A Night at the Tapps'

Last night I decided to photographically document our thrilling, exciting activities at the Tapps'...

Wade sick with something like the flu :( - he'd been on the couch pretty much for 2 days at this point - getting really tired of watching basketball (!) and not being able to eat...

Me slightly sick with nasal congestion / runny nose, trying to help Wade feel better without getting his illness myself.

Mr. Tapp working on his laptop from the chair in the den.

Mrs. Tapp in the kitchen making Christmas cookies.

Brinkley...um, just chillin'

Paisley passed out on the rug next to the Christmas tree and presents.  She loves this whole big family / warm house thing being over there!

We sure were a bunch of sad sacks!  Hopefully things will get more festive and healthy by Christmas :).


Whirlwind weekend

It was a crazy but fun weekend, full of parties and gatherings and family and friends!

Friday night, I went to the "High Society Christmas Party" hosted by my friend Jill's boyfriend and his roommates. They live in this awesome 2-story white house right on Providence Road, close to the intersection of Providence/Providence and Queens/Queens. I have no idea how they scored that one or how they afford it, but it was a grand location for the event :). It was fun to have an occasion to wear something fancy and sparkly and go all out on makeup and jewelry and hair. While I was at the party, Wade was playing a basketball game in Lookout Mountain, and getting his jaw dislocated. Yes, he got hit under the basket and dislocated his jaw. I thought he was joking when he first told me, but unfortunately he was not... Apparently, though, there are so many muscles in your jaw that it snaps back into place pretty quickly. He just had to spend the next couple days with it positioned slightly forward from where it should be, making it hard to chew and painful to yawn. It gradually moved back and now seems to be in the right place.

Saturday morning, Wade drove the 6 hours home from Covenant, while I shopped with mom in the craziness of South Park Mall...all for Christmas presents for me - haha. Then mom and I finished just in time for me to rush back and change and leave with Wade and Paisley for Winston-Salem, to go to a Christmas party with lots of UNC friends of mine :). Josh and Erin Hall (8 months pregnant and glowing that she is) hosted the shindig at their beautiful house, and it was so good to see many friends I haven't seen since last Christmas! It was also great to introduce Wade to all of them and all of them to Wade. He of course won them all over and earned the stamp of approval :).

Sunday, we went to church and Hope's congregational meeting afterwards (which was very interesting, I must say). Then I cooked a quick lunch of soft tacos, which Wade appreciated far beyond its actual culinary merit! And I appreciated his appreciation :). We swung by and saw his parents briefly, and then drove out to Monroe to go to an open house for some of his good friends, the Chins. They just bought and re-did the old Belk Mansion, and it is beautiful! They're going to use it to house missionaries as a little bed & breakfast, as well as living in it themselves. It was all decked out for Christmas and looked amazing.

After that, we came back into town to have dinner with my family at Carmel Country Club, where much banter ensued amongst Wade, Hillary and Allen :). Then we continued criss-crossing the city, and dropped in at the tail end of my community group's Christmas party at Lynn & Megan's. FINALLY, at 8:30 pm, we got to change out of church clothes and watch a little Carolina basketball on a nice warm couch :).

It was so hard to come back to work today!


Barrett Brooks...coming soon! (But not before Dec. 28)

Last night, our community group girls had a baby shower for Brannon and baby Barrett. Not that I didn't expect it to be fun, but it turned out to be such a special time of laughs and friendly competition and just wonderful friends - I love these girls more and more all the time!

Stephanie and Leslie put together some awesome culinary treats, including my favorite chocolate chip cream cheese ball (it is SOOOO good!) and a chocolate mint cake (how can you go wrong with that?). Brannon's mom and mother-in-law were able to make the drive from Birmingham as well, and it was so special to have them there. They were hilarious during the games :). I have to say, these were the best shower games I think I've played at a baby shower so far (in my opinion).

First we played a Scattergories type game, where we had 3 minutes to write down a word for each letter of the alphabet that had to do with babies, pregnancy, children, etc. Having lived with a labor and delivery nurse for several years, I tried to think of medical terms that I didn't think other people would get (because you only get a point if no one else wrote down the same thing). Pitocin, Effaced and Diaphragm helped me to some extent, but my brain was sortof frozen for part of those 3 minutes, so I didn't get words by that many letters. Meredith won with 15 points - props for getting Apgar for A!

The next game was guessing how many toilet paper squares it would take to wrap around Brannon's belly. I won that game with my guess of 11! The actual number was 10, but everybody else guessed in the teens and low 20s. See Brannon, you're only 10 toilet paper squares! Not that big at all ;-).

Last thing was opening gifts... Little Barrett got TWO cute pink bunny towels, other bath stuff, some onesies and matching pants and socks, pacifiers, a blanket, and an adorable hat and pair of booties knitted by Meredith's grandmother.

All the girls! From left to right: Stephanie, Lynn, Christy, Megan, me, Meredith, Brannon and Leslie.

Brannon with her super cute diaper cake


Doggy Day at the Park

This weekend, the Tapps were petsitting for another golden retriever, and Mrs. Tapp wanted Paisley to come over and play with Abby, since their dog Brinkley is not so much into playing. So on Saturday, I brought Paisley over, and she and Abby wrestled and mouthed each other while the Tapps and I ate a yummy lunch of turkey sandwiches and vegetable soup. Then Mrs. Tapp and I took all 3 dogs to the dog park for a fun afternoon!

Poor Brinkley, the grumpy old man :). He is not amused as we get in the car and head to the park.

Paisley in the foreground (with the freckle on her tongue) and Abby and Brinkley in the background... I think they look like a pack of lions in this picture!

The panting continues... Abby in the bandana, Brinkley, then Paisley with the freckle and her funny little eyes closed :)

Once again, just checking out the scene... I think this was when they were all getting really tired!

Pais and Binky - we were trying to get them to pose together, but this was the best we could do!

And my little girl, totally passed out that evening after her exciting day :).


Girls' Night - Christmas style

Friday night, my community group girls had a Christmas movie night at Lynn and Megan's cute apartment. We watched Irving Berlin's White Christmas, one of those old classics that I still had never seen.  Too bad I fell asleep during the second half - I knew I shouldn't have let myself lay my head down on that pillow!

Lynn, Christy and me all PJ'd out...except me, I don't know what I was wearing!

Our favorite mommy-to-be Brannon...only one more month 'til Barrett Elizabeth makes her debut!

Hot chocolate in the microwave...mmm mmm good :).

And what would hot chocolate and girls' night be without a little Bailey's... or you can just swig it straight from the bottle like Stephanie ;-).


Party time

I just want to say how pleased I am at the way December parties are working out for my schedule this year! Hopefully this post won't jinx me, but so far, almost everything I've been invited to or in the works for planning is falling on different nights. The only conflict is the 15th - one party in Charlotte and another in Winston-Salem - can't make both, and on the 13th I'll have to hit a baby shower and engagement party in the same night. But every other thing that has come up, the dates suggested fit perfectly into my open time slots! When does that ever happen? Granted, that means parties almost every single night, but I don't have to miss out celebrating with any of my friends - yippee!


The Sudan teacher

I was just reading that the British teacher who was imprisoned in Sudan for a class project has been released and allowed to go home to Britain. If anyone hasn't seen it on the news, she let her class of 7-year-olds name a teddy bear, take it home and write stories about what they did with it. The kids chose to name the bear Muhummad, and the teacher was arrested for inciting religious hatred and insulting Islam and the prophet Muhammad.

