayed in one on the way down here. I checked in and gave them my credit card. The guy at the desk gave me my room “key,” one of those plastic cards. He blew on the little envelope to slide the card in. Ugggh. I’m not a germaphobe, but blowing on stuff freaks me out. Have you ever been to deli or something when the employee blows in the bag to open it up? You might as well spit on my doughnut. I drove around to my room (did I mention the mini-van?) and got a really creepy feeling. It was so strong that I went back to the desk and checked myself out. A big bold move for me. I’m famous for not wanting to rock the boat and putting up with what ever is handed to me. I’ve only returned my food once and would never ask to change tables or try to return something after the date printed on the receipt. I high tailed it out of there and checked in to a slightly nicer hotel. Which turned out to be way nicer.

I spent the day swimming, reading, writing and sitting in the hot tub. And surfing eBay to replace the sunglasses I lost on the drive here. I wish they had been my shades. JH give me a pair of his to wear while I was driving and they disappeared. I stopped at a sunglasses outlet store today and was stunned about how much they cost. Damn boys and their toys. Now that I know how much they cost I really feel like I need to replace them.

I had dinner with an old Indianapolis neighbor who now lives here. Her house is gorgeous and it was nice to catch up with her. Until tonight, I did not realize that her father had been president of Purdue University while I was there. I actually was part of several meetings with him. I hung out with a punk-rock band when I was in college. We ran for student body government and won. I’m sure the whole thing gave him fits. I promise an entry soon about those heady days.

It will be hard to head home tomorrow. This hotel is hiring. I wonder if they’d let me live in this room? It has more closet space than my house.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

gone fishin'

Click on the three dots above for a little bit about me. Scroll down and ignore the photograph. I swear that’s not me. Okay, it is me. Me with just two hours sleep (it was taken the day after I got back from Phoenix), squinting in the sun, wearing not one, but two very unflattering sweaters and surprised by the photographer. The photo session was scheduled for the next Monday and she arrived Friday.

Anyway, it is an honor to be included in such a great group of community volunteers.

I’m enjoying this morning of hanging out with my niece and nephew. Cartoons sure have changed!

Sanibel (French for very clean bell) is beautiful. We ate at a fun restaurant last night, The Bubble Room. It is chock full of memorabilia and old toys. The tables were glass topped and stuffed with old Cracker Jack prizes, board game pieces and plastic toys. There were big animated displays of Santa’s workshop and bears. I think it might have been a little lost on the kiddies.

The weather is amazing. We’re going fishing today. I have three articles that are due by Monday morning. I thought it would be easy to whip out some quick work in the fabulous place. Instead of writing I spent two hours staring at the water. Time well spent for the soul.

Friday, November 24, 2006

thanksgiving on the road

Thanksgiving Day

I’m feeling as relaxed as I have in ages. I’m on my first road trip in twenty years. The last was spring break 1986. And I was not able to pull out my laptop to write in the car.

It must seem like I take a lot of vacations, but that is not true. Last year I lost six vacation days because I did not take them. I’m determined not to make that mistake this year.

My brother and his family go to Sanibel every year. I joined them two years ago. I started exploring the option late to join them last month and the cost of a flight was outrageous. I could not justify the $650 it would take for the tickets. I’d written the idea off and made the mental note to check in to airfare in July. The next week I accidentally dialed John H. instead of John N. We were making small talk and he said he was driving to his moms for Thanksgiving. Next thing I knew I was making plans to drive down with him. I’m flying back Tuesday for only $104. Woo Hoo.

I was nervous about the trip. JH is a good buddy of my brothers. He’s always been super nice to me. But there is no better test of a friendship than a 19-hour drive. So far it’s been great. We’re traveling with John’s dog. John has a big Chevy truck with an extended cab for Benny to stretch out. I drove four hours from Atlanta to somewhere in Florida. We visited a friend of JH’s and found a motel to crash for the night. I checked my e-mail, read for five minutes and slept like a rock star. Today has been leisurely, stopping for breakfast and dropping Benny off.

