A Day to Remember

It all started with a pot of coffee at about 7 am. This trip, that is the norm. There has been to much to do, and yesterday was the pinnacle. Yesterday was the highlight, the thing we looked forward to: THE GARAGE SALE. You've inevitably been apart of one - the neon stickers, the bins full of crap that you think no one will buy, you know the drill. You put things in there and said "There is no way ANYONE will buy THIS for $1.50", and yet, they did. Here is how our day went.

7:45am - first customers, 15 minutes early. South Africans from down the street. They purchase a half broken George Forman, a brand new set of plates/mugs/dishes, a portable DVD player. Great start to the day!
7:55am - the first real "garage salers" that we had been warned about. These gals - typically in their late 50's, early 60's, show up early and try to get the best stuff. They roll up in their beat up '89 Camary and go for it. Today was no exception. We had one. She took a look in about 23 seconds, and bought nothing. I felt defeated.
8-10am - steady flow. But here is what Ashley and I's conversation sounded like: "Hey we got one". "Nope, they are neighbors". "Nope, '92 Bronco. They'll stop". "Yep, you're right". And so on. We sadly analyzed cars and figured out which ones would stop, ignore, or drive and stare. It got to be quite entertaining!
8-10am. Also during this time span was our friend Gus. Gus was the big winner of the day. Gus came 3, count 'em, THREE times throughout the day, he was relentless! Gus bought the following items: my old laptop from freshman year of college, my Dell from soph-senior year of college, an old MP3 player (not sure if this works anymore), 2 pairs of shoes, a totally broken TV (free, don't worry), another fully functional TV, a desk, a hat, and who cares what else. Gus spent almost $100 at my sale. I declare Gus the WINNER!
12PM - Ashley and Alex are roasting in the frickin heat, and decide to call it quits.
12:03pm - more people show up, of course. They buy a pair of shoes, a book, and I throw in a coffee travel mug for free.
12:17pm - even more people come. . .they walk away with mostly free items. My negotiating skills have completely deteriorated.
1:01pm - everything unsold is packed and off to Goodwill. All in all, a SOLID day. But here are some Garage Sale lessons:
- people buy the most random crap ever - drivers with a dent in it, old shoes, mirrors, anything. It is unreal.
- people want desks, electronics, shoes, and free stuff.
- people will drive up, take a look, and drive off if they see nothing of value. Very embarrassing.
- people will haggle, but hey, who won't?

All in all, it was fun. We drank way too much coffee, gave away way too many free items, but hey - we made money, people walked away happy. What more can you ask for??

We ended our day by going to the Sugarland concert at the Amphitheater. And let me be the first to say that they were amazing. I was impressed at the variety of music they covered - REM (Night Swimmer), Bon Jovi (Can't Go Home), B-52's (Love Shack), MJ (Rock with You), and Pearl Jam (Better Man). They were just extremely entertaining and well worth the money spent!

As I type this right now, my house is totally empty. Except for me, Ashley and my Mac. The end of an era - a very good one - in Bend. I loved this house and this town, but you know what? Ashley and I are on to amazing things ahead. And we are very excited about it.


Thoughts, hot sauce, and pickles

I'm not even going to intro this blog. Here we go.

Some good thoughts/quotes I've heard recently:
- God is an expert in taking care of His people in the most uncertain times. - Andy Stanley (our pastor)
- Never let your character erode because of the present circumstances. - Andy Stanley
- Waiting can be turned into endurance and perseverance - with the proper perspective. - Jeff Hendrickson.
- The hardest part of waiting is not the waiting itself. It is dealing with the aftermath of acting in our frustration. - Hendrickson
- Despite your circumstances, there should still be something unique about the way you treat people. - Andy Stanley
- Never touch your face (or any body part) after dealing directly with Cayenne Peppers. - Alex Casebeer
- If Christ were to actually reveal Himself today, would you know where you stand? - taken from 1 John
- The man who's life lived IN love in fact lives IN God, and God lives IN him. - 1 John 5:16.

Steps to making Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce - follow closely.
1) Grow peppers in yard
2) Water peppers, pick peppers when completely red.
3) Dry peppers using a wire hanger found in your closet, and hang awkwardly in the laundry room using clothes pins.
4) Look up many recipes online, decide on one.
5) Begin selecting the "chosen few" peppers because you grew 17 times too many. Turns out you only need 5 for this recipe.
6) Cut peppers, get peppers all over your hands and don't realize it.
7) Scratch face.
8) Scratch arm. . . . . and then leg.
9) Wipe sweat off forehead, because, well you are cooking PEPPERS.
10) After bottling pepper sauce, let the anticipation begin of "is this going to be good?" "or is it going to burn my mouth off?"
11) Realize your forehead is ON FIRE and you get can't it to stop.
12) Go hit golf balls and realize your arm and leg are BURNING LIKE NO TOMORROW
13) Come back, get sauce out, get a tortilla chip, and get ready for launch.
14) Dip, eat, think, reflect.
15) Realize you didn't put any salt or garlic in, dang it!
16) Add salt and garlic
17) Try again - and realize you got it right!
18) Brag.

