Sunday, November 28, 2010

You Dropped a Bomb on Me

Color me shocked.

I've always thought that my kids and I have open, honest relationships, where we can pretty much talk about anything and everything. I've always prided myself on trying to be non-judgmental when it comes to my kids and their concerns - and so we've talked about drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships - pretty much nothing is taboo.

Last night, we went to Saturday night church services, and I was tickled to take Brad, my oldest son. Brad is normally away at school - he's a junior in college, and his college is hundreds of miles away.

Because this is a relatively new church for us, I took a moment after the services to introduce Brad to the pastor, Jim.

Jim asked some of the obligatory questions, such as, "Where do you go to school?", "What year are you?", and the all-important, "What are you studying?"

Brad answered, "Religion and philosophy." Now, I knew that isn't what surprised me. That comes later. Hold on.

Jim said, "Wow! Awesome! What will you do after you graduate?"

Brad replied, "Go on to seminary." I knew that, too. No surprise there. Wait for it.

Jim then asked, "Where are you going to seminary at?"

Brad said, without missing a beat, "Not sure yet. But I do know that I'm going to go into the Army and become an Army chaplain. That way, the Army can pay for my seminary school. It'll be a 3-year commitment after I graduate from seminary."

WHAT???!!! Did he just say, "...go into the Army" ?????

My mouth dropped open, and you could have knocked me over with a feather. ARMY???!!!

That's the first I've heard of this. Wow.

So much for communication. I guess this is something he's been thinking of, and decided to drop on me at church. In front of the pastor.

Although I'm proud of him - I'm also afraid for him. Normal reaction for a Mom, I guess. It doesn't matter how old our children get - they may be adults - but they're always our "kids."

The Army? Really?



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keeping the Faith

Yesterday was a classic test of my faith.

Yes, my faith was tested to the limit - but I held on, didn't give up, and prayed. I prayed hard.

Yesterday was the Iron Bowl.

If you know ANYTHING about college football, then you know that the famous Iron Bowl is the annual grudge match between Alabama and Auburn.

And I am a HUGE Auburn fan. Don't know why. Don't care to know why. I have no idea what made me start rooting for a team lodged in the boonies of a small town with the fun name of Opelika, Alabama. Say that five times really fast. Isn't it fun?!

Anyway, many years ago I began rooting for the Auburn Tigers, and began hating on Bama. Grrrr. Our worst rival.

Yesterday was THE game that I've waited all season for. The famous Iron Bowl - when my beloved War Eagle played the Crimson Tide. Auburn is ranked #2 in the nation right now. The Tide? #9.

This game is HUGE. I planned nothing else for yesterday other than to watch the game on national television.

This. Was. The. Game. THE GAME. This. Was my Super Bowl.

And Auburn was down 21-0 before I could even settle down on the sofa with my soda pop and chips.

Are you KIDDING me??!!!!!

This is NOT how this game was supposed to go!

My first instinct was to turn the game off. Who wants to watch a debacle?!

But, I held on. I kept the faith. I watched. I prayed. I cheered.

And Auburn pulled it off. They came down from an eventual 24-0 deficit, and won the game, 28-27.

Are you KIDDING me??!!!

This was AWESOME. This is what football is all about.

Go, War Eagle. You did me proud.

(And our local high school team won the Missouri State Championship in football for Class 5a! Way to go, Titans! - A very good Friday for me!)



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Take Your Pumpkin Pie....Please!!!

I do not like pumpkin pie.

I do not like it on a a a house...or with a mouse.

Let's make it perfectly clear: I do not like pumpkin pie. I will not like it until I die.

With that said, my grandmother used to make the best pumpkin pies in the world. Or so everyone said; I wouldn't know, because I wouldn't touch them. She was a professional baker, and her pies were to die for.

Every year, bless her heart, she would make pumpkin pies, cherry pies, apple pies and mincemeat pies for Thanksgiving. I remember as a child turning my nose up at the thought of a "mincemeat" pie - that just sounded awful!!! I mean, who came up with that word....? Mincemeat??? Ugh.

But I found out, through Grandma's convincing, that mincemeat was pretty darn good.

