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1. I read several blogs written by Pastor’s around the U.S. sometimes their posts have nothing to do with the Christian walk but reflect on their own personal life. Like the one I read the other day by Tally Wilgis regarding the alignment of his coffee cup. He stated “I don’t know what it is about me that demands this but I always have to make sure the logo on the Starbucks cup aligns with the logo on the sleeve. Additionally, I have to position the lip of the cup so that I drink in alignment with the logos below.” Do you have any weird OCD issues?

I’m slightly fanatical about handwashing.. mean not overly so but I do wash my hands more than normal people do.  I use to fanatical about my foods not touching on my dinner plate but that has gone by the wayside for the most part.

 2. Some of you know that In April, 4 years ago I left my South Florida home of 23 years and drove with all my belongings to Maine to start a new life. The only thing Maine offered me was a job & it’s incredible beauty. Friends and family would have to be acquired after I arrived. What major decision/change did you make in your life that surprised your family and friends & how did things work out?

I dropped out of the teaching credential program after I got my B.A. Seemed to work out well in the end.

3. *We often learn certain behaviors by the folks we spend time with. An accent you pick up, words you add to your vocabulary, a certain way of washing your car, tying your shoes or folding your socks. What is something you picked up and who did you pick it up from?

If I am around anyone with an accent other than my own I will pick it up rather quickly.  I don’t do it on purpose I just easily pick up on other people’s cadence when speaking. I have always been this way.  I also tend to pick up certain slang terms depending on who I am hanging out with.

4. 2 years ago I was online looking up hiking trails and discovered the sport of
Geocaching & found an instant addiction after the 1st time I played. What is something you discovered by accident but has enriched your life?

Photography has in recent years become sort of a new found passion.  I am inspired a lot by what I see on flickr and on blogs (especially Janets and Miss Zoots).

5. Often we are frustrated by the actions and attitudes of others. If you could influence a behavioral change in someone else, what would it be and how would you go about doing it?

I think people in general need to say “thank you” more.  Someone hands you the mail…Thank you. Someone gives you your change…”thank you.”  I almost always be sure to say “thank you” even when talking in one of those little drive through boxes.

What is it witht he media covering NASCAR this week? Are they all purposely trying to piss me off?

This article might actually be plausible…if you know, Tony Stewart had actually announced that he will be leaving JGR.  If Greg Biffle is indeed looking to move over to JGR, wouldn’t it be more plausible that he is looking to jump into the fourth car that is rumored to be in the stables, then replacing a driver (Stewart) who said he is looking at other offers but didn’t say he would jump? I mean come on, I am “just a fan” but even I know that the media shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions. Sure it’s fun to speculate where drivers will be going- but in my opinion it’s just too early to tell.  And if JD Gibbs has said they do NOT give out information on driver negotiations…why even bother to speculate if Carl Edwards was being talked too by JGR., let alone Greg Biffle. Arg.

In surfing about the web yesterday, I found an article on NASCAR.com called Pointing Out The Questions That Matter written by Joe Menzer. He came up with a list of questions to be answered, then proceed to provide an answer. Well- I have decided I want to answer them too because I don’t necessarily agree with his answers:

1. A streak? Or something more? (speaking of Kyle Busch)

Try talent, mixed with the right team chemistry, it’s amazing isn’t it? I don’t think Kyle clicked personality wise or driving style with with the HMS powerhouse duo of Gordon and Johnson. Kyle clicks better with JGR and mostly with Tony Stewart’s driving style. Also, streaks will only take you so far. I know there are a lot of Kyle haters out there, but the kid’s got raw talent. Don’t believe me? Look at him in the truck series and the nationwide. This is not to say that he isn’t a little too cocky and pushy on the track…but that is youth speaking there. His driving will mature just like he will.

2. Where art thou, brother?

Yeah most fans will remember the great Busch brother war of the all-star race. However- haven’t you ever been mad at a sibling? Sometimes you don’t always take it out in the politest of ways. Its called family. You should try listening to radio communications between Jr. and Tony Eury Jr sometimes. They talk to each other the way family talks to each other. Working in a college gives me this insight. I can’t tell you how many times I hear students talking to their parents on cell phones and you can ALWAYS tell. ALWAYS. Family doesn’t tiptoe around worrying about what is said and how its going to be conceived. Family usually tells it like it is. That being said, family doesn’t have to be blood. I notice that Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli’s radio communications are pretty darn close to family too…this was particularly evident to me during Darlington.

