Friday, July 31, 2009

Zappos and Amazon sitting in a tree...


Zappos and Amazon are gettin' married.

Why do I care?

I don't really.

However, yesterday I took a field trip out to Zappos Kentucky Warehouse where they ship their shoes, hone their "weird" culture, and provide service with a "WOW." If you want to know what I'm talking about, check out their core values. A colleague of mine recently made a job switch out to the Zappos compound...wooed by Zappos ranking in Fortune's Best 100 Companies To Work For. The increasingly impressive Zapponians created a culture that ranked #23 on the list. We're talking free lunches for employees (everyday), 100% health insurance premiums, and a board of directors very obviously committed to sharing the wealth with the little people who are making it happen. (As a part of the Amazon/Zappos deal the company gave every employee an Amazon Kindle and for those who've worked there since Feb of '08...a 40% bonus. Not kidding. Not kidding.)

I didn't really know what to expect when Bonnie and I pulled in for the field trip...I mean it is just a warehouse....I was not disappointed.

Free nuts and mints in the lobby. Not to mention a popcorn machine.



The friendly face of Kari.



A great outlet next to the office building that was having a 50% off everything sale! I almost gave in to a Fossil purse that was oh-so-cute.



It hurt me to put these bad babies back on the shelf...but I'm sure someone else needs them more. I would really like to see that outfit.



I'm not much of a Zappos shopper myself. (I'm just not much of a shopper.) Nevertheless, hats off to Zappos. With corporate America as it is in these times, I am hopeful that young Zappos is the new face of innovative businesses that care for their own.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch...a few months early

It's the end of July and I was craving pumpkin.....



What else could I do....



But stir up some goodness that's pumpkin-y enough to be for Thanksgiving but coolwhip-y enough to be summer.



So I did, and I'm ashamed to tell you how much is left.

Texas Style

I'm in the middle of a hair saga. Maybe it's all the weddings this summer, maybe it's the slowness of summertime, maybe I just need a hair change. I don't know. At any rate, I just want some "bigger" hair. I need a little texture in my 'do. Let me give you the events of the week.

Hair Saga Chronology

> I see a picture of myself and think...my hair's too flat. I need bigger hair.

> At dinner, I tell my sweet husband "Dave, I think I need bigger hair." He looks slightly puzzled and asks for me to explain just what I mean.

>The next morning I use mousse in my hair for this first time in a decade. I notice a little more body in my fine hair.

>I search the internet for hair ideas. I watch an inspirational video about the use of large hot rollers.

>I purchase rollers which list the size as "Super Jumbo." This seems just the thing.

>Morning 1. I realize at 7am that I need to bring a baked good to a breakfast at the office. This effects my hair plans. I decide to try to do both the cheese biscuits and the hot rollers.

>The cheese biscuits are successful. The rollers are falling all over the place and the end result is a little messy...but definitely bigger than usual.

>I leave with my cheese biscuits in hand. It is raining. By the time I get to my office, my hair isn't very big. No one at work says a word about the change. Apparently, there's nothing to notice.

>I go to the gym with Laurin at 8pm. My hair is in a crazy ponytail. She says right away "Laura, you curled your hair today, didn't you? I can tell." I am happy.

>Leslie meets us at the gym. I tell her my saga. She asks about hair spray. I confess that I don't own a can of hairspray. This is met by exhortations by both Laurin and Leslie to get a can of hairspray. It is a must for bigger hair, apparently.

>Morning 2. Still without hairspray, I try the rollers for a second morning in a row. I decide to part on a different side to give more lift. I roll as directed by the video. I have a slight bald spot in the center of my head from the roller placement. My cowlick makes my new part look....weird. I decide to wear a very ruffled shirt. I look like a large ruffle.

That's all the progress I've made so far.

