Tag Archives: Travel

I didn’t like her tone…

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I hope that everyone enjoys this day celebrating the independence of our nation and that later when fireworks are lite that you use caution. ūüôā¬†

I’ve been so busy vacationing that I have not paid sufficient attention to my Red Oven blog, but as promised last week I mean to rectify that situation.

We just returned home from, Chicago,¬†the final leg of our family vacation.¬† This is usually the time when we really unwind and enjoy good food, great scenery and basically chill out.¬† We travel to Chicago several times during the year, because it’s so close to home (a meer¬†three-hour drive) and we know that we can usually get some really good food there (this weekend was the ending to the “Taste of Chicago” and it’s an awesome time to walk around and “taste” all types of food in one location).

I promise to show pictures later when I chronocallize my vacation, but today I wanted to focus on one MAJOR event that happened this weekend.¬† Saturday as I was trying to post on Facebook about how awesome the “Taste” was, my phone (Crackberry¬†Blackberry Torch) died.¬† I mean it actually had a stroke, when it froze up; then when I removed the battery from the back and tried to reboot it, it just couldn’t reboot.¬† After about two hours of trying to reboot unsuccessfully, it finally went into cardiac arrest and life just stuttered out of it.¬† I describe it this way only because that’s exactly what it was like.¬† Watching it stutter into nothingness was heart breaking and left me with a sense¬†of complete despair.¬†¬† Why despair¬†you say?¬† Well…one of my besties was moving back to the Chicago area that weekend and she was supposed to call me so that we could meet up while I was so close to her and I had her numbers programmed into my phone which was dead (I will talk about that in a moment) AND I’m not at home and my phone is DEAD…if my family need to contact me for any reason, they couldn’t! ūüė¶¬† I hadn’t done a backup on my phone in a couple of months so any new numbers that I had stored in there was gone… and I know there are new numbers that I had stored in there.

I began to panic and me panicking¬†is not a good thing.¬† I needed to find an ATT store fast.¬† But guess what?¬† By the time this catastrophe had occurred¬†all of the store were closed for the evening.¬† I called ATT Tech support and the gentleman suggested I try charging my phone to see if it could be revived and then said if all else failed I was¬†still under warranty so they could get me a new phone.¬†¬†I charged overnight and nothing happened.¬† I informed my family that the most important¬†thing on our to-do list for that day was getting my phone situation taken care of.¬† I found an ATT store (it was about 10 minutes away from our hotel) and after some diagnostics were performed it became official…my Torch¬†was a goner and there was nothing a new battery or repairs could do to bring it back.¬† I said okay get me a new phone and that’s when I was informed¬†that my phone was not under warranty any longer¬†(because I had bought a refurbed¬†phone and they only had a 90 day warranty versus the one year warranty of new phones¬†– that’s another post too).¬† I¬†called¬†ATT back they said I was under warranty and it became a “he said, he said”¬†game.¬† I’m in distress…I don’t need GAMES, I need RESULTS.¬†

My husband was in my ear telling me not to pay $125 for another refurbed phone (that’s what they send you when you get a “new” phone from the insurance side) and I was just so desperate that I didn’t care,¬†JUST GET ME A PHONE!¬† Okay so the two things that set¬†me off was the time it would take to get another phone,¬†it¬†is a holiday weekend so I was looking at Thursday or Friday before I could get the¬†phone; and the claims operator for the insurance company.¬†

