Thursday, September 30, 2010

Go Blue Hose!

A girl I've never seen before sat next to me on the bus this morning on my way to work.  At some point she noticed my Presbyterian College koozie and mentioned that she, too, went to PC!  She graduated in 1994 -- just a few years before me.  Ha.  It was so fun to meet a random PC grad!  She attended before there were the Senior Apartments.  Before there were town houses.  Before we had a decent football stadium.  She was a biology major, chemistry minor; I told her I barely passed my chemistry classes and was a business major.  

I asked if they had sororities when she was there.  She said, "Yes, but only three."  I told her there were still only three.  She said, "One was pretty bad.  It was kinda like the one terrible fraternity we had.  I think they were trying to have something for different kids or something."  She gave me the name of the sorority and fraternity.  To which I replied, "Yeah, those haven't changed."  

I realize this post is for fellow Blue Hose, but I hope the PC alum can enjoy a good chuckle.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


After the mud run, I hit the road to head to Mary Alice's bachelorette party.  3 hours and 45 minutes later, I arrived at the gorgeous house we were staying at in Cashiers.  As I drove through Clemson, I randomly got behind two people I had classes with when I was in grad school.  It was one of those surreal, unexpected moments that caught me off guard.  I was behind them for many, many miles as he drove the speed limit or below.  Sometimes that is just painful and it was one of those times.  The pain may have been increased by the mud caked all over my body.  Finally, an opportunity presented itself for me to haul it around them and I took it!

When I got to the house, everyone else was out shopping and eating lunch -- so I had the house to myself to SHOWER.  I drove up to the mountains in my dirty clothes on a towel.  I had to wash my hair TWICE.  I had to SCRUB my body.  I'm not sure I can convey how much I had to scrub my body.  I felt like a 5 year old.  Ha!

The girls came back to the house and started to celebrate Mary Alice with fun drinks and food: cupcakes, brownies, baked brie, guacamole, artichoke dip, and supper of lasagna, salad, and bread.  Seriously, food is such a theme in my stories.  Mary Alice got a lot of lovely things and I think she had a great time.  We hung out on the back porch and told stories: old and new.  Every time I get to hang out with my girl friends, I'm reminded how blessed I am to have them.

Sunday, I got reacquainted with a familiar friend: I26.  My trip home was beautiful as I drove through Brevard and Henderson so that I could make a pit stop in Spartanburg to see the Sheltons.  Then I headed to Columbia to see my friends the Caldwell's and meet their super sweet and precious newbie, Mary Cate.  And then, then, I loaded up my car with gas (again) to hit the old familiar highway I know so well to make the trek Back to Charleston.  Eight and a half hours after I said goodbye to Mary Alice and the girls, I made it home.  Clearly, I wasn't up for cooking dinner that evening so I swung through the Bell.  It was the perfect way to end the drive and the weekend.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Down & Dirty

Last Friday, I drove to Columbia after work.  I spent the night with Jenn and we went to supper with Nicole and my dear, sweet friend Margaret at The Pizza Joint.  It was laid back and delicious.  After supper, we hung out at home and Jenn and I stayed up until one in the am.  My alarm was set for 6:00 am and then 6:20 am since I had an early morning ahead of me.  At some point in the evening, Jenn accidentally dropped my phone, which was fine.  However, when the battery fell out and so my phone turned off.  And so I did not awake at 6:00 or even at 6:20 as planned, but rather at 6:45 am when Jenn came in my room.

AH!  Don't tell me I overslept!?!?  What the hell?!?! This would happen to me!  Help me, Jenn!?!?

Jenn's such a trooper!  She got me breakfast and helped me load the car...pulling away from her house at 6:51, I was only 6 minutes behind schedule.  I ate breakfast in the car and put on my socks and shoes in the car.  I drove out to where I thought the mud run was.  It was instead a random neighborhood of sorts.  I called mom and she helped me navigate somewhat blindly to where we thought I needed to be.  The line to exit was miles long.  So I went up to the next exit, got lost again, and then made it to the mud run site.  FINALLY!  Just over an hour in the car...sheesh!

