Monday, July 30, 2007

The Wonderful that was my Weekend

Despite two unwonderful things taking place, my weekend was absolutely wonderful. BFF and her husband just moved back to his hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire, and I flew up to visit them and celebrate at their second wedding reception.

On Friday, I drove for two and a half hours in traffic to get to the Baltimore airport, a drive that usually takes 45 minutes. I rushed into the terminal a bundle of nerves thinking for sure I’d miss my flight only to learn that it was delayed four hours. I was mainly upset because I had no idea exactly how I would bide my time. At first I hoped to make a new friend at gate A4, and I walked back and forth, looking up and down the rows for someone who appeared friendly. Eventually I recognized the opportunity as one that could best be spent reading the first Harry Potter book. I’m way behind I know, but I’ve only just decided that I can’t bear to be left out of the Harry Potter Fan Club anymore.

When BFF, her husband, and his friend picked me up at the Manchester airport, we drove straight home and went right to bed. It was nearly 1:30 in the morning.

The next day, seven of us piled into the SUV for a day trip up the coast of Maine. BFF’s parents and her grandmother were visiting from Nebraska, as well as Ry’s friend. It made for a full car, but also a lot of laughs. We stopped first in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire for Sal’s greasy gigantic pizza slices and continued up the coast as we snacked on cinnamon taffy and fudge. We stopped in a couple of quaint little towns to shop and take pictures . . and buy more taffy. Our final destination was Kennebunkport, the most adorable town of all. We stopped at a darling hotel, Maine Stay, to ask for directions to the Bush compound, Walker’s Point, and when we arrived it was more amazing than I could’ve imagined. The American and Texas flags let us know the President was there along with the secret service vehicles that were parked near the gate. On the ride home, we pulled into Billy’s Chowder House for calamari, bacon-wrapped scallops, Billy’s famous lobster rolls, seafood samplers, crabcakes and . . a hot dog for Grandma Bern. And it wouldn’t be a typical dinner with her family without dessert . . this time, the Brownie Delight. Soft, warm brownie hidden beneath mounds of homemade ice cream and hot fudge. We could do nothing but sit on the living room couch after a dinner like that.

Sunday was reception #2, a casual party in the groom’s parents’ backyard. The pool was open for swimming and large tents were set up with tables. Yellow and white were the floral centerpieces and balloons. More bacon-wrapped scallops were passed around, along with deviled eggs as appetizers. Steak tips, hamburgers, and chicken were devoured by everyone, along with fruit, pasta salad, and vegetables. Nearly 200 people mingled and enjoyed the shade of the tents as the jazz music played in the background.

Soon it was nearly time for me to catch my flight back home. But Ryan’s friend, who had driven their furniture out in his trailer, was heading the same direction by truck. And a road trip sounded much more fun than a boring old plane ride. So I hopped in the passenger seat and rode ten hours home.

In that ten hours, we nearly ran out of gas (0 miles to empty and sputtering on diesel with a huge trailer in the back), nearly peed our pants (apparently Connecticut doesn’t have rest stops or public bathrooms), and drove all the way down Broadway through the Bronx and Manhattan at 2:30am. Coolest thing ever. Central Park, Eiffel Tower, Times Square, Greenwich Village, Chelsea Pier . . and we were nearly the only car on the road. Seeing all those neighborhoods again made me want to visit New York again really soon.

He dropped me off at the airport, and I drove 90 minutes home, dressed for work in 10 and have been running on four hours of sleep all day. Shortly after parting ways, I realized I had left my Blackberry in his truck. (Unwonderful thing #2.) I now have no phone. And the poor guy has to mail it to me. I feel terrible.

Tonight is the big night. I’ll pick a roommate. One more girl to meet. And it’s EB’s going away party, too. I don’t know what I’ll do without her . . her cheery voice, her animation, our conversations, our bagel and ice cream runs (not at the same time, of course). She will be missed. Even more than my Blackberry.

