Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm moving!

Well I didn't intend to move. It's just one of those things that came up. I had my pretty little castle blogskin for a few days before it started malfunctioning. Since I had to find a new one anyway, it was a good time to switch over. Now you'll find me here.....

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Feeling Lucky. I Mean Blessed. No, I Mean Lucky.

I must be feeling ambitious....2 posts in one day! Maybe that can help make up for the weeks I didn't post at all. I'm sure I left all 2 of you breathless with anticipation!

I was just thinking about luck today on my way into work. Here's the definition according to Actually this is just the first 4 of 12 definitions:

1. the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities: With my luck I'll probably get pneumonia.
2. good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance: He had no luck finding work.
3. a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person: She's had nothing but bad luck all year.
4. some object on which good fortune is supposed to depend: This rabbit's foot is my luck.

A few years ago I decided to make an attempt to take the word "luck" and all of its relatives out of my vocabulary. I don't really believe in luck and coincidence, but rather in God's intervention in our lives. This comes in the form of blessings, guidance down certain paths in life, and protection, among other things. If everything were up to luck, why would we bother to make our requests known to God? It seems like a cruel picture: God tells us to ask for what we want and in the meantime, He's up in heaven spinning a big wheel of fate. I just don't buy that.

Luck is one of those words we use so flippantly and often that I catch myself using it all the time (at least in my thoughts; I'm getting better at not saying it out loud). In most cases I can substitute the word "blessed". So instead of saying that I'm really lucky to have a good job, good health and a nice home, I count those as blessings that God has provided for me. I'm not lucky to have artistic talent. It's a gift God specifically made for me. I'm not lucky that I've never been in a life threatening accident, I've been protected.

Yet I still catch myself wanting to say "good luck" when I part ways with a friend I know has a job interview or a health scare. Seems like the best thing to say would be "God be with you" but I haven't trained myself to let that roll off the tongue as easily as, "good luck".

This is perhaps getting a little more philosophical than I dare to get at times, but I had 40 minutes of thinking time in the car this morning. Can my theory of "no such thing as luck" really be true? If it's not luck that I've never been in a life threatening accident, does that imply that God wasn't protecting those people who have been? Could it be that there are some things that are just a matter of chance? Is every tornado, terminal illness, and birth defect planned and meted out by God? Or did He set the laws of nature into motion and intervenes from time to time?

So what brought about all this thinking about luck? I was just thinking this morning about how lucky I am that I've never got a speeding ticket. I drive about 9 miles over the speed limit, 70 miles a day for the past 4 years. What are the odds I'd never get stopped for speeding? Well I caught myself using the word "lucky" in my thoughts and did my automatic switch with the word "blessed". Hmmm......something is wrong with that picture. "I consciously break the law every day, but God has really blessed me with never getting stopped". What?! In this case, I would have to say that I'm just plain lucky.

Quiz of the Day

What have I gotten myself into? Posting yesterday with a title like "Picture of the Day" implies that I am actually 1. going to get on and post every day and 2. post a picture every day. I do like the idea of #2, but not promising it every day. I'm not ashamed to say that my blog is like a picture book on a shelf with great novels. May not be great literature, but hey, it's what I'd go for first. Speaking of which, who decided it was taboo to have illustrations in novels. Why do we think only children would enjoy that? I'm not saying illustrate every page, but a nicely placed picture here and there would keep me turning those pages. Anyway, I digress.....

Since I haven't taken any pics today, I will have to go digging on my computer. Be right back.....

OK. While this is not an aesthetically striking photograph, it does cause a big question mark in the cloud above my head. This is a Canadian road sign. I believe I shot this out a bus window in Vancouver. Anyone have a clue as to what it means? It does look like a camera to me, but I didn't see anything particularly picture-worthy in the vicinity. And even so, do we need road signs to tell us this? Perhaps it's to caution drivers that tourists may be taking pics out the window so watch out for bad drivers or mysterious flashes. Please enlighten me if you're Canadian or good at making things up.

And, no, there will not be a quiz every day as today's title implies!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Picture of the Day

Ahhhh...Now doesn't he look studious!?

A Rant

I try not to rant too often, but here's something that bugs phone has been cutting out a lot on people and dropping calls. It's to the point that I have to tell people I'll call them back because I can't hear a thing. I even called customer service to complain, I mean report the problem, and the call was dropped, proving my point, but solving nothing. So I ran into the friendly little neighborhood Cingular store. The guy there wasn't much help at first. He gave me a phone number to call and seemed to be shoo-ing me out of the store so he could get back to whatever video game he was playing in the back. I was pro-active and asked if we could call from the store since I don't have another phone and probably couldn't get through on mine. He was more helpful at that point, but why did I have to ask? I remember the days when I wouldn't have been assertive enough to do that.

Anyway, I talked to the warranty people who said they'd send a new phone in 3-5 days for no charge. If I wanted it in 2 days, I'd have to pay $7 - 8 (as if this is my fault). So I asked her what they do to compensate for the 3-5 days that I'm paying for service but have no phone. To that she responded I'd have to talk to the store clerk about a loaner phone. Upon hanging up, the store clerk informed me that they no longer have the loaner program due to the 80% of people who never returned their loaners. I guess I could just tough it out with a phone I can't make calls on. But it's the principle of the thing. I paid for all 31 days of service, and I want my 31 days of service, not 26.