Every year, bless her heart, Grandma would say, "Drama Queen? I changed my recipe a bit for the pumpkin pie...I think you'll like it this year."

And I would respond, "Grandma...did you put pumpkin in it?"

And she'd say, "Well, of course - it's a pumpkin pie, after all!"

And I'd answer, "Then I'm not going to like it...Duh. It's the pumpkin that I don't like!"

Pumpkin. Gah.

So, she eventually gave up on convincing me that pumpkin pies were good, and she resorted to making me little, individual chocolate cream pies for Thanksgiving. Was I spoiled, or what?!

I truly thought every child was getting an individual chocolate cream pie for Thanksgiving. Homemade by their Grandma.

I miss Grandma. When she passed away a few years back, I was upset. But Thanksgiving is when I miss her the most.

Not just the individual-sized chocolate cream pie. But just her the and baking.

And her constant desire to find the perfect pumpkin pie recipe that I would like.

I'd sit and eat an entire pumpkin pie today if it'd bring back my Grandma.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Hug your family. Spread the joy. And many, many blessings to you.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Throwing Shoes at Grandma

Throw a shoe at Grandma today!

Yes, that's the crazy idea that was presented in today's Kansas City Star by a local columnist, who espouses that in protest of the protesters who are protesting TSA's new security procedures, (follow that??!), travelers should just toss a shoe at the back of the heads of the people who opt-out of the body scanners.

Because, after all, the protesters are being "silly" and "selfish", in his words.

Unfortunately, there are people at the airports today who will be opting out of the body scanners for other reasons - including medical reasons - and I just can't see how a shoe to the back of their head proves a point.

There are lots of people who have metal in their bodies - from knee replacements, broken bones, etc - who are unable to go through the scanners. They have to opt-out and receive the pat-down. Now, they'll get a shoe in their head besides the metal rod in their leg, thanks to today's columnist.

As I pointed out to the guy in an email I sent him, after having received a diagnosis of skin cancer - not once now, but TWICE - I have been advised to not go through a radiation-emitting body scanner by my physician. My doctor said, "Take the pat-down instead. It's invasive, yes - but it won't lead to future skin cancer diagnoses at this time."

Am I comfortable with the pat-down? Hell, no. But, I will grin and bear it and get through it, knowing that the alternative could be deadly down the road.

And when I get clunked in the head by a shoe, thrown by a disgruntled traveler behind me, I will explain to my children that someone behind me is exercising their free speech...although I wish they wouldn't be making assumptions about people opting out. Assumptions are usually wrong, and in this case, it is. I'm not being "silly" and "selfish".

I'm being safe.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Operation Patriot Shield

Once upon a time, there was a young boy from the Kansas City area who grew up to become a soldier. His name was Jacob, and he was sent to Afghanistan to do his patriotic duty.

Sadly, Jacob was killed at the young age of 20 by a suicide bomber in Kandahar Province.

His family was understandably devastated, and scheduled his funeral for today - Tuesday, Nov. 23rd.

Unfortunately, an evil man named Fred Phelps heard about the funeral and decided to bring his crazy family to our town and protest.

Crazy Fred likes to protest military funerals by carrying signs that are disturbing and hateful, and to everyone's dismay, the Supreme Court has ruled that Crazy Fred has a constitutional right to spread his hate at funerals.

Well, you can imagine that the families of fallen, heroic soldiers don't need to see hateful signs at their loved one's funerals.

So...Operation Patriot Shield was born.

The plan? Line the streets near the church and the cemetery with hundreds - no, thousands - of red-blooded Americans, holding American flags of support -so that Fred and his crazy family can't get NEAR the deceased soldier's family.

We'll "shield" the family from Crazy Fred with patriotism.

And guess what?

It worked. Today, there were hundreds and hundreds of people, lining the streets of our town, and Crazy Fred got frustrated and left the funeral early. Before Jacob's family could ever see him. And his hate-filled messages.

The Drama Queen was woefully underdressed for standing out in the cold, for over four hours, holding a METAL pole and a huge American flag - but it was so worth it.

The Drama Queen cried. Jacob's family and friend cried. Veterans cried.

And Crazy Fred got mad. And left.

Poor Fred. Not.



Monday, November 22, 2010

Miss Me?

Miss me?

