Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

The Gift of Gifts
O Source of all good,
What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
his self-emptying incomprehensible,
his infinity of love beyond the heart's grasp.
Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.
Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.
Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.
Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
he came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer's face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his.
In him thou hast given me so much
that heaven can give no more.

~ from "The Valley of Vision" (a Puritan prayer book)

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Today started with a late breakfast with one of our good friends, followed by a trip to the theater to see "a Christmas Carol" (which we really enjoyed) and then home for the rest of the day.:) We got things tidied up around here and made chex mix, cheese ball and cookies as well as put together an egg casserole and coffee cake to pop in the oven when we get up tomorrow morning. Now we're relaxing in our PJ's watching a movie. I don't usually have Christmas Eve off and I must say that I've really enjoyed my day.:) I hope you all have had an equally enjoyable Christmas Eve and that you will have a great Christmas! I'm still like a kid when it comes to Christmas, so I'm definitely looking forward to tomorrow!:)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

getting pumped for christmas!

I just work today and tomorrow before enjoying a four day weekend. I can't wait! We have a pretty relaxed Christmas planned that will include some time to ourselves as well as time spent with both of our families. Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In keeping with his other films...

Wes Anderson's "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is pretty fantastic!:) You should go see it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

a recommendation

If you've never watched "Flight of the Conchords" you should probably start now. I doubt that you will regret it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

my plan for my day off:

Making frames. For some reason I only ever get my act together until right before the December first Friday when I realize that I'd really like to get some of my new paintings framed up and looking good. You can ask Luke. We never make frames during the summer and for some reason we only make them once a year (and yes I realize this is entirely my fault and not his at all). I'm pretty sure this is 3 years running that we will be making frames in my parents garage in the cold of December. My poor, devoted husband. He really is a trooper.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

giving thanks and looking forward

I love Thanksgiving. Not only is it a great holiday for reflecting on God's goodness, but it also ushers in the holiday season (of which I am a fan:). We enjoyed spending Thursday with my family, all of whom were able to be there. It's great to have a day to relax, eat amazing food, play board games late into the night and hang out with your favorite people in the world.:) It's also great to be part of a family that recognizes the importance of giving thanks to our God. While this has been an incredibly challenging and somewhat frustrating year for Luke and me, it was good to step back and to reflect on the many ways that God has provided for us and for His care in our lives. We were also able spend Saturday with Luke's immediate and extended family. We got in some good euchre games and enjoyed the day. I did venture out on black Friday to score a few deals. I didn't go until about 9:30, in order to avoid being trampled to death.:) I missed out on a couple things I wanted to get, but later found one of them online for the same price and the other at a different store. As for everything else I went for, I found all of it and more...:) No surprises there. I have a pretty good leg up on my Christmas shopping now. I love that now it's ok to listen to Christmas music and to start getting excited about the upcoming holiday celebrations. I'm a big fan of the Christmas season.:)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I have a feeling that Sylvia Plath and I could have been friends...

If either of us had ever gotten over our introverted-ness and chatted.:) We clearly have similar levels of cynicism. I've started reading the journals of Sylvia Plath on my lunchbreak at work and I find myself nodding in agreement with her assessments of college, the world and the people in it. Sometimes she says something I thought I was alone in thinking and states it so perfectly. I understand her insecurity and her inner battle to understand and appreciate herself as a writer (something I can identify with as an artist). I know her life ultimately ended in a very depressing way (I'm grateful for my faith, which gives me hope and optimism), but it's been so interesting to read something so personal and open that I can identify with. Her journals are incredibly honest and beautifully written. I still have quite a bit to read, but I'm definitely hooked.

"...Why am I obssessed with the idea I can justify myself by getting manuscripts published? Is it an escape-- an excuse for any social failure-- so I can say, "No, I don't go out for many extracurricular activities, but I spend a lot of time writing." Or is it an excuse for wanting to be alone and meditate alone, not having to brave a group of women? (Women in numbers have always disturbed me.) Do I like to write? Why? About what?..."
~Sylvia Plath

Thursday, November 19, 2009

trying to stay strong.

I've tried not to focus on the fact that a year ago this week life as we knew it changed drastically, but after receiving frustrating news about Luke's potential holiday work schedule all I really feel like doing is crying. It's been a year of changing our lifestyle, of putting many of our dreams on hold, of trusting God and learning how to love and support each other no matter what. I know one day we'll get the good news we've been hoping for, but lately it just doesn't feel like it. I try not to question God too much-- I know His plan is far superior to mine. But today I just want to know why.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the commute

After receiving many frustrated phone calls from me about the irritating traffic patterns that cluttered my normal route home from work (it was taking me nearly an hr.), my very patient and loving husband has found me a new way to get to and from work. This wonderful new route is not only faster (35 min. or less there & about 40 min. back), but it also moves much better and I think it's less miles. Luke may or may not have suggested this route to me before and I may or may not have listened. Either way, I come home much happier than I used to.:)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

you should probably attend the roller derby...

Saturday night marked the beginning of the new season for the Naptown Roller Derby. Luke and I have been eagerly anticipating this event and we were not disappointed.:) The bouts are at Pepsi Coliseum this season, which seems like it will be a great venue. (instead of opting for the "comfortable" seats, however, we prefer to stick to the suicide seats by the track; it adds to the excitement:). I got a sweet t-shirt with a new design that I'm wearing as I type this.:) We were able to attend with several friends, a few of which had never been before. It was a double header, so we were treated to two great bouts in which our teams did a number on those opposing. Those of us who had attended before kind of missed Jane Ire (she was a pretty amazing jammer), but Blazin' Ace seems like she will continue to take care of business. We had a great time and are getting excited about the December bout!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'll be honest...

when I'm off work or work later in the day, I watch the Ellen show from 11am-12pm and eat cereal. And I laugh.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm not sure why...

but Joyce Carol Oates gets me every time. I love the way she writes. I was introduced to her in a college literature class through some of her short stories (which I loved) and I later read "Them" (also good). I've encountered her again twice recently. I listened to "We Were the Mulvaneys" on my commute to work and I almost couldn't wait to be in my car so I could listen to it. It is an incredibly heartbreaking story, but I found the writing to be very compelling and the language simple, but in a way beautiful. I also recently read her novella "I Lock My Door Upon Myself" over a few lunch breaks. It was unlike anything I have ever read and was written in a unique voice and from quite an interesting perspective. It had a very tragic feel to it. Come to think of it, everything I've read of hers has a sort of a tragic/heartbreaking element... maybe that's why I like them. Her characters always seem like very real people. I hope to read many more of her books, as she has quite a vast body of work. Any Joyce Carol Oates recommendations?

Friday, October 30, 2009

a few weeks ago i bought a flannel shirt...

and then I realized that this particular item of clothing somehow kind of describes me. I don't know if that's a good thing or not... nevertheless I think it's true.:) Think about it.
I like to think that because this particular flannel shirt has a nice more fitted cut to it, that it's not so farmer-ish.:) Either way, I'm happy with it and it's ridiculously comfortable.
I love fall.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

don't forget to check out the new link on my blog roll!

