Monday, June 29, 2009

A Comedy of Errors

I have this new friend, I'll call him RS. RS and I met at church and then he found me on facebook (thank you to my weird name). Last week RS emailed me and (assuming that I like country because of my Texan roots) invited me to the Rascal Flatts concert on Saturday night. I was going to politely decline, as I really only like old school country, but I figured what the heck? I need to broaden my horizons a bit and check out a new country band. Plus, I thought I had heard a couple of their songs on the radio and they were pretty good. A bonus, too, was that Darius Rucker was their opening act - AKA Hootie and the Blowfish lead singer. I mean, who doesn't love "I Only Wanna Be With You"?!

So RS picks me up Saturday (of course he had to wait on me because of course I wasn't ready) and we head off to the concert. They were playing at Nissan Pavilion which is a bit of a hike from where I live and the traffic gets pretty bad when there is a concert. It took us quite some time to get there and by the time we did, the concert had already started.

RS was hungry and wanted to grab some concessions before we sat down so we headed to the stand to see what goodies we could find. RS gave his order to the clerk, and honestly, I wasn't really paying attention to what he said, and then asked me what I wanted. I muttered something like, "I'm not really sure what I want" as I was looking for something appetizing on the menu.

I ordered a miller lite and then changed it to a water when I noticed the cashier plunk down two hot dogs. I thought to myself, hmm, that's odd. Why would he order for me? We don't really know each other that well. But I chalked it up to him taking the lead and being chivalrous enough to get something for me just in case I was hungry. Then he took both hot dogs and walked away. Again, I though, that's weird, he didn't ask what I wanted on my dog. Again, I didn't think too much of it when we sat down and started eating. We finished, he grabbed some other goodies and then we walked into the concert.

The concert was good - and it would have been better if I didn't have Miss Drunky McDrunkerson next to me dancing with a man half her age in a space that could only fit two people, and definitely was not made for spin your partner and do-si-do. I really liked the music and Darius Rucker was awesome! He's got a great voice and I loved that he played all the old Hootie hits with Rascal Flatts. I thought that RS was quiet during the show - but it's a concert and loud so you can't exactly carry on a conversation.

The show ended around 11 PM and RS and I headed out. We were chatting on the way home - just getting to know each other better. He's from Oklahoma, so it's nice to hang out with people who understand where you grew up and all the little idiosyncrasies that come with that.

I realized about halfway home that I had taken off my flip flops and had my feet up on the dash of his jeep so I quickly apologized for making myself at home and put my feet down.

He kindly said, "That's OK, no prob. Actually, you know what else you did?"

I replied, "No?"

He said, "You ate my hot dog."

I thought back... OH CRAP.

"I did, you're right!! Now that makes so much more sense!", I exclaimed.

He said, "Well, you said you didn't want anything so I just ordered my food and fixed them and when we sat down you grabbed one. I thought about saying something but I didn't want to make you feel weird."

I told him, "OMG, it would have been fine and I would have laughed (I was laughing then anyway) and I would have gotten you some more food. Now I feel like a total jerk for eating half your dinner! But I did think it was pretty crazy that you ate your hot dog in two bites, I remember thinking to myself, man, he's hungry!"

I felt like such an idiot but RS was pretty gracious about it. He said he wasn't sure if he should say anything and of course I said I was glad he did. Strangely, that seemed to ease things up a bit in the conversation; I guess there had been a hot dog shaped elephant in the room.

Folks, it's not my policy to eat other people's food, so don't be afraid to bring your dinner around me. Next time I'll pay more attention to who orders what and make sure to ask whether or not I'm eating someone's meal!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jazz in the Gardens

There are tons of free concerts in DC - especially in the summer.  Always on the lookout for new experiences, I decided to join my buddies at the sculpture garden this past Friday night for a free jazz concert.  The sculpture garden is near the National Mall in the heart of DC at the National Art Museum.  It's a lovely place - trees every where and beautiful sculptures all surrounding a large fountain.

The weather forecast for Friday night called for a slight chance of showers.  As I was headed into the city, the weatherman said most of the storms were outside DC proper, so I kept on my merry way under blue skies.

I arrived at the concert, where my friend Tom had already staked out a great spot underneath some large oak trees right next to the speakers, so we had great sound coming in as we poured the wine and broke into the cheese and crackers.  Some other friends joined in and I noticed that a few (myself included) decided to bring umbrellas - just in case. 

I was just pouring my second glass of wine when the band came over the speakers to say that they were taking a little break because, in their words, it was going to "spritz" on us a little, but not to worry, they'd be back.  So we all grabbed our little umbrellas, protected our blackberries and iPhones like they were children, and hunkered down to wait for the "little" storm to pass.

So it began to rain.  A little at first, then harder.  Then pea-size hail started coming down.  Then the rain turned into torrential downpour and the only thing that wasn't wet was the top of our heads, which were all still protected by our tiny umbrellas.  Then marble-size hail started falling and there was no way anything was going to be left dry.  So I turned to my friends and said, "It sounds like there are people in the fountain having a great time - let's just ditch the umbrellas and go be kids again!".  We turned around (our backs had been to the fountain up to this point) and sure enough, there were at least 100 adults playing in the fountain during the storm like it was 110 degrees outside and it was the only respite from the heat.  I threw my umbrella down, rolled my jeans up, and jumped in!

