Wednesday, February 25, 2009 1 comments

Washington, D.C.

Well, it's convention time! I've been in D.C. since last Friday. Meetings for the first two days, rehearsals for the big presentation, then yesterday started general sessions. LOTS going on.

We are staying at the Gaylord National located across the river from the Capitol in Maryland. It's a smaller hotel than the other Gaylord properties - which is kind of nice - however, there's not as much to do here. So if you want to really shop or fancy places to eat, you go off-campus. But the view is fantastic.

When preparing for the general session speech by our Vice-chair, (I handle his speech, presentation and videos), I have an all-access pass to backstage and all the equipment. It reminds me of my TV and radio days - only a LOT more high-tech. The guy in the back left is the teleprompter guy, John, and Larry is the PowerPoint operator on the right.

We've had some great speakers: Tom Brokaw and Mike Abrashoff. Tom was so facsinating to listen to! The years of experiences and people he's met - unbelieveable. Mike Abrashoff was just fantastic. He was the captain of a Navy battleship among other things. His leadership turned things around for the ship to make it #1 in the Pacific fleet. And of course he has a book - that I really want to get - "It's Your Ship."

Today I was able to get out and see a few things. We had shuttles to the Smithsonian's Natural History & Air/Space Museums. Turns out the Smithsonian has over 20 buildings to it's name. No way you can go through them in one day - or probably even a whole week.

I took plenty of pictures, but I'll save those for later. Tomorrow I will be adding to that since I am going to try to go to the Library of Congress and the American History Museum. Then on the way back Moses (the driver) will probably take me past some monuments to get some pictures. I'll say hi to Lincoln for you all!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 0 comments

What a Night!

Last night was set-aside to help my dear friend Stephanie find a new laptop computer. Stephanie and I are like these old girlfriends that never skip a beat even when we don't get to talk for months. So after work and a couple of errands, I pick her up to go eat then to Best Buy.
Her and her family are just so wonderful. Five kids - all different personalities - her and her hubby are full of energy - and one of her passions is organic everything. Shoot, she grinds her own wheat flour to make her own dough to make breads, crusts, etc. And for those of you that have tried her bread, you know it's just fabulous. Well, Stephanie is setting up a home recording "studio." With a laptop and microphone, she can go into a closet and have a ready-made recording studio. So our mission was to get her a reasonable laptop at a reasonable price.

But first, dinner. She took me to this amazing place I had not been exposed to: Shiraz Mediterranean Grill. It was great! We had this grain salad - Quinoa (which was fascinating to try!), and shish kabobs. They make everything fresh, handmade and beyond delicious. They make their own yogurt every day. And the atmosphere was very metro & laid-back. The owner was so gracious, and Stephanie has been there so many times she's like family!

We talked and talked and talked and talked (shouldn't surprise anyone), then we finally looked at the time - not sure if we would make it before Best Buy closed!

So off we go - and get to Best Buy as they have the doors wide open waiting for the lingering customers to finish their purchases. We run up to the door and ask if they'd like to sell us a laptop - SURE! Less than 10 minutes later we were walking back out with a brand new laptop. And what's even better - it was a Dell for about $150 less than I had priced last week!

Awesome refreshing girl's night!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 2 comments

Next Project

Here's the start of my newest project - Navajo Blanket. Crochet. Single-stitch mostly. The trick with this one is I have to do one row at a time. Do a row - cut it off - go back to the starting side and create a new row. I can do a little over 2 rows in an hour - it's a big blanket.

The diamond design (that's just forming here) is a double chain in the row below the one you're working on. That trick took me awhile to get down. My diagnals are a little crooked starting out - but that's my personal touch! :-)
Monday, February 16, 2009 0 comments

What a sight...

Just got this link sent to me. And I just love it - it's kind of lion-and-lambish. Kind of...

Friday, February 13, 2009 2 comments

It's Done!

Here it is! The Finished product. Mommy loved it! On to the next one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 2 comments

Rebecca would be so proud!

