Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm Married Again

Not that I wasn't married. (ha ha) But I really hated not having a wedding ring to prove it.

This was really quite a saga also, and as everyone knows, I love a good saga. Maybe because it reminds me of the greats. Gone with the Wind, etc.

Warning: Boys, I realize you care little for diamonds, jewelry or anything remotely related. There will be much discussion of such herein.

Here goes.

On our five year anniversary, hubby & I went out for dinner to a very fun Japanese steak & seafood place. Hubby knows my favorite foods. They cooked it right in front of us and the chef was quite adept and flinging about his knives and other various metal items. Flames abounded. It was fun and delish.

I suggested we pop into a jewelry store that happened to be across the street, "just to look." Famous last words of mine more than once. I, of course, was in the mood to shop. We ended up walking out with the promise that I could pick up my newly sized, set and soldered wedding ring. I was ecstatic to say the least! With only a faint niggling down in the pit of my stomach. Which was easily ignored.

It was a 1.29 carat diamond for an amazing price...nothing was going to stop me!

The following week (whilst glancing at my gorgeous, enormous new diamond every five seconds) I got the official appraisal amount from the insurance. It was to be much less than I just spent.

"Oh, no big deal, I'll just take it out of savings," says one half of my brain.
"You're an idiot," replied the other half.

After much arguing, more time spent researching options online, I discovered I could get a better quality(slightly smaller) diamond at an online store for the amount I should spend with no taxes and no shipping fees and no setting fees. The niggling asserted itself.

I returned the first ring to the store. Having worked in jewelry retail before myself, I knew they would want to do everything in their power to, "save the sale." Which prepared me for the onslaught. I had my script ready to go.

"I really wish I could keep it, but insurance gave me much less than I expected."

"I want to look for a new one today, but I am waiting to buy anything until I have the check in my hand."

"Let me tell you, I am as sad as you are about this."

I got out relatively unscathed.

And promptly went home and ordered my new ring.

I cannot praise this company enough. They were prompt, professional and delivered exactly what I ordered at such an amazing price. I received my new engagement ring and anniversary band each in shiny wooden boxes. There was a retail appraisal for me to send to my insurance company (for well above the wholesale price I actually paid) as well as my diamond grading report. To anyone who wants to purchase jewelry, I highly, highly recommend Blue Nile. You will not be disappointed.

To say I am pleased would be an understatement. This ring is more beautiful than the first one we bought and just so perfect for me. I am still sad that I lost my original diamond that my amazing husband bought me, it was sentimental and perfect. And I still hope that someday when we move it will miraculously turn up.

I guess I learned a valuable lesson about being more protective and careful of my treasures. I never would have thought it could happen to me. Fortunately, I made out like a bandit.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Perfect Rainy Day

I have been waiting for rain for days. It's been so humid and hot and yet dry at the same time. It's cloudy today, and rainy.

I would be painting and finishing up those projects requiring paint, but caulking was done and that isn't dry yet. So it's time for a perfect rainy day project.

Sewing. I just got some fabulous fabric for my recently stained porch chair cushions. A glass of wine and a bowl of grapes are all that is needed for me to get started!

**Updated: what I meant to say is that I would spend most of my time organizing all of my notions. It's amazing what kind of mess can accrue in a couple of sewing drawers and baskets and boxes.

How To Build a Backyard Shed (in 12 easy steps)

All you need to know about building a shed. I'm going to tell you. If you don't want to know, just skip through and look at all the cool pictures of all our hard work! We worked very hard. Appreciate.

Step1. Find spot to put the shed. Here we found a corner where the sun don't shine. Measure properly to ensure that shed will fit in chosen spot. Space is 8'x8'. Perfect for shed.

Order shed. Shed will be 8'x6'. Perfect for shed spot.

Step 2. Resecure fence posts with lots of concrete. Shed will be leaning right up to fence so must be strong. Was leaning into neighbor's yard before as can be seen by above picture.

Step 3. Cut wood for floor/foundation of shed. Must be 8'x6'.

Step 4. Lay exterior grade treated plywood over exterior grade treated lumber frame of floor/foundation.

Step 5. Lay floor/foundation in shed spot and measure to make sure all is well. Fits right up next to where fence will be and secure with now cemented post. Level with dirt and rocks.

Step 6. Pick up shed from home store. 8'x6'--perfect. Open shed to find building instructions and more specific sizing. Hmm. 8'9"x5'8". But the shed spot is only 8' wide. It is not possible to fit in 9 more inches. There's that fence there. And the house on the other side. And the floor/foundation is already the exact size that the shed is not.