My sister and our friend Heather launched a new blog recently that you should definitely check out. The Cooks Next Door is a very cool blog that has lots of great recipes and kitchen tips etc. Plus there will be much more awesome-ness to come!:) They are both excellent cooks (I can testify to that) and they both have a passion for good food and quality ingredients.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

some collected thoughts on marriage...

Recently a customer at work used our phone to call her husband (she apparently needed picked up or something). After getting off the phone (which she had ended with a cute little french farewell) she turned to my co-worker and me and said: "25 years we've been together and I'm still crazy about that man. He's so sweet and He does just about anything for me. He's going all out of his way for me...":) It was adorable. She went on to share an anecdote about how recently they had just climbed into the car to go somewhere and he looked at her and said: "Is it possible that I could love you more right now than I ever have?"I don't know anything about their history, but I loved hearing her talk about the two of them.

Marriage gets such a bad rap in society these days. People rarely share the happy or positive sides of love and marriage; they typically focus on the difficulties and complain about their spouses. Many even openly mock marriage. When Luke and I got engaged I remember people congratulating me, but also getting that vibe that people were thinking: "hope it works out". How is marriage supposed to be successful when that is the pervasive cultural attitude? It's a truly sad state of affairs. Marriage can be such an awesome thing if those involved can learn to be selfless and to be honest and open with each other. We live in such a selfish and self absorbed society. Luke and I are blessed to be surrounded by many people with healthy, happy marriages and I am so thankful for their examples. My Grandpa and Grandma Cummings are going on 65 years or something. How cool is that?!

I don't know if anyone else happened to be watching tv when they aired parts of Patrick Swayze's audio diary, but hearing him talk about his wife of 34 years or so and how much he loved her was very touching. He said marrying her was the best decision he ever made. Once again, I don't know much about their life together, but I do know that they stuck it out and hung in it together and that when he died, they still loved each other.

I'm going this weekend to participate in and celebrate with my friend of 20 or so years as she marries her best friend and I am so excited. Although marriage definitely has challenges and difficulties, it is an amazing journey. The coolest thing is that you are in it together and that you have committed to one other to help each other along the journey of life. Having your best friend by your side is awesome. I have understood that more this past year than ever before.

I am quite certain that 25 and 50 and 60 and 100 (yes, we secretly plan to be married this long:) years into our marriage, I will still be crazy about Luke. I know things will have changed and that we will have been through alot by then, but having him there and having God in our midst will make it ok and worthwhile.

Monday, October 5, 2009

always a good reminder and an awesome promise...

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:25-34

Friday, September 25, 2009

How is September practically over?

I've been feeling somewhat glum of late, thus my lack of posting. Life has kind of gotten me down for various reasons and I try not to let it get the best of me, but it's been a struggle of late. Luke and I have been working opposite schedules and haven't been able to see each other much, which gets old quickly. He agreed to fill in a position at a different location for what we thought would be about 3 weeks and it has turned into 2 months. Thankfully next week is his last one at that location after which he should be back on a day shift.
Life has changed drastically for us in the past year, and sometimes I can't help but feel quite frustrated at what continues to feel like a standstill. Many goals and dreams have had to be put on hold and I'm just really looking forward to progress one of these days.:)
I know God is in control and has the bigger picture, but sometimes I can't help but feel a bit depressed.
I'll try to work on making my next post a bit more optimistic...:)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

not a good sign for the art world

I have to admit that I became mildly depressed about art as a whole when I saw in a magazine that a gallery is showcasing a series of paintings done of some of the cast of "the Hills"- one of the all time most ridiculous shows on television. Seriously?! Those people do not need an ounce more of attention; they are already some of the most spoiled, obnoxious people in the tabloids. Ugh. I normally would try to be more tactful in the discussion of "art", but I just found that very disheartening for myself and other artists.:) What's up with the world?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

cars, vacation, movies, life...

I've been on vacation this week, which has been a very welcome break.:) I've been able to rest up as well as get some things done around here. We had originally planned to camp this week, but since Luke got that security job he's had to work, so we aren't going anywhere until tomorrow morning when we will head to Chicago until Sunday. I'm very excited to get away for a bit; we always have a great time there and we've found that using priceline etc can make it much more affordable. We are planning to visit the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art and take in a White Sox game among other things. We'll be spending an afternoon in Wicker Park area too, which is always a highlight for me.

A couple of weeks ago, after much consideration, we decided to take advantage of the cash for clunkers program as our '89 f150 has been pretty unreliable (not to mention unsafe & terrible on gas). Ordinarily we never would have considered getting a brand new car, but being able to get $4500 out a truck we would have been lucky to make $700 off of was a huge blessing. We've been planning to get a car for sometime and had been saving toward that end, so we kind of felt that this was just another way God was providing for us. Our truck didn't have air bags or a horn and the drivers seat belt definitely wasn't up to par, and neither of us wanted the other party to drive it, so we thought it was time.:) We found a car (nissan versa) that we felt we could afford and bought the very base model (not much to it:). We are pleased with our purchase and it has made car logistics much easier. It's nice to have two reliable vehicles. As many issues as there are with the cash for clunkers program, we felt that it was great solution for the position we were in.

Movies are obviously a frequent topic on my blog (in fact I'm considering starting another blog for my own persoal movie reviews) and I hope that doesn't bore people too much.:) Luke and I both just happen to love movies and it's one of favorite evening activities (complete with our own discussion & assessment:). We recently decided to join Netflix and we are pretty excited about it. When we moved to the southside, we quit getting cable; it was too expensive and we watched movies alot more anyway. We figure netflix is a lot cheaper (ours is $9 a mo.) than cable and for us will be more enjoyable. You can get great classics, documentaries and foreign films that would be hard to find otherwise, not to mention the fact that they arrive in your mailbox.:) We already added over 100 movies to our queue; it can be a bit addictive. I'm not sure how we'll ever get them all watched.:) We just watched "Watchmen" (very good, by the way) and are eagerly awaiting our next selection.

In other movie news, I will be seeing "Julie and Julia" tonight, which should be good. Also, I am ridiculously excited about Tarantino's new movie, "Inglorious Basterds" which opens this weekend. Luke and I seriously can't wait to see it and so we may be finding a theater in Chicago to view it at.:)

Fantasy Football season is quickly approaching, which means fall is almost here. It's hard to believe that summer is all but over. It's felt like a strange one; definitely out of the ordinary. Life has been good, though. Not without it's challenges or moments of being overwhelmed, but God is good and it is such a comfort knowing that He is there taking care of us.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

i saw a news blurb...

about Gen Con (gaming convention) this weekend in Indy. I guess that would explain why there was a man dressed like a Zelda character milling about in my art section at work yesterday. I pretended like it was normal.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the big day

So, Marge got married last weekend... and it was a pretty awesome occasion.:) She did a great job planning it and achieving her dream wedding (a vintage hollywood feel). Alot of people contributed their skills and helped make it a very memorable occasion. It's hard to believe she's married; I'm so happy for her and Philip and I'm very proud of them.
I enjoyed designing the invitations and programs. There were moments where I had school flashbacks of deadlines and printer problems, but in the end everything came together fairly well.:) (Although I'm still trying to catch up on sleep:). Alaina and I collaborated on the wedding favors. She made 250 rice krispie treats (Marge's favorite and no small task:) and I designed the tags we attached. For the guestbook Marge and I had the idea to do a painting that everyone could sign and that they would then have as a memory piece from their wedding. I wasn't sure if I would get it completed, but at the last minute I did and we were both happy with the result. I still have to frame it for them... I didn't quite have enough time for that.:) You can see the painting (pre-signage) at Alaina's blog along with several other wedding photos.
Marge looked amazing in her dress (designed and sewn by her new sister-in-law; accessorized by mom (veil) and our sister-in-law (jewelry)). I really appreciated the charge that the pastor gave to th couple; as a married person I find it encouraging and refreshing to concentrate on the Godly advice given to couples at their weddings. I felt that Pastor Beachy's charge was very meaningful and full of good reminders for any married couple. My aunt did a great job decorating and maintaining the "vintage" feel Marge was going for. They had a wonderful jazz band for the reception: the John Harden Project. I have a feeling that if I could have this band at my house playing that music all day long, I would get a lot more done.:) It was a truly beautiful wedding. Congratulations to Marge and Philip!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

a customer service rant...