She could have received 40 lashes, 6 months in prison and a fine for this "crime." Muslim clerics in Sudan were encouraging riots, and people were calling for her to be executed!

Are they for real? It frustrates me to no end that this could happen and people have to be so PC about it! I mean, sure, people were denouncing her arrest and saying she should be freed and she didn't mean to offend anyone... but seriously, if some teacher named a teddy bear Jesus, would there be any type of fuss at all? Heck no. They are so insulted that the name of a "prophet" was given to a stuffed animal that this woman deserves DEATH or prison? How about the millions of people who insult Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords - the holy God of the universe - in MUCH worse ways EVERY single day all over the world?

I just cannot stand such a double standard, that Christians are berated and mocked and scolded for "pushing their religion" on people - i.e. actually believing something is true and standing up for it. But you know, Jesus warned us about this type of thing long ago, and never said standing up for Him was going to be the popular thing or was going to get us well-treated or praised or admired here on earth. But He has overcome the world, and we look forward to the day when He will set things right and judge justly.

Thank you, Father, that you have not repaid ME according to my sins, but offered your Son to reconcile me to You and give me the hope of eternal life. Help me to remember that constantly and live in light of your grace!


Taggy McTaggerson

I've been tagged by Libba and Courtney, so I guess I should play along, right?  Here we go...

The rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let those people know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

How many weird things can I come up with?  I just posted 100 of them not too long ago.  Hmm, I'm sure there are 7 more...

*I love love love Christmas lights!  I keep them up all year in my house (well, in my room...I don't go so far as to keep them up in the den or anything) and turning them on makes me smile and puts me in a happy mood.

*These days I think more and more often about things like what to name my kids, what they will call their grandparents, what my wedding colors should be, etc.

*If Paisley lives a full life, she will most likely see me through marriage, kids, job changes, house changes, deaths of loved ones, and many hard and good times... that's an amazing thought to me.

*I love trail mix - so much so that the Tapps bought me about 3 bags of it just this weekend while we were visiting Wade :).

*I'm always looking to buy more Carolina blue clothing because I have shamefully few items as a UNC grad... but I think maybe it's not the best color on me, because my baby blue wardrobe never seems to grow.

*I love the feeling of a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry after a big trip to the grocery store, when you have ingredients on hand to make whatever you fancy at the moment - just pick a recipe!

*Wade and I talked on the phone for almost 70 hours in the month of October.  That still cracks me up, and impresses me.

I'm gonna break rules 3 and 4 and skip tagging others for the moment.  I don't have enough friends who are regular bloggers (despite the list of friends of kimness).

Basketball games!

I promised you pictures of Wade playing basketball, so I tried very hard to get some this weekend!  I think I need to experiment with my camera some more to figure out how to take the best pictures of fast motion and things like that, but these will have to suffice for now :).  

Covenant played Bluefield College on Friday night and UVA-Wise on Saturday.  They lost the Bluefield game (guys in blue uniforms in the pics below) and won the exciting UVA-Wise game (red uniforms).  The Saturday game was crazy, because about 2/3 of the way through it, the Virginia-Wise coach got really upset at a call and started all-out yelling in the refs' faces many things that should not be repeated.  Their bench got all into the fray as well, and they ended up with two technical fouls on the coach and one on a bench player from that one argument.  The coach then was ejected from the game, and he stormed off the court, pushing over the water coolers on his way out, which they proceeded to mop up for about 10-15 minutes.  Dan Nielson then shot (and made) six free throws in a row for all those technicals, and then someone else shot two for the foul that the call was about in the first place!  It was quite exciting :).

Wade playing defense... he's number 24 in white.

Again on the D.

Wade making some free throws - I love the hand position ;-).

Wade shooting some more FTs against the thugs of UVA-Wise.  Those guys had 9 fouls in the first 5 minutes of the game, before Covenant even had one.

Yay, I'm so proud!  After the game - you can see the 75-72 scoreboard in the background.  It was close til the end, but Covenant held them off and pulled out the W.


Update on mom

Short but sweet...

Mom had a scan on Monday and got her results back today. It showed pretty much no change in the tumor, which is a whole lot better than it growing! No shrinkage as far as they can tell, but they're going to keep doing the treatment. Two more rounds and then another scan. The doctor said as long as it's not bothering mom and mom's not bothering it, maybe she can keep on like this for a while.

So praise God and please keep praying for my sweet mama! She's such an amazing trooper :).


Baby bonanza

In celebration of Jesus coming as a little baby, I thought I'd make a list of all the friends of mine having babies! I feel like there are a lot, so this is partly to help me keep it organized in my head :).

Lindsay and Adam Dyer
Friends from college (and Lindsay a little bit in high school)... Lindsay and I became good friends the summer after we graduated from high school on a church beach trip, and were accountability partners along with Jessica for several years. We were also in Bible study together in Campus Crusade at Carolina, and lived together with 4 other girls our senior year. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding to Adam in the summer of 2004.
They welcomed Caleigh Grace Dyer on November 26th!

Susan and JJ Foster
Susan (or Ms. Cherry) taught Spanish at my high school and was the advisor for the Christian club First Priority. I was a member and leader of FP and eventually president my senior year, so I got to know Ms. Cherry through that. Shortly after I graduated, she joined World Harvest Mission in Spain, and there met her future hubby, JJ Foster!
They welcomed John Zachary (Jack) Foster on November 24th!

Lindsey and Jason deBuhr
Lindsey and Jason were leaders of high school small groups at Christ Covenant at the same time I was. They both led groups for 4 years, taking them from freshmen to seniors, and now they are starting their own small group :). Lindsey and I also got to be even better friends through the girls' Bible study we had with the small group leaders.
They are expecting a baby boy in early January!

Brannon and John David Brooks
I first met Brannon and JD at community group at church early this year. They had recently moved her from Birmingham to start a Fitness Together personal training / gym business. I've also gotten to know Brannon through our summer girls' Bible study and our periodic happy hours at Bricktops at South Park. She can't wait to actually be able to have a drink with us!
They are expecting a baby girl, Barrett Elizabeth Brooks, in January!

Erin and Josh Hall
Erin and Josh are friends of mine from Carolina... Josh was part of the Fellowship of the Forest, the 6 guys I used to cook for, and we shared a journalism class or two. Erin is just a crazy fun girl, despite the fact that she works as a school librarian :). I haven't seen them in way too long!
They are expecting a baby girl, Charlotte Marie Hall, in January!

Andy and Erin Ashley Huffman
Andy was another member of the Forest guys I cooked for, and the match-up of him and Erin Ashley was a long time in coming. She dated one of his good friends for a while, and he liked her for years and years before she finally gave in! They started dating while on STINT in East Asia with Campus Crusade, and now they are over there long term, taking the gospel to hungry college students.
They welcomed Emma Grace Huffman in June!

Brad and Elizabeth Fleming
I knew Brad vaguely from our Greensboro church, but re-met at Carolina, when he lived with another good friend of mine, Luke. I hung out with those two guys a lot my freshman and sophomore year, listening to them play guitar, getting rides to Prayer & Praise and church, and watching movies on their surround sound and screen projector. Brad and Elizabeth got married after college and worked with the Navigators for a few years, and they're now heading to Indonesia to start a business and spread the gospel.
They welcomed Aspen Fleming in June!

