Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Now, for a Non-Photo Update

I'm really glad that this year is coming to an end....not in the same way that I was glad that 2007 ended. 2007 was such a horrible year that I just wanted it to go and clear itself from our lives so that the memory of it was just a fleeting, bad thought. This year was really busy; Joey took his entrance exam and got into a PhD program, my mom had to have another MRI of her back, we went on a cruise, I finally went to see someone about my anxiety, I got into ECU's grad program, and the band started recording a couple of songs for a potential album. It was such a full year, and not an entirely bad one.

I'm reflecting back on this one in a much more logical, methodical, reflective way, not wishing that I could do something again or wishing that something hadn't happened, but looking back and seeing how every part of what I experienced this year was very significant to me in the long term. Decisions that I've made this year will affect how my life plays out in the future; they are changing the way I view the world, the way I interact with others, the way I view myself. This year was a year of growth.

Speaking of growth, my ponytail is a foot long now...I'm going to let it grow until February and then I'll get it cut short...I want to make sure that the kids have good hair for a wig. I'm glad that I decided to donate to Locks of Love. I don't know that I'll be able to do it every year, but I will try to do it again, definitely.

The girls in the office have decided to train for a 5K in May...I printed off the Couch to 5K training plan, and I'll start it when we hit the gym on Thursday...we were going to start tomorrow, but the gym won't open until 8 am and I'll be at work by then.

I'm also going to take the Bento Challenge. I'll be focusing on making bento-style lunches (and incorporating lots of Japanese ingredients/food) to help with portion control (and because I just think that it's fabulous!). I've already got some stuff set out for tomorrow's, and I'll take a picture once I get to work.

That's all I've got for now.

The Week in Pictures

So, I was thinking, what would better sum up my holiday week than pictures?

Shelli, graciously modeling a Christmas ornament that I had just knitted, a tiny toboggan...how cute!!
We had a Life Group Fellowship at our house, FIFTEEN people in our tiny house, but it was a BLAST:).
Wesley and Sarah's son, Mason, who is such a little flirt;(

Shelli playing with some of her Christmas stash. She really racked up!!
And, Shelli drinking from the faucet in the tub, the perfect end to the holiday season!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Feeling Blah-ish

We had another "pee incident" wth Shelli this morning...which means that she's still not over whatever's got her bothered enough to pee outside of the box. She's still using the box, though, so it's really strange. I don't know...we've got her box cleaned out, and we're going to make a double effort to keep the routine as much as possible for the next few weeks. I'm really hoping it's just holiday stress.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Part Deux...

We are headed down to SC for some time with the fam today. I'm excited...it's been a while since we've been down there.

Yesterday was SOOOO dead at work...Joey came with me, which was good because once we got into the afternoon hours, since there were only three of us at work and it felt safer with him there. But, yesterday was also nice because it was so quiet; I really got a lot done.

Pics from Christmas day will come soon...you'll never believe all of the awesome stuff that Shelli ended up with:).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry, Merry Christmas

Wow....what a Christmas day it's been already:). We did get to have a laid-back morning, and then I baked some chicken and we had chicken, rice, pintos, and green beans for lunch with Joey's parents and my parents. I really enjoy the new tradition of everyone coming over here for Christmas....it'll be even more fun when we have kids, but I wanted to go ahead and get us into the routine of having our own traditions rather than having to run all over the place and not getting to enjoy the holiday.

For most of my childhood, I never spent a Christmas at home....the only one I can remember is the one when I was 10, when my dad had his heart attack and he couldn't travel. While I enjoyed those Christmases very much and I appreciate the memories, I just don't want to put my own child through that. I never got to see Puss on Christmas day, and I always felt guilty that she was left behind in a dark house while we were far away from home. I don't want to put Shelli through that either. It works out so well that both of our sets of parents like eachother so much and we can just all hang out and have our own Christmas lunch. We also only do gifts for Shelli on that day; we do presents with each set of parents at different times. Shelli got some really neat stuff this year, and she played with everything that she got!

It's also a balmy 65 degrees or so, which is a little strange for Christmas, but it's nice to have the windows open and air out the house. This year has been so very busy, between year-end at work (which we've been totally kicking butt with, yay us!!) and all of the parties and activities we've been a part of, we're definitely ready to settle back into a routine of normalcy and chill out some.

So, Merry Christmas to you all. Much love to you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

Today, we're spending the day cleaning...we're having a Sunday School fellowship tomorrow afternoon, and I wanted to be able to have people over without being entirely ashamed of how cluttered we've let our house become. Niecy Nash would have yelled at us about our "foolishness" had she wandered into our home. We've made a lot of good progress, and we just broke for lunch, so I figured I'd post a quick update.

It was a SUPER BUSY week...Monday wasn't all that relaxing because we had so much shopping to do while I was off...the knitting group met Tuesday night, we had our "wrap party" for the musical Wednesday night, and an ornament exchange on Thursday night. Last night was our first chance to relax, and it was nice to get to do so with James and Shannon (as it always is). We lost a shingle off the roof in the windstorm yesterday, so Joey and his dad had to climb onto the roof in the dark and replace it. How fun....but they were able to get it fixed.

I have a sad confession to make that will probably shock those of you who know me very well.....Joey and I have gotten too lax on our frugality. Yes, I know, it's horrible and unimaginable that I, the person who would sit in the house and shiver last year so that we didn't have to turn on the heat, have allowed us to get lax about our spending and now we're having to back up and take a hard look at how we're wasting our money. January is apt to bring a whole new set of seriously frugal challenges as we need to get back in the mindset of saving as much money as possible. Joey's got some ideas that, should they come to fruition, would potentially allow us to get our Hyundai paid off this year (which would mean no more car payments!!). Since we've got to deal with tuition for both of us now, it would be helpful to go ahead and get the car paid off.

So, you'll be getting some of the "frugal challenge" posts again....stories of our cooking from scratch, saving on water, power, and gas, repurposing, reusing, recycling, donating, buying from thrift stores (I have kept my word and not bought any new clothes since I decided to take that challenge in April). And, I'm going to try to use up the yarn stash that I've got rather than constantly buying new (even when you're buying the nicer acrylics, you're still racking up some sizeable debt).

Along the same token, we're going to work toward a much more healthy lifestyle....we have been very regular at going to the gym, except for the past two weeks that I've been sick and busy. We're going to get back to the gym this week and I'm going to do more cooking rather than buying processed convenience foods.

I was so ashamed when Joey mentioned that we'd been letting things slide and eating away at our cushion, especially with gas prices going down and our gas card dropping by $100 per month or so. But, I think I've gotten myself back together and I'm ready to start pinching those pennies again and SAVING some DOUGH!!

But now, back to cleaning;)...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hustle and Bustle

As quickly as it began, another year of An Indian Trail Christmas has reached its close. All that's left now is the wrap party on Wednesday night, which will be a good time, as always. I don't know the final number, but there was something close to 500 professions of faith over the course of the weekend. I am so grateful that my voice held out and I managed to hit the notes that I needed to. There was lots of knitting, discussions about poop, trying to stay awake when the lights went out, laughing, dancing, singing, all of it. We had a good time.

Another topic, which I didn't write about last week because I wasn't sure if my mom remembered and didn't want to upset her. December 7th was the anniversary of Puss's death. I still miss her just as much today as I did on that date. It's this dull ache, and I'm torn between wishing that time would pass so it would hurt less and being afraid that I'll forget her if it doesn't hurt at all. I don't know. I'm very thankful that we have Shelli in our lives, and honestly, I really don't care that people may think that I'm crazy to be so devoted to my kitty. I think that, just as God made evangelists that have a very specific way in which they can serve Him (although I tend to disagree with their methods), He also made people like me who are tender-hearted toward His Creation, which has no voice. We are that voice.

I have the day off today, and I'm sooooo glad for it. It's been a long weekend, and I'm glad to have a day of respite.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Celebrating the Wonder...

Man, what a weekend. An Indian Trail Christmas has been going really well...we're two performances down, four to go (two today and two tomorrow). I had to do my solo for the first time last night, and I actually hit the notes (I always worry because, when I get nervous, my low register is the first thing to go). The play went smoothly, no technical glitches (at least, if there were, I didn't notice them at all).

Taking my friend Erin's advice (haha....I thought of you when I was picking out my shoes;))...I have a pair of comfortable shoes to wear on the performances where I don't have the solo part. Last year, my feet hurt so badly by the end that Erin brought me a pair of her shoes to wear during the last performance, which helped IMMENSELY. This play has really made me miss Wayne and Erin. I hope you guys know that we're thinking of you often.