-to the customer who was laughing out loud about the book he was reading in the coffee area: please don't, it's awkward.

-to the cutomer who #1 talked on the phone throughout our entire register transaction, #2 took a bag for one book and #3 payed me with money that you pulled out of your bra: #1 that's inconsiderate, #2 that's wasteful, #3 that's disgusting. don't.

-to the customer who rejected my offer with incredulity and anger and cut me off every time I attempted to explain my reasoning: your offer was bigger than I normally would have done for the 3 books you brought in (I was trying to be nice) and I'm especially mad at you because I wanted one of the books you were selling.:)

-to the customer(s) that trashed my section, which I had worked very hard to get in order: you are supposed to be adults. act like it.

-to the customer who had me look for 8 different books via phone (even though I ordinarily only would have looked for 2 and was trying to be nice) and then decided that you didn't want the 2 that I actually did find: that was irritating. I wasted 20 minutes trying to help you and didn't so much as get a "thank you."

-to the customer that was trying to interrupt me while I was helping a customer at the register just so you could find out where V.C. Andrews might be: that's rude. wait your turn.

Maybe I was just feeling extra irritable yesterday or maybe people were just extra annoying, who knows. At any rate all of these minor annoyances took place and I found myself very ready to go home at the end of the day. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. But anyone who has worked in retail has put up with many thoughtless customers and can probably identify. A thank you to the customers that actually patiently wait their turns, ask how my day is, say thank you and show a bit of kindness. You are the ones that can brighten a bad day.

-to any cashier that I have ignored by staying on my phone when I went through your check out: I am very sorry. I don't do that any more. I know what it's like.

-to any store where I have carried something around, decided I didn't want it and then just discarded it anywhere in the store instead of putting it back or taking it up to the register and giving it to you: I am sorry. I don't do that any more either. I know how frustrating it can be to find a parenting book stashed on a shelf in the art section.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

my cat likes cheese...

is that weird? I find it strange that every time I get cheese out to use, Clio smells it and comes looking for hand outs. She may not even be in the same room and she somehow senses it. I'll be slicing some cheese for a sandwich and all of a sudden I look down and there is Clio on a stool next to me waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for a bit of cheese. I guess I should be able to identify, since I absolutely love cheese myself.:) And just like me, she likes all kinds. Maybe we're both slightly crazy...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

here you go Marge (and anyone else who's interested:)...

Marge tagged me and it seemed like a good idea, so here it is:

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:
1. vacation in a few weeks
2. Having our own house, one day
3. Not working full time/being able to pursue my art more
4. Tarantino's new movie, "Inglorious Basterds"
5. Christmas (I get seriously excited about this holiday:)
6. Having kids, one day... but not today:) (this ones for you, Alaina:)
7. Marge's wedding
8. Dinner :)

7 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Stand up comedy
2. Dance
3. Sing and/or play an instrument well
4. Travel more
5. Printmaking and bookbinding
6. Read faster (my "to read" list is ridiculously long)
7. sleep better at night

6 Shows I Enjoy: (there several others, this list isn't quite long enough:)
1. Family Guy
2. Project Runway
3. Lost
4. So You think You can Dance (and really any dance show)
5. Scrubs
6. the Office

5 Favorite Foods:
1. Cheeses of all kinds
2. Fried egg sandwich
3. Strawberries
4. Tacos (the way we make them-- lots of delicious toppings:)
5. Any pumpkin or lemon dessert

4 Guilty Pleasures:
1. People magazine
2. certain reality tv shows... more than I would like to admit:)
3. snickers bars
4. java chip frappucinos

3 Favorite Smells:
1. Coffee
2. Freshly mowed grass in the summer
3. campfires

2 Frequently Visited Websites:
1. Facebook
2. Etsy

1 Person you would like to have lunch with (dead or alive):
this is a hard question for some reason... but I'd kind of like to meet and chat with Bono

I think Marge already tagged everyone I would tag, so I'm not going to tag anyone... but you should do this.:)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a legitimate question...

so I was helping a customer at the register today and he was counting out the change he had dumped all over the counter and he looks down at this quarter and goes: "since when did Guam become a state?"... and I said: "seriously Guam is on a state quarter? That's really weird." And I would have been ok with that being the end of our conversation (especially since the transaction was complete and a line was forming behind him), but apparently this guy knows a bit about politics. He proceeded to tell me how Guam is pretty far from becoming a state, that Puerto Rico is much closer (fyi if they wanted to be a state, our government could vote on it and they'd be part of the union tomorrow... that's how close they are:), and went into several of the logistics of how one becomes a state (something about populations and constitutions and whatnot). Being not very politically savvy, nor having much of a vested interest in the "discussion", my side of the conversation went something like this: "oh, I see... well, that's very interesting... I did not know that... ok... yeah... good work Puerto Rico..."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the week in review...

I need to get back in the swing of this blogging thing.:) I just haven't felt like I have much to say... and I've been pretty worn out lately. I have completed 4 days of the "thirty day shred" work out dvd (by Jillian Michaels), which is one of the reasons for my tiredness. Some of you have probably heard about this and/or are doing this dvd. I was hearing alot about it, so I decided to give it a try and I am impressed with it so far. It is definitely challenging and I like the fact that it only takes 20 minutes (albeit a hellish 20 minutes:) a day. That's exactly what I need. Something that requires minimal time but delivers maximum results. I am already seeing my endurance increase and can tell that this is going to be really good for me. Now I just need to make sure I stick with it.:) I am in two upcoming weddings, so that helps motivate me, but I also have been realizing my need to get some exercise in my life and this seems like a workable solution for me.
Enough about exercise...:) Last weekend was great. Friday night we went to the IMA to see "Fight Club" during their summer nights movie thing. We invited several people and alot of them were able to come, which was fun. We got to hang out and enjoy some food and games and then a great movie. I also got to spend some time with my sisters and sister in law last weekend. We wanted to do this before Marge's wedding, and I am so glad that we made a priority out of it. We had a great time relaxing, enjoying good food, games and fellowship. Of course one of our favorite things to do when we get together is talk, and we got plenty of that in.:)
Work has been a bit overwhelming this week, so I have really been looking forward to today (my day off). I got to sleep in a bit and then Luke and I went to the store and picked out some food for grilling out. We've enjoyed being able to grill since we are no longer in an apartment complex. Nothing says summer like grilling out.:) So sometimes we like to go to the store and just pick out a big meal. This is usually quite a bit cheaper than eating out and is alot more fun.:) This evening I went to a bridal shower for Marge, which was alot of fun. I'm very excited for her upcoming wedding and am thrilled to have Philip as part of the family. They make a great couple.:)
Tomorrow I head back to work to mountains of books/records to deal with... good times.:)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

marge has spurred me on...