Let me say this…¬† I’ve been¬†VERY happy with AT&T and their customer service.¬†¬†Years ago I was a¬†Sprint customer and I¬†STOPPED being a Sprint customers because I was¬†“talked crazy” to one to many times.¬† The problem that I had on Sunday was not with AT&T, it was with the¬†insurance company; and it¬†is not the first time that they have rubbed me the wrong way.¬† I AM 39 YEARS¬†OLD, you are not going to talk to me¬†like I don’t have any sense when it is your job to make me happy.¬† I am the one that is upset and it is the job of the company that I am¬†PAYING for a service to respect me and try to make me feel better.¬† Not only did the representative use the wrong tone with me, but I called her on it and she kept talking to me with the wrong tone and basically daring me to find a better deal somewhere¬†else.¬† Folks I’m six months into a new two-year contract, this would normally cause someone to think about¬†breaking it.¬† I am now a Verizon customer.¬† I found a better deal somewhere¬†else.¬† I don’t have a Blackberry anymore I now have an Android (I’ve been a¬†Blackberry user for about 4 years now and this will be an adjustment for me) and¬†I’m saving¬†more money with my employee discount than before (but I¬†was happy with AT&T so it wasn’t a big deal¬†about discount amounts) and most of the numbers that I call are no longer within my network; but I’m satisfied with my decision.¬† Looking at it on the bright side, my parents will soon be switching to Verizon (most of my Dad’s siblings are with Verizon and he¬†HAS been frustrated with AT&T) and I get to add my “Favorite Five” (just need to figure out who my favorites are. :))

My Dad has always said that I’m as faithful as they come, but if you push me wrong one good time; all that faithfulness goes right out the door.¬† I’ve tried to deny it, but it really is true.¬†¬† Have you ever had to discontinue service with a company due to lack of good customer service?¬† Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Be safe everyone and enjoy your holiday.

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We’re on Vacation

I haven’t posted anything in just about two weeks and there’s a good reason for it…we’re vacationing.¬† A week in Fort Lauderdale,you come back for a few days, then leave for Chicago and the “Taste” for another 3-4 days…you know how it is.¬† I promise I will have pictures (I’ve been trying to use the aperture and shutter speed settings only) and tell you all the details (I’ve celebrated a birthday AND anniversary) when I get back.¬†

I did want to pass on a link to an awesome article about the jobs of mothers.¬† If your single or a single-mother this may not be for you because it talks about the differences between a working mom (of a two parent household) and a stay-at-home mom.¬† I was a stay-at-home for 2 1/2 years (and I LOVED it) and I really wish I could do it again, I feel that working does take away from a lot that I can and should do for my family; like I’m not doing my real job effectively.¬† Maybe things will work out where I don’t have to do it much longer and I can do the job that I know God meant for me to do.¬†

In the meantime, check out this link by Linda Johnson, a Christian Life Coach and Marriage Counselor.  Also check her website from time-to-time, she has some really good insite into motherhood, being a wife, and walking with the Lord.

Until I get all of this vacationing out of my system,

Lonnita

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Reader Trip

It has been a couple of weeks since I have written a post and I’m so sorry folks.¬† It has been sooo¬†busy in the Cork Household the last couple of months.¬† We had Babydolls birthday party in May and then the end of school (and I volunteered to chaperone the final field trip the last week of school).

I made cake balls for the Babydolls¬†teacher that I were made from melted caramel¬†and chocolate cake.¬† I then had my trip to the Lori Foster Author/Reader Get-Together to attend at the beginning of June followed by the surprise birthday party for my mother this past weekend.¬† I so wanted to post about the preparations for my mothers party but could not because she reads my blog and the surprise would be ruined.¬† I couldn’t put anything on Facebook or Twitter, because she would have found out about it.¬† It was a really weird week.¬† And to top it all off the Corks are off to sunny Fort Lauderdale this weekend so I might be slow in posting for another week. ūüė¶¬† But boy do I need this vacation. ūüôā

So let me tell you about the Lori Foster Weekend….

