Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mission Accomplished

I swear, I think that half of my company must have had the item, "Drive Joni crazy" on their To Do List today.

Friday, July 18, 2008

100 years ago today.....

100 years ago on this date, my grandfather Ed was born.

Happy Birthday Popo. Wish that I would have had the chance to have you in my life a little longer than I did.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

12 of 12 - July 12

It's the 12th again, so it is time for the 12 of 12 again. See Chad Darnell's blog for all the rules.

Always glad to have a 12 of 12 fall on a weekend, especially one where I have plans to leave the house. The plan is to go down to the 'decorator district' with my next door neighbor Katie and buy the material for my dining room curtains.

10:23 a.m. - The DOT has been working on the interstate every weekend for the last few months, and they close 3 or 4 the lanes to do the work. So, Katie and I decided to take the one of the back ways to avoid the back up on the highway. Along the way, we passed the Georgia Dome.

10:25 a.m. - Katie doing her best "bringing sexy back" dance while at a red light. She is such a nut - I really enjoy hanging out with her.

11:14 a.m. - Here is the material Katie will be making my curtains out of. It is from the Ralph Lauren collection (swank), but it was in the clearance room, so I could sort of afford it. The colors match my room colors perfectly. The darker red is the color of the dining room walls and the khaki is the color of the living room and the connecting hallway. I can't wait to finally have that room completed.

11:58 a.m. - We next head over to Atlantic Station. This area use to be the old Atlantic Steel Company where my grandfather worked back in the 1950s and 60s. Now, it is a huge mixed use development.

12:02 p.m. - which includes an Ikea (yay!). I can smell the cinnamon rolls from here. It's almost as good as that Krispie Kreme smell. (I said almost.)

12:39 p.m. - Some Ikea light fixtures. I'm sure that they have some wonderful, crazy name like Flarb or Ljorg or something.

12:47 p.m. - Aaahh - a Klimt. The college dorm room staple (well, either that or a Monet.)

1:22 p.m. - Leaving the Ikea, we passed the Atlanta Water Works. Katie is learning how to play this 12 of 12 game, so she slowed down at the top of the little hill so that I could get a clear shot without as many cars in the way.

1:39 p.m. - Back in March, a tornado hit the dowtown Atlanta hotel and business district. The three buildings in the center of this shot (the Peachtree Plaza Hotel, the Georgia Pacific Building, and the Equitable Building) all took a pretty bad hit during the storm and a number of windows were blown out. If you look closely at the Peachtree Plaza, you can see a lot of black squares all down the side where windows were destroyed and still haven't been replaced.

1:55 p.m. - As we got back to Hapeville, we passed by the new Butterfly art installation that the city unveiled last month. There are about 20 of them spread out along our main street and they are really cute. I especially like the Chick-fil-a Butterfly.

2:17 p.m. - On the way home, we stopped for lunch at the Academy Grill. Love their baked sweet potatoes, corn bread and mac and cheese.

9:45 p.m. - My brother got me hooked on this Goodreads website. You basically log all of your books - the ones that you've read, that you are currently reading, that you own but haven't read, etc. You can see what you and your friends have read in common, and also rate and/or review the books you've completed. Here I am rating my cousin Bonnie's books. (I'm not biased - they are all completely worthy of 5 stars!) So far I've added 705 books, and my brother is at 1,288. No matter how many I add, or how fast I add them, he continues to stay at least 500 books ahead of me. And knowing Steve, I may never catch up.

Well, that's it for this month. Hope you enjoyed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Longest Day

I decided to surprise my cousin Bonnie for her birthday by hoping a flight to Los Angeles and showing up unannounced at the closing night of the showcase that she produces. Sounds easy, right?

Yeah - not so much.

It started out fairly easy - I emailed one of her friends, the fabulous Deb McCarthy, to be my co-conspirator, and she was thrilled with the prospect. She added me as an unnamed guest when she sent in her RSVP, and she advised me of the logistics of where I was going and best, least expensive way to get there. Then, I worked the July 4th holiday and some extra hours at the start of the week, so that I was in a good place to be off for the trip. Things are really busy at work lately, and I also knew that I didn't want my visit to be a disruption to Bonnie as she works her butt off on these showcases and would probably be pretty wiped out by the end. So, the plan was for a very short trip - total time in LA to be about 14 hours.

