Monday, January 31, 2011

drop what you're doing

I've been reading through a book on hospitality by Annie Chapman. Early on, she mentions this passage from Genesis 18:

 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[b] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
 7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
Now, I don't know about you, but this would have probably irritated me. If you've ever made bread, even if it is unleavened bread, there's NOTHING quick about it. From my way of thinking, he should have offered the men dried fruit or something, and then I would have prepared an early supper. After all, about the time she finished cooking for the strangers and cleaned up her cooking area, it would have been time to start it all again. And can you imagine the servant's reaction? There is NO earthly way possibly to quickly slay, clean, butcher, and COOK a calf quickly.  All my life, every time I've ever read this passage I thought it was a perfect example of a man who has a very unrealistic view of life and how it operates.

Chapman uses this as an example of hospitality. There was nowhere else for the men to go, and rather than simply give them something to satisfy them to a later time, they prepared them a MEAL.  I have to admit that's not how I operate. I try to think of the most logistical and practical way to appease everybody without having to wear myself out in the process.   And I have to to tell you, making homemade bread on the spur of the moment for uninvited guests would NOT be the first thing that pops into my weary brain.

I am so thankful for freezers and frozen garlic bread and yeast rolls that we can purchase in the grocery store. And yet, I think it's more the principle that I should be concerned with...am I putting the needs of others before my own? Sadly, too many times the answer is no. The truth is I do have to be responsible with my time and put my family needs above others, but there are other times when I could have easily done something for others instead of using up my time clock.

We're not told Sara's reaction to Abraham when he came in with his request. Perhaps she was accustomed to it. Maybe she got angry. But we do know she did it. And I hope should I ever be strained and put to that hospitality test, I'll be as successful as she was.

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 years ago


Arlington National Cemetery
25 years ago, while taking a 7th grade spelling test in a very tiny room (yes, we called it spelling instead of vocabulary back then), an 8th grader named Ira popped his head in the door and said "The space shuttle just blew up." Our teacher quickly finished the test, then we joined the rest of the 7th-12th graders in watching the news broadcast and its replays of the exploding Challenger. A teacher from Birmingham, Alabama had been one of the finalists in the selection process to send the first teacher into space, so our Alabama news media was naturally making a big deal about that as well. After a week of all the shock and the constant replays and talk of O-rings and such, many students began to grumble a little that no one knew the names of the other astronauts who died, but every knew about "school teacher Christa McAuliffe".  There was some truth to that.

And the other thing I remember about that day and the weeks that followed?  The middle school jokes. The boys asked "How do we know the astronauts had dandruff?" and all the girls belligerently told them how sick and disrespectful they were and to shut up. To this day I wonder what the answer was.


And this obviously made a big enough impression on me that for one my assignments at Wake Tech, it was my subject matter. Not the best drawing in the world, but everyone from my generation certainly understood the emotions behind it. I guess this was my first national disaster. Sadly it hasn't been the last.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

:) What a way to start the day!

Caller: Good-morning. This is Hudson's and we are calling to let you know your repair is ready, and the total cost is xx.xx.
Me: I'm sorry, but I don't think there's supposed to be a charge.
Caller: Um, yes, we always charge for work. It's xx.xx
Me: No, this was a gift. The person who purchased this ring was told that you would re-size it for free. So there shouldn't be a charge.
Caller: laughing, We don't resize lawnmowers. This is Hudson's Hardware.
Me: embarrassed and laughing: OH! I am SO sorry. I was thinking Hudson BELK's! It'll be Saturday before I can pick it up. Is that okay?
Caller: Yes, that's fine. We're just calling to let people know.
Me: Thank you. And I will bring my credit card.

I am so thankful Hudson's Hardware has lawnmower men who know how to laugh instead of getting angry when people tell them they're not going to pay! And now I'm laughing and whatever tension I started out with has gone. A merry heart truly is good medicine!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a really cool feature

Have you ever had one of those days when there's more than one thing happening in your life that you want to blog about, but it's too much for one blog post?

