Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Guess the Book

Alaina tagged me last week for this meme - guess the book from the 5th sentence on the 56th page. I don't typically get into these types of things, but since I'm such an avid book junky (I mean lover), I figured I'd give it a go.

Here are the "rules":
- Take ten books, and transcribe the 5th sentence from page 56.
- Five of the books must be fiction
- Provide five hints

So here are my 10 book quotes:

1. Controlling the start of a tremble in his hand, he leafed through the statements of entry.

2. I guess I have this effect on lots of people.

3. He learned Spanish words for food and pleasure, and he learned that when people are very poor they still have something to give and the impulse to give it.

4. He gave thanks for our food and comfort, and prayed for the poor and destitute in great cities, where the struggle for life was harder that it was here with us.

5. They pursued him up the M4 that night until he crashed his car by junction twelve.

6. Some days I felt like Anne Sullivan to Marley's Helen Keller.

7. This is a bridge built by people who have had an Industrial Revolution, people with mountains of coal and ovens in which you melt down a battleship.

8. The traps were all different sizes and hung from the ceiling and the walls and no way would I ever touch them.

9. But Abigail had views on nearly everything and persons no less than topics.

10. I do think it's a very uneven exchange of Christmas presents.

Now for my clues:
*I've read all of the books (although only #10 is on this year's reading list, a frequent author there), the first five are fiction.
*#1, #2, and #6 have all been made into movies in the last six or so years (one action movie which is a trilogy, one "romantic" movie--but quite different than his other movies, and one "true" comedy which was just released).
*#3 and #4 are both American classics, both from the 1900s (one female author, one male author)
*#5 is the first book in a delightful series literary science fiction/fantasy
*#7 is the first book I read by this author and is about Australia (he quickly became a favorite...amusing and informative)
*#8 is a memoir by an Mooresville, Indiana author
*#9 renewed my interest in biographies, the author has written prolifically about American history.

There's more than five clues because I can't think how else to clump the books. I've frequently recommended most of these books...wish more people would read them. :) If you're inclined to try and guess the books, I'd love for you to! I'm not going to tag this on to anyone because Alaina used up most of the people who I would have tagged! Happy guessing!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My 2008 Reading List

At the beginning of the year I purposed to read 52 books. Well, I fell a little short, what with planning a wedding, getting married, moving, and all. :) However, I did complete 42 books.

So here's my list:

Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf by Sonya Hartnett
All Rivers Flow to the Sea by Alison McGhee
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak
Atonement by Ian McEwen
When Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper
Rereadings edited by Anne Fadiman
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Robbing the Bees by Holly Bishop
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
Writers on Writing Vol. 1
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
The Prophets Speak of Him by Anthony Selvaggio
For Women Only by Shanti Feldham
Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me by Andree Seu
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut
Rumpole and the Primrose Path by John Mortimer
Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
At Large and At Small by Anne Fadiman
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Sheet Music by Kevin Leman
The Lost Cosmonaut by Daniel Kalder
Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. McKinnon
Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel
Shark Fins and Sichuan Peppers by Fuschia Dunlop
The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris
The September Society by Charles Finch
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Fuzz and Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I realize that there still remains two days in 2008, but I won't be finishing any more books. I love reading a variety of books, so this list is a mixture of young adult, fiction, and non-fiction books. As well as old and new books. Peruse the list and enjoy, maybe something will pique your interest! If you're interesting in me writing up a brief synopsis/review of a particular book, leave me a comment and I'll try to do that in a post soon. Happy Reading!

Friday, December 26, 2008

You know you're a book junky when...

On your limited Christmas budget you purchase your husband two books.
On his limited Christmas budget your husband gives you two books.

Yep, we added four more books to our already overflowing collection. That was basically our Christmas for each other (not counting stockings, which always hold a few treasures). But, you know what? We were both very pleased to receive the books!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You know who is amazingly entertaining?

My husband.
After he quit working at the bookstore we both worked at, our co-workers frequently mentioned missing the many sound bites Jeremy would do (this included actually noises, singing bad 80s songs, and doing "bits"). Now, he doesn't make the noises so much anymore because I somehow just don't appreciate them as much as all the guys from work; however, I do get to hear songs and monologues. Yesterday morning as we were sitting at the breakfast table Jeremy started singing a song from the psychedelic era of 60's music. I'm not sure who sang it, but the opening is, "Jennifer, Jennifer..." Okay, I was pretty tired and I can't remember the following lyrics. Anyway, he followed his rendition of the song with a monologue that went something like this, "Mancala, Mancala, bring me some wine." "No, I want to run for freedom." There was more to it and the characters had their own voices. I just sat at the table and laughed at my husband's antics.
You all just don't know what you're missing!

Monday, December 22, 2008

You know what is amazingly dull?

Saturday morning Jeremy went to the gym before work. This means he's up by 6:20. This means I'm up by 6:20 to fix breakfast and pack his lunch. After I got him out the door by about 6:45, I laid down on the couch and turned on the TV. I knew the choices wouldn't be stellar, but my goodness, it was amusing. My favorite channel had a show on called Fresh. It is apparently based out of one of the local cities and it looked like it. The first interview was with a woman who makes fruitcake. Now the interviewer was a 40-something woman with long hair in a ponytail and she was using a hand-held microphone (first clue that this is very low budget). The interviewee was a bit older and was sporting what I would describe as a bowl-style haircut. The interview went something like this...

1st woman: Now this one?
2nd woman: This is a very moist fruitcake.
1st: (with her mouth a little full) Mmm, yes, it's moist and, and dense.
2nd: Yes, all my fruitcakes are just fruit, flour, and oil. So, they're not very sweet.
1st: Yes, they aren't very sweet. So, so they would make a good dessert when you don't want something too sweet.
2nd: Yes.
1st: (looking out at us) People should probably give fruitcake another chance (turns to woman), don't you think?
2nd: Yes, I think people should give fruitcake just one more chance. Um, just make sure it's a good one. (She didn't even put in a plug for her particular fruitcakes!)

Okay, you get the idea. This process took even longer than I'm making it and it was with the microphone passing between them. They rarely looked at the screen and it was obvious there was no sort of script or really planned questions (second clue it was low budget). They followed their interchange with how you could order her fruitcake, but seriously, how many people are watching TV before 7 on a Saturday morning? That's not going to gain many fruitcake orders or followers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Movie going

Today Jeremy and I ventured to a small movie theater about 25 minutes from our apartment. It's across the state line. Wonderland Cinema shows new movies for just $3.50! There are only six screens, so they don't have everything, but it's such a bargain compared with attending other theaters. It was a good find.
We watched Four Christmases which was moderately amusing. Jer gave it 2.5 stars out of 5. I gave it a bit higher, but it definitely wasn't anything phenomenal. Jer commented that it was kind of an exhausting movie to watch, and I agreed. The couple in the movie (a very self-centered pair) has to subject themselves to attending four Christmases all in one day--both are from divorced families. The emotional energy needed to be at even one of the Christmas celebrations would tire out a normal person. Still, despite it all, we enjoyed ourselves and were pleased with the hour and a half diversion.

Yesterday in the mail...

Jeremy and I received a goodie/gift basket from Mrs. Field's Cookies. I love the basket because it will be useful in the kitchen when we empty it. The weird thing is that we have no idea who sent it to us. There was no invoice, no way of telling the thought behind it. Would that seem suspicious to you? I don't imagine any of my few readers know anything about it, but if you do, please let me know. For now it's just sitting on our dining table.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goodies in my Kitchen

Today is Keeping Creative Kitchens over at Alaina's blog. And while my cookie/candy excursions in the kitchen haven't been too creative or out of the ordinary, I thought I'd contribute the few goodies I have made. (I can't make too much because then it's just sitting around for Jer and I to eat and we really don't need that.)

