Category Archives: memories

2009: A Year in Review

I had planned on breaking this into two separate posts, but time got away from me.  Here’s what I’ve been up to the last 12 months:

January

  • 30 days of 30
  • First ski/snowboard trip
  • Neil Clennon Reffett was born

February

FAIL

March

  • Work trip to San Francisco (two posts… here and here)

yep, that's a CRUISE ship on the right

April

Clennon and I post-race

May

The girls of Hewett 6 (minus Jo)

June

  • Ohio for Reds/Cubs game
  • Ryan Joseph Lingas was born
  • Started the Great Paint Project

Self-portrait attempt #2. This pic is horrible, but I LOVE it 'cuz it's so real!

July

  • Infamous Rural King incident
  • Cubs/Cardinals game
  • Stephanie’s bachelorette party
  • Hayden Michael Bates was born


August

After

Highlight of the trip: Getting up on waterskiis for the first time!

the entire bridal party!

September

  • 4th 5K
  • Surprise birthday tailgate

October

The bigger the hair, the closer to God

November

December

  • Kim’s surprise birthday party
  • Christmas with my dad’s side
  • Oak Ridge Boys concert
  • First Christmas with my new niece
  • CHRISTMAS BREAK!!!

Birthday girl doing shots

My 92 year old Grannie and my newborn GREAT niece

In addition, there were countless nights out, NUMEROUS trips to Chicago and plenty of downtime.  All in all it was a pretty good year.  I can’t wait to see what 2010 has in store for me.

A mini-reunion

Some of you might remember that a while back, I re-connected with my college friend Jessie via facebook.  (Don’t remember?  Read this post!)

Well, On Thursday, I was lucky enough to re-connect with Jess in person–after 10 years!!  She was in Chicago visiting family, so our friend Kelly and I drove in to meet her.

We had some beer, some Chicago-style pizza and lots and lots of laughs.  We were able to reminisce about the “good ole” days and I was able to meet her partner Kirsten, who is a doll.

The only thing missing from this reunion was our other friend (and now my sister-in-law) Jo.  She lives in Southern Illinois and couldn’t get off work, but we called her so that she could at least feel like she was part of the festivities.

Here’s to old friends!!

Kirsten and Jess

Kirsten and Jess

Kelly and I-- self-portrait!

Kelly and I-- self-portrait!

The girls of Hewett 6 (minus Jo)

The girls of Hewett 6 (minus Jo)

group shot self-portrait: Kelly, Cari, Jess, Kirsten

group shot self-portrait: Kelly, Cari, Jess, Kirsten

30 days of 30: Week 2

Whew… what a week!   Here’s the rundown:

Monday– Lunch at Luna with co-workers Kurt and Scott

Tuesday– Lunch at Houlihan’s with Tracy, Cynthia, and Julie. I used to play Bunco with these girls and now we keep up via facebook, so it was nice to see them in person after way too long!

WednesdayJanet’s day (see earlier post).

Then I went to the Illini game with Cory, Bobbi, and Lacey.  They were the best seats I’ve ever been in:  12 rows up, right behind the Orange Crush (cell phone pic doesn’t do it justice.)

seats

view from our seats

Thursday–  Book club.  We discussed Freakanomics, which was universally enjoyed.  I’ll consider this day Bonny’s, since she hosted and Scott and Kurt both have their own days.

Friday–   Ron’s day.   The plan?  To go to bars we don’t normally go to.  Ron was going to pick 3 and I was going to pick 3.  Cool.

Then Cory called and wanted to do Happy Hour.  Since Ron had dinner plans, it worked out well.  I met Cory and Co. at Bunny’s for happy hour. (If you click the Bunny’s link, you’ll see a pic of Cory at a parking lot party last summer– he’s as famous for Bunny’s as I am for the Esquire–ahah!). We drank buckets, ate Bosco sticks and played some Euchre.  Ron showed up, hung out for a bit and then it was off to meet Chad for the bar crawl.

First stop:  The Embassy.  There was a band, so we had to pay a $5 cover charge, even though we only stayed for one drink.  Then we went to Crane Alley, The Brass Rail and Bentley’s.  The last two bars are the only ones I hadn’t been to before.  And  I don’t ever need to step foot in the Brass Rail again, but I’ll definitely go back to Bentley’s.

All in all, it was a good night… but Happy Hour + Bar crawl was probably not one of my best ideas.

Saturday– Saturday was like two nights in one.

First I met Andrea and Amanda (from boot camp) at La Gourmandise Bistro for dinner and to listen to a storyteller.  I’d never been to the bistro before and I’d never heard a storyteller, so it was a bunch of firsts for me.  The bistro was cute (although I made a poor soup selection) and the storyteller was entertaining, but nothing to write home about.   We left after the first act and went to Crane Alley for drinks and dessert.   It was great to be able to hang out with those girls.  I miss boot camp!

After that, I met Erin, Jeff, Jaime, Dave, Chachi, Bubba, Nikki and Andrea at Boltini.  They had been out for some family birthdays and were getting ready to leave when I got there.  I had one drink and then we went to Fat City.  If you haven’t been there yet, it’s exactly the same.  Only nicer.  If that makes much sense.   Erin, Jeff, Jaime, and Dave left and the rest of us headed to Tumble Inn.