And lastly, my story from the Fickle Pickle.

I went to use my free lunch at the Fickle Pickle (and to visit Ashley, of course) the other day and it was a very packed house. I sat outside for a variety of reasons, mainly because of the weather, and table availability. About halfway thru my meal, 3 older ladies (late 50's, early 60's, sorry if that offended anyone) stroll outside, Chardonnay in hand. The begin looking for places to sit, only to realize that it is totally full. One of them looks at my table (1 person sitting at a 4 top) and announces "Let's sit with this guy!". To which I respond, BRING IT ON CHICKS. At this point, Ashley gives me the stink eye (deserved) but what can I do? I have attracted cougars.

When they sit down, they are all talk. Talking about Florida, houses, 20 years ago, blah blah blah. I ask them what they are doing and Diane's response was "Oh, just out spending our husband's money!". Mary said "In my case, my booyyfriend". These gals were hilarious! We talked about the West Coast, Texas (where one was visiting from), food, Ashley, wine, the car business, the new show on TV about cougars, we covered it all. Once their food arrived, I left them to their party - they were having a great day! I got up to leave and said "See ya later, girls!" to which Diane's response was "Bye Alec". Hate that. Old people never get AleX right. It's always AleC. Why is that? Anyway, a good time had by all!

Well Ashley and I are off to Oregon today. We'll be busy - anniversary party, birthday party, golf tournament, trip to Bend to pack my house, visit Portland. . .we'll be busy, but we can't wait.

Crap! I gotta go. About to miss my fl.. . . .


Watch out, I'm going political!

Ok, maybe political isn't the right word. I'm not sure really, maybe it's 'socially conscious', or 'doing the right thing'. But cut me some slack, I never write about anything serious! What I want to write about briefly is my thought this morning: Buy Local, or Bye, Local! Maybe this thought is something my Mom instilled in me. Maybe it was the way of life in Bend, OR. Or maybe it's "an Oregon thing". But I am behind it, and let me give you my thoughts on the subject.

I like local things. In fact, one of my favorite days with Ashley was going to the Portland Farmer's Market in downtown Portland. It doesn't' get any more local than that! There were flowers, veggies, wine, fruits, trinkets, all sorts of stuff - all made and grown by someone in Oregon. I love that! Local food always tastes better, I'm convinced. Maybe it's because I just made Cayenne Pepper hot sauce with the peppers that we grew in the back yard. But fresh local produce and food tastes better to me. And it is always good to support the local farmers. They are hard workers!

I love local coffee shops. While I realize that the beans are not grown locally, a truly "local" shop the milk will be local, the mugs will be made from someone in town, etc etc. In Bend, if you went to Starbucks, you were an outcast! There were so many great coffee shops in town - why go to 'big bad Starbucks'? (Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of Starbucks, but when I can go local, I do).

I love the local restaurant scene. This is a little easier to get into because in most towns, there are so many options other than franchises or chains. But even here in Alpharetta there are amazing local joints - Pure Tacqueria, Milton's, The Union, La Parilla...I could go on. Why would we go anywhere else? And I feel like it is the same way in most towns, so I'll rant no more on that subject.

But what is the bigger reason for "going local"? Supporting the community, supporting the local business scene, supporting the economy and supporting fledging entrepreneurs. I like that, above all else. I am a big fan of going to Ranch Records vs. Best Buy. I am a huge fan of going to The Back Porch vs. Starbucks. I like Roswell Used Books over Barnes and Noble. Not only is the service mostly better, but there is a bigger sense of "I did something good". A lot of the time, the local restaurants/coffee shops/bike shops etc. are the most who give back the most to the community, so in a way, by shopping or eating there, you are helping give back to the community. It all comes around full circle.

Now I know that this isn't always possible. Sometimes you just have to go to Burger King. Or Taco Bell. Or wherever. But maybe next time before you go, do some homework and find out which ones are owned by a local person. Typically Starbucks never are, but sometimes the fast food chains are. I would venture to say that it is ok in my book to support those too, because they can often give back to the community in great ways too.