My book club¬†mates and I left Thursday afternoon so that we could attend the Mystery Dinner hosted by author Duffy Brown that evening.¬† It was such a good time.¬† I don’t have pictures because I forgot to put the battery in my camera after charging it.¬†¬†My character was Dee Dee Johnson (my maiden name is Johnson) who was a pick-pocketing waitress who¬†might also be a little “slutty”.¬† I had on the shortest skirt ever (I hadn’t worn anything that short since I was 21) and it even helped us to an onion ring upgrade at Steak & Shake later that night. ūüôā¬†

Friday we got up and spent some time at Jungle Jim’s.¬†

I was determined to purchase a few bottles of wine (five bottles of wine, one bottle of flavored vodka, three small bottles of Asti, and 5 small bottles of vodka and tea blends) and I had to buy some bar-b-que rubs/marinades for the hubby. 

The fire truck right above the hot sauce and barbeque section.

I also bought a few bottles of honey (need it for my hot tea). 

Aisle of Honey

 The store is such an adventure in itself, I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cincinnati or surrounding area.  

Giant Pez HeadsYes...that is a pigs head. Who buys it I don't know.There's all kinds of iconic stuff like this throughout the store.i've never seen a bigger produce section in a store.The restrooms...they're really not Port-O's

The conference started on Friday and by the time we returned from the store it was time to register and join the festivities.  Along with the opportunity to meet the authors there are a large number of raffles that happen throughout the weekend with all proceeds going to the charity for the year (this years proceeds went to One Way Farm Рa home for abused, abandoned, and neglected children).  You purchase raffle tickets (2 for $1) and place them in the bags for the baskets that you would like to win.  This year I decided to not get carried away with the raffle tickets because I do not win. 

My $20 worth of tickets

I have never¬†won and I go to a couple of these events a year for the past four years.¬† I limited myself to $20 worth of tickets and didn’t have any high hopes for winning (I actually¬†read during the drawings because I knew I most likely wouldn’t win), I just took it as an opportunity to donate to a worthy charity.¬†¬†¬†

Our group submitted a basket and this year it was big enough to warrant a spot on the big stage along with all of the other big gifts. 

¬†The big gifts usually include Kindle’s or Nooks and this year there was even a Pandigital.¬†

It was a great event.¬† I got the chance to attend “An Intimate Chat” with Nalini¬†Singh – the author of the Psy-Changling¬†and Archangel series.¬†

Nalini Singh

¬†Another member of our Book Club attended the “chat” with Mary Burton- whom I just happened to talk to at the continental¬†breakfast line.

Mary Burton

 

I talked with a publisher and got information for my sister (who is¬†writing a book) while standing in a line to get Nalini’s autograph (I’ve decided to get¬†the cover for my Nook signed by all of my favorite authors which I will reveal after the RomCon¬†event in August).¬† ¬† I did not win any baskets, but a few of the members of my book club did win (one won the most coveted SyFy basket).

We headed home on Sunday after making a stop at IKEA which was right across the bridge from our hotel.  Can you really be this close to an IKEA and not go in?  I think not.

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I forgot something

Last weekend, my family went to Memphis to attend Memphis in May which is a national barbeque competition.¬† My husband is a HUGE barbequer/smoker of meat and whenever we travel he HAS to find the local “great” barbeque restaurant so that we can sample.¬† Needless to say…we went to the event anticipating sampling some awesome barbeque and that did not happen.¬† Not at the competition that is.¬† Unbeknownest to ALOT of people you could not eat ANY of the barbeque from those competing, but you could purchase from vendors (who weren’t any better barbequers than my husband who is really good at it).¬† We did end up eating barbeque along with some other good eats that I will talk about later and provide pictures, but I need to edit the pictures (I have taken a little over 200 pictures over the past three days).¬†

What is the title of this post about?¬† I don’t know about you, but whenever I travel, I try to make a list of the items that we need to take with us, so that I don’t forget something important.¬† Although I knew about this trip ahead of time, it still seemed like last minute because I didn’t have time to pack the night before like I usually like to AND I had to get up and head out early on Friday morning AND we were leaving right after Kristian and I returned home.¬† My husband didn’t work on Friday, but he’s one of those guys that you do n’t ask to pack for you.¬† There is a method to packing and he doesn’t know it yet.¬†

