Thursday, December 27, 2007

Conversation

I'm used to being the youngest or one of the youngest in a group. This type of conversation has got to stop.

Coworker: Yeah, back in 1996... What was that, junior year in high school?
My officemate: Yeah, it was.
Me: Hmm...
Coworker: Dianne is like, (exaggerated voice) "That was my first year at IMS!" - ha ha ha!
Me: Second, actually.
Coworker and officemate, in unison: *blink*

Wise words

This quote is from a friend in response to an email I sent her in which I vented my frustrations with trying to lend support to a hurting friend.

In a perfect world, there'd be this great monologue you could speak to her, like in a movie, at the end of which the veil would be lifted from her eyes and she would see her way clear to moving forward with purpose and determination in the way you envision she could. In reality, who she is (and who we all are) isn't likely to make a major shift and you'll need to decide how much of yourself is available to her. It's better to give a smaller part of yourself - that's able to just be with her where SHE is and where she's determining the course of things, even if that course merely stagnates - than to offer an amount of yourself that's not able to deal with the lack of progress, etc. and end up in a fight or saying things you can't take back.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Why do people think of things like this?

Kevin received a bag from one of Andy's coworkers. It was filled with fun toys - and this.

 
What a cute little polar bear!

 
It has an opening for these jelly beans that came with it.

 
And if I push down on its rear end, out comes a jelly bean!

 
That looks delicious.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reviews

Movie: I Am Legend - tense! Will Smith! Grade = A
Event: officemate moving out - less talk! no quick venting! Grade = D
Movie: Spiderman 2 - romance! lame! Grade = C
Event: "Symphony of Lights" in Columbia - lights! colors! great for the kids! Grade = B+
Food: Mint Chocolate M&M's - mint! chocolate! candy coating! Grade = A+
Movie: Live Free or Die Hard - fun stunts! wacky computer stuff! Grade = A+
Book: An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck - things I agree with! things I disagree with but which should be voiced! humor! Grade = B
Event: "traffic in shopping centers in December" - too much! too slow! Grade = D
Music: Daughtry by Daughtry - gruff voice! rockin' riffs! Grade = A+
Event: new officemate moving in - more talk! quick venting! immediate help with PostgreSQL! Grade = A
Movie: Ocean's Thirteen - not as good as first two in series! Grade = C+
People: who think they deserve better than everyone else - stink! Grade = F(-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stream of consciousness song

I'm feelin' kinda crappy,
Feelin' kinda crappy,
Feelin' kinda crappy on this morning

Feelin' kinda crappy,
Feelin' kinda crappy,
Hmm, but I guess it could be worse

God don't smite me,
Don't make me nauseous,
I guess I could feel mu-uch worse

So, thanks for helping me
To feel thankful
And making me feel so good this morning!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

This goes for the Christ candle in your Advent wreath, too

I'm going to post this article without any personal commentary - because it's that obviously stupid.

In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.

"The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won't need another miracle," said Liad Ortar, the campaign's cofounder.


Read more at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195546797524&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanks, Dad

I had a new experience yesterday - I took a friend's teenage daughter out in my car to practice driving. She has her learner's permit and her mother had no qualms about sending her out with me, so I figured it would be cake. I knew to force myself to be calm and to try not to barrage her with technical information.

She did a great job for only having driven on the road once before - which I didn't know until after we returned home.

I think I learned more in that 20 minutes than she did. She may have learned that she needs to pick her speed up quicker when she gets around a corner and that it's possible to put on your turn signal too early but I learned that there are some situations in which you can't even fake yourself into believing that you have any control.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

She says it well

When talking about the first year of having Kevin with us, I often say something like, "I knew it would be hard but I didn't know how much I would hate how hard it was."

This is a paragraph from a long article on msn.com (reprinted from Redbook magazine.) I love the last sentence.