Today's performances are at 3 and 7, so it makes for a long day, but Katie and I are both bringing our knitting to do between the performances (and a cold dinner...yay frugality). It's nice to be in a good mood today....I feel like it'll probably be fleeting, as I think there may still yet need to be an adjustment made to my anxiety meds, but it is good to feel that I'm making progress every day to be "normal" (whatever that means).

I also got to spend some time yesterday with my friend Sarah, and her son Mason, while Joey was helping her husband Wesley to change out his brake pads (actually, they probably both just did whatever my dad told them to;)) Mason is such a little cutie...such a little flirt too. I also enjoy any time I get to spend talking to Sarah. I'm always amazed by the wonderful circle of friends we have those days. I'm so grateful.

So, this morning, I'm just going to relax. It'll be a busy afternoon and evening;)...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Day Before the Madness...

Dress rehearsal is tomorrow night at 6. I cannot believe that the Christmas musical has already rolled around again. It's going to be a CRAZY weekend, but it's always a whirwind of anxiety and fun, which usually ends up being more fun that not:). And, it's one of the most efficient witnessing tools we've got at the church with how many people it reaches over that one weekend.

Today was stressful.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And on the Second Day of my Convalescence...

We stayed home all day Friday and Saturday. I stayed in pajamas. I coughed. I blew my nose. I coughed some more. I took medicine. I ate Chicken Noodle Soup. I coughed some more. I ate more soup. I took NyQuil and slept.

The Kins thought that we were hibernating

Then, yesterday, I began to feel more human....I knitted and knitted and knitted and knitted...



Suddenly, we heard a siren in our neighborhood! Shelli did her best "meerkat" imitation:


And what did we see?

YES, that is Santa Claus on a firetruck. He made three rounds in our neighborhood, blaring Christmas music and running the siren. Shelli will never be the same:

Or maybe, she will.

I knitted some more. Then, I felt up to playing some Scarykins:

We watched TWO episodes of MST3K and then watched Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Seriously, if I hadn't been sick, it would have been the perfect weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hooray for the Minute Clinic!!

Joey told me yesterday that I should go get an antibiotic because I sounded even worse than I did on Wednesday, and with us being this close to the Christmas Musical, I really don't have time to wait and see if I get better on my own. So, on my lunch break yesterday (I actually went arounbd 10:30), I ran to the CVS near the office to their Minute Clinic, where an NP checked me out and diagnosed me with "lingering bronchitis" that likely resulted from some virus that went around a couple of weeks ago and caused nothing more than a scratchy throat. She prescribed me an albuterol inhaler to use for two days, a Z-pack, and some cough medicine. And, honestly, after the first dose of the antibiotic, I'm feeling a good bit better, and my coughs are more productive. So, I'll continue the chicken noodle soup and whatnot, but I'm feeling like I may be okay by the time I've got to sing next Friday night.
And, I feel a little vindicated, since something genuinely is wrong with me, so I wasn't just being lazy and feigning being sick. Also, this is actually only the second time I've been sick all year...the last time was back in January, so I guess it was actually a pretty good year in that respect:).

On the knitting front, I had my first "knitting in public and people won't leave you the heck alone!!" moment. I was waiting for my prescriptions, so I pulled out a scarf that I'm working on for Joey's mom and three people stopped to talk to me about knitting, and I actually did get the much-dreaded question, "is that hard??"

Thankfully, I had already planned for the day off today, so I'm piled up in the recliner with some coffee (I haven't had any in three or four days), and I'll probably nap some and otherwise just rest and get better. I did have to miss the holiday party that our office was having last night, though, so that was a bummer...they had a nice dinner at a nice restaurant:(. But, rest was more important, honestly.
Here's a pic for you from our floor-laying adventure last weekend; this is the almost completed project. Beautiful, eh?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Terrification

Terrification (n): the result of being terrified.

Here's a glimpse into my psychotic world: I woke up this morning and knew once I got out of the steamy shower that I was not going to be able to sing tonight during rehearsal for the Christmas music...my voice is scratchy and hoarse and it sounds like I'm trying to talk over a thick layer of phlegm right over my vocal chords. After agonizing over and over about whether or not to even go to rehearsal (What if I look like a diva who never shows up unless it's time to sing a solo? What if people are totally grossed out that I came to such an important rehearsal all snotty and gross to potentially spread the plague to the entire choir and ruin the whole Christmas program??), I decided to go, but to sit in the back of the sanctuary and just knit during rehearsal and listen, but not sing.

I sent an email to our music minister to let him know about my predicament and, wouldn't you know it, the plans were for the PM soloists to do the rehearsal tonight (we split the solos since there are six performances...it's a lot for anyone to handle and we have too many talented people to need to have such limits (thank goodness!)), but that my "afternoon counterpart" could do the rehearsal tonight if need be. One thing to learn about me; I always seek approval from people in authority. I always did it with teachers, with my parents, with my managers, and with music ministers/choir directors. I am absolutely terrified of letting people down. And, of course, I spent most of the afternoon feeling like I'd let everyone down by being sick....or maybe like I was imagining that I was *that* sick and was just being lazy. But, I know my vocal chords pretty well, and I've found over the past fifteen years or so that, should I abuse them too much, they rebel by plaguing me with laryngitis for weeks at a time.

Isn't it sick that I agonize about this stuff? Most people would be like, "hey, I'm sick, I'm going home. I'll be back when I'm well," or, "I'm sick. I'll be there, but I can't talk or do anything because I need to rest my vocal chords." Not me. I have to worry constantly about how I've inconvenienced people and let them down because of something that's entirely out of my control.

Sometimes, I really don't like "me" all that much:(.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Update

My throat is sore, and I'm already in a mild state of panic that I'm going to get full-blown sick and have trouble singing next weekend. I've had a ton of liquid, 2 airbornes, 2 mugs of hot tea, soup for lunch, and I'm going to have soup again for dinner. I'm doing my best to stay away from dairy and I skipped the gym tonight to get some rest (and I didn't want to be around all of the germ-laden people...blah).

So, I made a list yesterday of three things that I was going to allow myself to worry about....one being my second assignment for the writing course I'm taking. I got halfway through the analysis for Ranger Rick and noticed that, in very small print, was a notification that says that they no longer accept unsolicited queries. Blah. Back to the drawing board it was, and I was really disappointed. I spent most of the afternoon looking for some regional magazine that I could select and became increasingly disappointed that the only regional nature mag I could find was about hunting. I ended up settling on Carolina Country, which is a magazine subscription included in the participation of one of the state's power co-ops. It doesn't pay much, but I think my likelihood of getting chosen to write for them is a good bit higher. It's also a relatively rural magazine by nature (most people here who participate in power co-ops live in outlying areas....like us). I think I'll be able to put it together. Anyway...if you're reading, Wendee, I promise a finished assignment by week's end....hopefully both 2 and 3 by the end of the weekend:).

Joey survived his day today. I'm really glad. And pissed that I'm feeling sick. Honestly, I will be really happy when this holiday season is over and we can get back into a normal routine and rest for a while.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mel's Phone Etiquette Rules

1. Please only call me on one number. If you reach my voicemail at work and don't receive an out-of-office voicemail greeting, just leave a message and wait for me to call you back. Don't immediately call my cell phone. Chances are, I was on the other line with someone else for work purposes and am now having to frantically try to silence the ringing of my cell phone. Unless you have suffered a grave injury, leave me a freaking message and give me time to call you back.

2. If the situation absolutely dictates that you call me on both numbers, please only leave a message on ONE of them. Leaving two identical messages on both of my numbers wastes the time of the individual who must wade through the endless series of passwords and options just to hear you tell them the same thing TWICE.

3. DO NOT, under any circumstances, leave a message that simply says "call me back." There's too much uncertainty in that. You could mean, "hey...just checking up with you, call me back." Or, you could mean, "your mother has been in a car accident and was rushed to the ER. CALL ME BACK!!". Quite honestly, if you don't think it's important enough to tell me what you're calling for, I'm going to assume it wasn't important enough that you really need a call back. There is nothing more irritating than dropping everything and calling someone back, only to end up being sidetracked in a phone call about what was on TV last night, etc. I once had a friend who left messages like that. I didn't call her back once, and she gave me the silent treatment until I apologized for her. No longer. If you don't think it's important enough to tell me the subject matter of your call, I'm not going to think that it's important enough to call you back.

