Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Here Are My Nominees!

First of all, a HUGE thank you to Tracy. She taught me how to link!

I feel like it's a brand new day. It's amazing how learning something new can make you feel so much less stupid *grin* I was kind of convinced that everyone in the world knew how to link but me. Now we all know!

So here are my award recipients:


Mrs. T














Wow, it was a little bit harder than I thought to come up with 15! Not because all of the blogs I read aren't award worthy. Just because I don't want to come out of the woodwork like the lurker that I am!

Don't get all righteous on me - you guys do the lurker thing, too! It's true; we are all the same.

Is it bad to confess that I awarded a couple of you to try to get you to post something? I understand busy-ness. I understand needing a break. But I miss you. *sniff*
Thanks for playing & congrats on your awards!

A Major Award!

It says right here, "A major award!"

Name that movie - I dare ya! It's a family fave.

Theo has selected me for a couple of blog awards. Truthfully, I'm more excited to know that she occasionally reads my blog than I am about the awards!
Upon IndianaPharmGirl, she has bestowed the Beautiful Blogger Award (I think that means I'm pretty!) & the One Lovely Blog Award (I think that means my blog is pretty! We match!).

There are conditions that come with these awards. First, I have to thank Theo for bestowing the honors. Thanks, Theo!

Secondly, I have to bestow the same honors upons fifteen other bloggers that I have discovered whose writings delight me upon a regular basis. This is where it gets sticky, folks. I have absolutely no idea how to turn a link into a neatly typed word. If I don't figure it out here in the next couple of minutes this post will turn into an unsightly list of back slashes & colons. Not good at all. They might take my awards back!

Thirdly, I am to contact the winners & let them know they won. I know how to do that. I'm a fairly experienced comment-leaver.

Fourthly, I have to tell you seven things about me. Number one is that I'm too un-techie to put links in my posts. It really saddens me.

1. No links here. We have officially exhausted this topic.

2. I love crossword puzzles. I'm a word nerd. That rhymes! Give it a try; it will make you giggle!

3. I love to ride my bike. I want to get some baskets to attach to it this summer so I can shop by bike. I will look like I've had one to many DUI's.

4. I'm afraid that brown recluse spiders live in our basement.

5. I enjoy a good workout video. Yes, I hang out with Jane Fonda & Denise Austin upon occasion. It's a sickness & I can't help it.

6. I hate bananas. The look, the smell, the taste, the way they feel in your mouth - BLECH!!!

7. I am intrigued by all things Indian - Indian food, saris, Bollywood movies, all of it! I'd take a trip to India in a heartbeat!

There you go! Thank you, Theo!

If someone comments & leaves me instructions for doing the link thing I will complete my award winner obligations & award others. It's all up to you. It's almost like the People's Choice Awards with a twist...

Being Married Has Changed Me

Mike & I have been married for just over 8 months now. Wow. All I can say is it has been fun!
However, as is the case with all life-changing events, being married has changed me. And that's a little weird. Maybe it's because I was 31 years old when I got married but it's a little unsettling that years long habits can change so quickly. But they have. I have changed.

When I was in junior high I got massively interested in cosmetics. My sister was one year ahead of me in school & she was interested, too. My mom is not much of a cosmetics user. So she enlisted the help of a family friend who was also a BeautiControl sales rep. She came over, evaluated the 'color season' of our complexions, & most of all emphasized with us that less is more. Especially with cosmetics. My mom's less polished version of this admonition was, "Don't paint yourself up like a hussy." For whatever reason that just cracks me up. Who says 'hussy'? Evidently my mother does.

Anyway, back to my point...right from the get-go I loved lip stuff. Lip liner. Lip stick. Lip gloss. Even chapstick, carmex, or vaseline, for pity's sake. Love, love, love the stuff. And for many years I wore them all - individually or even layered - blissfully. Then Mike entered my life. As much as I am a lover of lip stuff, he is a hater. No chapstick for my man! And none for me, either. If I want a kiss, that is. *sigh*
Good-bye lovely lip liner. I will miss you! You have held a firm line for me on many occasions. Your faithfulness will not be forgotten!

Goodbye to Strike A Pose Rose, Surprise!, Mirrored Mauve, Chocolate, & Seismic Rouge Attraction!
*Yes, Seismic Rouge Attraction is actually a lipstick shade - how fun is THAT?
Goodbye to the leaky pinky red lip gloss - you make a mess but I still *heart* you!
My getting ready routine has now become a two-part cosmetics detail. I apply all the goods except for my lips. We get in the car, head to our destination & I dig in my purse. I find some lip stick/lip gloss/chapstick & then get one last kiss. Then I dress my lips. And sigh with contentment. Ahhh...
So I suppose it's not really goodbye. It's just a relocation. Move the lip stuff from the cosmetics basket to the purse (like I need more clutter in there, but oh well). Move the application of lip stuff from in front of the bathroom mirror to the front seat of the car.
I think I must love this man. Because I have changed. *grin with glossy pink lips*

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Little Something New...