Apparently she is tired of the fact that I haven't blogged. I can't believe it's been this long... Things have just been really busy and every time I thought about blogging I couldn't figure out where to begin. So maybe I'll just give a rundown of what's been going on so I can start fresh.:)

In no particular order, here's what's been happening:
~We went camping a few weeks ago, which was a wonderful time. We both love camping and always look forward to these opportunities. We went from a Wednesday to Sunday, which was a nice break. Plus Steph and Jeremy joined us on the weekend; we enjoy having other people to play games and chat with.
~I designed (with her input) Marge's wedding invitations and helped with assembly. We were both pleased with the results.
~I had the opportunity to display a few paintings for about 3 weeks at the new Element Salon & Spa in Lafayette. My sister-in-law let me know about the opportunity and I was thankful for the chance to show some of my stuff.
~Luke was gone all last week helping our friends move to California. It was cool that he was able to help them out, but I definitely missed him alot. I just tried to keep busy and not think about it too much.:) I'm very glad to have him back this week. We can get back into the swing of things and do dishes and watch our art films together.:)
~I've been listening to "Everything is Illuminated" (by Jonathan Saffron Foerr) on my commute. It's been good, somewhat graphic at times, but he has a very unique writing style. The movie is really good. I have previously read his book "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", which I really enjoyed.
~Luke's job search has been pretty discouraging, so we appreciate continued prayer on that. Remaining patient and positive is definitely a challenge. We have been grateful for everyone's support and prayers.
~We attended "Plan 9 from Outer Space" (an infamous b-movie) at the IMA (as part of their Summer Nights movie program). It did get rained out toward the end, but it was alot of fun and we'd already seen it so it wasn't a big deal. We're going again this Friday (if it's not raining) to see "Fight Club". The summer movie nights are awesome, because you get to bring a picnic and sit outside watching a movie!:)
~Work has been decent. I always have lots to do and not quite enough time, but I'm figuring out that that's just the nature of life.:) And I really can't complain, I have a great job.
~We've been able to spend some time with our families on various holidays (father's day, mother's day, july 4 etc). It's always great to hang out with family and we are so blessed to have close relationships with both of ours.
~On that subject, we have a new niece! Mya Marie was born and she is adorable (of course:).
~Our friends taught us how to play Canasta, and since Luke and I both love games this piece of information warrants mentioning on this post.:)
~I've started several new paintings that I'm working on at my studio. It will probably be awhile before they are completed, but I'm glad to have sone direction and something to think about and work on.

I know we've done so much more in the past couple of months... but these are a few of the highlights. Life has remained insanely busy one way or another.:) I can hardly figure out what it is that keeps us going so often, but life keeps trucking no matter how much I want it to slow down. O well. God is good and always provides and that is something to be thankful for every day. I hope this post finds all of you alive and well. I will attempt to blog with somewhat more regularity.:)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

so I took an unintentional hiatus from blogging...

and I will be back soon, I promise. This is just to say that I am indeed still alive and have plenty to blog about, but have just been insanely busy with this thing called life.:) Hope you all are doing well, I will be with you shortly... (I hope:)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

i want a tree house!:)

Since architecture is now part of one of the sections I run at work, I've come across some interesting house books. My recent favorite is a book called "tree house living". I seriously think that living in a tree house is an awesome idea. These aren't like a tree house you had (or didn't have:) as a child, they are actually places you can live or have as a vacation home. Some of them are several hundred square feet and they are so creative and innovative.

One of the things that impressed me the most is that the builders who were showcased in the book do not harm the trees in any way. They won't even nail into the tree or cut it. Instead they use braces and stilts etc to secure the home. They also take into account the future growth of the tree a custom build the home in accordance to the laws of nature and to your own creative imagination. In looking around a bit more on the internet, it seems that these are becoming a more prominent trend and that most builders are being environmentally aware.

As I was doing my internet browsing about tree house living, I came across this sweet article about other non-conventional houses that are using pre-existing resources and therefore support green living. You should check out this article:
After reading this article I have a secondary dream: to live in a refurbished airplane.:)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

it's been one of those weeks...

I've been feeling decidedly discouraged. No single event brought this on, just all the circumstances of life combined I guess. I'm looking forward to some good news one of these days... and to feeling like our life is in a forward motion and not so much a standstill.

Last week I finished listening to "I, Robot" (Isaac Asimov). It was very good, although much different than the movie. I really don't even see why they share a title. They are both good, but just very different. The book is composed of short stories, some of which involve same characters and all of which have to do with the struggle between robots and humanity to co-exist. It's a very good book. Now I'm listening to "the Colorado Kid" by Steven King; I haven't decided what I think yet.

The "Lost" season finale was last night (complete with a 15 minute power outage during it due to the storm). That show never ceases to amaze me... and irritate me.:) I think every episode creates more questions than it answers. I don't know how they'll possibly ever get everything to make sense. It's pretty crazy and very good. It has to be the most intricate tv show ever created.

At work yesterday a customer sarcastically said to me: "well aren't you friendly and smiley today." Not quite sure how to respond I said: "what do you mean by that?" At which point she gave me this annoyed look and said: "you're just very cold." This was after a very brief buy interchange in which I had just been my normal self and was just doing my job. I found it incredible that she felt she could pass that kind of judgment on me after we had only spoken a few words to each other (not to mention the fact that she didn't seem like much of a peach herself and knows nothing of my personality or my life). I'm not sure what she expected me to be like. I realize I'm not the smiliest or bubbliest person you'll meet, but I always strive to meet customers needs and to be friendly in my own way. I was glad that the other employees standing in the vicinity of the incident had no idea what triggered the woman's statement and thought she was out of line. Customer service is always interesting. People never cease to amaze me.:)

Sorry this is a bit of an eclectic post. I was having a hard time formulating my thoughts so I figured I'd just include it all.:) I'm looking forward to hitting up Chicago and the Green Festival this weekend. I feel ready to get away for a couple days and do something different. Chicago is always a good time and we've planned in some "chilling out" time, so that will be nice.:) 3 days off from work!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I finally made them myself...

So I finally decided to try my hand at fish tacos. Obviously I really enjoy this dish, since this is my second post since I started my blog that talks about them.:) I was craving them Wednesday as I drove home from work so I made a quick stop at Kroger to pick up the essentials: a fillet of cod fish, cabbage, tortillas and a marinade seasoning packet. I couldn't find a fish taco seasoning, so I picked out a baja citrus blend that turned out to be really good. I've never made them before, so it was a bit of an experiment, but Luke and I both really enjoyed them and I'm sure I'll be making them again soon. Here's what I did:

-I marinaded a half pound of cod fish (any mild white fish would do) according to the package recipe (oil, water &vinegar plus packet). I used half the packet, but could have done a quarter for the amount of fish I was doing. I also added some fresh minced garlic and some lime juice to the marinade for extra flavor punch. I let it marinate for about 45 minutes. Then I sauteed it in butter in a skillet for a few minutes.