*Pictures are on their way!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Search, Trust, Pray, and Find

The past six weeks I've been at peace in my search for a roommate. Not just a roommate, but a bedroommate, someone to take EB's place when she leaves for law school in Boston. I've been at peace because I trusted that He would provide someone. After all, this wasn't just a desire, it was a need. I couldn't afford to pay more in rent, and I'm pretty sure He's not a big fan of credit cards. I've recommitted to being a good steward of my finances, to trust Him, to not buy too many dresses and nice dinners and then say "Help!" and revert to the Visa. So I was confident He'd bring someone along. It wasn't hard to be; He's always orchestrated everything else in my life.

It wasn't hard to trust Him until yesterday. Yesterday I realized I was down to the wire. EB moves out on Tuesday which is less than a week away. So I panicked. I cried at my desk. I advertised on Craigslist again (in addition to several church classified sites) and emailed back and forth with several girls.

Last night, two girls stopped by. They were both great and seemed very interested. I'm going to pray about it and extend an 'offer' tomorrow. I know that the right person will want to take it.

I'm so relieved that I can get on that plane tonight and not be stressed. God is so faithful!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I'll be smiling when I go to bed tonight from the . .

Most wonderful day ever!

Boating all day with QGP and his friends was perfection. As many of you know, my absolute favorite thing to do is go boating on the lake, so despite my injury and no wakeboarding or skiing, it was incredible to just sit on the boat with the wind in my face as the sun sparkled on the water. I don't think there's anything better.

I brought Em with me, a girl who can appreciate the water like I do because she's grown up boating on the Colorado River and San Diego Bay. The girl really wowed us all with her crazy wakeboarding skills. She put the boys to shame and was giving them quite a few pointers.

When we arrived (after 2 1/2 hours of awful traffic), the boys had sandwiches made for us with our names written on the plastic bags. Mine with mayo, Em's with mustard - how cute. We turned up the tunes in the boat and took off across the 17-mile lake. We stopped to jump in and play catch for awhile, and I decided I was ok to tube with Em (as long as I kept the brace on). I'm glad I didn't have to miss out on all the activities.

I finally felt comfortable enough to pull out the camera to capture these fun memories, but I'd forgotten to bring it on the boat!

Just as I suspected, neither Em nor I were ready to leave when the boating was done, but we'd each made other plans for the evening. Grilling out and not showering sounded so much better!

I'm hoping we can go again very soon. It's certainly motivation for me to do my knee exercises!

Friday, July 20, 2007

I am an awesome gift giver!

Can I tell you how excited I am to give this awesome gift to my bedroommate EB for her birthday? They actually make one of these! EB got me hooked on this show. I'm obsessed. There are actually petitions for NBC to make bobbleheads of all the other characters. I'm afraid I might be dork enough to want to collect them. I didn't say I would - I just said I would want to.

Apparently I Rock!

Wow! Cady gave me a Rockin’ Girl Blogger award. What a fantastic compliment!

This is why she thinks I rock :) :

laura at love this life: laura does what her title suggests. she loves life and lets us read all about it. she also loves her family, who she recently moved away from, and her friends. i love reading about all the fun and crazy times she has, and i love how she loves to post pictures. oh, and laura lives in d.c. now, which is near where i used to live in maryland, so i can reminisce when i read her d.c./maryland-centered posts.

Again, thank you to Cady! My job now is to give the award to five more bloggers who rock. The problem is that I only read the blogs of people who rock. So if your name is on that sidebar there, I think you are pretty awesome. Actually, even if your name is not there, I might read your blog but have been too lazy to ever add you to the list.

All that being said, [rubbing my hands together out of excitement] I would like to give the award to:

Pink Sun Drops: Pink doesn’t know this but she got me hooked on blogs. Her cute page and “100 Things”, “Layers of Pink” etc – I devoured it all and kept coming back for more. Pink is my age but in a completely different place in life as a wife and mother to two adorable boys who used to be known as “Big Guy” and “Little Guy”. She has done some homeschooling and made learning so much fun for her children – something I really admire. In a world that says “it’s all about you”, she honors the Lord by putting her husband and children before herself. Oh! and I will never forget that she introduced me to her wonderful cousin in San Diego who I attended church and hung out with during my time there.