Jess and Matt Hoffman
Jess was my suitemate in Hinton James my freshman year...part of the greatest group of girls I could have imagined living with! She was always the one to give cautious, sound advice, and yet also had such a free spirit as she went roller skating, sang and played instruments, sketched incredible drawings and collected fall leaves. She married Matt after college, and they are now living in Columbia, SC, where she is a nurse.
They are expecting a baby in May!

There are many others who are more distant friends of mine...but I really need to get back to work. Happy parenthood!


Thanksgiving Weekend

Funny how much things change in a year...  Last Thanksgiving, I was about to close on my condo, and we spent the weekend moving some things over from my apartment and painting my bedroom.  I had just been disappointed by a brief crush I had who didn't want to be anything more than friends.  I was getting ready to bring home a new puppy and live by myself for the first time.

This year, I had the love of my life home for 5 days and got to spend that whole time with two of the most wonderful families in the world.  Thanksgiving Day, Wade and I ate turkey/sweet potatoes/stuffing/etc with his family for lunch (along with some of their family friends), and then ate it all again with my family for dinner!  My uncle Jeff and his girlfriend Martha were in town - first time Wade met them - and of course, my other Charlotte relatives were there too, Hillary & Allen, the Steeles (mom's sister & her family) and my grandfather.

This WAS a cute decoration Mrs. Tapp saw at a party she had gone to.  After being carted around in a plastic bag, falling apart and being recreated several times, it suffered from the wear and tear, but it's a cute idea at least :).

Aw, Wade and me next to a beautiful red tree!  

My amazing mom is STILL HERE, 3 months after we found out her cancer was back and thought the end was near.  She cooked and hosted the entire Thanksgiving dinner for 15 people, and then got up the next day and went shopping with my sister on Black Friday and visited with the Tapps at my house until 11 pm!

Sneaking a little smooch from my sweetheart :).

I am so excited about my new Christmas tree!  I decided to bite the bullet this year and buy a nice fake one, now that Paisley isn't a super little puppy and I've been in my condo a year.  She still chewed 3 of the bows off of it the first morning (because I forgot about it and let her out of my room unsupervised while I slept a little longer), but I salvaged them and put up a small deterrent in the form of a baby gate in front of the tree.

In just about 4 days, I get to go see Wade AGAIN, and this time I'm going to try to take pictures at his basketball games so you can see him in action!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Two things that make me grin

My DOG and FALL LEAVES! So because they are two of my favorite things, I decided to take some pictures of both the other day at lunch.

This just makes me say hallelujah and praise the Lord who created this beauty!

This is where I live and what I come home to every day - can you believe that?

It was such a gorgeous sunny November day, and don't you think Paisley is really starting to look regal? She's such a good girl, posing for all these pictures! The sit and stay commands from the dog trainer were put to good use.

The one thing I couldn't get her to do was hold her leash gently in her mouth folded over once. I kept trying to place it there like that, but she would just drop it. I think she was confused by the fact that I was actually intending for her to put something besides food and toys in her mouth. I got a couple pics with the leash in her mouth only after she took it and started playing with it, so they're not quite as elegantly posed as I had planned!


Fours of things

When you can’t think of anything to blog about, make a list, right? Totally copying this idea directly from Libba – thanks friend! Favorites are in blue :).

Four jobs I have held:

The Gap sales associate
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory apple dipper and fudge packer (ha, I know!)
Every job under the sun for the Mecklenburg County Bar
Girl Scout graphic designer

Four movies I can watch over & over:
Pretty Woman
North & South
A Few Good Men

Four places I have lived:
Greensboro, NC
La Plata, Argentina
Charlotte, NC
Chapel Hill, NC
Ok, I really need to branch out on this one apparently!

Four television shows I enjoy:
The Office
Dancing with the Stars
All My Children

Four places I have been on vacation:
London, England
The Grand Canyon
St. George Island, Florida
San Antonio, Texas

Four of my favorite meals:
Chicken pot pie and pineapple on the side
Beef tips over rice, Italian green beans
BBQ pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob
Grilled salmon, asparagus w/ parmesan, wild rice

Four websites I visit daily:
The USA Today
The Pine Valley Bulletin

Four places I would rather be right now:
Anywhere with Wade
Sleeping in my bed
On a beach in the sun

On a road trip with country music and windows down


Weekend on the Mountain

I'm back at work with a definite case of the Mondays after my fun, relaxing weekend with my favorite boy and my favorite adopted family :). It was so great to take off half of Thursday and all of Friday and get to see two of Wade's basketball games and hang out with his friends and family all weekend!

I rode up with the Tapps on Thursday, and we went straight to Berry College in Rome, Georgia, where the first game was played. The college had a really pretty campus, and we drove around it for a little bit just as the sun was going down. There were deer everywhere, in all the open spaces around the buildings. We pulled in just as the basketball guys were arriving in their team vans, so I got to see Wade in his cute little matching team warmup suit (ahem, I mean, large, manly, professional warmup suit) and give him a hug before the game.

The game was really good - one team would go on a run and take the lead by 6 or 7 points, and then the other team would go on a run and regain the lead... Being 6'7", Wade is a post player, meaning his main roles are rebounding, blocking shots, and some scoring inside (i.e. under the basket) for those of you who may not be basketball savvy...I'm learning a lot more these days about the terminology :). But because Covenant's team is not very deep - due to injuries, ineligibility, and just a lot of freshmen - this year he's having to play 30+ minutes a game, and score from the perimeter a little bit more. But, he did great Thursday night, with 5 rebounds and 10 points, and Covenant pulled out the win by 7 points in the end! I was so excited for them :).

Friday morning Wade had to do some homework and go to chapel and class, so I worked out and then took his car back to his house to shower and get ready and then pick him up when he got out of class. We had a late lunch with his parents at a cute little southern-cooking restaurant down at the bottom of the mountain (in Chattanooga), and then we milled around until it was time for him to go back up the mountain and meet up with the team for their Friday night game. I took a nap in the Tapps' hotel room, and woke up just in time to leave for the game (which was just a few minutes away in downtown Chattanooga). Wade's sister Whitney also drove up that afternoon from Auburn, so she joined us for the game, which was against UT-Chattanooga.

I won't go into a lot of details about that game, because, well, it wasn't the best experience they've ever had on the basketball court. It was pretty much expected though, since UTC is a Division 1 NCAA school and Covenant is a Division 2 NAIA school - vast difference in how much money goes into the athletic programs and therefore very different levels of skill and athleticism the schools are able to recruit. The UTC guys practically looked like they were in the NBA, and one of their post players was 7'1". BUT, I will brag that Wade had 14 points - 10 in the first half - and the next day there were 2 pictures of him in the Chattanooga paper, including one on the front page of the Sports section.

Saturday morning, the Tapps came up and cooked breakfast for us at Wade's apartment...mmm, banana and applesauce pancakes, eggs and sausage :). Whitney left to get back to Auburn to watch the Auburn-Georgia game, and we chilled out on the couch, watching football and Wade writing a paper and me editing his paper. It was a sad day for football, as UNC lost a close game to NC State, Auburn lost to Georgia, and South Carolina (Mr. Tapp's alma mater) lost to Florida. Oh well...what can you do.

That evening, we had a great dinner with the fam and 4 of Wade's friends at Big River...the same place that screwed up my order the last time I visited Wade, and this time, my food again took a really long time to come out, probably 20 minutes after the other food had come out. So, I'm not super impressed with Big River, but my gorgonzola pear salad with hazelnut encrusted chicken still tasted good :).

