Sunday, April 29, 2007

A flea market anniversary

You ever have days where an unexpected surprise just makes your whole day? This was another great weekend as Jeff and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. There wasn't a big to do over it, but we had a lot of fun none the less. We hadn't been to the flea market at the Raleigh Fair Grounds in a long time, so we decided to go. We took our time riding around in Jeff's convertible enjoying the gorgeous weather on our way there. We spent the day looking at all the trinkets and watching people. I got to see the most beautiful colored pitbull in the world. He was a tri-colored blue fawn with the most gorgeous blue eyes! And such a sweetie!! We also got to see the toy show and taste free food samples...ah..yummy.

Anyway, we spent most of the day there and upon leaving and trying to decide what to do for dinner, Jeff drove to RDU because he'd heard about a new observation area they'd built. The observation deck overlooked the runway and had speakers so you could hear what was going on in the tower. There was also a playground area for the kids with a sandbox as well as picnic tables. We stayed for quite awhile watching planes land and take off. Jeff is an aviation fanatic, so I wasn't at all surprised that he wanted to come to RDU. After an hour or so, we thought we'd go see what the other observation area looked like and see if we could get some dinner. There's a cafe in the General Aviation building, but it was we just watched the planes on that side.

It turns out, this area overlooked the other runway where all the executive and private planes are parked. Jeff noticed a caravan of cars waiting off to the side and we wondered who they were waiting on. We watched a rather expensive plane land and taxi into the parking area. About this time, the caravan pulled up to park next to the plane. We waited a few minutes and I'll be damned if Kid Rock didn't get out of the plane with his entourage! We snapped a few pictures but didn't get a clear one of his girlfriend. I was kind of hoping it was someone else, that way I could sell it to a tabloid for money...but it looks like her from picture comparisons. Dang.
Anyhow..once he noticed us taking pics, he turned his back on us and got in the car. We were trying to figure out why he was in Raleigh, but apparently he's really good friends with the son of the owner of the Hurricanes and comes in all the time. This was according to the front desk guy, which means maybe we need to hang out at RDU more often! That was our unsuspected surprise for the day which preceded dinner at Johnny Carino's. Oh, and I also put some pics up in my "My Photos" folder of Kid Rock.

Today, we detailed Jeff's Miata and made a trip to Cary to go to Target. We detoured for a country drive which led us to the American Tobacco Trail and the Hope Valley Railway. I had no idea any of that was near me, so that was very cool. For $9, you can ride the train on the 1st Sunday of every month. I have no idea where it goes or how long the ride is, but it's still neat. It's been a tiring weekend, but a lot of fun since Jeff and I got to spend some uninterrupted time together and experience new things. I love stuff like that! The next few weekends are full of college graduations and then a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg with some friends...including Lou who's coming over from Switzerland to visit! I can't wait!! They're opening up their new coaster..the Griffon! Woo hoo! If I live..I'll tell you about it!

Friday, April 27, 2007

UNC makes me proud!

Today, UNC made me proud...and it made me smile. On April 17th, UNC students dressed in maroon and orange gathered in the Pit area to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting. They made posters of support and sent them to VT. On April 20th at noon after a moment of silence, the Bell Tower chimed the Virginia Tech alma mater. Then, on April 23rd at noon, students observed another moment of silence in the Pit area. I thought that was simply awesome. For those of you familiar with Chapel Hill, the Bell Tower basically represents this campus. It's used to signal the beginning of a football game and chimes every hour on the hour. I felt proud that this entire campus heard Virginia Tech's alma mater being sung by the heart of UNC. I only wish I'd been here to hear it.

Since I work for UNC campus police, lately I've been getting flooded with questions about how we're going to prevent a Virginia Tech incident from happening here. Well, you can't prevent it. This campus is 795 acres with 400+ buildings acting as a community for 37,000 students, faculty and staff. In addition to that, you also have a hospital with visitors at all hours and 75,000 visitors weekly to the libraries alone....and only 53 sworn officers. There's no way to predict or prevent an attack from happening. You plan for the worst, hope for the best and just deal with it when it happens and hope you've prepared for it. I can tell you some things the police are doing to be better prepared for it if it does happen.

