Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lots of Literary Fun going on here... :)

I've been indulging my love of old literature lately. Inspired by a movie I saw over the weekend, I decided to dive into Julius Caesar - I remember reading this years ago, but all I retained was the general memory of the plot, not the beauty of the language or the development or anything else. So I started rereading it again. I'm enjoying it so much! I have definitely forgotten almost all of it, so it's like having a new piece of literature! I'm enjoying it so much, I wish I'd taught it to my class. Back when I had a class (little bit of sadness, there, lol). If I get the opportunity to teach again, it's definitely going on the reading list!

It felt so good to get my literary side going again that I went ahead and got another resource page up on EdResource - this time all my Red Badge of Courage resources. Take a look! I loved teaching that novel - if you've never read it, go do it! I'll be glad to lend you a copy!

Yesterday marked my third week on Weight Watchers. I'm seeing results and haven't hit any true roadbumps - some small ones, sure, but nothing I couldn't handle yet. :) I'm excited about all these changes going on... especially since this is the time of year I normally want to crawl under a rock and disappear until spring, and so far I'm still feeling good and going strong. God is really good.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainy-Day Monday

I don't normally have Monday blues... I actually kind of like Mondays - they're the only day of the week where Abby and I have nothing on the agenda, and we make them low key recovery sort of days, filled with coloring and playdough and cuddling and whathaveyou, but today I woke up and it was rainy and I just couldn't take the rain anymore. It was cold earlier in the week, and then a heat wave struck and I was doing fine weathering the heat, but then the rain came and everything turned into a kind of mushy misty too-warm-for-sweaters-or-hoodies-but-not-warm-enough-for-shortsleeves and my hair frizzled up until I looked like an electrocuted porcupine, and I need a haircut, so that isn't helping matters any, and I just really wanted to crawl back into bed and declare a do-over. Unfortunately, that wasn't really an option, so I got up and brushed out my frizzled hair and went on with my day.

And it wasn't a bad day, really... it was just a rainy day Monday.

Natalie got home early today, so I went to Panera Bread to finish journaling for my class tomorrow. I know I haven't said a whole lot about this class lately, and it's because lately I'm dealing with more personal stuff that I don't really want to share with the whole world, but suffice to say it's doing me a lot of good. :) In fact, Robin texted me today asking how the class was going, and a minute later she told me that the class sounded like it was doing good things for me. Yes, indeed. :)

In other news... I lost five pounds last week, bringing my total weight loss to 9.4 pounds. EEE! Very exciting, especially since I feel like it's been really largely painless - confusing, sometimes, but definitely not as painful as I thought it would be. In fact, I'd braced myself for experiencing some of the "shrinking pains" that some of my weight-loss-blogging friends have experienced, but today really was the first day when I hit a bump in the road. And it wasn't really a big bump, and when I realized I was drifting and I was about to make some really bad decisions, I chose to regroup and reroute instead of saying, "Ah, I've already 'blown' today, so let me get it out of my system." And in the end I ended up going only 3 points over my daily allowance, and they came out of my weekly Flex Points (which I have yet to use all of yet) so I'm still on track. Funny how our mind plays tricks on us, right? If I had gone with my "other" voice, I definitely would have done more than 3 points damage even before dinner. I think I'm more proud of myself for handling today's hiccup than for the last three weeks of sticking perfectly to the plan. :)

After I went to Panera Bread, I went in search of long-sleeved shirts. I was shocked to learn that I only have one long-sleeved shirt from last year, and when I put it on today, I was like, how in the world did I ever wear this?! It's so sheer! I think being in storage may have killed it, as it's a kind of "fuzzy" material and the fuzz has worn off. Oh, well. A few long-sleeved shirts would be perfect right about now, when it's too warm for jackets and too cold for short sleeves. I went to every store in town that I shop at (except for JC Penney, and that's my last resort), and no dice. I finally stopped in at Wal-Mart and couldn't find a single long-sleeved plus-size T. I did, however, find a hoodie (which I've also been needing, so, yay!) and a pair of sneaker-shoes, which I also needed, both on sale. I bought shoes last year and I've tried walking in them several times in the last few weeks, but they rub in all the wrong places. These new ones are Dr. Scholl's, with a very low heel, and they're just so comfy. I'm excited about trying them out. :) I think I'm going to start going to the park and walking around the track while Abby is at Mom's Day Out.

I was reading one of the blogs on Weight Watchers Online today, and the girl was saying how she lost all her weight without becoming a gym rat. She practices yoga one day a week, she goes jogging one day a week, and she walks her dog. She admitted the weight didn't come off as quickly as it did for others, but it did come off. I'm totally an all-or-nothing kind of person when it comes to this sort of thing... I feel like I should be doing it seven days a week, and then when I miss a day I've "blown it" and I avoid it for awhile. When I read that, I thought, "I could do that!" I could get on the Wii Fit and do a workout once a week... I could walk laps once a week... I could do a yoga session once a week... and if I did all these things once a week, that would be at least three days of exercise! I don't know why, but three different kinds of exercise don't seem nearly as daunting as three days of the same exercise.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lazy Saturday

Apparently the urge to blog comes and goes in waves... a few weeks ago I was blogging multiple times per day, and now I'm trying to at least get in one post per week. I guess I always think, "Nothing is happening in my life, nobody wants to read THAT!" but when I think about it, the little day-to-day happenings are what I always enjoy reading on other people's blogs.

Today was a nice day... I was a little restless, not sure why, I entertained ideas about sneaking off to a town about 45 minutes away to visit the mall and the Border's Books (neither of which we have any closer, lol, my little town has grown in a lot of ways over the last few years but having a bookstore any bigger than our little postage-stamp sized one is apparently something we still aspire to). Then my dad went out to change the oil on my truck, and discovered a coolant leak, so that kind of put an end to any thoughts of traveling.

Once it was determined that my radiator was full of coolant, however, Maggie and I did run out to do a little shopping. We went to Target and got my mom a birthday gift and card, and I also found a card for a friend whose birthday is coming up; I also picked up some Lean Cuisine/Smart Ones meals for the week (I try to keep a few on hand so I can grab them if I'm uncreative and it's mealtime; I also grab them and take them to work with me so I can keep control) and some diet hot chocolate mix. I had called my dad last night while he was out in town and asked him to find me some hot cocoa mix that was sugar free or diet, and he brought me a tin of no sugar added Swiss Miss because he saw a Weight Watchers logo on it. I keep trying to explain to everybody that Weight Watchers is 1) not about cutting out whole groups of food, eating foods only in weird combinations or amounts, etc, and 2) not about eating only "Weight Watchers" foods, but I don't think my family has quite grasped this yet. Yesterday I was eating a snack of carrot chips and light ranch at the kitchen table, and my mom asked, "You can eat carrots on WW?" I said yes, and she was surprised because they're so "high glycemic index."

