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'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'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,'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'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.