Sunday, April 26, 2009

500th Post!

I am excited to report that I've been blogging continuously for nearly 5 years (my bloggiversary is June 8th, 2004) For those who haven't known me very long, or just recently found my blog, here's a list of blog highlights for your viewing pleasure:

6/14/04 - The first time I blogged about my sleep problems (Yep, almost 5 years ago)
6/24/04 - Getting to know me, 2004 style
6/27/04 - Some depressing poetry after a bad breakup
7/7/04 - When the tides turned with Taylor on the 4th of July
7/11/04 - My last date with someone else, and my first kiss with Taylor
7/14/04 - The first email I got from Taylor, and rundown of our first dates
8/31/04 - Taylor's proposal, and meeting his parents
10/25/04 - The wedding and honeymoon to California
6/4/06 - Why I love living in California
4/15/07 - My visit to Florida to see Taylor at Jet University
6/16/07 - All the concerts I'd attended up to 2007
9/13/07 - Ode to Rosie on her 7th Birthday
11/9/07 - My first trip to Detroit Michigan
11/16/07 - 6 Odd Facts about Me
11/16/07 - Ode to Ramblin' Rod
11/27/07 - Taylor's Birdstrike
11/23/07 - My last Christmas at my home in Murray, UT
1/13/08 - My dad's car accident that nearly took his life
1/22/08 - A list of over 11,000 Miles I traveled in the US in one month
1/30/08 - My semi-famous gooey banana bread pudding recipe
2/14/08 - Pics of my dad's crash
2/24/08 - One of my favorite trips to California
3/2/08 - Adventures in teaching primary
3/10/08 - An impromptu trip to New England
3/12/08 - My personality type - ENFP
4/13/08 - When Michigan started getting me down
5/6/08 - On a day I wish I were medicated
8/10/08 - My 10 Year High School Reunion
9/20/08 - Rosie's Baptism
10/2/08 - Ode to Clint
10/4/08 - The story of Taylor and I - 4th year anniversary edition
10/19/08 - Our family trip to Hell (MI)
10/29/08 - Rosie and I at the NKOTB Concert
11/14/08 - Why my blog will not go private
11/22/08 - A Twilight Girls Night Out
11/27/08 - My Quest to find Pirates of Penzance on DVD
12/2/08 - Technology Decade
12/5/08 - The Importance of December 5th
12/15/08 - The Top Twelves of 2008
1/1/09 - 2008 Year in Review and my Life Soundtrack
1/11/09 - One Year Since the Gaping Jaws of Death
1/22/09 - Pilot Wife Resources
1/15/09 - My Memphis Valentine
2/28/09 - Missy Higgins, et al
3/1/09 - My choral life
3/20/09 - NKOTB Photo Megapost
3/30/09 - Return to me
4/5/09 - Pilot Wives Club Chicago Meet-up: Oh, What a Night!

And there you have it! My favorite and best blog posts of the last 5 years and 500 posts! Which ones are your favorite?

Post 499: MIA?, Portland Trip, and non-revving nightmare

Thank you to all those who checked up on me to see if I was okay. "A week without blogging? Are you seriously ill?", several people asked. No..I'm not ill - just in need of a break from the rigors of creativity and daily blogging.

The Portland trip was exciting and exhausting. Rosie and I flew in Friday night and stayed in Tualatin with the Grahams, a family that my family has known for decades. Saturday was fun, start to finish. I had breakfast with Coral, a middle school friend, at Rose's in West Linn. We had the cinnamon roll french toast (to DIE for) and got caught up on all we've missed in the last 12 years. Next, we drove back to Tualatin by way of the Wanker's Corner general store (where we got drinks and snacks.) Our original purpose for going to Portland was to attend a wedding reception for Rosie's cousin...but we didn't realize we'd put the wrong date down until after we got their gift. We met Carisa, an elementary school friend, for drinks at Starbucks. She's getting married this year, and it was fun to hear all about her fiance.