Goodness, that turned out to be a little picture. Oh well. That's our friend Thallous Chloride. I'm gonna tell you all about him!

We have had some bad news here in the world of nuclear pharmacy. We have a continuing shortage of our radioactive material. It's a world-wide problem. And just when things straighten out a little bit, another reactor goes down.

We have a few little tricks we can pull out of the bag when things get really short. We can lighten up the activity for each dose. We can make multiple deliveries to our customers so that there is less activity needed to make the dose (since the drug is radioactive, it is constantly decaying down; less time between the filling of the dose & delivery means less initial activity needed). I'm sure this is all as clear as mud & that you probably aren't very interested but all of this makes my nerdy little heart go pit-a-pat. Certain parts of my job are extremely intriguing to me. Anyway, another trick we can pull out of the bag when needed is to use another isotope. This is especially helpful for cardiac tests (a large portion of our business). When we can't get Technetium 99-m (Tc-99m) we can use Thallous Chloride (Tl-201). They don't function exactly the same way, but they both can make pictures of heart function. Mission accomplished!

My main concern in the difference between Tc-99m & Tl-201 is the difference in half-life. This is the amount of time it takes for the radioactivity to decay down by one half. For Tc-99m, the half-life is six hours. If I have 10 mCi at 8:00 a.m., I will have 5 mCi at 2:00 p.m. For Tl-201, the half-life is just short of 3 DAYS. As a result, when drawing up doses of Tl-201, I have to be very, very, very, very careful not to contaminate anything. When you contaminate an area you have to clean up the removable contamination & then wait a period of 10 half-lifes for the area to decay down to background (normal). This makes drawing Tl-201 doses a little bit scary, but it also makes it very exciting. I have only been able to draw up Tl-201 on two different occasions, one day last week & this afternoon. Both times (thank God!) I didn't get anything hot (i.e. contaminated). Since we only have two dose drawing hoods in our lab we can't really afford to leave one out of use for 30 days.

I am really grateful for these little adventures into something new at my job. I have been very blessed with this position & this company, but it's painful to be in a place where your skills don't get challenged. Every once in a while it's good to get pushed to a place where your hands get a little shaky & you sweat - just a 'lil!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Make New Friends But Keep the Old

Make new friends,
But keep the old.
One is silver,
And the other gold!

Did anyone else sing that song with their Brownie troop? I think now they are called Daisy Scouts, but back in my elementary school days we were called Brownies. And we had uniforms that consisted of brown pants (mine had a puppy dog patch on the knee b/c of an unfortunate incident with the playground slide), white shirts with brown stripes, & a garish orange neck-tie thing. We were a stylin' troop, for sure!

Anyway, I have always been the type of girl to live up to the words of that song. I love making new friends, meeting new people, trying new things, all of that. And I hate letting go. Letting go of people, letting go of activities I am comfortable with, schedules I have been 'rutted' into, etc. I even have trouble letting go of clothes I love. Hence, my exploding closet.

I do have some rules about clothes, though. If I get something new, I try to weed out something old. Sometimes it goes to Goodwill, sometimes it goes back into the closet. But I always try! Another rule I have is that if the item has a hole that I cannot mend, it must, MUST, MUST be thrown out. Even if it breaks my heart. Such is the case with the two shirts in this picture.

In real life that polo wasn't such a total deer hunter orange. It was kind of a tangerine-y kind of orange. Anyway, I bought that polo at American Eagle something like six years ago. Shortly thereafter I found the lavender tissue tee at Old Navy. They became fast friends & were worn together often. I thought the combo was fun & definitely comfortable. A sure Go To outfit on those inevitable I overslept kind of mornings. Anyone else have those kind of mornings? I do. Often. Like today, for example.

So these two shirts bit the garbage can recently. The last time I pulled them on I noticed that they BOTH had holes that were unfixable (by me, at least). Since I wanted to give them a proper farewell, I wore them that day anyway. Are you shocked? Just to calm your sensitivities, both holes were small & inconspicuous. Nothing inappropriate going on here, folks. Except for wearing holey clothes to work. Slightly unprofessional, I suppose. But since my boss wears crocs & is constantly campaigning for permission to wear scrubs (*cough* pajamas *cough*) we obviously don't have high standards.

So I said good bye to these faithful friends. It was sad. I took a pic. I blogged about it. I now have closure.

Sharing Some Hospitality

Hard to believe, but it's already been a week and a half since we had some friends over for dinner. I thought I would share with you just a little bit about our fun night. This was the menu:

I was just responsible for the main meal. Others were bringing the dessert - and did they EVER! We chowed down, people. I'm not afraid to say that no one went home hungry.