Anyway, I noticed that the diet cocoa also has a WW logo on it, just not as conspicuously, which surprises me because the no sugar added kind is one WW point per serving, whereas the "diet" is zero points per serving. Hm. Both are sweetened with sucralose, which makes me very sad, as I hatehatehate the taste of Splenda.

Then we walked next door to Giant where I found that my fav Laughing Cow Babybels were on sale so I stocked up. :) I swear I could not do WW without my Babybels. The lights are only 1 point apiece and I grab a few every morning when I walk out the door and throw them in my purse. I eat them smushed between pretzels, spread on bread (deli thins, usually), with fruit slices, by themselves, grated over anything that really needs a little cheese, etc. They had the cheddar kind today, too, which is 2 points per piece but so worth it.

Tonight we celebrated my mom's birthday even though the official date isn't until Monday. I was so happy to find out that shish kebabs were on the menu! They were incredible and very low-point, so I got to have a side of mashed sweet potato and rice, too. :) It was nice to be able to sit down and eat exactly what everyone else was eating for a change, with no substitutions or alterations. I have some Flex points left over, and I was thinking all day that I was going to spend them on a piece of birthday cake, but I stole a bite from my sister and ended up not liking it at all, so I sat with everyone while they ate cake and then snuck away and had a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich. I still have about 17 flex points left because I came in under point today. :) Actually, I did really well all week, even with the fair and being kind of bummed in the middle of the week.

We stopped at the Red Box on the way out and I picked up two movies, Date Night and Me & Orson Welles, because I knew I'd want a low-key activity for tonight after being on the go all week. I've only made it halfway through Date Night but I already love it, which is funny in itself since I don't particularly like either Steve Carrell or Tina Fey.

I spent this morning getting my space back in shape... I kind of let everything slide mid-week so I had clean laundry waiting to get put away, dirty laundry in piles (since my clothes hamper was holding clean laundry), paperwork, random assorted stuff, etc. I never think of myself as someone who is particularly bothered by a little mess - I'm naturally a sort of clutter-y person, lol - but it sure felt good to get everything together. Especially since I spent some time this week switching out some of my spring/summer clothes for my fall/winter stash. I figured my closet would be in chaos until it was really and truly cold, but I guess everything just wanted organizing, because it's actually less crazy now.

I'm still on the hunt for a new big bag - I went back to Marshalls after writing my post about it and didn't like either of the bags after seeing them again. I also need a couple of long-sleeved shirts and a new hoodie, but I'm going to hold out on doing any more wardrobe-updating until it gets really and truly cold. Maggie and I stopped in at Catos this week and they have tons of good stuff - beautiful classy skirts, nice sweaters, stuff with a lot of style, so I can't wait for a good shopping trip, even if it's not going to be soon. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fair Day!

When I was little, we went to the fair every year. I actually don't ever remember being interested in the exhibits, except the animals - I guess they weren't very interesting to me at that age. :) But probably since the twins were born, our family has kind of fallen out of the habit of going - we were usually at the ocean the same week, or had fall festivities of our own to attend (music recitals, etc). But last year Maggie and I met a friend at the fair and all our fond childhood memories came rushing back - we had a blast!

This year the kids entered a bunch of stuff, so after our dinner out on Thursday, Maggie and I headed over to see who won. :)

Maggie's honey, the first she's harvested from her hives, took second place in her category (I didn't know that honey had different "grades," but it does... her honey is considered "white").

You can't really tell it's a belt in this picture - I was stymied about how to photograph the displays behind the chicken wire; too high to shoot over - but Lizzie's pieced belt took first in its category.

Ruth entered a doll's dress and took first in her category, too! She wasn't able to come with us on Thursday night because of the heat and her asthma, but she was pretty excited!

Anna entered this quilted table runner in white and cream and won second place... however, when we arrived, they had it displayed inside out. ??? I still can't figure out if she was judged based on the back or the front. Dad and I found the manager of the display and made her fix it. :)

One of Lizzie's quilted tote bags took first, also... the girl was sure racking up her blue ribbons! :) She hopes to start selling these handmade bags through Anna's website once Anna's company website gets up and running, and it looks like they'll both do well!

And lastly, Lizzie decided at the last minute to enter a quilt she had deemed "not good enough" to enter, but the girls talked her into it... and it won grand champion!

Her name went up on the champion board. :)

It was beautiful Saturday night... some of the kids made comments about it still being too warm, but I was quite comfortable (and we all know how much I LOVE the heat >insert sarcasm<. However, Maggie and I were supposed to meet Natalie and Abigail the next day at the fair, and the weatherman was calling for unseasonable heat, which completely came through - we ended up breaking the 1970-something record for hottest day in September. Ick! But I have to say, I was still pretty comfortable, which was a blessing. I spent some time this week pulling out my seasonal clothes bins and packing away a lot of the clothes I knew wouldn't come out of my closet until next spring, and I came this close to packing ,my favorite tank top away for the season. I'm so glad i didn't, cuz I definitely pulled it out today!
Abby, I think, was bearing up just slightly less well under the heat. She did so well but neither of us like the heat very much. :)
After wandering around to see the various animals and displays, we went over to see the pig and duck racing. :) This is possibly my favoritest event at the fair.

Natalie and Abby, waiting for the pig races to begin.

The track.

Piggy racing!

Duck racing! These are Indian Runner ducks, and they look twice as funny in motion. :)

Natalie took Abby home right after the races, and we did one more pass around the exhibits and took some cold sodas to Maggie's occupational therapist (who had a display in one of the commercial buildings) before heading home ourselves. All in all, it was a great day, but a pretty exhausting one. I was really afraid that I'd gotten a sunburn, because I was sooo red, despite the fact that I'd slathered on a ton of sunscreen that morning, but after I cooled off I only had a light blush which I think might just be irritation from the sunscreen (it doesn't matter if I use sensitive skin formula, my skin just doesn't like sunscreen). My only regret is that I didn't take a water bottle - I could tell I'd gotten too dehydrated, and the kids and I all have headaches this evening.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still Here

I'm so loving life right now... it's nice and cool in the mornings, it gets warmer throughout the day - but not too hot! - and then cools off nicely at night. I'm enjoying it immensely. Also, my hair and skin is manageable again - yay! :) I desperately need a haircut, but when I killed my phone I lost Tonya's number, so I have to go track her down at work to get it back. :)

My poor feet have been taking a lot of abuse - they definitely are ready for sandal season to be over! I tried to do a mini DIY pedi last night - after I took my shower I ran some hot water and let my feet soak, then did a quick run with a pumice stone, and slathered on some cocoa butter. The only result is that today the sore spots on my feet are a bit more tender, so... bleh. I think a real pedicure is imminent in my future. :)

My family and I went out of town this weekend to my grandfather's house in Virginia with my mom's side of the family, and we had a great time! I even rode on the jet ski - we've had the jet ski for years, but I've always been too scared to get on it. This weekend I even drove it! It was also a blast getting to see Abby over the weekend, and hanging out with the family. Even though we all live in the same county, it seems like we never get to see each other as much as I'd like. :)

The one tough aspect of the weekend was the food... There was so much good food, and I was trying to stay on plan so bad! I was staying over at the adjacent apartment, and there were donuts, cheese danish, etc... like, all of my fav foods! But I did really well all weekend - I only went over my daily points once, and only by 1.5 points, and I didn't touch a bite of the "bad" foods.

