Tuesday, December 5, 2006
My plan was to rent a car and drive up from Midway to my friends' house in Glenview. Well, with the bad weather in Chicago on Friday, I changed my plan to have a car service pick me up and take me out there. So, I looked some up via the Midway web site and found one with a lovely page offering all kinds of car service. So, I called.
I asked for a Lincoln Towncar to pick me up at 7:15 at Midway, gave him my flight information and cell number. All set. The man on the phone even said, "We'll watch the flight schedule so we know if you're late." (Which I was...)
So, I get to Chicago and go out to the "limo stand" and look around to see who's waiting for who. I call the 800 number and someone answers and says, "Yes, you're going to Glenview. We have a white stretch limo, license 8292, coming to you pick up. The driver's name is Gino. Give him 5-7 minutes to pull around."
When does ordering this...
Get you this...
Thoughts in my head: Wait, a white stretch limo. Oh, dear, what have I gotten myself into. Please let that be code for black Lincoln Towncar.
Five to seven minutes later, a white stretch limo comes around the corner, IL license plate 8292. I wave Gino down. He pulls over, gets out and takes my one little rolling duffle bag, puts it in the trunk and I climb in. And I start laughing to myself because the whole thing just looks so ridiculous.
Gino was very pleasant as we were hollering directions the distance of the limo. And the lovely fiber optic lights throughout were very, um, pretty. I actually felt like I was back on a Carnival cruise ship.
I'd never been in a stretch limo before and was pretty OK with that record, but now, I have a blog about it. And for the record, when you see a white stretch limo zipping along the interstate, don't get all jealous and think, "They have the life." It's probably some average joe who just ordered a car service, asked for a smaller Towncar and ended up in a stretch limo.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
"Today I am attempting to make a shark cake minus an oven and real butter. So far I have microwaved five odd-sized chocolate cakes. Next I am going to churn my skimmed milk cream in my food processor and attempt to make frosting from it. I'm going for looks here, not taste. We shall see. I'm getting creative with the microwave. I've done meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, cake, brownies, chocolate chip cookie bars and muffins - things I never thought of microwaving."
The end result...
"Well, the cake part worked and I think the butter was good but I also forgot to buy powdered sugar and I think my homemade stuff made the frosting a flop. So, then I had to make a batch of marshmallow frosting which is pretty hard to work with. Thus our shark is not the sharpest looker in the ocean but he only needs to please an 8-year-old for three minutes so I think it will be okay."
"It's a whale"
"It's a catfish!"
"It's a dolphin!"
"Not only was he not a handsome shark, to some he didn't even look like a shark. But they all ate it, so he must have tasted better than a shark."
Sunday, November 19, 2006
The world's cutest bunny rabbit...
In this second picture, she looks like Jason, as she stares at his mug of coffee goodness so longingly. How appropriate that she has the Chapman look about her at this moment.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Friday, November 3, 2006
Here's my story...from Starbucks naturally:
In the middle of yet another stressful night at Starbucks, I made myself laugh. Baristas at my store have a bad habit of just opening new packages of cookies (or muffins, scones, etc.) when they sell one, rather than looking in the pastry case or around the pastry case for a tray of said assorted pastries. Ugh. It irks me to no end.
So, I'm cleaning up the mess left me and I find TWO open packages of oatmeal cookies and TWO trays of oatmeal cookies, all within three feet of each other. I was so frustrated I picked up the packages of cookies to take them to the back and I said to no one in particular (though my friend Jonathan was standing there doing dishes), "I swear to God if someone opens one more package of cookies, I'll...." I didn't finish the sentence because I started laughing at myself.
See, I listened in church Sunday morning...now if I could just stop saying it.
Saturday, September 9, 2006
My dad and me
The duning crew at the top of Test Hill
The girls with Steve in his super-powered sand rail
Sonya and I on the way to sunset on the beach in Buttercup
The Tennessee girls at sunset on Lake Michigan
My parents and I
Monday, August 28, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
As they open the door and look at the posted hours sign, they notice that it's after 10. They look in at me and timidly ask, "You still open?"
Now, here's the dilemma. I have one register in drive-thru open, enough stuff on hand to make drinks, but it's after 10 and these people have looked at the sign, don't know about the 10-minute rule but still have the gall to ask if we're still open. Half of me wants to tell them to go away, but the Starbucks side of me (although reluctantly, I'll admit) says, "Sure, we can help you." So, they proceed to come in and stare at the menu, then order mostly Frappuccinos (of course). After we finish their drinks, they slowly move towards the door, "I guess we can't stay," says one. Another girl looks at Paula, one of my crew, and sweetly says, "Have fun closing." Though I'm sure she didn't mean to be condescending, it flew all over us. "Have fun closing," we mimicked for the remaining 30 minutes we were there.