Sunday morning, we went to church and had a yummy lunch afterwards, before hitting the road to get back to Charlotte. Unfortunately, I took no pictures this weekend, so sorry I can't provide visuals for any of these events :(. That was really dumb of me, I know. I'll try to do better in the next few weeks!


A Day in the Life of a Girl Scout

So I really need to get my blogging butt in gear. Hopefully the upcoming holidays and general festivity will inspire me and give me lots of opportunities to post pictures and such!

The last few weeks, I have been dealing with a few semi-crises at work that are hopefully going to be resolved before I get more headaches from them. They mostly center around the fact that our website's security certificate expired without any of us knowing, so a security warning message pops up before you can check out at our online store or give money on our donation page. Even though our site is still secure in the meantime, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable, so it was my job to get a new certificate as soon as possible. I feel like I have gotten all these new bits of knowledge about website security and servers and hosting companies and various techie internet terms, although I doubt I could put it all together coherently. But it still feels cool to say things like "You need to check the SMTP on the server because it seems to have gotten hosed" and "I need a new CSR with the correct domain name in order to purchase the cert for our site."

The rest of my days at work have been consumed with preparing for our annual photo shoot, which is this Saturday. This is definitely NOT my favorite part of my job, but it has to be done and done well if I am going to have the pictures I need to do my job the rest of the year. Unlike other Girl Scout programs, which they register for through our experienced, knowledgeable customer service department, this event is all me. So my quiet little cube world has been intruded by phone calls and emails from all these troop leaders and parents wanting to sign 18 million people up at a time. I have an irrational phone phobia, so I usually let them leave a message, then I look them up in our membership database and email them back! Haha, I'm so sneaky.

The photo shoot also presents a difficult and very non-PC situation - namely, trying to maintain a racial/ethnic balance in the girls who participate so that our marketing materials reflect racial diversity the rest of the year. I get lots of Caucasian girls signing up right away, but I can't let the whole thing fill up with them. So a couple weeks in, I have 80-some white girls and nobody of any other race, and I have to start affirmative action measures. I have to check our database for the girl's race before emailing her mom back and saying "oh my gosh, we'd LOVE to have your daughter participate" (if she's non-white), or "I'm sorry, this is such a popular event, we have a waiting list already and I'll have to get back to you if I find room for your daughter." I feel so wrong essentially lying to people, but I can't very well say "yeah, all our white spots are full, better luck next time."

Then I also get the moms who call to register their daughter and I say ok, and then a week or 2 later they think they registered their whole troop of 20 white Junior Girl Scouts. Because of those situations, and subsequently trying to even out the racial imbalance by allowing even more non-white girls to register, I now have to manage and direct 250 girls and their parents and troop leaders during a 4-hour period on Saturday morning. Yikes.

Pray for my sanity to make it through the day. After that, hopefully it will be coasting downhill til I get to visit Wade next week and life becomes a little easier.

Also, allow me to brag on my wonderful boyfriend, who had 10 rebounds and 6 points in the Covenant Scots' first basketball game (and win) of the season last night! Way to post up, baby! (Was that proper terminology?)


Bachelor Brad - the final 6

Well, I’ve been a little bit slack about blogging for the last week…sorry about that. I don’t know if I have it in me to recap both of the last two weeks of The Bachelor, but I can’t believe we’re already down to four and hometown dates are next week! I wasn’t too sad that Brad got rid of Jade last week, definitely didn’t mind him letting McCarten go, and I kindof liked Stephy, but oh well.

This week, the superlative was THE MOST DRAMATIC EXIT IN BACHELOR HISTORY, WHEN HILARY LEAVES THE SHOW AND THE TEARS DON’T STOP! Oh my gosh, I really don’t see how Chris Harrison can blatantly lie every week saying stuff like that. This was so NOT the most dramatic exit in Bachelor history. Sure, Hilary got really upset, but there have been others with way more drama in other seasons…the nutso girl who came back after Jessie Palmer rejected her and broke in on his date with another girl…the doctor girl who told Travis Stork she was ready to procreate because her eggs were rotting…crazy Erica on Prince Lorenzo’s season – hello, that girl was the definition of drama. But nevertheless, Hilary’s exit is now deemed the most dramatic in Bachelor history.

This week, for the 6 girls remaining, there are 2 individual dates and a group date. The first individual date goes to…Bettina! She and Brad are going on a gondola ride, which the other girls inform her means that they have to kiss when they go under bridges. It’s so weird how this whole process works…they’re all competing for this guy and talking about how other girls are dating their boyfriend, but then they’re also acting excited and helping each other get ready for dates with, supposedly, their own boyfriend.

On Bettina’s date, she supposedly LAYS IT ALL ON THE LINE, but again, that phrase pretty much has no actual meaning when Chris Harrison utters it. She told Brad this is like her second date since her divorce, and she tells him – shocker – that she, too, wants to fall in love and get married. He’s like, oh my gosh you’re the only person I’ve ever met that feels the same way as I do…NOT. The other girls back at the house confide to the camera and each other that Bettina is still viewing this as a competition. What kind of reason is that? Oh yes, the WRONG REASON. I don’t dislike Bettina, but I’m just not feeling the chemistry between her and Brad. Even with all her “be patient with me and take it slow,” I don’t see it as much as I did with Tessa and Andy last season. They didn’t even kiss on the lips when they went under the bridges, and their body language was very awkward and guarded still. She may or may not make it to the final 3, but I don’t see him choosing her at the end.

The 4-on-1 group date is a pool party at “Brad’s house” (aka, the mansion The Bachelor producers rented out for 8 weeks and let him stay in). Attendees are DeAnna, Jenni, Kristy and Hilary. Poor Kristy, she is just not a fun girl, and no amount of tearful begging is going to make her appear to be fun to Brad. “Please, please, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression… Just because I am completely insecure and embarrassed by acting silly and I don’t participate in the slip ‘n slide or any pool games and I just sit on the dry concrete, leaning back so that my stomach doesn’t roll, I don’t want you to think I’m not fun!” Oh, of course not, I didn’t get that impression at all (eyeroll) – Brad.

Hilary continues her obsession with Brad – not with tears this time, but with expletives and a bleeped-out list of X-rated things she wants Brad to do to her. Wow, Hilary. Too bad while she’s thinking of him as “not just my friend, but also my lover,” Brad is thinking he really ain’t feeling it with her and they’re just good friends. He sortof tries to tell her this while they are semi-naked on a raft, but in a completely vague and twisted way that she just hears the way she wants to hear it, which is “I like you the best out of all the girls and we have something different and special,” and she can tell by the way he looks at her that he feels the same way she does. She’s in for a big disappointment.

Brad has his one-on-one time with DeAnna on some lounge chairs that are set apart, but still in full view of the other girls. Ha – sucks for you DeAnna. No hanky panky this time! They both tell the camera that they want to kiss each other but won’t do it in front of the other girls, so they sortof just sit there awkwardly and pat each other’s arms for a while. Brad made it sound like he wanted to kiss DeAnna for the first time, but they actually made out in the hot tub last week after dismissing Jade. I think Brad is attracted to DeAnna, but again I don’t really see tons of chemistry. And her voice still annoys me.

Who knew Jenni would be the smart one – taking Brad away to a private hammock for their one-on-one time? Smooth move. They spent the time…well…making out. Maybe they talked too, but the producers didn’t show us that. I just think Brad and Jenni have so much more chemistry together than he has with any of the others. A bar owner and a cheerleader…what could be more perfect than that?

