Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Vacation Doesn't End RT07-8b

Florida is 80 degrees. We're spending the day at the beach on Sanibel. Andy's sister & brother-in-law have been very hospitable...their kitty has not. She pretends she's never met us and only lets you pet her on the very top of the head--and only for about three swipes and she's done.

No camera cable to transfer pictures, but there are many many more to come. I'll have a ton to update my flickr page when we get back.

Just wanted to let everyone know I was still alive and on the road! Tomorrow we're headed for Hotlanta.

A project for you. Tell me a story about your favorite pet as a kid. If you didn't have one, tell me about why your parents wouldn't let you!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

First Hike RT07-5

We wanted to hike in Canada, but the hiking trail was plowed over so that you couldn't get in, so we just drove back on the highway.

On our way from New York to Virginia, we stopped in Shenendoah National Park. The skyline driveway was closed due to snow and ice, so we decided to drive up to the barricade, park, and walk.

The trail as well as the skyway was covered with snow, but still made for easy hiking. Good uphill climbs and beautiful views of the valley as well as the creeks and trees and wildlife.

Cardinals fluttering their blood-red wings, woodpeckers hammering at the trees and countless tiny chickadees chirping throughout the branches.

Puppy dog prints, deer hooves and maybe some fox tracks?

What can you find in the woods of Virginia? Just about whatever you can think up in your wildest of imaginations. The rustle of leaves and scrunch of snow underfoot tattles of many animals out in the trees but they will remain hidden. We only see birds and the tracks of those who walked before us.

The weather changes from bright blinding sunshine on the trail to freezing wind and blowing snow higher up on the mountain. We pulled our scarves up over our faces and plowed on. At the top of the Dickey Ridge Trail we switched over to the wider road to walk back down the hills. Because of the thick ice and packed snow over the road we practically skiied the whole way back down to the barricade.

It was a fabulous, breath-taking, exhilerating, (insert other adjective here) hike through the Appalatian Mountains. You get to enjoy our pictures as we do since we don't know when we'll be able to go back. Maybe in the summer next time.

Monday, February 19, 2007

of all the things we've seen... RT07-4 wife makes me "guest blog" on this one. yup. been in lots of cities and seen lots of friends. seen lots of friends' pets as well. and actually one of these is our friends neighbors dog. connor, i think his name is (toby is the other). so we are sitting in our friends kitchen eating breakfast and hear a knock on the door. toby (dog) runs to the door. turns out it's connor coming over to play. so they open the door and they run out and in and all over. quite funny.

okay, now i've explained the picture and can say whatever i desire. so hi. i'm andy, the guest blogger. you may know me from my previous masterpiece (101 things about anne by andy). yes, i'll sign your copy next time you see me...what, you don't have it printed off and framed?

we are in south carolina. much warmer here than in MI. *yay* and this is our first chance to upload pictures we've taken from the trip so far. have no fear, there will be plenty of posts. hopefully in order. hopefully written by anne, so that there is actually relevant info. but right now she is too lazy to write, type or post. hence me here writing nothing in particular. and yet you continue to read...i guess i would too. so i'll give you some fun information that might not otherwise make it into a post.

first a quick quiz...what do the simpsons, batman and desperate housewives have in common? anyone? anyone? yup, that's right! they all have music (or themes) written by danny elfman. yup, i'm a big danny elfman fan and while at a borders books in erie, PA i discover a CD of symphonic works by mr. elfman. and we had a gift card. so guess what i bought! hmm...that wasn't as exciting of a post as i thought. hard to emote in type.

so is it good? i know you are wondering. well, i haven't actually listened to it yet...still in the packaging. but the title is cool: "Serenada Schizophrana" which makes sense for something from danny (yeah, we're on a first name basis).

oh, and in the previous post you will notice that "schizophrenic" was spelled right (spelt write)...yeah, that's because anne asked me how to spell it. any of you who know us will know the extreme irony, not only that she asked but that i got it right! (rite)

off i go. been nice to meet you all!

A Trip Through Snow RT07-3

Leaving Michigan it was 7 degrees, but bright blue skies and sunshiney weather. Canada was schizophrenic and kept throwing blizzards at us followed immediately by more blue skies and sun.

They do not kid around about having snow. They really just have a ton of snow. A Ton.

We Really Like (Need) Coffee RT07-2

You? What's your favorite caffeinated beverage? Hot winter beverage?

Ideal choice for me is Vanilla Latte or White Chocolate Mocha. Mmmm...

