Saturday, March 29, 2008

back to the grindstone

Well, today is Saturday and my spring break is almost over. I have had a wonderful week, and my Mom has been here to visit. We have looked at condos for her, and been lazy a couple days. I really love a lazy day when I am on vacation. To just sit in my pajamas and watch old movies or a marathon of my favorite show. Even now, I am in my flannel pajamas and Mom and I just finished "Mannequin," one of my most favorite 80s movies. I love Andrew McCarthy and I forgot that Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) was the mannequin. My, she is pretty and was so bubbly in this movie.

But, even as I have been relaxing this week, my job is still on my mind. I have really been working to push the stress out and relax. It seems, though, that each time I try to let my mind wander, I come back to the fact that in the next two months I will be constantly under a microscope at work. The official documents say "your employment is in jeopardy." Doesn't that make you just about want to throw up? I have never worked well with uncertainty. I like to have a plan and follow that plan. I like knowing what is next. THIS is hard. Not knowing when the other shoe will drop and I will be out looking for another job.

I am trying to face this as a challenge and work towards staying at my current job. I want them to see what an asset I can be, but it seems that my boss isn't interested in my success. They may have already written me off, and this plan they have me on is just to make it easier to let me go. I'm not sure if they're really looking for me to succeed, or if they really just want the opportunity to replace me. I am haunted with all this paranoia and I know it isn't healthy. Even now I can feel the muscles in my back tense up as I think about it. Is it even worth this stress to try and stay? And if I get to keep my job, will I feel any more secure next year? Any what kind of job can I get with bad references from this one?

Pray for me, please. That is all I can ask. Pray that I will know God's will and what He wants for me. If He is ready for me to move on, make it clear. Open another door. I only want His will, but I am not sure what that is for me at the moment. Pray that I can receive some clarity. Pray that my boss will really see me for me. Lift me up.

Thank you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

dumpster divin', well, not really

Um, hi Lucy. Did you just want to say hello to everyone out there in the blogosphere? Show them how cute you are and how big your teeth are? Were you wanting to give everyone a big kiss? With your polka-dot tongue?

Oh, you're just jealous that I was outside and not taking pictures of you! I was trying to take pictures of the cool treasure I found yesterday at the curb. I love taking pictures of you, Lucy, but I was wanting to show everyone the cool jug I came across.
Thanks for moving, Lucy. We can see the jug now. How did I find it? I noticed that our neighbors had a pile of trash at the curb that had a sign on it. I know you can't read, Lucy, I'm trying to tell you. It said "Free, Take all or Some." In the middle of the pile were two metal jugs, about 2 feet tall. Stay out of the way... now we can see that this can has words on it. It says "Clover Cry, Inc, Roanoke, VA."
What's Clover Cry? Well, Lucy, it was a dairy in Roanoke and these are milk jugs. How do I know? Google. Yes, I looked it up on that thing that I am always touching that has the glowing box on it. What's Google? Um, Luce, I don't have that kinda time. Let me talk to the people for a moment, ok?

Seriously, my neighbors put this pile out yesterday and my MIL and I went over and looked at it. She took the other jug, which had off-white paint on it, and I grabbed this one. I liked the words on the outside. I'm sure that once I clean it off and spiff it up it will make one handy-dandy, uhhhh? A great big... Hmmm. A tall vase maybe. We'll see what happens.

A cool find if I ever saw one! Better than the $3 eggs from the other day. Free is the best price!

Oh, any ideas, send em on! Lucy is dying to know.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

a real deal...

Just wanted to share a deal I found today. I saw these eggs at Harris Teeter today in their clearance section. They are a pale turquoise blue with brown speckles. The original price was $12.99 and I got them for $3.25! Egg-cellent! They came in the little bag with some rafia and flowers attached, but I think I am going to put them in a vase. So excited!
I love them! So sad that I saw them AFTER Easter, but I will save them for next spring. I guess I still have some springtime left, so I might put them out.