Swear at box of shed parts. Return shed and decided building it your own way is better. Buy piles and piles of wood and nails and screws.

Step 7. Frame and put up wall on right and then wall on left. Nail into floor/foundation.

Step 8. Individually attach roof joists to right and left walls. Check continually for level-ness of each wall while attaching roof.

Step 9. Cut, frame and nail on the front and back walls of shed. Front wall has window so cut carefully so as to fit precisely. Continue to level all vertical and horizonal edges.

Start priming wood. With pink primer.

Step 10. Lay sheet of plywood for roof and cover with shingles.

Step 11. Put in window and secure according to directions. Cut and attach all trim to be sure of fit and position.

Finish primer and begin painting. With red paint.

Step 12. Cut and hang door. Prime & paint all trim. Hang trim. Screw in hinges and latches. Shed is done! Shed is red! Go shed go!

Additional fun steps. Buy and hang hooks, brackets, shelves, etc. Put all garden equipment into new best shed ever.

Shed is organized. Neat, tidy, perfect. Perfect size, perfect color. Perfect little door and perfect little window.

Many growing things will be nurtured in this perfect little shed. Plants will be potted, seeds will be stored and then brought out for sprouting. Weeds will be killed. Planning and plotting will be done.

This is Only Exciting to Me

Can you guess why?

(and no cheating if you know the 'real' reason!)

Friday, August 25, 2006

We Don't Let the Dust Settle

Apparently, we must continue to start new home projects before others have been finished.

For example: We started the shed. Then we started the bathroom. Before the bathroom was done, we started the hallway. Before the shed was done, we worked on the fence. Before the hallway was done, we decided to start on the front porch.

It's a nice little closed in porch. (Note: this is the ripped up picture, not the nice little picture) We have some chairs, a table, and our hammock out there. The cats love it, we love it. But it wasn't built very well. It leaks. A lot. So we ripped down the paneling, threw away the old carpet and got to work.

Lots of caulking was done. More could still be put in. Most of the new paneling is on, the carpet is purchased and now it is just waiting to be painted. Theoretically, I will work on that part today. Then we can lay the new carpet and resettle in.

And it will be cozy again just in time for more good hammock-nap weather.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ah! My Eye!

I know people are funny about eyes. I'M funny about eyes. I don't want to see, hear or know about anything gross having to do with eyes. When I go to my optometrist (who is actually a nephew of one of the presidents) I hate watching the little videos they have playing about different eye diseases or procedures you could have.

I would love to have the laser surgery. But I might be too freaked out to get it done. Unless they put me out. That would be ok.

Anyway, the reason I say all this is because I seem to have a zit on my eyeball. What!? I mean, I do break out more in the summer but really? On my eyeball? Of course, I don't really know that that is what it is, but it sure looks like it.

We tried Googling it last night but to no avail. We actually found a site where a lady asked specifically about the same situation, but never posted any solution that she had found.

It has been there for over a week actually. So if any of you "real" friends have seen me and wondered what was wrong with me, I wasn't hung over or on drugs I swear.

This morning it has faded. It's a much tinier zit now. So weird.

Drinking my coffee in my hotel room at my computer. Hubby in the shower. Quiet and relaxing. We're going shopping this morning before the wedding. I think it's one of the first weddings in a very long time where neither of us are involved with any responsibilities.

It will also be very nice not to have to work on Sunday. Don't get me wrong, I love and adore my job. I love the kids I work with and I really like serving them and all that we do. But it is also very tiring. And neither of us have had a Sunday off in months. So we get to sleep in tomorrow and then drive home to participate in the evening service.

Enjoy your Saturdays. I hope you are all very productive while I am out shopping and eating and drinking it up!

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's Been A While

I held auditions for my music teams all day yesterday and got some great people. A few high school kids, college student, moms, and even a fellow who looks like Abe Lincoln. Diverse group to be sure! I may be way in over my head on all this, but I'm also very excited to see how they work together. Many of them have never played in a band before, but they're at the point where that's a perfect next step.

We're going away again this weekend. A wedding in Indianapolis. First, we have to get the car checked out as it's a long trip and it was shaking a lot this week. Maybe it's just scared.

The shed really is done. It's just that I haven't had a chance to finish taking pictures and post that particular saga yet. But it looks amazing. And I can tell you step by step how to build a shed.

My coffee and my shower are calling me. Both at once? Perhaps.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fabulous or Foul?

What do you think?
I love it!
It's hideous!
Free polls from

The Beauty of the Bath(room)



Whew! Finally it's done! Ok, it's been mostly done for a while. But today I just put all the plants back and it feels like a room again. A room just isn't cozy without growing things.