I wouldn't be such a stickler about it, but the phone companies are quite the sticklers when there's an error on your end. Like the time - Gulp, I'm almost embarrassed to tell this story - when I opened up my bill and it read $1000! I actually sat in the floor and cried about that one. How was that possible? I paid for 1000 minutes. That's a lot right? Well if you add it up, that only comes to 16 hours. At the time I had a long distance boyfriend and we talked pretty much every night. It really wasn't that much over the 16 hours. It's just that once I hit the 16 hours, every minute was billed at a very high rate. Plus there were some roaming charges that I shouldn't have been charged that they took off. I called to negotiate with them. I'm a good customer and it was just a big mistake on my part. The minutes were all off peak minutes so they were making a killing off my serious miscalculation of time. (Have I ever told you I have no concept of time sometimes). I talked to several different associates on several different occasions. They were only willing to work with me when they found out that my contract was ending soon and I might be taking my business elsewhere. They then cut the bill down to about $500. Much better, but I'm not one of those girls who racked up 300 dollar phone bills in college so it still sounds like a lot. Ironic thing is that guy wasn't worth it. This is the guy who would calculate (out loud) how much it would cost to come see me and usually decided it was too much. How's that for irony?!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Birthday Weekend!

Well it was the big 3-5 this year. And it was a festive, fun-filled weekend. It may be a faux pas to throw a party on your own birthday, but hey it keeps me from getting depressed about how old I'm getting. (It really works; try it). So I planned an 80's themed murder mystery party and had 20 of my friends participate. I gave them a character and they came in costume and acted their role. I was really impressed with how well everyone got into it. I expected there to be a few party poopers or at least a few that just were so out of their element they didn't know what to do. Everyone acted their part and some of them were quite the hams. Best part of the party was that I invited people from all aspects of my life....some from work, some from church, a few from my college days, and a few from Grad school. It was the first time my friends met each other, so it was fun to see all my worlds collide.

My friend Keri and I have recently reconnected. We were both at York College our freshmen year. I hadn't seen her in years, but I got to see her 3 times this year. We met for dinner when she was up here for a business trip and met in Branson last month. She drove up from Springfield for the weekend and that was a nice treat.

So here are the pictures from the party....

Here's the whole group crammed into my living room. Not pictured is the class gossip (Tekia) who was taking the picture.
My college roommate from my Freshmen year and her husband.....Jennifer and Joe as the Math nerd and the Math cheerleader. My college friend Keri and my church friend Joe as the class president turned politician and his wife.

Friends from Grad school - Jake and Deb as the Jock and the Cheerleader.
More friends from grad school. Ray was the token male in our art therapy program. He and wife Katrina were the band geeks. Me and my church friend, Emily. I was the hall monitor and she was the reporter. Unfortunately you can't see my hot pink legwarmers.
My sister and Ben as the Prom King and Queen. Her character ordered him aroud all night. Julie, from work. She was Molly Ringworm, the drama queen.

Mary Jane, music therapist from work (and sometimes travel companion). She played the valedictorian and know-it-all.
Ronette and Beth from work. Ronette was the pom pom captain turned choreographer and Beth was the punk. She won best costume.
Jenelle, who used to work with us and her hubbie, Jared. She was the class flirt and he was the audio visual geek turned Hollywood director. Here's Chris from church playing the class ladies' man (looks like a used car salesman to me).
It was lots of fun. I highly recommend it. I will definitely do another one sometime. Now that I have my friends all warmed up, maybe we'll move on to something more challenging like pirates or fairies.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Back by Popular Demand!

I'm back by popular demand.....OK, so to be honest, it was only 2 people, but trust me, they are popular! I've been busy lately, and as weird as it sounds, the absence of my nice sunflower picture on my old blog template was not exactly inspiring me to write much. I'm tellin' ya I'm a visual person. Gotta have pictures. Anyway, I don't know if I like how pale this template is, but I love the castle image and how it deepens in intensity.

So I've been very busy lately. I spent the Labor Day weekend in Branson with the family and the following three weekends building a deck. My brother-in-law and sister were gracious enough to come over every Saturday and help with that. My dad also came over the first Saturday and helped a lot (and cut his finger pretty good in the process). Here are some pics from the Branson trip....

Tracy, Milan and Ben eating at Lambert's, home of the throwed rolls.

My friend Keri, who was a Freshman at York College with me met us for the afternoon.

Hangin' out in the condo....Ben's trying to turn her into an athlete already.

Getting ready to swim.

At the Dixie Stampede! A good time was had by all (Except for the fact that we got stuck on the Confederate side. I wouldn't mind being a Southerner if it weren't for the whole keeping people in bondage against their will thing.)
Riding the Ducks! Highly Overrated.....As my brother David said before we left, "I would go if it didn't cost so much.... and if it were fun".
Quacking Away!
All Quacked Out!
So that's enough time on the computer for now. When I return I'll let you know how my Birthday and Murdery Mystery Party went. It was quite the weekend!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Have you seen this?