4. DO NOT call me back more than once after we've had a phone conversation and hung up. I appreciate the finality of hanging up the phone. I don't want to get called every hour afterward with "status updates" on whatever you were calling me about in the first place. If you have an additional question, text or email me and I'll answer you, but I'm probably not going to pick up the phone after you've called me twice. And I'm not likely to answer you in the future.

This may not bother some of you, and that's fine, but I don't like to talk on the phone, so I want my calls to have a purpose and to be efficient. If I want to chat with you about what's going on in our lives, I'll want to do that in person, or I'll want to spend some lengthy time drafting an email/letter. I don't want to spend time with a battery powered, digitally-connected device pressed against my brain.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Can't I Be Independently Wealthy?

I love weeks off....not to say that I don't like my job, but there really is something magical about waking up to your own internal body clock rather than the loud, annoying beep of the alarm forcing you to remember that your day is not your own. These past few days have been wonderful, and I'm amused at the fact that, even when left to my own natural circadian rhythm, I still like to wake up before 8 am.

James and Shannon came over last night, and James made tacos which were awesome....we watched the Jeff Dunham Christmas Special and chatted until midnight. Over the past year, I've found myself thinking over and over how grateful I am to have these people that are coming into my life that are so encouraging, uplifting, and just plain "real." One of my friends at work said to me last week, "You're the most real person I know.." (of course, this was in response to a very frank discussion about pooping at work). I took it as a compliment...I told her that I'd spent too much of my life trying to be what other people wanted or expected me to be, and I got made fun of anyway. What's the point? So, over the past year and a half or so, it's been amazing to me how many people have happened into my life who are just as real, and who are okay with my being that way....warts and all;). It's just an awesome thing.

On the knitting front, I started some fingerless gloves yesterday in some really pretty sport-weight yarn and size 4 dpns. I cast on too many stitches at first (misjudged my hands as being gigantic, apparently), and had to rip the whole thing and start over. I've gotten past the thumbhole and am working my way up the arm on the first one; pics to come soon!

Anyway...before my battery died yesterday, took several pictures of the Kins.
Mommy, why do you follow me around incessantly with the camera? I'm just looking out the window...

Maybe if I look entirely disinterested, she'll move away...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Miss the Eastland Mall of Yore...

They're trying to tear the mall down and build a bunch of houses and stuff. When I was a kid, there was NO better place to go than Eastland mall....South Park Mall was nothing, Carolina Place, Concord Mills, and Northlake Mall all didn't even exist. Eastland was always full of people...had beautiful water fountains. Dillard's used to be called Ivy's, and there was a clear glass elevator in the store. There was an Eckerd that still had a lunch counter. Now, it's just a shell of its former self....the city managers put all of their money into North and South Charlotte, and left East Charlotte to deteriorate. It upsets me. I grew up in East Charlotte, and my parents still live there. I have such fond memories.

Yesterday, I didn't even get out of my pajamas. Unfortunately, I was awake at 6:30, so I went ahead and got up and watched the news. I spent all morning knitting, and I finally learned something new! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

My first attempt at circular knitting with double pointed needles!!! I was talking on the phone with my grandma and she was mentioning her arm being sore from a little arthritis, and I jokingly told her I'd have to knit her an armwarmer....well, she might actually get one at this point;). I'll see how this turns out when it's long enough to use. If not, I'll have to make another, but I do feel good at having gotten the technique of juggling all of those needles!

Otherwise, I spent most of the rest of the day with the Kins.

Mommy, do you really think everyone in blogland wants to watch me licking my foot??

And Joey spent the rest of the day working on his paper.

Honest, I'm thinking about it...really...

He finished it near midnight and emailed it off, so we're one step closer to him being done with his first semester as a PhD student. And that much closer to my starting my first semester as a graduate student. I wish I could actually go to class and have the full experience of the Master's Program, but I'll take it however I can get it, honestly.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Were Merely Freshmen...


Six years ago today, Joey and I got married. We were actually seniors in college, thought we were grown up and mature....boy did we have a lot to learn. But, we learned it together. And we're still learning. Sorry for the poor quality of the pics; I don't have a scanner, so I had to take pictures of my pictures;).....


Some Points of interest about the wedding:)
1. Yes, I wore pajamas to get my hair done. It was my freaking day and I wanted to be comfortable.
2. Once I got my dress on, I didn't have to pee again until I got home. I was really glad.
3. I had to take a stage-fright pill, not because I was nervous about getting married, but because I sang and I was nervous about singing.
4. The shoes that came with Joey's tux made his feet look like boats, so he opted to wear his cowboy boots (which was totally fine with me).
5. Apparently there was a dare on the table for Joey to come down the aisle with his pants tucked into his boots. $100 was placed on this dare. When one of Joey's entourage posited that I would kill him, Joey responded, "she's going to kill me when she found out that I didn't take the dare for $100 bucks!!". He was right.
6. I wore 4-inch platform heels so that I wouldn't have to have my dress altered. When the wedding was over, I showed everyone my shoes because I was so proud of not falling on my face down the aisle.
7. My dad got a little sad right before he walked me down the aisle, so I told him that I had to fart right before they opened the doors. I said that it was my day and I was going to fart if I needed to, so I let one rip as they opened the doors. Only my dad heard it, and he had a good laugh over that one.
8. I felt really awkward during the song that Don sang while we were lighting the unity candle, so I held an entire conversation with Joey while Don was looking at us meaningfully.
9. Almost all of my professors from Wingate came to the wedding. I love them all to this day and miss them terribly.
10. I tried very hard to find a Monkees song that was appropriate to play during the ceremony.
11. I almost had us walk out to the Indiana Jones theme.
12. The hot wings were the hit of my reception.
13. Margie got a bunch of the bags of birdseed and opened them all and dumped them down my dress as we were saying goodbye and getting ready to drive away. Hence my having my hand over my chest in the pic while we're in the truck;).
14. I got back at her, though. Joey's mom and Margie offered to come clean the apartment while we were on our honeymoon. I left birdseed all over the floor of the bedroom;).
15. We didn't get to eat any of the food at our reception, so I ended up shelling and eating peanuts that Joey's groomsmen used to "decorate" the truck.
16. Apparently, Joey started to drive away with one of the groomsmen still in the back of the truck writing on the back window.
We had the most awesome wedding, and it totally fit us as it was just a little off-beat. And, that's been the story of our marriage since then;). We've travelled halfway across the country and back, had strange and wonderful adventures, and I can absolutely tell you that I can't get over how blessed I am to have married someone who's my best friend and soulmate. Our families get along, I love my in-laws just like my own parents, and my parents love Joey....it's awesome to see how things turn out when you do what God is asking you to do. I stepped out of my comfort zone with Joey, leaving everything that I knew and was used to, and it's been a wild ride ever since.
We had a wonderful Japanese dinner at an authentic Japanese restaurant to celebrate. Then, we stopped at a Starbucks near the house (I know....Caribou, would you please build a freaking shop in Wesley Chapel???) and sat for an hour with soy pumpkin lattes and I knitted in public for a while.
What a 'versry!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy 100th Post To Me:)

Let me tell you about what's kind of difficult about taking a nature writing course in the winter...it's FREAKING cold outside. My first assignment was to start a nature observation journal, which involved my sitting outside for half an hour today observing the outdoors. If I had managed to have time to do this a week ago (when it was actually due), I would have been sitting outside in 70-degree weather, but NO....I've got to wait until today when the high is in the FORTIES. But, it was a pretty enlightening experience, nonetheless. I was afraid that there would be nothing to write about because there's not a lot of interesting plant life in my yard, but once I settled down and really listened, the yard seemed to come alive around me. It was pretty cool, actually.

Also, in honor of my new found desire to make sure that I get in enough exercise, I think I'm going to start posting what I do each day...maybe it'll help keep me vigilant. Today, I did 20 minutes on the ski machine (it's like one of those Gazelles that Tony Little screams about) and burned approximately 197 calories. Then, I moved to the recumbent bike and did 32 minutes and burned about 196 calories. It was probably the best workout I've had in a while.

Anyway.....I don't have much else today. I've been feeling pretty piss-poor, honestly....seems I'm not doing anything right these days. Hopefully, that'll all even out once I'm through the Christmas program and can stop panicking every day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Long Post Delay

Sorry. I kept meaning to blog, honest. Part of it is that I'm taking Wendee's writing class and I felt very bad about blogging when I hadn't had time yet to do my first assignment (Wendee, I promise, that will change tomorrow...I finally have time to spend my half hour in what pitiful little bit of nature I have in my own backyard). I also got to buy a Ranger Rick magazine for my second assignment....I don't know how many of you remember reading it as a child, but I can tell you that it was pretty integral in my wildlife education (parents who care about it enough to subscribe to Ranger Rick for me didn't hurt either).

