Sunday, December 11, 2005

It may be a little while before I blog again. There is alot I am sorting through right now. I'm hoping to be able to blog again when the time is right. Until then Merry Christmas! And maybe a happy New Years if I don't write before then.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

About 7 years ago I worked during the summer as a pool monitor. The job title basically meant making sure order was kept in the pool area of a condo. It boiled down to having to sheepishly tell nice old men that they couldn't smoke their cigars inside the pool area and glaring warningly at children as they skipped around the wet cement. During that time I read alot. I was pretty bored and I ended up reading almost every Louise L'amore (can't remember how to spell his name) book that he ever wrote. I got really good at quoting lines from his stories, and I could pretty much predict the ending of all his books halfway through. By the end of the summer I was completely done with westerns of any kind.

Looking at my last blog I remembered this particular time in my life and kind of laughed because it's just in my system to like western literature. Also, it made me think back on all the changes and things that have taken place in my life since high school.
I've done alot. I don't regret any opportunity I've taken or not taken. Sure, I regret certain choices but overall I realize that I'm happy with where my life has taken me. I see God's hand in my past. Right now, I'm looking for God's hand in the present.

My life is taking yet another turn and I'm curious about where it will go.
For the past 11 years everything has been in flux. Where I live has changed many times. My roommates have changed, jobs have changed (until I actually found a career), and relationships have changed. There hasn't been one time that I have been able to just relax and know that something is permanent. I think this is especially interesting because of all the things I value, "being settled" is up there at the top. I see that perhaps this is an area that has needed to be challanged as well.
So, here I am, once again not knowing what the new year has in store. It will be interesting to see how life goes. I may blog about this again at some point. That is if this blog is still here tomorrow......

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One of the things that I enjoy doing while I'm on vacation, if time and situation allows, is to read a book or books that go with the surrounding area.
A few years back when my family and a couple of others went down to Baja, I read "The girl of the Sea of Cortez". It helped me understand the area better and I appriciated the mysteries and the nuances of that place and culture.

While in Texas, Jim loaned me a much loved William James book. It was a horse and cowboy story and I promptly finished it in less than two days. (I read alot at night.) I have always been partial to western stories partly because I really like animals and Horses are just such amazing creatures, and partly because that life is sooo far different from my life and I have kind of always had a deep down craving for something harder or more rewarding. The truth is I probably couldn't hold up under that kind of lifestyle but never the less it still fascinates me.
The first book that I borrowed was meant to keep me busy on the plane but because I finished it so fast I had to start another one to do that.
The second one that I borrowed and just now finished was called "Sand". It was a great story of a man who's life has been quite privilaged and who never had much to work for or live up to. Up until then he had been spoiled, aimless and indulgent. He gets lost on the plains and comes across a cow-drive and from there, he sets out on a path to find what he needs to do to become a man with purpose and character. He turns out to have "sand" or gumtion to stick to what needs to be done.
I'll probably be on a "western stories" kick for a while and I'm always up for a good book.
Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The pictures below are a sampleing of my stay in Texas.

1. Jim and Erin discussing the complicated map.
2. Very creepy spiders congergating in the outside sink.
3. The bright and cheery entry way to the Barnes house.
4. The fantastic Thanksgiving feast we had the day I arrived. Yummy!
5. Me and Miss Lindsey. (She was the principal of Lindsey schools for many years and I taught Kindergarten for her one year. She just moved to Waco, Texas to be near family.
6. The stock yards in Fort Worth. There was alot of cowboy history there.
7. A little run down B-B-Q hut along the road to Waco.
8. The cozy family room.
9. In Texas the gasoline prices were a bit lower than in L.A.
10. Erin and Jim in front of their new church.

Here are a few pictues of my stay in Texas.

The Thanksgiving weekdend was spent with Erin and Jim who recently relocated. They are much missed here at the "mother ship", so it was quite fun to get to spend a whole long weekend with them. I loved seeing their beautiful new house and exploring the area where they live. It's really quite difficult to move away from everything one knows and start completely new. In being there, it really hit me how hard it is to do what they are doing and how over history many have done the same thing.
The story of the Pioneers and others who left family and friends in search of a better land were frought with casualties and suffering, but then again there were no Wal-Marts or Sonic Burgers along the way....
All to say "Erin and Jim, you are complete troopers!"

