Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's Very Possible, But Not Necessarily Provable

I may or may not have bought books today. If I did, there would have been about six of them and they would have been found at a fabulous used bookstore in town.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

The White Nile by Alan Moorehead

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald (turns out this one is the fourth in a series, and we all know what that means...)

The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket

I just can't help it. It might be a sickness. But it sure is a pleasant disease. I can't wait until garage sale season begins.

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Bird in the Hand...Or Purse

Last night I got together with a few girls from my small group for an exceptional craft night experience. Wine, spaghetti and great conversation provided the back drop for the flow of our creative juices.

The goal was to make little bird coin purses. Truly, I expected the project to take very little time though I find that I always underestimate myself. Ahem.

We all felted a sweater or two that we had no need of anymore, and found some wool blends to be tighter than others; the tightest of which seemed to work the best. With so many colors to choose from, the birds became very exotic.

Only a few pieces to sew together, some hand stitching, a colorful zipper, and a button eye. Wah-lah! Could it be any cuter?!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Next To Last Post About Bloggy Chicago (Probably)

Just to get a few pictures out...

To prove that my picture is indeed the best, is this not the most amazing looking brownie sundae?

And to give you the most classic shot of friends in Chicago.

And also, I suppose to show you how very relaxed we all got on this trip.

The rest are on flickr. The very few.

Girlz, I really need you to post your pics. Like that really HOT one of us in our HOT dresses? Yeah, that one. Man, we were HOT.

Monday, March 26, 2007


It's a good number. A basketball team. One digit higher than three quarters. An even number.

But in March? Really? It makes me worry for the trees. That we should have so many unbelievably gorgeous, practically HOT, days in late March but with the understanding that Michigan is well-known for its curve ball weather.

I hate to be so very cynical about the weather, but I just can't seem to help it. I'm not trusting that it could stay this way for too very long.

There was this one year when I got a sunburn on my birthday. Middle of April, it was. A shocking situation, something that had never happened before. It doesn't take much anymore for me to believe in global warming, that's for sure.

But the flowers...they're sprouting. And the trees, they are budding. It speaks of life and growth and I want it to stay.

I want to stay out here on my sunny porch every day.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I Call Firsties

I don't want to gush, but Chicago was pretty fantastic. It was our own teeny-tiny BlogHer weekend of fun.

One of Andy's questions to me was, "were they at all how you expected them to be?"

I had to answer, "Completely." In such a great way, the girls were who I thought they would be but more human, more real and alive.

They will be posting a ton of pictures, and I'll have mine on flickr soon, but I just want to say thanks. Thank you for making it happen, for being the beautiful girls that you are and for adding so much adventure to an already fabulous weekend! My heart is more full for knowing you now. I can't wait to see where God will take you from here. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Book Review #1 The Life of Pi

Some of you have already read this book. For those of you who haven't, drop whatever you are doing at this moment, get to your closest bookstore and BUY it.

Not only was it thoroughly entertaining, it kept my mind spinning. I was invested in this character, this story, this weaving of words. When I closed the final page, I was bothered. Bothered in a good way. Bothered in a way that has me still thinking about it several days later.

A quote from the LA Times book review says it is, "A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction." I can't say anything better than that.

Since I don't know where my reading is going to take me from here, I give it Four Stars. Very solid, very worthwhile. A book to reread several times.

Weekend Plans

Chicago. With bloggy friends. Excessive amounts of fun. We've discussed the idea of pre-posting our impressions of each other.

Jean--I know her in real life...we're already deep in each other's need to guess what she's like. Easy out on that one.

Hillary--Let's see, she's a 5th grade school teacher, she used to teach music. Very silly. Not afraid of making a fool of herself. Ready to have fun at any instant. But also serious & details oriented. She means what she says and has a true heart for others. She cares hugely. She always has a ready smile.

Sarah--She is also very fun-loving (we are going to have a fabulous weekend with these girls!), very energetic, she likes to go all-out. She treasures her friends and sees the best in them. She'd rather spend time with friends than anything else. She will support you whenever you need it and loves hugs.

I hope to know you all better after two days in the same space than I do after a year of our words. You have become dear friends that I care about without even really 'knowing' who you are.

If you've never met me, what do you think I'm like?

Cutest Aprons Ever!

I make them tiny now, too! Can you even stand how cute these are?!

I made the first one and thought it was my favorite EVER.

Then I made the second one and knew IT was my favorite ever.

If you need an apron (big or small) email me and we'll set up all the details! I'll probably be making one or two of them today...and they just keep getting cuter.