Have you ever had one of those crazy weeks when there's a gazillion things you want to say, but life is simply too busy to blog?

I may be one of the last to learn about this feature, but if you notice at the bottom of your blog writing screen, there's this little underlined phrase that says "Post Options".  Once you finish blogging, you can click on that. An expanded bar will appear, and to the right of the bar it says: Post date and time. You can schedule what day and at what time your blog will appear! Once you fill that information in, you simply click the normal orange "Publish Post" button.

I tried this out at Christmas time when everything was so chaotic, and I absolutely loved it! So if you ever find yourself like me and thoroughly enjoy blogging but don't want to post three blogs in one day, you now have another option!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

a keeper

My first "trial" recipe for the week: Gumbo.
And I modified it. Quite a bit. So I'll give you my version.

COMBINE:
1 pack of chicken breast tenderloins, cut into pieces
2 chicken bouillon cubes
a lot of water
1 T salt
a handful of mushrooms, chopped up (optional)
1/2 an onion, chopped up
1 tsp of minced garlic
a lot of celery seed (my substitute for not finding the celery stalks I "KNEW" I had in the fridge)

Bring to a boil in a saucepan, then lower to a simmer.

In a skillet, cook 1/2 lb of sausage (my substitute for not having kielbasa, or whatever it is). Add it to the chicken mixture, but save the grease in the skillet. Throw a thing of corn in the mixture (I gotta get rid of those multiplying frozen bags somehow!)

Pull some of the broth from the mixture, and use in place of water for the rice. Start cooking the rice.
Peel the shrimp, then add it to the chicken mixture. (I used 1/2 of a pd bag)
Add oil to the skillet (with the sausage grease) making it about 1/4 cup. Add 1/4 c of flour, and continuously stir over medium heat. When mixture becomes like gravy, add it to the chicken mixture.
Serve over rice.

It took a little longer to prepare than what I normally cook, but it was good and something I'll probably fix again. Hooray for one good recipe out of the pile!

The original recipe can be found here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

a little scary

my passport photo 18 years ago:









my  passport photo in 2011:













But in my defense, people are no longer allowed to smile. It might mess up the scans and facial recognition mess when they check to see if I'm terrorist. That's what they say. I think someone just gets a kick out of seeing people at their ugliest.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

irons

We have well water.
Well water has minerals.
And if you ignore the advice of people who grew up with well water and use it (instead of buying distilled water) in your iron, in time it will cease to hold water for the steam function.
Trust me on that one.

So I now have an iron that heats very nicely, but refuses to steam. I spent a little bit at Target looking at irons yesterday. I thought it would be like my college days where I go in, have two to three choices, and then I grab one of the shelf. hahahahaha.  There were probably 20 choices of irons.  Yes, twenty. Can you believe that? And the prices ranged from $9 all the way to $60! I looked, compared prices and features, then came home without one.  Buying an iron should not feel like car shopping. I should not need to read reports and features to buy a simple, solid iron that will steam clothes while I starch them without clogging and heat properly. Is it really that difficult? And then I look at a sales flyer for JoAnns. IRONS COST $140 on sale!!! REALLY?!

So if you see my husband wearing slightly wrinkled shirts, you'll know I've just given up on the whole starch thing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

one of my favorite quilt artists

The more I look and browse, I've noticed that the fabrics and patterns I tend to buy are usually from the same company, and often from the same pattern maker/designer. Hoffman Fabrics are one of the three quilting fabric lines that I absolutely adore, and I was very impressed to discover that their website offers free downloads of quilt patterns (that other stores sell). In addition, one of their fabric designers, McKenna Ryan, is also one of my favorite quilt artists.

