Wednesday, November 25, 2009

fudge truffle cheesecake

Here's something I'm thankful for:

Doesn't that look scrumptious? It was. This was one of the best birthday presents I received. It is so rich and creamy that I could only eat small pieces, and drink a glass of milk. Then, because of all the pies I am about to make, I froze the rest. I will eat it piece by small piece. Yum.

Have a thankful, wonderful, delicious, turkey-filled, restful thanksgiving. I wish you all the best.

Monday, November 23, 2009

a not so happy bithday present

So, one of my not so favorite birthday gifts was the chopping down of a tree in our front yard. It was cut down under my protest, and in this first shot you can see the guy up in the tree chopping limbs off. I don't like him.

He left behind some sawdust, and a whole bunch of branches and twigs in my yard. Charlie only wanted to pay for the tree to come down, he didn't want to pay for them to take it away, which is what I wanted.

Here I am, looking sad. It was not the most fun part of my whole birthday weekend.

Here is Charlie, looking rather triumphant, wouldn't you say? He looks mighty proud of himself, I do think. He looked happy until he had to start chainsawing the stuff and hauling it down to the curb.

AND, he made me help him. Yes, can you believe that? I didn't want anything to do with it, but there I was outside, in the cold, taking logs to the curb for people to pick up for firewood. There was much grumbling on my part.

Doesn't he know how I feel about trees? Yes, he does. And he's planning to take another one down that is hanging over our house, but he has promised to replace it with something nice. I told him that some sapling he could buy at Home Depot couldn't replace a 100 year old tree, but I was overruled. It seems to happen a lot lately.

Oh, well. Goodbye tree. You lived a good life, and I will miss your pretty leaves. Charlie will NOT miss your gumballs.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

new moon's arisin'

I'm too lazy to actually upload the couple of shots I took from my birthday weekend, but let's just say it was fun. Ohmy. Yes. It was fun.

It started on Friday (my actual birthday) when my mom brought me lunch at work and some new picture frames that I had been asking for as a present. The school also gives each staff member the cake of their choice for their birthday, so I was presented with a fudge truffle cheesecake. YUM. Pics of that to come. You know I have pics of the cake.

Friday night was dinner out with our friends Phil and Bethany, and a $20 gift certificate to Kohl's. YAY! Saturday morning I slept in, then cleaned the bathroom, then got ready for the big night out.

The big night out included this:

Yup. Edward and Bella and that other dude in the film. My two friends Emily and Mandy escorted me to the movies and then to dinner. Emily gave me the sweetest book and a posie pin that I immediately stuck on my coat. The movie was so much fun, and when you see a movie on the opening weekend, you know the other people in the theater are also fans. And they were. There was such a camaraderie in there, and people actually cheered when that wolf dude took his shirt off.

Okay, here is my review of the film. It was really good. It was certainly better than the last one, and was very true to the book, with only some small embellishments or changes. Edward is still a tad moody for my taste. The wolf dude was much cuter once he cut his hair, but we know he'll never have a chance with Bella, and when Emily wanted her to pick him, I threw Nerds at her. I did. I liked the ending and am excited about the next installment, since Eclipse was my favorite of the books. It's been fun that both movies were released so closely to my birthday.

But they still didn't paint the kitchen cabinets yellow. And Bella's bed is on the wrong side of the room. And the color Kristen Stewart's hair is in the photo is more what I think the color of Bella's hair should be. Not quite so dark. Yes, I'm picky. Whatever.

After the movie, we had a really nice dinner and all went home feeling happy. It was a great night, and a fun birthday outing. Today, my mom cooked lunch for Charlie and I and his parents and niece and nephew, and his mom gave me a really neat cookbook. Just in time for Thanksgiving. YAY.

So now I am exhausted and I have to work tomorrow. It's been a good weekend. Oh, and I turned 33. I keep forgetting that part.

Feel free to stick around and look at that picture. You know you want to.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

new specs

If you wear glasses, you know how important it is to pick out new frames. I had been putting it off and putting it off, cause I just wasn't seeing anything out there that was me. The trend of dark plastic frames with a bright color on the inside just didn't work on my face. They seemed to heavy, to old fashioned. I'm already a librarian, and I didn't need to look any MORE nerdy.

These seemed to work. They are a little more elongated than my previous pair, to balance out my round face. And you can't really tell here, but they are a burgundy red color. I like them. They have taken a bit to get used to, because they have the transitions lenses that change in the sunlight, but overall I like them.

What cha think?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

don't hate me, Lula

And anyone else who loves to read YA novels. One of the major perks of my job is purchasing books for the library. Last Monday was a half day and so I spent the better part of the afternoon at Barnes and Nobles, perusing the racks and making selections. I ended up with two boxes full of books that I brought home and sorted through.

