Monday, June 29, 2009

The Annual Birthday Letter

Since Bebo's first birthday, I've written him a letter. Of course, most years the actual letter is not written anywhere near his birthday; this year I have especially bad and finished it three months late! But late is better than never, and I hope he will cherish the letters someday. Each one has been lovingly scrapbooked for him. I always try to tell about the new things he's learned, about what's going on in our lives, and about what I think/hope the future holds. Without further adieu, here is this year's letter & page.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Sweaty Reminder

We've been living in our new home for about four months now. Tonight we went back to the old house to do some work, and I was reminded - rather vividly - why I love my new home so much.

It seemed an inevitability of summer; at least once during the season the air conditioner would die. I have been basking in the coolness of our little home; even wearing a sweatshirt occasionally. When we stepped outside the door of our old home, a vague whiff of stale air seeped under the doorway. As I walked inside, the humidity and staleness smacked me right in the face. I had expected it; we'd left the a/c barely running and the house always smelled of sewer when the unit wasn't constantly running.

So I turned it way down, hoping it would cool quickly. It didn't. Jeff took out the old filter, thinking that would help. It didn't. We lasted just over an hour before we were both drenched with sweat and thoroughly disgusted. Did I mention that the unit was replaced just over a year ago? The memory of spending several miserable days in the heat made me cringe, and utter a quick prayer of gratitude that I don't have to live there anymore.

Anyway, it appears that I'll have to go early in the morning to work, before the house has time to heat up. I did manage to get one room completely cleared out. We've decided not to try to clean until the house is completely emptied.

I am so utterly grateful for our clean, neat, functioning little home. It could not possibly be more perfect for us, and it is such a pleasant place to be.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Camera Dreams

I really thought I would do a ton of scrapbooking this summer. Obviously, that hasn't happened. First it was VBS, now I have just three days before my Ancestry subscription runs out so I'm frantically trying to dig all the info I can from there... soon it will be gospel meetings, birthdays, etc. My summer seems to be rather full.

My scrapbooking mojo (or lack thereof) is not aided by my camera problems, either. I have been told that my beloved dSLR has a bad megapixel - this is supposedly the cause of a lovely red laser line right down the middle of all my photos. Frustrating, to say the least. It's such a pain to photoshop it out (and in some cases, simply can't be done at all), that I just haven't taken many pictures lately. The good news is that Jeff really wants me to have that camera, so he has promised that as soon as possible, he will get me the new Nikon D90 that I've been drooling over. It's a step up from the D40, and has some features that I seriously regretted forgoing when I bought it two years ago.

I also have picked out a new lens - a 60mm f/2.8 prime lens that will allow me to take extreme close-ups - something I have desired to do for some time now. I have been itching to take pictures of bugs and flowers and cat whiskers and eyelashes - with that lens, I will be able to, and I might even consider a foray into stock photography.

I miss holding the camera. It's hard to explain, but when I am looking through the viewfinder, I see things that I wouldn't see otherwise - little imperfections in a brick, a mole on a cheek, lines in a landscape.

I will say this much: I am definitely going to purchase an extended warranty. I'd hate to have another processor ruined.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Razzie Award

Today I am going to hand out my own personal Razzie - the "We Didn't Think This Song Through" award is dedicated to all the songs with lyrics or music that leaves us scratching our heads, wondering what on earth the writers were thinking - either through lyrics that are so nonsensical that they make Shel Silverstein sound like Shakespeare (no offense to Silverstein - love his stuff) or are utterly offensive to the sensibilities when strung together in a song.

Today's Razzie for "We Didn't Think This Song Through" goes to . . . .

"I'm Gonna Sing, I'm Gonna Shout!"

The song has been awarded this dubious honor solely for one of its absurd verses. It's a VBS classic gone terribly, terribly wrong. It's starts out nicely, but makes a u-turn all too quickly.

I'm gonna sing, sing, sing
I'm gonna shout, shout, shout
I'm gonna sing I'm gonna shout
Praise the Lord!
When those gates are open wide
I'm gonna sit at Jesus' side
I'm gonna sing I'm gonna shout praise the Lord!