I brought a basket of 1- and 2-point snacks with me, and a cooler with some Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones meals, Laughing Cow cheese, and a WW sundae that I never ended up eating. I bought some liquid eggs on a grocery run and ate those each morning with a cheese wedge, and either ate on my own for dinner or modified whatever the family was eating (steak and cheese with laughing cow cheese and no roll, for instance, or a fat-free hot dog).

I came home on Sunday and jumped on the scale for my weigh-in and... I'm down 4.8 pounds! So obviously I'm thrilled. :) I had actually lost just slightly more - I jumped on mid-week to check - but I'm pretty sure that was because the first few days were really low-carb (I didn't mean for it to turn out that way, I was just surrounded by a lot of fresh fruit and veggies!).

Right now my exercise regimen is really only walking laps on my driveway in the evening... I'd like to join a class soon, but while I'm getting in the hang/groove of the new eating habits I'm trying not to let myself get too hungry or tired, because my self-discipline goes to the dogs then.

I swear I'm not going to let this become a weight loss blog, but this blog is about what's going on in my life, and this is what's going on in my life right now! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On The Hunt

So I need a purse. No, seriously, I have a real need of a new purse. I know it's hard to believe. :)

I have lots of purses, but they're all smallish to medium sized, and I am realizing now that unless my life changes drastically, I just need a big purse. Certain friend have teased me before about shopping for handbags in the luggage department, and it's almost true. But I have a lot to lug around! This is what's in my bag right now, for instance (this, by the way, is my favorite go-to bag for everyday... it's a beautiful burlap-type messenger, a gift from my best friend!):

  • A ziploc of roasted chickpeas (my current WW snack)
  • A bottle of ibuprofen (chronic back pain sufferer, here)
  • A pile of receipts - admittedly, these could go
  • A hair band
  • A sippy cup and snack bowl (these are Abby's, but it was easier to throw them in my bag when we went to dinner with my Mom than it was to lug my own bag and the diaper bag)
  • Lipstick and lip balm
  • Eye rewetting drops
  • Makeup case
  • A six-sided nail file
  • A pack of mint gum
  • A small bottle of perfume (Butterfly Kisses by Bath and Body Works, my fav!)
  • A small bottle of hand cream
  • My wallet
  • A pack of "React" gum
  • A pack of fruity gum
  • A nail buffer
  • A small photo album (holding picts of my best friend and I, Khy, and Abby)
  • A worn out nail file that Abby likes to play with
  • A hair brush
  • A bottle of sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Contact fluid
  • A small notepad (and I do have a pen in here somewhere)
  • A small mirror
  • And you can't see it, obviously, but my camera also lives in here, too!

And that's just what I carry at all times - most mornings, I drop a frozen meal in my purse, I often throw my netbook in a sleeve and throw it in; sometimes I drop a book I'm reading in there. And even as I look at my list I'm thinking of things I like to carry but am out of right now... facial cloths, moisturizer, etc. And I think as Abby gets older and potty trains, I'll end up throwing even more in there since I won't need the entire slew of diapers, wipes, etc.

So the last few weeks, I've been on the lookout for a new oversized bag. I thought about it and this is what I want:
  • I want a bag with two-length straps, one for over the arm and one for over the shoulder. I have one purse like that now and I love it (but it's teeny!).
  • I don't want a tote style, nor do I want anything too plain. Nothing too crazy, but something interesting - I'd love studs, extra straps, etc.
  • I want a shiny patent finish. I love black but I'm open to a good interesting color - purple, teal, etc - but NOT RED!

So I went and checked all my normal shopping venues - Ross, JC Penney, Fashion Bug, online stores, etc - and found nothing. Either I found cute bags that were small, or big bags that were ugly.

Then today I went to Marshalls and found two bags I liked! One, not surprisingly, was by one of my fav brands, Nine West, and the other was a brand I don't remember now. The only downside is that one is in brown, and one is in black, so no interesting color. The only problem is that now I can't decide between them. I'm going to go back tonight and make a decision (and take picts of both of them!).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have a love/hate relationship with change. I'm forever rearranging the furniture, ogling new sheet sets, etc. About every three years I get the urge to rearrange my life - I start hunting for a new job, or switch up my hours, etc. I spend hours contemplating moving to another state, how that would change my life, and for the most part it's a good dream. :)

On the other hand, when I don't instigate change, or when change happens that I have no control over, I tend to fall apart, or at least stress/resist with all my might. Case in point: my air mattress died a few weeks ago and that practically sent me into a tailspin, because I couldn't find a full-size air mattress anywhere in town, I could only find a twin or queen-size. Just this small "change" stressed me out until I talked myself into realizing what a nit it was in the face of life.

It doesn't seem to matter what the "size" of the change is - some small changes have brought me much more pleasure/stress than some comparatively "big" changes.

On the other hand, some of the changes I've made have been excruciatingly painful at the time - can I just say it again? excruciating! - but they have also brought me the greatest rewards.

So class last week really got me thinking about what kind of changes I'd like to make in my life, and it made me think of all the changes I've already made. I have been saying it to myself a lot lately - I feel like who I am now and who I was even two years ago are two really different people. Lately I'm finding out new things about myself, or things that used to be true and aren't, anymore. I have tools now that I didn't have before, so even when I run into "new" issues or just rough spots in life, I know how to handle them better - most of the time. :)

So I had a little two part epiphany: first, if I had mostly resolved some issues that I've struggled with all my life, or at least gotten to the point where I had them mostly under control, then I could address some other issues that I've never even been able to think about touching before cuz I was always so consumed with other stuff. And... if I had overcome some of these big issues, I had proven that if I wanted to change something, if someone told me/showed me how - I could change it! It might take me awhile, but if I was really resolved to be in it for the long hall, well, then, I could change whatever it was about myself that wasn't doing me any good!

(Now, just a disclaimer: I am thinking about unhealthy habits, destructive thinking patterns, toxic relationships, etc... just in case anyone becomes concerned. :)).

Second, if I had the power to change something... i.e. if fear of failure wasn't a (huge) factor... what was I waiting for?