After Columbine, the Dept. of Public Safety integrated active shooter drills as part of their yearly training. They're developing a multi-layered approach since no single system could solve the problem. Some students have started a pilot program where students can receive warnings through text messages on their cell phones. There's also email, but many employees and students aren't by the computer all day. Grounds workers and housekeepers wouldn't get an email in time. The university has started looking into a siren system that could also be used to make public address announcements. Between emails, text messages, phone trees, a siren system, police training and awareness of your surroundings, UNC's campus would be made safER. No system is foolproof, but they're doing what they can to make sure this community is kept safe. If you want to read the whole article, you can check out . As of today, it was the front page of the website.

Demolish aNorris Hall???

There's been buzz about whether VT should demolish Norris Hall after the massacre that took place on April 16th. I know they've decided not to reopen it next semester, but to demolish it?? I don't know. That's a huge expense to undertake just because of a sociopath's actions. It's almost like admitting defeat. I personally wouldn't want to have class in there after what happened. Even if they turned it into an office building, would you want an office in a room where you know people were brutally gunned down?

At first, I thought..they could tear it down and build a new building. Then, they could name it after the professors who died...but..that wouldn't work out. The name would have to be a combination of Librescu Granata Loganathan Bishop Courture-Novak Hall. Ugh.'s my NEW thoughts. Close down the building and completely renovate it. Leave the outside structure and basically gut the inside so that it has a totally different look and feel when it's done. The lobby can be a memorial area with information and pictures of those who were killed. Or build an atrium on to the front of the building to house the memorial...or create some kind of courtyard area. They can call it New Norris Hall...or something like that.

Those are just my current ideas...I may come up with more later, but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on what they should do!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

Ah...and what a wonderful day it was! Let me start by saying that tomorrow is Jeff's birthday and I took him out to dinner last night. We got dressed up and ate at Ruth's Chris. We'd been before, so I knew it'd be expensive...but it's always oooohhhhh so worth it! I paid more for that one meal that we pay for a week of groceries. Insane..yes, I may very well be...but we enjoyed it. At dinner, we also discussed our Sunday plans and tried to avoid discussing what had happened earlier in the day.

Jack, my black lab/border collie mix, ran off for about 30 minutes. When he came back, he smelled HORRID. He'd found a carcass somewhere...I'm assuming deer....and rolled in it. Lovely. After 2 baths, he still smelled, but not as bad. I would have given him a 3rd bath, but I ran out of time and the water was frigid. There was no way I was going to bath him in the house, so I used the hose. The smell was enough to make me gag and open every window in the house. So...what do you normally get when you go to a steak house? Steak. What's a steak? A piece of cooked animal carcass. The first bite I took tasted an awful lot like Jack smelled when he came home. I really didn't think I'd be able to finish it, but since it cost me $36 for an 8 oz. steak, I was determined to eat it. I pushed past it and then enjoyed my sweet potato and then my Caramelized Banana Cream Pie. Oh, and the Mango Strawberry Mojito...was to DIE for!! Just enough Rum to make me happy...which it should since I paid $9 for it. Then, it was back home where I fell into a food coma until this morning.

Today, we went on a picnic up at the Jordan Lake Dam. BLT's, chocolate covered strawberries and can't go wrong. The lake has been really high due to all the rain, so they were draining it. It was quite an amazing site to see that much water come spewing out of the dam. Probably about 400,000 gallons a minute...maybe more. It was churning and foaming and splashing everywhere. It sounded like being at the beach. We got tons of pictures and watched people try to fish in the raging water. They weren't too bright I guess. Any creature that got sucked through the dam..was destroyed by the mere pressure and force of the water.