I met up with my teammates: Emily, Adryan, and Sallie.  We signed in and lined up.  At 8:35 it was our time to shine.  Y'all, this is the craziest thing I've ever done athletically.  I know that isn't saying much, but still.  Ha!

The website recommends that you wear work boots, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt.  But I was just fine in my ratty old tennis shoes, running shorts, and a sports bra.  The course is over 4 miles and contains 32 obstacles.  You are soaking wet in mud pretty early on.  Praise the Lord my team was chill!  We got along well, cheered each other on, and were ok to walk or skip something if we had to.  No shame in that game.   The course changed a bit from last year and was rumored to be harder, but this video gives you a good idea of what we did:

Right after obstacle 14 we were jogging ahead when I slipped in a pot hole and twisted my left ankle.  My left ankle is my bad ankle that was sprained pretty tragically over 3 years ago.  It hasn't been the same since.  So the medic came and wrapped it...I was DETERMINED to finish this thing and luckily my team was ok to go at a slower pace.  I could no longer run and couldn't do as many obstacles -- things that required a great deal of pressure on the ankle.

One thing to note: some of the people working the course were mean.  Straight up mean.  Early on, you have to climb a 20 foot wall, swing over, and climb down.  The thin wall is swaying because there are about 20 people doing it at once.  Three of us did it and one couldn't complete due to a fear of heights.  Well, we were taking the 1 minute time penalty (aka a break!) and the rather large out of shape lady working the course taunted us.  Finally I asked her if she'd done it.  She had not...ugh.

Just after I injured myself, I was swimming through mud under logs.  A guy behind me hit my left foot and I yelled out in pain.  He apologized profusely and I told him I'd already hurt it -- it wasn't him.  Well, the guy surpassed me; when he got to the end, he extended his arm (he was quite muscular).  I took it and he dragged me under the last few logs.  The guy working the course yelled, "THIS ISN'T A DATING GAME!"  To which I replied, "you're a jack ass!"  He then yelled, "THANK YOU."  Apparently, the services are not for me.

We finished up in 1 hour 50 minutes.  Not too shabby!  During the course, I said I wouldn't do it again...but I totally would!  Anyone interested?!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Y'all, for some strange reason I can not get into my blog at work.  Such a bummer!  Obviously, I cannot complain to IT about this issue so each day I head to work with high hopes of being able to blog from my office and read up on the lives of others.  Yes, I do work at work, too!

Any who, I just got home from Alpha tonight.  I started this a few weeks ago at my church and have really loved it so far.  It's been such a good and different experience for me.  You are put in groups of about 16.  You eat together and get to know each other.  Then there's a talk by our pastor.  The first week was introductory, the second was about Jesus and who he is, and this week was about why Jesus had to die on a cross.  The night is finished up with a group discussion -- this is my favorite part.

Alpha is designed as a course for people of all different backgrounds and ideas to come together to ask questions and figure out what Christianity might mean to them.  My group is made up of all kinds of people and I love hearing their thoughts.  A few folks are really searching for God and it's exciting to be a part of it.  It's also been really good for me to think through my own thoughts on the Lord.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Yesterday around 7:30pm I left my house to take a walk around the neighborhood for exercise.  And this is what I saw in my driveway:

I first hoped it was a black rope somehow lodged in my driveway.  But then it MOVED.  And then my heart stopped for a second.  I froze in fear.  Backed up and went in the house to grab my cell phone.  Because that's what I need in the midst of scary animals invading my personal space, right?! 

Thankfully, it scooted away when it saw/heard/felt my presence.  However, I feared that it would scurry into the bushes and attack me when I arrived home after the bout of exercise.  My heart eased as I walked and then tensed up for a second as I approached the scene of terror upon my return.  It wasn't there.  Holla! 