3. Where’s Tony?

Menzer’s answer to this question kind of ticked me off. Why did he insist on insinuating that Tony Stewart is “old”. He is about to turn 37. That isn’t old by any long shot. Yes he is considering his options as his contract will expire at the end of the 09 season, but that does not make him old. If it does then Greg Biffle is ancient. And Robby Gordon too. Oh and Jeff Burton. Kyle Petty. Let’s not forget Jeff Gordon who is just a few months younger than Tony. Call the senior citizen’s home now to get them all spots.**

That being said Tony is in the top 10 in points and has had a lot of top ten finishes this season already. The season is still fairly young and Tony always seems to do his best racing in the summer. Hopefully this season will be no different. As I have been telling my friend the JGordon fan…there is a long way between now and the chase and a lot can happen.

4. Will Junior’s winless streak ever end?

Law of averages says eventually yes it will end. Sooner or later the moon and the stars will align in the correct pattern and Junior will get his win. Will it be this season? I couldn’t tell you. I can tell you that his equipment definitely seems stronger this year with HMS than it was last year with DEI. I don’t know if he is just not clicking in the Gordon/Johnson team or if it is just bad luck. It’s too early to tell. The bigger question is, who will get a win first Gordon or Earnhardt. I am putting my $5.00 on Gordon.

5. What’s up with last year’s Coca-Cola 600 winner, the not-so-mighty Casey?

No one was hoping Mears would break out after his Coca-Cola 600 win and start winning more than me. Obviously that didn’t happen. I don’t know why. If he wants to win he has to step it up. That’s all that can be said there.

6. Where did he come from? (Speaking of David Regan)

David Regan may currently be 12th in the standing, the better question is, can he stay there. The magic 8 ball says no.

7. Are Jimmie and Jeff about to get it together again?

Short answer is YES. They will be bringing “it” to Charlotte. HMS is having a bad luck streak. It will end and soon.

8. Who will win the All-Star race?

My money’s on Tony Stewart of course. However, if it isn’t Tony? It will be Jeff Gordon. That’s my prediction and I am sticking to it. Of course you should know my predictions are based soley on gut feeling…which is why my fantasy team sucks on ice. It is also why I lose the football pool ever year.

(by the way…these opinions? They are mine.)

**This visceral reaction, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that Tony Stewart is just a few years older than me…nothing I tell you.

I am beginning to think I am not such a good luck charm when it comes to watching races. I didn’t watch the Nationwide race. I didn’t even remember to dvr it because I got home and immediately when over to visit my nephew:

Matthew sleeping in his Swing (picture taken by camera phone so not the best quality).

Anyway I don’t watch the race and Tony wins. I sit down all comfy in my sofa after I spent several hours Saturday morning babysitting my nephew. Tony qualified well so I was looking forward to a good race…when at two and a half laps in he gets collected by Sadler who got loose running down on the apron and slid up into him. ARG! I know how frustrated I was…I can imagine how frustrated the whole Home Depot crew must have been (I let a couple curse words fly I admit it so you know he probably did too and who could blame him).

Only because I was listening to the HD team audio thanks to HotPass did I kind of know what was going on with Tony’s car because the Fox coverage didn’t seem to want to let us know what was going on with him when he pitted. For instance- those just watching the main broadcast probably didn’t know that in fixing the alignment of Tony’s car, the crew over-corrected making the car way too tight.  This in turn frustrated Tony even more who asked Greg Zipadelli to please “Fix it right this time.”  If you have been reading for awhile, you may know that I am fascinated by pitting, pit stops, the whole thing and it makes Amy a very cranky fan when she wants to know what is going on in the pit and they only show Earnhardt, Gordon and Busch.  I do realize that there are 43 different cars to keep track of but you know, you could spend a little more time talking about the “non featured” driver stops.  Like Jimmie Johnson was having problems as well and they told us that. But did the pit stop help? What exactly was going on anyway?

Anyway Tony was two laps down at the worst of it- but came back to first car off the lead lap (lucky dog position) and at one point nearly came within striking distance of getting that lap back.  If the race had been longer it is conceivable to say he would have found himself at the least in the top fifteen with the way he was digging.

It was good to see that the team never really gave up, despite the unfortunate slap by Lady Darlington.  Time to bring our A game to Charlotte.

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I was also impressed yet again with Travis Kvapil.  A top-ten finish! Great driving.  And I loved the retro paint theme.