So after I got out of class, I went home and signed up for the Weight Watchers online program. It's something I've been thinking about doing for awhile, but I've just kind of never gotten around to mentally committing to it the way I need to. A few months ago, I tried the Weight Watchers for about a month - I didn't join, but I googled a bunch of information about it, found a free daily points calculator and a food point calculator, etc - and it worked really well for me. I like the emphasis on making a bunch of small changes instead of drastic changes (which again is change that isn't always comfortable, lol). I was actually kind of surprised how painfree some of the changes were - for instance, just choosing burger A over burger B at a fast food restaurant was sometimes a huge difference. I even kept some of the changes after I stopped being on the program. I knew if I could commit to it, it would work.

Also, there are a lot of things working for me right now - two of my fav bloggers (Jenny and Allie) are also doing the Weight Watchers program, so I know I'll be getting frequent inspiration/encouragement, and this class, if nothing else, means that I have to be able report on my progress. Or lack thereof. :)

So it's been one week now, and here are some things I've learned. Or, you might say, gained. :)

A couple of years ago, I realized I could do anything but not everything. It's a subtle difference but a really really important one. I was trying to do everything - be a full-time student, be the over-committed one at work, be involved in everything our church was sponsoring, be involved in extracurriculars, etc. And I was pretty much miserable and not enjoying any of it. And (I'm almost embarrassed to say it, because it's so stupidly obvious), I had no clue why I wasn't enjoying it. Eventually I realized that doing less would actually make me more happy - go figure. The first thing I committed to doing was to come home at least more times than not for dinner. I couldn't avoid taking any evening classes, but I did rearrange my schedule so that I was home at least four or five evenings a week. And that started a bunch of other changes - thinking in terms of balancing rest with activity. Now I think I've almost swung the other way - I enjoy a night out, but I also look forward to kicked-back evenings at home with a movie and an early night.

I think that "dieting" (I really hate to apply that term to what I'm doing here, because I'm trying to make changes that I'll use for the rest of my life, not just to drop X many pounds and then... what?) is going to be very similar. I can eat anything, but I can't eat everything. And recognizing that I'm not going to be any happier if I do eat everything.

I know that a lot of these extra pounds come from bad eating habits where I was trying to make up for something. Some of this was emotional - "I'm not happy, so I'll comfort myself with this food" - and some of it was physical - "I'm working overnights almost full-time and being a student full-time and I'm exhausted but sleep isn't an option, so I'll eat this because it makes me slightly less miserable." Also, when I was at work, I was working in a really fast-paced atmosphere where no one got meals anywhere near conventional mealtimes, and sometimes not at all and definitely not until we were absolutely starving, and if we were lucky enough to score a five or ten minute break where we could literally grab food and swallow it, we were focused on eating enough so that we wouldn't feel painfully hungry again until we had the option of eating.

So I think now half of my battle is going to be realizing that I don't need these habits anymore, either emotionally or physically. I'm lucky enough to be in a job where if I'm hungry, I can eat. There really isn't a time in my life right now where if I was hungry, I couldn't feed myself. On the emotional front, I think I've been realizing for awhile now that I don't need to eat to make myself feel better. I have better tools. I know how to identify what's bugging me and work through it. And, to be honest, after you've felt what it's like to really feel better, food just doesn't cut it anymore. A couple of times this past year I've found myself with an empty wrapper/plate/etc and thought, "What just happened here? I don't think I even enjoyed it. And, seriously, I don't even feel any better!!!"

Not to say that I'm not having cravings, because I am... and to be honest, for the most part I'm undulging these cravings. Because I'm not going to live without chocolate, ice cream, or carbs for life. I'm just going to eat them properly. (Actually, I'm being really persnickety about making sure I do eat some carbs, cuz I accidentally went without yesterday - I had fruit for breakfast and then a low-carb prepared meal for lunch - and by afternoon I was on the floor. Whereas today I made sure to work some carbs in and I'm way below my daily points AND I'm doing fine. Lesson learned.) So I've basically spent the last week telling myself, "You can have anything you want... you just can't have everything."

Actually, it's been kind of funny... the last two nights, I've had a dream where I was eating something "bad", something I kept thinking "I shouldn't be eating." Not sure what it was but I do know it had cookie crumbs and caramel. I woke up still tasting it and thinking I'd blown my points, and I realized two things:

I may not realize it yet, but I want a treat. A really luscious treat. And -

I'm going to blow it. At least when I blow it in my dreams I can work through it when I wake up before I do it in real life.

So I attacked it on two fronts. I went and bought a Smart Choice peanut butter cup sunday - 3 points, no damage done there, and it was really incredible. Sure enough, I hadn't realized I was feeling deprived until I started eating it and I was like, "I've been wanting this."

Second, the question is not, Am I going to mess up occasionally? It's gonna happen! The question is what I'm going to do right after. And now I'm so glad I had the "binge dream." Because the answer is - I'll deal, I'll get back on track. Probably it's not such a big deal as I think (thinking about my dream, I realized I've never used all my flex points and they could have easily covered even a really indulgent dessert).

So, this is my change right now. I'm excited. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I noticed that Blogger put back up their "blogs of note" thingummy and they were featuring this blog, Hyperbole and a Half, as the blog of note. So I explored. Funny stuff! Especially this post, featuring the grammatically-produced Alot. Trust me, go check it out, especially if you're an English major. :)

Today was fun - I slept in (but of course - how else does one staycation?!?) and then got up and dressed just as Tracey and her kids came over. We had a good time hanging out, then she had to take her daughter to a soccer game, so I ran downtown to pick up some groceries, then once she returned we all went to a nearby discount grocery store and did some more shopping.

It's been a weird/crazy day and I've sort of been nibbling on things here and there, but I feel like I've been hungry all day, so I volunteered to cook dinner. I made chicken breasts in a little bit of BBQ sauce (I do so love BBQ sauce, but we rarely ever have it, and it's surprisingly low in calories/fat), some rice, grilled asparagus, and roasted butternut squash. I also cut up some honeydew melon for later - I've been craving melon so much lately!

Tracey reminded me that we're now less than 100 days out from Christmas. Funny that she mentioned it, because I've actually been thinking about Christmas lately, too! Time to start crafting and sale/ebay watching. On the other hand, I feel like Fall has just started, and I'm none too eager to rush it, being my favorite season. :)

While I was shopping for groceries at BJ's, I ran through their DVD section and found the last remaining copy of Stargate: SG1 season 8 for only $15. So of course it came home with me. :) I think the only season I don't have now is season 3. I glanced through the episode list and I remember now that Maggie and I agreed that season 8 may be one of our favorite seasons in the entire show, so I can't wait to go curl up with some chocolate kisses and enjoy it. :)

By the way, this seems to be the year to buy TV on DVD... I can't believe how many seasons on various TV shows I have picked up this year for under $20 that a few years ago were $50 or more - and I'm not even finding sales, just regular prices!