As Courtney reminded me, 1. this isn't nearly as scary as last time I saw a snake and 2. it is good to have friendly black yard snakes because they eat mice.  And if you think I panicked a bit over this snake, you best not ask what would happen to my heart if it had been a mouse! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This concludes my posts re: my recent travels.

Windy Gap

Krissie took off work early on Friday and we drove the one of the best places on earth: Windy Gap.  I drove her car.  She DJ'd.  And slept.  But mostly DJ'd.  Oddly and wonderfully, the four hours flew by!  We headed to Blue Mountain pizza and drank a beer on the porch while we waited for Courtney, Aimee, and Jacqueline to join us.  If you ever find yourself in Weaverville, you should hit this place up.  They serve scrumptious pizza in a laid back, friendly atmosphere.  Think: home grown Mellow Mushroom.  It's perfectly Asheville.  We split a pesto pizza and laughed and caught up and told funny stories and enjoyed life.

Then we headed to Windy Gap; it is a Young Life camp in Weaverville, NC.  I became a Christian there the summer I was 16.  I think it is one of the prettiest places on captivates me each and every time I go. 

My pesto pizza crowd and I laughed and laughed and had a great time.  We especially laughed at the skits.  If you're not familiar with Young Life, know this: in addition to sharing Jesus, it is funny!  This years skit revolved around the Golden Girls...sadly, they are not on YouTube (yet).

We listened to the wonderful Ellie Holcomb.  Check her out!  Her husband is Drew Holcomb and their band is Drew Holcomb and the neighbors.  A plus: they are on Grooveshark! 

We ate.  And ate.  And ate.  Big breakfasts, hamburgers, Mexican for supper, and yummy desserts -- including a mint chocolate chip pie that makes you want to slap your momma.

We thought about exercising in the form of hiking.  The rain deterred us...when the sun came out, we were too lazy.  It went with my traveling theme of "eat a ton and exercise none."  Even though we may or may not have had a small push up contest.  I may or may not have won.  (Don't worry, Krissie.  Next year will be your year.)

We listened to talks by Paula Rinehart.  It was good to hear words of encouragement.  To be reminded that the Lord Jesus loves me.  To know yet again that I am in need of a savior and in Him, there is so much grace.  To hear someone older and wiser than me, say that it's not easy, but it will be ok. 

We also got to stalk & awe people that write some of our favorite blogs.  It was even better to see my real life friends that I don't get to see very often...including Kristi and Janet

It was a wonderful weekend.  I rode Back to Charleston with my good friend, and old Young Life leader, Dana and some of her family.  The car ride mainly consisted of napping -- which was just what I needed!

Hey little guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurl!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Big Apple

Leigh and I left Dirty Jersey early Thursday morning to head to New York.  We rode the train.  It was nice and clean and boggles me a bit that so many people do that every single day.  Both ways.  We arrived in the city and met up with Leigh's friend Justin to drop my suitcase off at his office. 

I LOVE being in New York!  Just being in that city makes me excited and feel more alive.  There are ALL kinds of people.  All kinds of things to do.  All kinds of food to eat.  I can just walk around and be content/entertained. 

Leigh and I ate lunch at one of her favorite joints.  Spitzers in the Lower East Side.  She got mac and cheese and green beans.  Sounds exciting, huh?  Seriously.  It was the BEST mac and cheese I have ever put in my mouth.  Ever.  And the green beans?  Same thing.  I'm not sure how they sauteed the beans to be on par with eating heaven, but they did.  As for me, I got a beef cheek sandwich -- with arugula and horseradish on super yummy, hard on the outside, soft like a pillow on the inside bread.  It was the first time I'd ever had beef cheek and it was love at first bite.  Y'all the food there was insanely delicious.  I could eat a beef cheek sandwhich right now...I'm salvating thinking about it.  The inside of the bar is gorgeous.  We got funky beers that were great as well.  I had the Flying Dog Raging Bitch. 