Ryan's quilts are not designed to be bedspreads. If you're like me, that is the sole purpose of a quilt: to provide beauty along with its primary function of warmth. I'll be honest; I've yet to attempt one of Ryan's patterns. But I have purchased a few, and with some slight modifications, I think I can alter the patterns to make them not just beautiful, but also user friendly.
For example, in her square above, the edges of the fabric on the eggs, the flower, and the biddie are adhered to the background with a fabric adhesive, then stitched near the edge. In other words, it's not appliqued. If you wash this as is, the fabric edges of all the pieces would start to unravel. While it would take three times as long to make, if you add 1/4" border to all those pattern pieces, the edges could be turned under and stitched in place (appliqued) before the quilting, making them washing machine friendly.
Another thing that I love about Ryan's designs, as the one shown above, is that she uses small blocks that are individually quilted but can be put together to form a continuing quilt design. For example, the moose panel in the middle. (For a closer view, check out her website). Notice how it has a boat edge in the corner of the panel? Little details like that make a "painting" look realistic, make you feel as if there's more happening than just the small snapshot you have. And I really like how that carries over to the main focal point in the next panel. She does the same thing with the fish's tale in the bottom.

If you visit her site, you'll see she has a very diverse design style. While I love her country and wildlife designs, she's also created some very ArtHouse style flowers, very fancy word/bird designs, and some cool holiday/winter designs. I've yet to see anything she has made that I haven't marveled at the creativity behind it. Granted, I might not always prefer the colors used (and here my family would remind me that few people would choose my color choices), but the design work itself is absolutely fabulous.

I'm always a little in awe of people who can view God's design around us and replicate it through man-made techniques. So many times I look at a quilt pattern and think "That's just a variation of this block." or "That's this pattern turned sideways over and over. Why buy it?"  I've never once thought that about McKenna Ryan's patterns. Now, I may not love her patterns quite so much after I've attempted using one, but so far I'm content to just ooh and aah over the designs themselves.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

crockpost lasagna

It was a mad dash, but I made it.
Gym, one chore, grocery store, food prep, throw supper ingredients in the crockpot, lunch, travel, funeral, travel, home, and...the crockpot was on....BUT IT WASN'T PLUGGED IN!!!!
So I look at the clock, throw it in the oven, thinking we'll once again be rushed to church, when Bobby comes a few minutes before it's ready and his fever is rising. It really didn't matter after all.
It's funny how we stress and plan and calculate, and then life throws us a curveball and all our swings are futile at our home plate.
"Be anxious for nothing..."
That includes time frames, supper plans, grocery budgets, weight/health issues...God didn't allow me any exceptions.
"...but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."  (Philippians 4:6)
He cares. How cool is that? He wants to know about my achy foot, my thorn in the flesh of food, my struggle to maintain a good attitude. He wants me to talk to Him about it, to find things to be thankful for, to have a relationship, even if I do remember to turn the crockpot on, but fail to plug it in.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a happy dance

Well, if there were ever any doubts...you can erase them.
I stink at math.
My parents and former teachers would say I'm careless.
Perhaps.
SO, even though I somehow calculated incorrectly and I now have an extra strip and two extra sashes and I won't need the top and bottom bar after all, I HAVE FINISHED A QUILT TOP!
Yes, let it out! Join me in the happy dance! I have actually finished one of my January projects!!!!

shhhhh! Hush! Yes, I am well aware this is only step one of the quilt. Don't rain on my parade! 

So here it is, in all it's glory! (And in case you're wondering, the pattern is "Civil War Soldier Cot Quilt" and this is being made for a teen boy who loves history.)





I originally had a grey strip with blue paisley swirls in it (yes, historians are fair and represent BOTH sides in the war), but it was too busy, so I went for a simple grey pattern. After all, there's plenty of blue and grey in the squares, and both sides used red, so I figure it's balanced...right?

I didn't take a picture of the backing.  I'll wait and do that once it's finished quilting.  One of my quilting buddies loves surprise backings, and this one is TRULY a surprise. We totally abandoned the history theme for the back, (but we did go with something he likes!) but I think it's going to work quite nicely.