Quote from Jen Nickel, adoptive mother:

To help get the boys ready, we made a video of ourselves showing them our home and things like the table where we'd eat — with places set for them. Then we spent a week in Missouri getting to know them. They'd been with their foster mom for three years; even though she'd prepared them well, their first year with us wasn't easy. Greg had a breakdown in a restaurant, crying that we'd stolen him. It took Eric longer to show his grief, but he was processing a lot of pain, too. We loved the idea of our kids even before we were matched with them, but loving the reality of your children — that's a process, one that's both wonderful and hard.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Leaf Wars

 
 
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Embarrassing, but could've been worse

At the doctor's office today....

Doc: What brings you here today?
Me: My ear is bothering me. I have a cold, otherwise, but that in itself isn't a problem.
Doc: Does your ear hurt?
Me: No. It feels and sounds like there is fluid in there. It's bothered me since August but seems worse right now so I thought it might be from my cold.

[usual round of "do you feel dizzy," "what medications are you taking," "does anything make it feel better or worse," etc.]

Doc: Let's take a look. Hmm... I think we can take care of this easily.
Me: Why, what is it?
Doc: Wax.
Me: (inside my head) Ewww! I'm disgusting!
Doc: Do you use Q-tips?
Me: Yes, every day.
Doc: You shouldn't. They push wax farther into your ear canal.
Me: Eww, I have that much wax in my ear??
Doc: Let me get a nurse and we'll clean it out.

Public Service Announcement #1
Did you know that instead of the bulb syringes they used when we were kids they now have a contraption that hooks up to the faucet, has a long tube and a trigger on it? Don't be scared, though, it feels very much like the bulb syringe.

Doc: (speaking to the nurse while both are peering into the cup under my ear) Do you know what that is?
Nurse: I have no idea what that is.
Me: (inside my head) Oh my word, what the heck is it? Something worse than wax? A bug?
Doc: That's the fuzz from a Q-tip.
Me: Phew!
Doc: Remember what I said about Q-tips?
Me: Right, don't use them inside my ear!

Public Service Announcement #2
When people tell you not to put anything inside your ear canal, don't laugh them off as not knowing what they're talking about because cotton swabs have never caused you any problems. They can and they will.

Guatemalan Adoptions

Sally asked in a comment on a previous post whether there's something that people can do to help the situation regarding adoptions to the U.S. from Guatemala ending in the near future.

There is so much news on this situation and it changes daily so I've been hesitant to say much, but it certainly won't hurt to bring it up.

There was a recent campaign of emails, letters and calls to various representatives and organizations to "grandfather" current cases of children who have been referred to families in the U.S. even if their cases don't complete by the cutoff date of January 1, 2008 (that's effectively Dec 1, 2007, as the Guatemalan government shuts down for almost a month around the Christmas holiday.) The campaign was successful in helping those with power see that they need to enact legislation to grandfather existing cases. Nothing has been made official yet, though.

In the bigger crisis of all adoptions from Guatemala to the U.S. ending, progress is being made as well. Granted, this all needs to be noted in the context of a history of rules, laws and constitutional amendments changing faster and more often than one usually expects, so nothing is set in stone until it is set in stone. Even then, there's no guarantee that 6 months from any point in time, things won't change. However, there is a positive statement issued from the Joint Council on International Children's Services which states:

We can now report that members of the Guatemalan Congress, including numerous party chiefs, have submitted a new legislative proposal which;

-includes a strong `grandfather' clause,
-designates April 30 2008 as the effective implementation date of the Convention,
-allocates $5 million Quetzales ($650,000 USD) for the creation of the Central Authority,
-allocates a percentage of the total government budget for child welfare services,
-creates a new government entity to act as the Central Authority in Guatemala,
-provides for private non-profit accredited entities to provide services to children,
-allows single potential adoptive parents to apply for adoption,and
-creates a functional process by which children can find a permanent, safe and loving family


This is very positive news. I don't know of any particular way in which people can offer assistance through emails, letters or phone calls at the moment but I will try to include such information as it arises in the future.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

School picture

 

The school portrait flyer suggested the kids dress in bright colors but I didn't need to mention that to Kevin as he had his plan already worked out.