We sat at the bar facing the street.  The windows were open -- so we could watch all the street activity as we ate.  For the people watcher that I am, it was perfect.

My sandwich. 

After lunch, we tried on some boots and then headed to grab dessert.  I was stuffed, but not about to let this opportunity pass me by.  Ha!  

According to the 25,089,421 things on its walls -- it has been showcased on the Food Network.  Leigh and I split a dulce leche & Nutella crepe.  It was yummy and sweet and filling.  I could also go for one right now. 

After lunch, we wondered around the city.  Just your average passer-by on the street:

The US Open was playing on giant screens in the park.

Me:  Wow, they're already decorated for Christmas!?!  
Leigh: Buddy, that's not what the colors are for.
(Little Italy) 

When it was time for me to go, I retrieved my bag from Justin.  And headed on the subway then a bus to Laguardia.  I was pretty proud for doing it all by myself.  However, out of fear for getting off at the wrong place, I got off at the first stop.  Which turned out to not be my terminal.  Awesome and fitting for me.  I found out that there's a free shuttle I could hop on, but decided to walk.  There was a sign: Approx. 2000 feet to next terminal; about a 10 minute walk.  But I made it, rolling suitcase and all. 

I flew to ATL and then on to Raleigh.  Krissie picked me up around 11:45 pm.  Whoa.  I'd only eaten two bags of airline pretzels for supper so I was starving.  Luckily, KB was ready for a snack, too.  We headed to Cook Out which I was super pumped about because I hear its great, but have never eaten there.  Sadly, it was closed.  We settled on McDonald's.  They were out of single sized burgers.  Yes, somehow that was true.  Ugh...had to get the double.  We headed home and hung out a bit.  My head hit the pillow at 2.  I loved  my travels, but it felt damn good to be back in the South.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Dirty Jerz

Not only did I become addicted to Big Love in the Dirty Jerz, but I also saw just how un-dirty New Jersey can be.  It was really quite beautiful. 

We ate ice cream at Thomas Sweet's.  We ate dinner at Triumph Brewing Company.  Leigh cooked a yummy breakfast of bacon and french toast.  We had appetizers and cocktails with her friend Kacey -- I can't remember the name.  I think it was Winbarie? 

I took a walk one morning while Leigh was at work...I love walking or driving through neighborhoods in new places.  Love looking at the houses, etc.  And I got lost and dodged a shady tan colored brown that may or may not have wanted to abduct me...

And Leigh gave me a tour of campus.  Y'all, it is stunning.  I LOVED Presbyterian College and think it is beautiful, but Princeton is by far the prettiest school I have ever laid eyes on.

The seminary chapel:

Gorgeous architecture:

Sadly, yet much to Leigh's appreciation, my camera batteries died after these shots.  So I don't have any more of the campus.  We also went to the Princeton Museum -- yes, they have a museum on campus!  Monet, C├ęzanne, and so many more.  The current exhibit was photographs from the 1970's and 80's.  I loved looking at them. 

I'd never been to NJ before and had too many visions of The Jersey Shore in my head.  I'm glad that Leigh was able to prove me wrong.  Much to my disappointment, I did not run into Caroline Manzo or any of the other Housewives of New Jersey...maybe next time?!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Philly, et al.

Sunday morning started out with homemade quiche and more fresh fruit before we packed up and headed out of the Greencrest.  Apparently at breakfast (I'd left to get ready) my Dad goes on and on and on and on about how he hates Detroit.  It's the only place he's ever been that he couldn't wait to leave.  Nathan felt very uncomfortable because Shannon has family that lives there.  Hahaha.  Shannon's family graciously had us over to their house afterwards...there were probably 25+ there hanging out and eating wedding leftovers. 