Of course, when you see 15 people standing in line, your inclination would be that the store is still open. So, one girl, not with the group, walks in and asks, "Can I still get a drink? You can say, 'No.'" Don't give me the option to say, "No." I might take it this time. We got her drink, too.
Friday, August 11, 2006
The girls (Jenni, Kim, Sonya, Beth and myself) went to "American Idols Live" last night. It was quite fun, especially to see Chris perform, though my fellow concertgoers got a little more caught up in Idol Spirit than I did.
Sunday, August 6, 2006
We've spent far too many hours together in the van. We're halfway home though! Waiting on the pizza to come to the hotel room.
Sonya and I created a list of "superlatives" for the kids: best dressed, funniest, best hair after whitewater rafting.... We're going to hand them out at youth Wednesday.
Quote of the Day:
As Sonya and I were determining the "superlatives," Matt Taylor calls from the back of the van, "I think I should be most prettiest."
Unless something completely crazy happens, I think we've determined the Quote of the Trip:
When the doors opened Saturday morning for the opening session, everyone raced in to get seats, for United was in the house! One of our girls, small and quick, had a load of books and jackets ready to throw down in a full row of seats for us to come in right after her and sit down. Doors open, she's in, we follow. In less than two minutes, she meets our group in disarray saying, "That lady came in and took our seats." So, we regroup and get the kids back over into the far back section that they'd been stuck in for every meeting to that point.
In the meantime, our youth pastor Jeremy goes down to the lady and the kids filling up "our" row and gets her to admit that she in fact came down and moved our stuff. To which he says to the lady, "This [pointing at the chairs and her kids] makes you stinky." He takes a couple steps, turns, points and says, "Stinky."
Mom and Daughter meeting:
With Grandma & Grandpa Chapman:
Grandpa doing what he does best, napping with his head against the wall:
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
My brother called last night at 9:10 with the news. My niece, Elizabeth Ann, was born at 9 p.m. on Monday, July 31, was five pounds and nine ounces, 19 inches long. Everyone is doing well! Man, you gotta love that middle name.... Jason sent me some pictures...
Introducing Baby Elizabeth Ann Chapman:
Meeting Grandma & Grandpa Chapman...the coolest parents ever, might I add:
Sunday, July 30, 2006
To Topeka: Day One
So, we're on our way to Colorado Springs. Day one was fairly uneventful as we just drove and drove and drove our way from Nashville to Topeka, Kansas.
After checking in to the hotel and dinner at the local mall's food court, we snuck out to the closest (and maybe only) Starbucks in the area. Thank goodness for wireless internet at the hotel where I could search for the location of the closest Starbucks.
Tomorrow it's on to Colorado and the Springs! I cannot wait to see those mountains!
Quote of the Day: "My blanket smells like tator tots and BO!" - Elise
To Colorado Springs: Day Two
Today's drive wasn't so bad. Kansas is pretty boring but it's nothing the iBook with DVD player and the iPod Nano with David Crowder, etc. can't get you through.
We arrived in Colorado Springs around dinnertime. A fantastic view of the mountains are out front.
Tomorrow it's whitewater rafting!
Quote of the Day: "I have no muscle. It's only skin and really big bones." - Matt Taylor
To the Arkansas River: Day Three
Today's adventure took us whitewater rafting. Good times! Sonya and two others fell out of our raft. They got a good soak, and now I'm red from the sun time.
We had a couple of "oops" moments on the way back. Jeremy, our youth pastor and driver of the lead van at the time, almost got a speeding ticket. We were held back from crossing the Royal Gorge because our van was still towing the U-Haul trailer (which Sonya and I decided was OK since I have a huge fear of large suspended bridges).
My personal favorite moment came just now...taking the van with U-Haul through the Starbucks drive-thru.
Desperation Conference starts tomorrow!
Quotes of the Day...
As he buckled his extra short life jacket for the rafting adventure, Matt Taylor says, "They gave me the emo jacket. All it needs are little pockets."
As she tried to grab a hold of rocks along the shore to pick up the group's rafting photos on disk for processing, our river guide Allie says out of frustration with herself, "Oh, Jesus Christ!" Upon remember she's with a church group, she immediately and profusely apologizes.
As Jeremy drove away from the cop, he says, "He didn't clock me doing 62. I was doing at least 70."
To Desperation Conference: Day Four
So, after having a lazy morning, catching up with my friend Brandan who works with Desperation, going out to the park, etc., we finally got to the part of the trip we came for...Desperation!!