Anyone have any other spring deals to share? I would love to know.

fun with Mom

I grabbed a box of Easter Egg colors so that my husband and I could dye eggs. I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do together, but with so much going on with church (where he works) he wasn't going to be home Saturday, so my Mom and I dyed them. The kit came with all this stuff, like stickers and egg wraps, but I was just interested in the dye. Although, I'm not exactly sure why they included brown dye. That doesn't really seem like a pastel Easter color, but who am I to argue?
We started with 11 eggs. The one that is pulled aside I cracked really badly when cooking them.
I had to buy vinegar for this project, since I don't normally have any around. I think it is funny that the vinegar bottle actually has Easter Eggs on it! That helped me know which one to get, so thank you, Heinz!
Here is my egg in the green dye. The one thing we did use that came with the eggs was the Magic Crayon. I think I understand the magic, but it is hard to use. Come on, a white crayon on a white egg? A little difficult to draw...hence...
My Mom's Easter Bunny! So cute, huh? Might actually scare little kids since it HAS NO ARMS! But what do you expect when you can't see what you are drawing?
Here is my bunny. It is a little better, but still looks mean, rather than cute. With this egg, I tried to use the purple dye, but it came out all splotchy, so I put it in the blue. It seemed to help it.
Our grand egg collection! We put names on the eggs with the crayon and I drew a tulip on the green one. All in all, it was pretty fun. My Mom was teasing Charlie that she was going to hide them for him to find, but she never did. We made a tasty egg salad out of them and will be having sandwiches all week!

Friday, March 21, 2008

welcome mom

My mom is coming tomorrow and I have been working on the guest room all week. Mom lives in Florida and is coming to visit and look for condos. She is retiring in the summer and wants to move up here to live near us.
Here we are last time we came and I made my gourmet chicken pizza. It was yummy, and we had a great time.

I love my mom. She is awesome. I learn so much from her. She is such a great example of a Christian woman and I love that she sends me Bible verses and books to read. In my struggles lately, I know that woman has been wearing out her knees for me.

My mom is funny, but I never realized it until my dad died.

My mom loves me with a fierceness I have never known anywhere else.

My mom has a backbone of steel. Don't mess with Momma.

My mom picked herself up off the floor when my dad died and showed us all how to grieve gracefully and move on.

My mom is a neat freak.

My mom crafts like no one I know. She sews, scrapbooks, quilts, arranges flowers, crochets and makes anything her little heart desires. She made my veil when I got married.

I love her so much. She is like the glue in our family.

Tell me about your mom.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

spring is in the air

I have been away from my blog for several days and I have missed you all. I was out of town and dealing with more employment issues, so I wasn't really in the best mindset to post anything. I do want to thank you all for your prayers and advice. It means a lot that people I don't even know would be offering wisdom, support and an extra shout to the Lord. Thanks Debbie for the Casting Crowns song (Praise Him in this Storm)! I have been playing it for days on my iPod and praising His name.

But let's move on from all that sadness to happier thoughts. In Greensboro it is starting to look more like spring and the trees are telling their story. Each March/April this town is blanketed with blossoms from trees, bushes, and flowers that are in full bloom. I love it. It is the best time of year to live here, well, except if you have allergies. I do not, and go all over town and take pictures. This one was taken with my new camera, and I love it.

I used my Macro lens and captured this shot. I love it, did I say that?

I guess spring brings with it an atmosphere of change. Out with the old and in with the new. Easter is certainly about resurrection and renewal. About leaving it all at the cross and becoming a new creature in Him. This year especially, I am laying it down and leaving it all behind me. I am giving all my worries to Him and trusting Him to give me peace and comfort. I can emerge from my bud with pearly new petals and an aroma that is pleasing.

Thanks for thinking of me and checking back to see how I'm doing. I promise some fun posts soon! But if you're going through anything that is breaking you down, like I am, I encourage you to check out Casting Crowns and that song. It will lift you up and allow your spirit to soar. It has given me many moments of peace and release.

And Emily is gonna give me coffee.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Have you ever felt like you try so many different things, but it's still not right? Whichever way you go, whatever you choose, somehow you just can't win? That is how I have been feeling the past couple of weeks. I have been given some goals at work and am working to accomplish them, but I don't feel like I am making much headway. I keep stumbling over silly little tasks and I don't know what else to do to make it better. There must be something I am missing. Some mysterious clue in all the clutter in my head that would give me a little more information. A little more direction. To help me make the pieces fit.

Kinda like this pair of curtain rod finials that I found at Goodwill. They were $3! Score! So cute. Vintage-y glass doorknob finials. I love glass knobs and finials, they make such a statement. I was even thinking that I had the perfect place to put them and that they would really dress up this plain, cheap rod I bought.
They don't.

They don't fit anywhere or on anything.

I don't know what this manufacturer was thinking. The part that would screw on to the rod is so small that it seems like it would fit on one of those fat kiddie crayons that they give kindergarteners. Here I have this gem of a find, this awesome potential, and I can't use it in the way I intended. So frustrating.