For lunch, we went to Newport Bay Restaurant with my aunt Laurie and cousin Christi. We hadn't seen each other in 7 years at Grandpa Gene's funeral, so it was lovely to have some family time with relatives I rarely get to see. We did a little shopping around Washington Square Mall, then I followed Laurie over to Auntie Dona and Uncle Bob's house. Their daughter Margi found out I was over and she immediately joined us. We caught up and reminisced for the afternoon. Aterwards, I dropped by my cousin Jillian's apartment. Her husband just graduated medical school, and they're off to Colorado at the end of the month for Ben's pathology residency. They gave us a McCormick and Schmick's gift card, so we had a free super-fresh seafood dinner there after pics at the Portland Temple. We arrived back at the Grahams' around 9, visited until my eyelids could no longer stay open, and set my alarm for 3:40 am.

We woke up, packed our bags, and went out to our rental car. Once inside, we realized that things were missing...my Blackberry and Ipod chargers, some papers and food items. It didn't look like the car had been broken into, so I'm guessing the rental car's alarm clicker wasn't working. Luckily the chargers can be replaced. We drove to the airport, grabbed some breakfast, dropped off the car, and waited through a horrid security line at PDX. I complained over the 40 minute wait...but little did I know the non-revving disaster I was about to encounter.

We tried for the 6:00 am ATL flight - we were part of the 9 that didn't make it on. Then we tried for the SLC flight - denied again. Tried for a MSP NWA flight - nope. Tried for another ATL and SLC flight - was told our best option was to get an ID-90 pass from Horizon, fly to Seattle, and get a SEA-ATL non-stop flight. We waited till we didn't get on another MSP flight, went out of security, purchased the passes, walked across the airport again to Horizon's gates, where the gate agent said our luck was pretty bleak to get on a SEA flight standby. So we went back across the airport to try for the last SLC flight - denied again. Finally, we made it on a MSP flight at the last second, and we had to check our bags. Once we were in Minneapolis, we were too late to make it on any outgoing flights. Taylor Priceline'd an "airport hotel" that didn't have a shuttle and was nowhere near the airport. We paid so much in cab fare that we could have gotten a really nice hotel. We got about 5 hours sleep before the 3:30 am alarm woke us up, the cab took us back to the airport, and we were crossing our fingers for the 5:15 am ATL flight. We were top of the list, made it on, and were able to sit together. We touched down in ATL just before 9:00 am - which meant I was late for work.

It was a bittersweet trip: wonderful visits and horrible trip home. Was it worth it? I say yes cautiously : this experience has put the fear of the flight Gods back into me. I don't think I'm going to tempt fate like this again when flight loads aren't wide open. The next time I fly will be on a confirmed positive space ticket.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Break

Tomorrow evening I'm planning to take a little spring break trip with Rosie to Portland (Taylor and Rosie went to LA last week, lucky ducks!) Rosie's cousin is having his wedding reception this weekend, I'll meet up with some extended family and old jr. high friends, get some Burgerville USA sweet potato fries, and enjoy the green, green beauty of the Northwest.

This is my 498th post. I'm in draft mode on my 500th post, but it may take a while to put together. And I still need to do my bio on Mary. So if my blogging is sparse for a while, please forgive me. Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Didgeridoo for Sleep Apnea???


Ever heard of a didgeridoo? I read a very crazy news article from Reuters this weekend that talked about how regular didgeridoo playing can help with sleep apnea:

Reuters
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Regular didgeridoo playing reduces snoring and daytime sleepiness, finds a study published by the British Medical Journal. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome are common sleep disorders caused by the collapse of the upper airways.

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Reports of didgeridoo players experiencing reduced daytime sleepiness and snoring after practicing, led experts in Switzerland to test the theory that training of the upper airways by didgeridoo playing can improve these disorders. They identified 25 patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and who complained about snoring. Patients were randomly allocated to an intervention group (didgeridoo lessons and daily practice at home for four months) or a control group (remained on a waiting list for lessons). Compared with the control group, daytime sleepiness and apnea scores improved significantly in the didgeridoo group. Partners of patients in the didgeridoo group also reported much less sleep disturbance.
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The authors conclude that regular training of the upper airways by didgeridoo playing reduces daytime sleepiness and snoring in people with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and also improves the sleep quality of partners.


I'm sure some of you are sick of reading about the sleep problems that I've had for so many years, but how could I not share this bizarre nugget of medical research? I've been using the CPAP machine for the last 5 nights, and so far haven't had much relief for my daytime sleepiness. According to my sleep tech friend Lori, it'll be at least two weeks before I have a real marked difference in my sleep/wake cycle. I am dedicated to finding a way to finally have restful sleep, and I wonder if I'd have any luck with the didge. Course, I'm not sure I'd want to invest in the very strange instrument without renting one first, and I have no idea where I'd rent a didgeridoo. Maybe I could join an Australian Club, or hang out at the Australian Consulate's office. What do you think, does this seem like craziness, or do you thing there's something to it? One thing's for sure, I could totally pull off the Aboriginal hair...after a night of the CPAP headgear, my hair look like a banchee!