The first night started with Desperation Band leading worship and John Bevere speaking. It was a night of thinking about who God really is and getting an eternal perspective. A great start!
Quote of the Day...Matt Taylor is on a roll!
When asked by Sonya why kids wear different color shoestrings like he had (one white and one black), he replied, "Well, one of mine broke."
To Desperation Conference: Day Five
Had a good day at Desperation today. The morning speaker David Perkins was great and Lisa Bevere's talk to the girls in the afternoon was fantastic as expected.
Had a load of kids, not from our group, cut in front of us at the KFC tonight at dinner...how annoying!
Listening to my friend Brandan's CD right now...sounds good.
Quote of the Day:
One of the kids, Josh, came out of the hotel for the evening service with the hat he thought he lost, saying "My worst fears came true. Room service stole my hat." (He left the hat on one of the tables in the lobby.)
The group sitting behind us tonight was pretty distracting, a bunch of chatty Cathies. Sonya turned around to give them a look, one guy said, "Hi" and she replied with "What's up?"
To Desperation Conference: Day Six
Today was the day! I'm sure it wasn't merely because Hillsong United was in the house but man, some of their songs hit me harder than anyone's. Add 7,000 other people in the same spirit to those songs and something happens. I'm ready to come home.....in a good way, not a homesick way.
Quote of the Day:
"It's a dude!" - Said by Zack when he called the number some girls gave him through the van window...it was their youth pastor's cell phone.
"Shut up and eat your manna, sucker!" - David Perkins paraphrase of what Moses might have said to the three million complaining Israelites in the wilderness. And I thought I had it bad....
P.S. I have the greatest roommate ever!
United from the camera phone:
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Starbucks Rumor Response
You may have heard a rumor about Howard Schultz, Starbucks and the Israeli army. The rumor is false. Neither chairman Howard Schultz nor Starbucks fund or support the Israeli Army.
Starbucks is a non-political organization and does not support individual political causes.
***I work for Starbucks and never heard this rumor. Have any of you?
Overheard by a Starbucks barista describing the Tazo Calm tea (our chamomile tea):
"...it smells like a cat's flea collar."
Tazo and Starbucks prefer this description:
A comforting blend of chamomile, rose petals and other soothing herbs. As the name gently implies, Tazo Calm has a lovely floral bouquet with an apple-like flavor and distinct toasty notes. Naturally sweet, in a nice light way, with a smooth finish.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
The entry/dining room - the walls look awfully shiny
The "future" kitchen - meaning all kitcheny things coming
The living room
The front yard/courtyard - look at those two darling nephews
Front view of the house - looks like my yard, a bit overgrown
View from the street - enter through the gate to the left
Their street - pretty, isn't it?
Sunday, July 9, 2006
Monday, July 3, 2006
At AllAccess, I will be in charge of the Christian content (news, stories and the like) as well as gathering feedback from radio stations around the country about the top songs playing every week.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I went to Michigan this past week for one last family vacation with my sister, brother-in-law and nephews before they leave the States. We went back up to my parents' property (cabin coming in '07) to camp, off-road, jet ski, etc. (much like I did three weeks ago for Memorial Day).
We pretty much hung around camp and the beach from Monday through Wednesday. My brother and sister-in-law came up on Thursday and that's when things got interesting.... We got the jet ski out and prepared for some fun on the still very cold water of Lake Michigan. Day 1 (Thursday) of jet skiing was pretty uneventful...no miscalculated stunts, no flips off, the water was pretty calm, we had some good rides out.
Day 2 (Friday) my brother Jason rode the jet ski south on Lake Michigan to meet up with us at the dunes where we off-road in Jeeps, dune buggies, etc. I did one round on the jet ski and then did another round in the Jeep. I got back to the beach as Jason was finishing up on the jet ski. The lake was really choppy on Friday as the wind was blowing steadily north (make a note of that, north). I decided to take another spin on the jet ski...life jacket, hop on, off I go.
I make my way south of where our group is staked on the beach so that I can tear back easily once I fight the waves down there. Well, as I'm cutting back and forth, the jet ski quits. I thought I stalled it, so I try to start it up again. Nothing. I look up the beach to see if my brother is back yet...he's not. So, I try to start it again nothing. My family (sister, dad and nephews) are on the beach and see me but don't think anything of it. Jas comes back out to the beach and I motion for help. I wasn't too far out and over a sandbar so he put on his life jacket to swim out and help.