The same day he had pictures taken at school, he also had them taken at his before/after care place. Andy saw the background and said that it was a fall scene with leaves and other earthy tones. I doubt we'll want to buy those.
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Amen

Washington Post editorial on the status of adoptions from Guatemala to the U.S.

Slamming the Door on Adoption

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sleepless in Ellicott City

My allergies have been bad for the past month or so and I have gotten tired of just taking Mucinex so I took 2 Benadryl the other night. When I take decongestants I can't sleep, but I've never had a problem with antihistamines - until this time.

About 1 1/2 hours after I went to sleep, I woke up. I couldn't get comfortable and as soon as I fell asleep again, I woke up. I'm sure it felt like less time than it actually was, but it was typical of how I feel when I can't sleep because of decongestants or caffeine. The restlessness continued until about 2:30 and I don't remember much after that so I must have slept better.

The next evening I apologized to Andy for keeping him awake with my restlessness (he's a light sleeper) and he looked at me kind of weird. Then I said, "I was so restless, I'm surprised I reacted that way to the Benadryl - I mean, I took two!"

He laughed and said, "Welllll.... do you remember anything about waking up? Like maybe, this feeling?" and then he pushed me in the arm. Of course I didn't know what he was talking about - I just knew I kept waking up feeling uncomfortable and having to roll over.

Apparently, taking 2 Benadryl makes me sleep so well that I snore. And my snoring keeps Andy awake. So Andy was rolling me around trying to get me to stop snoring and that is what woke me up - not the medicine. At least, not directly.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!

 

This is Kevin with his kindergarten teacher during their Halloween party. I was afraid the other parents would think that Kevin's "Relief Worker" costume is part of an agenda by his parents, but the comments that I received were quite positive, both because of the idea itself and because of how easy it looked to prepare (which it was!)
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New 'do

This is not the most flattering picture of me or my hair but I have an ultimate (frisbee) game to get to so I don't have time to properly fix either. So, here is my new hairdo. I hope that the recipient of my hair gets some good use out of it and feels better about him/herself for it.

 

And yes, I do intend to refrain from highlighting the scar on my forehead the next time I style my hair.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I was right

I was right. I love my computer.

I installed a second hard drive and additional memory last night. I went from a single 40GB drive to a 40GB drive plus a 160GB drive and from 512MB of RAM to 2.5GB of RAM.

Yes, I've gone off the deep end. But it sure is fast in here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

No award for this, but recognition

My grandmother celebrated her 103rd birthday last week. She is now officially the oldest resident in her community. I feel that my parents have seen a lot in their lives and that I have, to some extent (I remember the first Apple computer! :-) But think about what life was like when Grandma was born in 1904... she's seen more than I can imagine!

Growing up I never appreciated this grandmother very much. She wasn't as warm and nurturing as my other grandmother. But as I got older (and wiser, I hope) I came to realize how amazing she is.

My grandmother worked full-time. She was a teacher, but she kept teaching even after she had kids. She hired a nanny to take care of my dad and his sister. Speaking of the kids, my grandmother had her first child at age 34. Her second, my dad, was born when she was 40. That's not an oddity now, but it was rare to start having children so late back then. I'd say it was because her husband was younger than she, but Pop-pop wasn't that much younger - just enough to buck the stereotype.

I remember thinking that my grandparents were SO OLD back when we'd get together for holiday meals and I'd see my grandmother carrying the huge Thanksgiving turkey on a silver platter. I always expected to see her rickety legs fold beneath her and the turkey roll away, dragging her behind it. That was 25 years ago - I had nothing to worry about as she was still a spring chicken.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bye bye

On Halloween, I'm donating my hair. It's been too long for too long.