Finally, Sheena gets the other individual date because twin Chad was in love with her, and it is one of those you-have-to-guess-what-to-wear-because-we-won’t-tell-you-where-you’re-going events. She gets all dolled up, and then Brad takes her to another big mansion so she can pick out a dress from the mannequins the producers have set up and change clothes. If only she had known, she could’ve started out in sweatpants. Personally, I didn’t think any of the mannequin dresses were any better than the one she already had on, but oh it was SO romantic! Wade, I hope you’re taking notes ;-). Just kidding. But seriously… After they change clothes, Brad and Sheena go out to a dinner scene set up on the balcony covered in white and silver balloons. Now that really is romantic, I must say. It kindof makes it look like floating in the clouds – ahhh… So pretty. They have a pretty good conversation over dinner I think. I can’t remember much about it, but I think they talked about a few things of substance and not how this experience is amazing and they never thought they’d feel this way about another person.

At the rose ceremony, the girls are on edge and Brad has to make the next most important decision of his life. Hilary says she loves her dress and hopes it reminds him of how good she’ll look in a wedding dress. Yeah, that’s how GIRLS’ minds work…NOT guys’ minds. Jenni calls Bettina out on her comment that her date was lame and boring after Sheena described the magic of the dress and balloons date. Bettina’s defense that she was just joking is far too defensive itself – methinks she just got caught and doth protest too much.

The first 3 roses go to DeAnna, Jenni and Sheena, and then after “ladies, Brad, the final rose tonight…when you’re ready,” Brad gives said rose #4 to Bettina and gets rid of Stick in the Mud Kristy and X-Rated Friend Hilary. Hilary tears up but keeps it together somewhat to hug him goodbye, but when she gets outside to the rejection confessional, the makeup starts running and the bosom starts heaving and she just can’t understand why Bettina is inside with Brad and she is outside alone. Honey, you didn’t listen to him when he told you point blank that you were “too good of friends” – i.e. too good of friends to turn into anything more. I so sowwy.

Yippee for hometown dates next week! That means there are only a few weeks til the finale so we can find out which girl he chose to never make it in a lasting relationship with. Cheers!


Praise the Lord!

Today we got great news about my mom's cancer... Her latest scan showed all the spots in her abdomen were gone and the bigger one in her pelvis stayed the same size as 2.5 months ago! I cannot even express how beautifully and gracefully God's hand has worked in her and through her and around her. She is absolutely His instrument and a really amazing picture to me of the sacrificial love of Christ, that she would see her own affliction as an opportunity to minister to others and be a light proclaiming the Lord's salvation in this world.

He has put people in her path like the store clerk at Belk's who was ringing her up the day she went to return a bunch of clothes she had just bought when she believed she wouldn't live long enough to wear them. The lady asked her reason for returning them and my mom said "you don't want to know" - but God led the conversation deeper and used my mom to comfort and encourage this woman, who it turned out was struggling with her own husband's recent cancer diagnosis. He has used her in the life of her neighbor, a younger mother with school-aged children, who has been re-awakened to spiritual things as a result of talking to my mom and is seeking to find the Truth, though she doesn't know what that Truth is yet.

Doctors and nurses have seen my mom's faith and trust in her heavenly Father constantly, and have seen Him sustain her body through surgeries and chemo treatments and radiation and side effects and growing tumors, not to mention the countless scans and needle sticks and bowel-clearing regimens she has endured.

My dad has been right by her side through all of this as well, seeing it up closer than anyone besides my mom and God Himself. I know Christ is at work in him too, because no other power would give him the strength and love he has shown my mom and our family. It is mind-boggling to me how big my mom's faith is, to be willing to endure all this and perhaps ultimately give her life that others would see and believe Jesus and be saved.

Praise the Lord, indeed!



I had an interesting day at the office today. It began at 6:55 when I was actually still in bed, but my boss called my cell phone to tell me that there had been a break-in at the council last night and somebody tried to steal my computer monitor and keyboard. A guy threw a rock through the glass front door, passed over Janet's cube (you would understand if you saw Janet's cube) and then mine is the next one he comes to. So he just yanks the monitor and keyboard, ripping the cords in half in the process and starts to take off. Extremely fortunately, a Girl Scout volunteer happened to arrive at that moment to drop something off in our drop-box, she made eye contact with the thief, he dropped the loot and got in his van, and she and her husband chased him down Independence Blvd to get his license plate number (stolen plate on a stolen van). The cops got there and dusted for fingerprints and collected blood evidence because he apparently cut himself coming through the broken glass.

After Katherine tells me this, I get up and get in the shower and start thinking, "Ok, when they dust my monitor for fingerprints, of course they're going to find mine. So if they question me, do I have an alibi? Yes, I was home at 11:30 last night and Jocelyn was here, so she can vouch for me. Also, why would I break into my own office to steal my own computer when I have a key?" Haha, my mind is a strange machine.

So when I get to the office, my monitor and keyboard are still intact and not cracked or smashed, but the keyboard doesn't seem to work, and when we turn off the computer to reboot, it won't turn back on again. So no computer for little Kimmie today. Not to worry - half the day is going to be taken up by a staff meeting slash FISH team event. I have to say, our staff meetings are quite long and often a little hokey, but I bet they're a lot better than a lot of people's.

And here's the real point of my story... during the FISH team event, we did this activity where we tried to see how many little words we could make out of the word WHEELBARROW. I won the game with 54 in the allotted time, but afterwards I couldn't stop looking at my paper and seeing more words, and since I didn't have a computer to go back and work on, I just kept going. By the time I got tired of it, I came up with 113 words you can make out of the word WHEELBARROW.

he row lob roe leer ne'er beer hear brawl
we bar bah hew reel were hole howl baler
or eel bow ewe real whoa brew arrow whaler
eh rob ole hoe bore bawl alee wheel abler
oh war oar lee hoar oral bowl blear barrel
ah low are bee blew ware awol whale harbor
lo wow ere raw blow brow boho elbow hebrew
ew lab err how wale hero hale rebel harrow
be orb woe heel able hobo brae whole warble
ha haw ear boar bale halo rear whorl
ow wee ore heal role robe rare whore
ab ale awl lear whew bare lore below
aw web law we're blah bear wore bowel

heck yeah, baby...i was pretty proud of myself.

Bachelor Brad redux (October 8th episode)

Let me start out with a few quotes from the first date this week:
"Oh, it's big!"
"She's got a good grip on that."
"I got to pet the elephant."

No, no, no...get your mind out of the gutter. It was a GROUP date to the CIRCUS! Jenni said, "There are no words for it," and I was thinking, of course there are words for it! Fun, entertaining, colorful, loud, goofy, magical, tricky...tons of words for the circus. But I don't want to be too hard on Jenni - I actually like her. I like that she didn't tell the other girls that Brad kissed her. I like that she asked him about a real life situation that would come up if he ends up picking her - that she's committed to her job in Phoenix - and she's not willing to drop all that immediately to move to wherever he is. I like that she doesn't just want to be "the last girl standing" but the girl he falls in love with. She may be a little cheerleaderish (I mean, she IS basically a cheerleader), and that brown strapless velour jumpsuit was a little strange, but I think she's cute.

Brad also had a pretty good one-on-one time with Stephy. She seemed pretty normal and cute. Her longest relationship was in high school and she's been single for 5 years - a girl after my own heart. She may be another pick of mine to go farther.