Tonight I might go get a can of hairspray. I feel so guilty about the environment. And I wonder to myself, how long could this phase really last? Each time in the past when I tell my hairstylin' little sister, Lindsey, that I want a new 'do she says, "Laura, it won't do any good for me to cut your hair in a different way if you won't style it. You can't have cute hair without a little time investment." I sigh. She's right. Currently (pre-roller phase) I spend a max of 8 minutes drying/straightening/styling my hair. Anything beyond 6 minutes feels like I'm really getting into my hair.

I wish I had been born in Texas. Then big hair would just be in my blood.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Simple Ways to Love our Neighbors


Jefferson Street Baptist Center is a local ministry to the homeless that I continue to hear great things about in our community. I was on their website this week and discovered that they have a Kroger card program. (I also discovered their awesome photographs...which I stole to show you here) You all know my love for Aldi, but I do shop Kroger as well so I was glad to hear about this simple way to give back to Jeff Street as they serve our city. (I'm guessing you don't have to actually be in the city to participate since Kroger's nationwide.)

Here’s how it works:

1. Provide them with your contact information. Click here.

2. You will receive a Kroger gift card in the mail already credited with $5.00.

3. Next time you go to Kroger to get groceries, simply ask the cashier to put money on your card before they begin to ring up your order. 4% of what your put on your card comes back to JSBC.

4. Keep your gift card and reuse it over and over again just like the above. It’s important to keep the card because that’s how your donation is tracked.

5. You’ve just loved the homeless!



P.S. You can also contribute by purchasing art work by one of their former residents. Check out his website here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keep Louisville Weird

All over Louisville you find bumper stickers, billboards, and advertisements that read "Keep Louisville Weird." The campaign is really about buying local...but it certainly does seem to carry over into other areas...



For the past year, I've been driving past this mini-van on my way to work. (Sorry the pic is hazy...taken through my windshield.) I'm pretty sure it was a Senior art project as the names from the Class of 2009 are listed on one of the side panels. The seats in the back were taken out and the interior is insanely decorated...including a Little Mermaid figurine. The front boasts a large medallion and a huge eye at the joint of the legs.



Yep. Those are legs on top. Had I been braver, my photography could have given you a fuller effect...trust me...it's weird.

Louisville, I don't think you need to worry.

You are definitely weird.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Brasher Bunch


The cousins have come and gone. What remains of the Dawkins house? A very tired and sore Laura, a husband who wonders how on earth Greg feeds that family, and, amazingly enough, half of a caramel cake.


The explanation of the soreness? Racketball. We played racketball on Saturday night. Natalie was my partner...and ever amazes me with her athletic ability. Despite the petite frame and feminine appearance...Natalie prefers camo, football and the outdoors. She wanted to play football this year but those over her sweet head are signing her up for basketball instead.



David and Greg got a little competitive.(understatement)


Please note who is playing ping pong in this picture. Logan and Quinten are keeping score.


Though they are my cousins, I first really got to know the Brashers in 1999 when I spent a summer driving a tractor for my dad on our farm. I worked with the youth at their church and spent a lot of time that summer hanging out at their house. They are truly a joy to me...and I always look forward to time with them! (Wishing they lived closer.) The next year, Laurin went (not for the tractor driving but for the youth work) and lived with the Brashers for the summer. So of course, they were delighted to get to play with the little Boeving gals as well....



We had a lively house this weekend, to put it mildly.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hal and Me



Yesterday I officially registered for the Indianapolis Half Marathon that will be held on October 17, 2009. Old Faithful, Amanda Cline (who came up for the Derby 1/2 and was by my side when I first laced up my running shoes back in the 90s) is coming up for the race with a friend to represent Memphis. Laurin Boeving and I will be representing Louisville.

David has refused my offer to join our little entourage. This was distressing to me because I'm not sure how well I will do without his support by my side in these training days. Thankfully, Laurin is truly a motivator. Admittedly, I generally prefer to run solo. Running is relaxation for me. I sort thoughts better when I have pavement under my feet than in most other places.