Sometime in the near future I think I'm going to take a weekend and get caught up on some of my fav shows - I still haven't seen the last two seasons of Lost (and it's killing me!), nor have I kept up with Warehouse 13, Sanctuary (I feel so guilty, Amanda Tapping!), or Bones. One of these days...

I am definitely beat, so I'm off to curl up with SG1. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Friday, September 10, 2010


This morning, four of my siblings and my father left to spend the weekend canoeing/camping on the Shenandoah River. My mom, my sister Ruth (10), and I, are home for the weekend - my mom and Ruth because Ruth can't handle the air quality, and me because I don't feel good about going. While I feel good about this decision, I'm also really disappointed. The Shenandoah is "my" river and I haven't seen it for almost two years now. But I am currently without health insurance, and this last week, as the trip approached, I just kept thinking, "What it I slip on a rock and gash open my leg/arm/etc" (this happened on my last trip to someone in our canoeing party - we ended up taking him to the emergency room) "or what if I fell and hit my head, or broke something?" (I was just reading about a fellow blogger who slid on slippery rocks while camping by a river and broke her tailbone). I try not to make decisions based on fear, but this was such a strong feeling, and I'm an intuitive person, and I kept thinking that if I did go and something happened, I'd feel like a complete idiot.

I also seriously contemplated driving to the beach this weekend instead, since that seems less dangerous, but I have nobody to go with, and the rates don't fall until next weekend, so I decided to save my money and take Maggie later on instead.

So I'm putting a positive spin on this weekend by declaring it a staycation instead! It started this morning with getting to sleep in - well, sort of! I was woken up a little earlier than I wanted by someone pounding on the piano, but I still got enough sleep - a miracle, since I was up way too late stargazing on my roof. I love fall - the stars seem to be closer and brighter when it's a little bit chilly. :) I saw three shooting stars in about thirty minutes. As soon as we get our printer working again, I want to print out some sky maps and learn to identify more constellations.

After seeing everyone off, Ruth and I jumped in Anna's truck - my truck is waiting for a part to come in, which came in about an hour after dad left, go figure - and ran errands. We stopped in at Panera Bread for lunch, took my check to the bank, did a little shopping at Target, and bought some groceries for the next few days. I also picked up a book to read and some movies at Redbox, since the book I ordered last week hasn't come in yet (and also because I started this book at Abby's house and want to finish it, lol). I intend to spend my days being active and my evenings in total relax mode. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Today's The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life...

So, today was the first day of my class. I was still on the waitlist but I had permission to come sit in, and I'm so glad I did because at the end of class my professor pulled me aside and said to keep checking the waitlist, but if nothing opens up he'll fix it with the registrar's office. Whoohoo!

So in all the drama of trying to get myself a place in this class, I forgot how intense it's supposed to be - and it looks like it deserves the reputation! There were no tears today but definitely some quavering voices as we started sharing some of the things we'd like to work on in the next sixteen weeks. I didn't do any sharing since I wasn't sure yet if I'd get to stick around, but I can tell this will be a great atmosphere, and a lot of good stuff is going to happen.

Some stories/issues that were shared (and parental warning, some tough stuff ahead):

One woman was a volunteer rescue worker at the time of 9/11. She was attached to one of the units from our county who was sent up to help with the situation, and she still wakes up from nightmares in a cold sweat over the things she saw.

The girl sitting next to me shared that she'd like to repair relationships with both her dad and best friend. Then she proceded to tell us her father had just been incarcerated after her best friend turned him in for sexually molesting her. She doesn't know whether to believe it or not and wants to support her dad and her best friend.

Lots of folks who feel like their relationship with their mom is a negative force (hmm, that sounds familiar!) and are looking to be "less affected by her words," "able to share without judgement/criticism," and the ever elusive "better relationship with."

We have a lady who was raped at a young age and can't tolerate physical touch of any kind.

There were also a lot of folks who are just sensing that they could be "more" if they could get some direction and guidance. The professor threw out a lot of examples of areas that have been/could be changed through this class.

Our homework for this week is to formulate a list of 10 things that we'd like to work on this semester and prioritize them. The list can (and, he said, probably WILL) change throughout the semester. We'll spend time in class learning theories of behavior/personality adjustment and sharing sucesses and failures in our respective journeys. After this week, we're required to journal four times a week (a minimum of 1.5 pages each entry) in a notebook, which we'll turn in to our professor several times throughout the semester. Nobody will read it but he, and he'll make suggestions and feedback. He'll also be mentoring us face-to-face throughout the semester.

So, after work, I'm off to buy a three-ring binder/journal and some tissues for my schoolbag. :) Also, note to self - DON'T WEAR MASCARA ON TUESDAYS!!!

I expect that some parts of this class will spill over into my blog... I expect that it will have the same quality of the class: some will be shared with the whole class, and some of it is going to stay tucked into my journal for the professor's eyes only. He's been very generous about letting us sort of draw our own boundaries as to what we'd like to share and what we'd like to work through more or less privately with him. I will say that some of the changes I'm contemplating have me nervous - even just contemplating them! But I also think that I'm really ready to keep changing and growing into a new and better person. :)

Abigail's first Mom's Day Out is tomorrow... I'm sure she will be fine but I'm equally sure I'll be a wreck. :( Pray for me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Glorious Days!

Just noticed I haven't posted in a few days... I guess that little "flurry of multiple post per day inspiration" didn't last long!

Today was glorious... I hope everyone had a fun Labor Day! I've had a restful/good weekend, which is good because August was super-busy and September, sadly, promises to be just as bad. It's packed full of good things, which I will enjoy, but packed nonetheless. This is my only "free" weekend this month so I definitely made the most of it. I got a lot of low-key cleaning/organizing/laundry done so I'll stay on track this week at least. :) The rest of the time was spent hanging out with family, blogging, reading, and resting. It was exactly what I needed!

Today was our Labor Day picnic with tons of people... I lost count but we sure had fun chatting with everyone! I never realized how many interesting folks we know!

Tomorrow is the first day of the class I am taking. I am so excited! I feel sorry for Anna, though, who has to get up and babysit for me - for her it's "early" - for me, not so much!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Just-What-I-Wanted Pear Cobbler

I don't know why, but I'm craving fruit cobbles lately... last night I made a peach cobbler that I thought was only for me, but everyone else kept coming around asking, "What are you making? Oooh! Can I have some?" so by the time it came out of the oven, we all got a tiny scoop and that was it. :) I bought more peaches today, but my eye was caught by these luscious, soft-but-not-mushy pears whose fragrance could be smelled all over the produce section.
I think I'm getting good at making cobbler... apparently it's easier to make than aioli!
This is my "recipe":

I peeled and sliced thin 8 pears (I'm not sure what kind I used, I think they were Bradford?) and dumped them into a 9"X11" glass baking dish; I threw in 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons white sugar, and 2 tablespoons melted butter and mixed them up together, then spread it out evenly in the pan. In another bowl, I mixed 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup oats, and 1/2 cup slivered almonds (and I crunched them up even smaller as I added them), a teaspoon of cinnamon, a tiny sprinkle of nutmet, and 1/2 stick of melted butter. I blended this up until it formed a crumb-like consistency and spread it over the top of the cobbler.

