Ever have one of those anti-climatic experiences?  Where you have waited for something to happen for so long and then the rush just isn’t there?  Really, what you are thinking is:  (Using the words of my buddy Paul) “Dude, I should have totally not spent so much time looking forward to this.”  Yeah?  I had one of those recently. 

Big Scott will tell you that I have not reacted in ways that he would have expected on several occasions.  Way back when iMacs were the “next big thing”, I wanted one so bad.  I was especially excited when Apple released all of the fun fruity flavors.  I wanted a grape one.  I had convinced Big Scott that it wasn’t a want thing that it was more of a need thing.  I began saving up for one.  Big Scott decided that he would surprise me and get me one for my birthday.  Really, spending over $1300 for your girlfriend’s birthday is…..  Anyway, Big Scott went through all sorts hoops and hurdles to get things in order and all in line and somehow manage to keep it secret.   

It’s finally, my birthday.  Big Scott meets me in the parking lot of his apartment complex.  He blindfolds me and somehow manages to direct his klutzy girlfriend up the stairs.  He opens the door, removes the blindfold and ta da!  All I can do is just look at the iMac.  I don’t know how long I stared at it.  Meanwhile, Big Scott is wondering when the look of excitement finally going to show on my face.  I give him a kiss on the cheek and a giant hug, and say, “That’s a cool birthday present.”   The look on his face is, “Umm that’s it.”  Big Scott is wondering where is the happy and oh-so ecstatic Jill.  I’ve been begging for months.  He’s had to come up with a pretty elaborate plan to keep things quiet and he got nothin’.   

I did the same thing to the Big Scott when he proposed on Christmas.  Big Scott went had made lots of plans.  He wrapped a very large box.  I swear I dug through ten or so boxes and gift bags and when I finally got to the bottom of the box there was an envelope.  I’m flustered.  In my selfish head I’m thinking, “I’ve dug through how many much crap for a lousy gift certificate.  What is that?”  Inside of the envelope was a sheet of paper that simply said “Look behind you!”  There was Big Scott will an opened ring box and the biggest smile I have ever seen.  Big Scott said the four words that every girl waits to hear.  I did the same thing.  I stared at it for a while.  Big Scott claims that I had a hollow head look on my face.  You know the kind of look that in the back of your mind you know that you are expecting drool at any moment.  We’d been dating for seven years.  All he got was a look that said I might need medical attention.  It just wasn’t was he was expecting. 

I had one of those experiences recently too.  I don’t know what he could have said to made me feel better but somehow I just feel slighted.  I feel like I’m missing something.  Don’t know what that is but it’s all right.  I’ll get over it. 

 

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It was Harry Potter night at casa la crick last Friday evening.  No, I didn’t turn Big Scott into a toad.  Although, if I did have that sort of power…………..Oh yeah, focus.  Not much sleep was had.

The evening started with a dinner out to Ruby Tuesday.  Yummy.  Love the salad bar, Then it was off to see the new Harry Potter movie.  The movie was okay.  So much was taken out that I was disappointed.  I realize that if they put everything in the movie would be rather long.  Off to the bookstore to pick up the final book in the series.  We finally picked up copy around 2 a.m.  No.  I haven’t read it yet.  That’s for vacation.

Greetings all,

I will get back to blogging about my vacation from a month ago soon. Between work, regular life stuff and all the other irritant pearls out there. I just haven’t found the the time. I’ll get back to it. I promise. Back to the topic at hand.

Tonight, I watched my whole neighborhood light up with fireworks. It was a beautiful sight. As a matter of fact the fireworks are still going on. I have two very nervous cats. I especially loved my new neighbors across the street. She was waving sparklers. He was setting off big stuff with lots of noise and sparks. Venus. Mars. Maybe? There I go again moving off topic. Big Scott and I took a walk around the neighborhood to see all of the different fireworks earlier this evening. What we saw was amazing! We saw friends, families and neighbors getting together celebrating in the same way. Big Scott pointed out that probably most of them don’t really understand why.

That is one of the things about our country that we often forget and not everyone appreciates. I know this is a real shocker. Not everyone appreciates all that we have here in the United States. We have taken for granted all of our freedoms. Sure, there are people that we wish would just shut up and there are certain “rights” groups that have long since strayed from their founding basis but they still have that right. Most of us did not create a watercraft out of a bathtub and a lawnmower engine to get here. We should be so thankful.