But that wind blowing north...yeah, it was still blowing. Except it was more northwest because I was floating away from the beach. My sister told me later that our dad thought I would just float back towards them and closer to the beach. On any other day when the wind's blowing toward the beach, that might have worked. Last Friday it was not. So, Jason is trying to swim out to me, but I'm moving faster than he is...I can't get off because I can't tell how deep it is, and if he couldn't help me, I might not be able to get back on. So, as I get farther away and he gets too tired to swim, he yells at me, "Just stay on!"
At this point I'm leaving the beach area of the dunes. I see my dad jump in the dune buggy to go out and find help with the park rangers. My uncle and his friend Bob come back to the beach from their ride in his dune buggy and he calls 911 on his cell phone (obviously, I find all this out later since I'm floating north hundreds of yards out in the lake). My dad gets about no help from the park rangers as they don't have any kind of boat to be used for rescue, and when they decide to call "Central," they tell them that someone else called 911 already (my uncle).
So, I see my family standing there helpless on the beach, trying to find help, get a hold of help, and I'm just floating...farther away from them, from the beach, from any sign of life. I can't remember many moments in life where I've been deeply scared but this definitely is one of those times. My brother continues walking along the beach keeping me company. Though I'm too far away to talk to him, just the sight of him keeps me calm. As long as I could see him, I was OK...although he was getting smaller and smaller with each minute. By the end he was all of 1/4-inch tall, just teeny-tiny. We figure I was a good 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile out in the lake.
There I sit. On the jet ski, floating out in Lake Michigan. Remember, this lake is big...you don't just look across and see Wisconsin...all you see is water. And all I see is more water between me and land. The water is darker, the waves are getting bigger and I'm all alone. Needless to say, I prayed, "God, you calmed the seas. Jesus, you walked on water. Please, please, turn this wind inland." Nothing. "God, I'm getting farther away and I'm all alone. Help me." Nothing. (God lesson learned, coming in separate blog.)
I have no idea how long I floated; my family said it was a good hour from when the jet ski first quit. So I can barely see my brother on the shore anymore. He's asking people in the houses on the shore if they have boats, jet skis, anything. Nothing. He did find a lady with binoculars and they could see that I was still sitting there. We decided if it had been a Saturday or Sunday or even a holiday weekend, there would have been other boats or jet skis out to help, but this Friday afternoon we had nothing.
About that time, I look north and see what appears to be a boat with a flashing light on top coming my way. YEA! I'm saved! When my brother sees that, the lady gives him a ride back to camp since the family has no idea where he's at now.
So the boat is coming my way but they're heading closer to shore than out to where I am, so I start waving my arms. I've floated much farther out than originally reported. They see me and turn my way. What relief! As they get closer and swing around, I see that it's the Oceana County Sheriff's Search & Rescue boat. Not that I care who it is, I just want to get out of the water.
They make a couple passes to pull up beside me but it's so choppy that they end up throwing me a line and pulling me to them, rather than running me over. After they get me aboard (I practically leapt aboard, I was so happy to not be on that jet ski), they circled around to hook the jet ski up and take us to the lovely port of Pentwater.
As we turn and head north (the direction I had become so familiar with), we pass my parents' beach area and see little tiny people all standing out there. I was wondering if it was my family and come to find out, it was. Once they saw me drifting away, they loaded up the Jeep and dune buggy and left the park. My dad sped into camp, towing my sister in the dune buggy, unhooked the buggy and jumped back in to check on help. My mom and sister-in-law Charissa were not with the party at the dunes so they had no idea what was going on. From that point, everyone headed to the beach to keep an eye out for me as I floated that direction. Fortunately, the boat found me by that point and the family just watched me head to safety several miles north.
Once we got to Pentwater, headed up the channel to the dock reserved for the sheriff's boat, my feet had thawed a bit and I lamented the fact that I hadn't put any sun screen on.... Reaching the dock, I saw mom and dad, Jason and my nephew Zack all standing there waiting on me. I get ashore, turn in my police blanket and wait for my brother and dad to look over the jet ski. They get into the engine and get it started but think it's really low on fuel and with all the waves, it wouldn't start because there was no good balance. Lucky me.
This adventure makes me the first Chapman to be rescued by sea...my claim to fame and my gift to the legacy. It's a rather funny story, but only because I wasn't hurt or hanging in the 50-degree water waiting for help. The fact that I was just sitting there, floating, makes it funny. Of course, while I was out there...not so funny...much more scary. Never a dull moment with the Chapmans...makes you want to join us, doesn't it? We now have water rescue under our belts, so you can feel that much safer with us. And my brother's decided that the second jet ski he's wanted would be about more than fun...it would be a buddy system for safety, too.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
There's one thing you have to understand about the Chapmans - you haven't truly had an adventure unless someone has some kind of "accident." They can be accidents to your physical person (rare) or to your vehicle (more common). Some are near death, while others are only bruisers (or require minor vehicle repair).