I put it into the oven for about 20 minutes - the crust was brown and crunchy (but not hard), the pears tender, and the juice bubbling and thick. I love the nuts!

If it wasn't so good on its own, I would have added a small dollop of my Haagen-Daz limited edition Honey Vanilla ice cream.

It's been beautifully cool today, with thin lazy clouds that seem to be clearing. I'm looking forward to doing some stargazing in a few hours!

EdResource Updated!

I finally got around to one of my goals today - get my EdResource blog up and running. The design is far from perfect, but I think it's going to have to just stay that way for awhile until I get some actual resources loaded! Anyway, today I got a bunch of Animal Farm related resources up - including a few I created myself last year while teaching the novel to my class. Animal Farm is one of the most accessible "classic" novel to teach to kids, so if you're looking for help, head on over. :)

And if Animal Farm isn't your thing right now... well, other resources will be coming up soon, so check back. I'm hoping to get at least one new resource/unit up each week.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Long Weekend

I realized that this weekend is a long weekend because all my blogger friends are rejoicing.

Every weekend for me is a three-day weekend (until I convince Chris to let me work on Natalie's working Fridays) but these next two weeks are really long weekends... not only do I have Friday off, I get two Mondays off in a row (one for Labor Day and one because Abby and her 'rents are going on a beach trip). Luckily I have plans for both of these weekends, otherwise I think I'd go stark raving mad missing my pumpkin. :) This weekend involves lots of downtime after a really busy Summer and an especially busy August, then a picnic on Monday, and next weekend involves a camping/canoeing trip on the Shenandoah. Yay! I haven't seen "my river" for a few years now and I'm soo excited. Plus, I didn't get to do any camping this spring or summer, and I missed my annual camping trip with friends. I thought I didn't miss it, but I thought wrong - I walked down the camping aisle at WalMart with my dad today and wanted to drive straight home, pack up my truck, and spend the weekend in a tent.

My old phone - the one I just got working on Wednesday - was driving me NUTS (apparently I've become more accustomed to my Samsung than I'd like to admit), so today I caved and went and bought a new phone. I've been usingTracfone ever since I got my first phone, but today I made the switch to Straight Talk, which I feel secure about since it is, after all, owned by Tracfone. I got the Samsung T104G and a month's "All You Need" plan for starters. If I need to upgrade to an unlimited plan, well, it's still cheaper than the average contract phone. I love having video and the MP3 player... quite an upgrade from my cheapo old Samsung! I AM hoping that my old phone springs back to life enough to pull everything off of it, but so far, no luck.
So, last night Maggie and I had so much fun. :) We started off the night at our regular booth at Ruby Tuesday, with a round of Watermelon Spritzers, made perfectly (shaken, not stirred, lol). It's become a little bit of a joke with Maggie and I that we care who the bartender is - neither of us drink, but the bartender is responsible for making all the specialty fruited iced teas/zero proof beverages, and some of them make them better than others.
After dinner, we headed over to Ross, where I was determined to find some cute shoes. I need a pair of sturdy cute shoes, but I have wide feet (I'm practically a hobbit!) which makes it nearly impossible to find cute shoes unless I order them in a size which makes them look like a small pair of boats. I thought I might have scored because the larger size rack was full, but I tried on shoes for about 15 minutes and no luck.

So we proceeded to Catos, tried some clothes on, didn't like any of them, and wandered over to the shoe section... where I found the most awesome. pair. of shoes.

Seriously. Awesome.
Ok, just look already.

Aren't they seriously awesome?!? I've been wanting a pair of sturdy but cute shoes lately, and these definitely fit the bill. Just a little more edgy than my normal style, but sooo fun. And sooo comfy - they were actually comfier than the flip-flops I was wearing that night, so I wore them out of the store and when we got home after going to Wal-Mart, my feet were still happy. Peep-toe, but not so much I have to stress over my ugly toes. And a nice heel! High, which makes my back happy (am I the only one who has way better posture on heels?) but very solid.

After doing a big cleanout of my closet this week, I'm remembering (again!) that it's better to have a few things you really love and feel good about than a bunch of things you feel so-so about. These shoes definitely fall into the first category, along with my favorite silver pumps, and my adorable gladiator sandals I found for a steal ($12) AND in a wide-width and are sooo comfy. And my studded black tank-top. Oh yes, and this purse that I bought on vacation. :)

Isn't it cute? I saw the zipper rosette and flipped with happiness (I'm a little obsessed with zippers lately. Zippers and owls). I also lovelovelove the double handles. It's a little small for everyday use - I practically shop for handbags in the luggage department, lol - but it's a piece that has lots of good memories attaches to it (bought it while shopping with my best friend and her sister and Khy) and makes me happy every time I see it.

My dad and I went to the local WalMart today to pick up some things we needed, and while

I wandered the produce section in search of garlic, lemons, and green cabbage, I ran across some fresh artichokes and knew I absolutely had to have them. I've been craving them ever since I read an article in one of Chris' foodie magazines about artichokes with lemon-garlic aioli. I bought two, brought them home, pulled up a recipe for aioli, and got busy.

If you've never cooked an artichoke, there are some good directions here. I'm a bit lazy, so I usually just chop off the stem until the artichoke will sit upright, stick it in a pot with an inch of so of water, bring it to a boil, and keep adding water as it steams off. When I can pull a leaf out easily, I declare it done.

Well, the aioli flopped. Completely. Maggie even went at it and tried to render it into something edible, and even she couldn't do anything with it. Then I tried to make some garlic butter using the same garlic we'd used for the aioli, and that was inedible, too - I think maybe the garlic was bitter? In the end I melted some butter with a dash of smoked paprika and everybody loved it. I consider it a small victory that the kids cluster around me excitedly to eat artichoke. :)

Two artichokes don't go very far among seven people, though (Anna is the lone holdout in not liking artichoke) so I ended up scrambling some eggs for an egg and goat cheese burrito for my dinner. I also sliced up some peaches I got last night and threw them into a sort of makeshift cobbler, which I'm about to rescue from the oven and share. :)

Absolute Craziness

I am convinced that half the people in the world are idiots. I mean, seriously - there are signs of it everywhere! For instance -

I got an email recently from one of my favorite retailers (I ALWAYS sign up for emails from places I shop... they almost always send you a coupon or special deal as an introductory treat, and this summer I got a coupon for $10 off any purchase of $10 or more as a birthday treat. And if worst comes to worst, and all they send you is sale announcements or new product info, well, you can always press the unsubscribe or spam button). The heading caught my eye, so I opened it to see the following advertisement: "Absolutely EVERYTHING is 40% off!*"

I scrolled down to the bottom to see what that little star could possible be, since, I mean, "absolutely everything" seems pretty self-explanatory. Everything is 40% off! Absolutely EVERYTHING!