So for our church's seniors, two quilts in progress, four more to go!

Monday, January 17, 2011

cooking mishaps

A few weeks ago while cooking macaroni noodles  (and cleaning the kitchen and pulling clothes from the washer only to throw them into the dyer and answering the phone and trying to clean off the kitchen table), I burned the noodles. You'd think after observing my Mom over the years I would have learned that you only burn things when you multi-task while cooking. Or perhaps I learned it, but have just failed to apply it. Regardless, here's what a burned pan looks like after a week of soaking and scrubbing and soaking and scrubbing....

And then, yesterday afternoon I made some banana bread for the class Bobby is facilitating at church. The videos that go with his class don't last as long as the other two classes, so there will be some nights we will have extra time. I figured no one would object to a little food and fellowship. Except when I was informed that we only had five minute till departure time and I turned the fresh out of the oven pan over to put the loaf on aluminum foil, here's what happened:

Needless to say, the banana bread didn't go to church. It tastes fine, but is just big plunks of bread. Guess I know what we're having for breakfast the next few days!

And not so much of a mishap, but the small corner shelves where I store our cookbooks have had a spring cleaning. After 11.5 years, the books suddenly decided they didn't want to stay up there. For two days, books would intermittently just crash to the floor. So I cleaned, and in the process pulled out a ton of recipes (okay, really only just 1/4 a shoebox full) that I had stashed until I could try them out and then file with the recipes I use/like.  Only I've never done it. So hopefully this year I can try one new recipe a month. Bobby says with all our cookbooks we should be trying a new recipe once a week, but seeing as its just the two of us and I only cook about twice a week anyway (we eat a LOT of leftovers), that doesn't sound very good to me. It could make life very interesting, though, but I'm just not that ambitious. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

an exception to every rule

I love wood.  Seriously!  I LOVE wood. There's nothing that makes me cringe more than seeing a gorgeous piece of wood furniture painted.  (Disclaimer: I said a "gorgeous" piece of wood furniture...distressed or worn out furniture could often use a good coat of paint instead of stripping & staining). Yet recently through blog hopping I found this artist, and I absolutely loved her furniture portfolio:
http://www.karenhetzer.com/hand-painted-furniture.html
And the crazy thing is, I'm not sure I have a favorite out of all the many she has posted.  I like several of them, enough so that it wouldn't bother me in the least to have a piece like that in my house.

I'm one of those people that usually need to see an idea before my creative juices start flowing. Hetzer's artwork certainly does that for me. Yet as much as I like her work, I don't believe I'll be pulling out my paintbrushes and overhauling what furniture we have. My painting skills are nowhere in her ballpark and anything I attempted would frustrate me, not to mention, look quite bad. But should I ever run out of projects and have a gazillion minutes of spare time on my hands (year, right!), I might just head to the free section of Craigslist and see what I can come up with.

And now that my Sunday afternoon daydream has ended, before the week is out I hope to be sharing with you some very exciting progressions in projects. Life is busy, but good.

Friday, January 14, 2011

choices

Today I have to choose:
  • either to wallow in self-pity or relish the day and its empty moments.
  • between my health and my cravings
  • between a Dr. Pepper or a glass of water
  • between squandering my time or making the most of it
  • either mopping the floors or ironing clothes
  • to be thankful or ungrateful
  • whether to focus on the expectations of others or my Creator
  • and whether to fix my hair or just pull it back out of my face.
Not all choices in life are bad.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ice reflections


The above photos are from December's ice storm, but I was reminded of them yesterday while walking down the sidewalk. The sun had come out, and all the ice formations on the shrubs were falling off, while still maintaining their shapes. There were piles of little leaf-shaped pieces of ice in the mulch. I didn't have my camera, but was so impressed with how the water (aka freezing rain) molded itself to the shape of whatever it touched, from the shingles on our house to the mailbox.