K at Misadventures of K: K is a blogger I have had the pleasure of actually meeting in person. She is Miss Independent of Seattle. She’s done a lot of traveling by herself (something I could never do) and takes advantage of all her city has to offer. A very smart girl, she headed back to school last year to further her engineering education and hopes to teach someday. Her only flaw is that she doesn’t blog enough anymore! :)

Miss J at Livin’ La Vida Dolce: Miss J is in the process of making a move from Southern California back to the Midwestern city of Tulsa (yay for the Midwest!) She is fabulous at hosting parties and putting trendy outfits together. I love hearing the latest about everything from her dog, Dolce, to her and her husband’s plan to re-vamp their sk@ting rink.

Steph@nie at Greek Tr@gedy: Can I give an award to an already-famous blogger? I just love the way Stephanie writes. And her pictures? She’s an amazing photographer. She talks about memories like they happened yesterday, making them come alive again. Her little “beans” as she calls them are so adorable. And I love that she lives in Austin, but is totally a New Yorker at heart.

Morgan and Mama Loves Papa: Morgan is such an inspiration to me. She is living out her faith in such a beautiful way. She's a wonderful wife and mom as well as a discipler of several women. Because she knows God so intimately, He has given her a heart to intercede for others and care for them with His love. She is regularly seeing God move and heal hearts and nothing excites me more than that!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Afternoon Delight

Since New Girl left, Em has become my favorite friend at work, a ‘promotion’ that came as no surprise to me. Em is the SoCal girl who brought her ‘biscuit slang’ to the East Coast. When she says OMG, she really says O.M.G.!, always wanting to shorten her words, sounding ditzy when she’s far from it. My vocabulary has been expanded to not only include the word ‘peeps’ but also ‘gnarly’ and ‘scuse’. After all, why say ‘excuse me’ when ‘scuse’ is so much easier?

Em and I don’t restrict our fun to business hours. We get together at least a few times a month outside of work, too, whether it be at the grocery store, by the pool, roaming the mall, or whatever else suits our fancy. She is so much fun, and whatever it is I’m doing, she’s at the top of my invite-along list.

Just as Em moved upstairs during the workspace re-arrange, I was moved back down (to the most quiet, boring corner of the office). But thank goodness for IM and Afternoon Delights. Every once in awhile, if we’re having a slow day (on the same day), we’ll make the two-block trek to McDonald’s for a yummy 150-calorie cone. Em calls it Afternoon Delight. It was Friday Afternoon Delight, but it’s been known to also be Thursday Afternoon Delight and sometimes even Monday.

It’s been too long since we’ve taken one of those delightful trips down the street, so today on her birthday I brought her a Birthday Afternoon Delight. But it wasn’t McDonald’s. A McD’s cone on her birthday just wouldn’t be delightful enough. Instead we celebrated with Haagen-Dazs. Em grabbed her plateful of fresh brownies from her birthday-decorated workspace and we sat in the lunchroom, just the two of us, gabbing and sharing the pint. One bite of brownie, one bite of ice cream, one bite of brownie, one bite of ice cream.

Happy Birthday Em! I’m delighted to call you my friend!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Me and my knee

The only negative about my trip home two weeks ago was the bad ending to my day at the lake, the 4th of July. I had been waiting all day for the water like glass, only a few boats out, and the sun close to going down. I strapped on my lifejacket . .
feeling confident before my ski
. . . got in the water . . .
Wait Laura!  The boot is too tight!
. . . got up on one . . .
up on one ski
. . . stayed up on one (of course :) . . .
seconds before the wipe out
. . . and wiped out after hitting some very rough waves.

The wipe out was bad. My boot was on too tight and my foot would not break free! As the ski was carried with the waves, so my foot (and consequently, my knee) were taken with it. Ouch! As I sat there in the water, a wave of fear came over me. I knew I'd tore something. I tried to be optimistic - maybe it was only a sprain. But when you've been the victim of a few torn ligaments, you just know when things aren't right in there.

So I yelled, "I'm gonna try it again!" I grabbed the rope and fear grabbed me. But I told my brother to 'hit it' and he gave it some gas. It didn't take long for me to realize I WAS AN IDIOT and let go of the rope. Whatever I had done, I didn't want to make it any worse.