Rain Delays

This morning, north Georgia (as well as much of the southeast) was hit by some pretty crazy stomy weather. There were flooded streets, downed trees, torrential rain, wind gusts over 50 MPH, and many power outages. A huge tall tree fell just outside my work window. It's kinda hard to see from this pic, but on the left you can see the long skinny tree crossing the road. It took down a bunch of power lines in the process. The power went out in my building around 9:45 this morning, and I was allowed to go home around lunchtime.

Getting away from campus was quite a maze of downed trees, diverted traffic, and scattered debris. I used the afternoon do run some errands, do some shopping, get lunch, and work out. In the evening Rosie and I had to return a purchase in Buckhead, and luckily we didn't get diverted for any downed trees. Rosie needed a bunch of stuff at Target, so we stocked up on socks, underthings, pajamas, a swimsuit, etc. Now that she has fully stocked drawers, I won't have to do her laundry as often, or have the 7:40 scramble to find matching socks.

We also got a few discounted Easter candy items, but that's our little secret.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

None Were With Him

A video and excerpt from one of the most beautiful talks from last week's General Conference by Jeffrey R. Holland:

"Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, “I will not leave you comfortless. [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you]."

My other plea at Easter time is that these scenes of Christ’s lonely sacrifice, laced with moments of denial and abandonment and, at least once, outright betrayal, must never be reenacted by us. He has walked alone once. Now, may I ask that never again will He have to confront sin without our aid and assistance, that never again will He find only unresponsive onlookers when He sees you and me along His Via Dolorosa in our present day. As we approach this holy week—Passover Thursday with its Paschal Lamb, atoning Friday with its cross, Resurrection Sunday with its empty tomb—may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death,” for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dare to be Stupid

Last night Taylor and I watched a kinda downer movie and needed to cleanse the "drama" palate, if you will. He randomly put on this video...a favorite from my childhood, and all was well again. It's seriously great advice...dare to be stupid. Dare to live outside the box. Dare to be yourself. Dare to be creative. It's secretly been one of my personal anthems. Put down the chainsaw and listen to me:


video
Long live AL!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sleepin' Sexxxy Part II

Today my CPAP mask came in the mail, and I'll be able to try it out tonight. Prior masks have only covered my nose...this "full face" mask covers my mouth and nose. I tried it out for about 10 minutes, and it's really uncomfortable. Most people say they can't stand it at first, but adapt to it once they see the benefits. I'm trying to have my happiest and excited expression on my face, but the mask pretty much covers it all. It also does a number on my hair. But if it means I finally get restful sleep after 6 years, it'll be worth it.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Walk

Taylor and Rosie left today for California for spring break. We had lunch together today, then they headed off for the airport. They'll be returning Friday night for Taylor's reserve shift on Saturday (yet another quick trip) As I drove home, I opened up the window to let the warm breeze in. It was sunny and 65...funny since yesterday was snow flurries! I decided to get myself outside to exercise, but wasn't quite sure where to go. I went onto Decatur's parks and rec website, and tried to remember the directions to a selected park...but got lost as usual in downtown Decatur. I remembered my boss telling me that Lullwater at Emory was one of the most beautiful walking trails in Atlanta, so I cut my losses and headed for campus.

If I haven't said it before, Emory's campus is one of the most beautiful I've been on. Since I've been on staff there, I have been working off campus. I wasn't quite sure where to park, so I circled around and stopped at Candler Park. I walked up Peavine Creek, past fraternity and sorority houses, past The Depot and Wishcab (the nickname for the building I'm moving into on campus in two weeks) Lullwater was beautifully manicured with wide walking trails. The rhododendrons, dogwoods and cherry trees were in blossom. I walked all the way to the lake, and partially around before I turned back. I walked for a total of 70 minutes, and felt like my feet were going to fall off. I could only find my walking shoes that are a size too small, and only are comfortable on stationary gym equipment. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful evening in Atlanta, and I was happy I decided to get outside instead of home on the elliptical.