-For toppings I thin sliced some cabbage and about half of an onion and sauteed it in butter and a little salt (I like it to still have some crunch to it when it's done). I also mashed a ripe avacado and added lime juice and salt. We also used some sour cream (plain yogurt would be good too).

-We used the small fajita sized flour tortillas. I just warmed them up for a few seconds, put the fish in and all the toppings and we had fish tacos. It's a pretty quick meal to make.

Neither Luke nor I are very big seafood eaters, so it's nice to find a fish dish that we can both enjoy (and something I actually crave from time to time:); it adds a bit of variety to our diet. I will readily admit that I used to think the idea of fish tacos sounded terrible until I gave them a fair shot; there was no turning back. Trust me.:)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

here's what's been happening...

Today I went to my chirpractor for the 5th time in two weeks. I've been having some issues with my right shoulder, which had dramatically increased in the past couple of months. So a couple weeks ago I finally decided I'd better get it dealt with. After explaining the issues I was having, Dr. Fuller determined the problem. Some sort of miscommunication between my brain and the nerves in my shoulder... I don't fully understand it, but my right shoulder was incredibly weak and He said if I didn't get it dealt with, it could lead to rotator cuff issues. Anyway, long story short, 4 cold laser sessions and several adjustments later, my shoulder feels better than it has in many months. I still have some sore muscles, but the improvement is so drastic, and with a little massaging my muscles will feel better too. I stand squarely behind chiropractics!:)

Friday evening we had the first Friday open studio night at the Harrison Center. I always enjoy these evenings. It's a bit hectic (going straight after work and everything else) but it's worth the effort. I don't often sell much, but the opportunity to talk to the general public and get feedback on my art is something I've really come to appreciate. Ashley (my sister-in-law) also displayed some jewelry and book arts in my studio on Friday, which was fun. My new studio is working out pretty well, and I enjoy my new studio-mate Allison. I have several new painting ideas mulling around in my head (a few Edgar Allen Poe inspired ones) and I'm getting excited to get back in my studio and produce some new work. Time has been a bit scarce with our move and everything else that has been going on.

In other news, I finished listenting to "Rosemary's Baby" (Ira Levin). I was riveted. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing style was very effective for the kind of book it is. Levin builds suspense well. I knew aspects of the story, but not the whole thing. It was interesting the way he would give clues of what was to come and you just wanted Rosemary to know what you were slowly figuring out.:) I checked the movie out from work to watch (incidentally Mia Farrow read the book on cd and is also Rosemary in the movie); I'm pretty excited about watching it.:) Next up, I will be listening to "I, Robot" by Isaac Asimov. Luke recently read this book, and really enjoyed it. From what I hear, the movie took a great deal of liberties so I'm interested listen to it and see the differences.

Hope anyone reading this is doing well!:)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the commute...

Now that we're living on the southside, I'm spending alot more time in the car driving to and from work. This is probably the primary downside of our move, but it's a small price to pay to be able to use this house for the time being. In order to make the drive more bearable, I've been listening to books on cd. I've always enjoyed passing time in the car this way and Luke and I often listen to books on cd whenever we are driving any sort of distance.

A couple weeks ago I listened to, "I like you: Hospitality under the Infuence" by Amy Sedaris. It was very humorous and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Amy Sedaris is extremely witty (although somewhat crass at times) and while the book is hilarious, it also offers some helpful tips and interesting party ideas.:) Last week I listened to, "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Arthur C. Clark. It was a great listen. I really like the movie and was interested to to hear the book that it was based off of. The forward offered an interesting aspect to the book and movie combo; apparently Stanley Kubrick (who directed the movie) decided that he wanted to make a sci-fi movie about man's place in the universe and so he came to Clark and requested that he write a book for him to make movie out of. Kubrick was pretty involved in the writing of the book. From what I understand they were writing the screenplay at the same time as the book. I just found it interesting that the book was written in order to make a movie. Anyway, the book is great and it makes a great companion to the movie. Where the movie is somewhat vague and mysterious, the book goes into detail about the thought processes of David Bowman & Hal etc. Both are excellent by themselves, but together they make a great pair.:)

This week I'm listening to "Rosemary's Baby" by Ira Levin. I'll let you kow how it is.:) I love that my work let's us check things; we usually have a decent selection of books on cd, so I should have plenty to report on in the coming months.:)

Monday, April 20, 2009

thoughtful communication

I recently read an article in a Yoga Journal magazine concerning a topic I have devoted some thought to in my life: the words we speak, how they affect others and the value of silence. To quote the article: “Our bodies and subconscious minds hold the residue of every kind or cruel word we’ve ever taken in.” The article takes a more metaphysical approach than I want to get into, but the crux of what they are saying is important to understand as we live our lives. The words we say have the ability to build up or damage those within hearing distance. Words have a power that should not be taken lightly.

I have often been hassled about my tendency towards quietness and the fact that I don’t necessarily like to talk a lot. I won’t pretend that this is a conscious decision on my part, it’s really just my nature/personality, but I will say that if I don’t have something to say, you probably won’t find me running my mouth. It took me years to become even remotely adept at small talk (something I still struggle with) and it wasn’t until my college years that I really felt comfortable talking to a stranger. I don’t see much point in talking just for the sake of talking. That being said, I don’t judge people who are naturally more outgoing than me (shyness can be a bit of a curse in our society), however I don’t have much patience for those who feel the need to constantly fill silence. I happen to enjoy a bit of quiet once in awhile. I value it. And I will admit that it is one of the reasons I was attracted to Luke; he didn’t feel the need to talk all the time or to impress me; we both understand the meaning of companionable silence. There have been times in my life where I wished to be a better conversationalist, but overall I have learned to accept my own communication style.:)

Whether you are a quiet person or a talkative outgoing person, the article offered some good, practical advice to consider and to help a person think before speaking. Consider these three questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? These questions are of course somewhat open to personal discretion (depending on your definition of these things), but they do provide an excellent guideline for us as we consider our words. Imagine if we took the time to answer these questions before speaking? How many remarks would we keep to ourselves? The flip side of this is that there are times when we should speak because it is necessary, but where we might try to convince ourselves otherwise (a particular dilemma for Christians). Asking ourselves these questions should help us evaluate when to speak and when not to speak.