So imagine my... bewilderment? chagrin?... when I read this: "40% off does not apply to Product X, Product Y, or Product Z."

Well, then, absolutely everything is NOT 40% off, then, is it? Is this so hard to figure out, people? Sheesh.

Another example - I'm on the waiting list for a class at my college. A waiting list means, obviously, that the class is full, but we're on standby in case someone drops out last minute. It means we WANT to take the class - in my case, badly! - but we're still holding out breath and crossing our fingers and praying.

So imagine my surprise when I get an email from the college today (school starts next Tuesday) telling us to "Please make your final course selections and register for classes you wish to attend, as we would like to form class rosters."

Well, DUH, if we COULD register for class, we would, wouldn't we? It's not like we're sitting on the fence, registered for classes but not paid up yet (which used to happen all the time before they updated the system - students would register for way more credits than they wanted to take, since they didn't have to be paid up til a week after class started, then go to the first days and drop whichever classes they didn't like most). I would LOVE to register and hand them the money in full, if I could get a spot. That's why I went through the trouble of putting myself on the waiting list!

This is also the college that advertised walk-in student counseling/advising sessions all afternoons for new students (you have to meet with an advisor before you can declare your major, sign up for certain classes, etc). I hadn't met with an advisor yet, but I needed to, so I stopped in one day to make an appointment (I had a tight schedule with work and school so I needed to know that an advisor would be available when I had time). I had been taking classes for a couple of semesters already, knew exactly what I wanted to do, etc. When I told the receptionist this, she told me the first appointment she could get me was in December (this is early September). I asked her why, and she said they only had a certain amount of appointments each day and they were filled till December. "But," she added, "Come back this afternoon. We're required to keep our schedules clear for new student walk-ins, BUT NOBODY EVER COMES IN because new students are required to come in and meet with an advisor the week before classes start."

I don't know, folks. Maybe it's just me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I don't know why, but I'm feeling a little bit of pressure lately to keep moving, to accomplish, to get something done. I feel like I've gotten a lot done this week, but when I think about it, I haven't exactly been lazy the last few weeks, either - my attention has just been focused in one or two areas, so other areas suffered a bit. Hence, when Monday rolled around, I felt like I'd let too much slide too far and panicked. Luckily, I think I have everything shored up now, just in time for two long weekends in a row (made longer by the fact that I got this afternoon off since Natalie was missing Abigail and came home early).

I got my room cleaned and organized after it having been rearranged for the mattress fiasco, I got my truck cleaned out (I still need to swing by my mechanic to use their vacuum/wash center, but I'm hoping to get this done later today), I cleaned out my closet and got the excess bagged up to take to either the thrift store or a friend, I got all my laundry done, and now I'm pretty much ready for a little down-time. I'm gonna go take an afternoon nap - the highest of all luxuries, in my opinion - and get ready to go out for dinner and some errands/shopping with Maggie tonight, our weekly girl's night out. :)

On another note... last night I stayed up way too late. Like, by the time I turned out my light it was 11, and I like to be tucked in and snoring by 8:30 or 9. I used to be so good about that, but in the last few months, I think because of the summer and it being hard to fall asleep when it's still light out, I've sort of lost my self-discipline. Anyway, by the time I jumped in the shower to wash my hair, it was already 9:50 and so when I got out, I decided to blow-dry it since I wanted to look nice for gymnastics class and Abby's preschool open house today. I pulled out my round brush and blow dryer, and the little focus-attachment thingy, and as I was retrieving all this (can you tell I only blow-dry my hair once in a blue moon? I have fine hair and it dies quickly under heat, plus it has great texture when I air-dry, so I try to avoid blow-drying like the plague!), I noticed a bottle of Suave heat protector spray I'd picked up on clearance eons ago. So I figured, protecting your hair from heat, that's good! So I sprayed some on my hands and worked it into my hair and began drying.

Right away, I could tell I'd broken rule number one of my treaty with my hair: no product, or at least as little product as possible. My hair doesn't like product. The few exceptions to this are: a quick spray of hairspray if I spray it on my hands and then smooth it over my hair; a small dollop of anti-frizz cream (a SMALL dollop); and some Aussie Mousse+Leave-in Conditioner. Clearly, heat protector spray does not fall into any of these categories.

My hair dried up okay, and it actually looked good - nice and smooth, no frizzies, not too dull - but it felt awful. I could tell it was thinking of ways to make me pay.

Today it still looks nice, but it still feels rotten. I've tried giving it a light brushing, hoping that would remove some of the product, but no go. I'm thinking tonight I'll do a nice deep conditioning treatment before I wash it and hope that we can kiss and make up. *guilty look*

Also - I just checked the college website, and I am now the only person listed on the waitlist for that class I really want to take - EE! I am so happy! I also wrote to the professor asking if I could sit in on the first class, since I could conceivably get a place as late as a week after the start of class, and he wrote back and said to come see him, we'll "work something out." Like I said, thanks so much for your prayers!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day Three, And My Time Traveling Experiment Has Ended!

On Monday, my cell phone died. Despite my best efforts, it remained dead. Luckily, I still had my old phone (which had sustained some water damage that has apparently miraculously healed after a year and a half in dry storage, so all I had to do, theoretically, was have the cell phone company switch my number back to my old phone, and I was back in business.


Has anyone else noticed what a wide rift is between theory and reality?

Turns out the company had to send me a new SIM card for the old phone, which would take 3-5 days to arrive. I should have just bought a cheap new phone and had them activate it (which ironically could have been done almost instantly because it's new). But I didn't. I had three days without a phone.

Well, I got home from work today and my SIM card had arrived! I have to admit, that was fast, even though it took way too long, obviously. :) I called them Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon it was delivered. They were swamped with calls when I called to activate it, so I was on the phone for over an hour, but at long last everything was set up and I had a working cell again.

The downside is, I lost most of my numbers and a lot of sentimental texts and pictures - texts from Robin as she was in labor (yeah, that's my best friend - texting while delivering!), the text I got when Khy was born, his first tooth, etc. And tons of pictures of Robin, Khy, and Abigail. Most of these I think I uploaded and are somewhere in my email account, but I know I've lost a few forever unless my phone decides to have a miraculous resurrection (which has been known to happen, but I'm not holding my breath).