Monday, April 6, 2009

CCCC March Madness Winner

Drumroll please!
It's time to announce the CCCC Comment March Madness Champion!


The winner is Mary (aka Quixotic Healer)

A special feature on Mary will be posted in the next week. She is the winner of a custom made care package for caring enough to comment one of more times for most every post of the last three weeks. If you are too impatient to read, here's a pic of her on my post when we saw Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Here are the final results:

Mary 31
Lori 28
Lia 27
Misty 15
Kemi 10
Laree 9
Elsja 9
Partner of a Pilot 6
Hizzeather 5
Mandy 4

Three comments: Erin, Gabrielle, Matt, Devri, Rachel N, Janelle
Two comments: Tripacerchick, Wahlee, KC Mom
One comment: Eetmost, Carrie, Anne, Rachel W, Lynsey, M-jed, Jennifer V

Thank you to all who participated! It made me smile each time I got an email pop-up alerting me of another comment. Lori, Lia, and Misty...email me your addresses and I will send you a runner-up consolation prize for all your hard work!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

CCCC Comment Madness

The Final Four comment finalists are Lia, Mary, Lori, and Misty....but it' not too late to win! All are welcome to still participate, but you only have until 12:00 pm Monday to comment to your heart's content. Winner of a blog bio and custom-made care package will be announced tomorrow night! Who will be the North Carolina, and who will be the Michigan State in this contest? Y'all ready for this?

Pilot Wives Club Meetup in Chicago: Oh, What a Night!

I'm back from Chicago now, and what an exciting/fun/crazy trip it was! This is me with Misty at gate D1A. We were so sad that it ended up being such an ordeal to get out of Atlanta. There had been really bad thunderstorms and a tornado watch in Atlanta the night before, which caused a huge backup of standby passengers all through Friday. We had tried for a Chicago flight together with Becky, but it was oversold and we tried for Milwaukee. About 20 minutes before the flight was scheduled to leave, Misty realized that she had lost her iPhone. Becky and I made it on the flight, but didn't have a way to contact Misty. She tried for many flights out of ATL, including ones home to Orlando, and was stranded in ATL for the night.

Becky and I arrived in Milwaukee around 5 pm, and we were picked up by my old friend Shanna. We used to do plays together at the Draper Theater in 1995. She had moved to MKE for school and work, and we hadn't seen each other in a decade. She saw my status message on Facebook, and she graciously offered to drive us down to Chicago. We had 90 minutes to chat and get caught up. We arrived in Chicago around 7 pm (after a series of wrong turns from bad cell phone map directions). We had dinner at Basil's restuarant in the hotel. Kristen from PWC was from Chicago and joined us for dinner and dessert. Because of the people that couldn't come due to missed connections and no flights with open seats, there was room at the hotel for Shanna to stay for the night.
In the morning we had breakfast at the hotel. There was a nice breakfast provided with made-to-order omelettes...yum! After eating, Shanna drove us to the Bless Spa, which Summer had gotten a recommendation through the hotel for. The "spa" ended up being a cut-rate slightly shady hair salon with bad decor and Russian and Latvian women who spoke with heavy accents. We almost bolted before getting the services, but did it anyway. Massages, pedicures, manicures, and waxing commenced. Here are my cute toes post-mani:


After the *ahem* spa, we walked across the street to Ram Brewpub for lunch. I got a grilled havarti and turkey sandwich with salad and sweet potato fries. The food was good, and the conversation better. We shared carrot cake and watched part of the Bulls basketball game. After a quick stop for necessities at the 7-11, we went back to our hotel to take it easy and get ready for our night on the town. Unfortunately, flight loads from Detroit were bad because of the Final Four, and she was unable to join us for the evening. Summer unveiled the new Pilot Wives Club logo, and details of the updated website.

Summer and Becky with their cute silver purses

Me and Summer

All ready for a night out on the town with the ladies! Notice the cute necklace courtesy of Jen.

Becky, Nicole, Summer and Jen...Pilot Wives Club represent!

Waiting for the "El"train to downtown

Inner city pressure

View of Dearborn Street...We got a little lost, as Jen hurriedly checked her GPS on her phone to find the right way for us to go. After crossing the same street 6 times, we finally found the Bank of America theater to pick up our tickets for Jersey Boys at will call.

This is Chicago! We finally made it!