I honestly have been unable to write, as I have been struggling with an issue here at home...that I don't really want to write about. And because this issue has taken over my thoughts - it has pushed out every other thought that I could possibly write about.

Make sense?

Probably not.

Oh, everything here at home is fine. The hubby is fine. Kids are fine. No worries there.

No, this issue has to do with...friends. Or, people who I thought were friends, but I found out were secretly stabbing me in the back and deliberately excluding me from things that they knew would make me happy.

Why would people behave this way? Because I really don't know why.

So - dealing with the hurt, the confusion, the perplexity of it all - has left me with nothing to write about here. Until I deal with it, I guess.

I appreciate everyone's patience as I work through this...

I promise to get back to adventures and stories and photos and all that fun stuff! :)



Monday, November 15, 2010

Modern Family Marathon

So, I got an eviction notice from Disney yesterday morning - I hate it when that wake up, and you see that little envelope pushed under your door, and it basically says, "Get out! Go home! Make room for the next Disney Geek!" So, I got up and got out - no more visiting the parks, because frankly, after riding Expedition Everest twelve times on Saturday, what more is there to do?

I enjoyed my three-hour drive back to Ft. Myers - it's more relaxing coming home, because you don't have that, "Gotta get there! I can't wait! I'm going to DISNEY!" thingie going on in your head, leading to extreme impatience with every other driver on the road....

I spent the day cleaning the house (it's amazing how many dead spiders and bugs you find in a house that has been shut-up for a few weeks - how the HECK do they get inside? And do they all come in to just DIE?! What is that about, anyway?) and doing laundry (nothing like the smell of amusement park in your clothes) and enjoying the warm sunshine.

Because it's freakin' cold back in KC, and I'm trying to bottle up this warmth so I can take it back with me tomorrow. Argh.

Anyway, although we have a TV here in the house, we don't have any television - because I'm frankly too cheap to spring for cable, when we're only here a few days each, I like to bring down DVD's with me and catch up on movies and other stuff.

This trip, I brought Season 1 of ABC's "Modern Family" down....

I was late to the MF party last year - so I am now catching up on the earlier episodes I missed, and I about busted a gut laughing last night. The jokes and plots and clever little lines and acting all add up to truly the funniest show on TV right now, other than my other favorite, NBC's "Community."

Eric Stonestreet as "Cameron" kills me with every delivery - he's got comic timing genius. It's no wonder he took home the Emmy this past year - he deserves it. He actually grew up in real life not far from Kansas City, so we're claiming him as one of our own.

My last night in Florida tonight...and I'm about ready to pop in the next DVD of Modern Family, which will be episodes #8 to 16, I think...something like that. A marathon Modern Family night.

Not quite the excitement of Disney, but still fun!



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Musings

Observations from Disney:

*Short shorts, cheeks, and muffin tops are in people seriously not look in a mirror in the morning? Or, if they do, do they really think, "Man, I look good" ???

*When the wait time for a ride is five minutes, why, oh, why, do people get a Fastpass for it? I mean, really?

*When your child is having a meltdown and is screaming at the top of his lungs, "NOOOOO! I DOOOOON'T WANT TO RIDE!!!" - then perhaps he's serious and he really doesn't want to ride. Why force the issue and cause everyone else around you to experience the meltdown, as well?

*When the Castmember says, "No flash photography" - why would you think you're the exception?

*Pixie dust exists...if you're nice to Castmembers, they're nice to you...and may give you a perk, such as sitting in the front row or giving you an extra Fastpass. They're people, too, and they appreciate common courtesy.

*By utilizing Fastpasses and Single Rider Line, I was able to ride Expedition Everest a personal record TWELVE times today. Which was pretty freakin' awesome. It's the number one ride at Animal Kingdom, by far.

*At Magic Kingdom, the best ride is and always will be Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Better than Space Mountain, and slightly better than the Haunted Mansion.

*Test Track at Epcot is most excellent, followed by Soarin'. Mission Space comes in third.

*At Hollywood Studios, Rock 'n Roller Coaster is the best ride. Riding it five times in a row yesterday morning was quite a thrill - there's nothing like a roller coaster, in the dark, with Aerosmith blasting in your ears.