Sunday, November 13, 2005

This weekend it was my niece, Madelines turn to come and visit her auntie. I had her sister Abigail in early September and the time was finally right to have Madeline come and visit.
Here are a few pictures of our time together which included manicure and pedicure, cookie baking, dinner at mimi's cafe, playing with the chincilla, seeing the movie "Dreamer" (highly reccomended), and just having a really fun time.

Madeline cooking and showing off here pretty nail polish. She liked it when Grandma and Grandpa stopped by so she could show them as well. =)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

O.K. I just needed to post something new. The Halloween picture was getting a little old and... a bit creepy.

Sad news...... our dear and loyal family dog Brittney (a very sweet Brittney spaniel) has gone on to the land of endless table scraps and raw hide bones.
I haven't written about it until now because, frankly I wasn't quite able to. Although she was a stinky outdoor dog she was much loved and fawned over during her happy life.

Originally she was brought home as a puppy to be a hunting companion for my dad. She got outfitted with little booties to protect her paws from the sharp brush, she had hours of specific hunting dog training including one un-orthodox method of teaching her to "whoah" (stop) which included rigging her to a tree and pulling her up off the ground and then putting her down slowly while saying "whoah". (I'm sure the neighbors had some fun stories to share with each other). I have to say that we all benefited from her meticulous training. She was a very pleasant and well behaved dog..... usually.

After all the attention and care she recieved regarding hunting it turned out that she had hip displatia and and an allergy to fleas that cut her promising hunting career short. In the end she found her place in our family as a little personality that knew how to work the system.
Some of her favorite past times were, running into the house when she thought nobody was looking, chewing on ice, sitting contentedly next to one of her "people", chewing rawhide, inhaling scraps thrown to her during dinner, getting groomed by Erin, shadowing dad or any one of us through windows in the house, barking at people walking by, walks in the hills, walks anywhere, waiting for directions from dad, getting scratched on the belly.

She will always be remembered with fondness.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Halloween found me with time on my hands and no big plans so...... I fixed that, and Chris turned out to be a really good sport. About halfway through our relaxing Monday, I realized that there was nothing planned for this holiday.

Growing up, we always came up with some interesting/wierd/creative homemade costume and it was usually on the actual day of Halloween. We would dig through the costume box and our closests trying to compile the perfect ensemble. The creative rush at the last minute was what made the holiday fun. Yesterday I had the manic desire to rush around and put something together.
It started when I spotted the "mega white trash wig" at Party City..... then the idea grew when Chris found the "JD mullet wig" and bubba teeth. With a few Wal Mart details our costumes were complete. Here is a list of a few key items.

- t-shirt for Chris (one size too small)
- pink plastic high heels - false eyelashes and gobs of makeup
- hideous but fabulous "bubba teeth"
- dangly colorful earrings

- wigs (that will be used alot in the future)
- trashy tank top and sweat shirt

A truly white trash Halloween......

It really ended up being alot of fun and I have to say that Chris threw himself into the festivities with zeal despite a bit of reasonable doubt early on. Sooooo fun.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yeah, it's been a while since I sat down and wrote. I've been tired. Like, can only handle what's in front of me kind of tired. There is something about traveling and going staight back to work that just kicked me in the.... tail.
Anyways, It was good to get out of my routine and see two other parts of the country. Cincinatti was truly a comfortable and pretty city, lots of culture and good food. The pictures are on my last blog.