At some point, we headed back to the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo airport to hop on the tiny, tiny prop plane to make our way to Detroit.  There was a man on that plane that was very scared to fly -- especially on this tiny plane.  It made me thankful that I have never feared flying!  When we landed in Detroit we saw our pilot get off the plane.  He didn't look a day over 15.  Yikes!  Made me feel very old.  When we were walking to our respective terminals,

Me: Hey dad, I heard you love Detroit...
Dad: Ugh...this town...
Mom: Clark! 
Dad: (silence)

Then we saw Jesse Jackson.  Jesse and I don't see eye to eye on much...but I took his picture anyway.

This is where I parted ways with my parents.  They headed Back to Charleston and I headed to Philly.  The plane ride to Philly was quite nice and I made a single serving friend, Dan.  He's 25, a vet, a murse, and lives in Brooklyn.  We talked about politics, religion, school, etc...  I love it when I make friends on planes!

Leigh picked me up from the airport and had a delectable surprise for me!  Cider ddoughnuts from Terhune Orchards.  Let me say that I am quite picky about doughnuts.  I grew up on Krispy Kreme and find them supreme; Dunkin Doughnuts do nothing for me.  I don't know if Terhune Orchards puts crack in these doughnuts or what, but they were amazing.  They are the only other store bought doughnuts that are as good as KK's.  I could have eaten a dozen of them by myself.  For some odd reason, their website does not showcase these delights...

We drove to Princeton and grabbed dinner at Wawa.  If I was a college student, this place would be dangerous.  You order your food from a computer system similar to an ATM.  Crazy.  Then we headed back to her super cute and well furnished apartment.  We ate our supper and watched some 30 Rock. 

Monday morning, Leigh and I got dressed and headed into Philly for the day.  But we took a pleasant detour at some neighboring towns.  We parked in Lambertville, NJ and walked across the bridge to New Hope, PA

These towns, along with Lawrenceville (where Leigh lives) are all small towns that remind me of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls.  Everyone seems to know everybody, you can walk to local shops and such, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if a troubadour appeared at any moment.  New Hope is especially welcoming to the gay community and had rainbow signs that said "celebrate" everywhere.  I thought I took a picture, but apparently not. 

After our tour of small town, USA, we headed to Philly.  Since I planned this trip in May, I knew I wanted to eat a Philly Cheese steak in Philly.  So we did just that for lunch.  We went to Tony Lukes.

The line was crazy long

But I loved it

Leigh only ate about 3.5" of her Philly, but somehow I managed to devour all of my 8".  To put it into perspective, its like eating a rib eye covered in cheese wiz on a delicious and large hoagie.  But well worth it.  I enjoyed every bite.  We also got wiz fries = fries covered in cheese wiz.  Also yummy.  Not sure what the deal is with cheese wiz in Philly.

After lunch, we parked and walked around for hours.  I love being in cities and taking it all in.  Parts of Philly reminded me of Charleston: the history, the cobblestone, the tourists. 

One park had giant Sorry, Monopoly, Domino, and Chess pieces...

Philadelphia has tons of Murals...

As the "city of brotherly love" (which Leigh explained the Greek meaning of Philadelphia to me to further explain this.  haha.) it is also very gay friendly.  Some streets are even designated as gayborhoods.

The Rocky steps:


It was a fun day full of people watching and culture.  We drove back to Princeton, stopping at Sonic for Route 44's of course, and hit up the grocery store.  Wegman's.  It had so many awesome ethnic foods -- I want one in Charleston!  Leigh made supper for me that night -- what she considers to be the most NJ of foods: red cabbage, kielbasa cooked in beer with red peppers, and pirogi = dumpling stuffed with mashed potatoes.  She did a great job.  I'm still not the world's biggest fan of red cabbage, but I picked up a new love, the pirogi.

That night I also became addicted to another television show: Big Love.  HBO's take on polygamy.  By the end of my time in the Dirty Jerz, I'd watched all of seasons 1 and 2.  Monday I walked to the library over my lunch break to snag season of today, I'm halfway through the season.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Wedding. And then some.