*All good things must come to an end...I'm getting my eviction notice in the morning from Disney and it will be time to head back to Ft. Myers for a few days - and then back to KC. I'm ready to go home....

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend - I'm off to rest my feet.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Age Is A State of Mind??!! Ha.

As much as I try to tell myself otherwise, the evidence is clearly right in front of me, and there's no denying it.

I am OLD!

After walking 24,906 miles each day for the last 3 days, I have a serious "hitch in my get-along."

Don't you hate that?

I'm not sure what exactly my "get-along" is - but it is definitely hitched, and it HURTS! I am limping along like a one-legged pirate.

Step, limp. Step, limp. That's me. Punctuated by, "Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. That hurts. Ow."

80-year old grannies are zooming past me in their ECV's, leaving me in their dust.

And - the final, I came home early from Disney's Hollywood Studios so I could NAP (gasp!) before I went to the Magic Kingdom and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. The Christmas Party lasted until midnight tonight.

I was home by 10:00 p.m. Exhausted.


But there's one redemption. During the parade tonight, when Santa Claus went by on his sled, I had the biggest grin on my face...just like being 5-years old all over again.

Now, if only my body would cooperate.

Ow. Ow. That hurts.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, Mickey!

I'm trying to come up with all sorts of excuses for what happened today at Disney's Epcot, but I really don't have a good reason for being....well, just plain stupid.

I purchased a leather bracelet for my 11-year old daughter, and wanted to have it engraved with her name. This will be one of many "kiss and suck-up" presents I get for her, as I attempt to get back in her good graces for not bringing her with me on this trip.

Anywho, the Disney Castmember asked what name I wanted engraved...and indicated a piece of paper to write it down, so she'd have the correct spelling.

I carefully wrote down, "Mickey" - because that's the nickname that my daughter has chosen for herself, even tho it grates on my nerves every time I hear it. But - as parents, we learn to pick our battles, and her choice of a nickname is not something to get my panties in a wad over. So, "Mickey" it is.

The girl quickly engraves the bracelet, and hands it back for me to check, and I gasp.

"Oh, no!" I said, in despair. "It's spelled wrong!"

The girl said, "Well, how does she spell it?"

I said, "Well, YOU know...just like the in 'Mickey Mouse'".

The girl looked at me confused, indicated the bracelet, and said, "I don't understand...that's how I spelled it. Just like the Mouse."

I looked down, and the bracelet read, "Mickey".

As in M..I...C...K...E...Y.

It was spelled perfectly.


WHAT was I THINKING??!! Do I NOT know how to spell Mickey Mouse??!!

I blame it on the sun...exhaustion...or even "Oldtimers Disease" - but certainly it didn't have a thing to do with my blonde hair.



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Glutton for Punishment

Not only am I now the most selfish mother in the world - because I didn't bring my kids to Disney World - it appears that I also can claim gluttony as one of my vices.

I arrived in Ft. Myers rather late last night - which we can all thank the snow in Denver for, which caused all sorts of flight delays - and before collapsing in an exhausted heap in bed, I carefully and methodically went through the house and changed all of the clocks back an hour, which we can all thank Daylight Savings Time for.

I also set an alarm for bright and early 6:30 a.m. It was my goal to be on the road by 7:00 a.m. and into Orlando by 10:00.

So much for the best-laid plans....

And I seriously don't know what it is about me and clocks, but I seem to have a major learning disability when it comes to knowing the difference between A.M. on a digital clock and P.M. Because, much to my horror, I woke up this morning - not to an alarm - but just because I had enough sleep - and when I saw the clock, it was way past 7:00 a.m. In my ongoing struggle with clocks, I had set the clock incorrectly - mixing up the A.M. and the P.M.

Now I know why the military uses a 24-hour clock. Geesh.

So, a late start - but I still made good time and hit the road, setting my GPS in my car for Orlando.

My GPS - aka "Betsy" - and I have a love/hate relationship. Betsy has gotten me into some trouble over the years, and so now, I frankly don't trust her. My family and friends will say it was "Operator Error" that got me into trouble, but truly believing that I'm "practically perfect in every way, " I know that can't be the case.

It has to be Betsy's fault. She's evil.