Here's the dinner crew. Along the back row from left to right is Brian, Charlie (my Dad), Muriel, Mike, me, & Autumn. The front row is Mary Lee (my Mom), Carrie, & Von.
Don't let Von's expression fool you; he had a blast.
And was I lying? Look at all that dessert - strawberry cheesecake, red velvet cake, lemon cake, apple pie, oh my do we know how to do it right!
Here's the scoop on the dinner crew. My parents are, well my parents. Enough said; they have a standing invitation for dinner. Brian & Carrie used to live right next door to us. My parents moved in July of '78 & they moved in just a little later. They were super fun neighbors & when they moved they became even more fun. First they owned a restaurant & lived in an apartment upstairs. I loved roaming around the restaurant kitchen & the bar when it was closed. Brian made fun non-alcoholic drinks for us & we partied like it was 1999. Then they moved to a house in the country with an in ground pool complete with a diving board. Did the good times ever roll at that house. Now they have a hot tub, an RV, & a boat. They are great :-) But seriously, they are great. And they have been great friends to my parents which makes me love them even more. My parents need friends *heehee
Muriel is Brian's mom. She is super interesting b/c she is a war bride from England. She has a soft voice with the best accent ever. She is sweet, sweet, sweet & I love talking with her.
Autumn is my walking buddy, my grocery shopping buddy, my new recipe guinea pig & a great friend. She lives just a mile or so away & we get together often. She has an appearance in the coconut cracking video. Just thought I'd jog your memory just in case you were thinking you recognized her but just didn't know why.
Things like that drive me crazy. That's why I had to help you out.
Von is Mike's cousin. He doesn't live in town, but when he's here we try to be sure to see him. This is the first time I've ever fed him & he didn't seem to mind the food. I'll bet he'll be back!
See, I told you Von had a blast. The smile in this pic proves it.
I love having people in our home. I think it's important to show hospitality. I still get nervous; I still double up on the deodorant just in case my body decides to betray me by going into a sweating fit (I know I'm not the only one that this happens to!). But it's so worth it when you can look around your dining table & see all the dear faces - hopefully smiling & enjoying themselves!

Dinner with M&D, Bri & Car, Mur, Aut, Von

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oh No!

You know you have a big zit when...

*you can see it in your peripheral vision
*it twinges every time you move your mouth or any of the facial area around your mouth
*your sweet husband says, "Man! Baby, that's a big one!"

I love him anyway. I need a dermatologist. Stat.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ridin' The Wave

No, I'm not talking about the surf at Pipeline Beach on Oahu. I have been there. Several times. but never once on my three trips to Hawaii did I surf. Are you disappointed in me? Maybe I'll give it a go sometime in the future. But seein's how I'm married to a man who doesn't swim, I don't foresee a lot of beach time in my future. Moving on...

This is The Wave

It belongs to my friend, walking buddy & past Indy Mini training partner, Autumn. She is visiting her sister this week so she kindly allowed me to borrow her Wave & dvds so that I could see if I liked it. It is a product from The Firm. If you've ever seen an infomercial late at night or on a Saturday morning, I'm sure you have heard of The Firm - Visible Results In Ten Workouts! I am a Firm Believer (even though I certainly don't look like it!). Their workouts & their Fanny Lifter kick my butt on a regular basis. So of course my curiosity has been piqued about their newest gadget - The Wave.

I'm going to a new level of transparency here on my blog. I actually used the self timer on my camera (& a dining room chair with a stack of books including "Peter Rabbit") to take a picture of myself shredding it on The Wave. I look like a dork with a big smile & my cheesy workout clothes but I thought I would let you see how The Wave works. I am not going to confess how many times I had to take & retake this picture. I really was trying to go for minimal dorkiness.
Here I am:

Basically you rock from side to side a lot. You also can flip The Wave over to it's stable side to use it as a step. Very interesting, huh?

I'm not sure why but I feel like every time I type "The Wave" it must be done in italics.

Anyway, I really like The Wave. Autumn may have to fight me tooth & nail to get it back. I have sore muscles where I forgot I should have muscles. And it's fun doing something new. I really like to be active but I get bored easily. However, my only problem with The Wave is that I have some major balance inadequacies. I seriously did not learn to ride a bike until my dad had worked with me for several summers. And I think I informed you guys just a couple summers ago that I had finally developed enough balance & biking skill to pedal standing up. Watching me attempt yoga poses is incredibly funny. Not just because I am weak & inflexible but because I sometimes literally fall over. So the whole time I am riding The Wave I am just a little bit terrified that I'm gonna do a face plant in the middle of my living room floor. And our floor is hardwood. Ouch.

So far, so good. No face plants. However I am going to do a workout this afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes. *grin*

P.S. - do any of you guys have the dry fit workout clothes? You know the ones that you can't use fabric softener with? I have had a huge problem lately with those clothes being so static-y that I spend my entire workout peeling them off of me, the material crackling the whole time. I have been using a ball of foil in the dryer but it doesn't seem to be working anymore. Before I start a fire, please help!

This Is How I Roll

I remember when I lived at home with my parents my mother was constantly scolding me not to use the stove top as additional counter space. That was before my mom got her smooth top range. You can imagine how bad my habits got once I didn't have to worry about toast crumbs in the burners or how to balance everything over the uneven cook top.