Saturday morning included a yummy breakfast at The Greencrest.  Fresh fruit, homemade coffee cake, and Kellogg's products (seeing as how Battle Creek is the home of Kellogg's).  They are not forthcoming with Coke products, but I managed to squeeze a Diet Coke out of them.

With family and the wedding party, we completely filled up the 8 bedroom bed & breakfast.  6 of the rooms have private baths and 2 rooms share a bathroom across the hall.  Me, being the stunning singleton that I am, was in one of the small rooms with a hall bath.  When taking my shower Saturday after breakfast, I thought nothing of taking 2 steps out of my room and into the bathroom in just my tank top and underwear.  Me being me, of course I got caught in the 5 seconds I was visible.  The housekeeper appeared appalled as she saw me.  She quickly told me of the robe in my room I could use or shut the hall doors!  I let her know it was fine and I was quite comfortable how things were....haha.

The wedding started at 2:00 pm and was beautiful!  Afterwards, we enjoyed appetizers and drinks.  Supper was served at 4:00 pm.  During the meal I asked my youngest cousin Matthew what he was drinking.

Matthew: Pepsi.
Me: Gross.
Matthew: You know, I'm a little surprised that they're serving Pepsi with your mom being here...
Me: Matthew, what was served last night at the rehearsal dinner?
Matthew: Oh yeah!  Your family isn't in charge of today!  Haha...
(Don't worry, dad managed to scrounge up a Coca-Cola for mom!)

There were a few toasts at the wedding dinner and this one was my favorite.  My brother's best friend, Jay said that we've been family friends for forever.  We call his parents Aunt Patty and Uncle George and they call my parents Aunt Marcia and Uncle Clark.  He shared a story -- when Nathan and Jay were in elementry school they got into a fight on the playground.  Jay said we were cousins and Nathan said we weren't.  Jay went home and told his mom (Aunt Patty) that Nathan said the dumbest thing: that we weren't cousins.  He was pretty upset when his mom explained to him that Nathan was right.  Hahaha.

It was quite cold during the ceremony and dinner.  As you can see we had to make do and bundle up as best we could!
(my cousin Virginia, my Aunt Dean -- yes she has socks on with her dress shoes, and me)

Then, the dancing began.  And boy, did my family dance!  I really don't think I was off the dance floor for more than 5 minutes from the time the band started.  My mom and Aunt Dean may have danced the most and had the most fun!  I love that!  We really all had a blast!

My pictures are not on this computer...but here's the link to the wedding photos:
As the reception was winding down one of Nathan and I's mutual friends asked me if I wanted to go out that night in Kalamazoo.  The Mayor of Kalamazoo is one of Shannon's dad's best friends (Stu).  Bobby Hopewell, the mayor, performed the wedding ceremony and questioned Nathan's friends as to why they were staying in Battle Creek when they could be staying in wonderful Kalamazoo.  He then said that they should "throw down in the 'zoo with him tonight!"  How could I not go with them?!  I'm going to be up front and say that this recollection will not do our time in the 'zoo justice, but I'll do my best.

5 of us headed out to Kalamzaoo where we met Bobby the Mayor at Wild Bull downtown.  On the ride someone said to me, "you're really free on the dance floor.  I can tell you get your dancing skills from your mom.  Nathan had fun dancing, and he wanted to be out there...but he's not like you and your mom.  Y'all really get into it and let yourselves go!"  Love that!

This was one of the craziest, coolest bars I've ever been to.  It was like 5 bars connected to one -- country saloon, tiki type bar, beer garden, outdoor dancing with a huge stage, and more.  Bobby gave us a tour of the place and then took us to the elevator where we arrived at the sky bar.  It certainly did not feel like we were in Michigan.  I danced with a man named Kim, got a tour of the 'zoo from Bobby, and hung out with my crowd.  At some point in the conversation, the couple next to us mentioned that they knew Stu (Shannon's dad) and decided to join us for the rest of the evening. 