 
 
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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beautiful Fall Day

THIS is what a fall day should be like - a visit to the farm with the sun warm but not hot with red, yellow and orange leaves floating on the breeze.

 
A chainsaw carving at the entrance of the Red Barn

 
Kevin picking out the perfect gourd

 
Kevin in the hay maze

 
A llama nearing my too-close-for-comfort zone



My two pumpkin faces
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Friday, October 26, 2007

Anticipating computer love

My computer has some problems. Take, for instance, that last sentence. I made a mistake and had to backspace and re-type the end of the sentence and the computer couldn't keep up with me. I was typing blind. Not a problem, but quite an annoyance. And that's just a simple example. It also disk thrashes so much that I have to reboot it regularly or it will come to a screeching halt entirely.

I'm not one who likes to tinker with things and build my own computers but my officemate has convinced me that I can install a second hard-drive (the first one is almost full and is likely causing most of the problems) and additional memory (you can never go wrong with more memory and with a full disk I'm sure the half a meg I have now doesn't go very far.)

My officemate always waits with much excitement (well, as much excitement as he ever seems to muster) for packages from newegg.com to arrive and now I understand why.

Now that I've placed my order, each bit of lag only makes me that much more annoyed because I know HELP IS ON THE WAY! And I suspect I'll love my computer after it arrives. Please, newegg - please ship it today!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

From a journal

I don't journal often but this morning I found this excerpt from 2002:

My feet are stuck because I'm afraid to move forward alone, mostly because I have only questions with no answers, so I don't even know where to go. But, I can't return to the "comforts" of my God from the past few years, because my mind has moved beyond that point and the comforts of having answers, disciplines, succinct theories and a body of friends who believe the same things are no longer comforting and can no longer satisfy me. I'm stuck - as if I'm on that stairway to cross the Potomac River into Harper's Ferry - too afraid to move up or down because any change in balance causes a wave of nausea and vertigo - thoughts of plunging to the ground far away - falling through the sky, the unknown, only to be smacked by the very real, very solid rocks below. Is God there in the rocks, waiting to smack me because I let go? or because I went up the stairs in the first place? Is God in the unknown, the sky, a feeling of exhilaration due to fear and fun all at once? Do I need to wear a safety harness?

All of these questions have answers in my old paradigm, but I've jumped ship and even if I jumped back on board, I would not stop hearing the call of the sea to jump back in. My arms need to pull, my feet need to kick, my lungs need to expand with breath to hold me afloat.

Do I end this time with prayer? That seems hypocritical. Or is it just faithfulness at a time when true faith really shines... at a time when there is no answer? Is my desire for prayer due to habit or true yearning for my creator? Have I been created by anything more than Contingency, Law and Deep Time? I think that I hope so.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An open mind

Our church installed a labyrinth this year and dedicated it to our founding pastor and his family. It's purpose is to provide a meditative/contemplative exercise to the user. I've never used a labyrinth and I've never learned much about them except for hearing one person's experience with it.

This morning I visited the labyrinth. I am glad that I haven't read much about them because each idea I had for how to do it was new and my own (rather, from God.) Here's how it went...

I prayed before stepping onto the paver stones that I would be able to clearly hear God if He had anything to say to me. That's it. I had no lofty expectations or goals for my time in the labyrinth. I stepped onto the bricks and prayed again, clearing my mind and asking only to have my thoughts be God's thoughts.

I walked in sets of 10 steps. After each 10 steps, I paused. I did my best not to find words to offer up thanks to God for the birds that were singing their praises in the fields around me or for the tickling breeze on my bare skin or for the happy, fluffy clouds in the sky as I looked up to feel God's face gazing on mine. I felt thankful but did not clutter my mind by putting words to my feelings.

Each time my stomach leapt because I thought I'd walked on the wrong path (hard to do when there's only one, but the path is separated from its own curves by just a row of different colored pavers) I immediately told myself it didn't matter even if I was on the wrong path and to let it go.