I swam to the boat, awkwardly climbed the ladder and took a seat inside. That was it? That was what I had been looking forward to this past year? I didn't even make it halfway around the island! And not only was my ski over, my summer was over, and I knew it. I knew my knee was busted. I silently began to cry as we drove back to the house. And I couldn't stop the tears. Not again! This would be my third time severely injuring a knee.
holy swollen knee!
Three of my wonderful uncles laid hands on me and prayed, and I tried to hold back more tears and be positive. Maybe it wasn't as bad as before. Uncle Rich believed it wasn't.

Two days later, I found myself back in the exam room at OrthoWest, a place I am quite familiar with after experiencing two torn ACLs (and an MCL along with one of those injuries).
exam room
I studied the same chart I'd studied before and tried to diagnose myself before the doctor came in to see me.
knee diagram
I was optimistic. It didn't feel like a torn ACL. But it was a torn something.

Dr. Ray sent me for an X-ray and an MRI to confirm that his diagnosis was correct. I had torn my MCL, the ligament on the inner part of my knee. I was ecstatic! It meant no surgery, no year-long recovery, and no crutches. All it meant was six weeks in the brace and four weeks of physical therapy. Now that I can handle!

My physical therapy begins tomorrow, and I'm already walking much better. I won't lie - I'm disappointed that I can't be active this summer. I'm bummed that I can't do any cardio to stay in shape. I'm annoyed that I have to wear this nuisance of a brace. But more than all of those feelings, I am THANKFUL. It could've been worse.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I’ve never loved Nebraska more than I do now. And I love it here, too (for now) but I am constantly telling everyone how wonderful it is back home.

Now I have “proof”.

Money magazine just listed Papillion, Nebraska (a suburb of Omaha) as the 6th Best Place to Live! The criteria were cities that offered the best combination of economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a real sense of community. See, I told you Nebraska was great!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Home is a Runza

Here and There

Going home is like opening a huge present, one that you asked for vaguely in that you know what to expect but have no idea what exactly it will look like. When I go home, I know who I will see, and I often know what I will do, but I don’t know the specific moments I will experience or the special memories I will make. I take an embarrassing amount of photographs, yet I’m not embarrassed, and I spend weeks looking at them remembering and often re-feeling the way I felt when they were taken.

When I'm there, I miss it. But when I'm here, I don't. Not really. Because I know this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm supposed to be working at this wonderful company, constantly meeting new people, living a random and spontaneous life never knowing what the weekend might hold. I'm supposed to be sharing a bedroom, sleeping in a twin bed, staring out my window at the Potomac, eating Lean Cuisines for dinner, and getting bagels at the Brooklyn Bakery on Saturday.

It makes me sad to know that people's lives go on without me there to watch. Children grow, my sister goes to school, friends go out for dinner, Grandma watches old movies . . without me. I hate missing out. That should be my motto. Don't do anything fun or memorable without me! But it doesn't take much to qualify for that category. Because grilling out on my friends' deck, that counts. Watching Frasier reruns on the couch counts. Sitting in a driveway at midnight chatting counts. Going to Wal-Mart for toiletries almost counts. It's being with the people I love.

I like the people here. But will like ever turn to love? Or will everyone move away as soon as love knocks on the door? New Girl is gone and sucks at responding to email even though she promised she wouldn't be. Bedroommate EB moves out in two weeks, and someone else's bed moves in. And we'll be right back at 'like' again.

Pastor says to put your roots down in this transient city. Live like you're never leaving. Love like you're never leaving.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Fireworks Show

At the lake, the day of the Fireworks Show is a big day. It is the day that most lake residents throw their Independence Day parties. The smell of fired-up grills and the sound of Black Jacks fill the air. Kids pop their 'poppers', adults mingle with their friends, and boats race around the lake until dusk.

I love the feeling when I cross the bridge and see the cars parked along the narrow road leading from one end of the island to the other, about a mile long. The flags line the neatly mowed lawns of over 100 lake houses. And as I near the end of the road, I see the only house I care about. Grandma's house. I pull into the long drive and park behind the van and SUV that brought my cousins from Indiana and Texas. I can't wait to see my family. And I'm sure to run into old classmates from high school roaming the street as well.