I really thought I’d read and write more on the trip. JH and I have had some nice conversations. I find that car trips are conducive to honest conversation. Instead of sending employees to my office to talk, I’d always suggest a trip to the bank. You can get a lot hashed out in a ten-minute car trip.

The last two weeks have been crazy busy. I’ll write about the Tonic Ball soon. It is my favorite day of the year. The forced ‘down time’ in the truck has been great. Sitting still is not one of my strong points. I’m also working on being ‘present’ in whatever situation I’m in. Not worrying about what I should be doing or what I’m missing.

I’m looking forward to seeing my niece and nephew. Sleeping on a rollaway bed in their room will be a treat. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

time to quit this cheesy putting "time" in the title

Hello folks,
I’m not doing a good job of blogging. I do love reading everyone else’s blog. I’m glad to hear the Jerry and Cliff had a successful and safe harvest. Happy Anniversary Ralph, Tee—I hope you’re feeling better and welcome home Crabby Dad. If I ever have a free hour, I’ll figure out how to link those blogs.

I’m sitting in the conference room of a construction company waiting to give a talk for the United Way campaign. I’m a “torchbearer” for Second Helpings. This time of year I give at least three talks a week to companies about what we do. Apparently I’m funny and people enjoy me.
Believe me, it’s hard to talk about hunger while people are eating waffles.
This just happens to be a barbeque luncheon. And they are running late. I arrived here at 10:45 and now I’m not going to speak until around noon. If I were not so overwhelmed at work and feeling like my head is going to explode, I’d enjoy the break.
I do like doing these, even though it can be nerve wrecking (or is it wracking?). I’m never quite sure whom I will be taking to. I give a lot of talks at factories and places where I need to put on a hardhat and a haz-mat suit. It seems I play well to union folks and construction workers. Which is where I feel comfortable, so it works out for everyone.

Speaking of sensible shoes, I went to a gala (with a capital G) Saturday night. As you know, I’m single. Asking a date to one of these black-tie optional things is tricky. Plus it’s a fundraiser for the guild that I’m a member of, so I had the 10:00 pm—midnight volunteer shift. Honey, can you hold my purse?
I asked my Dad to go with me and he backed out a couple of days before the dinner. How pathetic is that? A single woman’s worst nightmare…my Dad got a better offer! I was telling the story at my favorite morning coffee stop, the Northside Newsstand. My friend Matt offered to go, “I have a suit” was all I needed to hear from him. Matt was a great escort (wing man, was his term), I think he knew as many people as I did, he’s very interesting and indeed he looked great. It was fun to dress up and wear wildly uncomfortable, but sexy shoes. It was an expensive evening. As a member of the Christamore House Guild I am required to buy two tickets to the event ($150 x 2=$300), I had to give up my Red Key waitressing shift (loss of at least $100), hair cut/color ($80 + tip) parking ($10—I opted not to valet park the S-10 pick-up truck--and Matt has a nice suit, but not the most reliable car) and a round of cocktails at the swanky hotel ($20 +tip).
I had a better time before I added that all up!
No wonder I have two part time jobs.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

time to go home..

I’m sitting at the Sky Harbor Airport.
Sky Harbor, what a great name for an airport. And they have free wireless. Woo Hoo!

My visit was a blast, but I’m ready to go home. We packed in a lot of activities in to three days. Today was a little more laid back. Ann and I visited the Heard Museum (Native American Arts), where she used to work. I also got a tour of Bentley Gallery where she now works. I was great to meet all of the volunteers at the museum. They have been there for years, and really like Annie. Tim met us for lunch at Matt’s Big Breakfast. It’s a tiny little restaurant with a small menu and great food.

We had time for a nap, an attempt to color my hair (I was chicken and rinsed it out too soon), and the challenge of stuffing all of the crap I bought at IKEA in to my suitcase. What was I thinking? Buying “S” hooks and zip ties? I’d be laughed out of Sullivan’s Hardware. They must hyptotize you when you walk in the door at IKEA.

I’m so glad I got the chance to see Ann and Tim…

time for a rest

I'm still in Phoenix soaking up the sunshine.