So...I have pictures for you, finally:)....yesterday was our office Thanksgiving party and, as is our custom, we all brought different parts of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and our boss provided the turkey. My friend Anne brought pumpkin bread for breakfast that was made by a "breadsmith" (I didn't know they were called that) that's nearby in SC. The bread was so moist and tasty...I forgot to take the pic before I ate the fruit that she brought also.


Our management team set the table

And after a pretty humble blessing by yours truly, we got to the important part....the EATING!!

It's nice to work with an office of people with whom I can feel like myself; it hasn't always been that way, and despite my inability to deal with the stress of the actual job at times, I have always very grateful when I look around my office and see people who work together to get things done. We might be a little rough around the edges (at least, I know I am when I get the looks of dismay for talking about poop (could be worse, I could be talking about boogers.)), but we're family.

Here's a WIP photo for you...I've already made one of these in green for one of my grandmas. The green was made with size 10 straight needles, and the yarn was Caron Wintuk. This one is in Wintuk as well, but I used size 8 circulars (I do better knitting on circulars, even knitting flat, because the needles are shorter and I don't feel like I'm getting the yarn caught on it so often). I made a little more progress on the sweater, but I still haven't split for the armholes yet. Our knitting group is focusing on baby items this month, and I've got two friends right now who are expecting, so I'd better get on the stick.


This morning was freaking cold. As a result, I wore my super-spiffy warm socks over my regular socks. My feet were toasty warm all day!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blogger's Block?

I was all set to blog and now that I'm here, I don't think I have anything to say. It was a long day. We did get to the gym tonight. I did another hour on the bike...hopefully, I'll do another hour tomorrow, which will help make up for the fact that we were only able to get there three times this week.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a full day already. I wish there was some way to say "no" more often. I'm such a doormat in that respect, and when I do say "no," I end up feeling terribly guilty, like I'm a bad Christian or something and then Joey and I have no time together because he's busy studying and I've agreed to do something or another. Sometimes, I think I could definitely be one of those off-the-grid kinds of people who don't really interact with others all that much. I know it's not healthy, though, and honestly, I would get tired of myself after a while, I think.

Have you ever felt like there was so much that you wanted to do, but you didn't know where to begin? I'm really having trouble with that...and when I do know where to begin, I have trouble getting the motivation to actually take the steps to start.

And so ends another blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Butterscotch Dum Dum

Ha! That should be the name of a band;). I'm enjoying a butterscotch-flavored dum dum lollipop during my lunch break and all of the sudden felt the compulsive urge to blog.

Happy Veterans' Day!! To all of the veterans in my life (and any who may happen upon my humble blog), thank you for giving up part of your life (and maybe part of your health too) to keep us safe and free. I hope that someone buys you a meal today and shakes your hand. That seems to be much less frequent these days.

We finished recording our first track for a potential future cd last night; things went amazingly smooth for my first time in a genuine recording studio. I'll be excited to hear how it turns out after some "studio magic" has been performed on the rough track. The song is called "Return to the Fold." The lyrics are touching and the instrumentation is fantastic. Look for it on my myspace site sometime in the near future!

Tonight is the monthly meeting of the Twisted Sisters Knit 'n Lit group over at FBCIT. Unfortunately, I'm not working on a prayer shawl right now...there are scarves that are screaming to be finished so that they can be Christmas gifts. I haven't gotten the yarn for my mom's yet, so I'll need to get on that (I want it to be totally fabulous). I really don't know what to knit for Dad....maybe a wig. I'm also thinking that if we are to do more of these bonfires and/or potential camping trips with our new buds, I'm going to need some wool fingerless gloves to help keep the chill at bay:).

We've not been able to get to the gym yet this week and that always worries me. If I don't keep pushing myself to go, I'll get in the habit of *not* going and that will just totally ruin what I'm trying to do. We usually go on Monday nights, but we had to do the recording last night, and I'd normally go tonight, but the knitting group is meeting. Joey and I are going to shoot to get up *really* early in the morning and go tomorrow so that we can keep ourselves in the swing of going.

And, now, I leave you to shake your head in boredom and wonder why you've just wasted five minutes of your team reading this;)...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On Authentic Living vs. Virtual Living

Yesterday, Joey and I spent the evening with our friends James and Shannon. James made a small bonfire and we enjoyed dinner by the fire and conversation that lasted well into the night. There's something so fundamental and essential about time spent together without modern diversions...and, of course, a nice fire for warmth and diversion helps also;). As James stoked the fire (only nearly singing the hair off his hands once or twice), we discussed politics, religion, society, the world's problems, nature, love...just about everything. And sometimes, we just sat and watched the fire. And, sometimes, we freaked out because Shannon's dog Cody wagged his tail a little too close to the fire!

As we were riding home late last night, Joey and I commented on how much we enjoyed the evening. There was no TV, no video game to play, no movies, not even any music...just four friends, a warm fire, something tasty to eat, and a vast black sky above....four human beings who were "forced" (for lack of better word) to interact, to carry a conversation, to build relationships.

Too often, these days, we allow video games and television to keep us from having to hold adult conversations with other people. We can reduce our interactions to a few comments about a movie or some laughs about Guitar Hero and keep ourselves safe from the danger of interacting with others in a meaningful way. How sad.

I'm not trying to promote doing away with TV, movies, and video games entirely (although I imagine that we'd surely survive if it were to happen). I enjoy a good episode of Scrubs as much as anyone else and Joey and I have been known to spend a random day playing Super Mario World all day at times, but it occurred to me that we live in an era where people would rather interact with others artificially than allow themselves to be in a social situation where they must actually genuinely connect with people without distractions.

May we never get to the point where we'd rather spend time in front of a computer or a TV in a "virtual world" (read: FAKE world), than sitting around a warm fire with good friends.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Air Show!!

I really want to go to one now; there's one going on at Monroe Regional Airport, which is right near our house, and a Stealth Bomber just flew over our house and it was really neat. They've also got some WWII planes and were doing a simulated dogfight while we were driving home from the gym. It'll still be going on tomorrow, so if Joey can get his paper done, we may go tomorrow since it's only $5 per person.

I feel like I'm knitting every moment that I'm awake and not surfing the 'net these days...I've got two scarves going right now (Christmas gifts for my grandmas) and my sweater. I got a lot done on the sweater last night; the band is recording one of our songs, and since I don't do anything other than vocals at this point, I had lots of knitting time while they were laying the rhythm track and guitars. It was a lot of fun!

Well, that's all I've got...enjoy your Saturday!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obligatory Post-Election Blog...

First, this will not be partisan in nature; I have too many friends on all ends of the spectrum, and I never want this blog to be any sort of forum for ill-will.

History was made; it would have been either way. If your side won, congratulations. It's going to be a tough row to hoe in January to bring this country back together. I don't think it's impossible. We've always been able to surprise ourselves with our ability to come together (remember 9/11, anyone?). Change isn't always a bad thing...sometimes it's a clean slate and a chance to try again.

If you woke up disappointed this morning, remember that everything is cyclical. Just as the seasons change, so also does the political atmosphere of this country. The pendulum swings, and we come full circle again. It's actually one of the things that keeps our country alive and thriving. Your time will come again.

That's all I have to say. I'm thrilled that I won't have to listen to any nasty political commercials on television anymore. In my world, we will keep on truckin'...we will keep reading, learning, knitting, loving, trying to manage our money wisely, working, helping those who need it (be they human or animal), and sharing Jesus by caring, not by judging. That's what life is about, and it should stay that way regardless of political leanings.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day today and is respectful to those around who differ in opinion. There's no reason for us to fight; we've got to work together.

Peace and Love to all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Strings and Sealing Wax, and Other Fancy Stuff...

I just smiled singing that in my head. I have the record of Puff, the Magic Dragon. If it's about drugs, whatever...I have such fond memories of that song and the subsequent cartoon that was made. I always thought that Jackie was so stupid for outgrowing Puff, and Puff was so sweet. And thus, I guess, began my intense fear of growing up, of outgrowing something or someone. I have no idea why the lyrics came to mind just now, but I had a very happy moment watching a little of the cartoon on YouTube.