Some of us have been here for generations. It is difficult to imagine how our ancestors did what that did to help make our country a major player in the political arena. I have gone to museums. I have seen the covered wagons. I have seen the space of the covered wagons. I think my grandfather-in-law’s Caprice station wagon had more space. This is how they came to the plains and beyond. Really, have you ever thought about how did they cross rivers like the Mississippi before bridges were built? How did they get across certain states like Colorado before there were paved roads? It really all comes down to the sacrifices that they made to fulfill Manifest Destiny and the sacrifices of our military. Sometimes, I’m disheartened by the news stories that gain network attention. I’m disappointed by some major corporations actions. I’m saddened how self centered our society has become but that isn’t the main point of this writing. Although I am fulfilling my promise to ramble.

One of the reasons, this country is so great is the way in which we celebrate our independence. We don’t celebrate it by showing our military might in front of our nation’s capitol. We celebrate it by getting together with family and friends, picnics with questionable potato and macaroni salads, backyard games of volleyball, lawn darts and horse shoes.

Big Scott and I usually spend this holiday with his family at the lakes. We enjoy watching the boat parade. It is probably really bothering Big Scott that this year his aunt and uncle from Cozad went out to the lakes for the holiday. Big Scott and I needed to go back to work in the morning and so went were not able to go this year. We also enjoy getting into the boat and watching the fireworks time to the music from a local radio station. It is a fun time but also a great family time.

I’m rambling like I promised. I need to be to work sooner than I would like. Even if I didn’t get to spend the holiday with my extended family. I did get to spend it with Big Scott. With our goofy work schedules, full days with each other is a special treat. I think, we had a super day.

Thursday evening we check into the bed and breakfast that we will be staying for the next two days. It is uphill about a third of a mile on a dirt road lined with Maple trees. The road up to the bed and breakfast is almost coffee table book perfect.
This is where we meet Max. He is a very friendly German Shepard. He has big dark ears. Max’s ears remind me of a dog I can barely remember from my childhood named King. He loves to play just about any game that Big Scott can come up with. I really don’t think Max realize how large of a dog he is. It’s been fun watching Big Scott play with the dog. I’m still angling for a dog but so far no dice.
We decide to eat at a place called Cattails. Our waitress, Mel, knows everyone except us. Yup, we’re the tourists. She asks Big Scott for his drink order. Big Scott says, “What kind of pop do you have?” Mel gets a very confused look on her face. Big Scott realizes that this must not be an area where the term “pop” is used. He offers, “Sprite, Sierra Mist, something like that.” I think, she was relieved that she didn’t have to struggle with that anymore. The food is fantastic. Flat Todd receives yet another photo op even though our waitress thinks I’m a bit odd. Thinks I’m odd. Oh wait. Too late. Mel is here getting her picture taken. Smile pretty.
In the parking lot of Cattails is an ice cream stand. This is where we hear the term “Creamy”. It could be spelled, “Creamie” for all I know. Big Scott and I aren’t really sure what a “Creamie” is but it sure looks like soft serve ice cream. I will elaborate on that in a later edition.
Isn’t interesting to see what Midwesterners think about the east? It’s a bad TV sitcom waiting to happen. Here in Nebraska there are only Republicans and those damn hippies. It’s true.
Thursday night, we are returning to the bed and breakfast later in the evening. It is after dusk. The really neat dirt road up to the bed and breakfast isn’t quite so cool after dark. It was just at the perfect temperature that there was a misty haze. Creepy. We are slowly moving up the hill. A squirrel being chased by a cat runs across the road. I did not see this. I had my nose in a book. I just hear the “mom gasp” and I look up. What I see to my overly active brain is a something that appears to rolling across the road. This is where reading too much can be a bit of a hurdle. My brain is thinking, “Oh my God, Ichabod Crane!” Back to sleep.Mel at Cattails!

Flat Todd got up early on Thursday. He met Richard. Now Richard is not a small boy by any stretch of the imagination. Richard is sort of a dark haired Grizzly Adams. He looked all tough and stuff but was a big teddy bear. Ahhh. Flat Todd received yet another stamp.

Cleveland is an interesting city. We drove by what I think was the baseball stadium and Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland is built pretty darn close to one of the Great Lakes. So the Interstate heads straight for said large body of water and then turns a couple of times at darn near 90 degrees. Really, I have never seen signs that say speed limit 35 on an Interstate! Big Scott was driving. It made the first leg of the trip sporting. Ain’t it all great?

Our first stop was in Pennsylvania. Erie county to be exact. I got a picture with Flat Todd. Well, Big Scott got a picture of me holding Flat Todd. I know what I look like. Maybe I’ll post it but then maybe not. I realize that I don’t leave Nebraska much. Really, I like it here but I digress. The rest area was on of the prettiest landscaped and well kept rest areas I have ever seen.