But for some reason - the small places, the ones that seem like they aren't making any impact at all in a community, actually are. Upon closer inspection, the little guys oftentimes come up the biggest. They support schools, races, book fairs, Art Fairs, Young Life, and on and on and on. And that is why I like supporting them. And that's why I would encourage you to do that also!

What would our towns be like without the local guy? Without the person who knows your name when you go to Jittery Joe's? What would our towns be like with big chains only, and Olive Garden's and Circuit City's everywhere? I say that if we don't buy local, then we can say "Bye, Local". Let's not let that happen, especially in this economy. I am really tired of that statement - "this economy". I know things are bleak, but if you are going to spend money, think about where it's going. I hope it's going local!


If you knew me, you would know. . .

This is a hilarious game that Ashley likes to play occasionally with her friends. It is called "It you knew me, you would know..." It is a way of revealing some funny things that make you YOU. Maybe they are secrets, maybe they are idiosyncrasies, maybe it is just a random fact. But none-the-less, it is revealing something! So off we go. If you knew ME, you would know. . .

- that I never order the "special" at a restaurant. I view it as losing. I'm not sure why. I feel like I lose if I order the special. Like I feel like gave in to something. Never order the special!

- that I can't brush my teeth in the morning without either eating or drinking something. You know, lots of people wake up and the FIRST thing they do is brush their teeth. Not me. It disgusts me. I have to drink Cranapple juice, or coffee, or eat Honey Nut Cheerios. Anything before I brush those pearly whites.

- that I rarely ever finish a full cup or "grande" of coffee. For some reason, I just can't do it. I LOVE coffee. I order it all the time. But I can never finish a whole cup! Ask Ashley about this. She will disclose full details.

- that I have to hug a pillow every night while sleeping. At least, I have to fall asleep this way. Sometimes I end up upside down, or on the floor, or one time I ended up in the shower (ask for details, please). But if you knew me, you would know that to fall asleep, I have to be clutching a pillow!

- that when I am golfing, I always have 2 quarters in my pocket. For you non-golfers out there, you always need a "ball marker" in your pocket. For me, it has always been quarters. For as long as I can remember, I always have had 2 in my pocket. Ask me why and you will get no response. I have no clue. It just happens.

- that I never use hair "product" in my hair. I use hand lotion. Yes, the secret to this amazing hair (hardly) is hand lotion. I hate the feeling of waking up the following morning with "sticky" hair. Hand lotion prevents this.

- that I secretly hate Tiger Woods. Yes, I may be a golfer. And most golfers like this guy. Not me. I like the underdog. I like the guys who play golf to make ends meet, because they feel like this is the only thing that they can do to be successful. I don't really like Tiger. Do I respect him? You know it. The guy is unreal! Do I like him? Not really.

Ok friends. I have revealed. Now it is YOUR turn! If I really know YOU, I would know. . . . . . .

I will be taking suggestions for my next blog. Please be responsive. It's more fun that way! Have a great Sunday!


A plethora of things!

Good evening. Tonight's topic: Whirled Peas. And cotton candy. And Janell Ediger, along with the Deschutes Cup, Hedo Turkoglu, and of course, Michael Jackson, King of Pop. Ok, I know that's a lot. But I asked people on Facebook what to blog about, and those are the things that they came up with. You'll get your chance too, just be patient! So off we go, into world of thoughts, reactions, and weirdness. First up: WHIRLED PEAS, courtesy of Mel Wade.

I must admit, I have never heard of whirled peas. In fact, as I type this I still haven't. I am going to google them hold on...........Top results: Whirled Peas Catering, Denver CO. Pretty sure Mel wasn't talking about this. Whirledpeas.com - Handmade Jewelry. Uhhmm, no. Next up - Whirled Peas Productions. Seriously? Nice name. Then I realized I've been duped - Whirled Peas, AKA WORLD PEACE. My initial reaction to this epiphany: Mad at Mel. Second thought? Agree with World Peace. When we will see more unifying? When will people realize God is in control not them? In fact, when will people stop blaming God for things going on? Maybe we need to look at the Man in the Mirror. (I'll get to that later...) Next topic: COTTON CANDY, courtesy of Kris Willis.

Have you ever watched someone actually make cotton candy? I got to 4 times this summer - Carnival Night at Young Life Camp. It is a strange process really. You stick this plastic thing in to a big mixing bowl, some air is blowing, color is in there somehow, and voila! Cotton Candy! It's bizarre. It's also something sticks to your teeth in a strange way, and that I don't like. But I did cave and have one this summer, and did not regret it. Thanks for reminding me of the Oregon State Fair, Kris! Next topic: JANELL EDIGER, courtesy of Janell Ediger.