She took me along Highway 17 for most of the trip, and that IS a trip, if you've never done that particular route. At some points along the way, I was the ONLY car for miles and miles...It was a little freaky, feeling like I was driving in the Black Hole of Florida - where the only other living things around were herons and egrets, and they weren't talking.

I eventually arrived at the Yacht Club in Orlando - right next to Epcot, which is my favorite Disney park in the World. So, Betsy earned a bit of the trust back today - although that was one strange route. I checked in about 11:15, and to my delight, my room was ready. Yay!

I quickly took a peek at my room, unpacked, and then took a short 5-minute stroll, and I was in Epcot.

And here's where the gluttony comes in.

It's the last week of Epcot's annual Food & Wine Festival...where dozens of countries set up booths for sampling various appetizers, desserts and drinks.

Now, I can't drink the wine - because we all know it does funny things to me - so I more than made up for that by indulging in the food. And did I ever. Indulge.

First, straight to Canada, our neighbors to the north, eh?, where I sampled the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. This soup is consistently voted #1 in popularity by festival attendees, and it's easy to see why. It was delicious - my only complaint was that the sample was so small!

On to New Zealand, a little island country in the Southwest Pacific, where I sampled the Seared Sea Scallop with Vegetable Slaw and Lemon Oil. I loved the scallop - but the vegetable slaw was a little strong....

I then marched over to Greece, where I nibbled on the flaky and delicious Spanakopita. This is a spinach pie with some cheese thrown in for good measure, and it was fantastic. Oompa! I have actually been to the "real" Greece, and I find their food always tasty.

I now needed something sweet, to chase all of this salty stuff down - so I strolled over to Ireland, the home of Lucky Charms and the Blarney Stone, where I died and went to Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Ganache heaven. HEAVEN!

Starting (starting?? Really?) to feel a bit full, I needed something wash it all, off to France I went, in search of the Parisien Cosmo Slush. Think cherry slurpee from 7-11...refreshing, but not a favorite of mine. But it was pretty. And I got to practice the only French I know, when I said, "Merci!" to my server. Always fun.

It was time to take a break for awhile from the food, so I walked through the park, rode some rides, people watched, and then started Round 2.

Which began in of my most favorite countries in all the world, and I would go back to the "real" Italy in a heartbeat. Two things caught my eye here: Baked Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Bolognese Sauce Melted Mozzarella, followed by Cannolo Al Cioccolato. Prego!

Yum. But - not as yummy as that chocolate lava cake from Ireland. I'm going to be dreaming of that tonight.

Drink, back to France, as they really do have some amazing drinks there...this time, though, I got the Grand Marnier Grey Goose slushie...which should be renamed the Orange Creamsicle Dreamsicle. Delish.

It was now going on 6:00 p.m. And my stomach had seriously taken a beating. So had my feet. They were hurting, probably due to the 24,906 miles I had walked (which, in case you were interested, is how many miles it takes to walk around the world - which I DID today. Walked around the world.)

My arches in my feet were screaming, "Help! I've fallen, and I can't get up!"

Speaking of fallen arches...Rick Springfield was performing a free concert tonight at Epcot. I was always "meh" about Rick back in the day - but I stopped by to see how he had held up.

Not very well. But, he was friendly with the crowd, and they loved him...regardless of how he sounded.

See that white speck in the photo? That's his back.

But hey...drink enough wine or Orange thingies from France, and EVERYONE sounds good!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm Going to Disney World!

"Drama Queen, you just threw a shut-out in the 7th game of the World Series! What are you going to do now?!"

Drama Queen replies, "I'm going to DISNEY WORLD!!!"

Okay...I realize that the first sentence above is something I will never hear in my lifetime. Perhaps in my dreams.

But...I AM going to Disney World. By myself. Solo. Party of one, please. At this time tomorrow, I hope to be at the rope drop of Epcot.

This was rather impromptu, which, if you knew me at all, you'd know that "impromptu" and "Drama Queen" don't normally end up in the same sentence. Normally, a trip to Disney World takes me 12-18 months to plan, to twink, to savor, to anticipate, to tweak, to perfect down to the minute. A YEAR, I'm tellin' ya!