And it made me think of my life and the teachings of Christ. More than ever I have been woefully aware of how short I come to adequately displaying true Christlike qualities.  Had I been that freezing rain and Christ the leaves, I'm not so sure I would be such a perfect reflection of the very thing I'm supposed to be. It's a sobering thought.

But on a much more cheerful note, the sun is SHINING!!! Nothing perks the soul like sunlight. And with this bright sunshine and its warmth, the next bout of precipitation is supposed to be just plain old rain. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the ice is melting, so...

It's January. That means if you garden it's time to start pricing and ordering seeds. Or you can be lazy like me and simply wait a few months and then buy them at Hudson's hardware.  Yes, I know, tomato seeds need to go into the ground now, but when I tried that last year I was totally unsuccessful. So rather than spend a fortune of time and a little money on seeds and soil and fertilizer only to turn around and buy plants for the garden, I'm just going to skip step number one. It makes life a little bit easier.

And I'm in a tad of a quandary. For the last three years, I have been unsuccessful with bean or pea plants. Thanks to drought, deer, bugs, lawn mowers, and goodness knows what else all my peas and bean plants have only harvested about two meals (with no leftovers!). As much as I enjoy watching them come up, I also know when I look at the time factor it's more cost effective to simply buy them frozen in the store. And truly? They taste just the same.

I'll plant tomatoes and okra. Those seem to be my staples, even if they don't always do well. And I harvested just enough cucumbers for pickles and eating & sharing this last year. So I'll put those back on the list as well.  And I'm contemplating beets. I really like pickled beets, so why not?  I'll probably forgo the cantaloupe and have a straight watermelon row, and I'll nix the peppers even though they did fine. We simply don't eat them enough to justify growing them. I might try onions again. Potatoes?  They did okay, so I'm not sure if they're worth attempting again. And quite honestly, that will just about fill my garden space. We joked about making it larger this past year (or at least adding a second space), but seeing as I seldom had time to adequately tend the space I had I think it would be silly to expand it. I even considered having a pumpkin patch, but truly, one pumpkin makes more pies and pumpkin butter than I care for.  Why would I want a whole garden full?

Sometimes I'm thankful my head corrals my daydreams before they get out of control.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

warm fuzzies when frozen

the cardinal...(both the NC and the Alabama state bird)

I think we have more ice than we do grass!

Can you see the bluebird?

female cardinal...I was most disappointed to learn the male birds always have the brighter colors.

and....a bird I've never seen up close before...the red-headed woodpecker!


and our front yard, with an assortment of birds I don't know


We might not sit around and watch the turtles cross the road (my sister-in-law had a classmate ask her if that's what they did for fun on the farm), but we do sometimes sit and watch the birds. I've seen a very fat and gorgeous bluebird, but it flies away every time I try to get a shot.

So what are you doing on your ice day?

Monday, January 10, 2011

snow day

49 years ago a little boy told his mother he was NOT going to school on his birthday.
She informed him he was.
And on his birthday, he woke up to snow.
His Mom still shakes her head in disbelief when she tells that story.

Today he stayed home (but is actually working!) on his birthday, because of snow.

 Happy Birthday, babe! :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

things that make me go hmmm

I'm trying to line my ducks up in a row for the day, and every time I hit "print", I get one line of text on a page, followed by the first page of full text.  Would it really be so hard for Google, or the printer company to have a "fit to page" button for these times when it truly wouldn't hurt to shrink things a little bit?

Meat for supper in the crockpot, and there may actually be time to knock out a dessert before gym class...brownies!  Yes!...um... no...they take 35 minutes and I only have 30....plan B

a Quilt show, 40 vendors from all over NC (and one or two from SC and VA), which I'm sure will have a gazillion cool things to look at and consider. And I have, um, well, I won't tell you how many quilt projects I currently have going.  Wouldn't it make more sense to stay home and use today to actually QUILT instead of tantalizing the senses by browsing?