When it comes to YA literature, I have to be careful. My school is k-8 and not all YA books are meant for middle school kids. In fact, I know, according to my other aspiring writer buddies, that most YA is meant for high school age kids. But, in a world where everyone wants to be older, my students are reading them as well. And not all are shining examples of how teens should act. But that isn't my main point, here. I can whine about that later.

My point is that I pulled some aside, some that I found to be on the borderline, that I needed to read first before shelving. And I pulled a couple that I wanted to read first before shelving.

This is the perk. I spent $635 of the school's money on books. That I get to read. And don't have to buy or wait til it comes out in paperback. Sheer luxury. I am going to enjoy it while I can, because once this job is over come May, I will be just like everyone else.

One that I discovered was this one, called North of Beautiful, by Justina Chen Headley. What a wonderful book. AHhhh, it's the kind I love to read. There's a little bit of romance and some basic teenage angst, but there's also an adoption sideline (which I loved), a trip to China and the main character dealing with a facial birthmark she wants removed. Such a lovely and important story that teenage girls need to read. I could gush on and on about it, but you can just read it for yourself and know I'm right.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

getting the axe, kind of

It started with a conversation. My coworker and I were talking about having a job versus having a passion for what you do. It was casual, a couple of comments between classes at our school, but there was a serious undertone. I knew where this would be going...he was applying for a new job. Well, for his passion.

And so, the technology facilitator at our school left to become a head baseball coach, and it was hard for me to watch him leave. As the school's librarian, he and I worked closely together and shared the same space. The computer lab is in the library, and his desk was in the lab. We could talk to each other over bookshelves and coffee and it was a great working relationship.

I was so excited for him to be able to make a living at his passion. Coaching baseball at a college had been what he dreamed of doing for such a long time, and while it was sad to see him go, I could totally understand it. Like the Sam Adams beer commercial says, "find something you love to do and you'll never work another day in your life."

But his leaving complicated my position. Seems the corporate office that runs our school believes one person can do both a librarian and oversee all the technology. And so the job will be changing, I was notified late one Friday afternoon. I am welcome to apply for the new job, but am not qualified, so I quickly bowed out.

I have my job through the end of the school year, and then the new person will take over. Well, technically, he/she could get hired and start sooner, but wouldn't assume all the duties until next fall. So, basically, I got nine months notice on my job. Who else gets that much time?

Yes, I sound okay about this. That's largely because most of this happened in the middle of September and it is now November. At first I was really angry about it, but now I see how there is so much out in front of me. So many possibilities. While I do need to be able to pay my bills, and will have to do something, I am thinking about doing some courses online to change careers. Who knows what I will become? Here's my chance to change and overcome the fear of what will I do? What should I have done when I was 18 and didn't know what decision to make?

Yes, I am nervous. Yes, there is much to think about. Yes, I am grieving leaving these kids and the staff and my friends there. But there's a whole world out in front of me.

I did wait awhile to tell you all, and it wasn't because I didn't think you couldn't provide support or prayers. It was because my attitude was wrong, and I didn't want to share that with you. I didn't need you to see me stamp my feet and whine that it wasn't fair, and yes, I did those things. But I want to share now, because I do need the prayers and support and advice.

Thanks for being there.

Sunday, November 8, 2009's proof

Yes, I love to take pictures, and I have filed up an entire SD card with images of nature: flowers, leaves, plants, etc. The colors of fall are amazing, and are only around for a brief time.

Lovely. So lovely. Lovely, that is, until they fall.

My husband has been working on the yard recently and has been doing such a great job. He has asked me a couple of times to help out, and here's proof that I have indeed been outside, helping. He said that since I love the trees so much, I should be in charge of collecting their droppings. It's a small price to pay to have the trees, so I put on my old silver sparkly tennis shoes and a sweatshirt, which I didn't need once it got hot, and got out there. Yup, I spent time with my lovely trees. The Queen of the Indoors is slowly expanding her kingdom.

I blew leaves! (such a great action shot, taken by my hubsie.) Many, many, many leaves. Many little gum balls from the sour gum tree. Doggie doo mixed with leaves and sour gum balls. Two and a half hours of blowing leaves down toward the curb. These pictures were taken within the first 15 minutes, when I was still having fun. At the end of the night I could barely lift my water glass with my right arm.

What I never understood about leaf blowers is this: it takes muscle to move them forward. It's basic physics, I guess. In order for the leaves to continue moving down the yard toward the street, I have to keep walking forward, while the air wants to press me back. It's not a great amount of pressure, but you notice it more when you do take a couple of steps backwards and the air helps you. It's propelling itself backwards, while you (and your wimpy arm muscle) are making it go forward.