As I neared the center, I felt the urge to take off my shoes and socks to stand barefoot directly on the stones. I thought that was a little weird, especially since I knew people in the parking lot could see me as they arrived for the bible study group I was about to attend. Then I realized God was telling me not to be embarrassed and to just do it, so I did. I stood barefoot in the center for a minute or two, then picked my shoes up and walked slowly but continuously out the path, feeling the cold stone and the occasional piece of gravel digging into the soles of my feet.

I had no earth-shattering experience while in the labyrinth, but I did feel extremely at peace and completely open to hearing Him, which was my only hope for the exercise.

I plan to try it again sometime soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Farm Tough

On Friday, I went to Sears to pick up Andy's chainsaw that was in for repair. That model had been recalled so they gave us a replacement. Unfortunately for them, they no longer make a comparable chainsaw, so they had to give us a Husqvarna 455 Rancher model - 20" bar, 56cc engine, commercial-grade.

I almost had to sleep in the guest bed Friday night so that Andy had room for his new chainsaw in our bed.

 
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Friday, October 12, 2007

Missed an important anniversary!

With all that's going on around us, we completely flaked on the anniversary of Kevin becoming part of our family. It was on October 2, 2004, that we first met him (and he us) and it was on October 6, 2004, that he first stepped foot into our (and his new) home.

He started out as a quiet and shy kid, overwhelmed by his new experiences. Three years later, he's now 5 1/2 years old and a popular, although not precocious, member of the kindergarten class at our local elementary school.

We'll have to come up with some way to commemorate the missed anniversary. I'm guessing we'll eat out at a restaurant not because that's how everyone seems to celebrate everything but because it's Kevin's most favorite thing in the world to do. Hey, if I don't have to cook or clean up, I'm game!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Good Cry

I never believed I'd ever experience a "good cry" as I'd heard other people describe one. Like most people, when given the choice, I prefer not to cry. I couldn't imagine what would ever be good about doing it. Some people are more ok with crying than others and some people talk about needing "a good cry" to feel better about something. I had never understood that but I think I experienced one on Sunday.

It was with trepidation that I went to church on Sunday because of the situation in the life of a close friend of mine. When I sat down, a lot of pent-up emotion came out and I cried - I wasn't able to stop it but I was able to curb it a little. I wasn't embarrassed by it, I guess because I had a really good reason to be crying.

I suspect I needed to release the emotion that had built up and that's why it felt ok, and even good, to cry. Even now, I don't have bad memories of it and I don't wish that it won't happen again.

I'm learning a lot about myself through my friend's devastating experience. Maybe the next time someone in my life faces something difficult, I'll be better equipped to support them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Griever as counselor

In the recent past (and present) I've found myself among friends who are grieving. I care deeply for these friends and grieve with them from my own perspective. I grieve over their grief and face my own grief over the situation.

If someone close to a friend dies, I grieve for my friend's loss. I feel sad, angry, etc, that my friend has to face the loss. I also grieve my own loss, remembering the person who died as I knew them through my friend.

I've come to realize that when I go to a grieving friend, I go from my perspective as a griever. "I can't believe this is happening. I'm shocked." "I'm so sorry for your loss - do you remember that time when I was there with your mom and she said 'such and such' to me?" I end up working through my own grief in the presence of one who is grieving so much more. The "main griever" ends up being my counselor. How backward is that?

In a current grieving situation of a close friend, I'm trying to consciously help her process her grief while leaving mine for other people. I think it's a good start and I hope it helps me to be a better friend to leave my own processing on the shoulders of other friends around the situation and sometimes those entirely outside of the situation.