This post might have been written backwards. Maybe I should have written about the finials and then related it to my life, but that is not how it poured out. I hate it that I am struggling. I hate it that I don't seem to fit. I feel unwanted and unworthy and I am not cute or ironic in this post. I am embarrased that I seem to cry everytime I talk to someone about it. How can I be a professional when I need tissues every five minutes?

I keep praying that I will see God's will in this. That seems to be my chant. I want to see His will in my job. I want to see His will in my infertility. I don't sleep and I stare at the ceiling wondering where He is leading. I am certainly stressed, and that isn't good for fertility either. Right? Can you tell I am a tad overwhelmed?

Oh, my. I have gotten off track. I meant this post to be about getting ideas for what I can do with those finials. Any creative ideas out there folks? I would love to be able to use them somehow, instead of donating them back to the Goodwill where some other gullible bargain hunter will likely pay another $3 for them.

Send me your ideas, your thoughts, and your prayers. I certainly need 'em.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

house stalking

It was Angela at Cottage Magpie that exposed her own dirty secret and I must also confess that I am a house stalker. Is there a group for this? Some support? A House Stalkers Anonymous meeting that I can attend? "Hi, my name is Sissy and I am a house stalker!"

What is it, you ask? A house stalker is someone who drives around and looks at houses, even though you may not need one. I found by doing this assignment, that I am attracted to cozy looking houses with trees and charm. I have a weakness for dormer windows. Dormer windows are my heroin. I gotta have 'em. I like stone and brick work and I could probably be happy living in one of those fairy tale cottages. I am a sap, I already know this.

Anyway, below are some of my favorite houses in the neighborhood.
This little sweetheart is right down the road from me, and if it had been for sale when we bought our house, it would have been mine. Dormer windows, brick, trees...what more could a girl ask for?
This one is right around the corner, and was for sale when we were looking, but it was not in our price range. Evidently it has brick from the famous Chicago fire and some famous writer scrawled something on the back of the attic door. I do like the vines on the front porch, and notice the dormer windows.
This one is in a newer part of our neighborhood and has that stonework I was talking about. It also has a neat wrought iron railing. But this house has no trees, so even if there was some way I could afford the steep price tag, I could not be talked into buying it.
Love the porch railing on this one. And the garage doors. I also like a red door, which you almost can't see.
Dormer window heaven! Brick stairway heaven! Porch heaven! This one faces a really cute little park with a stream running through it.
Ok, this little cutie is mine. I do have those wonderful dormer windows, but those are currently the attic. One day we will renovate up there and I will live with the light streaming through those cute windows. Our yard certainly needs some work. The previous owners had not done much to the yard in about 10 years, and so we have patchy grass and bushes that are out of control.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this trip through my neighborhood and had fun becoming my online support group for my problems. If you have this problem too, I would love to hear about it. Better yet, do a post of your own and show me your weakness. Is it dormer windows, brick or stonework, or an immaculately groomed yard?

And, if you're willing to host the next HSA meeting, I'll bring the snacks!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

These are the words sitting in my heart today:

You are forever in my life,
You see me through the seasons.
Cover me with Your hands,
And lead me in Your righteousness,
And I'll look to you,
I'll wait on you.

I'll sing to you Lord,
A hymn of love,
For your faithfulness to me,
I'm carried in everlasting arms,
You'll never let me go,
Through it all.

This was a worship song that was played at my church this morning. I really identified with it, because I feel like I am in a season of waiting on the Lord. It is hard sometimes to sit back and be patient. It is hard to want something so badly and not be receiving it. I have been told time and time again that things happen in the Lord's time, not ours and I want to be a person who handles this waiting with grace.

As we were singing this morning, I started crying. This often happens when I am touched by some words in the song, and this one was especially a blessing to me. I pray that I can know His comfort in this time and that I can feel His arms around me. I can praise Him in my joy and in my sorrow. That I will be a light for someone else who is struggling. Thank you Lord, for your love, through it all.