We then headed to Bell's brewery and sat outside for a while.  We explained the magical wonders of Chick-fil-A and Waffle House to Bobby.  All the talk of delicious food made us want WaHo.  After walking quite far, witnessing a tragic hit-and-run car accident, and scoping the menus of two food establishments, this motley crew of Southerners realized that the 'zoo doesn't know anything about late night dining.  We settled for a hot dog from a vendor outside of the Wild Bull.  It was pretty good, but couldn't hold a candle to hashbrowns scattered and covered. 

Near the hot dog cart, Bobby some some of his friends and they asked where we were all heading next.  Bobby said he didn't know yet and we all knew that it was time for us to head home.  Our time with Bobby was fun, but needed to end.  We piled into our car and swung by Checkers for fries and diet cokes to finish up what the hot dogs started.  I was dropped off at the Greencrest just shy of 2 am, marched up to my room, couldn't fall asleep and watched HGTV until 2:30...

Such a fun and random night. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pure Michigan

Have you ever seen the commercials for Pure Michigan?  I got my first taste of Michigan the other week.  I spent Wednesday night at my parent's house because we had an early morning the next day.  Our plane left for Michigan at 7:15ish, so we planned to get to the airport at 6.  Somehow we arrived around 5:35, which means I awoke at 4:30.  AM!  Such a stretch for the horrid morning person I am. 

Our flight to Detroit took off and landed perfectly on time!  Once we landed in D-town, we transferred to this TINY prop plane for our flight to the Battlecreek/Kalamazoo airport.  Y'all, this plane had to warm up for like 15 minutes before we could take off.  During those 15 minutes, they have to turn the air off...I'm not gunna lie, I was sweating and queasy.  Thankfully it eventually took off and landed on time as well - we made it to the tiny tiny airport at 11:15.  At some point during our morning travels, mom and I debated about the time zone.  My brother lives in Chicago and is an hour behind us.  Naturally, I assumed that Michigan was an hour behind as well.  They're not; mom was right.  (I HATE being wrong...)

Nathan and Shannon picked us up at the airport and it was so good to see them!  After the early morning and several hours of traveling, I was starving.  We ate at a local joint in Kalamazoo, Food Dance.  It uses a lot of local and organic ingredients and was quite tasty.  I devoured my pad thai.  Shannon's parents joined us for lunch; afterwards, we ran some errands.  We headed to Libins for some tux try-ons.  Stu, Shannon's dad, my dad, and Nathan all needed adjustments on their tuxes -- it's a good thing we went by!  We were in there for over an hour...Sylvestor, the gentle and patient man helping us had his work cut out for him!

At some point Nathan grabbed a top hat and I teased him saying he looked like Mr. Peanut.  Nathan said he'd need a cane for that.  Sylvestor offered to get one for Nathan!  Once he was all dolled up, I wanted to take a picture.  Nathan then had the brilliant idea to get into the store window and pose for a few pics.  Sylvestor allowed it and we all had a ball!  So funny!

We headed to check into our hotel and were able to take a much needed nap.  Shannon's parents graciously had us over for supper that night, along with a few of their friends that were in town.  Her parents live on 10 acres and its pretty country for these city folk.  Mom and I were able to drive her dad's tractor!  We saw wild turkeys!  Drank local beer (Bell's Oberon Ale).  And enjoyed seeing her neighbor's horses: a clydesdale, a baby clydesdale (size of a normal horse), and a miniature horse --  no, I'm not making this up.  All in all, it was a lovely time. 

The next morning, I woke up and finished some "wedding chores."  Nathan's friend Mark, whom we call "Chops" bumped into mom and I in the lobby.  That turned into him driving us over to Horrock's.  This is like a local Wal-Mart of sorts...they have books, groceries, flowers, ice cream, and so much more!  Mom and I picked out some flowers for the rehearsal dinner.  We were all super excited when we found out they had 39 CENT soft serve ice cream!  Chops got a milkshake for about a $1.  What?!  Such a great deal!