On our side of the island, across the lake a crew of people hang a large American flag and spend hours setting up the fireworks to the sounds of Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Springsteen and various country artists that blare from their speakers and provide entertainment for homes close enough to enjoy the music. At 7pm, the boat parade goes by. Red, white, and blue decorations cover pontoon boats that choose to participate as they circle the island hoping for cheers and praise that theirs was most creative. As the clock nears 9:30, glow sticks are hung around necks and seats are found on yard or beach. The show is about to begin. And what a show it is. Half an hour of spectacular fireworks of all kinds, patriotic music playing in the background, whistles and cheers for favorite explosions or bursts of color that haven't been seen before. Ooh and aahs and clapping fill the air. I lie on my back with cousins on either side and am happier there than any day I will ever spend in Washington D.C. And it's not even the 4th of July yet!

The first 24 hours

Sister picked me up from the airport, a Runza sack in hand filled with crinkle fries and a cheeseburger. It felt so good to be home. Though I was home just 10 days ago, it was a whirlwind. A beautiful, fun, happy whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless. On this trip home, I can relax.

Sister and I drove across town to visit Cousin Joy and have our hair cut. Every day for the past month I've despised my hair. Every day except yesterday, the day I could actually have it cut. Yesterday it looked amazing. Day old hair, thick and full of shine. Loose curls posing as perfect waves. But I reminded myself that the hair needed a change. The hair was bor-ing. So I asked for bangs and thinner hair. Today I love it. Yesterday I loved it. But I've yet to style it on my own, and that is always the issue. Does it look good when YOU do it?

Sister and I met another cousin for dinner at a Mongolian grill and ice cream at C0ld Stone. Dinner changed my life. I would gladly eat at that very restaurant every day from here on out. So incredibly delicious! All-I-Could-Eat meats and noodles and veggies with sauces. I filled my plate three times.

I met Shae today for lunch and what we do best - shopping. She is my Fashion Friend. When I'm having doubts about an outfit, I call Shae. When I can't decide which shoes to wear, I call Shae. It's been hard on us living so far apart because there can be no modeling. No "Does this make me look fat?" No "Is this worth $50?" And no "Come over and help me decide what to keep and what to return." But tonight we were able to do all three. And spending time like that with her and with other friends - it makes me feel like I never moved, like I don't live 1500 miles away, and like I could come back at any time and everything would be the same.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

two things not to do

#1. Do not wear the five inch wedges when you plan to walk over a mile in them.

#2. Do not leave your blisters open and untreated while wearing flip flops and playing in dirt and sand.

None of you are probably as stupid as I am

Lake of the Woods

I'm dog-sitting for one "dirty dog" as we referred to him yesterday when he consistently went after and violated the other male dog at the BBQ. Gross, just gross.

Mel and I picked up Murphy (the black lab I'm looking after for a few days) and drove for two and half hours to get to the party that was just an hour south of our city. Terrible terrible traffic. But once we arrived, there was much fun to be had. We were hanging out with QGP and his friends again. I hadn't seen QGP since last summer, but his friends were nice enough to think of me and invite me to the BBQ at their lovely lake home surrounded by a beautiful wooded area.

We ate yummy pork loin sandwiches, Chili's chips and salsa, and a few other side dishes while we played Cornhole, ping pong, and threw the football around. I met several new people who were equally as fun as QGP's other friends, including another Nebraskan like me and QGP. After relaxing on the deck for a few hours, we moved the group to the sand volleyball court near the beautiful lake and played a game in the dark. The evening ended with triple chocolate brownies and milk followed by several karaoke songs on the big screen. It wasn't your usual round of karaoke, though. Picture at least seven people in the middle of the floor singing along and imitating the music video dance moves while the rest of the gang observed from the couches.

The tentative plan had been to stay the night and do some boating the next day, but Mel had to get back home so we headed out at 1:30am. I'm confident we'll get another invite, though. Boating is definitely in our future this summer.