Ok, ok....I'm SLOW! But I have maybe another HOUR to go on this knitted baby block blanket. The baby was born last July - again, I'm SLOW! So once I get it officially done, I'll post that picture. hopefully tonight.
Rebecca gave me the pattern for my first real knitting project. This blanket was originally for 5 colors - I used 6. Knitted a bunch of squares. Then, instead of doing a single-stitch crochet to seam them together - I literally laced the blocks up like shoestrings on a shoe. It's a pretty cool effect. The X's show up on one side - and the other are single line/loops. I love this way simply because it lays perfectly flat. I did a mile-a-minute crochet blanket pattern and did the single-stitch method and it has ridges. Once I had all the blocks together, I did a single-stich crochet around the outside for a border. Now all that's left is to work-in all the end pieces. I'm so excited!
AND - I'm already on to the next crochet project - a Navajo blanket.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 3 comments

Too much to blog about

Man. There are times when I just have so much I want to share, and not near enough time or space. I think some of that comes because blogging seems to be a great release of 'me.' So beware - this post might be a little long after not getting time to sit and write.

First - I totally missed watching the snow/ice storm last week. I had to be at KFC meetings in Austin, TX. I wasn't real sure I'd make it back home on Wednesday. But the transportation - wow. (Rebecca, you may want to skip this part)...I got to ride in a Cessna Citation XLS. One of the franchisee's private JET!

At first I was a little nervous - I niavely had in my mind that his private plane was more of a propeller-type - nope - this was a first class jet. Complete with leather seats, video panels, plug-ins for electronic devices, wood trim, the works! The franchisee even took a conference call from his satellite phone 43,000 feet up! It was truly a blessing experience for me. I sat on the bench couch that faced the stairs/hatch door. But when I look to the right (see the picture), I can see the pilots and there's a little corner galley filled with goodies and drinks. I just walked right up and talked with the pilots and saw all the gadgets and buttons! It was so cool! I tried to be smooth about taking these pictures so I didn't look like the little podunck I felt like in there.

So we get to Austin and we stay at The Driskell. If you've ever watched Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel - you may have seen this hotel. It's very historic and just fabulous! Built in 1886 by a cattle baron - it's straight-up Texas to say the least.

The lobby is cozy and grand all at the same time. There's a grand staircase that leads to the lounge/bar area - the sitting areas of which have built-in bookcases with books, and cow print & leather furniture galore. VERY manly.

But I have to say - for it being a basic room design, it became one of my favorites to sleep in. You see those dark throws on the beds? Those are the faux fur kind with velvet backing, with a little wool throw rolled-up on top like a blanket rolled up on the back of a saddle. I just slept with the fur blanket! And my final night - a yellow rose on the pillow! I almosted hoped we couldn't make it back for another day at least. Of course, since the franchisee had his own jet we could make a detour to just about anywhere we wanted. But we made it home.

At these meetings we do get to eat at some nice places. It's VERY hard to maintain any sort of weight loss while at these meetings. But at dinner, Wally - the franchisee's right-hand-man, seemed very upset. I asked him if everything was ok at home and he said no and he would tell me later. Well, the next morning Wally, Susan (co-worker), and I were in the lobby waiting for the others and he finally told up about his grandson, Sawyer. Sawyer is walking now - and apparently bumped and landed his hands right on the woodstove (yes, it was hot). Now Sawyer has 2nd degree burns. Wally was mortified - fire protection was his responsibility, and he wasn't there to protect him. Susan and I tried to console him - she being the official mom of us.

So to try and lighten the mood, Wally pulls out his guitar - right there in the lobby (picture above) - and proceeds to sing us this song he wrote about Sawyer called "Sawyer's Eyes." You talk about tear-jerker! He sang about what it was like to see Sawyer's eyes on the video screen while still in his mother's womb, about seeing Sawyer's eyes for the first time when he was born, about seeing the world differently through Sawyer's eyes, and then he added a verse about seeing someday seeing heaven through those eyes. It was so beautiful. Susan and I just teared up big-time. Then he sang us a nursery-rhyme song he wrote for Sawyer....Sawyer Clark Has His Own Aardvark. That grandson has opened a fount of creativity for that grandpa!

Before the trip, I went to Southeast Saturday night. It was their night to recognize the commitment to their new Indiana Campus that's opening in a couple months. The amount of people that went forward just Saturday night was amazing! There were 200+ on stage. Bill's dad just kept saying, "where are all the people coming from?"
And FINALLY - if you get a chance, check out yesterday and today's Focus on the Family's broadcasts. It's a fabulous segment on "Raising a Modern Day Knight" with Robert Lewis. I can't explain it well, but it gives hope that men are raising up men. And I really liked his ideas of celebrating milestones and having a "now you're a man" ceremony with other men. I also agree with him about men celebrating the honorable activities (flowers or poems for wives, reading scripture to their kids, etc.) with each other. Being a "man-cheerleader" where they hoot & holler and bump chests -- man-stuff -- from other men who need that same encouragement. Awesome stuff.