Things started promisingly enough Thursday morning. I woke up at 5:00 am ET and my neighbor Katie dropped me at the airport on her way to work at 6:30. The flight I was standing by for was scheduled to leave at 8:30 am and it had a lot of open seats. Got through security quickly and was at the gate within minutes. Started to get a bagel at the Wall Street Deli, but they only had cinnamon raisin left, so I figured I'd just wait and eat what they had on the plane. I cleared standby with no problems, and boarded with an aisle seat near the front. And hey! Celebrity siting (rapper from ATL that was spoofed hilariously by Dave Chappell) and I'm not even in LA yet.

As I fastened my seat belt and got out my magazine, the pilot comes over the loud speaker and says that we have a problem with a fuel pump and they need to bring over a new plane. So - everybody off the plane. Oh, and the new plane? It has 30 fewer seats, so all standby passengers? Thank you for playing, please try again.

For the next couple of hours, I (and several others) went from gate to gate, hoping to clear. The airport was incredibly crowded and the weather was getting pretty bad. But I was making the best of it and enjoying my new standby friends, including a retired Delta couple that was returning from a 72 day cruise around the world (their 2nd!), a young LA school teacher returning from a 3 week vacation in Chile, and a dumb chick that thought it would would be a smart idea to save the $100 difference between a discounted confirmed ticket and non-confirmed buddy pass instead when she was flying to LA to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding.

Finally, after 4 failed attempts, and another mechanical problem, we were down to my last shot - the 4:00 pm flight. It would arrive in LA at 6:00 and I would have 2 hours to make it to the show. My luck returned and I and my new found standby friends all cleared and started to board. Then a storm hit and they had to suspend boarding for a bit. Once we completed boarding, it looked like we would still leave just a few minutes late, but then they decided to hold the flight for some connecting passengers that arrived late due to the storm. After staring out the window at the returning rain and trying to mentally will the pilot to get started, we finally departed at 5:00 pm.
About that time, I realized that I hadn't eaten a thing all day and none of the meal choices were working for me due to allergies. But I had some Biscoff (yum) so that helped. Things also got better as I won the first round of in-flight Trivia. Yay me!

Arrived in LA at 6:45 pm PT and quickly determined that the only way I would make it in time was a cab ride through LA traffic. Following several 'where are you now?" phone calls to Deb, and the most Expensive! Cab! Ride! Ever! I arrived with 10 whole minutes to spare.

And my baby cousin? Well, when the response you receive from your intended surpise vicitm is 1. Mouth drops open, 2. The word "Holy" combined with a curse word is uttered, and 3. Tears, you figure it was a success.

Bonnie looked great, the showcase was wonderful, and her friends, as usual, embraced me and made me feel so completely welcomed (like Eitan below). I'm so incredibly proud of Bonnie and all she has accomplished, and it is so great to see all of her hard work on display first hand. The even more satisfying part though, was at the after party, when I heard person after person talk about how much they love Bonnie and how much she has helped them.

Unfortunately, by 11:00 pm PT, the party was over for me, and I had to get back to the airport for my return flight. Which was delayed (of course) and allowed all the late arrivals to make the flight, thereby robbing me of a seat. By that time, the early morning flight would be departing within 4 hours anyway, so I ended up spending the night in the airport. There were only about 10 of us, and most found quite corners and fell asleep in the floor or on benches, but I can't sleep sitting up, so I was getting a little giddy. I made a friend with a sweetheart of a guy named Dean, who like me couldn't sleep. He was on his way to Mexico to visit his girlfriend who was there helping to build a medical facility. We stayed entertained with his i-phone for a while, and wandered the terminal until dawn broke and the others woke up.

We all made the 6:00 am PT flight, and I after watching 5 episodes of a Project Runway marathon on the in-flight satellite TV, I was home by 3:00 pm ET - 34 sleepless hours after I had begun.

Yeah - totally worth it all. :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Belated Congratulations

Congratulations to my friend Laura and her husband Matt on the birth of Parker.