And snow...I've lost count of how many "snowfalls" we've had this winter. (3-4...does it count if there's only two flurries? If so, then 5.  Does it have to stick longer than 2.5 hours?  Hmmm....would that be one or two?)  and now, one of our busy weekends for the month...it's supposed to SNOW!  Crazy.

And, last but not least, recently I was telling Bobby about this kid in my high school who in response to another student hauling his Bible and a soul-winning book around to every class (but seldom having his textbook or homework!), began carrying Satan's Bible.  Bobby looked at me like I was crazy and asked what the book was actually called, and I told him: "The Satanic Verses".  It amazed me the number of students who were terrified of him after he did that.  Bobby started laughing.  Evidently "The Satanic Verses", which was released while I was in high school, is actually a book about the Koran.  The author had to go into hiding because of the number of death threats he received from Muslims.  So all this time this boy was laughing at people running from him and calling him a "devil worshipper" when in reality he was simply reading a new bestseller about the evils of the Islamic religion.  Education.  There's nothing like it.

And I'm about 1/8 into "In the Land of Believers" (which I got for Christmas).  Written by an atheist of Jewish descent, the girl pretends to become a Christian at Thomas Roads Baptist Church (Falwell's church) and it's her account of what evangelicals are truly like. So far she's been nice in the way she has phrased things, honest, and has truly done her homework on what we "fundies" believe.  Once I finish I'll give a review.  Her deception bothers me to no end, but so far she's not being hateful in her writing style.

And that's my crazy list of random musings for this Friday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

in loving memory


Monday night, close to midnight, my former teacher and mentor, Bert Tippett, heard the words "Well done my good and faithful and servant."  And what a good and faithful servant he was!

I snagged the picture above from his Facebook photo page, and I chose this one because it's how I most remember Mr. Tippett and Mrs. Diane : smiling, vibrant.  But even had I chosen the pic on his profile, even in a hospital gown and swollen, he's STILL smiling.

I can't even begin to tell the tremendous impact this man had on my life, and judging from comments left on Facebook pages from Free Will Baptist Bible College alumni, I am not alone. He was in charge of publications for the school. He could have easily holed up in his office, only coming out for the required chapel. But he didn't. He took on the students' Wednesday night Bible study, taught classes on publications, counseled students, and since we were still in dinosaur days with only the whisperings of this thing called e-mail and the world-wide-web, he weekly published a student newsletter or announcement sheet.

The year I was to be editor of the college yearbook, the head of the English department resigned due to poor health. Mr. Tippett reluctantly agreed to return to the post of Yearbook Advisor, while training another faculty member for the job as well.  I couldn't have had had a better mentor. And it was through this experience that I witnessed first hand the loving relationship the Tippetts had. I don't remember exactly where Mrs. Diane's office was, but she could slip in during a meeting to drop something of without interrupting and could handle business for him while there if needed. He would hold the doors open for her going in and out of buildings, and while clearing trays from their table in the cafeteria (where I worked), their table was always full of lively conversation.

I was one of three students in his Editing Publications class my freshman year, so instead of using an academic classroom we huddled around his massive wood desk. My senior year he designed my first newsletter telling people about my intent of going to China.  And had I not already committed to two years of teaching English after graduation with ELIC, I would have gladly accepted the job offer of becoming his assistant. During my last semester when I felt as if the world was closing in on me with things from home and from things within the denomination, Mr. Tippett challenged me from the Word, edified my weary heart, and prayed with me. He always found the good in people, and knew how to lovingly criticize. He liked to joke that another artistic student and I were his nemesis. He'd then cock his head and say, "Or the two of you my arch-nemesis?" I never could figure out how to respond (even after he told me what a nemeses was!).

He wasn't perfect. Some of my favorite Bible studies he taught was where he opened up his heart and shared what God was teaching him.

And the quote above his office door (which I never noticed until serving as editor) I always laughed about and jokingly told him he put it up because of me: Procrastination on your part does not require emergency status on mine. 