I also hope that when I am in a situation of grief and the people around me come to support me that I will better understand that they will be coming from their own perspective and may need to bring me their grief as a way to process it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Harry Potter Summer

This summer I read the Harry Potter series. I hadn't read them until now because I don't generally care for the science fiction or fantasy genres of stories. Plus there was the way that "everyone" was "always" talking about Harry Potter This and Harry Potter That. I think that God was secretly keeping me away from the books so that I wouldn't have to wait between reading them. I timed them perfectly... I started the first one just as the last one was released to the public. My biggest problem at that point was trying not to hear any news of the plot of the last book, or even what characters were still around. While it's not hard to surprise me, my enjoyment of a story is pretty much ruined once I know what's going to happen.

I liked the series a lot and even found myself noticing that the author had a good way of writing. That's the way English majors describe good literature, no?

If you haven't read the books yet, I suggest giving the first one a try. You won't lose out on anything by trying it but you might find yourself happily sucked into the story on page 2 the way that I did - kinda like falling into a pensieve.

Mama, it doesn't matter

I'm sometimes a bit of a control freak. I fretted over Kevin's lunch items when he started kindergarten because he can't open most of our plastic containers. Before purchasing some that he can open, I accidentally packed him regular containers one day without thinking about it. Then I worried because if I'd been unable to open my lunch items, I would've just put them back in my Pigs In Space lunchbox and not eaten. Kevin, on the other hand, asked the lunch room monitor for help. Huh, how about that?

The second day of school, he asked to buy lunch. In all my years of school, I never bought my lunch. And I haven't seen how Kevin's school does it, so I didn't know how to tell him to proceed. I agreed to let him buy lunch after all but tried to explain how it might work.

"You probably have to pick up a tray and then tell the person behind the counter-" Kevin interrupted me to inform me, "they're lunch ladies." I wasn't sure that was a politically correct label but I guess it is. I continued, "You'll have to tell the lunch lady what you want to eat - tell her cheese pizza. Then you need to pick out a fruit-" He asked, "Will they make me?" I said, "No, but I will. So you have your tray and your pizza and your fruit and then you can pick your milk. Hmm... Maybe the milk is at the beginning of the line. Well, either get your milk at the beginning or the end, I'm sorry, I just don't know."

Kevin replied nonchalantly, "It doesn't matter," as if he had some inkling of the earthquake of uncertainty in my soul, and he grabbed his backpack and bounced out of the house.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Stylin'

 

Kevin has been asking for "crocs" for awhile now. Today I told him we could do something special for him (he has the day off from school) if he was good while I shopped for clothes for the wedding reception I'm attending this weekend.

His pair is shaped like race cars. On the back, where the taillights are, they actually light up (feel free to roll your eyes - mine haven't stopped since I handed the cashier my credit card.)

 

This is a close-up of the pair that Kevin picked out for me. I said, "But they have skulls and crossbones on them." He answered, "Just ignore them."
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Monday, August 27, 2007

Kindergartner

 

No tears from anyone when he got on the bus but I admit I'm nervous about some little things like him not knowing that he can ask to use the bathroom whenever he needs to and how to open all of his lunch items himself (although I used mostly all ziploc bags today because I didn't think to test him on our plastic containers.)

I don't have any worries in the grand scheme of things - he'll be a pro in a few days and I think he'll do well in school and enjoy it.
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's canning season

I canned strawberry jam early in the summer but now it's time for peaches and tomatoes. Applesauce is still to come.

 
Yummy, simmering peaches just before putting them into jars

 
Tomato leftovers - the skin and seeds left after mashing the rest of the tomatoes through the food mill to make tomato sauce
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

More vacation pictures

 

This is the man who designed and makes the Christmas Trees at Simon Pearce. It was amazing to watch him make them.

 

Our twilight canoe ride at Deep Creek Lake State Park

 

The living room of the cabin/house we stayed in

 
Dad and Andy enjoying our last few minutes of vacation
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Vacation pictures

Surprisingly, I didn't carry my camera with me much on vacation and I don't have many pictures. I'm hoping to snag some of my dad's to supplement my inventory.

Here are a few I did take.

