Monday, July 28, 2008

This Blog is on Vacation

This blog is officially on vacation. I'll catch you all up in a week or so.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day at the Track

What a day we had yesterday! I was so tired last night, I couldn't do much of anything. A day in the sun at the track can really take it out of you.

I picked up my nephew yesterday morning, we packed our lunch of Peanut Butter sandwiches and some chips and headed for the track. When we got to the track, we actually got the best parking spot ever, right in the 3rd Turn, next to the family viewing mounds. We could actually see the track sitting in the car, but the viewing mounds are really a cool place to watch the action.

We got to the track around 11:30 and practice was to start at 2:00. The plan was to take the tram up to the main area, walk around the Pagoda Plaza for awhile, eat our lunch, and wait for the action to begin!

What a perfect day! The sun was out, but there was a great breeze. We really needed a hat, so we got matching ones from the booth sponsored by St. John's Church of Christ. So many nice people are at the track. They are all there to have a good time and just enjoy cheering for their driver.

My nephew was excited to see the garages from the viewing platform (which is actually the walkway to some public restrooms) and ready for the track action!
We picked up some sodas and headed to the main grandstand to get a good seat in the shade, eat our lunch, and watch the racing begin!

The focus for my nephew is Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet (pictured above). He has had Jimmie as his favorite driver since he was 3 years old. Yes, 3! Jimmie ended up having the fastest practice laps of the day at over 180 mph. And now, 90 minutes into qualification, Jimmie is on the pole!

I was actually pretty lucky to get a few pictures with cars in them. The cars are so fast that most of my pictures ended up looking like this:

Friday, July 25, 2008

For the Love of NASCAR...

Yes, I used to be one of you. One of those people who used to make fun of NASCAR. I know all about the Billy-Bob stories and making fun of the people who think the Moon landing was filmed in a Hollywood studio while NASCAR and pro wrestling are REAL.

There are a few things that changed my thoughts on NASCAR. One of which was the eulogy given for my Aunt Edith, who was always a big racing fan. I knew that she liked Indycars and the Formula 1 series (the elite of Auto Racing), but I didn't know that she liked NASCAR. The minister of the Zanesfield United Methodist church who did her eulogy talked about the years upon years of my Aunt's community service, dedication to the church, care for the sick, volunteering at the local library, and her love of NASCAR.

The minister said that when he first came to the church, my Aunt Edith talked to him about the length of his sermons and the need to get out of church by 12 noon. He said at first he didn't really realize what she was getting at, but she then explained that she had to get home for the start of the race. Over the years, the minister and my Aunt worked out an agreement that she wouldn't complain if he got a little long-winded and during NASCAR season she had his permission to leave the service when she needed to so that she could get home for the start of the race.

I can't say that I've ever watched an entire race, but there is some sort of connection that I get with my family by keeping up with it a little bit. My Mom watches NASCAR now, my brother and nephews watch too. It is all about picking a favorite driver (which I officially have not done yet) and seeing what happens. Part of it is that I love sports, and I can find a way to watch about any sport. But more importantly, I feel a family connection to NASCAR.

Someday I will pick a favorite driver. But for now, I'm off to Practice Day for the Brickyard 400.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Anyone been to Branson?

So, the big vacation is coming up. My Mom, my brother and his wife, my nephew and I will be loading up the minivan and driving to Branson. Not the best gas prices for a car trip vacation, but I am looking forward to it anyway. I'm purchasing the in car DVD, and really by the time we've watched Ratatouille and Monsters, Inc. we'll be half way there. No biggie.

But, have you been there? Do you have recommendations as to what we should do with an age range of 7 - 78? It seems like everyone has been to Branson, except for us. Are there good shows that we shouldn't miss? The best funnel cake you've ever experienced? Let me know, otherwise I may just be at the pool.

Monday, July 21, 2008

To Click, or Not To Click...

and I'm really voting to Not Click.

So, while this is not a dog blog, I am going to write about Tiger again. Tiger and I have been taking a class called "Manners for Shy Dogs" from a local dog training school. I have taken dog obedience classes before, taking the first one in 4-H when I was probably 12. I've also done the PetSmart classes in the past with other dogs. This time, I wanted to try something different with Tiger. I was doing okay training him on my own (the first thing any trainer tells you is that they are there to train the owner, not the dog), but what I couldn't figure out was his timidness. He is really scared of a lot of things. I have not quite figured out the pattern of things, but "Manners for Shy Dogs" hasn't really helped me either.

Do you know about dog people? In some circles, I am considered a dog person. I love my dog(s), other people's dogs, many people ask me questions about dogs. I take classes, I read about dog anatomy to learn more about diseases, I try to figure out the psychology of the dog. But, compared to the people who run this dog school, I am nothing. These people are serious. They are the decendents of Pavlov. And they click.

Clicker training is very behavior based psychology. It trains a dog that the click of the little clicker (see photo) produces a treat. So, the dog becomes focused on doing whatever is necessary to make the clicker get the treat.

I'm just not that into the clicker. Do I really want my dog to think that I am a treat machine? Not really. I think for some people clicking is great. It gets them a very well behaved dog. I'm just trying to connect with my dog on a different level. So, that gets me to a crossroads. I think I am going to quit the class.