100_1928

Chachi & I @ Tumble Inn

Erin & Chachi @ Fat City

Erin & Chachi @ Fat City

As usual, TI was a late night Mecca for Unity grads, so there were plenty of people I knew there (some of whom I didn’t actually talk to).  I stayed until close, but this was a much calmer night than  the bar crawl.  It pays to pace oneself.

Sunday–  Since Monday is a holiday, my sister Kelli signed up for Sunday night.   Kelli, her boyfriend Doug, and my brother David picked me up at noon and we went to Radio Maria for lunch.  To my surprise, my mom, Aunt Linda, and Uncle Denny were there as well.  We had a nice lunch and I think I was able to introduce some of them to a new restaurant, so that was kinda cool.

After lunch, we had a drink at the Esquire and then went back to TI to watch some football. (Okay, it was mostly so some of the crowd could smoke, but whatever.)   It was a fun afternoon, but I was super tired from the rest of the weekend.   I came home with full intentions of watching the Steelers game, but fell asleep on the couch.  For 12 hours.   I must’ve been tired.

Definitely a super fun-filled week.  It’s so cool to be able to hang out with so many different people and try new things. After the first week-o-lunches I was starting to think all I was going to do was eat… but now I’m looking forward to some low-key non-drinking events in the days to come!

A few observations at the half-way point:

  • If “professional storyteller” is a real job, then I think I might have a new career path.  If that lady can get up and tell stories–so can I!!
  • I really need to try to take more pictures, but I’m usually just having a good time hanging out with people that I forget I even have my camera.  Maybe next week.
  • Pacing is key.  Even though 8 bars in 3 days sounds like fun… functioning the next day is important!  I really am starting to feel almost 30.

2008: The Year in Review, Part 1

I was without internet for a little over a week, so I’m a bit behind on my blogging.  But I didn’t want 2008 to go un-documented, so here is part 1 of my month-by-month account of my life’s activities.   Luckily, I have this handy little blog to help me remember what I did!!

January started with New Year’s eve in Tuscola.
466
Then it was Cops & Robbers Bunco at Kim’s
522
And a wine tasting at my house:
470
February, of course, is my birthday month, what more do you need??
603
5651
March–  I started blogging, albeit covertly.
We had Bunco at Tonyas:
672I went to Vegas with my family:
100_0754
And Cooper Philip Pollard was born:
100_0838
April– I got a new car, saw a baby left alone in a car seat; and Backyard Tire Fire at Highdive; there was an earthquake and Lost came back on the air after a much-too-long writers strike.

I also went to New Orleans for work (yes, there are better pix of this trip, but I’ll just post this one to spare the, uh, innocent!!)
wpa4eva

May--  We celebrated Lisa’s birthday with a happy hour, I went to  Atlanta for work, and took in a stray dog.
My dog had surgery:
surgery
I saw Chicago in Peoria with Jen:
chi
And went to St. Louis to celebrate Jeff’s 30th birthday:
13
June- Can you believe the only thing on my calendar is that I started boot camp? I’m sure there were other things going on, but I didn’t write it down.
So, there you have it– the first 6 months of 2008 as told through photos and blog posts.  I’m sure there are plenty of things that I’m missing, but those are some of the high points.
Stay tuned for part 2 and a New Year’s Resolution post.  Then, it will be back to your regularly scheduled programming :)

Foto Friday: Broken Foot Edition

I was looking through old pictures to find photos of my college buddies for this week’s Website Wednesday when I came across this photo.  Although the quality of the photograph is poor, it’s a perfect choice for Foto Friday due to the story that surrounds it.

It was Spring Break 2000 in Panama City, Florida. Some girlfriends and I rented a beach house that technically not supposed to be rented out to students. Oops!

On our second-to-last night there, we went to a dance club. I was wearing a short denim skirt, a sleeveless shirt and some wedge sandals I had borrowed from Stephanie (seen here lounging in the background). A bnunch of us were dancing on stage and I decided I’d had enough. I grabbed my friend’s hand and as I was stepping down, my shoe caught on the stage and I fell.

It was like a scene from a movie—I fell in slow motion, the music stopped and *everyone* was staring. I grabbed my ankle (yes, while wearing a skirt) and laid there for a minute. I got up, sat down for a while and did a couple shots. My ankle hurt, but I was able to put weight on it, so I continued dancing the rest of the night.

We got back to the beach house and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night to my ankle throbbing with pain. I needed to use the bathroom and had to crawl down the hall Lieutenant Dan-style. The next morning, my friends took me to the local hospital where I discovered that, yes– my foot was broken.

I spent the rest of my vacation laying on the couch with my foot up (as seen here) or in a modified lawn chair sunk into the sand on the beach.

The worst part, however, was the 14-hour car ride home, laying in the backseat with my foot up.  I’m sure it was worse for my friends, though, who had to listen to me complain of boredom the whole time!