Lindsey - don't like her accent. DeAnna - don't like her voice or the way her name is pronounced dee-AH-nuh. McCarten - ugh, smug high school biotch. The other girl on the date I don't know anything about, but I think her name is Sarah.

Cut to the girls back at the house and Hilary finds out she got the one-on-one date! And they do a redux of the Pretty Woman-esque date they did in a previous season (I can't remember who they did that with at the moment). She doesn't wear red, but Hilary gets $1 million worth of jewelry to wear, and they take a private plane (taking a limo and then walking out to it on the tarmac) and even go to San Francisco, same place where Edward and Vivian went to the opera in my favorite movie. I'd rate Hilary's performance about a 7 - she did pretty well, but WAY too overemotional with all the tears. What the heck, it's basically your FIRST real date with this guy. You cannot be in love with him yet.

On the other hand, I love that he told her she looked even more beautiful after she'd been crying, and then I loved them making ice cream sundaes at the Ghiradelli place. I have to say this though, what I don't get is the girls who say " I didn't expect this. I didn't expect to fall in love. I didn't expect to meet such a great guy and have these feelings." Why did you come on the show? Isn't that exactly what you were expecting?

Second group date...sailboating. Kristy tried a little too hard to show him her fun side, but she's still a little more real than some of the other girls, so he should keep her for a while. Solisa gives Brad a lap dance: "I went over and started shaking my butt really fast because it's the only thing I know how to do." Again, classy.

Bettina - dang girl, can you let me in on the secret to your leg workout? I think she threw Brad a bit with the divorce thing, but I'd still put money on her staying for a while. Jade - don't like her - another witchy girl. Sheena - eh, I could take her or leave her.

Then, this week's cocktail party slash rose ceremony with...not just Brad...but CHAD! Yes, that's right, the bachelor brings in his married twin brother to try to figure out which girls actually care about him and will be able to tell the difference in the imposter. I have to take back my previous evaluation of this plan - it was actually possibly a pretty good idea, because if a girl can't tell the difference, she obviously (1) isn't that smart, (2) isn't paying that much attention to you, (3) only sees a random hot guy when she looks at you. Brad says Chad will be able to go in there and immediately know who is in it for Brad and who's right for him and not. Sucks for Brad that he can't tell that for himself!

So at the cocktail party...McCarten is a little awkward, but doesn't catch on to the fauxBrad. Lindsey also doesn't figure it out, but also asks him how long he wants to be engaged for...ummm, cause that's super important at this stage of the game. Kristy knows right away even as Chad walks up to her - good job girl - major points. Bettina, Jenni, Sheena, DeAnna & Stephy figure it out pretty quickly. Sarah - clueless. We didn't get to see how Jenni, Hilary, Jade or Solisa reacted to the surprise.

So Brad ends up getting rid of Lindsey, Sarah and Solisa (aka Morticia Addams). Thank goodness. I loved the way he had a little nervous smile when he called Jenni's name and they both giggled. She's going all the way, baby! Lindsey, in her final camera interview says "you think you love someone and you're gonna spend the rest of your life with him..." - WTF?

And now, I will leave you with Solisa's parting words, which are so fitting: "He did see the very special parts of me because I wear those special parts on the outside. So, it's just that those special parts weren't parts that he was looking for, unfortunately." Yeah, we all saw your "special parts" Solisa...when you used them as a shot glass and went skinny dipping and put them all up in Brad's face with your lap dance. Say it with me folks...classy.


100 things about me

What can I say? I'm a follower. Here is my list of 100 things since everyone else is doing it...