Several years ago I made a conscious decision to try to say something positive when a person I knew came up in conversation (particularly when this had a negative tone). I know I haven’t stuck to this 100%, but after awhile it became somewhat second nature and something I still attempt to abide by. I have much to learn and progress to make with my words, but thinking about it is at least a start. I need to challenge myself more about this and strive towards wisdom and discretion in my conversation habits. Let’s start changing our thought patterns in an attempt to be more thoughtful speakers.

ode to an iron skillet

I love my iron skillet- If I could choose only one pot/pan in my kitchen, it would be my iron skillet. This may be due, in part, to the fact that Luke and I love breakfast food for any meal of the day and that the iron skillet is perfect for eggs, sausage, bacon, even french toast or pancakes. Early in our marriage, I introduced Luke to my version of the egg sandwich and the rest is history (they are pretty much a staple for us:). My iron skillet is the most used pan in my kitchen and I've found it to be extremely versatile. The iron skillet is the perfect tool for browning meat, sauteing vegetables, grilling chicken or fish, frying rice... you name it. It is easy to use and easy to clean, which is a winning combination.:) I use my iron skillet so often that I don't even have a place for it in a cabinet, it just sits atop the stove waiting to be put into service.
So here's to you iron skillet! You make my kitchen happier, my breakfast tastier and my life easier.:)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

the time has come...

for the big move. This Saturday is our moving day. We've already made alot of progress and brought a few loads of stuff down in an effort to expidite things this weekend. Of course there is still plenty of packing to finish up-- not the least of which is my kitchen.:( Things are getting done though, and I know everything will work out alright.
I'm not going to lie, moving sucks. It's alot of effort and very tiring. This one lacks the usual excitement of new surroundings and bigger and better things, but we feel so grateful for this temporary solution. The one thing I always like about moving though, is being able to go through things and rid ourselves of uneccessary stuff. Even though we moved just a year ago, we had accumulated so much again. So far we've brought 3 large bags of clothing etc to goodwill and sold 6 paper bags worth of books, dvds, cds etc to half price books (the benefit of that being a bit of cash:).
Other than all the hooplah that moving entails, we've: filed our taxes, moved my studio to share with another artist, enjoyed last weekend with my longtime friend Samantha & her boyfriend, caught up on Lost, started the fantasy baseball season (this applies only to Luke:), attended a roller derby... and generally kept very busy. We've appreciated everyones prayers and support as we go through this challenging time and try to understand what's next.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

this wasn't exactly in the five year plan...

So... it's been a rough couple of weeks. Coming to grips with the fact that we do have to move has not been easy. Sometimes God's timing is difficult to understand, but we fully trust that His plan is far better than ours.:) Still, it's hard not to feel like we've taken several steps back in the proverbial "five year plan". I am, unfortunately, someone who is easily prone to discouragement/depression and I've been thankful for Luke's tendency towards optimism during this time.

While I tire of and get discouraged by all the economy talk, this economic downturn has quickly become a big, unavoidable aspect of our lives. I know we are not at all alone in this and I feel for the many others who have been even more adversely affected by these circumstances.

Even in this challenging time Luke and I have much to be thankful for (Luke’s severance package, my job & health insurance being near the top of that list). Although we are sad to be moving out of the apartment we love, we were thankful that our lease was up at a providential time and that we are able to depart without having to dip into our savings to make rent. Grandma Judd is graciously allowing us to stay in her old house for the time being until we figure out what God’s plan is for Luke’s job situation and for our next place of residence. We are so grateful to her for letting us live there for awhile.

We have confidence that everything will work out in it’s time and are comforted to have a God that will always care for our needs. Matthew 6:25-33 is a pretty awesome scripture to consider during this kind of difficulty:
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” That is a pretty sweet promise.:)

So, life might not be ideal right now, but it will come together one of these days.:) We have been very thankful for the love, support and prayers of our family and friends; the awesome comfort that it is should not be underestimated.

On a quasi side note, I was reading an article in Nuvo last week about how more people than ever are turning to food banks for help in providing for their families. So far the food banks have been able to reach their needs, but this may not be the case for long if they don’t get more donations. So I’m thinking of bringing a box to church each week and hopefully collecting non-perishable food donations that Luke or I will take responsibility for getting to a donation center. Maybe when you are in the grocery store, consider grabbing a few extra canned goods to help out. Heads up, church people!:) (I’ll send out an email too).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a weekend in chi-town

Luke and I had a great time in Chicago and South Bend last weekend. We enjoyed getting away just for a bit and doing something different. We stayed the night at Steph and Jeremy's Thursday and then took the train to Chicago Friday morning. The train got in about 10:30 so we had plenty of day left to tool around town and try to figure out the transit system (thankfully Luke has amazing map skills and an inate sense of direction:).

Friday, after checking into our hotel, we went to Wicker Park area. The park itself still had a bit of the winter dead feeling, but it was a nice warm day so we enjoyed walking around a bit. There's also several cool shops in the area. We particularly liked Reckless Records (they sell used vinyl, movies, cds etc) and Myopic Books (awesome used book store!). After Wicker park we headed to Wrigleyville to check out Goose Island Brewpub (great beer). That evening we went to Rosebud's on Rush (highly recommended by Elliot and Ashley) and had some amazing Italian food.
Saturday Steph and Jeremy joined us in Chicago. It was a bit cold and rainy, but not too bad. We went for a late breakfast at Yolk (an excellent breakfast/lunch joint) and then headed to the Art Instititue. I've been there a few times, but always enjoy going back and taking in more of it. One of my favorite pieces I saw this time was "the Picture of Dorian Gray" by Ivan Albright (who has been dubbed a magic realist). Having recently read the book it was based off of (by Oscar Wilde) it was pretty cool to see it depicted in painting form. I believe this piece was done for a film adaptation of the book. I don't think I had ever studied any of Ivan Albright's work before; it's pretty amazing stuff. His detail is really unbelivable. You have to see it to fully comprehend it.
After the Art Institute, the four of us grabbed a bite to eat and headed for the train. We had an uneventful, but enjoyable trip back. It was fun to get to visit with them. Luke and I spent the night at their place again and then headed back home Sunday afternoon. It was a great, relaxing weekend. We're hoping to get to Chicago more, now that we know our way around.:)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

i suppose it's time for a post:)

I don't really have a whole lot to say, but I figured it was time for a new post.:) Life has been alright... not a whole lot has changed, which sometimes gets discouraging. We have a lot to be thankful for though, so we are trying to focus on that.:) We really appreciate everyone's prayers for Luke's job situation and all that it entails.

We celebrated Luke's birthday last week-- he now joins my age group and can no longer call me "old" as he likes to do for that month and a half that we are different ages.:) His birthday fell on my day off, which was nice. We were able to sleep in and go see "Slumdog Millionaire" (highly recommended) and then I prepared the meal of his choice (italian beef, asparagus, mashed potatoes, balsamic strawberries and lemon glaze cake:).

Luke and I will soon be celebrating our 2nd anniversary (time flies:). I have the weekend off and we haven't really been anywhere in awhile, so we decided to do an inexpensive South Bend/Chicago trip. We wil be driving up to SB Thursday night and staying at Steph and Jeremy's and then taking the train to Chicago Friday morning and staying over to Saturday evening before returning to SB. Using priceline we were able to get an awesome deal on a hotel and we are hoping to maybe go to a museum and just do some sight seeing. Steph and Jeremy are going to join us Saturday for the day, which will be fun. We are looking forward to it!

Another fun thing we did since my last post was to go see "the General" at the IMA. This is a Buster Keaton classic, but neither of us had ever seen it. It's a silent film and the IMA presented it with a live chamber orchestra playing the score. We both had a great time. The movie is hilarious and having the live music made it pretty awesome. I loved the emphasis on visual humor that the movie employed. If you haven't seen this movie, you should. You will enjoy it. I guarantee this.

I guess I had more to say than I thought...:)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a night out...