That seemed like an apt blog title being as it is Thursday.

Has it really been so long since I've last blogged? Apparently I don't have much to say. Or else I have too much to say and little time to say it. The only other option is that I've been a lazy blogger.


Friday, March 16, 2007

On Another Note...

My stream of consciousness goes like this:

The Renter moved out today. Completely unexpectedly, she told us last night that she got a job as a YMCA camp Programs Director (really?) in Indiana and starts Monday morning.

While I'm thrilled for her, I'm also relieved for us. My husband was wondering how awkward it might be next week while I'm in Chicago. (Yay! for Chicago! and Wicked! with my blog friends!)

The spare bedroom needs painting, so since the room is pretty bare right now it's perfect timing! Hopefully, I can talk hubby into patching a few plaster cracks for me tomorrow and I can get started on that right away! With that done, the entire second floor will finally be painted! Now all we need is new carpet.

I can tell that spring is in the air. It was 71 degrees on Tuesday, and even though today it's down in the 30s again, the sun is shining and the sky is bright blue. The snow is melting away, leaving the first sprouts of grass, shoots of crocuses and tulips and leaves to be raked.

With spring now beginning to sprung (be sprung? springing?) we are starting to think of projects around the house that need doing. A repair on the foundation here, a new dishwasher there, fixing the weak spot in the roof here, building a rooftop garden there, etc and so forth.

Today I purchased a fabulous print that I not only think is beautiful, but the title spoke to me as loudly as if it were in the room with me: While I Wait for Spring. Winter can be enjoyable and many life-giving things found there, but starting even in the fall, I am continually waiting for spring. New life, new goals, new projects, new chances. The geese have returned, my seeds are getting planted, I want to be outside running through the puddles.

Striving to be healthier, to fit more comfortably in my own skin. Filling my head with new thoughts, my body with fresh foods, my heart with true things.

It's not official until next week, but I'm ready to declare it spring.

Books I Have Bought Or Aquired Recently (Meaning the Past Couple Years) That Need Reading

Life of Pi (am in the middle of this one at the moment) by Yann Martel

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The Cornerstone by Zoe Oldenbourg

The Book of Lights by Chaim Potok

Nevermore by William Hjortsberg

How Green was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Naked by David Sedaris

Cause Caleb by Helen Fielding

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

The Deep Green Sea by Robert Olen Butler

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide by Douglas Adams

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Patrick by Stephen Lawhead

The Gunslinger (a 7 book series) by Stephen King

The Historian by Elizabth Kostova

Blindness by Jose Saramango

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

Sex God by Rob Bell

The Song of Albion (a 3 book series) by Stephen Lawhead

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

Mossflower by Brian Jacques

The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

Prague by Arthur Phillips

Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus

Poland by James A. Michener

Silence by Shusaku Endo

Pray to Live by Henri Nouwen

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Paradise Alley by Kevin Baker

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Western Coast by Paula Fox

The Covenant by James A. Michener

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Lost by Gregory Maguire

Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

Not necessarily in that order....

Would you please remind me to stop buying books when I have so many yet to be read? (Not that you should stop giving me books...) I'm rather curious how long it will take me to read them. I rearranged my library so that all of these unread novels and nonfiction alike are together on two (rather cramped) shelves.

You may be thinking I should have read many of these in high school, but although I consumed an excessive amount of books in my schooldays (always winning any reading contest) there were many that escaped my perusement. I'll try to give an update now and then on which I find myself loving and which don't meet my approval ratings.

This excites me. Seriously--to have so many unread books together in one spot is fabulous. The other portion of my assignment is to reorganize the rest of the library into genre (more specifically) and author. To then sit back in my chair in the sunshine with a mug of coffee and dive in. Not to emerge for several months.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Renter, An Update

Frankly, I'm a little worried about The Renter.

If you'll recall before we left for RT07, I was a little worried about the status of my home. For at least the first five or six days I was stressed in the back of my mind. It didn't help that those first few days of the trip were spent with family, some of whom I don't prefer to spend time with. I was plagued with present-time stress as well as back-of-my-mind stress.

When we were in Virginia, I gave my brother a call to see how it was going and in the background it sounded like a party. Of course I told myself that that wasn't a big deal because he always knows enough to keep the party in the basement so that is absolutely fine. But at the same time it just added more worry to my mind.

The next day, we made it to South Carolina and I had internet for the first time in days. I emailed my brother to check on the cats and mentioned that he should have The Renter give me a call so I could hear how they were. Yeah, it was a lame excuse, but I didn't have her phone number and needed to ease my mind by at least speaking with her. He responded back to me the next day and in a few short sentences, made everything ok again.