I'm gonna twirl, twirl, twirl
I'm gonna hurl, hurl, hurl
I'm gonna twirl I'm gonna hurl
Praise the Lord!
When those gates are open wide
I'm gonna sit at Jesus' side
I'm gonna twirl I'm gonna hurl
Praise the Lord!

To the person who actually thought teaching children a song that puts vomiting in the same the breath as praising God was a good idea (song includes twirling and barfing motions) -

Here's your award. You have earned it well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Genetic Anomaly

I suppose it's time I tell everyone about my little problem... I just can't hide it any longer. I thought I could keep it a secret, but that's too stressful, so it's time to be honest and open about it. Perhaps there are others like me; maybe I could form a support group someday.

I'm quite convinced that my problem is genetic - though it will likely never receive an official diagnosis - because my mother seems to suffer from the same affliction. There are two symptoms of this anomaly, both of which threaten to make me crazy.

You see, my genes have apparently mutated from the norm with what I call Bathroom Radar.

The first symptom of this genetic mistake is this: in any situation where there is a single bathroom available to multiple persons, I can just think about getting up to make use of the facility, and someone rushes in before me. It's almost as the stray thought gives off an inaudible beacon to those around me, and compels them to move to the bathroom before my legs get the mental command to bring me to my feet.

It's inevitable, and it seems that the more urgent my need, the louder the beacon - and thus the chance of someone beating me there increases exponentially. Worse, the person who beats me there usually has a book in hand and is planning on making the trip an extended experience.

The other symptom (and perhaps the more aggravating of the two) is that the very instant I actually make it into the bathroom, the phone rings.

Every. Single. Time.

It's unreal. How could they possibly know when to call, unless I'm giving off some sort of signal that creates a subliminal urge to call me (usually for the most mundane of reasons)? Since I work from home, I have guilt issues about not answering the phone, but I don't especially want to give the boss a number when he asks where I was, either!

It's sort of like washing your car in a drought, and it rains the next day. It's just a given.

So there you have it - my little problem, disclosed for the world to know.

'Scuse me. I gotta go.

Big Cards & Shout-out

I have been making greeting cards for our card ministry at church for a few years now. Occasionally I am asked to make a Big Card for something special - perhaps someone is having major surgery, or celebrating a 90th birthday. These Big Cards are really difficult to make. I use that foam-core stuff that's the size of a posterboard, and none of my scrapbook stuff is to that scale. It's tough to make 12x12 paper look right on something three times that size, ya know?

This is where the shout-out comes in...

One of my fellow scrapper/card makers, Diana, has a really cool blog that has new posts almost every day. She posts challenges and sketches, and one of the sketches really helped me finish the Big Card I had to do Sunday (in between church and getting ready for VBS Day 1). I didn't take a picture, because there just wasn't time. Just wanted to say thanks, Diana - you helped me out of a pinch, and you didn't even know it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Irregardless is not a word. I've seen/heard it three times today. If you look it up in the dictionary, it will tell you it's "nonstandard" or "erroneous."

Drives me nuts - like seeing business signs that are misspelled. Guess I'm just a grammar snob.

Carry on.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Anniversaries & VBS

I really dislike VBS. Frankly, I think it's time to just let it go and try something else. For years, I've never seen it be anything but a cheap (free) baby-sitting service. But the ghost just won't die, so today I'm preparing lessons for the 5th & 6th graders. It's a cowboy theme, and my biggest dilemma is deciding whether they think they are too old for crafts or not. Whatever the case, I'll be rather busy this week, I'm afraid.

Our anniversary was nice. I'd long hoped we'd be able to do something really special on our tenth go-round, but our budget allowed only dinner, a movie, and a couple of small bottles of spirits. We saw Star Trek again, though I practically had to drag Jeff into the theater. He seemed to think that since I'd already seen it, I would not be interested in going again. What he didn't understand was that I enjoyed it so much I couldn't wait to see it again, and I knew without a doubt that he would love it - which, naturally, he did. We ate at Kanpai of Tokyo, a positively delightful hibachi grill, and killed a little time shopping for new scrubs/nursing uniforms and browsing the sci-fi racks at Books-a-Million. It was a perfectly enjoyable date.

