Monday, February 19, 2007

Full week, empty apartment

Getting ready to move to China is a pretty time-consuming task. Throw into the mix some important visits with friends, and you get one hectic week.

One of the highlights was a going away party (thrown by a wonderful friend of ours. It was really special, and lots of our friends showed up to say goodbye, eat some really good appetizers, and chat. We finally left (close to midnight) when it was obvious that we were all getting really tired.

Our last week in the states included our final Ecclesiastes Bible study (a culimination of a year's study), my last day at work, and our apartment sale. You never know how much you own until you try to get rid of it all (or pack it up for storage). I used to think that I needed a few more things for my kitchen, a few more pieces of furniture, a few more nice clothes. But I learned last week how much stuff I really had. For a while I was really sad about having to sell a bunch of our stuff. But then I remembered something that a lady from my church said: you have a lifetime to accumulate possessions.

We sold and got rid of about half and stored about half. It was completely exhausting, but with the help of friends and my gracious parents who came down from Illinois, we were able to get it all done in time to fly off to Asia. If you want to hear more about the ongoing adventures of the Talberts in China, please visit our new blog. I'm thinking this one might be out of commission for a while.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The enemy of thought

Today, I received an e-mail (not sure how they got my address) from Barnes and Noble announcing the new B&N free online book club. It's a place "where readers and writers meet!"

The bait worked. And with one little push of a button, I was there. The writer-included discussion that I was interested in wasn't up and running yet (unless you count 37 "introductory" messages), so I decided to visit a month-old discussion of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

A short scan through the first thread convinced me that this book club was not for me. People weren't listening to each other. For the most part, they were just writing gobbledy-gook. At one point, someone replied to the discussion of chapters 1-6 with a message that can be summed up in his first three words: "I hate weddings."

I'm sure there's good stuff in there too. (The moderator seemed to be doing a decent job of responding with helpful information.) But I'm not willing to wade through 44 posts to see it. I'll stick with my neighborhood book club, thank you very much. (I promise to come next month, Kat!)

All of this leads me to a question: are online forums of real value? If so, when? And how? I recently read an article that stated that blogs were the enemy of thought, that no useful discussion can be had on them because of their format and limitations. In a way, I'm testing that idea by even asking these questions here. So what do you think?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Greenville, unite!

After a long day of work, I've found something that motivates me to stop my lazy lounging on a Friday night and actually write something on my blog. And it's this: the possibility that
O-CHA, the tea bar I consider to be the coolest spot in Greenville, is closing its doors.

I recently read in GSA Business that several shops in downtown Greenville had closed just after Christmas. But it hadn't crossed my mind that one of my favorite places would close its doors. Today, however, I got my enewsletter from O-CHA, and the message was a call for customers. Here's part of it:

No business owner wants to put out a plea like this. But, it saddens me further to think that there are many people who will start looking around downtown Greenville and realize that there is nothing unique left open here within a few months! If you believe in local, independent, unique business...then come in and buy just one item from really does make a difference...the difference between us staying open and bringing you even more interesting food/drink items and us closing right along with 8 other businesses downtown.

So this weekend, or sometime soon, go have some bubble tea on Main Street. Don't know where it's located? Never fear.

I'm going right now....

Monday, January 01, 2007

To Banff we go

Every time we visit my husband's family in Canada, we make the trek to Banff, a beautiful resort town on the Canadian Rockies. Here are a few of the things that make this a place we like to visit often.

The view during the hour-and-forty-five-minute drive from Calgary

Earls, a favorite restaurant that offers a variety of food (Between the six of us, we had Thai, Indian, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, and French cuisines.)

Fudge and candy shops where you can get things like sponge toffee and oreo fudge (Yum)

Walking around Banff Springs Hotel (Think Biltmore meets Hilton.)

The view from Banff Springs Hotel

Throw some skiing into the mix, and you have a place that people all over the world come to visit. Maybe someday we'll actually stay there for a weekend.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

O, Canada!

It’s been almost two months since my last post. What have I been up to since then? Wow, what a good question.

My husband and I...