Then I moved out. Got a house of my own with my very own kitchen where my very own bad habits could wreak havoc whenever I wanted them to! And since we have very little counter space and a flat top range, I use that bad boy for my stuff all the time. It never stops. That stove top always has something on it. Usually the Brita pitcher. And Mike's lunch box. Occasionally the battery chargers for his drills with the batteries charging.

You're grossed out now, aren't you? Even if I promised to spring clean beforehand you'd find a reason to refuse a dinner invitation, wouldn't you? You're thinking, "What ELSE do they do in their kitchen?"

Anyhoo - Last night as I was assembling a most delicious lasagna (with ricotta, spinach, & mushrooms - lots of mushrooms!) I was again using the cook top to expand my work space. I totally forgot that I used the back burner to cook my noodles. I placed my little bottle of Italian Seasoning within easy reach, right on the edge of the still hot burner. This is the result of my forgetfulness:

It's sad, isn't it? It's just so sad. I love my Italian Seasoning & I enjoy the motion of shaking the little bottle over each luscious lasagna layer. Now the bottle is melted, cracked & sitting in our recycle bin. The Italian Seasoning is in a little container & I'm going to have to figure out how to sprinkle it without a sprinkle top. *sniff* Mean old cook top!

Happy Birthday, G-pa!

The Big G (aka Grandpa) turned 86 on Tuesday, so this past Saturday the family gathered at M&D's to celebrate. No, we did not crack another coconut. Sorry if you were hoping for another entertaining video.
This is me & Maddie. She is so much fun. Lately she has wanted to be on my lap pretty much the whole time we are together. I can't thank her enough for the hugs, cuddles, & laughs. I have such a fabulous bunch of nieces & nephews. They are seriously delicious.
My sister was sitting across the table & she remarked how much Maddie & I looked alike. Folks tend to say that often b/c we both have dark hair & eyes but Beth hasn't ever said it before. Maddie tends to act like I did when I was her age, too. I think maybe the Lord is playing a practical joke on Beth & Brennan with that. *grin* Brennan is often heard to remark, "Maddie, you're being just like your Aunt Meemee!" And Maddie giggles. I love her giggle. But seriously, she'd better stop looking & acting like me, for her own good! LOL

Here are the G's. At every family birthday gathering we have several traditions. Obviously we enjoy too much good food. And when we open gifts/cards, the cards must be read aloud by the Birthday Boy/Girl. Big G opened a card from Little G (aka Grandma). Before he read it he leaned over & said, "Hi, Babe!" & then planted a moochie on her cheek. I couldn't totally decide if I wanted to giggle or cry over the sweetness. Love.Them.So.Much.
Another tradition is cake. Lots of cake. And candles. I made the cake in this pic. I unwisely decided to keep the leftover icing instead of pitching it which is my usual habit. I hate the waste but I also hate my waist which is comprised mostly of leftover icing. Monday night in a weak moment I had a showdown with that leftover icing. It got pretty ugly before it was over. The peanut butter & graham crackers got dragged into the fray & my self-control went down in flames. I have been doing penance on The Wave.
Anyway, back to the birthday. Isn't this a hilarious pic of Big G winding up for the big candle blow out? He was actually fooling us b/c instead of blowing them out he waved his fingers over them & snuffed them out. Big G should have been a magician. He's super cool.

How do you like his super snazzy new glasses? I think he is about as stylish as I remember him ever being. However, I myself am not stylish so that compliment may not mean very much. Ahem...

Let me just say one more time: Love.Them.So.Much.
Thank you Lord, for my sweet, wonderful family!

Help! Opinions Wanted!

I realize that most of the time in order to be polite adults we are required to bite our tongues & keep our opinions to ourselves.
It is time to rescind that rule. I need opinions & what's more, I need your opinions about what I should do.
Tomorrow afternoon I have an important, regular appointment. I'm going to get my 'hair fixed.' That's how I would say it if I was my G-ma. *grin* It's my every six week without fail appointment with DeAnn. We catch up on lives. We tell stories. We laugh. She hides my gray & I love her for it.
It's become very clear to me that it is no longer optional for me to color my hair. Last night I had the sides pulled back so that I could get dinner ready. Mike comes in & grabs me, holds me under the light & says, "Holy cow! When do you get your hair colored again?!" Yep, I am almost to the skunk stripe stage. *SOB!*
Anyway, I'm not going to mess with the color that we have been using. It's lovely b/c it is so very close to my natural color that I don't have a prism going on by week six - the prism of gray, dyed brown hair growing out, & natural brown hair growing in. I used to have all that PLUS highlights. Ick.
Also, this last time DeAnn cut my hair SO PERFECTLY that I was a wash & dry girl for the first time in my hair-tortured existence. I could just blow it dry with a round brush, rub through a little taming serum & breeze out the door. Or I could put more effort (& product) in, use a curling iron & have wavy hair. Or a flat iron & have poker straight hair - yeah, poker straight hair on my usually frizzy head. Who knew? Or I could rub some mousse through it, use a diffuser & have wavy hair. So versatile! So fun! The layers were just so right!
I'm hoping she can do it again. She's good so I'll bet she can! Please pray that she can!

