Wednesday, September 14, 2011

God is a Tar Heel

These are the flowers from a dogwood tree. 
The dogwood is the state flower of North Carolina.
A 'Tar Heel' is someone from North Carolina, or someone who cheers for any University of North Carolina sports team.
Or me, yesterday, when I wore a pair of my hot tamale pumps on the newly poured blacktop just outside our neighborhood. 
It should be noted, I was not cheering at that time.

Oh. Oh. Oh.

I had the most wonderful weekend.  In the most spectacular place.  With the most awesome people.  And the most cutest husband. 

Mine.  I mean my husband.

If yours was missing last weekend, I have an alibi, complete with photographic documentation. 

I was invited to speak at a Women's Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, by my lovely friends Jenny and Emily and their delightful mother, Lindsay.  And let me just say, the least awesome thing that happened was my speaking.  Which isn't to say that it wasn't, you know, awesome.  It's just that it's not my place to actually say so.  I hope it was.  Otherwise, those dedicated women came a long way just to listen to me be boring.

But before I describe my weekend, I have to tell you about this WEIRD coincidence, one that assured me that my evil, conniving karma was functioning on all cylinders.  100% true story follows.

You may or may not know that my husband pre-boards airplanes.  And he meets the flight crew, and then sits in an aisle seat toward the front, where he can trip potential terrorists heading to the potty to ignite their sneakers.

So, when we fly Southwest, he gets on the plane first, and I nearly always end up with a boarding pass that puts me in Cattle Car D-97 or something like that.

Which means that by the time I get on the plane, he has saved me a seat next to him, but the window seat is usually filled.

As it was when we left Salt Lake. 

And it was filled by this GUY who seemed to think he just OWNED  the armrest.  Like, it had his name on it or something. 

So all the way to Chicago, HE had his arm on the WHOLE armrest, while I stored MY arm in an overhead compartment.  This made it very difficult to turn pages on my Kindle, or try to steer the airplane with my iPhone.

THEN, as if that weren't diabolical enough, when it was time to return to Utah three days later, I boarded the plane, found my husband, and discovered that the EXACT SAME GUY was sitting in the window seat!!  With his giant arm just SPLAYED all over the armrest!!

So, this time, I stuffed MY arm under the seat in front of me, so I could take it out later and beat him senseless with it after he finished his second plastic cup of wine and fell asleep.

Have I mentioned that I hate my karma?

Anyway, the coincidence from hell notwithstanding, here's how the rest of my awesome weekend went:

First, we stayed at this beautiful Bed and Breakfast, shown below:

The Bent Creek Lodge
Exceptionally yummy on every level.

On Friday, we went to this place called the Biltmore House, which I'm pretty sure was named 'Biltmore' because once George Vanderbilt got started with the construction, he just kept going and going.  It's the largest private residence in America, and by "private" they mean "anyone can come in any time they feel like it provided they buy a ticket and don't try to slip past any of the velvet ropes to see if there are secret passages leading from the Conservatory to the Kitchen or ask the 739 rope-guarders if they ever found Professor Plum bonked on the bean with the candlestick."

This also explains why I'm not allowed back.  Sheesh.

Here's a picture.  Of the house.  Not Professor Plum.  THAT was just too gruesome.

Then, we got to meet the wonderful youth of the Asheville, NC stake.  My husband told them kidnapper stories, and I told them Peru stories.  But I forgot the one about the sheep.  I know!  What was I thinking??  I'll tell you what I was thinking:  I was thinking, "Holy frijoles, Nacho.  Some of these kids drove two hours to listen to you talk about feet."

Well, all I can say is, "feet" were relevant to the other Peru stories I told them.  And I brought my "Best Peasant" award from when I went to 'Spamalot' (not an endorsement of extremely funny off-Broadway musicals based on extremely funny movies that we never watch because that's just not what we're about) and it turned out I was sitting on the Holy Grail and didn't even know it (not a commentary on the amount of padding carried around on my personal bottom) and I was spirited onto the stage where King Arthur (played by John O' Hurley) and the other Knights sang me this really loud song and took my picture and -- wait for it -- gave me this FOOT statue that declared me the Best Peasant of All Time Forever and Ever Amen and Amen.