The hot dry air of Pheonix was mesmerizing and it felt good to sit in the steaming hot jacuzzie or (kajoozie) as my nieces once called it, at the hotel and feel the dry heat around me when I got out.
While me, Chris and his parents were in Arizona we thought it would be nice to stay one night in Sedona. Chris' mom found a little inn that turned out to be "the best bed and breakfast in North America" according to the North American Travel Jounalists Association. It lived up to that description complete with fireplaces in every room and fresh bread baking when you arrive. Chris and his folks stayed in a Casita which was a cozy suite with a large feather bed and a murphy bed that Chris got to utilize, a fireplace and large bathroom with a waterfall shower and jakuzzie tub.
My room was the "garden room" and it had a little balcony that faced the sunrise. My bed was probably the most comfortable bed I've slept in since the last luxury trip the Jensen's took us on last year. I was very blessed by their generosity.

After all that comfort it's a jolt to come home and do laundry and sleep on my "temporary bed" air matteress. It's just not as cushy as those feather top beds!
That's a whole 'nother blog and maybe someday I'll write about the bed issue.
Until then.......

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This last weekend Chris and I spent time with his family in Cincinatti OH. Some of the highlights were visiting the museum downtown, the aquarium, and getting to see where Chris grew up. One day was spent just driving around his home town area and visiting his high school, looking at houses and just soaking up the sights. Molly the family dog/baby was quite entertaining and getting to see the Cincinatti Pops Orchestra accompinied by Dave Brubeck quartet was great as well. It really was alot of fun.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I've been a bit unmotivated lately about writing.
It's not that there is nothing going on, it's that there is so much going on. This Thursday two things happen. Sister Erin and husband Jim leave for Texas (to live), and Chris and I leave for Cincinatti to visit his parents. I work two days this week, leave, then come back Monday and then leave again on Friday for a family gathering (Chris's family) in Arizona.

Having a sister move out of state is a bigger deal than I'm feeling right now. Despite having cousins living overseas and various family members, who I love scattered across the country, I've never had a sister move away. Both my sisters are priceless and the friendships I have with them run deeper than I can say.
Erin and I are night and day different and over the years we have learned to understand, love and respect each other for who we each are. There is something unexplainable about the relationship someone has with another when you have fought, laughed, co-exhisted, worked through differences and come out loving that person even deeper than before. That's where true relationship exists and I'm grateful for that with my little sis. I know she and Jim will be happy. I'm happy for them. Actually I'm elated for them. I can't wait to visit and I can't wait to see what life holds for them. And yeah, I'll be spending as much time visiting there crazy amazing pad as much as possible!

Next time I write I'll try to put some picures of our Cincinatti trip up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Blurry pictures are sometimes my favorites. They are usually very unprepared and thought about only in the very last couple of seconds before the picure is taken. Even though they are a pain to look at, they usually can capture a moment that wouldn't have been captured if it were planned for. I love this picture of Chris because he looks like he's amused, relaxed and happy.

At first I wished it were sharper but that would have taken a steady hand and some preperation that would have included me fiddeling with the settings on the camera and then having Chris look over and notice that I needed help in trying to capture the lighting correctly, and then the moment would have been gone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

((News Flash))

Big news in So Cal. WE ARE EXPERIENCING WEATHER!!! Finally after a typically beautiful summer, today is the first rain of the Fall accompinied by real live thunder and lightening!
Last night while driving home, quite late, I saw huge jagged bolts of lightening all around me. Spectacular.
Any bit of weather is an event and it just gives me waves of much needed joy to look outside and see rain coming down.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I'm sitting here trying hard not to fall asleep but I know that I want to put these pictures up quickly. Today, Chris and I continued our new fun hobby of finding good places to hike. There's a beautiful wilderness area over the hills from Malibu that is just breathtaking. As soon as you walk for just 5 minutes you can only hear the noise of bugs and water (and the occasional fellow walker). Chris lead the way on a great trail that ended at a little lake/creek.

There were some very high rocks that he wanted us to try and climb. I didn't think I could handle it because of my fear of heights, but after he did it and I had scoped out a good way up, I was able to conquer my fears and climb it. I was very proud of myself for fighting the urge to just sit at the bottom and later be bummed that I didn't try. Chris was a great encouragement the whole day. When I thought that I couldn't go any further he would would gently push me to go just a little bit more. It's really amazing to know you can do something you didn't think you could before. He put up with alot of "I don't think I can's" and "I'm tired's". Thank you Chris.