One thing I noticed that irritated me was that no one apparently knows how to use a trashcan. There was trash on the ground not 5 ft. from a trashcan..?? I don't get it. There was trash all over the riverbank, all around the picnic tables, floating in the water...and I even watched a girl throw down her drink bottle b/c she didn't want to carry it the 20 ft. to the trashcan. How freakin' lazy has our society become?!?! Within 30 ft. diameter of me...there were 3 trashcans. Within 50 ft., there were about 6. I picked up what I could get to and the rest, well, I didn't want to die in my effort, so I left it. I did what I could and that'll have to be enough. It still made me angry though. Littering on Earth Day is kinda like...cursing in church on know? Wow..when did I become such a hippie?!? Anyway..

After our picnic, we walked up to the visitor's center and hung out on the overlook deck and watched the boats. It made me really wish ours was fixed so we could be out there with them. We took more pictures and then walked along a trail to go around to the other side. It was quite secluded and serene. There was also no trash on that side. As we were leaving, I got some great pictures of the sunset which I'll have to post later. It was an incredibly beautiful day though. Warm, breezy and not a cloud in the sky.

Then we left and did a mundane, necessary errand and went to the grocery store..where we did indeed spend less than we did on dinner at Ruth's Chris. For those of you who are curious about how much dinner cost...I'll just tell you. After about an 18% was...a I know, 18% sounds random, but it made it an even number. Originally, I was going to take him to Maggiano's, but I knew he really wanted Ruth's Chris' and I want him to have what he took him even though he protested about it being too expensive.

It's been a great weekend and I've had a lot of laughs..mostly b/c Jeff is completely goofy and never fails to make me happy. Today is also my mother-in-laws in the off chance she should ever read this...Happy Birthday, Jane! Well..I'm off to bed to ponder how I can afford gas until my next payday and to cuddle up next to Jeff for the next few hours. I hope everyone else enjoyed their Earth Day and felt the urge to help out in some small way. I leave you with one of my favorite sayings: "Keep the Earth clean. It's not Uranus." =)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A long week indeed...

This past week, we watched our god-daughters Hailey and Natalie while their parents celebrated their 10th anniversary in Key West. I'm exhausted. I had no idea how long it took 2 girls to get ready for bed. By the time I got them bathed, dried, in the bed and read stories, it was around 11:30..even when I started at 8:30 or 9.The first night Natalie insisted she could take a shower on her own and ended up crying for an hour because she got soap in her eyes. I should stop and mention that she whines constantly. And I do meant constantly...even when she doesn't want something. She whined because a moth was on the ceiling. She whined because her hair wasn't curly like mine. She whined because her cup wasn't blue like mine. She whined because I accused her of whining. It gets old fast.

We cooked dinner 3 nights and ate out for 2 since we went to the zoo and the Renaissance Faire. We had lunch out 3 days since we were already out and about. It was a very expensive week. Between buying them outfits for the faire and having to buy Hailey a new outfit because of an accident at the store and then buying them stuff at the zoo gift shop and the faire and then all the food and snacks..I'm broke. I was going to buy Jeff a nice birthday present, but I don't think I can now.

It was fun though, despite the whining and sisterly bickering. For the most part, they were really good. I did have to take the karaoke game away from them because Hailey was apparently "making" Natalie mess up her songs. They fought over who was going to get my lip gloss when I never said they could have it to begin with. They soaked my bathroom during bath time and went through all my stuff and moved it to other areas of the house. They chased my cats and dogs and were obsessed with feeding my turtles and fish. I read them a ton of Dr. Seuss books and watched them inhale my cooking. They had a blast at the faire and participated in a lot of the acts and dancing there. They even slept on the trip home.

Sunday, we drove them to Charlotte to meet up with Ronnie and Misty and hung out at the mall until it was time to meet for lunch. Then it was off to Bass Pro Shop and the mall for a few hours before heading home. We got home and crashed, but the house was very quiet. Elvis resurfaced after hiding for 5 days and I was glad to see he was still alive. I took Monday off to recoup from my long week and got my laundry done. My house is still messy, but it'll just have to be that way.