My dream of working under him and learning from his vast knowledge will never be fulfilled. But I have come to realize the greatness of his wisdom, his tenacity, his patience, his love for family and his Lord, and his joy. May I emulate him, and so many others, who when faced with a job they felt unprepared for, admitted their limitations, looked upward, learned from others, then rolled up their sleeves, and simply worked.

Mr. Tippett, you played a tremendous role in not just my educational development, but in my spiritual and personal life as well. And there's not a job in graphic design I've done today that hasn't drawn on the principles you taught me in Editing Publications.  Thanks for the memories.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

a modern convenience that's not convenient

After 11.333 years of observing life from a different vantage point, I've learned that most modern conveniences are really not that convenient.  Take parking decks for example.
They're great things for cities or hospitals or other places that see a large traffic volume but have limited land spaces for parking.  But evidently they're expensive to build, and companies hope to recoup some of the costs through parking fees.  There's nothing wrong with that. It makes good business sense.  But the modern method of using machinery to speed things up creates a problem for disabled drivers.

You drive up, roll down your window, and either pull a tab of paper or else press a button to get a tab.  Seems simple enough. But it's not if your fingers don't work. Every time we go somewhere that has one of these things, it requires me getting out of the passenger side, crossing over in front of the van (and making sure your spouse is not mad at you before you do :)), grabbing the ticket while the person in the exit booth is staring at you trying to figure out what on earth is happening, crawling back in the car, and trying not to notice the line that has formed behind you while this few second ordeal takes place. Exiting is somewhat easier as you don't have to grab things, though trying to handle paper and money while maintaining balance in the seat or wheelchair is still a chore.

And the reality is, as long as there is a passenger riding with a disabled driver, it is not a big deal. Yet this is one of those silly things that stress me out. How stupid is that?  It's not that hard to do; I understand the reasoning behind the process, and yet it always seems to frustrate me. Perhaps I worry too much about what the ticket person is thinking about us, or the agitated people behind us.  They could easily employ a person to hand the tickets out upon entry and lift the gate as they do at exit. Yes, it would take more time and slow things down and require hiring another person, but it would make the process a little more humane and disability friendly, not to mention assisting a little with the unemployment rate.

Not that anyone ever asks me for my opinion. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

emotional

My Dad used to get exasperated with us girls, proclaiming us "emotional".  I thought that was a bunch of nonsense. Today, I have to wonder if he might be right (gasp!).

Someone gave me a "project" (a job) a few months ago.  Well, rather, they gave it to my husband to give to me. It wasn't the best of timing. I briefly talked with the person and told them it would be a while before I could get to it. They were fine with it. I have resolved to finish the roughs for this project by today so I can tackle a new job.  It's really simple. Take the sketches they made, apply the design principles, give them the roughs, make the necessary adjustments. That's all it takes. How hard can that be?

But I find it often works more like this: He's not going to like this design. I just know he's not.  He's not going to want anything creative or cool but something old school because that's just how old men are. He says he wants a sketch, more of an illustration, but if I do that then that really ups the time factor and if he wants changes it means REDOING the ENTIRE thing instead of just using a photo or drawing on the computer where I can salvage bits and pieces and cut and paste and modify.  I could sketch it on the computer, but I'm not sure I'll do a good job at that.  It's been a very long time since I did that in class and I never used that skill set on my job and it might take me a while to brush up on those exercises. And what if I do all this work and he doesn't like anything I do at all?  Maybe I should just do some pencil sketches and find out exactly what he wants, how he wants to use this logo, and then I'll know what file formats to use. And...

The reality is, I know this client wants a logo, and wants a header for his company's website. Two different things, but two things that work together.  Both are doable.  So WHY do I allow myself to work my mind up into this crazy tizzy traffic jam of thoughts?  Just do the job!!!