So I’m rushing and to get everything packed and looking at my list thinking I’m doing good.¬† I have put everything in the bag that I had on the list.¬† EVERYTHING THAT I HAD ON THE LIST.¬† So why was it that when we got to the hotel, there were missing items that were essential?¬† Because I didn’t have them on the LIST!¬† We had to find a Wal-Mart to get a hair brush (I¬† have short hair that needs the assistance of a brush to help it lay down, especially since it’s a little too long right now) and the hubbies belt was left and my face wash (and I had one make-up remover wipe in my make-up case and a completely made-up face).¬† I was in the car telling my boo that I needed to make an extensive packing list that I could always print out whenever we are about to travel that I could use as my checklist.¬† If there are others out there that are as list-crazy as I am, you probably already have this list; but for those of you that do not…you’ve got to save this for future use.¬† I’m telling you, packing will become so much easier if you have this list.¬† I have it set up so that you can put the quantity of each item you need to pack and then you check off when you have them for each member of your household.¬† I didn’t include papers that you may need for the trip, because I’m thinking of items that you are actually going to put into the suitcase – I don’t usually pack my transpo tickets nor my passport; those are items that you typically have on your person.¬† Here’s a look at my list, and I will have a link so that you can download the printable version.¬†

Tell me what you think and I would love to hear your stories of getting to your destination and realizing you’ve forgotten something.¬† Like your cell phone charger. ūüôā

Travel Pack list

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You can spend some couple time…

Happy Monday everyone!!

I hope that your weekend was as exciting and peaceful as mine.¬† I didn’t post much last week because we had moved back into the house the weekend before and we spent our spare time trying to get the house organized and livable.¬† After getting everything moved and cleaned up (I’m talking about the apartment, the house is still a wreck) during the week I would just get to the house and have enough energy to try to unpack a box, ¬†find something to eat, and pass out before I had to do it all over again.¬† After a week of trying to get organized during our spare time we were feeling like the weekend would be spent getting everything REALLY organized.¬†

Our plans were changed when Kristian surprised us by saying that she wanted to spend the weekend with her cousin.¬† She said she would give us a chance to have some couple time.¬† Now isn’t that sweet of her?¬†

Initially we were thinking we could really get some work done without her being underfoot and getting bored.  But after Stan dropped Kristian off at school he texted me that instead of working and grinding we should go away for a day.  I agreed and we made plans to go.  We were going to go to Cincinnati but figured we would have more fun in Chicago so we rented a car on Saturday morning and headed out. 
The day started out rainy, but by the time we made it into the city the sun was out and the weather was awesome.¬† We found a place to park the car and got out to begin our walk through downtown Chicago and wouldn’t you know it, we just happened to parked in a building that was basically across the street from Garrett’s.¬† We walked outside of the parking garage and Stan said, “we’re right by a Garrett’s, can’t you smell it?”¬† We stood in a short line, (yeah us for not being on Michigan Avenue!) and got our popcorn.¬†

There was also my favorite tea shop that I stated I would be stopping in when we came back to get some tea for work. 

After getting our popcorn we headed towards Michigan Avenue and closer to the “Magnificent Mile” and came across a hotdog shop.¬† We decided to split a Chicago style hotdog.¬† While we were eating our hotdog we noticed that groups of people dressed in various costumes were stopping in front of the hotdog shop and getting their picture taken.¬† Apparently there was a contest going on called the Gorilla Challenge.¬† I didn’t think to take pictures of some of the people, the hotdog was good and we were speechless with some of the outfits, but we saw people getting photos taken at various locations for the next hour or so.¬†

We walked and window shopped (I ventured into the shoe department at Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue and I was overwhelmed.¬† I know it’s hard to believe, but it happened.).¬† I did purchase a couple of tops and a pair of shoes for Kristian¬†from Marshall’s and bought two purses from Filene’s¬†Basement (they were have a 50% off sale on their bags).¬†

We felt a little bad about not telling Kristian where we were going so we braved the American Girl store and bought Kristian’s doll a t-shirt.¬†¬†We then went to have a light dinner/snack at the Big Bowl restaurant.¬†

We ordered the spring rolls and split an order of Thai Shrimp Fried Rice. 