I really couldn't tell you what the 'foot' thing was all about.  It's not like I have Monty Python and the Holy Grail totally memorized and say things like, "Let's not go to [the library, church, the gynecologist]; it's a silly place."  Nor do I own the complete CD set of Monty Python's Flying Circus, whose opening credits always end with this giant FOOT squashing all the other pictures on the screen.

So don't go thinking that I do.

But it was nice of them to give me the little statue anyway.

This is the picture John O' Hurley handed me as I was leaving the theater.
The inscription on the back said, "Dear DeNae, I am a better man and even better fictional British monarch for having shared a stage with you for those few, brief, life altering moments.  I...I...I love you.
P.S.  If you ever speak to a group of teenagers in North Carolina, please remember to take your foot."

THEN, on Saturday, it was the women's conference.  And I spoke in the morning about how reading Isaiah every day can be the most fun you've ever, ever had, thereby establishing my credibility as a certifiable kook who trucks foot statues clear across the country to use as visual aids.

And I took some of the classes, two of which were taught by the aforementioned wonderful sisters.  And I ate cupcakes for lunch, because if I had eaten lunch for lunch there wouldn't have been room for cupcakes.


And then I spoke in the afternoon on ... I really don't remember.  I had a cupcake buzz going at the time.  But I'm sure it was very inspiring, even though I'm almost positive at one point I bore my testimony of Facebook.

And on Sunday, before heading to the airport, we drove along a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is just stuffed full of nature and vistas and things of that ilk.  It was so gorgeous, and we took all these wonderful pictures on my phone, which I sensibly e-mailed to myself. 

And I would post them, except I keep getting a message from Hotmail that says, "Your karma is functioning properly.  Ergo, you may not access your account.  We would apologize for the inconvenience, but really, you had to know this would happen."

So here are some pictures that are exactly like the phone ones, only in the phone ones there's this cute guy who looks like someone I married once.

Then we took approximately six years to fly home -- do NOT even get me started on crackpots who decide that September 11 is a good day to cause a security breach in Kansas City, forcing TSA officials to blow up said crackpot's luggage and creating delays for the poor shmoes in Chicago waiting for their airplane to arrive to take them home to Utah.

I mean it.  It will just set. me. off.

Anyway, it was a wonderful weekend, and when Lindsay said in her closing remarks that "God is a Tar Heel," I totally teared up even though I didn't have the faintest clue as to what she was talking about.

So, a big "Thanks, y'all" to the sweet, delightful women and kids in North Carolina.  Our time together was such a joy for me.

I'll be back.  I have no choice.

There's a new, permanent dark patch on one end of my Monty Python foot. 

If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was tar.


Pidg said...

DeNae you absolutely made my weekend! And yes you definitely said you had a strong testimony of Facebook! I swear I about peed my pants...Loved it!

Garden of Egan said...

Sounds like a blast.
Good to know you haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

Momza said...

I know those Tar Heels. I know that Biltmore. I know that Stake and those dogwoods. I know those Blue Ridge Mountains too. Those are my people.
Wish I had been there to enjoy your experience. Not so much your foot though. That's just weird.

Kristina P. said...

I literally played Clue yesterday for the first time in probably 12 years. And it WAS Professor Plum with the candlestick. This was also at a work conference. We're super professional.

AS Amber said...

Yay! I've missed you! I mean your blog. Since you live up here I don't have to miss your face anymore. Yay me!!

Crazy about the arm rest guy on the plane! Why didn't your husband arrest him or at least flash his weapon and give him a look?

Your trip sounds like so much fun. I wish I couldn't've heard you speak. I just know you were great!

Marianne said...

I love your blog. You are a fuuny guy! (Did that sound like El Guapo? No? Well, it should have...)