Then there was the whole VT "Massacre" that happened. It sickens me. I consider VT part of home. I grew up going to football games and walking around campus. I'd go visit my uncle there when he was in the dorms. I'd visit cousins too. Then I visited my sister when she went there. I still go visit since she only lives 5 minutes from campus. My brother-in-law still goes to school there. I know people who teach there and have a cousin who got her engineering degree from there. It just shocked me that something like that could happen in a place like Tech. It's totally different from any other campus I've been on. Here at UNC, most people are kind of off in their own little world.... self-absorbed rich kids who think they're too important to bother saying hello to strangers. At Tech, it's like one big family. Everyone's friendly and goes out of their way to help others. That's how it felt anyway. You can even tell the difference going to football games.

At UNC games, they boo the visiting team and are generally rude and very fair weathered. If UNC starts losing, the crowd leaves. At VT, even when they're losing, the fans are still cheering them on and stay until the very end....and you'll never hear them booing the other team.

It also upsets me that VT is getting so much criticism on their response time. Since I work for a campus police department, I can tell's no easy task to shut down a university of Tech's size..or UNC's for that matter. There's too many roads and trails into the campus and not enough people to staff every entrance/exit..not in that short amount of time anyway. Trying to notify thousands of people without creating a panic is next to'd risk others being injured by trying to get them all off campus at the same time.

How were they supposed to know the 1st shooting was just a prelude? No university will shut down the whole campus just because of a single shooting incident that appeared to be domestic. They'd shut down that area and clear the one building, then send out a warning when they had time..just like VT police did. When we get a robbery or rape or shooting on campus, we secure the area, put a lookout for the person over a 50 mile radius if he/she hasn't been caught, then put out a media alert for them and warn the students not to walk anywhere alone and be aware of their surroundings, blah blah..and life goes on. We don't shut down the entire campus for a single act of violence.

After the 2nd shooting, they responded very quickly and shut everything down as quick as they I think they did a phenomenal job in handling the situation. After any type of tragedy, people are always finding ways to pull it apart and sit far away from the situation and tell others how it should have been handled..when in truth, if they'd been there..they wouldn't have known what to do. They did the same on 9/11, Columbine, Hurricane Katrina..the list goes on and on. I mourn for the loss of so much life and I'm angry that the shooter took the cowards way out. No one these days is willing to take responsibility for their actions..but he'll pay for it while he spends eternity burning in hell while being mercilessly tortured and spat upon.

Every time I hear the words VT Massacre, it feels like a punch in the gut. Life will go on, Tech will recover and become more united than ever. I pray for the families of the victims lost in Cho Seung-Hui's senseless and irrational rampage. I pray for the entire Blacksburg community and for all those who feel a strong connection to Virginia Tech. No words can bring them solace, but they're not alone and that in and of itself is a comfort.

Yes, a long week indeed. Now I'm back at work and able to focus on other stuff instead of reflecting over events of the past week. I'm so tired though. I need a long recharge my batteries and reconnect with Jeff. We get so lost in everyday life that sometimes we feel like strangers to each other. So..I'm going for now to research a vacation destination for us. Somewhere warm and far away from reality....

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Run with Grace

Most of you don't know, but my cousin Grace passed away back in January of 2005. She collapsed while on a training run at Christopher Newport University. They have established a scholarship and 5K race in her honor. The proceeds from the race go towards the scholarship for a Patrick Henry High School graduate. Her parents have created a webpage for the race and to tell a little bit about Grace and why she deserves the honor. If you want to participate in the 5k run or just read about Grace, check out . The webpage is still in the beginning stages, so have patience! It's coming along nicely. If you have any questions, let me know and I'll pass them along!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Back In Time

This past Saturday, Jeff and I went back in time to the Middle Ages. The NC Renaissance Faire in Raleigh was incredible!!! I'd never been to one before and was extremely excited about going. I haven't had that much fun in a long time! There was something to see everywhere. Jugglers, magicians, acrobats, storytellers, sword fights, jousting, dog races, exotic animals, palm readers, gypsies,equestrian shows, vendors galore, displays, belly just couldn't take it all in at one time. Everyone was in costume and speaking in Elizabethan English. We got there right after the village gates of Kingston Upon Hull were opened and were greeted royally by the villagers. It was just There was royalty, peasants, gypsies, fairies and pirates galore. The food was great and we got a TON of pictures. I got my palm read not long after we'd gotten there and she was extremely accurate on a lot of stuff, but I'll have to save that story for another time since I left my notes at home and because it's lengthy.