1. My boyfriend Wade and I met at a country line dancing bar (Coyote Joe’s).
2. I can say the alphabet backwards (quickly).
3. I can write backwards (as in mirror-image) also pretty quickly.
4. I got a 1530 on the SAT (perfect score on verbal) and I’m proud of that.
5. I’m the third generation in my family working at the Girl Scouts – my grandmother was executive director here, and my mom worked here for a while too.
6. I’m proud of the fact that I bought my own condo at age 24.
7. I am very cheap (a quality I got from my dad).
8. I almost always sleep in a tank top and pants – I can’t stand having my bare legs touch each other at night.
9. I was really imaginative as a child and loved naming and renaming my dolls and writing stories with lots of characters so I could name them all.
10. I had my first kiss when I was 20 years old.
11. My longest relationship to this point was in 6th grade – for 8 months and 2 days.
12. I am a grammar freak and love editing papers.
13. My nickname for a while in middle school was Saturn because of my head gear.
14. I busted my chin open when I was 2 and had to be strapped down in a papoose for them to put stitches in it.
15. My dog is named after Brad Paisley, the country singer.
16. I’ve never been drunk.
17. I’m the only person in my family to have lived on South Campus at UNC out of my mom, sister, 2 aunts, an uncle and a cousin.
18. My favorite color to wear is brown.
19. I floss my teeth every night.
20. I have difficulty moderating my sugar intake because I am addicted to it.
21. I eat the same breakfast every morning – fruit, with ½ cup of Weight Watchers Flakes & Fiber cereal, 2 T. grape nuts, and skim milk – and I never get tired of it.
22. My favorite meal is my mom’s chicken pot pie.
23. I got a personal trainer at the gym because I was too much of a sucker to say no, but I’m really glad I did it now.
24. I hate calling people, except for a select few that I don’t have a problem with, and I will put off making minor phone calls for ages.
25. I started feeding my dog organic dog food when I got really freaked out about the ingredients of commercial dog food.
26. I didn’t have cable for 6 months when I first moved into my condo and only got ABC and FOX with my rabbit ears.
27. I’ve been rear-ended in my car at least 5 times.
28. I’ve never taken my car to a car wash (I’ve only washed it myself – progressively less often over the years!).
29. My middle name is Dale, after my mom’s best friend at the time.
30. I was born on Flag Day, 12 days late.
31. I absolutely love country music, but I didn’t start listening to it until junior year of college.
32. I became a graphic designer in part because of my experience on the yearbook staff in high school.
33. One of my high school Spanish teachers called me Clavelita (little answer key), because she called my sister Clave (answer key) before me.
34. I have a hard time signing my full name (Kimberly) because I’m not used to writing the whole thing in cursive. Signing the closing papers for my condo was a nightmare!
35. 100 things is a whole lot to come up with and I’m only on 35!
36. I loved reading Nancy Drew and Babysitters Club books when I was younger.
37. I stopped reading for pleasure when I got to high school, but I’m trying to be a person who reads again because I think it would make me more interesting.
38. I’m terrible at keeping plants alive because I forget to water them.
39. I don’t forget to feed my dog, however.
40. I get really excited watching good ballroom dancers and am so jealous of them.
41. My mom used to make matching outfits for me and my Cabbage Patch kids, including a Brownie Girl Scout uniform.
42. My best friend in elementary school was Eliz Empie – we met when I was 6 and she was 4.
43. I didn’t get my ears pierced until after my freshman year of college.
44. One of my pet peeves is windshield wipers going too fast for the speed of the rain.
45. I never use my back patio, but I totally should.
46. I don’t keep my house as clean as people probably think I do (but I wish I did).
47. I’ve watched the soap opera All My Children off and on since the summer after 6th grade.
48. I can quote the entire movie Pretty Woman (ok, you already knew that!).
49. I prefer the toilet paper comes over the top of the roll instead of under it – and I will change the roll if it is on the opposite way.
50. Another pet peeve is people leaving the toilet lid up – hello, you won’t drop your toothbrush in there if you just close it.
51. I keep my CDs organized by genre right now, but I’ve experimented with alphabetizing, order of purchase, favorites, etc.
52. I used to want to be a teacher, but now I don’t think I’d be a very good one.
53. I love re-reading my old journals, and a lot of times I had really profound things to say!
54. I’m proud of the fact that I drive a stick shift.
55. My favorite part of my job is getting shiny, slick printed materials back from the printer that I’ve designed and building my portfolio.
56. My other favorite part of my job is the ridiculous amount of vacation I get.
57. I will skip church to watch the Wimbledon men’s championship match.
58. I’d rather watch a sporting event on TV than go to it most of the time (because you can see the action so much better and you can take a break to do laundry in the middle).
59. I used to want to raise my kids speaking Spanish and English from birth. I still think it would be a good idea, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen.
60. I had the same roommate all 4 years in college (plus an additional 4 roommates senior year).
61. My nickname Kitchen Kim refers to the all-business, semi-stressed, perfectionist persona I get when cooking for big groups or special events.
62. My pin number for my check card is the last 4 digits of my high school crush’s phone number…don’t you dare try to track that down.
63. My hairdresser Vickie started cutting my hair when I was 5, so I love catching up with her when I go.
64. I am really encouraged by words of praise, especially for my design work, my cooking, or my appearance.
65. I love giving head rubs.
66. I like my feet.
67. I love buying new placemats.
68. I’m kindof compulsive about shopping for clothes, so I don’t even let myself browse around unless I haven’t been shopping in a long time and I have a few hundred dollars to spend.
69. My college roommates made fun of me for wearing white underwear, so I try to branch out into colors (but they’re so impractical if you want to wear light-colored pants).
70. I never had Nintendo when I was growing up, but I played Super Mario Brothers at Eliz’s house when I got the chance.
71. I go to the same seafood restaurant at the beach with my family every year and get the grilled chicken.
72. My favorite season is fall – my least favorite is winter, except that I love the holidays.
73. I danced in a cage at the Spanish Galleon in Myrtle Beach once.
74. I used to only want to have girl children because I didn’t think I’d know how to raise a boy.
75. I hate it when other people get “the edge” – they get ready for bed faster than I do and get the chance to fall asleep before I do – mostly in group sleeping situations like camp, sleepovers, retreats, etc.
76. The first CD I ever bought was Michael Bolton (I still have it and listen to it once in a blue moon).
77. I only check my (snail) mail about once a week, but I check my email countless times a day.
78. I checked my email after writing #77.
79. I get road rage pretty often.
80. I hate it when drivers honk at me when I’m out running, but I still get a little disappointed if I go for a whole run and get no honks.
81. I once tripped and face-planted while running along Providence Road near Fairview at about 5:30 p.m. when all the traffic is backed up at that light. A guy yelled to me from his car, “Don’t worry, nobody saw that!”
82. I had a crush on just about every guy I met when I first went to college.
83. I got asked out while working out twice one summer (once by a stranger driving down Carmel Road where I was running; the other time by a guy at the gym who I hadn’t seen since 2nd grade).
84. I prefer shave cream to shave gel.
85. I’ve used Thermasilk shampoo and conditioner for a really long time, but I’m afraid they don’t make it anymore because I can’t find it anywhere.
86. I drink milk past the date if it doesn’t smell or taste funny…same with eggs, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, etc.
87. I’m very reluctant to take medicine when I have a headache, but I don’t really know why.
88. My perfect sleep schedule would be 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night – I think.
89. I have a fear of getting trapped underwater, under a large object like a boat, to where I couldn’t push it off of me to get air.
90. I know almost all my extended family’s birthdays and a large number of my friends’.
91. I don’t remember anything about the house I lived in up to age 4.
92. My best friend in middle school was named Ayeza Nxumalo – she was from Swaziland, in southern Africa.
93. We had a joint birthday party for our 12th birthdays, and it was co-ed and supposed to be a pool party (except it rained), and we thought we were so cool.
94. I get more tired walking slowly and aimlessly than at a brisk pace on a mission.
95. I always go to the produce section first when I go grocery shopping, and almost always the milk section last.
96. I use the self-checkout lanes whenever possible because I like bagging groceries the way I like and not having to talk to the cashier.
97. My goal in life is to go to a beach with clear ocean water.
98. I was once asked by a co-worker to be her life coach with regard to budgeting, eating habits, exercise, etc.
99. I am very particular about the way a dishwasher is loaded and dishes are done.
100. I’m going home now because I just stayed 30 minutes late at work to finish this list.

Bachelor Brad Highlights from October 1st

Some observations from this week's show:

-The first group date is at a horse race. Brad gives the girls cash to bet because “you can tell a lot about someone by the way they bet.” Sure, especially when it’s 10 bucks and it’s not even their money.

-Brad asks the guy from the San Diego Chargers in the next box (a guy he’s never met) for his impressions of the girls (after meeting them for 2 seconds)…um, that’s really helpful and valid. Definitely base your decision on that.

-McCarten kisses Brad totally randomly and out of left field while he’s mid-sentence talking to her…and he wipes it off and cracks up later talking about how bad it was. Bad move, chica.

-The big dramatic twist with ambulance footage and lots of jaws dropping? A lot of hype for nothing (gasp! shocker). Michele falls down the stairs and gets a concussion. One of the other girls astutely notes, “It was so scary. I mean, it could be just 14 girls in the house instead of the 15 we have now.” Wow, 14 instead of 15? Now THAT would throw a wrench in things… Michele calls Brad while he’s on his first group date to tell him about her accident, and he’s like “Oh wow, hope you’re ok, I’ll be thinking about you, ok bye.” Gotta get back to the hot girls in front of me. Then she misses the date she’s supposed to go on (the bikini-fest), gets rushed one-on-one time with Brad when he comes to pick the girls up, and surprise surprise, gets the boot at the next rose ceremony. I didn’t like her stripey hair anyway and Brad doesn’t like older girls. Everybody he got rid of the first night was over 30 or was a student. Michele never had a chance.

-The second group date - also known as Bikini Fest - is called “the sexiest bachelor date ever” by Chris Harrison – enough with the extreme superlatives…we get it...this is a really exciting show.

-“I’m a Christian and I stick to my high morals and values” says Solisa (aka Angelina Jolie) after having Brad do body shots off of her and before stripping off her bikini top and going skinny dipping…classy.

-At the Rose Ceremony, we have the first occurrence of jealous, insecure girl uses her one moment with Brad to trash talk another girl and let him know (for his sake of course) that – dun dun dunnnn – “she’s in it for the wrong reasons.” No, not the dreaded WRONG REASONS! Which have never clearly been explained in all the seasons of The Bachelor - but they are the ace in the hole for giving a girl the heave ho. No one can argue with you for getting rid of a girl who was there for THE WRONG REASONS. What exactly are the RIGHT reasons? Coming on the Bachelor for all the free booze? Trying to score a hot guy you may or may not have anything in common with just because he’s good-looking and successful? Manipulating and conniving to beat out a bunch of other girls and prove you’re better than them? Hmm… I mean, I think Jenni (the "wrong reasons" girl) is a little ditzy, but I don’t think she was trying to “further her modeling career” by bringing her portfolio with her, keeping it tucked away in her suitcase and not showing it to anyone!

-We also have the new standard Divorced Girl again this season. Bettina reveals it a little earlier to the audience than Bevin last season, but she chooses not to reveal her closet skeleton to Brad at this point. Eh, whatever.