I guess I didn’t realize that Pennsylvania and New York was wine country. Rows and rows of vines and I’m looking forward to possibly sampling some of the local wines.

I have read many books that describe bogs especially Irish literature and “colonial” literature. Stories that would describe living in a bog area and not knowing where to bury the dead or traveling through a bog and being hopelessly trapped in said bog. Let me say say this. Bogs are creepy. A stagnant pond, dead or near dead trees all that was needed to complete the creepy picture was a low fog hanging just above the water and moonlight.

Humorous Interlude

We stopped at several rest areas and truck-stops along the way to stretch our legs and to use the appropriate facilities. Any who. We were in New York. I was in the rest room doing what you do there. About three stalls over, a cell phone rings. The lady answers the call like this; “You won’t believe where I’m at?” It became a running joke during our trip.

So my MIL lead us into Vermont. I wrote on a sheet of paper “Truosity”. It’s a made up word but Big Scott and I know what it means. Big Scott had also read my blog entry. Near every time my MIL would hug the highway or interstate barrier I would point to the word “Truosity”. Whenever she would gun it or drive constantly over the speed limit I would also point to the word. It became yet another little game. I swear, this woman needs to don a fire suit and experience a stock car.

So May 24 was my little brother’s birthday.  It was his 30th birthday.  I tried to call him on my cell.  I did get a hold of him when we were in Saratoga Springs but he was on his way to a movie.  And then something about cell phones and mountains and not a good cell signal prevented me from giving my little brother a call to give him warm birthday greetings.  So Happy B-day little brother and welcome to the 30’s club.  It’s only a short ride to the top before the slide home.  Hope it was a great one!  We picked up several things in Vermont for you.  It will be shipped FedEx, of course.

Vermont is a very pretty state.  Lots of trees and contrary to what I had thought not all of the trees are maples.  There seems to be a mixture of maple, pine, and birch.  Maple everything is a big product here.  Obviously more maple trees than any other.

The Green Mountains are not as big as I had expected.  I’m from Nebraska.  My point of reference is the Rockies.  The Green Mountains to me look like the foothills after leaving Golden, CO.  We had lots of Atlas time on our travels here and I think the the highest mountain was around 5000 feet.  Really, they looked like the San Juan mountain with lots of maple trees.  I’m not sure if that makes sense.

We have all seen movies that have the setting of colonial New England.  “The Patriot” comes to mind.  Small little towns, shires, villages, and whatnot connected with picturesque trails.  Well, at least where I had been, it is still like that.  There seems to be a small town about every 15 miles or so.  Also, there seems to be several small streams and babbling brooks.  I wonder if any of the water is swimable. There seems to be a lot of swimming pool.  It has become a game with us.  Hey, when you are on the road with the magic bus or in our case minivan and you are traveling 1300 miles you need entertainment.  Entertainment no matter how simple helps to foster a more positive environment.   “Swimming pool-side yard!” is so much tamer than hurting people.  My friend in CO is probably thinking, “Easy, killer.”

There seems to be very few industries here.  There is manufacturing, Real Estate, Tourism, and Dairy.  We have noticed lots of silos and next to no cows.  The only thing we can think of is that the cows are not grazing in the meadows but are being kept in the very large barns that are everywhere or just maybe the bottom is falling out.  I could write  at length about all the neat little “country stores” with fudge, maple everything, and all the other things that make them “touristy” but that would take a long time.  It does seem that Vermont has a nice mix of all said industries.

The roads curve and wind all over.  I can’t help to think that I am somehow in the Ozarks in Arkansas.  I really don’t have much of a sense of direction.  I know that I should.  At home or in the town that I grew up in if you tell me to head south on (Insert street here) I understand.  Here.  I just feel like we drive in circles.  It really doesn’t make any sense to me and the fact that we make it anywhere is to me a near miracle.  It seems that 7, 4, 100 and possible 89 are very important roads.

We left around 6 AM. Man, I should have had Flat Todd ready for the photo op. I did put our starting address of Papillion, NE on the back of our pal Todd to mark the beginning of our journey.

Let’s discuss our our favorite pal, Todd. I was thinking that because he is from Jersey that perhaps he needed longer locks with multiple tones. I mean, c’mon Bon Jovi rules! He has highlights. Bright wide stripes on his shirt just screams 80’s especially since the collar is up. I mean, really, how studly is that. See, I said it. Studly. There, your obligatory 80’s term.

I mean, there are lots of 80’s terms. Sweet. Psyche. Bodacious. Radical. Spaz. Bonus. Excellent. Studly. Back in the day “rave” meant entirely too powerful hairspray. Not what it means today. Oooh, the old alarm bells are going off.