We watched the coursing of the hounds and visited the greyhound tent a few times just b/c they were too cute and sweet. . The acrobats called Barely Balanced were extremely talented and funny also . Most places you go, you pick and choose what you want to see...but here, you want to see them all. They were all really entertaining..not one thing was bad.

Towards the end of the day, I did something completely insane. I have a purple velvet skirt at home and I was trying to find a shirt to go with it. Originally, I was going for a peasant or gypsy kind of look, so I stopped at this one vendor and looked around. All she sold was corsets and the skirts to go with them. Well, she talked me into trying one on and then the other girl said that since I was playing dress up, I might as well try on the skirts too. She made it look bustled and added the hoop skirt too. I looked awesome! I was uncomfortable, but I looked

So..after parading around in front of the mirror and watching Jeff drool over me, I asked how much it was. My jaw dropped, but Jeff told me that you only live once and that I looked great and reminded me that this was a one of a kind piece. No two corsets of hers were alike....they were all different and I'd be getting 2 corsets. Soo..I said I'd take it, and Jeff surprised me by offering to buy the skirts. He wished me a happy early anniversary and we paid for it all and left to see the rest of the equestrian show.

Here's where I should mention that what we paid for the corset and skirts would've fixed my car or gotten both of our cats declawed. Or bought a Wii. I still can't believe it. We're going back in a couple weeks to take Hailey and Natalie, so I'll wear it then. And, since we had so much fun, we're planning on going to several others in the area...Atlanta, Charlotte, Virginia and Pennsylvania..which is the large one, so I will get to wear it quite a bit. Now we just have to find Jeff something to wear. I'm thinking a knight, or a pirate...or a swordsman of some sort.

Once we returned to reality, totally broke..and wearing my corset, we made a stop at CompUSA since the store was going out of business and the printer ink would be cheap. I had to wear my corset into the store..totally revealing my farmers tan I'd gotten that day. I had 3 male clerks tell me to find them if I needed After that little excursion, I put my regular shirt back on b/c I knew we were going to go eat and I couldn't stuff anything else in that corset. We went to the most awesome greek restaurant...Taverna, Agora. It's on Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh for those of you who want to go. It was just..Oh my God..good!! This is what we had...for an appetizer, we had bread with lemon garlic EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) that everyone gets..even it was out of this world! And Jeff ordered:

Flambéed Greek CheeseSaganaki
Seared kefalograviera cheese with EVOO & fresh lemon over tomato slices. Flambéed with brandy- OPA!! 7.95

For dinner, I had:

Chicken Fettuccini Helopites Me Kota Lemonata
Lemon chicken fettuccini with sautéed spinach, garlic, tomatoes, & fresh herbs in a white wine lemon sauce with manouri cheese 13.95

It was to die for!!! I'd never had greek food before..and gyros don't count. It needed more manouri cheese..but I cleaned my plate.

Jeff had the special which was chicken with shrimp in some kind of red wine sauce with vegetables. For dessert, they had Baklava Cheesecake, Chocolate cake w/ Mocha frosting, something I don't remember and then we got tapas filled with custard and honey, topped with whipped cream. I wish I'd gotten my own instead of sharing

Sunday was supposed to be a day of painting the den and getting everything back in order, but we were so worn out from the day before..that we got nothing done. Uploaded pictures and talked about the faire..that was most of our day. I can't wait to go 2 weeks from now. I think the girls will love it! I should've been going to these longggg ago. It was nice having something new to do with Jeff that neither of us had done before. It was a day of firsts for me. My first Ren Faire and my first Greek food. Such a great day...I need to have those kinds of days more often.