This picture is at the top of the rock climb looking down a the lake. It was pretty steep.

Here's a picture of the way up.

I couldn't capture how breathtaking the scenery was, but I tried!

The thistle picture was taken by Chris.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

"Bubba the terrible" (or, not so terrible but just really cute)....

A couple of pictures of Bubba being especially naughty. The paper he's chewing on he pulled from my desk. He made pretty good work of it.

The picture on the bottom left, is pretty typical of him trying to find a way out of the "play area". If I'm not careful he can jump over pretty much any barrier or sqirm under pretty small openings.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The problem with too much - an observation

Have you ever noticed how the over use of something takes away it's meaning. Like when I was younger, it still happens sometimes, but I would say a word like "stove" and it wouldn't sound right so I'd repeat it out loud or in my head so many times that it was only a sound that had no meaning to it. stove stove stove stove stovestovestovestovestove......

Anyways, today I was listening to a favorite cd and one of the songs was so good that I tried my new 'repeat' feature. Needless to say that song has lost a little bit of it's poignancy. I thought for sure that listening to the song over and over and over and over again would for sure make it better. Alas, I was wrong. I can still sing only half the song with conviction, actually not even half. There's a line in the song that keeps coming back to me and drowing out all the other words which is annoying not only to me but anyone in ear shot who hears me singing that one line absentmindedly over and over again.

So, I guess everyone was right all those years when they said that more is not always better.... it's just more.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Today called for a hike in the local hills. Chris and I have been trying to do some more "active" activities and one of the things we have enjoyed lately is hiking. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

The left is a picture of a local monk who happened to be hiking with a friend. I tried not to be too obvious in my picture taking.

Friday, September 09, 2005

There is finally a touch of fall in the air and it's making me really happy. I've come to the conclusion that the changing of the seasons is one of the things that keeps people happy and sane. (or at least me sane).

Speaking of things that bring sanity or happiness, my roommate just gave me a 'take five' candy bar and I don't think I've tasted something so yummy since a very rich peice of baclava about three years ago. Well, there are other things that are yummy too, but different kinds of yummy. There's good sushi with friends yummy and large steak and sweet potatoes yummy and then there's gourmet baby green salad with feta cheese yummy.... that's alot of yummy... and yes, I could go on. For some reason that candy bar was just really good. First because it was small, second because it has peanut butter, chocolate, crunchies and caramel. And third, at that moment I was craving chocolate. Perfect.

On to a new subject, I just returned from seeing the movie "Red Eye" with a friend. I was a bit aprehensive about the idea that it was a scary movie but this particular friend and I have a thing about going and seeing movies that we might not normally see. Leading us to see "Dragonfly" a few years ago and a few other forgettable films as well as some good ones as well.
This movie actually turned out to be great and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It wasn't too psyco, but more of a hang on to the edge of your seat drama thriller. There were a couple of moments where I had my ears plugged and my jacket over my face... but other than that I loved it.

Monday, September 05, 2005

"Deep thoughts brought on by buying a BRIGHT red car."

I never would have chosen red as my first color but it's beginning to grow on me a bit.

I wanted something less noticable and more dignified like silver or black but I think that I'll become quite fond of this jazzy, not so dignified, look at me color. It's funny but although I wish I was the kind of person that drove a hip yet mellow kind of car, I'm coming to terms with my sometimes deeply distressing yet completely real personality that likes living hard and being noticed (not for being cool) but for being fun or funny. When I try to supress that and desire to be something I'm not like "hip and suave", it comes out really goofy and stilted. It's also kind of uncomfortable.

It's funny that buying this bright red car and driving it around has opened my eyes in a new way to what God wants from me in my journey through life. To rest in the knowledge that who I'm made to be is good. Bright red, sometimes undignified and spastic, funny and sensitive, complicated and at times embarassingly simple. I'm beginning to taste what it feels like to be free.

All from a car......

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I had to sit down and write a quick paragragh to celebrate a triumphant end to car shopping.