We went to the gym after I got home from work and I did 45 minutes on the bike...I even upped myself from level 4 to level 7! When I weighed myself after I got home, I've lost 4.4 pounds since last week, which is awesome considering a few indiscretions that I had last week. I'm going to hit the gym again tomorrow right after work too!


I was really proud of something that my coworker, D, and I did during the last two weeks. Every quarter, we have to create a bulletin board about a randomly-assigned subject, and we're judged on the creativity and subject matter. This quarter, we did holidays and she and I drew Thanksgiving, which made me happy since it is my favorite holiday. We ended up tying with the New Years board for third place, but I'm still very proud of our effort and think that our board looks really classy!!



Today is also the seventh anniversary of the day that Joey showed up at Weight Watchers and told me that he couldn't imagine the rest of his life without me. It was probably one of the scariest days of my life, because I had to make a decision to make a major change, and I had to do that based solely on my heart and not on what made the most sense or what was comfortable or easy. I don't regret it for one minute. We've had some rough times, mostly brought on because we were so young when we got married and we were both only children, but I am always grateful when I think back to how he "rescued" me and introduced me into this whole new world where people like you just for who you are and to his fantastic family. Soon, it will be our sixth wedding anniversary.
And finally, some WIP photos for you; this is the sweater I'm working on; the lighting isn't that great (although the lighting in the office seems to be better than the lighting in the house), but it can give you an idea of what I'm doing. I'm just about ready to split for the armholes...I was planning on doing it tonight, but after the gym, a shower, and then making some healthy "fried" rice and now blogging, I think I'm just going to want to get in bed after this. Also, notice my totally righteous knitting bag!! It was a gift from our friends at Prudential Financial, and it's perfect because it'll hold a big skein of yarn and you can draw the top shut so that only the yarn can feed out. I love repurposing things and being frugal!









Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dark Thirty...

Shelli as a baby:)

Holy Crap. It's really dark outside and it's not even Six yet. I do love Daylight Savings Time...good memories of summertime and staying out playing cards on the front porch until it got dark around 9 pm. Those were good times. However, these days, I never turn down an opportunity to get an extra hour of sleep, and I also heard on the news that the switch back to Standard Time is actually good for your heart health as it does give that extra hour to rest. Now, I'll have to become a voice of support for the "early bed" movement. I do hate it getting dark so early, though....it'll be dark by the time I get home from work now.

I have been knitting up a storm this weekend; I have about 12 inches of the body of the sweater done....the pattern says to go to 15", but I'm thinking that I may want it to be a little longer, so I'll probably see how it fits sometime tomorrow and then either split for the sleeves or keep going on the stockinette.

I think that next week is finally going to be a week where we don't have something huge coming up or something aggravating to deal with...just an ordinary week, and that's awesome. We've got to get to the gym four times at least (we had our wellness evaluation last Monday and the nurse suggested that I do 45 minutes 4 times a week to start achieving what I want...she's a knitter too, which was really cool). I'm taking Friday off, just because I have days to burn and didn't want to let them go. Joey's going to be stressed because of schoolwork, but I can take the day to relax.

I hope I can get into the holiday spirit this year...I wasn't able to last year and didn't enjoy much of the whole season. I miss "getting into the spirit," decorating for Christmas and going to parties and having fun. I hope this year will be better:).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Art of Freezing One's Butt Off for Money...

Yes, that is indeed how I spent my morning....we began setting up our yard sale at SIX a.m. We had customers before 8 when the sale was supposed to start. I wore a coat, a hoodie, a scarf, and a wool hat (Thanks for that, Mike Nesmith...it's all for you, you know). By 11 a.m., I had stripped down to a t-shirt (A Monkees shirt....still giving you some love, Papa Nes). I was relatively amazed at the amount of people to show up for a yard sale in 40-degree weather.

I was able to sell my first flute ever, the one my parents bought for me when I first took band class in the fifth grade. I sold it for $26....I was a little sad to see it go, but, honestly, if I ever want to play again, I've still got my sterling silver one from high school. It was nice to see it go to someone young who will perhaps enjoy it as much as I did.

Whatever we didn't sell was loaded onto the truck and Dad, Joey, and Vic took it all to Goodwill. There is something cleansing about letting go of things.

I've got about seven inches of the body of the sweater done. I'm thinking of making it an off-the-shoulders deal rather than the neck that they've got on the pattern, so it'll be interesting to see how it ends up when I get there. I've still got quite a while to go before I split for the armholes anyway, so I've got plenty of time to think about it.

So, thus is the ever-uninteresting update on my life. If I don't blog again before Tuesday, pleasepleaseplease get out and vote. Whatever your political leanings, please remember what a privilege it is to live in a country where we do have a voice in the selection of our leaders (albeit a very small voice). Don't waste that; none of us can afford it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Has it Been a Week?

Almost. I let too much time go between blogs this week, I think. It was just such a busy week...Monday, we did the gym (I did a whole hour on the recumbant bike!!) and I got a butt cramp. Tuesday night was the monthly meeting of Twisted Sisters, our church's knitting group, Wednesday was choir, and Thursday, band rehearsal. James and Shannon came over again last night and we had a ball!

While it was a good week, I really don't handle being that busy too well. Wednesdays and Thursdays are nonnegotiable, which is fine, but I start feeling stressed when I don't have enough time at home. I kind of hope that's another thing that'll get better as my anxiety problems continue to improve.

I bought three skeins of Bernat Super Value (with improved softness) to make into a sweater. After a rough Wednesday, it was my "retail therapy." I think it's funny just how much of a yarn freak I've become, because I was really upset Wednesday, but once I got into the yarn aisle at AC Moore, I felt better:). I do have to say, though, I'm not going to be able to be one of these knitters who only uses wools and silks, etc. It's just too expensive. Maybe one day when I have enough money to play with, but for right now, I've got to stick with acrylic blends because it's what I can afford. And I'm really not all that shamed of that, honestly. It is what it is.

Monday, I register for one of my classes for the spring. And so it begins...:)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thoughts? Probably Not.

I wrote a blog, but it sucked. Blah. I must have blogger's block today. Anyway...good weekend. James and Shannon came over Friday night and we had chinese and talked forever which was fantastic:). I love nights like that...good food, good friends, getting to know people better...totally awesome.
We voted yesterday (YAY!!). I love doing my civic duty and I felt pretty proud, and was especially happy when the woman explaining how to use the ballot machine asked me if it was my first time voting. I told her that she was sweet.
Got three knitting books since the early voting place is in the main library. Two are older and one is the new Vogue Knitting book on socks. I'm liking them all...will have to take some snaps and post them for you to see.

Speaking of knitting, I finally had a WIP photo taken:)


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So Freaking Sore

1. My hips, knees, ankles, everything is incredibly sore from standing for forty-five minutes in high heels. I'm really going to have to start considering the flatter-shoes movement. I don't know that it's worth it to be in such pain.

2. Whiny people, people who don't listen only to Southern Gospel, and people with tattoos and piercings need Jesus too. Not everyone wants to dress in a suit and sing "Give Me That Old Time Religion" while clapping on the on-beat rather than the off-beat, and that's okay. What's most important is that we're reaching people and loving people, not making them feel alienated because they don't fit into a certain paradigm of what "correct worship" is. The day that we starting saying that we don't want a certain kind of person to come to our church is the day that we need to check ourselves.

3. I am totally going to have to swim today at the gym because I'm so sore.

4. We had to postpone the yard sale because of predicted inclement weather. Seriously. I'm getting sick of looking at an office full of crap.

5. I started a basketweave scarf on the bus and it's adorable! Lots of work though. Pics will have to come later.

6. I totally overdid it at Waffle House last night on the way home (but planned for it and didn't eat much the rest of the day), but we had a blast talking to the cook and waitress, and Joey got a genuine Waffle House mug out of it. It was definitely the best Waffle House experience I've ever had.

7. Advice to all who read this: if you have as stellar of a Waffle House experience as we had, you should tip very well...they have to put up with a lot of crap...especially the people who work the graveyard shift (which was when we were there).

8. I really did need a day off from work...even though we're really not doing anything. It's just nice to relax.

9. I am absolutely amazed that I have two subscribers to this blog. I have a good idea of who one of them is, but no idea about the others. I really appreciate that. You guys totally rock:).

10. Joey was supposed to check out Saving Darwin and some other books by Donald Miller for me and forgot. Blah. However, Cory loaned me On Writing by Stephen King, so I'm looking forward to delving into that.