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I will be the first to say that I love Kyle Busch…but even I am beginning to think him a bit cocky.  I’m just saying…his luck will run out eventually.

 Bill sez: This MI-5 was inspired by a recent batch of absolutely, outrageously
yummy chocolate chip cookies my beloved wife recently made. Yum!

1) Flour is one of those basic ingredients that’s used in just about every staple we eat. What’s a staple in your life? What is that makes you tick? What’s that thing that gets you out of bed in the morning.

Honestly I think it is my drive to be creative. Whether it be writing (my blog is only a small fraction of the “writing” I do on a daily basis right now), photography, or even doing something with a skein of yarn…I constantly have to be doing something creative…even if I am just thinking about it.

2) Sugar. Not only is it an ingredient, but it’s often used as a pet name for a loved one. Share with us a pet name you’ve used towards someone you love/loved.

When I was about three years old I started calling my paternal grandpa “Sweetie Pie” and continued until he died (I was in college by then).  When my parents would say “Come on we’re going to grandma and grandpa’s I would say “Are we going to Sweetie Pies?”  My mom doesn’t have the slightest idea how or why I came up with this but I did.  I think it was because of all my grandparents he was the one I liked the most.

3) You go to a restaurant for breakfast, and the item you order comes with “two eggs, any style.” What style do you pick? Why?

I am freakish about eggs.  I love them but they have to be cooked to a certain standard of over medium…which means the yolk can be runny but all the white must be completely cooked or I will not eat them.  Usually the only person who can get my eggs right is my mom.  So when I am out I order scrambled because I know I won’t be disappointed.

4) I’m not much of a baker, but I think there’s baking soda in chocolate chip cookies. With summer soon upon us, some of us may start drinking more soda. Is there some beverage that you like to drink especially in summer?

Well I love my starbucks venti ice black tea lemonades.  I am also drinking venti lemonade sweetened with melon. My sister in law got me started on them!

5) Sandra Boynton says there are two kinds of people: those who are the chocolate sort, and those who are of the jellybeans. Which kind of person are you? Depends on the chocolate or the jelly bean.

And now the Friday Fill-In 71.

1. The barbecued shrimp had an extra secret ingredient; it was flaked chili peppers!
2. Come through my window.
3. Right now, I need caffeine.
4. Nowhere is where I went Thursday night; it was a typical Thursday.
5. Why does loneliness hurt so much?
6. All I can think of is the dream I had last night. I had two rows of teeth…kind of like a shark.  It was disturbing.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to cleaning while semi watching the nationwide race at Darlington, tomorrow my plans include watching the cup race at Darlington and Sunday, I want to sleep in!

So here are some MORE thoughts on the whole “silly season” (why do they call it that anyway?) debacle.

First I just want to mention that it is important to note that Tony Stewart is NOT the driver out there looking around. Greg Biffle, Martin Truex, JR and Ryan Newman all have contracts that expire either this year or next. I think that I read that Casey Mears is also up in 2009 (don’t quote me on that I could be wrong).

I have pretty much said my piece on Tony’s situation over at Nascar Blogger Full Throttle. But I have had time to continue to mull it over in my head. I still pretty much feel that way, but I have more ammunition in my arsenal:

  • I really think that Kyle and Tony have more similar driving styles that Tony and Denny have. I think that this will only mature their relationship as teammates as the season progresses. I love the fact that they are on the same team. Seriously.
  • I read somewhere (I am fairly sure it was in last weeks Nascar Scene) that Greg Zipadelli’s contract does NOT expire in 2009 when Tony’s does. Granted in the same article it did mention that Zipadelli does have a clause in his contract that he can get out of his contract if Tony leaves JGR.
  • Tony has repeatedly said that there is nothing “broken” over at JGR- that he is just entertaining the offers. He would be stupid not to. Its got to be a huge ego boost to know that there are other teams out there who want you- and tell you what they will do to get you. It’s creating positive press for Tony. No one is harping on his hair, or his negative comments about tires — instead it’s all about who wants him. Hell, I wouldn’t mind it if people were vying over me at work. It would make me feel pretty damn good.
  • Along the same lines…have you noticed Tony has been finished fairly regularly in the top 10 so far this season? He has come close several times to winning.  Yeah I am pretty sure there is nothing broken there.  I think it would be fairly hard to leave a winning team.