Here I am digging up a hydrangea plant and moving it down the yard to another spot. I dug things up, people. I know you can't believe it, but this fall I have been kinda helpful. Not extremely helpful, mind you, but somewhat helpful.

Okay, so you have proof that while I may love the indoors and taking pictures, I can assist in some ways outside. I may have to hand my title to someone else, if this helpfulness keeps up. We'll see. Most likely, you will see more pictures of lovely leaves, and less of me working, but you never know when I might help again. It's a mystery.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

couple friends are hard to find.

I know this is random, but I read another post today about couple friends. You know what I mean, when you and your significant other find another couple to hang out with. This is hard. So hard. And maybe my husband and I are just weird, but here's what happens:
  • I like the girl but my husband doesn't like the guy. Or maybe just doesn't have much in common with the guy. Like, my husband likes football, and can talk for hours about it, and that is his conversation starter most times. If the answer is "well, I like auto racing," there probably isn't going to be much conversation.
  • He likes the guy, but I don't like the girl. The same situation, but in reverse. My husband and the guy may have sooo many things to talk about, but me and the wife? Zippo.
  • Neither of us like the guy, but we both like the girl. This has happened more than once, and is very awkward. Guys in their twenties tend to be immature, right? And while I might can deal with my husband's particular brand of immature, I may not be wired for the other guy's kind.
  • The girl is totally annoying. We wish he didn't have to bring her. Laugh. This only happened once. Cause we only went out the one time. True story.
  • We're the wrong age or the wrong stage in life. You know. You don't have kids and they have kids. And it's easier for kids to be at their own house, so you'd rather go there, but you can't really invite yourself over. Although, I have done it once and said, "I'll bring dinner if you host it." Kids just have a better time in their own habitat with their own toys. The other problem is ages. Charlie and I tend to click with older couples, and one of our closest friends has grown kids. We have a good time most of the time, but we can't relate to all of their issues. I haven't had to pay for a kid to go to college... I don't have kids.
  • Proximity. You know, you used to be close because you worked with her, but now you've switched jobs and don't call as much. It was so easy when you could talk at lunch about the weekend, or plan things over email, but now you actually have to call her and set it up.
  • They've switched churches. This is a big one, cause is creates an elephant in the room. I hate this one.

Are these enough reasons to make it difficult? Has this ever happened to you? Got any suggestions about how to smooth out this process and gather up more friends? I would love for Charlie and I have to have couples over more often, and we do have friends we can call, but most of the time it's a "me out with someone" or a "him out with someone" scenario. And that's just fine, but I'd like to expand our horizons. Think about it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

national adoption awareness month

So, November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and I think it's great that someone actually thought to make this a month to celebrate and get out there. I think most people know about adoption, but getting more women to choose adoption is the goal, I would think. Or, getting out the idea that adoption is a perfectly acceptable way of building a family and that the child who is adopted is just as normal as the next kid. There may be more issues to deal with as a family, but adopted kids know love and family just like you and I do.

Many of you know that my husband and I are in the process of trying to adopt a baby. And you know that we came close last May, with a birthmom who ultimately chose to parent her baby. And that it almost broke me in two. But here I am, back in the saddle, ready to try it again. Hoping it will come soon. Praying for God's timing and His blessing on our family.

Adoption is a gift. The gift of life and the gift of love. It's so much more, but at the bottom line it's all about love. A mother who chooses to let her child go, who loves the baby so much they want a better life for her than she can provide. It's amazing. Each time I read an adoption story, I get the chills. It touches so many.

I am linking this up to Emily's Tuesday's Unwrapped, because I want to celebrate the journey that I am on. I am asking for prayers and awareness. If you can help spread the love of adoption, or support an adoption agency in your town, please do so. If all you can do is pray for our adoption situation, I will welcome those prayers.
Our adoption blog is here, and our agency website (New Life Christian Adoptions) is here. And if you can, read the post on the adoption blog about advertising and make a suggestion.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

introducing Oreo the goat and one proud Yankee Fan

Here is one happy Yankee Fan, sitting at our Fall Family Festival (a trunk or treat event.)

He was so proud of his decorations! And as each kid came to get candy, he asked them who they were pulling for and we tallied it up. Some of the kids had absolutely no idea, but went with the Yankees cause Charlie was wearing his Yankee hat, coat and listening to the game on the radio.

While he did this, I went over and played with the goats and llamas at the petting zoo the church brought in. This is Oreo. She was very happy to eat out of my hand. Cute, for a goat, I guess.

I think I have shared before that I grew up in a family that didn't celebrate halloween, and so all this is new to me. Charlie still is the one with more enthusiasm for the day, but I go along and take pictures and look at all the cute kids. Toward the end of the night when they all get hyper, I wanna bail, but that could happen anywhere I suppose.

All in all, it was a fun night and not cold like last year. Oreo was thankful for that, I think.