Friday, March 7, 2008

5 picture challenge

I think it was Miss Sniz that turned me on to this little challenge. She asked that you take 5 pictures of things around your house that say something about you. It took me awhile to take the pictures because I really looked around to find what says something about who I am. What objects really describe me? What do they say about my personality or beliefs? Here, you take a look and let me know what you think...
This is one of our engagement photos, taken by the lovely Emily (chatting at the sky). We had so much fun walking around the park and kissing all afternoon. It was a great time and I got so many good shots about it. I think the reason I included it here is because it conveys that I love my husband and value my marriage.
I have this arrangement on top of our entertainment armoire. The Zenith radio belonged to my dad and I inherited it when he passed away. All us kids have a different one. This one actually works, but I never turn it on anymore. I miss my dad and having his things around keeps him close. I also have a racing trophy of his from when he raced stock cars (minor league, folks).
Ok, I know when you look at this picture you can see the cobwebs. Honestly, I didn't see them until I took the picture. Did I clean it and take another one? No. Too busy. Anyway, I searched long and hard for cool vintage-y rods and finials for my 8 foot sliding glass door. A curtain rod that big was hard to find if I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg. These are from Restoration Hardware and I found them on Clearance! Yes. A great deal.
My favorite purse. Enough said.
My hall bathroom. It is a springy mossy green with lilac accents. I went sorta French Country and I have a white shower curtain and those pretty white towels. But...I don't actually want people to dry their hands on them, so I tied that nice wire reinforced ribbon around it to subtly suggest they use the other one on the counter. I am a freak and a decorator at the same time.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this peak into my psyche. If you decide to take up this challenge, drop me a comment and I will come and see. It certainly made me examine who I am and who I wanted to portray to all you out there. I may have purposely not chosen to show you some of the other things about me. Like my drawer full of fun socks. Or my cabinet crammed full of cookbooks. But I know that stuff is there...maybe next time.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

tuesdays haven't been the same

They left with a goodbye and a stop at Luke's and my week just hasn't been the same since. It just seems wrong that these girls are gone. Here are the reasons why I loved them....

  • I always wanted a sister and that is what Lorelai and Rory were, really. There were small mother/daughter moments thrown in, but mostly they were sisters and best friends.
  • They had such an immense knowledge of books, music and pop culture. Now granted, I know that was the writers, but the GG were constantly referencing something. It could have been a headline, or it could have been from 3000 BC, but it was certainly entertaining.
  • I want a "Luke's." I want Luke. Seriously, didn't that food always look good?

  • I want to live in Stars Hollow. What a sweet, crazy town. They were always having such neat festivals and events around the gazebo and I wanted to take part.
  • The GG always talked so fast. The dialogue went back and forth at a lightning pace and if you missed a minute, you might not know what was going on. One day I marathoned about 12 episodes and later when my husband came home I could not talk at a normal pace. He thought I was on Speed, but nope, just GG.
  • Rory and Lorelai had real problems. Abandonment issues stemming from the Senior Gilmores and the disappearance of a father from a girl's life. Those hurts bled over into their relationships and lives, affecting them and their partners. Luke got it. Jess got it, but too little, too late. Logan did not get it. Neither did Max or Jason. Who knows what Dean understood, since he got married way to young and cheated on his wife.
  • I want a friend like Sookie. I think I have a acquaintance like Paris, and I might need to give her back! I could use someone like Lane.
  • They made me laugh. Some episodes made me cry. The last one was a tear jerker, and I cried as Richard and Emily finally gave Lorelai some well-earned credit for Rory's upbringing. Thank you for that, writers.

On Tuesdays now I am usually reading a book. I have no idea what else is on and I haven't explored in awhile. I am still in mourning. The GG was like a comfortable pair of slippers that fit just right. Maybe I see a little of myself in them. The kookiness I can certainly relate to. I am surrounded by an interesting cast of characters everyday, and it might make for mildy entertaining TV, but I don't have a guy from France or a man who carved me a hupa.

Maybe the larger lesson from GG is that family is what you make it. If the blood is tad tainted, turn to those around you and keep on going. Surround yourself with love and laughter and a little beauty. Learn. Try. Come back better than you left. Leave a place better than you found it. Feel. Cry. Build. Grow together.

Share a little love for the Gilmore Girls and leave a comment. Why did you love them? Who drove you crazy? Did you cry when they said goodbye? Luke or Christopher? Logan or Jess? Come on, I am dyin' to know!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

another obsession confession

Winter is almost over and out the door with it goes one of my favorite sports: figure skating. I love figure skating. I wait for it every year and savor the moments with my skaters. When I say "my skaters," I do mean the ones on TV, but I claim them. They are mine. They skate just for me. Who cares about the judges or the people in the stands...I am at home watching.

Oh, I am getting off topic. I love figure skating and find that January and March are the two best months. I don't watch the cheesy ice shows where they have celebrity judges or Disney characters. I like the serious competitions: the US Nationals and the World Championships. I live for the Winter Olympics. I can usually name the winner and I know who has stolen a move from whom. Who? Whom? I never know which word to use.