And, so that I don't leave you with another pathetically pictureless blog, Shelli was pretty pissed when we got home at 1:45 in the morning after leaving her at 6:30 am on Tuesday...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Short Blog...

This will probably be short...Joey is reading a section of Thomas Aquinas' writings and then has to do a two page paper, so he'll need his computer back (or, "the good laptop" as we call it since mine is waaay too overloaded with memory and runs almost as fast as solidified honey).

Yesterday shaped up to be a good day despite my feeling pretty morose about Puss all day. I'm not going to post what I wrote about her yet, but I did write something last night that helped me get some of the pain on paper, so I may put it up at some point depending on how transparent I want to be and how much I think it may make my mom cry (and I'm not in the business of doing that at all).

Today, I'm lazing around while he does his paper and studies for a quiz on Tuesday. I love afternoons where we can laze rather than have to run around trying to get things done before our next obligation. Tuesday, our choir is going up to Wake Forest to sing at an evangelism conference at Southeastern, which will be exciting since Joey will be up there for class anyway and his professors will probably be there and I get to sing a solo:). I'm taking Wednesday off, too, because it will be very very late when we get back from the trip.

Wednesday will be spent working on the yard sale, getting more stuff from Mom & Dad's, helping them bring out their stuff, and going through the stuff in our office. I love the thought of getting rid of things that no longer "fit," no longer "match" our lives today. Although there are parts of myself that I do miss a great deal from being younger and carefree, I also know that they would come at a very serious price. My blog-friend (and hopefully real-life friend eventually), Wendee, had her myspace status the other day as being "Grateful for the wisdom that comes with time." I know that I lack a lot of that wisdom, still being only in my twenties and just now feeling like I am actually an adult, but I think I've come to terms at this point that I wouldn't go back and trade the wisdom I have gained for the carefree days of yore.

This didn't end up being as short as I though it would...Joey says that Aquinas isn't something that you can just "breeze through." Well, I'm off to work on another scarf...finished my cowl, which ended up being freaking HUGE, so I don't know how that's going to work out, but pics will come, nonetheless.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wounds That Never Heal

Generally, I feel like I've been able to get past most of the terrible experiences that those of us who weren't athletic and/or beautiful and skinny while in grade school had to endure. This week, though, I encountered an event that proved to me that some things one just can't let go. Some wrongs done by cruel kids scar us far beyond our youth. I felt as though I was right back in middle school, the fat kid with glasses and braces getting picked last for the team and then ridiculed because her softball swing resulted in a foul ball. At least I got up and tried though, and at least I did actually hit the ball.

Anyway, it was just profoundly disappointing to me, not only that I was unable to handle the situation well, but that it seems that those who picked on kids like me also haven't grown past it either. I really can't fathom the rest of my life as a giant pissing contest, just as it was in grade school....make sure that you sit at the "cool" table; don't talk to people who don't "look" right or who seem to be a little strange...don't stand up for oneself or anyone else who needs it for that matter. I can't live that way.

By the time I got to college, I had pretty well come to terms with my personality and sense of humor, and I found tons of people who were the same way, and surprisingly, found that it is possible to be different and get along just fine. I really miss that kind of camaraderie. It's sad to get out in the real world and find out that essentially, things haven't really changed much since high school.

Anyway, sorry to have such a bummed out blog:(. We had an awesome night last night with some friends...although it ended with me putting a temporary tattoo on my neck (it's a skull in a pirate hat), so that'll be fun to try to hide at church tomorrow. Today's a lazy day...we've just got to go out to get a song for me to sing next week.

Things are brewing in the Weaver household...God's starting to show us some things, and I think that's great. I'm also really very excited about starting grad school in January. If nothing else, my unfortunate experience this week solidified my desire to pursue literature and work toward a future there.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Transparency

I have a lot of trouble being in the present moment. I'm either too nostalgic, living in the past and wishing to go back there, feeling guilty for things that went wrong in my life and the lives of those around me, or I'm fretting about the future, worrying about things that either won't happen at all or will inevitably happen, and wishing for some magical date in the future when I'll be the person that I want to be.

I went through some old pictures last night while I was waiting for Joey to get home from school. After my good, obligatory sob-fest looking back over pictures of Puss and Papa and my carefree days in college, I did find two pictures that made me smile. Both are at Planet Hollywood in Myrtle Beach, SC, and I think they were taken in September of 2000, while I was a sophomore in college. The first is of me with Crow from MST3K, which remains to be one of my favorite shows of all time; it remains to be the show that Joey and I watch most frequently (my mom had the foresight to tape them from the Sci Fi Channel when it aired on Saturday mornings).

The second is of me with the Terminator from T2, which is still my favorite movie. I was so excited to be next to that figure of him that was used for the special effects of the film.I didn't have as much trouble being in the present moment back then....I guess it was because I didn't have as much responsibility, as much riding on my ability to handle things and to take care of everyone. I was the one being taken care of by those around me. I know that was probably a selfish place to be, honestly (but natural for someone who is still dependent on his or her parents), but there has to be some way to be able to get there now. I've been feeling overwhelmed lately with everything.

So, I would really like to be able to learn to be in the present moment and not to worry so much about yesterday or tomorrow. Advice is welcome, even if anonymous.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I've Got One Hand In My Pocket, and the Other One is....

...stocking up my pantry:). Seriously, at this very moment, happiness is as simple as a full pantry and a tank of gas in one car. We did our grocery shopping today and, although it was $75, which is waaaaay over our budget if you follow my blog, we stocked up on several staples, and I've already got three big meals planned for the week, so we should be able to freeze some food and stuff!!

On a crappier note, I have done NO knitting today. We went to church, had lunch with my folks, did our shopping, and then I completely fell out until 5 pm. I must have been tired...and it was the kind of sleep where you still feel groggy even though it's going on three hours later. I think I've been letting the stress get to me way too much lately and it's just throwing everything off. I was talking in Life Group today about not feeling like I can get myself together at all...I just don't even feel like doing anything, which is a bummer.

It's been a lazy weekend, aided by the fact that we've not been able to drive much of anywhere because of the gas shortage. It'll be interesting to see what happens this week, and I'm not thrilled that we're having to postpone the yard sale since no one will be out driving around next weekend until we get some freakin' gas.
Dinner tonight was simple...biscuits with choices of toppings. I topped mine with sugar-free syrup. I absolutely LOVE Jiffy Mix. You can make anything with that stuff. I swear, there's probably directions to make a turkey out of it somewhere.

I have no more for tonight. This was pretty lackluster, honestly. My bad. But at least it has photos this time...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts on the Gas Shortage

I'm torn because I don't know who to be more angry with on this whole situation...the news media definitely bears a significant amount of responsibility. Honestly, you can't whip the viewship into a frenzy of worry and then say, "but please don't top off your tank constantly and hoard gas." We don't live in a society that can self-monitor...people will immediately run out to the nearest gas station, wipe out the reserve of fuel, and then get into fistfights or pull guns on each other in outrage over cutting in line. You can't turn to a news channel without constant coverage of when gas is expected, who's got gas, why there will be a problem for some time...it's making people crazy.

But then, Thursday, Pat McCrory makes a statement that a huuuge load of fuel is coming in and there'll be enough for everyone soon. We drove to my parents' house this morning and there was not a station on our way in Charlotte that had gas. There were a couple in Union County, and those had lines down the street with cops directing traffic. My conspiracy theorist side believes that the announcement about the "massive shipment" of fuel was probably not true at all, but was just an attempt to stop the hysteria. The problem with that, though, is that the announcement of lots of fuel is going to send people out in droves as well.

My inner conspiracy theorist also toyed with the idea earlier today that the news media just wants to see how well they can control the populace. I know that's far-fetched, and it's really just got to do with the rabid, blind, ruthless pursuit of ratings, but, were the media wanting to get a gauge of their own power, this gas shortage has most definitely proven to them that they are able to incite almost primitive behavior in otherwise decent human beings.

We got gas several days ago, so we were not worried, until today when Joey had only 1/4 tank, and he'll definitely have to drive up to school Friday, so we needed to get him fueled up. We finally found a station on the way home that had just started to develop a line, so we only had to wait for twenty minutes or so, and the man running the station was doing his best to direct the traffic to keep things flowing and to keep people honest. It wasn't a terrible experience. I still have half a tank, so I should be okay for most of next week.

Honestly, I can't even imagine what it's like for those people with huge gas-guzzling vehicles right now. I am so thankful that we have two cars that get over 30 mpg. I'm also hoping that our society takes note at how over-dependent we are on oil. I doubt they will, as we seem to be the only area affected and thus, no one is talking about us on a national level, but it really brought home the idea to me of living more locally and smaller, or at least getting in shape so one can ride distances on a bike;).