Yesterday, my dad and Chris went with me to Pasadena to look for just the perfect car. We stopped into the Pontiac dealer to look over the Vibe. It was stick shift, and had roll down windows and was red but I was willing to look. I test drove it and wasn't head over heals for it. It was the price I could afford but I was't quite ready to settle yet.

Chris suggested that we wander over to the Toyota lot to look around. The night before, my dad and I had looked at a very nice Matrix in Whittier and our two hours of dealings turned up nothing. So we were both a bit sceptical about looking there. But we did anyways.
My dad had an advertisement for a Matrix at a very reasonable price. It was a five speed but it had power windows.
To make a long story short, we got a very good salesman who wheeled and dealed and got me a red, automatic, power everything, Matrix for the same price as the paper deal.
I was bowled over by the proccess and it took half the day but I got a very nice car out of it.
Having Chris and my dad there was wonderful because they both know how to lighten tense situations and they both had me laughing much of the time.

I'll put a picture of the car on here as soon as I can get the car. Due to insurance issuse I couldn't drive the car off the lot yesterday so I'll have to wait until Tuesday to get it. *sigh*

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cookies, swimming, movies, and plenty of fun were the name of the game at my house today. I included a few of my favorite cookie decorating pics but didn't get any of the other activities. Abby also got a haircut (ala gretchen) and a manicure and pedicure (not by me).

As birthday's came and went I realized that I really wanted to do something fun with my nieces to celebrate. Since they live a bit far from me I decided to do an overnight celerbration which would allow a bit more time for fun. It turned out to be really fun. This is a 7 year old celerbration.

Madeline's 9 year old birthday is coming up at the end of this month and I'm already making plans.

So many pink cookies! All beautifully crafted by Abby.

She put alot of thought into the task at hand. We ended up making four plates of cookies and taking two of them to grammy and poppies house and one to Miss Lindsey from church. The other plates went to gma and gpa cox and the dehart family. There are lots of pink cookies floating around tonight!

One other highlight from our day was Abby losing a tooth in the middle of "Madagascar" at the dollar theater. I kept it in my purse the rest of the movie.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I had to do a bit of an "ode to Dan and Beth" after I saw Will's blog with the picture of the table on it.

The couches in these pictures are a wonderful although well used contribution also made by the shack cousins. These couches have been fought over and coveted and at one point I almost lost them. They may need to be retired some day but right now they are well used and well loved.

The picture on the right is on permanent loan from Daniel and Bethany as well. Thanks to Carol, most of the cousins have a copy of her art work some where in their house.


News about my car....

Today I was on the phone half the day with the insurance company of the guy who hit me. It's the military insurance company and I only have good things to say about them. Everything has gone really smoothly and today made me even happier to have had to deal with them.
I was on the phone with the agent who was telling me what the company could give me for my totalled car. I kind of was expecting to have to haggle and not really get enough for the car. I was hoping to get maybe, 1300 for it, maybe a little more.

A side note is that when I get nervous something happens to my brain and I don't hear things right especially when it comes to numbers.

So, the agent tells me a whole bunch of numbers that pertain to my car. I'm writing them down as he's telling me them and for some reason it didn't seem like the amount I needed. I can't expain what happened to my brain but it just stopped working. I told him that it didn't seem to be blue book price and I needed at least blue book for the car. He then quoted the numbers back to me and I again said that it didn't look quite right and could I call him back in a few minutes. He agreed and I hung up. After calling my dad's office and he wasn't in I called my mom at Biola. I told her my dilema and she asked me to tell me what the numbers were. I said 1...9...7...2... and eighty three cents..... She said "that sounds like you're getting above what you wanted". After talking to mom, Chris called and he confirmed this fact. I was in acuallity getting much more then I needed and when all was said and done, a little more than I had paid for the car in the first place..... wow.

I sheepishly called back the helpful agent and I gave an embarassed laugh and said that the quote sounded quite fair. He must have really thought I was a wierdo. Turning down money because it "wasn't blue book value".