I started yesterday out with All Saint’s Day Mass, had lunch with Al Gore and took my first-ever trip to IKEA. As you can imagine my brain is a whirl of saints, global warming and stylish Swedish furniture.

I went to Mass with my brother-in-law Tim. They attend Saint Gregory Catholic Church. The Mass started with a procession of saints. School children depicted select saints and told a history of the saint. Of course, Saint Gregory was represented. Did you know that his mother was also a saint, Saint Sylvia? I liked how they tied the saint they were talking about to a real person in the parish. It was great to see how enthusiastic and articulate the school children are.

We attended a luncheon (yes, they served chicken) for Jim Pederson, an Arizona candidate for senator. Ann and Tim have been working on his campaign. Al Gore was the keynote speaker. It was a fairly small group—about 200 people. There were some lovely folks at our table. Former Vice President (is that the official title? I think I called him “Mr. Gore” when I spoke to him) mentioned the couple sitting next to me in his talk. I only stopped the conversation at our table once.

Mr. Big D.: “My son tells me that there are people who don’t vote straight ticket!”
Nora: “I am one of those people, I tend to be more issue and candidate driven.”
Everyone else got very interested in their salad.

FVP Gore gave a wonderful talk, about how we all are responsible for what happens in this world. My volunteer work is more neighborhood oriented, and I really appreciate people who are working for change on a higher level. But, what happens on the local level is just as important as what is going on statewide and nationally. I promised myself that this blog would not become political, so I’m stopping there.

After the talk about global warming and social justice we went shopping.
I need to figure out how to haul all of this stuff home. I’ve always wanted to go to Anthropologie. I slung a purse over my shoulder to see how it looked. I saw the $698 price tag and broke out in a cold sweat. I set it down very carefully. Luckily they were having a nice sale. Not only were things marked down, but also they took another 40% off of the sale price. I was able to buy a shirt and a sweater for under $50. I did pass on the $8 lip balm at the counter.

After a nap Annie and I went to IKEA. It was my first-ever time in the store, and it was a bit overwhelming. But not too overwhelming for me to buy a great set of lights, some ice cube trays, cocktail napkins, a bag of "S" hooks and zip ties, and a set of stacking boxes. Sounds like the start of a good party!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

time for a vacation

I’m in sunny Phoenix visiting my youngest sister, Ann and her husband Tim. It’s been a wonderful day. I flew here this morning (and boy are my arms tired). I took a little nap on the plane and watched the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”, which made me laugh out loud. I caught up on a weeks worth of the Indianapolis Star newspaper and read a People magazine. I think it was the longest I’ve sat still for ages.

We went to the Arizona State Fair this afternoon. I am a State Fair junkie. I enter baking and antiques in the Indiana State Fair every year. I almost did not take the job with Second Helpings because I knew it would interfere with me going to the Fair everyday. The AZ State Fair was markedly different than the IN Fair. First of all, there were hardly any 4-H or open show projects. I counted only ten tables of 4-H things and most of those were posters. The only animals we could find were in sideshow-type trailers and you had to pay a dollar (each) to see them. The only food was the typical Fair food--all fried. I’m a big fan of supporting the local causes. At the Indiana Fair the Cattleman’s Club, Pork Producers, Dairy Club and Jaycees all have food booths. There was not a ribeye steak sandwich or roasted ear of corn to be found. I was hoping for something more ethnic to Arizona but unless the natives ate corndogs, I did not find it. I did see an amazing Native American dancer. He did a great job of explaining the dance and telling about his tribe. The thing that made it all worth the price of admission was the huge sculpture made from 800 pounds of butter (unsalted, if you were wondering). It was titled “Mount Rushmoo” and depicted the four presidents heads on cow bodies. A true work of art.

We spent the evening handing out goodies to trick-or-treaters; me dressed as a giant clown PEZ dispenser. There were over 70 children that came to the door. My clown face only scared about half of them. I brought gobs of PEZ dispensers and Ann had toys. We saved all of the chocolate for ourselves.

Any day that I can attend a State Fair and hang out with my little sister is a fantastic day.