So, we're spending the evening at home to keep from wasting gas. In full frugal mode, we've got the windows open, letting the cool breeze in, have the lights off and are using the natural light from outside, and will be eating out of the pantry tonight. Tomorrow, we'll just go to church and do our grocery shopping on the way home, and then we will be in for another night.

I've got our menus planned for the next week, and Joey and I have planned for it to be a little more expensive week than normal because I really want to stock up on staples. This gas experience has really gotten me thinking about having a stocked pantry after seeing how possible it would be to end up stranded, needing to live off our own stores for weeks at a time.

The older I get, the more I begin to understand this world and the cycles in which it runs. To my grandparents who lived through the Depression, this is nothing new. To my parents who went through the last Recession and gas rationing, this is nothing new, but to my generation, this is devastating, and it's worse than it's ever been, because we're more dependent on conveniences than we ever have been. Generations past have known how to take action to live in a self-sufficient manner. We're used to cell phones, mp3 players, cable, microwaves, supermarkets, cars...and were these things to be taken away, we wouldn't know what to do.

Employment focus is more and more on the financial markets, which are starting to prove themselves to be a house of cards of sort, based on greed and money that doesn't even exist...which all works very well until it's time to settle up and there's no way to pay. Few of us still focus on the work of our own hands...we don't need to because we can just import it from a third world country.

It all concerns me. I love technology just as much as everyone else (except cell phones. I hate them), but I'm just concerned that we're not as balanced of a society as we used to be...we're always a people of excess...if ONE is great, then ONE HUNDRED must be even greater!! We fail to understand that there is a place in this world for every task, for every specialization, and once we start to move the basic rudimentary jobs away, we're making ourselves more and more dependent on others to meet our basic needs.

We weren't always that way....this country was founded on the ideals of working together as a community to provide for ourselves, without being under someone else's thumb. Now, we're only interested in passing the "boring" or "annoying" jobs off to someone else so that we can do something more sophisticated. It's like we've completely forgotten that sometimes it's necessary to do things that we don't necessarily want to do, just because we know it's good for us to do them.

Sorry...no solutions here. Probably not a whole lot of facts and statistics either. Just my feelings from watching the mass hysteria in Central NC and hoping that whoever is elected will take these things to heart and pay attention to the proper direction that we need to take our country.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crikey Lou!!

That's become my new exclamative phrase as of late...no idea why, and it probably sounds extremely dorky, but I figure it's better that things I could say. After EIGHT hours in continuing ed (which, while I'm exhausted, I'm also grateful because it was FREE CE and made up almost half of what I need by July 09), I'm ready to relax and call it a day.

I went out to mow the lawn Tuesday with the reel mower and saw some strange, unidentifiable objects in the yard. I moved closer to them and it seemed as though they were GIGANTIC mushrooms. I tapped one with my foot and, as I suspected, they were hugely gorgeous mushrooms!! They were bigger than a human head, and were absolutely magnificent. One of them looked like a giant butt, haha!!
In the event that you've not noticed, I'm obsessed with mushrooms. I've actually toyed with the idea of trying to grow edible ones in the house. I've always loved psychadelic-looking mushroom kitsch from the '70s. I even have two neclaces that I got in Charleston that are polymer clay mushrooms. So, in honor of my love affair with the 'shroom, I've decided that my next tattoo will indeed have to be a psychadelic mushroom...so, now, I must find some pictures to take to Sarah so that she can draw something up for me and I can continue my love affair with inking significant things on my body.



Here I am, loving a giant, psychadelic mushroom...

I've also been thinking a lot about the whole frugality vs sustainability thing. Sustainable, eco-friendly living is my ultimate goal, clearly, but I think that I may be setting myself up for failure by overwhelming myself with information when I'm not in a position to take action on certain things. That may not have made sense......to illustrate: I've been reading all summer about everyone picking their organic produce, canning, freezing and dehydrating, filling their cabinets and freezers with wonderful, super-local and safe food to eat all winter. I didn't plant a garden this year...and, quite honestly, I probably won't be able to do anything on a large scale next year either (at least until I can develop some skill and not watch everything die and rot). I can't afford to buy all-organic food....it's too expensive, and quite honestly, there's so many loopholes to declaring something "organic" that I'm not entirely sure I'll be getting something that's much better than the conventional option. So, I start to get defeated and feel like a failure, which then leads me to give up on the entire idea and forget about it, which is no progress either. Because of the way Joey and I need to live to be able to pay for school, I think that our major focus for Fall and Winter of this year needs to be the areas where frugality and sustainability meet:

  • continued water conservation, which should get easier now that it's getting to be cooler and we have less reason to need to take more than one shower per day.

  • reduced electricity and natural gas useage. Last year, we went the entire month of November without turning on the heat, and even when we did, we left it at 62 only so the pipes wouldn't get too cold and the Kins wouldn't be uncomfortable. We plan to do the same this year, but most likely will aim for using the gas logs less too. We will also continue to work to use the residual heat from the stovetop and oven when we're cooking, and we'll be eating lots more "warm meals" (i.e. soups and stews that can be made in the crockpot)

  • Stocking up on canned and frozen veggies and fruit so that we can make good, hearty, healthy, delicious meals all winter.
In short, we're going to relax our large-scale focus on sustainability for now, recognizing that we can't let ourselves feel defeated because we can't make every change at once. I guess for some, that may make us "posers" or mean to them that we're not entirely serious about the sustainability movement. This is not so...we're just at a point in our lives where we need to focus on the small changes that we can make instead of being overwhelmed because we can't completely overhaul our lives at once.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Letting Go of the Bull...

It's funny to me how we can think that we've grown past something, only to be showed in very unmerciful ways that we haven't. I had a recent experience that left me with the very same jealous pit in my stomach as I've had ever since I was a teenager, the feeling that I would never be good enough, that my life would never get to be easy and "perfect." It was over something that I thought I'd made peace over long ago, but the feelings rushed back just as though they had never left, despite my years of growth, years of space, of removal, of accomplishment, of comeing to feel more and more adequate as a human being. I wonder why that happens? I don't want to be someone who holds on to things, who keeps the same hatred and anger always stowed away to pull out at will.

I had a nice dinner tonight with my friend Donna...we caught up as we hadn't seen each other for a few months since she, along with her husband and others, have started a new church in the Waxhaw area. It was nice to talk again, to get to be myself and not get overwhelmed with everything around that seems to be spinning out of control.

I spent more time on the cowl today:). WIP (or perhaps CIP) pics will have to go up tomorrow...it's too dark to take some now. And I'll probably need to pull out that shawl again soon...it would be pretty crappy to neglect that for my beautiful cowl;).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Overwhelming Sense of Being Overwhelmed

*sigh*. The house looks like a bomb went off. The lawn mower wouldn't start yesterday or today (it probably needs a new battery). Joey's got two books to read and has been in them all weekend. We overslept and were late for church this morning. And I know that I'll have a couple hundred emails waiting for me tomorrow morning, so I'm starting to feel like everything's closing in.

I feel so off-kilter, like life is getting away from me. When I'm home, I'm tired and don't want to do anything. For some reason, it seems as though I can always turn our money over to God and be a good steward financially, but when it comes to time itself, I'm unable to get things together. I hate feeling like I'm barely getting enough done to string myself along through the day...surviving, but not thriving.

I started knitting a cowl yesterday in some Bernat Denim Style that I had in my stash. It's my first attempt at circular knitting and I had to frog it and restart three times, which was also frustrating. I'm moving along pretty well now, though, so I'm feeling good about that.

Blah.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Finally...WIP Picture and Musings on Jacksonville...

Here you have it....the start of my Simple Triangular Stash Shawl and I have to say, I'm pretty pleased. there is a small mistake in the yarn over pattern in the middle, but it's relatively small, and I'm really bad at frogging back and reknitting right now, so I figured I should probably just leave it as-is. The shawl is actually much bigger now because I worked on it while waiting for my flight from Greensboro back to Charlotte and again on my flight from Jacksonville back to Charlotte yesterday. I did get asked by a nice older lady what I was knitting:).