Oh yeah back to Flat Todd. Todd’s jean’s are “acid washed”. I never could figure out why acid was used for this purpose? But being from Jersey, why not? Jersey boy wouldn’t be caught dead in something “sand blasted”. It’s hard to focus when you are half way there and living on a prayer. (obligatory Bon Jovi reference . Geesh)

Flat Todd made his first stop in Walcott, IA. Flat Todd got his first photo op at the Pilot Truck-stop. The gal behind the counter offered to kiss Flat Todd. Who knew that Flatt Todd had such power? Maybe he should flatten himself more often. At the Pilot Truck-stop, Flat Todd was stamped with the official corporate seal. Who woulda thunk that reality could transcend so perfectly? Maybe I’m on to something here. There hasn’t been a crisis yet that has needed immediate attention.

We had a picnic lunch in Davenport, IA. I have never thought about the song about IA. It is sort of a joke in local circles. The song names the “major cities” in Iowa followed by multiple repeats of the “corn” with random interjections of “what’s that smell?”. Reality?

My mother in law took us through Chicago. Man, oh man, she was weaving through traffic and getting a little close to the wall. I knew she had a little competitive edge to her. There are times that the family gets together and watches old home movies. It seems like my MIL has a different vehicle nearly every six months. She usually says something like “Yeah, that was a great car. I could shut down half of Des Moines.” After we headed into Indiana, my thoughts turned to racin’. Really, how could it not. I mean, Indy, the 500, milk the drink of champions and I was thinking that my MIL really should try the Richard Petty Driving Experience. I would love to watch her shut them down and once she got out there with a few cars, she could thread the needle, baby. Ma Crick is in the house! uh….. moving on.

Well, Flat Todd had a second photo op in Indiana. It was once again at a truck-stop. This time we stopped at the South Bend Chocolate Factory. I picked a chocolate factory. hmm. Susie thought Flat Todd was cute. She gave Flat Todd her address and a sticker.

The best thing to see that I missed b/c I was hand writing this entry was in Ohio. There were a couple of half naked guys on a dark colored bus. On said bus was a duck blind, the American flag and the confederate flag. I’m in Ohio, right?

Yeah, I’m getting tired of typing Flat Todd. So let’s call Flat Todd something else. Let’s call him Tubular Todd? Todd the bod? That’s not working. Let’s try initials. FT. Maybe its the industry in which I work but I’m almost forced to put a “p” at the end of it. I kinda want to call him FM. Could you help me out? Help me think of a nickname for Flat Todd? Please?

I’ll post pics later.

My church has recently done a series on damaged emotions. Emotions like anger, crisis, guilt and the alike. The visual that was used to illustrate this point was a rock. Each week as we discussed the damaged emotion our rock became bigger until finally on Easter Sunday we saw how Jesus’ death rolled the stone away. The rock essentially was our sin. The stone being rolled away, Jesus dying on the cross and the resurrection, gives us the opportunity to experience joy.
It really started me thinking about how empty our lives are. I don’t have exact stats but it seems like I can name at least 10 people within my somewhat small circle of friends that is on some sort of anti-depressant. Seriously. It’s unsettling. We, as a society, don’t deal with our problems, issues, hurdles, whatever. We medicate. Some visit their family practitioner. Others visit their local bar. How many people do you know who throw themselves into their work?  Don’t forget the ones that buy toys to pamper and comfort themselves because they can’t find a happiness that lasts. Some visit their computers and pine away their time. Still others use illegal substances. These are the ways that we hide our pain.
I’m not really sure why our society is unhappy. The US is one of the more wealthy countries in the world. The majority of us wake up with at least change in our pockets. There are many people who can’t say that. Most of us have a roof over our heads. Again, we are so fortunate. We live for the most part without fear even in a post 9/11 society. We have rights and liberties that others could only dream about.
There is only one person to blame and that is you. Our society has moved from “me” to you. Retail shops will ask for YOUR opinion on their service. How many TV station have a series of stories just for YOU. Burger King says have it YOUR way. Not how the burger was created or designed but we will make it to YOUR exacting specifications. Think about how many times we try to change to substitute the entrees at restaurants. Menus sometimes say YOUR choice of—–. Talk to YOUR doctor. YOUtube.
I was recently reading as article that was discussing the “you” ( if I could remember who wrote the article I most certainly give the author credit.) and it made the point that vacation spots use the “you” in their ads and when was the last time the sandy beaches of Jamaica were empty just for “you”. Thousands of those ads were printed and distributed. How many resorts are blocking the sun on those vacation spots made just for “you”? How many times have you driven to another state to see a sign that says “Kansas welcomes you” or “Colorful Colorado welcomes you”.
I thought about blaming “You” but then I thought about a friend of mine in Colorado. He often says, “Help yourself.” Maybe all of this is his fault. No, not really. When did we start focusing on ourselves?
I happen to work in a retail environment. Some days I have the pleasure of working with brides and their mothers. If you have read some of my blog postings, you can sort of figure out that I’m not very high maintenance. That doesn’t mean I don’t have expectations. I have listened to brides rationalize the spending of unbelievable amounts of money. The main focus of the rationalization is convenience.
A couple years back, I was working with a bride who was complaining how much the wedding was costing. She and her husband-to-be were splitting the costs with their parents. She said that her share was nearly $50,000. She went on to explain that her wedding and engagement rings alone were nearly $12,000. She wanted to give nice gifts to the guests so she had engraved frames made. Her wedding program was over 20 pages long with letters to each member of the bridal party tied with sheer ribbon. She wanted the room to be set up perfectly so she was hiring a team of people to go in and set up the reception area for convenience. She didn’t want her bridesmaids to have to worry about that. They were supposed to be taking care of her on her big day. I don’t know, ego much? She continued to rattle off a list of spending that seemed to go on and on.
Life is too short to be focusing on ourselves. When we learn as a society that there is more to life than what is in the bank or what appears to be in the bank the better off we will be.