Here We Go RT07-1

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oh Dear. Our Long Road Trip Episode One

So, we're leaving in about a half hour but I'm rather distraught and need some advice.

So far our renter* has seemed really nice and easy-going and whatnot. Frankly, it's not a big deal whether she's tidy or her own room. When it comes to whatever she chooses to do outside of the house is also long as she doesn't bring it in.

She's been so worried that she's been loud at night and we haven't heard a thing. We've gotten pretty used to my brother coming in late that we can sleep through quite a lot. Yet it is rather difficult to sleep through a drunk man stumbling from here room, slamming the door open, running through the hall to the bathroom where he slams that door shut and begins to, uh, undo being drunk.


I really don't want to stress out about what is going on while I'm gone. Theoretically, as long as all looks ok when we come back it shouldn't really matter, right? But now I have worries.

If I have to send my wide-awake husband into your room to tell you that your friend needs to, at the very least, go downstairs, then we have a problem, right? Especially when we have to get up early and drive all day long the next day.

I want to be respectful of her, but how do I respond when I feel like she isn't being respectful to us? Or is it just a simple time of a bad decision?

I don't want to be a jerk and I don't want to be condescending or whatever, but I honestly don't know how to respond. Do I ignore it until I get back and just pray the house and everything in it is still in tact?

Sigh. Happy Valentine's, folks.

*a friend of my brother is living in our spare room

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Up Late Packing and Watching the Weather

It's supposed to be pretty snowy driving tomorrow. I'm pretty much just crossing my fingers and trusting in the AWD of our car.

Prayers will be appreciated! The adventure begins!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Long Version

Here's the schedule. We're starting bright and early Wednesday morning (this means 9 or 10) and driving up through Canada. We'll stop at a Dundas Conservation Area for some Canadian hiking and then drive down to Buffalo for a couple days with my grandparents and various aunts and uncles. Then drive a little further to Jamestown, New York for a couple days with my parents and friends.

Down through Pennsylvania with a quick stop overnight at a cheap little motel and then into Maryland and Virginia (stopping for a few hours to hike in Shenendoah National Park) to visit a high school teacher and his wife whom I haven't seen in ten years. I'm pretty excited about that visit.

South Carolina looks just warm enough this time of year for a two-day stop. (Not to mention, perfect to hike at Mount Rogers National Park.) I am always surprised at how easily it is to lose track of friends who you thought you would be close to and know forever, which is why this trip seems so meaningful to me. A chance to spend some seriously good time with friends I haven't had a chance to spend any time with in years.

OK. After SC we're driving straight through to Bradenton, Florida (maybe with a stop in Orlando to meet fellow blogger Jen?!) to visit hubby's Grandma for a night and then on down to Fort Myers for a few days with my favorite sister-in-law and her hubby!! Days at the beach, shopping and generally just vacationing. Ahhh.

Back up through Florida (stopping again at Grandma's for lunch) continuing to Atlanta and visiting my fabulous aunt (I'm so ready for a haircut, too! She always does the BEST!) and cousin. I'm been tempted with the possibility of stopping at IKEA. Our car is going to be so full. Good thing it's a wagon...

The very last stop is for two nights in Gatlinburg, TN. We've rented a cabin in the woods (complete with full kitchen, pool table, jacuzzi & hot tub!) and will be relaxing all by ourselves as well as doing some serious hiking in the Smokey Mountains.

And that is our trip. The only unfortunate part is that we have to go to work the very next day we get back, so hopefully that last bit is very very very relaxing!

This is the Part of the Show that We Like to Call Crowd Participation

I need a bunch of recommendations for good, healthy, filling road trip snacks.

We know fast food will come into play in our 14 days on the road, but have made a pact to a. Not drink soda and b. Only eat chicken sandwiches and salads from these places.

But I also know part of the problem of road-eating is the snacking along the way. I know we'll buy a big bag of combos and there will be candy consumption.

However, I want to have some better choices. Jean, Heather, Jenna, Brooke--I especially need your help here, but I could use a lot of tell me about your favorite relatively-healthy snack that can easily be eaten while driving and will hopefully keep us from gorging on junk food.

I plan on blogging from the road. Many adventures will be had and I'm sure you will want to know every single detail...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Art of a Candle

Moving Day

Doesn't it always feel like you just got settled somewhere when you have to move again?

Or is it more often that you feel as thought you need something new?

Today my office spaces were moved. I say spaces because I don't really have a true business office anywhere.

In our house I have an office/sewing room/spare bedroom. At my job I have a cubicle area.

Both were due for a change.