This year for Valentine's day, Luke and I decided to take in a play at the IRT and try a new restaurant downtown. I worked from 9-5 and then came home to a beautiful bouquet of red roses that Luke had waiting on the table for me.:) After quickly getting dressed up for the evening out we headed to the theater for a 6pm showing of "To Kill a Mockingbird." I always enjoy attending plays and this was no exception. "To Kill a Mockingbird" has long been one of my favorite books, and this adaptation was very well done. I'm always impressed with the IRT's productions.
After the play we headed to a new-ish restaurant downtown, that we had never eaten at, called Zing. It's a small plate dining place (similar to tapas, but not just spanish food), and the idea is basically to order several different items and share them. You can order as much as you want at any time throughout the meal and they just bring stuff out to you as it is ready. We tried several different items (of which the fish tacos were my favorite:) and really enjoyed our meal. We also ordered dessert: chocolate covered strawberries and balsamic marinaded strawberries both of which were served with whipped cream. They were delicious! It's a pretty cool little restaurant and we would definitely recommend it. It would also make a great place to go with a group of friends.
Luke also got me a couple of movies (japanese samurai films) by Akira Kurosawa, a director we've been enjoying recently. We haven't watched them yet, but i'm very excited about them.:)
Margaret called about halfway through the evening with news of Philip and her's engagement! We are very excited for them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

i realize i'm not always the most environmentally attentive person but...

it irritates me when customers:
-demand a bag for one or two small items
-when asked if they need a bag respond with a cheery, "why not?" (as if they are completely ignorant of today's evironmental concerns)
-buy a reusable bag and then make you fold it neatly and put it in a plastic sack
-require unnecessary double bagging

Because HPB promotes recycling, conserving and general environmental awareness, we encourage customers to decline bags. It's silly, but to help me pass the time at the register I play a little game with myself. I try to guess each persons response to my posed question: "do you need a bag for that?" Over time I've developed my own stereotypes based on my little game. Not in a bad way, just as a way of predicting their answers. I would say I'm probably right about 84.3% of the time.:) Every once in awhile someone really surprises me with their response. I've become so good at this game, that I can even tell by the way a person pauses whether they will respond with a yes, no or why not. The things I do to pass the time.:)

It seems to me that declining plastic bags for small purchases, using reusable bags as much as possible and re-purposing the paper and plastic bags that you do aquire are all simple ways to conserve and to contribute to environmental awareness.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

not being much of a seafood person isn't it strange...

that I frequently crave mom's fish tacos?:) I was very skeptical of said dish until mom made them for me; I've been a believer ever since. They are great. I was reminded of my love for these tacos when I was shelving magazines and came across the Indianapolis Monthly bonus issue menu guide. It has some amazing looking fish tacos on the cover from a new restaraunt downtown called Zing. It looks like a pretty sweet joint. We may try it out for Valentine's day and I may just get those fish tacos.:)

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm quite certain that only Stephanie can fully realize the magnitude of this...

I've been working the kids section ever since I started at Half Price (a little under a year and a half ago). As Stephanie can attest (and most other emplyees would agree) it is one of the largest and most stressful sections in the store, second only maybe to fiction. I didn't mind it that much once I got used to it, but a few months ago I started feeling really burned out and so it was a welcome relief to get new section assignments.:)
These are my new sections:
Art/Photography/Architecture etc.
I will still be quite busy, but at least it's a change of scene.:)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

doug phi moe (this is not a joke:)

I just have to take this post to share about a "gem" of a book that was recently sold to HPB: "Doug Phi Moe: He's Over Here Projecting Christianity" (by Douglas S. McGlohon). I think about 6 or so of these books were sold to us at the same time and we were originally going to superbuy them, but upon closer inspection, we realized that we could not ask (or allow:) anyone to pay money for this. We spent a good amount of time laughing about this book. The following is what is on the back of the book. This is presented verbatim, I assure you (that is what makes this so great, or horrifying).

Book Description:
Doug Phi Moe at age eight young school boy and loving Christian family. Where his mom is just a poor Christian housewife and his father works at the local mill or box factory.

Although they are a very poor family they take for their foundation the Lord Jesus Christ.

And attend church every Sunday and take part in bible study and other Christian programs during the week.

Doug Phi Moe's mother and father has vowed that their son won't have to struggle through life as they did, being undereducated and living a life of poorness. By making it mandatory that he gets a good education.

While walking through the city Doug Phi Moe from not wanting to go to school begin to love school.

While sitting at the local soul food restaurant. He begin to watch the seniors an their pattern of life. Being growned in Christianity, some he still loved although Doug Moe felt they were not Christ-like but he loved them all.

Several years later Doug Phi Moe finishes high school, undergrad and obtains his law degree and becomes a very successful corporate attorney.

Always thinking about the women he loves so very much next to his monotheism or God. Being prior service he has to leave here in tears fro secret operations overseas in what will be very dangerous military activity. Yet the mission which takes several months is a success and he arrives back into the states.

When he marries and they birth a booming baby boy as he returns back to his practice or can interpize and enjoys his family and friends.

I have read parts of this book and what's inside is equally terrible, both grammatically and content-wise. I have a copy of this and will gladly share this with all who are interested.:) I took this to mom and dad's and they got a big kick out of this. We laughed for quite some time. The book is seriously trying to be a christian, romance, suspense thriller. O yeah, and it's billed as a "biography". Upon reading parts about his "war experience" Dad picked up on several historical innacuracies (not the least of which is the fact that he referred to a second vietnam war). Half the "sentences" are fragments, the tense changes all the time and the use of adjectives is unreal. The book is published by basically a self-publishing house, so i guess that's how this is in print. It's a true disgrace.:)
At work, after reading a short portion of the back I stated that it was an embarrasment to Christianity. My coworker promptly replied that he would go so far as to say it is an embarrasment to humanity. I have to agree.:)
I will leave you with a quote from this book, just to give you a bit more of a taste (and I will definitely be bringing this to more Sunday dinners):

"Doug Moe continued to chow down on the good tasting fried chicken and good old soul food. The television continued to project the picture at hand. Doug Moe picked up the glass of apple juice, and he consumed all of it. He stood up straight in his beautiful night robe. He advanced toward his private law library off from the house's fireplace. He put his hands on his hips projecting his masculinity. He looked at chapters, the vision of his ALR, General Statutes, Southeastern Reporters, Douglas forms, and many more law books he has in his condo."

Friday, January 30, 2009

i think every night should be movie night.:)

I LOVE film. And I don't think I'm over emphasizing this.:) I come by it honestly; Dad has always been a big movie buff (while Mom didn't really see the point so much:). Luke loves movies too, which makes us a good match (well, that's at least part of it:). Our movie tastes have rubbed off on each other over time. Luke showed me how epic Bruce Lee and other old Kung-fu movies can be and I've helped him to appreciate art films and other foreign films. Together we've discovered several great directors, many genres we enjoy and tons of movies that we will excitedly watch over and over. We seriously watch several movies a week.