Anyway, I was without a phone for 72 hours, and it made me realize how much I treasure my technology. I hear of folks all the time who long to unplug, who resent the "intrusion" into life that technology makes possible. I couldn't disagree more. I have reached for my phone a million times in the last few days to text my best friend and ask, how was your day today? is Khy taking steps yet (cuz, I mean, I've seen the pictures - this kid's gonna be a track star by the time he's 1!)? how's school going? I saw something you'd like... and I couldn't. We got to chat through Facebook one day but that was pretty much it.

My grandfather has been in the hospital (prayers, please) with fairly serious health problems, and I've had a few moments over the last few days where I just felt like I needed to get to a phone, fast, and make sure everything was ok with everyone I love.

People who feel like technology creates problems - are you sure you aren't using technology to create problems? If I need some space, I turn the phone off. If I don't want to talk, I send the call to voicemail (lest anyone who has left me a voicemail message wonder if I just ignored them, I will say in my defense that I've used this move only half a dozen times in my cell-phone-career, and usually because I didn't recognize the number and didn't feel like dealing with telemarketers). Emails don't have to be replied to today, I can blog when and as often as I choose, and if I don't like to read someone's Facebook status updates or tweets, I just take them off my feed.

I've come to realize in the last few years that while I'm certainly not laid-back, I'm definitely not into the drama. Or, let me rephrase that - there's so much drama that I HAVE to deal with, or that genuinely drives me insane, that I just have no room left for elective drama. People who get into hatefests at work? Seriously? What do you think you're accomplishing by airing your feelings to all? And those folks who post little snipes about marital woes on Facebook... grow up. It's not that I don't care about you and your issues - chances are that if you're on my friends list, I do care about you and all that is in your life. But posting it for the world to read looks makes you look less like a to be pitied martyr and more like a angsty 14 year old.

On the other hand, technology has brought great blessings into my life. I used to be part of an online writer's club that helped shape me into a writer and gave me some very rich friendships, several of which have spilled over into me "real" life. When my best friend moved from Maryland to Alabama, it was back in the days when you paid for each cell phone minute but got free minutes after a certain time at night (yeah, those days) and we waited anxiously for that time so we could stay connected. When texting became mainstream and afforable, it was a godsend.

I was able to share, albeit in a small way, Khy's birth day thanks to texting, Facebook updates, and picture messaging. I was 600 miles and three states away, but I knew when he'd been born, how much he weighed, what he looked like.

I love that randomly throughout the day, my phone will buzz, and there'll be a message from Robin saying, "Miss you/how was your day?/how's Abby?" And I love getting pictures of Khy. :)

In short, I think technology is a tool, just like any other, and whether it creates good or bad is basically up to the person wielding it. I know in my life it has enabled me to stay close to those I love - and for those of you who are going to scream, "But you lack REAL CONNECTION!!!" (yeah, I heard you) - again, this is a matter of choice. I've been to Alabama three times in the last six months, and will go down again more times before the year is out. Our "connection" is just as strong in real life as it is through texts. When my college friends are home, we love nothing more than to get together for dinner and debate and discuss all sorts of issues; in the meantime, when they're away, a Facebook status update lets me sense when someone is having a bad day and offer a word of encouragement, and a text message shares prayer requests. I have a mentor whom I like to write emails to, which gives her time to pray and think over the advice she'll give me when we're face to face.

As for me - technology is here to stay, and I'm sooo glad. :)

Second Childhood

Once upon a time, when there was major snow on the ground, Abby and I used to meet my family up the street to hit my fav thrift store and then go to Burger King to let the kids play on the indoor playground. We haven't done it in awhile, and today most of my family was off on one task or another, but I need a new bedframe since my mattress switch and was looking for a smallish table or bookcase and a basket, so Abby and I picked up Maggie and off we went.

No bedframe, but we did make some major scores!

This is my favorite thrift store - I often find stashes of clothing in my size, nice brands, still with tags, and I bought my old bedframe here, as well as tons of DVD's, VHS tapes, CD's (I have scored some great CD's here for a few bucks apiece!), etc. It's recently undergone a renovation, so we walked around the perimeter to admire it, and on the wall was this "Hunny" pot! Maggie and I shrieked with delight when we found it, and we brought it down and Abby saw it and went nuts too! One of her latest words has been "honey." She pronounces it the way Pooh-bear does - "Huh-nee" - and it's sooo adorable. It was marked $1, and Abby loves buckets, backpacks, purses, etc - loves putting things in and taking them out and carrying them around - so it was definitely coming home with us.

Not three feet away was this ball, in need of a little inflation but otherwise in great condition. Abby uses these balls at gymnastics and loves them. It was also marked $1.

By now I realized that it was a thrifty kind of day, so we swung by the VHS tapes and scored again - twice! A new Pooh Bear video and a Richard Scarry Glow Worm and Gold Bug tape. Each was $1.

I also scored a toy for Khy - a Pooh Bear toy with wire and beads to slide along, with sound effects. It was marked $2.

No bedframe - just assorted headboards and footboards - no squarish basket, no tables or bookcases. We did find an ADORABLE solid wood little vanity in mind condition for $20... if I were a vanity type person, or had a little girl, I would totally have bought it. :)

The best part about it was that when we got to the checkout line and I paid, I glanced at the receipt and realized that everything cost $4. So obviously I was not charged full price, which is not uncommon for me since I'm in there all the time and all the clerks know me.

One of the things I feel like I'm gaining from being Abigail's nanny is that I'm getting to think about a lot of parenting issues before I have my own kids. :) I've always been a big thrift-store fan, and now that I look at things with a 2 year old in mind, I'm convinced that when I do have kids, I'll still be thrifting. My best friend Robin, who just had a baby in February, was sharing with me that used makes even more sense with a baby, because they outgrow things so fast that you're "over" clothes and toys before they've been worn out. A lot of Abigail's clothes are passed down from a relative with a slightly older child, and you can't tell - she has an adorable wardrobe! Anyway, I figure I am practicing for the future. :)

After our thrifting adventures, we went to get sushi at a place nearby. I thought I was craving it. The thought of it was terrific. When it arrived, not so much. The california roll was excellent -very fresh tashing and yummy - but the pieces were so large, it felt impossible to eat. We got an order of salmon roll, too, and I just didn't like it. I had one piece, pulled the salmon out of the second piece, and let Maggie eat the rest. We both got an egg roll, so at least there was something familiar to eat.

I feel sad in that I think I may have found something that I'm not comfortable eating. And I consider myself a fairly adventurous eater. I love trying new things, and I generally appreciate new flavors and tastes. And I have enjoyed sushi in the past, even though it's been a sort of hit or miss thing (depending on where the sushi came from, how fresh it appeared, etc). But today - not having it.