The trip to Jacksonville was excellent, despite having to drive up to Greensboro to fly right back to Charlotte and get on the same flight to Jacksonville that I would have been on if I'd flown direct. It was cheaper that way, and one of my coworkers was already heading up there, so he dropped me off at the airport. I expected to be much more nervous than I was, but I handled it pretty well...got to my gate okay and on the plane. Unfortunately, I seem to attract strange people cosmically...I always end up sitting next to the person that you see and think, "man, I feel sorry for whoever has to sit next to him/her."

Prudential was wonderful. We learned a lot, ate good food, had a good time, and I was able to spend plenty of good moments in conversation with my friend Elizabeth.

We spent time with my folks last night since my dad picked me up from the airport, so today we are relaxing while Joey reads for his classes on Tuesday. I love the fall weather...it's cool, and we have the windows open and I'm actually chilly enough to be under a blanket. We'll probably do some grocery shopping this evening and then will hit the Aquatic Center tomorrow. I'm just feelin' the love for fall today:).

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Arms Feel Like Jello

We joined the Aquatic Center tonight. We're going to cut out one takeout meal per week to be able to cover the cost, and we had so much fun! We got a complimentary training session and Kent was very nice and knowledgeable. I am ALREADY loving the gym. But my arms DEFINITELY feel like Jello!!

I leave for my trip to Jacksonville on Wednesday. I'm nervous about getting there by myself, but I'm also excited because I feel like it's something that I need to do. And I won't be totally alone because my coworker and friend Elizabeth is going too. I just have to fly the first leg by myself.

I'm definitely going to incorporate swimming into my routine. The pool looked so inviting tonight when we walked by after doing our routine in the weight room. Honestly, there weren't all that many people in the pool, either, so it looked like I would be able to get a lane. I joined this awesome website; registration is free and they personalize a workout for you so that you can begin a swimming program. I'll probably start that Saturday since I'll be gone until Friday. The hotel we're staying at does have a pool, though, so if it's warm enough still, I may try to do a little swimming there.

The shawl is still coming along. Our knitting group meets tomorrow night, so that will be fun. I took some pictures tonight, but they turned out very poorly because of the lighting in the living room and the deep red color of the shawl. I'll try to take it to work tomorrow and get some pictures there where there must be some better lighting.

Oh, what a day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's So Nice to Be Happy...

I'm finally happy today. I'm not worried about anything, I'm chilling out, drinking coffee, getting ready to jump in the shower and then go tour the aquatic center after lunch and after Joey finishes his paper. We're going to piggyback on that and do our grocery shopping for the week before we come home since we don't know what's going to happen with the gas because of Ike. Yesterday was INSANE in the Charlotte area...gas stations running out, having to have cops on-site to prevent fights. People are so crazy. We got gas a few days ago, so we were okay, and we're just planning to stay in for the most part this weekend. Tomorrow, we'll do church and then we've got a fellowship to go to which isn't that far from home.

We're going to start next month taking out $100 cash and having that be our grocery budget for the month. I'm excited. I think it'll help us focus on stocking the pantry and shopping the sales. I don't want to be so reliant on Wal-Mart, and I want to feel as though we've always got enough in the pantry.

Part of why we're doing this is because we're going to join the Monroe Aquatic Center next week after I get back from Jacksonville. We've decided that it's worth the money to have a good place to work out and swim (I love to swim for exercise), and when we were looking at how much we spend each weekend eating out, if we cut back to one take-out meal per week (and possibly just share one entree), we've more than made up for the monthly fee. We've always been very dedicated when we have a gym membership, and we're feeling like this will be the best way to use that money. The Aquatic Center is AWESOME from the website...they have everything, and it's much cheaper than the YMCA.

There'll probably be another post later as I've got a WIP that I need to show off:).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Favorite Summer Memories

  1. Riding in the truck with the windows down listening to John Mellencamp
  2. the golf carts at Ocean Lakes
  3. Getting annoyed that my mom wanted to stay on the beach for 14 hours every day
  4. waking up at 8:30 in the mornings
  5. going to breakfast with my mom
  6. Lunch with mom and Bobbie on Wednesdays
  7. swimming in the pool in the backyard
  8. sleepovers that could last for the whole weekend
  9. Ghostwriter
  10. helping plant the garden
  11. jumping through the sprinkler
  12. summer movies!
  13. going out for ice cream
  14. playing cards on the porch into the night
  15. fireflies
  16. riding bikes
  17. Seeing Hanson in June of 97
  18. Walking and Harmonizing with Crystal

That's about all I've got. I was thinking about it earlier today while pondering the summer's end. I wish summer still held the same free, glorious feeling as it did before. Now, every day is the same. I hope to get that rush at the end of May again someday. I'll always love fall most, but it was nice to feel free...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thoughts on Blue Like Jazz...

I finished Blue Like Jazz yesterday. I think Don Miller probably verges on being too permissive, and I think that's the problem that several of my friends have about the book. I don't agree with that entirely...I can definitely see where it would upset the fundamentalist among us. It turns traditional, conservative Christianity on its ear, and makes you think about whether or not you are simply living by somewhat arbitrary pre-established "religious rules," or whether you are really allowing yourself to be affected by Christ in a genuine way, and whether that difference is coming across to those around you, by words and by actions.

I thought that it may have been a bit excessive for him to feel that he needed to apologize for all of the "ills done in the name of Christianity" throughout history...I think that history is much too complex of an animal for us to decide what should and shouldn't have occurred to make us who we are today. I'm not saying that the Holocaust should have happened or anything, please don't mistake me, but I've always felt that it was silly to apologize for things to which we have no tangible connection whatsoever. However, in believing that, I also recognize that he was among a very different group of people who would need to be reached in a very non-traditional way, and I do think that he did the best that he could in the context in which he was working.

What I did like very much was his attempt to reconnect us with the mystical qualities and the allure of our belief structure, while at the same time, bringing Jesus to an accesible level. He says that he view Jesus as someone who would like him, and I think that's true, but we often don't picture it that way. We see Jesus as the solemn, sunken-faced, sad man, standing next to God (who is undoubtedly some strange cross between Father Time and Santa Claus) with his nail-pierced hands outstretched, not necessarily to reach out to us, but to show us the wounds. What Don Miller does is bring Jesus to a level that I think was always intended. He was a man, who laughed, lived, loved others, and who, were he to walk in our door, would probably sit down and eat dinner with us, talk to us, listen to us.

He also treats what Joey and I have been discussing lately about "compartmentalizing" our lives, having our "church life," "home life," "work life," and making sure that they intersect as infrequently as possible, and viewing Christianity as a religion rather than as the way we live. I really do believe that's where we fail as Christians. We sit in our churches and argue about whether or not drinking is sinful, whether the world was literally created in six days and the dinosaurs are just a ruse by Satan to get us off track, and we're leaving people outside who don't know that there's someone out there who's bigger than they are, someone who knows what's going on and who can help us, someone who really cares about what's going in our life, someone who weeps with us when our kitty dies, someone who wants us to talk to Him, to care about Him, to love Him too...and they are people that will listen if we'll just CARE about them....not knock on their doors and beat them with Bibles and tell them that they're going to Hell, but genuinely talk to them and care about them and be honest with them.

The face of Christianity is changing; I don't mean that we should abandon orthodoxy, far from it. I mean that this generation is beginning to understand that we need to change the way we reach people. The "sawdust trail" and "Just As I Am," while great, just aren't working anymore like they used to. Our generation is a generation of skeptics, of cynics, of people who are crying out for answers, for someone to listen. We are the children of broken homes, of parents who went wild and created the "ME" mentality. We are beginning to see the hollowness of it, of the vacuous space that comes from caring only about ourselves and our own lives and failing to recognize that someone at this very moment is orchestrating this entire beautiful world in which we live.

We are a generation of people who are realizing that we can't treat the planet like a piece of trash, that God didn't put us here to take as we please and do whatever we want and destroy things for commodity, not even for necessity anymore, just to get what would make us more "comfortable," or the latest and greatest. We are starting to understand that our denominations haven't encouraged us enough to be STEWARDS of this planet...we are to be good stewards of everything else, money, time, possessions....yet somehow CREATION was left behind. We are changing that.

Don Miller has inspired me to change the way I view my walk. Whatever you think of his book, you must admit that he makes you think about your own walk, about whether you're really loving the way Jesus commanded, whether you're living what you believe or whether you're living a beautiful lie, putting on a pious face for people and casting principles aside otherwise. I want to be genuine. I want to love genuinely, to speak genuinely, to work genuinely, even to fail genuinely.

So, tonight, I leave you with a picture of genuine love, taken by someone I genuinely love of someone I genuinely love. Please think about that tonight. Pray about it.