As my friend just said via email: “I don’t understand your angst…you know he will continue, why sweat who it is for?” And in all honestly she is right. I will be a Tony fan no matter who he drives for, no matter what make of car he drives (hell he could be out there on a John Deere and I would cheer for him).

I mentioned a couple posts ago that thanks to PW who I found out about via Zoot I had been playing with some photos in Photoshop CS2, mostly a picture I took of my nephew’s foot.  While I am currently trying to up the quality of my pictures by learning more about digital photography, I have found that Photoshop can give them that POP look you want- especially if you know what you are doing.  PW does and she shares!  Anyway Janet asked to see the results. So ask and ye shall receive:

The original picture:

Version one:

Version 2:

Version 3 (my favorite):

Before I start on this weekend…I have one final say about Talledega. Something I meant to mention and it completely slipped my mind for some reason only to be jogged back into my memory this evening as I found myself looking at some photos from a Talladega photo gallery. I forgot to mention that as much as I am NOT a fan of black cars…I loved Jeff Gordon’s flat black paint scheme. LOVED it. Ok. There. Got that out of my system. On to this weekend:

I started my Saturday baking a pineapple upside down cake. Why?? Because I have never had pineapple upside down cake. So I made one just to try it:

It was actually quite easy to make and delicious…even though in the picture it kind of looks like a ham.

Then it was the race at Richmond. Luckily Tony was a Hotpass driver so I spent about 70 percent of my time on the Hotpass channel. I sat down and was just getting comfortable when unexpected company dropped by. Didn’t really stop me from watching the race- because the only thing that does that is a power outage…hell I even watched a race the first time I baby sat my nephew (who was like 10 days old at the time). So I was slightly distracted while watching the first part of the race. After the guests left though I settled in to watch the rest of the race:

(by the way if you are curious…I recommend bud lite lime…way better than miller chill).

I guess the flash made the room look way darker than it was because it was still very light outside. And that IS the Richmond racing playing in the background there. So my thoughts about Richmond:

  • I must say I was very impressed with Team Home Depot’s 4th place finish considering that they were fighting not only an ill handling car, but a car with a problem with low battery voltage. I know that Tony ended up having to shut off all his fans (including brake fans) for the last 100 laps or so to keep the volts to up to an acceptable range for the car- not to mention having to have turned off his driver/cooling fan many laps in. I think Greg Zipadelli did a great job keeping Tony calm considering all he was dealing with…including Reed Sorenson who short pitted and thus blocked Tony in not once but twice and thus causing Tony to hit jackman Jason Lee after which Tony nudged Sorenson off his own jack and out of his way so he could exit his pit. I bet Jason Lee was sore the next day!
  • Somehow (I think this may be because I was watching the Tony Stewart HotPass channel with the TEAM AUDIO only on) I completely missed Michael Waltrip getting parked during the race by NASCAR for hitting Casey Mears. I just want to know why no monetary fines were levied or probation given?
  • I also have to throw some props out to Jeff Gordon’s crew. I think you can call it a good day when you come from the back of the pack to a top ten finish.
  • All I will say about the Dale/Kyle incident at the end of the race is that, it looked to me, that it was caused by two drivers both wanting a victory. Um, could be just me but isn’t that called racing??? Seriously, Dale isn’t upset about it, so lets all put our big boy pants on and get on to Darlington ok?
  • Speaking of Darlington…I hope Denny Hamlin’s basketball injury doesn’t prevent him from racing…or impact his performance.

For some twisted reason I prefer my races to be on Sunday. I don’t know why but I do. Doesn’t stop me from watching the Saturday evening races, but I don’t like my rhythm upset and Saturday night races upset my rhythm. I guess its all about that rhythm. Anyway since I had nothing better to do I also watched a majority of the Arca Remax Carolina 500 race. The best part of the race was when Tony Stewart waved the green flag at the start of the race:

(Picture taken by Jimmy McDonald, who kindly gave me permission to use his photo. Click on his name to be taken to his Flickr…seriously do it..he’s got some great pictures in there).

I think waving the green flag at any race would be kind of fun! The announcers poked a little fun at his technique…but frankly Tony needs to worry more about driving then green flag waving- come on give the guy a break. From reports I have read, Greg Zipadelli was suppose to be driving the pace car during the pace laps- and I am going to assume he was but that wasn’t mentioned on the broadcast. Youngster Joey Logano won the race- which I think is awesome. Show them what you got kid!