This week we saw two good movies. Since Thursday is my day off, we decided to catch a matinee at the Keystone Art Cinema (one of our favorite movie theaters). We love this theater because it shows alot of foreign and art films, as well as movies that are difficult to find at other local theaters. And, I'm not going to lie, we like the fact that they have a lounge where you can buy drinks to take into the theater (although we can rarely afford this luxury:). Plus if you can make it to a showing before 6pm ticket prices are just $6.50 (a far cry from $9.50). Anyway, we decided to go see "the Wrestler". We've been excited about this movie because it's by Darren Arnofsky, a director we really enjoy (Pi, Requiem for a Drean, the Fountain). The movie was quite good, although definitely depressing, in keeping with Arnofsky's usual. His movies can be hard to watch because they are brutally honest, focus on tough life situations and are extremely depressing, but his style and honesty are also a great thing. The people feel very real.

The other movie we saw this week was "Seven Samurai". This is a classic and epic movie, but somehow neither of us had ever seen it. The IMA does a winter movie nights program on the weekends and this was the movie for tonight, so we decided today to go. While the movie is 200 minutes long, it doesn't feel too slow and it is very enjoyable to watch (although you need to be awake as this is one you read). I would highly recommend this movie (if you ever have a spare 3 and a half hours:). We hope to attend more of these IMA movie nights. It's kind of fun to see old classics on a big screen.

I'm sure this won't be the last time you hear from me about movies, as they are a big part of my life and one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I think it's important not just to see them as an entertainment thing though, but to view them as an essential art form. Movies should be viewed intellectually, with intelligence and an open mind.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

everyone should be relieved to know that...

as of yesterday, our Christmas stuff has finally been taken down and put away.:) I was very pleased yesterday to receive a phone call in the early morning hours that Half Price Books would not be opening until 1 p.m. I was even more pleased to receive a later phone call telling me that we would not be opening at all! I had heard of these inclement weather induced closing days, but had never been the beneficiary of one.:)
Luke and I slept in a bit and then got up and lazed around for awhile before deciding to get some stuff down around our apartment. We had some growing stacks of DVDs and Cds that needed gone through and put away, so we put on Kill Bill Vol. 1 (and later Vol. 2) and got down to business. I like having a movie on that I am very familiar with while I work. That way I'm not too distracted, but if I need a momentary diversion I can just concentrate on it for a bit and quote along with it.:) Marge dropped over after work and watched some of the movie and then napped on our couch for a couple hours while we took down Christmas decorations and vacuumed the living room (and yes, she slept right through the vacuuming process:).
In the evening, Elliot and Ashley came over for dinner and for me to cut Elliot's hair.:) I made Alaina's cream of broccoli soup from her recipe blog. It's good stuff.:) Plus I had broccoli, green onions and celery that all needed used and this is one of the few ways that Luke actually enjoys eating broccoli.:) After supper, I cut Elliot's hair while Luke and Ashley played bananagram. It was an enjoyable evening and a great day to get a few things knocked out. I had today off as well, which made it extra great since I rarely to never get 2 days off in a row.
Today was a good day too. Maybe I'll tell you more about it tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

how great is it...

that on the only night of the week that i work late, we closed the store 2 and half hours early due to "inclement weather". fingers crossed for a late opening tomorrow.:) i love having unexpected time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

some quality time with grandparents

yesterday was a full but good day. we went up to lafayette in the morning to celebrate grandma & grandpa nelson's 60th anniversary with the rest of the family. everyone surprised them at church in the morning and then we all went out to mountain jacks for dinner. grandma & grandpa were very surprised and felt very honored.:) i think it's pretty great to have examples of long & loving marriages. luke and i are blessed to have the examples of both our parents and all of our grandparents.
after the dinner, we decided to head up to rensselaer to visit grandma and grandpa cummings. we hadn't visited them in awhile and it was great to see them. we always enjoy playing games and chatting with them. when i was younger, grandpa taught me many of the games i know. he taught me strategy and to play to win.:) i have many fond memories of game time with grandpa cummings.:) yesterday we taught them how to play bananagram (similar to speed scrabble) and they taught us how to play a new game called triple four.
good times wth great people!

Monday, January 19, 2009


for the first time since it's purchase (over a year ago) my kitchenaid is out on the counter and ready for use.:)
i didn't go to work today, because when i woke up i didn't feel well. so i called off and went back to bed. by the afternoon i was feeling better, so decided get to work on some things around the apartment. after putting food in the crock pot for dinner i started working on the dishes, since that always seems like a good place to start.:) luke ambled into the kitchen a few minutes later and began helping and what began as a "let's do the dishes so we feel better about life" turned into a "let's get this kitchen freaking dealt with".:)
within a matter of a few hours, the kitchen now looks like a different place. things had kind of gotten out of control over the last month on top of the fact that we kind of feel like we never fully got organized after our move (and yes, i do realize that was like 9 months ago:). we didn't reorganize very many cupboards, but we did go through the pantry and organize it, we rearranged our counter space to make it more productive, took some glasses and things out of boxes and found places them. overall, it looks pretty good and we are very happy to have made some progress. seems like life is so hard to keep up with sometimes.
we had bought the kitchenaid sometime in our first year of marriage when it was on sale for about 2/3 it's regular price, but since i'm not usually making large quantities of food and we didn't have much counter space, it had stayed in the box. needless to say, i'm pleased to have it out and accessible. it is a beautiful piece of equipment.:)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

i guess the holidays are pretty well over...

so, i guess that means it's probably time to take down the christmas decor...

Monday, January 12, 2009

happy shoe news:)

after a 2+ year search for a neato skeato pair of winter boots that fit all of my criteria, about a week ago i hit the jackpot.:) luke has been, for these last 2 years, trying to find me an acceptable pair of boots on various holidays and birthdays. he could never find a pair that he knew i would really like, so last year on my birthday as part of my gift he told me i could pick out a pair. even with this free reign, i still couldn't find THE pair of boots that i wanted. the problem is that i have too many stipulations: no heel, must be brown (preferably dark brown), no pointy toes, more casual than dressy, warm soft interior... and so and so forth.:) a week ago sunday, we were downtown for my birthday and decided to browse around the mall. at the last minute we walked through carson pirie scott, a store we never go to. there sitting on a display table in all their glory were the perfect boots. not only did they fit all of my criteria, but they were a favorite brand of mine (rocket dogs) and they were on clearance. it was the last pair they had and they just happened to be size 6. which is awesome, because i often have difficulty finding shoes for my irregularly small feet.:)
in other happy shoe news, one of my favorite people besides my family members (*cough* carly *cought*) gave me a ridiculously awesome birthday gift. she personally designed a pair of converses for me on their website. they are freaking sweet! they are black with green stitching, the tongue and inside has a cool black and white skull design and down by the heel is stiched "liz". how cool is that?
i love shoes...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

this is a bookstore... not a diner

work provides alot of interesting situations customer-service wise. sometimes i find my blood pressure rising and other times i find myself laughing and shaking my head.:) the other day during our 20% off sale weekend a customer approached me and asked me: "what's your special today?" i wanted to say: "well, our chili cheese baked potato is $2.53 with your choice of one side, or if you want a hot dog instead of a potato, it's just 37 cents more.":) i refrained from saying it, tried to give her a look that indicated the strange phrasing of her question and said: "everything is 20% off today."

a quasi new year's resolution...

i've been toying with the idea of starting a blog. (i will not blame this entirely on alaina...:). so this seemed like a good time to do that...