So...the ultimate question is - get your opinions ready! - should I have her cut in bangs?

Are bangs cool? Are bangs dorky? Do I look like an alien with bangs? Do I look like an alien without bangs?

You see why I cannot make this decision on my own?

If I was a super cool blogster I would have photos of myself with & without bangs for you to compare & contrast & make an informed decision.

I am not a super cool blogster. I am a fly by the seat of her pants kind of blogster. Sorry 'bout your informed opinion. It will have to comment on some other blog post.

So let those unfounded opinions fly! Tell me why you love/hate/adore/loathe bangs!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Works of God Monday

This past week has been a different kind of week for me. Usually I love my job. It's a little slow-paced at times but overall I really like it. Especially since I no longer have the pressure of trying to work two jobs.

However, since I got married there have been things to distract my attention from work just a little bit. Somehow, now I wish I were home more with Mike. Hmmm...wonder why?

But I still like my job. Maybe I don't bounce out of bed quite so readily these days but I still hadn't really experienced that deep in the middle of my chest aching dread about going to work. Until last week.

There has been a lot of pressure on our pharmacists recently b/c of a worldwide shortage of the radioactive material that we use to compound our drugs. There are essentially only three reactors in the world that our suppliers purchase their raw material from. They take that material & make the generators that we can draw our RAM (radioactive material) from. One reactor in Canada has been shut down FOREVER b/c of a heavy water leak repair. Another reactor in The Netherlands has been shut down for scheduled maintenance. That leaves us with the reactor in South Africa. Since the material is in such high demand & since it has to travel so far, our supply chain is fraught with delays & changes. It's been hard for the guys to be able to communicate with our customers about what will be available & when. One of our pharmacists is a go-with-the-flow kind of guy & one isn't. Some days are easy, some days are hard. I'm sure you can figure out why (some days I'm working with Mr. Go-With-The-Flow & some days I'm not). That makes it hard for me to want to go to work on certain days.

Anyway, there have been other changes around here lately & they have been a little difficult for me to adjust to, partially b/c I don't know whether or not to expect the changes to be permanent. I don't want them to be permanent. I have struggled with these changes. And I have not prayed about them as I should have. I have not communicated my concerns to my boss like I should have. Therefore, last week I had a melt down day. I was quiet & just a teensy bit sullen at work. When Mike got home I filled his ears to overflowin' with my complaints, concerns, tears, etc. POOR GUY! He endures far worse at his work & never complains. After my tirade, I was not feeling better. Especially b/c Mike reminded me of some simple truths. I'm not in control; God is. I am not being right when I pout; I am not being right when I complain. I am not being a good testimony to my coworkers when I have a sullen, rotten attitude. I need to communicate with my boss (he's a good listener). I need to trust God for the outcome & not hold on to things like a 5 year old at the playground. No part of my job belongs to me. I have to share.

So, my praise is that through all of this stubborn silliness on my part, the Lord has taught me several things. He is in control; I can trust Him. I need to keep a grateful spirit. How many people right now really just wish they had a job, let alone one they would enjoy? Also, I need to remember that my job is an area of ministry for me. I need to be reflecting Christ in my workplace.

And the Lord gave me some great comfort through a song this past week. I kept picturing myself on a slippery slope, sliding backwards. Those illustrations that youth pastors use of backsliding have really stuck with me, I guess! Anyway, in my mind I pictured myself sliding back, scrabbling to keep upright & keep climbing, getting more tired by the minute. There is a line in the song that hit me on the way to work one morning. It says, "My feet are firm, held by His grace." I started picturing the Lord Jesus there with me on the slippery slope, His precious hands upholding my feet. Strong, steady hands that hold me & help me reach higher ground. It makes the climb seem not so desperate & not so terrifying, having Him there with me!

Friday, March 19, 2010

He Was Right!

Only, please don't tell him.

HIM = my big brother, Andy. He's been my second dad my whole life, dispensing wisdom, advice, & sometimes even orders the whole time we were growing up. And even now. When I am over 30 years old & married.

Old habits die hard. I get that. That's why I still have torn cuticles around my fingernails. I just can't resist picking at hangnails, you know? But that's another story.

We are here today to celebrate how RIGHT Andy is. Almost exactly five years ago I traveled to his house for a weekend trip to buy a new car. Andy works for Toyota, he knows a lot about cars, & he can get me a discount. Yay! That weekend I came home with a new Corolla Sport. I was pretty happy.

While we were driving back to his house from the dealership I endured the advice-dispensing conversation. Andy said, "Look, I'm not going to tell you what to do." But he said it in that tone. You know the one, the tone that says I'm getting ready to tell you what to do. I nodded my head & turned to look out the window so he wouldn't see me rolling my eyes. I would like to say that I'm mature enough to just listen & make up my own mind without the eye rolling, arm crossing, sighing reaction. But yeah, I'm not there yet. Probably never will be.