Foto Friday: Nawlins Style

Call it a cop-out, but this week’s Foto Friday will also serve as my New Orleans post.  As you probably know by now, I went to The Big Easy last week for Kristi’s wedding.  She’s my cousin, but she’s also one of my best friends, so it was nice to have friends and family in one place.

As with any good memory-making experience, the “good parts” can’t be conveyed in a simple run-down of where we went, what we saw and what we ate (and drank), so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.  

There are tons more memories I’ve not included here, but here are some of my favorites (in no particular order)

Hotards coffee shop, hair salon, and bus company

Hotards coffee shop, hair salon, and bus company

Riding the Bull at the Bourbon Cowboy

Riding the Bull at the Bourbon Cowboy

 
Kristi getting serenaded

Kristi getting serenaded

 

karaoke at the Cat's Meow

karaoke at the Cat's Meow

 
The food at the reception

The food at the reception

 
Kristi's Grand Entrance

Kristi's Grand Entrance

 
Hurricanes and Hand Grenades the first day

Hurricanes and Hand Grenades the first day

 
Kristi flashing the 3 down the aisle

Kristi flashing the 3 down the aisle

Dylan's Dance Moves

Dylan's dance moves

"Killing It" with the best friends a girl could ask for

 “Killing it” with the best friends a girl could ask for!
 

My Summer Staycation

Since I have a ridiculous amount of vacation time built up, and I’m going to New Orleans in a couple of weeks, I decided that I’d take a summer staycation this year.

A staycation is just like a regular vacation, but you stay at home instead of going away. The purpose of a staycation is to not only save money on travel, but to learn a little more about your own neck of the woods. 

Although there are plenty of things I didn’t do, I learned quite a few things this week:

I’m a better cyclist than I thought.

I’ve probably logged at least 50 miles on my bike this week, between long rides and quick jaunts. And I’m really enjoying it. Yeah, I knew I could do the 3.5 mile trek to work in about 25 minutes. But it wasn’t until I took a day-long bike ride just for fun that I realized how much I like cycling. You see so many things on a bike that you would never notice in a car. And I feel so strong after I’m done.

I’m a worse swimmer than I thought.

One of my favorite staycation discoveries is the pool at Crystal Lake Park. Usually, I just hit up my friend Kim’s pool in the summer. But because she’s working, (and I’m not—ha!) I decided to go the public pool route. I like Crystal Lake. It’s close. It’s cheap. It wasn’t too crowded. I easily found a chair. And there are nice lanes for lap swimming. But, somehow in the 25 (?) years since I learned to swim, I’ve lost my ability to, well, SWIM. I was tired after the first lap and had the most awkward stroke possible. I wonder if they have adult swim lessons, ‘cuz I clearly need them.

I’m not made of sugar after all.

As we were getting ready for our day-long bike trek, it looked like rain. Now, I’m no weather-watcher, so I hadn’t actually checked a forecast, but the sky was a little dark and gloomy. We started off anyway and, you know what…The rain was really refreshing. And I didn’t melt. When it got a little too hard, we stopped under a pavilion, but it never got so bad we had to stop completely. In fact, when the weather cleared up in the afternoon, we were kinda hoping the rain would come back.

No plans? No problem!

On normal vacations, I usually like to have a plan. Not necessarily a minute-by-minute itinerary, but a general idea of what I’m going to do and when. For my staycation, however, I decided to just play it by ear. This strategy didn’t work so well the first couple of days because I literally couldn’t decide what to do. But being schedule-less paid off this week. Because I’d made precious few commitments, I was able to have a last-minute lunch with a friend or an impromptu Friday afternoon pool party.

Lightning bugs and fireflies are one and the same.

Or so I was told by a 4-year-old. Now, maybe you don’t automatically think “babysitting” when you think “vacation,” but I had the opportunity to spend part of mine playing with a smart, precocious and amazingly observant little boy. It’s amazing how interested they can be in everyday things and it’s fun to see their eyes light up when they learn something new.

I can’t unplug or sleep in.

Neither of these things are especially shocking. I told myself I wasn’t going to sleep in and that I’d avoid being online as much as possible. I wasn’t going to check work email until at least Wednesday. No dice. I haven’t slept past 7:00 all week and I was checking and—gasp—responding to work email Monday morning. I’ve gotten better as the week wore on, but in order to completely unplug I need to go somewhere I’m literally unreachable.

I like this town.

I often think I need to get away to appreciate natural beauty; the beach, the mountains, whatever. But it’s really pretty here. From the wildflowers at Meadowbrook Park to the three deer I saw on the way home from the pool yesterday, there’s a lot of natural beauty in C-U. Even the view from my newly-weeded backyard has somehow become more scenic, more peaceful.

One of my favorite things about traveling is getting the chance to just stroll the streets, trying to blend in and feel like a “local.” In a strange way, I think my staycation has made me more of a local here than I’ve ever been before.

So, that’s it. One day left of my staycation and-for once in my life-I’m not happy it’s Friday. I think I need at least one more week to finish all the things I wanted to do and still leave time for some more exploring.