It is rare indeed to find a running partner who is a combination of all the things I like in a running buddy - an easy talker who can volley the conversation to pass the time, repose in silence and the ability to discern when that is preferential to the other, a disciplined schedule, and then there's that unspoken, inexplicable effect some runners have that pushes me harder than I would push alone. Laurin is that rare find...and astonishingly enough, we're actually in the same city for once! So, let the training begin.

This is where Hal comes in. Lee first introduced me. Let me introduce you. Hal Higdon is the Runner's World guru and has a list of eccentric credentials a mile long including being a finalist in NASA's Journalist-in-Space program to ride the space shuttle. I relied heavily on his schedule for my first 1/2. I'm printing it out again this time...hoping that checking something off a list will somehow inspire me to dust off my shoes that have been on sabbatical for a few weeks.

Lazy summer? No more.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How unsearchable are his judgments....


One of things I've enjoyed about this summer has been the opportunity to put my headphones on and listen to a wealth of wonderful sermons, stories, and teaching. Truth be known, my ipod is a shuffle - holding only about 90 songs. This is perfect for most uses - a sermon while I ride the bike at the gym or a song to speed up my pace while I run.

Lately I've been listening to At Home in Mitford on my CD player because it's too much trouble to download the 16 cds to the pod. Yes, it's a portable cd player. For those who've forgotten the feel, let me assure you that I might as well be carrying an 8-track player around with me. I confess that last night I listened to stories about Father Tim as I drifted off to sleep.

One of the best finds of my internet searching this summer has been The Church at Brookhills's Secret Church meetings with David Platt. For me in this season, deep, independent study of the Bible is rare, if nonexistent. Lately, I've been wondering if I even really know how to study the Bible. Sometimes I come to the Word and feel, quite simply, overwhelmed. In case there are a few of you out there who feel the same...I wanted to pass along the link. There is a 4 part session on how to study the Bible. Secret Church Link There's a wealth of great material just waiting to be added to your play list or popped in the cd player on your next car ride.


Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! Romans 11:33esv

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Crowd of Cousins



There is a small county on the Tennessee River just above ground where the Battle of Shiloh was fought in 1862 during the American Civil War. My father's father and his father and many generations before them farmed the land. Nearly everyone in the county is related to me by blood or marriage in one way or another. Had I chosen a husband from among them, a blood test would have been a good idea.

As a result of their consistency in that county, I have a lot of cousins. First cousins, second cousins, third cousins, fourth cousins...and so on. It is my impression that naming someone as your third or fourth cousin is a fairly Southern trait. I confess that I do specify this on occasion.

This weekend, to my delight, some of my second and third cousins are coming for a visit. Kelly (my dad's first cousin), her hilarious husband Greg, Logan (17) Quinten (15) and Natalie (12) will all be staying with David and me in our little one bedroom apartment. That's 7 people, in case you're counting. We did this last year...exercising the full use of our couch bed, air mattress and camping mats and had a wonderful time. David's already planning to take the kids on a hike, pull out the wiffle ball, and take them downtown to the ridiculously crazy skate park. I love cousins. And it's a good thing...because I have a lot of them.

(The picture is just a few aunts, uncles, and 1st cousins with their kids at Thanksgiving one year. I wouldn't really even consider this very extended family:)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just Peachy



Since our first spring in Louisville, we've been hearing about Huber's Farm. Located about 35 minutes from the city, Hubers is a diversified farm thriving on giving city folk that country feeling. Motivated by the delicious peaches, we headed out on Saturday morning with the Boevings and Keyara. (Keyara woke up when I arrived at 9am to pick her up....and slept in the car on the way there. I'd forgotten what 9am on Saturday felt like at 13!!!) The weather this weekend was unbelievable. We were actually cold - in the middle of July. Hubers was worth the drive just to see my fruit-loving husband walk through the orchard in sheer delight. And now we have a fridge full of peaches to show for it!





