Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Weekend Recap: Volunteering is Fun

I had no idea how much fun volunteering at 6:30 in the morning can be. After always being the runner in 5k and 10ks (although admittedly not in the last few years), this last Saturday I was on the other side of the race so to speak. I was the 2 mile split timer for the Christie Cookie Fun Run, and I loved it. I enjoyed observing different strides; the second fastest runner had no grace but seemed to be hurdling forward on strength alone; the fastest female was among the ten fastest men but unlike them her face was red and she was covered in sweat despite how cool it was. It was interesting to see people's responses to their split times too. One runner seemed entirely frustrated by a split time of less than 14 minutes while another runner was elated by running 2 miles in 20 minutes. And that's part of what is so great about running; you compete with yourself.

The only downside to this cookie fun run is that I didn't get a cookie!! By the time the slowest "runner" (she was walking) came by and I ran back to the start line, there were none left. Oh well, the enormous bowls of hot chocolate with pieces of delicious pound cake, fruit, and whatnot that I had the night before more than made up for missing out on a cookie. And that was another volunteering event. My roommate's workplace--Conexion Americas--had its big fund-raising gala the night before at Cheekwood, so I helped out there for two hours in exchange for free admission (and free foods and drinks). I definitely got my money's worth and watched some amazing dancing. Some of the people dancing clearly have fewer joints than I do.

Saturday night I enjoyed the cheapest sushi ever at Ken's Sushi (and then this week I got a 50% off coupon in the mail!), and then we opted to have dessert at a nicer restaurant. Except the nicer restaurant (Tayst) treated us horribly. It took the waiter a very long time to even acknowledge our presence much less take our drink orders or share the dessert menu with us; the snub seemed quite deliberate, and we were debating getting up to leave when the waiter finally spoke to us. When he finally told us what comprised the night's menu, he could not describe the chocolate torte upon being asked, saying that it was shaped like a piece of pie and that he'd never had it. I finally started asking specific questions....like is it dark chocolate? Are there almonds in it (my roommate is allergic to them)? Are there any sauces that come with it (she's allergic to some fruit too)? Anyway, we should have be clued in when we saw the help wanted sign in front of the restaurant:) Suffice to say that the entire thing became a self-fulfilling prophecy type deal for the waiter. Sure I still left at least 15%, but normally I would have left much more for such an inexpensive ticket. Oh well, it was a relatively cheap way to discover that I didn't want to spend any money at this restaurant. I wonder if it's just really bad form to come in to a restaurant to only order dessert? There were several empty tables, and it was around 9:00, which is a later dining time around here. Any thoughts from former waiters?

And tonight I tried another restaurant--Coco Cafe--with a girl who did this program last year. It's cute, a bit hippy like, has great outdoor seating, and has an extensive and cheap menu. And it's exactly the sort of place that we didn't really have in Macon (except perhaps for Ingleside Pizza). Needless to say, I'm thrilled by all of the restaurant selections, and my roommate seems simply amazed by how excited I get about food and planning restaurant outings. Of course, I'm pretty blown away by her love of interpretative dance:)

She and I are headed to Ghost Ranch, New Mexico this Sunday for our orientation to the Young Adult Volunteer Program. While I'm not quite excited about performing skits (would it be totally wrong to take a flask? Just kidding, of course.), I am pretty pumped about visiting a new state, especially such a pretty one, and meeting the other volunteers from other sites.

p.s. I'm grateful to have a job that gives me enough free time that I feel excited about volunteering.

21 comments:

Ys said...

Isn't New Mexico the state where the aliens landed?

Aww shame you didn't get a cookie. Hey, I agree, though, food is exciting and so is trying new places to eat :D

e.b. said...

Oh Ally - I love hearing about your new (non-law related) adventures. This all sounds so wonderful.

Accidentally Me said...

A flask would be totally acceptable...heck, they serve wine in church, right?

Clearlykels said...

I used to work in a rrestaurant and the dinners were so big that I used to tell people they should come in just for dessert all of the time.

AaroN said...

Take plenty of pics! I'd love to visit NM, even if it were to volunteer.

Scotty said...

NM? There is a whole lot of nothingness there. Although right now the weather shouldnt be too bad I am thinking.

As for the dessert, I go to restaurants for dessert all the time. Hopefully its acceptable :)

Ropinator said...

probably I wouldn't be in the top on the runner competition. :P

ella said...

I'm with you about church skits.

What would Jesus do? Well he did drink wine....

Brian said...

...in moderation.

Ally forgot to mention the wonderful dinner she had Sunday evening, but I'm sure she's composing (not writing, composing) an entire blog about it.

Ally said...

Brian: I didn't mention the delicious dinner and interesting conversation bc I feared my readers would be too jealous to stand it:)

Flat Coke and Flies said...

You have only skimmed the surface in good restaurantville!! I like Ken's sushi. I just tried PM over on Belmont Blvd this week. Sushi prices are great but entrees are a bit pricey. Enjoy Nashville!!

allbilly said...

new mexico....humm...pretty....maybe santa fe...ok...one part....

skits. no. i think if you are over say....15 you have a right to say no to skits. ...just tell them you can be a crazy christian without doing skits.

Susanna Rose said...

"And that's part of what is so great about running; you compete with yourself."

Amen to that!! I'm going to run my first race(5k) in at least 4 years on October 6th and can't wait! I don't think I'll be timing my miles though or anything...too much pressure!;)

Jordan said...

It's nice living vicariously through you Ally :-)

icadle said...

Sounds like the Nashvegas is beatin out the Maconga each and every day!! :-)

Appletini said...

That is so awesome that you take the time to volunteer. You have motivated me to do it more often :)

Princess Extraordinaire said...

Volunterring is wonderful - I need to get my ass out there and do more of it as it always feels so good...way to go!

cdp said...

I'm loving hearing you so happy over there, Ally! Sorry I've been away from the blogging and just now catching up on all your fun.

Ps, bad service = craptastic. Me no likely.

Also, flat continues with her luring me over to Nashvegas, so do be keeping tabs on the best restaurants. You know how I love to eat too!

The Egg said...

Hello Ally! Long time since I've been here. Congrats with your volunteering! Hope you enjoy New Mexico. I rememember going to summer camp down there. Had a blast!

ruby said...

Its not bad form at all to go somewhere and only order dessert! However, it is ABSOLUTELY bad form to describe a torte as "shaped like a piece of pie."

icadle said...

and to think you would harrass me about my failings to post...you've almost been away for a month - where did yuou go?