Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Never Ever Ever.

Here are some things you'll never hear me say:

...No, I don't want a cupcake.

...Yay, the alarm clock went off!

...I have enough pens and post-its.

...No, I don't want to travel anywhere this year.

...I haven't seen this episode of Friends.

...Let's not stay home tonight-- let's go out!

...Can we get a cat instead of a dog?

...It's 90 degrees?  Let's go outside!

...Sweet tea?  No thanks.

...I don't want to watch the Yankee game tonight.

What are some things you would never say?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Saying Goodbye to a Friend.

It's been a year since I lost a friend.  I didn't lose her to cancer or a car accident or a cross-country move.  I lost her to an unforgiving heart and bitterness.

Among our small group of friends, I was closest with Sarah for years.  For some reason, she and I just clicked.  We laughed, we shared, we prayed.  We traveled together and even went on a cruise together (where everyone apparently assumed that two single women traveling together had to be lesbians...).  But it was hilarious.  Everything was hilarious with Sarah and me.
But, as it tends to do, time passed.  And I traveled with Emily and April when Sarah couldn't come due to her work schedule.  And then Sarah started dating a guy (a not-so-nice guy) and wasn't around as much.  So, we hung out without her.  And Emily started to become my closest friend.  Emily was the one I called when I met Donny, not Sarah.  Emily and I went to the beach together with her parents for a week.  Sarah moved out of the apartment she had shared with Emily, and it seems that Emily didn't call her enough...  I could go on about the list of grievances she claims against us all.  But the fact is that she separated herself from us.  At first it was unintentional.  But then it became intentional.  And honestly, none of us tried to stop it.  By the time she quit our small group, we were happy to let her go.  There had been so much constant complaining from her about this boy who broke her heart, or her family, or her job, or us, or whatever.  And we felt like we had tried for MONTHS to support her, to advise her, to pray for her, and all of our efforts were rebuffed.  Nothing we did was enough, so we quit.
We did sit down with her at one final dinner to apologize for our failures to make sure she felt included in the group and to invite her to back into our bible study and into friendship.  She said she'd think about it as she left.  And we never heard from her again.

She's moved to a new city now.  She's back with that boy.  And she has a new job.  All of which I learned from facebook.  I haven't spoken to her in over a year.  She missed my wedding.
I'm a firm believer in the idea that some friendships are not meant to last forever.  I've had other great friends fall by the wayside as our lives moved in different directions, and I'm fine with that.
I don't know if it's the way it all went down with Sarah or is a testament to how deep our friendship used to go, but I really miss her.  I miss the old Sarah who broke out into song and dance every time Beyonce came on the radio, who was endearingly obsessed with dinosaurs, and who was so much fun to be around.  It's been over a year since we've spoken, and I really miss her.  I feel hurt by her still, and I also feel some anger toward her for not giving us the benefit of the doubt and forgiveness when we asked for it.  

But more than any of that, I just miss her.

"I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. 
I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother."
Psalm 35:14

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Club Friday-- Those Who Save Us.

I've really fallen off the reading train.  After reading 21 books in the first 3 months, I haven't read a single book in over two weeks.  That WILL be rectified this weekend, since we (thankfully) have zero plans to go anywhere or do anything!  Some quality time with the husband and a book?  Sounds like the perfect weekend...

The last book I did read was Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum.  My mom had read it and wanted to be able to talk about it with someone, so I borrowed it from her and gave it a shot.

GoodReads Synopsis: For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother's life.

Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

My Thoughts:  There were parts of this book that I hated and parts that I loved.  The writing was at times beautiful and at others, very heavy.  I didn't overall love or hate this book.  But I am glad that I read it.  The story is unique-- not many books about the holocaust are told from a German perspective, but it was fascinating to see what they went through as well.  It may not be the best book ever, but I'd still recommend it.  

Anyone else read this book??  What did you think?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Current Obsessions.

Downton Abbey-- I'm almost finished with season 3, and I'm pretty sad that there are no new episodes until January!
Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches-- Including my lunch today, I've had PB&Js four times this week.
Maxi dresses/skirts-- I only have one maxi dress, but I loooooove it.  I'd probably wear it every single day if I could.  My go to outfit this spring is that maxi dress, a denim jacket, and my espadrilles (gotta have the tall shoes to wear a long dress since I'm so short!).  I definitely need to get some more maxi dresses and skirts!
Spring Maxi
Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series-- I've read 8 this year already.  Two weeks ago, I decided to take a break from the Bosch books, but I haven't managed to read more than 50 pages in that book.  It's just not as entertaining...
Spring/Summer Fruits-- Seriously, there's nothing better.  I could eat this all day!
Jeopardy-- I've always really liked Jeopardy and watched whenever I caught it.  But these days, Donny and I actually DVR Jeopardy and watch it together at night.  It's one of my favorite things.  :)

What are some of your current obsessions??

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tripleheader Saturday.

For Part 1 of our weekend, click here!

Saturday, we got up early (as I tend to do when I'm on vacation for some reason...).  We were going to hit up the free breakfast at our hotel, but there was a SWARM of pre-teen girls and their mothers there for some conference that were taking up the entire lobby.  Plus, the food we did manage to get to wasn't great.  Fortunately, we had a Cracker Barrel next door that was more than welcoming.  :)

After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and headed to the Durham Farmer's Market.
It was bigger than I thought it would be.  There were a ton of people there peddling their crafts, vegetables, and flowers.  Oh wow-- flowers galore!  I wanted them all but knew they'd die sitting in my car all day.  I had brought a cooler for any food we bought but not flowers.
I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more fruit, especially given that it's the season for it.  But oh well. We did see a bunch of food trucks, but of course, we had already eaten, so we didn't stop.