We saw an older couple with BOXES full of peaches. Of course, David asked them for tips and peach recipes. We were standing near the fresh corn and so I chimed in to ask for corn cooking advice. She told me to just shuck it and pop it in the microwave with butter. I did just that on Saturday night. It was DELICIOUS!!! I wish now that I'd gotten a few more of these 3 for a $1 delights!



Afterward we enjoyed some icecream and fudge, played on the old trucks and tractors, and drank in the sweet simple freedom of summertime...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Man on the Moon

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

On July 20, 1969 at 10:56 p.m. ET, Neil Armstrong stepped onto moondust.

He was living history.

I recently read an article on Neil Armstrong, acknowledged by many to be the best pilot in history, on BBC which I found very intriguing. The article made me respect him more because of his quiet reserve rather than in spite of it.

It's a read I recommend.

Click here.


"The moon has a very stark beauty all its own..."

D is for Dawkins

I am a Southerner. I love monograms. For me, those two statements go hand in hand. I have the letter "D" in various forms throughout our house. Last week a few girls at book club were talking about monogramming using fabric cut outs and a simple zigzag stitch. It sounded pretty easy to me. I thought of my yellow place mats...and how cute they would look with a "D" from some of that checked fabric scrap I had sitting in my sewing bag on them. Friday night David grilled me a burger and we were hanging out, enjoying a plan-free evening. I got out my place mats and scrap bag, pulled the sewing machine from its hiding spot...and wah-la:




Say what you will. I won't be swayed. I love monograms.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Outdoor Gallery



When we pulled into my mamaw's house last Wednesday night, it was dusk. I spent a few minutes walking around her yard, taking in the glory of the Tennessee countryside.

I've been thinking lately about artistry and the variety of forms in which beauty is expressed and celebrated. Beauty moves me. It stirs up an ache. It makes me long for the fullness, not the shadow. It is the flutter of awakening to reality.

My mamaw lives a simple life, in a simple house down the road from the hills she walked as a child. You'll find no fine art work hanging on her walls or fancy decorations adorning her rooms. Yet, her garden is as fine a display as any gallery. She gardens because she loves flowers...and it shows in all her yard's nooks and crannies. I love catching artistry in the unsuspecting. Here's a peek at the beauty I discovered on my walk....











O God above me, God who dwellest in light unapproachable, teach me, I beseech Thee, that even my highest thoughts of Thee are but dim and distant shadowings of Thy transcendent glory. Teach me that if Thou art in nature, still more art Thou greater than nature. Teach me that if Thou are in my heart, still more art Thou greater than my heart. Let my soul rejoice in Thy mysterious greatness. Let me take refuge in the thought that Thou art utterly beyond me, beyond the sweep of my imagination, beyond the comprehension of my mind, Thy judgements being unsearchable and Thy ways past finding out.

O Lord, hallowed be Thy name.


A Diary of Private Prayer by J. Baillie



Friday, July 17, 2009

The Would-be Surprise



In honor of all the hard work he's done for the past few months, last night I attempted to throw David a surprise Wiffle Ball Party at our local park. I emailed a reliable crew from Louisville - many selected specifically for their Wiffle Ball prowess. I purchased and sliced the watermelon. I secured a large container of pink lemonade. I baked brownies. I scurried about our apartment in a secretive fashion, planning the great unveiling of his surprise.



The blankets were unfolded, the teams were set, and the guest of honor followed his Map-to-Fun over to Crescent Hill Park. He arrived, and to my great surprise, wore a shirt declaring "I Love Wiffle Ball." My secret had been well-kept, you see, until he opened up his gmail account on our laptop this weekend. Apparently, I hadn't signed out...and before he realized it was my account...read the first email's subject line: Surprise Wiffle Ball Party. I couldn't even keep a watermelon a secret...I don't know how I thought I'd keep an entire party a secret!?!? So, my secret was spoiled but the fun definitely persevered.


Ready for the game!


Savannah Boeving scores a home run.



The night ended with a happy husband...who just can't get enough wiffle ball or watermelon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

That Punk Husband of Mine....