• Took a trip to visit a very pregnant friend and her husband in Georgia

• Hosted an English murder mystery dinner for eight (and had a five-course meal that included individual beef Wellingtons—a delectable dish prepared by my husband)

• Flew up to Chicago to visit my family for Thanksgiving

• Directed a Christmas play at my church

• Planned a trip to Canada to visit my husband’s family, watched travel arrangements go totally awry, and ended up traveling to Calgary, Alberta, on Christmas day (which, I must say, is not a bad day to travel—everyone is surprisingly jolly and patient)

And now we’re experiencing some major rest and relaxation in Calgary, enjoying the snow, and spending time with family. I really enjoy our visits to Canada. In spite of the cold (which I’ve come to dislike after living in South Carolina for four years), it's a beautiful place, full of some really nice people. Even the customs people at the airport are friendly here. And they eat interesting things that I've never heard of before—like perogies.

My husband’s parents and his four sisters are all here, even though most of us had to travel (from South Carolina, Wisconsin, and South Korea). Dave and I are moving to China in February, so it might be the last Christmas we all spend together for a while.

After Canada comes New York, where we’ll be attending a friend’s wedding. It’s Dave’s first time to visit NYC, so we’re really excited. Hope to be able to share some new pictures with all of you once we get back after the first week of January. Until then, Happy New Year!

Friday, November 03, 2006


Friday morning, while driving to work, I decided to have a yard sale. My husband was out of town, and I didn't have any thing better to do, so when I got home that evening, I finished tagging everything (I've been trying to have one for months now), made signs announcing my sale, and set my alarm clock for 5:55 a.m.

The next morning I hopped out of bed, surprisingly energetic and filled with the hope of making lots and lots of dollars getting rid of the things I no longer wanted. I imagined sitting there from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., casually reading and taking money from the many passersby who were eager to get their hands on the treasures I had been storing for so many years.

Talk about naive!

After posting my signs, I spent about two hours (three times as long as I had estimated) setting out all of my belongings on our rather slanted yard. I did get a few visitors (the true die-hard garage salers out there who don't think twice about searching for sales at 7:30 a.m., even in mid-October).

By 9:30 a.m. I was starting to get depressed. I had finally organized everything to my taste (I worked retail for more than six years, so I'm a little picky when it comes to organization), and my best customer at that point was my landlord's daughter at a wopping $1.75. So much for making a ton o' cash.

Things picked up a little after that (by which I mean that a family of five came along and bought a few things, including my old sewing machine). And then it happened. The lunch-time lull. I was starting to get antsy--only three more hours to go. My ears became specifically tuned to hear cars coming from three or four blocks away. I learned how painful it can be to have cars slow down, as if they are just about to park in front of your yard--and then quickly drive off after they've scanned all of your lousy junk. I wanted to scream after them, Wait! Come back! Just give me a chance! I have a cappuccino maker! A beautiful dress from the 50s! Half-used yankee candles!

At one point I talked to a friend of mine and swore that I would never subject myself to the dreadful experience again. At least this experience ensures one thing, I told her. I will never be tempted to have another yard sale!

A little later, though, things began to pick up, and the last hour and a half was pretty good. Some lady came by and spent a whole $17 on my clothes. (You know you're desperate when you're excited about someone buying your clothes to make halloween costumes.)

But then it was over. I packed up my doubly unwanted items and drove them very far away (to a friend's house and to a second-hand store for one final attempt to be sold). And then, when it was really over, I counted my earnings.

$104--not so good for 12 hours of work, but at least some of my stuff found a good home and my storage space will be a little less tight. I soon found myself thinking that maybe it wasn't so bad afterall. Maybe I would try this whole yard sale thing again sometime....

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Alive and well

I have definitely been out of it for a while. The blogosphere, I mean. I finally got to read up on some of the blogs I’ve been missing during my forced blog hiatus, and it has me a bit overwhelmed. Too much great information out there. But I am alive and well. And a year older (at least numerically) since I last posted. Yes, I’m a stalwart 26 now. Seems a lot like 25 so far.

Well, in the tradition of what one of my friends has been posting on his blog, here are three things that I’d like to write about in the future.

1. My fabulous birthday dinner at Devereaux’s with my wonderful, sweet, amazing, nearly-perfect husband. (Anytime you want to take me there again, dear, you know where to reach me. : )

2. The story behind my wedding ring.

3. This great sermon I heard this summer about living stones, and my theory about metaphors in the Bible.

For now, though, I must simply say goodnight.