Thursday, September 29, 2011

Days Like Today Make Me Want To Stay

Days like today make me want to stay put here in Charlotte. It was on of those days that you soak up every minute of, knowing it will soon be gone. I met up with several women in my ward at the park for lunch. We each brought a lunch and some brought dessert. It was so fun to mingle given the fact that Sunday's are far from the time to get to know the people in your ward. I'd guess there were a good 25 sisters there. We have some amazing sisters in our ward. I know this is going to be the hardest thing about leaving Charlotte. I love my ward, especially the fantastic friendships that I've developed over the past 4 years.
My drivers license expires on my birthday. Given the fact that it is just too close for comfort from when I move to the day it expires I decided it would just be safer it I paid the $32 and got a new one. It's good for 8 years so if in that time I decide to move back, I won't have to retake that incredibly hard test. As I waited for them to call ticket 175, I enjoyed an hour and 20 minutes of conversation with a man who had just moved to clt. He had lived in many places, had several rentals, and was full of advice. It was amazing how quickly that hour and 20 minutes went by.
Since I was near by, I had to stop in at my favorite Sushi joint for my last Tiger Roll. It was delicious, but not as good when I share conversation with my friend Carley, as she is usually the only person I go there with. I then stopped by the cute little furniture store down the street from my house, where I purchased a coat rack. I have been wanting a coat rack for a long time and finally got a darling one that will be perfect for all of the coats and scarves that I will use in just 1 short month.
I then went to Talbots for my last time for what I know will be several months. The employees know me very well, probably the most of any place I go to in CLT. I only spent close to 2 hours there, but got some amazing deals. Most were 75% off the lowest marked price and then I had a coupon for an extra 10% off my entire purchase. I won't tell you how much I spent, but I got some good finds; mostly basics like tank tops and short sleeved shirts which are nice to put under jackets and sweaters, 3 pairs of dress pants as I will now be dressing up for work most days, 2 pairs of jeans not like I need anymore jeans, but I really liked the way these fit, and 2 darling jackets. I mean really, who can pass up a jacket that only costs $10, regularly $100?
By then it was nearly 8 and time for book club at Taya's. I didn't read the book and we didn't really talk about the book, but boy did we have an enjoyable time talking and eating some amazing cinnamon rolls made by Taya.
Yes, I will miss these dear friends who aren't just friends, but who have become family. My mom commented today about how she knows how hard it will be for me to leave my friends as they have all been so good to me. These are my "adult friends" the ones that will be my friends forever. Today at lunch Sister Sigg gave me the sweetest gift, a beautiful hankie with crochet around it. She said it was to catch my tears that I would shed on Sunday. It reminded me of my grandmother and something she would have given me. It reminded me of when I went through the temple and my aunt gave me one, saying it would have been what grandma Swensen would have given me if she was here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Decorating For Fall

I'm dying to decorate for fall, but given the fact that all of my stuff is being packed up in the next 2 weeks there really is no reason for me to drag it all out. So to get my fall fix I've some how given my blog a new fall look. And I'll post some fall finds in my travels over the past few weeks. And maybe a few oldies but goodies...
Ghirardelli in New York City
Hate these pictures of me, but love the windows in NYC
Sunflowers on the streets of NYC.
Boone, NC
The beginning of Fall in Boone, NC
Boone, NC
My little porch 2 years ago.
I'm going to miss my green wall.
Last year at Grandma and Grandpa Young's. Can't wait for this years festivities!
We love this tree and the beauty it produces at my parents house. Hope it looks like this when I get there this year.
Ok, now I need to be productive on my day off. Let's pack some boxes. Maybe I'll go through my shoes, since I only have about 500 pair and I only wear about 10 of them. Eventually I need to defrost and clean the freezer. Not looking forward to that.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nothing that a little pumpkin cheesecake and Christmas music won't cure...

I'm feeling a wee bit stressed with so much to do before my big move in less than 3 weeks. To calm my nerves a bit I am listening to Christmas music and eating pumpkin cheesecake. I think it's a temporary fix. I am so excited that this move is going to enable me to be home for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas this year. I haven't been home for Halloween since I have had nieces and nephews; I think it has been at least 8 or 9 years. I can't wait for the holiday festivities. But for now I need to eat a little lunch before heading back to work. It seems that I have lived in the ER the last week, oh wait I have. I am on a 8 of 9 day streak; only 2 days left. Then 2 days off, 4 days on, 2 days off, then 1 off, 1 or 2 on and then I'm done! My last day will officially be either Oct. 10 or 11. When writing this I just got a text that my last shift will be covered! So much to do and so little time. I'm sure it will all get done before I leave, if not the movers will just pack it all up and I will have to go through things when I get to unpack it all. I think for now I will just enjoy Christmas music and all of the pumpkin "stuff" this season offers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Vacation Begins At Home And Some Endings too

Yesterday Tenielle and I headed up to the mountains. We enjoyed the scenery. There was a little hint of fall in the trees. I took Tenielle to the cheese factory in Ashe County. It was just as delicious as the last time I went there. We then went to Boone and Blowing Rock. This is what we saw
Only in the south my friends!