Peanut Clusters (from Alaina's recipe blog)

Melt 6 oz. chocolate chips and 6 oz. butterscotch chips. Stir in until coated, 12 oz. salted peanuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.

(I sent these to work with Jeremy this week and one of his co-workers took a couple and said that would be her Weight Watchers limit for the day, so they're pretty tasty and worth splurging on.)

Dipped Pretzels

Melt chocolate and/or vanilla flavored almond bark in the microwave (Candiquik or any such will work). Stir in a handful of small twisted pretzels, using a plastic fork with the two middle tines broken off, pick up a pretzel and shake off the excess coating. Place on wax paper to dry. To fancy these up, sprinkle candy sprinkles, or drizzle vanilla coating over chocolate pretzels and chocolate coating over the vanilla pretzels (my personal favorite).

Reese's Brownie Bites

Using either a box brownie mix (I'm partial to Aldi's) or make brownie batter from scratch, fill mini muffin tins about 2/3 full with batter and bake (probably take several minutes less than the recipe calls for...I think I baked mine about 15-18 minutes). While the brownies are baking, unwrap mini Reese's cups. Remove brownies from oven and while they are still in the pan and warm, push one Reese's cup into each brownie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Once again, just follow the recipe on the package. However, I make these minor adjustments (and they've been getting rave reviews at Jeremy's library): double the vanilla extract, add an additional 2/3-1 c. of flour, and add a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. I also tend to bake them at a slightly lower temperature than the recipe calls for.

That's what I've made this year. I am hoping to make some peppermint meringues sometime soon, and perhaps some coconut macaroons. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Matter for Prayer

It's difficult when there is never any good news about the economy. It's all glum. I've obviously found it discouraging as I've been job searching. In addition, with the reality that my brother-in-law was downsized out of his job back in November, it's scary. Jer called me this morning with the news that the public library he works for has to cut $2.2 million from it's budget this year. The scary part is that they knew and were planning to cut $1.6 mil already, but where's the extra going to come from? I've been impressed with the library as they planned ahead and starting making major cuts last year to hopefully keep itself from too much of a crunch and they haven't been cutting jobs--as I understand, much of the goal of starting now was to preserve jobs. And still, even with this news, there isn't talk of job cuts, but it still makes our hearts beat a little quicker as we ponder this all, especially knowing Jeremy is one of the newer employees. However, we know that God will provide because not only is He our Creator, but He is also our Sustainer. We are going to be praying for this and everyone else facing similar circumstances.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tree Trimming

When my parents were first married, they started the tradition of having a Tree Trimming Party every December. This party involved special foods and Christmas tree decorating and just the two of them. Of course as they started having children, we joined in the fun. It was one of our favorite times of the year. Because this tradition meant so much to us, as we've gotten married, we've tried to share this with our spouses. Jeremy hasn't had much Christmas in the past few years. No tree and I know a couple years ago, he spent Christmas day alone. So, Christmas doesn't hold the same magic to him as it does to me. Nevertheless, I'm hoping to inspire more of the Christmas spirit by sharing favorite Christmas traditions and Christmas foods with him.
Last Friday night was our tree trimming party. It was more last minute than I'd anticipated, but it came off okay. I quickly pulled together a bit of "party food" and we listened to Bing Crosby croon Carols as we decorated. This was followed by a little snacking and a game of Scrabble where Jeremy soundly beat me.

Our little 3-foot tree perched on top of a bookcase. Jeremy's favorite part is the angel at the top of the tree. As he has no ornaments, all them on the tree are from my collection.
Jeremy playing with a slinky while admiring our tree. :)

My Christmas goody spread.

We had a cheese/cracker/meat plate (I made a tiny cheeseball with some cream cheese, sharp cheddar, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, and season salt), veggie plate (cucumbers and celery), chocolate dipped pretzel plate, and a bowl of Chex Mix. I made some Christmas tea and we had some Oliver's Rose Wine. It turned out quite nicely considering the party's hasty birth.

Us at the end of the evening. Actually, this was before Jeremy beat me by 100 points at Scrabble. I might not have been smiling quite as widely afterwards!

Keeping on

Do you ever have one of those weeks that kind of bolls you over? Last week was a bit like that. Several circumstances kind of collided in my head and I sagged under it.
A big part of it involved job searching. It's a pretty pitiful state up here. Last Wednesday, when I took myself out of the house and ran errands and asked around about hiring, I had this out of body experience where I was sucked into a walk-in interview at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Now, before you congratulate me on getting any sort of interview, get this. They are hiring for a 10-day job in early January as they move locations. That's it. AND, they aren't hiring on the spot, they are having call back interviews for the people they are interested in. Seriously, it's a 10-day job. I looked around at the people and I suddenly felt really miserable. The dozen or so people were mostly scary looking guys, 50+ women, and what looked like probably high school drop-outs. I didn't like the feeling of desperation that hung in the air and I didn't want to identify myself with it. I took myself home very discouraged. For the record, I haven't received any second-interview calls.
Carry on, right? Something will happen eventually. Jer and I are both very grateful for his job being able to support us.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Keeping Creative Kitchens

Today I'm participating in Alaina's Keeping Creative Kitchens. I'm not too creative here, but was pondering my current lunch packing for Jeremy.

I pack Jeremy's lunch everyday and while it's typically leftovers (I plan this into the portion of food I cook), recently I've had a couple scrounging days. He doesn't eat sandwiches, which is of course one of the easier fall back food plans. One night last week--around 9--I quickly threw together some vegetarian chili. I had a can of black beans, can of corn, can of diced green chilies, can of diced tomatoes, can of tomato sauce. I spiced this up and sent it for his lunch the next day. The creative part came the next day when I made a mock-taco salad using that chili. I crushed chips, tore up lettuce and covered that with a couple spoonfuls of drained chili, cheese, plain yogurt, and a little Catalina dressing. It was quite tasty and very easy. Yesterday's crunch lunch for Jer, was boiled eggs, rice cake with peanut butter, celery, and yogurt. Not too bad. Okay, this is not the creative kitchen you were expecting, but it's all I've got for now.

My husband told me I needed to post a new entry.

I've felt dull at blogging this week. Yesterday I spent the morning running errands and trying to find someplace that's hiring. It was very discouraging and I came home and stretched out on the couch and watched Friends.
Today I got up and around early. A girl from church came over for coffee around 10. Her 18-month old entertained us for most of our visit. Then we drove downtown and had lunch at a Thai restaurant with another woman from church. I followed this with a visit to the library to see my husband and find a fiction book to read.
Tomorrow Jeremy's off work and I'm looking forward to spending some time with him. We have some boring errands to run, but I'm hoping to fit in some dinner and maybe even a movie.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day after Thanksgiving thoughts.

For the first time in years I saw gas for $1.47 per gallon.

I saw cars in the White Castle drive-thru on Thanksgiving night.

My brother Wes ate pizza sauce for lunch the other day because he'd been told it was chili.

Thanksgiving this year happened to fall on the two-year anniversary of Jeremy and I's first introduction.

One of the sweetest, cutest, funniest things I've seen is my 3 1/2 year old nephew "reading" Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. On the last page Calvin says, "Chulren, chulren, whadoyousee?" Then he turned the page (which part of it is ripped out) and instead of reciting the litany of colored animals the "chulren" see, Calvin just says, "The end." And the question is left hanging. Oh, but the reading just makes your heart smile.