Many Marital Meetings

I've been married four times. For five years.

Four times I've had the question, "Do you take this man?" asked of me. It was simple and classic, it was beautiful and fancy, it was quick and functional, and it was casual and friendly.

My family is all in another state, and my mother isn't able to travel, especially not for a whole weekend. I wanted her to be at my wedding. But I also wanted to have a big fancy wedding and invite all my friends locally. And I couldn't do both. Could I? And if I did, would I remember to do everything I was supposed to do?

Two wedding dresses & two veils. One my mother's, one my own.

Twice standing at an altar reciting vows and receiving rings. Three pastors, two ceremonies, two rituals.

Twice we sat at a table with three friends and repeated a quick set of the same.

Twice we had huge meals with many family members and tons of friends to help us celebrate.

Once we had a normal meal with a few friends who joked and smirked and winked.

Three times we cut the cake.

Only once did I smear it.

Once we jammed and danced all night long.

Once we forgot our marriage license. And once we filled it out incorrectly. Twice we had one notarized.

But now it will be five times that we have celebrated our marriage. Five years that have passed since we laughed over forgetting so many things. Five years since we first were man and wife. Five years since we were second man and wife. There are still a few more months until our fifth third and fourth anniversaries.

Am I wiser, truer, braver? Have I grown stronger, tougher, more faithful? Am I cuter, sweeter, more giving? I hope so.

He's more honest, more willing, more open. He became more handsome, more serving, more thoughtful. He does more than I ask, gives more than I deserve, provides all I need.

I never have more fun with anyone. I always trust his judgement. He never treats me badly. He always puts me first. We never doubt the future. We always embrace the present.

I love you, my sweet. My George, my pooh bear, my snookie-wookums. My tall, handsome hero. My pirate. I adore you, I treasure you, I respect you, I believe in you, I love you.

Five more years will pass us by too quickly. I wish we could stay in today forever.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Don't Shoot Me

I got a bunch of shots this week. Monday. And they still hurt. What a wuss, huh?

I finished the bathroom. I'm waiting until I have the perfect picture to post it. But it looks great. And it makes me so happy to have it finally done.

It's been very busy at work. Lots of meetings and planning. I feel like I am getting in over my head. I've been recruiting volunteers like crazy. Which is great. But now I'm going to be responsible for these people. I hardly think I'm very good at taking care of the few folks I have had up until now. I really want to be good at this. I love my job.

Still haven't found what I'm looking for. However, I have found a replacement if it comes to that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Israel Saga--The Finale

A bunch of random pictures. A few miscellaneous places. People you've never met. Places you may not have gone. But they are part of me. Pieces of my heart.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Pomegranites. Roses. Grapes. This is the garden at my school in Jerusalem. Jerusalem University College. Why both, I don't know. But it was a beautiful school. Amazing teachings. Life changing experiences. Great friends. Decent food. Hey, it was still college food.

Thanksgiving. Most all of the students at the school were American, and we needed to have a few American traditions now and then. We hunted around town and got almost all of the typical ingredients for all the foods you would expect. Probably one of my favorite Thanksgivings I have ever celebrated.

Tel Burnah. One of the classes I took was an archeology survey. We actually trekked out to a site, climbed daily up the hill to reach the site, spent numerous hours in the scorching hot sun with no shade wandering around in the site, and found a bunch of rocks. Ok, pottery. I learned a ton about archeology and found that I didn't want to pursue that line of study. That's not to say I didn't love it. We had a blast. But we also found ourselves at the end of the day being refreshed as we drank our hot water. I don't think I have ever been more exhausted.

Herod's Wall. The great wall surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem. The wall that has stood for thousands of years. I walked the perimeter frequently. You can actually walk most of the wall on top. Looking down over the whole city.

You can climb the wall too. But I wouldn't recommend it. It's
really hard.

City streets. The city is so ancient, but very modern. So beautiful. So alive. Full of history and full of life. I felt like I breathed differently. My heart beat a different rythym.

And soldiers. Not a part of life in America. But every day. On most street corners. And it was ok. I don't know how I would feel if I was living there now. The atmosphere is so unlike our own. Sure, there is fear, but it's stifled. Fear is so common, it's lessened. Or so it seemed.

I was hoping to go back next summer with my husband. Looking more closely at our finances, it doesn't appear to be an option. But someday. I'll show him around to all my favorite places. We'll discover new spots together. There will be more to learn, more to see. Someday.

Here are the first few groups of pictures. JUC. Water. Petra. Sinai.