Now remember who we are dealing with here. I have quit very, very few things in my life. I can hear my Mom saying, "Didn't you pay for that class?" But, I feel as if I paid for something that I didn't really get. You see, I thought this class for "shy dogs" was going to help my dog overcome shyness. Nope. Not at all. It is the same old teach how to sit, down, stay, go to a specific spot, loose leash walk class I've taken several times. Nothing in particular about shyness or helping with it.

So, I am not going again. Tiger doesn't particularly have fun there. And potentially, I could get more benefit out of taking him on a walk where we could interact with some people or different situations. So, I think I can do it. I'm getting rid of the clicker.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I miss Corn

When I was growing up, there was a commercial on TV for a place called Indiana Beach. It had a very snappy song, complete with animated crow called "There's More than Corn In Indiana" (which I am unable to find on You Tube).

Have you ever just stopped to look at the corn? It is beautiful. Tall and green and reaching for the sky. How does a little seed grow that tall? Or three little seeds (the way my Dad used to plant corn)?

This year due to the floods in Indiana, the corn is not looking as strong as it normally looks. The saying goes that the corn needs to be "knee high by the 4th of July" and in a lot of places it doesn't look like it made that guideline.

A few years ago, I was at work at a diversity workshop. I had to go, but I usually like to go to those workshops anyway. I ended up sitting next to a manager that I knew, but not very well. I knew she was originally from a coastal state, but we had never really talked about anything like that. Anyway, she had just been in Indiana for a couple of years and she said that as a runner, she found running in Indiana to be very boring because of all the corn. I said, "I think corn is beautiful", and I got a look as if I had 3 heads. Yes, there's even diversity in the landscape that we prefer.

I do believe that corn is beautiful. But just wait until I see my first amber wheat field of the season. Then, we'll talk about beauty!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dancing Around the World

For a while, I watched this video every day. At times, I would think, look at what I am giving up by doing what I do here every day. I don't actually think that anymore, but I do think this is a great video. Take a look. You'll like it, I promise. He even gives a special shout out to anyone whose recently been in Guragon, India. :-)

This guy's complete story is at and it actually tells how he ended up in all these places.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

If you could star in any movie....

Today on my way to work, the hosts of my local radio station (recently upgraded from a.m.!) were doing their normal happy chit chat, when one of the hosts said that one of her colleagues from the sports show often leaves messages on her voice mail with suggestions for talk topics for the morning team. His most recently suggested topic was "If you could star in any movie, what would it be?" While she didn't seem impressed with the topic, I think it would have gotten lots of response, even on that 6:00 a.m. time slot on Sunday morning, when no one but maybe me and my mom are listening.

So, what movie would I want to star in? Probably Grease. Or Singin' In the Rain! I am a sucker for the musical theater. I've never actually been in a play or musical, other than the short run as Mrs. Claus in the 2nd grade, but I often sing, even if I am not very good. One of the things I really love about my current job is that it is in a warehouse and the accoustics are great! I always imagine myself in a musical when I'm walking through the warehouse. Don't tell.

So, what movie would you want to star in?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tiger Boy, the best dog in the whole world

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know your dog or bunny or whatever furry, scaley thing you may spend your time with is the one that you think is the best in the world, but, have you met my Tiger Boy?

I adopted Tiger a few months ago. He's a shy guy, even scared of me at first, but he is doing very well now. He's asleep in his chair right now. I am so excited to actually have a dog that will fetch. He loves it! Indoor or outdoor, balls, stuffed animals, or sticks, if you throw it, he'll go get it. Until he gets tired and then it is nap time. What a great life.

So, why "The Lucky Girl"?

I have always thought of myself as the absolute luckiest person in the world. I have the best family, friends, and dog; I have had some great jobs over the years (including the one I have now), and my life has been full of great experiences. I don't mean to say that everything always goes my way, or anything like that, but I keep a pretty good attitude most of the time.

Now, there are times when I can get caught up in singing "It Sucks to be Me" , but it's really only been a couple of times that I can remember. Usually when I feel out of control.....but then that's probably a whole different post.

I am the luckiest aunt of the 14 greatest nieces and nephews in the whole world. They have a huge range in ages, from over 30 to the youngest who is 7. I spend a ton of time with the 7 year old now, and he thinks we are pretty lucky too.

As a matter of fact, recently we were riding our bikes on a Saturday morning. Rain was expected and actually it was sprinkling when we loaded our bikes in the car to take them to the bike trail. But once we got there and got started on our way, the sun came out, there was a nice breeze, there were people on the trail, but it wasn't crowded. As we were riding, my nephew said "We are the luckiest people in the world! I am the luckiest boy and you are the luckiest girl!" And all because it didn't rain.

How great to have that attitude at 7! I hope that he continues to live a life where he feels as lucky every day as he felt that morning.

Starting Over

So, today I feel like the luckiest person in the world. So, I thought I should re-start this blog. I suppose I should state my purpose, which is mainly to keep in touch with friends far away. I have friends all over, some temporarily re-located to far off lands, some permanent. I just miss them in general and want a place to share my thoughts, ideas, and experiences. And more importantly, some pictures. So, here we go.