And for dinner we went to what everyone told me I had try Dan'l Boone Restaurant. It wasn't that great. But it was a nice experience and our waitress was very nice.
Today was a great day. We went to lunch at Amelies French Bakery with friends from church. It was so awesome. I can't believe I've never gone there before. I better make up for it the next 4 weeks while I'm still here.
Tonight my work had a going away party for me. It was bittersweet. I love the people I work with. I am who I am today because of them.
Sure going to miss these ladies aka. my therapist

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Absolutely Fabulous Sunday

Today was a great day. Didn't sleep all that great last night, as a few hours after I went to bed at midnight I woke up starving, so had to get up and eat some cereal. So I would have loved to have slept in, but I go to church on Sunday's. Every single one, no if, ands, or buts about it. My sister Tenielle flew in last night! That meant we both had to get ready and be out the door by 830 to get to church on time. I played the organ today and couldn't believe how many people were there. Actually we had a record for some time. We had 243 there, tons of investigators and a few new families. I love my ward family and am going to be sad to leave them. Every time I think of leaving them my eyes well up with tears.
After church Tenielle and I got things ready for dinner, talked about our morning 10 years ago on Blaine Avenue when with towels on our heads we saw our nation changed forever, and even snuck in a short nap before my friend Karen's family, excluding her traveling husband and my friends Katie and Seth's family came for dinner. We had a total of 7 young kids in my home. Their laughter and chatting was truly music to my ears. I love these kids, they bring me so much joy and happiness. Our dinner was so yummy too. I made roasted vegetables and garlic balsamic pork tenderloin; first time for both which were delicious. We also had home canned applesauce, Tenille made yummy rolls, and we had apple crisp for dessert. Remember I'm a social eater so yes I'm going to go into detail. Big plus that I got to eat Sunday dinner with people, one of my favorite things. We had such great conversations and had a wonderful time building upon friendships.

Tenielle and I are going to NYC on Wednesday. We are going to visit the 9/11 memorial, which I'm sure will be very touching. I'm still awed as all are at the events of 9/11. The last few days I've watched programs about the firefighters who went into the buildings. A total of 343 were lost that day. One of the wives said that her husband still would have gone into those buildings knowing he was going to die, because that is what he did? I wonder, would I have too? It was interesting to see on one show that the ER's had set up triage 's outside, but when the buildings came down there wasn't much they could do to help anyone. I wonder how I would have felt as a health care provider knowing I couldn't do anything with my skills and knowledge.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Apparently Summer Is Over...

Apparently Summer is over given the fact that today is Labor Day and school is in session. This past summer definitely didn't go quite as I had planned. Don't get me wrong, it was a great summer. I don't recall having "getting a new job" on my summer to do list though . As of this week I only have 6 weeks until I'm officially finished with my job here. It is a bittersweet feeling.
I love this time of year when the days finally cool off. We have had a very hot, very humid, very long summer here in the south, but I still love it and will miss it, well maybe not the month of July! I will miss so much hanging out at momma Middlebrooks pool all afternoon, chatting, drinking fruit drinks, sitting in the pool with my book in hand, and chatting. I love my summers! Love the sun. Love the atmosphere at the pool. And will be back for a few days in the sun each summer for sure. I will admit I am just a little excited for sweater season, autumn colors, fall leaves, and the smell of pumpkin spice; of course with my flip flops and painted toenails!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New York City 2011 Trip 1