 

Dianne, Kevin, Andy in the freezing water at Tolliver Falls in Swallow Falls State Park

 

Kevin being silly

 

Dianne, Andy, Kevin, Dad, Mom on the trail to Muddy Creek Falls in Swallow Falls State Park

 

Kevin with Skunky, his new stuffed animal that he asked for 8 times a day after we first saw it at the Discovery Center in Deep Creek Lake State Park
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

We had the best vacation

Do you know how I know we had the best vacation? The day we left to come home, we wished we could've stayed another week. When we got home, we wished we weren't here. The next day, we still wished we were on our vacation, exactly as it was, and not here.

It's not just that we don't want to go back to work. It's not that we need a vacation from our vacation. It's that we want that vacation we just had to continue just as it was really happening.

Our honeymoon was like that to some extent, although on our way home, we had our new "normal," everyday married life to look forward to.

Not only did this vacation include our son, but we were with my parents. Staying in the same cabin. Participating in the same activities.

And it was awesome.

Just overheard from behind my chair

"You have a skunk on your face and you look like Santa Clause."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

How not to respond to someone else's good news

Friend/Acquaintance: Yeah, I got married this weekend.
Me: On purpose?

I can only hope he thinks that I was testifying to the state of my marriage (which, of course, I would get myself into on purpose a million times over) and not to the state of my opinion of his husband-worthiness.

Trying to give away an oil filter

This is an email conversation starting with my post on freecycle.

Me:
Fram Extra Guard Oil Filter w/ Sure Grip
PH3387A
It was bought for a Chevy S-10 pickup (4-cyl, 2.2L) but will fit many
other models. Check http://www.fram. com to see whether it will fit
your engine.


Responder:
is this gone???havent heard or seen anything? thank you


Me:
It's still available. Are you interested in it?


Responder:
it IS for a chevy s-10 right? and where are u at?


Me:
It would work for a 1994 Chevy S-10, 4-cylinder, 2.2L engine. I can't guarantee any other years or models, you should go to http://www.fram.com and put in the year and other specifics of your truck to make sure this filter # will fit your vehicle.

If it does, let me know when you are able to pick it up and I'll send you my address.


Responder:
ok i will let u know.......within about 30 mins

[in a separate message]

whats the # on it? part #?


Me, on phone with Andy after the last message:
Is this guy emailing me right now? Replying to a message with a subject and a body? Both of which state the part #? Right THERE and THERE?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adios, Mi Amigo

 

This was my last look at the truck while driving away from the lot where I left it tonight.
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The Tour de France!

Yes, that's an exclamation point up there, because I LOVE THE TOUR. At the beginning of this year's Tour, I was a bit down about all of the doping BS (pardon my French - haha, get it? French?) throughout the past year. I survived 2 weeks of the 3-week Tour without watching a single "live update newsflash." Then things got really exciting and I couldn't help myself - I turned back into my usual Tour maniac-self. Well, let's say 80% of my usual Tour maniac-self. Here's a summary of this year's Tour:

  1. A few people got kicked out of the race for doping

  2. A few people got fired from their teams for doping

  3. The race leader in the first set of mountains was kicked out of the race and off of his team for lying about his whereabouts during missed drug tests in the off-season

  4. One guy got booted for doping on the same day that he participated in a "sit-in" against doping

  5. The Discovery Channel team ROCKED THE PELOTON winning 1st and 3rd places overall - Go Disco!

  6. Levi Leipheimer (who came in 3rd place) STOMPED the last individual time trial

  7. The overall winner, Alberto Contador, from the Discovery Channel team, is only 24 years old

  8. Discovery Channel might perhaps be wishing they hadn't already announced pulling out of their sponsorship of the team after this season



There you have it, the 2007 Tour de France in a nutshell.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thoughts from my last day driving my old truck

I took the S-10 out for a spin today to CarMax to get it appraised to find out whether the charity I will support with it will get more money from it if I sell it and give them the cash or give them the truck outright. While all conditions they check (exterior/body, interior, frame, mechanics, etc.) were listed "as expected for the age of the vehicle" they still only offered me $250 - I guess I'm lucky they didn't try to charge me to take it off my hands. Speaking of which, Andy text messaged me while I was there and said, "Throw $20 on the floor and just walk out." Hmph.