It was pretty good.  I really liked the decor and atmosphere. 

Afterwords we headed back to the car and I took a few photos along the way.¬† We had walked to the north side of the bridge so we had the opportunity get a beautiful shot of the lake (I really love my new camera, although I’m still learning how to take the best shots and edit them so that they are not so dark when I put them in the post.).

¬†We walked past the place we plan to stay next time we’re in the city.¬† ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā It’s just wishful thinking on our part.¬† Maybe if we hit the lottery we’ll stay there.¬† Check out how tall it is.¬† I think it may be the “new” tallest building in the city.

Finally we made it to Argo Tea, where¬† I purchased a new¬†flavor, ChaiBerry, which is sooooo awesomely good.¬† I’m glad I broke down and got something other than Hibiscus Apple.¬†

We decided to stay in the suburbs (particularly Oakbrook, because we know there is a Nordstrom Rack there and we got a really good deal on a hotel room).¬† It seemed as if as soon as my husband¬†laid his head on the pillow, he passed out.¬† Two hours later and I had changed into pajama’s and¬†was getting into bed and Stan was awake and¬†wanting to go to Papadauex’s¬†for dinner.¬† I sent him to ge carry out and settled in to get some rest.¬† He ended up sitting at the bar and having dinner (this was fine by me, because I really didn’t want to get dressed and leave the comfort of the bed), and he brought me some dessert back.¬† I won’t mention it because it wasn’t that great.¬†

The next day we got up and headed to breakfast and found this really great place called, Eggtasy.¬† We¬†were looking at everyone’s¬†plates and realized that the portions were HUGE and there was no way¬†we were going to finish individual portions.¬† So we decided to share a bacon omelet that came with fried potatoes and pancakes.¬† Stan ordered a strawberry/orange juice, that was soooo fresh he didn’t know how to take it.¬† He said it was perfect and so naturally sweet he was almost speechless.¬† One of the things that we liked about this restaurant was that we told the waitress we were going to split the omelet and they actually split everything for us and put it on two plates.¬† The pancakes came on one plate, but that how we were going to get them anyway.¬† By the way…the pancakes had a hint of cinnamon in the batter that gave the pancakes a unique flavor.¬† When I make homemade pancakes/waffles, I put in a little nutmeg¬† (at my mother’s suggestion) and it makes for a great flavor; but I have to say the cinnamon was something that had me thinking…hhhmmm, might have to try that next time.¬†¬† It was a great breakfast and gave us enough energy to hit the stores.¬† We went to World Market (where I found some drawer knobs for my desk for a great price), then we went into another furniture store that was very contemporary (we’re looking for a new dining room table); then finally ended up in the Nordstrom Rack.¬†

Folks, I was a little disappointed in the store.¬† I can always find something in this store (usually I can find too much stuff and feel bereft because I have to leave it behind), but this time, I was struggling to find something.¬† I mean…come on folks can you help a sista¬†with a 35/36 inch inseam¬†out.¬† I walked out of the store with ONE pair of tan khaki’s and ONE pair of heels.¬† I found a couple of shirts and a pair of sandles for the baby doll, but that was IT.¬† Stan was totally disappointed, he came out with nothing.¬†

We ended our trip with a stop at The Patio for lunch where we had chicken wings, ribs for Stan and an Italian Beef for me.¬†¬†Of course we couldn’t finish it all, but we were vacationing so we were supposed to over order.¬†¬†