I knew I had to get back to Florida this was time to get down and check on the house in Ft. Myers, and so I had arranged for the least expensive flight, which just happens to be Tuesday through Tuesday. My flight leaves this afternoon.

One week in Ft. Myers. Whatever would I do with myself?

Realizing that Orlando is just a short 3-hour drive away, a germ of an idea began to take root in my mind. This was about 2 weeks ago when my brain got to thinking, which is always a scary thing.

This just happens to be the last week of Epcot's annual Food & Wine festival.

I like Epcot. I like food even better. I also like wine, but it doesn't like me, so I'll have to pass on the wine...but I can double my food intake and make up for it, right? Or substitute "chocolate" for "wine" and I'm one happy girl.

This just happens to be the first week that Disney's Christmas decorations go up in the parks.

I like Christmas decorations. I like Disney parks even better.

My mind was already racing, putting together a plan...could I? Should I? By myself?

And fate was sealed.

A magical pin code arrived in my email from Disney - as if the fine people at Disney had read my mind. If you aren't familiar with pin codes, they are the most wonderful things, really...they're just a combination of letters and numbers that are unique to YOU and only certain people get them and when repeated back to a travel agent at Disney, they save you lots and lots of dollars off of a Disney package.

It was my very first pin code.

And when I called Disney to book the room, I couldn't believe the price I was quoted. I'm getting a deluxe hotel room, 5 days of tickets, and free dining - for an unbelievable price. And the magical pixie dust of Disney. In November. By myself.

Complete freedom.

Hubs added his blessing to the trip, and so I'm off. Flying to Ft. Myers today...quick check of the house...then driving up to Orlando tomorrow and staying there until Sunday. Driving back to Ft. Myers for a day or two, and flying back home next Tuesday.

In and out.

I will never throw a shut-out in the World Series, but that little anomaly doesn't stop me from enjoying the magic of Disney. All being planned within two weeks. Unbelievable.



Monday, November 8, 2010

Coming Off a Halloween Sugar High

It's been over a week now, and I am going into some serious withdrawal.

Body shakes, severe cravings, mood swings - it's gettin' pretty bad around here.

Yeah, the Halloween candy is just about gone - all that's left is the really crappy stuff - like plastic spider rings (seriously, WHO buys plastic spider rings and passes that off as Halloween treats?), pencil erasers (again, really? Erasers??!) and the unidentifiable candy that looks suspiciously like it was packaged in China, smuggled through a radioactive plant in Chernobyl, and is now slowly disintegrating in the bottom of the basket.

No one's touching it. Even our dog sniffs it and then runs away in horror.

We actually had some pretty tasty treats this year - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and KitKats were in abundance.

However, between my 11-year old daughter, who never met a chocolate she didn't like, and myself - those little goodies were quickly snarfed up in record time, leaving us with spiders, erasers and pixie straws.

Pixie straws? Gah.


Our next holiday isn't until Thanksgiving....and that's my next beef.

What were the Pilgrims thinking when they came up with the Thanksgiving menu? Instead of roast turkey and cranberries and pumpkin pie (bleh), why aren't we loading our Harvest tables with chocolate?

And if Milky Ways and Junior Mints and Hershey's aren't enough to celebrate, throw in some Ding Dong's and Moon Pies and truffles, and my Thanksgiving table would TRULY be a thanksgiving table.

Because it's going to be a long time until Christmas and Santa and chocolate in my stocking hung over the fireplace with glee.

And it could get really ugly around here before then.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name

Today's question is, "What's in a name?"

The other day, I was trying to assist a young man with a project. It was our first meeting, and so introductions were in order.

He introduces himself as Steve, and I reply: "Hi, Steve...I'm Sherri...nice to meet you."

A few minutes later, into the project, Steve says, "Hey, Cheryl? Can you give me a hand here?"

I replied, "Sure, Steve...but the name is Sherri."

He apologizes with, "Oh, sorry about that, Sherri. Thanks."

A little later, I hear, "Uh, Sharon? Can you help with this?"

"Of course, Steve - but the name is Sherri. Not Sharon."

He answers, "Oh, that's right! Sorry, Sherri."

Five minutes later, I hear, "Uhh....Shirley?"

Trying to give him a little help, I said, "It's 'Sherri', Steve...just like the wine."