Isn't he cute? :-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

I'm back

Yes - I'm still alive.

I've been a little out of the loop for the last two weeks. It started out innocently enough - I bought a new surge protector that is supposed to consolidate and hide all the many cords to my computer. So, early last week, I unplugged everything and cleaned my desk from top to bottom. But then I got tired and figured that I'd put the computer back together the following day. Two weeks later, following several busy days at work, multiple power outages caused by thunderstorms, a dead mouse (computer mouse, not the Mickey kind) and then finally, a kidney stone. (Yeah - cause what I really needed in the midst of all of the intermittent numbness, tingling, and nerve pain is a freakin' kidney stone.)

Since we are blocked from using Internet email and MySpace from our work computers, when I finally got plugged back in last night, I had a lot to catch up on. However, instead of doing that, I ended up spending the rest of the evening and way into the wee early morning hours on YouTube looking at 80s music videos and half of the Live Aid concert. This was exceptionally silly of me since I have the whole concert on VHS (from where I taped it live back in 1985) as well as the official DVD version. But, you know how it is with YouTube, you go look up one little Adam and the Ants video and then one related video leads to another and next thing you know, it is 3:45 am and you're bopping through the house to Wake Me Up Before you Go-Go and trying to remember where you stored your Choose Life t-shirt.

The bulk of what I ended up watching were selected individual performances from the 1985 Live Aid Concert. Here are a few things that came to mind as dawn approached...

**Ahhh - 1985. Back when I still thought that George Michael, Freddie Mercury and Elton John were all straight.

**I forgot that Bono use to have a mullet. Yeah - it was a cool Irish rebel mullet, but it was a mullet none the less.

**I had also forgotten how much I was in love with U2's bassist Adam Clayton back in the day. (I had a thing for bass players.) Also forgot how much the drummer looked like my best friend's then boyfriend (now husband) Mark.

**Man, that Bono mullet was really popular in the UK in 85. I've counted at least 7 so far and we haven't even gotten to the US portion of the concert yet.

**Was Elvis Costello ever really young?

**The CSIs have pretty much ruined The Who for me forever.

**I thought that Bananarama performed at this concert. Guess I was wrong.

**No matter how old I get, I can not see Thomas Dolby without shouting "Science!"

**Dang, along with my crushes on Bono and Adam C, we had John Taylor of Duran Duran (see - another bass player) Sting (bass player), David Bowie, Adam Ant, Paul Young, Nik Kershaw, Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams, Adam Ant, and Michael Hutchence. I was in love with them all - no wonder I got up at 6:30 a.m. and camped out in front of the TV for 17 hours that day.

**In 1985, when you talked about the Hooters, you weren't talking about boobs. (Also, more Bono mullets)

**Say what you will about Madonna, but she was able to perform outdoors, in the middle of a hot July day, in a long sleeved brocade jacket and pants (most clothes on Madonna ever!), while dancing her ass off in a choreographed routine where she never misses a step, and she still managed to actually SING! LIVE! IN HER OWN VOICE! and sounded pretty good too. All of today's so called 'artists' who need 'guiding vocals' or have to lip sync a taped, 2 minute, indoor performance - please take note - it can really be done. Well, at least if you have an ounce of singing talent to begin with it can.

**Damnit! No matter how many times I listen to In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins, I screw up air drumming the cool part every frickin time.

**Ooohh - Power Station. A double dose of John Taylor!

**Oh, but forgot that this was the "touring" version of Power Station, featuring Michael Des Barres instead of Robert Palmer. So demerit points for that.

**Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins remains one of my most favorite songs of all time. Alannah Currie on the xylophone - nuff said!

**Do They Know its Christmas kicks We Are the World in the butt every time.

**I remember being so unbelievably inspired by all that went on that year, and knowing in my heart that I could go out an change the world. I made a good stab at it for several years. And then suddenly, I didn't. I don't know where I went wrong along the way, but maybe this detour into the past didn't happen by accident. Maybe I needed to be reminded of who I was and what my dreams were in order to get back on that road.

**God bless Bob Geldof and Midge Ure's little hearts.