He bought me flowers, too - nine white with a single red, because he said that this last year had been our best. Sweet, huh?

Well, I'm off to the races. Lots to do today.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ten Years

Oh, how time flies! Ten years ago today, I married my sweetheart. God has been good to us, even if the years have not always been easy. I am grateful for what He's done - I have a wonderful little family, a roof over my head, and an opportunity to do something rewarding with my life.

Ten years ago I was a naive young woman who'd just graduated college and was ready to run headlong into life. I walked down the aisle to marry a man with whom I'd fallen hopelessly in love. He was intelligent, romantic, and kind. He was just the right height, too - I could lay my head perfectly onto his shoulder.

Our first meeting must have been orchestrated by God. He was interning as a youth minister the summer my family moved from Indiana to Tennessee. The Sunday we met was one day before my nineteenth birthday. I walked into the teen class that morning so I could stay with my little sister. Moments later, the very cute boy I'd seen down the hall entered the room. He smiled and introduced himself, then asked what grade we were in. When I told him I'd just finished my freshman year of college, his resulting expression was priceless.

I'll tell you a silly little secret - I promise it's true. Have you ever heard the old song "Today I Met the Boy I'm Going to Marry?" Really and truly, that song popped into my head the moment he told me his name. We would never have met were it not for that little church that made our paths cross.

Ten years later, through circumstances that came very close to tearing us apart, we are together and we are strong - looking to the next ten years, and beyond.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Escape and Recapture

I've been totally MIA, huh? After school was over, I needed to break from everything - well, at least everything that I could. You can only ignore work and laundry so long.

Mom & I spent half of last week in Gatlinburg. A few years ago, we made a trip to a CKC (Creating Keepsakes Convention), and we enjoyed it so much that we began taking a trip together every year. We've been to 2 CKCs and 1 CKU. This year we had the chance to go to a CKU, but I didn't feel like it, and with their format change, I didn't think we'd enjoy it as much. So instead we went to Gatlinburg. We got a little cabin in between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg; it sat high on a steep, winding road, and was in the perfect spot - close enough to town to be accessible and far enough away to be quiet and peaceful.

We shopped like mad women. I absolutely despise clothes shopping - besides the fact that I hate the way I look, I'm so cheap that I have a terrible time justifying spending more than $20 on jeans and $10 on a shirt. (Maybe "cheap" isn't the right word.) But Mom took me shopping, and I came home with an armload of stuff - new underwear, three pair of capris, two pair of the comfiest workout pants I've ever owned, some shirts, and even a skirt, which I haven't bought in years. This was a huge addition to my pitiful closet, which consisted of one pair of capris, one pair of jeans, and maybe four shirts decent enough to wear anywhere besides a grocery trip to Wal-Mart at midnight. I also came home with goodies for Bebo - a new "big boy" Bible, t-shirts, pajamas, and Thomas the Tank Engine stickers.

When Mom & I get together, two things inevitably happen: first, we hit every craft store in a hundred-mile radius, looking for scrapbook stuff that neither of us need but think we can't live without. (I was good this time; I came home with a minimal addition to my stash, and only things I actually needed.) Second, we talk. A lot. I adore my parents, and Mom and I can gab for hours - which is precisely what we did, and it was oh-so-nice. Since she & Dad took on my sister's kids, time for us to talk has been scarce at best. We still phone each other at least once a day, but it's harder to have much of a conversation. Catching up is a great thing.

We also ate delish food - the Pancake Pantry in downtown Gatlinburg is the business! - rode the skylift (which I hadn't done in years), and watched some movies that I'd been wanting to see since they hit the DVD shelves.

We had a fantastic weekend, but I wasn't done escaping. I came home and watched seasons 1-3 of Heroes on Netflix. Great show, but now it's time for me to be recaptured and thrown back into my everyday life. There is work to be done, and nobody but me can do it.

Time to re-enter the real world.