It was great!  The water was warm because that day had been a hot one, and it felt nice after having the hailstorm soak our clothes.  We only had a few minutes in the fountain when the rain stopped and the Mall cops told everyone to get out.  We were able to snap a couple of pictures before the threat of being arrested was really upon us.  

It was a grand time.  Some times it's nice to tap into your inner child and forget about things like hair, makeup, and oh crap how dirty is this water?!  Enjoy the pictures - I'm not sure how I'll ever get the smell out of my jeans. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Today I am blogging from Atlanta airport - otherwise known as the armpit of the US air travel industry.  Well, maybe that's a big harsh.  But it does seem that no matter where you're headed, you have to fly through Atlanta, and it's invariably delayed in getting flights in and out.  However, I'm in luck today because so far my flight is on time. 

But I digress.  The real purpose of my blog today is to dedicate a few paragraphs to my dear friend Rachel.  She's appeared in my blog numerous times and even has one herself - you can find it to the right by clicking on Reading Is Sexy.

Rachel and I met in the fall of 2007 when I joined a small group through McLean Bible Church.  She was leading the small group at the time and has since passed the torch on to me.  When I joined back in 07, I didn't get to know a lot of the girls very well, but over time I got closer to Rachel and she has proved to be a very dear and loyal friend to me.

When I went through a break up last year, Rachel came to my house and sat on my couch with me and just let me cry.  We've spent quiet moments in prayer and we've been on crazy adventures with the Aggies.  She is always up for exploring DC or whatever local band might be playing at Jammin Java and she has a healthy obsession with Coldplay (which I share).  Rachel introduced me to the world of Edward and Bella, for which I'll always be greatful.  While we are different in many ways, we both love the Lord and I have learned so much about myself by being friends with her.

Why all the accolades for this lovely lady?  Well, she has answered the call to become a missionary and is leaving today for England.  While I will miss Rachel while she's across the pond for the next couple of years, I know that she's doing God's work and I applaud her courage to answer the call to ministry.  I look forward to visiting her some time next year.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


So I have a problem.  My name is Shani, and I'm addicted to my BlackBerry.  

A couple of weeks ago my fourth Pearl bit the dust (my 4th PDA in less than two years, might I add) so I hopped into Verizon to replace it.  Immediately.

With all the buzz about the iPhone, I decided that it was high time for me to jump on the touch-screen bandwagon and invest in RIM's offering: the BlackBerry Storm.  Those cool commercials where one jumps seamlessly from application to email to browser to camera to phone ... I was hooked.

After the inevitable haggling about whether or not I got the discounted two-year price, (perspective - two years is longer than any relationship I've ever had) I joyfully clutched my new cool phone in hand and explored all it had to offer.  I even downloaded Facebook on the way home and updated my status on how stoked I was to have a new toy.

Two weeks later ...

I stumble into Verizon, barely able to see straight through the frown lines that are now permanently etched into my forehead ... 

"Give me a new phone NOW!  This Storm is a piece of ****!"  I breathlessly exclaim to the cool Verizon sales guy, who casually looks me over and says, "Well, there is a new version of software available if you'd like to test it out---" .. "NO.", I cut him off. "Well, perhaps you need a few minutes with our technical supp--" ... "NO!" I say, exasperated.  "Look, dude, I've been using BlackBerries longer than you've been out of school so trust me when I say I know my way around technology.  I sell pacemakers for a living!  So just give me my refund and a Curve and I'll stop making a scene and telling everyone how crappy this phone is."

Realizing that I'm the definition of 'not going to be swayed', he points me in the direction of the cashier/refund/constantly look annoyed/Verizon person where I wait for what seems like the duration of Gone With The Wind for my transaction to be processed. 

The saddest part of this whole story is that for the past two weeks I've been annoyed.  Uncharacteristically snappy and irritable.  And the culprit?  That stupid waste of plastic and metal that was constantly glued to my hand and the recipient of copious profanities.  I realized this discouraging little fact on my way home, when for the first time in two weeks, I could type a text message without hitting 27 keys when trying to say "btw - be there n 5."  That was the fatal flaw in the Storm - touch screens will never be a superior substitute to the keyboard.  But how sad is it that something so stupid could have such a profound effect on my mood?!

Regardless, I will sleep well tonight.  And knowing, that at any point, should I wake up and find the need to do so, I could send an email, or text message or even post a comment on someones Facebook page that will be spelled correctly with proper punctuation, absolutely warms my heart.

My name is Shani, and I'm addicted to my BlackBerry.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Baptism is a familiar concept in Christianity.  I was baptized when I was 10 years old and many of my friends were baptized as infants.  Every denomination has a different opinion on baptism and when it should take place but almost all agree it is an important threshold to cross on your spiritual journey.  It is the public display of an internal heart change. 

Even Jesus was baptized: 
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice cam from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased". Mark 1:9-11. (NIV)

Last night we had baptisms at our church.  Twelve people were baptized and among them was my friend Tom.  I could summarize his journey and what led him to his decision, but I won't do it justice, so the video below says in his own words why he chose to get baptized last night.