Right around the time we got on the road to head home we got a call that¬†baby doll was ready to head home.¬† We had my sister-in-law drop her off at my¬†brother-in-laws and I told the baby doll we would be there in about¬†2 hours.¬† She of course found out that we went to Chi and couldn’t believe that we would go without her.¬† I told her that she said we could have some couple time, so we did.¬† She said she didn’t mean for us to go to Chicago and leave her.¬† Can you guys say hilarious?¬†

It was good to be home….I hurt my ankle (I think shouldn’t have worn flats all day on Saturday.¬† If I had had¬†on heels, I probably would have been better off.¬†¬† I know it sounds crazy, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) ūüôā

I will post pictures once I’ve had a chance to clean them up and get some of the pictures from Stan’s phone.¬† I wanted to post this and not spend too long trying to get pictures in.

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Book Club

I belong to a book club that meets the second Tuesday of each month (Sugarbook Club).¬† This past Tuesday was our first meeting of the new year and we were fortunate to have an author visit.¬† What is an author visit you ask?¬† Well, we are fortunate (and we actually work really hard at it) to have local authors come to our meetings and hang out with us.¬† We are not your average book club that sits back and chooses a book to read for the month and then discusses the symbolism or does in-depth character traits.¬† NOPE…that’s not us.¬† We do have a set book that we are to read each month.¬† We do discuss the book more like a review…did you hate, did you love it and why.¬† We do talk about the characters…are they punks or alphas, are they deserving of each other, that kind of discussion.¬† No symbolism, no hidden meanings.¬† After we have discussed the book we are supposed to read, we start talking about other books we read during the month (this can be very heated and enthusiastic) as well as, what books are soon to be releashed and what we plan to read next.¬† We have found that most authors are initially overwhelmed with the unformated style of meeting, but once they realize the way of it all they think it’s loads of fun.

So about the author…¬† Her name is Carmen K. Glenn and she is the author of three published works and is currently working on a fourth.¬† He novels are: Overdrive, Ambition, and Office Gossip.¬† Carmen began writing in 2006.¬† The first story, Overdrive, was originally a journal that she was writing for herself that she later changed to a story for her own personal enjoyment.¬† Her sister pleaded with Carmen to let her view it and from there she persuaded her to publish it.¬† After the first book was published, she found that readers had questions about one of the characters from Overdrive and the second novel, Ambition, was born.¬† Again, readers had questions about another character that was addressed in Office Gossip.¬†¬† All in all it was a good visit.

We also talked about the trips we will be making this year as a book club.  There are author/reader appreciations that happen throughout the year that are hosted either by an author or, in one case, a major bookstore chain.  This year we will be attending the Lori Foster Readers Appreciation weekend in June and the Borders sponsored RomCon in Denver in August.   There is so much planning to be done, hotels, car rentals, flight arrangements.  A couple of the ladies have been thinking about taking the train to Denver after hearing me talk about our train trip to Houston.  They think the scenary would be breathtaking.  The debate is that the cost of a coach seat on a train is a little more than the cost of a round trip plane ticket.  So do you want to have scenary or be there in a couple of hours and be able to relax in the hotel room?

As usual, I supplied the “treat” for our meeting.¬† This month was Red Velvet Brownies.¬†¬†I had to make them without nuts because one of our members is allergic to them, but they were still awesome.¬† All of the snow started coming down that day so we didn’t have a full head count; but it just made it easier for everyone to take home the extra brownies.¬† Kristian always comes with me to my meetings (I’ve tried to leave at home a few times and she always has a fit.¬† She actually called me one time to tell me that I was in trouble because I left her at home. :)), and she was telling me to make sure that I get a some brownies too.¬† The presentation wasn’t the best, because it had been a crazy, busy day (the snow and Kristian had an awards ceremony at school in the middle of the day that I left work to attend, then took her with me).¬†

I love our meetings….I love being in the company of anyone who loves the written word.¬† ūüôā¬† Even if I’m now considered a snob because I will only read books in electronic format.¬† I’ll have to tell you guys about that another time. Happy reading to all my fellow readers.

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