My department at the church (children's and family ministries) has been growing quite a bit and there are both new staff members as well as a couple that have been working for some time but haven't ever had an 'official' desk and computer and all that. So everyone from our department, a few kind volunteers as well as a good number of able-bodied men added and rearranged and reassembled cubicles today. Lots of craziness, but all for a great result.

At home the office part of my O/SR/SBR was moved into the library today. We have a renter moving in to the spare bedroom tonight or tomorrow. Since it would be a bit awkward for me to be on my computer while she was sleeping, I moved my desk and all of its various accessories out. The sewing room is still part of the SBR. But only because there's really no where to move my sewing closet. I'll end up sewing in the library, but keeping everything in the renter's bedroom. Hopefully this will work out without too much hassle. I don't really see another option. According to my brother, (the renter is his friend) she has been used to sleeping on a random friend's couch so a real room with a real bed will be great for her!

Busy day. Now for the settling down and getting some work done.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thieving Murderers!

My husband calls me a hypocrite for chastising the cats for something that only days ago I was praising them for.

Ok, I'm still proud of them for killing the mice. But it just seems fitting to call them thieving murderers!

Yesterday was a very busy day, running around getting the car worked on for next week's Road Trip and other various errands. One of them was to be going to the bank, but I never got to it.

Which is why when I was getting ready for bed, I still had a couple checks and some cash in my pocket that were supposed to be deposited. I set them on the counter in the bathroom so I'd be sure to see it first thing in the morning and put in back in my pocket for today.

Well, when I went in this morning they were all jumbled. Checks scrambled on the floor and counter and the money? GONE!

Little thieves stole my money! I looked all over for it this morning and can't find it anywhere! Just now I thought that I should have shuffled through the clothes lying on the floor in the bathroom (We're not always very tidy) and that maybe they were just playing with the money and it's still in there but under something.

I kept telling them I wouldn't feed them until they coughed up the loot. Or at least told me where their secret stash was.

The creeps wouldn't tell me a thing.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I have to say, I look forward to tax time. Remember how Monica was trying to be less stiff & perfect? And she tried to deny paying bills as soon as they came in the mail? And how people who don't do that are just crazy? Yeah, well, I have to agree. Seriously, isn't it just easier and more fun to pay them right away?

Obviously and of course I have to do the same with taxes. As soon as I have all of the pertinent information I am all over it.

Years ago, when I first gave taxes a try, I was enthralled. Filling in all of the little blanks. Trying to figure out what on earth the instructions were trying to say.

Granted, there was the one year where my husband and I had 12 W-2 between us and I chose to go to an accountant. That was just a little overwhelming for me.

But then TurboTax came out. How much fun is it to enter in all the information and just watch your refund go up in the corner?

Last year my paychecks had been calculated incorrectly and there wasn't enough taken out. We got a very small refund last year. As we all know, the government is using our money in the meanwhile, so it's really ok that we received a small refund.

However, there's just something so rewarding about a bigger one. Fortunately, I'm the kind of person who sees extra money as a way to pay off bills and debt. (I don't know how I will be if there comes a day when we don't have debt...)

This year we are paying off our credit card. It had been accumulating through the summer with all of our projects and various emergencies (see: hot water heater, car accident, etc). The weight that is lifted from my shoulders for that kind of thing is unbelievable. I am so very excited!

Hooray for taxes!

Freezing Outside, Sewing Inside

This weekend, everything was closed. The temperatures were below zero. Nosehair freezing weather.

Church was cancelled, so we didn't even have work on our main day of the week.

So I got some work done at home. Four apron orders finished. And I'm working on two more today!

I don't think I have ever drank more coffee than I have the past week.
It's just so cold that hot beverages are so good. And really, I have only had one "real" cup of coffee. The rest were half-caf or decaf. So it's not really like I'm flying off the walls or anything. A girl just likes to stay warm and toasty.

Am I the only one who watches the Super Bowl for the commercials? And even if you watch the game for the game's sake, am I the only one who was horribly, frustratingly disappointed with the lack of good ones? There were a couple, sure (the crazy Doritoes one?!) but it seems like they get less impressive every year. Maybe it's just me.

Anyway, let me know if you see anything you like! I also just uploaded all of my current fabric choices to my flickr page for further browsing. I can customize, or you can choose one of the nine designs I have already done! Email me at sewverysweet[at]gmail[dot]com and I'll get started on it right away!

Have a fabulous Monday! It's still freezing, but the sun is shining and I don't have to leave the house today so all is well!