"Oh! it! 'Sherri like the wine'! That'll be easy to remember!" He went back to his work.

Ten minutes later...he pops his head up and says, "Ummmm....Brandy? Can you...."

I give up.



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Coincidence? I Think Not...

Do you believe in coincidences? there a higher power at work?

If you read Tuesday’s blog post, it was entitled The 2010 Passion Awards, and talked of a dinner that Hubs and I attended on Monday night….

To refresh your memory, there were approximately 240 ministries in the Kansas City area that were featured, with a dozen of them receiving grants from the Servant Christian Community Foundation that evening.

Although all of the ministries were impressive, one that stood out to me that night was MODELS.

MODELS is a mentoring program here in Kansas City, for middle and high school young women.

Their mission is to provide a safe place for the young women to express the specific issues and concerns they face and in turn, to help guide them using truths from the Bible.

The reason this program stood out to me is that it isn’t just a “giving” ministry. And nothing against giving – don’t get me wrong. But I sometimes feel that “giving” sometimes leads to an “entitlement” mentality by the recipients – and I struggle with that.

I like ministries that educate and teach empowerment to the recipients, so that they can, in turn, take the skills and lessons learned and pay it forward.

And MODELS does that.

So…fast forward a few nights to Thursday night, when Hubs and I attended “Dining in the Dark”, which I blogged about HERE.

We had greeted some friends, and then strolled through the pre-dinner cocktail party, looking for a place to sit down and enjoy our drinks.

Most tables were filled with people – until I spotted a table with only two young women sitting at it…with two empty chairs.


I asked if we could join their table, and they politely said, “Sure!”

So, we sat…and then did the polite introduction thing you do when you don’t really know someone but you’re meeting them at a fundraiser…the usual questions of “What’s your name?”, “What do you do?”, and “How did you hear about this event?”

These young women, Chrishanna and Latasha, had already captured my attention with their obvious poise, intelligence and manners – and at such a young age, I was impressed!

I asked how they had met each other, and they replied, “At church.” They then said they are both involved with a program at their church, called “MODELS”.

“We mentor young ladies in our community to become better women.”

No way.

Was this the same program I had just learned about on Monday night that had so intrigued me?

Yes. It was.

I was nudged Monday night when learning about MODELS. Out of the 240 ministries, there were only about 4 or 5 that I could remember through the evening. And MODELS was one of them.

And 3 nights later, we happen to randomly choose a table at a cocktail party where two of the MODELS mentors just happen to be sitting.

Now, tell me it’s not a small world, after all.

And tell me that God doesn’t put people in your path for a reason.

Because I won’t believe you.



Friday, November 5, 2010

Dining in the Dark

Sometimes, its what you can't see that makes you appreciate everything that you DO see.

Hubs and I went out last night for another fabulous dinner....

The food was fantastic! And to give you a tease of what we dined on, here's a photo of our entree:

Oh, you can't see it?

Well, guess what?

We couldn't see it either!!!

We went to "Dining in the Dark", where the tagline says, "What happens at Dining in the Dark? That’s between you, yourself
and you. And maybe the person next to you. Please join us for food, drink and whatever else you can imagine. In complete darkness."

I had discovered this unique fundraiser, which benefits Alphapointe Association for the Blind, from a friend on Facebook, Jeff. I quickly made reservations, as I knew this would be a very "eye-opening" experience.

Hubs and I arrived at Crown Center around 5:40 p.m., in time to enjoy some delicious cocktails and conversation.

Here's a "self-portrait" of us at the pre-dinner cocktail hour:

We met up with my friend, Jeff and his wife, Cindy, and then eventually sat down at a table with these two fabulous young ladies:

Meet Chrishanna and Latasha, two very up-and-coming young business women who are doing fantastic things in our community, and who SO impressed me, that they will be getting their own blog entry tomorrow! So - don't miss that, as it is truly an amazing and inspiring story! And a God moment, if there ever was one!

Anywho, we were eventually given aprons to put on, so we wouldn't ruin our dresses and suits. Our aprons were adorned as such:

Then, it was time to be taken into the dining room, which was completely dark. In order to go in, we had to line up like this:

The eight of us at our table followed Jamal, our waiter, into the dining room, which looked like this:

It was quite an adventure trying to find my chair and get myself seated. I couldn't see ANYTHING!