A few weeks ago I realized that I had a few days off. With a few switcharoo's at work I got a few more days off. I decided that It was time to visit my friend Shelley and her adorable little family in New York City. I can't believe it has taken me a year and a half to visit my friends. What a horrible friend I am. I now realize I should have visited New York at least once a year over the past nearly 10 years that I have lived on the east coast. A ticket only costs about $230 round trip. That is so cheap when you are going to an expensive city. I learned however not to think about what I was spending, but to just enjoy the experience. I left Friday morning. After riding the bus and then the subway, I exited onto 72nd and walked my first 2 of many blocks towards Shelley's home. It was such a joy to see her and to see how her darling children have grown. She fed me a delicious lunch of southwest egg rolls (I think that's what she called them) and then we hit the pavement starting of course in Central Park.
I was fascinated with all of the people, the street vendors, and the entertainers all along the way. We then ventured into the city a bit. The coolest thing was to see the statue of Moroni amongst all of the skyscrapers.
Keep in mind is was so hot and humid=not fashionable.
We ventured from the temple to the Lincoln Center and Julliard. I would have loved to have heard a concert at Julliard.
We then had us some super yummy donut like treats before heading back to the house.
For dinner that night Shelley introduced me to Shake Shack hamburgers, where we enjoyed them in front of the museum of natural history. Let me just say they are just about as good as a cookout burger. Matt took the kids and we headed to Time Square where there really weren't a lot of people given the fact that most people had left the city because of the incoming hurricane. Not us, Shelley was prepared. Time Square was pretty awesome.
We ended up walking all the way back to Shelley's instead of taking the subway. It was a ways but I enjoyed all of the sights and sounds.
Saturday we got up early and went to the Staton Island Ferry so that I could see the Statue of Liberty, however we first had to stop and get us a New York Bagel with the best sun dried tomato cream cheese I have ever tasted.
Because of the hurricane the entire NYC transit system shut down at noon. We caught the last train back. I think we were the craziest people in the city to be out and about before the hurricane was to hit. We had a great time though.
See no one was in the subway station put us, kind of spooky.
That afternoon I met some of their ward members as we took the kids to the church gym to get all of their energy out from being cooped up in their small apartment.
It rained a few drops on us, but nothing like I have experienced in NC. Speaking of their apartment, I loved it. The bathroom is I think marble floors, ceiling, and walls; so cool. I also loved that they had a doorman 24/7 who knows their names and their children's names. It is so cute.
Did I mention that my friend Shelley is a gourmet cook. Yep she is, not by trade in the business world, but by trade in the real world. Saturday she made bread, homemade pizza, the starter for Sunday's sour dough pancakes and her speciality that I actually crave, Carrot-Ginger soup; to die for!
So Saturday night we filled pots, just in case the power really did go out from the hurricane. It rained hard all night and there was some wind, but thankfully Sunday morning when we woke it had pretty much passed. Because of all the hype from "the hurricane that wasn't" (Matt's words) and the fact that the subway was still down, church was canceled, so we had some scripture time with the kids and an adult scripture study that evening. That afternoon we walked down to the Hudson river. It was such a lovely walk and because of the storm it was cool, which was great given the fact that the last few days had been super hot and humid. I will truly miss the east coast that allowed me to experience sweat dripping down my back into my b-crack. Yes, we just get use to it here, what will I ever do with so much dry air? Do you know it is amazing to me how in such a big city you run into your neighbors all the time, meaning Shelley's. It was so cool. We ran into some of her ward members when we were down enjoying the cool breeze at the Hudson. Shelley again delighted us with Sunday dinner and taught me a new favorite way to cook vegetables, especially sweet potato's, roasted in the oven! Loved them.
Monday morning we set out again on foot, given the fact that they don't have a car and that is just how people get around in NYC. We first visited the Museum of Natural History, which is only a few blocks from their house. It was so fun.
One of my most favorite parts was heading to midtown where we visited a lovely bakery
and the library. Who would have thought a library would be so entertaining. The architecture was AMAZING! Just take a look...
Then we went to Chinatown via the subway.
This was one of my favorite parts of NY, especially because we first stopped at the Chinese Branch where Matt is the branch president. All of the missionaries were there and some were even teaching an English class. It was totally awesome. One of the sister's took us to a Chinese restaurant where we had some real Chinese food, not my favorite, but an experience.
This guy was cutting up stinky fruit. Wonder what it tastes like.
We then headed down to Little Italy where we ate pizza and had gelato.
I also splurged on dessert for later when the children were in bed. I do love the outside markets in NYC, especially in Chinatown. I'd venture to say their's just nothing like it in all of the US.
Shelley getting ready for her first bite of heaven!
They looked bad because the kids tipped them over, but they were still delicious. Tuesday we walked through a different area of Central Park, went to the MET (art museum), then walked some another part Central Park, had a cookie from Levaines; Chocolate with Peanut Butter chips (my favorite by far) and a molasis cookie from Alice's Tea Cup which was delicious too. I fell in love with ATC. I even splurged on a cookbook from there that I'm sure will become a favorite. This is where my trip ends. I had so much fun that I have decided to bring my sister back in a few weeks. I can't wait to share with her all of the fun things that I experienced. I still can't believe I am just now learning of this great city. Here are some of my favorite pictures from my last day in NYC.
I know it's just a bike, but I liked seeing this in NYC.
It's not every day you see an artist painting a picture of NYC outside your door.
This Jazz band was awesome. I loved that he was playing to the scotty dog.
Maddy walking through an area of Central Park. I love this picture!