-Next week…stay tuned for THE MOST SHOCKING COCKTAIL PARTY EVER, in which Brad sends his "twin" brother (who you can definitely tell apart from him if you have any sense and haven't drank 18 cocktails already) in to the party to try to fool the girls and get the inside scoop. So what are you going to accomplish with this, Brad? If they think he's you, they're going to tell him the same things they would have told you anyway, genius!


"The hottest bachelor in bachelor history"

Last night was the season premiere of The Bachelor, the guilty pleasure show I’ve watched since not quite the beginning (I think I first got hooked on the end of Trista’s Bachelorette season and have watched almost all of them since then). There was Jesse Palmer, the NFL quarterback; Charlie O’Connell, the goofy actor and brother of the guy from that great show My Secret Identity; Travis Stork, the ER doctor and probably my favorite bachelor; Lorenzo the fruity Italian “prince”; Andy Baldwin, the “officer and gentleman”; and the other Bachelorette season with Jen Schefft, the ex-fiancee from Andrew Firestone’s season. Whew, so complicated. I didn’t watch much of greasy Byron the fisherman’s season.

Anyway, this season, ABC has picked – hold your horses – the HOTTEST BACHELOR IN BACHELOR HISTORY! No kidding, haven’t they said pretty much the same thing every single season? If I were one of the first guys I’d be feeling pretty crappy about myself since I’d been one-upped about 10 times by now. Brad Womack, the bar owner from Austin, TX is definitely not my favorite yet. I’m not a fan of the facial hair I don’t think, and I mean, he’s cute, but…..eh…not rocking my socks off.

So far I don’t know what the twists are going to be this season – maybe they mentioned them in last night’s premiere, but honestly I didn’t pay attention to much of it because I was talking to my own prince charming :). I did see the “This Season on the Bachelor” montage of dramatic scenes, tears, hugs and drunk girls at the end, with the climactic ambulance sirens, 911 call, girls covering their mouths and hugging and Brad saying “I never thought it would turn out this way.” What, does a girl die this season? Is that the twist? That would be new and different, ABC. I’m sure they just spliced in a comment of Brad saying that though, and he probably wasn’t even talking about the 911 emergency.

In my limited viewing of last night’s show, I still managed to see most of the Bachelor predictable-ness in all its glory. There were the squealing girls in the limos as they approached the first-night party mansion. “Oh my gosh, he’s so hot!” Ya think? Maybe they thought the twist would be ABC calling this season “The Bachelor: Joke’s on You / The Ugliest Bachelor in Bachelor History.” I didn’t see most of the getting-out-of-the-limo introductions, but I think I caught a recap of one girl speaking Hawaiian or something. Always has to be one that tries to impress by speaking a foreign language right off the bat. Hello, maybe you didn’t get the memo, but he’s from TEXAS. He’s AMERICAN. He don’t speak no other languages.

During the apparently all-night party (because at the end Chris Harrison kept saying “good morning” and “good night” to the girls before the rose ceremony), I caught glimpses of (1) girls doing weird talents, (2) girls going over the top to draw attention to themselves by, say, hopping in the pool in a bikini in the middle of a cocktail party and walking towards Brad illuminated by the moonlight like some kind of woodland goddess, (3) girls showing off weird body parts – um, webbed feet…?, (4) girls getting too plastered off the free wine to talk straight by the time they got their one-on-one moment with Brad - you know who you are Melissa, and (5) girls getting jealous when he comes and gets the first impression rose out from under their hovering noses and takes it to the sweetly unsuspecting Phoenix Suns cheerleader. All pretty par for the Bachelor course.

And of course, the end of the show brought all the Bachelor clich├ęs of Brad making “THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION HE’S EVER HAD TO MAKE IN HIS LIFE” and staring at the shrine of girls’ pictures interspersed with candles to help him make his decision (or at least remember their names…maybe they have their names engraved on the bottom of the pictures so he can spend his time rehearsing them.

I was washing dishes while he handed out roses, so I don’t really know who he picked, though I did take note that he kept Hilary (the nurse) and I didn’t hear him call the Kim girl so maybe she was an airhead or ugly or something. The line that kills me because Chris Harrison says it EVERY time, with EXACTLY the same inflection is “Ladies, Brad, this is the final rose tonight.” He did not disappoint last night. He even added in just for good measure my second favorite line, after the final rose had been given, “Ladies, I’m sorry…if you did not receive a rose, take a moment, and say your goodbyes.” Oh Chris Harrison, I bet you say those lines in your sleep. But it’s all part of the Bachelor charm.

Til next week…let the group dates begin!


Life's a beach

I am either very on top of things right now or just really putting off re-entering the real world after 4 days at the beach, since I'm posting this the same night I got back. I think it's the latter, considering my suitcase is still fully packed, I've prepared no food for the week, and I'm not going to bed despite having to get up 8 hours from now.

Anyway, this (long) weekend was a chance to get in some quality family time, since we never know what tomorrow or next week or next month holds, especially for mom. God was so good in giving her a pretty pain-free weekend, feeling good, and blessing all of us with safe travels, bright sunny weather, and an all-around good, relaxing time. The Tapps kept Paisley for the weekend (SO thankful for that!), and mom, dad & I drove down Thursday morning in some ominous weather - cloudy, chilly, windy and a little rainy. When we got to the condo, dad and I apparently conked out within minutes - me on the sofa, him on the master bed - so mom just went ahead and made a grocery list and went to the store by herself! Oops, sorry mom!

Friday morning, I can't believe it, but I slept til 10:45 (!) and then went for a long walk on the beach and did my leg workout to the best of my ability without the machines at the gym. I have GOT to remember to put on sunscreen when I run or walk on the beach when it's cloudy, because I have a nice little sunburn in the shape of my sportsbra to prove that 80% of the sun's rays DO come through the clouds. So I spent a lot of the rest of the time trying to even that out, without much luck. Hillary and Allen arrived Friday afternoon and we all enjoyed a breezy but pleasant afternoon on the beach.

We went out to dinner at Lee's Inlet Kitchen - our favorite place for pretty much my whole life - Friday night. It never disappoints. The hushpuppies and honey butter are the best you will ever taste, and the 5 of us went through 2 baskets. Everyone gives me a hard time for going to a seafood place at the beach and not getting seafood, but I just really love their grilled chicken, so I get it every time. Why pay $25 for fish when the $18 chicken is so good? Dad got his standard shrimp creole, and Hillary, Allen & Mom all got salmon. They even seated us near the fish tank we used to love looking at when we were little and would go to Lee's with the whole Johns side of the family :).

Saturday was another pretty low-key day...some laying out, dad getting in the ocean, some pool sitting, some reading and football, etc. That night we had a fun game of Spades - mom and me versus Hillary and Allen. Mom and I just could not get good cards to save our lives and quickly fell way down into negative numbers - I think at one point to -190something. Hill and Allen were winning quite handily, especially after I lost a nil with a 10 of diamonds! But somehow we crept back into it, after I was able to pull off nil, we got Allen to lose a nil on a 2 of spades on the last trick, and H & A lost points for too many sandbags. We ended the game after mom and I finally pulled ahead in the score....and then I went to call Wade and gloat :).

Today was just the clean up and drive home kinda deal, and Paisley is now passed out on my floor after I think she had the time of her life being spoiled by the Tapps and having Brinkley to play with! She'll probably be lonely all week :(.