After the Farmer's Market, we went to the Duke Gardens.  I had never been to the gardens-- I mean, it was in the heart of enemy territory, aka Duke University, when I lived nearby...  But it was so beautiful!  It's 55 acres of gardens in the middle of the university.  It reminded me of the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens that we went to for our anniversary last year.  Fortunately, the weather was MUCH better this time around.  :)

After we left the gardens, we made a quick pit stop at Starbucks then made our way to Chapel Hill for our first baseball game of the day!
One of my favorite things about Chapel Hill is how everything is
Carolina blue.  Even the trash bags.  :)
George Steinbrenner's daughter went to UNC, and the family is
a big supporter of Carolina baseball!
Play ball!
Donny knows how to dress appropriately for Carolina sports.
Carolina won easily, which was expected.  I got sunburned, which was also expected.  The new Boshamer Stadium was beautiful, and we had a blast.  We did have to leave before the game ended to get to our second game of the day at the Durham Bulls stadium.
We had already purchased our tickets to the 5pm game, but due to Friday's rainout, they had a doubleheader of two 7-inning games.  So, of course, we stayed to see some of the third game too.  Wil Myers is the #1 prospect of the Tampa Bay Rays (the MLB team for which Durham is an affiliate).  As it turns out, Wil went to my high school!  He was several years behind me, so I don't remember him at all, but it was a lot of fun to see someone from my tiny Christian school playing professional baseball!
So there you have it-- the day we went to three baseball games and lived to tell about it.  Fortunately for us, we had Sunday at home to rest and recover before Monday morning came!  We needed it...

Helene in Between

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Good to Be DINKs-- Part 1.

This past weekend was an absolute whirlwind of activity. I barely had time to catch my breath on Sunday before Monday got here! But despite the lack of rest, we had a blast!  (The title to this post was inspired by our wedding photographers, who we saw on Friday. They were jealous of our impromptu baseball trips, saying they used to do the same thing before they had kids but now they can't just pick up and go.  Gotta enjoy it while we can!  :)  Oh, and in case you don't know the reference, DINKs= Dual Income No Kids.)

Our plan was to leave Friday afternoon to get to Chapel Hill for their 7pm baseball game against Duke then spend a leisurely Saturday morning and afternoon in Durham before the Bulls game at 5pm.  But mother nature had other ideas...  Rain was going to be moving in Friday evening, so on Thursday, the Carolina baseball game got moved from 7pm to 3pm.  Which meant that we had to high-tail it out of here as soon as Donny got off from work at lunch.  (He actually ended up getting off earlier than usual, so that part worked out.)  But as soon as we got off of the interstate and headed into Chapel Hill, I saw on twitter that the game had been postponed to Saturday at 1pm.  Sigh...

So, we decided to take some of our Saturday plans and make them Friday plans.  We made a u-turn on 15-501 and headed back north to Durham!  First stop was the Duke Homestead.  At the homestead, are some original buildings that Washington Duke built, including the home he lived in with his family, tobacco barns, and (small, rustic) tobacco factories.  Duke and his sons began the tobacco empire that would become the American Tobacco Company, which would at one point be the largest tobacco company in the world.  (Now, I'm Winston-Salem born and raised, so I'm fairly knowledgeable of my RJ Reynolds tobacco history.  But I had zero knowledge of the Washington Duke tobacco dynasty other than there was once a tobacco company in Durham.)  It was fascinating to see how much of the culture of the city is from tobacco.  (For instance, "Bull Durham" was the brand of a smoking tobacco the Dukes manufactured.  That phrase is everywhere in the city.  Durham is the "Bull City," it's baseball team is the Durham Bulls, and of course there's the movie "Bull Durham.")

After we left the Duke Homestead, we checked into our hotel and decided that we'd just do dinner and a movie (indoor entertainment since the rain was coming...).  We decided to go downtown, and thanks to Allison's recommendation, we ate at Bull City Burger and Brewery.
They pride themselves as a "farm to fork" restaurant, getting most of their ingredients from local farmers.  And, if you couldn't tell from the name, they brew their own beer (you're not gonna find any Bud Light here.  Or Diet Coke for that matter.  No chain beverages.).  The food was decent, but the atmostphere was what really sells this place.  I only wish they had had turkey burgers, but no such luck.
How appropriate was our order number...
We had some time to kill after dinner and before the movie, so I took Donny to Sam's Quik Shop, where you can find a TON of local and specialty beers.  Once again, you're not going to find any Bud Light here.  Probably the most mainstream beer I saw here was Yuengling or Heineken.  But the place was wall-to-wall with beers I had never heard of before.  Donny loved it and left with some bottles of some random beers I'd never heard of and will probably never hear of again.
The storm was moving in as we left...
Of course, Donny had to get this one... 
As storm clouds rolled in, we made our way to the Carolina Theater for The Place Beyond the Pines.  As soon as we got out of the car to walk to the box office, the rain came.  We BARELY made it under the awning before the bottom fell out.  We were a little wet, but the people that walked in the theater after us were totally soaked.
I was really excited to see this movie since the previews I had seen looked great and it wasn't playing where we live.  Plus, the cast was fantastic-- Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Ray Liotta...  But the movie was nothing like the previews suggested.  It was more of a three-act story than one.  And the third act fell off the rails from the first two and really made very little sense at all.  I was very disappointed.

But, despite the weather and the sucky movie, we had a great day!  And of course, I love having all these adventures with my boo.  :)

Come back tomorrow to read all about our baseball-marathon day!  :)

Mingle 240