Anyway, Andy continued by advising me to keep the Corolla until it was paid off. As in, done making payments. As in FIVE LONG YEARS!!! Let me tell a little bit about myself. I am slightly commitment shy. Not phobic; just shy. Especially in my 20's. At that point in my life I had not had a phone, house, car, job, boyfriend, NOTHING for more than a year or two. I was restless & it manifested itself in many ways. Side Note: I think this might have made Mike just a little bit nervous about me when we started dating seriously. Brave man, he took the risk anyway. I love him. So I listened to Andy's advice, nodded my head, feigned agreement. Inside I was thinking, no way!

We had our ups & downs, me & the Corolla. I tried to sell it a couple of times - even listed it here on my blog! No bites, no interest from anyone. So I kept it. I joked about selling it, trading it, putting it on craigslist. But I never did. Strangely enough, I've had that silly car for over 65,000 miles, numerous oil changes, two sets of tires & one miserably peeling flower sticker on the front windshield.

And today I am mailing the check to make the final payment. I can't believe we made it. I can't believe Andy was right. Mike & I are both ecstatic about making one more step toward debt-free living. I am ever astonished at the Lord's goodness in continual provision. Never over the course of these five years have I had to wonder how I was going to make the next payment. I'm just very joyful & thankful. That's all that can be said.

Well, & I guess I should say, THANK YOU, ANDY!!! You're the best brother I've got (heehee, you're the ONLY brother I've got!). You can give me advice anytime, bro.

Just don't use that superior tone of voice. It induces eye rolls EVERY TIME!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Running Tales

Last week I celebrated the springing of Spring by running outside THREE TIMES! I was so, so, so, so, so happy!

But each run was uncharacteristically eventful. Usually I can tie on my shoes, head out, not really see anyone or have anything strange happen. Although I have had some teenage superheros holler insulting names at me before; that was not fun.

Anyway, my first run was great. I had a little plan to do some interval work so that I can get eased back into my normal running distances. I was about a mile into my run when I met up with a guy that I used to work with. He was running on his late afternoon lunch break. Much catching up ensued & we ended up chatting for about 20 minutes. I'm pretty sure he was late getting back to work - oops!

My second run was not so great. Thursday was very overcast & I made sure to check the radar before I left work. The only green splotches I saw on the screen were south & east of us. Nothing overhead so I thought the coast was all clear. I got home, read the mail, changed my clothes, strapped on my ipod & headed out. I didn't drive to the park or the track; I had decided just to leave straight from home. I got about a mile from home & it started to sprinkle. Not good. Surely it will pass over, I thought. I ran about another block & it started to pour. Definitely not good. I turned around & headed home worrying about my ipod getting wet. Within a couple of blocks I was soaked & I heard a huge crack of thunder. Cue real panic. No one wants to get hit by lightning, least of all me! Remember, I'm not in great shape at this point. I was trying to sprint home. My right shoe came untied. I stopped & tied it. A block later my left shoe came untied. I stopped & tied it. Run, run, run! About two blocks from home my lungs were burning so I slowed down a bit. I realized that my backside was dry b/c the rain was hitting me in the face. Good! I'll hook my ipod on the back of my waistband so it won't get any wetter, I thought. That worked just great until I tried to run again. Commence the falling of the shorts. I ran for a little bit holding my shorts on & then decided that I was being just too silly. So I unhooked the ipod & continued trying to shield it from the rain.
I finally reach our front porch & suddenly the rain STOPS. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT???
I stepped inside the front door & Mike was sitting at the dining room table reading his mail. He looked up & asked, "Didn't you check the radar?" I calmly (aren't you proud of me?) replied that yes, of course I had. His response, "Didn't you animate the screen? The rain is moving in a counterclockwise direction." Smartypants!

Now the third run - Saturday morning. I decided to go to the local track. When I got there I noticed that there was a hawk sitting on the ground in the middle of the oval. Cool! I am very intrigued by birds. As I was getting warmed up I noticed that another hawk had flown in & joined the first one. I had never seen one of these birds up close before. Let me just tell you, they are bigger than I thought they were! They are like twice as big as the big scary crows! They moved from the center of the oval to sit on the fence which was about 20 feet away. At that point they seemed really too close to me as I ran by. They were watching me, their little heads turning as I went by. They were there for the first two miles & then they flew away. I was a little apprehensive about them ganging up on me but I'm sure that's totally silly. I'm good at totally silly *grin*

The plan is to run as many times as possible this week. We will see if I have any more interesting things happen!

Getting Closer To Done!

My husband spent a lot of the day on Saturday working on our hamper. This is what he had done by the end of the day. He did have the doors finished, but he wasn't satisfied with them so he is on to Plan B with those. He was frustrated, but I think it's coming along beautifully. He's been working hard & it's going to pay off with a beautiful piece that is really going to match up with our other furniture. Yay!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Is Springing!