"I have come to realize that The Renter is a lot dumber than I ever could have imagined. I let her borrow the car to go to a job interview and needless to say I had to go find the car across town 8 hours later. Hopefully she gets her crap together and doesn't have to stay too long. The cats are fine. They run around at night like always and I make sure they have food and water. I am missing the leftovers and real food. I have pulled a few things out of the freezer, but it is all freezer-burnt and crappy. I ate it anyways.....................miss y'all and decent intelligent conversation. "

All he had to do was assure me that he wasn't a big fan of her either and I was completely at ease. Plus, it was nice to hear that I was missed, even if only for my cooking!

Since we returned I had a talk with her about That Night and she apologized all over the place as I expected her to do. I also had to remind her not to use our shower stuff, ("I have my own," she insisted, but we have still found caps open and bottles moved around) as well as discussing where everyone hangs their towels.

"We need to figure out where you're going to hang your towel," I tell her.

"OK," she sounds rather confused as to why it matters.

"Cuz you keep using mine," I try to keep the irritation out of my voice.

"Oh yeah! I forget mine in my room sometimes and then I don't remember until I'm in the shower," she blurts out quickly.

"Right...well, that's pretty gross actually, and there's a hook right on the door so you can leave a towel in the bathroom all the time so you don't forget anymore," I don't want to be patronizing, but this seems pretty self-explanatory to me.

Seriously! Who uses someone else's bath towel!? Not to mention the enormous mascara eyeballs that have been found on my husband's yellow towel. I'm pretty sure they don't belong to him.

Frankly, at the moment I'm a little worried about The Renter.

Last Sunday she left hurriedly late in the evening to head back to Tennessee to be with her family for the funeral of a friend. She paid me for the week as she was on her way out the door, which I thought was nicely respectful. The Renter expected to be back by Friday sometime as she has only been at her job for a couple weeks and couldn't be away for too long.

It's been over a week now with no word from her. We cleaned out her trash last week as she throws empty food containers away in her room rather than in the kitchen trash or putting it outside, and it was beginning to smell a bit in there. (The Renter has a problem with common sense.)

I may have to call her today to get an estimate for when she'll be back. It's hard to imagine someone leaving a brand new job for such a long time. We're assuming she is getting her car fixed so she can drive it back here.

She had been hitching rides wherever she went, and that's fine so long as you are considerate of those from whom you hitch. Along with the situation regarding my brother's car, The Renter had a tendency to still be up in her room for quite a long period of time after a friend had arrived to pick her up. Whether she was just getting ready or unaware that they were in the driveway, I don't know, but it seems to show either a lack of appreciation or an excessive amount of, well, blondness. (No offense, blond friends!)

I suppose her saga will continue in its strange vein for some time as there is no definite date of moving out. At least my car payment is paid so I can't say there isn't a plus side in all of this.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Friday Afternoon Project

This was a project I have had sitting in the corner for many months now. For years, my necklaces have been jumbled together in a random box to be fished out every so often and untangled for wearing.

Wandering through Hobby Lobby I got the idea of using a shadow box to hang them up. It could be colorful wall decor and a practical place to store my jewelry.

Once I sat down to get it done, it really didn't take very long at all. I broke the glass out of the box months ago, so that step was already done. Then I cut the cork board into the right size, hot glued the fabric onto the board, arranged the necklaces into a shape and order that I liked and pushed in the earring studs to hold everything into place.

Hubby hung it up in my dressing room today. I think I'll actually wear these pieces more often now that I can see them and pick them out much more easily. Plus, it was interesting to see how much pink jewelry I have. Apparently it's my favorite color.


Pre-Road Trip

Day One: The Renter

Days One & Two

Day Three: Guest Blogger

Day Five: First Hike

Day Six: Fries

Days Seven: South Carolina

Days Eight Thru Eleven-a

Days Eight Thru Eleven-b

Days Eight Thru Eleven-c

Days Twelve and Thirteen: Hot-Lanta

Days Thirteen Thru Fifteen: Tan-uh-sea

Day Fifteen: Final Figures

Final Figures RT07-11

14 Things We Learned RT07-10

Things we learned in Gatlinburg, TN.

1. If your cabin doesn't provide coffee filters, a paper towel will actually do just fine.

2. Mac & Cheese with Hot dogs is a perfect meal. Especially when you don't want to buy many groceries. Just a box of Kraft, a bag of dogs and milk. Perfect.