Yesterday marked the end of an era in our household...2 months of insane traveling, studying, and well...more studying. David's summer course work was due and with great relief he turned it all in, with the exception of one small report due at the end of the month. We watched Slumdog Millionaire last night and picked through the blueberries. It was great. He didn't even turn the computer on.

Last week I told David to reserve Thursday night for a surprise...a celebration of the end of all his summer studies. I have tonight all planned out. Part of the plan is to bring out one of David's all time favorites: watermelon.(just in case he actually checks the blog...I can't disclose the plan beyond watermelon)

Last night I managed to purchase and hide a watermelon in our house without his knowledge. Watermelons aren't easy to hide in a one bedroom apartment.

This morning he went for a run. I thought it the perfect time to cut into it and prepare it for presentation tonight. I packed it up and was going to take it to the fridge at work. I sprayed the house with Lysol to remove the spray.

He walked in the door. He smiled with a gleam in his eye. He looked at me..."It smells so good in here, Laura. Almost like...."

"Like what?" I ask with indignation.

"Oh. I don't know. Maybe it's the surprise for tonight. I don't know what it smells like." he says.

"Go ahead. I want to know what it smells like."

"Well.....watermelon!" he says with the biggest smile I've seen in weeks. "It smells like delicious watermelon in here."

"David. You never smell anything. The garbage can stink up the entire house and you can't smell it. How can you possibly smell watermelon after I just sprayed Lysol?"

"My nose is tuned to it, Laura. What can I say? I love watermelon."

Punk. There goes the surprise:)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wicked



On our way back through Memphis from Mississippi, we made a stop in Memphis to see the latest rage of Broadway - Wicked - with my parents. I've been itching to see Wicked since it came through Louisville last January so my expectations were high. We were definitely not disappointed with the show. It was wonderful!

The Orpheum Theatre in downtown Memphis is one of my favorite spots and was the perfect backdrop. My mom explained a bit of the gilding process to me during intermission - increasing my admiration of the ornate old architecture even more. As you can see...we were in the 'nosebleed' section. It didn't matter a bit - we were still completely overwhelmed by the show.

David and I have been listening to the soundtrack non-stop since Sunday night and can hardly get any other song to stick in our heads.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blueberry Pickin'



So much happened over the weekend that I need to backtrack a little. Mamaw and I did indeed go to pick blueberries at a farm close to her house in the country on Thursday morning. $6 for a gallon!!! What a deal! My freezer is happy now! Mamaw said that most of them still need about two weeks and a good rain to ripen but we were able to find enough for our bucket. David spent the morning helping my dad out in one of his fields while we waded through bushes of berries.


Is she not the cutest mamaw you've ever seen???

Monday, July 13, 2009

Aged Gratitude



This weekend the smile was so big... I don't even have the energy to write all the stories behind it. Thankfully, none of my mishaps marred the day! The wedding was beautiful. Kayla was definitely the most organized bride EvEr. I was completely impressed...mainly because she usually just scoffs at my organization attempts.

I've known Kayla since she was an 8th grader in overalls. I was her camp counselor at LFR. If you're wondering if it makes me feel old that she's now an MC grad and married woman...the answer is yes.

The bigger feeling this weekend was one of gratitude though. Gratitude for the gift of a friendship that has seen many, many seasons of life. Gratitude for a friendship that God so clearly ordained for our good. Gratitude for the beautiful woman that overall-ed 8th grader has become...and the joy of watching her walk toward her groom.



Dancing with her daddy in Jennings Courtyard at MC.



A few years ago I went with Kayla, her aunt, and her grandma to Washington DC for a week. Grandma taught me how to beat the Cracker Barrel peg game. It was an epoch in my life. She is really as sweet as she looks!



The bridesmaids waiting for the big moment in the bottom of Provine Chapel. Oddly enough, this was my old Greek classroom. Dr. Green. I miss you:)




It was a very sweet weekend. I was grateful for the cake too. Yes, indeedy.