Or as I mostly refer to her, Miss Ediger. She was an assistant principal at South Salem HS, home of the MIGHTY Saxons! I was lucky to have someone as cool as Ediger - because when you are a sweet talking, mischievous, sly little sophomore like I was back then, you needed someone on your side. She was definitely on my side! Always let my group of friends get away with things we shouldn't have. So thanks Janelle, for being a great, cool, amazing principal! Next up: THE DESCHUTES CUP, courtesty of Dan Odiorne.

Dan brought up a rough memory for me. Well, actually a funny one. But I was a loser in this contest. You see, there was a season long golf tournament between country clubs in Central Oregon called the Deschutes Cup. My club and his were in the finals, playing at the infamous Crosswater Golf Course in Sunriver. It is an amazing place! Dan and I squared off in a singles match, and I got whooped. Not only did I get whooped, but he capped it off by making about a 157 foot putt on #17 to rub salt in the open wound. However, I got the last laugh - Bend Golf and Country Club won the whole shebang! Next topic: HEDO TURKOGLU, courtesty of Matt Sheelar.

Hedo is an idiot. Well, sort of. He played for the Orlando Magic for the past 3 years, and wanted a change. Portland wanted a good Forward. Are you thinking what Portland was thinking? That's right - let's get Hedo out here, Nike him up a little bit, show him what Portland is all about! Turns out Hedo thought Portland wasn't that great, and wanted to go to TORONTO. Yeesh! He said that he liked the city better (idiot), and that there were more people like him there. Well duh, Hedo, you are TURKISH! There are no Turkish people in Oregon, or at least not enough. Adios, Hedo! Enjoy another underperforming team! Next and final topic: MICHAEL JACKSON, King of Pop, courtesy of many people, but including my cousin Elle and T.Roy.Hess.

Let's face it - an era-defining human has come and gone, right in front of our eyes. Don't care about the molestation charges, don't care about the skin pigment deal, the guy was flat out amazing. I can remember, when I was young, watching concerts where people would literally pass out and have to be carried out by security, limp-bodied and all. I can remember dancing around my house to Beat It, Bad, and Thriller. In fact, I still do that. Annnyyway. I once made a music video with my cousin James to the song "Bad". If it wasn't on VHS, it would a YouTube sensation right now! We had it all - the outfits, the dance moves, the cool video effects - it was awesome. Mom, can you dig that up, please? Thanks. But seriously - Michael Jackson defined music in my era and life, and even before me. And he will continue to do so after we pass on. He was amazing, and I loved his music. I loved his crazy dancing, and his crazing awesome music videos, and the fact that the guy had Disneyland as his freaking home! Who cares that he was a little odd? Not me. You shouldn't either. You should immediately go to your iTunes and turn on "Man in the Mirror" and marvel at the words and the message. He gets it. I wish there were more people that thought the way he did in this song, and many others (ie Heal the World and more!). Anyway, it's too bad he left us before this latest tour - that would have been unreal to see! His time here on earth definitely ended a little too early, in my opinion.

Well I'll leave you with one funny story from this morning. I'm sitting in Starbucks, and Mr. Cool walks in. You know - 50 years old, designer jeans, ripped white T shirt, glasses still on (even though it's raining and 8 AM), you get the picture. I listen to him order the following, or something like this: Uh, yea, gimmeuh Soy Vanilla Chai Iced Latte. Whole soy milk (huh?), 9 pumps vanilla, 1 pump white chocolate, 1 pump Chai, and 2 pumps I'm an idiot. Ok, I added that last part. But honestly, just get a Mocha and get the heck out of the line!

You are going to love the next blog as well. Topic: "If You Knew Me, You Would Know. . ."

Thanks for these words, MJ!

Man in the Mirror
I'm Gonna Make A Change, For Once In My Life
It's Gonna Feel Real Good, Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

As I, Turn Up The Collar On My
Favourite Winter Coat
This Wind Is Blowin' My Mind
I See The Kids In The Street,
With Not Enough To Eat
Who Am I, To Be Blind?
Pretending Not To See Their Needs
A Summer's Disregard,
A Broken Bottle Top
And A One Man's Soul
They Follow Each Other On The Wind Ya' Know
'Cause They Got Nowhere To Go
That's Why I Want You To Know

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change!

I've Been A Victim Of A Selfish
Kind Of Love
It's Time That I Realize
That There Are Some With No
Home, Not A Nickel To Loan
Could It Be Really Me,
Pretending That They're Not Alone?

A Willow Deeply Scarred,
Somebody's Broken Heart
And A Washed-Out Dream
They Follow The Pattern Of
The Wind, Ya' See
Cause They Got No Place To Be
That's Why I'm Starting With Me