Back to the subject at hand. I grew up watching skating and my mom took me to an ice show when I was little. I think I was 5 or 6 and we met Dorothy Hamill. She wasn't that nice, but I did get an autograph, which I have lost. Oh, well.
I followed even more closely in high school and college during the reign of Michelle Kwan, and she still reigns in my book as one of the best, if not the best skater out there. I remember her early competitions when her hair was in a pony tail and she wore pink sparkles. And as she grew, so did my admiration for her. She felt the music. She skated with passion. She was affected by nerves. She was accomplished and stylish and graceful, on and off the ice. She never beat anyone with a tire iron or laughed at another performer. She won and lost with more dignity that I can muster.

Each Olympics with Michelle was interesting. She came, she fell, she didn't win the Gold. Impressively enough, she told reporters each time "someone was better, but I WON the silver." Or the bronze. I am sure she was hurting inside, but she never let us see it. I am sure she wanted that Gold Medal, and I wanted her to have it. But she maturely stepped aside and let someone else shine each time she lost. It wasn't her moment.

After Salt Lake, the Tour of Champions came to Greensboro and my friend Kristen and I got tickets. We went and watched as random skaters performed their routines. They were nice and pretty, but they weren't Michelle and that is who the audience was waiting for. Sarah Hughes, the Gold Medal winner was there, but it was Michelle who recieved the standing ovation. Michelle's routine that brought out the flashbulbs. Michelle who walked out to the fan line and stood signing autographs while hundreds stood in line. No other skater came outside.

I was lucky enough to talk to her and get her to sign my program. She was very nice and sweet. She laughed at my joke. She made my day. My month.

I mourn that she no longer competes. I have found a new crop to watch, but no one has replaced her yet. I am not the only one who feels her absence. The commentators on TV are always speaking of it.

I only hope that I can face each challenge in my life with the dignity that she shows. She may have complained in private, stomped her feet and wondered why someone else won, but we never saw it. She never blogged about it, or talked about it. Maybe someday she will write a book; I will buy it.

I want to live my life that way. I want to see my challenges as my own personal Olympics. I may not get the big prize, but I can gracefully accept what I earn. It might be the silver, it could be 8th place, but I will be proud knowing that I did my best. That is all anyone can do.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

pajamas and other p words

This week certainly has been a trying one and I send a heartfelt "thank you" to all of you who commented and supported me. I know there are so many prayers going up on my behalf, and it is great that I have this wonderful new community of friends out there that are rooting for me. You don't know how special all your words were, and how love I felt each time someone posted a comment. Well, there aren't any words left to describe it. I was touched.

In the spirit of moving forward, I thought I would share what kept me so busy this week: the Patriot Pajama Read-a-Thon. We invited 2nd and 3rd graders from our school to come and spend the night in the gym and read. We played games, watched a movie, but most of it was them reading. They arrived at 7pm and left this morning at 8am. I spent all week getting the details put together, shopping for food and prizes and recruiting volunteers. It was a ton of work, but the kids had a great time.

Here are the things I learned last night. My own Top Ten, so to speak (don't sue me David Letterman).

1. Pajama pants often do not have pockets. When you need to carry a cell phone, a walkie talkie and keys, this is a problem. Here I am in my pajama finery.
2. A plastic whistle from the Target birthday party supply section doesn't quite do the job of a real metal one.

3. Even if they ate dinner, as soon as a kid sees the snack table, she/he will be immediately hungry.

4. I cannot sleep with kids snoring, coughing and moaning in their sleep. Seriously folks, I got two hours of shut eye. Between 2 and 4am.

5. Relay races help make the kids tired. Here they are crawling across the gym floor, and cheering for their team.

5. Some students aren't ready to spend the night. We only had to contact one parent out of 50, so that is a pretty good statistic.

6. If a parent says they will help, put 'em to work before they change their minds. I gave one mom the job of bringing me coffee last night when she dropped off her child. Thank you Grande White Mocha for at least 6 hours of caffeine driven pep.

7. Charlotte's Web is one of the best movies EVER. I love that doomed pig. And it probably is the only spider I will ever like.

8. Juice boxes are WAY BETTER than giving kids cups. That get knocked over. And spill. Once, twice, three, wait FOUR times.

9. God invented air mattresses for nights like this.

10. When a kid tells you they need new pants in the middle of the night, don't believe him when he says they got wet in the bathroom. Check it out. And give the parent who cleaned up the poo smeared walls and floors a medal. Seriously.