It's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm alone in my apartment with no place to go and nothing much to do and I'm fighting the urge to go out shopping just because it's something to do.

I had pie and coffee for of my favorite meals!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Observation on the road...

As I was driving home from dropping Jeremy off at work, I decided to stop in at Kroger--they had a few good sales I didn't want to miss out on. The nearest Kroger is kind of ghetto which surprises me because I don't think that part of the city is exactly ghetto; although that strip has Big Lots, Dollar Tree, Tuesday Morning, and other discount stores. Many of the people who shop there seem to lack some normal social graces.
Anyway, that's not really what my little anecdote is about. As I was leaving Kroger, I stopped behind a pink and white striped pick-up truck. If the color wasn't bad enough (and a little rusty), the top of the wind shield said in pink letters, Baby Doll. The woman driving the truck didn't exactly look to be the kind you'd call Baby Doll.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Although somehow I'd hoped to tackle a few more books this fall, I have read several interesting books. I'm currently mostly on a non-fiction kick. The occasional fiction book will surprise me, but still I gravitate towards the non-fiction.
Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-TouristThe Lost Cosmonaut is the anti-tourist tales of Daniel Kalder. This Scottish-born writer travels through 4 regions of Eastern Europe: Tatarstan, Kalmykia, Mari El, and Udmurtia. These little known countries are grim places and Kalder seeks out the grimness. His accounts can be somewhat amusing, but I often found him taking tangents (movie ideas, day-dreams, etc.) that seemed to distract from the already somewhat disjointed narrative. He writes with a sense of humor, which I enjoy, but he also unnecessarily throws in language. I did learn some interesting facts about countries I more than likely would never have heard of without reading this book. So, if you can put aside some of the idiosyncrasies of Kalder's writing style, there are facts to be learned.

Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally Plenty is the year-long local eating adventures of Alisa Smith and James Mackinnon. This Vancouver couple decided to spend a year eating only food from within a 100-mile radius of their home. Broken up into 12 chapters--each for a month of the year--the two authors alternate chronicling that month's eating. Their search for local food took them to previously unknown farms and fish markets. Potatoes are their staple food. Wheat their most desired food to find within a 100-miles. This book was a delightful, quick read filled with insights about our eating habits. It didn't inspire me to eat only local food, but is just another encouragement to consider what we're eating. I'd definitely recommend this, especially to those who enjoy food writing and thought.
Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel is the literary biography of L.M. Montgomery. Gammel takes the approach of chronicling the author's life as mirrored through her writing of Anne of Green Gables. According to Gammel, Montgomery has been a literary enigma. She kept journals, but destroyed some and rewrote many, editing them for publication, therefore, choosing what details the public would know about here. Through much research, Gammel presents a Montgomery through different eyes. I enjoyed seeing the writing process of Anne and how Montgomery's life played into the process, but I did feel that the book was a little repetitious as certain points were brought up throughout the entire book (like the photograph of Evelyn Nesbit, but model who apparently inspired the face of Anne). But, if you are a fan of Anne, then you'd probably enjoy reading about the strange woman who created such a charming character.
Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in ChinaOn a whim, I picked up Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper from the library and I was pleasantly surprised. Fuchsia Dunlop is a Chinese food writer and this is the story of how she fell in love with Chinese cookery and became an advocate of it through writing. In 1992, Dunlop was a British journalist traveling to Sichuan to study Chinese culture and politics for a year. After a couple months of study, she quit her classes and immersed herself in food, deciding she would eat anything put in front of her (and she does! goose intestines, shark's fin, chicken feet, snakes blood, pig kidneys). She visited with street vendors and restaurant owners and even worked herself into being allowed in kitchens. The following year, she enrolled in the Sichuan cooking school and became the first Westerner to study there. China was still ambivalent about foreigners, especially women, so throughout her travels Dunlop puts up with a lot of scrutiny especially as she ventured into closed regions of the country. This is a most fascinating read and I learned much about Chinese cooking and history. My one caution is: don't read it if you're squeamish about what people eat, because this book has it all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just staying in touch...

Well, I was going to participate in Alaina's Keeping Creative Kitchens today, but as I've never done my own Thanksgiving food at all, I don't think I have anything to share. Plus, she shared our most creative tradition of writing thanksgivings on paper feathers. So, nothing from me for now.

I've been a bit under the weather this week with a draining cold bug. Hopefully I'm on the mend.

You know how I joked with some of you that I was moving to Siberia because of the cold, snowy winters? I'm not a novice at winters, but most of them are fairly mild. Not here. Already this week (remember this is just the middle of November) this city has had close to two inches of snow and we are currently under a Lake Effect Snow Advisory until tomorrow afternoon. What is this? I'm going to have to re-learn winter, I believe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Some apartment pictures

I'm sitting at Panera with my computer that has most of my photos on it, so I thought I'd post a quick blog with pictures of the apartment, as well as pictures of THE bookcase. Pardon the stacked boxes, I took the photos back in September. The place looks largely the same, but I have had more time in it to bring order.

Our Kitchen
Our Living Room
The "Office" Area We Created With the Bookcase

THE Bookcase (as seen from the front door)

My Kid's Books

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Some wedding pictures

We received a disc of wedding photos last week and I thought I'd post a few for your viewing pleasure. We really enjoyed working with J M Studios and appreciated their artistic bent.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is it a bad sign...

if your local paper has only one page of job ads?

Timing Fluke

I didn't plan well my timing on changing my name and address and by extension became an irresponsible citizen. I couldn't vote. My registration was too close to election day and wasn't processed in time. If only I'd thought through those sorts of ramifications.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Heavy-footed Upstairs Neighbors

When the people walk upstairs:
My screen door rattles.
My walls shake.
My ceiling creaks.

We can't figure out what's going on. Surely normal living and walking isn't so disrupting! I sincerely hope our to and fro is not so disrupting to the folks below us.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The View From Inside

Outside my deck door there is a deep yellow-leafed tree. Out my kitchen window, there is an orange/yellow-leafed tree. Autumn surrounds me in my cozy apartment and I love it.

Jer and I decided to get a carport for the winter months. As I've never actually lived here in the winter, it's only here say for me, that the winter's can be rough--very, very snowy. Lake effect snow.

Friday being the last day of October (Halloween by most people's standards...I've never really celebrated it), I decided to put on a pot of potato soup for supper and work on making some special treats for us. Smells of homemade caramel corn, caramel apples, and homemade cocoa permeated the house. As I worked away that afternoon, I glanced out my kitchen window and noticed a young mom photographing her daughter (I'd put her around 6 months). First the mom had her out there sitting in the leaves under my pretty orange tree. Then, she dressed the girl in a white bunny outfit--her first Halloween. Little bunny was having more fun playing with the leaves and touching the pumpkin her mom had brought along for a prop. I continued about my cooking, thinking it was cute and just a little ridiculous watching this mom (seriously, she took a ton of photos!) try to capture her daughter looking at the camera. Nevertheless, this didn't keep me from spying on them (don't worry, they couldn't see me, I live on the second floor). Several minutes passed and when I glanced back out the window, there were orange spots marking the white bunny suit. With disgust barely masked, the mom peeled the bunny suit off her daughter and held it away from herself. Here she was just trying to get pictures before the evening and her daughter vomited on the costume. I'm sure that was really just one of many disgruntled mom moments.

Tomorrow Jeremy has a staff meeting and it's his turn to bring the snacks, which means, of course, that I'm making them. He requested no-bake cookies and chocolate chip cookies. So, that's what I've been working on this afternoon. To those we're adding leftover caramel corn, Coke, and just for good measure, carrots & dip. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

6 Random Things

Last week my sister, Alaina, tagged me to write 6 random things about myself. I'm just now getting around to fulfilling it.