You make me laugh every time I lay my eyes on your blog, and for that I am always grateful.

Thank you.

Karen Peterson said...

I have missed your blogginess.

That arm rest guy? I would have paid the person sitting in front of him to leave their seat reclined for the entire flight.

Brooke said...

Nice to have you back in the blogging world. Now don't go running off for that long again. I was forced to re-read your past posts just to get my recommended daily allowance of chuckles.

Jessica said...

Glad to have you back blogging. I think that airplane guy is your stalker. Scary!

Beka said...

Really? I've been missing your posts so much that I even looked you up on Facebook to see if you were alive or otherwise, but could find no testimonies or posts or anything!

Musta just missed you. Don't make me worry like that again! Sheesh!

That said, Yay! You're back! (I hope!) This made me smile, thank you. :)

rvan said...

Sister Handy,
I'm one of those Asheville sisters (the cupcake girl) that drove about 10 mins to see you and let me tell you I would have driven 2 hrs..anymore then that and you would have had to be giving something away for a pedi or manicure certificate:) Thank you so much for coming all the way out to see "Little ol us" here in NC..I found myself getting choked up during your "talk" (the code) even when I was laughing so hard...Wait, maybe that was the reason for the tears...Anyhow, you spoke about scripture study and how it can be different for everyone, Ive really been struggling with my S.S and I have felt like such a cheater when I pop in my BOM cd's...But I think you are right, like excercise routines (I've heard, not that I pracrice this) you do need to mix it up a bit at times. Thank you for your words and humor and making me have to run straight home to change my funny underware because I was laughing so hard. oxoxox

InkMom said...

There are, you know. Secret passages. When I was in high school my string quartet play a gig in the conservatory during the big Christmas crowds. It was freezing in there -- extremely overactive vibrato, goes with numb fingers, you know -- and so we would play for 30 minutes, and explore for 30 minutes. Behind the velvet ropes. There are lots of warm vents in some very strange places in that big old house. Not exactly sure how we didn't get caught. But I'm not complaining.

We have had nothing but great feedback about the conference -- but we're not surprised. Because you were awesome. Your husband was pretty cool, too. And exactly the way I expected him to be. And packing heat in my living room!

The best part of the weekend was just hanging out with you -- like an old friend who I didn't know that I had missed until I met you.

Hugs to your family!

PS This is the second comment I have made in like four months. The first was on Annie's menstrual cycle, so, you know, you're second to something extremely important.

Melanie Jacobson said...

I believe Jenny when she says you were awesome. In fact, I realized I've never heard you speak. How is this possible?

Stephanie said...

I am sure that the Asheville stake center has never heard that much laughter in it's entire existence! I had so much fun listening to your talks. I'm a relatively new convert, 3 years, and this was my first women's conference. I had a great time with the classes and gained a lot of insight, but I must say YOU were the highlight. Thank you so much for coming to our neck of the woods!

Kristy said...

Oh, my, flying on 9/11! What a full and busy time it was!

wendy said...

I'd love to see North Carolina. On my trip to Ontario this summer...2 of the blogger friends who were there were from North Carolina .
cutest accents
and southern charm

and here all this time I thought God was a COUGAR
what do I know

Becca said... were HERE??? And I missed it?! How did I not here about this. I mean, I was in church, I swear... ;)

Ms Mitty said...

Yes, Facebook was part of the testimony, and I think that you were speaking to me only. I think that somewhere you told me that I need to learn more about the gospel before I go on my mission "with my companion." whether it's a gray haired old lady or a cute handsome banjo player. I heard you says those really did. Thanks for listening to the Spirit, speaking from the heart and for not reading to me. God may be a Tarheel, but he's a closet Georgia fan.xxoo

Susan said...

I have to disagree, being the good little Virginian that I am. God is definitely not a Tarheel. Definitely not. But Virginia is God's country, through and through.

PS: I live right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. I know, right? Lucky me.