I am ever hopeful that this warming trend we have seen in the weather this week is here to stay. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to the change in seasons. Gotta give Winter the big heave ho!

Signs that Spring Is Springing:

*We had a thunderstorm this morning. Complete with thunder, lightning, wind & rain. Oddly enough, it was a great start to the day. The air felt super-charged. I liked it! At first I thought the thunder was our neighbors 4-wheeler. Yes, we live in town. Yes, we have a neighbor who thinks he does NOT live in town.

*I was able to go for a run outside yesterday. In shorts. It was wonderful. I am sadly out of shape (went about 3 miles, alternating half mile runs with half mile walks) but it was tremendously energizing & empowering. Yes, I like to run b/c somehow it makes me feel powerful. Strong. Things that I am not *grin*

*The birds are singing every morning when I leave for work. I love, love, love bird song.

*I haven't run my little heater at my desk all day today. Granted, it's 67 degrees outside & I wore a sweater to work. It's a little off balance, but I love not having to switch that little heater on!

*I've been able to do some driving with the windows down or the moon roof open. I love having the wind blowing around!

My dad always says that March will either 'come in like a lion & go out like a lamb' or 'come in like a lamb & go out like a lion.' I'm afraid we are headed for the latter. But until the north wind starts to blow more of its icy fury on us, I firmly believe that Spring Is Springing!

My Disclaimer: when the inevitable cold snap happens I will be crushed, plain & simple.

What do you love most about the changing of seasons? What do you most look forward to in the Springtime?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Coconut Caper

I have never posted a video before - I hope it works!

You will have to forgive the fuzzy quality & unsteady hands. I was taking the video with Mike's iphone & I hadn't ever done it before.

This little clip, if it posts correctly, will give a tiny little glimpse into my absolutely crazy, absolutely wonderful family. Last Saturday night we were all gathered at my parent's house to celebrate my Aunt Edie's birthday. "We" = me & Mike, Beth & Brennan, Caleb, Madison, Aunt Edie, Mary Beth, Sandy, & Autumn. My sister & family, my aunt & family, & our adopted family member Autumn. It was a fun crowd!

Caleb had gotten my dad a coconut for Valentine's Day. Not sure why & I'm sure there's a funny story in there somewhere but I don't know what it is. Anyway, Dad really wanted to crack that coconut while Caleb was there so that he could try the coconut milk. There was MUCH discussion about how to get that coconut open & not spill the milk everywhere. We discussed hammers, knives, screwdrivers, etc. It was hilarious.

I hope you enjoy the film. *grin*

A 'Lil More Pampering!

Monday afternoon after I got off work I headed over to Amoke's house to pick her up. We then headed about an hour away to meet up with Amanda. If you remember from my previous post, Amanda is gonna have a baby any time! We wanted to take her out for a little Girl Time & pampering before sweet baby girl Lauren arrives.
We got there a little early & so we headed into Target to do some looking around. I found some baseball card holder pages for a notebook to reorganize my coupons. Yay!
We met up with Amanda & headed to the nail salon. I had been in a quandary all day trying to decide whether to do hands or feet. It seemed silly to get my toes done b/c I won't be wearing sandals any time soon. So I decided on hands. Then during the course of the day I had two fingertips split from dry skin. Yuck - I'm too germaphobic to let them work on my hands if I had open cuts. But I forgot to take sandals with me. Oh the quandary!
You can tell from the pic below that we all had our toes done. It was LOVELY! I got to soak my feet for an extra long time b/c there were only two nail techs working. They did Amoke' & Amanda's feet first & I just soaked & soaked. Ahhh...
But there was the small problem of putting my socks & shoes back on. Not gonna happen. So I kept the little foamie flip flops on & we went back to Target. I felt a little (ok, a lot) stupid, but what can you do? Ruin a beautiful pedicure? I don't think so! At Target I found a cute pair of real flip flops to buy. Problem solved!
Here are our cute feet! Mine are the blue ones - had to pick something a little zany *grin*

Then we went to Olive Garden. Say it with me people, YUM! There was salad. There were bread sticks. There was Amoke's huge DECAF cappuccino with at least 35 shots of hazelnut syrup :-) And there was soup, and ravioli, &, so, so good!

And most of all there was good conversation, sweet friendship, & the anticipation of Amanda's baby girl's arrival. I'm so glad we took the time to get together. Sometimes we let the distance become to much of an obstacle.
I thank God for my friends, that's for sure!