1. I highly dislike Feta cheese. Even the smell kind of turns my stomach. There are a few dishes with small portions of feta in them that I like, but overall, I could do without it.

2. I love ribbon. I have since I was a little girl--I'd suck my thumb and stroke the ribbon edge of my blanket (once when I was a toddler, I even substituted the silk flower arrangement in the middle of our dining room table...Dad managed to get a photograph). I still find stroking ribbon to be soothing.

3. When I was a little I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up. When I grew up, I went into literature instead. While I actually love science, I've never had interest in pursuing a career in it.

4. One job I think I'd like doing, but have no idea how to get into, is being a professional organizer. It's a real job! Even Anne Tyler's book, Saint Maybe, has a character who is an organizer.

5. I know that ladybugs are good bugs, but I can't stand how they get into the house--sometimes lots at a time--and they crunch if you squash them.

6. I've always wanted to visit Australia and Israel.

That's it from me. I tag, Margaret J., Heather L., and Rebecca S. to list 6 Random Things about themselves. Have fun!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Keeping Creative Kitchens

As requested by my dear older sister, I am participating in her weekly Keeping Creative Kitchens. I don't actually think I keep a creative kitchen because I pull many of my recipes from people's blogs and I'm actually new to having my own kitchen to maintain; however, I'm here to share a recipe with you from the cookbook, Muffins Galore. I tried them out yesterday and they were a hit.

Honey & Cinnamon Muffins

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
Generous 1/3 c. oatmeal
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 c. skim milk
1 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. butter, melted
4 Tbsp honey

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin tin.
2. Mix the flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, milk, yogurt, butter, and honey. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and mix briefly until just combined.
3. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, then sprinkle the tops with a little oatmeal. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until well risen and golden. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack. Makes 10 muffins.

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Promised Story

If you're a girl and you get married and you want to take your husband's last name, well then, you have to fill out forms and go to Social Security and BMV and in the process you have to make sure you have all the correct documents.  It's kind of a pain in the you know what.

Last week I decided I needed to get that legal stuff over with, especially since I'm slowly looking for a job.

First stop, social security office.  I had a mental picture of the waiting area being filled with vagrants, but I went anyway.  
I pulled into the parking lot around 10, with a book in hand and an envelope containing all the documents I needed (I'd read over the website several times trying to make sure I arrive with everything I needed).  When I walked into the building, arrows directed me to a machine where I had to input the number that corresponds to my reason for being there.  I pushed '1' and a receipt printed with my number--109.  The waiting room was packed with vagrant looking people.  I settled in next to a line of Spanish speaking women.  The first number I heard called was 175--I glanced at my number wondering where it fell in the line up.  About 15 minutes into my wait, the woman sitting a chair away from me received a phone call from her mother.  For the next many minutes, I tried to read and tune out the woman.  She was going through a divorce after 15 years of marriage and she's pretty sure that her ex is bi-polar.  It was an emotional phone call and the woman was obviously on the edge of falling apart.  Not far from her sat two early 20s guys.  Punks from observation.  They were very antsy from waiting and started mouthing off  and singing inappropriate songs/ditties--total noise pollution.   So, I kept reading, trying desperately to ignore everyone, but also listening closely to the numbers being called.  The divorcing woman got another phone call--this one from the ex-husband.  A minute after she hung up, one of the young guys looked at her and said, "You call me an idiot?"
Lady: "What?"
Guy: "You call me an idiot?"
L: "No.  Don't talk to me.  You don't know me."
G: "You called me an idiot."
L: "No I didn't.  Stop talking to me.  I was talking to my husband."
Okay, I have to take an interlude here because I don't feel it's correct to write the words that followed.  They start throwing words back and forth.  The guy mimics every nasty phrase the lady says.  She starts getting hysterical.
L: "You know what?  I don't have to deal with this!"  She storms past the guy to the security desk.  "Excuse me sir, this fellow here is harassing me.  That one, the fourth chair down."
Then more yelling back and forth ensues and the security officer kind of just stands there.  The crowning moment was something like this.
L: "You have no idea what's going on in my life.  I don't have time for men right now!"
I thought there might be an all out brawl on the floor, but the guy was ordered to leave and the crying lady was escorted to the back by a manager.  After another 5 or so minutes, the tension in the room dissipated and people returned to their sitting and waiting.  By 11:15, I'd been called to the window and transacted my business.
It was a ridiculous episode and not a pretty picture of humanity.  It made for a good story.  I kind of wish someone had been there with me to see it. 

Friday, Jer and I made the trek to the BMV.  It went much smoother, but I was annoyed by the woman.  She asked for my marriage license and I hand her the official record of our marriage.  She looks at it and walks away and comes back and says, "This doesn't work."  I look at her with annoyance, "What?  This is the only other document I have."  (The Marion County Clerk's Office gives you two documents--the official record and the application for the marriage license.)  She accepts the application as proof of our marriage.  Doesn't it seem strange that the document that shows we got married doesn't work, but the document that shows we're just applying to get married does work.  Weird world, huh?

Well, I think my stories tell better in person, but this is my outlet to tell them.  

So, now I legally share my husband's last name. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Going to the gym

So, I'm at the gym last week combing out my hair in the bathroom. I'm not particularly fond of showering there, but some days it's a necessity. I'm minding my own business when two older ladies walk in (think early 70s). They're holding rain-bonnets in their hands and have blueish eyeshadow on.

Lady:"So you have to bring your own padlock?" (I realize the woman is talking to me.)
Me:"Oh, yea, if you want one on your locker."
L:"How long have you been a member?"
M:"About two weeks."
L (a little surprised):"Oh, well, do you like it?"
M:"My husband's been a member for a long time and he really likes it. It seems to have all the basic things."
L:"Yes, and there's a place for refreshments around the corner." (We all laugh thinking about the pastry shop just at the other end of the shopping strip.)

We part ways and I smile to myself because these ladies don't look at all like they'd frequent a gym.

So I'm at the gym this morning after I dropped Jeremy at work. And who should be there? Those two ladies. One using a weight machine, the other one standing by observing. Kind of cute!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Well, the Bible study was okay. Eight women came. Quite a variety of ages--I'm definitely one of the young ones and the only one without any children. It will be good for me to get to know the women. We will be going through the book called A Quest for More, by Tripp.
Also, Jer and I are getting involved with a shepherding group from church. It meets every week at the pastor's house. Basically, it's a small group and we're studying the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Here again, J and I are on the young end. The pastor's family is really the other ones. There are younger families in the church, but apparently it's difficult for them to get out for weekly commitments. Oh well, it will be another opportunity for us to socialize with a variety of people.
I'm off to have coffee with one of the girls from church tomorrow morning--she's the one that hosts the Bible study. She has a 1-year-old, so I'm just going over to their place.

On a completely different note, this weekend was my brother's wedding. It was a lovely celebration. They both looked amazing! And, I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief that this wedding season is complete!

We had a family dinner yesterday at my parents. So many of us! It was fun, though. We drew names for Christmas. With the additional people every year, we keep having alter how we do the Christmas exchange and this also means it gets a bit complicated to make sure that spouses don't draw each other, etc. I think we only had to toss in a couple times. Not too bad.

Jer and I received a bit of bad news this morning. His car started making awful noises last week, so we took it into the Honda dealership here in town before we left for our weekend festivities. Well, it's going to cost more to repair it than he paid for it back in June. So, it's kaput. Thankfully we still have another car. Now we're trying to decide whether or not to make it work with just one car, or whether we should start looking again.

Sometime this week, I'm going to post a most astonishing moment in society that I encountered last week. But for now, I figured an update was good enough. Plus, I've got some things to do around here before my husband returns from work. It's our one-month anniversary, so I'm trying to prepare a special dinner.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Further adventures for this shy girl.

Tonight I'm venturing out to the first meeting of a women's Bible study through church. I've never been particularly fond of attending meetings where I don't really know anyone; however, it is being hosted in the home of the one woman in the church I actually do kind of know (she and her husband had Jer and I over for Sunday dinner earlier in the summer), so I'm going. Plus, it would be good to get to know some people and socialize a bit. And, my husband has been gently encouraging me to go. It will no doubt be a good time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

On Turning 27

It sounds so much older than 26; I'm sure it's partly because of the march towards 30.
With my wedding just 3 weeks ago, there's been much celebration in my life. I didn't feel a strong need to celebrate in a big way; however, I did want my birthday remembered. Last year Jeremy did my birthday up in a big way (dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant, wine and poetry at Butler, and an iPod shuffle) and he felt intimidated by that. I assured him I didn't need him to top that. But honestly, I think he did.
Friday night he brought me home three red roses with an anticipatory birthday note. Saturday he surprised me with a mystery trip to a pumpkin patch. It was the perfect October evening and we enjoyed walking around the farm, sipping coffee, and admiring the many varieties of pumpkins. Dinges' Fall Harvest does autumn up! We brought home a peck of apples, a pie pumpkin, a carving pumpkin, a few gourds, and a small bottle of raw MI wildflower honey. It was the epitome of fall for me--my favorite season. Yesterday was my actual birthday. We went to church and then J had to work until 5. He'd promised me yet another mystery trip. This one for dinner. He took me to a most impressive restaurant in a massive home built in the 1880s--Tippecanoe Place Restaurant. We were seated in what was once the nursery on the third floor of the house. There are 7 floors and according to the waitress, 8 tunnels that lead out from one of the basements to various points around the area. These tunnels are wide enough for a horse and wagon! The food was tasty and filling (I had a herb-roasted chicken breast with roasted red potatoes and mixed vegetables). Our one complaint was the extraordinarily noisy people at the table in the room. Seriously, I think they took up all the talking air. The other 4 tables were much quieter in comparison and I think partly because of the ridiculousness at the largest table (the noisiest guest never made more than $21k at a job, almost married the wrong man this summer, knew a dog who would take care of his business while walking, you get the idea). Despite this, we enjoyed each other's company. Jer also completed my Bill Bryson collection by giving me Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors.
Wouldn't you say that was a pretty good 27th birthday? So, I guess I'll enjoy being 27 for this year and not look back on being 26.
Happy fall everyone!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Wish Granted

My husband returned home from work last night around 8:30 and he brought me a surprise...At Large and At Small. He read my blog post just before leaving work and the library had a copy of the book. So, guess what I've been doing? READING!!! I'm about 80 pages in and I'm loving it. It's a good, if not better, than I imagined it would be. (Someone else needs to read her books so I have someone to talk to about them.) To keep myself from only reading today, though, I'm making myself stop periodically and do things like write a job cover letter, write thank-yous, etc. However, I'm always eager to return to my book with a cup of Irish breakfast tea in hand.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Currently I'm reading Inkheart and I'm finding it quite fascinating. My dad told me he'd heard that people said it seemed like a rip off of Harry Potter books and Eragon, but I'm not seeing that at all--I'm halfway through and there aren't any witches or wizards or dragons. All fantasy books have some of the same elements, but so far this one has some uniqueness to it that I'm appreciating. Any of you read it?

Awhile back I posted about Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman. It's a great little book of essays about reading. Later I picked up a book she edited called Rereadings and I enjoyed that very much as well. She has a new book out now I really want to read. I waited impatiently for it to come into the bookstore, but a used copy never showed its face. At Large and At Small is another book of essays. I think I'm going to have to go against my usual habits and buy a copy at Barnes and Noble. Otherwise, how am I going to get to read it?

I really shouldn't buy any more books that I haven't read. I have five cubby shelves on our newest bookcase filled with the books I haven't read yet. Don't you think I should probably confine myself to that reading for the time being?

What are you reading right now? Any good recommendations?

What is it exactly that I do?

My days are very different here.
I was used to full days of work, family, sometimes church, friends, etc. There was always something filling my time and there were days I felt exhausted by it. Well, I think I really felt drained when I added wedding planning into the mix.
For a month now I haven't been working. Of course the two weeks before the wedding were consumed with all those final details. Now in the almost three weeks since the wedding, I've been setting up house here. It's quiet. Jeremy's gone at least 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. So, I do laundry and cook (he's particularly enjoying that!), clean (he's not much on cleaning and when I told him it's good to clean 2-3 times a week he looked rather shocked), organize, scrapbook, and read. Technically I want to use some time to write as well. I talk on the phone a bit, but unless I go out and shop or something, it's just me at home. I think a lot, not surprising is it? This week I realized how much I enjoy doing all these homemaker "things". This change in life isn't without its lonelinesses and challenges, but truly, I'm enjoying being Jeremy's wife.
I am looking for a job now. But nothing so far. I'm not even sure where to look. I'm not too worried about it yet. I've only been in this city for 2 weeks.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's another wedding!

This morning I dropped my husband off at work. We've been married just two weeks today and I have to venture to a wedding alone. :( Oh well, I'm incredibly thankful for his job, so I really can't complain. They gave him 10 days off for our wedding, which was quite generous as he's only been there 6 months. Plus, I'm excited to see all my family!!!
My cousin, Lana, is getting married today. She's exactly 11 months to the day younger than me. And ironically I got married three weeks before my birthday and she's getting married three weeks after her birthday. In many ways we're very nearly the same person. We majored in the same thing in college (her at Taylor, me at IWU) and now she's a librarian (which I once contemplated doing) and I'm married to a librarian. We've kind of switched sides of the state. It's been fun to enter into this new phase of life at the same time. Congratulations to Lana and Kyle!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I guess I've given myself enough of a honeymoon hiatus.

A couple people have mentioned that I haven't blogged in quite a while.  And, I guess that would be true.  I had allowed myself a break for the wedding and honeymoon.  
So, both of those are over and I'm halfway through my first week of being an at-home wife.  Jer started back to work Monday.  I've busied myself bringing order to our little apartment.  I've been somewhat successful, but there are still several trouble spots I need to figure out how to organize. 

Anyone that knows Jeremy and I, knows that we are a bit obsessed with books.  I moved 25 boxes and he had something near that already here.  We both knew that our first major purchase for our home needed to be a bookcase.  For our wedding gift, my grandma and aunt kindly gave us the money to purchase a beautiful double-sided, 6 ft square Ikea bookcase that we'd admired in the home of some friends.  The even more impressive feature is that it can double as a room divider.  We planned to put the bookcase between our dining area and our desks so we could create a quasi-office area.  

Originally we'd hoped to just order the bookcase online and get it shipped, but the shipping was one and half times the cost of the actual piece which made the purchase astronomical.  While on our honeymoon up in MI, we decided that our best chance was to drive over to Bolingbrook, IL and visit Ikea before we returned home.  If we'd known the circumstances to follow that decision, we would have probably just driven the hour and a half home and forgotten our plan.

We left around 9 last Thursday morning from our cozy little cottage and started our 2 1/2 hour drive to Ikea.  Everything was going along well until we reach I-80W and we were suddenly funneled onto another road.  We'd been so out of the loop that we didn't know about the flooding on I-80.  We stopped for directions at a truck stop and headed toward Chicago (now as the navigator, I had hoped we could avoid the actual Chicago area) and eventually onto the Dan Ryan Expressway.  Thankfully the time of day wasn't terrible and we arrived at our destination just about 30 minutes past schedule.  We sat in the huge parking lot eating our lunch of leftovers from our dinner out the night before.  Then, we headed in.

Neither of us knew what to expect, so we plunged in hoping it wouldn't be too hard to find what we knew we wanted.  Jer was hoping for more of a Costco layout where all the sofas are in the same area, all the dressers in another, etc.  Not so.  We made our way to the second floor which was the display floor.  We wandered in what seemed like endless circles (there are helpful arrows on the floor to guide you through every display alcove before you can finally be free to head back downstairs into another maze of things with signs encouraging you that you're going the right way) looking at office layouts and kitchens we could only dream of, and occasionally we'd hit pockets of like furniture together (sleek, comfy chairs we wanted to bring home) and then finally we found the Expedit bookcase system we wanted.  We'd been instructed upon entering that we needed to write down the aisle and bin number for any self service furniture--which we learned the bookcase would be.  So, we continued on and on and on and on (I actually took a brief sit-down because I was getting tired and I couldn't figure out how to get out of there).  At the sight of the rows of self-service furniture we grabbed a flat-bed cart and found the three boxes holding bookcase parts.  

We barely got all the boxes wedged into the back of our Accord wagon and we were back on the road.  I failed to mention earlier, but Dad had been quite helpful when discussing directions around the Chicago area.  I'd consulted him and my Chicago-area map several times.  In fact, the map and I were getting to know each other quite well.  As it was nearing rush-hour traffic time in Chicago it didn't make sense for J and I to head back the way we came.  So, we gamely set out for home with the original directions that routed us along the fated I-80.  Several miles before the I-80/I-94 exit the interstate had flashing signs indicating our impending detour along 394.  I searched for alternate routes on the map and there really wasn't a good one.  We continued on.  I can't remember exactly all that happened on our return trip.  Jer stopped at a gas station to get a drink.  I turned down that bathroom break because it looked to be one of those gas stations with outside entrance restrooms which are nearly always sketchy.  Later we were stopped along side a truck that every time the brakes were applied or let up on, it sounded like a high-pitched gas noise.  Even still later we stopped at another gas station to fill up the car and so I could take a bathroom break and I thought we were going to get supper, but since we stopped at the gas station first Jer said, "I'm assuming we're just going to keep going."  I almost cried I wanted to be out of the car so badly.  All I know is that J and I were in stop and go traffic with everyone else that had hoped to travel along I-80 for 3 1/2 hours of our 5 hour return trip (under normal circumstances, it should take just over 2 hours to make that trip).  It was excruciating!  Jeremy was sick of driving and I was sick of navigating (I had to figure out the quickest way for us to be out of that traffic, which took some careful map study.  Dad, you would have been proud!), surprisingly, we weren't sick of each other yet. 

Okay, so that's the saga of getting it home.  Friday we set aside time to build the bookcase.  We don't have a particularly large space to build something so big, but we did the best we could in our living room area.  We carefully followed the assembly instructions.  Found the tools we needed and laid out all the boards.  The basic design is that each of the four corners has 2 screws in it and the rest of the cube-shaped shelves were held together by wooden pegs.  Well, we encountered our first issue when we moved it some and the pegs loosened.  By the third side we were tired and having a hard time getting everything to fit as tightly as we wanted.  We couldn't get the screws to fit in the third end and the pegs weren't sliding into the pre-drilled holes.  Jer and I pushed and pushed.  We tapped somewhat gently with a hammer and we knocked at it with our hands.  It was infuriating.  Finally we worked it on most of the way and when I looked at the side, we'd bashed holes in it!  I audibly gasped.  But by that time there was absolutely nothing we could do.  Quite deflated we finished building the thing and with much effort got it off the floor and the ugly side pushed against the wall.  

Jeremy looked at me and said, "I think that whole trip yesterday just kind of got to me." We had a lot of pent up energy surrounding that bookcase. 

It's a sad saga, but true.  And despite our endless frustrations with this newest and largest piece of furniture, it is serving the very need we planned.  On the side facing our dining area, Jeremy arranged all of our religious books, our paperback books, and a few miscellaneous books.  On the side facing our desks I arranged all my fiction, non-fiction, writing, and young adult books.  And in case anyone is wandering, we are complete nerds and we know it!

I'll try to be more regular with my postings, especially now that I live far away from you all.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

On this day, September 6

Tonight as I drove, I enjoyed a favorite fall beverage--pumpkin spice latte.
Tonight the moon looked like a dried lemon wedge.

Tonight for about two minutes I was that annoying driver who is in the left turn lane, but has the right turn signal flashing. (I didn't realize my mistake until I'd turned and realized the turn signal didn't automatically click off. Oops.)

Tonight I drove back to my family home for the last time as a single girl.

Today J reminded me I'm loved and happily anticipated in his home.

This past week, today, tonight, this coming week, the emotions are skittering along the surface even in the midst of knowing that it's a good thing my home is shifting cities.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Today is packing up day. It's hard to believe I'm actually moving away.

As a kid my family moved several times and it was always somewhat traumatic because we were leaving all our friends and our house and our favorite play places behind, but it was also exciting to imagine what new memories awaited us. Our moves were somewhat easier from the actually moving aspect because Dad's employer/company would pay to have our home packed and moved. So, we never actually had to do our packing. Let me just say, packing is a big deal! It takes time and ingenuity to make everything fit in the boxes that are available.

One favorite memory of moving is that at each new home Mom and Dad would surprise each of us kids with a new stuffed animal. My bear Chocolate became a favorite from the move when I was 6. When I moved away to college that first semester back in 2003, my siblings gave me stuffed mouse as a going away present. In a box in the basement all of those animals are together, a tangible memory from each good-bye/hello transition into a new phase--a way of marking time. (Except for Chocolate who will be moving with me once again...he's been along for all these moves.)

I am excited to move because it means that J and I get to be together, but every time I look at my room, I kind of shrink from finishing packing because I also know it means I'm leaving the Stephanie I am right now behind. All these changes are a sad into happy transition. But, I can rest in the knowledge that the Lord has paved the way for me to walk forth in faith.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


For those who took the time to comment (thanks so much!), I have no intention of leaving you without any stories. I just thought you should know that the HPB stories have come to an end. (Although, I am pondering a post in which I introduce the regulars that shopped the store; they were indeed an interesting bunch.)

This evening my pastor's wife hosted a lovely shower for me. Because of my literary bent she themed the evening Jane Austen. All the refreshments were British Austeny dishes. And we had tea--Heather hosts the best tea parties. For the opening activity each woman picked a card with a Jane Austen character or novel name on it. She then had us each choose a tissue-paper wrapped gift from a basket. Each gift had a quote from one of Jane Austen's novels. We read them out loud and matched the names with the gifts. It was a creative way to give favors as well. My name was Mr. Darcy and I came home with a lovely, little silver dish. Three women from my church also read something from a book (continuing the literary theme) that had something to do with marriage. I heard an essay titled The Churn Dash (I think) from a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, excerpts from a chapter in Edith Schaeffer's book What is a Family, 2 dramatized poems from Joyful Noise, and a passage from Henry V by Shakespeare. I laughed during much of the reading, and also appreciated the thought put into it. I felt celebrated!

Now I'm off for some sleep so I can run my many errands tomorrow. Thanks for reading and commenting here. It motivates me to keep writing!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

That's All Folks!

Meaning, today was my last day at the illustrious HPB. No more of those customer stories. I'm going to have to start people-watching again (one of my favorites pastimes, but a little conspicuous if you're not careful) to find more stories to fill these entries and entertain my few readers (thanks for checking in, by the way!).
Remember that stash at work I itemized a few months ago? Well, it is now completely empty and available for another employee to use. I purchased over $100 worth of merchandise and justified it by reminding myself this was my last chance to claim such treasures as an ESV Bible for $5; brand new picture books for $6 and under; pie, muffin, and bread machine cookbooks for $6.50 and under; misc Christian titles including a couple by JI Packer for $4 and under. There are some seriously good deals at my bookstore. I'm going to miss finding perfect gifts and "that one book I've been searching for". However, even amidst some anxiety about leaving my first job out of college and finding my first job as a married woman, I know that I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.
I promise, if I remember any funny stories I forgot to share, I'll enlighten you. HPB is a great place to meet the masses.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who knew adults do it too!

I'm referring to the infamous childhood "potty dance". We've all seen it, either the little dancing steps, or the out and out holding while wiggling around and walking or jumping in place.

Yesterday I was at work just doing my job when I noticed a man standing behind another customer waiting rather impatiently. He kind of moved around a bit like he was uncomfortable and lifted his stack of books up and down. Finally when one of us was available he asked if he could leave his books with us while he went to the bathroom. As he was saying this he was lifting one foot off the ground and then the other, continually moving in what could only be described as an adult potty dance. The affirmative response that we would guard his books was greeted with a desperate, "Where's the bathroom?" He strode off and when he returned to claim his merchandise, he had the audacity to let out a loud, relieved, exhale. As if we didn't already know that he felt much better since he'd relieved himself. Sound effects, NOT necessary!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Only two more days as a book maiden.

The customer on the other end of the phone asked after a certain book. I asked her what kind of a book it was and her first answer was, "It's not a very big book." Although I didn't do this, I wanted to respond with the following sarcastic retort, "Oh, okay, the not very big book. That narrows it down for me. I know exactly what you're talking about."

I know customers think the employees at a bookstore know it all, but a mere size description over the phone, especially in regards to the inventoryless books lining our shelves, is like searching through a haystack--not looking for the needle--looking for that piece of hay that's not very long, you know a little shorter than the rest.

Ahh, another day in bookland

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some thoughts on marriage...

Last Friday J and I went downtown to apply for our marriage license. Because of the hours the office keeps, J had to take a day off work to come down. This oh so important office was under-staffed by two 60-70 something women--both pleasant, but not particularly quick-paced, and frequently interrupted by phone calls wanting the marriage performing judge's phone number.

As you might imagine, the queue of couple applicants for marriage ran the gamut of uniqueness. J looked around and whispered in my ear, "We look like the most wholesome couple here." (one of my co-workers informed me later that J and I are more than likely the most wholesome couple in many places.) Several couples looked to have international partners involved. One couple was a petite, curly headed guy and a head taller, heavyset, spiky haired girl. But, the most mystifying couple stood directly in front of J and I for at least 15 minutes of our wait time. He was a scrawny fellow with a much too large polo shirt and boxer revealing denim shorts (now close to pants). She on the other hand was wearing short-short denim shorts and a black t-shirt that no matter how hard she tugged, just didn't quite meet her waistband. Her neck was adorned with three heavy gold necklaces and every single finger was decked out with at least one jeweled, gold ring. As we watched, she reached up and starting popping a pimple on the side of the guys face! And before long I realized that they were getting their marriage license and going directly to the judge to be married. I marveled at what appeared to be a disaster waiting to happen. They'll get married, but how will it last? When her mom called her cell she answered it with an exasperated "what?" and the conversation followed suit. She thought it was crazy that her mom might want to be present at her daughter's wedding.

What are people thinking when they get married?
I am thrilled to become J's wife. But I also know that it is a huge commitment we are making to each other before God and I know that it's going to take a lot of work. It will be worth it, of course, but it's not like marrying each other is going to fix the issues in our own lives. I am so very thankful for the amazing examples of marriage that have been modeled for me. My grandparents have been married for 65 years; my other grandparents were married nearly that long before my grandpa passed away; my parents have been married for 33 years; my aunts and uncles and J's parents have almost all been married longer than that. What an amazing heritage we have before us. One that acknowledges the many joys and the challenges of marriage. They vows I take in just 2 1/2 weeks are very serious to me and while I cannot fully understand the magnitude of what I'm taking on, I know marriage is a big deal. I'm thankful my family and friends will be there to witness it. I'm glad that it is going to be a separate, special day, not just another Friday where pimples are popped in public and the sacred union of marriage seems to be mocked by immaturity.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm Here

I've planned to update several times, but as soon as I sit down to the computer, all the words drain out of me. So, I've just ignored the nagging blog bug.

Despite, all of this, I am still here and plugging along. I'm down to my last two weeks of work--hard to believe--and quasi-seriously looking for a job in what will be my new home.
Every time I head up north to see J I bring along boxes of stuff to leave behind. My room is starting to look more and more bare.
A week ago my sisters threw me wonderfully fun personal shower/bachelorette party. I think there were twelve girls there. We laughed, talked, and enjoyed wine, chocolate fondue, and cheeses. As I looked around the room I realized how blessed I am. I have an amazing support of friends!
Last night as I was driving my 3 hours back home after being at J's, the moon kept me company drifting upwards as I travelled. I watched the moon change from a warm deep yellow/orange glow along the horizon to a smaller white orb hanging in the sky. There is something comforting in the company of moon and stars in a dark sky.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Finding myself with little extra time

So, I'm trying to keep up with everything and one of the several areas being shorted is this blogger world.

Let me just give you a small glimpse of my week and you might understand why:
8:15 appointment
9:15-12:15 I'm home working on invitations or something wedding related
1-9 I'm at work
9:15-10:45 I'm meeting with the woman doing the flowers for my wedding
9-5 I'm at work (another day in audio books)
5:40-7:30 I'm at home working on invitations and eating dinner
7:30-8:45 Bible study
9-9:45 First wedding dress fitting
9-5 I'm at work (I get to shelve art)
5:40-6:20 I'm at home stamping and sealing 90 invitations
6:30-7:45 I have dinner with a friend
8-9ish I shop a bit for the next day
9:30-11:30 I finish working on invitations (they are finally ready to mail!!!)
8-12 I'm at work
12-3:30 I'm driving north (I do stop for 30 minutes to eat some lunch)
3:30-6:30 I'm at J's apartment cleaning and preparing a surprise birthday meal
6:45-11:15 I'm with J--he is very surprised to see me as he thought he'd be spending the evening alone
11:15-2 I'm driving south (I was so tired that a couple hours into the trip I stopped to get an iced coffee at McDonald's and it was just awful, I barely drank any of it)
8:50 I wake up from a dream where I'm receiving a repeated shot in the arm, in the same small hole
10 I'm at the doctor for a follow-up look at my eardrum (it looks good!)
10:15-11:15 I sit at Starbucks and sip an iced vanilla coffee (this one is very good and not too sweet) and work on Bible study
11:30 appointment
1-5 I'm at work where, not surprisingly, my patience is wearing thin

Now it's 6:15 and I'm resting a bit before dinner, after which Mom and I are heading to Hobby Lobby to look at wedding decorations and then the fiance will make an appearance at my doorstep sometime around 9 p.m. Tomorrow holds a similar schedule to the rest of the week.

Is it any wonder that blogging isn't much of a priority?!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Today was my first day back since Thursday and I only made it 6 1/2 hours before I had to call it quits. Too tired. Too many sounds that all collided in my ears that aren't up to par. However, I did work and that was good.

Now I'm trying desperately to print my invitations and the printer and my ineptness is causing me frustration. I'm going to get these out!!! The wedding is only 7 1/2 weeks aways, I can't believe it.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Around 4 a.m. Sunday morning, my right eardrum decided to rupture for the third time in my life. It happened quickly, although I did have a cold virus working on me for a couple days previously.
Now, if you've never had this happen, it's a very annoying experience (great pain before the rupture and then relief when the pressure is gone and then the ear drains and you can't hear out of it, all in all, not fun), but it happens, so I just have to go with it.
My sweet, caring fiance was in town over the weekend and he drove me to the immediate care center so I could get antibiotics and hopefully stop the spread of infection. He then coddled me as much as he could before he had to drive back home. Today my nephews were over and I told C that my ear was broken inside--he is always concerned about ouchies--and he took a cold pack and held it against my ear and rubbed my cheek gently and said, "all better, all better." So, I'm getting gentle and loving treatment to help me heal as quickly as possible, but I'm still laying low for the next couple days as I have very low energy, plus I can only hear about 60% of my normal hearing. I have unintentionally had a 5-day break from work. Honestly, I'm ready to go back. I'm tired of lying around in bed.
I'm praying for a speedy recovery of the ear and that there won't be any permanent damage. Every time it happens I fear that the ear is just getting weaker and therefore a possibility for hearing loss. Kind of scary.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Password hint

For anyone that read my previous post, I realized I could have posted a little hint for you to figure out the password yourself. So, here's the hint, and if you still can't get it, I'll be happy to give to you straight up. :)
Hint: combination of our names shortened. Not too hard, right?

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I have set up a wedding web page for J and I on For security reasons I made it so guests would need a password to view all of the wedding detail pages, as well as to sign the online guestbook. If you want that password, please leave a comment, or drop me an email. I'm happy to share it with you!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday update

It may seem that I have dropped off the face of the blogging world...I unintentionally took a small hiatus. My mind's been crazy busy with wedding logistics and every time I think about updating I feel like it will only be about that and there really is more going on in my life besides planning.

For instance:
I watched two movies this past week--P.S. I Love You and The Jane Austen Book Club. I really liked both of them, although the second one definitely had more questionable material. The first one made me sob. The second one made me want to read more Jane Austen.
Since Sunday I have completed reading two books as well as finished up reading another--The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio; Ellen Foster; The Man Without a Country. Of those, I would only really recommend the first title. The fiance read it awhile back and told me I must read it. The movie based on the book is quite good as well.
In the past two weeks I've packed up 15 boxes of books to be moved north and I still have three full shelves of books. J and I need to be finding some bookcases to house our library!

In the wedding world: I've nearly completed registering, the invitations are designed and ready to be printed, and I'm forcing myself to make final music selections this week.

I spent a couple hours lounging on a hammock this afternoon and I have to say, the weather was perfect today. It was warm, but still pleasant, not too windy, and very sunny!

I realize this is a paltry update after a couple weeks of nothing from me, but my few readers, it's all I've got for now.

Hope you too are enjoying the summer!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The "new" car:

I suggested the fiance buy this car:

Instead, he bought this car:

My option was cuter, his more practical (plus the red Honda wasn't actually for sale). As usual, practicality wins out. Soon I'll have my car back!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Weddings on my mind...


No matter what is going on, somewhere in the back of my mind I have wedding details (decided and undecided) floating.

Monday morning before work, Mom and I went to the church where J and I are being married to look at reception facilities. Tuesday evening after work I met with the violinist for the wedding to go over music possibilities. Today--my day off--Mom and I got together with my friend who's making my bridal gown. We picked patterns to combine, found fabric, etc. Then, Mom and I spent 4 hours wondering the major stores at the mall nearby looking for potential bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride dress. In case anyone was wondering, Mom and I aren't particularly good shoppers; we tire easily. Today, we just plunged ahead and were quite successful! We found two possibilities for bridesmaid dress (both significantly on sale), a top for Mom, wedding shoes for me, and then I decided a also needed a couple of cute clearance sundresses. Next week we're tackling catering, church coordinator, and photography. Progress is being made.

In other news, I think the fiance may have a replacement car. We've been looking for something for 3 weeks--he's had my car in the interim. Also last week I bought a much needed table and chairs from a consignment shop in town. It was an amazing deal, the woman knocked $45 of the sticker price and threw in an extra, almost matching chair! Doesn't it look just right in the apartment?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How would you respond?

In the last half hour of my work day I actually had the following conversation:

Customer (he says the following like he is trying to be cool, granted he was mentally challenged, but it was still very casually strange): I have a teenager at home.

Me: Oh really?

Customer: His name's Huck Finn.

Me: Oh. Uh, huh.

Customer: He's a teenage lion cub.

I faltered something out, but my mind was scrambling to fit all these pieces together. What would you have said?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


So, remember how merely two posts ago I was commenting on continuing to hope despite circumstances that were less than ideal? Well, we've got new circumstances that are making hope a necessity.
With the deluge of rain we've been receiving recently, we finally got hit. The basement flooded (which is finished and very much lived in with brother 1's bedroom, Dad's office, play room, and family room) and we are now trying to figure out what to do with everything so we can tear up all the ruined carpet. We've already hauled up to a trash heap on the driveway one room's carpet, a mattress and box spring, and a disassembled cabinet that housed our board games. Poor Brother 1 has lost much of his earthly possessions--or at the very least they are quite water damaged. We are kind of at an impasse for the one room, now sans carpet, to dry so we can move more furniture in there to facilitate ripping up more carpet. It's quite disastrous and in the mean time, our house kind of stinks with all that water soaked into the carpets. Also, on the same night in which the basement flooded, part of a Cottonwood in the backyard broke and hit several other trees on the way down and that torrent of limbs managed to hit the neighbor's fence. Guess what we'll be replacing?
However, despite all of the unforeseen loss of goods and extra work, there is as always marks of God's Providences. Brother 1 got home sometime between 1 and 2 Tuesday morning and discovered the water pouring in through his window. Imagine if no one slept down there that night? Or even if he'd happened to be out even later? So much more could have been damaged. And that dang tree, well, if it had fallen other directions it could have hit and damaged the swing set, the boy's clubhouse they built themselves, the storage barn, and perhaps even our deck or our roof. A portion of the neighbor's fence sounds pretty good. Praise God for His protection!
So, my dear readers, this house is in a frenzy of cleaning and it looks as if the work will never end, it will, won't it? In all honestly, it kind of looks like we just moved in, everything is everywhere. It's a bit disheartening, but we carry on!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

This is what I was doing yesterday:

Standing up with one of my oldest friends (I've known her for 17 1/2 years) at her wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception.

My dear fiance even made the 3-hour trip over which made my evening! This pic was taken late into the evening (some time after 9) and we were both zonked.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hoping in the face of hopelessness and still smiling.

This past week was quite challenging for me as I felt each day brought a new circumstance that was less than desirable and trying to drive me to lose hope. However, God as my ever faithful Father has provided for 2 of the 3 occurrences and I continue to trust and pray that He will give guidance and provision for the final "trouble." (That being the demise of the fiance's car...he currently has mine until we can figure out what to do.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008



How do you pronounce this word if you ever use it? Does the middle i make a short i sound or a long e sound?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Look at that adorably goofy face?

Need I say more?
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