I cautiously put my hands up on the table, so I could find my water glass, and found myself touching something mushy.

EWWWW!!! What IS it??!!

Oh. It's butter. I must have found my bread plate. After twice putting my fingers in my butter, I got smart and turned the bread plate around, so to put the butter far, far away from my prying fingers. Duh.

I found my water glass, and placed it in the 1:00 o-clock that I wouldn't knock it over every time I'd reach for it.

With my exploring fingers, I managed to find a napkin...don't know if it was my neighbor's or not - but it was mine now, and so I grabbed it and put in my lap. Whew. Passed the napkin test with no casualties or spilled water or butter on my fingers.

The eight of us at our table introduced ourselves - in total darkness - as we all tried to navigate the table. We realized we had a salad in front of us - my fingers could feel lettuce....

So, picking up my fork, I stabbed my salad and lifted it to my mouth. GIANT piece of fruit!!! Yuck!!! I don't like fruit!!!

It's very off-putting when you put one thing in your mouth, when you're expecting another. I had been expecting lettuce. Not fruit.

As we all valiantly made efforts at eating our salads, Jamal came around with our wine glasses.

I proposed a toast, which, for some reason, was thought amusing by my tablemates.

My toast was, "Here's to us - and to a unique dining experience. Remember - what happens in the dark...."

"STAYS IN THE DARK!!!" fellow diners are SO onboard with this!

Unfortunately, during the toast, Hubs knocked over his water glass - which went in my direction. We sopped up water, as best we could, in complete darkness. Fun!

Eating a salad in the dark is very strange. I had no idea I was eating a dried cranberry...all I could tell, it was chewy and sticky. It took Hubs to identify it as a cranberry. I had no idea how much of the salad I eventually ate - I couldn't tell if my plate was clean or not, and there was NO WAY I was running my fingers over a sticky plate. Ew. Not worth having sticky fingers so early in the meal, so I just set my fork down and let it go.

We eventually got our salad plates cleared - in the dark - and then Jamal came in with our entrees. We had been given no clue as to what we would be eating.

I stabbed my fork into my plate, brought it up to my mouth, and tasted....nothing. I had an empty fork. Missed. Oops.

Tried again.

Got a nibble of something....creamy....rice? Sauce? Not sure at this point.

I started stabbing again, and managed to "snag" something big. Took my other hand to gingerly feel what was on my fork, and realized it was meat, of some sort.

I set the "mystery meat" back on my plate, found my knive, and attempted to cut off a bite.

No way was this going to work. I couldn't tell if I had a small, manageable bite - or a huge, honkin' I just set the silverware down, used my fingers, and ate the meat, which turned out to be a delicious chicken. Yum. And no one even knew I was using my fingers, because we were ALL blind, so there. No gettin' after me on my bad table manners.

I found potatoes on my plate at one point - woot! Those were good, too.

And then, when I thought I had finished everything, I picked my fork back up and made several scraping motions across the plate and tested the fork for food...empty. I must be done. Right?

I thought I would test the plate one more, I cautiously put my finger on my plate and poked around - and found...a tree???

Broccoli! How did I miss this earlier???! Yum.

As we dined, we chatted...made jokes...but gained a whole new appreciation for people who are visually impaired.

Both Hubs and I said that we felt almost claustrophobic in the was oppressive and weighty, and a little intimidating. Things we take for granted - reaching for a water glass, cutting meat, knowing if you've cleaned your plate - became major actions on our part during this dining experience.

How do I know if this is salt? Or pepper? How do I know if my water glass is empty? If I've cut my food into small enough pieces? If I have enough butter on my bread?

Eventually, the lights came back on...both for dessert and for the presentation afterwards...and we all agreed, that this experience had been SO worth it.


Truly eye-opening, in every way.

There were photos on our tables of what we had eaten, and so this is a photo of a photo of the salad we had:

And a photo of the photo of our entree:

(And you tell me, how did I miss that "tree" until the end of my meal??!!??!!)

If you EVER get an opportunity to do this, please, do it.

Because, as we learned, it is a terrible thing to see and yet, have no vision.