I don't know if I can get this to work, but it's incredibly entertaining.....

WonderfulWorld-HandPuppet.wmv2319K Download

Monday, August 20, 2007

Milan's First Post

For some odd reason, my Auntie T stranded me for over a week (and that's a lot in the life of a 2 month old!). We went from full adoration on an almost daily basis, to no one sitting and staring at me (except the folks and they don't count). I want non-familial adoration, by golly! (I guess Aunt T is family, but you know what I mean!). Here's how I feel about that......

I'm thinking about forgiving her. She says she was out of state!

And she says it was my mom and dad that moved away from her while she was in Colorado! Hmmmph! I'll save some of these glares for them!
Well I was thinking about forgiving her, but then she decided to post this!

Just wait until I have the power to veto her photo selections!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Report from the Doggy Day Spa

While I was off gallivanting in CO, Sasha had her own doggy vacation at Kim and Kris' Doggy Day Spa (my sis-in-law and her sister). She got pampered with a bath, a walk almost every day, time with doting children, and a shave (a first for her). I was expecting to see her looking like a lion. Looks more like a French Poodle in my estimation. Or maybe a hot dog with fur on both ends. Here are her before and after pics:


Part of me looks at her and feels sorry, but the other part of me is grateful for all the work they did to keep her cool. She's an indoor dog at my house but was outside in the 90 degree weather there. So I'm glad she didn't have to suffer in the heat. I was a little worried she'd be like the dogs that act all embarrassed when they get shaved, but she seems fine with it.
Call me a shallow dog owner, but I'm a little embarrassed to take her out for a walk.

Friday....Last Day in Colorado

Friday came all too soon. Vacation time was nearly over. I packed up and we took the kids to Colorado Springs that afternoon. We visited the Current Outlet and Focus on the Family. That was a neat place. They had a 3 story tornado slide called "A-bend-ago". Downstairs in the kids' area, they had the town of Odyssey laid out (from the radio show "Adventures in Odyssey"). There was plenty for the kids to do.

Outside of "Whit's End" Ice Cream Shoppe.

The wardrobe from Narnia:

Before we knew it, it was time to take me to the airport. I had a 7:00 flight. We left Colorado Springs in plenty of time. However, the traffic was horrible, and what should have been about an hour drive turned into 2 and a half hours. At 6:30, I was still not at the airport. I prayed for a delay, and definitely got my wish. The flight was delayed until 8:20. Good thing because by the time I got through security and to my terminal, it was 7:20. We had more delays, so I didn't get into KCI until after midnight. Tracy picked me up and took me over to their new house (a lot happened while I was gone). I spent the night there and got up in the morning, picked up Sasha and went home.

I definitely have to thank Niki and her family for putting their normal routine on hold to host me for a great week. Thanks for the hospitality! And thanks to Benny for watching the kids so Niki and I could go do touristy stuff.

Here are some last pics from the car on the way to the airport....

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Thursday In Colorado

Thursday I made arrangements to meet up with my aunt, uncle and cousins in Idaho Springs. We had some great pizza at Beau Jo's. My Uncle Ken suggested a pretty drive we could take from there. At his suggestions we stopped at Echo Lake at the base of Mt. Evans.

We then began our ascent of Mt. Evans, stopping at this pretty little roadside waterfall where I took pictures of the Nowell kids.

We continued our ascent. The kids were actually scared Niki would run the van off the road. She was an excellent driver, but these roads did look a bit treacherous. So glad she was driving.

Near the top of the mountain, we encountered some wild mountain goats. They actually didn't seem that wild, as they were grazing without a care just beside the road.

Niki claims she isn't a good photographer, but I spotted this critter and handed her the camera and she took this great shot out her car window. Extra credit if you know what this critter is (don't tell them Niki).

That evening, I had the opportunity to go see the pre-Broadway production of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" on stage. I didn't even know it was out yet until I got to Denver and saw signs everywhere. I couldn't believe they had balcony seats for $20. I tried and tried all week to get seats, hoping that Niki, Rebecca, and I could go together. Finally, I was able to get the very last ticket for Thursday night. I had to pay $70, but it was well worth it to get better seats anyway. Niki was kind enough to drop me off and pick me up. Hopefully in the future, I will write a review of the show for you musical fans. For now, suffice it to say that it ranks right up there with "Wicked" in my book. In fact, the costumes and special effects were probably much better, though I liked "Wicked's" storyline and music better. When you think about the complexities of turning the stage into an underwater world, it is just amazing what they were able to do.

RANT: (noun) a loud bombastic declamation expressed with strong emotion. RAVE: (noun) An extravagantly enthusiastic opinion or review. RAMBLING: (noun) A walk without a definite route, taken merely for pleasure (I'm sure this applies to writing too). So if I'm completely honest, I'm rarely a ranter, seldom a raver, but often a rambler. Come stroll with me.....