Good Times With Beth

Last Friday's Ladies' Meeting didn't run too late. It was a fun, relaxing time of conversation & good food. Beth & I had some much needed Girl Talk time with the ladies & when it was time to head out neither one of us was really ready to go home. We had been discussing eyebrow threading with a couple of the ladies. As we were wrapping up our dishes & putting on our jackets Beth suggested we jet to the mall really quick to see if we could get our eyebrows done. Excellent idea!
So that's what we did. It was so nice to get that little bit of pampering & then wander around the mall. We have a new shoe store there that's almost as big as a warehouse. Beth & I wandered up & down every aisle of women's shoes. No hurry. No objective. Lots of good conversation.
I love my sister.
With the huff & fuss of everyday life I find that I really miss Beth. We talk on the phone some & we see each other every time we are at church. It's just super nice to have time with her when we aren't interrupted by husbands or kids. Maybe that sounds selfish, but that's how I feel.
Beth always encourages me. She actually told me that she thinks that I could make a living writing. I'm pretty sure she is the only person on earth who still believes in my dream of someday writing a book. She's great like that.

*Little Note: the pic above wasn't actually taken after we had our eyebrows done; I took this pic the other Saturday at the super fun *free* basketball game that we went to. We were both screamed hoarse by the time I took this pic - good times!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

Got my stuff cooked, my kitchen shined up, & a couple pictures to share with you - all before the party! Yeehaw!New Potato Salad
Walnut Shortbread
Sounds like a balanced meal, doesn't it? :-)

Time For A Little Dinner Party

Every year the ladies group at my church hosts an annual tasting party. The basic premise behind the party is that each lady should bring a dish that she has never made before. Along with the dish she should bring the recipe. Then we have dinner together. Sometimes we have lots of dessert & very few veggie dishes; sometimes we have lots of main courses & not many desserts. It's not always a balanced meal. We don't always like every dish. But we do enjoy being together. And that's what really matters.
After the party is over we try to organize the recipes into a booklet so that we all have some new recipes (hopefully new recipes we like) for our collection. It's fun. I'm looking forward to it.

These are the recipes that I hope to get made after work & before the dinner party at 6:00 p.m.

Walnut Shortbread
Martha Stewart Living

½ cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
¼ cup plus 3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl, and whisk in flour & salt.
2. Beat butter, sugar, & vanilla until pale & fluffy. Slowly add walnut mixture, and beat until just combined.
3. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Transfer dough to pan. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on dough, & use it to press the dough evenly into pan (this will prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers). Cut dough into 8 wedges using a paring knife. Prick all over with a wooden skewer or fork.
4. Bake until golden brown & firm in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Recut into wedges & prick again. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

*There are several methods you can use to toast walnuts:
• Bake walnuts on a cookie sheet, in a single layer, at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes, checking frequently. • Microwave walnuts in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate on medium-high for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. • Cook walnuts in a skillet at medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.Regardless of method, walnuts can be toasted dry or with a dash of oil.

*I used unbleached all-purpose flour & for the stick butter I substituted a stick of butter/olive oil blend baking stick.

New-Potato Salad
All You Magazine

3 lb. new potatoes, scrubbed clean
Salt & Pepper
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced

Place potatoes in a large pot & pour in enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add 1 Tablespoon salt & bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low & cook until potatoes are tender, 13 to 17 minutes. Drain, return potatoes to pot & cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let stand, off, heat, until soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard & vinegar. Cut potatoes into halves or quarters. In a large bowl, mix potatoes with celery and shallot. Fold in mayonnaise mixture & season well with salt & pepper. Serve at room temperature.

*If the mayonnaise mixture seems too thick, add additional vinegar or fresh lemon juice a few teaspoons at a time until it is right.

*If you don’t have shallots on hand, substitute half an onion, finely minced (use a sweet onion if possible). Thinly sliced scallions also work well.

*You can make this salad up to a day ahead & refrigerate it, but it is best served at room temperature. Simply take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving.

Hopefully I will be able to get it all made, hopefully it will be yummy, & hopefully I'll be able to get my kitchen cleaned up.

Am I too ambitious? *grin*

What are your Friday night plans?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Little More of Mike's Handiwork

For Christmas this past year Mike really wanted me to get him a scroll saw. I eagerly obliged b/c for some reason or other, I am just not really great at picking out gifts for him. So we went to Lowe's, picked it out, trundled it home & I wrestled the wrapping paper around the heavy box when he wasn't looking.
Since Christmas he has made several puzzle boxes. I took a couple pics of them & they are posted below. The pics don't really show them off for how neat they are. Each box is made after the same pattern; Mike has just made different sizes & used different finishes.

Each box has a 'key' and once it is removed the lid can slide off. When you slide the lid off, there is another lid inside to lift off. When Lid #2 is lifted off, you finally get to see the hidden compartment. Cool, huh? Anyway, he's made about 10 of them, trying to perfect the little things along the way. It's hard to create a tight fitting box without it being too tight. I think he's doing great, though :-)

And here is what is keeping him busy right now. We have wanted a tilt-out drawer hamper for our bedroom for a long time. However, they cost about $300 plus shipping. No way, Jose! So Mike studied our bedroom furniture & drew up this plan to build one. It's super great b/c it will cost a lot less & share all of the details of our other bedroom furniture.
He got this part of it completed last Saturday. Imagine what this guy could do if he actually had a decent workshop?
For my part, I continue to overlook the sawdust in the house. It's totally worth it.