If I were a teenager and this was my homework and I shared these thoughts with my Dad, he would be clinching his jaw, rolling his eyes upward as if asking for divine intervention, then muttering through clenched teeth, "WHY are you making a simple problem so difficult?" before leaving the kitchen table. Nothing like studying history or geometry with my Dad to bring out our differences. And all those years he thought I wasn't listening. :)

So here's to you, Dad.  A simple job, a simple task, and it'll be done by tomorrow. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

On your mark, get ready, get set, RUN!!!

yes, I know.  That's supposed to say "Go."  But we go all the time. This week, we are running.
I have some work-work to do (the kind you get paid for) in addition to some long overdue laundry. I'm excited about it (the work, not the laundry), and am curious to see how long it will take to corral my scatterbrained thoughts.
I would LOVE to have all my work finished by Thursday night so I can head to Sanford Friday morning. The Quilting and Fiber Art Marketplace  is taking place this Friday and Saturday. http://quiltersgallery.net/the-quilting-and-fiber-art-marketplace-directions-vendors-from-2010-and-hotel-info/  If you scroll down past the hotel information, it lists the 40 vendors who will be there and what their specialties are.  I can't go Saturday since we have a baby shower (Bobby's about to be a great-uncle for the fifth time...and two more coming before the year is out!), so I would really like to make it there and browse half the day away on Friday. And if you flip through the pages, there's even a coupon making the admission price only $4. :) I love coupons!
I hope everyone else had an easier time getting up and out the door this morning! After a week and a half of vacation/holiday time, we (I) had gotten quite spoiled! But I only had someone out the door five minutes late this morning, so I guess I did okay.  Upward and onward! :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

a fun afternoon

Calamity Jane's General Store in Wilson's Mills, NC (with a Clayton address) started something new today.....a poultry auction!  Since today was the first time for it to be held, we weren't expecting them to have a whole lot of fowl things, but they did! We were going to go and observe today, but after being there about twenty minutes I registered for a bidding number. We came home with two geese, (one female, a light brown like our grey ones; and one white, sex unknown that resembles the Chinese goose). They had a roman Toulouse (what we call the mohawk geese), but it had a bad leg.  With all the wildlife problems we encounter, I was afraid we would be feeding it to the slaughter. I seriously considered bidding on a box of 16 black austrolop biddies, but refrained. It was the first animal auction I've ever been to, and it was quite fun! The only disadvantage to buying birds at auction is that you can't ask the owners questions (not that you always get honest answers from Craigslist owners) and you can't check the bird out before hand. But on the other hand, the prices were much lower than CraigsList. I think this was the lowest amount we've ever paid for geese, and so far they seem to be adjusting okay. They've made it to the pond, are "swimming" with our geese. None have attacked the other yet, but ours are swimming at a fairly past pace trying to get away from them. We guess they'll stop once they're tired. After the slaughters of 2010, this year just might be a good animal year for us! :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

2011. wow.
I remember laughing in high school about living in a decade that started with 20 and how far away that would be, and now we're already into the second decade of this millennium.
Last year I didn't set monthly goals or challenges, as I had several lengthy projects. While I read more this past year and did a much better job of staying caught up on the laundry and housework, I also had several projects that I never accomplished. So this year I hope to break them down into smaller, more realistic goals in hopes of actually getting a few extra things done.
What does 2011 hold? Doctor appointments, weddings, births, and a plethora of activities. :) That much is already guaranteed. Beyond that, it's probably safe to say that my spirit is gasping, my health is weird, and my brain is (as always) a constant whirlwind of ideas. At this time next year, I will still not weigh my "ideal" weight according to the weight charts (but will hopefully be 20 pounds lighter!), I will not be as disciplined as my husband, and I will still be somewhat disorganized. And as I get older, I become more and more okay with such things, with accepting some things as simply the way God made me and becoming more comfortable with who I am and willing to work on modifying certain characteristics even though I recognize I will never totally change in those areas.
So 2011, I welcome your blank pages!