So any who, the news have been out for nearly a week. Everyone has their theory about where Jr. is going to go. If by saying “Jr.” and you don’t know who I’m talking about, you should probably stop reading now. My friend in Phoenix asked what about at Hendrick? Although I agree that if he wants to win championships that would be a great place to go, I’m not sure NASCAR nation could handle it. I think the sport just might implode. But no, Mr. Paul had his own ideas. Before you get along and read what Mr. Paul had to say, I somehow feel I need to preface this. I can’t imagine this but I did get a really good chuckle, followed by a few giggles.

Imagine Hendrick going 1, 2, 3, 4 in next year’s chase… Imagine all of the confused race-fans after the first race of the year when Gordon and Junior smile and hug after a 1-2 finish with Johnson and Busch dancing jigs around them to celebrate their 3-4… Then do the same thing every race for the whole year only with mixed-up finishing positions. What about all four dudes doing a synchronized burn-out at the end of a race? They’ll need a name like Rat-Pack, Brat-Pack, and Frat-Pack. The Convoy? The Mule Train? The Four Amigos? Chevy’s Heavies? If they can all make the pole and start 1-4, they can just run 4 wide at every race and not let anyone pass. They could put stickers on the rear bumpers that say things like “C-Ya” and “If you can read this, you’re a loser” and “Tell your mom to quit calling me.” Gordon and Junior can do cute commercials together like Magic and Bird, or Papi and A-Rod, or Montana and Marino. They can hang out together and get spotted in all of the cool night clubs and get their pictures in all of the celebrity magazines. They can go to other sporting events together like all of the actors from Fox when they show the All-Star game or the World Series and get spotted by the cameras watching the game. They could film a reality show. Better yet – a sitcom – The Hendrick Bunch. Or they could go A-Team style and drive around in a Nascar wrecker with guns and get the blue collar everyman out of bad situations with rotten crime bosses. Or Dukes style and use their actual race cars, and use bows and arrows and moon shine instead of guns. They could get that Fatback guy to be Cooter, and Richard Petty could be Boss Hogg, and DW could be Roscoe. What if they went totally Hollywood – started acting like jerks and snubbing fans and being curt with the media – like, Junior wins and with Gordon standing over his shoulder (both wearing mirrored sunglasses) he’d say, “Yeah, my Budweiser Chevy was great today. Best car on the track every week because of Pepsi and those dudes who sponsor Kyle. I gotta go – I’m getting a text from Jimmy on my Alltel. Come on Jeff – lets ditch these losers. Peace out!” And Gordon would say, “Word.” Or maybe he’d just chuckle and give a half-mouth semi-grin as he shook his head while they walked off posse-style. Or what about Ricky Bobby style shake and bake. That total arrogance where they know they’re the best and they don’t realize that other people think they’re not so they don’t know they’re arrogant – they just think it’s all the truth. They could walk through crowds and one would say, “Jeff and Junior,” while the other answered, “Shake and Bake,” like a weird game of Marco Polo with Jimmy and Kyle as the trailing entourage doing the point-smile-nod thing. “Jeff and Junior,” “Shake and Bake,” “Jeff and Junior,” “Shake and Bake,” “Kyle out of water?” “Nope,” “Jeff and Junior,” “Shake and Bake.”

I see the future, and it is glorious.