Becky and Summer waiting for dinner

Jen and I

The Marquee for Jersey Boys
Jersey Boys was so fantastic! It was the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the music was incredible! A must see! All their best hits...Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like a Man, Rag Doll, Dawn, Let's Hang On, Workin' My Way Back to You, Opus 17, and of course...Oh, What a Night! The absolute highlight of the show was the Frankie's solo of "Can't Take my Eyes Off You" with full brass. I had goosebumps from head to toe! If you have the chance to see Jersey Boys, you will love the music and energy. (Disclaimer: there is some language and sexual innuendo, so I would say it's not for the kids or young teens)

We took the blue line train back towards O'Hare to our hotel, and decided to go back to the airport and take the shuttle (instead of walking in the dark streets back to the hotel) Unfortunately, there were some big problems with the shuttle driver, we waited an hour despite confirming with the driver multiple times, and we didn't get picked up until after 12:30 am ! (Becky arranged to have another hotel's shuttle pick us up) We stayed up eating chocolate, courtesy of Kristin, till about 2 am. Becky and I got two hours of sleep because Becky and I had the alarm set for the wrong time zone. Since we were up and ready, headed back to Atlanta on an earlier flight. She got on the 7:00 flight, and I got on the 8:15 flight. Taylor and Rosie picked me up, and we arrived home just in time to watch General Conference.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Crazy Way to Chicago

Finally in Chicago, by way of Milwaukee. Bumped flights, lost phones, lost wives, lost on the tollway with not enough change, reconnected with an old friend with a charitible streak. It feels like a feat to be here. I feel sick about what happened with Misty...more details to come.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My least favorite chore

I snagged this graph off Callie's blog. I can totally relate...for my whole house actually. I'm so glad I've got a husband that will spare my poor eczemic hands and do the dishes for me. Love you Taylor!

A Problem in the Code


I have been using Google Analytics for tracking on my blog for a few months...or so I thought. I used to religiously check who my visitors were, what they searched for, where their IP addresses were located. I decided I was too obsessed with it, so I stopped checking it every day. About a month ago when I had my blog makeover, it looks like the tracking code was deleted. I haven't had any tracking since March 8...and this has been my busiest month ever! I have been scanning the info in Sitemeter for info: I've had 3,110 hits for March...but I can't drill down into specific days to see who was stalking me, what key words were searched, etc. Bummer...I was expecting to see greatness this morning.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Midweek Miscellany

April is National Fresh Celery Month...eat up!


Spring has sprung in Atlanta. Flowers are in bloom, trees are budding, and we've had lots and lots of rain. In fact, enough that the drought advisory may finally be lifted here. But what does rain plus pollen make?

Pollen Puddles. Ew.

Friday I leave for my long-awaited Pilot Wives Club meetup in Chicago. I'm meeting a few ladies at ATL (who need to connect to get to ORD) I finally get to meet so many people that I've only been able to chat with online. It's going to be awesome (as long as we can all get there)
Cuteculturechick.com has just been featured on BlogFrog. On the front page, left column, a picture of me rotates with a quote from me about the site. If I'm not there on your first try, refresh the page.
The USPS is revealing a stamp on April 9th, commemorating The Simpsons 20 year anniversary. I'm super excited to put Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa on my upcoming letters...just wish the price wasn't going up to 44 cents.

Elite Eight: Current Standings...and how to bulk up your numbers

Okay folks! Here's the current top commenters in my CCCC March Madness contest (and yes, I know that it's April now - the Final Four is in Detroit this weekend)

Lia 18
Mary 18
Lori 16
Misty 12
Kemi 9
Laree 6
Partner of a Pilot 6
Hizzeather 4

Those with 3 comments: Devri, Elsja, Mandy, Janelle
Those with 2 comments: Wahlee, Rachel N, Gabrielle, Rachel W, KC Mom, Silvie, Tripacerchick, Erin
Those with 1 comment: Lynsey, M-Jed, Jennifer V, Liberal Mormon


Behind in the rankings, but still want to win? Here's your chance! Your can leave lots of good karma comments! Post either a fun memory we have together, talk about your favorite blog posting of mine, or an ego-stroking compliment for me. Feel free to leave multiple comments on this one, as long as it has substance. Make sure each one is genuine and more than just "You're really nice" or "Have a great summer," like those comments from my yearbook that I roll my eyes at.

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