My first accident of the off-road season came Saturday afternoon. It was a multiple bruiser. And it wasn't so much off-road as it was on the water. My brother owns a SeaDoo and over the last year, it's become one of my favorite Michigan outdoor activities.
The Chapman thought-process goes something like this: safety as an afterthought, you will ultimately have more fun the faster and more out-of-control you do things. And since in my mind the accident-versus-injury ratio of the jet ski is lower than the same ratio behind the wheel of a 4-wheel-drive Jeep speeding over a mountain of sand, I feel a little safer getting a bit crazier on the jet ski. Now, if you could multiply that thought-process by 10, you would get my brother's take on jet skiing.
I'm a bit more cautious when I have a rider with me on a jet ski. My brother Jason is only that way when it's NOT a Chapman sitting behind him. Well, since I am a Chapman, he held nothing back on our last ride out (after our individual rides) Saturday afternoon.
When you ride with the waves, you can really get some speed and open it up. Easy enough to hang on. When you run against the waves, you get some height. Also, easy enough to hang on - just pay more attention so you know when to brace yourself and plant your feet. There were a few moments that Jason forgot I was shorter than him, so when he caught big air, I caught even more.
After a time of racing around, Jason decided it was time to try a stunt. The particular stunt he was going to try involves doing a quick 180-degree turn, letting off the gas so the waves you were running pull you in the direction you were going before jamming on the gas to continue plowing forward. Forgetting to warn me, he pulled the stunt successfully but I wasn't hanging on for dear life. When he jammed on the gas to go forward, I was still going backward. (Keep in mind that it's the end of May and the water of Lake Michigan doesn't warm up until July or August; they said the water was only up to about 45-50 degrees this past weekend.)
My parents were sitting on the beach watching and said that my flip off the jet ski was like nothing they'd ever seen before. And the ice water of Lake Michigan in which I found myself was like nothing I ever felt before. The shock of that cold water sent my body and brain into almost immediate shock. I could barely catch my breath or move the water was so cold. Justice came in the fact that my ejection from the jet ski caused my brother to turn and he flipped off as well. All I could think about was getting out of that water and fast! Thank God for life jackets because I couldn't move for the cold but I had to swim. I got to the jet ski and climbed on probably quicker than I ever have before, and Jason wasn't far behind me. We got to shore and my parents threw towels at me and a sweatshirt at my brother (he had a wet suit on). I get cold pretty easily but not like this...it was ridiculous.
I'm still finding bruises that I think are related to that flip or other rides on the SeaDoo. Fortunately, we had better luck on Sunday afternoon. Jason warned me before the stunts, so I held on tight. No flips.
Not to scare anyone off, but you really should come have an adventure with the Chapmans.
Shawn McDonald story
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Reading graffiti from a billboard which made a statement about something being made available 24/7, Shelby reads it outloud as being available 2417...which as soon as she said it, she realized it didn't make sense. I had to interject, "Do you mean 24/7?"
A different day we were driving around town, saw the Playboy Mansion in her "Not for Tourists" book of maps and decided to find it. Shelby wondered aloud, "I wonder if there will be any pink Playboy Rabbits out front?" It wasn't so much her question that made me laugh but her use of rabbits instead of bunnies. I said, "I think they make the bunnies retire when they get old and become rabbits."
For the past two months Shelby has lived in the Silver Lake area, a couple cities away from Hollywood, and from the hill on which her apartment sat, you could see the Hollywood sign. That's one of the first things I noticed on Thursday morning, our first morning out. It wasn't until a couple mornings later on Saturday that we left and Shelby said, "Hey, you can see the Hollywood sign from here." We're still trying to figure out how she lived there for two months, left for work each morning and never noticed it.
And one more.... Shelby's friend Leigha and her husband Dan live in the LA area, so Shelby spent lots of time with them. One night they had friends over and asked Shelby to pick up some ice on the way over. Shelby arrives with the ice but they're not sure what to do with it. It's a large block of ice rather than a bag of ice cubes. Shelby said she'd never seen ice blocks sold in Nashville so thought it was just something different they did in LA.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Shelley, me and Shelby in front of the Hollywood sign
And here we are at The Getty Center (a great art museum with a great view). That's the greater L.A. area behind us (downtown L.A. is way in the background on the horizon).
Here's the greater L.A. area without us:
Shelley and me in Venice Beach
Shelby worked with Rob and John on the production staff of the Oscars. Here's a behind-the-scenes look...up close and personal with Oscar: