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So we didn’t celebrate Memorial day… so sue me

We did plenty of other things and kept quite busy. And to take ‘s perspective on things (she recently said something about this regarding Mother’s Day), it’s not always necessary to do the remembering or the appreciating on a holiday, when one should really be doing it year-round (in responding to some of her fellow church-goers who were sad that neither of her daughters were coming over to her house for Mother’s Day, when in fact we have good relationships and sent her gifts and she feels quite appreciated). I have a grandpa who served in a war (which probably contributed to his alcoholism), and an uncle, and a cousin who returned from Afghanistan last summer so that he could get married (and he’s not going back), as well as a surprisingly large number of youth group kids who went into the service. I fully appreciate their contribution to our country, especially since I really don’t want to do it and obviously somebody has to (barring the debate about whether or not we should be at war, blah blah blah). So no Memorial Day cookouts for us, no visiting gravesites or anything. I touched a flag on Saturday, but it was attached to a boat and really had nothing to do with the upcoming holiday.

So what did we do this weekend? Well, we finally got some projects done! I know! Amazing! More exclamation points! I only have pictures of some of them, though. More pictures coming later this week, though.

bathroom_lights_update

We finally got the light fixture in the bathroom replaced. This involved patching, sanding, priming, and painting, but the end result is very worth it. (Top: old light fixture; bottom: new light fixture.)

did most of the work, but I helped. Specifically, I painted.

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Also, the last of my houseplants went outside to catch some sun, and I got the corner unit cleared off. Now, however, it seems too empty. I'm not sure what to do with this space.

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I cut out a lot of fabric. I mean, a lot. Three skirts, two pairs of shorts, a pair of pants, and three tank tops, to be specific.

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Of course, I can't do anything until my sewing machine is returned to me. I anxiously await that time. I'm trying not to be impatient, but I don't have much more I can cut out. I ran out of patterns. I would have cut out another skirt and a dress, but the patterns I have were the wrong size range, so I'll have to get different ones (curses on the system that is totally and completely different sizing from store-bought clothing - I know that it's the store-bought clothing sizes that have changed, not patterns, but it still means that I wear a 6 at the Gap and a 14/16 in patterns, and that's just... wrong).

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And, of course, I made cookies on Monday. Black and Whites, to be specific.

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I've never had one, and certainly never made any. They're an interesting cookie. Cake-like, almost, in flavor and consistency. A very different dough than regular cookie dough. I hope to post recipes sometime this week, but I don't have the cookbook with me here at work, so that makes it quite difficult. You'll have to survive on photos of yumminess, and in the knowledge that if you're coming to SNB tonight, I'm bringing a cookie for you.

Insert Synonym for “Pictoral Update” Here

The tree at our house is blooming, which usually results in many photos being taken.

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Here's my favorite (click on it to go to Flickr where you can see a bunch more).

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The amaryllis is grow-grow-growing! And finally, it sprouted what will be a flower! I was getting worried that it would just be leaves this year, but all that worry was for naught, since this sprouted up within a few days.

I made more cookies on Sunday (through Tuesday). I also made banana bread, but it wasn’t photo-worthy. I made up Oatmeal Cream Pies (recipe linked earlier in a linkfest post, from Tarheel Table) and they were yummy. I made up the dough on Sunday but by the time the banana bread was done baking (who knew it took an hour in the oven?) it was 9:30 pm and we really needed to do grocery shopping. So, into the fridge the dough went and sat until Monday night. Even after sitting out and warming up for a bit, this dough did not respond well to being refrigerated, so I don’t suggest trying that. Still, they were delicious, if not the best-looking cookies in the world.

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The cream filling recipe made up more than I needed, so they got extra-filled, which, as it turns out, makes eating them very messy.

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It made up a plate full, which is more than enough since I can handle about one a day, and I love sugar.

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These are very sweet, however, and made me feel a little old. Delicious, and something you should try and bring to a party or in to work for your co-workers or something.

One day soon I’ll have a pictorial update on the garage, as well as the new light fixtures we bought over the weekend. Alas, those projects aren’t actually finished, so no update just yet.

SNB on Tuesday was just and myself, so we ended up at the mall and didn’t do the Shrinky Dinks craft we were planning on. It’s been postponed until next week, when hopefully more people can come. If not, her and I will have a ton of fun by ourselves.

Last night I stopped at Target and one of my purchases was some new underwear. Perhaps you didn’t realize this, but if your pants don’t fit because you’ve gained a little weight, it’s most likely that your underwear doesn’t fit either. And the combination is, well, just awful and embarrassing and I can barely believe I haven’t been arrested by the Fashion Police in the last few weeks (at least that’s when I started noticing it – who knows how long before that?). Well, the new stuff I bought fits and is super comfortable, but definitely nothing that Vicky’s would sell, if you know what I mean. Well, who cares about cute underwear anyway? I have it on good authority (aka my husband) that men really don’t care about that stuff. They especially don’t care if it matches. So if he doesn’t care, why should I? And who else is seeing my underwear? No one, that’s who. So Hanes is working fine for me.

That was probably TMI for you. Oh well. Maybe I should make it a regular blog feature, TMI Thursdays. Thoughts?

Crafty Linkfest

Things to make:

  • Reusable Sandwich Wrap [link removed]
  • A purse like this or this [links removed]
  • Fruity Button Napkins (from How About Orange)
  • A small photo album using an accordion fold kit
  • Shrinky Dink Rings (from PlanetJune), which we’ll be making next week at SNB – if you’re in need of the plastic, you can try the ReadyMade store [link removed] (though I bought mine at Michael’s)
  • Free Sewing Projects (from About.com)

Tutorials:

Fun home decor

Fun fabric to use on any of the above:

Before&Afters

Well, the only way I have to create these is rather primitive, but here are the as-promised before and after shots of the spare bedroom. There’s still work left to do, like replacing the window and carpeting and generally making it look good, but we got a lot accomplished this weekend, and I think it makes a big difference.

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Also, after getting the curtains hung (not hemmed – that’s a task for another day), I spent almost 2 hours ironing my recently purchased fabric. I know, that sounds like a lot of time. It was. I woke up this morning and my back reminded me instantly of how I’d spent the night. But, I find great value in the process of washing and ironing new fabric (washing is necessary to pre-shrink fabric, and the ironing lets me get to know the fabric better, see how it will drape, how difficult it will be to work with, etc), so I put up with it. Kind of like priming – don’t like doing it, but I know it’s important, so I do.

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Newly pressed fabric

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Black floral for skirt

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Cute cars for Grant

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Polka dots for skirt

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Daisies for skirt

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All the fabric (minus the boring white twill) that I bought at SR Harris on Sunday.

Lastly, my favorite activity from yesterday (and favorite photos of the day):

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Flowers for the dining table

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Close-up of the buds.

Tonight is SNB at our house. What’s on the menu? Stir-fry with asparagus, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and chicken (if the vegetarian isn’t coming), served on brown rice. Not my best meal ever, but it should still taste good. What would I really like to do tonight? Make peanut butter cookies. Not helpful, though. Is it likely that any knitting will actually get done tonight? Probably not. I am in a very bad place with the blanket I’m working on and would rather ignore it for now, because I think I have to rip out several rows, and I can’t deal with that at the moment. Instead, I might pick out a pattern and cut some fabric, or measure and cut for the rollerblinds. Or just sit on the couch and chat with my friends. Who knows.

Oh what fun

Yesterday, I discovered a new feature on J Caroline Creative. You can order samples of fabric, which is just wonderful (assuming you’re not buying the clearance fabric, which I’m drawn to – not that you can’t buy samples of the clearance stuff, but it may very well be gone by the time you receive and evaluate your sample, so it doesn’t seem the wisest choice). So, I ordered 18 samples (at 50 cents each, I figured I could afford it), mostly to see what other fabric would work with the tablecloth fabric I already bought, and some for fun.

Here are the tablecloth options (as presented via photos from their site, and while I’m hoping that colors are true to life, you can never be too sure):

Tablecloth fabric options

The big sample in the middle is what I already have. I have enough to make a tablecloth out of, but it will have a large seam down the middle. So I thought that if I put a stripe of something else down the middle, it’d look better (more purposeful that there was a large seam, that is). So, here are some of the fabrics I thought might go. I had to shrink the samples a bit, so they look a bit different, and I’m not sure about how the colors will really look. All the very dark colors are actually brown, not black as they may appear. And the lightest colored parts should all be cream or white, even though sometimes they appear bluish. My favorite is the lower left corner, the stripes, but I don’t know how the colors will end up looking. Anyone have any favorites?

And here are a few more samples I got for some fun projects.

The bicycles one is so cute, that if it looks good in real life I might try to make something for our Korea friends (not Korean, as only one of them is actually ethnically Korean, but our friends who are currently residing in Korea), who are big bikers. Not sure what, nor that I will have the time to make anything before their one-year wedding anniversary, but it’s a nice idea, right? The top right corner would make a nice pillow, and the bottom right corner is exactly what I want to make roller blinds out of, but I can’t find it in real life or in black (instead of brown). The apples and pears would make some fun kitchen stuff, like an apron or place mats or napkins or something, don’t you think?

And lastly, here's the fabric I already bought (in addition to the green and brown silverware pattern above).

At least, that’s what my invoice says I bought, but I remember that something was back ordered or out of stock or something, so I’m not definitely sure what came to the house. The top left corner came, and it’s beautiful (it’s brown, if you can’t tell). The top right corner came, and it’s black, and while I don’t love it, I bought it to make a pillow for the spare bedroom, so it’s all good. I love the one on the bottom right corner, but I’m not entirely positive that it came, or that if it did, all that I ordered came (I think they didn’t have 4 yards, so they sent 3 or something like that). I had plans for something that I don’t remember, but I might have to rethink that anyways, so it’s all good. What would you make with it? And lastly, the bottom left corner may not have come, I don’t remember. Nor do I remember what I was going to do with it. It’s pretty, but that’s all I know.

Lastly, since I reference it yesterday, here are the fabrics that have inspired me to make something for Grant.

They’re not to scale, since the two fabrics are from different sellers. Also, the top three skinny ones are ribbons/trim, so they’re definitely not to scale. But aren’t they cute? Really, sometimes it’s hard to be inspired by cute little boy things, but these worked for me.

I also got a lot of ribbon on clearance, which is beautiful but I won’t bore you with. Hopefully one of these days I’ll have some time to at least decide on a project and cut something out. (I know, I know, I keep saying that, and nothing ever gets done.) I have a deadline for painting the spare bedroom – the girls are going to come over to our house next week for SNB, so I want to have the bedroom primed and all painted before then. I think that’s a reasonable goal, and the only kink in the plan I foresee is if my tendinitis decides to flare up and I’m unable to paint.

Tonight’s plans include putting away a lot of clean laundry and studying for my final exam. I’m all registered for summer semester classes – Gender and Culture (an anthropology course; I had the choice between that and Comparative Women’s History, which sounded better but wasn’t offered and isn’t being offered this fall either), and Introduction to Urban Education and Reflective Teaching (required to get into the program). Should be good, I hope. At any rate, I’m getting closer. All 4 of the remaining content courses I’m required to take are offered this fall, as well as the other education course required to get into the program. Not that I can take 5 classes and work full-time, but it means that I am very close to being done with the less-important part (meaning I could really take those classes at any institution and they’re not as specific to urban teaching as the program is, though there are a lot of ethnic studies courses required which I believe is special to the program) which means that I’m left with a whole bunch of education courses, 11 plus student teaching, to be exact. I’d like to think that I could take 4 classes a semester (after all, I did take 3 and plan a wedding and managed to get straight A’s), but that may be pushing it (especially since classes at Metro State seem a bit harder than those at Saint Paul College). It may also depend on what else is going on in life at the time, like whether or not our house sells or a whole bunch of people plan weddings in the fall out of state that we have to travel to or… you get the idea. If the house miraculously sold and we moved before the end of the summer (not really predictable, but it’s a nice “what if,” isn’t it?), I think I could handle 4 classes, as long as there’s only the one out of state trip that’s already planned (my cousin’s wedding in Michigan in October). Fall seems a long ways off and I can’t register until August, so there’s really not much point in spending so much time thinking about it.

isn’t feeling well, so if you think of it, send happy thoughts of chicken soup his way.

I’ll spare you the literary analysis

But I will say that Jane Eyre at the Guthrie was wonderful. It was yet another take on a fantastic story. I’ve watched the BBC miniseries (my favorite), read the original book (not so excellent, but must be appreciated for the beauty that the story is, even if I didn’t care for the writing), and now seen the stage version. All were special in their own way. I thought the miniseries was more true to the book than the stage version, but the modifications for the stage made sense for that medium. I highly suggest seeing it if you have the money and time and opportunity. We got $10 off one of our tickets because of the student discount, and they didn’t even ask to see my ID (though they said they would).

Jane Eyre is a similar story to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, but I think I like the Jane Eyre storyline better. Of course, Jane Austen’s writing is much preferable to Charlotte Bronte’s in my opinion, but that’s just me. I haven’t actually read an Austen book that I didn’t like, though her short stories were insufferable. and I were talking about how authors really are good at one thing and not so much at the others. Austen should have stuck with books. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, should have stuck with short stories (I finally gave up on The Beautiful and the Damned). Other authors we discussed were good at screenplays, first drafts, etc. And yet they all seem to try one of the other formats. Oh well. Just goes to prove that they aren’t complete geniuses, but simply people who are very good at a specific thing, just like the rest of us.

I have a headache this afternoon. The printer broke as I was printing envelopes, and is out of commission until the repair man comes. Tonight is having some friends over, and after dinner I’m going out to buy fabric for the rollerblinds (unless my headache doesn’t go away, in which case I’m going to “take to my bed” like someone in one of Austen’s books) and go to the gym (barring headaches, which are only made worse by going to the gym in my case, though argues that it’s helpful because it opens up blood passages or something).

Tomorrow we’re going to go get a storage unit and move a bunch of the stuff from our house that is already in “storage” to official storage. That’s the first step before being able to do lots of other things, like painting, fixing the windows, installing carpet, etc. I’ve got a paint color picked out for the spare bedroom (a lovely shade of “linen” I believe), as well as an idea of the fabric for all the rollerblinds. Once that room is clear and the floors are clean (our cleaning lady, aka Grandma, is coming today), I can hem all the curtains with my new machine and then get to work on making pillows out of the leftover fabric. Our kitchen is looking excellent (if you haven’t read my post from yesterday about it, you should, because that was a ton of work!), we have curtains in the downstairs that I love, and I think we’re generally on-track. I decided not to do too much with the furniture refinishing before the move. Everything will get sanded and primed and painted white, but that’s it. I’ll deal with picking accent paper, hardware, etc, including the top coats of shellac that will make them durable, after the move. Often furniture like that gets dinged up in a move anyways, and really all we need to do is have them look presentable. So it’s the bare minimum for them. I’d do more if the list of things to do weren’t so long, but that’s the way it is. There are only 24 hours in a day.

Yesterday I bought an issue of “Everyday” with Rachel Ray, or whatever her magazine is called. Like some others have said, I have a love-hate relationship with the Rayster (I don’t think I can call her “Rach” as she calls herself). I find her completely obnoxious and then suddenly found that I’ve watched (and enjoyed) an entire episode of her show. The magazine I didn’t like at all. I’m bringing it Tuesday to SNB and hope that or can get some use out of it. There weren’t any recipes in it that I wanted to make, except for a reference to Alicia Silverstone’s “Crispy Brown Rice Squares” that I might have to try (but the recipe wasn’t in the magazine – it’s on the website).

Anyways, back to work and attempting to make this headache go away.

New Things

Today was my first day of class. I woke up early and I got to class 15 minutes early; I did pretty good. I yawned a few times in class, but what do you expect for 9 am? I did politely cover my mouth while yawning, so hopefully the teacher just thought I was tired, and not bored. I stayed mentally engaged in the lecture, which was not overly interesting, especially since she basically covered what we had read in the textbook. But I liked the textbook. The teacher seems nice. This class has the potential to be easy. At least, after one class, it doesn’t seem hard. And it’s actually 3 classes, I just happened to miss the first two.

We practically had SNB last night. is taking a 6-week course to become a CNA (or to start on the path towards becoming a CNA? I get confused easily), so we’re taking a break. But called and we talked for a while, and made lunch plans for today, and stopped by after her class and stayed for half an hour. So, there ya go.

Our dryer is fixed, finally! So I did 4 loads of laundry last night, cleaned my bedroom, and watched 3 episodes of the Dead Zone. It will take me forever to get caught up on the TV I recorded this summer. I’m caught up on Monk and Stargate SG-1, but I have the entire season of The 4400 and The Closer, and almost the entire season of the Dead Zone to watch.

I’m wearing my anniversary gift from today. For those interested, here’s what he gave me:

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Ooh, how pretty!

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A gorgeous amber pendant-and-earring set.

And, for good measure…

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Weeks' worth of yummy goodness!

Today’s Reading

I frequently find myself looking for ways to entertain… myself… while at work. This leads to a lot of reading on the internet. One of my standbys is Christianity Today’s Single Minded column. There’s a new entry every couple of weeks, so occasionally I forget to check it for a while, and then have several columns to get caught up on. Today was such a day – four columns since last I’d read. Let me give the quick breakdown of my thoughts:

Surprised by Marriage
by Jason Boyett, excerpted from Pocket Guide to Adulthood
July 19, 2006

I liked this article, except that for being an article that’s supposed to encourage single people, it seemed way too “go out and get married already!” I’m not sure how that’s going to be received by … others.

Found in Translation
by Camerin Courtney
July 12, 2006

The Goodbye Girl
by Camerin Courtney
June 28, 2006

These two were alright, but didn’t exactly resonate with me. They’re mostly about the author’s recent trip to Bulgaria. They’re good, but don’t go out of your way to read them.

The Gift of Loneliness
by Peter M. Nadeau
June 21, 2006

This is the one that surprised me. Not because of the content, exactly, but because it got me thinking. And I realized that since college, I haven’t really struggled with loneliness. Not that much in college, either, except for the times that it seemed like everyone was getting married, which tends to emphasize your own singleness (and the fact that you haven’t had a date in … how long?). High school was lonely, but I think perhaps more because of the social structure than anything else.I’ve had some lonely times since college, true. I’m thinking specifically about my first few weeks after getting fired, when I had just moved into a new apartment with new roommates I barely knew, had just moved to a whole new state for a church that had just dumped me, and other than , I didn’t know anyone in Minnesota. Those were some rough times.

More so, however, I’ve felt “alone” rather than lonely. When I was working down in Arizona, I made great friends with my team. But when it came down to it, I was their boss, and sometimes there were things I had to deal with that I couldn’t talk to them about (like when my boss told me they might send me home, aka fire me, at the end of the week, depending on my performance that week – no pressure there). And then I felt alone.

When I moved to Michigan, I had a lot of alone time. That was OK, for the most part. The worst part was in April (I was only there for a year and a half), driving back from a trip home to Chicago, when I realized that I was unhappy and was going to have to start looking for a new job. I sobbed almost the entire 4 1/2 hour trip, feeling absolutely alone in this decision and… horrified at the implications.

But lonely? This is something I rarely feel. Even before my weekends were spent almost exclusively with , and before we had SNB regularly scheduled where I knew I’d see and once a week… even then when I spent most of my time working or working at church, and my free time was spent at home watching TV… I rarely felt lonely. Is that strange?

We all know that I’m not a highly social person, that “recluse” is a much better word, and I’m perfectly comfortable describing myself as a “homebody,” regardless of the negative connotation that may hold. I’ve never been one to have tons of friends – two or three close ones is about what I can handle before feeling stretched too thin. And I need my alone time, to regroup, to not have to be “on” for others, to relax.

There are other things as a single person that I felt the absence of stronger. Like physical touch. The opportunities to touch and be touched are sometimes few and far between. Or when I really wanted to do something but had no one to do it with (go to the movies, go out for coffee, things that are more enjoyable with company).

These days, I don’t have those struggles. I have more of a problem making sure I have enough time by myself to get done what I need to (laundry, reading, whatever), and enough alone time to not get frazzled.

I guess, perhaps, I’m lucky? Blessed? I’ve been trying to write this post for over an hour now and keep getting interrupted, so my thoughts have kinda fallen apart.

Miles walked since 6/1: 53

Fidgety

Today is one of those days that I just want to chop off all my hair. Or wish I was wearing a turtleneck. One of the two, because my braids are rubbing against the back of my neck and it’s really annoying.

Also, it’s freeeeeeezing in the office today. Good thing I wore my convertible capris – they’re pants now.

Last night… I spray painted the table that lives on my deck. It’s now a lovely shade of green, instead of the stained/permanently-dirtied white that it was. The chair is next. I also hung up wall decorations and watched way too many episodes of Star Trek that I’d recorded. I wasn’t in the mood for the other stuff. I hung up the new mail sorter I got for the apartment – a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. Stupid walls – I don’t know what they’re made of, but it’s crap. It’s either impossible to drill into, or it all flakes off and is worthless to hold stuff up. There’s no middle ground. Don’tcha just love old houses?

And I gave a lot of love. She seems fine, though confused and unsure when food time comes around – it’s too bad she’s got such a small brain, because explaining the situation to her really won’t help. Oh well. I haven’t had any breakdowns on the matter since Sunday afternoon. I just keep reminding myself that is much happier now, that the nagging sense of needing to go home and clean pee off of my roommates’ things wasn’t fun, and that and I can go visit him in a few weeks. It’s not like he’s dead.

Tonight and I are meeting at the Jamba Juice for SNB, because she’ll be in the area looking at apartments. I’m excited, because I love Jamba Juice and lately every time and I have passed one we haven’t been hungry. Maybe they’ll have a fun lime drink. I loved it when their fruit of the month was lime. Yum yum!

has decided to torment me about my birthday presents. When was in town last week, she gave me hers, and it’s sitting patiently in my room, wrapped until the day comes. I can totally handle the waiting on that (though it helps that I’m 95% sure what it is, and I haven’t needed to use it yet). But since I gave lots of completely useless hints about his gift last month, it’s now my turn to be tortured. So far, all I know is that he ordered it online, it’ll be delivered via UPS, and and were consulted.

Currently listening to: someone making photocopies
Peeve of the moment: co-workers in general
What I’m wondering: um… what food to get while I’m out getting coffee – I’m hungry!

Away From The Ledge

I’m attempting to talk myself away from the ledge, aren’t you proud? I’ve got my Mocha Malt Frappuccino. I will eat the apple I brought for breakfast. And I will put Sinatra on my headphones in an attempt to ignore the known universe. At least the sun is shining and it’s warm enough to walk outside. And I have cash in my wallet to stop at the store tonight before SNB to pick up yarn to start the next baby project. Thrilling, I know.

loved her Mother’s Day gift. And sent me a link to a house she’s looking at. In Blaine. She’s got another interview at 1:30, and then is hoping for an in-person one in a few weeks.

Also, I ran the numbers last night for how much shelving I need in my room for books, and… well, the math doesn’t work. I need… 9 4-foot shelves. That’s…. more than a wall’s worth. So I’m going to have to see what thinks about shelves… elsewhere in the house. Like the front room. Not like we actually use it. It just looks usable now. Very important difference. And I need to ask her about Memorial Day. I want to have a picnic. I’m sure she’s OK with it. But I need to be polite regardless.

Back to work. Staring at Access for a bit, I think. Not that that will help my mood – in fact, it most definitely will not. But it’s all I’ve got.

Seething

Alright, we’ve quickly gone from “this could be useful, maybe I could tolerate using VB” to “I hate VB and wish that I never ever ever ever had to work with it ever again.” I can’t make it work. I watched do exactly what I need to do yesterday and can’t seem to replicate it. It would help if I could find any documentation that started at the beginning with the basics, rather than just assuming I’m familiar with any of the language at all. Thankfully, a co-worker was going to call down to the IT department to a programmer-friend to see if I could borrow a “For Dummies” book on VB 6. Otherwise, I might just buy one on Amazon for $4 (love those used books). Unfortunately, the work laptop I’m boring doesn’t have Access, so I can’t exactly just bring the database with me on the laptop tomorrow night to SNB for to look at. I can put it on CD and see if can help me next weekend, but then what will I do all this week at work? This is all I’ve got. So you see the frustration. I’m stuck here staring at the de-bugger and the completely useless Chapter 20 of my Access book.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have a completely negative view of VB. I know that if I could figure it out, there are some cool things I can do. And I’m willing to try. But at the moment it’s like hitting my head against a brick wall. Repeatedly. Without a helmet. And we all know how I feel about things that make me feel stupid.

Well, in a few minutes when I’m not listening for the phones anymore, I think I’ll put on my headphones and… brainstorm some other project (our equipment inventory rental system). Get my mind off of this one for a while, since I’m not getting anywhere.

Or…. my co-worker just came over with the borrowed book. It’s actually a “Teach Yourself VB in 21 days” and is, amazingly enough, thicker than my Access book. It’s a whopping… 850 pages, which is less than my Access book. How does that work? Whatever. There’s some light reading for ya.

Insanity, here I come.

So Exciting!

Guess what happened Saturday night! I finished the baby blanket for little Charlie!!!!!

What, you were expecting something of… greater global significance or something? Come on, I’ve been working on this for… four months now. I’m so glad it’s done! I’ve got to take a picture tonight, after I iron-on the label (“Handmade With Love” to avoid the confusion experienced at Christmas). Then I’m bringing it to SNB on Tuesday night to show and , and then off it goes to Boston!

So I started to re-learn how to crochet on Sunday then. I think I did OK, except for the fact that the rectangle I was trying to make somehow ended up a triangle. I’m sure will be able to tell me what I’m doing wrong. And I got back to work on the stole/shawl I’ve been working since Christmas, for me.

Oh, were the cats dying for love when I came home. Both slept with me all through the night, and the moment I stirred this morning, crawled up onto my chest and licked my nose until I got out of bed. That was pleasant.

The birthday party for went well. Everyone was well-fed, had a good time, and only a tiny bit of crying from the short ones when threatened by the cat or the nearness of bedtime. The only bummer was that ‘s gift arrived partially broken, so I have to return/exchange it, which is sad. Otherwise we could have used it, or at least… looked at it. It’s pretty. I was all excited about it.

And then I called Sunday night and used almost 200 of my night & weekend minutes. Yep. I got filled in on all sorts of things, only some of which I wanted to know, though there was a hilarious story about my grandma, since and her sisters got her a DVD player for Mother’s Day and she has no idea how to hook it up.

There’s nothing going on at work. I should pull open Access and see if I can get my database to do what I want it to with the VB showed me. But that’s really all I have for the whole day, so… I’m going to hold out on that for a bit. You know, save something for this afternoon.

Quickly…

While we’re on break…. there’s a woman in my class today who is very annoying. She thinks the world revolves around her (which is clearly not true, since we all know it revolves around me). I know there’s only 4 students here, so everyone gets to be important. But she’s just… monopolizing everything (like when to schedule bathroom breaks and lunch and keeps asking questions that are only vaguely related to the subject matter and then ending the discussion with, well, I won’t end up using this, and I don’t really work with web pages, but I just wanted to know….).

Argh!!!

Tonight – home decor consultation with and then SNB. I’ve decided that whatever knitting I get done this week, the baby blanket will be finished. I’ll just knit up the border on Sunday, regardless of how much I’ve finished. It’s close, and I’m really tired of the project. Plus, the baby’s going on two months old now.

Late Night Thoughts

I just started reading Finding Our Way Home by Mark McMinn. I bought it the last time I was browsing for cheap books on Amazon and set it aside so I’d start it next (after finishing Pride and Prejudice, or which I still have about seven pages that I can’t seem to make it through). It seemed like the kind of book that would… meet me where I’m at, and journey with me, and lead me… on. And I was right. The bus ride over to SNB tonight gave me the chance to read the first chapter. McMinn used an illustration from his own life that I could have written myself, and it resonated deeply with me.

The book is about home. There are many different types of homes, and many different ways we experience it. Sometimes you arrive somewhere and just know you’re home. I felt that way the first time I walked onto Judson’s campus. Sometimes it takes longer – a place grows on you, you have experiences, and it becomes home. Living in Minnesota was that way for me. And sometimes home isn’t a place at all. I came up with a lot of different personal “homes” as I was reading.

Homes Past – places, experiences, memories that were home and will always be remembered that way, but are gone forever. Playing the piano in my childhood home. Running the outdoor track at Judson with at 11pm. Dinner at 5:30 every weekday as a whole family, and homemade pizza on Saturdays. The piano in the empty sanctuary at my church in Michigan. Chapel at Judson. Laying on my back staring at a sky full of stars in the middle of the field outside our dormitory in Arizona. These are the homes that we long for, choose to remember the good and forget the bad.

Homes Nearby – experiences and places that aren’t everyday, but can be recreated. Starbucks with . Lying in a hammock with and (like the summer of 2003). The first smell of hyacinth in the spring. The first sip of White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks in the fall after summer’s deviation to frappuccinos. During stressful times or a particularly hard day at work, these are the type of experiences I seek out to comfort and calm me.

Homes Present – places, experiences, things that mean home for me right now. Hearing Etta James sing “At Last.” galloping down the hallway when I first get home from work. Being in ‘s arms. Nothing in the world could make me give those up.

Homes Future – that which causes my heart and soul to cry out for more, something beyond the now. “Ocean” by Ten Shekel Shirt. Certain books. Worship experiences that are extraordinary. Special conversations that catch me by surprise, often with a stranger or distant acquaintance.

and some other people know that if I get injured and have to be on life support in such a way that there’s really nothing of “me” left, I’m DNR – Do Not Resuscitate. Why? Let me go. I want to go home. Heaven, where I can be with Jesus, and everything is made right. The pull of that home hasn’t been as strong in the past few years; I’ve been much more disengaged from my own spiritual life. But it’s still there, that pull of home, always, and it’s what will eventually motivate me to… re-engage. It’s happening already. The book is helping too. Despite my recent revelations of my disillusionment with the church, I am starting to feel ready to again be active in my own spirituality.

I may not necessarily have figured everything out or be able to put what I have into clear statements, but my original desire to figure out who I am outside of the church, I feel I’ve accomplished that (as much as anyone can define themselves). There’s a separation now – I am my own person and exist independently of any church. (Before it was much closer to a co-dependent relationship, which we all know are unhealthy but hard to get out of.) I feel… healthier, more defined as a person, well-rounded, balanced, and as though I experience a broader part of the world than I did before.

Well, if anyone actually read all the way to the end of this, here’s a question for the comments: what is home to you?

Itchy

I am tired of winter. Really, I’m just tired of the 0% humidity. I put lotion on and still my skin is scaly (well, OK, so I don’t look like an alligator or something, but it’s still not desirable). I think that’s what had my cats all freaked out yesterday (because they were bastards all night). They got baths last Wednesday and already has dandruff. And is just one big ball of static electricity. That must be no fun.

Tonight instead of knitting at the coffee shop, and and I are experiencing an Omni film or two. I’m not exactly sure which ones are tonight, since the schedule changed since the original email, but it should be fun. Yay for employee discounts!