As we headed back to the hotel to drop off the flowers, we bumped into mom's sister and brother-in-law.  We all headed to lunch at a nearby bar, Griffin.  The food left much to be desired, but the Schlitz mom and Aunt Linda made me drink in honor of their father, Big Poppy, wasn't too bad.  In a can, no less. 

After lunch, Nathan took the rents and I over to The Greencrest Manor.  This is where the wedding would be and where we'd be staying for the rest of our time in Pure Michigan.  The Greencrest is like a small version of The Biltmore.  After watching a bit of TVon my tiny 12" screen, I got myself ready for the rehearsal.  This Charleston girl was not ready for the COLD of Michigan.  Sure, high 60's are warm to those that reign in the midwest, but not to me!  I survived though, and was ready to chow down at the Reahearsal Dinner -- at the McCamly Plaza.  Steak, salmon, chicken, salads, pastas, and desserts were all awaiting me!  The food was delicious as was the company!  It was great to see family and friends and celebrate Nathan and Shannon. 

Aunt Dean gave the best toast.  I won't do it justice here, but she talked about how most of the people in the room were at my parent's rehearsal dinner -- 30 years ago.  Sadly, Grandmomma and Big Poppy are no longer with us and Granddaddy, Grammy, and Aunt Phyllis couldn't make it to Nathan and Shannon's.  Granddaddy sent a toast via Aunt Dean and she read it (insert me crying).  She talked about getting to know Shannon and how her children had come to know and like her, especially through our family beach vacations.  She then said that at my parent's rehearsal dinner their Aunt Virginia stood up and said she wished my parents as happy of a marriage as she had had.  Aunt Virginia and Uncle Jack had a pretty tough marriage with a lot of ups and downs.  Dean said thats when she learned that marriage wasn't all fun and games...and it struck her that Aunt Virginia could still say she and Jack had a happy one in spite of troubles.  Dean wished Nathan and Shannon as happy of a marriage as she and my Uncle Mike have...

After the RD, Nathan, Shannon, their friends, and I headed out for a bit.  We hit up Arcadia Brewing Company.  I played a rousing game of darts.  Haha.  This place had a really cool atmosphere.  Unlike many bars, however, it closed at 12 on a Friday night.  Since we had a decent sized crowd, they stayed open late for us!  While we headed back to the bed and breakfast, the rest of their friends headed to Griffin -- where we ate lunch and the only other bar in town.  It was a long day and my bed was calling my name...

I'm Back!

My trip was great.  It was so fun to get away for a while.  This morning's return to early rising, emails, and file folders is a bit challenging.  But someon'e has to bring home the single serving of bacon...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Off the Grid

Just wanted to give you a heads up that I'll most likely be off the blogging grid for a while.  Why you ask?  Well, I'll be out of the Charleston area and I'm not sure what my computer access will be like.  In case you need to find me, here's where I'll be:

Thursday: Fly to Battle Creek, Michigan with mom and dad.
Friday: Little brother's rehearsal dinner.
Saturday: Nathan marries Shannon.
Sunday: Fly to Philly.  Get picked up by Amelia.
Monday: Hang out in Philly and Princeton, NJ.
Tuesday: Princeton, NJ.
Wednesday: Princeton, NJ and The Big Apple.
Thursday: New York City and fly to Raleigh, NC.
Friday: Krissie and I will head to Weaverville, North Carolina for a weekend at Young Life's Windy Gap.*
Saturday: Windy Gap!
Sunday: Back to Charleston.

I'm very much looking forward to my adventures and I'm sure I'll have lots of stories to share!

* Windy Gap is one of the BEST places on the planet.  You cannot convince me otherwise.