Anyway, here are some thoughts I had while driving "Al" for what was probably the last real time.

  1. Sliding into that seat and pulling out of the driveway was like slipping into an old pair of cotton fleece sweatpants - soft, comfy and worn-in in just the right spots. Sliding into the new car seat and pulling out of the driveway is like slipping into a pair of sweat-wicking, 4-way power stretch, therma-fleece running pants - also soft and comfy but more technologically advanced and designed for moving instead of lolly-gagging.
  2. The truck accelerates as fast as a snail on downers.
  3. Country music sounds much better in a pickup.
  4. What with all the creaks and clunks it lets out, I'm really lucky that truck still runs and never left me (or anyone else) stranded anywhere.

I run like an animal

A friend invited me to do a duathlon with her in September. That's a race where you do a run, ride your bike, and then run again. I used to do them regularly but haven't done a training run or bike ride in AGES. This friend is obviously not someone I talk to on a regular basis or else she probably would have never considered asking me along :-)

Not knowing whether I can even train hard enough to be prepared in 8 weeks, I went for a test run this morning. If I can't run a mile already, there's no way I can be ready for that race in 2 months. I stole borrowed Andy's mp3 player and went out with my running shoes on this morning. I ran for 15 minutes (and walked another 15) so I'm guessing I made it about a mile (not including the walking.) I run very slowly.

I don't usually run with music on so that was a change that I think helped me to stay moving when I would've otherwise felt like I should quit. If I can't hear myself breathing like a raspy ogre, then it doesn't seem like I'm doing such a bad job. Plus, I listened to Nickelback, which is hard to sit still during anyway.

Most of the time I have to consciously slow myself down because I can't run very long if I run at a normal pace and I at least need to get back home from wherever I am at the time. This morning I found the perfect song to match my tempo. Never before has a song actually fit perfectly with my stride/pace/cadence.

It figures that it's the song "Animals." Sheesh.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They say it's my birthday

Today is my birthday and the celebration started on Sunday with a surprise "party" set up for me when I got home from church. Amy decorated our dining room table with party plates and napkins, confetti, balloons, flowers, candles, presents and a cake while we were out.

Yesterday I spent the day with two other dear friends, Beth and Elesa, swimming in the pool and just hanging out doing not much of anything. Dinner was terrific and there was home made ice cream and cake afterward - yum!

When I got in the car to come home, I found a new CD (Rascal Flatts) with a bow on it that Andy had put in the car for me to listen to on the way home. This morning I found a card in the refrigerator which Kevin made.

I don't often feel sappy or get teary-eyed about things that Kevin does but this came close to doing it:

 

Can you see what he wrote at the bottom? "You are the prettiest and greatest Mama." Of course he should think that, as all kids do, but I don't take that for granted. Plus, when I try to make him write things, he stops at his name and asks me to write the rest. Writing that whole statement himself was an effort the likes of which he rarely makes.

Kevin couldn't wait for Andy to come home to give me presents so he had me call Andy so he could talk to him on the phone. Andy walked Kevin through the process of finding the hidden presents in the car and under Kevin's bed so Kevin traipsed outside in his pajamas and rain boots (it's beautifully sunny here today) with the phone to his ear and climbed through the car to find the pack of socks hidden in there for me. After the presents were found, Kevin asked Andy if he could tell me what we're doing this afternoon and Andy obliged. Kevin told me that we're going out to dinner and to play "MINIATURE GOLF!!" Andy says that was Kevin's idea.

It's been a wonderful few days of birthday celebration and it's more than I expected. I'm very fortunate to have friends and family who care for me.
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