3. Andy is too big for most horses. It looks like he's riding a pony, doesn't it?!

4. Andy doesn't know how to tell a horse where to go. We had to stop several times to get him reigned in before he took off in a completely different route up the mountain. But he's darn cute. Andy, not the horse. Well, ok, they're both cute.

5. After two hours on a horse, it's really hard to walk normally.

6. Climbing a 1700 foot elevation over 2 miles may cause one to feel as though they may die.

7. If in charge of the camera, your husband may take a million pictures of your tush.

8. Mountain water is unbelievably refreshing after a long hike.

9. The moon is brighter. The sky is clearer.

10. After a hike like that, with the sun going down and the air getting colder, it's hard to get Andy to smile.

11. A local brewery makes the best brews.

12. Andy kills me at pool, but I'm way cuter, so that earns extra points.

13. We like to take "hold your arm out and shoot" pictures.

14. We wouldn't mind living in Tennessee. The weather was perfect. Perfect.

This was our cabin.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Few More Aprons

Some of these I did before I left and some I did after we got back. One of the most fun things about coming home after a long trip, at least for me, is going through the huge stack of mail that arrived while we were out. (Unless that includes creepy Valentine's, of course) I had ordered a bunch of fabric before we left and there were three lovely boxes waiting to be opened.

What that means is that all I really want to do is lock myself in my office/sewing room/library and sew like mad.

Don't be surprised if that's exactly what I do. I have curtains to make (for myself and for sale) aprons galore, clothes, pillows, bags...the possibilities are truly endless. The projects are innumerable.

Hot-Lanta RT07-9

It seems in being concerned with the creepy Valentine and getting back to work and all, I forgot to finish up our road trip coverage.

From Florida we sped up through Georgia to Atlanta.

We arrived with slightly cooler, yet still beautiful, 60 degree weather (which I would give anything for right now) at the home of one of my aunt & uncle. It was Sunday night and we got to watch the Oscar's with them while we ate fabulous ice cream sundae's and very yummy enchiladas.

My aunt has been a hair stylist for years. Ever since I can remember, she has been the one to cut it, style it, and (yes, I'll admit I have had them before) perm it. So if I know I'll be anywhere in her vicinity, I will hold off on getting it cut by anyone else.

I know other people have "their" stylist, but I've always been ok being the kind of person who could go practically anywhere as long as the price was reasonable. When it comes to getting it done by my aunt, no one has ever compared. I've never worried about whether I would like it or not, and I've hardly ever had to give her direction on what I want. She just does it, and it's just perfect. So she did, and it was.

Yeah Toast! I believe I had a bagel with cream cheese (can you imagine us going two whole weeks without eating bagels!?) but hubby settled for his usual toast sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

After a perfectly relaxing morning of chatting and reminiscing together (and checking email), we said our goodbyes (we never have long enough) and set out on our next adventure:

Where the carts are never big enough, the wallets are never deep enough, and the imagination never stops planning.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Valentine's Post #2 (Caution: Potential Creepiness Involved)

Oh look! A very cute, friendly, happy Valentine's card that I found in my mail when I returned home from my wonderful vacation!! Yay!

Hmm. I wonder who it's from? There's no return name. It was mailed from my town, though.

Can you read that? It's not from my husband. He not only said it wasn't, but you could tell by the look on his face that he was totally confused.

I'm really, really, really hoping it's from one of my girlfriend's trying to be funny. Because if it's not? I'm creeped out. Please be a girlfriend! If anyone knows anything about this, you really have to tell me. Please. Really.

In Florida RT07-8c

From Grandma's in Bradenton to Sister & Brother-In-Law in Fort Myers. Only about an hour's drive. Warm. 80 degrees. AC blowing.

Andy had been waiting for days to play Guitar Hero. He's only played it once before and it's probably one of his all-time favorite video games. Could the guitar look any tinier on him?

We drove to Sanibel Island, only about a half hour away. Since we are so very outdoorsy, we went to a nature preserve to walk and see if we could find any alligators. We didn't, but there were tons of birds. Tons. Of Birds.

When we got to the beach we saw lots of shells and we took the time to stroll on the sand...oh to feel the sand between my toes now. My toes are freezing in socks and slippers here in snowy Michigan. Our vacation seems so long ago already.

Family Photo. This is also the crazy kitty who doesn't really like other people very much. She'll let you pet her for about a minute before she hisses at you as though you may kill her. I think she has still to overcome her inferiority complex due to the lack of tail. She sure can stare though, can't she?